Friday, January 29, 2016

Quacks and Caws! - Aesop's Fables 01-29-16

A couple of basic and short and sweet fables for today, but then aren't they all.  

This first one has a moral which I'm certain we've all heard at one time in our life though, I guess I wasn't sure where it came from, I always thought it had a Shakespeare feel to it.  After reading the fable though it struck home to a couple of similar stories that actually happened to me.  

Once I had gone to my GP and he was so distracted with his own bad back and his own complaints that his insurance didn't cover the surgery that would help him, that I'm sure my needs were wayyyyyyyyyy down on his priority list.  I wasn't happy with him.

Another more pleasant time that I thought of this saying was when my jaw kept swelling whenever I would eat.  That's right, my left jaw would swell to the point of m teeth not coming together when I chewed, but then after I would give up trying to eat by a 1/2 hour or so, it would return to normal.  After a few days of this, my hunger forced me to head into urgent care, there was no way I could wait a few weeks for my GP to see me.  The attending physician came to greet me wearing a neck brace and I thought, "How the hell is this guy going to help me when he can't help himself?".  After telling him why I was there, he said without batting an eye or even waiting a beat to process it, as if this were something he saw every day, he told me I had a calcium deposit in my salivary gland and it was blocking the duct from where the saliva should flow.  If I would just go to the store and buy a box of lemon heads and suck them, the sourness would force the duct to dilate large enough for the deposit to escape and not block the salivary flow.

I asked, "You're prescribing candy?".  He said, "Yup.".  I stood, shook his hand, thanked him and told him that he was the best damn doctor I had ever met.  Within a day of following his instruction, I was fine.  I never thought about his neck brace again and this moral didn't apply.

"The Quack Frog"

One fine day a Frog ambled out of his muddy home in the marsh and perched himself on a lilly pad, announcing to all who could hear that he was a great and learned physician skilled in all drugs and able to cure any disease.  A skeptical Fox heard and asked the Frog, "How can you promise to aid anyone else in their ailments when you can't even fix your own warty, wrinkly skin or wobbly way of walking?


"Physician, Heal Thyself"

"The Raven and the Swan"

A Raven perched high in his tree, looked down admiringly on the swans swimming in the lake.  He admired greatly their beautiful white plumage which seemed to give them the air of majesty and sophistication, and decided his own black feathers could be just as strikingly white if he just cleaned them in the lake as they did.  He abandoned his home and well being and hunting ground of his lofty nest and came down to the water to wash his feathers and match the swans.  He scrubbed and scrubbed for days and weeks, never changing the dark color of his plumage, never resembling the swans and eventually starved to death by removing himself from his own habitat.


"Change of Habit, Cannot Alter Nature"

Talk to you soon.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Doe. A deer, A female deer. Aesop's Fables doodles 1-25-16

Happy Monday, Kiddoes.  Time for another coupla Aesop's Fables character sketches from your Old Unca Jeffy.

"The Peasant and the Apple Tree"

There once was a peasant with an apple tree.  The apple tree, though it bore no fruit, became a fine and happy home to a family of sparrows and also a group of grasshoppers.  The peasant feeling cheated that he gained no reward or profit from the tree and jealous of the happiness of the insects and birds, resolved to cut the tree down and rid himself of it.  The sparrows and grasshoppers not wanting to lose their home begged of the peasant to stay his ax.  They promised to sing long and sweet.  Songs to constantly lighten his labor and share the benefit of the tree's standing.  The peasant seeing nothing concrete in their silly songs swung his as once, twice and a third time to the horror of the little animals.  On his third strike to the apple tree he had reached the hollow of the tree and found inside a great beehive oozing with sweet honey.  The peasant tasted the honey, saw that it was good and promptly repaired the tree and forever pledged to care for it and protect it from harm.


"Self Interest Alone Moves Some Men"

"The One-Eyed Doe"

A doe with only one eye, used her wits to find a way to graze safely and keep alert to predators.  She found a meadow which opened up on a cliff that faced the sea, so she could position herself with her good eye siding to the open meadow to watch for danger, leaving her blind eye to the cliff from which she assumed would be safe.  One day while happily grazing on sweet grass and alfalfa, a small group of fisherman were returning to their harbor from the sea and saw the vulnerable venison on the hoof and one took great care and aim and threw a spear and caught her mortally in the side.  On the does dying thoughts were,"WTF?


