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 *).

Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Bounce For the Buck

Then there was the farmer who planted a field of corn. "I hope to break even this year," he told his neighbor. "I need the extra money."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Take Two Aspirins

"If you want to enjoy long life and good health," the doctor said to his patient, "you must get eight hours of good sleep a night, no wild parties and burning the candle at both ends, abstain from rich desserts and fatty foods, and stay away from alcohol and abusive substances." "In that case," replied his patient, "what the hell do I want to live a long, healthy life for?"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Troubles and Whoas

I'm posting later than usual this morning. My Internet access crashed last night and I had to spend some time this morning getting it up and running again. The good news is that a thorough clean-up of my hard drive seemed to have done the trick. As a bonus, my computer is running faster now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Green Stuff

I admire Barack Obama, and I believe he's going to be a solid president. His State of the Union speech was everything everybody wanted it to be, in turns dire and hopeful, somber and uplifting. But one didn't need to watch it. All that was necessary was to listen to the pundits sniping afterward to get a sense of the shape our country's in, shattered and divided, with no clear direction. Obama called for a new era of responsibility and I thought, "oh cool, wouldn't it be nice if we tried that for a change."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Opera in the Buff

The Fool's Journey had its genesis on Art Cafe, an Internet gathering place for artists. One day a new thread was devoted to perspective, and how small the eye perceives things even at relatively close distances. A former court artist reported that she had used binoculars to get a better look at courtroom figures, and the suggestion was made that subscribers post cartoons on this theme. A few people did, most didn't. I started posting cartoons and then couldn't stop myself. Today's post is a redrawing of one of those original ideas, never before posted here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Larger Than Life

Years ago, when television was first making serious inroads on box office receipts, the movie industry decided to launch a massive promotional campaign with the slogan "Movies Are Your Best Entertainment." Posters, billboards, and print ads were created, and it was all ready to go when someone noticed the letters spelled out MAYBE. The slogan was quickly changed to "Movies Are Better Than Ever."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Keep It Real

Just a reminder that today, February 22, 2009, is the day recognized as the 276th anniversary of George Washington's birth. Most people have forgot it, given that some years ago we lumped it together with Lincoln's birthday to create the bland, artificial President's Day. What almost nobody knows is that February 22 wasn't really Washington's birthday at all, since he was actually born on February 11, before we adopted the Gregorian calendar. Let's rise up as a people and demand Congress stop screwing with the calendar. That way we don't need to be distracted by petty stuff like the economy, wars on foreign soil, and global harming.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Egg and I

"Now that you have a child," the parents said to their son, whose wife had just given birth, "you're going to have to plan ahead." "If we'd planned ahead," the son answered, "we wouldn't be in this mess."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Footprints in the Sand

The hot phrase of the moment is "carbon footprint," the idea being that we must all strive to have a small one. I have another thought that I want to push, the notion of a larger social footprint, which means each of us doing more to make significant positive contributions to the community of Man, a small carbon footprint being just one little aspect of it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pills For Ills

"The business of plays is to recommend virtue, and discountenance vice; to show the uncertainty of human greatness, the sudden turns of fate, and the unhappy conclusions of violence and injustice, tis to expose the singularities of pride and fancy, to make folly and falsehood contemptible, and to bring everything that is ill under infamy and neglect." Jeremy Collier, A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, 1698.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Friend Indeed

In The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) Wilson Mark Twain wrote: "The holy passion of Friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money." To which I would add, 'or extended hospitality.'

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Water Over the Damned

"The problem with foreign relations," one expert said to another, "is that we constantly have new groups of power involved." "Not at all," replied the other expert, "they're always the same powers as before, "the power of persuasion and the power of superior force."

