Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Type: Comic Strip
Frequency: Daily
Categories: Men, Women.

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"Garry Trudeau is the premier American social and political satirist of his time." -Newsweek

Doonesbury has managed to be articulate, abrasive, political, compassionate, misunderstood, misprinted, and outrageous - but one thing it's never been is complacent. Garry Trudeau's creation has chronicled American history and culture in a parallel universe. And through it all, Doonesbury has always been honest, entertaining, and way, way cool.

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In The News

Garry Trudeau

GARRY TRUDEAU was born in New York City in 1948, and was raised in Saranac Lake, New York. He attended Yale University, where he received his B.A. and an M.F.A. in graphic design.

Doonesbury was launched in 1970, and now appears in nearly 1200 publications in the U.S. and abroad including Australia, China, France, Italy and the UK. His work has been collected in 60 hardcover, trade paperback and mass-market editions, which have cumulatively sold over 7 million copies worldwide. In 1975, Trudeau became the first comic strip artist ever to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1989, 2004 and 2005. And in 2015, Trudeau was the first cartoonist to receive the George Polk career award.

Working with John and Faith Hubley, Trudeau wrote and co-directed the animated film, A Doonesbury Special, for NBC-TV in 1977. The film was nominated for an Academy Award and received the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Collaborating with composer Elizabeth Swados in 1983, Trudeau wrote the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical, Doonesbury, for which he was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards. A cast album of the show, recorded for MCA, received a Grammy nomination.

Trudeau again collaborated with Swados in 1984, this time on Rap Master Ronnie, a satirical revue about the Reagan Administration that opened off-Broadway at the Village Gate. Over the next four years the show was continuously updated for numerous productions around the country. A filmed version of Rap Master Ronnie, featuring Jim Morris, the Smothers Brothers, and Carol Kane was broadcast on Cinemax in 1988.

In 1988, Trudeau wrote and co-produced, along with director Robert Altman, HBO's critically acclaimed Tanner '88, a satiric look at that year's presidential election campaign. The show won several awards both in the U.S. and abroad, including the gold medal for Best Television Series at the Cannes Television Festival, and Best Imported Program from the British Broadcasting Press Guild. Tanner '88 also earned an Emmy - as well as four ACE award nominations. In 2004, he reunited with Altman to write and co-produce a sequel series, "Tanner on Tanner", for the Sundance Channel.

In February 2000, Trudeau, working with Dotcomix, launched Duke2000, a presidential campaign and website featuring a real-time 3-D streaming-animation character. Nearly 30 campaign videos were created for the site, and Ambassador Duke was interviewed live by satellite on Larry King Live, Today, The Charlie Rose Show and 60 other local TV news programs.

In 2013 he created, produced and wrote “Alpha House,” a political sitcom about four Republican senators sharing a house in Washington, D.C. The first streaming-only production of Amazon Studios, it stars John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy, Wanda Sykes and Cynthia Nixon.

Trudeau has contributed articles to publications such as Harper's, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, The New Yorker, New York, and The Washington Post. For five years he was an occasional columnist for The New York Times op-ed page, and was later a contributing essayist for Time magazine. He has received honorary degrees from Yale, Colgate, Williams, Duke and 25 other universities and colleges, and has been inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In recognition of his work on wounded warriors, Trudeau has been presented with the Commander's Award for Public Service by the Department of Army, the Commander's Award from Disabled American Veterans, the President's Award for Excellence in the Arts from Vietnam Veterans of America, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a special citation from the Vet Centers.

Trudeau lives in New York City with his wife, Jane Pauley. They have three grown children.

In The News

Meet the Cast of Doonesbury

Alex A true child of the media, Alex Doonesbury was born in real time on cable television. Not surprisingly, her mother, J.J., was a performance artist/taxi driver; her father Mike Doonesbury was a chronically underemployed advertising "consultant." In her early years, Alex was cared for by nanny Zonker Harris, with few apparent side effects. When her parents split up Alex and her father settled in Seattle, where she attended great public schools and became a seriously competent hacker before she reached puberty. Her mother J.J., an intermittently successful sculptor, lives nearby with now-husband Zeke, whose name Alex mispronounces as “Uncle Stupidhead.” Alex played a key role in successfully bringing the Boomer and Gen-X worlds together, represented by her father and coder extraordinaire Kim Rosenthal. Throughout the dotcom boom the three played hardball with software, searching for the Killer App. In the post-bubble world they acquired, for which Alex aggressively acquired the intellectual assets of failed dotcoms. In her spare time as a high-schooler Alex maintained the phenomenally successful Alex-cam web site, and issued tickets to SUV's for "violating the public good." She had serious issues with her father over file-sharing, which he deplores. During the 2004 presidential election Alex was a tireless and endlessly enthuastic Deaniac, and organized a successful Flashmob for Dean at the Seattle Space Needle. Accepted at Cornell, MIT, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Alex struggled over which college to attend. The strip’s readers were invited to decide the matter via a special online Straw Poll, which led to her attending MIT. There she met roommate and enduring friend Drew, and excelled at robotry. A Facebook connection with a wounded veteran just returned from Afghanistan led to a serious romance, and Alex and Leo “Toggle” DeLuca were married in June of 2010 at Walden Commune. Pregnant with twin boys, Alex went into labor during her Ph.D. graduation ceremony and gave birth to Eli and Danny in June 2013. Daughter Rosie was born several years later.
Alice Alice has traveled a long and increasingly open road, from New York debutante to doyenne of the Washington homeless. She put in long years as a seamstress in Manhattan's garment district, and for a time, during her barfly years, was profoundly acquainted with a particular stool in a neighborhood pub whose bar was tended by Zonker Harris. On the streets for nearly 15 years, she makes it a point to return to New York's Roseland Ballroom for her annual spin as a taxi dancer. Her innumerable dance partners included a memorable spin with oil biz honcho Jim Andrews. A master of the soft touch, Alice has made panhandling a sophisticated survival skill, peddling subscriptions to the National Review, and developing a monthly contribution program, with membership buttons to identify paid-up donors. Her knowledge of weather and her urban camping techniques are unparalleled. Her husband and grill-mate Elmont is unhinged. But for all her street savvy Alice has nearly frozen to death several times -- a dramatic photo of her, unconscious, buried in a snowdrift, appeared on the front page of the Washington Post. In the wake of this dual brush with fame and mortality, Alice was befriended by Congresswoman Lacey Davenport, who was gradually succumbing to Alzheimer's and mistook her for her long- dead sister Pearl. In Lacey’s will, she left her estate to Alice, whose husband Elmont blew it all day-trading just as they were making the transition to a roofed existence.
Benjy Raised as an only child after big brother Mike departed Oklahoma for college back east, Benjamin “Benjy” Doonesbury had a distinctly post-seventies teenhood. A bitter spiked-out punk rocker, he changed his name to “Sal Putrid” and only reluctantly attended college at Walden, referring to his Reagen-era peers as “the class of the living dead.” Making matters even less bearable, his roommate was Trip Trippler, an irrepressible preppie and Navy ROTC member. A mid-college change of mindset and a professional name change transformed him into Dr. Whoopee, safe sex rep, delivering quality condoms to dorm rooms. The business boomed and went national, making Dr. Whoopee a national brand, and leading to the founding of the Institute for Immaculate Contraception, aka Whoopee U. With offices in the Trump Tower and Honey Huan as CFO, Whoopee Enterprises also launched a chain of high-end boutiques, and Sal hosted a popular sex-ed TV talk show for teens, “Ask Dr. Whoopee.” Benjamin has not maintained close relations with his brother and extended family, and now lives in Florida. At the funeral of his mother Daisy “The Widow” Doonesbury in 2011 he was proud to remind everyone that he was the youngest Dr. Whoopee sales manager in history.
B.D. College football star, Vietnam Vet, third-string quarterback for the Rams, Gulf War reservist, California Highway Patrol officer -- B.D. has worn many helmets o ver the years. He and his wife, starlet Barbara Ann Boopstein, share many memories of the '70s and their years at Walden Commune -- she posing for Playboy, he volunteering for Vietnam to get out of writing a term paper. Though captured by a Vietcong terrorist named Phred and wounded by a beer can, B.D. left the Nam relatively unscathed. In his subsequent role as Boopsie's hardheaded Hollywood manager, B.D. exhibited minor skills and major attitude, a combination that did not help extend her list of credits. Their main production was Samantha, born in 1992. Better suited to life in uniform, B.D. was called to serve in Desert Storm, and later as a CHIP officer, but a diagnosis of Gulf War Syndrome left him sidelined and bitter. A return to Vietnam helped him bury old demons and dig up several old war buddies - including Phred, now a mover and shaker in the new Vietnam. Hired by his alma mater to coach the football team he once quarterbacked, B.D. has come full circle, he and Boopsie once again living in the house at Walden where they first met. Reactivated for a second Gulf War, B.D. was shipped out to Kuwait, leaving the Fighting Swooshes in Acting-Coach Boopsie's care. He initially served as a public affairs officer at Camp Blowback, embedding journalists in frontline army combat units. He then led a mission up the Euphrates, assigned to take out “Al Duke.” On April 19, 2004 near Fallujah, a rocket attack removed B.D.’s leg. By Christmas he was home, with a state-of-the-art prosthetic limb, and daughter Sam gave him rock-climbing shoes. As his PTSD emerged as a serious issue (“Daddy shot up the garage.”) the wounded warrior made his way to the local Vet Center, where peer counselor Elias helped him map out a New Normal, amid the comradeship of a covey of new fellow-vet friends. When a young soldier in his unit, Leo “Toggle” DeLuca, was blown up, B.D. was quickly to his side and has remained a helpful presence. At the VA center he also befriended MST victim Melissa Streeter, a relationship which helped him move forward in his own recovery -- as has his friendship with Ray Hightower, finally sent home after way too many IED blasts. B.D. is currently the coach of college football’s only paid team, the Fighting Swooshes.
