celebrex for dogs

Green Living

Birgit’s “See and Sign” at Barnes & Noble

Wow. “Just Bea” made it into a pretty cool book that really makes a difference.

100 artists pay tribute to creator of “Cul de Sac” Richard Thompson, who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, by creating original comic and illustrative art to help raise awareness of the disease. I am honored that my cartoon, “Just Bea” is included in this book and it is placed on the pages next to the likes of Cul de Sac, Calvin and Hobbes, Beetle Bailey, Garfield, Fox Trot, Momma, Rhymes With Orange, Cathy, Hi and Lois.

I’m extending a personal invitation to join me at a book-signing at Barnes & Noble in Royal Oak Thursday July 12 from 6:30 -8:30. I’ll be signing “Cartoonist’s Draw the Line at Parkinson’s – Team Cul de Sac” and will say a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to kick it off.

“Richard Thompson is lucky to have a friend like Chris Sparks. With this amazing collection, Chris is raising significant dollars and awareness for Parkinson’s —while proving comedy can help speed a cure. We’re grateful to have both Chris and Richard on our team.”
– Michael J. Fox

“Team Cul De Sac is a coffee-table book first and foremost, filled with terrific art, but it’s also a tribute to Thompson from his many admirers, who have noticed how in just a few short years, Cul De Sac has already become a classic, with a universe rich enough that 100 different artists can approach it and find something uniquely wonderful to highlight.”
– Graphic novels & art-comics—June 2012

Publisher Andrews McMeel will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each book to the Michael J. Fox Foundation which is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

If you’d like to donate and help The Michael J. Fox Foundation find a cure, a donation box will also be on hand. Checks can be made out to The Michael J Fox Foundation.

www.michaeljfox.org

If you are within shoutin’ distance come on by, I can’t wait to see you!

Time To Make The Donuts

Donuts. Not the kind that leave colorful sprinkles all over your desk. Not even the kind that Homer Simpson loves so much. But mulch donuts.

Too mulch love.

Over-mulching ranks right up there for the top reason newly planted trees die. That’s why mulch donuts are the way to go.  According to Arborist and forester Brian Colter, a protective layer of mulch around the base of your tree is a good thing but, he says, more mulch isn’t necessarily better.  Never “volcano” the mulch right up to the trunk were the chips press against it because after a period of time the tree will rot and die. Not only that, mice and insects may hide in there and feed on parts of the tree.

This is where the donuts come in. Form the mulch into the shape of a donut by keeping it away from the trunk and the rootball of the tree. Not only is mulching good for the soil and root growth, but it also helps keep lawn mowers and weed-whackers from damaging the bark of a tree. Open wounds are a bad thing. Truth be told, that’s the number one reason newbie trees perish.

Donuts. Maybe not the kind with colorful sprinkles on top, but trees like them too. And most probably better for them than for us.

Holy Bat Cave!

Bats. Not sure about ‘em. My basic introduction to them began at an early age Saturday mornings while watching Sir Graves Ghastly horror flicks and seeing a vampire manifest itself into a bat. Come to find out it doesn’t really work that way.

Holy Bat Cave!

“Unfortunately,” according to the Organization for Bat Conservation, “due to many years of fear and misunderstanding, bat populations are decreasing and some are nearly extinct.”  Don’t be afraid. But you don’t need to open up your home to them either. Since their natural habitat is quickly disappearing, bat houses give them a place to call their own.

John Bradburn is General Motors’s resident expert on waste reduction and recycling. Rather than just recycling, which uses more energy and resources, he focuses on repurposing materials and what to do with unwanted scraps. So, with his love and appreciation of the earth and its wild life –  combined with his job, he came up with a pretty cool idea. While trying to figure out what to do with scrap Chevrolet Volt battery covers, he came up with bat houses! So, he along with the help of Rob Mies, founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation located at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, figured out how to make the habitable environment for bats out of them.

I had no idea that the Little Brown Bat can eat up to 6,000 insects each night. Bats are the primary predators of night-flying insects including moths, beetles, flies, and mosquitos. And if one of these bat houses can hold up to 150 bats, that’s 900,000 bugs in a night – gone!

Put away the Raid® and get yourself a bat house.

If you’re a school or organization and would love to adopt a bat house, wood duck nesting habitat or a screech owl house, contact john.bradburn@gm.com and see if he can hook you up with your very own habitat.

Want to find out even more? Check out this link! GM and Detroit Youth Turn Chevy Volt Battery Covers into Wood Duck Homes; Michigan Kids Go Batty for Chevrolet Volt Battery Covers

And, for additional fun stuff about bats visit www.batconservation.org

Table Of Bees

Middle School. The awkward years. I flashed back as I was carrying my box of my “Just Bea” Cartoon display stuff down the long locker lined hallway. What to expect. What will the kids think of my cartoon. Will I get the ‘ol stink eye?

