Bronx cheer, 10/08/14

It’s been a delightful news week, once you get past Ebola and the Islamic State and all the other little things that threaten our existence on this planet, not to mention the assorted threats to the planet itself. But I say we all should try real hard to stick around for a while, because there’s so much fun stuff out there, none the least of which is that Sarah Palin can’t find the White House (though I’m sure she can see it from her home in Wasilla).

Let’s start with the Washington Post, which New York Times columnist David Carr says is making a great comeback under new management.

But how’d you like to be the poor guy who designed this front page last week, when the Washington Nationals lost the opening game of their American League Division Series to the San Francisco Giants:


Granted, it sure looks nice. But there’s just one little problem:




And then there’s this …


OK, I get it. It’s a cartoon about the knife-wielding bozo who managed to jump the gates and run into the White House before he was finally taken down by a Secret Service agent. A major security breach if ever there was one, and more than enough to result in the agency director’s resignation. But cartoonists get paid to have a bit of fun with the various dangers, disasters and tragedies in this world – think of all those cute Bin Laden cartoons they used to draw – and this one, by Jerry Holbert of the Boston Herald, was in that vein.

Except . . . Watermelon??????


The Boston Globe reports that Jerry the Cartoonist said it was all accidental:

“I had no intention at all of offending anybody. I thought this was a very lighthearted cartoon,” Holbert said, describing how he selected the flavor because he likes watermelon-flavored things, including candy. “Naive, stupid, those kinds of things I understand. But racist I’m definitely not.”

His editor concurred. According to

Herald editorial page editor Rachelle Cohen tells me neither she nor artist Jerry Holbert saw anything wrong with the cartoon. “Jerry doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,” she says. He chose watermelon because he had just seen that flavor of toothpaste in his house, says Cohen. 

She says she never anticipated controversy or cries of racism over the cartoon. That seems naive, I say. Her response: “Guilty as charged.”

Holbert says he was “completely naive or innocent to any racial connotations. I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all.”

OK, I’m going to side with Holbert on this one. Stuff happens. Sometimes a mistake is just that – a mistake. Sometimes the brain goes out for lunch and doesn’t come back until the next morning.

When I worked at the New York Post, we had a cartoonist who tended to go off the reservation (see what I just did?) now and then. He was also from another country, so his humor wasn’t always in sync with Americans’. And that was why multiple editors would review his cartoons before they saw the light of day. That’s what editors are for.

So if nobody – NOBODY – at the Herald saw this thing before it was published … if nobody had the common sense to go, WHOA!!!!! HOLY CRAP!!!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!!!! WATERMELON!!!!! … then Boston, we have a problem.



Oh, New York Post. You came sooooooo close. PARTY POOPER. Great wood. Worthy of, ummmm, The New York Post, home of the world’s greatest woods. HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR and all that.

But then you had to go and spoil it with a partisan deck . . . “Another liberal crybaby for Dem Clintons.” This was a good picture, and you wrote a great hed to go with it. Why’d you have to go all nasty on this one, guys? You had me at Party Pooper; then you pooped on your own page.


The New York Times’ First Draft reported:

In this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, one-time presidential nominee Mitt Romney shared a story about being confused for Secretary of State John Kerry, and revealed that he often tells people who recognize him that he is instead New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

But there is more to the story of how deep the Romney family affection goes for the handsome future Hall of Famer. How deep? Mr. Romney tells another story, at the expense of one of his five sons:

“One of my sons – I won’t tell you which one, he won’t be happy with me – but one of my sons is married to a very beautiful woman,” Mr. Romney said. At their wedding, the unidentified son gave a toast to his bride. “He said, ‘I will always be true to you, unless Tom Brady asks me to marry him,’ ” Mr. Romney said, before discharging the kind of belly laugh rarely heard from him when he was running for president. “We Massachusetts folks have a man-crush on Tom Brady.’’

Would any of my friends from Massachusetts care to confirm this man-crush thing? And where’s the New York Post headline writer when we need him?


There goes 2016.


From Fox News Insider:

[George W.] Bush said recently that he used to speak with his predecessor, Bill Clinton, regularly while in office.

But he said he has not heard from President Obama except when the president called with the news that Usama bin Laden had been killed.

“He has not [called] on a regular basis, which is OK. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. It’s a decision he has made. Presidents tend to rely on the people they’re close to … and I understand that,” said Bush.

Yeah, he’s just sayin’.


The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a Texas law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, effectively shutting down all but seven or eight clinics in the second largest state in America.

This prompted Jan, friend of my friend Dahlia, to remark:

I heard they made the Ebola patient wait 72 hours before admitting him, so he could think about it.



This is what 35,000 walruses, give or take one or two, look like on an Alaska beachfront. They’re there because global warming melted the ocean ice that they used to hang out on. Or at least, that’s what we’re told. Thank goodness it can’t be true, because there’s no such thing as global warming. I know this because my Facebook friends told me so.

So somebody should tell America’s premier columnist, Gail Collins, whose piece on, uhhh, climate change in Saturday’s New York Times was merely brilliant, and well worth reading, unless you’ve already read it, in which case you should read it again. Because Gail Collins.


In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Indigenous people gazed out on the ocean blue

It just doesn’t have the same ring, does it? Nonetheless, the good folks of Seattle will be celebrating Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October. Because why not?

They’ll be celebrating Indigenous People’s Day in Minneapolis, too. But not in South Dakota. There, they’ll be celebrating Native American Day.

But that is not all. Oh no, that is not all.

In Bellingham, Wash., they’ll be celebrating Coast Salish Day, which sent me straight to Google Search.

Where I live, we still celebrate Columbus Day, just as we did when I was a kid, long before we found out, 400 years late, what a terrible horrible awful person Christopher Columbus was. Besides, if we didn’t honor the great explorer for accidentally finding America, we might get a call from his greatest defender, the Italian-American Civil Rights League. And that was never a good thing.



Meet Grace Gelder.

Grace recently married the woman of her dreams, and you better watch what you say about her spouse, because they’ll fight you as if they were one. Because they are. Yes, our gal Gracie married herself. Now she can play a solo duet on that piano behind her.

Here’s how Gracie tells it, in The Guardian:

A few did comment, in a light-hearted way, that it was a bit narcissitic. [SIC. You think I’d misspell narcissistic?] Obviously, if you’ve just announced you’re marrying yourself, it is plainly a statement of self-love, and I was under no illusion how self-indulgent that might appear. But I was completely comfortable with my motivations.

Not that I could say with any certainty how exactly I’d found myself in the rather surreal scenario of proposing to myself on a park bench on Parliament Hill last November.

I do, however, have a strong recollection of when I was 18 at university and studying performance art, hearing that line in a Björk song called Isobel: “My name’s Isobel, married to myself,” and thinking, crazy as that sounds, I totally get that. It’s about making this pact or promise to yourself and then somehow enacting that in how you live your life from that day on.

The sex is great, too.


Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 12.22.59 PM

Kudos, USA Today.


And we conclude with a word from my friend Jelisa, who wants to be Woody Allen without the creepy:

When the doctor asks if you’re sexually active, don’t say “No, I usually just lie there.”

— 30 —

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