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 *).

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Lion Is Gone, Long Live the Lion

The impoverished adult offspring of impoverished parents was asked how he could have lived a life of penury for so long. "You have to remember," he answered, "I had a head start."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sticks and Stones

The best way to enjoy leisure time is to work hard for it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Confess, They Did It

"The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet. He is supported on crutches, but lacks so much support of muscle. He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun." Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, First Series: Self-Reliance, 1841.

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Thumbs

Few anniversaries mark a major turning point in our culture to the degree that this one does: on this day in 1922, on the pioneer radio station WEAF in New York City, the first commercial message from a sponsor was broadcast. With that let me remind you that my book, Out of Order, can be ordered by going to

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bottoms Up

My good friend Shamworthy, upstanding in all other regards, has a tendency to get roaring drunk at parties, rip off all his clothes, and then pass out. His wife upbraided him about this and he answered her, "At least I know when to stop."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Speak No Evil

R.I.P. Edward M. Kennedy, 1932-2009, arguably the subject of more political cartoons than anyone else in the history of the world. In his memory, and with gratitude for all his considerable achievements that far outweighed his perfectly human flaws, I shall refrain from adding one more.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hands Out For Hand-Outs

Okay, now it appears the government is going to hand out cash for old household appliances. What frosts me is that the government also mandated old television sets into obsolesence. Not only did they not give us the opportunity to turn them in for cash, you might have to pay to have them disposed of. I have two sitting by my back door if anyone wants them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time Out to Play

My old stomping ground is in the news this week. I spent almost all my summers until after college in Chilmark, on Martha's Vineyard, where my family had a home. Also in the news, sadly, is Mt. Desert Island, the final destination on my driving trip back east a couple of years ago, and the spot where a group of sightseers were swept into the sea by storm-driven waves at Thunder Hole, which I drew when I was there.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dieting Is a Losing Battle

"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are." Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Monkey Business

Contributor to the comments Andrew has correctly pointed out that the national debt is closer to 11 billion dollars than to the 1 billion dollars I reported. I don't feel as if it was such a big mistake, though. After all, I was only off by 1.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blessed Are the Geeks

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies, 1711.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Going to Pot

Don Hewitt, long-time TV news producer has died. Hewitt created 60 Minutes, a Sunday evening staple for over 40 years now. It's scary to think that when I was born radio hadn't even been around for 40 years yet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shameless Plug Dot Com

In the face of a trillion dollars plus national debt, what's a measly 18 bucks (not even, 17.95) when it comes to giving a gift to a loved one? May I suggest a copy of Out of Order, available at or e-mail me directly for a signed copy. Christmas will be here before you know it.

"If you would know the value of money, go try to borrow some." Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth, 1757.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Eye of the Beholder

On this date 126 years ago Pope Leo XIII, as part of his comments while opening the Vatican archives, said "The first law of history is to dare not to utter falsehoods; the second law is to not fear to tell the truth." Wise words, alas, universally disregarded.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I'm increasingly nagged by the feeling that our society and culture has become an embarrassment, on the verge of collapse, or both. New evidence was presented this weekend, with the trumpeted and breathlessly repeated headline that ABC would announce this morning the line-up for this year's Dancing With the Stars, as if in the midst of economic collapse, impending ecological disaster, and wars this was major news. As if this wasn't bad enough, it turns out that one of the celebritards is to be the disgraced former House speaker, Tom DeLay. Can't wait to see him trip the light fantastic.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Good Money After Bad

"....the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculator has succeeded and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever." Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France. 1790.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nothing But the Truth

There was once a student in the South who was asked to describe the Atlantic Ocean. "It's a body of water," he answered, "that extends from Virginia to Florida." And then there's the story of a group of students on the island of Martha's Vineyard during World War II who were asked to write an essay about a famous person. One student chose Adolph Hitler. "First of all," he wrote, "he was an off-islander."

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's In a Word?

Two men were having an argument, which grew increasingly heated as neither managed to convince the other. Finally, one of them clenched his fist and slugged the other on the jaw, sending him sprawling to the ground. The fallen man looked up dazed and asked, "Why didn't you say that in the first place?"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wrds, Wrds, Wrds

Ever vigilant for cliches and foolishness in the media, The Fool was delighted with this one, heard on an evening newscast yesterday. In reporting the U.S. soccer team's 2-1 loss to Mexico, the sportscaster reported that "in the second half the game turned physical." Um.... just what was it in the first half?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gripe Therapy

I visited my friend Ellie Sethman at the Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach the other day. Ellie exhibits her beautiful work there every summer, and I always look forward to my annual pilgrimage. She told me a wonderful story about a family with a dog and cat who were good friends. The dog lived in the house, while the cat stayed mostly in the barn, where it had the responsibility of expunging rats. When the cat had kittens she decided to move them into the house, one by one. The dog very gingerly took each kitten and moved them back to the barn.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

From Bed to Worse

You can never tell about a marriage from the outside. Some couples hold hands because they're both afraid if they let go their spouse will kill them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cut Where the Fat Is

I'm reminded of an old Groucho Marx routine. As Rufus T. Firefly, Groucho is handed the treasury report for the Republic of Fredonia and remarks, "A four-year old child could understand this. Bring me a four-year old, I can't make head or tail of it."

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Three Strikes You're In

I was stopped by the police once, years ago, for no apparent reason. They made me get out of the car and put my hands on the roof. They patted me down. Then they looked in the car and saw a 35mm film cannister. "What's that for?" one of the cops snarled, like he already knew what my "crime" was. "It's for film," I answered. Grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat he opened it. Inside there was film. That was one disappointed cop.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

I took a British friend to a Dodgers game once. In the bottom of the ninth, behind by three runs, we loaded the bases. "Why is everyone so excited," my friend asked. I told him it was because we had a man on every base. "But," my friend said, "so does the other team."

Friday, August 07, 2009

Number Please

When I see my lacrosse players at breaks during practice sending and receiving messages on their iPhones I inevitably think back to my childhood, when the only telephone in the house was in the front hall. There was no dial. To make a call you picked it up and waited for the operator to come on. Our number was Gladstone 3672, before the "Gladstone" was replaced by "White Plains 8." At our summer house we had a party line.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Score One For the Goalie

For the record, it was on this day in 1926 that Warner Bros. presented in New York two short films with soundtracks, the first "talkies." Increasingly, I find myself wishing the movies would shut up.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

It's Only Money

Our leaders seems to believe the way out of our economic mess is to get everyone spending again, but there's something awfully unseemly to me about a government functioning as a marketing arm of big business. Back in the "Big Depression" the concern was the survival of the working man. Now it's the survival of the fat cats.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Momma's Boy

"All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his." Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Shoot the Dog

Scientists have recently determined that dogs are genetically evolved to be man's best friend, but judging from my relationship with Zuzu, my miniature wire-haired dachshund, I suggest that it goes a step further. They've now mutated to the point where man is subservient to their every
whim and wish.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Good Clean Fun

I have to admit with a certain amount of embarrassment that I enjoy prize fighting. I recall attending the first fight ever in the present Madison Square Garden. (I'd attended the final event at the old Garden, the Westminster Dog Show.) But still, one has to wonder about the civility of a civilization that encourages a sport in which the main objective is to inflict brain damage on your opponent.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Greeks Had a Word For It

"Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?" William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II, 1598.