Sunday, December 29, 2019

Musical Sunday

Christmas has passed for another year, but there's still time to enjoy a new take on one of the most beautiful songs of the season, from The Piano Guys ...

Be safe, be happy, and enjoy the last remnants of the holiday season. More thoughts coming in the new year, starting with the announcement of the 2019 Ass Clown of the Year on January 1st. Be here!


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Cartoon Saturday

Here we go with the last Cartoon Saturday collection not just of the year, but of the decade ...

More than fifty people were injured, but miraculously no one was killed, in a massive multi-car pileup involving more than 70 cars on Interstate 64 in Virginia; in Saudi Arabia, five men were sentenced to death as the fall guys for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; Der Furor, enraged over his impeachment by the House of Representatives, is pushing the novel (and, arguably, silly) defense that he hasn't really been impeached because the House has not yet sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate; at least 12 people were killed when an airliner crashed while taking off from the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan; and in Georgia, two men were kicked out of the Army National Guard after liberal activists uncovered their membership in a religious group with white supremacist ties.

As we get ready to enter what will almost certainly be the most wastefully expensive, spiritually draining, morally bankrupt, and blatantly untruthful presidential election year in history in living memory, I thought a collection of cartoons about Hell would be appropriate ...

This might appeal to all the blinkered evangelical "Christians" ...

Yes. Yes, it is ...

I think that was my high school gym teacher ...

Similar to the commute in the DC metro area ...

When the punishment really fits the crime ...

Other types of fitting punishment ...

And still others ...

I cast a million votes for this punishment ...

 I think a lot of ladies can get behind this one ...

As a parent and grandparent whose house is six-deep in Lego pieces, I can verify that this is a cosmically horrible punishment ...

There's a wonderful line from the dark, terrifying movie Se7en that applies to our collective experience of Der Furor's first three years and our expectation of the (hopefully) final one ... "He's experienced about as much pain and suffering as anyone I've encountered, give or take, and he still has Hell to look forward to."

Stock up on your booze and aspirin now ... the next eleven months are going to be quite a ride.

Have a good day and a great final weekend of 2019. Be sure to come back tomorrow for Musical Sunday and next Wednesday, when we announce the Ass Clown of the Year for 2019. See you then.


Friday, December 27, 2019

Great Moments in Editing and Signage

Last collection for 2019 ...

And how would you like your beagle? ...

Those sandwiches are such hams ...

It's important that you keep your ducks clean ...

Too late ...

Why don't they just advertise seeds? ...

New copy editor wanted ...

Cheaper than a safety seat ...

Interest in this dish is somewhat spotty ...

How's that again?? ...

No matter ... there are still plenty of seats available ...

And that's it for 2019 and for the decade (!) - your last collection of editorial gems. Don't worry, though ... I still have plenty for next year.

Have you cast your votes for Ass Clown of the Year? Time's a-wasting ... the deadline is 11:59 on December 31st, so act now!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the final Cartoon Saturday of the decade ... more thoughts then.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas, 2019

Today is Christmas Day, the day on which Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose lessons and example many of them find admirable in theory but bothersome to follow in practice. Beyond the Christian world, it is a season for general good cheer, the exchange of gifts, and a month of uplifting and sentimental television shows which temporarily offset the sex, violence, and cynicism of the rest of the year.

We’ve long bemoaned the commercialization of Christmas, in which the purchase and exchange of gifts has replaced thoughtful contemplation and love of family. But for years now, Christmas has been politicized just like everything else. Conservative shouting heads complain about a nonexistent “war on Christmas,” and both Christians and non-Christians complain about discrimination because they don’t want to have to be exposed to religious ideas and traditions which are not their own. Angry idiots object to hearing a generic “Happy Holidays” or "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Solstice," "Happy Kwanzaa," "Happy Festivus," or other seasonal holiday greeting. Nuisance lawsuits force towns and cities to remove nativity displays from public places. Scrooge lives on.

The traditional Christmas story that most of us recognize is told in the Bible in the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew:

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 
2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 
2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 
2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 
2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Whatever happened to the part about “peace on earth and goodwill toward men*?” It seems to have been replaced by “peace on earth, goodwill only to those who agree with me, and the rest of you can go to Hell.” It’s been replaced by rigid intolerance and stiff-necked self-righteousness that belie both the spirit of the season and the values and teachings of the person whose birth is being celebrated.

Nevertheless, for those willing to put aside their cultural tunnel vision and petty carping and hatreds, the Christmas season offers a time for joy and renewal, regardless of the religious tradition they profess to follow. It’s a season in which persons of goodwill can come together and treat each other like real human beings rather than like despised “others” … if, of course, they’re willing to bend enough to do so.

