Category Archives: The View from the Tower

General Observational and (Hopefully) Humorous Essays and/or cartoons, occasionally with some editorial opinon or political content.

April Showers

Hello! Let’s waste no time!…

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Say, do you know what? That’s okay, neither do I. I hear that’s pretty common nowadays…

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When people start to question your judgement, that’s when you need to reframe the question to your own advantage!..

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How often do you contemplate the nature of existence?

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Why not sit back and try to take the long view?..

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Whatever the future may hold, hopefully it won’t be a cynical rehash of the past!

 Wherever you are on the planet, please know your visit(s) to this humble blog are always welcomed and appreciated!

Thanks to all the artists whose work appears here, including Tom Tomorrow and Rick Stevens, to name but a few.

If you’ve enjoyed your visit, please use one of the buttons below to “like,” “share” or “comment.”

Annnnnnd I’m out.

Tax Day + Earth Day = Tearthax Day

It’s all about transparency and accountability.

For the first time in more than two generations, the United States is governed by a President whose financial life remains stubbornly shrouded in secrecy.

His environmental policy harkens back to the rapacious avarice of the so-called “robber barons” of the 19th century.

And a significant number of Americans seem to be okay with that.

Or at least they will be until their own finances are in ruins and almost everything they eat, drink or breathe is toxic.

Of course, in the end, the irony is that the ultra-wealthy will end up trapped by their own heedless avarice, imprisoned in a tightly circumscribed bubble that becomes their permanent and eternal habitat.

Of course, eventually the walls are breached, their sole comfort being that they will be the last to go. There will be none left to mourn or bury or remember them.

But they will have lasted the longest.

Well, THAT was certainly depressing! Time for some comic relief, I think!

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Okaaayy, let’s try again shall we?…

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Many thank yous to all who take time out their own days and nights to visit this humble blog! Please share, like comment or whatever using the assorted widgets below!

Do you know for the longest time I thought a “widget” was what happened when Gidget got mixed up in Necromancy!…

Shows you how much I know!…

Annnnnnd I’m out!

No Cartoons This Time.

Think of it as an experiment…

As this humble blog goes careening across the Weird World Web (that is what those three ‘Ws stand for, right?), we will soon be approaching its fourth anniversary.

There’s still so much I do not understand.

Specifically, why am I inundated with offers of webinars, books and classes to help me drive more traffic to my blog?

Listen up, everyone, I don’t want a lot of traffic!

This, this right here, is simply a harmless outlet for my own little essays, frequently peppered with some carefully selected cartoons from artists who largely publish online and see no harm in my reposting the selections of their stuff that I personally enjoy, in their own private dreams of the world beating a digital path to their own online doors.

It goes without saying – up until this dependent clause – that the last thing I ever expect to see is the world beating a digital path to my online door.

Had I ever truly thought it would, I’d be selling my stuff for some Real Money by now and this little diatribe would never have seen the light of your screen.

Believe me, I spent 20 years in American Radio, almost 10 years in TV, and almost every second was steeped in a blind desire to generate the largest audience possible. And in the end, it made no difference how well I had achieved that goal. That career came to a close.

Trust me, large audiences are overrated… and they can be so constricting as to make a python blush.

No, what really baffles me about blogging is the seeming irrelevance of the locations from which my blog is read.

Don’t get it twisted, if anybody at all reads these posts, I figure I’m waaaaaay ahead of the game.

But the assortment of countries often puzzles me.

Since English is my native language, I’m not surprised to see the United States and Canada as the top two countries that read my stuff. But then come Germany and France… Followed by the United Kingdom (for as long as that lasts…) Considerably further down the list come Australia and New Zealand.

Unless you’re seeing this blog for the first time, you know I take an almost unhealthy interest in American Politics.

I suppose many other people are at least as baffled as I am about, you know, that person in the White House.

You know, the one who tweets. A lot.

Sorry, folks, all out of profound insights on that one! Your guess is as good as mine. I got nothin’.

I’ve never thought of my self as racist or sexist. Is there such a thing as “hemispherism”? Almost all of this blog’s readers live north of the equator.