Duke Some people regard "Uncle" Duke, a rabid controlled-substances buff, as "the High Lord of Inner Space." But in fact he has a long record, some of it involving public service. Few writers at Rolling Stone have been able to move on to something as substantial as Governor of American Samoa, which led to a post as Ambassador to China. Following his triumph in Peking, Mr. Duke enjoyed a brief career as a laetrile farmer. After applying for jobs as President of Yale and head of ABC News, he made a name for himself as General Manager of the Washington Redskins. His experience packing heat led him to serve as a lobbyist for the NRA, followed by some sensitive work in Iran for Universal Petroleum. After bargaining for his life before a firing squad, Mr. Duke disappeared for l7 months, then surfaced as "the 53rd hostage." Upon release he settled down as a drug smuggler in Florida, a career cut short by an ill-fated sightseeing cruise to the Falklands War. Following his rescue from Matagorda Island, Duke became entangled in Hollywood politics, the John Delorean story, and a major cocaine bust. Abruptly moving to Haiti, he opened the Baby Doc College of Offshore Medicine. Discovered more inert than usual one morning, he was pronounced dead, which led the St. Petersburg Times to run a full obituary. Fortunately it turned out that Duke was not dead, only zombified and sold into slavery. A friend noted, "Frankly, he could use the discipline." After losing his condom company to John Gotti over a bad loan, Duke took a much-deserved rest in Bellevue, returned to active duty as captain of the Trump Princess, then rescued his former translator and devoted love-slave Honey Huan from China. Tapped by George Bush to serve as Maximum Proconsul in post-invasion Panama, he moved on to smuggle guns to the Kuwaiti resistance, then opened Club Scud, a popular wartime watering hole in Kuwait City. After working on David Duke's campaign, he moved into the "nonprofit" sector, opening Nothing But Orphans. One of his first charges, according to DNA test results, was a long-lost son, Earl. Abandoning the orphans and Ms. Huan, father and son lived in a trailer in Las Vegas, pursuing the gaming arts and trafficking in stolen Beanie Babies. His stint as a key advisor to Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura led Duke to make a run at the White House. The "Duke2000 -- Whatever It Takes" campaign, headquartered in a motel in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, was a resounding failure, despite the efforts of campaign manager "Mini-D" and corporate sponsorships by heavy hitters Lipton Tea and Absolut Vodka. A successful business trafficking in stem cells was followed by a lucrative involvement in the messy fallout from the Enron scandal. As conflict with Iraq loomed, Duke made a return to government work, taking up a post as Viceroy-in-Waiting. With the war underway and the country in upheaval, Duke served as mayor of Al-Amok, surviving an assassination attempt. As Halliburton mercenaries approached the city Duke began a harrowing journey of escape that eventually took him to the Gulf Coast where he was able to scam his way to federal funds earmarked for the Katrina recovery. Shifting to legitimate concerns, Duke became a lobbyist at son Earl’s K Street firm, a boutique operation then specializing in Indian casinos. His first major score was bringing President-for-life Trff Bmzklfrpz on board as a client, with the goal of re-branding Berzerkistan. With Earl’s help, Duke later put together an Olympic team for the country. Hired by Jim Andrews to spin BP’s oil Gulf oil spill, he cut numerous radio spots as “Ragin’ Cajun Duke.” Hiring freelance liberator Red Rascal from Overkill Industries to extract Bmzklfrpz from his collapsing regime led to Duke having the former President-for-Life as a permanent houseguest, though he was finally able to get him a green card and a job as a bartender. Duke’s other clients include Syrian president Bashar Assad, aka “the client from Hell.”
Bernie One of the original residents of Walden Commune, Bernie used his passion for chemistry to explore the morphing arts. Post-college he took his skills into the world of software, and has had an extremely lucrative career as the founder of Bernie’s Byte Shack. He attributes his success to not thinking outside the box, though he acknowledges that it also helps if you own the box. Now a successful venture capitalist, his recent projects include a celebrity GPS voice app called aLIST. He lives on a lake in Seattle, not far from Bill Gates.
Boopsie During her Hollywood heyday, Barbara Ann Boopstein was called "the drinking man's Meryl Streep." Stardom has thus far eluded the Divine Miss B, but she knows it's only a matter of lifetimes. She speaks with a certain authority: in a previous incarnation she was Lorna Doone. Her theatrical credits thus far include numerous exercise videos and several teensploitation flicks. She was featured in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, played Barbara Bush in the made-for -TV movie Poppy: The War Years, and was mentioned in Andy Warhol's diary. Activities in service to her country include co-hosting the Times Square victory parade marking the end of the Cold War, posing for a popular pinup poster for the Desert Shield troops, and working with the Malibu Military Family Support Group. She served on the California State Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem, and, on the personal front, was delighted to be Babe of Honor at Hugh and Kimberly Hefner's wedding. Regrettably for her fans, she did not make the cut in "Survivor" tryouts. But her body, bit-mapped and scanned, lives on in a variety of media, generating royalties as the template for Lara Croft in Tomb Raider and Julia Roberts' breasts in Erin Brockovich. Having concluded their longtime association, Boopsie no longer shares her body with the channeled 25,000-year-old warrior Hunk-Ra, much to the relief of her daughter. Boopsie’s status as a legendary B-list superstar seems secure, as indicated by the Barbara Ann Boopstein film festival held in Aspen, with a panel hosted by Roger Ebert. During B.D.’s most recent deployment to Iraq, Boopsie took over as coach of the Fighting Swooshes, and acted decisively to accusations of sexual assault during recruiting parties by shutting the team down for the season, leading to rioting by students, sustained outrage from players, administration, fans, and B.D., and her being fired. Boopsie was the family’s rock during B.D.’s recovery, struggle with PTSD, and reintegration. With nanny Zonker now in Colorado, self-reinvented as a legal druglord, and Sam contemplating college, further change is on the horizon.
Calvin One of the few undergrads of color on campus in Mike's day, uber-activist Calvin brokered an agreement with President King to avoid on-campus violence during a major rally. Celebrating with Mike at a lunch counter, Calvin, ever the provocateur, ordered chicken and grits -- and a big slice of watermelon. ("Now cut that out!") Invited by a prof to guest-lecture on "life in the ghetto," Cal is introduced to the class thus: "He's black, he's beautiful, and by gosh, he's ANGRY! So here he is...AN ACTUAL BLACK PANTHER!" A summer visit to Mark's home, and their attempted visit to his father's golf club, revealed the fact that Calvin is in fact a Negro, and thus unwelcome. But he is an extremely welcome member of B.D.'s legendary football squad, an essential part of the famous "33-A Split Cleveland Clutch" play. He is also responsible for initiating the legendary huddle cheer: "More Blacks! More Poles! More Freaks!"
Chase Talbott III A conservative pundit and commentator, Chase Talbot III met his future husband Mark Slackmeyer while arguing with him as a guest on his NPR talk radio program. After years of connubial bliss the two broke up, the split also occurring live, on air. Denied formal marriage status in pre-equality times, the two then suffered from the inability to formally divorce, leading to a degree of bitterness that could have been avoided had the rugs been divided more appropriately.
Earl A precocious hustler since his earliest childhood, Earl discovered his parentage while a resident of Nothin’ But Orphans, founded by “Father” Duke in the mountains of Colorado. It was Honey Huan’s initiative in obtaining a DNA sample from Duke that led to the happy revelation that he was indeed Earl’s father. Embracing the role of mentor, Duke took the boy for his first tattoo at the age of nine. Other bonding experiences included a stolen Beanie Baby operation and their work together as bounty hunters. While living in a trailer park outside Las Vegas, the two began a day care for children who’d been abandoned by their gambling parents. Finding his own way to a successful career as a K Street lobbyist, Earl then brought his father into the company during a period when the former ambassador was in some distress. The two have spent a productive decade as partners, helping to rebrand a wide variety of despots and dictators, most notably Berzerkistan’s President for Life Trff Bmfrklwz.
