Wednesday, October 29, 2008

See you all there!!!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mail came and a group of us were tasked to produce some original cartoons for the upcoming magazine with a theme revolving around food. On doing my research, to prop the "mad sk33lz," I came upon these. Hope ya like 'em:

Chicken Soup

Moments before a famous Shakespearean actor was to perform Hamlet to a packed house in New York, he dropped dead. The house manager solemnly went onstage and announced, "We are sorry to bring you this news, but our performance tonight has been canceled due to the untimely demise of our featured performer."

From the back of the theater a voice cried out, "Give him some chicken soup!"

Startled, the stage manager cleared his throat and replied, "I apologize if in my grief I have not made my solemn message clear. The man is deceased."

Once again, but more emphatically the voice rang out, "Give him some chicken soup!"

Having had about enough, the manager bellowed back, "Sir, the man is dead. Giving him chicken soup couldn't possibly help."

To which the voice replied, "It couldn't hurt!"

* * *


Driver: "Hi, is your name Jello?"
Hitchhiker: "Uh... no..."
Driver: "Too bad... 'cause there's always room for Jello!"

* * *


I've got a crocodile named Ginger."
"Does Ginger bite?"
"No, but ginger snaps"

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One last strip to go. I really hate this. The part where we say goodbye.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

You are cordially invited to "TSUBIBO"
Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan's 17th annual exhibition

Opening night:

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct 28, 2008

WHERE: 4th Level, Shangri-la mall, Mandaluyong

TIME: 7pm

Ang I.N.K.’s "Tsubibo” opens at Shangri-la Mall

Children's illustrators group Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang-InK) opens their 17th annual exhibition titled "Tsubibo" on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the 4th level Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.

“Tsubibo,” explores one of the most popular attractions for children and children at heart: the carnival, in a showcase of over 30 works from Ang I.N.K. members using digital art, paper sculpture, drawing, painting and mixed media.

Ang I.N.K. treats its audience to the sights and sounds of the carnival as “Tsubibo” presents the carnival’s wild and wacky cast of characters, and delves into the thrills and chills of rides, arcade games, and other sideshow attractions.

Founded in 1991, Ang I.N.K.’s roster includes full-time freelance illustrators, graphic designers, painters, writer-illustrators , visual arts teachers and students, and artists working in publishing companies, design-related firms and advertising agencies. Apart from children's books, Ang I.N.K. members or "INKies" continue to produce workbooks, textbooks, murals, animated features, product designs and merchandising, both individually and as a group. Several INKies are recipients of local and international awards and continue to make names for themselves both here and abroad.

Presented by Adarna House, OMF Literature, Summit Media, and Oishi, "Tsubibo" runs until Nov. 14 at the Shangri-la Plaza Mall, followed by a 1-day exhibition at the UP College of Fine Arts Art Bazaar on November 15. For inquiries, e-mail blooey@gmail. com.

Hope to see you there!!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

My favorite FOXNews commentator, Bill O'Reilly, appears on The View to promote his new book, "Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity." Even if you disagree with him you'll find this interview with the gals real entertaining as he turned on his charm easily turning the tables on those liberals (watch how Joy Behar reacts throughout this interview). He was, as one comment on YouTube went, "obnoxiously good-natured." Bill rawks!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two new locally produced animated movies are coming soon on the silver screen. The first is Dayo ("Wanderer"), one of eight official entries in this year's Metro Manila Filmfest:

Jessie Lasaten, multi-awarded music composer and arranger for Filipino films "Anak," "Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa," among others, heads Cutting Edge as its Chief Executive Officer, and Executive Producer of "Dayo." Through the production of "Dayo," he challenges his pool of creative minds, and animators to compete on a regional scale by way of content creation.

Its narrative centers around an 11-year old kid named Bubuy (voiced by Nash Aguas) who is out save his beloved grandparents abducted into Elementalia -- a fantasy land abounding with strange flora and fauna, and a host of popular creatures from Philippine lower mythology.

