Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Yanks Are Coming

Slackerback Saturday returns yet again to the thrilling days of World War I. When we last revisited events of a century ago, the U.S. just had declared war against Germany, which the Entente powers generally welcomed.
Cover of Fantasio, Paris, by Auguste Roubille, May 1, 1917
The question at this point was, "You and what army?"
"You Never Miss the Water 'Till the Well Runs Dry" by Robt. Satterfield in Cleveland News, April, 1917
The U.S. had been able to get by for generations with a volunteer army. The Spanish-American War had been decided in a matter of months, and the expeditionary foray into Mexico had faced only a small band of guerrillas. The U.S. had not defeated Pancho Villa's ragtag rebels, however, and the German war machine was anything but ragtag.

North of the border in British-ruled Quebec, the cartoonist for the Montreal Daily Mail had some disappointing news for "the slacker who went to the U.S."
"To-Day's Hero" by Lawrence (?) in Montreal Daily Mail, April 14, 1917

President Wilson realized that in spite of the patriotic fervor immediately following the declaration of war, the all-volunteer U.S. military would be insufficient to make a substantial difference in any long-term fighting overseas. The answer, of course, was to institute mandatory selective conscription of male citizens, an idea not without its detractors.
"Some of Those Opposed" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Eagle, April 27, 1917
Congressman James Beauchamp "Champ" Clark" (D-MO) had been a rival for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1912, entering the convention that year with more delegates than the eventual winner, Woodrow Wilson. In his role as Speaker of the House, he had done much to advance President Wilson's domestic agenda, so Harding's suggestion here that Clark was against conscription because Wilson was for it is a gross mischaracterization; but the Speaker did split with the President over America's entry into the war.

If not against involvement in European affairs generally, Clark was at least no fan of the British Empire, having argued forcefully in the House in favor of the U.S. annexing Canada.
"Backing Up Uncle Sam" by Winsor McCay in New York American, May 1, 1917
In spite of Speaker Clark's opposition, Congress overwhelmingly approved instituting the draft on April 28.
"Universal Training for These" by Jay N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, April, 1917
I include this John Darling cartoon because it features future U.S. President Herbert Hoover. "Ding" was a lifelong fan of fellow Iowan Hoover, whom President Wilson named to lead the U.S. Food Administration based on his indefatigable efforts in bringing relief aid to Belgium. In the cartoon above, Hoover's front line troops of produce and livestock are threatened from behind by "German plotters" cabbage worm, potato bug, and black dust.
"The Kaiser's Prop" in L'Asino, Italy, April, 1917
Meanwhile, as long as we brought up Messrs. Wilhelm Hohenzollern and Nicholas Romanov a moment ago, here's a prediction from a cartoonist for the Italian L'Asino that the sudden end of tsarism in Russia foretold doom for the German Kaiser. (The broken crutch is labeled "tsarism," and the fist is labeled "Russian Revolution.") The cartoonist wasn't about to let the inconvenient detail that Russia and Germany were on opposite sides of the war — and that continued unrest in Russia left its future commitment to the war in doubt — spoil a perfectly good cartoon.

After all, there was a new Triple Entente in town.
"Pals" by Sidney Greene in New York Evening Telegram, April 25, 1917

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hard Heart of Dixie

The fight against marriage equality goes on:

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign a bill this week ensuring that adoption agencies in her state can discriminate against same-sex couples. The rationale for HB24, according to its chief Senate sponsor, Sen. Bill Hightower (R-Mobile), is that if they're required to consider same-sex couples just like anyone else, adoption agencies would rather shut down. “The need for adoption is so high," Hightower explained. "We need to have every avenue available.”

