Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let me hear you howl

Talking to my friend Wendy this morning, I found myself telling part of the story about Tiller, a german shepherd who lived next door to me when I lived in downtown Philadelphia off 20th and Chestnut, a lot of years ago. Tiller lived with two Siamese cats, an iguana, and his two humans, Dave and Enid.

Tiller used to howl when I played the guitar, so I wrote this piece of twelve-bar blues for him:
Howlin' Dog Blues (Tiller's Blues)

Got the howlin' blues, baby, got me howlin' like a dog.
Yeah, got them howlin' blues, sugar, you got me howlin' like a dog.
Poundin' whiskies until sundown, then I'm howlin' all night long.

(All right, let's howl)
Aa-wroooooooooooooo . . . !
Aa-wroooooooooooooo . . . !

You may have heard it; we released it on our own label in 1982. Got some local play.

Tiller and I did the clubs around town for a while, but we both knew we were headed in different directions. We played one last gig together for a charity in late 1983, and that was it. Guess we kind of drifted out of touch after that.

Last I heard about him was several years ago – a friend told me he was still doing openers as "Blind Kibble" Tiller.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday morning toons: Americans are the worst risk assessors in the world

One-millionth of one percent of the population of the US (that's 0.000001%, or 3 people out of 300,000,000) have contracted ebola. It doesn't mean we're not sympathetic if we ask: Do we need to go through the list of things that are killing off more of us, faster, in plain sight, that we're paying almost no attention to?

When will Senator John McCain go on the Sunday talk shows and call for a Diabetes Czar?

When will Senator Lindsey Graham declare heart disease an existential threat to this great nation?

When will Senator Ted Cruz threaten to shut down the government if the federal budget doesn't cover flu shots for everyone of age?

When will Fox News excoriate President Obama for not doing enough to bring down the number of handgun deaths in America?

Oh, and to change subjects and recycle an old joke – almost as if it were discovered after thirty years in a bunker in the desert – of course we knew about the chemical weapons cached in area now controlled by ISIS. We kept the receipts.

Today's toons were selected by hiding in the closet and shouting, "I don't care – just pick something!" from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons, About.com, The Nib, and other fine sources of toony goodness.


p3 Best of Show: Steve Benson.

p3 Legion of Merit: Stuart Carlson.

p3 Award of Demerit for Mainstreaming the Dinesh D'Souza Idiocy: Michael Ramirez.

p3 Medal for Making the Fundamentals of Economics Sound Like a Cole Porter Song: Joe Heller.

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Brandan Reynolds (South Africa), Doaa Eladl (Egypt), and Paresh Nath (India).


Ann Telnaes continues this week's theme: Poor risk assessment.


Mark Fiore brings to mind an interesting parallel: The off-track and largely dishonest panic over the infinitesimal occurance of voter fraud in the US, versus the off-track and largely dishonest panic over the infinitesimal appearance of ebola in the US.


Taiwan's Next Media Animation blah


Tom Tomorrow presents the ultimate metaphysical dilemma: What happens when an immovable contrarian force is met by an irresistible contrarian object?


Keith Knight reflects upon the odd reactions to low expectations.


Tom the Dancing Bug nicely captures the problem of intent – if that is in fact what he meant to do. Hm.


Red Meat's Bug-eyed Earl has . . . oh, this is too creepy for a coy summary here. Just go see.


The Comic Strip Curmudgeon mourns the days before ambient, targetless rage.


Comic Strip of the Day mourns the days when evil was at least honest about its evilness. Reminds me of this line: "I kinda have to tip my hat to any entity that can bring so much integrity to evil." Or this line, which I haven't been able to document, so I'll have to do my best from memory: "Oh yeah, all the generals are corrupt down here. At least this one doesn't make any bones about it."


Cat Nap Pluto was directed in 1948 by Charles Nichols from a story by Eric Gurney, with uncredited voice work by Oregon's own Pinto Colvig (as Pluto, although p3 regulars may remember he also voiced Goofy, and Bluto for Fleischer Studios, plus the cat in Tex Avery's one-of-a-kind "King-Size Canary" in 1947 for MGM) and Clarence Nash (as Figaro the cat, who was doing side work after his 1940 role in Disney's "Pinocchio.")




The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Threw Out The Rulebook andWelcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman wakes up in a new country.

Theoretically Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen (who was recently photographed sitting in Charles Schultz's work chair) looks at the America of the Future.

Matt Bors shows how good news is born.

Jesse Springer wonders who's got Governor Kitzhaber's back.



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




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday afternoon toons: Whatever you want to do is all right with me

No word on whether that line was meant to include attacking him in his bathtub with a popular regional side dish, which happened to Al Green forty years ago today. An ex-girlfriend burst into the bathroom, poured scalding-hot grits on his back, then went to another room and killed herself with Green's gun. All of which put the singer through some changes, as it might anyone. 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday morning toons: The Grand Unified Theory of ISIS-Ebola-Benghazi-Immigrants

At least that's where things seem to be headed.

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


p3 Best of Show: Clay Jones.

p3 Legion of Merit: Ben Sargent.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Scott Stantis.

p3 "Ripped from the Headlines" Award: Darrin Bell. (And here's the headline.)

p3 World Toon Review: Keven Kallaugher (England), Paresh Nath (India), Martyn Turner (Ireland), and Petar Pismestrovic (Austria).


Ann Telnaes looks at the whole concept of taking one for the team.


Mark Fiore is feeling understandably Shell-shocked.


Tom Tomorrow presents one of the most depressing cartoons I've read in quite a long while.


Keith Knight looks at the upside of the loss of half the earth's wildlife in less than 50 years.


Tom the Dancing Bug looks at the odds.


Red Meat finds something disturbing going on at the Johnson house, and for once it isn't Ted or his son. I've always wondered about the never-seen Mrs. Johnson.


The Comic Strip Curmudgeon sometimes makes you wonder what comics you've been reading: His takeaway from "The Better Half" is "Suicide is a revolutionary act!"


Comic Strip of the Day reflects on the value of suspicious minds, and features a couple of images by artists I grew up on, although you might not immediately associate with political cartooning today.


Arf, arf! There ain't no ghosks! Let's investitate! "Shiver Me Timbers!" was the 12th Popeye theatrical short. Directed by Dave Fleischer and released in 1934, with animation by Willard Bowsky and Willard Sturm, it also features uncredited work by animator David Tendlar, music director Sammy Timberg, plus William Costello (Popeye) and Mae Questel (The Slender One). I was a little surprised to see Questel's credit, since Olive sounds very un-Olivey in this one. Same with J. Wellington Wimpy, who has the timing but not the strange, vaguely mid-Atlantic accent he's usually given. During the 1930s, Wimpy was usually voiced by music director Lou Fleischer. A colorized version of "Shiver Me Timbers" was created a few years later, but we're bringing you the original, in glorious monochrome. Notice to patrons: No one will be seated during the bizarre three-way torture scene.




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

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman warns us of a menace taking to the air.

Allegedly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen looks at the future of early voting.

Matt Bors has good news: Here comes the media.


Jesse Springer looks at a neglected side of the GMO debate. (Here at p3, by the way, we're much more concerned about the immediate implications of genetic information as intellectual property for organic farmers and subsistence farmers, compared to long-term health hazards of eating the stuff, but that's just how we roll.)



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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday evening tunes: But it really gets bad, 'round midnight

Yesterday would have been Thelonious Monk's 97th birthday.

I once compared his inimitable piano style to the drunken kung fu master. Here he is with Gerry Mulligan on sax, playing his "'Round Midnight," listed as the most-recorded jazz standard composed by a jazz musician.

This tune should always be listened to after the sun sets, never before.


Friday, October 10, 2014

5:25pm, Friday, October 10th

I'm sitting on the deck with the parrot. I'm rereading The Third Rumpole Omnibus. He's eating his half of a fortune cookie. (His fortune: "EXPRESS YOURSELF. DO SOMETHING CREATIVE.")

Traditionally, he hears it before I do, but this time I heard it first: Geese, heading south, in formation. I look at the parrot. The parrot looks at me.

What most people think of as a parrot's shoulders are actually his wrists. He shrugs his wrists at me.

"I can live with the rain, and I suppose I don't really mind it getting colder. But I wish it didn't have to get dark so early."

I could only nod in agreement. Tonight it'll be dark by a little after seven. In ten weeks it'll be dark at around four thirty.  Both of us need the sunlight more, the older we get. I suggest we're like an old Simon and Garfunkel tune. He gives me the parrot equivalent of the fish eye.

Two nonmigratory bipeds, separated by over seventy million years of evolution, both waiting for April.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday morning toons: Panic!

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

Douglas Adams,
The Hitchhiker's
Neo-confederates are campaigning on a reduction, if not an end, to federal power over the states, but let one ebola patient make his way into the former Republic of Texas, and suddenly everyone's sense of shared values be damned – it's time to freak out! Why hasn't Obama (that implacable gun-confiscating dictator who can't keep fence-jumpers out of the White House) stepped in with the full power of the CDC (whose budget has been under constant attack for years by congressional Republicans) to save their Lone Star State asses? Haven't you turned on the TV, people? Panic!

Today's toons were selected by a computer set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons, About.com, and other fine sources of cartoon goodness.


p3 Best of Show: Pat Bagley.

p3 Legion of Merit: Dan Wasserman.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation From Another Medium: David Fitzsimmons.

p3 World Toon Review: Kevin Kallaugher (England), Ingrid Rice (Canada), Petar Pismestrovic (Austria), and Tjeerd Royaards (Netherlands).


Ann Telnaes examines the nature of sacrifice.


Mark Fiore suspects that we're not focusing in on the right White House security issue.


Tom Tomorrow unveils his Grand Unified Theory of Panic.


Keith Knight throws a flag! Illegal deity!


Tom the Dancing Bug reminds us: At the Institute, they claimed Stockman was mad . . . !


Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl is, perhaps, gearing up for next week's European Genocidal Wars of Territorial Conquest Against Indigenous Peoples Day.


The Comic Strip Curmudgeon answers a question I've had for a long time, regarding clams.


Comic Strip of the Day discusses the importance of cultural literacy in cartooning, with reference to recent works by Matt Wuerker, Jim Morin, Darren Bell . . . and Jerry Holbert.


All you sinners drop everything! "Swing You Sinners," directed by Dave Fleischer in 1930, is built around the popular song "Sing You Sinners" (featured that year in a Lillian Roth film, and on Tony Bennett's 2006 "Duet" album). Billy Murray voiced Bimbo, the dog, whose girlfriend was Betty Boop (when she still had those bizarre dog ears), soon took over the series (sans ears) and later provided the launching pad for the even more successful Popeye cartoons. (Got that?)






The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Made Our Peace With Cheating And Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman goes for the easy lay-up.

Maybe Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen notes that hindsight isn't 20-20; it's more like about 2050.


Jesse Springer doubts that local Oregon towns plan to tax marijuana will make much of a dent in the black market.




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