January 5, 2010

SPJ featuring Frazz cartoonist Jef Mallett

We've missed the reservation deadline, but you can still go  to hear former Flint Journal artist Jef Mallet talk at the Society of Professional Journalists Mid-Michigan Chapter.

Jef is best known for his nationally syndicated Frazz cartoonist and author Jef Mallett, but he worked for Booth Newspapers for 18 years before striking out on his own. He says he's making it up as he goes.

To celebrate the start of a new year, Jef will be the featured speaker at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 (Wednesday) at Harper's in East Lansing.

On the Facebook invite it said:
"Find out how Jef made the transition from daily newspapers to the creation of a popular newspaper comic strip and what inspires him.

In addition, Jef is the author and illustrator of several books, including the recently published Trizophrenia: Inside the Minds of a Triathlete. (NPR host Peter Sagal describes it as a 'funny, heartfelt, serious work of evangelism.')
On one of my recent long trips out-of-town, I read more about the book in a City Pulse article, Three-way caling: Artist gives first-hand insight into triathlon mania. Jef did his first triathlon in 1981, up in Traverse City and has done about 50 of them since. Although I enjoyed the article, I won't be following in his footsteps anytime soon. (Check out Bill Castanier's column there if you're looking for good books to read by the way..)

Certain to make most of my days better is reading Jef's blog posts. (The other days I feel guilty for not moving more while reading about his swims, riding and workouts.)

Speaking of guilt, do read Jef's post about "Exit 93, to Hell in a handbasket, recalculating." And then ask yourself as the Dixie Baptist Church's sign does "Are you on the right road?"

(Yes, I had to know more so according to a story in the free library, * the sign went up in 1970 at the urging of Pastor Paul Vanaman, then pastor of the Dixie Baptist Church. The "Hi-way Pulpit" is based on Warner Sallman's "Head of Christ"  and his parishioners pooled $11,000 for the sign on church property. That same year, 50-foot-tall arches with the 16-foot-tall plywood sign of Jesus debuted. In 1991, the church spent $28,000 to replace the sign with a modern replica -- to minimize upkeep and vandalism-related repairs.

(* The article is credited to The Seattle Times, but I suspect it actually was a Detroit Free Press article.)


  1. I will always remember this church sign, first because when I worked for the Oakland Press and lived in Holly and I passed it twice a day for literally 3 years.

    But secondly, this was the home church of a young man named Brandon Carnell, who was convicted of killing his mother, father and sister in an ambush back in the 1980s.

    I spent many hours on the road outside of the family home, while police first had to undo Brandon's story about the "robbers" who broke in and killed his family while he miraculously escaped.

    Some tried to blame the strict religious beliefs of the family for driving the boy to kill them, but he was simply a troubled young man who snapped.

    He is out, and last I heard got in trouble again for something less serious than murder.

    I covered that story from start to finish. I may have to revive that story for my blog.

  2. MA, Here's a link to a story that includes a brief review of Brandon Carnell's case. However, you may want to edit or at least direct folks to this comment as I believe I am in error about Brandon Carnell getting in trouble again after his release.

    I was thinking of another story I covered where another juvenile convicted of murder was released and committed another less serious crime.

    Too many stories, too many murders, too old a brain.

    Here's the link:

  3. Thanks Jim for the comments ... unfortunately, the blog comment tool options are approve or delete and no in between.