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Busker: En Garde, You Orange Ruffian!!

October 31, 2013

Time to bring back everyone’s favorite street musician for a Halloween post. There are many ways to carve a pumpkin, but naturally, Busker has his own approach.

It’s all in glorious B&W, so you’ll have to use your imagination for the orange part.street musician Busker studying how-to book on fencing

street musician Busker lunging and practicing with sword

swordsman street musician Busker with sword giving little bow to his fencing opponent giant pumpkin
street musician Busker hacking and cutting away, carving pumpkin with sword
street musician Busker carrying his giant carved pumpkin to Halloween festival

The sign is a nod to the Keene Pumpkin Festival. I live in Harrisville, New Hampshire, which is 20 minutes east of Keene. I’ve been to the famous pumpkin festival several times.

Just two weeks ago, on October 19, 2013, Keene reclaimed the world record for lighted jack o’lanterns assembled in one place with a count of 30,581.

Here’s a shot of the main tower from a previous festival that I found on a UK travel site.

main tower keene new hampshire pumpkin festival showing hundreds of carved and lighted jack o'lanterns

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Have you ever carved a pumpkin?

Or do you prefer to carve out pieces of pumpkin pie and add whipped cream??

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  1. October 31, 2013 1:52 PM

    I’d rather eat pumpkin – in pies, muffins, donuts, custards, bread and lattes … than carve them. But I admire Busker’s (and your) creativity and excellent design.

    The lighted jack-o-lantern display is spook-tacular. Happy Halloween, Mark.


    • November 1, 2013 1:51 PM

      To carve pumpkin, or to eat pumpkin… I believe Hamlet wrestled with this question as he was eating a big piece of pumpkin pie topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. And when he was done, he found he had answered correctly… : )

      The Keene Pumpkin Festival is one of those things you almost have to see in person to believe. The Great Pumpkin (top of the tower) really does show up, and he brings 30,000 friends!!

      I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: that would make a lotta pies… : )

      Thanks for lighting a candle here The Armstrong Pumpkin Shrine!


  2. October 31, 2013 3:22 PM

    Oh, my good friend… I have never carved a pumpkin but watching Busker do it, I feel I have been bestowed with all the ancient secrets of this art!
    Your cartoon is so perfect that I find color unnecessary …and you thought perfection has been going downwards since birth, NO WAY! 🙂


    • November 1, 2013 2:18 PM

      Dear, dear Marina! You must not waste time carving pumpkins– you must paint them!! You would imbue the lowly gourds with such life and vibrancy, that no candle would be necessary– they would shine and cast a benevolent glow over all the earth…

      At least that’s how I see it in my mind’s eye… : )

      I can picture you as a fencer, however. You could stand next to your lovely paintings in galleries, sword at the ready– just in case any visitors needed some help in “getting the point.” : )

      Your perfect comment has caused a riot of colors to swim before my eyes– including a particularly spectacular orange!! I really must go lie down… thank you, dear Marina!!


      • November 1, 2013 5:59 PM

        🙂 !!! Ah, now, there’s a good use for a sword… explaining visitors! In my first solo exhibition a sword would have been handy!!! 😉
        I hope you’re feeling better from the orange riot!


        • November 6, 2013 12:56 PM

          The orange riot was a delicious experience. I always feel better after some Kanavaki Therapy… : )


  3. October 31, 2013 8:34 PM

    Love the cartoons Mark!


    • November 1, 2013 2:24 PM

      Thanks, Dean! Coming from a master doodler like yourself, that means a lot. That’s a new gravatar you have there, isn’t it? I think it’s superb. It projects humor, ability, approachability, and good nature, all at the same time. Well done!– and many thanks for stopping by! : )


  4. October 31, 2013 9:38 PM

    I confess: Today, late afternoon my local Safeway was giving away a pumpkin for free for purchases over $20.00. I was in the store…

    I couldn’t have biked home with a big pumpkin without causing an accident for myself.
    But hey, other happy customers grabbed theirs.


    • November 1, 2013 2:30 PM

      Nonsense, Jean! I can easily imagine you biking home balancing a 20-lb pumpkin on your head. In fact, I believe that’s exactly what happened! And someone’s sure to have captured it on video and posted it to YouTube.

      I’m gonna go over there and look for it right now!! : )


  5. November 1, 2013 12:35 AM

    Oh dear, you changed the post! Quoting from the version the e-mail notification gave me:
    “How did Zorro carve a pumpkin? Right– zip, zip, zip!”

    A “Z for Zorro” jack-o-lantern? What an awesome idea! I’d never thought of that, and from as far as I can see… neither has the rest of the Internet!


    • November 1, 2013 2:40 PM

      Now, now, my dear fellow– I believe my little post teaser went on to say that Zorro wasn’t the only one to use this method (a sword) to carve a pumpkin. Sorry if I raised false swashbuckling hopes there!

