Sunday, December 23, 2007

Amen brother

Of course remember that if you cut out all the parts of the Bible that talk about taking care of the poor, there's very little left. And yet, this is something that polls poorly (so to speak) with the Republican focus groups. Interesting, that.

Over the next eight days, posting will be a bit more erratic than usual, but I will get a post out daily although possibly appearing a day or two after the actual date. It's either that, or put a bunch of blank do-it-yourself postings up for the week.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Too late or wrong joke

Rush Limbaugh (oh my God, yes, Rush Limbaugh) did those joke better on his TV show back in '92 (fifteen years ago, folks!) when he showed up with about fifty colored ribbons on his suit coat. Back then, it was kind of funny.

And then if you're gonna reference Lance Armstrong, shouldn't you mention the whole, well, doping thing?

Not if you're Bruce Tinsley. Instead you go for the lamest possible take on the subject you can.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas at the Tinsley household must be a blast

It's days like these that I find myself thinking that Bruce is probably better off not doing a daily comic strip. He doesn't have the ideas to come up with something every day. Perhaps he should switch to weekly. Or monthly. Or yearly. Or once a century. Or once. Or none at all.

Lame scansion, and the only smile I can get out of this is imagining the gift recipient locking Bruce outside in the cold Indiana winter after getting a present like this.

Although, I did find this great comment about the strip at The Comics Curmudgeon courtesy of True Fable:

Perfect, considering the shit Tinsley often offers up and calls ‘humor’.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Flat isn't the same thing as fair

Back in 1996, one of the candidate's flat tax plans was published in TV Guide. I plugged in my numbers. The flat tax was going to raise my taxes. In fact, a flat tax pretty much raises everyone's taxes except for the wealthy. Probably even Bruce will see a tax increase. Of course we've been busily cutting taxes on the wealthy for the last 40 years which has resulted in dramatic income inequality increases

As for getting it "fast", we all know how well things worked out the last time law was passed quickly.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Dude, you're not even close to getting the problem

Being married to a (legal) immigrant, I know a bit about all of this. The problem isn't merely that the immigration process is long and tortuous (and it's not the step of going from legal immigrant to citizen where the problem lies, but the step of becoming a legal immigrant in the first place), but that for many people, it's not even a possibility. For the vast majority of illegal immigrants, there is no legal path.

The other half of the problem is purely domestic. The anti-immigrant people use illegal immigration as a proxy for racism, plain and simple. They don't want to make things easier for legal immigrants to become citizens, they want to keep people whose skin tone doesn't match their own from living near them. Never mind that all immigrants follow nearly identical paths of cultural assimilation (it takes three generations for immigrants to become assimilated, always has and pretty much always will). Never mind that immigrants are a driving force for the economy. Never mind that you can go back and hear the same things currently being said about Mexicans being said about Slavs in the early 20th century, or Chinese and Irish in the 19th century.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Speaking of religions of peace

One of the favorite games that conservatives play is trying to get liberals to defend the indefensible. Today's strip is a classic example of this.

I'm not playing.

I think that the whole punishing the teacher for allowing her kids to name a teddy bear "Mohammed" was a gross injustice.

But to insinuate that this sort of extremism is unique to Islam is absurd. After all, does anyone remember the reaction to Piss Christ? Or perhaps another shining example of the Christian virtue of turning the other cheek? Neither of these reactions are anything close to the Christianity that I practice.

And likewise, many Muslims were quick to condemn the Sudanese incident. Which Muslims are the real Muslims? For that matter, which Christians are the real Christians?

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, December 17, 2007

For the love of God...

OK, here's the deal. I'm a liberal. Way left. And a Catholic. The fact of the matter is that being liberal is the natural outcome of being Catholic.

But come on, are other Christians so insecure that the idea that there are people out there who don't celebrate Christmas (many of whom, in fact, are Christians themselves!) and that as a matter of courtesy, it's not necessary to force one's beliefs on them.

And as for stores, substituting "Happy Holidays" for "Merry Christmas," the people who are all up in arms about this are the same ones who previously were lamenting the commercialization of Christmas.

Folks, go rent A Charlie Brown Christmas or pull out the old video tape of it you made back in the 80s and watch it again and remind yourself what Christmas is all about.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Time to rip off stand-up acts that were stale when they were fresh

Wow, this is just so insightful. It reminds me of stand-up comics on the Tonight Show in the 70s. And they were lame jokes back then.

And frankly, I think that men are more likely to polish off Christmas shopping in a hurry. For example, comparing card shopping policies, my wife will inspect every card in the category. I just try to make sure that I match the category and recipient (and sender) on the card. After all, it would be a bit embarrassing to give a condolences on the death of your grandmother card to my cousin for his bar mitzvah.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Has Bruce gone off his meds?

A lot of humor is about context. If this same strip were to appear under the title "Bizarro," it would be hilarious. If it were to appear under the heading "The Family Circus," it would be funny. And under the heading "Mallard Fillmore," it mostly leaves me relieved that there aren't any more of the lame gift ideas.

But what does the strip mean? A google search on "the golden flash" doesn't turn up any likely candidates. I'm stumped. Maybe it's another cryptic plea for socialized medicine.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hey he said something funny

He said that is balanced!

Let's see when I visited, the top story criticized ABC & CBS for for not slamming Al Gore for "America Bashing". Yeah, because it's pure anti-American Godless communism that lead Gore to critique the current administrations stonewalling on climate change reactions.

The whole thing is a typical right-wing whine about the media's coverage, when the media really follows a herd mentality and generally serves their corporate overlords.

Want some good balanced coverage? How about or Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

And since it's Friday and I talk about these things on Fridays, WWWMF is now in the top ten results for searches on "Mallard Fillmore". Be sure to visit the poor sops who are spending a penny a day to put a picture of someone's shorts-bedecked bottom in the upper left corner of this page.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good luck with that one

Certainly, I'm sympathetic with the idea that we shouldn't be buying so much crap from China, but we've had so many years of policies which have resulted in so much of our manufacturing shipped overseas that it's good luck with that. Throw in a destruction of the oversight of imports under Bush II and not only is it coming from China, but it's hurting us physically as well as economically.

Speaking China, anyone else remember when they were the Bush crew's number one choice for our sparring partner in World War III?

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A recipe for joy

Once again, we're treated to a gift idea which isn't such a bad idea, although I can just imagine the look of joy when Mr Couch Potato opens the box and finds a note which says "turn off the TV." A sure-fire recipe for domestic joy, that.

Of course there are some people who could perhaps benefit from watching more TV (as long as it's not Fox News). Jokes stolen from TV sitcoms would be a welcome change of pace.

And what's up with starting from #32 yesterday? Were ideas 1-31 in previous years or were they far lamer than these have been.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Even when he tries to be right, he's wrong

OK, first off, let me say, that yes, if you're getting a dog, you should get it from a shelter, not from a puppy mill.

But even more important, unless you're sure the recipient wants a dog, you shouldn't give them one, and even if they do, you should probably let them pick the animal themselves.

This goes for all pets, by the way.

At least he didn't make some racist comment about Asians eating dogs.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mallard Fillmore tackles health care

Some might read today's strip as some sort of booze-induced incoherence. And they're probably right. But I prefer to see this as Bruce Tinsley waking up to the mess that's the healthcare system in the United States and making his own covert plea for a single-payer system to finally make sure that all Americans have access to quality health care. After all, in our current system, we spend more and get less than every industrialized country with universal health care. They say that a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. What's a conservative who's been mugged by his insurance company?

