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, May 31, 2009

Something About Neighbors and Fences

"Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half have nothing to say and keep on saying it." Painter Alice Neel, quote in The New Yorker

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fightin' Words

So-called "civilized" societies always insist that they fight their wars against evil. But evil is almost always defined as an enemy that wants something other than what you want. It doesn't matter which side in a war you're talking about, it's the same thing either way.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kids Spell the Darndest Things

The National Spelling Bee ended yesterday, and it's a scary thing to behold. Imagine thirteen year-olds spelling words like omphaloskepsis, which just happens to mean a predilection for staring at one's navel. Oh, but I did find out that pagonip is a kind of fog, and a deipnosophist is one who likes to engage in table talk. I finally feel my education is complete.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

So Much For Progress

It's noteworthy that the ancient fathers of biblical times, not to mention the dinosaurs, lived much longer than we do today. I can only assume it's because they didn't know they were supposed to.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Dog's Life

"Love," said the romantic, "is the last word." "Only in telegrams," replied the cynic, "and that day has long passed."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I told someone I preferred the country to the city because in the city one always seems to be in a rush. "Maybe," I was told, "it's because there's nothing to rush to or from." "Precisely," I said.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Going Nowhere Fast Redux

"Except for the American woman, nothing interests the eye of American man more than the automobile." Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 1963.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Helping Hand

May 24 is a trifecta day. In 1844 Samuel F.B. Morse sent the first telegraph message, Queen Victoria was born in 1819, and in 1883 the ultimate symbol of deception and gulliblity, the Brooklyn Bridge, opened. Gives us a lot to think about this weekend.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Block That Euphemism

As I juggle my glasses this morning, switching from the pair I use to read the newspaper to the one with a slightly longer focal length that I use for the computer, I think back to Benjamin Franklin's bifocals. It was on this date in 1785 that he first described them in a letter to a friend. Good idea certainly, but impractical. With my system I can only lose half my glasses at a time.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two For the Road

Getting something done is an accomplishment. Getting something done right is an achievement.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And the Band Played On

It's hard to imagine, in this age of jumbo jets and men floating around out in space, that it was only 81 years ago today that Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget airport outside Paris, thus completing the first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic airplane flight. Consider too that some of the time he was flying just feet off the surface of the ocean. Awesome!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Actor Tweets

A copy of How the Waif Bunny Saved the Boy arrived in the mail yesterday. It's the children's book by Donny Velvetears for which I did the illustrations, and I couldn't be prouder of it. It's a beautiful story, and a handsome production, and I'm thrilled that I could be part of it. I don't yet have a link for ordering it, but I'll post it as soon as I do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Art of Darkness

"Art is a jealous mistress." Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, First Series: Circles, 1841.

"A professional is just an amateur who didn't give up." Richard Bach.

Monday, May 18, 2009

....The more Things Stay the Same

I've long maintained that one can't trust the things non-incumbents say when they run for president. It's not that they're necessarily untrustworthy, nor deliberately misrepresenting their beliefs, they just have no idea, like the rest of us, what's going on in the world. The day a new president reports for work at the oval office for the first time, there's a couple of guys in suits and carrying attache cases waiting for him. "Okay, pal," they say, "here's the true poop."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

One More For the Road

Today is the 217th birthday of the New York Stock Exchange, the con game that enables rich people to get their hands on the little guys' money. I'll drink to that, but then, heck, I'll drink to darn near anything.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Preventive Medicine

The man complained to his doctor that he was nauseous every morning when he got up. "What should I do?" he asked. "Get up an hour later," the doctor counseled. Which reminds me of the woman who moved because she heard that most accidents happen within a mile of home.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Labor Day

"When a baby cries," the pediatrician told the expectant parents, "you have two options. One at each end."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Home Is Where the Art Is

"Laughter is God's gift to mankind," said the preacher to his congregation. "And mankind," retorted one of the congregants, "is proof God has a sense of humor."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Biblical Silliness

Experts claim that dogs have evolved into creatures of servitude, genetically predisposed to serve their owners without complaint or judgment. Tell that to Zuzu, my miniature wire-haired dachshund, who will turn up her nose at any and all proffered food until I give her exactly what she wants, who wakes me up at 3 in the morning and pesters me to let her visit my neighbor's house, and who refuses to eat pasta without parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Extremely Original Sin

And then there's the one about the perennially unemployed actor who came home and discovered his wife had been tied up and raped. "Who do this to you?" he asked, enraged. Reluctant at first to tell him, she finally blurted out that it was his agent. "My agent?" the actor answered. "He actually came to the house?"

Monday, May 11, 2009

One For the Rude

In a crowd of heavy drinkers, Lyle started to go wild, singing off-key at the top of his voice and ripping off his clothes. Finally, when he was down to nothing but his undershorts, he collapsed and passed out. "Good old Lyle," one his friends slurred, "he always knows when to stop."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Go Pali!

Forgive me if I crow a bit, but our lacrosse team won our league championship yesterday, 12-1 in the semi-finals and 9-0 in the finals. Granted, the competition wasn't tough, but our guys played the best lacrosse we've played all season, never letting up on the pressure. And yes, I got water dumped on me at the end.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sucker Punch

"The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadky afterwards." Walter Bagehot, Physics and Politics, 1869.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Putting On the Dog

Time, so the saying goes, is a great healer. That notion has always troubled me. What if you're feeling fine already?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sua Culpa

In the interest of full disclosure, I've discovered that the voiceover cartoon from a few days ago was strikingly similar to one in the New Yorker from 2001. The friend who had suggested it to me had got the idea from someone else, who probably had heard it from somewhere else. The anecdote very likely had been passed along from actor to actor repeatedly in the intervening years, but the incident exemplifies why it's unwise to accept outside ideas for cartoons, something I rarely do.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's In the Mail

For what it's worth, today is the 169th anniversary of the issue of the first postage stamp, an article soon to join the ranks of past relics along with the newspaper, both of them victimized by the computer, which in its turn will be relegated to history by little chips implanted in our brains.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hr 4 u

Sorry, but I absolutely, unequivocally refuse to Twitter. Happily, I am 100% certain the whole phenomenon will be dead within a couple of years, relegated to the trash heap of pet rocks, Tickle Me Elmo dolls, and car fins. Tweets have the same relationship to human communication as post-it notes to Gutenberg's bible.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wait Problem

"What some people call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease." George Dennison Prentice, Prenticeana, 1860.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Sing Out, Louise

Apocryphal, perhap, but the story goes that Elihu Root, the long ago emminence in the Republican party once had a microphone pushed in front of him. "Remove it," he barked, "I can talk to a Democrat but not to that dead thing." Which is why perhaps we now refer to microphones as being "live."

Thanks to my friend Bill Smith, an acting teacher in Denver, for the anecdote that gave rise to this cartoon. I don't normally do suggestions, but this was far too good to pass up.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Boys' Night Out

Several years ago the State of California instituted a new lottery game, and after a short time officials were puzzled as to why it wasn't doing as well as previous games. It turns out that word had got out to the public that the odds against winning were worse, thirty million to one as opposed to what they used to be, only twenty-six million to one. Hey, a smart gambler has to draw the line somewhere.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Fool's Paradise

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." Kurt Vonnegut, quoted on and reprinted in The Week Magazine.