Monday, August 31, 2009

But the Hat Came Back, the Very Next Day

Born Loser 08-31-09
Now I don't know when Brutus' birthday is. It was originally on March 3rd but apparently Chip doesn't have a static day to use for Brutus' birthday unlike Garfield's yearly trek into Garfield spontaneously crumbling to dust.

That'd be a good way to end the strip.

What the Hell Is Wrong With Mallard Fillmore?

Other than being named after the fifth worst president in history, that is.

For the last week or so, Mallard has been using his not so handy-dandy asterisks to reference Fox News, which is the authority on what's going on the world. It's fairly common knowledge that you don't use Fox News as a reference when you are a conservative. Liberals should also know not to use MSNBC as a reference either. Stick with newspapers and CNN. The reason being is that Fox News isn't really news--there's no way that anything they do on there can be considered news. The same goes for (certain) programming on MSNBC. At least MSNBC doesn't use the word "news" in their name (it stands for Microsoft National Broadcasting Company). Another problem I have with Bruce Tinsley, the cartoonist for Mallard, is the generic, non-helpful way he uses his asterisks*.

Mallard Fillmore 08-24-09
Really, Fox News said that? An non-living entity mentioned a White House Enemies List? Why couldn't you reference "*Bill O'Reilly 7/25/09" or "*Glenn Beck 8/1/09"? I know you have limited space and conservatives are known for giving either the bare minimum of information or just outright lying but you couldn't squeeze a name and date in there? Also, who doesn't have an enemies list? We know Richard Nixon had one and if Cheney didn't have one, then he was doing something wrong during those eight years.

Mallard Fillmore 08-25-09
And why does Tinsley think that Obama is scared of "average middle-class taxpayers who deserve a voice in their healthcare decisions"? Wasn't it George W. Bush who had his staff pick and choose who could be in any type of town hall meeting? Obama doesn't pick and choose, he doesn't hold meetings or discussions in front of cronies, he lets the people yell at him which is something Bush could never do because you'd either stump him on a question or get him to cry.

Mallard Fillmore 08-26-09
I did a Google search for anyone calling Obama, the Democrats, any liberal an arrogant elitist and the only thing I found from reputable source was from 2008. You know why people consider liberals "arrogant elitists"? It's because liberals go to college and are generally smarter than Republicans and conservatives. That's not just my opinion, there's been a study on it. Now, I know not all conservatives are idiots but the ones you see at the town hall meetings on TV don't exactly look like the smartest of the group.

Mallard Fillmore 08-27-09
Well, our "Fox News" asterisk is back. Now, normally when you place an asterisk, you create that reference for either the entire sentence or for the word the asterisk is next to. So, if what this strip is trying to tell us, either Obama gave a quote exclusively to Fox News about his Enemies List or at some point Fox News mentioned the word "list". But again you would have to put into consideration that Fox News is not a relevant source.

Mallard Fillmore 08-28-09
Like a good conservative, Tinsley, I believe, is telling people to go out and burn stuff down. Is this supposed to be a joke about how people don't protest like they used to? Do we really want people storming student unions, throwing flaming bricks through windows or knocking people down with fire hoses again? That's another thing conservatives seem to do a lot, talk before thinking. Unfortunately, Tinsley has a chance to erase what he says before submitting it.

Mallard Fillmore 08-29-09
Why is Mallard watching the liberal media? When liberals were protesting after Bush "defeat" Gore, the people at Fox News and Rush Limbaugh called them babies and a bunch of whiny idiots because they were doing what the government said they could do. The reason liberals are calling conservatives crazy and a bunch of whiny idiots is because they are acting like idiots: they are yelling, they don't know Medicare is socialized health care, they quote from the Bible and they start out their sentences with "I am a good American" which is just like starting out a sentence "Now I'm not a racist" and then concluding with "but black people love their fried chicken and watermelon". If you're that good of an American then you don't need to broadcast it.

This week of Mallard has been incredibly hard for me to work through but I did it. I still don't see how things were better under George W. Bush--their only argument was that we were safer (after 3,000 died under Bush's watch and that doesn't even come close to the number that have died in Afghanistan and Iraq). I don't care about being safer. I want prosperity, I want jobs, I want other countries to look at us like they used to...in awe. Why don't conservatives want this?


*Duck and Cover

Saturday, August 29, 2009

POtW: An Old Silo at Black Jack

I went to Black Jack Battlefield a few weekends ago and actually went down a couple of the trails established so it could also be a nature park. Along the trail to Black Jack Prairie was an old barn and an old silo. I got a picture of both although I thought the silo came out better.
Old Silo at Black Jack
Black Jack Battlefield is an amazing and I highly recommend it if you ever get a chance to go see it. Aside from being home to what is considered the first battle of the Civil War, it also has remnants from the Santa Fe Trail, the town of Black Jack and the Robert Hall Pearson House which was built in the 1880s.

