“My Dog Ivy : A July Diary” — A Pure Distillation Of Everything Gabrielle Bell Does Best

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

At this point, Gabrielle Bell’s July diary comics are as tried-and-true a ritual as the bonding process between people and animals — so combining the two really only makes sense, doesn’t it?

That being said, as the asterisk on the cover of My Dog Ivy : A July Diary, her latest single-issue “floppy” from Uncivilized Books, makes clear, the titular golden retriever isn’t hers, but belongs to the Twin Cities couple she’s house-sitting for — whose identities should be easy enough to suss out with my having to say so, I would think. Not that Ivy is the only pet she’s charged to take care of, given that two cats are also “on the scene,” and not that watching after all these animals is the only thing that she has on her plate, given that there’s a garden to be tended, as well.

In any case, Bell’s facility…

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Happy Birthday, Arleigh!

Today is a very special day as we celebrate the birthday of the founder of the Shattered Lens, the one and only …. ARLEIGH SANDOC!

Happy birthday, Arleigh!

Nearly 10 years ago, Arleigh founded the site that would eventually become the Shattered Lens.  He recruited our initial crew of four writers.  (We’ve obviously grown since those early days) and he asked me to come aboard as co-editor of the site.  Tomorrow is thanksgiving but I can tell you what I’m thankful for today.  I’m thankful that Arleigh took a chance and made me a part of this site.  I have grown so much as a writer, due to the opportunities and the freedom that Arleigh offered to me and every other writer on this site.

Next year, we’ll be celebrating the TSL’s 10th birthday all year long.  2020 is going to be all about celebrating everything that this site is about and I hope we’ll see each and everyone of you there.  Today, however, is all about celebrating Arleigh.

Happy birthday, Arleigh!

Music Video of the Day: Drinking Alone by Carrie Underwood (2019, dir by Randee St. Nicholas)

I have to say that I kind of got worried for Carrie while I was watching this video.

“You don’t know that man, Carrie!” I shouted, “Be careful!”

I’m not particularly a fan of country music but I’ve always liked Carrie Underwood, largely because she seems to be unpretentious and, all things considered, rather down-to-Earth.  That said, when she was on American Idol, I was planning on voting for Bo Bice.  But then Bo started singing songs acapella and I was like, “Uh, I don’t want to encourage that type of behavior.”  I was legitimately torn between Carrie and Bo.  In the end, if I remember correctly, I compromised by voting for Gary Johnson, instead.

Anyway, on a serious note, I don’t think Carrie Underwood could have pulled this song off 10 years ago.  There’s a kind of sad “I’ve suffered real pain” feel to this song and it’s the type of thing that I imagine only comes with getting older and experiencing some real disillusion.  That melancholy feel is there in the video, too.  I mean, there’s a lot of quiet desperation going on here and it’s going to take more than a live performance of The Sound of Music to make everything okay again.