Kids in the hall.

As I made it to my destination, I glimpsed that the Anchor Bay Middle School students had made a huge drawing of the “Table of  Bees” cartoon from the Caption Contest entry form for my display table at the Family Science Night. Then I looked up – hey wait. That’s a drawing of a different “Just Bea” cartoon. Then I spied another one. Then another.  That’s when it sank in. The hall walls were filled with student’s renderings of various “Just Bea” cartoons. Not only that, turns out Ms Wiles’ students were using the cartoons as a study aid for their science class! Some students even chose to do extra credit projects using “their” cartoon. Emily chose “Earth Movers” as her cartoon and created an edible earthworm landscape that included gummi worms and even chocolate chip “worm poop.” I hope she got lots of extra credit points for that one.

The kids had fun filling out the talk bubble for what they thought Buster might be saying as he’s studying the honeybees and why they could be disappearing. Olivia Z. was the winner of the “Cartoon Caption Contest” you see in this posting! To see the honorable mentions, photos of the wonderful drawings, projects and Emily’s fun worm farm, too – be sure to go to www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon www.facebook.com/JustBeaCartoon

It ended up that I had nothing to fear. The kids were great and my “teenage” angst soon disappeared when I got looks of surprise, seeing the kids proudly present their work and even hugs at the end of the night. I hope they had as much fun with it as I did.

The Bees Are All A’buzz – thanks Lynne Bartley!

Thanks for your donation towards the “Help Save the Honeybees” book and animated cartoons!

http://www.greenunite.com/projects/1-help-save-the-honeybees

The Honeybees thank you Michael Wettlaufer!

Thanks for being the first seeder to Just Bea’s “Save the Honeybees” project!

http://www.greenunite.com/projects/1-help-save-the-honeybees

Birthday Green

Green has always been my favorite color. Various shades, forest, gray green, lime. But come to think of it, I’ve never had a green or “green” birthday party. Not that I can remember.

I have, although, wrapped gifts in the Sunday comics because it was fun and reused gift bags and bows because it made sense, but until now never considered that to be green.

Birthday Green. Now we’re talking.

When I found out it was greeningdetroit.com‘s 2nd birthday it got me to thinking. What would make for a more sustainable birthday party?

Some posts I read encourage no gifts for the birthday honoree – but I don’t see that going over so well with a 6 year old. So here are some other ideas.

Possibly skip the paper invitations and send personal emails, set up a Facebook event, or use an online invitation site like Evite.com instead.

For kids, colored pencils are a fun party favor that can be used over and over and are much less likely than a plastic toy to end up in the bottom of the toy box and worse – the landfill.

Another way is to green up the party is to eliminate paper and disposables. Rather than using paper plates, plastic cups and plasticware, what works quite nicely are re-usable plates, flatware, and napkins. Did you know that during an average year, an American uses approximately around six paper napkins each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year. Same goes for special occasions. Just sayin’.

Let’s give it a try, how about we start by clicking on greeningdetroit.com and give a them big paperless birthday wish. And while you’re there under the “big green umbrella” maybe you’ll find more ways to make your next birthday party a little bit greener.

Pickin’ Away

I’ve never played guitar, and I know about two words in French. But, I have used gift cards. OK, hold on, there is a connection.

When I saw the posting “Handmade Unique Recycled Guitar Picks” on Facebook, I had to inquire. It turns out that Alicia, a student at Wylie E. Groves High School, is trying to send herself to France on next year’s senior class trip by up-cyling used up gift cards.

What’s in your wallet?

While thinking of ways on how to help fund her trip, Alicia remembered that she had a bunch of expired gift cards and hotel key cards and didn’t know what to do with them and – Viola! (that’s pretty much the extent of my French) the makings of Guitarishy was born. In Alicia’s fundraising effort, she is now making and selling “one-of-a-kind” recycled guitar picks all of which are custom and different from any other.

Did you know that there are 10 billion new cards placed in circulation every year? When these cards are replaced or reach their expiration dates, most of them are thrown in the trash – wouldn’t you rather contribute to a young student’s dream than to the landfill?

Really, $10 for 15 picks? So reasonable and just in time for the Holidays, you can order them here:  http://etsy.me/tnNPfd

Don’t know what to do with your old and expired library card, video rental card, membership cards, shopper discount cards and retailer gift cards? For card donations or special orders, you can get ahold of Alicia at 248-645-0938 / email guitarishy@aol.com.

Let’s make some beautiful music and help Alicia get to France.

For The Birds

Wow! I said to myself when I saw these fabulous birdhouses. They’re made up of all kinds of stuff like sugar canisters, percolators, compasses, vintage garden faucet handles, fan blades, and license plates. So cool.

