Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday morning toons: Predictions

I predicted that Obama's beige suit would be a frequently-hit target this week, but while there were a handful of attempts, most came off as bland as the POTUS's suit (and its predecessors, going back through four all of the last five administrations). I also predicted, with some anread, that the horrifying incident of the 9-year-old girl with the Uzi would get a lot more play. Perhaps cooler heads prevailed.

I also predicted that there would be more Labor Day cartoons out there, but perhaps artists are taking the holiday weekend off. As has been discussed here before, Labor Day (along with Memorial Day and Fourth of July) is not necessarily a holiday that inspires editorial cartoonists to their most creative moments anyway, so. . . .

Perhaps the only theme I successfully predicted was the Burger-King-moving-to-Canada story, which did better for itself in quantity than quality.

One good thing I would not have predicted: The shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, police has not gone away. In fact, it's split into two stories, both of which deserve attention: The death of Brown, and the nationwide militarization of local police and their consequent alienation from the citizens they're supposed to protect and serve.

Today's toons were selected by a complex system involving average presidential vacation days as a function of the total number of bullets in the clip of a Uzi, expressed as the natural logarithm of the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Lalo Alcaraz.

p3 Legion of Merit: Jeff Danziger.

p3 Same Premise/Opposite Conclusions Award: Signe Wilkinson and Rick McKee.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Darrin Bell.

p3 World Toon Review: Payam Boromand (Iran) and Tomas (Italy).

Ann Telnaes creates an image that's at once cute and chilling. By the way, there is an easily locatable video clip of the child and her "instructor" on YouTube, although mercifully it stops just moments before things go from idiotic to horrific. But it seems to me that the video could only have come from one of two places: Somebody – The folks at Bullets and Burgers where this happened? The parents who thought this was a good idea and will now have to endow a trust fund to pay for their daughter's psychotherapy for the rest of her life? -- thought it was a good idea to record this special moment so it could be shared with Facebook friends later. We are a sick sad country.

Tom Tomorrow draws five lessons from Ferguson.

Keith Knight keeps not getting what he hopes and prays for, so he figures he might as well run with it.

Tom the Dancing Bug enlists God-Man (the superhero with omnipotent powers) to demonstrate the concept of proportionate response in law enforcement.

Red Meat's Johnny Lemonhead may need to move up to the next level of health care insurance coverage.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon uncovers an ancient and nameless horror. In Beetle Bailey.

Comic Strip of the Day tees off with a reference to one of my favorite moments from the Golden Age of Television, moves from there to the Matt Wuerker and Lalo Alcaraz toons I also took a liking to, from there to Pat Buchanan's cojones (an image that I fear may be burned into my retina for a few days), and then hits cruising altitude over a problem that I was surprised to see get so much media play this week (although I'm flying coach later this week and inadvertently egged the story along in my small way – but my ace in the hole is that even if I get miraculously upgraded to first class and arrive at my destination on time, I've already placed myself into the hands of the domestic airline industry with the assumption that my day will be ruined so why worry).

Ain't you the one? "Swing Shift Cinderella" was directed in 1945 by Tex Avery, and it includes most of his signature bits: Extreme-driven animation, plentiful sight gags and visual puns, and the recurring character of of the red-headed bombshell with Katharine Hepburn's trademark Mid-Atlantic accent. (Hint: The MGM/Avery animated short before this was "Red Hot Riding Hood," and the next in the series was "Little Red Riding Hood.") Uncredited talent: Sarah Berner (Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, and Fairy Godmother), Frank Graham (Wolf), and Imogene Lynn (Goldilocks' singing voice). Musical director Scott Bradley lifted from "Frankie and Johnny," "You're in the Army Now," and "Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolly," and probably wrote the stage number "Oh, Wolfie!" World War II in-jokes abound: Gas rationing stickers, women working as night-shift welders at defense plants, and more.

YouTube doesn't have a copy of SSC, so you're invited to watch it here at DailyMotion.

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Began Cheating Shamelessly By Welcoming Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman has an Obama/golf panel that rises above what's been the run of things for the last month. Not too sympathetic, but not disdainful either.

Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen has a nice if-only this week.

Matt Bors takes note of the most ill-timed movie release since Foul Play in 1978.

Jesse Springer looks at the latest unpromising turn of the Cover Oregon debacle. And now weapons are being drawn.

Test your toon captioning mojo at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday evening toons: America's wistful goodbye to summer will continue, after this word from the arms industry

We're getting a very late start on this today because the entire staff of p3's international headquarters was invited to a cookout last night, a combined birthday/house-warming/summer's-end bash. And then today involved joining a friend for breakfast and Guardians of the Galaxy, marking the likely end of the summer blockbuster season. Alert readers can challenge themselves to see how many end-of-summer themed cartoons are sprinkled throughout this week's review.

Meanwhile, it's been a good week for the arms industry. ISIS, relying to considerable extent on captured American weaponry, continues to make northern Iraq a hell hole. Pressure continues to come down on Obama to bomb someone or something there, in order to prove something, if only that he is no longer devoting as much time to golf as his political enemies claim. Militarizing of local police continues apace, although Obama has ordered a review of government policy on transfer of weaponry to the local LEOs. And it wouldn't be too surprising if freshly-indicted Governor Perry might attempt to "wag the dog" by raising the temperature on Texas' southern border where not-well-regulated militias are already looking for an excuse to act. So far, of course, there's not been much tie-in between the arms industry and the ice-bucket challenge, which continues to be a thing. But I'm sure one will be found.

Today's toons were selected by a system that absolutely did not include profiling of any sort, really, from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Pat Oliphant.

p3 Legion of Merit: Daryl Cagle.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Gary Varvel and Dan Wasserman.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation From Another Medium: Steve Benson.

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland) and Ingrid Rice (Canada).

Ann Telnaes reminds the cultural conservatives on the Supreme Court that hearing a marriage equality case this fall may be no walk at the beach.

Mark Fiore reviews the options in post-racial America.

Tom Tomorrow watches as an encounter with the public turns slightly sour.

Keith Knight finds some suspiciously-timed information.

Tom the Dancing Bug explains the real reason that Quill survives to the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. (Oh yeah: Spoiler alert! Sorry.)

Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl shares a summer fun pro tip.

The Comic Curmudgeon considers the power of frozen novelties to help us through difficult times of transition.

Comic Strip of the Day starts with something I didn't know about Rita Hayworth, moves on to charges of cheapshottery (charges with which I agree), segues to uncoolness in support of charity (I'm in agreement there, too), and then brings it all home with more Rita.

Either he goes, or either I go! And there you have the basic plot of "Dog Gone South," directed by Chuck Jones in 1950 from a story by Michael Maltese. It's the fifth of six Warner Bros shorts starring Charlie the Dog (although he was named Rover in the first one, directed by Bob Clampett before Jones took over the character). Charlie was normally paired with Porky Pig, but here he tries his charms on a southern Colonel  (and in his next and final outing in 1951, on a Pisa restraunt owner). Portland's own Mel Blanc does the uncredited voice work for Charlie, the Colonel, Belvedere, and the guy who booted Charlie off the train.

The web content editor on Blogger (owned by Google) makes it pretty difficult to embed any video that doesn't come from YouTube (also, coincidentally enough, owned by Google), so you are invited to watch "Dog Gone South" at eBaum's World.

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Bent the Rules and Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman notes the most important item for local police to adjust before they hit the streets.

Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen sees a lesson to be learned. Think anyone will? Nah.

Matt Bors notices that some people just can't catch a break, while others apparently can.

Test your toon captioning mojo at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday afternoon tunes: Thought of you as everything

On this day in 1970, after the band finished its last show at Max's Kansas City in Manhattan, Lou Reed officially left the Velvet Underground. There are rumors he started a solo career.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

They're here!

Rod Serling pitched the idea of "The Twilight Zone" (I'm not going to call it "the original") in part because of his suspicion that science-fiction and fantasy offered a way to explore social and moral themes that even Golden Age television couldn't or wouldn't handle right. History has judged him kindly on that decision.

On the other hand, here's something I discovered by accident while doing some digging on Sinclair Lewis' 1935 satire/jeremiad It Can't Happen Here, in which Lewis imagines how fascism might take hold in America.
Inspired by the book, director–producer Kenneth Johnson wrote an adaptation titled Storm Warnings in 1982. The script was presented to NBC for production as a television miniseries, but NBC executives rejected the initial version, claiming it was too cerebral for the average American viewer. To make the script more marketable, the American fascists were re-cast as man-eating extraterrestrials, taking the story into the realm of science fiction. The revised story became the miniseries V, which premiered May 3, 1983.
So. Nothing "too cerebral."

Mission accomplished, NBC.

Funny, though – I don't remember the right-wing commentariat ever pitching a hissy that "American fascists were re-cast as man-eating extraterrestrials" constituted further proof, as if any could possibly be necessary, that the American entertainment industry has always in thrall to its liberal hippie overlords.

Perhaps it was too, you know, cerebral.

(Also, I find it interesting to read that the American fascist parts were "re-cast" as man-eating extraterrestrials, rather than rewritten as man-eating ETs. It suggests the almost-Calvin-and-Hobbesian picture of a big folder down in Central Casting labeled Flesh-Eating Other Worlders – perhaps it's filed between Child Stars and Ingénues – all of whom are SAG members with résumés with head shots.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

The unforgiving minute: Everybody gets pinched, but you did it right.

