The Run of Things

OK, here is the last of the running sequence from 2010. This is really getting crazy: it seems I drew this yesterday, and you’re telling me it was seven years ago!? I figure I have drawn over 11,500 A&J strips since I began. It’s strictly an educated guess, but I would say I am proud of 10% of them, embarrassed by 20% and ambivalent about the remaining 70%.
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156 responses to “The Run of Things”

  1. Getting ready to get dressed and take Black Jack to Tulsa.

    Ghost Kitty is on bed licking his hind legs and soft fur, having exhausted the pitty pawing my pajama leg and thigh.

    Must resemble his namesake.

  2. Cats are designed for jumping, not running. They’re good sprinters, but don’t have the long-distance endurance like dogs do. Of course, dogs can’t jump as far or as high, and they’re really not good at climbing trees.

  3. Mr. Johnson, you should know that, to me at least, you are in the company of the late Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson when it comes to great cartoonists. All three of you have/had the ability to take the slice of life and make it funny, poignant, or relevant to the multitudes.

  4. Me too agreed what all said.

    My mama had a deer hunting cat that ran with the dog pack. One of her hunting friends said “Miss Pauline, I thought your dog’s were chasing this cat until they all starting passing him and I realized he had been leading.”

  5. I too would put you in the top of most cartoonist. I really am surprised at your assessment of your work. But then again the best are rarely satisfied with their work, which means they try all that much harder and continue to turn out work far superior to most of those in their line of work. Art, music, building a house, any real creative work counts. I buy your collection of works when I have so few in the house. I think that is number two collection of works that I own of any artist or photographer.

  6. Ghost, I am out in Black Jack. I love this car. I see what you mean about tall men and being able to drive it. I can see you in this but it fits my little short legs too.

    Just had seat back and a very tall person will fit.

  7. Uh….. is today’s live strip about…..passing wind? I can’t make sense of it otherwise. And what’s the latest on the A&J books that were offered last fall during the fundraising campaign?

  8. Garlic breath. Janis did not eat her garlic Salcedo with her calamari, Arlo did and his breath bothers her, she can’t stand smell. If both people eat it isn’t so noticed.

  9. Jackie, if you mean for a personalized tag, the way I read it on their InterWebNet site, OK only allows seven characters, including a blank space and a dash, both of which count as one of the seven. That’s why I came up with suggestions like BLK JAC. Did I misread it?

    And as I mentioned previously, JAK might be interpreted as JAKE.

  10. This close and this crowded, the odor must be something.

    As Bronx Zoo summer asst. keeper in ’51, I and another keeper once had the job of brushing down the algal-covered wall of the drained sea lion tank. They were all huddled against the opposite wall [no shift cage or anything silly like that]. A bull decided to come see me, ‘bark, bark’. In knee-high rubber boots, I shot up a 6′ wall of slippery algae in 2 secs.

    Learned a lot at the Zoo [e.g., pay no attn. when the head bird keeper tells you to move a Slow Loris off a handrail by hand. Fortunately, hand didn’t get infected].


  11. As I one time commented to a regular in here, Jimmy thinks of and draws more strips in one week than I could do in a year.

    I realize that Jimmy, being a professional, is highly critical of his work.

    I, being a mere mortal, would be ecstatic if I could produce a decent week’s worth of strips.

  12. No matter our expertise, we are all laypeople compared to some professionals. Even the most diverse Renaissance person needs an expert in some endeavor. But don’t confuse amateur w/ layperson, or dilettante. E.g., the first Brit. [and probably Continental] paleontologists were ‘gentlemen’, rockhounding as a hobby, dependent on inherited money for sustenance, mistresses, whatever. Some professionals get paid, or do tasks they are not paid for.

    I can draw what I see, though haven’t for decades, and am a decent copy-editor, but have never been paid for either [in a narrow sense]. As a prof, did more intense copy-editing than was required; former students often remind me of their gratitude for that. Their students may be less grateful; perhaps their gratitude will come later. At least 3 church secretaries now know / the serial comma. Fun.


  13. Ghost, give me your favorites. My friend ran on states computer all the variants already taken. She came up with Black Jac without the k as best variant left untalented.

    Give me your first, second, third choices and she’ll run them for me Monday. I can’t apply for permanent tag until title or whatever comes from dealer.

    Do wish I had you here to teach me to drive Jack or at least operate the bells and whistles on dash. It has been too long since I drove a car this small, just trucks and vans, SUVs.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Jack, just need skills and instructions. I am sitting outside Barnes and Noble working on getting heat to work. Dickens is cold.

    Just accidently discovered how to drop seats back from front into back seats. That was a surprise! So, do people bother to make out in cars like we did or do they just go check in somewhere?

  14. Untaken not what Hal said.

    This car has a huge trunk. That surprised me.

    Drives beautifully even if I can’t and is quieter than the Honda with almost no road noise.

  15. Don’t feel too bad. A friend with a 2013 Explorer told me she drove it the first winter she owned it without heat, because she couldn’t figure out how to turn it on.

  16. Jackie:
    That is the problem with a black car (Bathroom too)
    you need a full-time person to keep it clean – known in the old days
    as a chauffeur. (or maid)
    Black keeps coming back as a fixture color for bathrooms and is generally
    short-lived because it spots so easily.

  17. Ummmnh huh, that is what car salesmen get trained to do too. You kept a damp chamois and learned how to use one. But yes, the finish is beautiful but picks up everything but money.

    I had chocolate brown bathroom in one house. Dark brown was not much better.

  18. Made some progress on learning stuff on car. Love the Navigation system but I have hardly learned how to use yet. I drove Trigger for a year and dealer never got it turned on. Or much of anything else.

    This one has Sirius setup and I was delighted just now to find Pandora is programed too. Turned on Sirius first time and Elvis coming from speakers was taking me back via Twilight Zone but with way better speakers!

    Last time I drove a convertible Waylon was one of the outlaws I blasted onto the freeways, so I hit Waylon on Pandora and this came growling out. Totally appropriate. Click on it.

  19. I am having a ball with a grass roots campaign to bring back non-political posts to Facebook. If you are on the Book of Faces as Ghost calls it, join me and have some fun. Be creative.

    Worse that can happen is we ease some frayed nerves about to snap.

  20. Jackie, at least you have minions to help keep Black jack black. You might consider a car cover for use when it’s stabled.

    Headed to Big City for a meeting today. Should be back by late PM. Everyone have a shiny day today.

  21. Today’s TIP BlogSpot. The painting is J. answering the trick q., ‘Should we pay taxes to Caesar?’ ‘Render unto C…’ and all that. Sharp guy. Would have done well in vaudeville. Worked for George and Gracie.


  22. Jimmy! You are much to hard on yourself! Maybe you should do some sort of daily poll, to get instant feedback on what your fans think of your efforts. I’m sure we would mark on a curve! 🙂
    That would probably be to much pressure on you, so how about you randomly pick works for your past and have us vote?

    Love your work! dave

  23. I get the joke about Ludwig today. Question, do cones work on cats?

    Good morning all. Dickens says it is too early. He is curled up behind or under me snoring.

    Ghost, my minions cleaned out Boat Palace and turned what used to be boat building space into a climate controlled stable. They are so good to me.

    Glen my deputy owned a car detailing service in past. If he were still here Jack would stay immaculate. He’d probably loved doing beauty work. Miss him.

    There is a manual car wash down road with a spray wash. I will put him through today and get a chamois to wet and wipe Jack down.

  24. Jackie, Ford vehicles tend to have large trunks, one of the reasons I love them. I refer to trunk capacity as “two body,” “three body, ” etc. Jokingly, of course.

  25. That is hilarious Smigz. When I sold Lincolns and Grand Marquis people would ask how big the trunk was and I’d say it could hold eight traveling salesmen in town for a convention, twelve if they had already passedan out.

    I varied that joke depending on who asked at times.