For more information about Black Jack, visit: www.blackjackbattlefield.org.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Samlesbury Witches

The featured article on Wikipedia was the Samlesbury Witches. I'm not going to do my own research on this because it's all right there so I'm kind of phoning it in with this entry. I should have a more in depth tale late next week. If you would like to submit something or if you have something that may be of interest for the "Chronicles" then send me an email.

Just don't reference sexy, flirty married woman like so many of my other emails do.

I Pity the Foo' Who Don't Know Ozzie

Born Loser 08-28-09
How many reading this know who Ozzie and Harriet are? I only do because I'm a dork. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet ran on ABC from 1952 until 1966--fourteen seasons--making it the longest running live-action sitcom. The Simpsons currently hold the title of longest running comedy (21 seasons, over 440 episodes), Gunsmoke holds the title of longest running drama (20 seasons, 635 episodes) although Law & Order is currently at 20 seasons with over 430 episodes. The longest running prime-time series is currently 60 Minutes with 42 seasons and a countless number of episodes.

What was I talking about...? Oh, yes. Young people don't know who Ozzie and Harriet are. If it wasn't for a reality show, young people would barely know who Ozzy Osbourne is. And what gives this guy the right to call Brutus "Mr. T"? We've never even seen him before.

Mr. T. Another person young people barely know about.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tracing Is Fun

Before we get to today's strip, one of my favorite publications is celebrating it's 25th anniversary. Zyzzyva, a journal for writers and and artists on the West Coast is celebrating by republishing 25 authors who made their debut in the magazine. One of the stories being reprinted is "The Ballad of Mari-Ada and Junipero" by Oliver Broudy, one of my favorite short stories and a story that inspired me to write just about every other short story I have ever done. I bought Zyzzyva #51 back in 1997 and I read it just about every chance I got because all the stories are so honest and in your face. Reading these stories made me realize what short stories can accomplish and I have been writing them ever since. You can read excerpts from Zyzzyva #86/87 here and visit the main site here.

Born Loser 08-27-09
HA! Brutus is a hen-pecked husband! Gladys works Brutus like a slave while she's on vacation at Rancho Relaxo. Her orders are going into deaf ears as the lost fourth panel reveals the scene two days later of an angry Gladys towering over a sweating Brutus as he stammers "But I swear I didn't hear you say 'polish the china'."

No. 4: The Haunted Sorority

The three-story building was very imposing on Ninth Street. The white paint was peeling and the once-grand house now stood looking dark and abandoned. But the house wasn’t abandoned, several people lived in it. A family of four, a single guy and Joey and his sister, Lisa. Joey, Randy, Nathan, Alison and I walked up the fire escape to a small door that went to their apartment. They never, apparently, went through the front door.

We all walked in and heard muffled screams coming from what was Lisa’s room. “Lisa and Mitch are home,” Joey said casually.

The house used to be a sorority house so the apartment Joey lived in had a small kitchen area, a huge living room and a huge closet which was where Joey slept. Nathan and Alison sat on the couch and I picked out a chair by the balcony door to sit on. The chair had a used condom sticking out from the cushion. I carefully pulled it out and threw it on the floor.

“That was sanitary,” I said. “So what’s up with this house?”

“It used to be a sorority house and supposedly a girl jumped to her death from the balcony,” Joey said.

“This balcony?” I pointed behind me.

“It’s the only balcony,” Joey shrugged.

“Rumor has it,” Randy began, using the worst phrase to start a sentence or a story, “the girl was despondent after she discovered her boyfriend cheated on her and subsequently broke up with her. She then leapt off of the balcony to her death on the sidewalk below.”

I got up and opened the doors to the balcony and looked out from it. I peered over the edge and saw the sidewalk below the balcony but just off to the left.

“She would’ve had to jump over there,” I pointed to the sidewalk. “Because if she jumped dead center off the balcony, I don’t think she would’ve died just hitting the ground.”

“So?” Alison asked.

I looked at Alison with a slight smile on my face. Alison had the unique ability to piss me off but still be enamored with her. “So that means it wasn’t something spur of the moment. It was calculated—planned,” I said. “What are some of the ghost stories here?”

“In the basement there’s always a breeze even though no windows are open; my bedroom door randomly opens and just random noises,” Joey said as the noises from his sister’s room got a little softer but sounded like something was scuffling along the carpet.

I looked at Randy. “Wanna go check out the basement?” I asked. “Might as well do some actual ghost hunting while we’re here.”

Randy and I headed quietly down the stairs to the bottom floor and stood at the door under the stairs. I tried the knob and it turned but the door was padlocked and wouldn’t open.

“What type of screwdriver does it take?” Randy asked and pulled out a roll of tool, like a burglar’s set.

“Phillips,” I said. He handed me a Phillips screwdriver and I began unscrewing the padlock from the door. Randy always came prepared even if it required lugging around a huge duffel bag. As the years passed, Randy would become less and less prepared.

The door was now released from the padlock and I opened the door. I slipped the screwdriver into my pocket and looked back at Randy. “Ready?” I asked.

He stood up and we began descending the stairs, into the darkness. There was a soft humming sound echoing through the basement. “What’s that sound?” Randy asked.