Bubuy meets Anna manananggirl (voiced by Katrina Legaspi), a hyperactive teener with a special affection for all things human -- but not of a tummy-filling kind. Both Bubuy and Anna take on a wild, will-testing, and wonderfully funny adventure all over Elementalia -- from a massive falls teeming with gravity-defying merfolk; to an awe-inspiring crystal cave that houses a swarm of colorful alitubi; to a grand old tree that's home to a motherly female kapre; and finally to a majestic mountain guarded by a big pack of hungry aswangs.
Sounds interesting. Another animation working on the same premise as "Dayo" is from Creative Media and Film Society of the Philippines (CreaM) set to be shown maybe early next year:
From Bessie Badilla del Castillo, Imee Marcos, Mina Caliguia and a number of very talented Filipino artists from Art Farm Asia, check out this first all-Filipino-talent anime of one of the Philippines' famous folklore "aswang". It is making quite some noise in the international anime scene from Hong Kong to Cannes, France.

Fly Aswang - Filipino animation series based on Philippine Mythology. Against their mother Bessie's wishes, her three Filipina-American daughters travel to Manila for a cousin's wedding. Instead they are trapped in a vampire or aswang ritual and their family's history of supernatural power until Bessie come to save them.
Originally conceptualized for a 13 episode TV series. But because of it's story and the quality of work done by the artists and members of Creative Media Philippines (CreaM), the group is now challenged to make Fly Aswang into a full-length-featured anime with a 90 minute running time. It will still be in Tagalog and Tag-Lish and will be subtitled when it is submitted for international competition.

The original will be in Tagalog except for the three girls, Isabel, Blanca and Ines who will be speaking Tag-Lish. The Hong Kong version (for HK anime/film fest April 2008) will be in English as requested by HK film makers. French version will be in the original format with French subtitles which will premier in Cannes in July 2008. ~ From arkitekfhc's "Fly Aswang" Trailer - An Original Filipino Anime post
Both movies look promising judging from the trailer both animation studios are obviously seeking to break out from the old tradition of full length locally animated movies released before like Adarna: The Mythical Bird (1997) and Urduja (2007), both official MMFF entries. I do hope this jumpstarts the trend for local animation studios to churn more quality indie film features worthy of international standards.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Another update leading to the demise of one of my favorite characters.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

After all, a blog with posts about abandoned pups can't be all that bad.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've been affected so much by the news of Ratchet, the recently controversial Baghdad pup, I copied the entire text of the online petition if only to highlight the seriousness, and utter ludicrousness of the rules imposed by U.S. Army officials on their soliders (sign the petition while you're at it):

Clemency for Ratchet
Target:U.S. Army
Sponsored by: M.A.R.S. Safe Haven

Soldier who saved puppy from life of hardship in Iraq could see her dog
face certain death.

URGENT! PLEASE DONATE to Operation Baghdad Pups:
www.baghdadpups.com and

They simply can not do this without our financial support as well! The more we help, the more animals can be brought home! Thanks.

Operation Baghdad Pups Dedication video:

Source: Eddie Wrenn/World News Online

Young Ratchet could face the death-penalty by U.S. Army officials

A soldier who saved the life of a young puppy in Iraq and expected to bring him back home with her could see her dog face certain death in Iraq.

Sgt. Gwen Beberg, a decorated soldier, has been held by the military more than 15 months past her original commitment due to the stop-loss policy. Sgt. Beberg befriended puppy Ratchet while serving in Iraq, and sent regular dispatches to her home in Minneapolis charting the dog's process, with 100s of fans tuning in on Facebook to follow the pup's life.

But the U.S. military takes a strict line with soldiers befriending animals, and confiscated Ratchet as Sgt. Beberg prepared to fly home from Baghdad Airport. Bringing wartime pets back home has always been a haphazard affair. It's also against U.S. military rules. In Iraq, adopting a stray is technically a violation of General Order 1B.

Operation Baghdad Pups, a program run by SPCA International, which has the motto 'No buddy gets left behind', is pleading with the U.S. Army to allow Ratchet to fly out of the country - amid fears the dog will die if left behind.

