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RE-VIEW: Red Truck Charlie Brown (resub)

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RE-VIEW: Red Truck Charlie Brown (resub)
This is Pearl from 'The Dead Sea Squirrels'.

Who is Pearl? Here's her official description,

"Pearl Squirrel is wise beyond her many, many, many years, with enough common sense for both her and Merle. When Michael’s in a bind, she loves to share a lesson or a bit of wisdom from the Bible events she witnessed in her youth. Pearl’s biggest quirk is that she is a nut hoarder. Having come from a world where food is scarce, her instinct is to grab whatever she can. The abundance and variety of nuts in present-day Tennessee can lead to distraction and storage issues"

What are 'The Dead Sea Squirrels'? ...I'll cover that, but first let's look at our featured pencil (...cuz, yeah, my readers care so much about pencils). :p

The featured pencil is a specimen from Bulgaria that features an image of Paisius of Hilendar: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paisius_of_Hilendar

This pencil was part of an assortment of random pencils I bought from a seller in Sofia, Bulgaria. As luck would have it, there were TWO Paisius pencils in my lot: one was unsharpened, and the other had been used already ...which is great because it means I have a Paisuis pencil to hoard, and another to test and draw with! :D

Is the pencil any good?

Not really, but it's not 'bad', per se.

More specifically, it proved to be an old, cheap, lightweight school-grade pencil with a medium-dark line and scratchy drag. In short, it's slightly better than Papermate. ^^

I drew Pearl, beginning-to-end, with a Mitsu-Bishi 'Uni' H-grade pencil ...and the Uni's line was dark enough that it didn't need delineating. That said, all the writing on the card (inc. the signature) was done via the Paisius pencil. :3

So why pair the St. Paisius pencil with Pearl Squirrel?

Despite the fact that I'm Christian, I feel a little irreverence never harmed anyone (that's basically it). ^^

So... 'The Dead Sea Squirrels': What is it?

It's a series of children's Christian-themed comic books, that its author Larry the Cucumber ...I mean, Mike Nawrocki, hopes to see adapted to animation.

Lucky for us, Nawrocki made his pitch video available on YouTube. So without further ado, let's have a look (link tested 01/11/2021): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iljjS7I8qzQ

NAWROCKI: "Hi! I'm Mike Nawrocki, co-creator of 'VeggieTales' and voice of Larry the Cucumber! And when I'm not bringing joy and biblical values to children around the world (or writing silly songs that will haunt your dreams into adulthood), I'm a professor here at Lipscom University's film and animation program!"

Nawrocki introduces himself by graciously wearing a mask, so none of us will catch anything over the internet. First impression soured!

...but let's proceed (after all, Christianity is all about redemption)!

NAWROCKI: "Did I mention I also write books? Here's my latest!
It's an early-reader's series titled, 'The Dead Sea Squirrels'"

Featuring that repulsive bean-mouth character design. :p

Anyway, the book title yet has me interested, and (even badly drawn) animal characters are always a plus. What's the series about? :3

NAWROCKI: "The show stars Michael: a 10-year-old kid who, along with his best buddy Justin, find two salt-encrusted squirrels while on a summer archeological dig with Michael's dad, at the Dead Sea in Israel"

Also, *adds 'salt-encrusted squirrels' to grocery list. :9

The video shows a scan of the page in the book when Michael discovers the squirrels. The text reads,

"While exploring a cave (without his dad's permission), Michael discovers two dried-out, salt-covered critters and stashes them in his backpack"

Image: https://sta.sh/0wou0zvpg3g

I would criticize Michael's hobby, but ...let's remember I, too, have collected roadkill (a raccoon skull to be specific), which inspired the creation of my Mubba character (hence good can come from collecting such things ...but I still wouldn't encourage it).

And not to derail the subject, but if anyone is curious where the skull is now, well ...I left it under some bushes outside my house, hoping ants would clean it. The groundskeepers found it (somehow!) and threw it away. Poor Mubba (these same people also killed my raspberry bush, after I instructed them not to---same day, even; I despise my HOA)! D:


NAWROCKI: "Micheal thinks these petrified souvenirs will make him the coolest kid in the 5th grade, back home in Tennessee"

Maybe, if Michael's attending something like the Hexside School of Magic and Demonics ...otherwise, I think not. That said, I'd rather have dead squirrels in the classroom than, well, this: https://sta.sh/029azkibsd0z

NAWROCKI: "Little does he know that with a good soaking, these 2000-year-old dehydrated rodents will spring back to life, and love living in the modern world!"

This series was written before 2020, wasn't it?

...'May 7, 2019' according to Google. :3

NAWROCKI: "Because before Merle and Pearl Squirrel took an ill-advised vacation to the Dead Sea, and became brine for millennia, they lived in Galilee during the 1st century, and witnessed the life of Jesus and the apostles, first-paw!"

Methinks 'The Gospel According to Squirrel' written in King-James English would be a fun read and a great addition to the Christian apocrypha ...but, then, my thought comes from the mind of a sinful furry with a sick sense of humor, so ...maybe it's best to let salty squirrels lie?

NAWROCKI: "And I know what you're thinking, 'Wouldn't this make a great animated series?'"

No, that's not actually what I was thinking.

The video transitions to the animation studio.

NAWROCKI: "Looks great, huh? But animation is crazy expensive! That's why some generous donors gave our program enough money to make a pilot episode, to prove we know what we're doing"

...I'm unsure to what extent I agree with that last part. 'VeggieTales' was certainly successful (IMHO, it was among the best animated Christian-themed series for children), but ...some bad decisions were made, signing the series off for broadcast on NBC, which stripped the series of its Christian messages.
Sure, two Christian 'VeggieTales' revival series were made after, but ...they failed (the second series was cancelled the same year it was released: 2017).

NAWROCKI: "...But wouldn't you like to see an entire series?"


Nawrocki walks into a classroom filled with mask-wearing Gen-Z students ...and Tony Bancroft.

NAWROCKI: "Hey! Tom Bancroft! Aren't you the Disney animator who designed characters like this!?" [gestures to a wall decal of Mushu from 'Mulan' (1998)]

Ah, Tom Bancroft. Where else have we heard that name before? It's true the man was an animator for Disney ...over twenty years ago. Tom's presently an illustrator of art books and so forth. Kinda sad to go from Disney animator to someone competing with Christopher Hart for space on Barnes and Noble's clearance rack. :p

Tom is the brother of Tony Bancroft: the guy who founded Toonacious ('Lenny and Sid')---a studio that produced very little and exists mostly as a dim memory.

HYPOTHETICALWATCHER: "As if you've ever produced anything of value"

I drew 'Pika Pats'.


Point taken. :P


NAWROCKI: "Could you [Tom Bancroft] be our supervising animator?"

I don't know how hiring a retired Disney animator is a plus when the style of art chosen for 'The Dead Sea Squirrels' looks like most anything one could see from (contemporary) Cartoon Network or an indy animator from YouTube.

Either way, Bancroft is on board (I dunno where Tony is ...probably busy amusing himself by drawing bunny ears on Little Brother). ^^

NAWROCKI (to viewers): "It is a big job, but what if we also had a visionary producer involved, who also founded our film program?"

[Nawrocki walks into a classroom]

NAWROCKI: "Hey, Steve Taylor? ...could you help me turn 'The Dead Sea Squirrels' into an animated series?"

How come no one knocks on my door to ask me beautiful questions like that? :P

I dunno much about Steve Taylor. From what little I've gathered, he's an American, Christian songwriter who's written some controversial lyrics in his day, criticizing his fellow Christian artists he didn't agree with.

I read through the lyrics of a few of Taylor's songs, of which this one ('Guilty By Association') was among the more interesting: https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/149816/

Obviously, that's not enough to form a solid, objective opinion, but I didn't see anything 'I' would deem offensive, per se ...so I'm neutral on Taylor (as of writing).
That said, the man seems to have a no-nonsense personality, a quality that doesn't jive with a project like 'The Dead Sea Squirrels'.

Taylor is also a film maker, but I've not seen any of his works, so I cannot comment on them.

Anyway, Taylor's on board.

NAWROCKI: "We've got the stories; we've git the talent. We've git the experience; we've got the series. The only thing we need to bring 'The Dead sea Squirrels' to life, is you ...and 1.2-million dollars!"

