Simon's Sister's Dog - Fed Up

When Simon promised another ‘toon by Christmas, I expected another “Simon’s Cat” episode. So when he released this spinoff, I assumed it was something for the RSPCA and that another “Cat” would be forthcoming. Guess I was wrong. But this is still pretty funny…

Posted on Dec 31, 2008 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , , | Comments12 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

World To End in 2008

About this time every year there are warnings that, according to prophesy, the world is about to end. In fact, there’s at least one book that postulates the world will reach critical mass this year! The current world political climate certainly points in that direction.

The latest warnings reminded me of the popular “The End of the World” Flash animation I’d posted a couple times on my AFP site and last year on this one so, just in case the jig is up in the next couple days, here again is how it may very well play out. Not work-safe but well done and fairly accurate in a satirical way…

endofworld.jpg*Requires Adobe Flash Player, available as a free download if you don’t already have it.

Posted on Dec 30, 2008 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments11 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Outsourcing Revisited

My favorite illustrator, John Cox, came up with this illustration last year that echoes, I think, public sentiment, especially during these trying economic times. Many believe we are abandoning our nation’s manufacturing roots in favor of becoming a country that makes nothing and buys everything from abroad but likes to think we’ll be dominant in the development of technology (with any related manufacturing, of course, being outsourced offshore.) Whew! Long sentence!


I think we’re deluding ourselves. We could regain our dominance in manufacturing if we simply uncoupled ourselves from labor unions. Why can’t we compete in auto manufacturing, even against Japanese auto makers who manufacture cars right here in the U.S.A.? Because the Japanese car makers are exempt from our trade unions (and aren’t financially hamstrung trying to support a bottom heavy legacy pension plan, but that’s another issue for another day). Hardly a level playing field, is it. But what are we doing about it? Nothing.

Anyway, I thought John’s illustration was particularly poignant at this time of year when we’re concerned about our economy and vanishing manufacturing roots. Fisher-Price, Mattel - many of this country’s major toy manufacturers - have outsourced the manufacturing of their toys to China, and quality and safety have suffered. Not too many years ago, Americans wouldn’t have accepted poor quality. But we’ve become a nation of “sheeple,” too fat and lazy to do anything about it. I hope we rediscover our cajones before it’s too late.

Posted on Dec 30, 2008 at 06:45AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , , , | Comments15 Comments | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Many Happy (Gift) Returns


Hard to believe people would “trade in” some of their Christmas gifts but, every year, many do just that. I find it somehow sad. Oh, I understand exchanging a size medium for a size large, but trading a gift that a friend or relative put thought into selecting seems, well, just wrong.

Yet the lines at department store gift return counters remain long as people trade in toasters for barbecues and barbecues for toasters. But what will they tell Aunt Tilly when she asks why they never wear that lovely wool sweater she gave them? You know, the one with the reindeer on the front?

Remember your Shakespeare? “What a wicked web we weave…”

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments12 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Not Good

Did you avail yourselves of the big “day after Christmas” sales? If you did, retailers thank you! They’re hoping your combined efforts will help them make their annual nuts and carry them through the coming year. But at least one big service company is worried and that doesn’t bode well for any of us…

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments11 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Chicago Style Christmas

Christmas may be over, but political gift giving continues…

In New York state, we are told that Caroline Kennedy is the favorite for Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat, and for the usual reasons of celebrity and money. Kennedy would have to run for election in 2010. Gov. David Paterson would also be on the ballot, as would New York’s other senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer.

On ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Cokie Roberts explains that “her name and all that is going to work for the Democratic Party in New York, and that’s the calculation. … It’s not how great a senator she’s going to be.”

And Stephanopoulos adds, “They want someone else on the ballot with that star power who can raise the money.”

Would someone please draw a dark line of distinction between what we call a scandal in Illinois and business as usual in New York? Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell a vacant Senate seat, while New York Gov. Paterson is expected to give a Senate seat to the woman whose family can raise lots of money for his benefit.

In an utterly straight-faced editorial, The New York Times noted that Caroline has much going for her: “As a public figure, she carries the glamour and poignancy of her family, the only living child of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, an uncle of hers, has reigned for years as the liberal clarion in the Senate. Another uncle, the late Bobby Kennedy, was a charismatic senator who represented New York 40 years ago.”

Famous father? Powerful uncle? Another charismatic uncle? Welcome to 19th century Parma.

For a while, I thought that only “Saturday Night Live” could save us from this absurdity, but then Politico burst through the nonsense with the perfect headline: “Nepotism Nation: Dems embrace dynasty politics.” The story lumped Caroline in with plans to save Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s Delaware Senate seat for his son and to give Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar’s job to Salazar’s brother.

Makes Obama’s rise seem a total miracle. But that’s another story.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 at 09:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments8 Comments | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

The Annual Office Christmas Party

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa was good to you and yours. Jeff sent along this morsel of post-Christmas humor to round out the week…

The morning after the annual office Christmas party, John awoke with cotton mouth, a pounding headache and was unable to recall the events of the previous evening. After a trip to the bathroom, he stumbled downstairs where his wife handed him a cup of strong, hot coffee.

“Louise,” he moaned, “tell me about last night. Was it as bad as I think?”