      I did find this one image of a Zorro Pumpkin, so it has been done, but I’m surprised I couldn’t find a gag cartoon which simply showed Zorro with a pumpkin with a big ‘Z’ slashed into it. Sounds like a winner to me!

      Thanks as always for your support, Jak, and be careful with that sword! : )


      • November 1, 2013 9:36 PM

        Aye, Mark, but I rather liked your previous intro, because Busker here is quite a swashbuckling master carver here.

        Good find on the Zorro pumpkin, but I think the design should be a little flourished… like the old Disney TV series. If only the idea would catch on, then I’m sure someone would manage something dashing.

        I’ll be careful all right– although I dabbled with fencing a bit in college a bit, it’s far more likely the swords around the house are of the NERF or homemade “boffer” variety. You’re quite welcome and thanks again for a timely and seasonal post!


  6. November 3, 2013 2:56 PM



    • November 6, 2013 1:09 PM

      Wow… I got an “Awesome!” from the one man in the universe who actually personifies that word– how awesome is that??

      Thank you for that delightfully concise review, my dear Murray!! : )


  7. pleazna permalink
    November 4, 2013 6:11 AM

    If one could really carve pumpkins like that, i might actually consider it.
    love the cartoon, thanks!


    • November 6, 2013 1:19 PM

      Ha! I hear you. I’d be willing to do a little en garding myself, if that were the case. I also have a feeling we’d see a big spike in sword sales around Halloween– which might not be good… : )

      One great thing about cartoons– they allow us to draw life the way it should be. Well, in certain circumstances, anyway. : )

      Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate your stopping by!


  8. November 6, 2013 11:12 AM

    Did they really reclaim the Guinness world record? Good for them! We saw a documentary last year where they lost it. As you know I went to school there (twice!) great area for community events. Good pizza and chocolate there too, much to the delight of the college students……

    Post-Halloween I discovered a youtube video that features an amazing scooping tool. That’s my least favorite part of pumpkin carving. Carving the turnip this year was more fun.

    Hope your holiday season is joyful and fun this year, Mark!


    • November 9, 2013 2:24 PM

      Hi Amelie, nice to see you. Yes, indeed– while Boston was distracted with the World Series, Keene nipped in there and took back the jack o’lantern title. There’s life for you: you win one title, and lose another… : (

      I remember you trod the academic boards in Keene. In fact, I think they have a little plaque where you used to park your skateboard at Antioch… : )

      You carved a turnip?? I think we can assume you now hold the Guinness record in that category, even if it was just one t-gourd! Thanks for the visit, and I’m wishing you joyful holidays as well!


  9. SingingTuna permalink
    November 10, 2013 3:29 PM

    Haaa! Love it!!
    And I Liked it, too, which doesn’t appear here.
    Busker is very deft with that sword. I can HEAR this one. The way the pumpkin flesh sounds when it’s sliced, etc. Super!
    That’s an amazing picture of massed pumpkins. I’d like to see your drawing of the guy who has to light and place all of them for the display. It looks massive!

    I helped carved a jack-o-lantern when I was a kid. But not since then. Not sure why.
    Pumpkin pie? Meh. Not a fan. I’d rather have Key lime. I wonder if there are any lime-carving contests?


    • November 11, 2013 9:02 PM

      The sounds of pumpkin flesh being sliced… yee-OW!!! Yes, I remember watching that one on the late, late show: Jack The Ripper Meets The Great Pumpkin… I had nightmares for weeks!! : (

      I’m not sure how many volunteers set up and light all the jack o’lanterns at the Keene Pumpkin Festival. I know they use a crane for that big pyramid. Fun to imagine one guy doing it all. Now there’s a job that would drive you outta yer gourd. So to spake… : )

      A lime carving contest… hmm. I suspect you’d have to be a bartender to enter… : )

      Now listen, you gotta eat pumpkin pie this time of year– there’s some kind of law about it. But there’s a simple solution: just add some lime juice to the mix, and some green food coloring– you’ll never know the difference… : P


  10. November 11, 2013 5:43 AM

    Can I hire him as kitchenmaid? Speed-cutting! I suppose you look like the swordsman when you are drawing 😉


    • November 11, 2013 10:11 PM

      Of course, my dear Tutti! Busker says he’d be happy to be your kitchenmaid. Speed-cutting is his specialty, and he’s ready to slice and dice everything: your liverwurst, bratwurst, knackwurst, leberwurst, weisswurst, sauerkraut, napkins, tablecloth, curtains, table, chairs, salt and pepper shakers, etc, etc.

      You’re right– I do look like a dashing swordsman when I’m drawing. Well, either that or a guy swatting flies… : (


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