Sgt. Beberg's mother Patricia said: 'This year has been extremely difficult on my daughter and her family. It has been a year of disappointments, loneliness, and fear because of all the sacrifices the army has required of Gwen.

Ratchet was the savior of her sanity. Now they have cruelly ripped Ratchet away from her and sentenced him to death. I don't know how my daughter will cope. Ratchet has been her lifeline."

Sgt. Beberg is also under military investigation for befriending the dog that saved her life.

A close friend of Sgt Beberg said: 'It hasn't been easy for her - and the puppy she saved has been one of the few things that has kept her going. She's shared pictures of him as he grew from a frightened ball of fur to an adorable young dog.

Gwen with 'lifeline' Ratchet in Iraq

She's kept us up-to-date on his travel schedule, and badgered us into contributing money to bring him home.

Soldiers can face immediate court-marshal for befriending animals and some even see their animals brutally murdered by a direct gunshot to the head from commanding officers who will not bend the rules.

It was so close... Ratchet was on his way to the airport. And now he might not have a chance to be with Gwen and her family, and she might be punished herself because she dared to care about him.

One soldier wrote to Baghdad Pups: "I have sacrificed a lot to serve my country. All that I ask in return is to be allowed to bring home the incredible dog that wandered into my life here in Iraq and prevented me from becoming terribly callous towards life."

The SPCA International has asked the U.S. Army to show clemency to Ratchet, and allow the dog to return to Gwen's parents in Minnesota and friends of Gwen have launched a campaign to get American senators to intervene.

Ratchet as a puppy

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE for Gwen and other soldiers, donate to Baghdad Pups. It can cost over $4000 to bring back a dog or cat to the US, and Baghdad Pups receives 3-4 new requests from soldiers every week. Please help them to continue their mission.

We can make a difference. It's called the "Court of Public Opinion" and they will listen... Spread the word!

Katie has let us know that Ratchet has until early next week to be officially released in order to make the Operation Baghdad flight out of Iraq.


Ratchet is not allowed to leave. Since officers are refusing to let Ratchet go, he needs a military order to officially release him to leave Iraq.

Baghdad Pups needs donations to sponsor their upcoming trip to Iraq. Ratchet was scheduled to leave on their October 6th flight. Their next flight is early next week, and Ratchet must be on it. Gwen will be shipping out later this month and Ratchet will have to be abandoned if he doesn't leave before her.


First, contact Minnesota senators and representatives (even if you're not from here).
Here are some details:

Ratchet is at Camp Striker in Iraq / 15 other dogs were allowed to leave with Baghdad Pups on the flight Ratchet was supposed to be on. / The base's commanding officers seized Ratchet on his way to the airport. /
Ratchet has had his necessary vaccinations and is HEALTHY. / Ratchet needs a military release because the military is refusing to let him leave Iraq.

Calling is best because Senators and Representatives get thousands of emails. However,
click here for a sample email if you prefer that.

ere is the Contact information for the MN Senators and Gwen's Representative:

Senator Amy Klobuchar:
(888) 224-9043 -or- (612) 727-5220

Senator Norm Coleman:
(800) 642-6041 -or- (651) 645-0323

Representative Keith Ellison,
(West Twin Cities, Minneapolis)
(202) 225-4755

Second, donate to Baghdad Pups! When Ratchet is released, Baghdad Pups needs to be able to pick him up from Iraq. Since Sgt Beberg will be transferred at the end of the month, Ratchet must be on Baghdad Pups next trip. Donate: Help Ratchet get another plane ticket.

By donating to them, you will not only help Ratchet get home, but you will also help other soldiers save their dogs and cats. As Gwen told Katie, "The [Baghdad Pups] program manager has made it pretty clear in her emails to those with animals that if some immediate funding doesn't roll in, they may not be able to rescue all 70 some animals on the schedule for this fall. That would be terribly sad."

Third, pass this story along. Tell your friends and let them know how they can help. The more people working to help Ratchet, the better for all the soldiers and the animals they have grown to love.

