New Cartoonist Joins GJP

Budding young artist Cub Scout Ben has joined the staff at Grumpa Joe’s Place as a contributing artist. CS Ben has natural talent and wit that comes from living on a farm in Michigan. Ben regularly shovels horse manure as he helps his mom clean stalls  No doubt he will want to join the Wabbit Wars series as an embedded reporter chronicling the escapades of the terror network of Wabbits, cats, and squirrels infiltrating Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision.

Cat Eyes Fish and Salivates

Terror Cell Plans An Attack

      Deep within the thicket behind Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision a meeting of Wabbits from terror groups of every block discussed plans for taking out the Monet Vision. Last Spring they snuck into his yard and tasted the tulips and his prize lilies. He didn’t know what hit him. They forced him to install extensive Wabbit barrier over his lobelias, which made him work four times as hard to pull weeds. Not to mention, each time he discovered a snipped tulip bud or a clipped lily stem his blood pressure went through the roof. The group planned a new assault.

“We have to expand our numbers,” said Ali Bugbuny.

“Yes, but we must also train new recruits in the art of stem tasting,” exclaimed Sadr el Jac.

“What if we change the strategy from tasting to eating the flowers,” asked Yasir Flufytail?

“Hmmmn, not a bad idea” replied Ali.

The ideas flowed all evening. It was late into the night before the terror group finally agreed to a plan.

“It is agreed then, we will begin the campaign on the night of the full moon,” said Ali Bugbuny as he dismissed them, “be careful going home.”

The group hopped through the darkness keeping invisible as they moved through backyards. Usa-Bugbuny stayed under the front yard boxwoods. He sprinted through the open spaces between houses to the end of Brown Drive. Yasir Flufytail speed-hopped through the backyards to Charrington Drive, and Siwee el Waby dashed across the street between lights until he reached cover under a burning bush. One more sprint and I’ll be on Bramble Lane he thought. The others worked their way through the thicket westward to Ginger Lane. All of them swore to keep the plan a secret. They were to move about only under cover of darkness. Their plan would drive Grumpa Joe nuts.

“That was a most productive meeting Ali,” said Sadr el Jac.

“It is the best plan we’ve ever put together. I can’t wait to begin. I’ll see you again under the moon.”

Meanwhile, Grumpa Joe discussed world affairs and gardening over a glass of wine with his friend Al.

“Where have all the Wabbits gone,” asked Grumpa Joe?

“What do you mean, I have plenty of Wabbits in my yard,” said Al.

It is almost June, and I did not see a single Wabbit in the yard. My tulips were beautiful, and the lily’s are strong and tall.”

“I’ll send you some of my bunnies if you wish,” said Al.

“Please don’t.”

“I wonder if the coyote has been roaming through the neighborhood,” said Joe.

“That is a strong possibility Joe, they howl behind my house every night, but I still have lots of wabbits. It is late, I have to get home.” Al backed his car out of Grumpa Joe’s driveway just as Siwee el Waby made his dash across the street. The car lights swung out over him as he ducked under the Burning Bush.

Whew, that was close, he almost saw me. We have to live undercover until it is time to execute the plan. We want Grumpa Joe to believe he has beaten us.

The Wabbit world was abuzz for the remainder of the summer. Young wabbits went to school everyday, and momma wabbits raised more young ones to join them. Parents were careful to teach the youngsters not to go out while in daylight for fear of spoiling the ruse to make Grumpa Joe believe the wabbits were gone from his yard.

Ali Bugbuny recruited Aga and Bushr Bambi to join the plan. The army of invaders grew everyday. New recruits came well trained too.

“It is agreed, we will meet you and the Wabbit army in the invasion of the garden known as the Monet Vision during the full moon of July.”

“Peggy, have you noticed the big gaping hole in the yellow petunia patch?”

“No I haven’t, where?”

“Look there, between the potted geranium and the Coral Bells.”

“Oh, those plants are regenerating,” she said.