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Another weak Sunday strip

The duck forgoes politics this week to make a shabby joke about how some people resolve their existential questions with GPS and Blackberry. Twenty years ago, he could have written the strip substituting "road atlas" for "GPS" and "Filofax" for "Blackberry". And if he published that today, it would at least have the anachronistic charm of They Do it Every Time, whose writer/artist died Friday.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The inevitability meme

So Bruce is pushing the inevitability meme. Just in time for Obama to pick up some steam against her.

It's too bad the republicans don't have any strong candidates. Every single one of them has some huge disqualifier:

  • Giuliani - cross-dresser, serial adulterer, corrupt
  • Romney - Mormon, dubious history on abortion and homosexuality
  • Thompson - senile, dubious abortion credentials
  • Huckabee - not paying attention to world events, freed serial rapist to rape and kill again, religious fundamentalism won't play beyond evangelicals
  • McCain - too old, blew maverick credentials by cozying with religious right
  • Paul - libertarian schtick doesn't play beyond internet faithful, the Howard Dean of 2008

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, December 7, 2007

And it's back to the misogyny

I'm starting to regret this resuscitation of the blog... all the toxic attitudes of Bruce's strip are a bit much.

I suppose we could substitute "senator" for "president" and have the strip be about Dole, or "representative" for it to be about Bono. But we're talking about Clinton, a woman who has a law degree from Yale, was a congressional legal counsel, and was twice named one of the one hundred most influential lawyers in America. She was active enough during her husband's administration that Mallard was indignant enough to cry, "who elected her?" and is in her second term as the junior senator from New York. That's a better resume than some of the Republican candidates for president have.

But you see, she's a woman and therefore an inferior being in Bruce Tinsley's eyes.

In other news, this blog is currently search result #11 for "Mallard Fillmore". Breaking into the top ten will take a bit of effort since positions 1-5 and 7 are the strip itself, with Wikipedia at 6 and amazon at 10. That means I most likely would be displacing a Huffington Post article or Don Markstein's Toonopedia to get in the top 10.

For "Bruce Tinsley" I'm currently at #19, but since I don't mention his name that often, it's understandable.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Making America safe for poisonous toys

Ignoring the reindeer who looks like the bastard offspring of Rudolph and Ernest Borgnine, how funny, lead in toys makes them heavy. Certainly not dangerous. Because if they were dangerous, Bush and his cronies would have some 'splainin' to do.

What's really interesting is that in some cases, our lax regulatory regime means that there are products exported to the U.S. aren't legal in China. Now that's comedy!

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns

My view of guns is heavily colored by posters which were in the old downtown Chicago library when I was a kid: They showed a kid holding a gun while his friend lay at his feet in a pool of blood with the caption, "I didn't know it was loaded." This is at least partially responsible for the fact that I have never fired a gun in my life (not even a BB gun).

And while I'm sure that reasonable people might come to other conclusions, about gun control, one of the big proponents of the anti-gun control argument is a bit of an embarrassment.

Nice how Bruce manages to throw in a dig at workplace harassment laws there. Given his track record of misogyny, I think he's heard the phrase "hostile work environment" more than once in his life.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's been almost seven years and STILL

He's got an anti-Bill Clinton fetish. Which I suppose is part and parcel of the anti-Hillary Clinton fetish. Of course all the statements he attributes to Bill are even more applicable to the current resident of the White House.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, December 3, 2007

Because we have people who live to provide fodder for satire...

Well, it appears that the duck is off the topic of Hillary Clinton and has decided to turn his eye towards some other topic.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Apparently Bruce's mom asked him to vacuum

That's about all I have to say on this one. It did make me smile a little but not as much as today's Mary Worth. Poor Bruce, even when he remembers to make a joke, Mary manages to be funnier without even trying.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Misogyny week continues

Apparently having (he thinks) handily disposed of Hilary Clinton, Bruce takes on his oedipal issues by making a bizarre stab at Katie Couric.

And, um, "Heroes clone phonemenon"? What? While I make no claims for pop culture hipness, this is one phenomenon which has managed to pass me by without making the slightest impression.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, November 30, 2007

Omigosh, a conservative producer!

Because, after all, isn't everyone in Hollywood a Godless homosexual communist?

Hmm, I was curious about the context for the quote, and noted among other things that this appeared only in the Moonie-controlled Washington Times (so in case there was any doubt as to what paper Bruce Tinsley reads, that's been settled once and for all). There's no context given for the quote, but let's look at the man himself. He describes himself as a "right-wing nut" and he got a visit from the dean of West Point himself to talk about his TV show 24. Seems, that the dean of West Point felt that the TV show had a "toxic effect" on efforts to train soldiers and he'd "like them to stop".

In that same speech, Surnow indicated that he favored Rudy Giuliani, he of the mysterious accounting and collossally bad judgment. Now that's nuts.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wow, one I can agree with (kind of)

Because I really liked A Wrinkle in Time when I read it in the sixth grade. I've got the whole Time Quartet on my wish list should anyone care to refresh my memory.

Where I part ways with the duck is with the unspoken assumption that anything new exists at the expense of the old. There's great new literature coming out all the time, and I think that someone who doesn't want to look at anything new or who feels that the creation of new works, especially anything popular is a bad thing is... hey, I think I get part of how conservatives are made. It's fear of new stuff.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sometimes he just makes me so sad

It's the continual harping on the same topics over and over. This is virtually the same lame attempt at a joke as yesterday's post.

And insofar as there's any basis to the claims, the truth is, professional women get shoved into a narrow corridor between these two extremes and get savagely attacked for any deviation out of what's allowed for them. Be too feminine and you get this, don't be feminine enough and you get this. One hopes that comics editors everywhere will have the good sense to pull the strip should Clinton be elected president next year rather than print day after day of misogynistic rantings.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Welcome to 1979

Seriously, this looks like it's a critique of feminism ca 1979. I guess the "Wow, Abby, you'd be a great presidential candidate!" is supposed to be a reference to Clinton. Because Bruce thinks that she's stuck with 1970s era views of gender roles just like him.

Umm, Bruce, I think I know why you're still single and living in Mom's basement.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, November 26, 2007

He's so cute when he's incoherent

I'm an Obama man in this campaign cycle (although if Gore were to run this year, I'd take a leave of absence from my job to campaign for him full time, especially if it were a Gore/Obama ticket), but if Clinton makes Bruce this apoplectic, there's something to be said for her being the nominee.

As for the critiques, I have to say that the planted question thing is rather damaging, and John Dickerson does a pretty good job of explaining why in a column at slate. Personally, we've already had four years of Bush-style politics. I don't want any more of that.

Driver's licenses for illegal aliens? On the merits, this is unquestionably the right thing to do. But courtesy of widespread xenophobia whipped up by demagogues who don't think past the next election, it's an irrationally unpopular one. Personally, I think that Clinton's response was as good as you can get if you hope to get elected in the current political climate.

And waffling? I did some quick googling, and it's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot with Hillary, but again, I'd rather have someone who is willing to consider all sides of a story than someone who mindlessly refuses to change their mind no matter what the facts may say.

And let's throw in a bit of art critique: Bruce gets a lot of criticism for drawing characters as racial stereotypes, but looking at his version of Hillary, you can see he's given her the buck teeth that he puts on his Asian characters and the nose he gives his Jewish characters. Maybe he just can't help but draw characters as racial caricatures.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ummm, what?

So apparently Payton Manning is in a lot of commercials. That doesn't really make this a joke.

On the other hand, looking at the artwork this week, the duck appears to be somehow affixed to the side of a giant pillow while staring at something that might be a television, except that it's too thick to be a flat panel and too thin to be a CRT TV. I think maybe he couldn't afford a real TV, so he's made a fake one out of heating ducts. Bruce Tinsley himself is trapped inside it which explains the lame joke emanating from the front of the box.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank God, we're off the writers' strike...

