Sunday, May 31, 2020

I don't have a positive attitude about positivity

Unfortunately, “positivity” seems to be a popular word these days, even though it sounds like jargon cooked up by a committee of exhausted bureaucrats at the end of a five-hour meeting in a windowless room. Plus, it sounds vaguely medical. (“Positivity? Oh no! He should see a dermatologist about that.”)

Yet as much as I hate “positivity” (the word, not the concept), I have no problem with “creativity” or “negativity,” which end in the same three syllables.

In my defense, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." There's just no denying my negativity about positivity, a perfectly pointless synonym for what once was called a positive attitude.

The New Yorker covers: August 22, 1953


Over the years, there have been many magazines whose covers have featured the work of highly talented artists and illustrators. But probably no magazine has had more varied and memorable covers, over a longer period of time, than The New Yorkerwhich was founded in 1925. Yes, there have been some duds. Some covers have not aged well. But many New Yorker covers are stunning, no matter how old. Witty. Whimsical. Poignant. Pointed. Or some combination thereof.

by Arthur Getz
(covers untitled until February 1993)

The Great State O' Maine celebrates 200 years of statehood!


In July 1819, Maine voters opted to separate from Massachusetts, and a constitutional convention was held in October of that year. The proposed constitution won voter approval the following January, and Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820. In honor of the Pine Tree State’s 200th anniversary of statehood, I’m posting Maine-related photos and images.

Today in the history of the American comic strip: May 31


American cartoonists and writers may not have invented the comic strip, but some argue that the comics, as we know them today, are an American creation. Clearly, the United States has played an outsize role in the development of this underappreciated art form.

5.31.1954: Long Sam (1954-1962), created and initially written by Al Capp and drawn by Bob Lubbers, is believed to have started on this date, or the following month. The title character was a mountain woman raised in a hidden valley by a man-hating mother.

5.31.1959: Arnold Roth launches Poor Arnold's Almanac as a Sunday comic. It ran until 1961, and was resurrected as both a Sunday and daily feature from 1989 to 1990.

Long Sam
Most of the information listed here from one day to the next comes from two online sites -- Wikipedia, and Don Markstein's Toonopedia -- as well as 100 Years of American Newspaper Comics, edited by Maurice Horn. Note that my focus is on American newspaper comic strips (and the occasional foreign strip that gained popularity in the United States). Thus, comic books and exclusively online comicare not included here.

"What is art but a way of seeing?" Saul Bellow

"The Mandolin Player" (David in Profile), 1914, Marc Chagall

Movie Posters, 2019: Two adults, please, and a large popcorn!


Saturday, May 30, 2020

The New Yorker covers: May 5, 1945


Over the years, there have been many magazines whose covers have featured the work of highly talented artists and illustrators. But probably no magazine has had more varied and memorable covers, over a longer period of time, than The New Yorkerwhich was founded in 1925. Yes, there have been some duds. Some covers have not aged well. But many New Yorker covers are stunning, no matter how old. Witty. Whimsical. Poignant. Pointed. Or some combination thereof.

by Rea Irvin
(covers untitled until February 1993)

The Great State O' Maine celebrates 200 years of statehood!


In July 1819, Maine voters opted to separate from Massachusetts, and a constitutional convention was held in October of that year. The proposed constitution won voter approval the following January, and Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820. In honor of the Pine Tree State’s 200th anniversary of statehood, I’m posting Maine-related photos and images.

Snow buntings (Paul Cyr)