“Even worse,” she assured him in her most scornful tone. “You made a complete ass of yourself. You succeeded in antagonizing the entire board of directors and you insulted the CEO to his face.”

“Well, he’s an arrogant, pompous ass! Piss on him!”

“You did. All over his suit,” Louise informed him, “so he fired you.”

“Well, screw him!” said John.

“I did,” said Louise. “You’re back at work on Monday.”

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments7 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Merry Christmas 2008

“Lights please…

‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” - Linus Van Pelt

Posted on Dec 25, 2008 at 06:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments Off | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Sarah Palin Ruins Christmas

Children were left devastated today at the news that failed Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin had shot and killed Santa’s chief reindeer, Rudolph. Dancer and Vixen were also injured in the incident yesterday evening as Santa and his team flew over Alaska on their return from a pre-Christmas practice run.

The Palins were apparently enjoying a ramble through the Alaskan wilderness in search of oil and natural gas reserves when they were frightened by a sudden noise overhead. “We heard bells jingling and a clatter of hooves, and whatever it was left a twinkly vapor trail behind it,’ said Sarah Palin today. “We assumed it was a UFO as they’re pretty common round these parts, so naturally me and the kids unloaded our shotguns into the sky. I couldn’t believe it when three reindeer fell to the ground. My previous biggest kill was a moose.”

There are now real concerns that Santa’s depleted team will not be able to make their deliveries and children everywhere will awake on Christmas Day to empty stockings. Santa was unavailable for comment today and was last seen circling anticlockwise over Anchorage following the loss of his lead reindeer.

Palin refused criticism for the death of the famous red-nosed reindeer, explaining that hunting was a way of life for many Americans in remote states like Alaska. “Actually, the red nose gave us something to aim at. Of course I recognize that this year’s festive season might be a little different now, but we have got one hell of a lot of venison for this year’s Christmas dinner…”

Click to read more ...

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 at 12:45PM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments18 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Merry Christmas To Our Troops

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments9 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

The Yule Log

The burning of the Yule log is an ancient Christmas ceremony transmitted to us from our Scandinavian ancestors who, at their feast of Juul at the winter solstice, kindled huge bonfires in honor of their god, Thor. The custom, though sadly shorn of the pomp and circumstance which formerly attended it, is still maintained in various parts of the world.

The bringing in and placing of the ponderous block on the hearth of the wide chimney in the baronial hall was the most joyous of the ceremonies observed on Christmas Eve in feudal times. The venerable log, destined to crackle a welcome to all-comers, was drawn in triumph from its resting place at the feet of its living brethren of the woods.

Each wayfarer raised his hat as it passed, for he well knew that it was full of good promises, that its flame would burn out old wrongs and hearthurnings and cause the liquor to bubble in the wassail-bowl to be quaffed to the drowning of ancient feuds and animosities. So the Yule-log was worthily honored and the ancient bards welcomed its entrance with their minstrelsy.

The half-consumed block was laid aside after having served its purpose on Christmas Eve, preserving it carefully in a cellar or other secure place till the next anniversary of Christmas and then lighting the new log with the charred remains of its predecessor. The due observance of this custom was considered of the highest importance, and it was believed that the preservation of last year’s Christmas log was a most effectual security to the house against fire.

Excerpts from Chambers’ Book of Days.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments8 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Santa Affected by Economic Slowdown

It’s true. Our sagging economy affects everyone, even Santa, spotted this weekend shopping for bargains to fill his sleigh. Times are tough and many of us are having to cut back this year on Christmas giving.

According to a recent poll, consumers have tightened their belts this Christmas. “Approximately two-thirds of people around the country said they were spending less this holiday season,” said Lee M. Miringoff with Marist College.

The Marist poll found 41 percent of people making less than $50,000 planned to cut back a great deal. 24 percent of those with incomes of more than $50,000 said they’d spend less. Only 18 percent of the 1,003 adults surveyed said they wouldn’t change their spending habits. When it comes to being more frugal this year, 73 percent of women said they’d altered their spending habits, compared with 61 percent of men.

We’re all in the same boat this year. But tough times bring us closer together and help us remember what Christmas is really all about.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 at 09:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments15 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Tough All Over

I’m getting a little tired of listening to Wall Street and the Big Three U.S. auto makers complaining about how tough they’ve got it. They’re getting loans and bailout bucks while the rest of us are getting passed the check. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind having a piece of that gilded retirement/health benefit plan the auto workers enjoy, especially sense we’ll be paying for a chunk of it.

Listen…Hear that? It’s the whine of the Fat Cats’ Big Machine sucking money out of our wallets to cover their losses. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing it. And I’ve got lots of old shoes.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 at 08:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , , | Comments12 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Cost of 'Twelve Days of Christmas' items up in '08

From Jamie at Perr-Bear

Click through all Twelve Days and compare the costs in 2008 vs 2007. It’s entertaining with some great photos!

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterDoug in , | Comments11 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Santa Briefing

I ran across this captioned photo the other day of what may have been a briefing of Santas (and one leggy helper) and thought it worthy of sharing…

Sit on Father or Mother Christmas’s knee and tell them that you’ve been good all year. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 08:30AM by Registered CommenterDoug in | Comments16 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint