Claire & Company Winter Wallpapers

Happy Holidays, Horde!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I thought I might share with you a little gift: FREE holiday wallpaper, featuring the characters from my very-occasional comic, “Claire & Company!” (also known as “Claire De Lunacy,” depending on the vintage!)

Anyway, here they are.  Consider them a lil’ “Thanks!” for being a reader.


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Oscar is what we call a "special needs" cat.

Oscar is what we call a "special needs" cat.


UNACCEPTABLE!!! (Holiday Edition 2008)

Dear Readers:

With the holidays just around the corner, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the season. To help you make sense of this time of both joy and insane busy-ness, our planet’s top minds (Actual number of minds: one. Actual proximity to the top: eh, up there somewhere between home schooled kids and that Ken Jennings guy) have declared the following things to be immediately and irrevocably unacceptable for all eternity.

To wit:

1) Slanket: SNUGGILY UNACCEPTABLE!!! Yeah, yeah, I know, it was part of my Giftstravaganza Guide. That’s because we all need something we can buy on a whim and give to the person who would otherwise be receiving Hickory Farms products from us. But Slanket (and its insidious, low-rent doppelganger, the Snuggie) are forces for evil in this world, encouraging slothful, couch-based living and, more terrifyingly, ensconcing their victims in cozy warmth that will lull them gently into slumber – a slumber that will prove most unfortunate when they are captured by the aliens who created Slanket and taken off-world for menial labor and the entertainment of the alien masses.

FEEL MY TOASTY WRATH: Henceforth, all Slankets will be used to pacify violent offenders in our nation’s maximum security prisons. Alternatively, they may be turned around and used as bathrobes for giants.

2) Christmas in October: ANACHRONISTICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! OK, so I can understand that retailers don’t want to set out their holiday wares on December 22nd. But do they need to start bombarding us with Christmas cheer the same week as Halloween? Hello, there’s a whole ‘nother holiday in between the two! And I, for one, think National Cake Day deserves a little more respect.

TASTE MY TIMELY JUSTICE: From this day on, anyone caught displaying a Santa and a Jack O’ Lantern concurrently will be forced to watch “A Christmas Story” on mute while listening to Vincent Price’s soliloquy from “Thriller” on a loop.

3) Novelty Christmas Music Performed  by Animals: ANTHROPOMORPHICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You know they’re out there, waiting. During the rest of the year, you feel confident you can avoid them. Oh, sure, you might be exposed to the occasional Billy Bass or analogous Chthulu-level horror, but overall you have an excellent radar when it comes to people who enjoy watching animals sing. Then along comes Christmakwaanzukkah, and suddenly you can’t open an e-mail or a white elephant gift without being exposed to – God help us all – Jingle Cats, Bark the Halls or whatever the hell this is. What in the name of all that is good and holy happened to Silent Night?

MY BITE IS WORSE THAN MY BARK: The degree of unacceptability involved requires the harshest treatment: offenders will henceforth be locked in a room with Bob Barker, a tarp and pruning shears, and will only be released when they have been spayed and/or neutered. It’s for the good of the species, people.

4) Delivering a Flawless Rendition of Steve Martin’s Christmas soliloquy from My Blue Heaven and Receiving Only Dull, Cow-Eyed Stares in Return: ENSEMBLE-COMEDICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You spend years perfecting your craft (i.e., practicing in an offhand manner and relying heavily on your brain’s inability to forget anything it’s been exposed to, ever), and these are the thanks you get? Do you think that accent happens by itself, people? I put GEL IN MY HAIR, for Pete’s Sake! GEL!

WHAT’S ARUGULA? IT’S A VEG-A-TAB-UL: You are all hereby ordered to watch this movie and love it as I do, or I will be forced to reveal my hitherto-hidden infinite mental powers and wish you all into a cornfield.

5) The Following Conversation, Held Annually: PARENTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!


MA: Hello?

MOI: Hey, Ma. What does Dad want for Christmas this year?

MA: Well, you know your father. He’s impossible to buy for.

MOI: What about a tool? I think I saw a Deluxe HeeberJeeber 2000 on sale at Sears. Does he have one of those?

MA: Oh, honey, who knows what he’s got out in that garage? I haven’t been out there since 1978, and I don’t plan to go back. You know the socket wrenches went feral back in the early 90’s!

MOI: OK, well, what about clothes? I saw a very nice sweatshirt/flannel lumberjack thing/Cleveland Browns hat at the store the other day and…

MA: <noncommittal noise>

MOI: What?

MA: Well, I already got him one of those.


This is why my father has received a wallet from me every year for thirty-two years. They’re stacked up like cordwood.

I’M NOT A FREAKING PSYCHIC: Let the clarion call go forth, to the four corners of the land! Whoever invents a device that will detect the three tools my father does not already own at Christmas time shall receive a bounty of gold doubloons and, it goes without saying, several nice wallets.

Ignore these tips at your peril, my friends, because at any time, anywhere, you could find your stocking filled with a lump of coal we like to call…UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Claire’s Giftstravaganza Guide 2008

Well, it’s that time again, kids. Sleigh bells are ringing, and carolers are singing “Be of good cheer…” It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

For retail, at least.

