Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Alternative Holiday

Wal Mart was already putting up their Valentine's junk on Christmas Eve, so I figure; if we're ever going to get this "alternative holiday" off the ground, we have to start early! Spread the word!

Learn how you can help by re-reading some of my annual Arizona Statehood Day columns:

MySpace Countdowns


"Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant -- there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing." ~Georgia O'Keeffe

I tried swimming out when my ship hadn't come in. I think that was pretty much just a midlife crisis. Not long ago I said on my mal•toons Facebook group that I'd decided to cartoon for "you" (whoever that is, readers of this blog, members of that Facebook group, a vague, general "you?").

Who do writers write for? Who do dancers dance for? Who do actors act or singers sing for? Who do poets po fo? Who do butchers butch for? (okay, maybe that analogy doesn't work as well). The point is, screw ever "making it," If I'm going to bother to cartoon, I should just cartoon for cartooning sake.

May your 2009 be a billion times better for you than my 2008 was for me. Screw "success," just keep making the unknown known!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was about to write something lame like "Eliot likes to write songs about cheese," but then I figured, what the heck, make it into a New Year's cartoon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ever feel this way?

Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am.
--John Piper

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy (or at least healthy) Holidays!

I hadn't made any collages for a while, nor had I made any real social/political commentary for a while. This seemed to fit the spirit of the season this year. Hope Santa brings you everything you need (get it?).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Journalism is dead, killed by corporate media

From Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonist Index's BLOG-
"I was sorry to read that Brian Duffy was laid off today. Brian was famous for being one of only two cartoonists in the nation who's cartoon appeared on the front page of the newspaper every day (the other is Corky Trinidad). Our condolences go out to Brian, who is an excellent cartoonist and we apprciate his contributions to our site. See Brian's cartoon archive here."
What is wrong with Gannett? What is wrong with newspapers all across this country? Think I should mail samples of my work to the Register? Just kidding. Seriously, Duffy is one of the greats. Why would they treat him like that? What a shame.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A thousand words oughta be worth at least a picture or two.

I may not be writing a weekly column for the Mapleton PRESS anymore, but I have tried to clean-up and organize six years of columns and made them easier to find on my main blog. Why not peruse through the humor, history and humus. It's full of "Sex, Politics, and Religion- not necessarily in that order." Or at least, liberal politics, the my misadventures parenting three little girls, and the joys of living in small town Iowa and good old fashioned Midwestern, down to earth common sense Lutheranism.

At least take a look at a couple of columns and give it a chance. Visit or click one of the categories below-



Sunday, November 30, 2008


No offense to anyone living or dead, any resemblance to real persons is unintentional but probable. Names are usually changed to protect the innocent. (Of course, at least a third of the girls in my class were named Jennifer, another third were Julie, and the last third was made up of various Brittanys, Megans, and Christys, Kristys, etc.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hannibal rode an elephant

Guess I'm feeling tired of having fellow Christians doubt the veracity of my faith because of my politics. Plus I think that this collage thing is a lot of fun and every bit as powerful as drawing, so I've added a label to several of my past cartoons that employ it- "Guerilla Collage." Expect a lot more of it since I'm not trying to impress Daryl Cagle into syndicating me anymore.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

'nother one

I don't know why this one sounds so congenial to me, when she says herself that it's a form letter in the very first line. Alas, whatchyagonnado? Guess I'm meant to wallow in obscurity and merely do this as a hobby. Kinda tough to stay motivated, but I've been trying.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prophet, Priest, and PIRATE

I don't mean to undermine anyone's faith or to promote heresy, but when I read Jesus' Words, especially in Matthew 5 and Luke 6, I see something radically different than what televangelists, radio prophets and Republican politicians espousing. Scurvy, bilge-sucking, sons of biscuit-eaters!

Jesus is our prophet, our priest and our king- and calls us to be the same , representing God to the world, interceding for others to Him, and leading by example. But when you're a bit of a rouge, you've got little choice but to weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen without the benefit of letters of Marque as a corsair, don't ya?!

If you've never visited my other blog that focuses on issues of faith and prayer- take a look at "Prophet, Priest, and PIRATE" over at

Oh, but beware, if you lean far to starboard, you may not like it there. Just like this blog, I lean more to port on the Pirate blog too. And if you'd rather not mix your politics and religion, better to stick to the ale and avoid the grog, land lubbers!

Here are some of the least political topics-

Bible Studies and Hot Topics

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Millicent reminds me of what I imagine child librarian, Anne Carroll Moore may have looked like when she tried to prevent E.B. White from getting 'Stuart Little' published. Mean 'ol bitty!