Sign the petition to demand release of Ratchet. Let's surpass our goal!

Thank you to everyone for their support and help getting attention for Ratchet. Let's keep this amazing story going. If you want to get in contact with SPCA International and Operation's Baghdad Pups on Ratchet's behalf, they have set-up a special email address for him.

Send your emails to

~ Thanks from Terrie & Rachel Scott of M.A.R.S. Safe Haven ~
A division of M.A.R.S. Productions/proud mom, dog owner & Army Veteran

Thank you to EVERYONE that has spent so much time posting, emailing, calling, blogging and signing petitions in a combined effort to bring Ratchet safely home with Gwen. Thanks to Katie & Stephanie for the updates!

MESSAGE FROM: 10:40 pm PDT, Oct 8, Gwen Beberg, Minnesota

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE SUPPORTING MY DOG!! I can't get this done without the hundreds of people supporting me, nay, THOUSANDS! I am moved to tears. Thank you, over an over, for taking our story to heart and contributing to Ratchet's wagging tail being the first thing to greet me when I go home!"

We found this on the Department of Defense website and wanted to share it with you. Remarks to the Daughters of the American Revolution (Washington, D.C.) As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Washington, D.C., Friday, July 11, 2008

"...And, of course, then there are the stories of citizens like you citizens whose support plays a pivotal, if rarely discussed, role in this narrative. Hundreds of grassroots organizations are supporting our troops providing homes or plane tickets or supplies for Iraqi school children. One group leads an international effort to bring back to the United States dogs that have been adopted in theater ... and that units are loath to leave behind. It may seem a small thing, but in the midst of war, cats and dogs become part of the unit. As one soldier said, Even the gnarliest dudes turn to putty around...our dogs."

Please read this update posted to the SPCA's site today 10/08/08:

At least 5 other soldiers are facing situations similar to Sgt. Beberg as the military cracks down on animal friendships the y consider to be harmful. SPCA International strongly disagrees, citing medical studies and military insiders who testify to the mental health benefits animals bring to their soldier companions in times of depression and crisis. "

There comes a point when Americans must ask, whose side is the military on? The way the military is blatantly disregarding free therapy for our mentally wounded soldiers begs that question today," states Terri Crisp, Operation Baghdad Pups Program Manager.

Hundreds of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East befriend animals in the war zone to help themselves cope with the hardship and terror they face every day. These dogs and cats become their lifeline - saving them from deep depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The military refuses to help or formally recognize the lifeline these animals give to our mentally wounded. Veterans returned from Iraq are committing suicide at twice the rate of average Americans. It is time that Americans ask the Veterans Administration and the military to embrace all measures to ensure the mental health of every one of our soldiers returning from war. Operation Baghdad Pups dogs and cats can help fight this silent killer.

From the StarTribune - Minneapolis, Minnesota Oct 12 2008

"There are commanding officers there who are animal lovers and recognize that these animals make a difference," Crisp said. "We've had high-ranking officials bring out animals themselves." Ratchet, she said, has been the only animal confiscated once the evacuation process had begun, but at least 36 other animals that soldiers were trying to get out of Iraq have been destroyed. "To me, it's totally senseless, because they took away something that could help soldiers, and this just causes more trauma for them," Crisp said.

From TwinCities.com Minnesota Oct 12 2008

On Friday, Beberg wrote that she was transferred to a staging area in preparation for her trip out of Iraq in November. Just before she was transferred Friday, she went to check on Ratchet.

"I found no leash, no dog, no trace," she wrote. "The incoming unit replacing mine has said they do not want the dog. I'm almost crying too hard to type."

**Update: Amid reports that Ratchet was missing, Stephanie has let us know that Ratchet has been found by a fellow soldier. Although Ratchet's exact location is unclear, Sgt. Beberg was told the dog is safe, for now. 10/13/08 5:09pm est

Terri Crisp, Operation Baghdad Pups Program Manager, and Patricia Beberg, mother of U.S. Sgt. Gwen Beberg, are available for interviews.