“I hope you are right, but it does bear watching.”

Grumpa Joe put the Monet Vision under surveillance. He took note of where the flowers were missing.

“These look cut off to me,” he told Peggy as he watered one night.

“It’s your imagination,” she said.

“We’ll see about that,” Joe replied.

Grumpa Joe sat on the patio sprinkling the flowers after a day of intense heat when he spotted a movement. His gaze froze on the spot. The sun had gone down and only the grey light of dusk remained. He saw a movement at the far corner of the yard. Yep, it’s a Wabbit he thought. I’ll wait to see where he goes.

Aga Bambi sat almost motionless. Only his mouth and nose moved as he chewed on some fresh grass. He couldn’t wait until total darkness as the plan called for. He had to eat something.

Aga sprinted through the Monet Vision into the wetland to the safety of his hutch. Inside the mass of twisted brambles he came face to face with Ali, Sadr, and Yasir. They sat in the darkness waiting for him. Sadr hopped to the entrance and blocked it off, Yasir moved to Aga’s side. Aga faced Ali in the center of a triangle of Wabbits. His escape route blocked, he had no choice but to face the music.

Ali put his nose up against Aga’s and began a Drill Sargent’s tirade.

“You dumb long-ear clown you ruined the plan, what were you thinking?”

“I’m sorry Ali, I was hungry and those Petunias looked so good. Besides, wasn’t that the plan?”

“The plan was to do it in the dark not broad daylight. Did they look and taste good enough to break cover?”

“I was careful, no one saw me.”

“Watch this.” Ali popped a DVD into his command computer. “These were taken this afternoon you dummy.”

The four of them watched as Aga relished a dozen soft-yellow Petunia blossoms before he moved to the deep purple ones. Aga dropped his head and eyes in guilt. The video clearly showed him violating the order.

“As punishment for disobeying an order you are banished from the Cell.”

“Where am I going,” asked Aga?

“To the land of native wildflowers where you will no longer enjoy the juicy and tender fruit of home gardens. Take him away boys.”

Sadr grabbed him by the back of the neck, and Yasir by the fluffy tail. They dragged him off to Prairie Park.

“Okay Yasir, on the count of three.”

They swung him back and forth, and on three they let go of him.  Aga went sailing through the air and landed deep in the tall grass.

Ali sat by himself in Aga’s hutch thinking for a long time. His mind raced through counter measure possibilities. After what seemed like hours an idea came to him. He finally hopped out of the hutch into the darkness of the wetland with only the fireflies lighting the night sky.

“I have to gather the cell and discuss the new plan.”

Easter Wabbit Invasion

Am I Seeing Things?

It was early Easter morning when I awoke to some strange noises in the house. Not yet completely awake, I began shuffling around the house looking for the source of noise. Am I seeing things, what is that in Grandma Peggy’s potted plant? My vision is blurry, I rub my eyes to clear them up and to sharpen my senses.

Easter Wabbit Munchin of Peggy's Plants

Oh my God! I am not seeing things it is real. A Wabbit has infiltrated the house. What I see is sharp and clearly a Wabbit. “How did he get in here?” I leave to get something to catch him with.

Oh no, another one!

Wabbit eating a Hyacinth bulb

This is too strange. What will I do now? First they infiltrated the yard and now the house. I’m in deep trouble. If Peggy finds the bunny wabbits they will become pets, and I will be forced to feed them. I have to catch them and make hasenpfeffer before she wakes up.

Wabbit Chews on Christmas Cactus

I don’t believe it, he is eating cactus! This is serious, I must still be asleep and this is a bad dream. Not even the dreaded terror-wabbits eat cactus plants. Yeah, this has to be a dream, no, it is a nightmare. Wake up this can not be real.

Wabbit on desert rose

The nightmare is getting worse! Not even the desert rose is safe, who are these guys? Oh my, how am I going to catch them all? If I don’t they will multiply and take over the house in a couple of days.

God save the orchid from the Wabbit.

Dear God save the orchid from this evil Wabbit! Nothing is safe. Are these Wabbits related to those who ate my tulips last year? Are they taking revenge for the rabbit barrier I used to cover the lobelia? What are they, and from where did they come?

Wabbit eats succulents

Now, that’s the last straw! Get out of the succulents. I’m cooked, there are way too many to deal with before Peggy finds them, and they become pets. She hates hasenpfeffer, and there isn’t much else they are good for except maybe wabbit foot key chains. Think, Think, Think. I need a solution fast. I just know they are busy multiplying.

I retire to my study to find a solution. I Google wabbit invasion and find numerous Youtube videos on wabbit invasions, but no solutions. Maybe I should return to bed and wake up all over again. It’ll be different, right? I don’t think so. Oh me, oh my, what am I to do? I need help. Maybe my readers will help me, yes I’ll blog about the wabbit invasion. All the intelligent people who read Grumpa Joe’s Place will send tons of advice for how to deal with this situation. Yes that’s it, but first I have to eat breakfast. All this talk of Hasenpfeffer and catching wabbits has fueled my appetite. Yes, go make some coffee, boil some eggs to have with toast made from that homemade bread. Go for it.

Wabbit army eyeing up Grumpa Joe.

Ye gods, they are coming to get me!

Wabbit Wars-Sneak Attack

“Look at the big Wabbit!” exclaimed the chorus of grand children from the sun room.

” He has a mouth full of grass.”

Grumpa Joe observed the Wabbit make several trips to the neighbor’s yard, returning with a mouthful of grass each time.

“Oh no, she is building a nest under my miniature evergreen, I have to get rid of her.”

“Is she going to have babies?”

“I have to chase her away,” he grumbled. Best to wait until later, he thought to himself.

A few minutes later Grumpa Joe’s grandson Ben came to him cradling a stuffed bunny and made his pitch.

Looking up, directly into Grumpa’s eyes with the saddest expression a little boy can muster  he said, “are you going to shoot the Wabbit? Please don’t kill her.”

Grumpa Joe was speechless. How and when did the Wabbits infiltrate the family to brainwash his grandson?

“I won’t hurt the Wabbits,” he told Ben while thinking of  his next move after the kids were gone.

The following day, it rained and the Wabbit activity was invisible.  She’s probably sitting on her nest, he thought.

Finally, the rain stopped and Grumpa Joe worked  in the garden. He snuck up on the pine tree and inspected the base. Sure enough, he found a hole next to the trunk.

That hole is too small for that big rabbit he told himself. Meanwhile, he saw no further activity.

I wonder if she abandoned the nest? Great, now I’ll get the blame for getting rid of the Wabbit, and I didn’t do anything. This is a secret Wabbit strategy  to take over the yard, and decapitate the tulips and the lilies.

Grumpa Joe returned to the house for lunch. Afterwards, he tried taking a nap but had trouble falling sleep. Visions of  Wabbits invading the house  and crawling all over him with tulips in their mouths flowed through his mind. He visioned Wabbits sitting everywhere, on the counter tops, the coffee tables, the kitchen table. Wabbits covered the floor making it impossible to walk. He opened the refrigerator, the Wabbits sat inside eating lettuce and carrots.

“Yikes,” he shouted.

“What’s wrong?” asked Grandma Peggy.

“I had a daymare.”

“What is that?”

“That’s the same as a nightmare, except it happens in the daytime.

Kick It Into High Gear

It is time to reflect on the past year and to account for the precious time granted me by the Lord. I struggled with my accomplishment list as I took inventory of what I did. I recalled that during my working years, at the end of a busy day, I often told my staff, “Well, we didn’t get much done today, but we will give it hell tomorrow.” So here goes my advice to myself, “Well Joe, you didn’t get much done in 2010, so give it hell in 2011.”

My accomplishment list is short this year, but the projects were larger. Here is a short list of things I am proud of:

I posted one hundred and seventy-five pieces on my BLOG. Among these posts were fifty-six political cartoons. Some of them were genius, others mediocre.

