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, October 31, 2009

A Different Drummer

Just because people insist on doing things their own way doesn't mean they will remain true to their expressed course. Consider kids at school. When told they can dress as they please they'll all show up dressed more or less the same. It puts me in mind of Hollywood film and television producers. They all want to make films that are completely original and exactly like everything else that's being done.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rotten to the Core

Apropos of nothing, the only reason why Washington, D.C. is the nation's capital is that Boston was too far north, Philadelphia didn't want New York, New York didn't want Philadelphia, and Las Vegas didn't exist yet.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The National Yawntime

Surprise, surprise, the Yankees and the Phillies are facing each other in the inaptly named World Series. They just happen to be the two richest teams, and therefore the ones that can afford the best players. And why are they so rich? Because they're in the country's two largest television markets, generating the largest ad revenue. So much for the joys of sport.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Image Is Everything

"Well done is better than well said." Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, 1737.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

War of the Words

Literature is the art of words, and the wordiest of the arts.

Monday, October 26, 2009

All the World's a Stage

When a man falls down on the street and a crowd gathers it's a curiosity. When a crowd pays money to see a man fall down in movie it an industry.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Are They Thinking?

The co-pilot of the Northwest Airlines jet that, having missed its destination, wandered around the skies the other night out of touch with traffic controllers, insists that whatever it was he and the pilot were doing in the cockpit - and he's not being forthcoming about that - passenger safety was not compromised. And the dog ate his homework.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fly the Fiendly Skies

One of my favorite airplane stories - it's true, you can't make this stuff up - was told on herself by a well-known feminist who was in demand for speaking engagements around the country. She had a terror of flying, and so took a course to help her overcome it. It was suggested to her that on her first flight after "graduation" she asked to be introduced to the pilot, in order to put a human face to the man who would hold her life in his hands. She did, except that the man turned out to be a woman, and the feminist burst out crying.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Put Another Penny In

Governor Schwarzenazi has announced that the proposed new NFL stadium in City of Industry will be exempt from state environmental laws in order to speed things along. As usual our elected officials and business "leaders" will sweet talk us with how much good a football franchise in the Los Angeles area will do for the economy. The truth is it will do next to squat while further overburdening an already broken infrastructure. The truth is that it's all about making a very small group of already rich men even richer. We no need no stinkin' football team.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blessed Are the Know-It-Alls

"For every action," the science teacher explained to the class, "there is a reaction. For instance, what happens when you lower yourself into the bathtub?" "The phone rings," a student answered.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Drink the Water

Something different. Below is a painting I did on my iPod, using the Brushes app. Lending legitimacy to this new "medium" is the fact that two New Yorker covers have been created with it. I also read that David Hockney has become enamored of it. By the way, the FTC has passed absurd and outrageous new rules coming down hard on bloggers who plug products without full disclosure. Hey, Mr. Fed, I have received absolutely nothing, nada, zilch from Apple to talk about about this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Up Up and Away

Icharus, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Phineas Fogg, in defying gravity and breaking the bonds of the earth, sought freedom from the mundane. Fictional, but nonetheless thrilling for the rest of us. Now reality television, which is anything but real, has turned us into a culture of hoaxsters, desperate for the fame but without the heroics or risk. Just imagine Phineas Fogg and his loyal Passpartout cringing in the crawlspace above an attic while their balloon spent 80 days riding the earth's winds empty. Imagine young Icharus looking at Deadalus and stammering guiltily, "You said we did it for the show."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Give it Your Best Shot

Today is the birthday of Sir Thomas Browne, born in London in 1605. If you don't know his name, which is most likely the case, he's the man who said "Charity begins at home." He also said "The whole world was made for man." Made for us? What are we doing with it?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Mouths of Babes

A little boy at the family dinner table was asked if he'd like some french fries. "Yes," he answered.
"Yes, what?" his mother demanded. "Yes." the boy retorted. Now."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Get Poor Quick Schemes

A man went to his doctor. "I have this shooting pain in my throat when I swallow," he said, "and I'm extremely hoarse. What should I do?" "Keep your neck swathed in hot compresses," the doctor advised him. "That's odd," the man replied, "my maid told me to use cold compresses." "So who are you going to believe," said the doctor, "your maid or my maid?"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Today is the 155th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Fingall O'Flaherte Wilde. In defense of profligacy he wrote, in The Portrait of Dorian Grey, "the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it." Any connection anyone wishes to draw between the quote and today's cartoon is not my problem.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day

