Richard Crowson Commentary

Politicians can run but they cannot hide from political cartoonist (and banjo player) Richard Crowson and his watchdog, Al. Tune in on alternate Wednesdays to hear the latest.

Richard's commentary can also be heard through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here.

What’s wrong with this picture: Here I am living in Wichita, Kansas, and I have to buy frozen White Castle cheeseburgers at the grocery. That’s right. Frozen. They come 6 to a box. Shipped in from God-knows-where. To Wichita.

Wichita is the home of White Castles. They were invented by Walter Anderson and Billy Ingram right here in 1921. They swept throughout the Midwest in the next decades. They continue to thrive all over the place. But are there any in Wichita? No, there are not.

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing signs of spring everywhere these days! The tiniest hint of green on my lawn; birdsong in the mornings; two whole weeks without snow and that surest indicator of Spring in Kansas – state legislators giving more tax breaks to businesses while our schools agonize over deep budget cuts.

You see, our legislators argue that they may be creating new jobs for our state by giving businesses these tax breaks. You know, to sort of offset the jobs lost due to school budget cuts.

Well, we’ve had some snow this winter. That proves there’s no global warming. No, really. Fox News has been all over it. See, they took Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and they set it outside in the snow and showed it on camera while they snickered and cackled about how the snow disproved it all.

Yeah. That’s what we’ve come to. Imbecilic “news reports” like that. The “gotcha” mentality rules stronger than ever.

I never thought I’d say this, but, man! I’m really into basketball these days! Generally I barely pay attention to it. But a couple of things happened recently that turned me around.

It’s felt like the dead of winter around here lately - day after day of dense fog, damp air and cool temperatures. We’re not used to this kind of fog here in Kansas.

It’s crow time in Wichita. Driving my daughter to school this morning we noticed the thousands of crows roosting in the trees along Grove Street. She took the same perspective on the sight that anyone who’s ever seen Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds, would take, and she pronounced it “creepy.”

There’s a little dog that usually appears somewhere in every cartoon I draw. His name is Al and he’s a wire-haired fox terrier that we once shared our home with. Al came from a background of abuse as was evidenced by his shy, cowering personality. There’s nothing normal about a terrier that’s shy but Al had been badly mistreated during his first four or five months and he never really got over it.

We don’t really have any hills here in Wichita so we couldn’t erect our Greek Temple to the Celebrity Gods up high where everybody could see it. But downtown was as good a place as any, better than most, for its location.

Celebrity worship continues to be one of our most popular religions. So it is that we find our modern equivalent of the Greek Temple, the downtown Intrust Arena, about ready to open its doors to that fervent flock, the Adorers of the Blessed People Magazine Cover Subjects.

One thing I’m betting you are not asking Santa for this year is a telephone book.

Yet another unrequested phone book was delivered to my front porch the other day. I dutifully brought it in and opened the cabinet door to the area where we store them to add it to the collection. It was hours later before the avalanche rescue team found me beneath the huge pile of phone books that had tumbled out of that cabinet and buried me.

I’ve never been able to pass up an estate sale and stopped in at one last week in modest little home. The tattered art prints and hundreds of books painted a picture of a person with intellectual curiosity about the world of ideas. The small living room was dominated by a seriously grand piano standing proudly out among a few worn and threadbare sticks of furniture.

While I was in the basement, someone sat at that piano and played a flourishing rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” It echoed easily through the thin floors and walls of that once-beloved home.

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