Hello, Squiddies! I am back! I must tell you that the last month has been a crazy wild ride of travel, traveling while sick… total sickness and recovery.

Let’s start at the beginning. I had an amazing trip of discovery. I so enjoy seeing how the rest of the world lives, thinks, eats and has fun. This trip was a discovery of how Euro countries do winter and Christmas. We stayed in France, The Netherlands, Belgium and briefly in Germany. So we got to see the way these places deal with wintertime… and I was impressed with the hearty drinks each place offered and the cheerful folks who served them. There was Belgian Coffee (served to us by Michel), Cours Cheval, Alsacian Coffee, and Schnapps. These all help you get over the winter cold outside…. The Dutch just throw chocolate sprinkles on stuff and magically everything’s better.

The surprises on this trip were Ghent, Belgium and Strasbourg, France. Both cities are university towns, and OLD World places with tons of history clogging up the streets. Here’s an amazing castle, AND here’s an amazing cathedral… and art museums and stuff… so much to see and do! Strasbourg had an amazing contemporary art museum… and we visited so many art museums on this trip! It was inspiring and fun-filled and interesting…

Then there was the downer, however, of getting sick in Amsterdam, and then continuing to worsen until I got home and couldn’t get off the couch for OVER A WEEK. I was lethargic, hacking up goop and not feeling at all hopeful, or wanting to do ANYthing… just sit on the couch.    Okay, I did watch French cartoonists draw on YouTube…. I found an old TV program called Tac au Tac… and it was kind of like an improv cartooning show from the 70’s. Fascinating. Andre Franquin is my new hero…. Franco-Belgian Tooner who did a comic called “Gaston Lagaffe” as well as drawing “Spirou.” Anyhoo… pretty amazing guy.

And on the subject… French tooners who lost their lives for drawing what they wanted…. Really short response here… I would not buy a copy of Charlie Hebdo … I’m not confrontational… and their humor is anything but…. HOWEVER… if you say you support freedom of speech, you have to support even the stuff you don’t like… the stuff you find offensive. I am sad for the families of those who were killed. It is a tragedy and it shouldn’t have happened. Let it be said that I like “happy” cheerful cartoons… and that’s the stuff I buy.

Okay, letting off on a happier note… It’s good to be reasonably healthy again, and back in my office and at the toons. 2015 got off to a little bit of a shaky start… but at the same time, a great start… so off we go!