Much better, as Alabama Republicans see it, to lock potential adoptive parents out of the system. The law doesn't specifically name LGBT parents as its target of discrimination, so one can easily imagine the possibility of a wider issue:
“It’s hard to see this as anything but animus toward LGBT families, but the bill could have a greater effect than that,” said Randall Marshall, the Legal Director for ACLU Alabama. “Agencies could turn away qualified families for countless other reasons that have no relevance to their ability to provide a safe loving home. A Catholic or Jewish agency could turn away Evangelical or Protestant families. A family could be turned away because they don’t attend church regularly.”
The Daily Show has been airing a series of reports in an effort to understand Alabama, which happens to have the lowest viewership of The Daily Show in the country; and in Monday's report, State Rep Patricia Todd, the state legislature's one and only openly gay member, noted that her state was the only one in Dixie not to have passed antigay legislation while she has been in office. She now has to sing a different tune.
“I’m tired of being in a country where I’m not welcome,” Rep. Patricia Todd, a Birmingham Democrat, told Rep. Rich Wingo, the Tuscaloosa Republican who sponsored the bill. “And to deal with institutions that know nothing about me but make a judgment that I’m a bad person because I am gay.”
Lest you think that Alabama is out in front on this issue, South Dakota, Michigan, North Dakota, and Virginia have all passed similar laws, and have been proposed in several other states as well. Discriminating against LGBT Americans has been and continues to be a legislative priority for Republicans everywhere.

Monday, April 24, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

Apparently, I'm just too lazy to go back and color in all that orange stubble.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day with the NCJ

In celebration of Earth Day, Sierraback Saturday recycles a handful of cartoons I drew for the NorthCountry Journal roughly 30 years ago.

The NorthCountry Journal was an environmentally themed monthly newspaper published in Poynette, Wisconsin from 1986 to 1988. Each issue ran 12 pages, with news primarily of issues concerning northern Wisconsin, updates from the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), activities of the state legislature, and regular columns about wildlife by Ced Vig, living close to nature by Justin Isherwood, and hunting by Jim Kalkofen. Plus the occasional handy household hints: did you know that cucumber peelings repel ants?

My cartoons became a regular Page 6 feature in the NCJ soon after the newspaper was launched. Editor Susie Isaksen would send me the topic of the next edition's editorial, and I'd send her a cartoon to complement it; for example, finding common cause between hunters and naturists above, and in favor of funding a Wisconsin soil erosion program below.

I've selected here cartoons that don't focus on specific politicians, although the guy with the bulbous nose in the background of this next cartoon was a generic politician character I used in the NCJ from time to time. (The unshaven guy was another recurring character.) The editorial was about industrial representatives and farmers "whining" to state officials about the so-called undue burdens of environmental protection regulations.

The U.S. Air Force was conducting low-level flights of B-52 bombers over northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan in the spring of 1987, leading to complaints that people couldn't hear each other talk in the woods. There was also concern of the flights' effects on eagles and other wildlife. I tied the story in with another environmental concern of the time.

Where to put the state's garbage was a growing problem. There was such a thing as recycling back then, but it mostly involved taking your old newspapers, cans and milk cartons to a recycling center. Very few municipalities had curbside pick-up of recyclables, and rather than wait in line at the recycling company yard, many people didn't bother to separate recyclables from their other trash.

Recyclables aside, did you know that an apple core will completely decay in a couple weeks in a compost pile, but it will last for several months in a landfill? And that we've been stocking our landfills with non-biodegradable Styrofoam (well, almost non-bio-degradable) since World War II?

That unshaven guy from the third cartoon above puts in one more appearance in this last cartoon featuring a generic industrial plant, Slimeco, that was another recurring entity. I never made it clear what sort of company Slimeco was, other than that the corporation had a callous disregard for the environment.

Slimeco and its CEO Roger Slimec appeared in a few cartoons I drew for other publications after the NCJ suspended publication. I have not, however, had much call for it to appear in my LGBT-focused work, so Slimeco has been out of the public eye for a quite a while.

Heck, it's probably a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries by now.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Caveat Circuitor

Yesterday's post ended with the observation that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Then I was reminded that it ain't necessarily so.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Torture Logic

You'll have to forgive me for getting serious this week.

