Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where Frank Zappa got it

This is the actual cover that inspired Zappa's album title. See the red type, lower right.

Still, I think he should have gone with "Sin happy vacationists."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Eat fire, banjo jokesters!


Here's an amazing video from the American Museum of Natural History that shows the known universe, the image gradually pulling away from Mount Everest and all the way out to light reflected from the big bang.

Sort of makes things like whether or not I get our Christmas cards out on time seem a little less important...

We live in interesting times

I first drew this for The Eagle back in 2005. The next year it was reprinted in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the highest circulation newspaper in Germany.

Then out of the blue today I received a request from Australian Mensa magazine to reproduce it as well. Wild. (Hey -- a banjo-player gets work in a Mensa publication??? What's wrong with this picture...)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random drawing of the day

Sometimes I wonder if I play music just so I can draw posters (which I love doing) or if I draw just so I can play music (which I love doing.)

Either way, I enjoy this stuff.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don't turn football into footbaugh

The video I had linked to is no longer available so here are some of Boss Limbaugh's quotes which sound an awful lot like racism to me:

For more information, please see: http://mediamatters.org/research/200910130049

Friday, October 9, 2009

Imagine! It was John Lennon's first instrument!

Hooray for Garrison Keillor who pointed out this important fact today on Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of John Lennon, born on this day in Liverpool (1940). His parents separated when he was one. His mother came in and out of his life, and he was raised by his aunt and uncle. But his mom taught him to play the banjo and they listened to rock 'n' roll records together.

And thanks to my pal John Lenoch for pointing it out to me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rotten Chamber policy causes Apple to exit


Now I have another reason to love my Apple Mac. The company just announced that it's dropping out of the Chamber of Commerce because of the Chamber's anti-science, pro-pollution stance which favors more global warming. Really, it's shameful that the Chamber of Commerce is also a Chamber of Denial. 

I've always thought the name "Chamber of Commerce" is a hoot. How pretentious can you get?Sounds like something out of a Superman comic book. "Superman flew into his Fortress of Solitude because he was super-bummed by the idiocy displayed by the Chamber of Commerce." 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Apparently there's this show called Family Guy...

...and they "poked a little fun" at traditional editorial cartoonists. I know this show really exists because many 10-year-olds in the classes I speak to ask me to draw the baby character. Stewie or something like that. I tried to watch it once but decided my sock drawer needed organizing that night and switched it off. Anyhow, over at the Daily Cartoonist blog they posted this vid which instigated much navel-gazing and self-flagellation amongst some cartoonist types. I think it's pretty funny. 

We should start worrying when they stop making fun of us.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Look. Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a...bus???

So what brilliant overpaid consultant came up with the name "Airbus" anyhow? I've always thought that's one of the more bonehead product names of recent times. "Hey, I know," said some hotshot ad guy,"Let's call it Airbus! It's like a bus, but up in the air! A flying bus! Everybody loves to travel by bus, don't they? So now they can do it up in the sky!"

Those crafty Europeans.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Me, smiling, in hell

I'm actually in this cartoon. Sitting there in hell. I remember when this one ran in the papers. My god, the glee with which my non-banjo-playing friends pointed it out to me. Rascals. And no matter how many times I look at it, it's always funny. That's the genius of Gary Larson. He's a guitar player of course. 

A spacial great big howdy to ye

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

If you've ever done a school program, you've had this happen

Richard Thompson (not the Richard Thompson guitar genius but the Richard Thompson cartoon genius, or maybe he is a guitar genius too for all I know) draws Cul de Sac, the wonderful comic strip. He also is a gifted caricaturist and showcases all that and more on his blog.

He posted this strip recently and wow, does it resonate with me. My friend Aaron Fowler and I are putting together a presentation for Wichita area school kids about Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. He's Woody and I'm Pete. I'm a pale imitation, I know, I know, but anyway...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Winfield toons - 2007

Caricatures here of super hot banjo player James McKinney and guitar master Steve Kaufman.

Here's James' website and here's Steve's.

The Winfield toons - 2006

Some sad anniversaries and one happy one came along at the same time in 2006.

The Winfield toons - 2005

We had all just watched the terrible images of New Orleans' flood. I, for one, was ready for some musical diversion and Winfield always offers that.

The Winfield toons - 2004

It's great how conservatives and liberals can come together and make beautiful music at bluegrass festivals. This was, of course, an election year. 

The Winfield toons - 2003

I love all the little kids at Winfield who pick. It's always a treat to watch them and know that there's a whole mess of great players on the way up.

The Winfield toons - 2002

This was the year of the wonderful movie, "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou." Hence the take-off. Me again in this one with wife Karen and daughter Haley. And assorted monarch butterflies.

I loved that movie but I was irritated that they used a great Ralph Stanley song in a KKK scene. Couldn't they have found a better context for it?

The Winfield toons - 2001

The year of 9/11. 

Caricatures in this one: Dale Britton is the speaker; behind him is Andrew McAlmont and Jim Brasher (the Hank Williams of Ozawkie, Kansas); on the right with the harmonica is our late dear friend Kelly Slack who is now jamming with Bill Monroe in the clouds.

We miss Kelly especially during Winfield. 

The Winfield toons - 2000

It was one of those drought summers here in Wichita. Not like this year at all. We are a land of extremes, weatherwise, are we not...

By the way, I snuck in a caricature of Bob Redford, founding father of the Winfield festival. He always reminds me of Jimmy Martin.

The Winfield toons - 1999

Yeah, I know. What's a banjo player doing drawing a banjo joke. Can I just say in my defense that I also play guitar?

Anyhow, 1999 was the year the creationism craze hit Kansas so it was a natural for a metaphor.

The Winfield toons - 1990

I got a lot of mileage out of this cartoon. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine published it as an illustration and the Kansas Bluegrass Association used it on a t-shirt. It's my personal favorite of the Winfield toons I've drawn over the years.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rest in Peace, Big Mon

It's the 13th anniversary of the passing of Bill Monroe. Here's the cartoon from the time it happened.

Return of the ark?

Now they say land rush will be postponed until Saturday. I never thought this cartoon would ever be relevant again. Here it is a week before the festival and we seem to be back in the same place. Groundhog Day in September?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mark O'Connor on his new instruction method

The immorality of health insurance


I came across this passage from a posting at the blog Blondetwit. I think the writer makes a powerful point. Here's the quote:

Health Insurance is NOT health care. Health insurance at its core, relies on risk versus reward, which equates to one thing: profit on human suffering. 

It was forcefully posed to me that I must also be against car insurance, fire insurance and life insurance. Those who know me would absolutely laugh at this. I come from a long line of life insurance agents, and was one myself. I consider it one of the most important purchases for any family, or any business. Everyone WILL die. Life Insurance allows survivors to carry on without financial tragedy, etc. Car insurance is based upon any individual's ability to maintain their PRIVILEGE to drive a car. Some fail that test, and there are always alternatives to driving, and not having coverage or not being able to drive does not create a moral dilemma. Fire insurance for your home or business, same thing basically as car insurance. No one lives or dies based on an insurance company's decision to cover or not to cover. 

Health Insurance, by it's very nature, the same as car insurance or fire insurance, can exist based only upon a healthy and robust business model that can attract investors, or others to be mutually insured (as in mutual insurers, not stock insurers).

By the very nature of the business model, someone, somewhere, will make a decision about a human life. Actually, about millions of human lives. 

An insurer will make the decision as to who lives and who dies. That decision is for God, the Universe, or how or whatever you believe - not a pencil pusher in a cubicle.

We must permanently unlink "Health Care" and "Insurance". The two cannot co-exist in a moral model.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cartoonist Hero

Dwane Powell at the Raleigh News and Observer has always been one of my favorite cartoonists. He's one of the unsung masters of the editorial cartooning craft, especially sharp on national politics, but come to think of it, especially sharp on local North Carolina politics too. Just especially sharp, I guess. And a hell of a nice guy who picks mandolin to boot.

He got laid off about the same time I did last year, but was able to come up with an arrangement that puts him back in his paper more frequently than I am in mine. Good going, Dwane. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

My very tentative toe-dip into animation

Our very exuberant but somewhat clumsy Airedale Ollie, lives to chase the manic gibbering squirrels in our neighborhood. I can safely say that he will never catch one. But dreams can come true in the world of animation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Take a ganda' at some propaganda

I love propaganda. The fact that it exists, persists even, is a tribute to the power of the graphic image. Or at least the power that some folks attribute to the graphic image. There are some wonderful examples of WWII propaganda at this website, images from all sides of the conflict. Powerful stuff.

