Leapin’ Lizards!



Over many autumns, I’ve drawn several variations of this gag set-up, including one this year. This one from 2011 is one of my favorites. The first winter after Arlo & Janis began its run in newspapers, I lived in a small cabin on the Tennessee River that was heated exclusively by a central wood-burning fireplace. I gained a wealth of knowledge about chopping wood, starting fires and banking coals, but it was the only such year. I never again lived without at least auxiliary heat, but artistically the experience served me well.

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38 thoughts on “Leapin’ Lizards!”

  1. My Dad decided at the age of 60, that a good way to save money was to put in a wood burning furnace, with the present oil burning furnace as a backup. He spent a tremendous amount of time finding sources of wood, splitting it, as well as getting up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire. I was scared that the chimney would catch fire and the whole house would go up in flames.

    Just a couple of years later, my Mom died in a car accident and my Dad fixed up the house to sell. The family that bought it really fixed it up and I am pretty sure that the wood burner went out with the garbage.

  2. One of my favorites, Jimmy. Surprise can make you do amazing things. I once walked face first into a large spider web and nearly took a screen door off its hinges, along with the frame it was attached to.

  3. I live in SW Florida. During the prep for Hurricane Irma, I know at least 3 lizards made it into the house. One of them refused to leave a bench I brought in. He moved back out with the bench too. 🙂

  4. The funniest critter experience I have had was when I was at Boy Scout summer camp with my grandson. I got up before sunrise and walked out of the tent. I had a headlamp on and I ran into a spider web just outside the door. The headlamp was pointing down and the spider was crawling back up the web that was attached to my headlamp. It wasn’t very big at first, but as it got closer to me I noticed that it was growing larger and had huge fangs dripping blood and had death in it’s eyes. I did my best kung fu moves all while trying not to scream like little girl at the top of my lungs. I barely escaped with my life…

  5. Now, was the lizard the CAUSE of Janis losing her pants? Mayhap she was already partially disrobed [for another reason] when the li’l critter happened to scurry past.

    I’ve always thought the former was what was meant by JJ; the latter thought came much later.

  6. One of my first surprises in the Peace Corps (Philippines, post-retirement) was that House Lizards are valued. From high on a wall, they watch for the next meal (sometimes even noisily racing each other). After a few weeks I rarely noticed.

    As others have stated, pretty much the same here in Florida; happily, no mosquito net required, though.

  7. Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce: [about an unexploded bomb at the 4077] Are those the right instructions, Henry?

    Lt. Col. Henry Blake: I hope so.

    Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce: I hope so, too. Otherwise I’m coming back in the next life as a squirrel and run right up your pants leg!

  8. Here in southern California, small lizards are quite common, although people who live in really urban areas probably never see them. My old cat, Gully Foyle, considered them to be great cat toys and on occasion snacks. I’m sure Leo would agree, but he isn’t allowed out, and hasn’t met any yet.

  9. Laughing at the funny stories brought to mind by the old comic strip! As for what happened, the first panel emphasized the OLD firewood (probably infested with bugs, etc.). The second panel shows full coffee cups, to settle down with. The third panel shows Janis’s feet stretched out for the warmth of the fire, with a prominent opening in the ankle of her trousers. The lizard came in with the firewood, woke up, ran to the hiding place in the pants, that’s when she ripped off the pants and ran screaming, I imagine, up the stairs. I might do the same myself — a story for later.

  10. Wood only gets burned in outdoor fireplaces at my nkuse. Per me and my insurance company.

    In Oklahoma we get recluse spiders, black widows, skinks and snakes, mice in wood piles.

    I have had logs in my fireplace.

  11. Jimmy, I got my first choice, but I do have some acute pangs of regret over the “Sweater Girl” that got away, as well as the oddly compelling “Pound of Feathers.”

  12. A Simple Little Christmas Story

    Jackie and I have decided to make this a simple but very happy Christmas for us. Much of our time has been taken up with travelling back and forth to doctor appointments and treatment sessions. Fortunately, the music subscription service we have in all the vehicles is running special holiday music channels, and we have been able to listen to hours of beautiful Christmas music as we travel.

    However, there is one song she cannot abide, and she changes the channel every time it comes up in the rotation, regardless of the artist performing it. A short while ago as I was returning with Dickens from his grooming session, I heard a previously unheard version, and said to myself, “Self, she’s gonna like this one.” (As you recall in yesterday’s discussion, she mentioned listening to Cajun music on AM radio back in the day.) I just played it for her, and I was right…she loved it. So, here is, as far as I recall, the Village’s first holiday song of this year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW_cRlRtE3I

  13. went to fla to see patriots play this past weekend `yuk
    came home today to single digit wind chill in boston yuk again
    missed auction yuk again

    looks like Janis has her granny undies on in frame 4.. what were they doing?

  14. Ghost: Model has an ‘innie’ [inny? insie? innsy?]. She can carry the flag in our navel parade. First heard from a student who lived w/ us 3 yr. Now 70ish, Portland OR, just got their annual ltr. Must start mine; it w/b late, as it often is.

    Peace,

  15. As said to me three years ago by a respectable Rotarian at a meetings end, “Just what I always wanted, a Granny in leopard leggings.”

    Grannies indeed differ.

  16. Today’s cartoon totally on target. Just looked at forecast for four days of snow here over Christmas.

    This may be Ghosts first white Christmas.

    We better get supplies laid in!

  17. We got about 6+ inches of snow on top of the inch or two that was already on the ground. Looking at the long range forecast, we will be going over freezing next week with the possibility of rain, so the jury is still out on whether there will be a White Christmas.

    I had to drive out for a meeting Tuesday morning and halfway there they cancelled it, so I turned around. When I got back to the office I found out that I-275 south of us had closed due to a driver, in broad daylight, driving the wrong way. Last night I saw the pictures of the engaged couple that were killed by the wrong way driver and then I saw dash cam video of someone that showed the vehicle going the wrong way! It turns out the driver had an open container and was a councilman for a local town. Stuff like that shakes me, especially around Christmas. Although I was not not on the section that the wrong way driver was on, I still thank God for safe travels.

    Oh yes, saw a couple of other vehicles driving without their lights on again.

  18. Many trucking companies require their drivers to have their lights on whenever the trucks are moving. Safety studies support that strategy. Many cars today have lights on automatically.

    Conversely some people are unaware that the driving lights are not the same as headlamps in that their taillights don’t turn on.

  19. This strip is a great example of JJ’s 4-panel strip skills.

    The story seems to flow forward easily, but then there’s the action happening between panels 3 & 4. The last panel not only starts you comparing with the previous panel to figure out what happened, that actually takes you back to the first panel, to get the whole set-up. Then, read forward again and enjoy knowing where it’s going.

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