FYI: Is signing a petition effective? Yes! In general, the more a target organization is impacted by public opinion, the more effective are the petitions. ThePetitionSite enhances the credibility of online petitions by centralizing signature collection, structuring/regulating signature data collection and output, facilitating communication of petitions via fax, email, etc. Remember the effect of a petition usually goes far beyond the actual list of signatures. Journalists write stories about the petitions, signers get inspired to take additional actions, and other "potential targets" conform their behavior to avoid being a target. The more signatures the greater the impact!

M.A.R.S. Safe Haven Mission Statement:

To raise public awareness as to the plight many soldiers and their beloved companions face. To respectfully request policy changes that will reflect a more humane approach to securing the bonds between our service men and woman and the animals they come to love and care for under the most difficult of circumstances.

Most reading this petition were not even aware that these problems existed. Educating the public and sharing this with family and friends will go a long way in helping these soldiers and their animals. It encourages people to get involved and donate. Hopefully, one day no soldier will go through this again. History itself has shown us that public opinion can move mountains.

Here are some pictures of other puppies free from the war - thanks to Operation Baghdad Pups. These animals can make all the difference in a soldier's life.

Beatrice/Baghdad Pups
Abibi/Baghdad Pups

Chewey/Operation Baghdad Pups

More photos can be found at Operation Baghdad Pups website.

Operation Baghdad Pups also has a WISH LIST of items they regularly need when bringing dogs and cats home from Iraq and Afghanistan to the United States. These items help reduce the overall cost per animal and allow Operation Baghdad Pups to help more animals.

If you can donate items, please email answers@spcaquestions.com

Things like red or blue adjustable collars and leashes, house training pads to line transport crates, approved airline crates, etc. Please visit their site for a complete list of items they need. Thank you...

Want to see how much animals mean to our troops? WATCH

Operation Baghdad Pup dedication video:

Here's a video of another soldier's struggle to get their dog out of Iraq:

Soldier's homecoming with his dogs


Washington, DC October 13, 2008 SPCA International will send Terri Crisp, Operation Baghdad Pups program manager, back into the Iraq war zone for an emergency rescue attempt this week.

SPCA International is taking this drastic step with the hope that congressional appeals and extensive public outrage around the confiscation of Sgt. Gwen Beberg's dog, Ratchet, will move the military to release Ratchet into SPCA International custody on Wednesday, October 15. SPCA International refuses to take no for an answer in the fight to save Ratchet. Sgt. Beberg deserves to save the dog that saved her life. More than 11,000 signatures have been collected in support of Ratchet and Sgt. Beberg.

Operation Baghdad Pups is a SPCA International (www.spca.com/) program created to provide medical care, clearance and transport for the animals U.S. soldiers have come to love during deployment in the Middle East.

Terri Crisp, Operation Baghdad Pups program manager and Patricia Beberg, mother of U.S. Sgt. Gwen Beberg, are available for interviews. Larry Garrison, President of SilverCreek Entertainment, is handling all public relations for SPCA International.

M.A.R.S. Safe Haven is a division of M.A.R.S. Productions/Mason, Ohio
Contact: tms@marsproductions.net

This petition was created on Tue, October 7, 2008 11:46 pm

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Here's an update leading to the demise of one of my favorite characters. Ugh. I hate this.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008


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Thursday, October 09, 2008

This confirms it.
'Opus' creator to retire from drawing comic strips
The Associated Press
Oct. 8, 2008, 3:25 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is retiring, leaving a hole in the Sunday funnies and the hearts of "Opus" fans.

The last strip featuring the beloved, large-beaked penguin will run in about 200 newspapers nationwide Nov. 2. Breathed announced Monday he's calling it quits after a comics career that has spanned nearly 30 years.

Amy Lago, comics editor of The Washington Post Writers Group, said Breathed will pursue other interests, such as writing books and screenplays.

Starting and stopping popular strips is old hat for Breathed, who lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., and has a children's book, "Pete & Pickles," due out next week.