Okay, okay, I'll let you in on the big secret, Millicent was loosely based on an 1861 portrait of Civil War General John Cabell Breckinridge. Hope I didn't spoil it for you by taking away the magic. To my knowledge, he didn't dye his hair like Millicent, but he actually had much bulgier eyes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008


Having been rejected by all the major syndicates and suspending my run in the Mapleton PRESS, I don't know if I have the discipline to continue cartooning very regularly "just for the love of it," but what the hell- if it's just for the love of it, who says I have to be disciplined?

I tried to appeal to their 'better angels,' but they wouldn't have it

No kidding, I reached out to right-winger friends on my main blog and on Facebook, and was met with a great deal of venom and bitterness. Obviously, if we're going to heal as a nation or cooperate across party lines, those of us on the left are going to have to give those on the right a while to cool off and get over their defeat.

On the editorial cartoon aficionado front, I've already noticed many more conservative cartoons on the American Association of Editorial Cartoonist (AAEC) website. Perhaps it's just as well that I didn't get anywhere as a political cartoonist, because Ed. Cartoonists are by definition members of the oposition and I'm just gullible enough to actually want to give hope a chance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This one has been festering in me for months

So what if no one ever reads it. At least I got it out so it won't fester like a bad blister or a hangnail anymore.

Now, I really should go cold turkey on both the cartooning and the blogging. I seem to have ticked a lot of people off today over on my main blog , even though I though I was trying to be as humble and open and honest as I could.

Here's a tip; never talk about sex, politics, or religion if you don't want to offend people. Here's an example of talking about all 3 simultaneously- while I think abortion is bad, I don't think that it's the only moral issue voters should consider when they choose a candidate. Now, I was just being candid and was not deliberately trying to be inflammatory, but you'd be amazed at how provocative that one sentence can be, especially here on Iowa's "left coast."

Want to place any bets on how long I can stay away from blogging? God help me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Low Tech Devices

A decent respect to the opinions of mankind

In case you hadn't noticed, my column and cartoons haven't been running in the Mapleton PRESS for a few weeks now. It's complicated. Suffices to say that it was my personal decision to go on hiatus, not an editorial decision on their part. It has been difficult. It is a personal leave of absence, and it is still indefinite.

I always believed in talking about "sex, politics, and religion- not necessarily in that order," and that it is important to speak the truth as you believe it. But this election has superheated. I never minded complaints about me or the occasional hate mail, but it got intense. People feel so passionately about their sides that they become angrier and uglier faster.

While other people may be hypersensitive and wrapped up in rancor, I'm probably culpable too. I'm very passionate about what I believe too, so no doubt my tone became more acidic and less light hearted. I had planned to go "cold turkey," and never post anything here if I couldn't write a weekly column too- but obviously I didn't have enough self control for that.

My dream was that being held to the discipline of writing a weekly column might someday lead to being able to write professionally full time. In my mind, blogging was extra, superfluous, a past time- column writing was the meat, blogging the side dish. If this is all I have, I'm just another prattling voice in the vast blogosphere, that hardly anyone ever bothers to read. In the PRESS, it was farm league, small time, but there were 4,000 readers- even if most of them disagreed with me and several of them thought I should be tried for treason.

If/when I return (after this damn election) I'd have to find a way not just to speak the truth, but to speak the truth in love and with more humor and less venom. But at this point, I don't know if or when that day will ever come.

It is important that my detractors and critics know that "I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party" or Socialist, or Taliban, or Terrorist. I am not a baby killer, a satanist, or a debaucher. I do believe in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and savior and I believe that might should not make right, but just the opposite- that right should make might. I believe in small town, agricultural Iowa, I believe in family and treating people with kindness and working hard. I Love America and I do not wish ill for her. Please don't feel sorry for my children or talk about me behind my back or avoid making eye contact with my wife or in-laws. Try following Jesus' advice in Matthew 5 "Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you" (sorry if you ever felt like I persecuted you, could ya please try not to deliberately persecute me, okay? Thanks).

It is important that my fans (if I ever had any) know that no one at Enterprise Publishing and the Mapleton PRESS did this to me. I needed to take a break. After 25 years of dreaming, I finally got the gumption to send out both columns and cartoons to national syndicates and got rejected by every single one. I thought I could withstand that, but it really rattled me- though not as much as neighbors who don't think I can possible be Christian because I'm not as rabidly pro-life and anti-gay and anti-immigrant as they are. Thank you for your encouragement and camaraderie. Keep me in your prayers.

