How Lance Armstrong Avoided Drug Tests

How Lance Armstrong Avoided Drug Tests

In the fall of 2012 when the story broke about how Lance Armstrong’s teammate admitted to doping, I was dumbstruck. I thought, “Wow, those cyclists tricked us for years.” Then wondering how they did this, my thoughts turned comical and quickly absurd.


Scary Stories for Monsters

January 16, 2013

Scary Stories for Monsters

Scary Stories for Monsters

This was an assignment I did in a Cartooning for Fun and Profit class with Neal Yamamoto (SMC Continuing Education). I’ve learned the difficult way that you need to sometimes have reserve cartoons to publish. But it is better to do new ones.

California Condor Man

December 7, 2012

California Condor Man (endangered super hero)

California Condor Man (endangered super hero)

Elephant Art History 1

The big tuskers liked to rest their trunks on their tusks.

Elephant Art History II

Pablo preferred to make funny faces with his tusks.

Born to be Wild

November 29, 2012

Gao Gao, giant panda

Warning: Language in this cartoon may not be appropriate for children.

Elephants never forget

Elephants never forget

Elephants have a particularly strong memory for spatial relationships (such as geography) and emotions. At the Nairobi nursery for orphan elephants (David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust), the babies can get unsettled by changes in routine such as being reassigned to a different sleeping stall or when their milk bottle is not in the expected place. Also the keepers need to keep in mind that after disciplining an elephant, the keeper must also show love to the elephant afterwards to clarify that only the behavior was being punished. Otherwise the elephant could harbor a resentment and repay the ill feeling later on.

Shortly after arrival at the Nairobi nursery, often the orphans are still haunted by nightmares of violence witnessed or emotional loss of their mother and family. The presence and integration with other orphan elephants calm the newer elephants until they heal both physically and psychologically. On the rare occasion when an orphan gets reunited with its biological relatives, it is a celebratory and moving event. More typically, an orphan will get adopted by a herd of ex-orphans who have grown to adolescence or adulthood and moved to the wild parts of Tsavo National Park, independent of the human keepers. Those graduated elephants return to the orphan transition centers for help in case of injury, to show off their babies, and to visit and meet young orphans. The former orphans remember the keepers and their kindness.

Warning: This cartoon may not be appropriate for children.

Romantic overture

Romantic overture

Correction: Female elephants have an estrus cycle every 14-16 weeks.

However, due to the long gestation period (21-22 month) of elephants and also the 4-5 years in which a calf is milk-dependent, a female elephant will typically give birth every 4-5 years (or less frequently).

Male elephants (bulls) will check for their biological receptivity by sniffing the female genitalia and also sniffing the females’ urine for hormonal signals. Males will fight one another for dominant status and the right to reproduce with a fertile female. The male fight in this case is not intended to kill or inflict significant damage to one another but to test strength and one will submit to loss. The bull does not stay with the mother after conception.

After nearly 2 years of pregnancy (gestation), the cow will give birth. This is a truly joyous occasion in the herd and the elephants celebrate with much trumpeting. Other elephants may help the newborn calf up to start breast-feeding. The calf is dependent on its mother’s milk and must feed every few hours.

The herd is the elephant’s family and the elephant identifies strongly with the herd. In the wild, there are stories of how strongly elephants attach to one another. One elephant mother who lost her stillborn baby was observed to grieve the body for 3 days. At the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust care centers for orphan elephants, older baby elephants will adopt and look after newer orphans who tend to be traumatized and more vulnerable after just arriving at a center. One injured elephant’s best friend (another elephant) was reported to check on his friend night and day while Sheldrick Wildlife Trust keepers watched its recovery from an arrow wound.

The strongest bond is between a mother elephant and calf. She will defend her calf until nearly her end.