National Velvet carried Elizabeth Taylor to stardom.

At least, that’s my take on it.

Why did she die at a fairly young age, 79? I looked it up in several sources, and it was congestive heart failure. That can slow you down. As I understand it, your heart becomes this squishy thing, not like a strong muscle, so your blood kind of swishes around, instead of squirting properly all over. Your legs are what the medical profession calls a “second heart.” That is, when you walk, they push the blood back up to your heart that gravity has let fall down to your feet. So, it’s healthy to walk. And not so healthy that she was in a wheelchair the last few years.

Turns out I’ve hardly seen any of her movies. Mostly, I admire her for being outspoken, and for appearing in public without much (any?) plastic surgery. You have no idea how hard it is for older women in Hollywood. Hell, even a good number of the girls on The Bachelor have had things done, even at 25! (although it’s mostly boob jobs.)

My Elizabeth Taylor filmography:

Jane EyreI think I saw it. I read the book, great girls book.

National Velvet Yes, read the book (all the horse books I could find) and saw the movie. There may have been some tears.

Little Women – probably. I saw one version, and liked it a lot. Who was she, Jo?And I read the book several times.

IvanhoeI think I had to see it in high school. But I might be getting it mixed up with the Ivanhoe Reservoir I see every day.

Cleopatra – Yes. I remember thinking she didn’t look that beautiful to me. She and Richard B. had some chemistry, though.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?I hate this play. It was originally a play, then a movie. A married couple battle it out, and they’re not as clever as they think they are, but they sure are mean. It makes you squirm. If you saw the Emmy- nominated episode of The Office where Michael and Jan give a dinner party (the only dinner party) — like that.

A Little Night MusicI love this movie! Saw it as a play, too. It’s kind of like Glee for theater-goers, romantics, and sophisticates.

Cartoon after the jump. 

Not what you expected for Ms Taylor’s eulogy?

Rob Tornoe, a talented cartoonist out of NJ,  posted on Facebook:
Who’s going to draw the first political cartoon of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra being carried to the pearly gates?

Which was funny because so many cartoonists will do/have done that. It looks weird to me to have editorial cartoonists draw heaven, just like gag cartoonists do, but I think death is hard to do well.

Daryl Cagle has several blogs, which is very confusing, but I managed to find his collection of Elizabeth Taylor cartoons. I’m not going to name the cartoonists, because there are 3 or 4 of the most hideous portraits I’ve ever seen there, and 4 have the SAME drawing of just her eyes! Poor Liz. You can make up your own mind whether <

Japanese Stock Exchange teeters after the earthquake, too.

bank of japan throwing money into the country to stabilize the stock market
bank of japan throwing money into the country to stabilize the stock market

The Bank of Japan dumping yen into the economy to try to stabilize the stock market (and, oh yeah, our market as well.) (That is the first time I’ve ever used yen in a sentence.)

Of course, I may have the entire scenario wrong, but I got a nice colorful cartoon out of it, with a red Japanese sun on top. (Some of the editorial cartoons I saw on Japan had only the sun!  Oh, well, I took the path less trodden.:))

Building a mosque near Ground Zero? It’s a NO-brainer.

My latest cartoon on building a mosque near the Twin Towers.

Interesting story of man who burned the Koran on 9-11 and then was FIRED from his job at the NJ Transit Authority. From NY Daily News:

Derek Fenton, 39, of Bloomingdale, N.J., burned the book during a protest on the ninth anniversary of Sept. 11 outside Park51, the controversial mosque slated to be built near Ground Zero.

“Mr. Fenton’s public actions violated New Jersey Transit’s code of ethics,” an agency statement said.

“NJ Transit concluded that Mr. Fenton violated his trust as a state employee and therefore [he] was dismissed.”

“He said, ‘This is America,’ and he wanted to stand up for it, in a Tea Party kind of way,” a police source said.