My personal plan, in this era of shrinking budgets and industry bailouts, is to move to handmade gifts for next Christmas (and beyond). However, this year, I remain a member of the huddled masses eager to pre-spend their economic stimulus on stuff the recipient will most likely forget about within a fortnight, and in my role as such, I humbly present to you:

Claire’s Giftstravaganza Guide 2008

The Recipient: Grandma

The Gift: Slanket

The Reason: Grandma’s old. She’s tired. And she is always – ALWAYS – freezing cold, even in her condo in Miami. Unless you have one of those irritating “hip” grandmas, chances are she’s stretched out on the davenport sipping chamomile tea, working her puzzles and watching her stories, at any given moment of the day. Ideally, grandma would like to be able to do these things while also maintaining a body temperature above 62 degrees. Enter…the Slanket. Designed by top engineers,  this blanket with sleeves (see what they did there? Eh? Eh? And…cue vomiting) will keep your nan ensconced in a toasty fleece cocoon that she’ll have to leave only for trips to the potty….and depending on her age, maybe not even then!

Where to Get It: The fifth circle of Hell, or here.

The Recipient: Your Geeky Brother (or Sister, if she goes for this sort of thing)

The Gift: The only thing that could make him take down his Enterprise schematics.

The Reason: Exposed to Star Wars at an early age, your poor brother/sister never had a chance. Now a full-fledged geek, his/her only hope of finding a mate is to either become the head of a giant soulless corporation or trolling the conventions for a similarly afflicted female/male/etc. of the same species. Until the day he/she invents the iPhone app that translates Huttese to Klingon and makes his/her fortune, he/she can draw inspiration from this excellent poster of Princess Leia. I know I’ve seen Carrie Fisher in other movies. I’m sure I even enjoyed some of them. But when I hear the words “Carrie Fisher,” I think not of  “When Harry Met Sally” or “Drop Dead Fred,” but instead Leia, chained to Delta Burke Jabba the Hutt and further complicating the Rube Goldberg mechanics of my burgeoning sexuality. Chances are, so does your brother/sister.

Where to Get It: Harrison Ford’s jumble sale, George Lucas’ attic,

The Recipient: Your Unwanted Secret Santa

The Gift: Something under the $20 limit.

The Reason: We’ve all been there. You’re in a club. You work in a “fun” office. You stumbled into an AA meeting by mistake, liked the coffee and ended up staying despite the shady moral implications. At some point, we’ve all drawn the tiny piece of paper with some random person’s name and wish list written upon it and thought “Aww, MAN!” That’s right – you’ve drawn the name of the last person you’d ever want to purchase a gift for, and as you suspected, their tastes run in the direction of the absurd/lame/possibly illegal in certain states. So what’s a reluctant Santa to do? Well, there’s always the gift that says “I don’t give a damn about you, but I feel compelled to fulfill my obligations. Ho, ho, ho!” Or, if you’re a more kind-hearted sort, why not give them a gift basket? There’s a gift basket for every occasion and recipient…even weird Judy, who sits quietly conversing with the copier when she thinks no one is looking.

Where to Get It: Oh, just about anywhere – poke around, lazy. Yeesh. Ok, fine, here.

The Recipient: Your Boss

The Gift: How should I know? They’re YOUR boss.

The Reason: Buying a gift for your boss is a task fraught with the potential for reward and disaster alike. Who among us (well, the mercenary among us) hasn’t given a gift to our boss and thought “Yes! The promotion is mine!” only to be told, in a quiet tone that nevertheless betrays the simmering rage beneath, “My brother was killed by a novelty pen holder in the shape of a golf ball, you heartless bastard!”? OK, probably none of us, actually. However, my completely unrealistic example should encourage you, gentle reader, to learn your boss’ interests and hobbies (assuming they have them and are not corporate automatons whose only goal is the glorification of their employer and better stock options). Why? Because if you get them something they’ll use (e.g. a golf range finder, tickets to the Osmonds, ShamWow, the chamois that makes you say “Wow!”), then they’ll be out more often, using it…which means that you can finally finish that report/take a nap/beat Frostmaw’s Burrows and complete your Master Dungeon Guide.

Where to Get It: Again, it’s your boss, yo. But it can’t hurt to try here.

The Recipient: Your Helpmate, Your Beloved, The Very Shade of Your Soul

The Gift: Something befitting the person to whom you’ve already given your heart.

The Reason: Ah, love. It manifests itself in so many ways…the gentle caress across your cheek, the way they let you say “sammich” instead of “sandwhich” because it’s “cute,” that one thing they do in bed that causes you to make a noise the neighbors assume to be a mountain lion being fed into a woodchipper…for all these reasons and more, the gift you give your significant other should be one that comes from the heart. Stymied for ideas this year? Hunting for something that says “my love for you is deeper than Heidi and Spence’s operatic tale of mutual adoration?” Well, pardner, you’re in luck, because there are as many ways to say “Happy Holidays, love” as there are loves! For example, the more clingy may want to check out the personalized photoframe. They get a physical reminder of your constant, smothering affection, you get the peace of mind that comes from knowing they’re under your hawklike gaze 24/7.  Prefer your lover stay with you out of devotion rather than abject terror? Then you should sign them up for a “whatever-of-the-month” club membership. They get a yearlong reminder that you’re thinking of them, you get infinite brownie points every month when they open their newest shipment. “Oh, honey, that’s okay, I can take out this heavy bag of trash. You just sit there and enjoy your premium microbrews I bought for you out of pure and unblemished love.”  Finally, for those of you with a saucy side, there’s always the much-anticipated (or dreaded) sexy Christmas gift. What better way to say “I would prefer our first child be born in early September” than a sexy bit of red-and-white lingerie? (Insert your own candy cane joke here. Or your own candy cane. It’s none of my business, buster).

This concludes Claire’s Giftstravaganza Guide 2008. I hope it proves useful in your search for the perfect gift, and remember, the best gift you can give is the gift of yourself (unless they already have one of you, in which case I’d go with one of those envelopes from the bank with a cutout for the face on a crisp $50).

Happy Holidays!