Little Golden Book Pet Sematary

My idea for a Pet Sematary Little Golden Book. You know, for kids!

autobiography Blog

Sophia 2012-2014

Rescued from the mean streets of Troutdale and adopted by us on December 23, 2012, Sophia’s prior life will always be a mystery. I can only assume it wasn’t an easy existence. We were grateful to have had two good years with The Soph. We gave her a place to call her own, and we were thrilled that she settled in with very little PTSD. Sophia was a walking contradiction: battle-ready and unbelievably gentle. I’m glad she was able to find some peace in her final years.
The past week was a very difficult one for all of us. I really wish this wasn’t the way the year had to end, but I’ll be forever thankful to have known this wonderful, mysterious cat.

autobiography Blog

merry christmas…

…from the Wandering Jew, Alan Rickman, and Space Cat.

josh shalek at andy wedding


autobiography Blog

hobbes 1994-2012

This is a cat. Not just any cat, mind you.  This is the cat of my teenage years. The cat that witnessed my most defining (and embarrassing) moments.

Hobbes passed away last week after fighting a long and heroic battle with Mr. Death himself. That’s right; I truly believed that, if any cat could achieve immortality, it would be Hobbes.
My bond with Hobbes was built during  our earliest days together, when we would play together until she fell asleep on my chest. Sometimes I tried mimicking her meow; she always looked at me with a very confused expression. Human/cat relations have always been tenuous at best, but I think we made some real breakthroughs there.
Sadly, we never spent as much time together after I left for college. Like all true friends, however, we always picked up right where we left off when I returned during breaks.
Hobbes relocated to New Mexico to live with my brother and sister-in-law for most of the Aughts. They gave her a warm, loving home for her Golden Years. My last visit with Hobbes came when I visited New Mexico. I helped brush out the burrs in her fur. In spite of the intervening years, she recognized me. It nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Hobbes was variously described as “jealous,” “spiteful,” “mean,” and “cantankerous.” Like professional basketball players and hip hop artists, she never let the haters get her down. She’d just hiss and go back to lapping up water from the bathtub floor.

Thanks to cutting-edge cell phone video technology, I saw Hobbes one last time on my birthday, a few days before she died. She was an old lady able to hold her own in a house full of younger, more sprightly animals.

Here’s to you, Hobbes. You were one of my best friends.

autobiography Blog comic

sambora visits The Family Monster

Sambora influenced my work in many ways.  In October 2004 she made a brief but memorable visit to The Family Monster.

Blog fiction

sambora: the future

In the last few months, Sambora confided in me her final wishes.  Over the course of many private conversations, Sambora indicated that she wanted to be placed in stasis until such a time when a cure for old age can be found.  I readily agreed to her plan.

Sambora’s head was surgically removed from her body and packed in dry ice.  A drone whisked her from Portland to a cryogenic facility in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She was scientifically placed in a head-sized jar and cooled to -196°C.  There she will wait in suspended animation.

The future will bring many good things, including cures for every conceivable ailment.  100-500 years from now, Sambora’s head will be removed from its jar, placed on a robot body and brought back to life.  Sambora will pick up right where she left off, meowing and sitting and walking and licking.  Isis and I will be right there with her, our heads mounted on robot bodies of our own.  In the future, almost everything will have a robot body.

autobiography Blog

sambora, 1999-2012

Sambora died last Friday.  She was with Isis thirteen years (a lucky number for a black cat); I had the great fortune to know her for nearly a decade.  She will go down in history as one of the Great Cats.  A game-changer.
Sambora was the model for Carver’s face.  She also helped me draw Falling Rock, rubbing her face on my pens as she sat on my lap.  Sometimes she’d make a suggestion, tell me to tweak a punchline or alter an awkwardly-worded phrase.  She was always right.  Other times she’d merely sit on the armrest of my chair, gazing out the window at the birds she’d undoubtedly love to destroy.

Isis and I will miss our dear friend.


the cat internet challenge

Isis and I invented an internet game.  She hypothesized that you could find a picture of a cat on the internet by searching any word in the English language.  It was a fascinating theory, and one that has held up so far.

Here are a few of our finds:



Bob Dylan


(this one is a bit iffy since it’s not a photo but a drawing)

My name!
(I have met this cat.)

Go ahead and try it!  Go to a search engine, type in a word and do Image Search.  It might take a few pages, but you will most likely find a picture of a cat among the results.  We like Flickr but Google works just as well.


who’s got four paws and hates ronald reagan?

This cat:sambora-cat-reagan

Sambora, the cat I live with, agrees with the late President Ronald Reagan not one bit.  Seriously: foreign policy, the national debt, military spending.  Sambora is Reagan’s political opposite.

On this hundredth anniversary of the old coot’s birth, Sambora and I both mourn the fact that neither of us were able to vote against him.

We take consolation that we’ll be able to vote for at least two Obamas.

Blog history

LS Fred Wunpound

fred-wunpound_01I found this article in the August 2007 issue of Navy News while looking for something else. (I can’t remember what – it doesn’t even matter.) The point is, LS (Leading Seacat) Fred Wunpound traveled the world for almost a full decade aboard the ship HMS Hecate. According to the article, he died in his sleep in 1976, but not before receiving two good conduct badges and one disgraceful conduct badge. Just look at him. He’s a sailor through and through.

If I find any more information on Mr. Wunpound you can rest assured I will pass it along.

This post is dedicated to all the cats who have sailed the open seas, be they aboard Viking ships, Spanish galleons, Chinese junks, or Royal Caribbean cruise liners.