A June Potpourri

Happy LGBT Pride Month

As my contribution to this year’s celebration, I’ve posted online a June 1984 installment of my Wendel comic strip that portrays the thoughts of Wendel, Ollie, and other at that year’s edition of the same annual event.

The strip was actually a repeating panoramic loop (as I’ve emphasized by rearranging the panels end-to-end for this online display) with but one mildly prescient exception to the repetition.

Tenants Needed — Again!

Well, when Eddie and I finally rented the second of our two apartments last December, it looked like we had our Cliff Street tenancy issues resolved for at least the length of a lease. But alas, fate has intervened to make it impossible for the folks who’ve been renting the upstairs space since then to remain in place beyond mid-July.

So once again we’re putting out the word to our friends and neighbors in North County: if you know someone who needs living space right away in North Adams, please tell them to take a look at the description below. We’ll place a newspaper ad if we have to, but sometimes word-of-mouth has been an equally effective resource.

Prospective tenants can email me to get the apartment’s address and our phone number.

Third Time’s the Charm
(which doesn’t mean the previous two issues were chopped liver)

The third issue of Robert Kirby‘s anthology comic Three has finally surfaced after much anticipation by fans of this series.

This time there are two featured cartoonists (Ed Luce and Carrie McNinch), with the traditional third slot being occupied not by a single artist but by a whole gaggle of us (I say "us" because I’m one of the seven nutso gagglers involved) who were corralled last year into collaborating in a manic comics jam spearheaded by jam-maven Jennifer Camper of Juicy Mother and Subgurlz fame. Besides Jennifer, Robert, and myself, the participating jammers are Ivan Velez Jr., Diane DiMassa, Ellen Forney, and Joan Hilty. Matt (Runx Tales) Runkle and Mari Naomi add memorable contributions to the mix.

Driveways, Attics, Yards and Machines

As soon as Eddie and I moved into our otherwise wonderful new home in Williamstown last November, it quickly became clear that something was going to have to be done with the driveway, which was largely composed of dirt that turned into a mushy, rutted expanse of mud whenever the weather turned wet. (The dramatic re-enactment below will give you an idea of what we were dealing with.)

It was impractical to try to accomplish anything during the winter months. But with the arrival of warm spring weather, we knew it was time to take matters in hand.

Hence the introduction into of lives for several days this month of formidable trucks and machines that made us feel butch by association overnight.

Above: Eddie consults with the Clarksburg Construction Company crew that’s preparing to make quick work of our rutty old surface.

Above: The excavation commences.
Above: And the new driveway materializes: flatter, firmer, and able to accommodate more than two cars comfortably.

Above: All of this unfolds under Lulu’s watchful eye.

Helping Save the Planet One Drafty Attic At a Time

Berkshire Gas, the company that provides heat for our new home, is one of the energy outfits that co-sponsor a Massachusetts program called Mass Save. The gist of its mission is (1) to provide a free "home energy assessment" to ascertain whether your house is burdened with energy-wasting utilities and/or insulation gaps that are forcing you to overspend to heat the joint and otherwise meet your energy-consumption needs; and (2) arrange with local contractors to remedy any deficiencies at a cost made practical by a substantial rebate while, y’know, reducing your family’s "carbon footprint."

Eddie and I requested the assessment, which was impressively thorough. The upshot was that our most pressing problem was inadequate insulation in our attic.

Thus did it come to pass that, a few weeks later, an amiable team of experts from Beyond Green Construction arrived to repair and replace any wayward vents and spew fluffy insulation foam into our attic via a formidably lengthy hose that could have almost been mistaken for the gigantic, man-eating anaconda serpent from the horror movie of that name.

Above: See the insulation hose snaking its way through our hallways and passages and being guided upwards into the nether-regions of our attic.

Above: See the power with which the throbbing hose propels its foamy matter into the darkness within.

Above: My poorly composed photo in which the very interesting device described below is totally hidden behind the guys who are about to make use of it.


Before they began work and then before leaving the workmen utilized a clever house-wide vacuuming device that was temporarily installed in our front doorway. This created a measurable wind-stream they could use to ascertain that the air throughout our home was now better contained and controlled.

Not only did this super-vacuum send every hidden dust-bunny in the house scurrying into view, but it blew out the pilot flame in our basement water-heater.

Yard Machinery Report

The Good News when Eddie and I moved into our new home in Williamstown last November was that it came with a really expansive back yard for Lulu to play in.

With the arrival of warm spring weather, the Less Good News has been that really expansive yards can take a really big toll on the backs of increasingly elderly gentlemen foolish enough to think they’ll be able to mow such really expansive yards by shoving around conventional lawn mowers.

Fortunately, the day was saved by a neighbor who was willing to sell us a used riding mower cheap.

Personally, I’m a little scared of the machine, having been traumatized as a kid in Alabama by tales of farm boys my age who were killed while at the wheels of tractors that abruptly tipped over. But Eddie is made of sterner stuff and can drive that beast like a demon.

You should see those chipmunks scatter when Mr. Sedarbaum rumbles over the horizon!

Question: What Does a Theatre Group Do
When It Loses Its Theatre?*
*as recounted in this blog entry from a year ago

Answer: It concocts a family-friendly commedia dell’arte show that can be mounted at various outdoor locations in local neighborhoods.

If you’re intrigued by the snapshots you see here, you can find times and places for upcoming presentations of this piece at the Main Street Stage web site. Admission for all the performances is free, too!

The Day Eddie’s Folks Marched
In Their First Gay Pride Parade

It was 1985 in New York. Hesh and Evelyn arrived at the Gay Pride Parade on Fifth Avenue intending to be mere inconspicuous onlookers. But then the PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) contingent came along and Eddie’s folks couldn’t resist stepping out onto 5th Avenue and becoming part of the march.

Evelyn quickly got into the spirit and was soon waving at the adoring crowds as if born to royalty.

Hey, here’s stuff of mine that you can buy!
Click a cover below to learn about my two self-published books.
…and click here to visit my
Cruse Goodies merchandise shop
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About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
This entry was posted in A Tip o' the Hat, Artifacts, Books in my Bookcase, Family & Friends, Home Life, Life & Art, Me, Me, Me!, Yesterday & Today. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A June Potpourri

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    I envy you all the workmen you’ve had underfoot. They look exceptionally useful. Perhaps this will inspire me, so thanks!