"Trouble Comes from the Direction We Least Expect It."

That's it for today, Kids.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

You're Never Too Old - Aesop's Fables 1-21-16

Today's sketches were again of Aesop Fables and these mark the 49th and 50th studies I've done on this topic.  Whether this turns into something more concrete or not, I've surely enjoyed doing them, studying them and sharing them with you all.

Both fables are human stories again, something I had thought was a rarity with Aesop, but now it seems not.  The antagonists in both stories are older people as well, showing you're never too old to learn or appreciate a lesson that life hands you.

"The Old Man and Death"

An old woodsman who had been after his trade for what seemed to him an eternity, was walking back home from the forest with his haul of wood over his shoulder when he decided enough was enough.  He looked to the skies in exasperation and called for the sweet release of death.  "Oh please, Death.  Come end this misery for me.".  Suddenly the figure of Death appeared ready to accommodate the Old Man's wishes.  The Old Man saw the finality of what he had asked, and nervously smiled and lied to him, "I was just stopping here to rest and lay my burden down, and now I need help in lifting it back on my shoulders so I may carry on.  This was the reason for my call.


"We Often Would Be Sorry if Our Wishes Were Granted"
"Careful What You Wish For, You Might Just Get It."

Now from the distaff side.

"The Old Woman and the Wine Jar"

One day an Old Woman was walking down a path, when she came upon a wine jar laying in the road.  Hoping that it would be full, she quickly gabbed it up and brought the mouth to her face to examine.  There was sadly no wine, but the sweet aroma, the intoxicating perfume of the wine was still there and filled her nostrils, her memories and her heart with much happiness.


"The Memory of a Good Deed Lives"
"What Memories Cling 'round the Instruments of Our Pleasure."

Aesop was an old softie.  Just like me.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Aesop's Fables 1-20-16 - Misers and Weather Fronts

Still a little frustrated with my scanner distorting colors, but then again, this is a sketch blog, not a tech blog.  I made myself a little happier by switching pens from Micron to Graphic and coloring in ink rather than pencil.  Pencil colors seems far too subdued in my past attempts.

NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, THOUGH!  On with today's installment of MORE Aesop's Fables character doodles.

I've been reading up more on the Aesop and whether he was an actual person or not and what kind of person he was if he was.  Also how scholars have deduced that a certain number of the stories credited to him actually pre-date the old boy by a few hundred years and a few more still that date from 1,000 years or so after he tripped off this mortal coil.  In trifling with that concept, I decided to not draw all of the human character in Greek or Roman togas, and at least in the first below even draw them in late 2nd millennium attire, just to give me some variety.

Enough yammering for today...Hyar tis!

"The Miser"

One day a rich old miser took all of his assets, liquidated them and poured them all into a single treasure, a huge gold nugget.  A large STONE of gold rather.  He took to the woods and beside an old brick wall, he dug a hole and buried his wealth for safe keeping.  Every day he would ride out into the woods and dig the gold stone up and admire it's beauty and more so his wealth for having owned such a thing.  A worker in the village noticed the Miser's regularity that he would ride off into the woods and decided to investigate.  He followed the Miser and saw him dig the gold up, sit and admire it, then bury it again and ride back to town.  The worker then simply dug it back up for himself and rode off to enjoy his new found wealth.  The next day when the Miser came to visit his treasure, he found nothing but an empty hole in it's place and began to moan and wail his unhappiness to the heavens.  A neighbor came by and asking what was wrong and them learning of the Miser's sad tale of woe said, "Why don't you just go get an ordinary rock and place it inn the hole and come admire that day by day?  It will serve you as well as the gold ever did, you didn't make the slightest use of it's value.


"The True Value of Money is Not in It's Possession, But in It's Use"

And my second doodle study today is another fable with a human in it, but this time with personified forces of nature as well.