Most of what Americans know about the Soviet Russian Republic of Chechnya has to do with the Islamist revolt there in the 1990s and Chechen terrorist attacks such as the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis and Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004. Moscow has tightly controlled the Chechen government since crushing the revolt and eliminating the territory's independence-minded leaders. Vladimir Putin installed Ramzan Kadyrov as President of Chechnya in 2007.

This month, the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that Chechen authorities had begun mass arrests of gay men, who were tortured with electric current to get them to give up the names of other gay men:
The media scandal on repressions against homosexuals in Chechnya broke out on April, 1 after the publication of the Novaya Gazeta investigation, which referred to the detention and torture of more than 100 homosexual men in Chechnya, as well as to the murders of at least three people.
The publication aroused the anger of Chechen politicians and clergy, who called these data "lies and provocation". Kadyrov's press secretary Alvi Karimov said that there were no gay people among the residents of the republic, and Kheda Saratova, a member of the HRC with the head of Chechnya, said that she "would not consider a statement about the murder of a homosexual, because this is an evil that every resident of Chechnya must fight with".
The official denial of the existence of any gays in Chechnya echoes Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial ten years ago that Iran was hanging men and women for the crime of being gay.

In keeping with dictatorial standards and practices, the official state policy is to attack the media. But we're not talking about merely denying Novaya Gazeta admisison to a press gaggle.
At the April 3, 2017, gathering of some 15,000 men, Chechen presidential adviser Adam Shahidov called the Novaya Gazeta journalists "enemies of our faith and our motherland" and promised "vengeance." The resolution adopted at the gathering included a "promise that retribution will catch up with the hatemongers wherever and whoever they are, without a statute of limitations," according to Novaya Gazeta.
The Novaya Gazeta reporters have good reason to be concerned for their own safety. The long list of Russian citizens assassinated for exposing what Russian government is becoming includes one of their own: Novaya Gazeta reporter  Anna Politkovskaya in October, 2006:
Politkovskaya was just 48 years old when she was found in the foyer of her apartment building, shot in the head with a pistol. Her unflinching reporting for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta on the Chechen War’s human-rights abuses, corruption, and brutality made her one of Russia’s bravest journalists.
Kadyrov (who was Prime Minister in 2006) denied responsibility for the murder in a 2007 interview, but his reasoning is still chilling:
"Why would I have killed her?" he says, in heavily accented Russian (Chechen is his first language). "She used to write bad things about my father, and if I had wanted to, I could have done something bad to her at that time. Why now?"
Another Russian journalist was murdered just last month.

To its credit, even the Trump administration has denounced the gross violation of human rights in Chechnya. I guess that's some small progress; but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Monday, April 17, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

Here's a rough pencil sketch from the making of this week's syndicated cartoon.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Drawing Board of Education

Your kids may be on spring break, but here at Bergetoons, it's Back-to-Schoolback Saturday.

I started my editorial cartoon career forty years ago by drawing about our education system — a topic of interest to me since I was still in school at the time. The 1970s in my hometown were marked by union strikes interrupting every other school year, starting with a custodians' union strike in 1970. Most of the strikes lasted a couple of weeks, but a teachers' strike my senior year lasted 50 days — starting in January and lasting all the way through February and into March.

With plenty of time on my hands, I took ballpoint pen to paper and drew the next two cartoons, my first editorial cartoons to be printed in an honest-to-goodness daily newspaper. (Caricatured on the left of this first one is union negotiator Jim Ennis, who had a conveniently round face; on the right is school board negotiator Thatcher Peterson, who didn't.)

To make up for lost school days once classes finally resumed, the district scheduled classes on Saturdays and extended the school year until June 30. We seniors were graduated weeks earlier, however, in order for schools to send our records to colleges and universities on time. It also gave us a slight edge getting summer jobs.

