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Straight vs. Curvy
I have been imagining a faceoff between two historic figures. I see them down in the pit, vying for dominance, and only one can come out alive.

FiguratIvely speaking, that is. It wouldn't be a fight to the death, exactly. More like a no-holds-barred build-off. Frank Lloyd Wright vs. Antonin Gaudi for the title of Best Architect of the twentieth century.

The weapons at their disposal would include conceptual daring, soundness of engineering, breakthrough ideas, use of new materials, evocation of and blending with nature, management of space, practicality, and beauty. Some might see this as a contest between art nouveau and modernism, but both men went beyond the narrow boundaries of those categories. Each created a style and a vision uniquely his own.

I should mention that Wright has always been a favorite of mine. His designs and thinking inspired, in a small way, the design of my own modest home, and when I'm in a bookstore, I am always drawn to the architecture section so that I might take a moment to page through any books they have about his work. But that was then. I am in Barcelona now and fresh off visits to Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, and Gaudi's still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia.

Sorry, Frank. You are a worthy contender, but It's Antonin in a first-round TKO.
Gone, But Not Forgetting
I'm a long way from my drawing board right now, but politics is somehow moving on without my cartoons. The issues are ripe and bursting with juicy irony, and I am experiencing withdrawals from being unable to satirize them.

Among the scenery moving around in my head:

1. Drump unhinged. He looked positively incandescent in that oval office meeting with the Rooskis. Like a navel orange on fire. His teeth seemed to glow neon blue, and his face bespoke a strange, overamped goofiness. Was he coked up again? His lips, we know, were especially loose.

2. The Republicans. They continue to exhibit the perfect antitheses of all the noble qualities that they claim exclusively for themselves: patriotic, strong on defense, tough on Russia, fiscally responsible, honorable in the extreme. No, no, no, no, and no. They've managed to give craveness a bad name. I am so tired of using the nice old elephant as a symbol for these turkeys. If only I could replace it with something more appropriate. A weasel, say, or a leech. Cane toad? Moray eel? Maggot?

3. The Dems. United for once, mostly, but too worshipful of the elites. Joe blow is still out there looking for someone who really cares. Could I make them a gelded Arabian stallion instead of a donkey? Or maybe a unicorn?

4. The rest of the world. They're pretty busy with their own control freaks, but I'll bet they're still gobsmacked that we could follow up our salad nicoise a la Obama with a crap crepe.

5. The planet. Tick, tick, tick. Just like Drump, only slower.

6. Truth. Not that hard to find, really. Your daily newspaper does a pretty good job. Oh, wait a minute, it disappeared. My #1 rule: don't believe anything that comes out of Drump's mouth. Unless it's a precious national secret, that is.

Okay, I'm feeling better about my cartooning now. The republic, though, not so much.
Fated
Tiled faces
Gazing west
Over the jacarandas
Beyond the boats
To the wide
Dark sea

Longing
Caught between
Loss and hope
Is that a distant sail?
DeGama
Returning
At last
With spice
And new dominion?

Or only
The ghost
Of a different fate
That we will
Never see
Or know?
When the Worm Turns
I would offer this blog as a clarion call to arms, but I know that I would be ignored. Besides, I don’t even own a clarion.

My call would be ignored because the object of my concern is being heralded as a godsend solution to one of humanity’s greatest problems: too much plastic. Plastic is more than a nuisance; its proliferation is seen as a threat to all that is natural and good in the world. As anyone who has visited the Gyre recently can tell you, that swirling, Texas-sized mass of plastic waste in the middle of the Pacific is now approaching Alaskan dimensions. It’s scary.

Reliable sources are breathlessly reporting that we might be saved from this tide of man-made garbage by a wondrous little creature that just loves the taste of good polyethylene: galleria mellonella, known to its friends as the parasitic waxworm.

Not the most endearing of names, perhaps, but who cares if it will gobble up the Gyre, shrink the local landfill, and bring plastic bags back to our grocery stores? And if you think of the parasitic waxworm as a cute little caterpillar which matures into the lovely-sounding galleria mellonella moth, it doesn’t sound quite so menacing.

Still, you might want to consider this question: what happens when all the plastic is gone? We will have gone down the path of fostering a massive breeding program of these parasites in the name of the environment. Fine. But these worms (or cuddly caterpillars, if you wish) are in plain truth repulsive, death-white caricatures of bug-ugliness, and they will be everywhere. Imagine, if you will, a world writhing and waist-deep in larvae, consuming everything in their path. The ranks of the mellonella moths (which are not nearly so pretty as their name) will have swollen enormously as well, perhaps into the many trillions. Their flutterings could well fill the skies and black out the sun as they seek out new sources of plastic and anything else they can lay their mandibles on. When they’re not laying eggs, that is.

Now, I don’t want to scare anyone. Everything will probably turn out for the best. Check the labels on all your clothing, though. If these things ever get started on that Patagonia fleece shell you’re wearing, they may not know when to stop. As I have said, however, it is unlikely that you will ever actually be devoured by a surging mass of polyethylene-crazed parasitic waxworms. The odds are very low of that happening, at any rate. 50-50 tops.

To be on the safe side, though, I’d advise you to keep that clarion handy. Not that it will be much help if all humanity has been wiped out by the parasitic waxworms.
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee