Tuesday, September 22, 2015


When Comet first met Ashes in Cincinnati all those years ago, he was sure he had met her before. If his tale is true, it's no wonder that she's the best singer among all The Kitties. Aren't mermaids known for their bewitching voices? Mercats may be famous for other talents, but Ashes is not divulging any information on the topic. This is why the myths have lasted so long.

Mermaid (September 22, 2015)
(Illustration Friday: September 18, 2015)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Hi everyone,

This week's Illustration Friday topic is Villain. I'm skipping it because none of The Kitties are villainous no matter how hard they try. Instead, since I couldn't finish last week's topic (Old) in time, here it is.

In 1999, my dad gave me a pair of bookmarks that came with a commemorative scroll noting the following historical information:

"The two cats commemorated here are known by a variety of names around the world.  In Pakistan and Western Asia, they are known as Rhowaul and Bagthami; in China, as Ching Mao and Dzang Mao; and in most European countries, as Mme. Chratien and Gormtharp. In America, they are well known as Mother Kitty and Gordon. 

Their exact ages are unknown but both are certainly more than 200 years old. An event in 1993 – in which Mother Kitty supposedly gave birth to Gordon – has since been discounted as a ruse, though no formal charges were filed. Various historical documents refer to similarly staged contrivances, sometimes with Gordon giving birth to Mother Kitty. It is now generally accepted that these episodes are rooted simply in boredom.

Mother Kitty is best known for her writings for the cause of the Libertarians during the French Revolution, and Gordon for his humanitarian work in India during British colonial rule. The lifespan of most cats is 14 to 17 years. There have been many attempts to explain the remarkable longevity of these two, but they are all silly. 

Mother Kitty currently resides in Northeast Ohio in the U.S., where she continues her vehement campaign against further exploitation of the common people at the hands of Siamese cats. Gordon is a pastor in the Mormon church and lives with his eight wives in Provo, Utah."

I questioned the validity of these claims at the time, but I've since discovered that they are totally true! See the photographic evidence below.

Old (September 12, 2015)

I always knew these two were bound to be legendary.


Monday, September 07, 2015

House of Earth

Hi everyone,

House of Earth is a long-lost novel written by Woody Guthrie in 1947. While preparing to celebrate for the folk singer's 100th birthday, someone found the manuscript tucked away in a box. I don't know how Johnny Depp got involved, but he's magic like that sometimes. He and his friend author/historian Douglas Brinkley edited and got the book published through Johnny's new publishing imprint, called Infinitum Nihil, under a division of HarperCollins. While I intended to only flip through the book in person at my local Barnes & Noble, I got so excited seeing Johnny's name on the cover that I ended up buying it. (I also felt obligated since the person who helped me to find the book, which should have been out on display somewhere, dug it out of storage for me.)

House of Earth tells the story of Tike and Ella May, a poor couple living in a run-down wooden shack on a farm in the Texas Panhandle. Encouraged by a government pamphlet, Tike dreams about building an adobe home, one that would protect them from the elements of the Dust Bowl region, but this goal appears endlessly out of reach. Though they love the land they live on, they do not own it, and they are hindered by their status in life, big business, and inevitable changes that are beyond their control.

Even though I bought this book when it was first published in 2013, I just got up the courage to read it now. I'd seen the Ken Burns documentary about The Dust Bowl, and I didn't want to be further depressed by that subject. I'd seen Bound for Glory, the movie about Woody Guthrie, and I couldn't get excited about him either. (Aside from his most famous songs, I don't know much about Woody Guthrie. I told my friend a few weeks ago that I know him most for being Arlo Guthrie's dad.) It wasn't until I recently finished watching the Foo Fighters' series Sonic Highways, which featured the New York music scene and included interviews with one of Woody Guthrie's daughters about his life and influence there that I decided to open the book.

House of Earth is a good, quick read. I'm not going to lie: my favorite part of this book is its introduction, not only because Johnny Depp helped to write it, but because it taught me more about the author, his life, and the context in which House of Earth was written. It also highlights and explains passages and plot points, which helped me understand the history and reasons behind them. What I like best about the novel itself is the writing. The story is a slice of life about proud people in unfortunate circumstances. The characters are fully developed and realized right down to the way they talk. House of Earth reminded me of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (see my review here) because it captures a specific pocket of time and people so accurately. At times, I could tell the book was written by a songwriter; some of the passages were poetic, set with their own rhythm. I also loved that the book included artwork by Woody Guthrie on the cover and throughout its pages, fully immersing readers into Woody Guthrie's world. While House of Earth is more of an introduction for me to Woody Guthrie's artistry, fans will welcome it as an authentic piece of his vast body of work.


Friday, September 04, 2015