“Probably a furnace or something,” I said and reached the bottom of the stairs. I looked around but saw nothing out of the ordinary except for a string hanging from a doorknob across the basement. The thick white string was moving back and forth as if in a breeze but no air was moving. “Why’s that string moving when there’s no breeze?”

Randy got a look at the string. “I don’t know but I’m gone!” he said and ran back up the stairs. I sighed and rolled my eyes.

When I got back upstairs after fixing the padlock, Lisa and Mitch were out of the bedroom. She was in her underwear and Mitch was just wearing a pair of sweatpants.

“What the hell! Why did you abandon me down there?” I yelled at Randy.

“That string was moving,” he said. “You saw it.”

I sighed heavily and glanced over at Lisa, whose cleavage was on display for everyone to see, and then to Alison, who was in the chair by the balcony making out with Nathan. “I’m gonna head home,” I said. I began walking to the fire escape. I stopped at Randy. “We still going to Stull tomorrow?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

I walked down the fire escape and began walking home. It was a crisp, clear night—almost a perfect night. I just needed someone to spend it with. I was sure the house wasn’t haunted but as I walked away I couldn’t help but feel someone—or thing—holding onto my arm.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sen. Edward Kennedy 1932-2009


Second most senior Senator and younger brother of President John and Senator Robert Kennedy, Edward "Ted" Kennedy has died at the age of 77 after a battle with brain cancer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Helltown, Ohio

In 1974, the federal government began buying up property near Boston, Ohio to develop a national park. According to a number of people in the area, the government began buying the property to cover up a massive radiation spill. So goes the legend of Helltown.

The town of Boston, Ohio was settled in 1806 making it the oldest village in Summit County. The town was a mill town most notable for several paper mills and the area became collectively known as Boston Mills. In 1974, the government began buying up property for use as a national park. They used eminent domain to force the people out of their homes and people left in droves. What these people felt were summed up by a statement scrawled on the wall of an abandoned home: "Now we know how the Indians felt".

Once the government obtained the houses, they typically boarded them up, nailed "Property of U.S. Government" signs on them and then the house stood until the government could get around to demolishing it. Sometimes the house would be intentionally burned to help the local fire departments train. Soon, the government fell behind on demolishing the houses and the abandoned and foreboding houses left standing were an odd sight to see in what was essentially the middle of a National Park. And that is how the rumors began.

The first legend is the government cover-up of a chemical spill in the area. There has never been a chemical spill in the area and this was most likely made up as an excuse for all of the "Property of U.S. Government" signs posted on all the houses. In a nearby cemetery, rumors of a ghost, moving tree and a high number of children buried in the cemetery abound. The ghost is said to always be sitting on a bench--the cemetery, Boston Cemetery, does not have a bench. As for trees moving, it's probably just ghost hunters, unfamiliar with the area and the cemetery, who originally thought a tree was at one spot, only to see the tree in a different spot. The children buried in the cemetery are said to be victims of a bus crash and while, like any cemetery, there are the graves of children there, their cause of death is not from a bus crash.

As for the school bus, prior to the 1974 buyout, a family bought a house. Since the house, at the time, was unlivable and needed dire repairs, the family needed a place to live so they parked a school bus in their yard and lived in that until the house was ready. When the government bought the land, the family had no use for the bus and left it behind--just like with other useless farm equipment and automobiles. Also, the local churches are used as cover-ups for cults and other Satanic rituals. The churches are never open for mass, hang upside down crosses, angry men live in the basements and there are always candles burning in the windows.

The are two churches in the area that this rumor is a part of. The first is Boston Community Church. The church uses its basement to house offices and classroom so any man in there was probably an employee and got angry because a group of teenagers were spying on him. The other church, Mother of Sorrows, is reported to have the upside down crosses which is actually true but the "crosses" are part of the church's gothic revival design. And candles being lit in the windows could actually be true as many churches allow people to light candles and keep them lit in honor of a lost loved one.

Another legend is about the House in the Woods. It reportedly has a light on on the top floor all the time. The house is actually a local hostel, for weary, young travelers. The light stays on because the hostel accepts people 24-hours a day. Signs throughout the area show the direction to the hostel. Interestingly, shortly after the signs were erected, the light started being referred to being in the "school bus house".

There are also a lot of rumors about the many dead-end roads in the area. People note that even though the road is a dead end, the road still continues into the woods. While this is true on Stanford Road, the road is closed for a reason--the townships that are required to maintain it didn't want to spend the money or take responsibility if someone did get hurt on the road, so they closed it. The other dead end is on Main Street but Main Street dead ends at the cemetery.

Helltown is another example of urban legends gone wild. The police presence in the area has been increased and the cemetery and people's property has been vandalized repeatedly. Remember that if you do decide to visit any place mentioned here or on any other websites, obey any posted signs, leave only footprints and take only pictures.
The best picture of the "school bus house" I could find. Located near Boston Mills, Ohio.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea...