... and the duck's dysfunctional family values to wish a happy birthday to one of his heroes, a man with a wry sense of humor and a penchant for threatening violence when he feels insulted. As an aside, the wikipedia article on Buckley is full of odd bits of misplaced text, for example:

In 1973, Buckley served as a delegate to the United Nations. In 1981, Buckley informed President-elect (and personal friend) Ronald Reagan that he would decline any official position offered to him in Reagan's administration. Reagan jokingly replied that that was too bad, because he had wanted to make Buckley ambassador to (then Soviet-occupied) Afghanistan.
and my favorite:
Buckley participated in an ABC live and very heated debate with scientist Carl Sagan, following the airing of The Day After, a 1983 made-for-TV movie about the effects of nuclear war. Sagan argued against nuclear proliferation, while Buckley, a staunch anti-communist, promoted the concept of nuclear deterrence. During the debate, Sagan discussed the concept of nuclear winter and made his famous analogy, equating the arms race to "two sworn enemies standing waist-deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five." In 1991, Buckley received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush.

Normally, I edit these kinds of howlers out of articles, but these are good enough to be left alone for a while. Maybe I'll fix up the article next week sometime.

And while I generally disagree with much of what Buckley writes, says and does, there are occasions on which we agree.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is there a joke here?

Really the thought balloon coming from the balding white guy's foot probably should have read "they're not affected by writers' strikes." Then it would have made sense.

So for those who don't have a knee-jerk unions=bad reaction to any strike news, what's at stake? The writers think that they deserve a little more than $.04 per DVD given how much money is being made on the DVD market (which is far bigger than would have been predicted back in 1988 when almost nobody ever bought VHS cassettes... they just taped movies off of HBO).

But the big issue is how much money the writers should get for online sales of TV shows and movies. The writers would like to get more than $.04/download. The producers think that the writers should get nothing.

Which brings us full-circle back to the strip. College football where millions are made and the players get, well, nothing. Yet another thing for a right-wing ideologue to like about college football.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I like my family more than Bruce does

I've always been a bit mystified by the hostility that so many people seem to express towards their families, particularly at the holidays. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I enjoy spending time with my family (I even enjoy spending time with my wife's family). As Bruce reveals, when he returns to attempting to mine humor from the writers strike after a curiously-timed joke about Sarkozy, he apparently doesn't much care for his. I guess the difference is that I have my own place and Bruce perhaps lives in his parents' basement?

As for Thanksgiving TV, I've not paid that much attention, but as I recall Thanksgiving TV is generally composed of football, reruns and a very special episode of Friends, none of which would be impacted by the writers' strike. In fact, I caught a promo last night for an all new episode of Gray's Anatomy to be shown tonight, so it looks like the duck's prediction isn't going to happen.

Let me close with a happy Thanksgiving to all. If you're estranged from your family, hey give 'em a chance. Forget about whatever it was that upset you. Don't bring it up, don't let them bring it up, just focus on the present and the future. Hey, if I can get along fine with my republican brothers, you can make it through an afternoon with your drunken uncle Bruce who lives in Grandma's basement.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

France, land of crazy America-haters

Ah, such great subtlety and timeliness. A mere six months and two weeks after he took office, Nicolas Sarkozy is recognized by the duck. And how do we note this, by providing two shivering devils. Just in case the artwork might have been too subtle, we note that one of the devils is reading the Hell Journal. Apparently this is a sister publication of another newspaper popular with the evil one.

But it's about time that the French stopped hating us. Most recently, they claimed that Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat. Before that, we fought against them in both world wars, they supported the British during the American revolution and the only thing they ever gave us was a corroded green statue of some lady with a pointy hat, a burning stick and an invitation for nasty immigrants to enter our border. Mr Sarkozy has a lot to make up for.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Solidarity? Yes, please.

You know Bruce, most of the time, strips written by panels of writers are painfully bad (q.v., Archie, B.C., Dennis the Menace), but frankly, in your case it would be an improvement. In the meantime, I would whole-heartedly support blank Mallard Fillmores for the duration of the strike.

Oh by the way Duck, keep this in mind: First they exploited the TV writers but I didn't care because I wasn't a TV writer. Then they exploited the movie writers but I didn't care because I wasn't a movie writer. And then they
exploited the purveyors of conservative schlock and I was left to suffer because all the striking Hollywood folks were too overcome with laughter to save me from the evil exploiting corporation.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just to make it official

I'm back, baby, I'm back.

The duck is still absent from the pages of the L.A. Times, but there's an election coming up, a strike in Hollywood, and loads of fact-checking to be done.

Because what's the duck without a little mindless union-bashing?

There's something appropriate about the duck talking about Stephen Colbert. After all Colbert is funny and pretends to be conservative. The duck is conservative and pretends to be funny. It's a beautiful symmetry, don't you think?

As for the "substance" of the strip, it's worth noting that (a) Colbert is, in fact, a WGA member himself, (2) he would be unlikely to cross the picket lines if he weren't and (iii) he probably remembers Funny People, NBC's attempt at putting on a TV show without writers back in the last writer's strike. This show, hosted by Rita Rudner, Leeza Gibbons and Blake Clark was an astonishing disaster. I remember in particular an episode in which the hosts attempted to interview John Cleese who demonstrated to them that if you're going to ad lib a show, you need to be able to think on your feet. Another episode had Clark ad lib some anti-semitic comment leaving his co-hosts too dumbfounded to respond. Not surprisingly, almost all traces of the show have been wiped from the face of the earth.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, March 8, 2007

There are no asterisks in spring

But you kind of expect that level of ignorance from somebody who lives somewhere that there is no Major League Baseball.

You get an asterisk after the end of the season when there's something noteworthy about a new record like a longer season or a postitive test for steroids or something like that.

Speaking of record-breaking baseball performances, true trivia: Mark McGwire's dad used to be my dentist.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Joe's hair has grown out

...but his eyes remain closed. Having spent about fifteen minutes at Joe Biden's photo gallery trying to find a picture I could use in yesterday's post, I can appreciate how hard it is to find a picture of the guy were he isn't either facing away from the camera, out of focus, badly lit, or any combination of the above.

As for the "joke," yes, I know about the time delays and all that, but everyone else has managed to get their Ana Nicole and Brittney jokes in on time (and funnier) I suppose we should just be thankful that these came in 2007 and not 2027.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times has dropped Marmaduke to return La Cucaracha to the comics pages. Franklin Avenue is pushing for a return of Candorville, and while I agree that it's a good strip, I fear that the Faustian bargain that would allow it to reappear on the comics pages might also result in Get Fuzzy being dropped for the return of Mallard Fillmore.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

It's name recognition week

And to prove his point that nobody knows who Joe Biden is, Bruce Tinsley draws a generic white guy (with his eyes closed, of course) to illustrate his strip.

Come on, Bruce, we've got a guy who creates material for satirists. That's storybook, man.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, March 5, 2007

1 down, 400 to go

Today, as part of Tribune Company mandatory cost reductions, the L.A. Times had a ritualitistic blood letting on the comics pages resulting in the dropping of several comic strips, including Mallard Fillmore (as a matter of balance Candorville, which is sometimes funny also disappeared along with La Cucaracha, which was rarely funny and had an eye-melting visual style which I won't miss). Doonesbury and Prickly City remain, as does, inexplicably, Rex Morgan M.D.

As for today's strip, name recognition of Clinton? Of course people remember Clinton. The republicans have been trying to blame everything that's gone wrong for the last six years on him. Curse him for abandoning the search for Osama bin Laden to embroil us in an endless quagmire in Iraq.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Postings to resume shortly

It's nice to know you guys miss me. I should be back tomorrow, Wednesday at the latest.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Guess the missing last panel

Because the ellipsis at the end of the current last panel indicates that it does continue.

I'm guessing that the final punchline to what Ryan Phillipe Dennis Hopper is saying is that the boomers didn't have real jobs because between Bush and Reagan, they were downsized, outsourced and just plain laid off out those jobs.

In googlebombing news, What's wrong with Mallard Fillmore is now #17 in the results for "Mallard Fillmore" and #39 for "Bruce Tinsley" up by 2 and 3 spots respectively). Here's your cut and paste googlebombing code if you haven't already put it in your blog.

<a href="">Mallard Fillmore</a>
<a href="">Bruce Tinsley</a>

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, February 22, 2007

So here's a question

If the bow-tied bald-headed bespectactled liberal doesn't know any conservatives and is completely mystified by them, why is he pouring out his heart to a conservative duck?

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I've got nothing here

Bruce has apparently learned that it's easier to have a joke if you have dialog, although there's a tendency to have the words REALLY HUGE not realizing that it's the pictures as much as the text that make for a comic strip. And there's nothing factually incorrect about a child going to college and coming back conservative (although this is worth remembering in August/September when Bruce will go off on one of his America's colleges are dens of liberal indoctrination rants). They also sometimes come back as Hare Krishnas, alcoholics and/or prostitutes.

And I guess there's something to be said about panel two, after all, I didn't realize that conservatives ate children. I think, though, that they only think they're eating endangered species.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Because, you see, Bruce Tinsley lives in libertarian wonderland

We've also determined that he lives in some sort of time warp. I actually had yesterday off (my wife too). And the Federal Employee that comes to our door most days, aka the mailman, was missed (OK, so it was because of netflix mostly). And apparently Bruce forgot about the government shutdown orchestrated by the republicans back in the late 90s. And like Bruce, they underestimated the extent to which people do notice and appreciate the role of government in their lives.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, February 19, 2007

Who's a good president

Sure, the duck is entitled to have a favorite president, even if he can't draw him very well (I'm assuming that it's supposed to be the right wing's minor deity, Ronald Reagan). Not much very funny there though.

I suppose that I could point out that the reason no mail came today is because this is the federal holiday called Washington's Birthday (no matter what cartoon ducks or matress salesmen will tell you). I am, after all, here to educate.

Or better still, I can point out the reason why Reagan is such a demigod among the right wingers. It's because he managed in his second term (but not his first) to have the first Republican administration since Harding-Coolidge to manage to have job growth exceed population growth. I mean sure, every single democratic administration (except for one term of Roosevelt, when the country was in the grips of the Great Depression and Europe was sliding into World War II) managed the feet, even Jimmy Carter's administration. So I suppose I could educate people a bit more by pointing out that on every measure of economic well-being and controlling for anything you want Democratic presidencies do a better job of managing the economy than Republican presidencies do, but then I'd have to provide a disclaimer:
Update: Speaking of blown opportunities, Prickly City reminds us that it's two weeks since the astronaut story and Candorville adds that it's two weeks since Anna Nicole Smith. Mallard Fillmore squanders his short lead time by reminding us that it's been one-hundred and forty-two weeks since Ronald Reagan died. And 932 weeks since he left office.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Are conservatives more generous?

OK, so I managed to find the Jonah Goldberg column. Read it. Marvel at Bruce Tinsley's lack of reading comprehension. Jonah Goldberg in fact, explicitly warns at making precisely the claim that Tinsley does.

And let's note that the Goldberg column is referring to the same study in his second footnote that Goldberg is in his column. So we get two citations out of one study. And as any good social scientist knows, a single study, taken in isolation isn't particularly useful, especially when the study doesn't really compare what you think it does (note that Goldberg has to take the route charitable giving ➝ religiousness ➝ political conservatism). It's been years since I've had access to GSS data and the tools to analyze it, but I'd imagine that one could check the strength of this correlation with the questioning in that survey). I would argue that that last correlation is probably the weakest of the lot and one that's already beginning to break down as religious folk begin to realize that political conservatism is, in fact, generally the direct opposite of what their religious tradition teaches (or so says the devout Catholic who's never intentionally voted for a Republican in his life).

It is worth noting that the most charitable are the working poor (in terms of percentage of their income) while the middle-class are the least charitable. But I think that there's a lot to be said about having disposable income as a factor in giving and the fact that working poor incomes are so low that even a widow's mite of a contribution can be a larger fraction of their income than is the largesse of the wealthy (many of whom donate for the explicit reason of tax avoidance).

But that said, my cursory search found nothing but commentary on the Brooks study, most of which seemed to be of the flavor: See, I told you those damned secular liberals weren't giving their money away.

Having said all of this about charity, let me point you at one that is worth giving to, regardless of your political affiliation: My friend Camilo is doing the AIDS LifeCycle challenge. He's supposed to raise a total of $2500 for the ride and is just one tenth of the way there. So follow the link there, put a donation on your credit card (tack on an $.07 if you're conservative, $.11 if you're liberal, and let's see who's more generous). I'm already in for $100 (donated before the liberal/conservative challenge went into effect).

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The bad poetry continues

Continued evidence that Bruce Tinsley's love life must be awful. I know commenters have pointed out that his biography says that he's married with kids, but I don't believe it. The bio I sent my high school reunion organizers says that I won the Nobel Peace Prize (I sent it before I one Time's person of the year).

Sentiment aside, the scansion continues to be awful in Bruce's poetry although the inner couplet cold have been easily fixed:

So why are you irate...
That Because this card is late
(the strike out and bold shows the edit). Perhaps Bruce needs a new way to sublimate those frustrated desires.

And since it's Saturday, let me point out my advertiser in the left corner and the fact that there are ostensibly related objects of crass commercialism that you can buy from amazon at the bottom of the page (actually, the links at the bottom of the page seem to also be influenced by what you've looked at on amazon as well, and occasionally are just plain random).

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, February 16, 2007

After a flashback to 1998, I guess this is timely

We know that the duck has a two-week lead time, same as Doonesbury. So how come the Doonesbury strips on Rosie vs Trump are already a distant memory? How long has it been since this whole dust-up? I did a quick look in the Doonesbury archives to see when his strips on the topic took place. It's been over two weeks, so at least Bruce didn't just look at Doonesbury and try to make a lame joke.

I can't wait until June when we'll be treated to some witty humor on the death of Anna Nicole Smith, the people's playmate.

In the google-bombing progress report, I've moved up from number 24 to number 19 on the search results for "Mallard Fillmore." For "Bruce Tinsley" I'm at 42, which is higher than somewhere in who-knows-where last time I checked. If you want to contribute to What's wrong with Mallard Fillmore being the number one site when people search for "Mallard Fillmore" or "Bruce Tinsley, instructions are here. If you don't have a blog, the other thing you can do is to a google search on mallard fillmore or bruce tinsley, dig through the results until you find "What's Wrong with Mallard Fillmore". I'm not entirely sure that this amounts to anything, but since Google owns blogger maybe it does affect the ratings.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Oh God, PLEASE make it stop

The cardinal rule of comics is that once the holiday's over, you move on to another topic for jokes. Unless, of course you're Bruce Tinsley and you're so busy supporting the troops you forget Veteran's Day (even though it's always November 11th), or you decide that your "wit" demands that you continue your "Mallentines" on the 15th and beyond.

Because, gee, there's nothing funnier than Bill Clinton is promiscuous jokes.

