Category Archives: cartoons

Today’s Tabula Rasa

Make no mistake about it.  I am quite capable of waking up in the morning with nothing at all in my head, no ideas, no words, no plans, no dreams…  I can be the most idiotically stupid witless twit when my brain is thoroughly drained.  But that is not the natural state of any man, and certainly not of someone like me who has lived for more than sixty years with a totally fermented head.

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So suppose I woke up this morning without remembering anything at all that I have learned about the world.  What would I do?  What would I write?  What would I think?

I think the first thing I might do if I didn’t remember anything at all about the world I find myself in, I might turn on the TV to find out what is happening, or watch cartoons, I can’t be sure I would know which should come first, if I even remember how to turn a TV on, or what a TV is…

But when I turn on the TV and look at what is really happening, and assuming I can tell the difference between Donald Trump and Donald Duck… Oh! Gonga!  My gawd!  How could it be this bad?

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Donald Duck is president.  And he gets totally angry and quacks on Twitter with that infamously hard-to-understand word-mangle of his, delivered while jumping in place and swinging his fists at the air around him.

A basset hound with a nose for clues has been tracking his every movement.  And that basset hound is a former FBI chief.  He’s very good at accurately sniffing out duck trails.

And then there is a lying and evil Keebler elf at the head of the justice department who is pursuing marijuana crimes relentlessly because he hates black people and wants to put them into the for-profit prisons he owns even though the rest of the country is deciding to legalize marijuana.

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This totally evil elf, it turns out, has been talking to Porky Kislyack, Russian spymaster pig about campaign collusion even though he swore to Senator Frankenberry in his confirmation hearing that he was guilty of nothing… that he could recall.  Hopefully the basset hound has his evil elf scent too.

And the racism and evil doesn’t end there.  Gasper the Unfriendly Ghost is still hanging out with the president, feeding him just the right duck food to create dyspeptic outrage in his duck belly.  Gasper will then spur Donald Duck on to quack more about border walls and guarding our southern border because too many Speedy Gonzaleses is a brown mouse problem in the closets of our country.  We can’t have too many queso-eaters here.

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Gasper the Unfriendly Ghost

And so, if I were to wake up with a Tabula Rasa, a truly empty head, and watched morning cartoons… or news… or whatever the heck that stuff on morning TV is…  I would be left wondering what I was going to do about it.  The options?  Certainly I probably need to vote this year.  Or I could bang myself on the side of the head with a brick and possibly knock all this stuff out of my head again, re-establishing the emptiness in my stupid head.

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Mickian Artistical Nonsense

The word for it is Paffooney.  I know that is not a real word.  It is a Mickian word.  Kinda like the word “Mickian”.  It is entirely made up gibberish, made up by Mickey, and used to mean an artwork made by the hand of Mickey.  So I can’t really explain it.  I have to show you what it basically is.

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This is a Paffooney.  It is inspired by the incredibly unbelievable time in Mickey’s life when they let Mickey be a teacher in Texas.  It has no other relationship to reality.  Chinese girls in Texas generally do not have manga eyes and blue hair, and while Hispanic girls have been known to eat pencils, they never bring their own notebook paper to class.  They always borrow.  So there is the basic formula.  Colored-pencil nonsense drawn by Mickey and attached somehow to a story.

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This Paffooney has a self-explanatory story embedded in it.  It is obvious this is the story of an average family car trip in Texas.  Notice how they demonstrate the Texas State highway motto of, “Drive friendly”.

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And this Paffooney is a Mickian recurring nightmare about a duck with teeth.  Silly Mickey, ducks don’t have teeth in real life!

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And moose bowling is a Paffooney that needs no explanation… or does it?  Well, never mind.  I have forgotten what it is for anyway.

