Swipes #46: Ice Floes

While I was searching for a New Yorker cartoon to accompany a previous post, I came across some other images as well as several variations on the theme of being setting adrift on an ice floe. I’m not the first person to notice this over-played (and inaccurate!*) trope, either. Links to further reading follow the images:

"Remember, son, it's never too early to start saving for retirement." - Danny Shanahan - New Yorker - 26 November 2001

“Remember, son, it’s never too early to start saving for retirement.” – Danny Shanahan – New Yorker – 26 November 2001

Untitled - David Sipress - New Yorker - 21 July 2008

Untitled – David Sipress - New Yorker – 21 July 2008

"It's my kids—wishing me a happy Father's Day." - David Sipress - New Yorker - 10 June 2013

“It’s my kids—wishing me a happy Father’s Day.” – David Sipress – New Yorker – 10 June 2013

"It's your mother. She's floated back." - Christopher Weyant - New Yorker - 18 September 2006

“It’s your mother. She’s floated back.” – Christopher Weyant – New Yorker – 18 September 2006

"The Inuit arrange a little side trip for Bouchard" - Ingrid Rice - 9 September 1997

“The Inuit arrange a little side trip for Bouchard” – Ingrid Rice – 9 September 1997

For more on Inuit and Eskimo stereotypes in cartoons, see:

– Blue Corn Comics

— “Eskimos: The Ultimate Aborigines

— “Stereotype of the Month Entry (8/22/01)

— “Stereotype of the Month Entry (9/13/06)

– Newspaper Rock: “More Eskimos on ice” (30 December 2006)

– O’Folks (off their rocker): “Ethnic stereotyping and ageism” (14 September 2006)

– NPR: “Rejected: Eskimo Transvestite Cartoon” (25 January 2008) (and, not unrelated, a cartoon by Len Norris…)

*That’s a link to The Straight Dope. Although there are much better sources on this topic, that one is digitized and brief, which seems to be a (shameful but relevant) prerequisite for blog-worthiness.

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Draw the Shape of the Bay @ The Exploratorium in SF

In January, we went to the Exploratorium and touched pretty much all of the exhibits, which was a lot of fun. :-)

One of my favo(u)rite things to look out for is, of course, maps.

ca1 ca2 ca3

I can’t seem to find any information about it on-line, but in a dark secluded hallway, we came across a pretty amazing display called “Draw the Shape of the Bay:”



















(Like I said, it was dark – sorry for poor quality photos!)

This exhibit was an awesome confluence of attempts at geographical accuracy, how people perceive places, comics and narrative (such as a frowning stick figured labelled: “Me on the BART at 8 am after working 11 pm – 7:30 am. It is crowded & I am tired but I still <3 the Bay.”), some Zelda fan art of “the Bae,” and generous interpretations of “drawing” (I particularly like how someone just wrote “The Shape of the Bay” in cursive in the bottom left of the wall shot).

In conclusion: research material is everywhere! Pay attention to those dark secluded side wall exhibits and you might find something amazing. :-)

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“There’s no reason why the simple shapes of stories can’t be fed into computers.”

The Paris Review recently published a piece entitled “Man in Hole: Turning novels’ plots into data points” that explains how Roald Dahl’s “Great Automatic Grammatizor” is finally (or has always been?) a reality.

Enjoy your light Thursday reading. :-)

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Prohibition & Other Booze-y Cartoons

Associated Press Domestic News New Jersey United States U.S. ALCOHOL PROHIBITION PROTESTwe want beer

Four and twenty Yankees, feeling very dry

Went across to Canada and bought a case of rye. 

When the case was opened, they began to sing:

To hell with the Calvin Coolidge, God save the King.

- variation found in Life, 22 May 1950

Prohibition / booze in the United States and Canada was (and remains!) a popular subject for cartoonists (and song writers, and authors, and others), and I’d like to share a few with you here. (Research really is a wacky, misdirected joy ride that can bring you to many archival gems.)


