Thursday, July 31, 2008

Comic-Con Sketches: Part 1

Yesterday, I wanted to post images from my sketchbook, but I couldn't scan the images because the metal rings on the sketchbook prevented me from scanning the pages correctly. Since I didn't want to rip the pages out of my sketchbook just to scan them, I did the next best thing: took photos of them with my handy dandy digital camera.

Since I have over 30 images to post, I'm gonna split this into two parts to make things easier. Here we go:


The airport terminal is one of those perfect places to draw people. I spent about 3-5 minutes sketching until they announced to board the airplane. Interrupted again...

On the plane, I waited until we taxied out to the runway. Minutes passed, & we didn't move an inch. I finally took out my sketchpad when they announced that it would be another hour 'til we even left the terminal. I drew this out of frustration, much to the amusement of the passengers next to me.

We finally took off an hour later. When I didn't feel like watching George Carlin specials on my iPod or eating Terra Blues & ginger ale, I drew. The big-nosed caveman was actually a character I came up with a few weeks ago, the design based off my old man. I think I'll call him 'Chim'.

Ever listen to music on headphones, & the music starts to go a little silent, so you turn the volume up a little bit higher, then when you least suspect it the music suddenly goes 'BOOM' & you nearly go into cardiac arrest?... Well, that happened to me halfway through my flight. I bet my neighbor thought I was goin' into cardiac arrest too.

I was listening to Rolling Stones on my iPod, so I was inspired to draw Steve-O as Keith Richards (but not as fugly). I threw in some 70's looking backup players for kicks & giggles.

I finally got to San Diego. Sunny, dry & beautiful! I skipped preview night to settle down & grab a bite to eat at a local diner.

I've noticed that I've been drawing Randy a lot more lately, definitely for the better. He's starting to sneak into the spotlight a bit more each day. The 'bust' of him on the top left is probably my most perfect drawing of him ever, perfect proportions! The tough boxing pelican is a character who'll be appearing in my next comic story, which I'm currently writing& will hopefully get to once I finish the soup story. One of my favorite doodles on the trip was the 30's toon Randy. The 3 fingered gloves cinch it.

After lunner (lunch/dinner), I went back to my hotel room & sketched the rest of the evening. I love to draw Steve-O with the disgruntled unibrow look. 85% of my drawings have at least one of them on each page. I like to make each one a bit different though, so I don't get into too much of a rut (which explains the rabid one on the lower left). You'll also notice a bootleg Pink Panther & the half-done Inspector I gave up on.

I also tried to draw my manly mug, looking in the mirror above the hotel room desk. After doing the top three sketches, I just went crazy, drawing myself in all kinds of styles: pointy-chined (like I usually do), like a duck, a happy face, Butch Hartman-esque, like an AIM smiley, like Popeye, like Peanuts, like a 30's cartoon & like a UPA character.

I continued a bit on the top, drawin' me like a puppet & a chibi anime character, then took a rest from it. The rest is just random crap that flew into my head while I was drawin' them.

God, I love pages like this one...Near the end of my trip, I was running out of room in my sketchbook, so I went back & drew over pages I thought were lacking or just scrap. This page is just a jumble of random doodles, which definitely catches one's eyes when they flip through the book. I probably filled up this page in about 15 minutes.

My first day at the Con, I met up with some friends & acquaintances at the Newgrounds/Behemoth booth. This page is just filled with drawings & signatures by people I met/knew there, including Chris Zito on the top left, Chris "Kirbopher" Niosi at middle left, Kira (Rina-Chan) at middle right, EgoRaptor (creator of the Metal Gear Awesome series) in the middle & Andrew Dickman bottom right. Sadly, I wish I got the other guys names written down next to their drawings, since I can't quite read their handwriting. Maybe somebody out there'll help me out.

Later that day, I took a breather from the Con & sat upstairs to rest my legs. A perfect opportunity to sketch! Earlier that day, I had my first visit over to Chris Sanders' booth & picked up a copy of his Kiskaloo book, along with a bunch of other stuff. I got my friend Chris Zito into Kiskaloo & we were both trying to draw Ogo as best as we could. The thing about Chris Sanders' style is that it's very difficult to replicate, especially when your a novice like me. The simple yet difficult design of the characters & the quality of the line work is what really throws me off. Still, I try.