"The North Wind and the Sun"

One day the North Wind and the Sun were arguing over which was the most powerful.  They decided that it would be the one to first strip a passerby of his clothes.  Soon a man came wandering along and the North Wind huffed and puffed and blew a gale at the man, but the colder and more fierce the wind, the more the man would clutch his clothes and wrap them around himself.  Then the Sun began to shine down on the man.  Stronger and hotter came the radiation from Old Sol that the man layer by layer removed his clothes to stay cool and was soon walking along comfortably in his nudity, proving that...


"Persuasion is Better Than Force."

Good stuff Aesop, whether you wrote them or not.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Aesop Fables "M" 1-19-16 - Pride and Gluttony are Frowned Upon!

More Aesop's Fables doodles.  I wonder if other cartoonists doodle on topic every day?  Oh well,  I'm not other cartoonists I suppose.

A couple of goodie's today, I think.  Enjoy.

"Mercury and the Woodsmen"

One day a woodsman while felling trees near a riverbank, with a wayward swing lost his trusty ax into the river.  Crouching on the bank and pondering what fate would befall a woodsman without an ax, he was surprised by the god Mercury who asked the woodsman what troubled him.  The woodsman no sooner told of his predicament than Mercury dived beneath the water and re-emerged with an ax forged of gold.  "Is this your lost tool?", asked Mercury.  Wondering at the beauty and value of so great an ax, but being as honest as they come, the woodsman's reply was. "No.".  Mercury again dove under the water and re-emerged with an ax forged of solid silver.  "Is this your trusty ax?" he asked.  "No.  Would that it be, but it is not." answered the woodsman, and Mercury dove into the river's depths once again.  When he arose from the water with the woodsman's own common wood and iron ax, the woodsman bounded with glee and thankfulness at it's return.  "Oh thank you, Great Mercury!  I am forever in your debt for returning my ax to me that I so foolishly lost!" cried the man.  Mercury was so struck by the man's honesty that he dove back down a 4th time and returned with the gold and silver axes and gave them to the woodsman as a reward.

The woodsman returned to his village and showed with great pride his new found wealth of axes made of such valuable metals and told his story to everyone he met.  I greedy and envious woodsman overheard this and decided to recreate this scenario for himself.  Taking his own ax and going down to the riverbank, he threw it in purposefully and then commenced to moan and cry to the god Mercury.  Mercury appeared soon and asked of the woodsman's plight, to which the man explained how he had lost his ax and would now not be able to make a living.  Mercury dove under the swift waters and came back up with an ax made of solid gold as he'd done before.  The greedy woodsman cried, "That's it!  That's it!  That, Great Mercury, is my ax true and sure!!".  Mercury, disgusted by the man's dishonesty stole back the golden ax and plunged it into the river and for good measure refused to recover the man's actual ax, costing him his way of living.


"Honesty is the Best Policy"

and another'n...

"The Mischievous Dog"

A young and mischievous dog, perhaps a bit too aggressive and playful for his own good, used to run up to people and bite them from behind for no other reason than his own sick pleasure of being able to do so.  Hi owner, embarrassed and exasperated at the way his dog was treating his friends, neighbors and strangers alike, placed a bell around the dogs neck that would ring loudly and warn anyone of his rearward approach.  The dog, proud of the shiny medal around his neck, pranced around town showing off his pride to anyone who would see.  When he finally approached an old hound who was acknowledged by all the dogs of the village as wise beyond his years. The Wise Old Hound saw the bell and said, "Why do you make such a spectacle of yourself?  That clanging thing that your master harnessed you with is NOT an award of merit for being a grand dog.  It's rather a mark of disgrace.  Public notice to all that hear, that a poorly behaved and fairly worthless dog is approaching.".


"Notoriety is Often Mistaken for Fame"

That one's for all the Kardasians out there.  And all the Donald Trumps.

Aesop wrote this one 2,600 years before you were born so you wouldn't miss it.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Aesop's Fables: The Bald Guy Series from "L" to "M" - 1-14-15

Here we go again with more Lion exploits from our friend Aesop.  Transforming to the "M" here as both stories have a baldness gag in them.  Almost seems too telling and maybe Aesop himself was bald?  Here's a pic of an Hellenistic statues claiming to be of hissownself.

