Presidents Remembered

Eye Patch Abe Rob Osborne

I had the day off in honor of our Presidents. I spent the day hanging out with my dogs. I took a long, completely guilt-free nap that was filled with a wild dream,(which I am embarrassed to have had and will never, ever reveal). When I woke up I did a little housework, as in swept dog hair into ankle-high piles and got it out of the house. The dogs got busy shedding to make up for the clean floors and rugs. I went for a walk until it got too cold to be outside with just a sweater. I spent a solid amount of time looking in the mirror trying to decide if dying my hair red is evidence of a mid-life crisis. Then had a little outing to a local cafe with my father and uncle. And, I couldn't help it even though I've had numerous interventions with myself about my book consumption; I went trolling the local thrift store for books. I picked up Jill McCorkles Creatures of Habit short story collection, The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht, Celian Rees' Sorceress young adult novel, (and I never read young adult but the the blurbs were seductive), and Travel and Leisure magazine for Francine Prose's Novel Travel article.

For my lovely day, I would like to the thank my following favorites:
John Adams - for his brilliant mind, blinding temper, love and admiration for Abigail, his forbearance and legendary outbursts in the face of hardship and humiliations, large and small, one being likened to a hermaphrodite.

Thomas Jefferson - for his equally brilliant mind, incredible writing skill, Monticello, and although he never righted the wrong pertaining to slavery, and especially Sally Hemmings, mother of his children whom he willed to the University of Virginia upon his death, he had the self reflection to note that, if there is a just God, we are damned.

Abraham Lincoln - for his indefatigable hard work to keep the country together, the 13th Amendment, his patience and love for his wife, Mary Todd, that he was a killer politician in every sense of that word, and lately, because he's been reimagined as a pirate and a zombie.

Theodore Roosevelt - for his adventurous and indomitable spirit, and especially for all the national forests he designated in one giant swath.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt - for his courage in the face of polio, personal tragedy, dire economics, world war never seen before or since, for kicking Nazi ass, for empathizing with the common man, his fireside chats, his respect, if not love, for the brilliant Eleanor, maybe for his love of Lucy, the New Deal, the Historic Sites Act, the G.I. bill, the Lend-Lease Act, his dog, Fala,and so much more.

Jimmy Carter - for showing the world how a much maligned and misunderstood former President can still be relevant, speak truth to power, and exist in the world with grace and courage.

Barack Obama - for his message of Hope, with a capital H, for his obvious love and respect for Michelle and his children, for his oratory prowess, his unflappable sophistication, and charismatic presence on the world stage, and for the promise, despite flaws and missteps, that he will deliver on his promise.

I've been witness to ten presidencies, starting with John F. Kennedy, (when I was in diapers and hardly aware of the world outside of my own small universe). I remember when his brother, Robert Kennedy, was shot. I remember the news that day, the images on the TV, that I could watch standing level to the screen because I was only three years old. I also know I remember this because it was the day the neighbor's dog, Cookie, died.

I don't remember Lyndon B. Johnson at all, except from textbooks and old film stills, although I watched Walter Cronkite every night, (I even told my little sister that Cronkite saved children from a burning building so she'd stop complaining and let me watch the news in peace).

I watched Nixon's resignation speech in my Grandfather's living room. I cried when he spoke of his mother, calling her, as I remember, an angel.In the 5th grade I wrote President Nixon a letter. I have to tell you that I am grateful that Donald C. pilfered the letter from my desk and showed it around until I discovered the theft and the reason for all the snickering, found a circle of screeching classmates, grabbed the letter from them, tore it to pieces, threw it in a neighboring back yard, and threatened to seriously clobber anyone who ever spoke of it again. What were the contents? I wanted to know why the President of the United States would allow women to burn their bras, on TV, and in full view of the White House. Would he be kind enough to explain? Who knows what might have happened had I mailed it. More than likely I would have received a standard reply postcard. What I know is that I am so glad this little girl from Utah did not become a Nixon White House anti-feminism poster child - a movement I would not understand until I became a woman myself and didn't have to burn my bra, because the majority of the burning and heavy, heavy lifting had already been done for me.

All I can remember of Gerald Ford is watching Saturday Night Live' Chevy Chase imitate the President falling down stairs and knocking into furniture.

I was in high school when Jimmy Carter was president. I didn't get the whole energy crisis, mainly, because I didn't pay the bills and the tank was always full so I never had to wait in a long line to gas up, (if I ever got to drive the car). I did understand the Iran-Hostage crisis, although I didn't understand the Iranian Revolution until I was in college and the pro and anti Khomeini's demonstrated on campus, staged mock executions, and I began asking questions and heard first-hand accounts of those lucky to escape, and then much later, the stories of those who stayed and fought. My senior year, I wrote a very dramatic, probably verging on histrionic, poem about the hostage crisis, using dance metaphors. I won second place, and fifty dollars. First place went to The Kiss, about a kiss, furtive looks, teenage crush. That I remember the exact name and content of the poem, testifies to the disgust I felt that such an insipid poem would win in the face of such world crisis. fyi: it was a really good poem with a universal subject. My parents are still really mad about the Panama Canal.

I really hate to admit I voted for Reagan when I was 18, but this is evidence that children many times vote their parent's politics until they grow up and discover their own. And I remember I felt sorry for him when he had to testify about what he did and did not know about the arms deal, even though now I understand that Reagan, and not Bush, is the original bushwacker. His deregulated, economic chickens have finally come home to roost. We are paying for legacy of his presidency. The thing about Reagan though, is that even knowing this, I still like him.

I sat inches from my television screen as George Bush Sr. informed the nation we had just begun bombing Iraq. I felt very much like a child listening to Daddy,(with a giant head and nasally voice). I still remember the visceral fear of watching the "mother of all wars" unfurl,(and stayed up all night watching the weird green lights, which were missiles, light up the sky over Baghdad). I am still more than a little bugged about the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill debacle, but gratified that his "high-tech lynching" rhetoric did not work for Herman Caine.

I know Clinton got the country in the black financially, but I think the saying how you leave is more important that how you enter, (absolutely no double entendre intended), sums up his presidency. I still can't believe Clinton's poor judgement in the personal deportment department, (Clinton had to know JFK got away with his antics because it was a different era entirely, and, that well, he was no JFK). Nor could I believe the furor of the Starr Report. I called and spoke to a number of senators and left messages with their beleaguered secretaries about the outrageous behavior of their bosses. And I called and left a similar message with some poor staffer at the White House. This was before email.

About a year into George Bush Jr's presidency I decided I needed to reread George Orwell's 1984, because it was relevant and I was afraid, really afraid, and a wee bit paranoid, which turns out, I had every right to be. I turned to poetry, especially Sam Hamill's brilliant anthology. I turned to satirist George Saunders. I turned to The Onion. And I started making paper dolls. I never felt the need to create a doll for the president,(Will Farell's imitation, Bush's creepy "hehehe" laugh, malaprops and insane grammar and syntax, were enough: buy something for Ameerika, misunderestimated, and fecal matter rather than fetal matter, repeated seventeen times in one anti-stem cell research speech, are personal favorites). I created a paper doll for Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney, so I could dress them up every time they behaved more draconian than Machiavelli, or said something duplicitous, justified torture, or worked to pass yet something else that chipped huge chunks from the Bill of Rights, or The Constitution. Or shot somebody in the face. Goes without saying that these guys were dressed up a lot, and both looked fetching in ball gowns and tiaras. For the record, I am still very peoed about what happened to Valerie Plame and her husband.

As for President Obama, never, ever Mr. Obama like certain persons refer to him, I've already written of my hopes for him, of his promises for the nation. I want to believe. Time will tell.

So finally, the artist of Eye Patch Abe. I love this image of Abe as a rakish pirate of sorts.

Take a look at comic artist Rob Osborne's bio and link under the image above to see more of his artwork.

Artist Bio:
A little bit about me...

I'm an artist, designer, and writer. I'm a published graphic novelist who has worked in comics for years. I've written for video games, designed pretty things, prepared marketing messages, and editorialized through cartoons.

You can find me online at and

You may read my weblog at

Etsy is a welcome opportunity to share my art and design with nice, art-loving people from around the world.

The idea is to create and share art that expresses the adventure and romance of comic books, the inspiration of Zig-Z, and Lichtenstein Pop Awesomeness. I hope to provide the art enthusiast with intergalactic, Neo-Rockwellian, Pop-Warholian energy through art. Things that burst with Jack Kirby krackle and the gusto of Bill Watterson's Calvin. Providing that "crunch with punch", as it were. Or something like that. It all begins to sound like rather absurd, doesn't it?

If you like these kinds of things, then you'll find things here that you like.

My studio is in Austin, Texas. I create every day, and I eat cereal every day. Thank you for coming by.

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