Category Archives: cartoons

Sufferin Succotash

“Sufferin succotash!” – as Sylvester Cat might say.   I recently was prodded by some friends to do this online Facebook quiz , “Which Cartoon Character Are You?”  It seems I am most like Velma from “Scooby-doo, Where are you”.

Seriously?!?!?!  I always thought I was more of a Sylvester Cat.  Don’t really know why but Sylvester was always a bit of a nice guy deep down even when he was trying to lunch on Tweety-pie.


But the truth be told, cartoon characters have been influential in my life.  My first role model during my formative early teens was Linus van Pelt.  Linus introduced me to pop psychology, philosophy, and the importance of ambition while remaining humble.


The next cartoon character to impact my life was Curls, the self-styled “Master of Sarcastic Wit”.  Curls seemed to make it cool to be smart and intellectual.  Unfortunately, it also made me become more arrogant and I soon learned that sarcasm can be hurtful.  I don’t think that was Curl’s fault but my own immaturity.  I thought that sarcasm made me cool and everyone else more dumb.  I now realise that the smart ones are those who are humble enough to know they don’t know everything while the dumb ones are the ones who are confident they know it all.

curls bc

When I eventually decided to become a movie star  billionaire  Olympic champion scientist ( a world famous but humble little country scientist that is), my new cartoon inspiration were the assorted characters from the fertile mind of Gary Larson.  He helped keep me grounded in the real world instead of locking myself in an ivory tower by reminding me to laugh at myself.


However, later in my working life, I started to work in an NGO.  Although my work was still more scientific in nature, I was also required to work with government agencies and politicians.  As a result, I found myself floundering in a sea of bureaucracy and politics which I was not really used to.  During this time, a cartoon that never made any sense to me before, suddenly became crystal clear.  The wacky world of Dilbert had become my reality.  To survive in this unfamiliar territory, I took to read “Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook”.  Here is a sample of what I believe was my daily challenge at work.


What cartoon character are you?  Or which cartoon character has been a source of wisdom and inspiration for you?

(Editor’s Notes:- 1.  “Succotash” is a Native American word for broken corn kernels.  Apparently it was a common form of food during the Great Depression as it was relatively cheap. 2.  The banner on top of the post is that of “Secret Squirrel” who is clearly a role model for LGS but if I tell you more, I would have to kill you).

Samurai Cats and Ninja Turtles

I am sure that most of us grew up with fond memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons on the television.  There were, of course, the old classics which are almost everyone’s favorites like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wiley E. Coyote, Sylvester Cat and the rest of the Looney Tunes.  There was also the antics of Tom and Jerry to keep us amused.

However, when I was growing up there were more action adventure type cartoons being created.  These were cartoons like He-man, Thundercats, G.I. Joe and the Transformers.  A bit later there were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.   All of these cartoons differed from the slapstick style of the classic cartoons.  They all involved serious violence and kicking the ass of evil villains.  The only humor usually came from wise-cracking heroes and the way they talk.  The Turtles, for example, channeled the surfer culture with phrases like “bummer,” “dude,” “bogus,” “radical,” “far-out,” “tubuloso,” “bodacious,” and possibly the most recognized, “cowabunga.

Sure I watched them but they always seemed to be a tad too serious for me.  So it was like a breath of fresh air when I came across a relatively unknown gem of a cartoon that parodied and made fun of this genre.  At last, a cartoon that laughed at itself and did not take things so seriously.  I loved it.  It was the antidote to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; it was the Samurai Pizza Cats.

In a nutshell, these three cool cats, Speedy Cerviche (the brave but often clueless leader), cute little Polly Ester (just don’t get her mad or it will hurt) and Guido Anchovy (the misguided Romeo of the group), fight crime and evil plots all over the town of Little Tokyo while earning a living delivering pizza.  “Big Cheese” is the big villain of the story who is always plotting to take over the throne from the Emperor.  He is  poorly supported by Bad Bird and his Ninja Crows (it’s so hard to find good help these days).

But the real charm is in how they parody the genre.  Take for example their theme song.  A phase like, “Samurai Pizza Cats, they’re so bad, they’ve got more fur than any turtle ever had.” is a clear poke at their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles competitor.

“They are stronger than old cheese and stronger than dirt’ was reference to the advertising tagline of the Ajax liquid cleaner around that time.

And then there was the episode where heroes and villains happen to coincidentally take their holidays at a hot spring spa.  When they discover each other, bitter fighting ensues.  Then a voice of reason suggested that they call a truce so that they can both enjoy their holidays.  This appeals to both sides until someone points out that unfortunately that it is against union rules for the Ninja Crows not to fight.

Once, Bad Bird even wanted to turn over a new leaf.  Fed up of being reviled as a villain, he wanted now to fight for justice and be revered as a hero.  Unfortunately, the show’s producers reminded him that he is a “contractual villain” and any hero type acts would be a breach of contract!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

What might be some of your favorite cartoon series of all time and why?

Space Opera

No one will ever mistakenly accuse me of being high-browed and cultured. I certainly don’t track with the black tie penguin suits of high society. Sadly, this extends beyond my lack of interest in participating in the extravagant social rituals of the aristocracy and my lack of money to pursue them. I genuinely do not seem to know how to enjoy or appreciate some of the things that are adored by this set. For example, I do not see the fuss made about foie gras. Please, it’s liver! Apart from the debate about whether it is ethical to force feed the ducks to get the fatty liver which is made into foie gras (in humans, a fatty liver is medically a diseased liver), I never liked eating my liver and onions and hiding what it is behind a foreign (non-English) name still does not hide its intense liver taste.

