Fantasy tigers

I Miss my Dad

It’s Father’s Day again.

My Dad taught me so much. Not through lectures or lessons — but by example.

He was an artist but a realist. He worked as the art director for the local TV station but quit when the station was bought by new owners he didn’t like. He then started his own business as a sign painter in the days before computers, when if you wanted lettering on your truck for your business, someone had to actually paint it on the truck for you. He worked out of the basement of our house, so he was always home and there for me.

He taught me about respecting women, because he loved my mother and never abused her. He taught me about the importance of honesty and doing the right thing even when no one would know. He never drank or used foul language, and I grew up never drinking or cursing. He never discouraged me from my interests in music or drama or any other crazy projects I had as a kid.

He taught me to be independent and enjoy life — and I think that was a lesson all of his kids learned, as each of us ended up starting our own businesses and/or being very independent in our lives.

He had a great sense of humor, loving his Pogo books and puns. I even got him laughing at Monty Python.

One Christmas, we hung the Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling. Another time, he got a huge one, put it in the living room so everyone driving by could see it from the window, and then put the top of the tree on the roof so it looked like it had crashed through the ceiling.

And our house was always full of kids and music and art, not just from me and my two brothers and one sister, but from lots of neighborhood kids who hung out there while mom made Chef Boy-ar-dee pizzas for everyone.

I had a happy childhood, and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized it. We always saw happy families on TV sitcoms and thought that was normal, but I recall it was my friend Mark Waid in High School who opened my eyes. He pointed out that most of my friends came from broken families, and the reason everyone liked to hang out at our house was because “everybody wanted to be a Ventrella” and have a happy family.

He died soon after I had graduated from law school. He had smoked a pipe most of his life and the lung cancer got him.

But I knew he was proud of me and I was proud of him.

Voting horror in Georgia

Matt Bors

Juneteenth!

“We made Juneteenth a national holiday!”

“Great! How about that voting rights bill?”

“Didn’t you hear? Holiday!”

“And are you voting for the police reform act?”

“I don’t think you’re listening. National. Holiday.”

“(sigh)”

cartoon by Clay Bennett

Favorite “They Might Be Giants” animated videos

Two things I love: They Might Be Giants and good animation. So, for no other reason, here are some of my favorite animated videos of TMBG songs (that I could find on YouTube that were in good quality).

Mar-a-Lego

Steve Sack

The new economy means you have to pay reasonable wages

I’ve seen plenty of right-wing talking points recently about lazy people not taking jobs because unemployment benefits are better.

Unemployment benefits don’t even get people out of poverty, so what does that say about the salary you’re offering?

“But I’m offering a decent wage,” the employer says. Well, obviously not, if you can’t find workers.

The economy has changed. Many workers (who you may have called “essential”) died in the pandemic, and many more have decided that if they’re essential, maybe they should get paid accordingly. There are more jobs than people who need them. (Hey, maybe all those “immigrants coming here for our jobs” isn’t a bad thing after all, hm?)

What makes me shake my head more is the realization that the ones complaining about it are the same ones who talk about how great capitalism is and how the “free market” should decide the economy. Well, the free market is now demanding that you pay your employees a decent wage.

While on one hand, I can feel sorry for those mom-and-pop neighborhood stores that have it harder, this is just a cost of business, like when your rent goes up or the cost of materials increases. People’s value should go up with inflation just like everything else.

But the main thing that bugs me about it is when I see huge corporations complaining about it. The WalMart family could pay every employee $25 an hour and still remain billionaires. There comes a point where you cannot feel sorry for the Bad Guys who put workers in slave-like conditions with as few benefits as possible when they’re so rich they could make a real difference in those people’s lives but choose not to for their own selfish reasons. There’s no way to make that admirable, in my book.

Senator Sinema’s priorities

David Fitzsimmons

Why we need Pride Month

I would love to live in a world where we wouldn’t need Gay Pride parades or Black Pride marches or anything like that.  But as long as there are a group of people who want to make others ashamed of what they are, then there will be people saying, “No, I am not ashamed.  I am proud.  You cannot shame me.”

If we lived in a society where it was absolutely fine to discriminate against people with blue eyes, I would encourage blue-eyed people to have their own “Blue-Eyed Pride” parades. They would need them, to establish that they will not bend to the will of those who would take away their rights for no good reason.

I admit that I’ve never paid much attention to “Italian Pride” because I don’t feel like having an Italian last name has really hurt me that much. Oh sure, there’s probably someone out there who won’t like me for that reason, but I don’t have an entire political party dedicated to destroying any rights I might have.

People who are marginalized by our society need representation. They need to see that they have worth and value.

Is there a need whatsoever for “Straight Pride”? Or “White Pride”? No, of course not. No one is preventing straight people from getting married. No one is marching with hate signs saying “whites will not replace us.”

The point of Pride months is to stand up to those who want to shame people for who they are. Don’t let others demean you. Be proud.

Pride flags hung along Main Street of my hometown of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Memorial Day 2021

For Memorial Day, I thought I’d just post some cartoons, and remind everyone to always remember the true purpose of the day.

memorial-day