Do my posts somehow subtly signal that I’ve never spotted the Southern Cross in the night sky, or that when I flush a toilet, the water flows counterclockwise?

For the first half of last year, I was seeing a tremendous amount of traffic out of Brazil. I have absolutely no idea why. I’d like to think I briefly benefited from a fleeting craze during which sun-bronzed nubile 17-year-old girls followed my every word while tanning themselves and listening to sambas along the beaches of Rio.

It’s the romantic in me.

It seems I do not appeal to Scandinavian tastes at all. That’s okay; apart from Ibsen, Ingrid Bergman and smoked pickled herring, I can’t claim to admire much there. I don’t even care for IKEA. They can keep their meatballs. If I want to eat something bland, there’s no shortage of American cheese over here.

Also, while I appear to be generally well tolerated on the European continent, nobody in Spain reads my blog. Again, I have absolutely no idea why. I mean, if people in France and Portugal find me acceptable, why should the Spanish shun me? I can’t recall having ever expressed anything even remotely insulting to such a revered culture.

What am I to make of this seemingly arbitrary trivia?

Of course, I am nothing if not mercurial, so that could change at any time. In other words, if you happen to know anyone in Madrid or Barcelona, you may want to tell them to get with the program while I still currently revere them.

The absences of certain other locations I completely understand.

For example, I fully comprehend why nobody reads this in Russia, China, Cuba or the Philippines. On the other hand, I appear to draw a small but devoted readership in Malaysia. Don’t ask me why; no idea.

However, where are the readers in places like Chad, Peru or Sierra Leone?

Oh, Iceland, are you out there?

Come in, Latvia, all is forgiven!

Maybe it’s better this way. Maybe the whole low profile thing keeps me out of harm’s way. Quite possibly there’s a hidden benefit to being too small to be considered worth bothering with?

I think I just invented Humble Narcissism.

Too bad there isn’t a market for it…

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Ode to an Odd Spring

It’s been practically two months since the Trump inauguration. The standing of the United States has dropped steeply and swiftly.

The news has been filled with details of a White House in chaos and a President whose lack of engagement rivals that of Louis the XVI.

He has wasted no time betraying the desperate working poor who helped to elect him and his administration spends most of its time denying reality.

Appointees are selected seemingly without concern for their backgrounds or their fitness or their competency.

Can you tell I’m a little depressed over this?

Let’s cheer ourselves up with Tom Tomorrow

Of course, when it comes to escapism via mayhem, Rick Stevens is usually a trustworthy refuge…

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Let’s hear from Matt Lubchansky, who comments on the current U-S Attorney General, Jeff Sessions…

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Okay, I admit it, I’m still pretty bummed out here.

But the world is not without hope!

Children are still being born and still being loved and still love. The days are now longer than the nights and will continue that way for about 6 more months.

And with every misguided and misanthropic step he takes, the 45th President of the United States cements his destiny as a one-term president.

Once his political base wakes up to their harsh new reality, his fate is sealed.

Now, could we please lighten up the mood a little around here?…

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That’s more like it!  

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As always, I thank the artists whose work appears in this humble blog.

Also, thanks to you, gentle visitor!

Please know that your humble blogger thrives on your approval, so please make my day by liking, sharing, commenting, etc., below.

Please return soon!

 

RSDS: Cats Can Be Stubborn!

And so can people!

First up, Rick Stevens and “Diesel Sweeties”:

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Of course, there’s a reason both species have a reputation for being stubborn:

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Okay, so much for felines and their companions, let’s move on to something almost as universal, courtesy of contributor Matt Lubchansky:

Some of the folks who actually return to this humble blog voluntarily may be wondering why we haven’t gotten around to something by Tom Tomorrow..

Well, to them I say:

And, in closing, please return soon!

Remember, the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the RCMP, the White House, MI-5, #10 Downing Street, the Kremlin and probably the Salvation Army as well already know you’ve visited this humble (and inoffensive) blog.

Good luck!

(And don’t get too smart in front of your Samsung smart TV…)

 

Such a Lovely Time!

Where so much is wonderful that when it comes to the “Diesel Sweeties,” artist Rick Stevens has nothing to write about…

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Anything that appears to touch on contemporary reality is, I am sure, merely a matter of coincidence!