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And this oil-painting Paffooney speaks volumes about a philosophy of life.  See the pilot giving the viewer a thumbs up? And that isn’t a parachute on his back.  They didn’t have parachutes in World War I.  It is a message pouch with German war plans in it.  I even painted it with a bratwurst sandwich inside for the pilot’s lunch.  Don’t I do great detail work?  But he will have to eat it quickly before he reaches the ground.

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And this is me teaching an ESL class.  When you teach English to non-English speakers in Texas, you get to hold the big pencil.  And it helps to be a big white rabbit.

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And this is a science fiction Paffooney, although the science is questionable.  Don’t doubt that the flower-people of the planet Cornucopia are real, though.  And Mai Ling, the psionic space ninja really can elongate her arm to get maximum thrust into her left-handed karate chops.

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And we end for today with the Paffooney of a stupid boy.  He’s not really me.  Not really.  And I don’t even know who gave him the black eye.  So it can’t be me.  So maybe he is not so stupid.  You can’t say that about somebody you don’t know and is not even you.

So, now do you know what a Paffooney is?  No?  Me neither.  But if you Google images with the words “Beyer Paffooney” you can see a lot more of them.  Nobody else uses that word but little ol’ me.

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How the Smurfs Averted Fascism

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Trumpy Smurf and General Kelly Smurf, his chief of staff

Right now I think this country needs a good lesson in how to avoid a fascist dictatorship.  And we can’t look to 1930’s Germany to get an example.  They didn’t avoid it.  They got Hitler even though he did not have a Twitter account to use for making himself der Fuhrer.

So let’s tell a story about fascists and infringe on copyrights at the same time by telling you a Smurf story.

There was a time in Smurf village when their local politics became entirely too polarized into only two factions.  One side was made up of the good-time Smurfs who had all the money.  They called themselves the Pub-Lickins because they liked to win elections by cheating and through massive donations from the richest Smurfs among them, and also because they loved to lick up all the liquor at the local pub.  The other side was called the Dumb-o-crats because they let the Pub-Lickins get away with every dirty trick they tried.  When Papa Smurf finally retired from running the government as a benevolent Dumb-o-crat, the Pub-lickins cheated their way into control of the government with help from Gargamel, who would later be accused of collusion to help Trumpy Smurf win the Smurf Presidency.

It didn’t take long for Trumpy Smurf to prove to be a potential Fascist dictator. The first warning sign was the way he constantly lied about everything.  He claimed Gargamel was a friend to the Smurfs.  He also said he was the biggest winner in Smurf election history, and everybody would benefit bigly from his highly profitable rule.

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Brainy Smurf, who started out as a Pub-lickin supporter of Trumpy, began to question the Trumpy ties to Gargamel.  He opened an investigation.  Trumpy then fired him.  Later Brainy was mysteriously killed and eaten by Azrael, Gargamel’s cat.

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Jokey Smurf, voiced by Stephen Colbert

Then Jokey Smurf began making fun of Trumpy relentlessly on his late night talk show.  He made fun of him mostly by accurately repeating the news about what Trumpy’s administration did and said every single day.  Azrael, Gargamel’s cat, mysteriously killed and ate Jokey too.  And Trumpy successfully proved the allegations against him false by shouting “Fake News!” very loudly and very often.

Clumsy_Smurf_2017MovieAt long last, Robert Mueller Smurf began investigating the election hack by Gargamel and the subsequent obstruction of justice committed by Trumpy with the aid of Azrael, Gargamel’s very hungry cat.  He revealed that Gargamel had secretly intercepted the ballot boxes and removed all the votes for Smurfette.  Thus Trumpy won by a margin of one vote to nothing.  Clumsy Smurf had been the only one stupid enough to vote for Trumpy.

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So, the election was nullified.  A new, fairer election was set up.  Hefty Smurf belted Azrael the cat in the head with a rock before anyone tried to vote.  Then, the election was re-done with Hefty Smurf running against Smurfette.  Gargamel was kept totally in the dark about everything having to do with the Smurf election.  Robert Mueller Smurf put Trumpy Smurf in prison for the rest of his life.  And Hefty Smurf won the election, because his backers in the Pub-Lickin Party had more money, and Hefty promised the biggest tax breaks, even though the tax relief would not help the average Smurf living paycheck to paycheck.

