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Can You Be Funny? Everyday? For More Than 13 Years?

February 20, 2014

(Image credit: 2/18/2014


Five thousand

0b1001110001000 (I’m a computer guy, it’s still the same number)

My friend Howard Tayler did something on Sunday February 18th, that he’s done 5,000 times in a row. He updated his comic, Schlock Mercenary. Since June 12th, 2000 without fail, every day, he’s offered up a free comic.

This blog ( has updated every business day for almost a year. I take the weekend off, and I have still have 12 years to go to catch Howard.

Just to add some perspective to what that number means, in June 2000:

– Bill Clinton was finishing up his second term as president
– The tragedy of September 11, 2001 was still over a year away
– I had 4 of my 13 children
– A gallon of gas cost about $2.00
– The population of the United States was 281 million
– The world population was just a shade over six billion

Howard draws his comic on legal sized paper, 11×14. If you were to lay all the pages end to end, counting one page per day and three on Sunday, it would stretch over 77,000 feet, nearly 15 miles. And anyone who walked that 15 miles would be laughing every step of the way.

I have been fortunate to read Schlock for many years, but to be Howard’s friend for even longer than that. My office is adorned with some original Schlock art.

Here’s the original art work for the big shark who’s name I could never remember. Megalomanic or something like that.


Later Howard turned it into a poster which he was kind enough to sign.


When he released his second print collection in 2006, he again was kind enough to give me an autographed copy, this time of the cover.


I suspect he gave me these partly because he knew I’d frame them and value them. Last weekend while volunteering at Life, The Universe and . . .Well, Not Exactly Everything, I had a chance to help Howard’s wife Sandra by watching her booth for an hour while she attended a panel. I got the better end of the deal as I ended up with a copy of Howard’s 2014 Calendar.


In the 5000 rotations of the earth and it’s nearly 14 trips around the sun,

– We’ve not only changed presidents twice, but the new guy is in his second term
– We’ve fought wars and lost more people to terror
– I added nine children to my family, one son-in-law and will soon add a grandchild
– Gas has increased about $1.20 per gallon
– The US population has increased by nearly 50 million
– The World population has increased by about a billion people

And every one of those days has been started with a little humor and occasionally some thoughtful introspection. But, mostly the humor.

To my friend Howard, he remains an inspiration for me to keep going. A good friend said that the way to fame and riches on the internet was persistence and presence. Show up everyday and keep doing it for a long time. (Maybe that was just the way to fame.) Howard has certainly done both, and become one of the premier web cartoonists in the world.

Congratulations Howard. Here’s to 5000 more.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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