Elmont Prominent for many years in the Washington, D.C. homeless community, Elmont is best known as the band leader and sax player for Elmont and the Dumpster Divers, whose performance is usually the highlight of the Thanksgiving Day feast in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. Elmont delivers innovative lectures on the state of the nation at various venues, and is often taken for a raving madman. Evidence of his sanity, however, was his l985 marriage to Alice P. Schwartzman, with whom he resided for a while in a duplex purchased with Alice's inheritance from the late Lacey Davenport. Elmont has been interviewed on NPR's "Urban Home Companion," and served as their floor reporter at the Democratic National Convention in 1990, and again in 2004. He is proud of the fact that he refused to participate in the 1990 national census. His tattoo: “music is my life.” His eddress:
Havoc A longtime Company operative, Agent Havoc played a key role in coordinating the Contras’ efforts in Nicaragua, serving as liaison between soldiers in the field and powerful interests based in Miami. When the war with the Sandinistas came to an end, Havoc attended the retirement party of Contra Commander Less-Then-Zero, presenting him with a silver cigarette case inscribed, “Good luck from a North American intelligence agency.” Shortly after 9/11 Havoc re-emerged as the CIA station chief in Feyzabad, Afghanistan. Tasked with extracting legendary American journalist Roland Hedley -- wounded by a food packet during a USAID supply drop -- the two spent the night together in a cave once inhabited by Osama bin Laden, several caves down from one occupied by Geraldo Rivera. Liasing with rebel elements opposed to the Taliban, Havoc was assigned a then-untested summer intern named Jeff Redfern, who inadvertently carried out a miraculously effective drone strike on a Taliban ammunition dump. For several years Havoc served as the CIA’s primary contact with Afghan President Karzai, and also interacted in a variety of capacities with Commander Akbani, and whichever group the latter happened to be affiliated with at any given time. This flexibility on Havoc’s part has saved his bacon on numerous occasions. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Honey A graduate of Peking University (Class of l974), Honey Huan has had a notable if largely inexplicable career. Her service as translator to U.S. Ambassador to China Duke inspired her to attend Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where she studied with Henry Kissinger. Her association with Duke resumed when they co-founded a small business working the waters off the Florida coast. Subsequently she helped him found the Baby Doc College of Physicians, serving as dean, and later president. After working for the Dr. Whoopee condom company, and pursuing some personal business with the Gambino family, she became Social Director aboard Donald Trump's yacht, the Trump Princess. Returning to Peking for a college reunion led to her inadvertent involvement in the Tiananmen Square uprising: She sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy after being named one of China's 25 most-wanted hooligans. Secreted out of the country by husband-of-convenience Duke, she went on to serve as his sub-Maximum Pro-Consul in post-invasion Panama. Although no longer married, they also worked together to develop Club Scud, a social hub in Kuwait City during and after the Gulf War, and, after peace was restored, went on to found the Nothing But Orphans Home for Foundlings. She and Duke played a critical role in organizing inaugural festivities for Jesse "Mind over Body" Ventura. And it was Ms. Huan's counsel which led to Duke's fascinating and futile 2002 run for the White House. Most Honey-watchers agree that Ms. Huan is the only person standing between Duke and permanent incarceration, having devoted her considerable talents to the thankless task of protecting her imagined paramour from himself. This role was never more important than during the former Ambassador’s harrowing stint as Mayor of the city al-Amok in Iraq. Nor more tested than during her courtship there by a green-card-besotted suitor named Nebuchadnezzar (aka “Nebby”) whose treatment of Ms. Huan was, improbably, worse than Duke’s. After fleeing the war-torn country to seek more gainful -- and survivable – employment as part of the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding effort, the duo ultimately reached an impasse in their ever-strained relationship. Liberating herself from permanent sidekick status, Honey left Duke and had a New Orleans epiphany while serving as a float captain for FEMA at Mardi Gras. She has never looked back. During the summer of 2009 Ms. Huan served in China as a member of the Olympic Committee, and a fortuitous twist of fate allowed her and Duke to rejoin forces briefly to put together a team for Berzerkistan. More recently, Honey appeared in Washington as part of an official PRC delegation to thank Mitt Romney for creating jobs in China while working at Bain Capital.
J.J. Child victim of a Midwestern suburban divorce, J.J. Caucus managed not only to track down and reconcile with the mother who had abandoned her, but went on to fall in love with her mother's old friend Michael J. Doonesbury. After spending her college years under the bell jar of Michael's asphyxiating affections, J.J. emerged to celebrate her womanhood in terms that even he could not ignore. Casting about for an avocation worthy of her ebullience, she ultimately settled on performance art, with mixed results. Amid the booming Soho art scene of the late 80s, J.J. thrived -- her nine-hour performance piece "Welcome to Artville," her urinal installation at Club Stop 'N' Bop, and her ceiling murals on the yacht Trump Princess were uncritically acclaimed. Her most successful piece was a live birthing of daughter Alex on cable television, an event which, fortunately, strengthened her marriage. After some initial difficulties, her maternal instincts kicked in ("Oh sure, breast-feed her. What do I look like, a National Geographic cover girl?"), and once nanny Zonker Harris signed on board the sailing smoothed. But life with a chronically unemployed adman was not easy. Though J.J. made driving a taxi a kind of rolling therapy, telling every fare ad nauseum, "I'm really an artist," the marriage eventually collapsed. Inspired by The Bridges of Madison County, J.J. ran off with ex-flame Zeke Brenner. Re-settling in Seattle, she suddenly achieved remarkable and inexplicable success with her pricey assemblages and sculptures. When the couple finally married in an online webcast, the nuptials were streamed in Quicktime and other leading video formats. As she arrived at the age of 40, J.J.was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. Continuing to sculpt with renewed enthusiasm, she shared the lighter end of custody of daughter Alex before the precocious coder headed off to college in the east, at M.I.T. When Alex’s romance with Toggle sparked plans for marriage, J.J.’s insistence on orchestrating it into an art event led to her dis-invitation. Poorly disguised as caterers, she and Uncle Stupidhead were nonetheless able to attend the happy event, observing the festivities discreetly from the bar.
Jeff The son of social activist and former Justice Department lawyer Joanie Caucus and Washington Post journalist Rick Redfern, Jeff Redfern was born in December, 1982. He showed an early predeliction for prepositions such as "although," "and," "but," and "unless." Despite difficult passage through the day care years -- largely the result of his inability to speak the native language of his caregivers -- Redfern was outed as a gifted child at four and sent to nerd school. Despite this training he was nonetheless able to nurture a gift of extreme hand-eye coordination to achieve a high level of mastery of Doom. By the time he reached puberty he was a veteran of Camp Cyberpines. Heavily recruited by Walden College as an academic ringer, he was awarded a full football scholarship and served as a first string benchman for the Fighting Swooshes. When not playing videogames and helping plan the annual Walden Riot, Redfern managed to get semi-serious about his studies. Along with roommate-teammate Zipper Harris, he co-founded and sold it to entrepreneur Mike Doonesbury. Responding to a CIA brochure, in 2001 Jeff was recruited by the Company as a summer intern and stationed in Afghanistan, where he reported to Agent Havoc. During his second tour Redfern accidentally launched a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone, fortuitously taking out an Al-Qaeda ammo dump. He was subsequently assigned to study Arabic in Spook School and sent back to the Sandbox. After a series of disasters, including accidentally shooting down a chopper carryng a USO tour, Redfern was hounded out of service. He found an unlikely niche -- and his greatest success -- as the proto-legendary Afghan freedom fighter Sorkh Razil, aka “The Red Rascal,” whose exploits he chronicled in a series of bestselling books. Misreading his real-world capabilities, Redfern bought, and then lost, a 13-bedroom mansion. Now living in his parents’ basement, paying rent and struggling with writer’s block, he continues to serve as the embodiment of “a legend in his own mind.”