For The Birds

Brian Carlisle’s first birdhouse “aha” moment was when he saw the copper coal bin at an antique store. “For some reason,” he says “I saw the hole for the bird and the handle as a perch. From there it made sense to me to form the roof with some sheet metal and make it swoop with the form of the opening.” He brought it home and as they say, the rest is history.

Already a fan of birds (his yard is certified with the National Wildlife Federation) and photographing them, that along with being a graphic designer – presto! It all came together.

Garage sales, thrift shops and dumpsters is where Brian finds the materials. He considers his upcycled birdhouses “helping not just birds, but all of nature which then reflects and affects us completely. I try to keep the focus on using materials that eventually would have ended up in the landfills and giving them a new life that hopefully will last far longer than their original intent.”

Even though the birdhouses are primarily decorative, Brian says they are habitable  – complete with drainage holes, ventilation and protection from the weather. He just reminds us to keep them out of direct sunlight or cold winds.

Pretty cool stuff. Ordinary items left for junk turned into a work of art. And a habitable one to boot.

See for yourself at gadgetsponge.com.

Recycled Love

I can’t even imagine, I was thinking to myself as I sat in the veterinary emergency room in the wee hours of the morning, how I would feel if I had to surrender Angus to a shelter or the alternative (gasp – I won’t even say it) because I couldn’t pay for his procedures. So sad having to make a decision like that.

With the average cost of basic food, supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat being $700 to $875 annually, handing over furry friends to shelters is at an all time high. That gets me to thinking about the ones that end up there and how do we make their transition an easier one?

Recycle This

“For the past 18 years, the Friends For The Dearborn Animal Shelter have been ultimate recyclers— of hope, lives, and love”* Since their inception, they have “rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed” more than 35,000 animals.  “Yes, the biggest need is to remember that animals need homes” says Andrea Kuentz of the shelter, “but also small acts and donations add up in a big way too.”

While our furry friends are waiting to be part of a new family, there are a lot of things you may already have around the house that could be of use to them at a shelter. Peanut butter for the pups, white pages of the newspaper for litter, old towels, or e-collars. And, instead of putting that old armchair out to the curb, donate it to make Fluffy more comfy at a Cat Community. Any old plastic toys your pet isn’t interested in anymore – wouldn’t those make the stay more fun? From adhesive tape to rubber gloves to hot dogs – check alternate ways to give at www.dearbornanimals.org or with your local animal shelter and see how we all can help make life a bit easier.

Recycle things you find in your home. Or upcycle and fill up the water bowl for a new addition. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about ultimate recycling for unconditional love.

*http://www.dearbornanimals.org/events/black-tie-tails-2/

Life In The Park

When I was asked to do a cartoon about Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan and what a great place it is to live, I wondered how does this relate to being green and cause minded? Come to find out I didn’t have to look too hard.

Amongst the safe, clean tree lined streets you’ll find charming homes and many mom and pop stores. The Park (as it’s lovingly called) also recently built their very own movie theatre and a fitness center.

But wait, there’s more!

The Park also has a “Tree City USA” designation. In order to be considered for this title, one of the criteria is that the city has it’s very own designated full time forester on staff. The Park covers just over one square mile and every one of the 8,000 city owned trees are tended to by forester Brian Colter.

One of the many interesting things I found out is that when residents rake the fall leaves to the curb for city pickup, they are taken for compost and then re-used for landscaping. “Black gold” Brian calls it. He also mentioned that when trees die the wood isn’t wasted. Even the mighty ash borer can’t take the tree down so to speak. The Park’s ice rink’s warming hut floor is made from those once infested ash trees which now help keep skaters warm and toasty.

Grosse Pointe Park. What a perfect community blend of ambiance and sustainability. Who knew that in the heart of Metro Detroit the small town is alive and well.

Got Worms?

My significant other had never come across a tomato worm before. You know, the big fat green worm with horns? Now he had one in his very own garden and didn’t know what to make of it. So, while poking around on the internet on how to get rid of the vermin, I ran across a natural deterrent. Dill. Yes, dill weed.

Got Worms?

If you do, then need to know this. The worms love dill even more than the tomatoes themselves. It seems that if you plant dill near the tomatoes, the worms will gravitate towards the dill and away from your prized, red juicy fruit.

I found another way to get rid of the critters organically is by sprinkling cornmeal around the plants. The idea is that when the worms eat the cornmeal then drink water, they swell up and burst. I opt for the former “dill weed” pest defense, myself.

In the meantime, it seems like everyone has a good tomato worm story. My friend Stefanie shared one with me (see below) and I hope you will too!

Who’s Afraid of a Little Worm?