I loved all the backgrounds and all the characters in today's strip. I'm glad to see that the Thornapples were able to take a vacation after all. And to Cape Cod for that matter. I enjoy Brutus' ice cream shirt from a popular ice cream parlor and I love the lighthouse in the background (see full strip).

What I don't like is the way Mother Gargle is speaking in the sixth panel. "Allow me to answer the child, Brutus" is not the way people speak. Does the Sansom family speak like that? If so then why is Chip wasting his time as a comic strip artist when he could be in some field where you act stuck up all the time.

Brutus looks really mad that Mother Gargle wants to answer, too. Why is he so mad? I mean, I know he probably wanted to answer his son but he looks like he's plotting revenge. He's now trying to figure out how to get Mother Gargle in the ocean and get her swept out to sea. With any luck, she'll run into Hurricane Bill.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Thornapples Are In the Red

The Thornapples wonder how they will pay for Gladys' sex change.HA! It's funny because they're poor. I'm hoping that after Sunday's strip of the Thornapples leaving their house in a hurry before the bank finds out where they are, we begin a series of strips where Wastrel Gravesite teaches the Thornapples to be semi-productive vagrants of society. Soon they'll be going around town singing Yankee Doodle Dandy at inappropriate times, lying about riddles for a buck and getting change from made-up amounts of currency.

Today's full strip.

Special thanks to our (Project) Wonderful advertisers and to all our readers. A couple special shout-outs go to my cousin who has restarted up his Pop Aristocrat blog which can be found here and on the sidebar. Also, if you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and need some photos taken of your wedding, anniversity, graduation--what have you, then click on over to Stephanie Hope Photography for memories that will last a lifetime.

POtW: Reading Bank and Post Office

While out, I came upon the town of Reading, Kansas in Lyon County. Something caught my eye as I entered the town and had to find their downtown area to verify it.
Reading Bank and Post Office
Their bank is called the Tightwad Bank. Apparently in March of 2008 Reading State Bank purchased a branch from UMB Financial in the small unincorporated town of Tightwad, Missouri. Legend has it, Tightwad was named after an incident involving a postman, a grocer and a disputed watermelon. Reading State Bank changed the name of their bank after 108 years as Reading State. According to the people at the bank, while it took a while for Reading citizens to warm up to the name, the bank is still going strong--possibly stronger than before.

For more information, go to www.tightwadbank.net

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Most Depressing Town in Kansas

I went out today, just driving around. I considered it my farewell drive so I wanted to make it something really special. I went to Michigan Valley, a really small town that I actually don't mind. I like the name although the town is definitely one of those "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" types. The whole point of my drive was to go to two ghost towns, one in Lyon County and the other in Wabaunsee. The one in Lyon County was full of cool relics and was a haunting vestige of what could've been.

I've been to a lot of small towns and all of them have what I call a soul. Something in that town that the community rallies around and can call their own. Some towns have a school or a church, other towns, extremely lucky towns, still have a thriving downtown district. Bushong seemed to have none of these. There was a church but it seems to look slightly abandoned. There's no school anymore, the children are bussed to other schools. All that stands is the exposed shell of the Bushong Consolidated School constructed in the 1920s. Main Street consists of three abandoned stores (a grocery, an auto shop and the shell of a former bank and gas station), the rest have burned down. There are multitudes of abandoned and dilapidated houses and trailers and when I was there, no fewer than four dogs were just roaming the town.

The town was depressing. It was as if fate was just rubbing the dismal futures of all the population into their faces. I'm sure it's nice living there--commuting the many, many miles to Emporia, Council Grove and possibly Alma; making sure trespassers and local children don't shatter every window in town with a rock; walking by the abandoned shells of their former glory. I found Bushong very impressive and someday I'm going to go back and see what's still standing and what's not. And get a picture of their cemetery.

Here are the pictures from Bushong I took.

This is a picture of a couple abandoned buildings in Michigan Valley. Even Michigan Valley, which is unincorporated and barely mentioned anywhere seems to have more civic pride than Bushong. But Michigan Valley is near Pomona Lake and two churches.


This is the former gas station in Bushong, now just a shell. The building apparently used to be a bank and was used as a bank, a gas station and a tavern along with other things since it's construction.


This is Bushong's massive Consolidated School built in the early 1920s, the school hasn't been used in decades and sits alone on 4th Street, open to the elements.


The Bushong Church that I couldn't determine if it was still in use or not. It still look like it could be used but from the way the paint is peeling and the way the roof looks, it could be recently abandoned.


Here are the abandoned stores in Bushong. The one in the foreground I think was once a small grocery store while the one is the background is an old automotive garage. You can still see the sign that reads "Garage" on the building. These two buildings are still pretty well preserved.

This article edited August 21, 2009 at 6:59AM.
This article was rebranded and edited August 28, 2009 at 11:30AM

Their Parents Must Be Proud

I live in a college town and the students have returned. They are clogging up our arterial roads and making the permanent residents take a back seat to their favorite restaurant, bars and football games. Last year, three college students died from drinking too much. Drinking, probably not unlike these guys:
Not even caring about the drinking, should they really be on the roof of a probably two story house? Their parents must be so proud of them.