Jim Andrews As the president of Universal Petroleum, it was Jim Andrews who recruited Duke for a black ops mission to reopen the oil fields in Iran, leading to the former ambassador’s long imprisonment as “the 53rd hostage.” During the first Bush administration Andrews served as Deputy Interior Secretary, and in 1991 he took part in the failed Coup of Suporting Characters. In the wake of that debacle he was stripped of his ranking by the Commissioner of Comics, and restricted to walk-on roles for six years. In the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Andrews helped BP spin the aftermath, once again turning for assistance to former ambassador Duke, who cut numerous radio spots as “The Ragin’ Cajun.” Implicated in the Enron scandle, Andrews, affectionately nicknamed “Jimmy Jack Jumbo” by George Dubya Bush, was forced to abandon his fourth trophy wife and flee to the Cayman Islands. From there he once again hired Duke to help him in a legal battle with his ex, which he lost when the ever-flexible former ambassador switched sides and betrayed him. (Note: The despicable, oft-married, and morally compromised character Jim Andrews is an enduring tribute to Garry Trudeau’s real-life mentor, the brilliant, lovable, highly-ethical and happily-married syndicate editor Jim Andrews, who died in 1980 at 44.)
Jimmy For over three decades, James Ray Thudpucker has cast a mesmerizing light from his polestar position in the pantheon of rock stars. In his various incarnations -- as wunderkind, megastar, anti-star, has-been and been-there elder pop statesman -- JT has always been the Voice of His Generation, even as that particular demographic has sunk out of sight. He is, as his publicist once put it in a moment of rare insight, "a legend's legend." Thudpucker burst out of sessionman obscurity and onto the national scene in the late '60s with a heart-stopping performance at Newport, followed by a galvanizing set at the Vietnam Moratorium march in Washington, D.C. The young bluesman's album So Long was a chart-topper -- and offered a trenchant post-mortem of U.S. policy in Indochina. The album's first single, "Ginny's Song," written for an unknown but sincere California Congressional candidate, made Thudpucker a household name in more than 30 states, a fan base that Jimmy methodically built on with subsequent albums like Fool's Gold (double platinum) and Growing as an Artist (triple platinum with oak clusters). His career as a mainstream sensation peaked in 1978 with the release of Jimmy Thudpucker's Greatest Hits, which landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone for the second time. Refreshingly modest in an era before even false modesty was fashionable, Jimmy made a point of crediting much of his success to the studio rats in his backup band, the legendary Walden West Rhythm Section, featuring Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, David Foster, and Jay "Wah-Wah" Graydon. Never entirely comfortable with the trappings of godhood, Thudpucker became known for walking out of recording sessions to be home in time for dinner. Indeed, such was his ambivalence about fame that he retired following 1979's Greatest Hits Pacific Basin Tour. In a move that stunned associates and inspired at least several other musicians, he returned to college, where he majored in English. Thudpucker emerged from retirement only twice in the ‘80s, both times for a worthy cause; he issued Egg Man, a tribute album for murdered pal John Lennon, and in 1985, was lured by Michael Jackson to Quincy Jones' studio to contribute five key words to the legendary "We Are The World" session. Typically, JT followed through on this commitment by traveling to Addis Ababa on behalf of USA for Africa, before returning to family life. In 1993, he re-emerged on the music scene as Jimmy Ray Thudpucker, making a controversial move to the country category. The stylistic change was soon followed by a geographic one. By the mid-'90s he had established himself in Vietnam as the premier American song stylist, performing lite classics with his band Hearts & Minds. His album of Vietnamese oldies endeared him to the in-country audience, especially after the issue of his cover hit, "He Who Comes to Cu Chi, the Bronze Fortress in the Land of Iron, Will Count the Crimes Accumulated by the Enemy." In October, 1999 JT recorded "Too Poor", an anthem written for NetAid, a global Internet and broadcast event to raise awareness and support for UN efforts to end extreme poverty. Rough tracks and weekly diary entries were posted on the Web site as the song evolved, and the final mix and video were Web-only releases. By 2002 Thudpucker was acknowledged as the most-downloaded artist in history. An outspoken champion of file-sharing, he regards it as offering an historic opportunity to liberate artists from the hierarchical tyranny of record sales. Re-branding himself as James R. Thudpucker III, his career was reignited by a 2005 album of standards, followed a year later by a successful Christmas album Jimmy T’s Jingle Juke. He then began recording with Burger King Records – 11,000 outlets in 61 countries -- and found further success as a ring-tone artist. Applauding the possible demise of the music industry as we know it, he looks forward to a post pop-star model where music is free and performers make a modest living through touring. Jimmy and his wife Jenny currently live in southern California.
Joanie Joanie Caucus' life has paralleled those of a whole generation of women who, if not able to have it all, at least wanted the chance to try. Liberating herself from a disastrous marriage, Joanie joined the denizens of Walden Commune and regrouped, running a day care center and providing inspiration for the next generation of "baby women." She headed West and attended law school at UC Berkeley, in the course of which she also ran a congressional campaign for her roommate Virginia Slade. Slade lost, but the experience won Joanie a job in Washington, working for the victor, Lacey Davenport. Joanie's two unsuccessful romances, one with a priest (Scot Sloan), one with a gay man (Andy Lippincott), were followed by a successful pairing with reporter Rick Redfern. A long cohabitation, followed by protracted negotiations, led to an outdoor marriage ceremony. Staff work in Congresswoman Davenport's home district in San Francisco led to a renewed friendship with old friend Andy Lippincott, cut short by his dying of AIDS. Slipping her husband the occasional confidential report, serving as her daughter J.J.'s Lamaze coach, helping to negotiate for the release of zombified former Ambassador Duke -- Joanie's harried Beltway life as a Justice Department attorney is typical of her generation of career women. The fact that the birth of their child Jeff occurred in the midst of a Lamaze class made it that much more special. She and her husband have struggled with the modern insight that two full-time jobs and parenthood are not fully compatible. As she once put it to Rick: "I think you should quit your job." Similar instructions were decisively delivered to her by her employer, the federal government, with the onset of the Bush era. Joanie's sudden transition from player to civilian was difficult. Resuming private practice just as the stock market tanked, Joanie has found herself at retirement age with no reasonable expectation of retirement. Further frustrations and ironies abound, as her formerly prominent MSM reporter husband struggles as a stay-at-home blogger, while their ne’er-done-well son Jeff is suddenly a best-selling author. Joanie shares a close relationship with granddaughter Alex, the two having bonded over the alienating solipcism of daughter J.J. Inspired by Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Joanie was an early and enthusiastic supporter, and joined Warren’s Senate campaign, Alex occasionally serving as driver and volunteer coordinator. The abrupt and fortuitous moving out of Alex’s roommate provided a welcome opportunity for Alex and her Gram to also be part-time roommates. After Warren’s election, Joanie returned to her D.C. life and assumed the alpha-parent role vis-à-vis returned-son Jeff, now living in the basement and trying to save a foundering career writing as The Red Rascal. Enforcing a strict regimen of hours at the keyboard and rent payment, Joanie has proved a harsh and helpful taskmaster.