When Birgit told me she was creating a strip about tomato worms, the first thing I said to her was my mom chased me around our backyard with one when I was about 8. Maybe I should explain.

I grew up with vegetables. My parents always had a garden. In fact, when it wasn’t a cool to grow your own produce, my dad plowed up a quarter of the backyard of our house in the suburbs to plant vegetables that always included a wide variety of tomatoes. Picking the “crops” was an everyday occurrence for my whole family and I never minded it until my first up close and personal visit with a tomato worm.

In my opinion, tomato worms are some of the nastiest looking pests you’ll ever find in a garden. They are green and plump and they stick themselves to tomato leaves and feast. Since those little munchers are the same color as the plant you don’t see them until you’re right on them and that’s exactly what happened to me. Hello ripe tomato, I’ll put you in the basket. Hello, wait, what’s that?! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! (It’s hard to know how many explanation points to use, I believe the entire neighborhood thought I was on fire.)

My mom was also in the garden. She came over, told me to stop yelling, broke off the leaf with the offending worm and (now here’s where the story becomes a bit cloudy) chased me around the backyard with the wormy leaf. That’s my version. I called my mom to get a little insight before I outed her to the world as someone who would chase her child with a worm and she told me a much different story. Apparently my mom hates tomato worms too, but as a mom, she saw it her duty to protect the crops and set an example for her children. Like she would be afraid of a worm? So she worked up enough courage to break off the tomato leaf and tried to show me it was no big deal. But when she raised the leaf toward me, I thought she was going to touch me with the worm and the screaming chaos ensued.

Thanks to Birgit, my parents will now be planting dill near their tomatoes.

The Procedure

When those commercials come on with the animals sitting in cages waiting to get adopted (you know the ones I’m talking about), I get all weepy and want to rescue them all on my own. That got me to thinking, what is it that animal shelters and rescues really, really want us to know? How can we really help?

So, I gave the Michigan Humane Society a call to find out. In speaking with Kevin Hatman the Public Relations Coordinator, I told him we all understand the importance of donating for care, taking time to walk the sheltered dogs, and adopting. But what else is important for us to be aware of? OK, guys. This is where you cross your legs and wince.

Keep our streets litter free.

He said most importantly it was spaying and neutering the animals. That too many end up as strays, being feral, sick or injured. And worst – can’t find loving homes.

The MHS has “fixed” 270,000 dogs and cats in the last 20 years which has kept exponentially millions of animals off the streets. Was there a number that could make an impression on us, something more relatable, I asked? Well, here’s a biggie. One pair of cats left unchecked could lead to over 300,000 offspring over the course of 7 years. That’s a lot of litter, so to speak.

Who knows what you’re “kids” are doing out there when you’re not watching, so send them out with some protection and help keep our streets safe and litter free.

Best In Show

“What do I know about judging a dog show” I thought to myself when I got the call from the Canton Public Library.  But, hey. I know that I love dogs and have, after all, seen “Best In Show.” So there I was, agreeing to be a judge. But then I began wondering, who were the other judges? What did I need to bone up on? What criteria would I need to know? Would I find it hard to vote on only one and not the others. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Here’s something to chew on.

Funny thing is, when the dogs got up in the “ring” for the most part they all got stage fright. Kinda like me, not exactly sure what to do, but eventually got it.

Buddy, a leader dog pup in training was there and he’s just like the rest of us. Learning step by step. And, Poncho the 11 year old police dog getting ready to retire had to start somewhere, too. These guys weren’t there to win anything – just to show us how to help and be of service in some sort of way.

So, I guess don’t be afraid to try something new or to reach out and help. We don’t always need to win. We don’t have to change the world. It’s the little things that make a big difference. Take one step in doing something you’ve been thinking about. Give a call to someone who would love to hear your voice. Drop some change into the Humane Society bucket. Give an old blanket or towels to a local shelter to help keep the animals warm. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got.

I didn’t know what to expect going in as a judge, but it turns out it wasn’t about what I knew, but rather what I learned.

Excess Baggage

I love to travel, and I must admit over the years I’ve learned to make due with just two (OK, maybe three) pair of shoes on a trip – depending. But, it turns out that all along without knowing it I was doing the planet a favor.

It goes to figure that the more a vehicle weighs, the more fuel it will take to power it. Alaska Airlines found that by removing just five magazines per plane they could save $10,000 in fuel costs a year!

Excess baggage doesn’t mean your significant other.

Same goes for when traveling by car. The U.S. Department of Energy wants us to know that by avoiding items unnecessary for our trips, we could reduce our MPG by up to 2% for each 100 pounds. That’s an equivalent gas savings of .04¢ -.07¢ per gallon!

At any rate, that savings on an up-coming trip could add up to a nice dinner. If nothing else, maybe we’ll get an extra bag of pretzels on our next flight.