Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Quote of the day: "Hey guys!"

"I'm glad you asked that question. Because not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me […] I would say, 'Hey guys! Everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can't get us all!'"
2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson on the subject of last week's mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, demonstrating that you can be a respected and accomplished pediatric neurosurgeon, but the minute you change out of your scrubs you can still be just as dumb as the next idiot walking down the street.

You first, Dr. Carson. I'll hold your stethoscope.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday evening toons: Riddles

It's been a week to make one puzz and puzz, till one's puzzler is sore:

When House Speaker wannabe Kevin McCarthy (R - Naturally, FL - Of course) blithely mentioned Hillary Clinton's drop in the polls as proof that the Benghazi hearings were working – thus admitting what everyone else had known all along, i.e. that their purpose was plainly and simply to damage Clinton politically, and nothing else – it raised a metaphysical question: Was this a genuine Kinsleyan gaffe, inadvertently speaking the truth? Or was McCarthy simply providing more evidence that Republicans now live and operate in a world where they don't even have to pretend to be coy about such abuse of public trust? (Just as Carly Fiorina has shown that telling obvious, recognized, and documented lies about Planned Parenthood not only doesn't raise the so-called "character issue," nor lead to ungentle questioning on the talking head programs, but actually gives you an uptick in the polls.)

In a similar way, when the investigation of the shooting which took nine lives down the road from me at Umpqua Community College this week wound up in the hands of an Oregon sheriff who's a Sandy Hook truther and possibly an Oath Keeper, does his public claim that "gun control has no part in this" make him the worst choice imaginable for the job, since he has some pretty idiosyncratic notions about how he should do his job? Or is he the perfect choice, since whether you think Sandy Hook was a put-up false-flag operation or a terrible, terrible tragedy, the fact that our only response as a nation was to sell ourselves more guns (no, sending "thoughts and prayers" doesn't cut it – not anymore) suggests he may have a better bead on the spirit of the times than we do?

Today's toons were selected by arcane calculations based on the lunar eclipse 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 Award for Extreme Excellence: J.D. Crowe.

p3 Best of Show: Jeff Stahler. (See also Comic Strip of the Day, below.)

p3 Legion of Merit ("Sneaking It Past the Editors" Division): Tom Toles. (Although the Post, Toles' syndicator, has some experience with that particular joke, going back to the days when the Nixon re-election campaign made a similar offer to publisher Katherine Graham.)

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Michael Ramirez and Lisa Benson.

Ann Telnaes presents the ugly truth.

Mark Fiore asks: Who will lead House Republicans out of their current mess?

Tom Tomorrow investigates what makes the whites show all the way around right-wingers' eyes. Fear today, gone tomorrow, one might say.

Keith Knight takes a rare turn into sports journalism. No he doesn't.

Reuben Bolling imagines a world where not making sense actually makes a whole lot of sense.

Red Meat's Ted Johnson learns the sad truth: every crimefighter has his kryptonite.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon contemplates Atlantean cuisine, and the policy of the clean slate. (And is there a Tarantino joke hidden in the name of the dish?)

Comic Strip of the Day explores some of the same territory as this week's Best of Show honoree, Jeff Stahler.

Why you poor little thing! I better let you stay inside the house tonight. As a tribute to the anti-vaxxers who've managed to let measles get its foot back in the door in the US, here's "Polka-Dot Puss," a 1949 Tom & Jerry toon directed by Joseph Hanna and William Barbera. It features the first shot by musical director Scott Bradley at what would become the standard T&J theme for the next generation. It also features an appearance by Tom's occasional foil, Mammy Two-Shoes, a housekeeper in the classic "Mammy" mold voiced by veteran actor Lillian Randolph, so consider yourself warned. Mammy is shown as usual: only from the waist downward, as she interacts with Tom. When T&J cartoons became widely syndicated on television, there were occasional absurd attempts to edit out (white-out?) the stereotypical character by replacing her in her scenes with the skirt, knees, ankles, white bobby socks and saddle oxfords of a teenage white girl – often, and this is the pathetic part – often leaving Randolph's obviously-not-teenaged, obviously-not-white voice on the soundtrack. Ah well. Watch Polka-Dot Puss at VideoMotion.

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

Water on Mars? Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman connects the dots.

Very Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen presents the game that's sweeping the nation. Unfortunately.

