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Same-sex marriage hassles include gifts: Problem solved with same-sex wedding Lucky Voodoo Doll couples

From “His” and “Hers” towel sets to “His” and “Hers” china cups that cost too much and no one uses, there is no dearth of wedding gifts for the bride and groom.

The happy groom and groom same-sex wedding Lucky Voodoo Dolls/Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

But when it comes to same-sex marriages, finding suitable presents for the groom and groom or the bride and bride can be a bit of a challenge.

Enter Same-Sex Marriage Lucky Voodoo Dolls.

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Pigs are people, too: Animal abuse, haters and worldly woes quashed in debut cartoon video by two Tucsonans

Tucson talent rocks. Evidence includes funky trash cans on Fourth Avenue, mosaics on highway overpasses and now an animated music video produced by Tucson’s own Eric Heithaus with art by yours truly, Ryn Gargulinski.

Please enjoy watching “Everyone I Know Needs Love” as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Main character Dollie is a cartoon I drew years ago, inspired by Quint’s line in “Jaws” about a shark’s eyes being like a doll’s eyes.* Doggy is my standard dog image that resembles my dog Phoebe yet also works to embody every dog in the world.

Dollie and Doggy/Art Ryn Gargulinski

This is my first illustrated animation project and one on a long list of Eric’s successful music – and other – productions.

The only other time my artwork has moved around on its own was during a horrific nightmare where all creatures in my house and backyard started attacking me.

It is much more pleasant when such critters are captured in a little box on the screen.

Thanks! Eric for working with me and coming up with this idea while vacationing on a San Diego beach. The video, all told and in between day jobs, took about a year to complete.

I’m posting the full press release that goes with the video below, which gives you more on the story and where we’re both coming from.

P.S. If you cannot tell from the video, we are both avid animal lovers. The partnership mentioned at the beginning of the clip, “Sawyer and Mr. Angel Association,” is named after our dogs.



Animal abuse, haters and worldly woes quashed in debut cartoon video

Animal abuse leads to people abuse – we don’t need a rocket scientist to tell us that. We don’t need a rocket scientist to come up with a way to stop it, either. We just need a wacky artist working with a creative music video producer to come up with a funky, fanciful story of two cartoon characters bent on saving the world.

Oh, yeah – we also need a bomb.

The story

Haters are everywhere – and our heroic cartoon duo of Dollie and Doggie make it their mission to stop it. The sweet team starts off thrown in a garbage can, from whence they scamper only to witness a litany of animal abuses. Horses pureed to pulp in a glue factory. Pigs slaughtered for sausage. A puppy mill. The animal abuse works as an analogy for the people abuse, maltreatment and general hatred that saturates the world at large. The video’s song, “Everyone I Know Needs Love,” offers a hint of the solution in store.

The cartoon video collaboration

Dollie and Doggie star in the video, a project born from the twisted collaboration between two Tucsonans. Producer Eric Heithaus worked on the music and animation end of the project. He produced the catchy “Everyone I Know Needs Love” song with pianist Sly Slipetsky and vocalist Angel Diamond, as well as toiled long hours making a stuffed pig fly. Artist Ryn Gargulinski worked equally as hard creating a cast of cartoon characters that always seem to look like they just got hit by a truck. We think it must be one of her trademarks.

The producer

Tucsonans Eric Heithaus and his wife, Amy, are the masterminds behind Heithaus Productions. While their company has produced everything from documentaries to news and features, it is now focusing on music videos. Eric’s music video production tops competitors as he not only produces the video portion, but he’s a talented music producer. His successes include Tucson’s colorful and creative street musician Black Man Clay, vocalist Laura Ward and his band Children of Gods. More at

The artist

Ryn Gargulinski, Tucson resident, Michigan native and longtime New Yorker, has her own list of successes and talents. Writing and art have long topped the list, but this video marks her premiere animated project. Other credits include two illustrated humor books: “Bony Yoga” and “Rats Incredible,” both published by Conari, dozens of news and feature articles, a weekly column and myriad artwork published in a variety of newspapers and journals from New York City to India. Her current gigs include writing four blogs for and her art business of RYNdustries. More at and

WATCH the video on YouTube at at  Heithaus Productions at or on Rynski’s Blogski.

Contact producer Eric Heithaus at and Ryn at

*Quint’s doll’s eyes quote: “And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living… until he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all the poundin’ and the hollerin’, they all come in and they… rip you to pieces.”