But at least the Smurfs managed to keep their democracy from becoming a fascist government for perpetuity.  And Gargamel eventually master-minded a plot to break Trumpy Smurf out of the mushroom penitentiary, after which Azrael, Gargamel’s cat, ate Trumpy, not so mysteriously.  Shortly thereafter, Azrael died of food poisoning.   And the Smurfs then had no more fascist dictatorship because Hefty called his rule “compassionate conservatism” which Jokey Smurf would’ve pointed out is an oxymoron, except that Jokey Smurf was dead at that point.

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Our Cartoon President

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I may have expressed this sentiment once or twice before, but I am really tired of Donald Trump.  His march toward fascist dictatorship and becoming a really incompetent Hitler 2.0 has only made me learn new bad words to shout at the TV news that I never knew I already knew before.

So, I am not going to complain about him in this essay.  Instead, I am going to praise another group of artists for complaining about him in a really well-done manner.  Yes, I am about to laud Stephen Colbert’s new Showtime Cartoon Show, Our Cartoon President.

 

Animated cast of OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT. Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME

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The idea for this show began on Stephen Colbert’s Late Night on CBS talk show.  He did extremely popular segments there where he interviewed Donald Trump as a cartoon character.  Colbert’s show is on TV past my bedtime, so I only manage to catch these segments on YouTube.  But I sincerely appreciate every single one I watched on computer when it made me late for wherever else I was really supposed to be and do.  It gave me chuckles and smiles about some the darkest, dirtiest things the human cartoon has done to disrupt my life in retirement.

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The characterizations as well as the cartoon caricatures couldn’t be more spot on.  The series really nails Ted Cruz as the Zodiac Killer invading the White House to steal toothpaste and use the President’s toothbrush.  Eric Trump is portrayed with a disturbing amount of politically incorrect accuracy.  The pilot episode, offered online for free, captures the killer clowns of the Trump administration so well, you really begin to wish it were these cartoon people running the country instead of the real collection of Bond villains, peanut-heads, and malevolent mooks we actually have.

 

Now, the bad news is… I can’t afford Showtime.  So the chances of watching this show are limited to watching whatever snippets get illegally uploaded on YouTube.  But I intend to appreciate the heck out of this cartoon show, and watch the free episode 1 many times.

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Wake Up Sunday Morning!

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As weekly rituals go, one of the most important ones came every Sunday morning when I was a kid.  My parents were 50’s people.  By that I mean they were teenagers and young adults during the post war boom of the 1950’s when everything seemed hopeful and bright and alive with wonderful possibilities.  As a kid in the 1960’s the Sunday morning routine was this;

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  • Wake up grouchy from staying up too late to sneak a look at the late-night monster movie on Saturday.
  • Read the funny papers.
  • Learn life lessons from Family Circus, Dagwood Bumstead, Pogo, Lil’ Abner, and Steve Canyon.
  • Eat scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.
  • Complain about having to go to church and Sunday school.
  • Go to Sunday School and church at the Methodist Church in Rowan, Iowa.
  • Complain about having to go to church every Sunday on the way home from church.
  • Pray over Sunday dinner and be really, actually thankful for all the positive good things in life.

Obviously the most important thing in that routine was complaining, because I listed it twice.  But when it got down to it, we were thankful for all the good things about life.  We were positive people.  We sometimes listened to Norman Vincent Peale on the radio.  We knew we ought to be positive and thankful and love goodness and be kind.

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Somewhere along the way, though, the world forgot the life lessons of Family Circus.

Somehow we managed to screw things up.

Environmental scientists like Paul Ehrlich, who wrote The Population Bomb, warned us that the world could soon be ending.  And we ignored them.