I cannot wait until May.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bobby Dunbar

Bobby Dunbar went missing on August 23, 1912 in St. Landry Parrish, Louisiana and was found after eight months. Dunbar died in 1966 and in 2004 DNA discovered that Bobby Dunbar was not Bobby Dunbar.

Four-year-old Bobby Dunbar went missing in a Louisiana swamp in 1912. He had wandered away unnoticed and no trace could be found of him. Searchers found a set of solitary bare footprints in the mud nearby and came to the conclusion that young Bobby Dunbar had been taken. The citizens of Opelousas pledged a $1,000 reward for Bobby's return, "no questions asked."

Bobby was the oldest son of Percy and Lessie Dunbar and had "large round blue eyes, hair light, but turning dark, complexion very fair with rosy cheeks, well developed, stout but not very fat". Percy, a well-respected real estate and insurance man, had a detective agency print up postcards with a picture and description of Bobby, and mail them to town and county officials from east Texas to Florida. The card also mentioned that Bobby's "big toe on left foot badly scarred from burn when a baby".

In April 1913, a wire arrived from the little town of Hub, Mississippi. A drifter named William Cantwell Walters had been taken into custody there. He had a boy with him who matched Bobby's description. The Dunbars rushed to Mississippi, but they were not immediately sure this was their boy. The youth had a scar on his left foot. He had a mole on his neck where Bobby had one. But he refused to answer to the name Bobby, and when the mother tried to hold him, he would have nothing to do with her. Mrs. Dunbar asked to see the boy again the next day. After stripping and bathing him, her uncertainty left her.

Kidnapping was a capital offense in Louisiana, and Walters knew his life hung in the balance. In a letter to the Dunbars from his jail cell in Columbia, Mississippi, Walters insisted the boy was actually Bruce Anderson, the son of a woman who had cared for his aged parents back home in Barnesville, North Carolina. He scrawled a letter to the Dunbars from his jail cell.
"I know by now you have Decided you are wrong it is vary likely I will Loose my Life on account of that and if I do the Great God will hold you accountable"
A New Orleans paper offered to bring Julia Anderson to Mississippi but the Dunbars and the people of Opelousas made up their minds. Julia Anderson arrived in Opelousas on May 1. It had been more than 15 months since she had given Walters permission to take Bruce. She, like Mrs. Dunbar, had trouble identifying him as her son, and the boy -- who suddenly found himself in a nice home with a pony and a bicycle -- wanted nothing to do with her. After her initial wavering, Anderson declared that "her mother's heart" told her the boy found with the tinker was indeed her son. But her uncertainty was not easily forgiven.

Walters was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison. Walters spent two years behind bars before being granted a new trial on a technicality. But the town of Opelousas decided that Bobby was where he belonged, and enough had been spent on the case. Walters was released and soon faded into obscurity, but Bobby would never know such peace. Whenever there was a sensational kidnapping, such of the 1932 disappearance of the Lindbergh baby, reporters would return to the home of "that little lost boy."

Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Margaret Cutright heard the stories of her grandfather's disappearance and sensational recovery. She had never had any reason to question them -- until the family lost another boy. When her brother Robbie died in a plane crash in 1999, Cutright's father gave her a family scrapbook chronicling the kidnapping case. Leafing through the crumbling, yellowed clippings, she came across an editorial cartoon from 1913. In the drawing, titled "Fifty Years From Now?", a bearded old man sits in a chair, his right hand cupped behind his ear as a boy, kneeling on the floor over a newspaper from the kidnapping trial, looks up and asks: "Grandpa, do you think we'll ever know for certain what our right name is?"

Cutright's search has taken her from the cypress swamps of Louisiana to the woods of Mississippi and finally to the hardscrabble Carolina pinelands where Bruce Anderson was born. Her wanderings eventually led her to the house where Walters' defense attorney once lived. To her shock, the man's granddaughter still lived there and, from a closet, she produced the original 900-page defense file. She spent months scanning and transcribing the telegrams, letters and depositions. Witnesses had placed Walters and the boy he called Bruce miles away from Opelousas the day Bobby went missing.

Cutright's findings have given the hope of closure to a family she has only recently discovered. Julia Anderson settled in Mississippi after the trial, married and raised eight children. Those children grew up believing they had a half brother who had been stolen from them. Cutright, who is working on a book about the case, has tracked down Bruce's two surviving siblings and shown them her evidence. One of them, 80-year-old Hollis Rawls, has expressed a willingness to submit a DNA sample to help prove whether Cutright's grandfather was really Bruce Anderson.

Cutright's father, over the objections of his siblings, agreed to give a DNA sample earlier this year. It was compared to a sample given by a son of Bobby Dunbar's brother, Alonzo. The samples didn't match. The DNA test proved that Bobby Dunbar was not Bobby Dunbar and that William Walters was innocent of kidnapping. Cutright opines that Bobby Dunbar probably fell into Swayze Lake, the swamp his parents were fishing at, and was eaten by an alligator. However the fate of the real Bobby Dunbar is unknown.
"Bobby Dunbar", left, with unidentified people shortly after his return to Louisiana.

