TRUE Stupid Stuff!

Here’s a new batch of my old TRUE cartoons. I’m disappointed that so many of these are are dated and don’t hold up over time. I think the stats have only gotten worse in the past 20 years. I’m this batch, there must be twice as many taxing agencies, and the national debt must equal four times the number of grains of surface sand on Jones beach, times $2. I’m putting these up on PoliticalCartoons.com and CagleCartoons.com and I see that newspapers are starting to run them. I hope those newspapers aren’t counting grains of sand.

  

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TRUE SEX 3!

Yet another new collection of my old TRUE cartoons, about sex! This is TRUE SEX part 3. I’m updating and entering these into our PolticalCartoons.com store as go through these oldies. I’ll have a few more batches before I run out of evergreens.

 

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Garage 7: TVtoons!!

Some 20+ years ago I drew a weekly, quasi-autobiographical comic strip called, “TVtoon!!” for the British national TV Guide/Entertainment magazine “TV Times” and a national TV guide magazine in Australia.
I changed our names, but it is clearly our family and my kids, Susie and Michael were 7 and 13 years old in the strip. Things have changed a lot in 20+ years – those were simpler times! Open each image in a new window for a bigger version.

 

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Info Addict

When we think about addiction, we tend to focus on things like drugs, tobacco, alcohol, even sex. We don’t often worry about addiction to information.

As all addicts know, the difference between moderation and addiction usually correlates directly with ease of access. Drinking, for example, is much easier when there’s a bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen cabinet. So what about the ease with which we now obtain information – some of it useful, much of it not?

facebook twitter addiction

Cartoon by Cam Cardow - Ottawa Citizen (click to reprint)

Here’s a scenario drawn from my own experience as an info-addicted baseball fan. If baseball isn’t your thing, just substitute the stock market, auctions on eBay, Facebook messages – whatever you love to hate every time you succumb to an information overdose.

As a San Francisco Giants follower, I enjoy watching games on television, which on average takes three hours. With cable-TV, there’s also a half-hour pregame show, and a half-hour of postgame analysis.

Typically, I’ll read about the game in two or three sports sections the next morning. That puts me at roughly 4.5 hours per day which, until the Internet took hold, was still manageable. Nowadays, however, baseball beat writers like Andrew Baggarly, who covers the Giants for the San Jose Mercury News, go online three hours before game time. They Tweet the starting lineup and then blog about the manager’s plans, after which dozens of fans post messages in reply.

To a lurker like me, it’s a serious waste of time, but I can’t turn it off. After the game, Baggarly writes a quick game story for the paper’s early edition, a detailed story for the late edition, a “Notebook” column which is available online, and then he writes a postgame blog for the most addicted among his followers.

As the night wears on, fans post dozens of replies to Baggarly’s notes. A few are insightful, while many are like this from “Poop” after a recent Giants’ loss: “Blah blah hate sabean (the Giants’ GM).blah blah baggs (Baggarly) is a ‘company’ guy blah blah.i hate life blahblah.”

But then there are some like “Shades of 93” who wrote: “thanks Baggs. I can’t sleep at night unless I can read the Post Game Notes. You are awesome.”

So while it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one losing sleep while compulsively hitting the refresh button to see the next post, I feel guilty, and addicted. Back in the days when baseball lineups were not readily available until a few minutes before the first pitch, I got along just fine. Of course, my Mom used to tell me that before television she got along fine listening to radio. Each generation has to adapt – to both the negatives and positives that its technology provides.

But multiply my addiction by not only millions of baseball fans, but by countless others who text, Tweet and blog their way through hour after hour in search of the latest information about, well, pretty much everything.

Jonah Lehrer, author of the book “How We Decide,” points out, “My salient fact is your irrelevant bit; your necessary detail is my triviality. Here’s the paradox of curiosity: I only want to know more about that which I already know about.”

What I resent most about my info addiction is that it doesn’t make me any smarter, even about baseball. And it doesn’t make me happier; just edgy about what I might be missing if I tune out. I also suspect that spending so much time on the digital treadmill doesn’t do Baggerly’s reporting much good either.

