Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday morning toons: You say "IN-alienable," I say "UN-alienable"

In the week of the 238th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration that started it all, what did we learn?

The World Cup continues, but only about five percent of American sports fans care now. I've already forgotten everything my friends helped me understand about the mysterious process by which teams advance to the next bracket.

Facebook, it turns out, was surreptitiously conducting experiments on its users to see if FB content could affect users' moods. The results, I believe, were published in the American Journal of Duh! a couple of years ago. Facebook users, who routinely post about how much they dislike their bosses and coworkers and give up personal information just to play Candy Crush Saga, reacted in horror that Big Blue was betraying their trust and tampering with the purity of their precious bodily fluids.

And as of this week it turns out that the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has a tell: Whenever they're getting ready to throw established law and logical consistency out the window simply to get the ideological outcome they want, they tee it up by warning that their decision applies to only the present case and should not be construed as setting a precedent. Ask Al Gore about that one.

Today's toons were selected without the permission of Hobby Lobby's owners 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. And, although there were lots and lots of toons out there this week that were just the American flag, usually pictured from low angle, perhaps with some inspirational quotation below it, not one of them made the cut.

p3 Best of Show: Ben Sargent.

p3 Legion of Merit: Darrin Bell.

p3 Award for Best Adaptation from Another Medium: Clay Bennett.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: R. J. Matson and Jim Morin. (Note that Morin's toon didn't make the coveted Picks of the week cut, because as a general rule I skip over "both sides do it"-themed pieces. But when I saw that Matson was on the same wavelength, I decided to bring him in on a CHTC technicality.)

p3 World Toon Review: Ingrid Rice (Canada), Rachel Gold (Austria), Alex Falco Chang (Cuba), and Khalid Albaihn (Qatar).

Ann Telnaes celebrates the many faces of Bill O'Reilly.

Mark Fiore presents something you probably didn't know Moses brought down from the mountain.

Tom Tomorrow reviews the legal doctrine of As Long As It Probably Won't Make Things A Lot Worse.

Keith Knight welcomes you to the dark side.

Tom the Dancing Bug explains why America deserves to be exceptional, gosh darn it!

Red Meat's Bug-Eyed Earl is having a moment.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon asks: Where were you five years ago? We hope you weren't watching a SWAT team shoot a knife-weilding stripper.

Comic Strip of the Day looks at what can happen when we start exploiting fear and paranoia for fun and profit. And he has a solution.

Goils! For reasons we're not going into now, I sometimes post pictures of the stuffed toys in coin-op arcade crane games on my Facebook feed. I generally limit them to golden and silver age animation characters, although an occasional Star Trek character slips in from time to time. Recently I posted an image of Wendy the Good Little Witch, a spinoff of Harvey Comics mainstay Casper the Friendly Ghost. I was surprised to be reminded that the character had mostly dropped off the radar screen (despite that 1998 direct-to-video movie that was Hillary Duff's first major role!). Both the Wendy and Casper animated shorts were produced by Paramount, so they got the same production-value treatment that Popeye was getting from that studio at the same time. The animation is so limited at some points that it makes Huckleberry Hound look like the balletic hippos in "Fantasia." So here, as a public service, is "Which is Witch," released in 1958. Most of the production crew – director Izzy Sparber, musical director Winston Sharples, and uncredited voice talent Jack Mercer (Spooky) and Mae Questel (Wendy) – would be familiar names to anyone who's been following the Popeye animations featured here. Cecil Roy, who voiced Casper and Witch Hazel, had a long career dipping back into the 1940s, with such trivia-stumper characters as Wendy and Little Lulu.

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Started Fudging by Welcoming Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman examines an experiment gone wrong.

Theoretically Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen conducts a thought experiment.

Matt Bors celebrates American ingenuity.

Jesse Springer looks at the subtle distinction between unhealthy food and unhealthy food that's bad for you.

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.

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