Monday, August 1, 2011

My, my, how things have changed

The great Rollin Kirby, cartoonist for the New York World drew this during the build-up to WWI.

Things are a bit different now.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Charles Millbern

One of the perks of having the small amount of local notoriety that I may have, is that fascinating people sometimes approach me with cartoon-related stories to share. Over the years I've been the fortunate recipient of several such people's attention and it's always a rewarding experience.

So it was that a fellow member of my church, Calvary United Methodist, came up to me a few weeks back with a keepsake book she had put together of her father's cartoon work. She was Pam Malone and her father was Charles Millbern. Charles passed away at the age of 86 this past January. This is from his obituary:

Charles started his career as a printing pressman before becoming a commercial artist for Western Lithograph & McCormick-Armstrong. He was a very talented cartoonist, drawing cartoons for the Army Times during WWII. He later drew editorial, business, & sports illustrations for the Wichita World & Wichita Eagle-Beacon. Charles proudly served in the US Army during WWII in the European Theatre & fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

The book which Pam has generously loaned me was a treasure trove of Charles' cartoons. They are terrific and I asked her if I could share them here on the blog. So with her permission, take a little trip back into the Wichita of the late 1950s and early 1960s through the eyes of the talented Charles Millbern:

Ah, summer!

Last week's KMUW commentary below, or listen here.

All the talk lately about the Rapture that didn’t happen has put me in the mood to remember a rapture that I used to experience repeatedly: The last day of school before summer break. I remember how delicious that day was. Going to school on that day was a hollow formality. Mostly, we just picked up our report cards, fidgeted our sticky legs in our wooden desks for a few moments, and popped out of that school like tightly wound little springs—all joy and expectation.

The dusty path that my canvas tennis shoes bounced me along led directly to three months of homemade bows and arrows, Tarzan yells, model cars, and St. Louis Cardinal baseball games through a scratchy-sounding plastic Sears Silvertone transistor radio. Throw in a couple of slices of watermelon and a sweating aluminum pitcher filled with homemade icy lemonade, and you’ve got something very much like the Rapture. I was ejected from the earthly realm of homework sorrows and six-week test dread, and plopped into a land of milk and honey—or, make that Milk Duds and Bit O’ Honey.

But I also remember my friend Mike. Mike was more subdued about the end of school than some of us. I found out why one night as a 4th grader when I slept over at Mike’s and witnessed his mother’s screaming rage as she slapped and spanked him relentlessly for some small act of disobedience. For Mike, a three-month summer break just meant three months of ‘round-the-clock terror.

I’ve heard tales from teacher friends about such students—little ones who felt safer at school than anywhere else and who sometimes cried at the beginning of summer of of Christmas break. The prospect of having to spend more time away from school is not a rapturous event for them.

Well, in this era of either two-working-parent or one-parent households, here’s hoping the children in your world will have enough imaginative free time for a rapturous summer. Between art camp, tennis lessons, swim lessons, violin, and all those other modern, keep-‘em-busy summer obligations.

I wish...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Song to Governor Sam

Rap-up session

Count me among the unscrubbed Plebian souls who don't care for it

Yeah, yeah. I know it was money that could only be used for art and not for museum funds. I still think it's ironic that the amounts were precisely the same...

Here's my KMUW commentary on the Waterwalk sculpture or read it below.

Man, talk about irony… there’s been enough irony in the air lately here in Wichita that they should be running crawls across the bottom of our TV screens: “Warning! Heavy irony in Wichita area atmosphere. Please wear protective head gear especially when in the vicinity of the Wichita City Hall.”

By now, everyone knows about the Wichita City Council’s recent approval of $350,000 to have an abstract sculpture by renowned New York artist Albert Paley erected at WaterWalk. The 38-foot-tall piece is supposed to be a tribute to—among other things—Wichita’s aviation heritage. Yeah. That’s what they said. Our aviation heritage.

This comes less than a year after our Kansas Aviation Museum asked the city for financial help with their desperately needed capital improvement project. The city turned them down. The cost of the Museum’s project: $350,000. The exact amount which the city council is willing to spend on the sculpture which is a tribute to our aviation heritage. That, my friends, is what you call irony.

Why is the Council more interested in symbolism than substance? This sculpture is a symbol of our aviation heritage. The Kansas Aviation Museum is a substantial upholder and steward of that heritage. Our city’s tepid support of this important institution is, as a recent letter writer in the Wichita Eagle pointed out, embarrassing.

The Kansas Aviation Museum cannot even afford to heat and cool most of its building. And our city leaders are paying $350,000 for a sculptural tribute to our aviation heritage? Breathtakingly ironic. They should just embrace its irony and erect a giant iron butterfly. Or, better yet, a led zeppelin. Or… no! I’ve got it! How about a lead balloon?

Friday, May 13, 2011


Friend Dan Rouser forwarded this article to me and I thought it blog-worthy:

The Eleven Craziest Things Newt Gingrich Has Ever Said

By George Zornick (from The Nation)
May 11, 2011

Today, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will announce a run for the presidency. Over his long and checkered career, Newt has said some wild and crazy things—most are deeply offensive, while some are outright bizarre. Here’s the most unhinged Newt-isms, 1989-present.
(1) “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time [my grandchildren are] my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” [Address to Cornerstone Church in Texas, March 2011]

(2) “The idea that a congressman would be tainted by accepting money from private industry or private sources is essentially a socialist argument.” [To Mother Jones magazine, October 1989]

(3) “All I would say is, why did it take so long? The whole thing is strange.” [Speaking to TPM about the recent release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate, April 2011]

(4) “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.” [To the National Review, September 2010]

(5) “It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.” – [Newt’s explanation for why his multiple affairs won’t damage his political fortunes, as told to his jilted wife.]

(6) “The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” [In his book To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, May 2010.]

(7) “This is one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration. The more successful they’ve been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger…. It’s almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us.” [At a book talk in Huntington, NY, April 2008]

(8) "A mere 40 years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that's what freedom is all about.” [At the Republican National Convention, August 1996]

(9) “I want to say to the elite of this country—the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton… of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created.” [Speaking about the Columbine shootings, May 1999]

(10) “How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane.” [Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, March 2007]

(11) “I’m running for President.” [5/11/2011]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Imagine how he'll play when he's 9!

An 8-year old pickin' the far outn' that thang!
(Check out the taxidermy)

"All us folks is big on corn!"

Now a word from our sponsor:

Cabin fever

I reverted to an antiquated style of editorial cartoon with this one. Ordinarily I try to avoid things like giant menacing clouds with giant menacing labels on them such as these. It's all very 1950. But, then, I'm an antiquated guy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Rest in peace, Oliver Fizzpatrick Crowson. Born January 8, 2002 - Died May 9, 2011

Joyland no more

Here's a beautiful, sad video by Mike Petty of one of Wichita's ghosts.

No Joy from Mike Petty on Vimeo.