It is important for those readers who disagreed with me a lot of the time but still enjoyed reading my column and cartoons, but who don't hold all kinds of animosity towards me that you should always be willing to talk about anything with anyone, and also be willing to listen to anyone talk about anything. Listening and learning, sharing and discussing- even when you disagree, and trying to find common ground- these are what makes America great and make the give and take of democracy work. Thank you, and please pass it on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Interview with a legend

Comedian Phill Jupitus secures a rare interview Garry Trudeau, the reclusive creator of the Doonesbury cartoon. LISTEN HERE

This programme was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 7 October, 2008.

American political cartoonists; An endangered species., down from 200 to barely 80 in the last few decades. Save this art form, write your local newspaper editor and tell them that you not only want them to carry editorial cartoons, but you think they should have their own local cartoonist. Don't let them die out the same way the polar bears are!

Anyone who really cares about me will at least buy me a copy of the new Trudeau biography, 'Garry Trudeau: Doonesbury and the Aesthetics of Satire' for Christmas, pleeeease?!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lutheran Surrealism

Last year, I was surfing the web and stumbled on this blog, By this college professor who's into surrealist poetry and philosophy who became a Lutheran. His mind bending writing inspired me to PhotoShop a few of the great Surrealist paintings (that weren't totally lewd). Just in time for Reformation (October 31) Scary, huh?

Yeah, I stayed at school and waited for Parent/Teacher conferences to start, so I was REALLY bored. I promise I'm not on drugs, and I won't be offended if you don't "get it." I have kind of a weired sense of humor.

If you think they're funny, feel free to pass them on. Maybe we can start a cult or something.
Happy Reformation Day.

The persistence of litergy
Just like Salvador Dali's 'Persistence of Memory.' I used the LCMS's new "Lutheran Service Book from CPH because I couldn't find a good picture of the old blue 'Lutheran Worship' or what i was really looking for, the red 'Lutheran Hymnal.'

This is not a beer stein
ala Rene Magritte's famous, "This is not a pipe."

It's the Great Pumpkin, Karl Barth!
Robert L. Short in his book 'The Gospel According to Peanuts' pointed out that "Charlie Brown" may have been a cleverly devised literary device for cartoonist Charles Schultz to inject the ideas of the great twentieth century theologian "Karl (Charles) Barth (Brown)." Since he was one of my heroes, I always secretly hoped that since he was from Minnesota, Schultz was Lutheran, but I think actually he may have belonged to the Church of Christ or something like that. So what if Schultz wasn't a surrealist! Reformation and Halloween are the same day, so I'm allowed to take a little license. I always felt that Linus was more like Kierkegaard, but Barth's hair is kind of crazy like Linus's is in this picture. Really, Dietrich Bonhoeffer's face and head look more like Charlie Brown, but how can you satirize someone who was martyred by the NAZI's, I mean, come on, some things are sacred.

This year I decided to revisit the theme of Lutheran Surrealism, so here is a whole new batch of weirdness- A second helping of surrealist pot-luck Lutheran hot-dish! I've added several new Lutheran surrealist works to this gallery, just in time for Reformation!

Martin Luther as Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. (works for dia de los Muertos too).

C.F.W. Walther with Dali's mustache.

Phillip Melancthon can't sleep, based on one of Salvador Dali's more famous works.

Photo of Luther as surrealist Rene Magritte. No special meaning, just kinda weird and cool.

Frau Katie, little deer- obviously based on the Frida Kahlo painting

Indestructible Liturgy, based on Man Ray's "Indestructible Object." I guess while I love the traditional liturgies, I don't have any hang ups about contemporary worship like some Lutherans, but nor do I think we should throw the baby out with the bath water either. Once upon a time what Luther and Bach did was counter-cultural and iconoclastic.

The Holy Spirit upon Erasmus, based on some renaissance painting and one by Rene Magritte.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Opus Magnum

Berkeley Breathed is putting his penguin on ice. The 51-year-old cartoonist said he will pull the plug on his comic-strip career and “Opus” after Nov. 2.

In an e-mail to the Los Angeles Times, the 51-year-old Breathed wrote, “30 years of cartooning to end. I’m destroying the village to save it. Opus would inevitably become a ranting mouthpiece in the coming wicked days, and I respect the other parts of him too much to see that happen. The Michael Moore part of me would kill the part of him that was important to his fans.”

“With the crisis in Wall Street and Washington, I’m suspending my comic strip to assist the nation. The best way I can help is to leave politics permanently and write funny stories for America’s kids. I call on John McCain to join me.”

Read the entire article at LA TIMES

Read a more in-depth one in the Washington Post

Listen to an interview on NPR

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan... and yet I was. I loved Bloom County back in the 80's. Breathed was probably more influential than any other cartoonist on guys my age, in fact, it got so bad that I couldn't stand it anymore. That drove me to the arms of Doonesbury, which ironically, I suspect, was one of the biggest influences on Breathed.

That said and out of the way, I have to say, I feel for him. Anyone who follows this blog (not that anybody does) would notice that I gave up writing a weekly political column and cartoon for our local newspaper mostly because I got tired of the visceral reaction of people who didn't like what I wrote. In fairness to them, they were tired of the vitriol tone that I took when writing about Palin and McCain. Like Breathed, I recognize that anger is a sociopathic muse, even when it's righteous anger.

Molly Ivins once said, "fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it." But whenever I'd have the most fun, that's when people would have the most visceral, hateful reactions. The point of political cartooning is that "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." I want to stand up for what I believe in and I want to point out hypocrisies and fight for the downtrodden, but I'd rather have people say "sometimes I just don't get him," instead of "how can he say those things, what must he be teaching his kids? I feel so sorry for his family. God's going to have to be his final judge, then he'll get his."

So I respect Breathed's decision. I can relate to what he's going through. This election and this economic crisis are tearing our country apart, even more than the war had been. We need to learn how to agree to disagree again. We need to heed Lincoln's warning that a house divided against itself will not stand. But be that as it may, I'm still glad God put agitators like Micheal Moore on this planet. I still wish I could be a "real" political cartoonist someday, and I'm relieved that Gary Trudea hasn't retired again yet.

"I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil.
And that no one knows the truth."
~Molly Ivins

"The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."
~Garrison Keillor

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Notice the logo on his hat, yeah that's be mine,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another nail in the coffin

Here's the rejection notice from United Media. At least this one was somewhat personal, even a little encouraging- although it makes it sound like maybe I'm "over-qualified." Gotta learn how to dumb it down, I guess.

More Rejection

I thought for sure that these wouldn't bother me, that I'd just be proud to have been trying. My motto was, "if you ship doesn't come in, swim out after it." But you know what? We're not all Micheal Phelps, and the water is icy and the current is strong, and there's sharks and seagulls and jelly fish and the water is salty... eventually your muscles cramp and you get hypothermia, and if you ate less than an hour before you went in, you get stomach cramps too.

I have some new cartoons that are posted as drafts that will pop up on here in the next couple of days, but frankly I think I'm ready to just hang it up. I'm a blue-stater living in about as red a district as they get and I'm tired of being a mutant, weirdo, pariah. Maybe if I quit writing and cartooning I can just try to fit in. I swear God made me with this compulsion (and this political preference). I wonder if this is what gay people have to go through- you can't help who you are but everyone else thinks you're sick or wrong.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cartoon for Thurs. Oct. 2

This ended up being the last cartoon I drew for the Mapleton PRESS- at least for a while. I don't know how long the hiatus will last, but my wife asked me to lay off of politics for a while. Democrats are pretty much a 20% minority where we live and not all of the 80%, but the most vocal extreme Republicans have made it hard on us.

I was pretty happy with myself. It's not often that I get it in one drawing. Usually I have to piece together several drawings or layers in Photoshop. Plus this is a local issue, going on in Denison, IA so I can give readers a break from the campaign. It should appeal to everybody- Liberals will like the pro-union stance, Conservatives will perceive it as being anti-illegal aliens.

Although, I have to say with only a month of Thursdays left before the vote, it's pretty hard to not draw an election cartoon- especially with McCain throwing another "hail Mary pass" by "suspending his campaign to focus on the mess he helped make!

Here's the original drawing too-

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The long drought is over! Welcome to the return of "Mal•Adjusted!"
I can't promise anything, but I will TRY to start drawing these more regularly again. Look for them on Wednesdays or Fridays.

Introducing a brand new feature!

For a while now I've been thinking that I should create a venue for religious commentary. My column says it's about "sex, politics, and religion," but it never deals with sex and only rarely deals with religion. I do have a religious blog, that ends up dealing with politics a lot. But not in cartoon form. So, here's an attempt. Just like with Mal•Adjusted, I can't promise anything, but I'd like to try to start drawing at least one a week. Look for them on Mondays (since Sunday is the day I'm most likely to be inspired either by the Lord, or the loony hypocrites who claim to follow Him.

These first two are pretty political in fact, being a donkey and an elephant. I'm afraid that you'll also find "h in wolves's Clothing" a little esoteric, that's because I want to encourage readers to think- and in the case of these first two, to look up a verse in Scripture. Because the best thing that any teacher or minister can say to you is "don't take my word for it, look it up!"

Here, I'll help you out THIS time- Ecc. 5: 10-15 is a great admonition for shallow, materialistic, upwardly mobile, day traders with a penchant for mortgage backed securities!

Whereas Ecc. 6:11 is something someone on the Straight Talk Express might say to someone more nuanced to let them know that they're not someone they'd like to have a beer with while watching hockey or NAASCAR.