Seattle

Washington State’s Special Session


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I drew this for The Seattle Times and it ran in their Sunday edition, last Sunday. I wanted to give them some time for the web hits before posting here.

The state’s legislature is going into their “second” special session to deal with school funding. I received a brand new T-Shirt from my friend and fellow cartoonist Jennifer Miller today that reads “Stop f#ckin’ Around.” That would be a good message for lawmakers in Washington.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.

Chris Cornell


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If you read yesterday’s blog you know I’m a huge Soundgarden fan. While I’m not a huge fan of drawing “obituary” cartoons, I wanted to do something special for Chris Cornell.

I’ve done some work for The Seattle Times over the past couple of years and Thursday afternoon they asked me to draw a cartoon for their Sunday edition (on a completely different subject).

I had a hectic workload Friday morning. I had to draw a cartoon for my syndication, one for The Costa Rica Star, and the cartoon requested by The Times. I started working at 3:00 AM Friday morning. The last of the three cartoons I drew was the Times cartoon and when I was done and it was approved, I threw out my request.

I told them I wanted to draw a Chris Cornell cartoon for his hometown newspaper and have it run in their Saturday edition. They jumped on it and bumped whatever else they already had set for that page. I finished drawing at 3:00 PM. It’s also a good thing I’m four hours ahead of Seattle.

I had my own cartoon marathon drawing four cartoons in 12 hours. That involved two pots of coffee. I went to sleep Friday night around 8:00 PM and woke up Saturday morning at 5:00 AM. I slept hard.

So while I don’t like obituary cartoons, especially those involving Pearly Gates and Heaven, I’ll break my own rules occasionally. How could I not include “Say Hello 2 Heaven?”

I’m re-posting what I wrote from the day before, just in case you missed it.

Chris Cornell.

I’m a huge fan of music that comes from Seattle. It’s not a bias for the city or I’m carrying a love for flannel and frosty, wet weather that’ll depress the hell out of you. It’s that the artists who come from that corner of the Northwest were kinda isolated from what radio and MTV told us what was supposed to be popular and what we should listen to. While Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, are all classified as “grunge,” those four bands don’t sound much alike, and they didn’t sound anything like the music radio was telling us to absorb in the late 80s and early 90s. They ignored that and followed their own rules.

Cornell was a brilliant songwriter with a voice that soared above others. You can argue he was the best pure singer to come from the entire “grunge” scene with only Layne Staley from AIC being able to challenge him. That would be a good argument.

Cornell was a rock’n’roll bad ass. Years ago I was hanging with fellow musicians at an after party and the front man (who is a brilliant vocalist and songwriter in his own right) for another band, She Bites Dogs, was drunk and threw out a silly question. “If you’re not gay but had to sleep with a famous dude, who would it be?” He may have also been high. While every guy in the room was stumbling for an answer, he threw out an answer in a millisecond after his own question. He chose Chris Cornell. While we didn’t have time to think about it, it seemed it had been on his mind for a while. But it made sense. Cornell wasn’t just a really good-looking dude. He was cool. He was talented. He’s the kind of guy girls want and yes, guys would want to be. He didn’t even get too much shit when he cut off his long hair in the mid-90s, He was that cool. When you’re that cool, you can do whatever the hell you want.

Cornell has a legacy. Imagine the vocal abilities of Elvis in a format with a hard rocking band with songs that did not suck. Cornell’s vocal cords had balls. Soundgarden was pure fury with an intense depth musically and lyrically. Soundgarden is the band that Nickelback wishes they could be, but to be fair, every band probably wants to be Soundgarden. The first Soundgarden song that will come to mind for the casual listener is probably “Black Hole Sun,” but there’s so much more they should check out. Check out the anger, screaming vocals, profanity, pure adrenaline rush, and banjo (yes. Banjo!), in Ty Cobb.

