I don't know if it's still this way, but the past couple of times I attended General Conference in the Conference Center, there were lots of people protesting all over the place. However mean-spirited some of the protesters might be, they seem a lot nicer than the folks at political gatherings!
Maybe I should have gone with an alternative caption: "I'm not here to protest anything, really — I just came here seeking a sign!" OK, maybe not.
Yes, once again it's Banned Books Week! It's an annual event to celebrate the freedom to read. Some of the best books have been on the chopping block, ranging from Captain Underpants to Catcher in the Rye to the Holy Bible and other religious texts. In fact, some of my favorite books have scored high on the lists! One thing that some people don't understand is that as soon as you try to ban a book, it soars in popularity!
This was true for me as a deacon. I suspect it's still true today!
Editor's note: I came close to working this up into a finished cartoon, but I have an unwritten policy of avoiding the appearance of mocking ordinances. That's why you won't see the high school quarterback passing the sacrament, nor will you see the shark* in the baptismal font. *Yes, it may have been a Great White.
The best parody remains faithful to its source material. Pokémon Go uses the original 150 Pokémon. But this, being Oregon (home of the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers), we needed a beaver if we were going to have a Psafetyduck! Luckily there is a later-generation beaver-type we could use to model our character on!
OK, this should be the last of Pokémon Go references. I hope!
Before we start any public relations campaign, we do market research to make sure we have the right message.
My research for this involved crowdsourcing with my family members, who are not only in the target demographic, they also know a lot about Pokémon. For example, they advised me that Safetepi would be good for a seatbelt message, and that the name we'd chosen for the turtle (based on Squirtle) would NOT work for this target market.
There has been a lot in the press lately about businesses complaining about Pokémon Go players interrupting their normal operations. In fact, we just got notice that the railroads are warning people to stay away if they're playing.
We thought we might turn that around and make people think about safety and have that message reinforced when they see our Safétymon.
Of all the places we visited during our field trip to Europe, the most meaningful was Normandy. Visiting the American Memorial Cemetery was stirring.
One thing I didn't know was that only 40 percent of those who were killed in the battle are buried there.
There was a particularly poignant moment for me when we stopped at Omaha Beach — the beaches are beautiful — and our students waded into the water amongst the floating piers. I watched as they came back in, and I realized that our kids were about the same age as many of those who took part in the battles there.
We also stopped at another cemetery in Normandy: La Cambe — the one for the German soldiers. Many of those buried there were also still in their teens. It certainly put a whole new perspective on the war.
Our hotel in London was directly across from a convention center, which would be hosting a huge, multi-day Star Wars Celebration that began the day after we left.
One of our students is a HUGE Star Wars fan and kept trying to make deals or work out scenarios where he could stay behind, attend the celebration, and then join up with our group again later. The best we could offer him was to walk through the center after hours and see if we could get a sneak peek at anything the night before. All we found, however, were a few stormtroopers in their civvies and lots of signs excitedly talking about what he'd be missing.
It didn't help his mood any to know that all the Potterheads got to visit Platform 9 3/4, and the Whovians found their blue police box. But at least he'll have the memories... of missing it by that much!
We had one of our students who felt a little ill the first couple of days, so then it became a thing to ask him how he was feeling every time one of us ran into him for the rest of the trip. It didn't take long for it to get old for him, but for the rest of the kids it was hilarious!
I've been cartooning since I was a teenager, and have been published in magazines ranging from AASHTO Quarterly to the New Era and several other periodicals, trade publications and newsletters.
Feel free to contact me with comments, complaints or questions!