Cartoons, cartoons, cartoons.... John Crowther's Cartoon Odyssey

I think of it as The Fool's Journey. I've been asked who the "fool" is. It's me, but in the classical sense of the court jester. Only the fool was allowed to tell the king of his follies. All cartoons are available as prints or originals, framed or unframed, through my website or e-mail. For mugs, t-shirts, and other products visit my gift shop at* (be sure to include the *).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Half Fast

It's worth remembering that on this day in 1835 Mark Twain was born in Florida, Missouri. My favorite Twain quote is, "The worst winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco." But perhaps more pertinent in this day of ubiquitous talk radio is this one: "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive, but it is lightning that does the work."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Climbing to New Depths

On Long Island yesterday, "Black Friday" shoppers at a Wal Mart who had been waiting since the crack of dawn stormed the store when it opened, ripping the hinges off doors and trampling an employee to death. Do we need any more evidence than that to support my theory that economics and psychology go hand in hand? According to an e-mail currently going the rounds of the Internet, studies indicate that 1 in 4 people are insane. Think of 3 of your closest friends. If they have all their marbles then it must be you.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The More Things Change Dept.

"Let Wall Street have a nightmare and the whole country has to help them back in bed again." Will Rogers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Goes Around


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One For the Road

Along with the jokes, funny pictures, inspirational vignettes, prayers, and links to YouTube videos I receive in my e-mail daily from well-meaning friends, the other day I got a recipe for something called Mug Cake. Curious, I decided to give it a try, and by golly, it works. All you need is a coffee mug, an egg, a few tablespoons of flour, sugar, cocoa, milk, and oil, optional nuts and chocolate chips and a dash of vanilla extract. You mix the ingredients together in the mug, and put it in the microwave for three minutes. This is true Devil Cake, since you're never more that five minutes away from warm chocolate cake.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Hard Shell

"Ambition/ Is like the sea wave, which the more you drink/ The more you thirst -- yea -- drink too much, as men/ Have done on rafts of wreck -- it drives you mad. Alfred Tennyson, The Cup, 1880.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Irony and Steal

If I needed one sentence to exemplify irony, this might be it: "The revenues from advertising support the free, competetive American system of telecasting, and make available to the eyes and ears of the American people the finest programs of information, education, culture, and entertainment." National Association of Broadcasters, Preamble to the Television Code, first adopted in 1952

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On and Off the Family Rocker

Mrs. Halberstan was asked how many of her children were in elementary school. "The doctor's in the fourth grade," she answered, "and the lawyer's in second."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bohemoths On Parade

"Football is far too much a sport for those who play it well. The rest of us, and that includes our children, get our exercise from climbing up the steps in stadiums, or walking across the room to turn on the television." President John F. Kennedy, 1961. Ah, how far we've come. Nowadays we have the remote, though one president in recent memory got a workout reaching for the pretzels during a football broadcast. One of the little buggers almost choked him to death and caused him to fall down and bonk his head. So much for exercise.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Eyes Have It

I'm sure everyone is as relieved as I am to learn that the remains of Copernicus have been identified and confirmed, thanks to DNA found on a hair recovered from one of his books. Now I'm waiting for them to find a video of Shakespeare's original production of Hamlet, made by one of the groundlings on his cell phone. Perhaps soon we'll actually be able to know what the bard's voice sounded like. More important, we'll finally find out if it's true that the accent of the 17th century British sounded like that of Kentucky hillbillies today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sibling Ribaldry

My parents liked to tell me and my two brothers that my older brother was an "accident," I was "planned," and my younger brother, like the older brother, "just happened." In true kid fashion I enjoyed lording it over my siblings by reminding them that I was the only one of us who was really wanted, but my older brother turned it around on me. My folks liked him so much, he claimed, they had another, but I was such a disaster they were loathe to have more.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unlimited Weekend Mermaids

What, I wonder, is the logic behind the ubiquitous telephone command that informs us if we want to leave a message we should "press 1 now or just wait for the beep?" Why in the world should I sit there listening to a voice continuing to blather if all I have to do is press the 1 and get on with it? And yet, and yet, I admit it, I usually eschew the shortcut and wait for the beep. What's the logic in that?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Are What You Eat

A man was telling his friend about his new miracle diet. "One day I eat everything I want, and the next I starve." "And how do you feel?" his friend asked. "Terrific." he said. "Every other day."

Monday, November 17, 2008

It Runs In the Family

"I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal primordial atomic globule. Consequently my family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering." W.E. Gilbert, The Mikado, 1885.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Split Decision

In another bulletin from our "Language Watch" division, physicians are now calling malnutrition "nutrition deficit disorder." Disorders are much sexier than simple conditions, which don't sell drugs. Only this morning, as I was watching coverage of the Los Angeles area fires, I found that we no longer have fire trucks, or better yet, fire engines. They've now become "structure protection units," which resonates of prevention. In the case of nutrition deficit disorder I'd have thought that a balanced diet would be helpful, but it's not called that anymore. Now we have the "all-inclusive auto-organic fuel program." With 12 steps, no doubt.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tyger, Tyger

An unlikely hero was being hailed for stopping a street mugging by an assailant twice his size. A reporter asked him how he had managed to be so brave. "To tell you the truth," he answered, "I was just too darn scared to run away, and too stupid to think of a way out." But a policeman spoke up. "No, you didn't have time to run, and there was no other way out. Courage is an instinct -- if you have it."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole Redux

To quote the President: "I'm a market guy," meaning he believes in the free market system. He went on to say that regardless, these tough times require tough measure, which presumably means ditching free market principles for awhile. Its a bit like insisting that overindulging in sweets and starchy foods is good for your health, but when your weight balloons to two hundred and fifty and the doctor tells you that you need a heart bypass urgently, you reluctantly agree to Weight Watchers while clinging to the conviction that stuffing your face was good for you all along.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brother, Can You Spare a Billion?