“Loud Love” is a great description for Soundgarden, yet there was more to Cornell than loud music. While still in Soundgarden and before they made it big, he put together Temple of the Dog, which was a collaboration between him and the future members of Pearl Jam that was a one-shot tribute to his roommate and friend Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone who died from a heroin overdose. Check out Chris dueting with a very young and inexperienced Eddie Vedder on “Hunger Strike.” After Soundgarden he had a solo career that a lot of his fans weren’t very fond of, as the music was a lot softer and, because he was cool and could do whatever he wanted, he covered Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. He also delivered an amazing version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.” Cornell formed Audioslave (he apparently likes hearing terms in band names) with the former members of Rage Against The Machine. It rocked but it didn’t come close to the innovation, brilliance, and pure hunger of Soundgarden. Soundgarden kicks ass.

Cornell died in Detroit Thursday from an apparent suicide while on tour with Soundgarden. He joins other Seattle music tragedies such as Staley, Cobain, and Hendrix. He wrote about death often such as in “Say Hello To Heaven” from Temple Of The Dog, “Like A Stone”, from Audioslave, and “Jesus Christ Pose” from Soundgarden.

I’m sure Heaven is enthusiastic to say hello to Chris Cornell.

Creative note: This blog took a while because I wasn’t able to find all those links without listening to each song. I have to draw a cartoon today for The Seattle Times and The Costa Rica Star and I’ll be jamming to Chris’ music while I do so.

Update: I misreported that Cornell was on a solo tour. I was wrong. He was on tour with Soundgarden which I should have known. The worst part is, I found that out while writing my blog but failed to scroll up to make my correction. A reader (seen below) reminded me that I needed to correct it. I apologize for that mistake.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.

Gun Violence In Washington State


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This cartoon is on today’s opinion page of The Seattle Times. It accompanies their excellent editorial.

Twenty-one people have been killed and eleven injured in seven mass shootings in Western Washington just this year.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Pronto In Seattle


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I had not drawn a cartoon for The Seattle Times since May so it felt good to get back to work with them. This is in today’s edition. I’ll also have another cartoon on their pages tomorrow.

The Pronto issue is interesting. The city is spending mega bucks on a bicycle system while scrapping for funds to handle their homeless situation. Read the Times’ editorial.

This was the third idea on this issue. A variation of the first idea was approved. I was going to draw it the next morning and while getting a haircut I thought of this idea which I liked so much better. Thankfully so did my editor. I believe it’s the first time I put the Space Needle in a cartoon for them. I was avoiding it for a while as I didn’t want to go all cliche on them and give the impression everything I know about Seattle I learned from watching Frasier.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Sound Transit and Schwag


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I drew this for The Seattle Times, which they ran Thursday.

Sound Transit threw a large party to open new light-rail stations. The party costs taxpayers a whopping $858,000. Those attending were given nice schwag such as tote bags, wallets, lanyards, a commemorative pass. The argument for the party is they need to promote the station so people will use it. Really? It seems people would know there’s a new station in their neighborhood. Ridership has reportedly increased by 25,000 but I doubt that’s because there was a party.

On top of all this the agency is asking for an additional $50 billion. Those better be some very swanky tote bags.

Creative note: When my editor approved this she asked if it was “schwag” or “swag.” I told her it was “schwag” and that I double checked before I sent it to her, but I asked that she and her staff check again just to make sure. I’m always paranoid to tell someone I’m correct about something, even when I’m sure, to find out after publication that I made a mistake in my research. Her assistant assumed it was “swag” since her heard it in a Justin Beiber song. What the? We don’t trust Justin Beiber. What is he, Wikipedia now? I told him to check again and he found the same results I did which is that schwag stands for stuff and low-grade marijuana.

Learning it meant low-grade marijuana was news for both of us but I kinda figured the word had a pot connotation. I’ve known this smelly white dude with dread locks for years who is nicknamed “Schwag.” Nice guy. He’s always mellow.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Cartoon For Seattle Times: Bellevue Football


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Here’s the latest cartoon I drew for The Seattle Times, which ran today.

