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Sally Forth Camping Trip: Force Bond Edition

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 8, 2019


Sally Forth Camping Trip: Week One

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 6, 2019

Ted Forth’s Guide to Independence Day Class-C Explosives

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 4, 2019

Ted Forth Sparklers 2SPARKLER: Much like candy cigarettes were once an adorable towhead’s first awkward steps toward an adult lung biopsy, the equally harmless sparkler once started a child on the path that could eventually lead to firecrackers. Then M-80s. Then having to count to ten by using the same hand twice. That said, as fireworks, sparklers were only amusing if you had ever wondered what a corn dog would be like if it were made of magnesium. Limited in firepower, lacking in risk and wanting in unbridled machismo, the sparkler lent itself to only three forms of entertainment:

1. Pretending the sparkler was a light saber as you engaged in epic duels while imitating Darth Vader’s voice in a prepubescent voice so ludicrously high it made Mickey Mouse sound like Barry White.
2. Using the sparkler to quickly scrawl some incandescent doggerel in the air, such as “This sparkler sucks.”
3. Making believe the sparkler was Tinkerbell burning up upon reentry.

Forth Firecracker 2FIRECRACKER: While the sparkler was a sign from above of what the world would be like if moms had final say and safety scissors were considered “shivs,” firecrackers were like manna from heaven. After all, when you’re a child nothing but nothing spells “fun” like “detonation.” Throw in the added bonus of “deafening noise” and a firecracker seemed like Christmas and Armageddon rolled up into one. Granted, at times the appeal of the firecracker could seem limited at best. It didn’t scream across the sky. It wouldn’t burst into a shower of brilliant hues. It couldn’t be timed to blast perfectly to any thing other than that “The 1812 Overture.” But while the firecracker may have lacked the sheer artistry of professional firework displays or even roman candles, if placed carefully and in sufficient quantities, it could instantly revert your Tonka truck back into its elemental properties. The same went for your G.I. Joe doll, Lego sets, Aurora racetrack and Big Wheel. The downside of such merriment, alas, was that the firecracker could also rob you of all your earthly possessions faster than a crystal meth addiction.

Forth Bottle RocketsBOTTLE ROCKET: Back in the 60’s and 70’s, children oft dreamt of hurtling into space–usually within the safe confines of a capsule or some sort of ship. But while the very idea of commercial space travel seemed like something that would only come to fruition in the distant future–say 1992 or so–bottle rockets provided the perfect simulation for anyone who had already used all their Estes “D” rocket engines to send their Micronaut to another zip code. Of course, bottle rockets also had the rather nasty habit of arcing into a neighbor’s roof, setting fire to nearby brush or skidding down the street toward a wholly unsuspecting Big Wheel driver. But these were minor quibbles and acts of inadvertent arson compared to the pure elation of watching your rocket climb higher and higher into the stratosphere, slicing the air with its high-pitched whistle, only to abruptly and inexplicably turn and hurtle straight down into an idling car with a gas leak.

Forth Roman CandlesROMAN CANDLE: Despite the presence of the word “roman” in its name, these beloved fireball launchers were initially conceived as the ultimate weapon of mass destruction by a long-forgotten civilization so woefully inept at everything (including arming itself) that it died off due to accidental strangulation moments before it was conquered by some wayward sheep. The fact that such occurred in the mid-1930’s only makes their sad tale all the more pathetic. However, their horrifying yet admittedly humorous demise became every child’s gain. For what small tyke did not gaze wide-eyed in wonder at those airborne spheres of varicolored light–especially if they were headed right for their face thanks to some son-of-a-bitch second cousin. Your best chance to emulate a professional fireworks display without a permit or sponsor, the roman candle also brought a touch of class to a night that might have otherwise consisted solely of immovable “tank” firecrackers, aeronautically-deficient “whirlybirds” and firework “fountain” displays that showered only disappointment upon all–along with some sort of corrosive acid.

Forth ExplosionM-80: Providing a level of firepower not usually bequeathed to an eight-year-old outside of military service or backwoods militia, the M-80 was many a child’s proof that there is indeed a God. And that He is cool. And that He, too, understood that to create one must often destroy or at least dismantle well beyond easy repair. Whereas the bottle rocket was elegant—and the roman candle resplendent—the M-80 possessed its own simple yet foreboding beauty, not unlike a sunflower wielding a Beretta. It also gave a small child an enormous bargaining tool outside of the Fourth of July celebration…say, such as during discussions of a “new” bedtime with one’s parents or a talk about whether or not you would get to drive the car to Grandma’s house, literally through the woods. In short, to hold an M-80 was to have infinite possibility within your very grasp. It was, in essence, a chance to be God. Until you detonated it. Then all you were was covered in plaster and the dust of whatever else once lined your bedroom.

Celebrate the Fourth at the New British Burger Chain “The Bloody L”

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on July 4, 2019

Introducing “The Bloody L Burger”— a London-originated fast food chain created specifically to do an end-run around a mild word we can’t say in comics. Naturally, it wasn’t one of the “big bad words” because otherwise I would have made this a chicken restaurant called CLUCKWAD’S. (“Cluckers” sounds too cutesy and is probably a real place, “Cluck U” is a real chain, “MotherCluckers” is way too homey, and “Cluck This Ship” recalls “Chicken of the Sea” and an all-tuna sandwich business just seems doomed for failure.) Anyway, “Bloody L” is now the official in-universe fast food chain of “Sally Forth,” so get ready to hear a lot of fry orders that include the word “Plantagenet.”

The Sally Forth Camping Trip Begins!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on June 30, 2019

Happy Summer from “Sally Forth”!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on June 23, 2019

The Werewolf Statues (Summer 2018)

Happy Summer from “Judge Parker”!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on June 23, 2019

There’s a scene in Golden Girls that goes…
Blanche: What are you reading, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Apartment 3G.
Blanche: Oh, I haven’t read that strip in like 25 years.
Dorothy: Then let me catch you up. It’s later that same day…

Truth is, it’s hard to tell how much time is passing in a soap opera strip. This is known as “The Empire Strikes Back Temporal Conundrum” (well, it’s known as that now), in which Han and Leia’s story seems to occur at most over an exciting afternoon and evening while Luke’s supposedly concurrent (and equal time-length) Yoda-training arc has to at least run over several days unless he really is that much of a quitter.

So Mike and I always make sure to show that seasons do occur in Judge Parker, often starting a storyline every three months by focusing on blooming (or wilting) flowers. I also show Randy’s child Charlotte getting older so you get the sense that time is indeed a linear narrative and not simply spinning around a drain. And sometimes we just have a character say the equivalent of “As you know, Abbey, it is summer.” All so the comic doesn’t appear to take place entirely within three days in May until suddenly it’s Christmas and snowing.

The flip side, of course, is that ALL the characters in the strip must be aging, so that at one point Sophie will be the only high school student getting letters from AARP.

A Happy Father’s Day Story

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on June 16, 2019

I recently came across this photo of my Dad, which I’m going to assume was his headshot for a Martin Scorsese student film titled “Paisans.”

My dad passed away almost three years ago. But, of course, we still celebrate “Father’s Day.” And while when speaking of a loved one lost it’s customary to focus on memories (and there are more than plenty here: I’d like to focus on today’s celebration instead. And like any family gathering, it went 16 ways at once.

When my mom and I went to visit my dad at the cemetery we had flowers in a vase with stones inside for ballast. But with the high winds it was obvious that the stones wouldn’t be enough to keep the flowers upright. (Yes, there are conical holders to address such, but we didn’t have one.)
The initial reaction was to find more rocks to put in the vase. And so we started wandering around looking for more stones while also looking like we had either suddenly forgotten where my dad was buried or thought, “Wait, shouldn’t we be looking for the buried gold, too?” I had just bent down to pick up a few rocks when I heard my mom say, “I found a bunch over here!” only to turn around and see Mom about to take several stones off the top of a nearby headstone.

“Mom! Don’t! People left them there!”
“Oh. I didn’t know that was a thing.”
“So you thought they just landed there nice and straight?”

Alas, we did not find enough rocks. And it was at that point three things immediately came to mind: 1) I’m going to have to dig a hole in my father’s grave to secure the vase. 2) I have no idea what a Catholic cemetery considers “desecration of a grave site” because I’m so lapsed that when I hear the word “Bishop” I think Lance Henriksen in “Aliens.” And 3) I have nothing to dig with.

And so after standing there just long enough to allow for some heavenly force to drop a spade or maybe “dirt epoxy,” I got on my knees and starting digging with both hands as all the while an older woman and her daughter standing a few feet away stared at me as if I were the most utterly brazen and unbelievably incompetent grave robber ever. And that’s when I considered yelling while manically digging, “GIVE ME BACK MY WATCH!” because I thought my dad would have found that funny.

The flowers are now secure. So are the flags I dug holes for using my apartment keys that may no longer work. I love you, Dad. And a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads.

Happy Father’s Day from “Flash Forth”!

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on June 16, 2019

When Godzilla and King Ghidorah Fought in “Sally Forth”

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on May 31, 2019

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