I wrote two children’s stories and submitted them to publishers: “FLYING TO THE SUN,” and “MOON CAKES TO GO.”  I rewrote a children’s story titled “FIRE FLY AIR FORCE,” for summer, and two Christmas stories, “SANTA IS MISSING, and “THE GIFT,” in time for Christmas.

Peggy and I spent twelve weeks basking in the sunny climes of Arizona while my kids stayed home to shovel snow. We visited cousins and friends in California.

Lion Joe organized and led the STRIDES: Lions Walk for Diabetes Awareness, with a team of really great Lincoln-Way High School teachers, and Lions.

In between those activities, Grumpa Jose  kept the garden in order, and the lawn maintained. This is the first year, I was proud of the green grass in front of our home. While I was tending the front with loving care, the backyard lawn turned  into thistle and chickweed.  Jose also waged a war with the Wabbits and built barriers around his flower beds. The Wabbit wars were documented on the BLOG. Just as the fence along our southern border fails to keep out drug runners, my fences were no match for the Wabbits. It turned out that West Nile virus is a more effective deterrent. While I waited for the virus to kick in, the Wabbits consumed my prize perennials.

In order to keep my sanity during this activity called 2010, I kept calm and chilled by consuming eight cases of red wine. Of all the accomplishments, the wine tasting was my favorite.

Finally, here is some  wisdom for my friends:

I know you didn’t get much done in 2010, so kick it into high gear, and give it hell in 2011.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Wabbits-20, Grumpa Joe-1

The Wabbit War took a turn for the better yesterday. Grumpa Joe transformed himself into Jose the illegal grass cutter and mowed the lawn. He dreamt about how to deport all the illegal aliens from his garden. I would let them stay if they would only eat grass, he thought. They insist on steak instead. Over the course of the summer, the Wabbits took out twelve Asiatic lilies, a prize geranium, Sum and Substance hosta, sedum, lobelia, Rose of Sharon sprigs, moonflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, my Count Dracula day lily, and they killed a huge number of tulips while I was in Arizona. They ate everything but grass. If they ate my grass, and kept it short, I would love them.  Instead, I am spewing CO and CO2 into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.  I knew it, the damn Wabbits are melting the polar ice cap.

I was nearly half way finished with making stripes in the front lawn when I noticed some fur and guts on the stripe next to me. How did that happen? I ran over a baby “Oh isn’t he cute,” Wabbit. All I can say is that the Wabbit world is better off by not having this stupid genetically defective individual multiplying their kind. Any Wabbit stupid enough to hide in the grass, while Jose the Illegal grass cutter daydreams stripes into the lawn, deserves to be chopped into pieces.

I know, I know. My readership will drop because of my terrible attitude and lack of compassion for the poor. After all, they are only trying to make a better life for themselves. Well, shit happens. The Wabbits are still out scoring me twenty to one.

New Development in the Wabbit War

Image courtesy of Warner Bros, free use agreement.

A new force has mysteriously intervened in the Wabbit War. Striking in the dark of night, the new force has divided the Alliance. Grumpa Joe smilingly approves. The Alliance consisting of Wabbits, Grandma Peggy, birds, squirrels, mice, ants, and the dreaded Heron have suffered a major setback. Still unidentified, the strike force snuck into the garden climbed the window style and stole a bird feeder. In a fit of disappointment, Grandma Peggy directed Grumpa Joe to search for the lost feeder. He spent three hours in the yard mowing and weeding without spotting any evidence of the feeder or its hanger. Meanwhile, the Wabbits continue to eat any new plant sprouting in the flowerbeds. They also continue to enjoy the birdseed that Grandma Peggy now spreads on the patio for the birds. Is it possible that the Wabbits themselves are responsible for this latest act of aggression? Have they allied themselves with the opossum or the raccoons in order to avail themselves of easier food?

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