Another police source said Fenton described himself as a “loyal American” exercising his “right to protest.”
If Fenton was fired for burning the Koran while off-duty, his First Amendment rights probably were violated, Chris Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union said.

I would think so! The guy is doing this on his own time, and certainly not representing NJTransit! I don’t believe any book should be burned, let alone religious books. But a book isn’t as bad as a flag, and he did have a right to his beliefs.

Myself, I did some research on the poor souls who were forced to jump from the Twin Towers on Saturday September 11, 2010. Very interesting, and I may post it here. It was the most horrifying part of the event to me, and perhaps to others.

And I think even Obama realizes now that he may have put a big schism in the Democratic party for voters, for him to act like this is no big deal. Freedom of religion, yes. But it’s not like everyone can just


9-11 Photographer Unknown.

Famous Falling Man photo from 9/11. Apparently the photographer made several photos of this man, one of which shows him aiming straight down, like an arrow.

I’m not sure if this is the same photograph sequence that Esquire talks about, although it’s obviously a tall man.  Esquire gets a little dramatic talking about what the AP photographer, Richard Drew, had in mind with his photos, but this still gives me chills:

They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died. read more

Haiti, this is the first time I ever thought about you.

But now I’ll never forget you. The story and images coming from Haiti after the earthquake were so shocking  and grievous that it didn’t even occur to me to do a cartoon about it. I felt that tragedies like  this couldn’t be summed up in an image or drawing. More importantly, that cartoonists would be respectful of the loss of life.

Maybe I was wrong. And maybe cartoonists can help. I’ve never read editorial cartoons until about a year ago, so I had no experience to draw upon. But cartoonists leaped right into the fray, even as corpses sailed across the tv. In one sense, I guess it was brave of them(the cartoonists.) Here are some cartoons that worked, and some that didn’t. (Cartoons are after the jump.)

Ted Rall and Donna Barstow: Separated at Birth?

Ted Rall is a liberal who hates most things President Obama has done this year. I am (mostly) conservative, who thinks Obama is doing a decent job, although I can’t point out anything in particular that is great. So we’re kind of going in opposite directions, but I enjoyed pointing out to him recently on Facebook that it’s fun watching him hotfoot over to the other side!

capital punishment cartoon

I know Ted only slightly, from a gallery in Santa Monica  that we were both in, Impolitic, that had rather fantastic parties. (Hi, Josh!) We also share the same publishers (NBM and Andrews McMeel), although my books there are about chocolate, and true love cartoons, and  unfortunately he dropped the ball on those topics. (America Gone Wild: Cartoons by Ted Rall and The Year of Loving Dangerously). We’re also both in Slate and Gocomics.

But we had similar cartoons this weekend, both about murder by the state (capital punishment), although we were attracted to different stories. I am disgusted and appalled by states that still believe that they get to play God and decide when someone dies. On PURPOSE. This includes California, my current state. In the incident last week, Ohio did its damndest to kill Mr. Romell Broom for allegedly killing and raping a 14 year old girl. They couldn’t find a vein to torture him with their lethal drugs, which suffocate you and stop your heart. (Why didn’t they try waterboarding?) CNN points out that Ohio has had a few problems in this area before.

The  LA Times had a good article about the attempted execution, saying the Ohio asshat officials wouldn’t allow him to talk to his attorney as it stretched out to 2 hours and 20 minutes, and that he started to cry, covering his face, after an hour. They also said he flinched when they inserted a shunt in his leg. Can you imagine that?!

Weisberg said California is a prime example of a state that retains a death penalty in theory yet rarely conducts executions despite having the nation’s biggest death row, with 685 condemned prisoners.

In California, executions have been on hold since early 2006: Lethal injections have failed to fully anesthetize inmates in six of the 13 executions conducted in the state since capital punishment resumed in 1976.

I think at this point, everyone would agree that it is cruel and unusual punishment in his case. Well, maybe not Ohio. I always liked them before. Not so much now.

Ted’s cartoon after the jump.