The 1st Wedding Anniversary of 2 Arkansas Designers In Love

My beloved wife Lee Hiller-London who is a master nature photographer which one can see at her Hike Our Planet blog and I are celebrating our one year anniversary today.  We had the best time; got up early and walked on the mountain where we got married. We didn’t go all the way up to the wedding chapel as I’m nursing an injured ankle but that’s a whole other story.  We received best wishes and congratulations from many of the most important and wonderful people in our lives by phone, tweet and facebook.

It’s been quite a day and tonight we’re watching Ed Wood with Johnny Depp.  Lee has seen it but she’s seen now catching me up on all the films I missed when I went back to school in my latter years.  I’m 56 now and went back to school on and off through my forties to early 50’s; at times, full-time.  Much more fun in one’s youth. LOL.  I wish I’d paid more attention my first time in school in my late teens but I guess I forgot to pay attention after forgetting to listen to my dear late mom (who had a degree in education) say, “Pay attention!!!”.

Since my first job selling records at Pal’s Music Company in downtown Hattiesburg, Ms at age 12 in 1966 until the early 2000’s, I had so many odd jobs to support my “life as a writer”, I can’t even count them all.  Had a lot of false starts too.

Anyway, fast forward to June 18, 2010. I married the woman of my dreams (Lee) atop Hot Springs Mountain with a handful of guests.  It was a gorgeous indoor/outdoor nature wedding (if there is such a thing).  We had so much fun.   We still do.

Well, most people by now know that I founded my offbeat cartoons & funny gifts, Londons Times back in 1997 but I had a few near stops, real stops etc due to health, school, etc.  Then around 6 months into our marriage Lee suggested I’d probably be happier if I started a Londons Times Gen 2 cartoon reflecting all that has occurred in the world since my early cartoons, which a lot of people still thought were fine, but they didn’t reflect the changes of today. She was onto something (I later discovered).

Since I launched that cartoon came Google, blogging, 9/11, social media (Twitter, Facebook et al), med-resistant e-coli, tornadoes that went on for months, and so much more.   So I recruited a new creative team after reviewing several hundred portfolios. This new team was/is the tops. The new toons are much larger.  The text is more to the point, and hopefully the whole finished product is more productive.

We work as a team, as most cartoons you see in the newspaper do.  I write them, and do what is called “blueprinting them” which gives more detail such the expressions on the various persons faces, their body language, the pictures on the wall (if inside); what kinds of trees, dogs etc if outdoors.  I think blueprinting might be the hardest part of the process, but the most fun.  In a way it is like being an art director in a film. I’ve watched them work and it reminds me of that (only not so complex); I mean after all it’s only a cartoon.

I now have about 5000+ cartoons on my site and over a quarter million funny gifts. The funny t-shirts,  gifts & funny greeting cards by brand name sites such as Sears & Amazon.  Over 200 or the cartoons are new Gen 2 as are about 1000+ of the offbeat gifts & collectibles. Let me preface the rest of this paragraph with I dare not put myself in the same league with the master,  Gary Larson, but I remember when he took his all down from the net and demanded all others do the same. Finally he had to threaten suit and possibly sued, I can’t remember for those who would not remove them.  I loved Gary’s personality and his work.  I never understood why he had the cartoons removed (at first).  Then one day he said in an interview, “I had them removed because they are like my babies”.  I didn’t understand it at 1st.  5000 cartoons later, I don’t understand how anyone couldn’t understand it.

Cartooning and creating merchandising is work that can be difficult or easy; but its always fun, and sadly, it is work that most people don’t see you do.   Lee sees me work, and as a fellow designer, she knows how hard I do work. It seems like I’m always working though it seems like play.  Between all the crazy jobs I had to take to get to our little piece of paradise in the Arkansas Mountains, I can truly say it was all worth it.  But what a journey!! I have learned new digital design skills and am now making the world’s only famous love quote shoes at my shop Shoes That Amuse and a line of Sushi Shoes & Gifts at my ShoeShies Shop. I’ll feature them in a near-future blog.  Meanwhile please feel free to take a look.  About 400 of the items have also been picked up at and I expect Sears Marketplace to carry them this year.

PS: Since I wrote this blog my beloved wife Lee & I watched Ed Wood and it was brilliant and strange. I loved it. She loved it (again); she’s seen it many times. In the middle of the film, we received a phone call on Lee’s phone from a very close special person in our lives and she couldn’t get to the phone in time.  When we checked the message, our dear friend had sung “Happy Anniversary To You” in a voice as atonal as mine; but we absolutely loved it.  (Let me add she is a most talented woman and known around the world for various advanced skills….but like me, singing does not happen to be one of them.  But it surely was fun and we surely did laugh aloud the rest of the day.   It was a beautiful day with my amazing wife Lee on our 1st anniversary and I felt the love and support from everyone who wished us well, who have supported us in our business ventures, and been there for us. It does not go unnoticed.  We love you all.


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