You may also notice Steve-O pretending to be the "West Guy" from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack at the top right. "Weeeeeeesssssssssssssssttt!"

While resting, I also drew fanboys, nerds & tired ol' me. I threw out my shoulder from carrying 50+ pounds of swag (left) & I was spending money like an oil tycoon (right). The drawing at the bottom was not drawn by me, it was drawn by an acquaintance (I can't recall his name) at the Newgrounds booth later on.

Later that night, I went to the Newgrounds/Behemoth party with the majority of my friends & fellow Newgrounders. Throughout the night, when I wasn't playing Xbox, Mario Kart or eating tacos, I scribbled in my sketchbook to pass the time. The next page ain't really that special, except for my interpretation of Chris Zito top right & Kira (Rina-Chan) bottom right. She signed her name next to it.

While chattin' & shootin' the breeze with the guys, I drew quick caricatures (or at least attempts at caricatures) of the people surrounding me. Some are a little realistic, while some are downright wacky (which I prefer to do).

The king of the party was the Castle Crashers video game, which caught plenty of eyes, ears & eager game-playing hands at the Con. At the party, the game was projected onto the wall, & controllers were passed around the party to those who wanted to play a few rounds. I drew one of the CC knights with a bazooka for fun.

The only thing I'm really "known" for in the Newgrounds community is my part in NIN10Doh!. I was surprised to find that a lot of people really enjoyed my segment, & a select few even asked me to draw a Topi or Ice Climber for them in their books. I'm not used to people asking ME to sign THEIR sketchbooks, so it was a real surreal moment for me. Those were the moments I felt really proud of my work. Sure it's a sin to feel proud of oneself, but what the hell, it felt good.

During the last few moments of my night, me & Chris Zito had a bit of a sketch-off. We ended up drawing Ogo again. God, he's hard to draw...

Well, that concludes part 1. I hope you enjoyed them!

I'll be gone for the rest of the weekend 'cause I'm goin' camping with my cousins for a few days. I'll finish posting my drawings once I get back (probably some time Monday)

MJR's Photos from Comic-Con '08!!!

I was gonna scan & post all the sketches I drew from my trip tonight, but my sketchbook doesn't fit in the $%&@! scanner! Damn metal rings.... So instead, I'm posting the photos from the trip.

Since I didn't want to spend all night posting the 150 or so images here on the blog, I made a Picassa photo album for you guys to peruse through. I even put little captions to most of 'em, adding a little insight or backstory to each image as you scroll on through!

To hide/show the captions, click on the green word bubble icon. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed the pics! Next up, the sketchbook stuff (I hope)...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guess who's back from San Diego?...

...Well, besides me, about 130,000 other attendees. I guess I'm #131,000.

I had an incredible time! Saw some really great things, met some really great people & bought a lot of really great (yet expensive) stuff. Since I possibly can't write about everything all in one post, I'm gonna spread it out over a few posts.

During the six days I was away, I filled up an entire sketchbook with all kinds of doodles & sketches! Later today or tomorrow, I'll post the best of my Comic-Con sketchbook (signatures included!). I also took about 150 pictures throughout the trip, & I'll post those too! & finally, I'll post pictures of all the cool swag, books & knick-knacks I got at the Con. Since I had so much stuff to bring home, I had it shipped home via UPS & I wont get my hands on it again 'til at least Friday. So stay tuned for my post-Comic-Con coverage!

Also, I put a few more links in my links section, so check those out too!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Off to Comic-Con!

Well, I head to San Diego in the mornin', so I'll be away from my computer 'til next Wednesday. But I'm leavin' you guys with somethin' while I'm gone:

Every day until next Wednesday the blog will automatically update a new random picture of myself (from the wacky to the downright scary) at about noon each day. Enjoy & see you next week!

California, HERE I COME!!!

A few new things...

Here's just a few little things I drew up recently:

For Toon Platoon last week, the topic was to draw a picture based on a scene from your favorite movie & if you wanted to, include your own characters. I was very happy to draw something related to my all-time favorite film, FANTASIA!

