Let's start with the "timing is everything" cartoon of the day, from Hilary Price at Rhymes with Orange.
But when the strip just happens to drop as this unintentionally funny pirate hunter hits a reef, your list of dubious street names has just doubled the laughter, at least within the subset of people who pay attention to silly things in the news.
This guy really did discover the pirate ship Whydah a few years ago, which was very cool, but he has apparently been searching for a second act ever since, and the latest installment in his saga was that he found the remains of Captain Kidd's ship, Adventure Galley, in the waters of (not even "off") Madagascar, and even brought up a solid silver ingot.
The president of the country came to the unveiling and they had all the press and I'm sure some donuts and punch or something (no coverage if you don't feed the reporters), because Madagascar leans heavily on tourism and this little bay is great for snorkeling and diving and who wouldn't want to come search for pirate treasure?
And Kidd -- pirate or not -- did apparently leave his no-longer-seaworthy ship there and take on another vessel, though at the time of the Grand Unveiling, there were a few spoilsports who wondered why he would also leave behind a silver ingot.
Unless it were simply a lead ballast. And probably not from his ship.
I've never been to Madagascar, but I've been to coastal North Carolina (today's free earworm!) and I have seen the serious tourist investment in Edward "Blackbeard" Teach they've got goin' on down there.
I'm not sure there is a "Curse-The-Soul-Of-The-Man-Who-Steals-My-Treasure Lane" near the Outer Banks but, if not, it's probably on Madagascar.
Where it intersects with "Keep-Diving-Dear-Tourists-We're-Sure-It's-Down-There-Somewhere Avenue."
Nothing funny about this fraud
I'm kind of surprised it's taken this long for someone to create a bogus video targeting Planned Parenthood, given the success they had in destroying ACORN in order to short-circuit its registration of poor and minority voters with a ridiculously fake edit-job, and the way a totally dishonest out-of-context video release destroyed the career of Shirley Sherrod.
And the one where they faked an attack on a radio station ... no, wait, that was someone else.
I'm hoping that part of Obama's second-term boldness -- and, oh, by the way, he's not a "lame duck" until November 9, 2016 -- will include standing up to this fraud instead of once more knuckling under first and examining the evidence later.
We really mustn't let blatant falsehoods set the agenda, nor -- I would add -- should we steer away from pointing out the obvious parallels to those who purposefully used Big Lies as a tool of policy in the past, simply out of some lily-livered fear of appearing impolite to the loyal opposition when that is clearly a misnomer.
And, no, they don't "both do it." Or, at least, they don't both do it with the same level of top-level political support.
Occupy may show videos of trespassing and disruption at banks, for instance, but they don't do a lot to disguise the context, nor do I recall any Senators introducing legislation favorable to them as a result.
This may be of interest only to artists, writers and other creative types, but there has been a small freak-out going on over "orphan works" and copyright, with breathless declarations that the entire body of copyright law is about to be rewritten and artists will lose all control over their creations.
I wish I were exaggerating, but, no, that's actually what people are claiming.
"Orphan works" are pieces you come across that are almost certainly copyrighted but where you can't figure out who created them, who now owns the rights or where they originally came from. Typical might be a snippet of a film that you'd like to use in a documentary, if only you knew who to contact for the rights, or perhaps an image that looks like it probably came from an ad but with no product to help you track it down, or a cartoon with no signature.
There are many ways to investigate these things, but even an extensive, good faith effort can come up empty, and the fear is that, if you use it, someone will suddenly appear and demand a kabillion dollars plus damages, after the fact.
Now, if all you did was snip off the signature on their work and use it, they deserve a kabillion dollars, plus damages, plus your head on a sharp stick in the public marketplace.
But that's not an "orphan work." That's a "copyright infringement."
So why all the panic?
So I went looking for the proposed legislation and couldn't find it -- which shouldn't have been hard except that it doesn't exist -- but I did find the copyright office's report on the topic and still couldn't find anything particularly disturbing or upsetting in there.
Which made me wish some attorney who understands this stuff would provide a rundown, and, bless his heart, Brad Guigar posted a link to a podcast in which Katie Lane, who is just that, does just that, and you can listen to her discuss it with some cartoonists, or you can skip straight to her blog where she discusses it.
It's interesting, but the whole thing can be summed up in five words: "There is no 'there' there."
But Lane says it in more entertaining and expert ways, both on the podcast and on her blog.
Well, not as entertainingly as George Rose and Kevin Kline, but with a firmer grasp of just what constitutes an actual orphan. Frequently. Just once.