The writers group unveiled his "Bloom County" strip in 1980; he went on to win the Pulitzer for editorial cartooning in 1987. He ended that strip in 1989 and the same year began the Sunday-only strip "Outland," which he quit in 1995. In 2003, he launched "Opus."

Breathed began his career as a college student with a strip in the University of Texas newspaper.

News of his retirement won't be too shocking for true fans — recent strips have alluded to "Opus" ending. Even so, Lago said, fans are disappointed.

This Sunday's strip will include a contest in which Breathed asks readers to guess the penguin's fate. Details on how to participate are not being released ahead of time. The answer will appear online after the last "Opus" runs next month, Lago said.
So it ends again and this time it looks as if it's really for good. He already said his goodbyes the first time in 1989 (with the premise that Donald Trump bought Bloom County forcing other characters to seek work in other strips), continued on with "Outland" until 1995 when he ended it without much funfare (Opus went to Antarctica to reunite with his long lost mother), and finally this.

Out of all the comic strips, Berke Breathed's "Bloom County" was the first, and obviously, still has the biggest influence in doing my comic strips. And I mostly agree with most, if not all, his political opinions too. I also read in another blog that, "You just can't get this kind of stuff today - too un-politically correct. Besides it's too smart to be wasted on today's youth." And I agree. Too much political correctness drove out most of the humor from entertainment leaving us with mostly bland, colorless sludge that passes itself off as comedy. Which leads us to Mr. Breathed's reasons for finally putting the penguin out to pasture:
“30 years of cartooning to end. I’m destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans.”

“With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I’m suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America’s kids. I call on John McCain to join me.” ~ Berkeley Breathed says goodbye to Opus: 'I'm destroying the village to save it', LA Times, 02:04 PM PT, Oct 6 2008
We'll never see another comic strip with the same caliber as Bloom County did in the 80s (or the recent "Opus") as these two hilarious samples show:

Click each image to expand.

Of course there are exceptions here and there but I would boldly say there will never be another cartoonist as far reaching in his influence as Mr. Breathed did for his generation, which I was lucky enough to be included. If you like what you've read then you can browse through other samples here, here, and here. I took the liberty of copying and posting below are the strips leading to the end (I hope Washington Post doesn't mind... click to expand in a new window) :

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This is the first of a series of full page comics expanding on the ideas that previously came out in strip format. Six years ago this week the title made its debut in the pages of Philippine News (Oct. 9-15, 2002 issue) making it the first comic strip, I think, in the history of the paper. You can click the next individual images to read them in another window:

* These pages originally came out in the second issue of Topak Magazine published by PSICom Publishing. Minor editing was done to improve some perceived flaws by the creator.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"You know you grew up in the 80s when..." You can't wait to grab Arnold Arre's new Graphic Novel and start reminiscing!

The book's retail price is Php 500 but interested readers can avail of the special pre-order offer --

Receive a signed copy of the book at P50-off and have it delivered straight to your address a week before its official release!

For the how-tos, you may visit the website: http://www.martiallawbabies.com
or send an email to preorders@martiallawbabies.com

Az got the "Ninoy" teaser, I got the "New Wave" version! Woohooooo! Go New Wave! Yeah!

Babaw ko.

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I got this earlier from a Plurk post by my friend, Andre. I wish I didn't open it and read this heartwrenching article but he's right and we do have to confront this kind of unreasonably cruel conditions imposed on the American soldiers fighting in Iraq. What's wrong with having a pet in battle anyway?
US Military rips away pet of deployed US Soldier shortly before Baghdad Pups can send puppy to safety in Minnesota

(This isn't my normal fare here, but I had to write about this because it is so tragic. Please read.)

One of my good college friends is in Iraq right now. A couple months ago, she told me about Baghdad Pups, a really amazing organization that provides medical care, clearance and transport for the animals U.S. soldiers have come to love during deployment in the Middle East.

There are some initiatives that everyone - regardless of their political views - can agree are fabulous. This is one of those.
Baghdad Pups gives our soldiers hope by helping them send their pets home to safety. It's such a unique and touching idea. I couldn't wait to write about it.

Except today, I wish I could be writing about anything else. Because something so awful has happened that I'm writing this through tears.
My friend has been held in Iraq by the stop-loss policy for over 15 months longer than her original commitment to the military. It hasn't been easy for her--and the puppy she saved has been one of the few things that has kept her going.
We've been hearing about her puppy, Ratchet, on Facebook for months. She's shared pictures of him as he grew from a frightened ball of fur to an adorable young dog. We learned when he was accepted into Baghdad Pups, and how her parents were going to take care of him until she returned home. She's kept us up-to-date on his travel schedule, and badgered us into contributing money to bring him home.

He was supposed to be on his way to Minnesota right now. Except he's not.
Last Wednesday, my friend's commanding officers seized Ratchet as he was on the way to the Baghdad airport en route to his new home with her parents.

Why? Because:
"It is against military regulations for active duty troops to befriend animals"
It gets worse. According to the Baghdad Pups press release on my friend's behalf:
"Soldiers can face immediate court-marshal [for befriending animals] and some even see their animals brutally murdered by a direct gunshot to the head from commanding officers who will not bend the rules."
It was so close.... Ratchet was on his way to the airport. And now he might be killed, just because some power-hungry officers decided to flex their muscles and punish an innocent animal because Gwen dared to care about him.
And to make it even worse, she is under military investigation for caring about a helpless puppy--something hundreds of other soldiers do in Iraq.

She is absolutely devastated. I'm devastated for her. I cried for days last fall after the cat I rescued died of old age. I can't imagine how horrid it would be to save and love a pet, to be full of hope that he will be a part of your life after you finally come home - and to have that cruelly snatched away.

I don't know why this has happened to her. She has been through so much already. It's just awful.
Please help me get attention for her. She hasn't asked, but I'm hoping that we can help her.

This horrible situation is happening to Gwen, but it affects all our soldiers overseas. They're in a terrifying situation every day, and it's not unreasonable to let them have the simple joy of having an animal that loves them. Is it?

As a soldier wrote to Baghdad Pups:
“I have sacrificed a lot to serve my country. All that I ask in return is to be allowed to bring home the incredible dog that wandered into my life here in Iraq and prevented me from becoming terribly callous towards life.”
Could you take a minute to help spread the word about what is happening to my friend? We want to get news out there about her case before the military decides to "eliminate the problem" by killing her dog.

Could you please Digg or Stumbleupon this post or send it to a friend. Or, if you're in MN, could you call one of our senators?

All we want to do is help Gwen send home the puppy that has made her sacrifices bearable... who was already on his way to Minnesota before the military decided to punish her by seizing him.

Thank you so much for your help!

If you want to know how to help Ratchet, click here to go to my follow-up post giving an update about his situation.

HOW YOU CAN HELP (Added by request)

If you are in Minnesota, call one of our Senators. She's a MN native and Ratchet was going to come here.
Senator Amy Klobuchar:
(888) 224-9043 -or- (612) 727-5220

Senator Norm Coleman:
(800) 642-6041 -or- (651) 645-0323

(or, if you prefer) Candidate Al Franken:
(888) 908-2008 -or- (612) 344-2008
If you're not in MN, call your senators and representatives as well. Also, pass this along to news outlets.

DonatenowdogAND! IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE for my friend and other soldiers, donate to Baghdad Pups. It can cost over $4000 to bring back a dog or cat to the US, and Baghdad Pups receives 3-4 new requests from soldiers every week. Please help them to continue their mission.

Thank you!

*** NOTE, I can't release information such as her unit and the names of her commanding officers because I don't have it. I've been trying to get more information since yesterday because I know that it is important. Please be patient.. I'm doing my best.


Share her story by copy/pasting this story onto your blog and in your emails. Thanks!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This just in: Tim Burton's next movie is a live action mixed with CG for Disney Pitcures, Alice In Wonderland (2010). Starring the adorable, 18 year old Australian actress, Mia Wasikowska in the title role. Other actors included in the movie are: Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), and Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen).