  26. Speaking of running, I was watching a video of my son’s 1st birthday 33 years ago and it is amazing how much he looks and acts like his own 1 year old son. Dan was an early walker and was quite mobile. One of the scenes in the video is him running up and down the length of the couch to the song “Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride”. He would later run in the State Finals in the 800 and 1600 and then ran the Boston Marathon. He was really running well this winter when suddenly he developed tendinitis. He is pretty down, but I told him just a few weeks off shouldn’t end his plan to run Boston this year. Just have to wait and see if he heals. He has started running marathons in the last 3 years and this is his first injury. He is very lucky.

    I posted his one year old self on YouTube, but I hesitate to share it here. I’m not sure how he feels about it.

  27. Eating at Pei Wei and had spinach dumpling soup, fired green beans and a Vietnamese salad. Salad wasn’t great but the fortune cookie was.

    “Integrity is the essence of everything successful.”

  28. Sideburns you are right! That is why I am so particular about who I’d be in bed with. Dickens has been my bed partner for way over a year now.

  29. Back, uneventfully, from my day trip.

    Rick, that is the beginning of what is undoubtedly my favorite A&J story arc. I pull it up on June 6th every year.

    Poor Ludwig…”The Cone of Shame.”

    Li’l Smigz, My Crown Vics did indeed have commodious trunks, but Bullet has none at all. Of course, he does have an “aft cargo compartment” to make up for that lack. With the third-row seats folded flat, and with careful stacking, I’d say probably 12 average sized bodies. Of course I’d require some help for loading. Based on the old saw “A good friend will help you move; a great friend will help you move a body,” I’d have to round up a really, really, good friend.

    Bullet gets his bath at a high-pressure coin-op about a mile down the road and a good wipe down with microfiber cloths when he gets home.

  30. That is how I think I will wash Jack. I have such a wash down Highway 9 from me about a half mile.

    Ghost, have microfiber cloths replaced real leather chamois?

    I picked up a lot of dust in that huge nursery rock yard I was in today, both outside and in mats.

    Loved the place, like Disney World of rocks and Koi and fountains and pots and statuary. Going back tomorrow for additional porcine aviators.

  31. They have for me. I have owned chamois, but I was never really pleased with their results.

    Did you see my suggestion about a fitted car cover to protect Black Jack from dust when in his stable? It would also help protect him from cats paws and claws. Of course, if you are going to be driving him daily, a cover may not be convenient to use.

  32. Right now I am thinking I will drive him unless I need the larger van to carry things. But you would be amazed at all the “stuff” that went in the trunk!

    A concrete cat, a concrete squirrel, a concrete bull frog, can’t remember if I bought a rabbit? Seemed like four things. The metal flying pigs.

    Two bags of breads, then about six big paper bags of groceries and a couple plastic ones.

    Oh yeah, two cases of Diet Coke and a case of green tea. And a small ice chest. Still room left.

    I had a cover for last convertible even though it was garage kept. I also washed often and chamois ed.

  33. Besides a rock landscape center I visited a wonderful Oklahoma owned grocery that competes against the not local Whole Foods. You know which one I chose.

    Here are cheeses that lept into my basket: Maas damage smoked gouda. Ghost pepper cheese. Australian aged white cheddar.
    Dilled Havarti. Red dragon mustard seeds and ale Somerhalder white cheddar. Cotswold onion and chive long Clawson. Stilton white lemon zest. Bellavitano raspberry Sartori.

    And finally because it is mine and Dickens favorite, triple creme Brie, French.

    All small portions but there were hundreds. That will probably be breakfast on some artisan breads like the Asiago cheese or Multigrain we got at the bakery. Oh, I got rosemary garlic too.

  34. I like spicy food, but I don’t get this fascination with peppers and sauces and foods that are stupidly hot. I guess because I can’t understand how copious amounts of tears running out of your eyes and snot running out of your nose are supposed to enhance your eating pleasure.

  35. Not mine. I threw it in trash and drank a bottle of water and the triple creme Brie which had great aged rind and was so soft after trip from Tulsa.