Matt Bors celebrates the free market's influence on American health (ah, if only it worked that way). The first clue with that guy was that he's obviously watched "Risky Business" way too many times – and not the parts on the El with Rebecca DeMornay – with the lights off – alone – if you know what I mean – and I think you do.

Jesse Springer created a cartoon about the UCC shootings, but offers this one up as well, for those readers who need something to take their mind off the carnage for a bit.

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.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday morning toons: The departure of the other Weeping Yellow Man

The title refers to the one who'll have to wait a full year on the five-figure lecture circuit before becoming a high-paid lobbyist now that he's quit his job as totally ineffectual and utterly morally and ethically compromised Speaker of the House, before he was finally driven out by the extremists on whose humped backs he rode to power back in the day, after managing to fulfill his life-long dream of standing next to the Pope, little realizing that a big part of the Pope's job description is standing next to thieves, whores, and usurers.

Not to this one, who'll at least still have a job at the end of October. (Betcha Boehner wishes he had his own "Treehouse of Terror" series. But perhaps he does.)


Because Weeping Yellow Men are like the Highlander: In the end, there can only be one.

To make the cut this week, you had to do more than say the Pope seems like a nice guy, or quote Yogi Berra.

But we're not too proud around here to include anything that ridicules Scott Walker's God-ordained withdrawal from the 2016 race, or anything that imagines the top brass of Volkswagen spending time in the slammer, or anything that mentions what a moral leper the Tom Cruise wannabe who legally ratcheted up the price of an HIV drug by 5000% because, well . . . he could . . . is, and what a poster child he is for the kind sociopathic capitalism that that nice Pope fellow seemed to be taking exception to.

Today's toons were selected by the invisible hand of the free market 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 Picks of the week: Mike Luckovich, Tom Toles, Gary Varvel, Dan Wasserman, Signe Wilkinson, Lalo Alcarez, Phil Hands, Kevin Kallaugher, Chan Lowe, David Fitzsimmons, Jeff Koterba, and Matt Wuerker. and Monte "Birthday Boy" Wolverton.

p3 Best of Show: Scott Stantis.

p3 Legion of Merit: Joel Pett.

p3 Rube Goldberg Award (Soft Bigotry division): Darrin Bell.

Conservi-splaining capitalism and science to the Jesuit fellow who has a Master's in chemistry: Rob Rogers, Drew Sheneman,

Ann Telnaes celebrates the bloody irony of a Saudi Arabian official installed as the new head of the UN Human Rights Coalition. Yes, that Saudi Arabia: you know – our partners in peace.

Mark Fiore reaches his limits, beatification-wise.

Tom Tomorrow starts with bad hair as metaphor, and ends up in the worst place imaginable.

Keith Knight looks at the view from Hollywood. Is it true? Would anything at all change if it weren't?

Reuben Bolling gives you step-by-step instructions, including writing your lawyer's number on your arm (above the grease line, of course).

Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl is prepared for the worst.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon wrestles with the same problem that many media critics face: Animal effluvia.

Comic Strip of the Day reviews colors that weren't in the 64-crayon Crayola box, dog crack, and the integrity of Sesame Street.

You No Like It, I'm-a Takin' It Back! Charlie Dog famously (well, famously to me and a couple of my friends) sang "Atsa Matta For You" in the 1951 Chuck Jones short "A Hound For Trouble," but I'd almost forgotten that the song reappeared six years later in "Bedeviled Rabbit," drected by Robert McKimson (taking a break from his Foghorn Leghorn bits) from a story by Tedd Pierce, with all voices by Portland's Own Mel Blanc and musical direction by Milt Franklyn (who for years was second banana to Carl Stalling of the p3 pantheon of gods. Watch "Bedeviled Rabbit" at DailyMotion.

The Value-Sized Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman gets his Leslie Gore on.

Maybe, Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen reviews what feminists can learn from Carly Fiorino. Astonishly, it takes four panels. But it's ridicule, so perhaps it's not surprising. If it was serious, it wouldn't take any panels at all.

Matt Bors catalogues what's missing from the GOP presidential primary field.

Jesse Springer questions Oregon's priorities. And why not?

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday morning toons: Look upon the GOP and despair!

This week's GOP debate ought to have been like kryptonite to most of the candidates who lied or fumbled or brazened their way through it: Jeb! Bush saying his brother "kept us safe" – not counting what Charlie Pierce aptly calls "The Great Mulligan." Carly "The Rising Star" Fiorina weeping bitter tears after viewing shots of the falsely re-edited video about the evil criminal conspiracy SPECTRE THRUSH SMERSH KAOS Planned Parenthood that demonstrably never occurred, whether in the raw footage or the artfully re-edited version that's so inspired the GOP activist base. And so on. And yet it wasn't their kryptonite after all.

And neither was the supposed hard shot on goal that Fiorina hit Trump with, which was much more about bumping up her anti-Trump anti-Hillary cred than about anything that the failed CEO (I wish that descriptor narrowed the field down more, but there we are) and Mistress of the Zombie Sheep had on her resume. Although at least the MZS once ran for office, which puts her ahead of Carson and Trump.

And, of course, there's the sad little number of candidates who could even name a woman of political significance who wasn't their wife, mother, or Margaret Thatcher. It was limited to those who thought that Rosa Parks (currently in the process of being "rehabilitated" by movement conservatives and their social media ilk just as they've tried to give the treatment to MLK) would be an apt replacement on the ten-dollar bill for genocidal populist Andrew Jackson (who made his fame by attacking a major North American city after the War of 1812 was already over), even though La Parks was on the board of Planned Parenthood. Oops.

And no one, to my knowledge, has recognized the full meaning of the temporarily-successful meta-insurgency of the outsider-triumvarate: Fiorina, The Short-Fingered Vulgarian, and Ben Carson. It's not so much that they're political-electoral neophytes (or complete virgins, in the case of Carson); it's that they got where they are with no indebtedness to the GOP politburo, or its various faux-populist charm schools, or its General Order #1: Thou Shalt Yield Pride of Place to Last Cycle's Nominee. The GOP's national committee is watching itself being reduced to a League of Women Voters-style organization (Women voters? Oh, how that must sting!) whose influence extends to scheduling the quadrennial national convention and little more. The part of me that wants to see them suffer for their satanic pact with the Citizens United and Tea Party blocs wants to laugh.

On the other hand, the part of me that would like to see an American presidential election that wasn't dragged around by the ring in its nose by the plutocrats, birthers, truthers, tenthers, soi-disant libertarians, supporting-Israel-to-achieve-the-End-Tim Ames fundamentalists, look-the-other-way Christians, Game Boy misogynists, and selectivly-oath-keeping selective-patriots – that part mourns.

And what the hell was an old Air Force One doing behind the debaters? What was that about?

And yet, as has been said by better observers than me, this is one of the only two political parties our laws and customs allow us to have. So it can't be comfortable to be both sentient and a holder of the conviction that there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties. I'm not thrilled with the Democratic Party – Debbie Wasserman Shultz, pick up the red courtesy phone; Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, the red courtest phone please – but anyone who imagines for an instant that the Democrats could field two stages full of extremists like this is living in a fantasy world where only the Village Media dwell.

And, to answer a question I asked years ago – where does the conservative movement find these people? – here's one of the mostrecent unripened products of the GOP pod farm. How long do you suppose he'll last on the shelf?

Although last night was the BBC America premiere of season 9 of Doctor Who, so there's always that – even though it was To Be Continued (spoiler!).

Today's toons were selected by no earthly-known criterion 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: Nick Anderson.

p3 Maybe Even Better Best of Show: Jimmy Marguiles.

p3 Legion of Merit: Darrin Bell.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation From Another Medium: Phil Hands.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Mike Lester and Clay Jones. I confess I'm a bit out of the loop here: Ronald Reagan had red monogrammed boots? And people care – or even remember – thirty years later? Here's Clay Jones on his feelings about this toon.

p3 World Toon Review: Paul Zanetti (Australia), Tom Janssen (Netherlands), and Marian Kamensky (Austria).

Ann Telnaes presents feeding time at the zoo.

Mark Fiore watches in consternation as the irresistable Fiorina meets the unmovable Trump.

Tom Tomorrow presents a wonderful, delicious moment – if only it would actually happen.

Keith Knight experiences the eerie recurrence of a What Do You Mean, I'm Not? moment. By an odd coincidence, I had a somewhat similar experience about twenty years ago when the phone company refused to speak to me about my bill and would only speak to "Mrs. Nothstine," a person who did not exist and never had but in whose name the account was supposedly entered. His is better, though.