Unfortunately, from what I read as this early in the stage, it seems he's mixing the two stories, "Alice In Wonderland" and "Alice Through the Looking Glass," together as the initial plot we're getting for the film thus goes:
Hathaway is playing the White Queen, a benevolent monarch who is deposed and banished by her sister, the Red Queen (Carter), who has an affinity for crying out, "Off with their heads!" The White Queen needs Alice to slay a creature known as the Bandersnatch. ~ Anne Hathaway books "Alice in Wonderland," Yahoo! Movies
The mixture of the two results in some rather confusing details especially as major characters go. As far as I know and remember, the Red Queen from the second book is not the same as the Queen of Hearts and she doesn't command her lackeys to off her subjects' heads (the White and Red Queens from the second story are from a huge chessboard) to the detriment of some fans who're asking "Why not opt for two films instead of mixing them both?" As for the role going to a rather older actress playing the title role, this is what I got from a fan's post:
Tim Burton said he wanted an older actress who carry the weight of the film better than a 7-year old could, but he also wanted someone who still had an innocence about her. So my guess is the non-book material added for the movie may give Alice more emotional range than most young actresses can handle, but at the same time Mia won't act like a mature, cynical 18 year old. Think Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz for a good example of what I think Burton is aiming for.
This is all interesting to say the least, let's see how this all goes.

* Related posts: AIW Movie IMDB Page; Movie fan blog; TimBurtonbr/Alice Photobucket album; AIW Movie Flicker Album

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Joint ad for the comic book compilations of fellow cartoonists, Stanley Chi (Chopsticks) and Julius Villanueva (Life In Progress), both works can be read in the comic pages of the Manila Bulletin:

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

An interesting article caught my eye at the bottom of the Microsoft Network page, "When selling a haunted house, is the owner required to warn you?" and in it I came across a pair of words I've never heard of my entire life: "Coffin Corner." Intrigued, I followed the link and read the "Wiki" definition of it:
Coffin corner (architectural myths)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Coffin corner (architecture))

A coffin corner is asserted by some people to be the explanation for a 3' × 3' × 3' niche found in the corner of the landings of stairwells in a Victorian house.

Prior to the widespread availability of hospitals and nursing homes, most people died in their own homes, in their own beds. Victorian houses were typically multistory dwellings that had the bedrooms upstairs accessible by stairs. This created a challenge of getting a coffin down the stairs and around the landings in the horizontal position to the downstairs rooms where the wake would be held. This problem was resolved with the development of the coffin corner. Now the pallbearers could make the turn in the landings by inserting one end of the casket into the coffin corner. When the niche was not used for its intended purpose it typically held a decorative statue.

The above is actually a very popular architectural myth that grows with every historic house tour. The reason for the indentations on the staircases is purely architecturaly decorative. Evidence does not exist which shows that people could not merely move the body downstairs where the coffin was being kept for showing.
I had a hard time imagining what that looked like (my aunt in San Francisco is living in a Victorian house but I don't recall seeing a indentation in or around the staircase) so I "Googled" it, and, aside from it sharing the same terms in football and aviation, this is what it came up with:

Lifted from kentbrew's flickr page (the yellow label's mine).

And not...

*ubo!* *ubo!* *kurneh!* *ubo!*

Or even...

*uboo!* *uboo!*

So it's basically a shallow hole on the side of the wall that was used to make it easy for bulky things to turn a corner while being carried downstairs without scratching the walls. It's not exclusive to coffins. It could be a "sofa corner," "treasure chest corner," "dress cabinet corner," or even, "writing desk corner." It's just that compared to coffins "bulky furniture corner" doesn't sound as creepy or ominous. Nor does it get it's own entry in the "Wiki." But myth, as the "Wiki" entry suggests, or not I found it a bit odd the builder of the house pictured above put a small strategic (if not awkward) niche for "decorative purpose" beside a small staircase. I suppose the owners thought it better safe than sorry?

Interesting how you learn something new everyday.

* Here's another clear example of what a "Coffin Corner" is.

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