Joseph Moore via Library of Congress

Donald McRitchie  - Mirage

Donald McRitchie – Mirage – 1921

Donald McRitchie  - Official Mash

Donald McRitchie – Official Mash – 1923

Donald McRitchie  - Prohibition in New Brunswick

Donald McRitchie – Prohibition in New Brunswick

Donald McRitchie - Bringing Down the Higher Ups - 1921

Donald McRitchie – Bringing Down the Higher Ups – 1921

Donald McRitchie -The Moth and the Flame

Donald McRitchie -The Moth and the Flame – 1921

Donald McRitchie -Will It Come to This

Donald McRitchie -Will It Come to This – 1923


James North – What is a Democrat? – Library of Congress


Dave Granlund – Metrowest Daily News

Clark - The gay twenties IV - April 1936

George R. Clark – The gay twenties IV – April 1936


Rostap - A Happy Thought - 1904

Rostap – A Happy Thought – 1904

Booziness Trip

Booziness Trip

Other sources:

– “Wets & Drys

– “Prohibition during the Great Depression

– “Prohibition in the Progressive Era

– “The Dry Years” – Library of Congress

– “Topics in Chronicling America – Prohibition

– “Prohibition and the Smuggling of Intoxicating Liquors between the Two Saults” by Andrew Lefebvre

– “Prohibition in Northern Canada” (video)

Repeal Day

Related post:

– Booze! from March 2014

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Composting 101, or “Stop thinking and just compost!”

compostLast weekend, we went to a composting class offered by Santa Clara county, Full Circle Farm volunteers, and the University of California Cooperative Extension. This is our first time with an actual yard of which to speak, so we wanted to learn more about how to compost. They offered lots of useful tips, including:

– A good compost bin consists of four elements: greens (nitrogen-rich materials), browns (carbon-rich materials), air, and water.

– You want about a 50/50 mix of “greens” and “browns,” but when all else fails…

– “Stop thinking and just compost!” (a slogan that would make a great bumper sticker)

– Tree clippings and other yard waste can go into a hot or cold yard compost, but it helps if you break the larger pieces down into 6″ (for cold compost) or 2″ (for hot composting) segments to avoid taking up too much space in your bin (and making the perfect nest habitat for rodents).

– You can put eggshells and other food waste in your compost bin, but you shouldn’t add meat, bones, or dairy because the smells will attract animals and pests. Avoid using wood ashes because they will upset the alkaline balance of your compost. (Also avoid putting feces in it because that can be bad for your worms.)

– You can use a pitchfork, shovel, wing digger, or your hands to mix up the compost from time to time (maybe every week or two) to make sure that air circulates into all the layers of your bin. (Too much air space in the bin will dry out your pile, meaning it will take longer to turn into compost.)

– If your bin is open at the bottom, you can use a galvanized steel screen (or hardware cloth) to prevent animals (such as roof rats?!) from burrowing up through the ground into the nest of food you are preparing for interested creatures.

– If your bin is open at the top, figure out something with a lid and weights or rocks to prevent animals from entering through the top.


Manual labo(u)r compliments of Jim Jim.

We are using a blue garbage bin with holes drilled in it to cold compost our yard waste and some of our food waste from the kitchen (with bungee cords to secure the lid and keep out animals).

There was also extensive discussion of vermicomposting (composting with worms!). We tried to do this in Illinois, but sadly the worms all froze. We learned some great vermiculture tips at the class:

– We are using a 10-gallon Rubbermaid bin with a lid for two people, which seems to be working out fine so far for food / kitchen waste.

– Keep your worms in a shady area that’s not too hot or too cold (55F – 75F is an ideal range). Under the kitchen sink seems to work well.

– Line your bin with bedding for the worms, specifically dampened newspaper (don’t worry – they use soy-based ink!), shredded paper or paper towels, cardboard (like paper towel rolls, pizza boxes, or egg cartons), and junk mail (just not the glossy or plastic parts). The Worm Dude (his real name) said “You can give worms too much food, but you can’t give them too much bedding!”

– If you’re local, you can get worms from Blue Ridge Vermiculture, Common Ground in Palo Alto, the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm, or The Worm Dude (not kidding). We got ours from The Worm Dude (2 lbs of worms for $25).

– The worm colony will grow to fit the bin and the amount of food you give them. According to The Worm Dude, you should start two pounds of worms off with two pounds of food and go from there.

– Be sure to add dirt, coffee grounds, or some other kind of grit to the bin to help the worms break down the food in the container.

– Most kitchen waste / food is fine for worms, including eggs shells, tomatoes, rotten potatoes, banana peels, etc. They won’t eat the stems of leaves or the seeds of tomatoes, but those things won’t hurt your compost.

– Worm castings (left behind, typically at the bottom of your bin, after the worms get through the food waste) are great to add to your garden or any soil that needs to be fertilized! Also organic, natural, local, etc. (depending on what you’ve fed to them…).