Clown plane

Monday, August 24, 2009


You know what I'll be glad to see go? That funky 70s-style Kansas Coliseum logo. Man, that thing should've been updated 25 years ago.

As to the building...don't get me started. And the location. I remember doing "white elephant" cartoons about it 15 years ago. Good riddance. Long live the Intrust Arena.

Extra credit: Can you identify the car dealer?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I hate free credit report dot com

I've never cared for those free credit report dot com ads with the slacker musicians. Firstly because they imply that anyone performing local music must be an unemployable leech on Our Great American Way of Life. Mostly I dislike them because the music sucks and they get so much airplay. Thank goodness for the mute button.

Now there's a better reason to dislike them. They're a bunch of lying hucksters as this New York Times piece points out.

Bow down before its magnificent awesomeness

You think they have anything like this in those socialistic European countries? With their prissy Eiffel Towers and their Big Bens? No, they do not. This is what unbridled capitalism can do if you just give it a chance. In Branson, of course. The world's biggest banjo. Let freedom ring.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Progressive bluegrass' founding fathers

Back in the early 70s, and even the late 60s for that matter, The Country Gentlemen were the very cutting edge of the bluegrass world. They clipped a few of the rough edges off of bluegrass and combined it with a sort of 60s folk-style of singing. Here they are in the early 70s performing the song they were best known for, Fox on the Run. Every bluegrass band from about 1972 until way into the 80s had to play Fox on the Run, and they had to do it as close to the Gentlemen's version as possible. 

This clip is introduced by the great Mike Seeger, a true legend in the old-time music world. His band The New Lost City Ramblers did for old-time music what the Gentlemen did for bluegrass, helping to introduce it to thousands of new listeners beginning in the 60s. Mike died last week. Here's to him and to all the visionaries who have kept the music alive.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plagiarizing myself

A couple of years ago I designed the Price-Harris mascot, an eagle which the kids there named Cosmo. The school recently asked me to come up with a t-shirt emphasizing reading and this is what I drew:

Earlier this year I was commissioned by Dodge Literacy Magnet to redesign their panther logo and here's one of the poses I put him in for them:

The two are far from identical but the basic idea's the same...hope they don't notice. Let's just keep it to ouselves, shall we?

Hunter Thompson once said (about writing) that you know you're in trouble when you start stealing from yourself. Looks like I'm there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bacon. Need I say more?

My lord, I love bacon. That's why I wish I had been in South St. Louis recently:

The fifth-annual Tomato Fest at Iron Barley in South St. Louis wrapped up Sunday with owner Tom Coghill and a crew of 90 volunteers working to create the world's longest bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich, at 179-feet, two-inches. (That's a lot of bacon -- 500 pounds of savory, crispy, delicious bacon.) The previous record was 169 feet

5oo pounds of happiness. My arteries be damned. And they definitely would be. Here's the link:

Monday, August 10, 2009

You're all invited back this week to this local-ity

To have a heapin' helpin' of tunes played by us three.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So what's different?

I'll tell you what. Politics and  and parochialism have taken over where patriotism once prevailed. Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your party.

Finally: The real reason we invaded Iraq?

Our president called the French president Jacques Chirac and told him why we were invading Iraq. It was to thwart Gog and Magog. Seriously. Boing Boing had this item up recently and I just have to reprint it here. Utterly astounding. Here's the beginning:

Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.

Honest. This isn’t a joke. The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.

Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

Here are the concluding paragraphs. I urge you to go the link at the bottom to read the whole thing.

It’s awkward to say openly, but now-departed President Bush is a religious crackpot, an ex-drunk of small intellect who “got saved.” He never should have been entrusted with the power to start wars.

For six years, Americans really haven’t known why he launched the unnecessary Iraq attack. Official pretexts turned out to be baseless. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction after all, and wasn’t in league with terrorists, as the White House alleged. Collapse of his asserted reasons led to speculation about hidden motives: Was the invasion loosed to gain control of Iraq’s oil—or to protect Israel—or to complete Bush’s father’s vendetta against the late dictator Saddam Hussein? Nobody ever found an answer.

Now, added to the other suspicions, comes the goofy possibility that abstruse, supernatural, idiotic, laughable Bible prophecies were a factor. This casts an ominous pall over the needless war that has killed more than four thousand young Americans and cost U.S. taxpayers perhaps $1 trillion.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009