Bellevue is a high school football team and they’re a powerhouse. They’re constantly ranked among the best nationally in the USA Today poll. They have won the state championship 11 times between 2001 and 2013. An independent investigation has issued a report that the team has been violating rules for years.

They have been accused of having players who don’t live in their district and boosters paid tuition at a private school for players. In addition, the report says the coach “directed and encouraged” Bellevue football players to take classes at a private alternative school “to obtain minimum grade standards” needed to maintain their eligibility to play. One football player described the school as a “day care” for athletes.

As you can imagine, Tom Brady isn’t liked anywhere outside New England. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of response this cartoon receives.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Washington Wrecking Ball


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How about that, regular readers of this site. I drew an exclusive cartoon this week and you’re just now hearing about it and getting to see it. I drew this last Thursday night, eh…Friday morning for The Seattle Times Sunday edition.

This is the routine for charter schools in Washington state. The legislature implements charter schools. The teachers unions sue. The court shuts the schools down. The legislature restructures how the schools are funded. Charter schools reopen. The teachers unions sue. The court shuts the schools down. The legislature…well you get the idea.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Washington State Photo Bomb


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I drew this cartoon for The Seattle Times Sunday edition.

Washington’s retiring Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, might throw his hat into the governors race as an independent.

Governor Jay Inslee isn’t very popular right now but he’s still running for reelection. He’ll probably win as the state is very blue. His opponent is moderate Republican Bill Bryant. Dorn wants to put the focus of the race on education.

He has a good argument. Dorn argues that neither Republicans or Democrats have fully funded education. The state supreme court held the state in contempt for failing to fund education. A later decision slammed the state, the governor and Republican led legislature with a $100,000-a-day fine.

Funding education in Washington is required by law. If the current leaders aren’t living up to that, Dorn will appeal to a lot of voters with his proposal that education has “first dibs” at the state budget.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Washington Charter Schools


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To sum up, Washington state had charter schools. Nine across the state to be exact. Then the Supreme Court said they couldn’t be funded from the state education budget. This week the state legislature, the House and Senate, passed a funding bill that supports the charter schools. Democrats joined Republicans to push the bill through. It’s not a done deal yet as it now goes to governor Jay Inslee’s desk.

As you can imagine the teachers’ union in the state opposes state funded charter schools. I don’t always support charter schools or oppose teachers unions. I support teachers, but not just public teachers. I also support education, especially when it gives opportunity to the less fortunate which the charter schools in Washington do.

Friday morning my editor at The Seattle Times emailed wanting a cartoon on this. I sent her my first idea, which was on the schools being funded through the state lottery.

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Kate, my editor approved it. But as she approved it she wrote about the number of students from the charter schools who were in attendance for the hearings on the matter at the legislate in the state capitol in Olympia (yes, the capitol of Washington is in Olympia for those keeping score at home).

Even though she approved the idea I thought I could come up with something she would like better. And I did. She liked the first idea, loved the second. I like that. I thought we were going to publish early next week but Kate then said she wanted to run it tomorrow. Yowzah, I really had to get to work. I told her I’d have it to her in two hours and three hours later she got it.

I drew both roughs on my brand new tablet, which is the biggest reason I bought the tablet. This was the first time I drew a rough on it, sent it to an editor, and had it approved for publication.

Here’s the rough that rough.

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Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Head Cuts In Washington State


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Here is today’s cartoon for The Seattle Times.

Washington governor Jay Inslee is having difficulty retaining department heads. The head of the Department of Corrections resigned due to inmates being released too early and watching it happen for three years.

The DSHS Secretary resigned because the state has been under court orders to improve how it treats some people with mental-health problems and has struggled to add beds and staff to Western State Hospital, a state psychiatric facility.

Last week the Washington Senate, controlled by Republicans, basically fired the Transportation secretary by voting not to confirm her… three years after she was appointed to the job. Problem with appointments not being voted on by Republicans? I wonder how the president feels about that.

Did you like this cartoon? Want to help a cartoonist make a living? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. I need to buy pens, paper, sandwiches, and dog food. The starving cartoonist and his Beagle appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!