My friend Jean Burman at alerted me to the fact that today, October 15, is this year's Blog Action Day, with thousands of bloggers around the world posting in solidarity on the theme, as you might have gathered, climate change, or as I prefer to call it, global harming.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amurika de Bee-yoo-tee-full

I went to a Quaker high school. We once went into a poor Philadelphia neighborhood to help repaint badly run-down apartments. One of our teachers recalled discussing with a group of local kids the idea of talking out differences rather than settling them by fighting. A gang leader spoke up, "What?" he said, "And take all the fun out of life?"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now Cough

"The patient, treated on the fashionable theory, sometimes gets well in spite of the medicine." President Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Casper Wister, June 21, 1807.

Monday, October 12, 2009

All's Fair

An elderly cannibal shaman and a missionary were speaking. The shaman reminisced about tribal wars, and all the foes his people had eaten. The missionary said, "we fight wars for a higher purpose, for defense of democracy, freedom." "You must eat many people," the cannibal said. "Oh, no," the missionary replied, "we don't believe in eating human flesh." "If that's the case," the cannibal rejoined, "then why do you kill them?"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Be Happy

We're assaulted daily by our lawmakers, pundits, and industry leaders telling us what the current state of the economy is and what needs to be done to get things humming again. Yesterday I was on the freeway, spending my Saturday afternoon creeping along on a trip that Google Maps told me would take 44 minutes in ideal conditions but two hours and twenty minutes in heavy traffic, which is just about always. It occurred to me that it was the lawmakers, pundits, and industry leaders that once pushed the freeway system on us as the pathway to a brilliant future. What it actually did was make them richer. When will we learn?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

'Til Life Do Us Part

It was Oscar Wilde who famously defined bigamy as having more than one spouse, adding that monogamy was the same. Wilde, of course, didn't use the word "spouse," but rather "wife." I've changed it in the interest of being PC, not to mention keeping some semblance of peace in the family.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Acting Up

Yesterday Enzo Ferrari sat for his official state portrait. Well, sat isn't quite the right term. "Stretched out" maybe? I quite like the composition and colors.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

All's Fun

Someone asked me once to tell them about my leisure activities. "Nothing doing," I replied.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Friends Indeed

"There are three faithful friends -- an old wife, an old dog, and ready money." Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac, 1738.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Dog's Digs

And in lieu of prose, a photo of Zuzu and Enzo, worth well over a thousand words....

Monday, October 05, 2009

Muscle Car

I don't expect the geniuses in charge of finance to solve the current crisis because I believe it can't be solved, it can only get better and then come back worse than ever, like a virus that mutates to resist vaccine. However, I can't for the life of me see why someone can't come up with a little condiment packet that holds catsup, mustard, mayo, hoi sin sauce or the like that can be opened and emptied without getting half the goop on your fingers.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

What a Card!

Psychology is the science of predicting how people will behave - and explaining why they don't.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Wizard of Ahs

I'm getting a new dog today, a rescue. A Jack Russell mix, his name is Enzo. I've decided his full name will be Enzo Ferrari, but I haven't decided whether I'll actually call him by his first or last name. Reminds me of the story about the Jewish man named Cohen married to a Mexican woman. They had a daughter and named her Carmen. The mother called her by her first name, but the father insisted on calling her Cohen, and by the time she was five she didn't know whether she was Carmen or Cohen.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Block That Cheap Shot

Today, Oct. 2, is the day everyone who deals in humor of any kind should pause and pay homage to Groucho Marx, born in New York City sometime in the 1890's. It was Groucho who famously said he would never be a member of any club that would accept him as a member.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Gas Guzzler

On this date in 1908, 101 years ago, Henry Ford introduced the Model T, known as the Tin Lizzie. With the introduction of the assembly line the world began the slide toward insanity. Ever-increasing production meant the development of expanded markets, which led to built-in obsolescence, the cancer that is mass advertising, and the deadly credit industry. We haven't reached critical mass yet, but the collapse is sure to come.