Archive for December, 2008

Senator Richard “Ebenezer” Shelby of Alabama…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, December 15, 2008

Yeah, yeah… I know it’s kind of a short-cut to call on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for a December editorial comic. But, hey, at least give me credit for using one of the lesser known bits — near the beginning when the two do-gooder portly gentlemen pay Mr. Scrooge a visit on Christmas Eve taking donations for the poor. Scrooge seethes at the duel impertinence of interrupting his work and expecting alms for undeserving wretches. He draws them in with a cold but civil, “Are there no prisons?” The gentlemen are caught off guard but remain sincere and try to explain themselves further. Then Scrooge begins to cut them to pieces with a brutally sarcastic “And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operation?” eventually finishing them off with the more quoted, “If they would rather die… they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population,” which of course later comes back to haunt him …literally.

Part of my affection for these quotes is that around Christmastime my father, when asked for the smallest of favors — say, “can I borrow a dollar?” would reply in a bad English accent, “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” It made him laugh. And if I actually had a good reason, I generally got the dollar….

My favorite Scrooge: George C Scott, 1984. What’s yours?

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The Daily News Grinder…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, December 8, 2008

What’s the expression? Happier than a pig in, um, filth? If you imagine editorial cartoonists as pigs (not difficult, is it?) and bad news as filth, then I’d say the expression fits pretty well. Generally doom and despair are more fertile grounds for cartooning ideas than sunshine and rainbows.

Lately (say the entire year 2008) there has been no lack of bad news and to a large extent, I’ve just been going along for the ride. In fact, it has been difficult for me to choose from among many ideas. That’s good, but when ideas come easy there’s a danger of falling into a pattern. So for this week’s comic, I made a concerted effort to find another side.

Turns out if you look hard enough (which is to say you quit reading and listening to the news for five minutes), there are some good economic things happening out there — and the vast majority are with small and medium sized companies who intend to come out of this recession in a better position.

There. Next week we’ll get back to what sucks….


Snappy Comebacks for Auto Bailout (It’s a Loan!) Talks…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, December 1, 2008

This comic was printed ahead of the recent “round 2” of the Detroit automakers coming to Washington seeking a loan from the federal government. But it’s pretty appropriate for today because after all the negotiations and compromises, the Senate killed the proposal.

You know what? Fine. Good. Whatever. I’m done with it. I’m done with Citicorp popping by for an afternoon visit and a quick $35 billion while our corporations get bitch slapped by a bunch of pompous windbags for several weeks and leave with nothing. I’m done with years and years of my taxes leaving my state and landing in the unnecessary military bases, stupid infrastructure projects, and hopelessly inept schools of other states (talkin’ about you, Alabama). I’m done with no value being placed on companies that actually make stuff while companies that do nothing but shift funds and skim profits are cheered and subsidized.

I’m done with the pretzel logic of key senators voting against a loan to automakers because they felt environmental provisions were too restrictive — or because they screwed up so badly on the Wall Street bailout — or they’re mad that the UAW doesn’t want to break the promises it made over the years to provide for its retirees. Wait. That last one kinda makes sense — over the years Congress has consistently shown a willingness to break promises it had made to provide for military veterans, right?….

Clearly it’s time for Michigan to secede from the union and join Canada. Why not? Along with getting cheap meds we can share our Yooper accents and hunting and fishing stories — it’d certainly be nice to be in a country that just might appreciate us. Only drawback I see is having to print French on one side of our Frosted Flake boxes. And in a few years as our globe warms and those Southern Senators get really, really thirsty, us Canadians can look down upon them from our Great Lakes and tell them to go suck on their dry garden hoses. But politely, because Canadians are very polite. That’d be nice, too….

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Interesting Family Dynamics at the Thanksgiving Table…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, November 24, 2008

Hope your Thanksgiving was without, um, drama….


My Credibility Is Shot…


Originally published in the Grand Rapids Family magazine, November 2008