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Should it be necessary, self-help methodologies are standing by to remedy whatever may trouble you:

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To any of you who regularly frequent this humble blog, topics touching on American Politics are our regular bread and butter. One of our more frequent contributors, Kotopopi, takes a swing at the topic in the latest installment of her series, “Millennials”:

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It’s come to my attention there’s a grassroots effort underway in her home country (France) to draft Barack Obama as a candidate for President. Of France.

Gee, I wonder if America could persuade some other country to take the current office holder off our hands?

We’d be willing to take a loss on the deal.

And he comes completely equipped with a family and cabinet (Supreme Court Justices not included.)

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Your assurance of quality… pretty much…

Do We HAVE to Celebrate Presidents’ Day This Year?

First of all, I have nothing against Presidents, as a rule. Some my favorite people are Presidents, you can ask ANYBODY!  Really.

And I happen to think it’s just environmentally responsible to recycle leftover Valentine’s Day cards…

Seriously, when I was a lad, every grade school student recognized that historic tableaux of “George Washington Crossing the Delaware (River)”.

Of course, the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would NEVER be content with anything so humble as a mere rowboat…

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Most Presidents embrace the concept of political correctness, but Rick Stevens’ “Diesel Sweeties” crowd is a crowd apart:

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And the notion that the current new administration is especially warm to Kremlin interests is simply ridiculous:

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When every cabinet level appointment candidate’s the best available, especially where education’s concerned:

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I thank Rick Stevens for permitting me to repost his work here.  And special thanks to David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times. Thanks also to you for coming to look at it.

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Seven Donalds; see if you can guess which one is not like the others!…         (Hint: The duck BELONGS there!)

 

See you soon!

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Valley Happentine’s Day!

That’s right, we don’t have our tax refund yet and the local florist doesn’t think I have a trustworthy face, so…

In a little more than 10 days the love of my life and I will have been married for 11-and-a-half years.  The second most important love of my life (my daughter) and I will have been hanging out together for more than 14 years.   Wow.

It’s true: a man can certainly be changed by the love of a good woman, even more so by the love of two exceptional women.   I have truly been blessed.

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I’m not about to try and tell you it has always been easy – for any of us.

I had been a middle aged bachelor.  I figured any chance I had of having a family had slipped through my fingers years earlier, without my even having noticed.

What an amazing force God is; what an amazing force love is.   Both are sublime and yet they are also both inexorable.   You have no more chance of resisting them than you have of resisting the earth’s rotation or its revolution around the sun.

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I suppose some people arrange their lives in such a way as to shut these forces out; we can be an incredibly willfully stubborn species.

But for most of us, there is little choice…   If we are willing to remain open to the possibilities.

I love you, my sweethearts both.

Shamelessly Shilling

First, I wish to excuse myself to all the folks who read this humble blog from outside of the United States and not merely because of, well, you know…

Here in the USA, February is Girl Scout cookie season, and my sweet daughter is a Girl Scout, a Junior, to be precise, which places her Mom and I squarely in the thick of things.

At this stage of our lives as a family, we’ve got this cookie sales thing just about down to a science.

Jamie, my wife, is the brains of the outfit.  She places orders, books the sales booths with local merchants, chaperones the girls and transports at least a few of them.

Jamilah, our daughter, is the charming sales associate.

And I, I am the brawn, I am the mule, the moose.  I do the heavy lifting.

What heavy lifting, you may ask?  Well, how do you think 40 or 50 cases of various product makes its way from the car to the house? And often back to the car? And then to the sales table in the vestibule at your local supermarket or big box retailer?

Yep, Daddy (among others)!

So please make it a point to lighten my load and get out and buy some Girl Scout cookies today!

I’ve already had two inguinal hernias repaired when I was younger and had access to decent medical care. But now, we can’t really afford even the stripped down drive-thru kind of “McMedicine” they practice today!…

Also, my shoulders and lower back will thank you.

This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to our regular programming…

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Rob Rogers is an Op/Ed cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a friend from my former hometown where they’ve recently had a water quality scare and a boil water order that’s just been lifted. . .