    I do not like pain with any food.

  36. I like spice when it adds to the flavor, but can’t stand things too hot to be eaten comfortably. Where’s the enjoyment in that? Have read about hot pepper/food eating contests where people have to be taken away to hospital in ambulances. Who wants to do that? Birthday yesterday was very nice. Among other things, had a very good Thai style chicken curry in a restaurant I had never tried. Good experience all the way around.

    Got litter boxes to clean and cats to feed, so time to go. Everybody have a great day.

  37. Yep, Mark; glad you could enjoy the curry without blistering the lining of your mouth.


    (If I knew that, it got lost among other happenings yesterday. Sorry.)

  38. Happy birthday Mark. Glad you had a good time. May your birthday weekend continue to be a joy.

    Ghost, good morning. I am going off in search of pansies. Bet you are Super Bowling. Do you drink beer? I am a wine lover. I have myself some cold fruity wines were I watching.

    Some people love cheer leaders, I like busts and thighs. Men’s.

    Everyone enjoy the day.

  39. Trying to avoid overly-politicized media for a while, for my peace of mind. Unfortunately, that will likely include some of the SB commercials this year. So probably will not watch.

  40. Good for you, Mark! Happy late birthday. JAckie- start saving for new shocks? 🙂 Am so glad you are enjoying everything. Jimmy, Ghost, Old Bear… you make me laugh. Thanks, everyone for making the days better!

  41. I think there are two reasons that people eat such hot food. One of them is that some people get an endorphin rush from the pain and actually get high, just like some masochists (known as “pain puppies”) get high from what their partners are doing. The second is pure macho: look what I can do!

    Back when I worked with Latinos, I had my own way of out-machoing them. I never tried to compete with them on hot peppers, but I could eat fresh horseradish straight from the bottle and they wouldn’t even try. As I told them, it all depends on what you grew up with.

  42. Of course that wasn’t nearly as bad as a former neighbor’s experience. They had the bright idea of making a bed for their youngest by amassing a supply of canned goods (a case lot sale) and stacking them with a sheet of plywood over them. Add the mattress and you’re good to go until you come back from a vacation ten years later…

  43. Indeed. One should never slap a bust.

    Who’s wondering how Jean did with her knee procedure? This Ghost is. She said Wednesday morning she was on her way to have it done, and I’ve not seen anything later from her. Wondering about my favorite six-foot tall redhead.

  44. At Southwood Landscape, beautiful beautiful beautiful place. It is peaceful, serene and calming.

    I could live here. I did work for them at Christmas to help dress poinsettias for a couple years.

    Everything is immaculate and maintained, unlike some big box stores.

    Oh, I bought four flats of pansies and two cats and two mallards.

  45. What an incredible game. I had to drive my daughter down to Toledo and listened on XM. I was listening to the Atlanta broadcast but switched to NE when ATL fumbled in the 4th quarter. I got home just in time to see something I had waited 50 years for. A Super Bowl Sudden Death. I still think Johnny Unitas winning the 58 Championship in Sudden Death was greater as it really launched the NFL popularity. Now to watch the commissioner give the man he gave a 4 game suspension the Super Bowl trophy!

  46. Thanks for the birthday wishes, everybody. I had a good time. Tried to post Saturday morning, but my internet went down just as I finished writing it and I couldn’t wait around for it to come up again.

  47. Here’s a freebie, one that allows you to be ‘one up.’ Writer’s Almanac has a bit on lexicographer Eric Partridge, born on 6 Feb. It’s a repeat of one I’d already filed from a previous year, but where I’d missed something. It’s a book title, a bon mot where I’d missed the point, but provides you with a one liner. When you drop it in a presentation to 50 people, perhaps a dozen or fewer will laugh, allowing you to say [with Tom Lehrer], ‘The rest of you can look it up when you get home.’

    And I won’t be there to reveal that it’s not original with you.


  48. Good morning all. I didn’t go to sleep until almost time to get up but no Super Bowl. I am awake, dressed and on way to Tulsa.

    Catch you from service at Honda. I have two recalls.

  49. Early meeting today; still playing catch-up. I hope everyone has a shiny day.

    Ghostly Observation of the Day: He who can smile in a crisis has found someone to blame.

  50. Or conversely, Ghost, “He who can smile in a crisis doesn’t know what’s going on.”

    Thank you for the link to the Writer’s Almanac, emb. It looks like I’ve got some exploring to do!

    TruckerRon, that happened to me once with a can of sauerkraut.

  51. My day changed dramatically a bit ago. Got 25 miles north when right passenger front tire blew out with long cut in tire. I am fine, sitting at where I buy tires, they are putting a loaner tire on, my new tire will be here in morning, got towed here. Dickens and I are going on to Muskogee but changed recall service call to Thursday.

    Saw a really good quote about people who can do this, accept dramatic unexpected change without going to pieces.

    Going to Muskogee to get my second Arlo and Janis cartoon framed so I can hang in kitchen tonight.

  52. Trucker
    Surströmming isn’t any good unless the can is bulging –
    But even Swedes know you do not open the can in the house.

    Supposedly it tastes good – I know it smells TERRIBLE.

  53. Debris in the road is a real problem, especially on Interstates, and can cause everything from severe tire damage to much worse. I have seen unbelievable things in roadways, including a kitchen sink. Crown Vic before last sustained $5K worth of under-the-front-end damage from an entire truck wheel and tire I encountered in the middle of my traffic lane on a poorly lighted stretch of city street a few years back.

    Yes, glad Jackie is OK.

  54. Ghost, you’re right about things in the road. Talk station in Birmingham, AL had debris warnings as part of the recurring traffic reports during rush hour. When I was out Saturday, I saw a number of people busy cleaning up several rolls of hay that had escaped at a busy intersection. While some had broken up, one whole one had rolled up on the curb only to be stopped by a light standard.

    Very glad Jackie is ok.

  55. Switched cars to get hair done and on way to gym. Bless the roads in Oklahoma. Some of our pot holes might swallow Black Jack.

    I am running a.C. it is so hot here. I want top down!

  56. I hear some states are considering banning those round bales of hay. Reason: Livestock can’t get a square meal out of them.

    Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week. Be sure and try the veal and drive carefully when you leave.

  57. Black Jack says it is 71 outside RIGHT now. It is hot. The gym has heat on! I am soaking wet with sweat and had to blow dry my just coifed hair.

    Wish I could put top down. Going home and get in tub at once.

  58. Our weather here is in a rut. It’s supposed to drop from the current 44° to 38°, with a mix of rain and snow tonight. High tomorrow to reach 44° again, with more rain and snow. More of the same on Wednesday, though the high might go 1° higher.

  59. Finally got in tub with my wine bottle and glass, managed to slip at last minute and do an inelegant entry that Jimmy can use next month if he’d like for Janis. I will send video.

    (Just kidding about video but I can describe it better)

  60. Speaking of social media, I ended up having an incredible birthday for a senior citizen. Thanks to social media.

    My friends are still wishing me happy birthday from all over the world and sending messages they miss me, Dickens and our travels and adventures. Early this morning friends in Australia and India were checking to make sure things were OK.

    Thank you all my friends. On my way to visit friends at the Oklahoma tag office, the expensive good tires store, the feed store, post office and grocery store and hopefully the gym.

    Looked at my hair. Hope I can fix it myself. Don’t tell me climate change isn’t happening. It was in 70s at midnight here!

    Oh, my employees are giving me a surprise party with hamburgers, hot dogs, beer and birthday cake. And their bar band that will play
    In my back yard. I am doing ok.

  61. Wearing my own birthday suit trying to exercise and drenched. It is so hot here. I will fight anyone who denies climate change! I.need a shower.