Racine's experience with teachers' strikes was hardly unique. Between 1969 and 1974, there were 50 teachers' strikes in Wisconsin, most notably the 1974 strike in Hortonville, during which the school district summarily fired 86 of its 88 teachers; townsfolk formed vigilante groups against the union members, and the union leader was hanged in effigy from the town water tower. Teachers unions from around the state sent members to support the Hortonville strikers, but to no avail. The Hortonville teachers appealed their firing all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found in favor of the school district.

I've encountered quite a few people locally whose sour opinion of labor unions is directly a result of  those days. A  jaundiced view  of schools and a reluctance to fund them adequately, on the other hand, predates the union issue. Funding schools through local property taxes makes sense from the point of view of having community-wide support of a community service, but it does require convincing property owners who have no children in school of the value of other people's education.

My generation went through four years of "split shift" middle schools because the community hadn't built enough schools to accommodate the baby boom. Even after we were graduated out of the system, voters only very grudgingly voted to repair or replace older schools that were literally crumbling to pieces.

Sex education has always been a thorny issue for schools. How much information is too much? How much education is not enough?

Sex Ed has been one factor pushing some parents to take their kids out of the public schools; not wanting their kids taught science is another. It furthermore stands to reason that children do better in schools where the whole class is motivated and all parents are invested in the kids' education. Public schools must teach the talented and the indifferent alike, whether the parents have the time or inclination to get involved or not.

Along the way, private school parents have become convinced that it's not fair that they should still have to pay for public schools as well as their private tuition. Thus arose the idea that kids going to private schools should be entitled to public tax dollars, too; its proponents gave their voucher programs the name "School Choice."

The above cartoon fairly encapsulates one of the problems I have with subsidizing private schools. But when I was drawing for the Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, their editorial stance was firmly in favor of school choice, and they occasionally wanted cartoons that reflected that viewpoint. It can be a good exercise every once in a while to try one's hand at drawing a cartoon with which one disagrees, although I wouldn't recommend making a career of it.

Along came Scott Walker and Republican control of all levers of state government after the 2010 elections. Recognizing them as the last institutional support of the Democratic party, teachers' and other public employee unions were the Republicans' first target. Koch brothers radio and TV ads stoking public resentment of public sector workers. For 30 years, private sector workers had seen their jobs sent overseas and their wages, at best, stagnant. The students of Hortonville and all the other stricken schools in the 1970s were now all grown up and ready to pay those teachers back.

With Republicans now in charge of all levers of the federal government, this will become a national issue yet again. I just posted this last cartoon only a month ago, but I think it's worth another look, since mercurial American President Donald Trump hasn't flip-flopped on subsidizing private education.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hellfire and Domination

With Syrian gas and missile attacks, North Korean nuclear tension, Sean Spicer's sanitized views on Hitler, and a doctor dragged off a United Airlines flight competing for our attention, other stories tend to get overlooked. Here's one of them.

700 Club manager Pat Robertson fretted last week about the cultural influence of gays and lesbians.
“We have given the ground to a small minority,” he said. “You figure, lesbians, one percent of the population; homosexuals, two percent of the population. That’s all. That’s statistically all. But they have dominated — dominated the media, they’ve dominated the cultural shift and they have infiltrated the major universities. It’s just unbelievable what’s being done. A tiny, tiny minority makes a huge difference. The majority — it’s time it wakes up.”
Speaking as someone who has spent years infiltrating the media, I'm glad to know that as insignificant as I am, I still make a huge difference shifting the culture. Whether it's posting my little cartoons every week, or binge-watching "Modern Family" on Friday nights, I'm just doing my part to keep Chechnya from happening here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Holy Week's Sneak Peek

Is Andy Rooney back?

Tune in later this week for the low-fat, homogenized answer!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hereby Formally Declared

This was the week 100 years ago, that the U.S.A. officially declared war on Germany in World War I.
"Good Morning!" by Oscar Cesare in New York Evening Post, April 4, 1917
Now, it's important to understand that once upon a time, Congress was the branch of government with the power to declare war. President Woodrow Wilson addressed Congress on April 2 to present his argument for a declaration of war; after some debate on the matter, the Senate approved the declaration on April 4 by a vote of 82 to 6, and the House followed suit on April 6 by a vote of 373 to 50.

To a dwindling number of Americans, the nation's cause was protection of the country, pure and simple. Germany had resumed sinking merchant vessels sailing the Atlantic, downing a number of American ships; the Zimmerman telegram intercepted between the German and Mexican foreign ministers revealed that the Kaiser had promised U.S. territory to Mexico and to Japan if they would declare war on the U.S.

Here Hearst cartoonist Winsor McCay depicts the American eagle guarding its chicks: East, South, North and West. It is safe to say he is referring to quarters of the United States, not of the globe.
Winsor McCay in New York American, April, 1917
But for most of the country and its cartoonists, the cause was nothing less than the defense of Democracy itself against the forces of Autocracy (ally Russia having conveniently overthrown its autocratic monarch only weeks earlier).
"To the Defense of His Standard!" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, April 4, 1917
I could go on and on with cartoons pitting Democracy vs. Autocracy, but I'll limit it to these two Chicago cartoonists' take on it.
"To the Finish" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, April 7, 1917
To some, it wasn't just a question of form of government, but a matter of the survival of civilization itself. To that end, we have three shiny swords; Fred Morgan's is engraved "Truth, Justice" on the blade, and "United States" on the hilt:
"For Civilization and Humanity" by Fred Morgan in Philadelphia Inquirer, April 8, 1917
Nelson Harding gets the same point across without quite so many labels.
"A New Light" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April, 1917
Few cartoonists use Columbia as the personification of the United States any more, but she was still fairly common in 1917, as in this Bill Sykes cartoon.
"So Be It!" by Charlse "Bill" Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, April 6, 1917
American soldiers would not arrive in Europe until the summer; the American military was then as now a volunteer force, nearly adequate for an excursion into Mexico to chase after Pancho Villa, but well short of what would be required to make a difference in the Great War overseas. The publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Robert McCormick, (then a Major in the Illinois National Guard) posted this full-page ad committing his newspaper to beefing up the Illinois contingent of the U.S. Army.
Advertisement in Chicago Tribune, April 6, 1917
Any newspaper nowadays worth its pulp would reprint a presidential declaration of war in its entirety. There's a fair chance your local paper had Trump's Thursday night announcement in full somewhere, at least on line. Can you imagine a newspaper today hawking a "splendid souvenir of national crisis" though?
Advertisement in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, April 7, 1917. (Another full-page ad)
You can look up President Wilson's Great Speech if you like; otherwise, you can settle for a little taste of it in William Hanny's front page cartoon:
"Too Deep for Him" by William F. Hanny in St. Joseph (Mo.) News Press, April 5, 1917
News coverage was unreservedly in support of going to war, even to the point of jauntiness. New York Evening Telegram staff cartoonist Roy Hoppmann's cartoon to illustrate a news report and the headlines written for the article both make light of the situation.
News illustration by Roy Hoppmann in New York Evening Telegram,  April 4, 1917
The Chicago Daily News's Ted Brown depicted going to war as a fashion statement.
"Not His Style" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, April 6, 1917
John McCutcheon, in a cartoon the morning after the House vote, is a little less light-hearted about going to war, but no less enthusiastic.
"As We March to Armageddon" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1917

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Q Toon: Repeal and Replace

The North Carolina legislature finally passed, and Governor Roy Cooper signed, a repeal of its odious HB2, better known as the Bathroom Bill, last week.

