Archive for the ‘Cartoons’ Category

Happy birthday, Bob.

And Ben!

Peanuts -  Bob Dylan 30

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It’s nice to be needed

It’s that time of year again when we’re reminded of the meaning of life. I hope your day went well.

I like Randy Glasbergen’s cartoons. Good clean fun.

Glasbergen - taxes - purpose in life

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Am I the only one who remembers the cartoon Bloom County?  or the TV show Hill Street Blues?  or 1984,Bloom County characters for that matter (the book by George Orwell or the year)?

Like most of us, then or now, Binkley and Portnoy in the cartoon below are looking back at the previous year and pondering the year to come.  Nineteen eighty-four had been on the way, ominously, since 1948 when Orwell published the book and, for lack of a better title, transposed ’48 into ’84.  It worked for a while, seemingly far into the future, but the title lost its impact when the year finally came and nothing much happened except for Reagan getting re-elected.  The book remains however one of the best prophecies against totalitarian government because what lurks within its pages can certainly happen—and already has in various countries.

Sgt Esterhaus Let's be carefulThe final line in the cartoon, “Let’s…be careful out there,” refers to Sgt. Phil Esterhaus’s daily benediction to his cops  on Hill Street after he’d brief them and give assignments at the beginning of each episode.  The actor, Michael Conrad, died mid-season 1983 and was written out of the show in a death that made his character’s legend live on bravely in the hearts of his cops.

But the “Let’s be careful out there” can also refer to the oncoming of 1984, a year of foreboding and altogether too much hype.  As it turned out, it could have been a lot worse.

Let’s be careful out there anyway.

Bloom County 1984 vert

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Really trying not to get political on the blog.  Difficult.cruise_missile_launch_navy_photo

In early 2003, while the president beat his drums for Regime Change in Iraq, and made his case by citing Weapons of Mass Destruction, a friend dropped by in the evening while the news was on TV.  He asked me, “What’s your take on all this?”  I said that I had come to the conclusion that either the president is insane or I am.

I still have hope that it was I who was insane, in order to give that president a passing grade in history, but it’s ten years later, a different president, and the drum of war is beating again—and the drug of war is about to be injected.  I don’t think I was the madman then.  I may be now.

From George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, a book that may never out-date (sadly, and in spite of its unfortunate title) until Jesus comes again.  Winston Smith is reading here from the banned Emmanuel Goldstein:

‘In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat. In the past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. …

Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary to be able to learn from the past…

But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. The war is waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact. The very word ‘war’, therefore, has become misleading. It would probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to exist. … A peace that was truly permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This – although the vast majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense – is the inner meaning of the Party slogan: War is Peace.’

Winston stopped reading for a moment. Somewhere in remote distance a rocket bomb thundered. The blissful feeling of being alone with the forbidden book, in a room with no telescreen, had not worn off.


No answer.

‘Julia, are you awake?’

No answer. She was asleep. He shut the book, put it carefully on the floor, lay down, and pulled the coverlet over both of them.

…[A]fter reading it he knew better than before that he was not mad. Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

Write to your U.S. senators and representatives.  A quick Google search will take you to the homepage of each of them.  On their Contact page, a short message and a click of the “Submit” button is all it takes.  Phone numbers and mailing addresses are provided too.


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This week has been a wreck with bombings, manhunts, lockdowns, factory explosions, the Senate caving to the NRA.  I have behaved myself and not posted anything, but this cartoon just landed in front of me and it goes up without delay.

Peanuts - Peppermint Pattie & Snoopy kiss

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The tax deadline doesn’t line up with Good Friday this year, but …


But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all.  Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”  — John 11:49-50

Glasbergen - appease tax gods

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But, why?

My Jewish friends will get the joke.

Chag Pesach Sameach to all.

Rhymes with Orange - passover

Cartoon credit: http://rhymeswithorange.com/

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Ecuador: duct tape

[I’m scheduling a number of posts, some of them foolishness, to show up automatically while we’re in Ecuador.  The wonders of WordPress.]

Remember what Karl Malden used to say?  “American Express Travelers Checks:  Don’t leave Karl Maldenhome without them!”  And then the ad would show a horrible scene of a honeymooning couple who did leave home without them, lost everything and went crying to the embassy, destitute.

With credit and debit cards, travelers’ checks are now as out of style as Karl Malden’s hat.  But what has never gone out of style, like ketchup on A Prairie Home Companion, is good old-fashioned duct tape  (click link for 101 uses).