And it is, above all, a season for children, who have not yet been spoiled by the cynicism and hatred they’ll learn all too soon. The look on a child’s face on Christmas morning is a wonderful thing, and it reminds us that there is still joy to be found in life, if only we can get past the greed, selfishness, and political chicanery.

And so, Dear Readers, Agnes and I wish all of you a very joyous holiday of your choice and a safe, happy, and healthy new year.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.


* Okay, “persons.” Don’t get your holiday knickers in a twist.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Ass Clown of the Year Voting Update

Good morning, Dear Readers!

Just a quick update on the progress of the voting for the

2019 Ass Clown of the Year

Combining the results received in comments on the blog, e-mails, Facebook and Twitter comments, and direct contacts, the results so far are:

1. Senator Mitch McConnell (R, KY), with 158 votes;
2. Senator Lindsey Graham (R, SC), with 28 votes;
3. Representative Jim Jordan (R, OH-4), with 25 votes;
4. Representative Louie Gohmert (R, TX-1), with 17 votes; and,
5. Vice President Mike Pence, with 5 votes.

Other minor vote totals include:

2 for Der Furor, also known as #IMPOTUS. As a lifetime award winner, he's not eligible, but deserves condemnation anyhow;

One for each biweekly award winner in the course of the year (already included in the totals for McConnell, Graham, and Pence); and

One each for "The Entire GOP" (already included in the totals for McConnell, Graham, and Pence).

If you need a recap of the rules, check here.

The clock is running down on your opportunities to vote, so don't delay - make your voice heard! Voting ends at 11:59 PM on New Year's Eve, and the winner will be announced on New Year's Day.

Vote early, vote often!

Have a good day and a wonderful Christmas (or seasonal holiday of your choice). Check back tomorrow for my traditional Christmas post. More thoughts then.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Poetry Sunday

Christmas is just three days away, and this seems like a wonderful poem to celebrate our happy expectation of the holiday ...

Christmas Light
by May Sarton

When everyone had gone
I sat in the library
With the small silent tree,
She and I alone.
How softly she shone!
And for the first time then
For the first time this year,
I felt reborn again,
I knew love’s presence near.
Love distant, love detached
And strangely without weight,
Was with me in the night
When everyone had gone
And the garland of pure light
Stayed on, stayed on.

Have a good day and enjoy the rest of the last weekend before Christmas - more thoughts coming.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Cartoon Saturday

Christmas is just four days away, and I'm still looking for examples of that "peace on earth, goodwill toward men" thing ...

Der Furor was formally and officially impeached by the House of Representatives following hours of histrionic and hyperbolic partisan debate; the US Department of Agriculture's website listed the fictional East African nation of Wakanda, home country of the superhero Black Panther, on a list of the US trading partners and indicated that the two nations trade in ducks, donkeys and dairy cows; authorities in India attempted this week to suppress new rounds of nationwide protests against a new citizenship law designed to turn India officially into a Hindu state; according to Russian news reports, several people were killed in a shooting at the headquarters of the Federal Security Service in central Moscow; and in an appalling display of boorishness and bad taste, Der Furor suggested at a rally - in Michigan, no less - that the late Michigan Representative John Dingell is now in Hell.

We continue with our Christmas-themed cartoons for the last time this year, because after the past week, we really need a few laughs ...

Perhaps this really is how the alien abduction thing began ...

Congressional Republicans, press the top button ...

Christmas shipping options ...

What Santa does in the off-season ...

There's always the guy with the essential, but ugly job ...

I have a feeling that there will be a lot of Congressional Republicans working with their attorneys on this one ...

Does anyone still carry "mad money" on dates? Does anyone even know the reference? ...

I never thought of it from that perspective ...

Santa as weirdo? ...

Everyone's offended by something ...

And so we wrap up another year of Christmas seasonal cartoons ... I hope you found them jolly.

Have a good day and a great weekend, and come back tomorrow for a Christmas-themed Poetry Sunday. More thoughts then.


Friday, December 20, 2019

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for December, 2019

Well, Dear Readers, here it is ... we have made it, gasping and retching, to the final biweekly Ass Clown award for 2019. It's been a year of unparalleled ass-clownery on all fronts - the worlds of religion, entertainment, and - especially - politics are teeming with historically well-qualified ass clowns, each of whom rightly deserves citation and derision for ass-clownery on every level from moral squalor to political cowardice. In the wake of the impeachment hearings in Congress, I was tempted to present a group award to the Republican members of the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees for their shameful shouting and silly antics (Adam Schiff's picture on a milk carton, really?) that took the place of thoughtful evaluation of evidence and debate on the merits thereof. But, although I would have thought it nearly impossible to exceed that level of childish ass-clownery, lo! it has happened.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, I have chosen the final ass clown for this sad and sorry year:

The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for 2019

is awarded to

John Becker, a Republican representative from District 65 in southwestern Ohio, made the news recently when - on the advice and with the assistance of a conservative lobbyist - he proposed legislation which would extend insurance coverage to a medically-impossible procedure as a way of fighting abortion.

The bill prohibits insurers from covering abortion services, but provides an exception for a procedure “intended to reimplant” an ectopic pregnancy in a woman's uterus ... a procedure which is considered "physiologically impossible" by obstetricians and for which medical procedures do not currently exist.

Becker told the newspaper he never researched whether re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy into a woman's uterus was a viable medical procedure before including it in the bill. He told an interviewer that "I heard about it over the years ... I never questioned it or gave it a lot of thought.” He did not consult doctors about the medical procedure, but received regular input from anti-abortion activist Barry Sheets, a lobbyist for the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio ... who declined to comment on the story.

Make no mistake: abortion is a tragic, terrible thing that is sometimes seen as the only option available to a woman who has an unwanted pregnancy (for instance, in the case of rape or forced incest), or whose own life is threatened by medical complications arising from pregnancy. It should never be viewed as an easy and convenient solution to a personal problem. As a proud father and grandfather, I am morally and philosophically opposed to abortion on demand, as opposed to abortion as an unfortunate but sometimes medically justified procedure.

Opposition to abortion must acknowledge it is - in rare instances - a necessary evil. When lawmakers blithely author legislation without the least understanding of what they're saying, or craft legislation designed simply to heap shame and indignity on women, they do not help to eliminate the problem. They would be better advised to focus on removing the situations which sometimes make abortion seem to be a rational option: improve prenatal care, provide honest and relevant sex education for young people, and make contraception understandable and available. One may be morally opposed to sex outside of marriage, but nature has conspired to make the sex act pleasurable and our culture has evolved - for better or worse - to make it an attractive and desirable part of relationships ... with occasional unfortunate consequences.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, our final ass clown designee for 2019 - The Left-Cheek Ass Clown for December - is Ohio State Representative John Becker ... a man who admits he crafted legislation on a life-or-death issue without "question(ing) it or (giving) it a lot of thought."

This is where rigid conservative and religious beliefs have brought us.

Have a good day. Be sure to come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday, and on Sunday for Poetry Sunday. And don't forget to cast your votes for our 2019 Ass Clown of the Year award. You'll want to make your voice heard.

More thoughts coming.


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Voting is Now Open for the 2019 Ass Clown of the Year!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Readers, today is the official start of the selection campaign for

The 2019 Ass Clown of the Year

By Friday, December 20th (announcement of the Left-Cheek Ass Clown for December, and the last biweekly award for the year), I will have named 27 individual awardees in 2019, all of whom are eligible for the annual award. Of course, if there's someone I missed or someone you like better, you are free to vote for the write-in candidate of your choice. Here are the basic ground rules for the Ass Clown of the Year voting, unchanged from previous years except as noted:

- Chicago Rules apply: you may vote as many times as you want, for as many candidates as you want. You may cast votes on behalf of yourself, your family members, your friends, your pets, your friends' pets, or anyone else, living or dead. In the interest of fairness, I ask only that you not cast more than ten votes at any one time for any one candidate* ... just vote more often.

- You may vote for any of the 27 biweekly award winners (the first 26 are listed below, and the last will be announced in the blog on December 20th), or for anyone else you wish. SPECIAL NOTE: Der Furor, having been presented a lifetime achievement award in 2017, is no longer eligible for selection, regardless of how much he may deserve it. There are plenty of other ass clowns who deserve recognition, too.

- You need not be legally authorized to vote in the United States. The law doesn't matter to the Administration, why should it matter to you?

- Photo ID is not required. If you are concerned that the Russians (or the Chinese, or the mythical Ukrainians, or one or the other political party) will manipulate the results to undermine the integrity of the award without such identification, consider that conspiracy theorists who are already convinced that elections are rigged will assume that any IDs presented will be phony, anyhow. And in any case, integrity is a quaintly outdated concept in today's political world in which "facts" require no proof or connection to reality. I worry more about my fellow citizens than I do about the Russians.

- Votes will be accepted from now until 11:59 PM on December 31st. You may vote by leaving a comment on any blog post between now and then; by sending me an e-mail; by sending me a PM or leaving a comment on Facebook if we are connected there; or in person if we should happen to meet. If you choose to cast your votes in person, be advised that your candidate's chances of winning are enhanced if the votes are accompanied by adult beverages and tasty snacks. Yes, it's bribery, but in today's political environment that's okay unless the other side is doing it.