Can Brutus Change My Eleventeen Dollar Bill?

It's weird looking at this strip, reading through it to see if I can garner some commentary from it that I didn't even notice Wastrel said "thirty" until the last panel. What I was going to comment about was the fact that even though Brutus is shown having money issues he has $30 to give to a bum. Doesn't Brutus know it's not good to give a bum money? Giving them money gives them an opportunity to buy more liquor which is probably a contributing factor to their homelessness. Now Wastrel is going to buy a bottle of Knob Creek Whiskey then pass out at the corner of 7th and New Jersey, choking on his own vomit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

POtW: 1920 Bridge

Today's pic is of a bridge built in 1920. Or at least, that's what it says on the bridge. The bridge is located on Vista Road southeast of Blue Rapids and crosses a small tributary of the Big Blue River. I went over this bridge on my way to Irving, a town that was demolished to make way for the Tuttle Creek Reservoir.
1920 Bridge

Back to School Bonanza

School will start or has started for probably everyone lately so there will be an extended post today featuring more than just The Born Loser. But with all good news, there has to be some bad news. This will be the last regular posting for "Losers Are Made, Not Born". As some of you may know, I have not been happy with the quality of the commentary on the strips lately. While I usually don't outright make fun of the strip, I try to keep my comments moderately humorous or at least thought provoking. That hasn't been happening lately and I am disappointed with what's being posted. So what's going to happen? Well, I'm going to take most of next week off and start posting the Born Loser strips where I can actually come up with something to say or ones that pique my interest. I am still looking for contributors to start their own features either on a daily or weekly basis so if you are interested, let me know.

And now, on to the comics:
Garfield
Garfield 08-15-09
Now Garfield confuses me more!! I always thought Jon could understand Garfield but he can't? So Jon is a psychopathic weirdo with issues like Garfield Minus Garfield portrays him? AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Crankshaft
Crankshaft 08-15-09
Is it wrong for a Crankshaft strip to make me laugh? Well, this one did because we've all done it. Found something on the Internet that fit what we were talking about and copied it, not knowing what it really means.
"Likely as not a ruined head gasket
Spitting at every power stroke, if not a crank shaft
Bearing knocking at the roots of the thing like a pile-driver:
A machine involved with itself, a concentrated
Hot lump of a machine
Geared in the loose mechanics of the world with the valves jumping
And the heavy frenzy of the pistons."

Funky Winkerbean
Funky Winkerbean 08-15-09
"Because, honestly, his life didn't suck as much as it could."

The Family Circus
Family Circus 08-15-09
Looks like the Keane family is floating down the Cahulawassee River. Luckily, Billy has a "purdy mouth" and Bil loves to squeal like a pig.

Blondie
Blondie 08-15-09
Do they even make trading cards anymore? I was once so proud of my comic book trading cards but now they are worthless. Worthless!! When are trading cards going to make a comeback. Soon, I hope.

Archie
Archie 08-15-09
Hmm. Let's see. What gesture do the kids use these days? Ah, the thumb's up. That's a timeless classic. Much like mother-in-law jokes and husbands are lazy on the weekend gags.

Beetle Bailey
Beetle Bailey 08-15-09
That's not how the brain works. You don't just have random things you're thinking about bouncing around in there. Oh, well. What does a computer know about how the human brain functions.

B.C.
B.C. 08-15-09
That's right, B.C. Encourage children to ask women where their tan lines are. I can hear my son at school now: "Hey, Emma, show me your tan lines." Oh, and let's also encourage impressionable girls to accept money in exchange of taking off their clothes.

How'd this get past the editor?

Apartment 3-G
Apartment 3G 08-15-09
"So that's who's been living in my vagina the past three months..."

Born Loser
Born Loser 08-15-09
What's Brutus eating? A flattened biscuit? An irradiated peanut? I don't know.

Friday, August 14, 2009

But Hattie Touched It

Born Loser 08-14-09
That looks like the biggest pack of gum ever. That gum looks hu-u-uge!!

This strip, for some reason, reminded me of an old Nancy comic strip:

Oh, Nancy. You are not a role model.

Treece, Kansas

The earliest mention of Treece, Kansas (located in extreme southeast Kansas in Cherokee County) was in 1917 when the government established a post office there. In 1930, Treece had a population of 749, that number has dwindled to around 14o. The population began to decline when the output of zinc and lead were declining. In the 1960s, production stopped completely and the miners who populated the towns of Treece, Galena, Kansas, Baxter Springs, Kansas and Picher, Oklahoma left for other opportunities in the area leaving all of the towns virtually abandoned.