I drew out a few ideas, like Randy leading the mushrooms from the "Nutcracker Suite" sequence & Steve-O under the hippo from the "Dance of the Hours":

Then I realized that I've lately been focusing the spotlight mainly on Randy & Steve-O (especially Steve-O) & that Cannibal Chicken hasn't really been in much. I decided to give my "oldest son" the reins of this entry & had him be Chernabog from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence, with the other two birds playing sidekick this time.

**Speakin' of Fantasia... after going through my old files & drawings I found a 10-year-old sketchbook filled with concept designs I made for a Fantasia-themed something. What that something is I'll let you in on when I get back from California next week.**

This week, we just finished a "Mother Nature/Father Time" spree & here's the color version of my entry:

I based the design a bit on the late, great George Carlin & "2007" from Chris Sanders' Kiskaloo. Unintentionally, he looks a bit more like a cross between Gandhi & Willie Nelson.

Hey, does anybody remember the caricature of myself I made for Toon Platoon a few months back?

Well, I took that drawing, made a few minor changes, inked it & colored it. Take a look:

Maybe I'll make into my new-new profile image. What do you think?

With Comic-Con right around the corner, some of my friends prepared for the occasion by having a bunch of business cards made to give out at the convention. Missing the boat a bit too late, I realized I should have a little something to give out & spread the word too! Since I didn't have enough time to get business cards made, I did the next best thing: designed a small 4.5'' x 3'' flyer in Photoshop, went to Staples & got a bunch of color copies printed. After spending about an hour & a half cutting out these little buggers with a kindergarten pair of scissors, I ended up with about 50+ mini business flyers to give away!

& guess which image I used...

It's a bit bland, bare (& brown), but it'll do just fine. I even left a little space in the middle just in case somebody would like a mini personal doodle! I think of everything, don't I?

At least I'm finally prepared!!!!
Stay tuned a little later today for one last message before I fly off!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Sorry Shatner, not "Khan'.... CON!

Any who, on Wednesday I'll be headin' out to the San Diego Comic Con, so the blog won't be updated 'til I get back. I'll update the blog at least once before I go, but when I get back, you'll definitely be seeing a lot of Con drawings, Con photos & plenty of Con swag up here!

I hope to meet some great people & amazing artists/cartoonists & animators out there. As far as I know, the likes of Floyd Norman, Chris Sanders, Jeff Pidgeon, Jerry Beck as well as a gazillion other people are gonna be there & I hope to at least say a brief "y'llo", "What's new?" or even just a brief handshake. I'll vow to keep myself from gushing & doing all that "I'm your BIGGEST FAN/Will you sign my forehead?!" fanboy stuff & try to treat people how they really should be treated: like people. Still, they're AWESOME & I WANNA MEET 'EM!

If anyone out there is also goin' to the Con & wants to say "y'llo" to ol' MJR, drop me a line through the email address found on my profile & we'll try to get in touch sometime at the convention. Hope to see you (or someone.....anyone?....) there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ollie Johnston Memorial Tribute - Part #4

Well, after almost a month... here's part 4 of my tribute to Ollie Johnston.
:00 - :30 -- Mickey Mouse's Tuesday Introduction (Mickey Mouse Club 195?)
:30 - 1:50 -- Pinocchio Tells a Lie (Pinocchio 1940) (*Pinocchio Only*)
1:50 - 2:43 -- Orville Sucked into Medusa's Swampmobile (The Rescuers 1977)
2:43 - 4:50 -- Three Caballeros' Serape ride through Mexico (Three Caballeros 1944)
4:50 - 7:28 -- Smee 'cares' to sick Hook (Peter Pan 1953) (*Smee Only*)
7:28 - 8:02 -- Sir Hiss Drunk (Robin Hood 1973)
8:02 - 10:35 -- Uncle Waldo (The AristoCats 1970)

Like I said in my last Ollie post, it's getting very difficult to order these clips as I make these videos. Right now, I'm swamped with almost 10 minutes of Jungle Book footage, 2 Song of the South clips & a few random bits, which quite frankly will be a real pain in the ass to make work! If I had more clips or a better idea of what scenes he did then it would be all "hunky-dory", but it ain't.

Quite unexpectedly, these videos haven't made a single dent in the animation/blog community & I haven't gotten much from anyone, not even a single comment (well actually I got 2 on the first one, but one was from a friend & the other was from a random commenter... the other two videos went completely unnoticed). Sure, they're very nice thank-yous, but it ain't quite what I expected.