And I thought that Bill was supposed to be responsible for her career, and not her baggage. Bruce, you only get to have it one way.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bruce Tinsley admits it.

It turns out that all of my speculation about his love life is true (read the strip). Gee Bruce, maybe if you weren't such a racist misogynist, you'd be able to get a date.

In the Walter Williams watch category, there's another article. Well, not an article actually, more an opinion piece by a Wall Street Journal guy, well not really an opinion piece, more a bit of lame reportage to fill the contracted number of column inches.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Because it's all about Hillary vs Obama

One of the recurring features of Mallard Fillmore is the misogyny which is barely concealed beneath the surface. In a lot of ways, Bruce Tinsley is the classic movie serial-killer: He hates women because he ain't getting any (it would explain the whole drunk driving thing too).

Let's see what's wrong today. At this point, there's not much pointing out the complete lack of scansion (although at least he does get AABBA right). But there is the standard-issue viewpoint that the dem primary is pure Barack vs. Clinton (never mind that Edwards has strong support, Clark and Gore aren't officially in (yet), and it's all a year away. Heck in November of 2003, I boldly predicted that John Kerry was going to be the first to drop out of the dem primary, an outcome which turned out to be far from the truth).

Then there's the claim that Hillary Clinton married her way to the spotlight. See, there's why I brought up the misogyny. Any serious observer of politics has to recognize that in fact, Hillary's marriage was the exact opposite of that: By marrying Bill, she ended up putting her own political career on hold for decades, and while it's certainly true that without the name she wouldn't have been a serious contender in New York in 2000, it's also certainly true, that without the marriage, she wouldn't have needed the name because she would have had a long serious political career of her own. She's far from my first choice in the dem primary, but she sure ain't the K-Fed of politics.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wrong in so many ways

Of course there's the formal things: Like something that I suppose is maybe a really weak attempt at a limerick, although usually Bruce at least gets the rhyme scheme and here we have something like ?ABBA.

Or "Mallentine" which I suppose is supposed to be Mallard+Valentine and rhyme with Valentine, but the double-L makes it seem like it's an ode to indoor retailing.

Or #23, which implies, that there are 22 more of these in the Bruce Tinsley archives.

How about the substance? Dude, nobody offers a rival a cabinet position as a consolation prize. VP maybe (unless you have Dick Cheney search the country for the best VP candidate), but not cabinet. And while I'm sure that every candidate would like every other candidate to drop out, this sort of deal-making just doesn't happen.

It does, I suppose, give Bruce a chance to draw a poor charicature of Hillary.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Things I learned from today's Mallard Fillmore

  • Bruce Tinsley ain't getting any
  • Bruce Tinsley ain't ever getting any.
Because, after all, nothing says romance like, honey I'm so cheap I'll write up a poem that doesn't scan which promises you a gift the day after Valentine's day with the lame excuse that I don't want to spend a lot of money on you.

As for the blue-haired dark-skinned woman (I'm assuming she's African-American), perhaps this is the real reason behind the whole Walter Williams thing: He's trying to impress some black chick and thought that if he endorsed a black guy it'd give him some cred.

Because, after all, black women are totally into middle-aged white alcoholics who support right-wing black crackpots.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Maybe he thinks one article is victory

Guess what! There's actually media coverage of the Walter Williams-Mallard Fillmore thing.

OK, it's the Washington Times, but it is at least a newspaper, sort of. You can read the article here along with commentary here, here, here and here. I wouldn't bother though, here's the short and easy-to-digest version: Walter Williams isn't running because Mrs Williams won't let him. He's received "hundreds" of supportive e-mails, almost as many e-mails supporting him running as offering to sell him v!agra without a prescription.

As for today's strip, come on, everybody who follows politics (including the media folks), knows at least one prominent black conservative.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, February 9, 2007

Maybe he doesn't know what "threaten" means

Anyone remember way back when, the duck saying that he was "going to threaten an African-American"?

Then he went on to write:

I think it's high time you were reviled, vilified, slurred, demonized and discriminated against by the media!
I demand that you run for president!!

That's not a threat. Not even close.

There's no outrage because (a) you didn't make a threat and (2) you're a cartoon duck! With random italicization and too many exclamation points!!

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Maybe Bruce doesn't know that Barack smokes too

Or at least he did until recently.

But of course, since Bruce Tinsley seems to take the stance that he's for all evil, I half expect him to claim that smoking doesn't cause cancer and that the tobacco companies are poor persecuted companies which are selling a harmless product..

We already know what Walter Williams thinks on the subject.

Personally, I find Christopher Buckley's take on the subject to be one of the best one.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Maybe trying to do a week of headlines with the same first word isn't a good idea

I mentioned global warming yesterday and I feel compelled to note this factoid courtesy of Kevin Drum. It's not just Walter Williams. It's a large and growing fraction of Republicans who insist that global warming isn't real.

As for today's strip, let me point you at Brendan Calling for a good response to the strip. I did try and see if Walter Williams said anything offensive about slavery, and while I'm sure he did, the best I could find was that Abraham Lincoln was a bad man who cared more about building a strong central government than about ending slavery. Oh, and that despite all evidence to the contrary, economics and the free market would have brought about an end to slavery on its own. Because, as we all know, slavery is economically unviable in today's economy.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Maybe it's Groundhog Day over and over and over...

So the Walter Williams/Howard Dean nonsense continues from Bruce Tinsley. Oh so much wrong. And yet there's also so much right: With a paper-trail like Walter Williams has, he will never have to worry about being elected president.

When I was in college (and I'm sure it's still the case), there were groups of kids who read Atlas Shrugged or some other piece of dreck and decided that they liked the idea that selfishness was good and went about spreading their newfound faith with the zealoutry of Jehovah's Witnesses. Most of them grew out of it. Walter Williams appears to be one of the ones who didn't.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, February 5, 2007

Maybe the earth will be wiped out by an asteroid

Because at least that would put an end to this Walter Williams stuff. I did another quick check to see if I was premature about the groundswell when I checked on Saturday (if only I had saved that for today, but I thought for sure that Bruce Tinsley would have moved on to ranting about something else by now). Nope. Although a date-sorted google news search on "Walter Williams" (and also "Walter E Williams"), reveals that Mr Williams is one of the last people on earth to still think that global warming isn't real. Yeah, that's just what we need in the 2008 election cycle.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Maybe it's better when he doesn't try for the joke

I admit it. I've got nothing here. They keep pushing the super bowl back, and maybe someday it'll happen on Valentine's Day.

Which would be a good set-up for a joke, rather than a punch-line. Picture, say Mrs Williams griping at Walter E for spending the fortnight leading up to valentine's day worrying about the Super Bowl big game instead of finding her some nice lingerie or something. Now that could be a funny strip.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, February 3, 2007

When in doubt, just make things up

So today, Bruce asserts, "The media keep saying that we're 'not yet ready for an African-American president'."

We'll let the google link speak for itself.

Ok, how about not ready for an African-American president? Nope, no go there either. We've got three stories. The Chicago Defender, a black paper which quotes Sam Greenlee indirectly as stating that America is not ready for an African-American president, but who then goes on to say that Obama should run anyway (and that he would vote for him).

From the University of Nevada Las Vegas' The Rebel Yell, we have the words not appearing in a quote (direct, or indirect). Ooh, they're named The Rebel Yell. Good ol' boys, pick-up trucks and confederate flags. This should be good, right?

Some claim that the United States is not ready for an African American president, but this can be played off as simple generalizing buggery. While many still hold certain racial stereotypes as true, the number of minority candidates elected to large offices has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years.
Curses, foiled again.

We have a quote from the Daily Southtown of "Jan" who's afraid that racism will result in even further attacks on Obama along the lines of the cocaine "story" and presumably, although she doesn't mention it, the Madrassa story. I'm sure that Monday's rant will be a take-down of the Washington Times and Fox News for pushing that garbage.

The duck goes on to claim that he's never met a single person who wouldn't vote for a black candidate. And yet, one out of three Iowans are willing to say that they believe that America isn't ready for an African-American president (the numbers are even worse for women and Hispanics). Apparently Indiana is a lot more progressive than Iowa.

Oh, and since it's Saturday, let me point your attention at our current sponsor (until someone raises the bid), Neon Hearts. Not a web comic, but rather an on-line bookstore, with a unique twist: They use a simplistic method for calculating postage for shipping your order, but if your postage is less than that number, they'll give you that much as a credit on your next order. It's all used and often obscure, but there may be something you'll like there.

Update: Speaking of things the media hasn't talked about, I tried doing google news searches on "walter williams mallard" and "walter williams tinsley" to see if there was any media coverage of Bruce's efforts this week. Nothing. Not even a letter to the editor.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, February 2, 2007

He's not even trying to make it funny anymore

Not that he ever was. I could comment about the bizarre belief that a ranting comic duck would ever do anything more than fill up the RNC and Walter Williams e-mail boxes with crank letters.

So let me talk about this article from last year (and whence came the illustration above). Clif has already commented on the substance of the quote and the pretentiousness of Williams's use of the word "fortnight" (yeah, who does use that these days?). I'll instead note that Walter Williams refers to his wife as "Mrs. Williams." That must be some interesting home life.

One more thing: Many of you have blogs or websites of your own. I'm thinking that it would be fun if google searches for "Mallard Fillmore" and "Bruce Tinsley" came here as the first option. Here's how a googlebombing on these terms works. Paste the following into a blog posting (or a web page)

<a href="">Mallard Fillmore</a>
<a href="">Bruce Tinsley</a>
and that's it.

No need to do it more than once, and it's important that the text that's part of the link be those words. With enough links, this blog can be the top search result on "Mallard Fillmore" and "Bruce Tinsley."

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, February 1, 2007

All of the time = not as often as you might think

In Ventury County (California), there's someone who thinks that Mallard Fillmore is "entirely factual, complete with citations from current news sources."

Oh dear.

But that's what I do every day, show that it's not entirely factual.

Let's take today's assertion, that Walter Williams is "speaking all of the time on college campuses", and offers the handy "citation" of So I check the site. Let's see, in the current events calendar, Dr Williams is scheduled to speak, um, once.

OK, but they just might not have put up all his speaking engagements yet. How about the past events calendar? He's listed seven times. Well that's a lot better. Until you realize that the calendar goes back to January 2001, with Williams's first appearance in the spring of 2003. So he's been averaging just over two speaking engagements a year. And at $10,000-15,000 per appearance, that's not really fundraising money either.

I wonder if Dr Williams is embarrassed about this whole thing? He doesn't mention it on his home page which is full of typical right-wing spew (ooh, Canadian health care rations care--no mention of how American insurers will just deny it outright or come up with bureaucratic hoops whose whole purpose is to discourage seeking healthcare; pacifists are causing the war against radical islam to drag out--never mind that the neocons have been working to expand it as much as possible). So I'm guessing that maybe he his embarrassed. Unless, as that page seems to indicate, he's incapable of embarrassment.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I did not know that

No sign of the duck today. Instead we're treated to a figure who's apparently supposed to be Howard Dean and--actually I don't know who the blonde is supposed to be, some lesbian latte-sipping liberal I suppose.

Anyway, actual dialogue from the strip:

Dean: Oh geeez! Mallard Fillmore's starting a populist "draft Walter Williams for the G.O.P. nomination" movement!
LL-sL: But isn't that how your "grass-roots" campaign in 2004 started sir?

How about that, Howard Dean's candidacy began with a Mallard Fillmore comic strip!

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Walter who?

Ah so the big reveal comes, and it turns out that the "threat" is a demand that Walter Williams run for president.

The wikipedia article, in that blandly non-controversial way that wikipedia talks about controversial people, says

Dr. Williams is also a critic of the minimum wage and affirmative action, believing that both practices are detrimental to blacks. Dr. Williams especially emphasizes his belief that racism and the legacy of slavery in the United States are overemphasized as problems faced by the black community and do not adequately explain the situation blacks face today.
Of course, he also thinks that the confederate states had a right to secede. Because after all, the secession had nothing to do with slavery, it was all about state's rights. And you wouldn't believe the great deal he got on the Brooklyn Bridge. He'll be making a mint on the tolls as soon as the paperwork comes through.

He also lauds capitalism as being much superior to feudalism. Apparently it allows people to amass large amounts of money by "serving your fellow man" rather than "looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man.". And it also, of course prevents us from establishing feudal dynasties.

Personally, I have to admit that I have my own preferences for who Bruce should have named in this strip if he were to go this direction.

In the department of I'm-clearly-not-qualified-to-write-this-blog, I had no idea that the duck is supposed to be a TV reporter. There had been some clues that he was a journalist of some sort, but I had always assumed he was a newspaper reporter. How old media of me.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Monday, January 29, 2007

There's no humor like black humor

Bruce Tinsley declares that this week, he "will threaten an African American!!" Throw in a silent panel and then the revelation that it's all a desparate cry for attention and well, it's just kind of sad, really.

Coming soon: Yelling fire in a crowded theater to get the media's attention.

Use the comments thread to predict just who he'll be threatening. My guess is Barack Obama.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rant-free Sunday

I keep staring at this strip, looking for the offensive, misinformed conservative rant. I don't see it. Can it be? A rant-free Mallard Fillmore? Has the descendency of the Republican party mellowed Bruce Tinsley? As we'll no doubt see tomorrow the answer will clearly be, "of course not." Apparently, in the spirit of snark-free Sunday, the duck has decided to treat us to a rant-free Sunday.

Which is not to say all is well here. Today, Bruce didn't forget to include a joke, but the joke is kind of lame and cliched and feels like it could be any Blondie. And back-up remote? Umm, Bruce, you do know that you can change the batteries, right? Or perhaps that's the stealth joke in today's strip and it is actually funny.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Saturday, January 27, 2007

You are what you eat

Crazy illogical people will complain because Bruce says that Chinese people eat dogs. Sane logical people will complain because Bruce can't produce anything remotely resembling a citation.

Personally, if you're going to get upset about eating dogs, then you should be even more upset about eating pigs. Hell, you look into it all, and you'd be a vegetarian. I'd be a vegetarian if it weren't for that whole not eating meat thing.

But from Bruce's perspective, the most important thing is not whether it's morally appropriate to eat dogs (or other meat), but to defend himself against claims of being politically incorrect because he wants to say that Chinese people eat dogs. Never mind, that in the cursory research that I did using Bruce's own sources, I found that dog is far more popular in Korea and Vietnam. It's kind of like talking about Cubans eating tacos and enchiladas. Yes, you can find those foods in Cuba, but that's not where they're popular.

No illustration today, I was going to use that scene from Hannibal, but when I found a picture, it started to put me off eating anything.

Added bonus, there's a new little ad box in the upper left corner of the page. Based on the network, you can expect this to be an ad listing from some web cartoon or other. I was going to make a snarky comment about how they were paying good money, as much as nothing per day to appear in that space, but there's apparently already some competition to appear on these pages, so check them out and give them some bang for their buck (they pay to appear, not for the clicks).