Treece lays just off of U.S. Highway 69 right on the Kansas-Oklahoma border. The city is now surrounded by huge chat piles and the years of mining has caused sinkholes to spread into the city causing buildings, road and people to collapse suddenly. Across the border in Oklahoma, the city of Picher was recently given to okay to evacuate--which stunned the people of Treece. Without Picher, Treece now has to drive further for groceries and gas and they are left defenseless in a fire or other emergency, their services came from Picher. Now they have to wait for vehicles to get there from Baxter Springs or Columbus, the next closest towns. Cave-ins at the sites have been occuring for years, water is polluted, there are great risks to one's health in the area and Treece is near the Tar Creek Superfund site which covers Cardin and Picher, Oklahoma but not Treece. The government has declared Picher one of the most toxic sites in America.

Senators Sam Brownback, Pat Roberts and Lynn Jenkins have urged the state and federal government to take over the area, buy out the residents and begin cleaning up the area but currently everything is just at the talking stage. The saddest part are the children living in the area who have a higher rate of disabilities both physical and mental. The state has determined that it would cost $8 million to buyout the people and close the town. The Enviromental Protection Agency has spent $80 to 90 million since the 1980s cleaning up around Treece but there's still $50 to 70 million and many years still to go. When Picher was bought out, property values in Treece plummetted so the people can not just move--who would buy a house in a town that could collapse at any moment?

Very few of the mining companies that operated in the area are still in existance. The ones that do still exist only pay $1 for every $9 in restitution. On August 20th, three high-ranking EPA officials will be visiting Treece with Senators Brownback and Roberts with the plan to get them to buy out the town so the people can be relocated.

Photo of a baseball field in Picher, OK. By Thad Allander, Lawrence Journal-World.

Updates Late in the Day

There will be a new Born Loser post and a new Stull Chronicles post later today, probably in the evening. I'm going to be busy today so that's why everything is late. And now, back to mowing the lawn.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Think That I Shall Never See...

Born Loser 08-13-09
That's my pen name. "Anonymous". So whenever you see anything written by Anonymous, I did it.

Yes, even the stuff from the 18th Century.

Disappointed American

I am disappointed in the American people. Even during the worst periods of the last eight years, I was never disappointed in them. I'm glad that these people are practicing their First Amendment right but it's uneducated and ignorant. They listen to Fox News and not much else or they don't listen at all and immediately start complaining. They don't want our health system to be fixed--which is stupid because we don't have a health system. They don't want government run health care but they want their Medicare. They can shout and yell at Senators and other people all they want but we try to calm them down and get them to understand and they call us names--bleeding heart liberals--and invoke the name Jesus Christ.

Please, someone remind me, did liberals act like a bunch of monkeys when Bush won? I remember a brief protest in the weeks after the election and shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bush (who won the electoral, not the popular) but aside from that, nothing. Maybe it's because 9/11 happened nine months after that, I don't know. Did Republicans act this way when Clinton got elected? I was too young to really notice or care. Is it because we have gotten more religious in our politics? Our Founding Fathers built this country on the notion of the separation of church and state. Yes, they used religion and their moral ethics to run this country but they were not as zealous about it. They were able to not cross over the line. What really upsets me is that "liberals" had to deal with eight years of Bush and did a decent job of it, not getting overly crazy, making good points and wanting something better for our country. "Conservatives" have had to deal with Obama for seven months and are going crazy, making ignorant points and only wanting something better for themselves. McCain lost--GET OVER IT!

What's so wrong about offering health care to everyone? I don't have insurance so if I get sick or have to have my appendix out, I lose everything. Is that fair? Should I suffer just because I don't have a job that offers insurance or because I can't afford insurance on my own? I understand the debt problem that this country is in right now but we have still paid more into an ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan then anything else. Interesting note, the Vietnam War was America's longest war (1959-1972) and the Revolutionary War (1775-1783) lasted eight years. Notice which one was necessary but which one lasted the longest.

We are the only country that spews the words "We are the greatest country" around and it isn't true. There are countries better than us. We bully and force other countries to follow us and if they don't, we call them names. And when we do get countries to stand beside us, we always--ALWAYS--wind up screwing it up. We act like we are a den mother to a group of sorority girls and then turn into one of those girls when something doesn't go our way. We deride them, we make of them and we say by not joining us, they are aiding terrorism. Why are we the greatest country? Our Bill of Rights? Okay, although that guy telling me to shut up at that town hall just because I didn't agree with him infringed on my freedom of speech. The only area where the United States is number one is military. We have the best military in the world. I admit it. And...?

Obama is neither Christ nor Satan and this country needs to quit being...stupid. There I said it, every time a town hall meeting is viewed on YouTube in another part of the world, it makes us look stupid. People will believe that everyone in America acts like that and it's insulting to everyone. You're not doing anything to help, you are just scaring the Senators and the American people.

There are not going to be death panels, you don't have to take the insurance if you don't want it and, in the long run, this will be a good thing--just like war.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Too Bad Hattie Hasn't Been Missing Since Saturday

Born Loser 08-12-09
In order to place a classified ad in the paper, I feel that the result must justify the money used to pay for the ad.

Garage sale ads and other merchandise is fine but pets, I don't know. If you got the animal for free then just post signs around the neighborhood, now if it's a thousand dollar pure-bred akita you paid $200 for, then yes, place the ad and post signs--hell, offer a reward.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Today's Strip Equals Fail

Born Loser 08-11-09
Is Veeblefester telling Brutus or reassuring himself? Typically if you have to say something like that then you are just reassuring yourself that it's true which it usually isn't.

I think Chip tried to hard with the joke in this strip because it's not even remotely funny.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory

Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian countess from the renowned Báthory family. The family is famous for defending Hungary against the Ottoman Turks. She is possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history and is remembered as the "Blood Countess" and as the "Bloody Lady of Čachtice", after the castle near Trencsén, in the Kingdom of Hungary where she spent most of her adult life.

I did a massive high school report on vampires and vampire lore, I did extensive research on it and after writing nearly thirty pages, I condensed it down to a 15 page report featuring Vlad the Impaler, Incubus and Succubi, Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory. It was one of the best research papers I've ever done.*

Elizabeth Báthory was born on the family estate in Nyírbátor, Hungary, and spent her childhood at Ecsed Castle. She was highly intelligent, and as a young woman learned Latin, German and Greek. She was also interested in science and astronomy. At 15, Báthory was engaged to Ferenc Nádasdy and moved to Nádasdy Castle in Sárvár. She married Nádasdy in Vranov in 1575. Nádasdy’s wedding gift to Báthory was his home, Čachtice Castle, situated in the Little Carpathians near Trencsén, together with the Čachtice country house and 17 adjacent villages. The castle itself was surrounded by a village and agricultural lands, bordered by outcrops of the Little Carpathians. She kept her name because her family was more powerful than her husband's.

Báthory's husband was a military leader and therefore traveled a lot. Nádasdy died in 1604 at the age of 47. His death is commonly reported as resulting from an injury sustained in battle. Bathory had five children, two dying at a early age.

Janos Thurzó went to Čachtice Castle on December 30, 1610 and arrested Báthory and four of her servants. They were accused of torturing and killing hundreds of virgin girls and young women, with one witness attributing to them over 600 victims. Thurzó's men reportedly found one girl dead and one dying. Another woman was found wounded and others locked up. It was determined that a trial or execution would be damaging to the nobility so a trail was postponed indefinitely and Bathory was sentenced to house arrest. Bathory's four servants were tried and convicted. Two had their fingernails ripped out and their bodies thrown in a fire; another was beheaded before being thrown to the flames and the last was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bathory was walled up in her castle until her death. She was found on August 21, 1614 but since there were several plates of uneaten food, her actual date of death is unknown. She was buried in the church cemetery of Csejte but upon villager outrage, her body was re interred in Nagyecsed, Hungary in the Bathory family crypt.

The case has led to legendary, but false, accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins in order to retain her youth. These stories have led to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of the Blood Countess and Countess Dracula.


Suggest a story for "The Stull Chronicles".

Brutus Can't Wait Until School Starts

Born Loser 08-09-09
What the hell was Hattie doing rummaging around in the Thornapple's garage? Makes me think she was looking for something she could use to jimmy a window open or stab someone in the skull and she just got sidetracked by the shell.

You'd also think that after The Lord of the Flies, Brutus would be wary of accepting the conch.

Born Loser 08-10-09
If you're eating out, then get the unhealthy food. Typically eating out is a special occasion and should be treated as such. Let's compromise. Get a turkey burger.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

POtW: Private Driveway

Today's picture is a slightly weird one. It's a photo of a private driveway on SE 101st Street in Shawnee County. The reason I took a picture of it was because when I first saw the road, the little statue and the retaining rock wall, I originally thought it was a cemetery.
Private Driveway
The cemetery I was looking for is the L.J. Beam Cemetery. According to "The Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County, Kansas" the cemetery lies just over the Douglas-Shawnee County line east of Richland, which is about where this is.

Beam was a Second Lieutenant in command of the Kansas Fourteenth and was away on business in Leavenworth when Quantrill attacked Lawrence. Only 5 of his 22 men were able to escape. Beam always regretted not being there for his men but quickly recruited other men to begin the Kansas Fifteenth. Beam was promoted several times until he became a Major in the regiment.

According the Tombstone Census Book:
L.J. Beam buried three children and his wife on his own land on a bluff south of their home. The cemetery is enclosed by a 4 foot high native stone wall with a black iron gate. Three 6 foot spire tombstones mark the graves; one for Major Beam, one for his wife Sarah and one for their children. The cemetery itself is neglected, with brush and trees overshadowing stones and wall alike. Although the markers are all in excellent condition and standing completely upright.

The Beam home is still where it sat on the Beam property in the 1860s, complete with History and Memories.
Copied from stones November 14, 1987.
Major L.J. Beam died Mar. 24, 1901, aged 62 years - A Noble Life
Sarah F. Beam, Mar. 27, 1844-Apr. 3, 1898 - A Pure Life
M. Florence dau. of L.J. & S.F., B: May 14, 1878-D: Nov. 13, 1886
Freddie son of L.J. & S.F., B: & D: Dec. 10, 1876
Willie son of L.J. & S.F., B: & D: Aug. 19, 1867


I am still searching for the cemetery.