I won’t say that our surgeons use duct tape as extensively as the ones in the cartoons below, but the stuff is so useful on these medical missions that we never leave home without it.

[Liveblogging update from Salcedo, Ecuador:  while we were unpacking and sorting the medical supplies this afternoon, Mary T the O.R. nurse (aka Boss Mary, as there are four of them this year) looked for a roll of duct tape and when she found it said, “The most important tool in the O.R.”  Sometimes these blog posts just plain write themselves.]

Glasbergen - surgeon nail clippers duct tape       

Rhymes with Orange - surgeon duct tape

Thanks to http://www.glasbergen.com and http://rhymeswithorange.com

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The true winter sport

touchdown for jesus - cuyler black

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Thanks to my old friend Joey Marshall for this cartoon, and to the Mount Desert Islander who subsidizes his habit.

See related article in this week’s paper by editor Earl Brechlin, who appears to be a skeptic.

Mayan endtimes - Joe Marshall cartoon

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The results are in, and reactions across the world vary:


Remember Bill the Cat? He ran for president with Opus the Penguin in ’84 and ’88 on the National Radical Meadow Party (Bloom County cartoon, of blessed memory).

Big Bird wins four more years. May he live forever.

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Cartoon credit:  Sacred Sandwich

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Church history

At First Baptist we’ve begun a video series during an adult Sunday school class:  Church History from A.D. 100 to 600.

Yes, I find it interesting.

And no, I probably won’t get in trouble for this:

Credit:  http://thomasthedoubter.com/

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An ideal ticket

I’ve heard enough from the major political parties and their silly conventions.  It’s time for a viable third choice:

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Today in church we sang one of the great 19th-century hymns, and one of my favorites:  “It Is Well With My Soul” (lyrics by Horatio Spafford; tune by Philip Bliss).  Not to poke fun at anything (that’ll be coincidental) but here is a bit of satire that I’ve been hoarding from Sacred Sandwich—something like “Great moments in hymn writing” as might be seen on David Letterman:

Now, this may not mean a thing to you without knowing the third stanza, so I’ll post it here, and the full lyrics below.  Sorry no YouTube clip, but the quality ranged from rock-bottom to CCM to worse.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

In the first line of that stanza, Horatio Spafford takes a thought-break, very much like the apostle Paul who said in Romans chapter 5, “ For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  This “parenthetical thought” has amused or perplexed readers for centuries, and Spafford (oh, the bliss of this glorious thought) continued the tradition.  Even his words echoed the Romans passage.

A couple of things interest me about the hymn, aside from the fact that I really love the music and the lyrics:

Firstly, that Horatio Spafford wrote it after suffering a series of Job-like tragedies.  His four-year-old son died; then he lost his fortune in the Chicago fire; then his four daughters drowned in a shipwreck during a trans-Atlantic crossing with his wife.  She survived, and while Spafford was on his way to Europe to join her he was inspired to write the lyrics near the spot where their daughters had died.

Secondly, that the lyrics represent a prevailing viewpoint of that period and of earlier periods, that “the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend” and without mention of anyone disappearing from airplanes.

Did I blindside you with that one?

Of course nobody disappeared from airplanes.  They hadn’t been invented yet; Jenkins and LaHaye hadn’t been born; and neither was there any mention of driverless cars.  I bring this up, seemingly off-topic, because the current pop-theology prescribes that believers be removed from the earth in a “rapture” before the second coming of the Lord.  However, as hymns from ancient times through the nineteenth century attest, Christ simply comes back.  It was never perfectly agreed whether he’ll come before or after a millennial period (whether pre- or post-millennial) but there was never any question of us disappearing.

Until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the Irish import “Pre-millennial Dispensationalism” began to capture Americans’ imaginations.  The annotations in the Scofield Reference Bible carried it away, reinforced later by a great deal of popular literature such as Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and later still Jenkins’ and LaHaye’s Left Behind series; and by now this sort of thing is gospel.

Except that it’s not.  It’s merely a theology.  And a rather convoluted one.

Horatio Spafford had it right, as did millions of Christians over hundreds of generations:  the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend.  Maybe we’ll disappear, our shoes and tooth-fillings left behind for the infidels to collect.

But I don’t think so.  And at any rate, that’s not the gospel.  That’s another gospel, and Paul warns against chasing after that sort of thing in the Epistle to the Galatians.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

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