CSotD: Vladimir’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure

I wish John Deering (Creators) hadn’t felt compelled to label that bucket. Very few political cartoons have ever been improved by labels. But I greatly admire his keeping up with the news and his willingness to work on a weekend, neither of which should be worthy of comment but both of which, alas, are.

I realize some cartoonists are constrained by schedules, but I knew how to walk into the editor’s office and explain why something had to shift, and, certainly, if I still had a cartoon up that mocked sanctions as ineffective, or suggested that Putin’s army was going to go through Ukraine like a hot knife through butter, I’d be taking that walk.

War crimes aside, the Ukrainians obviously are not falling before Putin’s disorganized, disspirited, ill-supplied conscripts, while the ruble has become all but worthless and, as the world shuts out his oligarch buddies, they’re beginning to ask him some very uncomfortable questions.

His situation was not helped Saturday, when the US and Europe agreed to bar some major Russian banks from the SWIFT system.

She’s not the only one who has noticed, and, when Putin responded by suggesting nuclear arms, he reportedly had to fire his own deputy defense minister, which in this country we used to refer to as Cox-shucking.

If true, it’s hardly the mark of a leader in firm possession of his standing, and, as the oligarchs find themselves not simply unable to access the wealth they have squirreled away in the West, but unable to keep their crews from pulling the plugs on their yachts, the pressure on Putin may be solidifying into a demand he step aside.


The week has certainly, as David Rowe suggests, revealed him to be more of a fraud than a magician, and Putin had better come up with some impressive magic tricks damn fast, and those tricks should not increase the world’s pressure on his rich pals.


Because Russians don’t allow their failures to continue to declare themselves wizards-in-exile the way, as Kal Kallaugher illustrates, Americans do.

The good part about the CPAC Convention being that the fringe has quit pretending not to be white supremacists. The bad part being that Fox ratings suggest that’s a viable demographic.


Still, the world is riveted on the situation in Ukraine, and the issue of “talks” between Ukraine and its invaders remain foggy, but their determination to stand firm does not.

However, as noted there, many Ukrainians want to get away from the danger, and most countries are welcoming them with open arms and few restrictions.


With the notable exception of the UK, where, as Morten Morland points out, the government suggested they apply for temporary work visas.

This was later changed so that people who don’t want to be killed can seek refuge in the UK, as long as they can prove they have some skills that the government can monetize.

Thank goodness for Brexit: If they were still part of the EU, British officials would have to have hearts and consciences.


Meanwhile, Steve Camley offers a pretty good wrap-up of the situation, with the only flaw being that the abused woman is not cowering.

It is, nonetheless, a good analysis of Putin’s failure, since — and the crazy-eyes are a terrific touch — he thought he’d be welcomed back, once he kicked in the door, brandished his gun and said “Baby, I love you.”

In the words of James Thurber, “It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.”


We speak of things that matter, with words that must be guessed

(Tom Gauld)

(Real Life Adventures)

I’m mystified by the continued popularity of Wordle. I played the game for about two weeks, but found it quickly became a guessing game. My starter words — “irate,” “noise” and “ratio” — significantly narrowed down the vowels using common consonants, after which it was simply a matter of shifting them around and filling in the blanks.

So I find Gauld’s piece a funny commentary on people and fads, because I felt the same way about crème brûlée, when that was what everyone was rhapsodic over.

I finally got to taste it when I was in Chicago at a convention and my assistant had ordered some. It was mighty tasty indeed, but, as Dr. Johnson said of the Giant’s Causeway, “Worth seeing, yes; but not worth going to see.”

Similarly, Wordle is worth trying, but not worth playing every day, IMNSHO.


Real Life Adventures caused me to back off a bit and recognize that I’ve made my living with words for a very long time, making Wordle, at best, a busman’s holiday.

It also reminded me that, not being a numbers person, I was confounded by Sudoku when it emerged as a fad, because I didn’t get it and didn’t think it was fun and, yes, it made me feel a bit stupid.

In that case, however, I had a boss who wanted it in our weekly issue, and so I not only had to place it, but had to make sure I had the correct solution posted as well, which meant I had to work the damn thing out, because she most surely would.

Thus having my nose held to the grindstone, I began to recognize the patterns, which made things quite a bit easier, but never made me enjoy the puzzle.

The experience helps me understand why, since few people make a living with words, so many of them find Wordle a challenge, though I still don’t understand why the fascination lasts very long.


Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone rhapsodize over crème brûlée. This, too, shall pass.

And, like the fella in Real Life Adventures, I don’t have to play the game to feel stupid.

I just compare myself to the guy who invented this thing and then sold it to the NYTimes while it was hot.


Volodya’s Song

Back to Putin: Guy Venables comments on his willingness to talk peace, and it is frightening. However, as noted above, his grip appears to be slipping, and his personal control over that button seems far from certain.

Here’s a song for the old boy:

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Vladimir’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure

  1. I think there are still enough racists in this country to be a viable demographic, even enough to get elected in some states, but I think Barack Obama proved pretty conclusively that racists alone are not enough to win the presidency.

    Yes, Trump is a racist, and he won a presidential election, but it was kind of a fluke, he won with fewer votes than his opponent, and his opponent was was a weak candidate (not that she was not qualified or would not have made a good president, but she carried a lot of baggage, not all of her own making).

  2. For those with a love of words, I’ll recommend Curtis Honeycutt’s Grammar guy syndicated column

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