for 8 June 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Henry Boltinoff: A Tribute
I was as shocked and dismayed as you were, that this story went unreported. Did you happen to catch the irony at kingfeatures.com? There is a story on the front page, under the title "Hot News," about the death of Hank Ketchum.
Well, we mourn the passing of Ketcham too. But Boltinoff truly was a man who deserved more recognition than he got. Sadly, once Suck's tribute is forgotten, that will be it.
You and Terry gave me quite a lovely chuckle today! Thanks!!! :)
It's to bring a smile to your face that we do it all, Kellie.
Our Right Little Tight Little Island?
No wonder the Brits are inbred.
Steve remembers Suck's past...
I miss the alt tags.
Steven M. O'Neill
Thanks for the blast from the past, Steven. With Suck's "vacation," another opportunity to keep a furtive diary of daily ideas is no longer with us.
Henry Boltinoff: A Tribute
Did you see that Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace) also passed away?
Schultz, Boltinoff, Ketcham... cartoonists are dropping like flies. Who's next?
Terry, how's your health? ;)
Not a very gentlemanly question, Scott. How would you like being probed and prodded by every Tom, Dick and Harry?
It's often amazing how Suck will hone in on a piece of Americana that everyone knows is there but takes for granted. That kind of self-examination would really make this country a better place if people would just do it. If we could all just stop and look at something "normal" in a new way and see how eccentric and unique this American culture is, we'd all appreciate it more.
P.S. I got ten smackers that says this is about one of twenty emails you get like this today.
Thanks, Russell. Either the Boltinoffians are in hiding or we were the only true aficionados of Hocus Focus, but mail was light in response to our tribute. Let's hope Boltinoff, up there in Heaven, is even now having a ball changing striped robes to polka dotted, subtly repositioning the wings on angels, and reshaping the sceptre in the hand of God.
Another fine example of pulling true wisdom out of the heretofore overlooked and disposed of. My compliments to the guy who spent more than 45 seconds pondering Boltinoff's panels.
Suck has taught me much about comedy: I learned Boltinoff's quiet resiliency is as resonant as folklore. Past Suck had taught me that Bob Hope perhaps deserves to lie in a rosier bed than the trash heap I had condemned him to. Even Terry Colon once taught me that drawing top-heavy things is funnier than drawing pear-shaped things.
But, can anyone at Suck convince me that Hank Ketchum had been anything other than a hack? The San Francisco Chronicle saw fit to give him a front-page obituary, but it did nothing to enlighten the long-insufferable Dennis the Menace. Before I assign his posthumous memory to the slag heap where Garfield and Beetle Bailey already reside, is there any insight into Dennis the Menace that can redeem it? Hank and Company had li'l Dennis ape through the same antic for, what, 50 years? Even Charles Schultz had a little soul to give his Peanuts. What did Hank give us?
Maybe it's just that this whole web thing has taken all the spite out of me, but I think Ketcham was actually a pretty great draftsman, with a really open but distinctive style. If you take a look at his jazz pictures (yet another example of that clown-Hamlet complex all cartoonist/painters seem to have), you can see it was fairly adaptable as well. While I figure enough obit ink was shed to make any Suck tribute to Hank Ketcham superfluous, I will say he was one of the best artists in the comics, and the cartoon page will be a poorer place without him
Hit & Run 05.31.01
It will only be when we are rid of America's Greatest Generation that a real depiction of WWII will make it to the screen. The realities of WWII are closer to Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven than anything else everybody is wrong, right, and extremely brutal all at the same time. They snuck up on us in Pearl Harbor, we dropped incendiary bombs on them. They executed downed US pilots, we dropped a second nuke on Nagasaki to squash any ambiguity about our ability to drop nukes. Luckily, the Japs started it.
Thank God for Pearl Harbor, or WWII would have ended up just like Vietnam.
Ah, who the hell knows which movie World War II was most like? It wasn't like any of them, as WWII veterans never tire of pointing out to their ungrateful progeny. I don't see how having no living memory of the war will make the movies about it any more accurate. In fact, movies about the war used to be a lot better, or at least more grown-up. Not so much wiseguy pictures like The Dirty Dozen but oddball efforts like Hell In the Pacific and Beach Red. There are various Sam Fuller efforts worthy of note, and who can heap enough praise on Bridge On the River Kwai? I believe it's when people forgot about the Pacific theater that they started to go in for this bowdlerized notion of what it all meant. It took Stephen Ambrose to throw out the reasonably adult and nuanced view and return us all to our cornfed, tough but fair, fighting for democracy, giving-out-candy to Italian street urchins infancy.
