In memory of CIDU Bill Bickel

Several years ago, Bill commented upon the unusual frequency of “Grim Reaper” comics, and he even held an informal submission contest to prove his point.

For this reason, I suggested scheduling the following comic collection for today, the second anniversary of Bill’s extremely untimely passing, in memory of a dear friend whom we all miss terribly, and who (I believe) would have understood this rather unorthodox memorial presentation in the humorous and good-natured fashion in which it is sincerely intended.

It’s simply a real shame that Bill could not have had the chance to read and comment upon these comics with us all.

Michael Kilby

This Strange Brew was contributed by Andréa, originally as an Oy:

Leigh Rubin keeps on returning to the Grim Reaper theme:


  1. @ Andréa – I specifically said that I had no objections, and I think you know that I trust your judgement. As long as you think Bill would have enjoyed reading it, it’s fine with me.

  2. @ Andréa – That Eriksson panel produced a distinct “deja vu” sensation: the antecedent turned out to be the (definitely superior) Harry Bliss comic that you posted a month ago (on the previous page of this thread).

  3. One is skiboarding, the other skiing, which is why it didn’t ‘ring a bell’ for me. I DO like the next two, tho.

  4. @ Andréa – The thing I really liked about the Bliss comic is that not only is his “Grim Reaper” much more threatening, Bliss has drawn him doing a typical “board grab” in the middle of his jump.

  5. @ Andréa – If that one hit home, how did you feel about the Kanin panel on the previous page of comments? 🙂 But seriously: don’t waste time on orchids that have little or no green leaf material, it just isn’t worth the time or effort. Let them dry out, and use them as kindling.

  6. @ Andréa – Perhaps the name of the author subconciously affected your interpretation of the drawing, but the animal in that Kanin panel is positively a cat, and definitely not a dog. However, I don’t really expect that this will make you feel any better about the comic.

    P.S. My dad once invested over four figures in a pair of tendon repair operations for a older, but not yet ancient dog, with whom he just wasn’t willing to part company. We needled him about the effective “price per additional day” (of survival), but the dog actually lived for several more years, which probably reduced the final result to less than a dollar a day.

    P.P.S. Along with my colleagues at work, we have been offering moral support to one of our number who has a severely ailing pet. Just like my dad, his bills are (already) over four figures (but in €uros). I was later shocked to discover that the animal in question was a 15-year-old cat, which caused me to retreat for some serious soul-searching.

  7. P.P.P.S. We used to have an extensive collection of orchids (just phalaenopsis, nothing exotic), including one exceptional plant that never seemed to cease growing. Over the course of (about) 15 years, I had to repot it multiple times, and it not only bloomed with surprising regularity, it later spawned a number of “daughter” plants, which I was able to detach and repot to become separate, successfully blooming orchids. When the big one finally expired, I wasn’t sure whether it was old age, or simply that it had expended too much energy in cloning itself.

  8. ANYONE can go to a store, spend $$ on some orchids (presumably healthy) and brag about being an orchid person. Same with a dog – go to the breeder, pick one out, and bob’s your uncle. However, taking in an abused neglected dog (or plant) and helping it thrive – now, THAT’S much more satisfying to me.

    At one time, we had seven dogs. I spend $25,000 on four dogs in two years for surgery. The operations were successes; unfortunately, three of the patients died. These are my rescued children; I rescue for them, but I also do it for myself.

    Unlike the person with the aging cat, however, I do know when I’m only extending lifespan for myself, not for the good of the animal.

  9. how did you feel about the Kanin panel

    Seeing that again reminds me of something. I follow a YouTube channel about a guy who buys and sells stuff, cars and collectibles etc. As part of that, he will occasionally clean out a dead person’s home.

    The most recent one is the condo of a single guy. In the hallway, a conspicuous section of carpet is missing. Well, it’s not too big a leap to figure out why that’s probably gone. You could tell it was a sudden thing, because in the kitchen was a bread roll and some bananas he’d brought home. Also some very dried out plants. The channel guy’s wife was trying to resuscitate them.

    Finally, there’s an empty bird cage. People in comments are very worried about that bird (assuming there was one). I guess it depends on how long it took before anyone knew what happened. Then again, many people in comments think that he should give the vintage Miata that he got as part of the deal to his early teen daughter because it’s her favorite color.

  10. @ Andréa – “…I do know when I’m only extending lifespan for myself, not for the good of the animal…”

    I finally decided that I was in no position to second-guess anyone else’s ethical decisions about their own pets, especially since I don’t know anything about their history or relationships. I just hope I don’t end up having to make such a decision myself.

    The only comparable case I’ve been in involved people, not pets, when my wife’s (overly cautious) Ob-Gyn recommended amniocentesis, with a two-week processing time. We were both (very) worried about the possible consequences, but we agreed not to discuss any of the options until the results came back. Luckily, all the tests were negative, and we needn’t have worried about it, but we did, anyway.

  11. P.S. @ Andréa – I have just learned that the cat I was talking about died last Friday. 😦 It turned out that it was not a gall bladder infection, but cancer.

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