howtheduck (howtheduck) wrote in binky_betsy,

Lynn's Trip to Baltimore (or really to Washington, D.C.)

As usual, I will quote the article and comment on it.

A few days ago I returned from a trip to Baltimore. I was there to see my friend, greeting card guru, Barbara Dale, and to attend an annual fundraiser in DC called, "Cartoons and Cocktails," to which I have been donating every year.

It was on November 15.  The website for this event is:

On there you can see the artwork which Lynn Johnston donated for auction in 2008, 2009 and 2011.  They were animation cells from the animated For Better or For Worse(2008 and 2011), plus a few light sketches of Foob characters with Lynn’s signature(2009).  No comic strip work and actually very little work by Lynn herself.

This event helps to offset the legal costs of defending cartoonists who are being persecuted for their political views - and, I believe, provides a scholarship for young aspiring journalists.

According to the website your donations and all purchases at Cartoons and Cocktails support Young D.C.and the Cartoonists Rights Network, International.    Young D.C sponsors the independent monthly newspaper, Young D.C.; an independent, metro-area newspaper, which employs teen journalists.    Sorry, Lynn.  No scholarships.  CRNI seeks relief for endangered cartoonists through communication with diplomatic missions, ministries of state and civil society organizations, so Lynn is closer with this one but it is not exactly legal costs.

Barbara met me at the airport and drove me to her apartment on the bay.

As usual, Lynn takes no trips without someone to drive her around, who knows where they are going.  Barbara seems to know Baltimore, but is less competent when driving around D.C.

What a beautiful city Baltimore is! The fall weather was mild and warm - amazing since Baltimore had been in the eye of "Sandy" just a few weeks ago. We walked along the waterfront, which one could easily compare to Vancouver - sans the mountains. After catching up, we went off to the local shops and museums and walked her sweet little pooch, Harvey, around the perimeter of her building. These "walks" cater to the canine crowd by providing places to sniff and squat... with bags and waste disposal provided. I was impressed.

I believe Lynn is talking about the Waterfront Promenade in Baltimore.  It is a paved walkway that covers 7 miles of the waterline of the Inner Harbor.  

Finding our way around by car was an experience not for the feint of heart. 

Or for the faint of heart, although I wonder a little about how a heart would do a feint.

There are no fewer than 4 "First" streets in Washington, DC. It's crazy!

There is 1st Street SW, SE, NE and NW.  In between them all is the U.S. Capitol Building and considering the picture of Lynn there, this is probably the reason Lynn can make this observation.

Streets change names between lights, and signage is awful - if visible at all. Three times we asked for directions - even thought we had a GPS. When I walked up to the window of a parked Police car and confessed "We are horribly lost," the officer inside laughed and said, "Of course you are - you're in Washington! Everybody gets lost here!" Barb and I figured the confusion was designed to thwart would-be intruders who would give up in a maze of unmarked one-way streets, too upset to commit any wrongdoing.

Of course.  Wrongdoers are notorious for their poor street navigation.

The best part of visiting Washington is the concentration of historical buildings, museums, and galleries there are to visit. One of the highlights for us was having the opportunity to go into the Library of Congress - as special visitors.

In other words, a pre-arranged guided tour.

We were ushered into a room where we were able to see the original works of several of our favourite female cartoonists: Edwina Dumm, Dale Messick, and Marjorie Henderson Buell - who did "Little Lulu"- my childhood comic book fave! We were escorted into hermetically sealed chambers where stuff like the work of the legendary political cartoonist "Herblock" is stored and we walked into the beautiful, ornate rotunda in the center of the building - a space reminiscent of the splendid palaces you see in Europe (but cleaner and in better shape!).

And Lynn managed to squeeze in a slam of European palaces.  The Library of Congress does have a special exhibit for the work of Herb Block or Herblock.  The Swann Gallery in Thomas Jefferson Building is devoted to the art of caricature and cartoon.  This is probably where Lynn would have seen this art.  Dale Messick is the creator of Brenda Starr and Edwina Dumm did Cap Stubbs and Tippie for 60 years.

After thanking Martha Kennedy, the curator who went out of her way for us, we were off to "C&C."