  62. Oil on canvas nude selfies…Professor Katy is obviously a free spirit.

    Never got to see nude pix of any of my teachers. In most cases, meh, but there were a couple in high school I suspect wouldn’t have put my eyes out to see in their birthday suits. As well as several ed students from the university doing their “practice teaching”.

  63. My county is at 160% of its average snow fall for the season. I’m tired of shoveling so much “global warming” from my driveway.

    Never forget, “Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.” — Uncertain attribution; Robert A. Heinlein was the first to use it in print.

  64. Elaine chose to take Latin in public h.s. Think the teacher was male. In h.s., Elaine could easily be overlooked as skinny, studious, late-developing, introverted genius. Hah! Cornell soph lad in F ’48 realized otherwise.

    Tax scam season. Got this in today’s Weekly Connect from my boss. I’m truant from my post today to spare colleagues and patients from any lingering common cold germs.

    Mlle. McGillicuddy was no beauty, but a real good jhs teacher. Should’ve been Mme.


  65. On the Wx radar, it looks like the Crayola™ box is throwing up all the way from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast today. Everyone keep an eye to the sky and stay safe.

  66. The sad thing about the tax (and other) scams is that with the technology to make literally millions of bogus calls, the scammers only have to have to succeed with a tiny percentage of their contacts to make out like the bandits they are.

  67. I am having a fantastic fun day and no rain in sight, not even a cloud. Have a load of sodas in back seat, trunk is full. Going home for a surprise party. Dickens is unsure about Black Jack top less.

    Me, that has never bothered him but cars going without tops?

  68. Jackie: Isn’t ‘Going home for a surprise party.’ an oxymoron? I’ve been at several that were really surprises, one for a nonagenarian that I worried might expire then and there. She’s now 94 or so, still sharp and thin.

    Then there are the sad items in the paper inviting us to Mr. 88th bday party, at his home or the rehab.


  69. ‘Me, that has never bothered him, but cars going without tops?’

    Wonder what goes on in critters’ minds. To mind read, we’d have to understand ideas not structured into words, but here’s this person who removes part of her skin, and there’s more
    underneath, and has no or little extra skin in summer or the shower or bed or whatever.

    Wonder what categories they put experience in, and how much memory is of events as we’d understand them rather than actions that have worked and been retained as the way we always do things.


  70. Band setting up and tuning. This is a great day, I am having fun, hamburgers cooking, lots of music starting. I get one of my favorite life wishes, my own personal honky tonk with beer and a band.

    Fact I don’t drink beer is immaterial. It is atmosphere. I do own a large galvanized cow tub and don’t own a cow. And a shrimp cooler that holds thousands of cans of beer and I don’t shrimp.

  71. Having great party here. Band is great playing Eagles, Take it Easy.

    Wish everyone was here with me eating and drinking beer and listening. Great bar band.

    I will sponsor a Village reunion if anyone would come to Oklahoma.

    Me, I am drinking one of my favorites.

  72. This is the first birthday party I have ever had given for me. I am both over whelming at the love and having a great time.

    It is never too late for a first time.

  73. That’s my purpose in life you know, to raise people’s consciousness and inspire a tiny bit. It helps that I can laugh at myself and know how ironic this is.

    I do something every day that I have never done before if I can.
    Not all are saintly but most are fun!

  74. Happy Birthday Jackie

    By the way I trade your temp for our temp==
    it is 10* F heading for 3*

    emb is heading to the minus side of zero.

    Glad you are having a terrific time.

  75. I hope that indoor drive in movie theater allows you to experience a fake night sky with a properly early sunset so the showtimes aren’t ridiculously late during DST. I believe that’s why most theaters went out of business… not enough time for a double-header.

  76. Well I looked at a little after 7 and I was still in the drive in rocking the car and fogging the windows so I went back to sleep.

    Good morning all. I had a GREAT birthday and still hearing from friends. The best birthday of my life.

    My help is coming to clean up and I am going to Tulsa via a new $200 tire on Honda. That was not normal road wear. Then recall work in Tulsa at Honda.Honda .

    The neighbors will get invited to next year’s party. I wish you all had been here.

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