Even more added bonus. From the Wichita Eagle:

A reader asked about a new stomach virus going around: "Did God make it, or did it evolve?" Neither. It was caused by President Bush and "Mallard Fillmore."
You know you're in trouble when you're a conservative duck and you've lost Kansas (dot com).

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Friday, January 26, 2007

It's official--it IS obesity week on Mallard Fillmore

My favorite part of the strip is Bruce Tinsley's attempt to make up for his poor citation skills (come on, at least a date!), he tells us to just "Google 'dog eating'". Alas, there was nothing about rising dog meat consumption in China in the pages of search results that I looked through before, being afflicted with ADD, I got bored and decided to play Tetris instead.

I do have to admit that there have been less helpful internet pointers than Tinsley's.

Gee Bruce, even people who provide lame useless citations do it funnier than you. Oh yeah, Jack Elrod's better at drawing ducks too.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Freedom is on the march (offer not valid in China)

The rant about childhood obesity in China continues. And I have to admit that Bruce is right that the Chinese almost certainly did import the problem from us. In fact, when I was doing some of the initial research for yesterday's commentary, I found that we've apparently been quite successful in exporting the problem to large portions of the world. Basic rule: The more Americanized a country's food system is, the more obesity becomes a problem. We've even got the French.

But I do think Bruce is wrong on the rest of it. I think the Chinese have settled on American-style democracy and human rights.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is that you Hillary?

PC? That's so 1992

I was in college during the rise of the concept of political correctness, for the few years before the term had changed in meaning from "language that's not racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive" to "anything that Rush Limbaugh disagrees with and why can't we just go back to the days of minstrel shows anyway because they were harmless fun". So, I feel qualified to say that using Rex Morgan to play an asian kid would in fact be far less PC than would drawing the asian kid. That is, assuming that you can draw the asian kid at all, which, as we know from the long hard experience of reading MF, is a dangerous assumption to make about Tinsley's artistic abilities.

But if Tinsley had anything funny to say about childhood obesity in China, then a depiction of an asian youth would not be viewed with outrage (although part of that would be shock at people reading a MF with a joke in it), so Bruce, get over yourself.

So I'm guessing that this is going to be fat week. I suppose I should start researching some solid stuff about nutrition. Or I could just tell you to read this book.

Be a glutton for punishment: Read the strip

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fat dogs and drugs

So, apparently Bruce's modus operandi is to look in the paper for something to get outraged about. I imagine that he pictures Pfizer scientists spending a great deal of effort making a drug for dogs. I somehow suspect that this isn't the case at all. More likely, Slentrol was created as part of a research program for human weight loss drugs. After all, animals are used in early phase drug research, and in this case it turns out that the drug uses a mechanism which is unique to dogs. It won't work for people or cats.

Or perhaps it's shock that the FDA might regulate drugs for non-human consumption. Which tells me that Bruce ought to get out more.

But the really interesting thing is that apparently, Bruce thinks that his outrage is so important that it would get reported on TV. Nope, just some piddling blog.

Be a glutton for punishment: read the strip

Monday, January 22, 2007

To make up for the duck being dull today

I feel compelled to report Tony Snow's response when asked what the best part of the upcoming state of the union address would be:

It's like looking in a drawer full of diamonds
I'm sure it is.

Oh boy I caught the duck in hypocrisy...

.. just like every day.

Coaches moving on to jobs with better pay? Oh dear, what would Milton Friedman think of that?

Need I add that the "poetry" is so arhythmic, that I didn't even realize that it was supposed to be a poem until the third time I looked at the strip and noticed the word "ode" in the first panel?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sundays, just like the rest of the week but in color and 3x as unfunny

We get some more brilliantly unfunny commentary from the duck today. Let's see, "joke" one: Hillary Clinton is running against Barack Obama. She'll be fighting hard, but does Tinsley really believe that she'd really say something as openly racist as "America's not ready for a black president"? I'm sorry, I don't think even Pat Robertson would be that stupid.

"Joke" two: "Barack Obama" is hard to pronounce. Umm, only if you have some sort of large prosthetic appliance in your mouth (get your mind out of the gutter, I'm talking about orthodontia). Of course that puts aside the right-wing wags who say things like Barack Osama or joyfully point out that Obama's middle name is Hussein. Which is a really effective political tactic--if you're running for Junior High Class President. Personally my first choice pick for 2008 is Al Gore, but he's almost definitely not running. Obama is my second choice and I believe that he'll be the next president of the US (barring a Bush impeachment/resignation). But at least those comments are a lot funnier than what Tinsley came up with.

"Joke" three: Milton Friedman. OK, I'll admit I had to go to wikipedia on this one. I've heard the name, but I'll be damned if I knew anything about what the man claimed, although I think that Michael J. Fox's character might have declared him his favorite economist back in the Family Ties days. Skimming over wikipedia, it seems that he's a big-time laissez faire guy. Fair enough, there's a lot to be said for that, although I think there are limits and so, apparently did Friedman. I think though that I'd draw the line a lot farther back than Friedman would, and his support of school vouchers is a classic example of that sort of ideological blindness. When anyone actually starts looking at how vouchers work in practice, flaws become grossly apparent. What people forget is that the purpose of public education is to make sure that we have an educated population to avoid gross failures in the democratic principle.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wow, almost funny

I have to admit, this time Bruce Tinsley managed to lightly amuse me. Sure, the 419 e-mails aren't about Americans dieing in plane crashes, but on the other hand, African airlines do have a higher rate of fatal events with their aircrafts than do airlines from most other areas (although the mideast doesn't come out so well either, nor does AirTran airlines in the United States who actually have a worse safety record than Nigerian airlines.

So the big news here is that the duck is kind of funny and only partially wrong. But then it was snowing in Los Angeles earlier this week. Clearly the apocalypse is near.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Nigerian 419 scams: Tinsley's solution for the AIDS crisis in Africa

Ah the Nigerian 419 scam, one of the most bizarre of all scams. There's a great deal of humor to be mined from this. It's almost impossible to go wrong.

But of course, this is Mallard Fillmore we're talking about. And Bruce Tinsley decides, "I won't take the money, it'll revert to the government and bingo! the AIDS crisis is solved."

Oh Bruce Bruce Bruce, there isn't any money.

If you do want to do something about AIDS, you could buy a Red iPod, or better still, make a donation to my friend Cam's AIDS/LifeCycle fundraising. Add an extra $.03 to the end of your donation so that he'll know I sent the donation.

Update: There's even more reason to find Tinsley a little offensive today.

Update 2: Doonesbury shows Bruce how it's done:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bruce Tinsley, please don't talk about the Cubs

There are some things that I believe very strongly in. Two of them are that the DH rule is the product of Satan, and that you should cheer for the baseball team from the city of your birth for the entirety of your life. This means that when I have kids, they'll be raised to be Dodger fans, even though I'm a Cubs fan.

So as a dedicated Cubs fan, let me just say, Bruce Tinsley, you have no right to talk about my team. Just by acknowledging their existence in passing in a poem with no discernible meter, you make me feel like I need to take a shower.

And there's a reason people don't, as a rule, talk about sporting events in comic strips: By the time the strip hits print, nobody cares. The exception that proves the rule, of course, would be the Get Fuzzy strips about the Red Sox winning the world series.

But when it comes to college bowl games, come on, two weeks later, no one can remember who played in which one, let alone who won. People are busy worrying about more important things, like the NFL playoffs.

And speaking of the NFL playoffs, even though I'm Chicago-born and bred, I'm not rooting for the Bears. I will boycott them until they get rid of that abomination that they've desecrated Soldier Field with. It's fugly. And evil. L.A., meanwhile, has managed to lose not just one, but two teams in my time here, so now I just don't really pay attention to football at all. But that's OK, baseball season begins in just over two months.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Glory Hallelujah!