But before we all celebrate the triumph of reason over hysteria, there are one or two details lurking in the replacement bill, HB142.
The deal removes the requirement that transgender people must use the restroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate but leaves state legislators in charge of policy on public restrooms. The proposal also bans local governments from passing nondiscrimination ordinances affecting private employers until December 2020. 
Governor Cooper lamely explained that justice delayed was better than justice "permanently denied." Of more importance to him and to the millions of basketball fans in the state, however, was the NCAA's threat to permanently deny hosting championship basketball games to the Tarheel State if the law wasn't repealed by March 30. With the passage of HB142 just before the buzzer, the NCAA gave its half-hearted support to the less-than-half-hearted repeal.
While the new law meets the minimal NCAA requirements, the board remains concerned that some may perceive North Carolina’s moratorium against affording opportunities for communities to extend basic civil rights as a signal that discriminatory behavior is permitted and acceptable, which is inconsistent with the NCAA Bylaws.
However, we recognize the quality championships hosted by the people of North Carolina in years before HB2. And this new law restores the state to that legal landscape: a landscape similar to other jurisdictions presently hosting NCAA championships.
We are actively determining site selections, and this new law has minimally achieved a situation where we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.
The NBA has yet to weigh in on HB142; more important will be whether it will be enough to change the minds of companies who had been convinced not to invest, locate or expand in North Carolina. The loss of such firms as PayPal, CoStar Realty, Deutsche Bank, and Google Ventures, added to the lost sports events and concert performances has cost North Carolina over $630 million.

I wouldn't blame them if they decided to put off any further decisions until, oh, say, December, 2020.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ye AOLDE Yahoo

From 8 Common Job Search Mistakes
A recent AARP article on mistakes older job applicants make included a warning to ditch your Yahoo! or AOL address in favor of a "professional email address with Gmail or Outlook." The comment section of a JoeMyGod post about Verizon's plans to merge the two ISPs is just dripping with contempt for the two dinosaurs of the internet.

So help me out here.

I got a Yahoo! email address back in the Pleistocene Epoch, then an AOL address at the behest of a syndicate editor who wanted to be able to IM us contrubutors. I still have both, although I only keep the Yahoo! one for my Flickr album and because the AAEC listserve is on Yahoo! Groups. I do regularly use the AOL address, which I kept even through a period when the syndicate established its own email url, which never had a spam filter and our accounts kept getting spoofed until it abruptly disappeared without notice. (At least, I think there was no notice. It might have been lost amid all the spam.)

I also have a little-used address through our cable provider because, well, we're paying for it whether we use it or not. Like CMT and EWTN.

I get why I wouldn't want to apply for a job using an email address that includes my year of birth because "" was already taken, or one with an obvious reference to sex, drugs, or membership in ISIS. But that's common sense stuff to the left of the @ symbol.

It's not as if I have no experience with Outlook or Gmail, but what's the big deal aside from not being quite so ancient? Are they cheaper than free? Has Outlook not yet been discovered by North Korean hackers? Are Gmail fonts classier? Does the recipient listen to your email being read aloud by Morgan Freeman? Do I really need another calendar?

How soon will their addresses betray a decaying e-neighborhood of GenY and millennial fuddy-duddies?

Monday, April 3, 2017

This Week's Sneak Peek

Just to clarify one item from my April 1 post: while some of the post is stuff I made up, the name of "Crybaby" Boobie (and of all the other Peanuts characters, for that matter) were not.

I had to look Boobie and her doubles partner, "Bad Call" Bennie, up on; I only knew of them from a Peanuts book I bought in Italy last year for brushing up on my very limited Italian during bus rides. In the book, their names are "Piangina" Boobie and "Bugia" Benny, and Google Translate doesn't quite take one all the way to the names Charles Schulz gave them.

Buona dolore!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Peanuts: The Lost Characters

Shlabotnikback Saturday takes a break from politics and World War I today to pay tribute to the kids who appeared in Charles M. Schulz's epic comic strip, "Peanuts," but who failed to make the cut to join the regular cast of characters.