Kim One of the orphans airlifted out of Vietnam in 1973, Kim Rosenthal was raised as a Vietnamese-Jewish-Southern-Californian American. An honor roll student in high school, she aced college and walked out on a Computer Science PhD at MIT to begin her professional career as a Gen-X hacker. While employed by Bernie's Byte Shack of Seattle, Washington, Kim met Mike Doonesbury, a geek elder and divorced father of one. After their turbulent cross-generational relationship was rent by a stint that saw her working for game mavens Fou Chien in Paris, Kim and Mike were reunited in business and united in marriage. She and step-daughter Alex share passions for Skittles, ice-skating, and writing code, and Kim was a helpful influence in encouraging the capabilities and ambitions of the young Seattle mega-coder.
Mark Few aging agitators are as unreconstructed as Walden Commune alumnus Mark Slackmeyer, and fewer still are as proud of it. Known as "Megaphone Mark" during his campus activist years, he was on the national organizing committee for the Vietnam Moritorium, and was interviewed after the massive anti-war demonstration by Dick Cavett. Adopting the on-air moniker "Marvelous Mark," Slackmeyer created a distinctive campus radio program that was influential during the Watergate period, though he was widely censured at the time for some of his editorial comments. After stints as a bricklayer, a computer operator, and a part-time bartender, Slackmeyer returned to broadcasting with a post at WBBY. Sensing there was nothing wrong in Nixon's America that wouldn't become even more deplorable in Reagan's, he chose to stay permanently and professionally mad, and went to work for National Public Radio. Activist folklore is the richer for it. Still making waves on air, he combines probing interviews with "Lite 'n' Easy Rock," for the generation that still gets down but can't catch up. Mark is the only major FM disc jockey known to have outed himself on the air. He and his partner -- conservative commentator Chase Talbott III -- appeared together for years on NPR's "All Things Being Equal" until a bitter breakup ended their union. Burying his permanently embittered and eternally critical father Phil, a former Reagan appointee, proved difficult, as none of Slackmeyer per’s three trophy wives were able to attend, leaving Mark to hire high school kids in order to fill the church. His professional life remains vibrant: Although his offer of $10,000 to anyone able to personally corroborate that George W. Bush actually served with the National Guard in Alabama was never claimed, the contest was highly entertaining and noted by the journalistic community, as were his “Tom Delay Deathwatch” and an aggressive interview with anti-Semite and Berzerkistan ex-President-for-Life Trff Bmzklfrpz.
Melissa When B.D. first met ace helicopter mechanic Melissa Wheeler in the lobby of the VA center, she was seeking help as a victim of Military Sexual Trauma. Over the months that followed, witnessing Mel's pain and her healing process helped B.D. with his own, and turned him into a staunch ally. Counseling from Cora and Elias helped her reframe her experience and led eventually to a New Normal that included re-upping for a second deployment to the Sandbox. There she and battlebud Roz masterfully managed a perilous rescue op of a downed USO chopper, and in the new post-DATD world the now-out Roz and her now-superior (“That’s SERGEANT bitch to you!”) helped wind down U.S. ops in Afghanistan. Returning stateside, Mel’s final obstacle has been her father’s cluelessness -- and a widespread reluctance to hear the truth of her story. During a high school assembly at her alma mater Mel raised eyebrows by speaking openly, warning young women about the high incidence of sexual assault in today’s military.
Mike Disabused early in his Walden College career of the conviction that he was "God's gift to women," Michael J. Doonesbury gave up on dating and founded Walden Commune in l972. That summer he and sidekick Mark Slackmeyer embarked on a classic cross-country road trip to San Francisco, the most lasting benefit of which was his friendship with Joanie Caucus, whom they picked up hitchhiking near Denver and brought home to Walden. Years later, working with Joanie on the Anderson campaign, Mike finally met her daughter J.J., which led in short order to romance, graduation, marriage, a computer, and a job in advertising. The pinnacle of Mike's career: A much-praised anti-tanning spot for the American Cancer Society. Low-points: His campaign to sell Ronald Reagan to black voters, and the inexplicable creation of Mr. Butts, spokesproduct for the tobacco industry. Also difficult were the '80s haircut, his stint as "The Subway Avenger," and separation from budding performance artist J.J. The marriage was band-aided back together when daughter Alex was born in 1989, but did not survive J.J.'s fling with Zeke Brenner. Lifted from post-J.J. depression by a summer fantasy come true, Mike found a new life, a new coffee habit, and a new career as marketing director for a Seattle software company run by his college roommate Bernie. To both his and daughter Alex's delight, he was wowed by and wooed Gen-X coder Kim Rosenthal. The three, united by both nuptial vows and a business plan, launched a mom 'n' pop 'n' pre-teen software startup. To the regret of his employees, Mike nobly passed on the chance to be bought by Microsoft, which led to being run out of business by them. The financially stripped-down family went on to buy<>, a startup whose business plan called for feasting on the remains of other dotcom casualties. Like many Americans, Mike had a personal connection to the 9/11 tragedy. His former boss, Mr. Bellows, was among the WTC victims, leading Mike to return to Manhattan for a memorial service in the jittery post-attack days. In an effort to help the slumping economy and prepare for the invasion of Iraq during the harsh winter of 2004, he purchased his first big-screen TV. When Alex finally left the nest and headed east to MIT, the drama level at home went down, but only until Mike’s mom, the notorious Granny D, moved in. A reluctant transplant from Oklahoma, where age was rapidly thinning the ranks of her friends and suitors, she accepted temporary residence as a Seattlean. Despite Mike’s best efforts, she was enthusiastically courted by a hefty, colorful biker named Skid, who, not surprisingly, turned out to be scamming her in cahoots with Zeke. To Mike’s bemusement, the rise of the Tea Party provided new outlets for his mother’s passion. Dutifully escorting Daisy to a rally, he watched her take the stage and burn her Medicare card -- a bold act quickly regretted when she needed hospitalization shortly thereafter. While the family biz had its ups and downs during the ought decade, the trajectory of Alex and Toggle’s romance moved steadily upward until, by the time of her graduation from MIT, even a skeptical Mike was forced to realize it might be for real. Equally real, the demise of Daisy. Ever the grownup in the room, Mike presided over her funeral service, which brought together the disparate members of the extended family, including the wayward egomaniac younger brother Sid, the bitter ex-daughter-in-law J.J., and her drunk, hitting-on-a-mourner husband Zeke. Mike’s annual Summer Fantasy remains a highlight of his year, and he still pitches decent startup ideas to longtime venture capitalist pal Bernie. The two graying colleagues console one another over the fact that to attractive young women they are now just a couple of generic Old Guys, and hence invisible. But there is tremendous consolation in Mike’s assuming a new role, one for which grey hair is suitable -- that of grandfather to Alex and Toggle’s twins, Eli and Danny, and to their young daughter Rosie.