We tend to forget that capitalism is relatively new. In relation to the history of human civilization it's just a blip, only a couple of hundred years old, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the bugs haven't yet been worked out. Couple that with a stark reality: economists are still groping in the dark, and haven't yet got together with psychologists to achieve some rudimentary notion of how the economy and human behavior are inextricably linked. I propose a new discipline, psychonomy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All the News That Fits We Print

A corner of hell is reserved for the conservative storm troopers in the media like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Monica Crowley who keep raging about media bias, as if they themselves are not the guiltiest of the guilty. With them I put their right wing lap dog listeners who never question the paradox. Just outside the door, with neither access to paradise nor a stick, marshmallow, and access to the infernal fires I place all the liberals who listen to them regularly, claiming they "just want to know what the other side is thinking." One doesn't need to eat a daily dose of garbage to be reminded what crapburgers taste like. If you want intelligent conservative commentary it's out there, in the likes of David Brooks, Christoper Hitchens, Peggy Noonan, and others.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Hands On Deck

Decades ago, back when I was a young actor trying to make it in Hollywood, I met a girl who, like me, had migrated west from New York. She told me that even though it had been over two months since she had arrived, she was still tired every day. By then, she thought, she should have got over jet lag. I explained to her that if she looked at a globe she would she that Los Angeles was further south than New York, which meant that the distance around the globe longitudinally was greater. Therefore it stood to reason that it took longer for Los Angeles to get all the way around. Hence, longer days. She believed me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Perhaps it may be of some comfort to know that in our precarious economic situation there is one area of the automotive industry that welcomes the reversals: the makers of back-up lights.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

En Garde, And On And On

I mispoke slightly the other day with my cartoon suggesting a gay man could never ascend to the U.S. Preidency. Well, maybe I didn't completely mispeak, but the news from the small town of Silverton, Oregon suggests that perhaps anything is possible in America, after all. It seems that Stu Rasmussen was elected to his third term as mayor, which is remarkable only because some time during his second term he became a she. Mr. Rasmussen, or perhaps I should say Ms., explained that while some people reach a certain age and realize their dream of taking flying lessons, he had always wanted to become trans-gendered and decided to put it off no longer. He is grateful to the indulgent electorate in Silverton.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Odds 'n Ends

As predicted here yesterday, the pet lobbies are lining up, pushing their choice for the new FBB, or First Best Friend. Turns out it's more complex than we thought. The Obamas would like to get a pound puppy, to the delight of the animal rescue folks, but as the President-elect announced in one of the more substantive moment of his press conference yesterday one of the girls is hyperallergenic, so they might have to setttle on a new designer breed that doesn't aggravate allergies. The good news is that it's been a long time since we've heard a leader of the world utter a word like hyperallergenic. The outgoing guy still thinks misunderestimate is a word.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The More Things Change

A notorious bigot was attempting to show how broadminded he was by talking about his daily habits. "Every day," he told a black woman, "I walk through your neighborhood and tip my hat to the people I see. I even try to smile. Why, I regularly pass right by your house." "Thanks," she replied, "for not stopping in."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

First Dog

I'm not sure Barack Obama knew what he was getting himself in for when he announced in front of the world during his victory speech that his two young daughters had earned the new puppy they'll be taking with them to the White House. I'm sure that by now the lobby for every breed known to man has descended on him to plead their case. Add dog rescue organizations into the mix, plus no doubt those who feel the girls ought to have a cat, hamsters, goldfish, or pot-bellied pigs instead, and the choice of a Secretary of State will be far easier.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


This is an historic day. No, not because of the election to the Presidency of Barack Obama, but because here at the journey we have now completed two full years of posting to this blog without missing a day. Of course, the election of Obama is good too. It's funny, until yesterday the idea of an African-American president seemed, even as we hoped and campaigned for it, remarkable. This morning it seems like the most natural thing in the world. But what is genuinely newsworthy is that we managed to elect a president of unusual intelligence and intellectual achievement. Now that's special!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Frequently

With so much attention being paid to the economy, and particularly to the Wall Street thieves who've been looting the candy store, it seems altogether fitting that we commemorate the lowly cash register, patented on this day in 1879. It was the invention of a Dayton, Ohio saloon-keeper named James "Jake" Ritty. His health undermined by his employee's pilfering, he came up with a way of keeping a record of his daily receipts. "Ritty's Incorruptibe Cashier" he called it. Something to think about as we go to the polls today.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The State of Denmark

When I was a small boy my mother had a favorite joke, which over the years she continued to trot out whenever she found a new audience for it. It goes: A mommy skunk had two babies which she called In and Out, and as they got older it seems that whenever In was in, Out was out, and whenever Out was in, In was out. Well, one day it was time for dinner and In was nowhere to be seen, so the mommy sent Out out to find him. Sometime later Out came back with In in tow. "How did you manage to find In?" the mommy asked Out. "Easy," Out replied, "In-stinct."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Speaking of Money, Let's Not Speak of Money

And in an unrelated matter, today is the birthday of Warren G. Harding, who coincidentally was born in 1865 and was elected President on this day in 1820. I don't suggest we try to draw any conclusions from it, especially since pundits are frantically drawing conclusions from just about everything else this last weekend before what will be, no matter what happens, an historic election. Suffice it to say that Harding's election was a present for him, but not for the country.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

It's Just Money, Folks

As the Democratic candidate for president in 1960, John F. Kennedy told the story of the farmer who had planted some corn. "I hope I break even this year," he said to his neighbor. "I can sure use the money."