Latest Lemon News Blog

7 DECEMBER 06 - Strip Down What's up with the comics page these days? Cathy is still running of course but now we hear that Foxtrot will be scaling back to a Sunday only strip. Add to this the canceling of the Boondocks and the comic strip universe starts to look glum. Additionally, For Better or For Worse (which will be put out of its misery next year) and the general lameness and lack of creativity of the majority of the syndicated dailies will either usher in a new generation of cutting edge satirical commentary or a bunch of lame non-political fuzzy animal strips.
27 SEPTEMBER 06 - Tears Cutting Onions – I'm a huge fan of The Onion . It's consistently on the money and laugh-out-loud funny. I'm also impossibly hard to offend, especially via the editorial cartoon format. I plough through some 40-50 cartoons a day which span the political spectrum and frequently touch on bad taste or general lameness without having my goat raised. Thus you can image my surprise at seeing the cartoon in this weeks Onion print issue which is so blatantly bigoted and lacking in wit that I wonder what the editors could be thinking. The cartoon, by "Kelly", although avoiding a "Popeye" joke, implies that an "illegal Immigrant" whose lack of English and bad hygiene has caused the recent E. coli outbreak in California, Utah, New Mexico and 17 other States. If that isn't enough the cartoonist has drawn himself in the bottom right-hand corner angrily "insisting" the "amigo" have himself a spinach taco. Fortunately cooked spinach would not carry the E. coli bacteria. Racism truly is the lowest form of humor.

8 AUGUST 06 - Let's Be FrankBob Thaves is dead. He was the creator and artist behind the "Frank & Ernest" comic strip. Although sadly missed it raises the question of what should happen to comic strips when their authors die or retire. In San Francisco for example, the Chronicle is still re-running several strips that might well be replaced by newer and more innovative material. Perhaps it's time for Dennis the Menace, Blondie and Peanuts to step aside.

4 AUGUST 06 - Cartoons That Save the World Survival International, a progressive NGO commissioned cartoonist Oren Ginzburg to do an online cartoon book that satirizes development. "There you go!" is a biting critique of how tribal peoples are being destroyed in the name of 'development'. It is designed to be read in two minutes . Printed versions are being widely distributed to politicians around the world.

23 JULY 06 - Buffalo Tom – Tom Toles is without doubt the best editorial cartoonist currently working in the U.S. so if you're curious, you might like to click over to the Washington Post website which has just unveiled a complete archive of his work in addition to a daily "sketch" of a cartoon that didn't make it that day.

19 JULY 06 - World War III – As the situation seemingly spuirals out of control in the Middle East, it seems that Isreal has decided to stir things up by dropping inflamatory cartoons from planes over Beirut. Of course we all know what happened last time Islamic militants got upset at cartoons Here's an interesting blog entry from Beirut resident Tom McCarthy in the Huffington Post.


24 MAY 06 - Golden State Gags – The Commonwealth Club of California, the nations nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum will be publishing a regular Lemonworld cartoon starting this month as part of their Voices of Reform project. Also, watch out for more Lemonworld cartoons in syndication.

22 MAY 06 - Deadly Cucuracha Cartoons – Those pesky cartoonists are at it again. Iran has closed down some newspapers (including the only state newspaper) after a cartoon depicting the Azeri people as cockroaches caused rioting. Mana Neyestani, the paper’s cartoonist and the editor have been arrested.

21 MAY 06 - Golden Hornets – Despite what anyone might have said who's been with me to a Giants game, I'm really not much of a sports fan. However, I do enjoy a good upset by an underdog. The local team I supported as a small boy has been total garbage for years. This season, cash-strapped and with a 35-year old manager they won the play-off final 3-0 and thus secured a place in England's top flight "Premiership" League next season where they have earned the right to be thoroughly humiliated by top clubs like Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. Let not however detract from the fact that right now Watford are the twenty third best team in England.


A rather stunned Watford celebrate in Wales.

14 MAY 06 - Spiegelman Speaks – The June issue of Harpers Magazine features a wonderful article by cartoon royalty Art Spiegalman (the Maus guy) on the Danish Cartoon controversy. He rather adeptly breaks down each of the cartoons the and resulting backlash cartoons to show why cartoons are important but nothing to get your knickers in a twist about. Harpers don't have their articles available online so if you don't subscribe look for it in your local library.


1 MAY 06 - Devil in a Red Dress May Day has always been my favorite holiday of the year. Not only is it International Workers Day but in Northern Europe it is Walpurgis Night (or Vappu in Finland apparently). A quick trip to Wikipedia also confirms that it is Green Man Day. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan festival of Beltane although here in the US it is noted for the commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago. This year it was also the Día Sin Ningún Inmigrante" which was marked by huge protests and boycotts across the nation basically scare the shit out of all the bigots and politicians who are advocating the racist and inhumane H.P. 4437, the so called "Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control " bill currently winding its way through the U.S. Senate.

As a one time illegal immigrant myself I joined in the solidarity celebration dressed in devil horns to depict the demonizaction of Latino and other immigrant workers. People tend to forget that it's not just dish-washers and cleaners who come from other countries just to make a living. Cartoonists are immigrants as well. In fact the large number of US editorial cartoonists were born outside the country including Pat Oliphant (Australia), Lalo Alcaraz (Mexico), Oscar Berger (Czech Republic), Michael Ramirez (Japan) and Ann Telnaes (Sweden). Even Thomas Nast was born in Germany.

18 APR 06 - San Francisco Bizarro Dan Piraro is the self-proclaimed impossibly famous cartoonist who draws the Bizarro comic strip. Even though he doesn't need it I'm giving a plug for his new book because he got me a signed copy and, well—let's face it—he's more talented, better looking and more hip than I could ever even dream of being. The book is beautifully printed on nice expensive paper and it's a retrospective of sorts with not just his cartoons but a lot of fine art and doodles and a long bio. If you only know his syndicated newspaper panel you will be surprised by his finesse as an oil painter and his strong convictions as a political and animal rights activist. He is currently touring around selected parts of the US with his very entertaining Bizarro Baloney Show, a sort of book reading that has morphed into a comedy show.

Check Dan's excellent website for info.



Lemon & Dan compete to see who can make
the silliest expression.
.

10 MAR 06 - Cartoon Circus Big Top cartoonist and fellow GAG member Rob Harrell has is hospitalized having a cancerous tumor removed from his head. Fifteen guests cartoonsist are drawing his strip for him while he's laid up including Jim Davis (Garfield) and Tom Wilson (Ziggy). Check out the strips running through March 22 starting here.

Front ccover of the "Prince
Ivor" album released in 1986

3 MAR 06 - Death in a Scotch Sitting Room Sadly, Ivor Cutler has died aged 83. A poet, humorist, songwriter, author, illustrator, surrealist, musician, teacher, actor (he was the bus conductor Buster Bloodvessel in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour) and a political activist who campaigned for green issues, noise abatement and voluntary euthanasia. He was a huge influence on me and thousands of others. See the BBC obituary here and a slightly better one here on the Guardian website. I had the honor of meeting with him several times and we exchanged many letters. Always a humble a patient man, in 1988 he gave me the following advice which I have never forgotten and always treasured:

"Trust your unconscious and your neurosis to sneak meaning into your writing. Beware of intellectual censorship. Beware showing a desire to be pitied, but empathy is fine. Lastly forget about the end (success and money), the journey's the thing".

21 FEB 06 - Spaced Out Well all the hip kids are doing it so I figured I'd tarnish the latest web fad-de-jour. Yes, I have a myspace.com site. Please add me to your friends list and make me look popular.

17 FEB 06 - Car-Toons My new weekly gig of environmental, oil industry and automobile related cartoons made it's debut on hybridcars.com. They will be archiving all my old cartoons as well. Check out the site which is actually a pretty good source of impartial information if you're an SUV-hating conscientious individual in the market for a environmentally friendly car.

10 FEB 06 - Cartoon Riots – These are troubling times for editorial cartoonists. Here's a link to the original cartoons commissioned by Jyllands-Posten and were originally printed way back on 30th September 2005. Remember that these cartoons were originally published with the sole intention of causing a reaction among the Islamic community... and a reaction is just what they got with at least 36 people killed so far in protests. I've also included a link to the widely distributed Akkari-Laban dossier which was the inflammatory publication released by Danish Muslim clerics who initially opposed the publication of the cartoons. I also want to add this link which is the English version of the Al-Jazeerah website cartoons just to show that most Arabs do have a sense of humor. Of course I'm all for free expression of opinions in cartoons but I'm not living in a country being destroyed by US foreign policy and Islamophobia just isn't funny.

5 JAN 06 - Drawn To Extremes? Now NPR reports the laying off of LA Times and Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramierez. Listen to the audio file here. This is just the latest in a disturbing trend as corporate newspapers cut quality staffers for lower-cost syndicated cartoons. Okay, so Ramierez was a "conservative" but guys.... if you want to increase circulation, make the rags worth reading.

20 DEC 05 - Latinos Go LeftNow that it looks certain that Evo Morales will be approved as the next president by the Bolivian congress only two countries in Latin South America remain non-Socialist or left-leaning! I was going to do a graphic but heck, there's a good interactive one on the BBC website. In April, Ollanta Humala is heavily favored to become the next president of Perú and Andres Lopez Obrador is likely to triumph in Mexico's July elections.

26 OCT 05 - Frock Music? Another "Beyond The Sea" review from Germany. Surfrockmusic.com is the website of Commandante. He's a big surf music fan and calls nearly 300 instro records his own.

4 SEP 05 - Last But Not LeastIt's amazing what you find when you try to stoke your ego by searching for yourself online. Jesus Couldn't Drum are Top Artist of the Week for Aug 28-Sep 4th 2005 on Last FM above The Smiths and The Cure.


20 AUG 05 - Beyond The Sea - Now in stores and also available online at Cordelia Records, this wonderful compilation features an unreleased Monkey Versus Robot track—a version of the SpongeBob Squarepants theme. Hang Nine Surf Webzine described it as "completely Bonkers". There is another review on the Reverb Central site.

6 SEP 04 - Short But Sweet - The KZSU Short Song Marathon occurred on Labor Day, Monday September 6th, 2004 from 7:00 AM to 11:40 PM. In those 1000 minutes they attempted to play at least 1000 short songs, all sixty seconds or less in length. Other than the length, there were no restrictions on what the DJs could play. Featured heavily was the Jesus Couldn't Drum album "Er...Something About Cows" which boasts 4 tracks under a minute in length. In 1984 the infamous track "This is Fun" which clocks in at a minimalist 2.54 seconds was confirmed a world record by the nice folks at Guinness.


20 OCT 04 - John Peel – The late great and extremely wonderful John Peel has died whilst on holiday in Peru. His show was probably the single most important musical influence on me and more importantly in the development of alternative music in Britain. His show ran on BBC Radio One for 40 years. He quite simply defined a generation with his eclectic taste, his passion for music and his deadpan cynical delivery. I had the honor of meeting him in 1987. BBC Radio One's One World program did a tribute show in November 2004 which featured a Jesus Couldn't Drum track. The full playlist from this show can be found here.


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