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Archive for February, 2011

February 20th, 2011

Updating The Cartoon Page

Now that I’m offically a member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists my bi-weekly cartoon chores for Baltimore OUTLoud will be taking on some additional tasks.  I need to be more punctual about updating the cartoon page here for one thing.  OUTLoud will be carrying my cartoons on their page soon, and I can now create a small space of my own on the AAEC web site.  Since I don’t do this as my primary occupation, I am an “associate” member, not a “regular” one.  The difference is regular members get to vote in the board elections and post their cartoons in the main cartoon space.  I don’t begrudge them that…those folks are trying to earn a living in an economy that is very bad for cartoonists of any sort, let alone editorial cartoonists.

I’ve no illusions now about ever earning a living by my artwork alone.  I’m just not that competitive a soul for one thing.  But also, my cartoons can get brutal.  My aim isn’t merely to provoke…I have always believed that political cartoons are best when the artist takes a passionate stand for (or against, but mostly for) something.  But that’s not a selling point to newspaper editors in today’s climate…

More over at The Cartoon Page.

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

February 14th, 2011

Atlas Ate Your Seed Corn

Looking at my server logs I see the recent release of the trailer to the coming Atlas Shrugged movie (part 1…and I’m not the only one guessing that the John Galt speech will probably amount to nearly the total running time of part 3…) has brought more then a few readers to my little corner of the net.  More specifically this post.  Cool.

I think the movie has at least a fighting chance of not being completely horrible that The Fountainhead never did, largely because the Atlas Shrugged movie has an advantage The Fountainhead didn’t; that Ayn Rand is dead and so she can’t fuck with the producers. But it still has the deadly problem of bringing Ayn Rand characters to life and seldom outside of the pornography industry have characters been drawn that are so deathly one-dimensional.  Rand’s characters are little more then slapped together hand puppets she waves around in her morality plays.  They’re not there to tell you anything about life and existence and what it is to be human, they’re there to let Rand create a world of her own where she could take revenge on everyone and everything in the real world she hated.  But this is something people who have never actually read Atlas Shrugged need to see for themselves.

I am all about giving Atlas Shrugged its moment on the silver screen.  Especially the part that takes place in Galt’s Gulch.  If nothing else, that scene alone will convince a lot of people who might be otherwise bamboozled by it, that Rand’s claim to intellectual fame is pure hokum.  I walked a reference back to one blog’s link to my post and found a link to this which is an even more priceless take-down of Galt’s Gulch then I could have ever done.  But you would expect a farm boy to see the fundamental stupidity of it even more clearly then a kid from the suburbs like me…

The most egregious example of this comes in that pile of pap that Glenn Beck shucks like the Bible’s smarter, prettier sister: Atlas Shrugged. I have desire to go into a list of why that book is a pile of shit, at least not right now. But there is a moment in it that so completely sums up everything that is wrong with the Tea Party/Randite/Libertarian worldview that it is breathtaking in its elegant stupidity. It is when Dagny Taggart finally gets to Galt’s Gulch, and it is a breathtaking panorama of loveliness with fertile fields and little houses, and people fishing and etc. It’s para-fucking-dise. And John Galt himself leads Dagny around showing her all the wonderful things they’ve done. And there are oil pipes in the mountains, and fields full of…stuff (She’s not much for details, our Ayn.) And it’s the most hilarious moment in the book, because you realize, at that moment, that Ayn Rand has no clue how the world works.

See, I grew up on a farm. And I’m familiar with the sheer, bloody amount of work it takes to run a farm. Notice, I am not saying build a farm. Building a farm from scratch is an almost impossible undertaking. (Which is why *gasp* the pioneers did it all together in groups. No payment expected, just help out when its their turn. Buncha commies.)

Certainly, a few years after this project got started, they would still be on the frontier edge of starvation, desperately going hungry in the winter so they wouldn’t have to touch their seed corn for the next year, anxiously scanning the skies for clouds. Living in one room cabins. Of course, Rand handwaves this by essentially giving them cold fusion, but even so, it Doesn’t. Work. Like. That.

It is at that moment that you realize Rand probably never did a day of real work in her life.

And when you hear the Tea Partiers, or Glenn Beck naively parroting her back as if her words were found in the desert, cut into the living rock by the invisible hand of Adam Smith himself, it is worth remembering that a lot of them haven’t done an honest day’s work in their life either.

You need to read this whole thing.  I had this image of this blogger, who grew up on a farm, reading this…

“…Since the time I saw you last, I have designed and manufactured just one new tractor.  I mean one – I tooled it by hand – no mass production was necessary.  But that tractor has cut an eight hour workday down to four hours on” – the straight line of his arm, extended to point across the valley, moved like a royal scepter; her eyes followed it and she saw the terraced green of hanging gardens on a distant mountainside – “the chicken and dairy farm of Judge Narragansett” – his arm moved slowly to a long, flat stretch of greenish gold at the foot of the canyon, then to a band of violent green – “in the wheat fields and tobacco patch of Midas Mulligan” – his arm rose to a granite flank striped by glistening tiers of leaves – “in the orchards of Richard Halley.”

…and breaking into fits of hysterical laughter.  An Eight Hour Workday?  An Eight Hour Workday???

Right there is Rand, and her cheerleaders on the lunatic right in a nutshell.  Many of those right wing billionaires massively funding faux grassroots political movements like the Tea Party and poisoning the national dialogue with a variety of pseudo think tanks inherited their wealth.  Below them are rank after rank of winger nutcases who have never had to work a day in their lives and never bothered to explore the world outside of their gated communities.  They have not clue one how to earn a living.  Theirs was essentially given to them and I suppose one of the reason the rest of the human world frightens them so much is they know we can survive just fine without them while they wouldn’t last a season without their trusts and hedge fund portfolios.  They love Rand for her righteous assurance that only selfishness and greed are truly moral, that the true evil is to care for your neighbor and that somewhere in the Colorado Rockies is a beautiful fairy tale land wherein we who work for our living are the ones who cannot live without the likes of them.

There’s a lot of comment and some righteous snark going around the net over the Atlas Shrugged trailer.  Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution writes, “Hank Rearden’s line about only wanting to earn money comes across as either a parody of Gordon Gecko or as something worthy of Gecko’s parody.”  Since Gordon Gecko is a fictional character I can’t really make the comeback that Gecko got his greed is good lines from Rand and that he is the embodiment of her ideas, but it’s a fair guess that the writer who put those words in his mouth either had Rand in mind or some Wall Street asshole disciple of hers.  Some of the thread comments are delightful like “Dagny drives a Camry?”  But I particularly liked, “Anyway, since the passing of Leni Riefenstahl I can’t imagine anyone being able to give Atlas Shrugged the cinematic treatment Rand no-doubt believed it deserved.”

Yeah…  If I could wave a magic wand and travel back in time to when both women were still alive, I’d get them both to agree to make the movie of Atlas Shrugged somehow without Rand being aware of who the director really was and Riefenstahl not being aware of whose book she was making a movie of.  Then with the finished product absolutely delighting them both I’d then pull back the curtain and introduce them to each other, hand them each a knife, close the door and take bets on which one gets out alive.  Bet I could make back both the production costs and the time-travel costs selling DVDs of the fight.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Atlas Ate Your Seed Corn

And The Winner Is…

Goodbye Valentine’s Day 2011.  It’s time for both of us to move on.  Let’s always be friends.  Keep in touch will you?  No…really…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on And The Winner Is…

February 13th, 2011

The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest…(Part 3!)

Well it looks like we’ve come to the end of our fourth annual Valentine’s Day Poster Contest.  And once more this year’s crop of disturbingly sincere losers worked even harder then last year’s to achieve that ultimate glory…which must make all our previous year’s losers feel even more pathetically inadequate.  But that losing is a prize that never stops giving is what makes every Valentine’s Day so special.  It’s like the finest wine…that feeling of losing out on the big prize only gets better and better as the years go by.

So lets all give this years worthy losers a pat on the back, a brief but sincere look of understanding, and some helpful advice to get out more and meet people!

Coming next: The Big Winner!   You should probably have somewhere better to be then here with me…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest…(Part 3!)

The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest…(Part 2!)

Yes…I know…I failed to show up Friday.  And Saturday too.  I’m sorry.  I had to be somewhere else.  I really wanted to get together with you but, you know, things happen.  I was busy.  This isn’t a good time.  I’ll give you a call when I have time.

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve!  It’s the big night before…when the message of that empty mailbox finally starts getting through.  What…not even a card?  Cheer up.  Here are another three worthy entries to remind you that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about getting a last minute card with the same boilerplate love poem several thousand other people got too.  It’s about holding in your hands proof that it’s the thought that counts.  You should probably put that letter opener down now.  No…seriously…

We’ll dash the hopes of three more worthy entries later today.  And then…Tomorrow Is The Big Day!

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest…(Part 2!)

February 9th, 2011

The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest…(Part 1!)

Once again right off the bat we have a selection of very worthy entries which would have absolutely won the Big Prize if only someone else hadn’t come completely out of nowhere to walk away with it, leaving them alone in the dust to wonder for the rest of their lives how they could have been so terribly wrong.  Let’s all give these worthy losers a very brief but sincere look of understanding and then quickly change the subject.

More oh so sincere hopes and dreams will find the floor suddenly cut from beneath their feet, only to thrash their way to the bottom of the briny deep tomorrow…but we’ll keep the bad news from them for a while longer, letting them toss and turn all night long clutching at that slender chance that maybe, just maybe, just…maybe…it will all work out after all.  It has to work out for me sometime doesn’t it?  I can’t crash and burn Every time can I?  But oh yes…oh yes you can…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest…(Part 1!)

February 8th, 2011

The Fourth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest!

Has it been a year already?  Another bright-eyed and bushy tailed spring, ready and eager to take on the world with bright cheerful blossoms full of color and delight, fading…fading…into dogged summer, hanging on long after the blooms are just a playful memory, hanging on…hanging on…hanging on…then one final burst of hopeful autumn color, only to end up in the dead of winter buried in ice and snow, with nothing but brief barren daylight and bitter eternal cold to look forward to?  Why…yes…yes it is!

It’s the time of year when we pay tribute to that which is most deeply human within us.  The heart?  Well…Not Exactly.  That almost infinite ability of the human heart to bleed?  Hahahaha…no.  But close.   No, no…we come together every time this year to celebrate the knife in the heart.

From: "Barnes & Noble" <>
To: bruce
Subject: Nothing Says "LOVE" Like 10% Off

with a little extra love for you.

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Nothing says love like ten percent off!  Eighty dollar roses for a mere twenty bucks!  Valentine’s Day Lap Dances!  It can only mean one thing…it’s time once again for our annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest!  A celebration of the spirit of Valentine’s Day, that traditionally begins with the following announcement:

We’re terribly sorry, but the deadline for entries has already passed.  I’m afraid the deadline had already passed when I announced the start of this year’s contest.  I know you must feel terrible about this.  Don’t blame yourself.  It isn’t you, it’s me.  Please try to find it within yourself to forgive me.

Now that that’s out of the way, let us pause for a moment and reflect on our past.  Because after all, endlessly digging up and reburying the past is part of what makes Valentine’s Day so very special!  Here are some of our worthy losers from days gone by.  They came oh so close to the big prize, only to walk away confused as to what went so terribly wrong.  All those endless nights they have spent afterward tossing and turning, wondering what they could have done differently, was its own very special Valentine’s Day prize that they are all still enjoying to this very day!

These contestants gave it their all, only to have their personal best cast aside as if they never even existed.  Then they all received our very special  consolation prize handshake, followed by helpful advice to get out more often and meet people.

But our winners were truly one with the spirit of Valentine’s Day.  This one, from our Very First poster contest is still my personal favorite:

But let us not forget our other winners, without whom there would not have been so many losers, so lost, so dazed and bewildered.  This is one of our year two winners (Yes…there was a tie!)

And finally…our year three winner who gave us all words to live by…

This year’s crop of oh so painfully earnest hopefuls will have to work extra hard to achieve glory.  They are going to have to give it everything they’ve got to give…only to spend the rest of their lives blaming themselves for not giving it even more when they had the chance.  They will spend long sleepless nights minutely re-examining everything they did, trying to pin point exactly where they went wrong, then dreaming hopeless dreams of getting a second chance to do it all differently and make everything right again.  If that scene in The Yearling where Jody shoots Flag is your favorite part of the movie then you have certainly come to the right place!

Tomorrow we begin our annual celebration of the knife in the heart.  Love is in the bag!   Let the twisting begin!

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

February 6th, 2011

#7 In Our List Of Reasons Why Valentines’ Day Occurs In the Dead Of Winter…


He would not stay for me, and who can wonder?
  He would not stay for me to stand and gaze.
I shook his hand, and tore my heart in sunder,
  And went with half my life about my ways.

- A. E. Housman, from "Additional Poems"

The problem is you can’t fit that on a candy heart…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on #7 In Our List Of Reasons Why Valentines’ Day Occurs In the Dead Of Winter…

A Poem For Valentine’s Day

In our continuing series of posts plumbing the very heart and soul of Valentine’s Day…

Because I liked you better
  Than suits a man to say,
It irked you, and I promised
  To throw the thought away.

To put the world between us
  We parted, stiff and dry;
'Good-bye,' said you, `forget me.'
  'I will, no fear', said I.

If here, where clover whitens
  The dead man's knoll, you pass,
And no tall flower to meet you
  Starts in the trefoiled grass,

Halt by the headstone naming
  The heart no longer stirred,
And say the lad that loved you
  Was one that kept his word.

Thank you A. E. Housman for capturing it all so exquisitely well in this, and so many other fine poems…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Poem For Valentine’s Day

Awww…You’re Just A Tad Confused Is All…

Clearly, this poor lost fuckless soul is not one with the spirit of Valentine’s Day…

Male Rights Activist Calls for Valentine’s Day Boycott

Any guy who gives flowers on Feb. 14 is a blooming idiot.

So says Marc Rudov, a relationship expert in Los Gatos, Calif., who is on a campaign to get American men to boycott Valentine’s Day.

According to Rudov, who has authored books such as “Under the Clitoral Hood: How to Crank Her Engine Without Cash, Booze or Jumper Cables,” believes Valentine’s Day should be canceled permanently because it promotes unequality of the sexes.

No, no…  That sense that you have been cast forever into the status of abject inferiority is all just part of the light-hearted carefree Fun!  Smile…You Are Not Worthy!

Need some jumper cables there guy?  Well…you could go buy yourself some flowers and chocolate and send yourself a Valentine’s Day card from that imaginary girl friend whose engine you crank every night at bedtime.  Or…

…you could enter our Forth Annual Casa del Garrett Valentine’s Day Poster Contest!  That is…if you can manage to slip your worthy entry in before the deadline passes.  So Hurry…the deadline is February 5!  You might just make it.  It’s a slim, almost totally hopeless chance…one in a million.  No…one in a zilllion.  One in a Bazillion.  You’d be crazy to even think of trying.  But…isn’t that one slim chance of success in the face of certain doom worth the risk?  You might just beat the odds after all.  Maybe.  Just maybe.  If you don’t try you’ll wonder for the rest of your life if you might have won The Big Prize after all.  So do it!  Go for it man!  Crank that engine!  Remember…deadline is February 5th.  If you give it your all you might just make it.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Awww…You’re Just A Tad Confused Is All…

February 3rd, 2011

Snow…Ice…Bitterly Cold… Must Be Getting Close To Valentine’s Day!

Coming soon, to your local Going Home Clinic…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Snow…Ice…Bitterly Cold… Must Be Getting Close To Valentine’s Day!

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