Monday, February 16, 2009

One Man's Meat

When I was 18 I spent the summer in Europe with a school group. In the Bavarian Alps we stayed in a small inn. At lunch one day one of my companions found a worm in her rice soup. Then someone else found one, and pretty soon almost everyone discovered a worm in their soup. Despite the fact the soup was delicious they all laid down their spoons. "Didn't you find one?" someone asked me after I'd cleaned my bowl. "Nope," I answered. "Lucky you," they all said. "It's not luck," I told them. "I didn't look."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Monkey Business

One of my most enduring memories from my years in public schools is my sixth grade teacher asking the class how mankind came to be. Susan Heller raised her hand and answered that we were descended from primates. The teacher didn't simply correct her, she went ballistic and went into a lengthy rant, screaming that nobody was going to tell her that her ancestors were apes. Poor lady, she was closer to our fuzzy relatives than she realized.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Race Relations

A passionate long-distance runner on hitting the half-century mark was advised by his doctor that a man in his fifties should not be running marathons. He agreed to stop, but added he'd take it up again when he turned sixty.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Rock n' Rule

"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

"Democracy is a wonderful thing, we should try it sometime." Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In Yer Face

Today's anniversary of Lincoln's birth overshadows two other notable birthdays. John L. Lewis, the man who built the United Mine Workers, was born on this date in 1880. But many don't realize that today is Kosciusko Day, honoring the birthday in 1746 of a Polish patriot who fought in the Revolutionary War. I'll drink to that, but then, hey, I'll drink to darn near anything.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Original Skin

Then there was the story about the elderly churchgoer who died and went to heaven, but she wouldn't believe it was paradise because they didn't have a Las Vegas night on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bigger Than a Breadbasket

In downtown Los Angeles a developer has lobbied the City Council to allow for apartments that are 165 sq. ft. Do you know how small that is? Someone would have to step outside if they wanted to change their mind. Ba da boom. You wouldn't need carpets, you'd have wall to wall shoes.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Take a Deep Breath

I feel for Michael Phelps's pain. The guy spent years in grueling training, hours every day 24/7 to accomplish something beyond astonishing that gave his countrymen soaring pride. One hit on a bong at a party and they're about to send him to Guantanamo. Christian Bale can't claim Olympic deeds, but he's being equally excoriated for an infantile tantrum. Outlaw infantile tantrums and Hollywood might as well close up shop.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Business of Business

"Put all your eggs in one basket and then--WATCH THAT BASKET." Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stimulus Nonsense

Stimulus is one of those words that if you say it over and over long enough it begins to lose all meaning. I'm no economist, but somehow I just don't get how piling up more debt on top of old debt is going to solve a problem that's been brought about largely by debt. It's fitting to recognize that today is the 197th birthday of Charles Dickens, a poet of poverty.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Fly Me a River

Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's remarkable resolve as he dealt with potential catastrophe is best manifested by his use of a single word. The cockpit tapes reveal that in his final radio communication to the tower controllers he reported, "We'll be on the Hudson." He didn't say "in," he said "on," suggesting his confidence he would put his plane down safe and, well, unsullied.

Follow-up: A quick fact check reveals I got it exactly backwards. So what was Sully trying to tell us?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Remains To Be Seen

The fossilized remains of an enormous snake have been found in the jungles of northeast Columbia. Weighing over a ton, the creature measured from 45 to 52 feet long, longer than a city bus, and was capable of swallowing an animal the size of a cow. This is extremely exciting news for little boys who live for anything that has to do with dinosaurs and reptiles.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Law and Order With a Side of Fries

The firestorm of recent revelations about cabinet appointees and their cavalier approach to little things like paying their taxes leads me to suspect that it's not a limited phenomenon. Lord only knows how many of our "leaders" have interesting closets. I'm reminded of the practical joker who sent the same anonymous note to ten of his town's leading citizens. "Everything has been found out," he wrote. "You still have time to move out." Nine of the ten left town.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

For the People

The civics professor asked a student if he could explain the system of checks and balances to the rest of the class. "Certainly," the student answered. "the checks don't balance."

Monday, February 02, 2009

One Man's Pornography

I may have told this before, but it's worth repeating. An astronaut journeys to a distant planet in another galaxy and discovers an advanced and friendly civilization. After a welcome, he is given a tour, which includes a visit to a factory-like structure. He is shown a conveyor belt where tiny body parts are being assembled into living, miniature versions of the natives, and is told it's how they make babies. Astonished, he tells them how babies are made back on his home planet of earth. The natives begin to howl with laughter. "What's so funny?" he asks. "That," they tell him, "is exactly how we make cars."

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Up Up and Away

The old codger arrived at check-in for his first airplane flight in twenty-five years. "Do you have a reservation?" he was asked. "Plenty of 'em," he said, "starting with having to take my shoes off. And I'm none too thrilled about lady pilots."