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Also, just so you know, Grant Street is the main thoroughfare in downtown Pittsburgh.  What is it with cartoonists and these metaphors about brewing coffee?

As always, thank you for your visit!

And buy those cookies!  

Where’s the liniment?

Birthday Musings

Some Thoughts Further Along the Timeline

Gosh!   Has it really been a year already?   Wow!

366 days ago (remember, it was a leap year,) I had no idea how much change was in store.

We were about to weather an ice storm which would shut the town down for almost three straight days.

The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup.

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series!

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And something else happened; if only I could recall what it was…  Oh yeah, that’s right!…

Everybody thought the election in November would boil down to a contest between Clinton and Bush.

We were a simple people. It was a simple time in our history.  And now we know:

👉 About 46% of us are still a simple people! 👈

As one of my former Radio colleagues used to say on his morning talk show almost two decades ago, “Paging George Orwell!”

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Eric Blair, better known to the world by his pen name, George Orwell

I suppose it goes without saying that, as simple people go, some are simpler than others.  Take this map of the world as seen by the new federal administration:

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A View of the World, as Seen by Emperor Donald the Last

Let’s change the subject shall we?  Oh, yes please!…

My wife and I are more in love than ever after 11-and-a-half years. Our daughter is blossoming into a beautiful and truly awesome young lady. Tiny Pochapin is as devoted as ever. Whatever may happen outside these walls, that will never change.

I have transitioned from a desktop PC to a tablet computer (a TC (?)) and have developed a shaky talent for typing with two fingers on a miniaturized keyboard equipped (or as I prefer to think of it, “booby trapped,”) with a dangerous autocorrect feature.  It hasn’t managed to sneak anything by me yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

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My work continues to keep me busy, but I still manage to carve out a little time to write.

I’m proud to say I’ve invented a new word, Trumpid™©®, and a couple of hashtags, #ThanksVladimir and #EmperorDonaldTheLast.

I onced fantasized about writing a monumental novel that would move people deeply and alter the course of their lives. Now I’m satisfied to spit out a hashtag that struggles to achieve a couple days’ currency.

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My thanks go out to the many talented artists, such as Tom Tomorrow, Rick Stevens, Kotopopi and Matt Bors, who have blessed this blog with their own genuinely extraordinary gifts over the past year.

In fact, it’s been too long since Matt Bors’ talent has graced this blog..

Last month my Mother passed away at the age of 90. That was a challenge, but my family was there for me to help me meet it.

She never saw this blog, but I know she would have approved of it inasmuch as I learned progressive pragmatism at her knee.

But death didn’t just touch my nuclear family. For Baby Boomers like myself, the Grim Reaper seemed to gallop straight through the heart of our popular culture, as not just David Bowie but Maurice White, Buckwheat Zydeco, Alan Rickman (my favorite “Galaxy Quest” character) and…

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Prince!

My God, the way that man moved around the stage, he had to be in prime physical shape… except for the painkillers. But still, he was almost 10 years younger than I am!

I mean, what am I still doing here?

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds…

Mary.

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I SO would have married her in a minute!…

Mary F**king Tyler Moore!

Where is the justice?

Oh, and this just in!… or out…

Sir John Hurt!

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John Hurt and Derek Jacobi 40 years ago relishing a scene together in the BBC production “I, Claudius” as nephew Caligula and his uncle Claudius. Their characters would both be emperors of Rome before the series concluded.

Man! This is turning into one casualty-intensive year! The man who channeled Caligula, Winston Smith,

John Merrick and the poor Kane, himself the first casualty in the sci-fi action-thriller “Alien” franchise.

Let me tell you something…

I would trade ALL of the Desperate Housewives AND throw in the entire cast of Jersey Shore PLUS most of the Republican National Committee AND the entire present day White House staff (ESPECIALLY Kellyanne “They made me read “Nineteen Eighty-Four” in college but I never really got it” Conway) just to get all of these departed talents back.

It would be a bargain, and…

Admit it, just between us, who’d miss ’em?

Finally, perhaps, here’s a purported White House Press Corp flow chart intended to help the dishonest media stay oriented:

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Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

Until next year.

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Your assurance of quality… pretty much…