Reuben Bolling imagines the combination of a long-beloved general-interest magazine with a bunch of ideologically shamess anti-intellectual right-wing whackaloons. What could go wrong? Of course, this does mean that, fifty years from now, no one will inherit several shelves of National Geographics that they can't find a home for. So that problem's solved, anyway.

Red Meat's Milkman Dan is thinking about his legacy.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon recognizes the world just after the horrible Event. It involves horses.

Comic Strip of the Day spent last week at the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning. Don't take my word for it; see how many p3 regulars (and more who should be; I admit it) look at close range.

Can You Take It? In honor of the zestful and billionaire-underwritten sadism of this week's GOP presidential primary debate, p3 proudly presents "Can You Take It?" a celebration of people beating the crap out of one another to no evident purpose, directed in 1934 by Dave Fleisher, with uncredited work by William Costello (Popeye), William Pennell (Bluto), Mae Questel (the Slender One), plus musical direction by Sammy Timberg and musical supervision by Lou Fleischer.

The More or Less Good-Sized Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman imagines a meeting of the titans.

Allegedly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen traces the history of something I drove to high school for almost two years, although it would be unrecognizable as such today. (Hint: my ride and I never made it past panel #1.)

Matt Bors recognizes the problem of assimilation.

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.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday morning toons: A simple desultory phillippic (Or how I was Ben Carsoned into submission)

Today's picks were a little difficult, and not so much because of an embarras du choix on the big news stories of the day as because the topics were ones that didn't seem to bring out the best in our usual go-to artists. Here are some things you won't see much of this morning.

Nine-eleven hasn't had inspired many new thoughts from anyone (let alone cartoonists) for some time now.

Trump is a blowhard with high ratings who's got the GOP establishment terrified and humiliated – we get that. Now if only some courageous cartoonist would take on Trump's creepy tendency to volunteer in public that his daughter is so hot he'd probably hit that himself if he weren't her father, they'd be an absolute lock for this week's p3 Best of Show award. (I mean, I understand that part of the attraction for many of the short-fingered vulgarian's fans is that the man has no filters, but come on.)

And as for that dreadful person who's slowly discovering that fame is a drug now that she's been reinstated in her semi-hereditary job as a county clerk: When Republican presidential candidates are elbowing each other to stand next to you on-stage like Politburo officials at a May Day Parade, you know you've got a ticket on the next train to Duck Dynasty-style celebrity, however ephemeral. (By the way, her job, which she feels she doesn't actually have to do if Jesus says so, pays a bit under eighty grand a year. The 2009-2013 median income in Rowan County KY was $35,236; the median income for Kentucky during the same period was $43,036.) So yes, it's amusing to point out that Special Agent Scully continues to do her job even though she doesn't believe in UFOs, but if all you had to go with this week was that she's a hypocrite – or the fact that she's a bit on the frumpy side (I mean, Trump looks like an overripe citrus fruit exploding in slo-mo; what's up with that?) – you probably didn't make the cut today.

I been Donald Trumped and stomach pumped.
I been Late Show talkered and Scotty Walkered.
Huckabee'd and Cruzed 'til it's no fun.
I been Facebook memed and home-town teamed,
E-mail servered and life preservered,
And caveman jokes are feeling overdone.

I knew a man, he's so unhip, when you say "santorum"
He thinks you're talkin' about a presidential candidate.


Today's toons were selected – left-handed, of course – 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: Clay Jones.

p3 Legion of Merit: Rick McKee.

p3 Medal of Achievement ("Shamelessly Recycling Condi Rice's Lies" Division): Michael Ramirez.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation From Another Medium (tie): Robert Ariail and Matt Bors.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 1): Matt Weurker and Stuart Carlson.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 2): Joe Heller, Dana Summers, and Phil Hands.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 3): Drew Litton and Ken Catalino.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence (Part 4): Rob Rogers and Michael Ramirez. (Our records indicate that's the first time Ramirez has hit the p3 exacta, by the way.)

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Ingrid Rice (Canada), and Vasco Gargalo (Portugal).

Ann Telnaes brings us the Mike Huckabee revival – in at least one sense of the term.

Tom Tomorrow brings you up-the-picosecond news, and it involves the Invisible Tentacle.

Keith Knight finds the bright center of an otherwise-dismal universe. Maybe.

Reuben Bolling will be hunted down and skinned alive if the pop culture enthusiasts get the joke. (The morons can be safely counted on not to.)

Red Meat's Ted Johnson and son take in the latest blockbuster. Or perhaps, in the lingo of the film industry, we should call it a "tentpole movie."

Comic Strip of the Day points out things you might not have seen (well, I certainly didn't) about The Heart of Juliet Jones, plus his two favorite 9/11 cartoons.

You gotta be a touchdown-getter, you bet! To celebrate – if that's the word we're looking for here; perhaps "observe" is nearer the mark – the inevitable return of football season, here's a classic Popeye, directed by Dave Fleisher in 1935. The title song was the most popular football anthem of its time. Now an IMDB search of its title only turns up an episode of "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Sad, huh?

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

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman thanks Trump for his service. (As CSotD points out, dissing someone for taking a draft deferment is like dissing them for deducting their mortgage payments, and the short-fingered vulgarian would have been fine if he'd just kept his big bazoo closed.)

Theoretically Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen shows why we're proud to claim her – if, in fact, we have the right.

Jesse Springer reacts to the notion of two Oregon judges deciding they would rather not perform civil wedding ceremonies at all than possibly being compelled to officiate a same-sex marriage. In Oregon, judges are not required to perform marriage ceremonies (unlike, for example, county clerks in Kentucky), so perhaps that puts Oregon a little higher on the chain of being than Kentucky. Maybe.

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

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday morning toons: Faces

Just when I was ready to lose it from the seemingly endless presence in close-up of professional bigot Donald Trump's face on my Facebook feed, it's now filled with the seemingly endless presence of semi-pro bigot Kim Davis's face on my Facebook feed. Neither – trust me on this – is the sort of thing I want to face over my morning tea.

And meanwhile, we have a presidential candidate – who was still taken seriously as recently as eight weeks ago – arguing that we need a three thousand mile wall protecting us from the predatory ambitions of the nation to our north, who wants to steal our . . . I don't even know how to end that sentence. Ask Ann Telnaes or Stuart Carlson, below.

And don't show me the picture of that sheep with five years of unshorn wool again, either. Enough.

On a more important note, Comic Strip of the Day explains below why there are precious few infants-washed-up-on-the-shore cartoons in the p3 review today.

Today's toons were selected by a genuinely annoyed federal judge 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: Darrin Bell.

p3 Legion of Merit: Lalo Alcaraz.

Ann Telnaes reacquaints Scott Walker with the law of unintended consequences.

"All of the above" may rank next to "C" as the best when-in-doubt answer on a college multiple-choice quiz, but Mark Fiore has his doubts about it as an energy policy.

Keith Knight solves a mystery.

Reuben Bolling leaves us to wonder what the pigeons are thinking.

In honor of Labor Day, Red Meat's Ted Johnson takes exception to Carl's negativity.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon has a lot to unpack, and it involves Googling about giraffes' spots.

Comic Strip of the Day lays down the law: If you dare to touch this child with your pen, you may not, you must not, fuck it up.

"Mornin' Sam." "Mornin' Ralph." In honor of Labor Day, and as a follow-up to Tom Tomorrow's toon, above, and as a tribute to the sheep who went undiscovered by shearers for many years, we proudly present the third outing by Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph the Wolf: "Double or Mutton," directed in 1955 by Chuck Jones, from a story by Michael Maltese. And yes, Ralph looks like Wile E. Coyote but with a red nose, and he is fated to lose again and again, in one gag after another, to an implacable adversary, just like Wile E. Coyote does, but he's not a coyote. He's a wolf. (It's sort of like this.) In the first two Sam and Ralph toons, the collegial workaday adversarialism of the two hadn't been worked out yet. This is the first one where Sam and Ralph clock in together, get to their workstations, and take the whole sheep-rustling business as a job. Which is what makes it funny. Watch "Double or Mutton" at DailyMotion. And happy Labor Day.

The Not Very Big, But We Still Have A Dream, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman seems to have taken the long weekend off. So much for our dreams.

Entirely Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen solves a problem that only New York City could make a problem.

Matt Bors reassures us: This all makes sense. Really.

Jesse Springer answers the question: How is the next Oregon budget like a George Clooney/Mark Wahlberg film?

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

Saturday, September 5, 2015