– You should harvest the worm castings when they make up about half the contents of the bin. (In our case, this should take 3-6 months, or once the bedding is mostly gone.) Castings are toxic to worms, so you’ll want to get the castings out and replace the bedding as soon as your bin reaches the halfway(ish) point.


Again, holes in the blue bin to let in air. The gray bin catches any runoff worm juice. Yum! Manual labo(u)r by Jim Jim.


The spray bottle is to moisten the bedding when we add newspaper and whatnot.

Since the temperature here is a bit more amenable to the non-death of worms, we have set up a pretty sweet compost bin in our kitchen. So far, the worms seem to be doing well, except two little ones that cling to the lid and seem to want to escape, which is silly because the food is the other way, little dudes!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this tangent from research. Let me know if you have other worm-related or composting tips!

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Vaccines: Not Turning Humans Into Cows Since Always

You may have heard about the measles outbreak in California. There is a long(ish) history of folks debating the merits of vaccinations in political cartoons (and other visual formats), so here are some of those cartoons:

James Gillray, 1802

“Vaccination with Cowpox,” James Gillray, 1802

c. 1940s (via reddit)

c. 1940s (via reddit)

“Wonder Why My Parents Didn’t Give Me Salk Shots?” Tom Little, 1956

“Wonder Why My Parents Didn’t Give Me Salk Shots?” Tom Little, 1956

David Fitzsimmons, 2012

David Fitzsimmons, 2012

Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News, 6 May 2014

Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News, 6 May 2014

But seriously, people, help the herd.

(The Gillray image inspired the title of this post.)

Posted in Category Awesome | Leave a comment

“Self-governing territorial overseas collectivity of France”



An email from a friend and questions after my talk at UC Berkeley yesterday inspired this blog post about Saint Pierre and Miquelon, French islands off the coast of the Island of Newfoundland:


While I was conducting research at the Library of Congress, I came across two cartoons about the islands during WWII. (There are many more, I am sure – I only look at the images that came up in a search for “Newfoundland.”)

Kirby 76 - How many times do you want me to vote - 19 Jan 1942

Rollin Kirby – “How many times do you want me to vote?” – 19 January 1942

Kirby 176 The passer-by

Rollin Kirby – “The passer-by” – 31 December 1941 – Showing Marianne in a phrygian cap on the left, Democracy on the right.

(Both cartoons link to more information at the Library of Congress.)

A few more Kirby cartoons that I didn’t have time to digitize, but seem relevant, are:

– “See any reason I shouldn’t move in on ‘em?” 26 November 1941

– “Who the hell issued this statement?” 27 December 1941

– “Not ‘so called’ — real!” 2 January 1942

Just to bring things up to more recent history:

Aislin (alias Terry Mosher) - Montreal Gazette - 17 April 1988 - McCord Museum

Aislin (alias Terry Mosher) – Montreal Gazette – 17 April 1988 – McCord Museum

In the CBC Digital Archives, the clip “Decision day for St. Pierre and Miquelon” covers the 1992 decision regarding fishing rights for Newfoundland and St. Pierre and Miquelon off the coast.

And just because I like postage stamps and maps:


Hope that gives you a flavo(u)r of all the neat possibilities for visual research! And if anyone knows more about the islands, I’m always interested to learn. :-)


From the friendly folks over on my Twitter feed, I bring you some more awesome links!

– Histoire des îles St Pierre et Miquelon:  2e guerre mondiale (especially: “Projet d’invasion canadienne“), a fantastic source on the area’s history

Saint-Pierre et Miquelon news, a source for contemporary information

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canadian Studies Talk at Berkeley on February 11

If you’re in the neighbo(u)rhood, stop by Berkeley tomorrow for my talk:

“Peoples of the Edge:” Carto-Caricatures of the Island of Newfoundland and Confederation, 1948-1949


ABSTRACT Visually, the island of Newfoundland is often represented as a place that is removed from the rest of Canadian territory (aptly termed “the mainland”). Since the fifteenth century, many maps have shown Newfoundland as breaking the boundaries of the map frames. This “cartographic transgression” finds a satirical equivalent in the caricatures and cartoons produced when Newfoundland became the tenth Canadian province in 1949. The hotly contested decision to join Canada played out in “The Independent” and “The Confederate,” newsletters that represented the polarized debate through cartoons featuring prominent cartographic elements. I interrogate cartographic caricatures (carto-caricatures) of Newfoundland to explain how visual interpretations can work to integrate the island into the nation-state framework of Canada or foster ignorance of this seemingly peripheral element of the country.