Another thing that brands me solidly as a Philistine squirrel is my lack of appreciation of opera. Wikipedia says that “Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (called a libretto) and musical score. The word opera means “work” in Italian (it is the plural of Latin opus meaning “work” or “labour”) suggesting that it combines the arts of solo and choral singing, declamation, acting and dancing in a staged spectacle.” Hmmm. Well, that just sounds like a musical just like “West Side Story” or “Phantom of the Opera” but in a different language (just like the foie gras case).

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the modern musical. I just don’t understand why people pay top dollar, get dressed to the nines and go an see a musical which tells a story in a foreign language that I can only understand from reading the souvenir program which I have to purchase separately at an extortionist rate.

It probably did not help that my early introduction to Opera was something from Wagner’s Ring Cycle based on German and Norse mythology. It is of course sung in German, and as I remember it, sung by big women wearing fake blond wigs with pig-tails, armoured breasts (like Madonna’s) and horned helmets. Even one of its more famous songs, “The Ride of the Valkyries”, made no sense to me in German. It only became a song that I could really appreciate when it was used in a media that I could appreciate; and that was as the song “Kill the Wabbit” sung by Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny. Now who said Saturday morning cartoons cannot be educational!

However, if Elmer and Bugs helped me to begin to understand opera, the one performance that really opened my eyes to the true wonders and possibility of Opera was the stunning performance of the Albanian songstress, Inva Mula Tchako, who was the voice behind the character Diva Plavalaguna in the movie “The Fifth Element“. In it she sings an aria from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (the mad scene), and “The Diva dance” song. I may still not understand the language but the way it is presented certainly helped me appreciate it. Allow me to share this song with you. For those serious Philistines like me, try to hang on till at least the 3.28 minute mark when a transformation occurs.

We Now Return You to the Scheduled Static

Dear Friends,

“We now return you to the scheduled static.” is my way of saying that I need to take a break from blogging for about 2-3 weeks. There is just too many competing matters in my life right now and I need the time to deal with them.

I will still be around and will visit your blogs when I can. I hope to come back with fresh ideas for this blog too.

Now that is the mundane explanation for my coming absence but here in the Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel, we try to banish the mundane. Therefore, the official press statement from the Realm is as follows……..

“THE PEASANTS ARE REVOLTING!” There are unconfirmed reports from the Realm of the Lone Grey Squirrel that the unwashed masses are dissatisfied with the on-going nut credit crisis brought about by exposure to the U.S. Sub-prime crisis. Unlike the U.S. which is able to conjure and print up a batch of 700 billion dollars to help with the crisis, nuts only grow on trees and it will take a lot of squirrels many, many days to collect that many nuts.

When told that the peasants are revolting, the High Lord All Exalted King of the Realm replied, “They are indeed”. When asked what he would do to address the situation, his Highness replied, “Giving them all a bath would be a good first step………..Oh, you mean the nut crisis! I am afraid that I will have to stop blogging for 2-3 weeks to marshal our nut harvesting efforts.

And so, farewwll and see you all at the other end of the three weeks.

The World is a Funny Place

“The world is a funny place ………so why am I not laughing.” Somebody said that. I mean it is an often quoted quote but I can’t remember who it was. It does not really matter who said it but I fully agree with him today. In the last two days I have seen and experienced a number of things which made me one to say just this.

To be fair, when we say the “world is a funny place”, perhaps we need to qualify it further. There is always the “funny- haha” but there could also be “funny peculiar” or “funny -alarming”.

Let’s start with “funny-peculiar”. Today, I was at a shopping mall and there was this escalator between the first and second floors. The escalator going up was working but the one that was meant to go down was stopped and obviously not working. As I was waiting for someone for lunch, I casually looked out across the atrium and saw this very well dressed lady in her thirties approach the top of the elevator. When she got there, she saw that the downward escalator was not working. I expected her to just walk down the stopped escalator but that was not what she did.

First, she looked to the right and to the left. Then she turned around and walked away, as if she was uncertain what to do. She came back to the escalator and examined it more closely. She went off to look for a security guard or mall officer but not finding one, she came back again. She even gave the escalator a kick. In all she was there for about five minutes. Finally after seeing someone else walk down the escalator, she too walked down. Now that is funny-peculiar.

For funny-haha, I give you the bizzare story of the impeachment of the Prime Minister of Thailand. Before becoming Prime Minister, Mr. Samak Sundaravej was the host of a popular TV cooking show. He apparently was involved in four episodes after he became Prime Minister. This would seem to contradict the Thai Constitution which states that the Prime Minister must have no other job. So Mr. Samak who has been linked to several bribery and corruption scandals finally is removed from office because he was cooking on TV. The story does not end there because his party is re-nominating him as prime Minister and if his coalition allies support that nomination, he may be returned to that post again. Wow, think about what Clinton got away with during his presidency while the Thai’s don’t want their PM cooking anything!

Finally, I watched the animated movie “Barnyard” last night. There is something seriously wrong with the animals in the movie, especially the cows. What’s wrong? There are no cows and bulls. There are only male cows and female cows. That’s right. All the bovine characters have udders which make them all cows but some were clearly male cows and others with ribbons around their ears were clearly girl cows. Where did all those involved with that movie get their education? This is funny-alarming.

Graphic Violence

ME! “Tra-la-la-la-la…”
“Look out, Squirrel! There’s bears in dem woods”


I’m okay. You should see the other guy!

Hi, guys and gals. Reporting in from my “black” week. Thanks for your, thoughts, prayers and good vibes. It was much appreciated. I did run into bears and after a lengthy brawl, we decided to call it a tie and retreated to our corners. Anyway, that’s old news. It is time to look out for a brighter week ahead.