I will provide periodic updates on the balloting as necessary, and will announce the 2019 Ass Clown of the Year in this space on Wednesday, January 1st, 2020.

Here are links to the first 24 Ass Clown awardees for 2018, in case you want to go back and review the citations:

1/4/19 (Right Cheek) - Vice President Mike Pence (second award)
1/18/19 (Left Cheek) - Senator Lindsey Graham (R, SC) (third award)
2/1/19 (Right Cheek) - Roger Stone
2/15/19 (Left Cheek) - Representative Ilhan Omar (D, MN-5)
3/1/19 (Right Cheek) - The GOP Members of the House Oversight Committee (group award)
3/15/19 (Left Cheek) - Tucker Carlson
3/29/19 (On Crack) - Rudy Giuliani (second award)
4/11/19 (Right Cheek) - Attorney General William Barr
4/25/19 (Left Cheek) - White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders (fifth award)
5/10/19 (Right Cheek) - The Entire United States Government (group award)
5/24/19 (Left Cheek) - Kris Kobach
6/7/19 (Right Cheek) - Bishop Michael J. Bransfield
6/21/19 (Left Cheek) - Senator Mitch McConnell (R, KY) (seventh award)
7/5/19 (Right Cheek) - Kellyanne Conway (second award)
7/19/19 (Left Cheek) - The Enablers of Der Furor (group award)
8/2/19 (Right Cheek) - Senator Mitch McConnell (R, KY) (eighth award)
8/16/19 (Left Cheek) - Dmitriy Andreychenko
8/31/19 (On Crack) - James Denardo
9/13/19 (Right Cheek) - Texas State Representative Matt Schaefer (R, TX-6)
9/27/19 (Left Cheek) - Chris Cuomo and Kayleigh McEnany (joint award)
10/11/19 (Right Cheek) - Senator Ron Johnson (R, MN)
10/25/19 (Left Cheek) - Republican Representatives Who Stormed and Disrupted a Congressional Hearing (group award)
11/8/19 (Right Cheek) - The Scofflaws of the Trump Administration (group award)
11/22/19 (Left Cheek) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
12/6/19 (Right Cheek) - Representative Jim Jordan (R, OH-4)

Let your voice be heard! Vote early! Vote often! Let's work together to heap dishonor on the Ass Clowns who work so hard to Make America Grim Again.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* A few years ago someone wanted to cast 50,000 votes for their favorite Ass Clown. Come on, now ... let's give everybody a fighting chance, eh? 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Musical Sunday

One of my favorite singers is Jimmy Buffett, and this is one of my favorite of his Christmas songs ...

Have a great Christmas season ... or if you find the idea of being wished a Merry Christmas offensive, just have a great whatever.

More thoughts coming.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

Cartoon Saturday

Just. Make. It. Stop.

After Time Magazine announced teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as its Person of the Year, Der Furor went out of his way to mock her ... a fitting tribute to his wife's anti-bullying program; the House Judiciary Committee engaged in raucous, bitter, and utterly partisan shouting matches on the articles of impeachment put forward by the Democratic majority; Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservative party won a strong victory in British elections; at least 16 people were killed in a volcanic eruption in New Zealand; and in New Jersey, four people were murdered in an attack on a kosher market, and the two murderers were shot and killed by police after a massive gunfight.

We're just a week and a half out from Christmas - not that you'd know it from the severe lack of goodwill toward men (and women) - and so it only seems reasonable to offer a selection of Christmas-themed cartoons ...

A problem for Congressional Republicans, to be sure ...

Me, too!

Well, it cuts down on returns ...

Christmas in the age of endless litigation of everything ...

I wonder if I can order some of this for certain legislators on my list ...

A plank from the 2020 GOP platform ...

Yes ...

I think many of us would ask this of Santa ...

It never goes out of style ...

How Santa stays busy in the off season ...

Merry pre-Christmas ... or whatever your preferred seasonal greeting happens to be. Have a good day and be sure to come back tomorrow, when we celebrate the season with Jimmy Buffett. See you then.


Friday, December 13, 2019

Great Moments in Editing and Signage

Christmas is just a week and a half away, and it's time for the Christmas edition of Great Moments in Editing and Signage ...

Someone has an itchy phoning finger ...

Be sure to wear red for your picture with Satan ...

For the man who has everything ...

I'm not sure if the problem here is the font or the spacing ...

They always make ME think of Christmases past ...

Yes, you can do some serious doorbusting with a gift like this ...

I've been suspecting this to be the case ...

That's quite a steak and eggs breakfast ...

I can think of a lot of people who deserve this as a stocking stuffer ...

Used candy canes ... hmmm ...

Have a good day, and be sure to come back tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday ... more thoughts then.