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Swipes #45: Turning Tail(s)

Continuing the theme of Inuit art, make of this what you will…

"Story Of Sonekuluak" by Davidialuk, $800

Story Of Sonekuluak,” Puvirnituq, 1975, by Amittuk Davidialuk Alaasuaq, $800


“Eskimo on dog sled,” New Yorker, 12 December 1959, by Otto Soglow, $125

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged | Leave a comment

Notes from Nelson Graburn’s talk on “Canadian Inuit Art”


With a major hat tip to my newest Twitter friend, I’d like to tell you a little bit about a talk I went to hosted by the Canadian Studies Program and Institute of International Studies (with delicious sandwiches from CN!) at the University of California Berkeley on 28 January 2015.


There was a great turn out for this talk, with approximately sixty people in the audience. Needless to say, the sandwiches and cookies were cleaned out – and yours truly, scavenging graduate student extraordinaire, may have had something to do with that.


After lunch, Professor Irene Bloemraad introduced Professor Nelson Graburn. (It was basically a McGill alumni party. Go, McGill!)

This Thomas Garden Barnes Lecture was celebrating over 30 years of research and discussion in Canadian Studies at Berkeley. The date was particularly auspicious; as Bloemraad pointed out, the Iranian hostage crisis was resolved in January 1981, an incident that inspired Barnes to found Canadian Studies at Berkeley in 1982, so the talk was an anniversary of many sorts (not to mention celebration of Rita Ross’s retirement that followed!).


Graburn was another founder of Canadian Studies at Berkeley, and claims not to know the meaning of the word “retirement,” as he continues lecturing despite (or because of?) his emeritus status. He has researched Inuit culture in Canada, Alaska, and Greeland since 1959. His talk focused on the recent history of Inuit art, mainly in the eastern Arctic in Canada.

As he explained, he was trying to fit 1,000 hours of lecture into a half hour segment, so we didn’t get to see everything, but we did see photos of carvings, textiles, and prints from several artists, including:

Pitseolak Ashoona

Pitseolak Ashoona


Kananginak Pootoogook



My Daughter's First Steps

Napatchie Pootoogook


Nataq Ungalaaq


Karoo Ashevak


Davie Atchealak


Oqituk Ashoona

maManasi Akpalianpik

Dancing Walrus


amittu_davidialuk_alasuaDavidialuk Alasua Amittu

Mark Tungilik

Mark Tungilik

 Graburn spoke about the effects of globalization on the market(s) for Inuit art, from trade with HBC (“Here Before Christ”) outposts to “RCMP [officers] who hardly did anything” to the influence of James Houston and other commercial artists who encouraged Inuit art sales in southern markets. He also considered the effects of different stone material available in different locations across the Arctic (as well as the differences between artists that, of course, contribute to individual stylistic variations).


He closed with this rather telling cartoon from the New Yorker, adding that stereotypical Inuit (and “Eskimo”) “primitive” art has sold particularly well, but there is increasing popularity (and expense!) of unique Inuit art in the current market.

Other Artists:

– Agnes Nanogak

– Abraham Anghik Ruben

– David Ruben Piqtoukun

– Eli Sallualuk Angiyou

Relevant Publications:

- The White Dawn by James Houston

- Inuit Art Quarterly

Alaska Native Art: Tradition, Innovation, Continuity by Susan W. Fair

More Art:

- Yua, Spirit of the Arctic: Eskimo and Inuit Art from the Collection of Thomas G. Fowler (San Francisco)

Inuit Art Alive

Museum of Inuit Art (Toronto)

Inuit art: Masterworks from the Arctic

- “Eskimo Artist: Kenojuak” (1963 NFB documentary)


To clarify, the images presented in this post are not the property of this blog or its author(s). This is a non-profit blog produced for “fair use,” non-commercial, educational, and personal use only. The images and information on this page are intended solely for research and education purposes. Wherever possible, sources for the images are credited. (Typically, images link to the source URL, so if you click on the image, it should take you to the digital source.) No infringements upon or claims to any copyrights or trademarks are made by the author(s) of this blog. No financial loss is intended to any of the copyright holders as a result of people visiting this site, but if citation is not sufficient credit, please inform the blog author(s) so your work can be removed.

Posted in Category Awesome | Tagged | 1 Comment