Archive for March, 2008

From August 2001…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, August 2001

Speaking of not much new, I was going back through my cartooning archives for another project and happened across this comic. Back in the olden days (pre-2004), I used to send my comics and comments as an email with attachment. This is one of them. I was struck by the similarities between today’s economic conditions and then. Comments from the email are below:

Our daughter, Natalina, is prone to carsickness. Or, in her lexicon, “sometimes I puke in the van.” Of course, she doesn’t like doing this. We can hear the tremor of fear in her sweet six-year-old voice when she feels it coming on. And yet, she’s absolutely fascinated by it. We’ll be hopping in the van for a trip across state, and she’ll wonder aloud, “Hmmm, I wonder if I’m gonna puke.” And we’ll say, “Natalina, don’t think about it. Let’s talk about something else.” And she’ll give you that patented Natalina smile (cheeks way up but no teeth) and a blink of those beautiful eyes to make you think that she acknowledged what you said, and she’ll continue on, “Last time I puked on my penguin blanket. I had Cheerios for breakfast. Some of ’em weren’t even chewed up….”

She just can’t let it go even though talking about it is just going to hasten the event. The other two aren’t any help, either. Elisira: “No, last time you puked on the floor and Mom’s hands.” Atticus: “I want some Cheerios! Momma, can I have some Cheerios?”

I was thinking about this (I don’t know why) as I read an article in Newsweek gleefully listing the reasons why a recession is imminent, and it hit me: Those in the business of talking about business seem to be fascinated with our economy puking. I don’t think things are so bad. I think there are a lot of positive economic things going on. But lately there seems to be no end of pundits who delight in describing sauerkraut ice-cream and then asking us if we’re feeling queasy.

All I want to say is, “cut it out!!!” They’re playing with my life here. I know certain things aren’t going well. I know there’s a definite chance that we could slide into recession. But, geez Louise, if all we do is talk about how consumer confidence is the firewall between us and financial hardship and that consumer confidence is slowing, dropping, waning, failing, tanking, dead, DEAD, DEAD!!! — what do ya think is going to happen? And who’s happy except the economists who get to say “I told you so” as they clean out their desks and head on down to the breadline….

The real truth is, Jane and I are strongly considering adding on to our house, and I don’t need any more fuel for my worry machine, thank you very much. So, please, think positively, buy something with that refund check, and don’t think about throwing up….

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Hitching Our Election Legacy to Florida’s…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 17, 2008

More Michigan politics. Sadly, not much new here….


Taking It out on the Economists…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 10, 2008

I realize that as a consumer I’ve probably made decisions and participated in behaviors which have driven our economy toward a recession, but I’m getting a bit tired of sanctimonious economists pointing this out on a daily basis….

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Five Years into the Iraq War…

If you have some extra time today, you should definitely read this article in Salon. It’s a transcript of a couple of speeches given five years ago by Senators Byrd and McCain on the Senate floor hours before the initial attack. It’s fascinating to read — not a hindsight interpretation, but actual thoughts and feelings on the day. Turns out all history lessons don’t have to be ancient history lessons….

Slight Disclaimer: Salon is selling this somewhat as “Byrd was right; McCain was wrong.” Yeah, it’s leading the witness. (That sells web hits.) But the real point of interest, I think, is how eloquently both men plead their concerns for their country, yet have very different views of what should be done. Draw your own conclusions on right and wrong.


A Grand Rapids Streetcar Named Aspire…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, March 3, 2008

Yes, yes. I realize to understand this comic that you have to be familiar with both the play/movie from the 1950s named “A Streetcar Named Desire” and the latest public transportation planning in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which essentially qualifies about, oh, nobody. But it was a chance to try something new with Photoshop. Alas, I don’t think that part turned out either.

But, hey, if you like cartoons with great literary references and without the murky Photoshop filling, seek the master: Jef Mallett and his strip Frazz.


Are You Sure You Want Michigan on Your Team?…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, February 25, 2008

Let’s face it — for Michigan and us Michiganians herein, we haven’t had a great millennium so far. I’m not saying we don’t have potential. I’m just saying our track record for being right has not been good and that the smart money isn’t necessarily on us. Which makes it that much more pathetic that the Clinton camp is pushing hard to seat our delegates at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

If you recall, Michigan (and Florida) ticked off the Democratic Party by moving their primaries up in the calendar in hopes of relevancy. The party said, “Do it and we won’t seat your delegates.” They did it anyway. As a result, hardly any Democratic candidates campaigned here. Our Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm (a Clinton supporter) carried the state for Clinton. Now there that the race is again close, there is talk of seating the delegates and possible do-overs and fairness and “who’s going to pay for this?” and lots of assorted posturing.

I suppose the attention is nice, and maybe that lurch at relevancy is actually working out. But honestly, would you really want us on your team right now?

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