Kip’s Addiction

I loved writing cartoon ideas for Strange Brew, a nationally syndicated cartoon panel originated and drawn by John Deering of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. One of my favorites was the cartoon I wrote about Kip, my Brittany Spaniel, attending a 12-step meeting.

After it was printed, a few people I showed it to told me they didn’t get it. And one friend in my writing group said she was getting the same reaction from her friends. I was perplexed. What’s not to get about a dog saying he’s addicted to cats?

As it turns out, those people weren’t reading very carefully. They read Cataholic as Catholic. What? Why would a dog be standing up at a 12-step meeting stating that he’s a Catholic??? I was flabbergasted.

A few days later,  Lou Gelfand, the ombudsman for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, printed this in his column:


The aptly named “Strange Brew” cartoon on the comic page Wednesday showed a dog at a dais addressing fellow canines. A wall posted said “12-step program.”

The speaker said, “Hi . . . may name is Kip . . . I’m a cataholic.”

Several readers who may have misplaced their reading glasses lost their intellectual equilibrium. Typical was this e-mail:

“It was offensive, caustic, ignorant and persecuting to even remotely imply that being a Catholic is in any way an affliction or addiction. Another example of irresponsible and unbridled liberalism.

Hilarious! I was curious so I called Lou, told him that the cartoon was my idea and asked about the other responses he had received. He said an irate dentist had called him, fuming about the paper’s anti-Catholic bias. Lou let the fellow finish ranting, then calmly said, “The dog is saying he’s a cataholic, not a Catholic.” Click.

Again, hilarious! Can you imagine that dentist going from outraged to mortified in one second flat? It calls to mind Emily Litella from Saturday Night Live: Oh, that’s different. Never mind.”

I called John Deering and told him about the complaints and he was floored too. It never would have occurred to us in a million years that Cataholic would be read as Catholic. We had a good laugh about it!

What a difference a letter makes!

The real Kip! (To the best of my knowledge, he wasn't Catholic)

Rockabye Kip and me

A nice Daddy and Doggie moment

Click here to see my Strange Brew cartoon about my daughter’s gold medal at the Bedtime Olympics!

Click here to see all my humorous posts.


If you feel more stressed than blessed . . . if you have more confusion than clarity about how to live your beliefs . . . if you long to live a richer, happier, more meaningful life . . . you will find a wealth of insight and guidance in Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.

Through God’s Eyes is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the only book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.

Readers everywhere are discovering that when you challenge yourself to look through God’s eyes, the world around you changes, and so do you.

Who will benefit from reading Through God’s Eyes?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to be.
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to.
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier.

Click here to order your copy of Through God’s Eyes from
For an inscribed copy, click here to e-mail Phil for information.

Click here to visit the Through God’s Eyes website.

Click on the link below to download a FREE 28-page chapter!

Click here to read endorsements from authors and thought leaders.

Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers.

Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.

Like to learn more about Through God’s Eyes? Here is a free 44-page PDF sampler from the book that includes:

• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders

Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!

Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.


Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents.

Order it at

In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• How do you reconcile the “free will vs. Divine Will” conundrum?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

sixty-seconds-coverPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent authors and thought leaders he interviewed. The roster of storytellers includes Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss, Larry Dossey, Rachel Naomi Remen, Bernie Siegel, Dean Ornish, and Christiane Northrup. Sixty Seconds has been translated into four languages: Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories.

Click here to order Sixty Seconds.

Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers.

Here is a three-minute video introduction to Sixty Seconds.

Tags: , , ,

12 Responses to “Kip’s Addiction”

  1. Julie Says:

    Hi Phil,
    Just discovered your blog. I read the joke as “Catholic” also, but I found it to be funnier that way than by reading “Cataholic.” I suppose it’s a matter of perspective. As a liberal and a Catholic, I’ve been increasingly alienated from the church I grew up in, and wish I could just quit being Catholic. So the dog’s confession struck me as funny. I’m not surprised that the cartoon inspired outrage, though. People who take organized religion too seriously are a humorless bunch.

  2. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Nice to hear from you, Julie. A number of people said they thought the Catholic interpretation was funny, although I fail to see the connection between dogs and Catholicism! Maybe it’s because Kip is confessing??? ULtimately, I think what’s funniest about this is that John and I had no clue that people would read this as Catholic instead of Catholic. Perhaps we should have hyphenated it!

    But yes, people who are easily offended about any subject probably tend to be a bit humorless.

  3. Julie Says:

    I think people unconsciously substitute a familiar word for an unfamiliar one when reading, hence “Catholic,” “cataholic.” As for dogs and Catholicism, perhaps people are so used to seeing anthropomorphized animals in cartoons, they don’t make the distinction between animal and human behavior. After all, a real dog wouldn’t be standing at a podium addressing an audience of fellow dogs, any more than it would profess religious belief.

    I hope my comment didn’t leave the impression that I’m anti-religion; I’m not, just frustrated with my own church.

  4. Phil Bolsta Says:

    No worries, Julie. I hope you work out your frustrations in a way that ultimately brings you satisfaction.

  5. Deb Says:

    Harumph. Kip looks like a Catholic to me.

    Thanks for the chuckle, Phil.

  6. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You’re quite welcome, Deb!

  7. Virgil Says:


    I also read it catholic but did not take offense because I know of good Catholics who went through the 12-step process to shake off their addiction to alcohol. Instead I found myself asking what the deeper meaning was.

    Confession? Practicing Catholics go to confession at this time of the year (Advent) but not in Kip’s setting. It is a public/private event, publicly queuing with other penitents but privately owning up to one’s shortcomings. At its best, Catholics re-enact the encounter of the prodigal son with the good father of the parable where the encounter matters more than the recitation of sins. In the parable, the father barely listened to the son’s well-rehearsed line before declaring it’s party time. For Julie and your other Catholic friends, that story is in Luke 15:11.

    Kip reminds me of the pet dog of one who owned up to being a recovering alcoholic. Loneliness is a factor alcoholics contend with and, in his case, a dog was not only man’s best friend, it was God-sent.

  8. Phil Bolsta Says:

    Good point about dogs being God-sent, Virgil. Couldn’t agree more. How can you be lonely with a goofball like Kip prancing around?

    Funny how a misinterpretation of a cartoon can lead to a discussion on religion and repentance!

  9. Mary Ellen Ott, M.Ed., RCC, C.Ht. Says:

    That blog about your dog is hilarious! When I clicked through from your newsletter to read it, I too misread the cartoon and thought, “Gee, that’s not really Phil’s style.” Very funny…

  10. Phil Bolsta Says:

    You know, I’m beginning to think that reading Cataholic as Catholic is the rule, not the exception. Thanks, Mary Ellen!

  11. mel Says:

    Mr. Phil Bolsta,

    I love cats! It’s the main reason why I like Garfield and Doraemon as my fave cartoon characters as opposed to my friends who likes mickey mouse and his friends. I just didn’t know that there’s a term for ‘addiction’ to cats which is cataholic until today.

  12. Phil Bolsta Says:

    As far as I know, there wasn’t a term for cat addicts, mel. I made it up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 470 other followers

%d bloggers like this: