Friday’s cartoon WILL be up. just not now. Soon. I think.

Judith is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the Whad’Ya Know Road Show, and I’m home alone, trying to fend for myself.

Work went great yesterday. I finished off a cartoon that I was really happy with for Comics Buyer’s Guide, and then an editorial cartoon for Milwaukee’s Daily Reporter. I’m just pleased I’m slowly getting back in the swing of things with my editorial work…but I didn’t think it would take this long. Lottsa rust, lotsa cobwebs.

When I quit editorial cartooning (out of disgust for the US political process), I liked to think I was getting pretty good at it. I don’t say this in a self-satisfied “ain’t-I-clever?” way, but to reflect that at the time I was personally happy with the work I was doing (a rarity for me) and the post-hatch direction I was moving in.

I may be hard on myself as far as this goes, but, like, some of my best friends have won Pulitzer Prizes, y’know. Folks like Steve Sack, Clay Bennett, Scott Bateman and Joe Sharpnack are all doing work that I just admire the hell out of.

Anyhoo, I was quietly happy with work yesterday. I even got the long-promised Dork Tower Cloisonne Pins off…and they MAY be ready in time for Origins!

So my friend Dory and I went down to this new Irish pub that opened up on Madison’s West Side, in a new development called Greenway Station (or, as I like to refer to it, “Epcot Center North.”)

This pub is part of a chain of midwest Irish pubs, and they try. They really do. They go out of their way to explain that ALL the decor is brought over from Ireland, the Guinness comes straight from the St. James Gate brewery, and, well, gosh, have a Blarney good day. Y’all coem back now, y’hear?

They even offer tours of the restaurant. Oh, if only The Olive Garden did likewise.

But with Bloomsday on Wednesday, we found this a more fitting destination for dinner than the also-just-opened Cheeseburger in Paradise next door.

The Guinness is double-pulled here, but it’s still done a lot faster and served far colder than it is in Ireland. However, it was a nice gesture, having the bartender attempt to make a rather sad shamrock in the beer’s foam that ended up looking a bit more cancerous than perhaps it should have. Not quite the Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar, but it was a game attempt.

I wished our waitress a happy belated Bloomsday, and she looked at me as if I had just wished her Mother a happy wedding with a moose.

“What?”

“James Joyce. Ulysses. The events in the book happened 100 years ago yesterday.”

“Oh. Uh…cool. I’ll tell the people in the back…”

I assume the soux chefs were thrilled.

In general, the food was fine. The fish and chips were a bit overcooked, leaving the cod dry. But the batter was authentic enough. The smoked salmon (served with cream cheese — hmmmm) arrived on a fairly wilted salad with rounds of tasteless, circular, stale bread (like cocktail toast that had been left out for a few days just for yuks). This was, in short, new to me.

“What are these?” I asked out ever-suffering waitress, who was by now wishing she’d taken that job at Tchotchke’s, or perhaps Visions.

“That’s Irish soda bread!”

“Is it?” I asked, this being about the Furthest Thing From Irish Soda Bread That I’ve Ever Seen That Didn’t, Say, Involve a Yak.

“Yes! It comes from Claussen’s Bakery!”

“Ah. THERE’S a good Irish name.”

“Actually, I believe it’s German,” noted Ms. Missing The Point Entirely.

But I have to be brutally honest here. I’ll probably go back. I mean, even if the menu is full of cutesy faux-Gallic dishes like “Shamrock Wings,” “Shamrock Chicken Sandwich,” “Celtic Caesar Salad” and the like, the fish and chips I had at their Indianapolis branch last GenCon was superb. So maybe one day they’ll get it right here. But more to the point, they still double-pull Guinness (albeit in an apparent attempt to achieve the Guinness double-pull land speed record).

However, I believe I’ll be giving their mixed drinks a pass.

Especially the one (and I am NOT making this up) called the “Irish Car Bomb.”

Isn’t that just INCREDIBLY cute?

Like, to die for?

John

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