Back-up Vocal~ When most folks in the broader world think of England, a few classic and iconic elements spring to their noggins. Castles, tea time and crowns are among the most obvious threads in the tapestry. I know choirs were always a big one for me (and Marillion, but that goes without saying). The list goes on for miles. So, in crafting this Comic with Manny and Soxx still in town, it was important to me to include an instantly recognizable piece of truly British culture. The red phone booth fit the bill perfectly. In truth, I had built that call box for Comic #192. But, there ultimately just wasn’t room for it. The Tony Robbins portion of the joke has been kicking around in my head since Comic Strip #172 and I was determined to find a spot for it. Letting it percolate for a spell, gave it the breathing room it needed to develop into the fully functioning animal I felt it could be. All due respect to Tony Robbins as well. He has done extraordinary amounts of good for this world and I absolutely tip my hat to him for it. That said, attempting to pay off debts to his company with something as irrelevant as chip dip recipes is exactly what our Yoga Boy would do. It felt absolutely proper to infuse it into to the ebb and flow of this Comic.

The “12 Monkeys” TV show gave me a gift beyond measure, by introducing me to the “Pistol Packin’ Mama” tune and making reference to it has become a staple of my work in these pages. Even a year after hearing for the very first time, I still bust out laughing whenever I play it. Perhaps it’s the juxtaposition of the ditty sung by Bing Crosby, a legendary voice I had primarily associated with songs of love and reverence for days gone by. Being exposed to a song founded in such a dark sense of humor came as a genuine shock to me. The brilliance of it earned that little gem a permanent seat of honor in halls of the Splendorland Kingdom. Referencing the song lets me cite the show in my write-ups and that may inspire a few more of you Beloveds to investigate it for yourselves. Indeed, just a passing glance at female lead Amanda Schull, will inform one of the reason why an appreciation symposium need never be questioned. In addition, Hokey Smokes that gal can act!

Even my own brain reels at the thought of a joint venture between the Splendorland University Marketing Department and ANY company seeking to promote a new product line to the common man. The closest thought I can even offer as an excuse for this union of the minds, is that it served as the utility van that dove me to the intersection of Tony Robbins and a spectacularly bouncy little “golden oldie”, which birthed a running joke I couldn’t stop deploying if I was paid enough to retire this very second. Perhaps a moment of reflection is in order, as we consider the rainbow of potential catastrophes that may await the “Crumpet Castle” suits. After all, they’ve placed untold volumes of trust in a pair of certifiable dogs professing the visions of a college peopled by students and faculty who can’t spell.