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog is teasing out an interesting theory about the effects of his indictment on Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential plans:
Incessantly trolling liberals was working for him. Tacking hard to the right on immigration was working for him. Being a martyr to evil liberalism might work for him, too.
Will indictment help Perry's chances in 2016 – at least in the GOP primaries?

I've recently begun to think that the Republican party, in its current form, has moved beyond win-at-any-cost; now even winning seems to lose some of its fizz for them unless they win dirty. Going there is no longer a tactical last resort; it's become both proof of one's willingness to play "hardball" against the enemy, and evidence that one buys into the post-Reagan ideology that government-created laws are part of the problem (or the post-Nixon article of faith that, if the President does it, it isn't illegal).

Both working historian Rick Perlstein and working journalist Charlie Pierce agree that there's a strain of Republicanism that judges its candidates by how underhanded – if not flat-out felonious – they're willing to get. Once that happens, something like Perry getting indicted for putting the screws to a Democratic-led ethics investigation of his own administration's shady doings becomes less of a political embarrassment to be covered over and more of a sacred rite of passage to be celebrated:

Perhaps we should change his nickname from "Governor Goodhair" to "Governor Goodfella." I like to think Molly Ivins would approve.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday morning toons: Suicide and death-by-cop. That's pretty much it.

(Couple of updates below. See: Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence, Part 1 and Part 2)

A lot of things happened this week other than the death of Robin Williams and the death-by-cop of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO and the subsequent police overreacton to community displeasure with same – including the Obama/Clinton hug and the ebola break-out – but there's not much trace of any of the latter in the tooniverse. So that's where most of today's review ends up.

Today's toons were selected from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Jeff Danziger.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 1): Rick McKee, Bill Day, Dave Granlund, J. D. Crowe, Steve Kelley, Milt Priggee, Lalo Alcaraz, Jeff Koterba, Steve Nease, Joel Pett, and Nick Anderson – and probably others. (For his theory on why it was almost inevitable that there would so many certificate recipients this week, consult Comic Strip of the Day. And double props to CSotD for the deeply pitched allusion what I'm pretty certain, but upon reflection not 100% certain, is the deeply pitched allusion in his title. Hint: The alternate title might well be "Robin Catches a Cold.")

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium, plus Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 2): John Darkow, Dave Granlund, Taylor Jones, and Mike Luckovich. (Update #2: This meme is not just an instance of harmonic toon convergence; it's apparently a full-blown thing.)

p3 World Toon Review: Paul Zanetti (Australia), Ramses Morales Izquierdo (Cuba), Petar Pismestrovic, Part 1 (Austria), and Petar Pismestrovic, Part 2 (Austria).

Ann Telnaes feels the warmth.

Mark Fiore reminds us that, even if you find (like we at p3 do) that Obama has lived nowhere near up to his original hype, America still dodged a pretty big bullet in 2008. Had McCain been allowed to pick the awful-but-still-a-Village-favorite Joe Lieberman as his running mate instead of the ticket-killing Sarah Palin, much of the Middle East (except Israel) might today be a smooth sheet of radioactive glass.

Tom Tomorrow shares some "folk" wisdom.

Keith Knight previews the next Broadway hit you (and your kids!) will be humming the theme from.

Tom the Dancing Bug presents Pinocchio: The True Story!

Red Meat's Ted Johnson comforts his son.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon bids adieu (one hopes) to one of the least-valuable Shark Week tie-ins going out there.

Comic Strip of the Day talks some shit, and reminds me why I miss the days when good TV shows also had good theme songs – some, but not all, even with lyrics.

I've been double-crosked! Yeah, Popeye gets double-crossed by Bluto in "Shaving Muggs," directed in 1953 by Seymour Kneitel, but the story, credited to Larz Bourne, is pretty much a scene-by-scene recycling of "A Clean Shaven Man," directed in 1936 by Dave Fleischer (with an uncredited assist by – guess who? – Seymour Kneitel and no writer's credit), except that the earlier version had a great title song and gave the final gag to Thimble Theater regular George W. Geezil the cobbler/pawnbroker rather than to some unnamed admiral. (p3 featured "Clean Shaven Man" in 2009, if you're inclined to compare.) The uncredited voice work on "Shaving Muggs" was done by Frank Mercer (Popeye), Jackson Beck (Bluto), and Mae Questel (the Slender One).

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman imagines a historical mash-up. And he could have three or four more Amendments in there, too, but we're not going to fuss.

Theoretically Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen could have scored just with panel #2 today, but she's so generous she gave us three more!

Matt Bors left me relieved: I wasn't the only one put off by the word "folks."

Test your toon captioning mojo at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.