Here’s a Sketch of John Cleese

John Cleese, of Monty Python fame

Call this a sketch. Call it a caricature. Either way, I drew this version of the great John Cleese, circa 1970. It was from one of their famous sketches (no pun intended). Enjoy!


Here’s a Poem I Just Wrote

Monkey Cosmos

Stolen from the Cameroons,

shipped to America,

and branded with the number 65,

the Air Force-owned astrochimp

was pinned down by white hands

and launched into an airless death.

For surviving re-entry, he

was granted a name.

Ham, like the Hamites,

was spared by God.

The Mercury hero spent his final

years tucked into a zoo

nearly within earshot when the KKK

slaughtered some protestors.

He died during the early plague

years of AIDS and they

were going to stuff him,

like the Soviets rendered

their cosmonaut dogs,

a statue made of monkey hide

and armature

that once upon a time

screamed into space,

and back, in terror.

July 22,2020

Make Critical Thinking Great Again

I am a first responder.

My immediate family includes a firefighter, two nurses, and a police officer. So I mean no disrespect when I say that, as a political cartoonist and a teacher, I am also a first responder. My roles are essential to averting disaster, for while my relatives respond to preserve human lives, I respond to preserve the human spirit. I tend to the wounds of civilization, trying to prevent further devastation.

The descent into tyranny is usually precipitated by collective ignorance, lack of humility, and the inability to detect hypocrisy, all trends that run antithetical to satire and education. As a satirist and educator, I respond to the early detection of society’s diseases, often evidenced by a lack of civility and knowledge. In fact, on 9/11, I was literally in the classroom teaching about world history and resistance movements. When some of my peers and students enlisted in the military in the days that followed, I had an epiphany that education is the best way of fighting terrorism. I have spent the past 20 years teaching about different cultures and narratives, teaching empathy and acceptance.

Political humorists are uniquely qualified to identify the early warnings of authoritarianism. Put crudely, they have heightened BS detectors. This is why dictatorships try to destroy them. In the earliest days of the German invasion of France in 1914, political cartoonists were among the first to be rounded up. Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, and Stalin persecuted the hell out of them, and terrorists have assassinated them in recent years. One thing tyrants simply cannot handle is people laughing at them. Trump is only the most immediate and insecure incarnation of this phenomenon.

Humor and education are at once destabilizing and empowering. We are in a fight that will likely never end. Statues of cartoonists and teachers will never out-populate those of soldiers or firefighters, partially because, if we do our jobs correctly, we have provoked lots of people. But we are essential workers, essential to cultivating freedom and empathy in tomorrow’s civilization.

Join me in laughing and learning. It’s far, far more important than you might think.

Looking Forward to the 4th Annual Alfred Hitchcock Blogathon, Aug 8-9!

This is an original graphic I made consisting of every one of Hitchcock’s 53 films (minus one). Know what the missing film is?

In addition to being many different things, I’m also a Hitchcock scholar and have always loved his films. I was delighted to learn that several thoughtful people out there have been blogging about classic movies here on WordPress and in many other corners of the internet. Join me as we share our love for Hitchcock’s films in just a few weeks.

Hitch Blogathon 2020

Wire Sculptures

Flying Fairy

These are two wire sculptures I made, both consisting of a single strand of wire. I rather like how they turned out. The fairy was made as a gift for a friend, but I so liked it that I decided to keep it and made her another fairy. This tree sculpture I also kept but have made similar ones for others.