Richard Nixon taught us not to trust politicians any more.

We stopped believing in things like the wholesome goodness of scrambled eggs.

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We let corruption in our government and inequality in the economic sphere become the norm.  The greedy people who were cynical and had no empathy for the rest of us took over.  That is how we ended up with someone like Donald Trump.  Racism, fear, and complaining now rule the emotional landscape in America and most of the world.

So, what is the answer?  What do we do?

Well, The Family Circus is still out there.  We can learn from it, laugh a little, and apply some of those life lessons.  Especially this one;

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Internal Evil, External Policy

CjUSsQkVAAE2A9TThe Republicans have found another scandal to pursue.  Two FBI personnel were texting each other messages about how stupid and incompetent Donald Trump is.  (As well as why one of them may have voted for him since they hated Hillary too.)  The one agent who was involved in the Mueller investigation of Trump was immediately removed from the investigation when evidence of the possibility of lack of impartiality surfaced.  This happened long before the Republican Conspiracy Elephants sniffed out the detail to make a big stinky in the media about it.  Now, apparently the FBI has become a secret society wrongfully plotting against Trump.

One wonders how a Republican government can investigate a Republican scandal and do it in a way that at least looks like justice in action instead of howling at the wind in order to make it blow in the other direction.

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The basic problem is what the Republican mind has on the inside.  Basically they all have the same thought embedded in the peanut they think with.  “If it doesn’t benefit me and what I want from government, then it isn’t true no matter what facts you show me.”  And of course, that thought has a corollary (even though they don’t know what corollary means), “I’m good with any lie told as long it supports hatred of those people I want to hate.”  Republicans who think with larger pieces of produce, and so don’t have those thoughts engraved in their brains, have either left the Republican Party, like George Will did, or separated themselves from the Trump faction and started a campaign to take their party back, like Bill Crystal did.

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Anybody who thinks about the evidence honestly, without partisan bias, has to admit that there is obviously guilt involved in all of this.  And Trump himself blowing back against the prevailing winds is only making it more and more obvious that he is at the top of the pile of evil actors.  They cannot keep going down this path of shouting down the truth without turning Trump into Hitler, and 2018 into 1939.  Muslims will take the role of Jews.

So, what can we do about it?  We make our votes count.  And when the Mueller investigation reaches its conclusions, we believe them.

Dave Granlund / politicalcartoons.com

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Homely People

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I prefer to write about, think about, and draw pictures of homely people. But don’t mistake me.  I am not talking about ugly people.    Our President, the giant blood sausage with a bird’s nest on top that we have put in charge of making us all feel sick to our stomachs every day, demonstrates what ugly means.  Ugly is not just weird and interesting to look at, it is also repellent behavior that makes physical flaws take a back seat… no, a rumble seat in the trailer behind by comparison.

I am talking about the ordinary people back home.  The ones that may be sitting by your own fireplace on a cold day trying to warm their hands after throwing snowballs outside.  And, of course, that snowball that hit Maggie Doozman in the side of the face and knocked her glasses off, made you laugh for an instant, until you realized she was crying, and Kirk Longhatter didn’t even apologize for throwing so hard, so you went over and picked her glasses up for her and handed them to her, and she smiled at you through the tears.  That is the kind of homely I mean.

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There is a lot that is beautiful in homely people. Sure, maybe not a classically beautiful Elizabeth Taylor face or a Gregory Peck lantern jaw.  Maybe not even a shapely behind or a graceful step when walking across the street.  But ordinary beauty.  Kindness.  Humility.  Determination in the face of long odds.  Good-natured jokery.  A touch of childish silliness.  A moon face that actually shines when a smile lights it up.  That is beauty that can be found in homely people.

You’ve probably figured out by now that this post is just an excuse to show off some goofy old off-kilter portraits I did.  But that doesn’t change the fact.  I do love homely people.

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