I'm not talking about characters like Shermy, who was in the strip in the early days before becoming African American. Changing his name to Franklin, he was with "Peanuts" for several more years, but never again as Shermy  because, as you know, once you go Black, you never go back.

No, I'm talking about characters like Roy.

Roy and Charlie Brown met in 1965 at summer camp, where socially awkward Charlie and homesick, lonely Roy quickly became fast friends. The episode mirrored the experience of many who find that when you go to summer camp, you can leave your at-home persona at home and start over with a clean slate among kids who have no idea what a wishy-washy blockhead you really are.

Roy, in turn, mentored Linus Van Pelt when they met at summer camp the following year. Roy introduced Peppermint Patty to the gang shortly after that. When Marcie entered the strip in 1971, however, she and Roy simply could not get along backstage. Forced to choose between the two of them, Peppermint Patty picked Marcie, and that was the end of Roy's career in comic strips.

With Roy thus edged out by Marcie's All About Eve power play, Charlie Brown was left with only fading memories of his Bestest Friend Ever. If Charlie Brown had only asked Roy what his last name was, he could have looked Roy up on Facebook nowadays. He would have learned that Roy grew up to be a medical research scientist specializing in human disease. Roy was well on his way to finding a cure for Adult Onset Wah-Wah Mute Syndrome before the Trump administration cut off funding this year.


Peppermint Patty was the one who introduced José Peterson to the Peanuts gang in 1967. A top-notch second baseman with a batting average well above .600, he was about as likely to stick with Charlie Brown's baseball team as Alex Rodriguez would have been with the San Diego Padres. He and Patty soon left to start their own team across town.

Sidelined by torn ligaments playing college baseball, Peterson unfortunately never made it to the major leagues. Instead, he coached women's softball at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and the University of New Mexico before discovering a passion for fusion cuisine.

Currently the chef and co-owner, with his brother Mordecai, of Los Fiordos in Beachwood, Ohio, the fame of his kosher Swedish meatball chimichangas and cajeta with lingonberries over rugelach has spread far and wide.

Sometime in the spring of 1963, Schulz decided to make some sort of comment on how we are losing our identity and becoming mere numbers by introducing a character named 5.

5, actually, was short for 555 (of course). Readers never met his older sisters, 3 and 4, except as dancers in A Charlie Brown Christmas Special. After his first week and a half in the strip, 5 made only occasional appearances in "Peanuts," playing third base on Charlie Brown's baseball team.

After leaving "Peanuts," 5 moved to Chicago and pursued a career in acting. He joined the Second City comedy troupe and appeared in a number of commercials for Fifth Third Bank. He was cast in the title role for a 1986 remake of "The Third Man" which, unfortunately, was never filmed due to a dispute with the Orson Welles estate. You may recall the movie's title track by U2; it spent seven weeks on Casey Kasem's Top 40.

5's grandson, 555 95472 III, is one of the leading bioengineers working to network us all into Elon Musk's Borg Collective.

Schulz introduced tennis player Molly Volley into the strip in April, 1982; she was Snoopy's doubles partner at the Italian Open in Perugia that year.

The two were eliminated as the result of a disputed call in the quarterfinals match against Bad Call Benny and Crybaby Boobie.
Snoopy withdrew from the doubles tennis circuit shortly afterward; Molly subsequently partnered with Farley from "For Better or Worse," then Odie from "Garfield," with whom she won the Labrador Invitational in 1988.

In her 2003 autobiography, Puppy Love 40, Molly Volley admitted to steroid use, which she blamed for her sideburns and handlebar mustache, and her arrest when she tried to use the ladies' rest room during a visit to Raleigh last October. (Molly Volley's court date in Raleigh is still pending.) She currently lives in Bark River, Michigan with her wife, Sybil from "Wee Pals," and their German shepherd, Marmaduchess.

They nearly bought a collie named Dolly.

But that would be silly.