No, it was shown the squirrels could be brought back to life through water. Granted, Dasani is overpriced, but a couple bottles shouldn't cost 1.2-million (unless you're buying the water from Marriott, of course)! ^^

But seriously, this video wasn't the best pitch. :P

The video actually ends there: Nawrocki doesn't directly ask for money, neither does he say to check below for any links that would lead to a crowdfunding campaign.
Basically, what the video amounts to is, 'I have a team and an idea, but it's so expensive!' D:

Just attach an 'Oh, well!' to the ending and this video would be perfect. :3

In fairness, there IS in fact a link in the video description that takes one to the squirrel site, but it's useful only if one want to 'join Team Squirrel!', ie., receive newsletters and a peek at the pilot episode: https://deadseasquirrels.com/

I'm personally not going to bother with it.

So... what's my hot take on 'The Dead Sea Squirrels'?

The title is a pun ...a cute pun, but just a pun---it doesn't need an animated series attached to it unless it can actually bring something fresh to the table (ancient, albeit well-preserved squirrels, are the antithesis of fresh). :p
I don't see this series being much different (or any better) than those series that have modern-day kids time-travel to the days of Christ, or those that show the stories from (say) an insect's point of view. Such series already exist, and have known various levels of success and failure.

To conclude, I get that Nawrocki is proud of his pun ...and darn it, I'm proud for him! But I'm afraid a pun is all the squirrels have to offer. :3

female 880,436, girl 73,810, sketch 51,445, squirrel 25,383, f 20,916, traditional 19,008, funny 8,690, humor 4,839, pencil 4,504, barefooted 937, aceo 645, aco 342, christian 172, veggietales 44, dead sea squirrels 1, nawrocki 1, paisius 1
Type: Picture/Pinup
Published: 1 year ago
Rating: General

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1 year ago
I dunno on the mask, it makes a statement and those seldom need to follow logic. Masks now ARE a statement, often a political one at that. (As is vaccination which is going to be endless fun in the coming years. The right can join the far left in leaving their children open.) Mask away I say, what harm can it do?

The title of this project... it took me a while. Sounds more like a punk band, but then I got it. Squirrels, scrolls. Right, right, right.

Archeology is just the collection of fancy dirty old stuff. I can easily see the child of one picking up squirrel jerky. No shade on the boy now. I myself collect bones. There was a young girl in the newspaper for her similar hobby looking for a cat skull. 'Vulture culture' is more popular than people think, it lets one appreciate the natural world, so more power to it.

You have groundskeepers? Aren't you int he country of Man And Castle? Stand Your Ground and whatnot? Whatever happened to freedom? (Ants also tend to be quite poor. Should've buried it for a month or two, which also gives less of a bleached color, then a good soak in some hot water and detergent.)

Honestly, dead squirrels just might improve your class cred. Kids are like that. I imagine the teachers would freak out though, probably involve an expulsion. (As for the book reader, honestly I know a lotta kids who'd like THAT too, costumes are fun.)

As trying as it may be, the modern world has a lot going for it. COVID pales compared to smallpox and dysentery. Heck, I'd say leprosy was the COVID of ancient times. Plus, modern times have Hot Pockets. Much to be thankful for.

I'd say one would need to watch the pilot before making a judgement, it sounds a heck of a lot better than Finding Jesus 2.
1 year ago
I was very much criticized for this description by a watcher from DeviantArt, so I will be responding to the both of you (EVENTUALLY!) in a later upload. :3
1 year ago
It is known that pitches seldom bear fruit, that many whither on the vine. Once a young novice came across an old (chip)monk tending to his submissions and cultivating discourse about a pitch. The novice asked "Grand master, why do you take such care as you tend this pitch when it is likely you will see no fruit from it?" Wisely the (chip)monk shook his head and admonished the novice.

"My child," he said, "These are my submissions and I do what I want go soak your head."
1 year ago
I remember Veggie Tales from long long ago in my past. And I, unlike a certain cucumber, know where my hairbrush is...uhh...actually...dont hold me to that
1 year ago

I liked VeggieTales, but it's been a loooooong time since I've looked at it.
1 year ago
Same, although, I have watched Where Is My Hairbrush within the past couple months. Just because my fiance had never seen it
1 year ago
I'm sure it is epic. :3
1 year ago
You've never seen it?
1 year ago
I have not.
1 year ago
Cute job :3
1 year ago
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