I know Hans Perk probably feels the same way I do about the reception the Sleeping Beauty drafts he posted are getting. I know that people are watching my video(s) & reading his drafts, but aren't sending feedback or comments, which I admit feels quite discouraging in the long run, especially when you put a lot of work into something.

Like I said a few posts ago, all the visitors I get to my site are only here to watch the Bambi's Mom video from various furry sites & the Goofy Holler video via Wikipedia. The latter being the one that really irks me, because all the comments I recieve are "You forgot this one..." or "They also did it here...", which I did expected to get, but are still just as annoying to read.

After I got plugged on Cartoon Brew a few months ago, I felt like I was in the spotlight for a little bit, but now I realize that my 15 minutes of fame are over & that's that. I could make another "Disney's Gettin' Lazy", but it probably won't get the response the original 3 got, just like the other 2 'holler' videos didn't get feedback like the Goofy one did. Still if I feel up to it, I'll make another one to put up for some to see. I'm probably sounding like a spoiled little 5 year old in WalMart begging his mother "I Want This!" or "Buy Me That!", but what the hell.... I had my moment in the limelight for a bit. As long as people visit my site, view it's contents & comment every once in a while, I'm satisfied.

Back to Ollie... since these videos are tough to cobble together, the next one'll probably be the last. I was gonna push for another 2-3, but I'm givin' up. I'll make the next video a bit longer than the others (10-15ish minutes) just to get it outta the way.


Once again, special thanks goes to Hans Perk, Mark Mayerson, Michael Sporn, John Canemaker, Thad K., Mike Barrier, Howard Beckerman & Emily Plassman for helping me through this (directly or indirectly).

**As it says in the video, all characters, scenes & films shown in the tribute are rightfully owned by the Walt Disney Company. No harm is intended. All rights reserved. **

Random MJR Picture: Part Deux

"Hello Wall-E"

I've been putting off posting about it for almost 2 weeks now, so it's about time I got it out of the way. Since many other people have posted their own lengthy thoughts on the film & since I don't want to gush or ramble about the film in excruciating detail myself, I'll just say what I think as briefly as possible:

Question: How much did Michael J. Ruocco enjoy Wall-E?
My answer: "enough to see it twice."
'nuff said.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My SVA Friend's Poorly-Drawn Mugs....

As I was working late into the night last night, I randomly decided to draw my buddies from SVA. I drew each drawing in about 4 minutes, colored 'em in Photoshop in about 20 & sent 'em out to my friends the next day. Also, check out my DeviantArt page, where I also posted these images.

Chris Niosi (DeviantART, Official Site, Blog)

Chris Zito (DeviantART, Website)

Mike Luckas (DeviantART, Website)

Zach Bellissimo (DeviantART, Blog)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Disney's Blood-Curdling Female Scream of Death"

Along with the Bambi's Mother episode of "Disney's Gettin' Lazy", my "Goofy Holler" compilation video is the one thing that brings the most people to my site. It was linked from the Goofy Holler wikipedia page about three months ago, & about 50% of the visits each day are from there. It's a blessing & a curse...

Although the "Wart Holler" video I posted a few months back didn't get as big a response as the Goofy one, I thought it would be nice to make another one for ol' times sake (as well as it being something to add to all the Sleeping Beauty buzz flyin' around these days) . This one I prefer to call "Disney's Blood-Curdling Female Scream of Death"!

The scream was recorded by actress Lucille La Verne, who provided the voices for both the Evil Queen & the Old Hag in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. Since then, it was reused twice more: once in the Donald Duck cartoon Trick or Treat, & was last used for another female villain's death: Maleficent's in Sleeping Beauty. Although it isn't as used as many times as the Goofy or Wart hollers were, it's still pretty interesting to know that it was used again & again as well. Enjoy!

By the way, I'm planning on creating another Disney's Gettin' Lazy video (possibly part 4 of my Ollie tribute also) sometime before my trip to the San Diego Comic Con in two weeks. I hope I have enough time & effort to do it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

"Sleeping Beauty".... 'Skumps' or Shrugs?

There's a lot of hullabaloo going on lately about the upcoming Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty this fall. There's gonna be a special screening at the Academy in Hollywood, Hans Perk has been posting the animator's drafts for the film (currently around the halfway point) & Thad K. has just posted his thoughts on the film. I just rewatched Sleeping Beauty a little over a week ago, & there's a hefty amount of praise & criticism I can give it.