But you're right about this silly and selective umbrage everybody demonstrates after the fact. The US tried and executed at least one or two Krauts because during the Battle of the Bulge, when the decision of the battle, and in fact any possible chance of their country's survival, depended on their moving as fast and as far as possible, they got saddled with 83 American prisoners, killed them, and kept moving. Not the kind of story you brag about to your grandkids, but what were they supposed to do? Shooting prisoners, what a crock! Who wouldn't shoot a prisoner under the right circumstances?
Well, this wasn't vastly reported, but after I saw Pearl Harbor, I was so mad I undertipped the waiter at the corner sushi bar. That'll teach those kowtowing devils! There's a Kurosawa festival coming up at the Odeon, and me and some other red-blooded Americans are planning to read the subtitles aloud in funny voices. Then we're going to stand out on a street corner and jeer every Toyota that passes. Are you in with us, citizens?
Richard Von Busack
Reading subtitles aloud in funny voices is truly one of the most devastating weapons in democracy's vast arsenal. Who can say what the withering powers of comedy might have accomplished in the Big One?
i've had a half-dozen eggs sitting out on my coffee table for about three weeks now, do you think they would qualify as "rotten" or do i need to wait longer before i "use" them? cheers
The age of great vandalism foods has passed. Today's processed filler has none of the splat and eclat you can get from the farm-fresh treats of yesteryear. Still, the modern funmaker uses stealth to achieve maximum damage. In coastal areas, a medium-sized bag of potato chips, liberally spread around one's enemy's car or property, will transport all and sundry to a world of birdshit. Who's zoomin' who, when you fill every cranny of your enemy's driver's side and passenger's side door locks with your ABC gum? (Modern locks are tricky, but can be effectively stuffed.) And for old-fashioned food-throwing, we say, "Step aside, rotten egg; make room for the fat and juicy carnitas burrito supreme!" Expensive, yes. Effective, undoubtedly! Happy hunting!
It's equally depressing to realize that all the witty, extemporaneous things I've said to people in conversations over the years have not been archived somewhere, but there you go.
As a professional writer in all seriousness I can say that the communication of opinions is bullshit. All that matters are the facts, the primary data, and every individual has to take the same facts and come to their own conclusions. Don't worry, archeologists of the future will be able to examine at our nuclear waste and Starbucks mugs and pretty much us figure out.
Which is why every "On My Mind" column Abe Rosenthal ever wrote is available in every library in the country? What the hell are you talking about? What kind of professional writer in all seriousness are you, anyway, hotshot?
I've said it before so I guess I'll have to say it again: Yeah, the guys who fought in WWII were brave and selfless and came home not wanting to talk much about it. No war stories from my uncle who---I learned much later---essentially lived Catch-22. Nor my father, whose troop ship I learned---even later---was sunk with all hands 3 days after he was pulled off it. Or my first girlfriend's father, who was shot down, captured, and escaped 3 separate times. Or my ex-father-in-law, who took a little walk in the sun up the Italian peninsula. Only the guys who never saw the elephant up close admire Rambo.
But the Depression and the Second World War and the Holocaust and the general horror of it all didn't fall from the sky. They were caused, by cowardice and stupidity and pigheadnesses and evil, by the same generation that pretty much had to bleed to fix it. Oh, OK...maybe it was mostly their fathers' generation that screwed up, but there was plenty of blame to go around.
Memorial Day is over. I'll put a stone on my father's grave and get misty watching the grass grow over the monuments. But by and large, undaunted courage is what you need when you've fouled up so bad that hoping for miracles is the only way to get out of it and I'll take quiet boring competency over last-second heroics every time.
Well, until somebody figures out a way to make boring, quiet competence as stirring to the heart as collective purpose, common enemies and undaunted valor, it looks like we're stuck with these inflated tributes. There are a whole lotta WWII movies coming out, you know. But why can't they make some good ones? Why doesn't somebody do a movie about the American guerillas who fought in the Philippines from the fall of Bataan until 1944? That's a real story, it could be made on the cheap, and it would provide more entertainment value than we're getting right now.