We only had two days of Saddam Hussein limericks. Maybe after the latest fiasco, Tinsley got on the phone to the syndicate and begged them to pull what was planned to be a week-long series. Or maybe we'll be treated to some really tasteless attempts at poetry in a couple of weeks. The question in Tinsley's mind: "does Iraqization rhyme with decapitation?"

Today's strip carries the implication that with all that's wrong about Mallard Fillmore, apparently what really inspires people to send a letter to Indiana is what the duck has to say about bowl games. I don't know much about college football, I have to admit (I went to a division III school, we had a football team which consistently lost to such athletic powerhouses as, um, actually, I have no idea who they played. Neither did anyone else that I knew). But I do tend towards conservatism when it comes to sports. That means that I'm summarily opposed to sports league expansion, think that their should be ten schools in the Big Ten, and that the super bowl is supposed to be a match-up between the best school in the Big Ten and the best school in the Pac Ten, and who cares about all those other bowls?

So maybe the Boise State punchline really is funny. I have no idea. I suspect not. What would be funny is if Boise State was some bad team that got to play in a big-time bowl, but they apparently went 13-0 and won the fiesta bowl in overtime.

Score today: Right vs wrong? Maybe right. Funny? Not even close.

And I think that this was meant to be a poem with the emphasized rhyming words at the ends of lines 2 and 4, but again, there is no rhythm. Yo Bruce, if you get some rhythm, some music, and your girl, well, who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bruce Tinsley can't dance

Given Tinsley's clear lack of sense of rhythm in his attempts at limerick, I think that it's a safe assumption that the man can't dance.

Today represents one of those dilemmas about critiquing Mallard Fillmore. It's not just the factual inaccuracies and sheer unfunniness that indicate that displacing it by reruns of Ziggy would be an improvement, but also the tedious repetition. So let me talk about something other than today's strip.

I have two brothers. They're both republicans, I'm (as both of my readers could easily tell) a democrat.

In comic strip terms, I'd categorize us as follows:

I'm Doonesbury. I'm funnier, better looking and have a clear sense of style.

Jim is Prickly City. He's wrong a lot of the time, but he's got a sense of humor and doesn't always take everything that's dictated by Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh at face value.

Rich is Mallard Fillmore. He's stubbornly wrong. He believes that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, that Bush should have unlimited power, and strangely, even though he's worked as a writer for a few TV sitcoms, he's almost never funny.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The duck's lead time is 2 weeks

And so he felt compelled to write a poem letting the poor cowering Iraqis who feared his return know that it was safe to stop cowering.

I'm not sure that anyone reallly feared Saddam's return at this point. On the other hand, the poorly handled execution did effectively turn the unpopular secular dictator into a Sunni Muslim martyr. Oops. Fortunately, it doesn't appeared to have sparked an immediate wave of sectarian violence, but his death also didn't put an end to the civil war either.

From the rhyme scheme of Mr Tinsley's attempt at poetry, this is apparently supposed to be a limerick. Of course, I may be wrong, because while it does have the AABBA rhyme scheme of a limerick, it has nothing remotely resembling the metric quality of a limerick. Or the metric quality of, well, anything. This is my English major side coming out. I've done far too much scansion of poetry to take a poorly-written poem like this seriously. Heck, forget trying to get three metric feet out of the A lines and two from the B lines, we're looking at something where we can't even get consistent syllable counts. And while a limerick is a sort of "low" poetry, it does have a very rigid meter to it. Try saying, "There once was a man from Nantucket, etc." but replacing each syllable with a "dah", stressing where appropriate. You can easily feel how the limerick is supposed to go. Now try and read Tinsley's poem the same way. Notice how it really really doesn't work?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It's Sunday!

And that means two things: A longer lead time on comic strips and a big expanse to fill. That means that we're treated to not one but THREE rants from the duck.

And Tinsley's bizarro world predictions include a US pull-out from the UN, an OJ reality show and some strange CBS news prediction (which is either a bizarre synchronicity with the daily strip or Tinsley was stuck for ideas this past week and decided to look at what he'd submitted for the Sunday to see if that inspired him).

So taking these one at a time: The UN. This is a favorite target of conservatives who find the UN useful only when it blindly supports the US. And when it doesn't it never occurs to them that maybe we're doing something wrong, like, oh, I don't know, maybe starting a war on false premises? I was a Model UN nerd in high school and college, which meant among other things digging through all kinds of UN documents looking at voting records on resolutions and their texts. One of the rather striking things I noticed was on a lot of common-sense-seeming resolutions before the General Assembly, the vote came down to, oh, EVERYBODY IN THE FUCKING WORLD yes, the US/Apartheid-era South Africa/Israel no. We're talking things like, let's get rid of land mines, or slavery, or apartheid.

Can't see why residents of any other countries would object to that.

As for the effectiveness of the UN, I would strongly recomend reading The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power by James Traub. A big part of the UN's inability to act effectively has been the lack of will of its member states to commit to action, and the US is a big part of that problem.

OK, number two, the OJ thing. A reality show? I doubt it. I wonder if this was written before Rupert pulled the book. It is amusing to have the duck talking about how Fox news is going to rule the world and then have to address the fact that NewsCorp was behind OJ's book. Or for that matter, that it seemed to the extent to which anyone defended the book, they were from the conservative side of the spectrum. What will happen is that the book is going to end up being published by someone somewhere and it'll sell millions and we can all wring our collective hands over the decline of western civilization.

And number three. This seems to be a continuation of the duck's misogynistic attacks on Katie Couric from last fall. I've not seen her on the news, but when the Katie Couric strips ran, neither had Tinsley. His critique boiled down to "she's a woman, how can she possibly be a serious journalist?" I had to google Lara Logan whose picture appears to the right, but apparently his problem with her is, "she's an attractive woman, how can she possible be a serious journalist?" I don't know, maybe sixteen years of journalism experience including newspaper reporting and dispatches from multiple war zones has something to do with it?

And was there anything remotely funny here? At least Prickly City makes an effort to tell jokes.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

More network news

Oh brother, I'm afraid we're going to be treated to a long series of rants about how nobody watches network news. Umm, actually, a LOT of people do. Maybe fewer than used to when there were only three networks, but not only is Mr Tinsley still not funny, he's still wrong. But the funniest part of all this is having a joke about how nobody watches network news delivered in the context of having your character, um, watching network news.

Now it is possible to make funny jokes about low viewership, but they generally only work as self-deprecating humor. For example, if I were to refer to my reader of this site. Alas, we won't get that here since it's likely that in Tinsley's case he's afraid that if he says something about nobody reading his comic strip, then maybe the editors who publish his strip will stop running it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fox news and Toyota

We get not one but two pictures of the duck to go with the not-terribly funny joke. Apparently, in Bruce Tinsley's mind, Fox News=Toyota. I suppose you could make the case that they're both foreign-owned. Or perhaps he's making the case that Toyota owners are poorly informed.

Of course what Tinsley fails to mention is that Fox has been beginning to see its viewership disappear along with Bush's popularity ratings. For that matter, while Toyota is selling as many if not more cars than the Detroit "big three", the same cannot be said about Fox (gee Bruce, thanks for pointing me at where I found, by searching for "fox abc cbs nbc" a nice chart refuting your claims).

But wait what about the car stuff? I found this recent article, complete with a handy bar chart. It looks like Toyota is poised to overtake Ford for second place but not close to passing GM in total sales.

So not only is the duck not funny, he's also wrong.