What do you think?

Are you a fan of music videos? Of cartoons?

Is is just me or are today’s cartoons quite lame compared to the cool ones we used to get?

P.S. A cashier at Best Buy yesterday looked confused when I mentioned “The Flintstones.”

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Bug bite season: Most beautiful and painful insects in AZ – with fun illustrations

Break out the liquid Benadryl and unfurl those mosquito nets as summer rains bring pain in the form of bug bites.

Arizona is blessed with a bevy of beautiful and bothersome bugs that buzz round our mountains and bumble through our backyards.

A particular quartet of our local insects, herein dubbed the “fearsome four, ” can be especially agonizing – and even deadly – if you are unlucky enough to get bit.

Tarantula hawk (wasp)/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Tarantula hawks

Claim to fame: Definitely their size, which is about the same as a hummingbird. They are also incredibly beautiful.

Injury capacity: Their stings may not kill, but folks say they surely feel like they do. One researcher quoted by Desert USA described the pain as feeling like “an electric wand that hits you, inducing an immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream.”

Fun facts:
Although their bright, orange-red wings are the same color as many artificially flavored candies, not many predators find them tasty. Roadrunners are one of the few that bother eating these things. The wasps get their names from laying their eggs in and then consuming whole tarantulas. They are also known to eat fermented fruit, which makes them zigzag drunkenly through the air.

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A tale of two Tucsonans: One nice neighbor, one nasty stranger

Tucson is packed with some of the coolest folks. But like anywhere else, the cool folks are balanced out by some real pieces of work. We recently ran across two shining examples of both.

The nice neighbor

A Sunday morning knock on the door is not something many of us are particularly raring to answer. But it’s OK when our neighbor at the door, one of the neighbors we like in the first place, who gives us reason to like him even more.

Nice neighbor greets Phoebe (left) and Sawyer/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Nice neighbor greets Phoebe (left) and Sawyer/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Next door neighbor came to ask if it were OK for him to trim my mesquite tree that was heavily invading his yard. “Of course you can,” said I, “You didn’t even have to ask.”

“Well, it’s just common courtesy,” said he. If that wasn’t enough, he agreed to meet the dogs for the first time face to face. He did not even flinch when Sawyer went zooming at his, um, belly area. And he even petted the pooches, asking their names.

Nice neighbor showcasing mesquite efforts/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Nice neighbor showcasing mesquite efforts/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

The neighbor got even better when, once he was done trimming the mesquite, he called me over to make sure I liked what he did with it. I don’t know about you, but I have the sudden urge to bake some neighborly cookies or something.

Anyone who thinks I am perhaps over-reacting by falling backwards with joy because of such a courteous chap has probably neither lived in New York City for 17 years nor worked in journalism for even a day. The nice neighbor has asked to remain anonymous.

The nasty stranger

The nasty stranger, for sure, gave us a dose of Big Apple respect, or lack thereof, right here in Tucson. Nasty stranger shall remain anonymous, too, mainly because we don’t know who he (or she) is.

One of my friends experienced the nasty stranger incident. She had been shopping at Home Depot, using the cane she’s been carrying after her hip replacement surgery. She’s well on the mend, but still travels with it for support. While shopping, she puts the cane in the shopping cart and uses the cart for support.

My friend realized she forgot her cane at Home Depot/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
My friend realized she forgot her cane at Home Depot/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Alas, about 20 minutes after leaving Home Depot, my pal realized she no longer had her cane. She surmised she left it in the Home Depot cart, which I colored with orange wheels so you would know it’s from Home Depot.

She rushed back to the store, checking all the carts, inquiring at the counters and asking other employees if they had seen hide or hair of her cane.

"There's a hot spot in hell" for the cane thief/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
"There's a hot spot in hell" for the cane thief/Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Double alas, the cane was gone. “Someone stole my cane,” my friend lamented. “Do you believe that? That’s low. Do you honestly think it was someone who needed a cane and happened to run across it, knowing it could help them. I doubt it. Someone probably took it for a Halloween costume or something.

“There’s a hot spot in hell waiting for that inconsiderate S.O.B.”



What do you think?

What would you do if you found a cane in a shopping cart?

Have you ever taken something someone left in a shopping cart? What?

Did you steal a steak?

Would you ask your neighbor’s permission before you trimmed his or her tree hanging in your yard?