Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday morning tunes: Don't know where, don't know when

Stephen Colbert wrapped up "The Colbert Report" Thursday night with this classic 1939 World War II song made immortal by Dame Vera Lynn (probably by coincidence, it was also the music to the ending of Stanley Kubrik's 1964 dark, dark, dark classic "Dr. Strangelove") 

Colbert's version features . . . everybody.

If you need a cheat sheet for most of the guest singers, it's here. It's probably the first and last time that Sir Patrick Stewart has stood within arm's length of Dr. Henry "The Butcher of Cambodia" Kissinger.

We wish the lad good luck with his new show. He seems to have prospects.

(Also, 39 years ago tomorrow, Harry Chapin hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Cat's in the Cradle." We gave it the p3 treatment in 2012.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy birthday to the Bill of Rights

Two hundred twenty-three years after it was ratified, the Second and Tenth Amendments are all the rage. But the First Amendment has been twisted largely beyond recognition by the Roberts Court. A constitutional law professor took time out from campaigning for president in 2008 to hand an anvil to the Fourth Amendment. And the Eighth Amendment was publicly disgraced last week.

Still, it was a good idea. And in fairness, no one has tried to quarter troops in my house as far as I can remember.

Happy birthday to what's left of the Bill of Rights.

2:01pm Pacific Time: I'm out

The bastards got Darley over a week ago.

Today I lost my own annual War on "The Little Drummer Boy."  I had lunch in a nearby sushi-bento restaurant in the mistaken belief that it would offer safe haven. But XM Radio nailed me with the third or fourth song, a guitar and mandolin version of TLDB sung by some earnest, throbbing-voice fellow who sounded like he was singing about his pickup truck, not the birth of Jesus.

December 15th is my third-best showing since we started keeping official stats: Best was December 20th (2013); second-best was December 17th (2011).  There were several years when I didn't make it out of November.

So that's it for me until 12:01am November  27th, 2015. I'll see you all then.

To Josh, Steve, Hunter, and anyone else who's still in the game, may the odds be ever with you.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday morning toons: This week will be remembered as the week that "rectal feeding" became a thing

That's right, baby: SMT is back.

Just think, some day you'll be able to tell your children where you were when you found out that the CIA has been administering hummus enemas in the expectation that it would help the enemy interrogation process. Oh yes.

So let's see. Congress blames the CIA and the media. The media blame Congress and the CIA. Dick Cheney blames Dubya, or would if he believed anyone had done anything wrong. Dubya claims that it didn't happen, and also to it worked. Colin Powell, once again, is distinguished by his irrelevance. And John Yoo remains a loathsome excuse for a human being.

Yup, that about covers it. (Interesting that several cartoonists this week depicted a CIA torturer as brandishing a mace, which is really more of a close-combat weapon against armor and shield, rather than an instrument of torture. Perhaps they're thinking of the cat o' nine tails?)

Today's toons were selected by the strategic administration of eggs over medium, bacon, hash browns, wheat toast, and tea, from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, The Nib, and other fine sources of cartoon goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Jeff Danziger.

p3 Legion of Merit: Joel Pett.

p3 Dubious Achievement Award for the Most Disturbing Image of the Week: Rob Rogers.

p3 Track and Field Medal: Darrin Bell.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: John Darkow.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Clay Bennett, Bob Gorrell, and Tom Toles.

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Ingrid Rice (Canada), Tomas (Italy), and Alex Falco Chang (Cuba).

Good news for the Sage of Baltimore: H. L. Mencken wondered aloud, in 1936, if the political term "fat-cat" had what it took to go the distance in the American language. Mr. Mencken, Stuart Carlson has good news for you.

Ann Telnaes sums up what many political cartoonists were saying this week.

Mark Fiore invites you to sing along (or spend the next twelve hours in a stress position).

Tom Tomorrow reviews the lessons learned. I think #7 is my favorite.

Keith Knight observes the signs of the season.

Tom the Dancing Bug plays the trendier-than-thou card, and it's funny.

Red Meat's Ted Johnson makes the connection you were waiting for, between large predators and a delicious spring vegetable.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon discovers: They aren't human! (And he didn't even need those weird sunglasses to see it!)

Comic Strip of the Day considers the question of deniability (both plausible and implausible).

Just dropped in to see what condition his condition was in: In a Very Special Christmas 2014 episode of Simon's Cat, SC discovers the herb superb. Directed by Simon Tofield, animation by Sarah Airriess, and clean-up (perhaps this refers to the tree and the cat food?) by Aude Carpentier.

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

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman boils it down to a case of identity.

Probably But Not Definitely Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen posits the (entirely possible) existence of the ultimate annual party theme for the entitled few.

Matt Bors looks at white people problems.

Jesse Springer, who has more confidence in this sort of thing than I do, had this one locked and loaded three days before last night's Heisman Trophy award.

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, December 13, 2014

Saturday afternoon tunes: I'm not the only one

Thirty-four years ago today – good lord, has it been that long? – 100,000 fans of John Lennon attended a memorial in NYC's Central Park.

And here's a question: Would Mark David Chapman's wife be covered by Son of Sam laws?

The unforgiving minute: Attention Android Lollipop team

For the record, if I'd wanted a tablet that arbitrarily locks up important screen features and maybe will fix itself if I power it down and back up again, I'd have purchased a Windows product.

Seriously, ever since Lollipop got pushed onto my Nexus 7 last week, the screen rotate feature works sometimes, sometimes not. Powering off/on restores the function sometimes, sometimes not. I've worked my way through the troubleshooting checklist and the only thing left to try appears to be a full cloud backup and a factory reset. I am understandably reluctant to take that step. Any suggestions from readers would be most welcome.

So far, my experience of Lollipop comes to some layout features I don't find an improvement, and some others that I'm told are there but I'm not seeing. Ordinarily, I would never install the 5.0.1 version of any software, especially an OS. I don't like to do somebody else's beta testing for free. This time, obviously, I didn't get a vote.  

Minute's up.

So. Where were we?

I had it all planned out. I loaded every file I would need to keep posting while I was on the road last week onto a flash drive.

Then I left the flash drive on the kitchen counter.

So posting will now resume, beginning with an Unforgiving Minute in just a moment.

Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday morning tunes: What you could buy with $500 worth of beer back in the day

Forty-five years ago today, the Stones ended their American tour with a multi-band Woodstocky free festival at a California racetrack. The whole thing was a little on the loosely-wrapped side from the beginning. A local chapter of the Hell's Angels was retained (against the titular honorarium) to augment security, and that's when things began to come unwound. A member of the Jefferson Airplane was knocked out during an on-stage brawl with one of the security "irregulars,"  and the Grateful Dead dead took one look at the whole mess and decided to bail out before their set began.

For the sake of a number of my younger friends who learned a lot of their Sixties history from "American Pie" -- and with all due respect to Don McLean -- Satan may have laughed with delight the day the music died but Mick Jagger didn't even see the melee in front of the stage, when one of the Angels stabbed an armed man to death, until he saw it on film later. And, somewhat along the same lines, the Stones weren't performing "Sympathy for the Devil" at the time of the stabbing, however apt that might seem in retrospect. It was this.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quote of the day: The rhetoric of the occupying power

(Updated below.)
This is the bold chest-thumping of the Vichy apparatchik. This is the pouter-pigeon flummery of every deputized yahoo in every tinhorn dictatorship. This is the mock-courage of the true subject of an occupying power.
- Charlie Pierce, on the pouting reaction of the St. Louis PD to the entrance on-field of members of the Rams last night, holding up their hands in the "hands up, don't shoot me!" position. The SLPD are actually indignant that the community they keep "safe" by arbitrary violence isn't sufficiently grateful.

Go for Pierce's righteous anger; stay for the scarcely-comforting background of the SLPD's spokesperson.

Update: Here's a nice bit of news: The St. Louis police don't have separate whites-only/blacks-only drinking fountains, but they do have their own advocacy organizations. Wonder why?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday morning toons: What you don't see

Toons you're probably not going to see this morning (if it makes its way in, it means the artist had a striking and unexpected take, or amazing art): Anything comparing Black Friday mobs to Ferguson mobs. Anything contrasting the Native American's treatment of the Pilgrims with the Tea Party nativists' reaction to immigrants. Executive orders and turkey pardoning. Talking to your Fox News-addled relative at the holiday table (although see Jen Sorensen, below).

Also, for reasons that aren't clear, the entries seem to take an obituary, or at least funereal turn as we get farther down the page.

Today's toons were selected by dumping every single cartoon for the last four weeks on the table in front of a grand jury, then telling them to get back to us when they've sorted it out for themselves, including our regular sources at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, The Nib, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: Joel Pett.

p3 Award for Shedding New Light on "The Old Ball and Chain:" John Darkow.

p3 World Toon Review: Ingrid Rice (Canada) and Petar Pismestrovic (Austria).

Harmonic Toon Convergence: The Next Level. R. J. Matlin, reflecting on how his syndicated visual take on the Ferguson unrest could, in good faith, wind up in a more-or-less identical form on the cover of The New Yorker, shares a bit of insider lore: Yahtzee!

Ann Telnaes found Turkish president Edrogan's views on women to be evolved – up to a point. (Story here.)

Mark Fiore awards himself a Thanksgiving breather.

Tom Tomorrow presents the awesome world of the future (although you could be forgiven for thinking the only cool thing is the flying cars that look like '57 Chevies).

Keith Knight brings back an evergreen – alas – from 2000. (Optional musical accompaniment.)

Tom the Dancing Bug welcomes you to that moment when you find yourself wondering what the hell happened to your favorite childhood experiences?

Red Meat's Ted Johnson is pleased to learn his son has a friend who knows a guy.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon brings you the two traditional Thanksgiving leftovers: Death and sandwiches.

And speaking of death, Comic Strip of the Day looks at another topic with an obituary feel to it.

Okay, chum – now you try it! We've often said that Olive wouldn't start so many troubles between Popeye and Bluto if she didn't leave the window open so Bluto could eavesdrop. "Quick on the Vigor," directed by Izzy Sparber in 1950 from a story by Carl Meyer and Jack Mercer, shows the corollary: Popeye could wrap up his feuds with Bluto a lot more quickly if he ignored those rigged "now you try it" challenges. Uncredited work: Mercer (Popeye), Jason Beck (Bluto), and Mae Questel (the Slender One). Note that "Vigor," fourteen years after "Bridge Ahoy!", features Olive still giving Bluto her signature line: "You keep your hands to yourself – that's what you are!" As long as the paychecks kept clearing. . . .

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

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman sees common ground.

Quite Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen presents a Thanksgiving tradition two-fer. (Wisely, she doesn't waste her time or yours giving you advice on how to talk to him.)

Matt Bors demonstrates how simple the solution to the whole blacks-police-guns thing is. Although panel #4 does remind me a little bit of this.

Jesse Springer looks at a plant specimen that may have cheated death (for now):

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.