Doesn't appear to be.  'Course that could be a wig...or he could have bribed the sculptor to chisel him a handsome coif.  Neither here nor there though.  These are a coupla good uns.

"The Lost Wig"

A Lion who had lost his mighty mane found his vanity required he wear a wig to hide his bald pate.  One day while strolling by the riverside, he came to meet with one of the Tiger Sisters.  Just as he pulled together all of his charm to greet her with, a gust of wind came along and blew his toupee off and down the street.  Miss Tiger of course began to laugh at the misfortune of the bald Lion, but his quick mind and sense of humor overcame and he saved his own face by saying, "How could I expect another man's hair to stay put on my head when I couldn't even talk my own hair into sticking around.".


"Wit always has an answer ready"

Our "M" story today is a rare tale of humans handling the chores of being foolish for themselves rather than implicating animals.  This one's about a middle-aged man who had the hubris to court 2 women.  Very different women mind you, as he say to beauty and benefit of both.  He courted one woman younger than him and another who was much older then he.  The Younger woman was embarrassed though to be dating an older man, would pluck a grey hair or two from his head.  The older woman was likewise embarrassed to be seen with a man so much younger than she, so each time she was with him she would pluck a black hair or two from hes head.  Eventually the man was plucked bald, and neither woman found him attractive and dropped him like a hot potato.  From 2 woman companions to 0 in nothing flat.


"Those who seek to please everyone, please nobody."

Ricky Nelson said that, too.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

1-13-15 Aesop's Fables MORE "L"! Heavens to Murgatroyd this guy talked about LIONS a lot!

Just as I'm certain there'll be slim pickin's when I go hunting for Aesop works that begin with "Q" or "Z", there seems to be a plethora of those in the "L" column so why the heck not explore more of them.

You know, Aesop used animals in his stories for 2 reasons I believe.  On one hand, it saved him from setting up characters and back stories and the whys of the way characters act.  Every animal has a distinct personae in our way of seeing them and so their personality and motivations are set from the get go.  Mice are small and meek.  Kid's (young goats) are naive and unthinking.   Sheep are gullible and believing of any lie they are told (you know, like Republican voters).  Dogs are loyal and true.  Foxes are sly and sneaky and have to use brains over brawn because of their relatively small size.  

And lions...?  Lions are prideful and boastful, fearsome with their great manes and mighty roars but - and that's a big but there - fallible and cocksure and egotistical i the way they expect all other creatures to respect them as king of the forest/jungle.  In reality (and folks of Aesop's day were much closer to the wild world of nature and would know this better than the average first world person of today would) they're scavengers as much as hunters.  It's the cheetah and the panther that chase down able bodied prey, they lions find the weakest zebra or antelope in the heard and bring them down.  More importantly, the Lion that we think of characteristically is the male.  Majestic, head of the pride, regal with his mane and mighty roar as I said before...but it's actually the female that is the real force.  She takes care of the young and does about 95% of the hunting.  The male sleeps from 18-20 hours a day and after a big meal, 24 hours is not an uncommon nap.  See?  They're just like peoples.

So there are LOT's of Lion Fables.  Prideful and shiftless at times.

The second reason is the same as why classic animated cartoons were usually animals.  Humans find it harder to face the fact that people could be as vain and envious as Daffy Duck or as gluttonous and slovenly as Sylvester if they're represented as people, but recognize all of their foibles and weaknesses if there is the distance of the character on display is a lowly animal.

Enough of my thesis though, this is a gol dern SKETCH blog, not a yammering one.

"The Lion, the Fox and the Beasts"

One day the Lion "King of the Beasts" took ill and lay in his cave suffering.  He put forth word to the other aimals that they should come to his bedside and hear his last words and his last will and testament.  Soon a Goat came and went inside the hear the King's dying words.  Later still a Sheep came to hear and went inside and later still came a Calf to hear the kings final words.  Before long the Lion was feeling much more healthy and felt that he wouldn't die after all and stepped from his cave out into the sunshine of the day.  When he did he saw that there was a Fox sitting outside just watching the entrance of the cave but not entering.  King Lion admonished him and scolded, "Why have you not come to pay your last respects to me?".  The Fox answered, "I beg Your Majesty's pardon.  But I noticed the tracks of all of the animals going into your den, but failed to count and tracks of those coming back out.  Until I see the Goat and Sheep and Calf return from your cave, I prefer to stay in the open air."


"It is easier to get into the enemies toils than out again."

Here's one where the Lion is not the jerk of the story, but the other character is the rare human. Who unsurprisingly is the chuckle head in question.

"The Lion and the Statue"

A Man and a Lion are in a debate, more a heated argument, over who is greater, stronger, more formidable.  When there argument reached an impasse, the Man led the Lion to where there was a statue of Hercules wrestling with, defeating and slaying a lion.  "See?", said the Man.  "This proves that Man can best Lion in any conflict.".  "That's pretty good," replied the Lion, "but proves not a thing.  After all, it was a Man that sculpted that statue"


"We can easily represent things as we wish them to be."

See?  Just like Republican.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Aesop's Fables "L"! 1-12-16

Giddyap, Jeff!!  The new year's a-waiting on you!  It's already the 12th!

OK.  OK.  Here you go.  A couple more Aesop's Fables doodles, this time from the "L" column.  Lotsa lions here, it turns out.

S'OK.  Lions are fun to draw.

Playing with settings on my scanner.  The colors don't come out just right, but then again, colored pencils aren't really the best for reproduction.  I'll probably digitally color if the goes further.  

And why shouldn't it?

"The Lion and the Mouse"

An old standby to be sure that I'm certain we've all heard before, but such a worthwhile moral.

A Lion was lying in the forest asleep when he was annoyingly awakened by a small mouse running back and forth over his face, down his back and through his mane.  He awoke ferociously and caught the mouse and just before he killed it, the mouse begged him not to.  The Mouse said, "Forgive me this time and I shall never forget it.  You never know when I just may be able to return the favor."

The Lion thought that was pretty damn funny.  How could this little bugger ever help him?  He was so tickled by the notion that he let the Mouse go free.

Some time later the Lion was caught in a trap and the hunters who had laid the trap tied him to a tree so that they could carry him alive to the King and went to find a wagon.  While they were gone, the Mouse heard the Lion's cries and came to his aid and gnawed and chewed apart the ropes that bound the Lion and set him free.


"No act of kindness, however small, is EVER wasted"
"Little friends may prove GREAT friends"

True dat.  Now here's one that was less familiar to me, that I really dug when I read it.

"The Lion, the Ass and the Fox"

A Lion, an Ass and a Fox one day decided to combine their efforts and help each other in pursuit of a booty of treasure.  After succeeding in their task and with their prize before them, the Lion asked the Ass to divide the profits up fairly.  The Ass took great pains and great time to evenly divide what they had equally as possible and presented the 3 stacks to the others, then kindly deferred to the Lion to choose which he wanted, to show all fairness.

The Lion went into a rage and roared and gnashed his teeth and then killed and devoured the Ass.  He then turned to the Fox and said, "There are only 2 of us now.  Why don't you divide our treasure up in fair and equal parts and we shall take what's ours.

The Fox took great time and care to divide their gains into two stacks.  One stack held the smallest possible bit, the tiniest morsel, one part of one part and the other pile held all the rest.  99.9999% of all they had worked for, which he then presented to the Lion.

"The Lion grinned and complimented the Fox.  "Very good, my friend!  Whoever taught you the power of division has done a wonderful job.  You are perfect to a fraction!".  The Fox answered, "I learned it from the Ass by watching his fate."


"Happy is the man who learns from the misfortunes of others."

Coupla good 'uns there.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, New Day, New Hope, New Perspective

Happiest of New Year's to you all!

I am ready and willing to take on 2016 with all the hopes and dreams of a 6 year old boy dreaming of Christmas.

Seriously, no lip service here.

This doodle was done a couple days ago, and it shows some optimism, though guarded.  I feel less guarded about it today.

What a difference a night downtown with a gal you're sweet on can make.

Again, this was done with my tongue nowhere near my cheek.  I am very optimistic and can only hope you are too.

Be happy, everybody.

Talk to you soon.