Let's start off with the artwork: Eyvind Earle’s style & background is very beautiful & eye-catching & there's some really great animation throughout (especially Marc Davis' Briar Rose & Maleficent scenes, as well as Frank & Ollie's fairy animation & all the animal stuff). Sadly, I can understand why the animators had trouble working on the film, the overall style of the film is very restricting & although the animators did a superb job with what finally came out, it does have it's drawbacks. Unlike the other Disney films, the character's strict geometric designs are so overpowering that their movements are extremely limited & they cannot really exaggerate enough without going off model. The only characters that have enough freedom in that category are the three good fairies, & even their animation is incredibly underplayed. & the fact that this film was animated in Cinemascope (aka widescreen on steroids) probably didn't help them much either.

I have to admit, the pacing of the film is incredibly slow at times. While some scenes are really great, such as King Hubert & Stefan's interactions in the 'Skumps' scene, the 'Once Upon a Dream' sequence & the climax with the dragon at the end, the other 2/3 of the film feels like it's that right time in the theater to get up to use the bathroom. Most of this film feels like filler, almost like it's just there for the sake of stretching the film to it's farthest extent. As I was watching the film, I started to drift off... not sleeping, just losing interest.

The climax itself is the most exciting thing that happens in this movie, but to me it feels just a tad too short. Sure, the sequence is over 6 minutes long, but I think they could've thrown another few seconds of dragon stuff. But that's just me. The one thing I can't understand is that throughout the entire course of the film, the fairies keep saying that Maleficent's power is far greater than their own & nothing can stop her, then at the end of the film they magically enhance the prince's sword & throw it at her like she's a dartboard? Is it just me, or does that feel a bit tacked on? I think they had a lot of potential in finding different ways to finish her off. They probably settled with the final version, probably because it was a lot simpler to animate in Earle's geometric style. Oh well, it was 50 years ago, what's done is done.

While my views on this film so far seem to be completely negative, there are some good things. Like in all of the classic Disney films, all the character's voices are well done. Bill Thompson (King Hubert), Verna Felton (Flora), Barbara Luddy (Merryweather) & Eleanor Audley (Maleficent) really show their stuff in this film, especially Mary Costa & her magnificent singing. & speaking of that, the music is superbly done! The original Tchaikovsky music, as well as the rest of the film's score are so beautifully played that I'm actually considering to buy the soundtrack for this film for my iPod. Along with the artwork, the voices & music seem to be the most powerful things in this film.

But for the most part, I do agree with most of what Thad has to say:

"Most of the Disney films always have one element playing a backseat to another, but it’s in Sleeping Beauty where everything takes a backseat to design..."

& that is what really makes the film suffer.

The only thing that really angers me about this whole "Sleeping Beauty-Platinum Edition-Blu-ray" debacle is that they're re-releasing this film on DVD for the second time. Disney just came out with a 'special edition' of this film less than 5 years ago, why on Earth are they re-releasing this film again while other films like Pinocchio haven't seen the light of day in nearly 10 years?! & why Blu-ray?.... wouldn't the picture quality of the film be so digitally-enhanced & upgraded that it would lose it's magic? That you'd be constantly reminded that it is an animated film & that you would see every paint stroke, misplaced line or color mistake clear as day in high definition? Sure, it will be "restored" with bright colors & such, but didn't they just restore the film a few years ago, & their gonna do it again for high-def TV's? Is there really a point in making an animated movie high-def anyway? Phew! That's enough rants & angry questions from me for one day. Geez, I sound like the Nostalgia Critic or the Angry Video Game Nerd.

Still, if they do decide to have a screening of the film here on the East Coast, I'll try & snag myself a ticket to it. What the hell, right?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"When I See an Elephant Kill"

For last week's Toon Platoon, the topic was to design a poster for a movie that was a combination of two totally different films. Mine was what you'd get if you combined a movie about a cute little baby elephant with big ears with a movie about hardcore violence & guerrilla warfare in the jungles of Vietnam:

Check out Toon Platoon to see the original black & white draft.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nineteen ('End of Day' Update)

Looking back, I think I had a real satisfying birthday. Nice, quiet, not too much mayhem & mischief.... just the way I like it. Had some family over, ate some pizza, had some cake.... you know, traditional American birthday (sans Pin the Tail of the Donkey).

