Friday, November 13, 2009

The heads-up edition


Today's Frazz isn't much of a lead-in to today's topic, but I'm going to force it anyway. It's about marathons and walking funny. And maybe about what you can see and what you can infer, or at least a chance to talk about how drawing cartoons is even more fun when you make it harder than it needs to be. Drawing Frazz trying to dig his britches out of his nethers: Funny. Drawing it convincingly from only the shoulders up, if you do it right: Funnier. What you don't see is what you get. It's like the Blair Witch Project, only with chafing.

Life has been a marathon for me for the past few years, indeed. Although, with a few exceptions, it's been a marathon of the metaphorical variety, so I don't walk funny. But like Frazz up there in today's comic, I'm guessing you don't have to see everything to get it. That old like about a duck paddling furiously below the surface while looking calm and still above the waterline isn't me. No mystery man here. Look at the smallest segment of my life and you've got the whole picture. What you won't see is me complaining. Well, not legitimately or convincingly. Most of the stress is the kind of stress I spent a lot of years wishing for. Two noteworthy examples are coming up this week:

Tuesday (Nov. 17), I'll return to the Bob and Tom Show, a syndicated morning radio show -- no, make that THE syndicated morning radio show -- famous for its boob jokes but known for its underlying intelligence, though you won't get any of them to admit it. Check local listings; the show runs 6 a.m. to 10, though guests don't typically come on until 7. I suspect they'll keep us on as long as we're interesting, which, the three previous times I've been in the studio, has been for the duration. Now, I said "we." I'll be on the show with good friend and superior cartoonist Dave Coverly, of Speed Bump fame. Dave and I both illustrated CD covers for The Show this fall. He designed their commercially available release, "Dead Air," while I did the one that goes to overseas troops via the USO, titled "Radio Waves" (apparently still not released so you can look at the cover I did for last year's "Welcome to the USA").I think this means when we stop for gas on the way down, Dave buys the coffee.

Two days later and a few hours closer to home is the book-release party for Trizophrenia! That's Thursday the 19th, at Schuler Books and Music in Lansing at 7 p.m. Come on out -- this is going to be fun. And not because of me, but because, whatever talents I may or may not have in whatever amounts, my favorite one is my ability to somehow attract the smartest, most interesting friends this side of the Round Table at the Algonquin and that side of the Ironman World Championships. One of those friends put out every bit as good an invitation as I can, plus her blog, Kick Asphalt, is well worth checking out, so here you go. In addition to all those good people and interesting books, we're looking as having some great food there as well. Watch what I eat and see if you can guess how my cholesterol-report doctor's appointment went that morning.

Speaking of that cholesterol, reader la Professora tips me off that "My father had to have annual physicals for his pilot's license. For a month before, he'd take a kelp extract to keep his cholesterol numbers down to the FAA approved levels." Hey, I'm a lapsed pilot; maybe I should try it if I bomb this blood test and can beg m way into another one. Much appreciated, La Professora.

And David asks what kind of secret diet I'm on that has me dropping 10 pounds after registering a low body-fat number at Ironman Louisville. The open secret is that I just quit eating crap. No junk food. No cheese. Easy on the dairy and meat. When you start out with bad habits, it's easy to improve, and my habits were worse than I thought. The super-secret secret is that I wouldn't be surprised if I registered a falsely low reading in Louisville anyway. They weighed you at sign-in so they'd have a baseline if you showed up in the medical tent dehydrated. They measured your body fat because, I suspect, the big sponsor who made the scales makes a model that measures body fat. And it does so buy running an electric current through you, electricity running one speed through fat and another through muscle and bone and, in the case of some of those guys, steel. It goes from foot to foot and takes, as electricity is wont to do, the shortest path, up one leg and down the other. And my legs are the leanest parts I've got. (See "long torso," in the above comic strip.) So who knows? (And, now that I review all that, who cares?) No, the big thing is, I just quit eating junk. Sure wish it had been something else sometimes ...