Martha H. Kennedy is a curator in the Library's Prints and Photographs Division.

The fundraiser matched the confusion of getting there. After waiting for an hour past the appointed time for the doors to open, we left to dine at one of the many great Washington eateries. I still have no idea what this event entails!

If Lynn thought this was going to be a dinner (as her departure to a Washington eatery suggests), then no wonder she was confused.  The itinerary for the event off the website has:

6:00 p.m.

Cocktails and Light Fare

Silent Auction Begins

7:00 p.m.

Live Auction Begins

As you can tell, the live auction is one hour after the start of the event.  I wonder if those doors Lynn was expecting to be open were actually the doors to the live auction area.  I can imagine the conversation between Barbara Dale and Lynn: 

Lynn:   These cocktails and light fare are great, but when are they going to open the doors to the dining room?  It’s been over an hour. 

Barbara:  As I have been telling you for the last hour, there is no dining room.  Those are the doors to the live auction area and it doesn’t start until 7 pm.  That’s your fifth cocktail and if you keep drinking like this, you won’t be awake to enjoy the auction.

Lynn:  Auction?  They don't have an auction at the Reuben awards.   They have a dinner.

Barbara:  Yes, auction.  People bid to buy the artwork you contributed or the art of other artists.

Lynn:  I didn’t donate any artwork.  I just donated some of the old animation cels from the For Better or For Worse cartoon show, so I could make room in my garage for more Farley golf club covers.

Barbara:  You didn’t donate artwork you did yourself?

Lynn:    No way.  I have to have all that artwork for my treasuries.

Barbara:   Why are you here? 

Lynn:   To get to know you and see if I can stand being around you on our cruise next year.

Barbara:   The cruise is already paid for.  If you had doubts about whether or not you could stand being around me, then why in the world did you sign us up for a 4-week cruise?  They have 1-week cruises.

Lynn:  Because you are a divorced cartoonist just like me.  I like to travel with divorced women, like my close friend, Loretta Clarke.  We can spend the whole vacation talking about how awful our ex-husbands are.  I never get tired of that.  I did a whole presentation at the Schulz Museum making fun of my first husband and we’ve been divorced since 1973. Hum.  I am getting really mad at these people.  Why aren’t they opening up the doors to the dining room?

Barbara:  It's not a dining room it's a...  Let’s go get dinner someplace else.

Lynn:  Where?

Barbara:  At a great Washington eatery.

Lynn:  Will they serve beer?  That’s what I like for dinner.  Maybe a few snacks.

Barbara:  Not enough beer for me, if I have to be around you.

Lynn:  You like beer too?   We like the same food.  Mission accomplished!

Barbara:  It’s going to be a really long cruise next year.

My time with Barbara passed by all too fast. Aside from attending the fundraiser, we wanted to see if we'd survive being in a confined space for longer than 24 hours. (We'll be sharing a cabin on a 4-week cruise next year and wanted to make sure we'd arrive at our final destination - with our friendship in tact.)

I think Lynn means “intact” and not “in tact”.  Of course I could be wrong about that one.

What we discovered was that we like the same foods, we laugh at the same stuff, we walk... and more importantly, SHOP at the same rate, and we don't sweat the small stuff. Mission accomplished. All in all it was another fine foray.

It is a little surprising that Lynn has not mentioned some  bargoon she got in Washington.

What I discover time and time again is how similar and how compatible cartoonists are and how much I appreciate the great chums I have within this industry. LJ

If you are unfamiliar with Barbara Dale,  you can visit her website at

Barbara used to be married to Jim, and they started a greeting card company at the beginning of the “alternative” greeting card explosion in the 1980s.  They also did a short run of a comic strip called The Stanley Family for Universal Press Syndicate, which lasted a year or two.  The humor of that strip is remarkably similar to For Better or For Worse, but is very different from the humor in the greeting cards.   I don’t know the reason for the divorce, because Barbara and Jim did not shop their divorce story around to newspapers to get sympathy like Lynn did.  However she is a solo act now and still does greeting cards.  There are a few examples on her website and they are pretty edgy. 

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