Got some real nice stuff: A couple bucks from my sister, aunt & cousin (which is goin' towards my excursion to San Diego in a few weeks), a nice new digital camera (to take some nice pictures of my excursion to San Diego in a few weeks) & even a nice little Magellan GPS gadget (not for my excursion to San Diego in a few weeks, but it'll help me when I'm drivin' around once I get back from my excursion to San Diego in a few weeks) ....Even my cats, Lucas & Cookie, got me a nice card. Sure, they only gave me an old, tattered dollar they found under the washing machine in the basement, but it's the thought that really counts. Besides, it probably was really hard for them to write out the card, tape the dollar to it & seal the envelope, what with no opposable thumbs to work with.

I briefly showed the family my puppet, & they enjoyed every minute of it. I had him lip-syncing to 'Rocket Man' by Elton John, 'Jump in the Line' by Harry Belafonte (complete with faux dreadlocks) & 'Sex & Candy' by Marcy Playground. They were either on the floor laughing or staring on with complete fixation. I should record & post a few videos of Cannibal Chicken singin' up here, shouldn't I? I'll get around to it.

The best thing that happened today was the cake! I gotta tell you what happened... you won't believe it!!!:

The family sang "Happy Birthday" (at least it wasn't at Friday's) & I was trying to think of a decent wish to make when I blew the candles out. But my ma, cousin, sisters & aunt were gabbin' like a bunch of ol' hens, so I couldn't think straight. Finally, I decided to make a bullshit wish that when I blew out the candles one would stay lit. So I blew out the candles & miraculously, ONE STAYED IT! You coulda knocked me over with a packing peanut! It was the most amazing thing that could possibly happen.

Sure, I wasted a perfectly good wish, but at least I know that my next birthday wish will come true. Besides, it gives me enough time to think of a decent wish for my 20th birthday. 364 days should be an agreeable amount of time to think of one, don'tcha think?

After all the guests went home for the night, I went upstairs & worked on a little Photoshop coloring (which I'll probably post later on tomorrow/today) & ate another slice of birthday cake. Boy, nothin' hits the spot like a slice of devil's food cake with cream cheese icing & a can of Vanilla Coke to wash it down. YUM-E-YUM!

Well, I'm off to buy cigarettes (not), have a good night, folks!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

College Soup - Part 7

Wait... what's this?.... is it the latest part of the comic story Michael hasn't updated since November of last year? (gasp)... It IS!!! Hooray!!!
For the umpteenth time, I apologize for the EXTREME lateness of this comic. Finishing this story arc been banging around in the back of my mind since I posted the last installment 7-8 months ago. Recently, I became greatly inspired by Chris Sanders' new web-comic Kiskaloo as well as all of John Sanford's Chippy & Loopus strips, all the comics on Dumm Comics (link on bottom right), E.C. Segar's Popeye & the Floyd Gottfredson Mickey Mouse strips Thad K. posted a few weeks back.

Before continuing on, I advise you go back into the archives & re-read the first 6 pages. To make it easier for you guys, here's a link to the old strips. The first part was on September 3rd 2007, so start from there & work your way up. There are a few random articles n' bits strewn inbetween, but it'll be easy to get through it all. LINK!

I did about half the comic in color, then I realized it would probably look better in good ol' black & white, so I hid the color layer & just posted it as such. It was a real pain compiling all the images together & bordering them off. After looking over my old stuff, I can see I've definitely "improved" on my "draftsmanship" (if you can call it that). I guess my first year of college really DID pay off. The lettering, bubbles & borders were done in Photoshop, but on future strips everything will be all hand done in pencil & pen.
Without further ado, here's part 7 of For the Birds: "College Soup" (aka "Soup or Sales")

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Independence Day, 2008-Style!

(click to enlarge)

Celebrate your country's birthday by lighting everything you can on fire, from barbecues, to tiki candles to fireworks.

& here's an extra special 4th of July treat.... one of the greatest (as well as one of my favorite) Tom & Jerry cartoons ever made, the Academy-Award winning Yankee Doodle Mouse (1943), courtesy of Youtube. Enjoy!