Another thing my mother often says is that people who work in candy stores usually eat so much candy during the first few days simply because it’s available, that they get sick and lose their taste for it. I think her point is that I’d be thinner if I ate less candy.

I’m sure I’d be better off if I spent fewer hours fussing about baseball. And I believe we’ll all be better off when, on some occasions, we confront the useless information we crave by just saying no.

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Peter Funt may be reached at: www.CandidCamera.com.

©2010 Peter Funt. This column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail [email protected].

Peter Funt is a writer and public speaker. He’s also the long-time host of “Candid Camera.” A collection of his DVDs is available at www.candidcamera.com.

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Spit Ball

Sights and sounds of a glorious new baseball season are all around: the emerald green grass, the crack of the bat, and the endless globs of spit.

If owners really want to clean up the Great American Pastime, they should start by doing something about the spitting epidemic. Spits per inning is the only Major League stat that seems to rise unfailingly each season.

Cartoon by John Cole - Scranton Times-Tribune (click to purchase)

Cartoon by John Cole - Scranton Times-Tribune (click to purchase)

It’s reached the point where any television close-up of a ballplayer lasting more than three seconds is sure to include at least one spit shot. I suppose viewers watching in HD on wide screens should be grateful that TV directors don’t replay this action in super slo-mo.

How it began is no mystery: many ballplayers chewed tobacco, as some still do, and had little choice but to spit the stuff all over the diamond. Terry Francona, the Red Sox manager, has been a poster guy for tobacco spitting – although he insists he’s tried to quit. Tobacco products have been banned in the Minor Leagues since 1993, but that hasn’t reduced spitting one bit.

Funny thing, while pro football and basketball players have their share of gross habits, you rarely see them spitting. Perhaps indoor courts cause NBA players to think twice about expectorating; maybe helmets make it too difficult for NFL players to spit on the field. Pro golfers and tennis players hardly ever spit – at least not on national TV – so what’s with baseball players?

Spitting is so integral to baseball that it used to be part of the skill set. The spitball was a legal pitch prior to 1920, and when it was finally banned, pitchers throwing the spitter were allowed to continue until they retired. The last legal spitballer in the Majors is believed to have been Burleigh Grimes of the Dodgers, who tossed his germ-laden pitch well into the 1930s.

In the modern era, Tim Lincecum of the Giants is one of the game’s bright young stars, and also one of its most frequent spitters. It’s no exaggeration to say that when TV cameras focus on Lincecum in the dugout he spits every three-to-five seconds. Considering that games take roughly three hours, and he pitches once every five games, Lincecum spits in the dugout about 315,360 times per season.

A few years ago management of the Yankees was sufficiently irked about spitting that they allowed me to do a Candid Camera gag in which I posed as an exec from the commissioner’s office, informing players that spitting had gotten out of hand. Nick Johnson sheepishly explained that during games his mouth just, you know, fills up and he’s got no choice but to spit. Jorge Posada seemed genuinely concerned when I told him the commissioner’s office had charted the Yankee catcher spitting several thousand times the previous season.

I came away realizing that: (a) most Major Leaguers are very nice fellows, (b) they don’t realize how frequently they spit during games, and (c) they’ll never stop, whether management likes it or not.

Yet, when the Minnesota Twins opened their new ballpark this season, they were confronted by a petition signed by 74 fans, demanding that beautiful Target Field remain relatively spit-free. “Whereas the habit of spitting is acknowledged to be, along with careless coughing and sneezing, a hazard to good health,” the petition said, “and whereas TV cameras filming Twins games picture dugouts in which spitting is regularly observed; and whereas children are known to admire and imitate managers, coaches and professional athletes such as the Minnesota Twins in their actions both in the dugout and on the playing field…” and, after several more whereases: please stop spitting.

There’s no evidence that players on the Twins or any other teams are expectorating less this season.

Maybe that’s just as well. If there’s one good thing about the constant spitting in baseball, it’s that it helps keep our minds off all the televised crotch grabbing.

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©2010 Peter Funt. This column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail [email protected].

Peter Funt is a writer and public speaker. He’s also the long-time host of “Candid Camera.” A collection of his DVDs is available at www.candidcamera.com.

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