Mr. Butts The self-appointed spokesproduct for the tobacco industry, Mr. Butts is a walking, talking, rebuke to common sense -- the odious and odoriferous figment of adman Mike Doonesbury's compromised imagination. Besides his work in advertising, and his perjury before Congress, he is perhaps best known for his work with children and his recruiting efforts in the field during Desert Storm. Though he remains a star at the annual Sin Lobby Fest (“Still smokin’ over 400,000 folks a year!”) Butts suffered from a bout of depression when a 2002 study showed that smoking is no longer cool. Now recovered and a Gucci Gulch lobbyist, Butts resides with his lovely wife, Mrs. Butts, in an unnamed Washington suburb.
Mr. Harris It's hardly surprising that Walden College's first and finest longhair is a second-generation freak, beloved spawn of two eccentric Californian-Americans. Aside from an early-days dorm visit, readers only became acquainted with the Harrises when Zonk and Mike were busted for a weed seed during their infamous "Call Me When You Find America" road trip, and thrown in a small-town hoosegow. Zonk's mother was heartbroken that her green-thumb son might not be able to help with her spring garden, all the more grievous as it was she who first turned him on. Fortunately the lads are sprung, thanks to the cash in Mr. Harris's wallet. From time to time Zonker's dad passed family lore along, regaling him with tales of Colonial-era ancestors Nate and Amy Harris, the latter a woman of spirit ("Seriously, Nate. I want to be a Minuteperson.") who aspired to literacy. ("I want to be able to converse knowledgeably about Descartes and Gibbon and the essays of Mary Wollstonecraft.") Zonk's parents, who met as undergrads at UCLA, were themselves caught up in historic times; his father had to "sail for the European Theatre to fight the Nazi scourge." Mom is still bitter: "DARN that Adolph Hitler!" The intergenerational bonds are strong, and more than once Harris fil took refuge at Walden Commune when he and his beloved became temporarily estranged. (Zonk: "She just needs to be by herself once in a while.") During one such residency, when Zonk was, uncharacteristically, hitting the books hard, Mark and heartbroken but enthusiastic Harris the Elder head for high ground: "C'mon, let's go get wrecked!" Hours later, Zonk has the mind-blowing experience of hearing his father say, "Oh, wow." Mark: "I think he meant it, too!" The 1990s were a low point for Family Harris. Announcing that the real world had "not worked out" for him, Zonker moved back home, delighted to realize that not having to pay for rent, telephone, laundry, or food, improved his financial picture considerably, leading him to muse: "I might get a Corvette." His parents immediate canceled their credit cards and looked into obtaining a court order. "Did I mention we live on a fixed income now?" With Zonker finally re-launched and thriving in the Weed Biz, mellowness was finally restored to Casa Harris.
Phil Slackmeyer The head-butting between Phil Slackmeyer and his son Mark was lifelong, brutal, and nonstop. The New Jersey stockbroker, an expert in tax shelters and money funds, saw nothing but failure in his longhaired lefty son, even before "Megaphone Mark" dropped out of school to work at a radio station. "Son? I have no son. All I have is a parasitic offspring who, year after year, manages to pass his courses just in time for me to shell out yet another four thousand dollars." The low point of their high tension came one Christmas break, when Mark received a bill for his upbringing; $63,851.13. His bedroom rented out, he ended up in a sleeping bag in the garage, behind the lawn mower. Meanwhile Phil's portfolio and career headed north, two heart attacks notwithstanding, and he received an invitation from Reagan to join the Council of Economic Advisers. Georgetown beckoned -- townhouse, chauffeur, the works -- and Mark was welcomed home to have his nose enthusiastically rubbed in gloat. Unable to get by on a government salary, Phil returned to the private sector and for a while rode high, leading a majorly hostile takeover. But ties to Ivan Boesky lead to a terrifying investigation (his tension briefly relieved by visits to Roseland where he waltzed away his woes with Alice P. Schwartzman). Blurting out a full confession landed him in a minimum security prison filled with Wall Street peers (and numerous Reagan aides). Counseling by the facility's ethics counselor, Rev. Scot Sloan, does little good ("What's the opposite of good?" "Poor."), and Phil ends up leading an inmate strike, demanding high-speed connectivity and additional work stations for the jailcell traders. At the end of the Cold War, Phil, like all other white-collar criminals, was awarded amnesty ("I'm a war hero now.") and was soon back on the make. New conquests included trophy wife Gail. "I want to grow old with this woman!" he enthused to Mark. "Dad, you are old..." The revelation, at their wedding, that Phil was broke hardly dampened the mood, and he launched new fortune via offshore financial adventures, his career summiting as he assumed the role of PR head for R.J. Reynolds. Additional heart attacks and more women-a-third-of-his-age followed. In 2002 burying his permanently embittered and eternally critical father proved difficult for Mark. None of Phil's three trophy wives were able to attend, leaving Mark to hire high school kids in order to fill the church. Amen.
Phred A native of Hue, Vietnam, Phred Nguyen carried on a long family tradition of fighting Western imperialists, seeing action in Hue, Da Nang, the 1968 Tet offensive, and the 1972 siege of Quang Tri. Considered to be the top terrorist in Cu Chi province, he served for five years with a cadre based in the tunnels outside Saigon. In his spare time, Nguyen made a name for himself locally as an independent winemaker, and gained a reputation for quality with Chateau Phred, known as "the Delta's finest." After the 1973 cease-fire, Phred opened the first souvenir shop in the region, which he operated until he was drafted. After difficult contract negotiations, he was put on waivers and traded to the Pathet Lao. A vacation trip in November, 1973 led to his taking up the cause of 300,000 Cambodian refugees, leading a delegation to Washington, D.C. to testify before a senate subcommittee. When his option with the Pathet Lao was not renewed, Phred returned to his native country and was awarded a Phord Foundation grant in 1974. By the time Saigon fell the following May, he was once more in the military, serving as aide-de-camp to General Tran-Huu Tang in Ho Chi Minh City. During the following years Phred taught at the Vietnam People's Re-Education Center, leading a re-education seminar for former petty bourgeoisie. In 1978 he was appointed as ambassador to the United Nations, and moved to New York City. The highlight of his UN service was his June 1978 speech on ending the arms race. Phred Nguyan now works as one of Vietnam's numerous "directors,” well-connected facilitators who enable foreign businesses to become established. His projects in that capacity have included work with Nike, and the 1990 NetAid fundraising event, which featured U.S. expat rocker Jimmy Ray Thudpucker. Mr. Nguyen is also a co-founder of the China Beach Arms resort.
President King As the administrative head of Walden College, an east coast hotbed of student unrest during the turbulent sixties, President King made a reputation through his creative handling of difficult situations, from student occupations to the disruptions surrounding the Black Panther trial, and the school's being heralded by Time as "a leading outpost of the New Hedonism." By the late '70s things had quieted to the point where King found himself focused on fundraising, a difficult process explored on NPR in a segment entitled "Sucking Up To Alumni." In 1982 King won national attention for his testimony before Congress regarding the dramatic and dangerous influx of preppies. In the years that followed, King was forced to deal with widespread anti-apartheid protests. By 1988, faced with the smallest freshman class in Walden's history, King pioneered an aggressive marketing program. Working in collaboration with the Dr. Whoopee Foundation, King also initiated a widely-copied "safe sex" program, equipping student dorms with condom dispensers. By the early 90s safe language had become the pre-eminent campus concern, and King led the way, creating a comprehensive Glossary of Forbidden Speech. In 1993 Walden received national attention when it was hit with a $5 million lawsuit by a student allegedly stigmatized by a low grade. As a result, King decisively ended grade inflation by making straight A's mandatory. The college’s standards slipped so precipitously that it eventually stopped requiring a high school diploma for admission, earning its nickname, “America’s Safety School.” In 2006 it became the first college in the country to offer a major in Remedial Studies. Privatized a few years later, Walden also became the first college with a paid professional football team.
Ray In early 1991 B.D.’s battle buddy Ray suffered a leg injury when their Humvee was hit by an artillery shell during the first days of combat in Gulf War I. Hightower survived his wounds and the overbearing attention of hospital ship Morale Officer Trip Trippler (Benjy Doonesbury’s college roommate), enough to be reassigned to Camp Quagmire, a refuge for Kurds fleeing Saddam’s troops in northern Iraq. There Ray gave tours to visitors like Congresswoman Lacey Davenport. Ray and B.D. remained fast friends during post-war life in SoCal, both dealing with sundered relationships. Abandoned by his wife for a Navy SEAL, Ray lived for a time with his long-suffering mother, then embarked on a Thelma and Louise adventure to raise hell with B.D. As riots broke out in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, the duo were called back up to active duty, and served side by side defending Fredericks of Hollywood. They then served together as CHIPs, and a fortuitous pullover by Ray led to a relationship with May, and her difficult would-be gangbanger Des. Re-deploying together for Operation Iraqi Freedom Ray racked up numerous grueling employments, and was blown up 19 times, a fact which, when noticed by Higher, earned him a permanent ticket home. Suffering from PTSD he ended up living in the VA Center waiting room, and B.D.’s living room. Thanks to counselor Elias, and buds like B.D., he is finding his way.
Rev. Sloan In the late '60s the Rev. Scot Sloan was a dedicated and inspiring social activist, described by Look magazine as "the fighting young priest who can talk to the kids." In the vanguard of a new breed of campus clergy, he dedicated himself to setting up community programs, including tutoring for neighborhood youth. Thus he met Walden College student Mike Doonesbury, who at Sloan's urging, tutored -- and in turn was clued-in by -- a black elementary school student named Thor. Some years later, when the denizens of Walden Commune were forced by graduation to abandon their idyllic rural abode, it was Rev. Sloan who saved it from the wrecking ball, re-christening it first as a sanctuary for Central American refugees, then as a community church. In recent years the social activities have overwhelmed the liturgical -- there may be an occasional service but it's hard to find it among the aerobics and twelve-step programs. He occasionally looks wistfully back to the period when he dated a lawyer-to-be named Joanie Caucus, but in the here and now Sloan is married to his work -- the thoroughly modern minister/ enabler. And he has married many of his friends, including Joanie and Rick, Mike and J.J., Alice and Elmont, Mike and Kim, J.J. and Zeke, and, most recently, Toggle and Alex.
Rick Although his resume includes a stint working the "Chatter" section of People magazine, Rick Redfern is best known for his long career as a hard-hitting investigative reporter for the Washington Post. He's broken numerous major stories over the years, from the Washington Redskins drug scandal to the Brett Kimberlin affair. His high profile interviews with heavyweight newsmakers like Baby Doc Duvalier won Redfern his own profile in David Halberstam's epic tome, Creme de la Creme. Other ground-level reporting included the award-winning series based on his time undercover with Washington's homeless, to his frontline reporting from the sands of Saudi Arabia, and his tour of duty in the gritty chad-pits of Florida. He met long-time wife Joanie Caucus while covering Virginia Slade's run for Congress against Lacey Davenport, Joanie's eventual boss. A reporter's reporter, Redfern is also a boy's dad and was, until Dubya took the oath of office, a Washington insider's husband. The 21st century has not been kind in any of these areas. Joanie retired and Rick was booted from WaPo, suddenly finding himself blogging for a living, ever in search of eyeballs and a paycheck. Long baffled and frustrated by his slacker son Jeff’s unearned sense of entitlement, Redfern suffered the indignity of watching him strike bestseller gold as the Facebook folkhero “Red Rascal” and buy a 12-bedroom mansion. The gloating that occurred when the wayward son lost it all was unbecoming, but a father’s pleasure nonetheless. Rick now writes for the Huffington Post. Considering that he’s a reporter, he remains surprisingly clueless about certain matters. For instance he seems puzzled to find that he is married to a grandmother.
Roland A man of many talents, none of them of any use to a journalist, Roland Burton Hedley III nonetheless began his career at Time magazine, and was assigned to the Saigon bureau, where he covered sports. Deciding to add his mellifluous baritone to the cacophony of American broadcasting, he joined "ABC Wide World of News," and made a name for himself by travelling constantly to the world's hotspots, stopping briefly at laundromats between assignments. He has covered numerous presidential campaigns and world tours, mercilessly badgering officials with probing questions and inane queries alike. He attracted a good deal of attention for his field coverage of rebel forces in the mountains of Afghanistan -- most of it from snipers. Without a doubt Hedley is best known for his l980 election-eve expedition into Reagan's brain. Six years later he mounted a deja vu follow-up expedition in an effort to jar loose presidential Iranscam memories. But the assignment which left a lasting personal scar was the l988 GOP convention in New Orleans. While on the convention floor interviewing the Governor of Vermont, Hedley's headset caught on fire: trapped in his helmet, he was badly burned. Hedley bounded back and made international headlines when he broke an exclusive story which explained the mysterious perpetual three-day beard of PLO chairman Yassir Arafat. After 20 years with ABC, Hedley made the move to narrowcasting, becoming chief content provider and portal correspondent for AOL-Time-Warner-CNN-Yap!com. Traveling incognito in Afghanistan, he was captured by the Taliban, wounded by Spam in a U.S. food drop, then rescued by the CIA. Shortly thereafter, he scored a second Yassir Arafat coup with a live interview from the besieged Palestinian leader's compound, conducted entirely by flashlight. Following his harrowing tour of Rummy World, Hedley was hired by Jim Andrews to be Dubya’s go-to guy, lobbing softballs at White House Press conferences. Now running under the Fox banner, in early 2009 “Ro-J” began a Twitter binge which culminated with the publication of “My Shorts Are Bunching. Thoughts?”: The Tweets of Roland Hedley. The following year he journeyed north, to Alaska, and stalked Joe McGuinness, who was stalking Sarah Palin for a bio. In a remarkable instance of synchronicity a year later, a rogue copy of the tome fell into Roland’s hands, allowing him to tweet headline-worthy excerpts of the embargoed non-bestseller to the waiting world. Since 2017 Hedley has served as Trump Tweets Bureau Chief for Fox News, and posts regularly on his Twitter feed: @RealRBHJr. You can follow him here. [Link "here" to ]
Sam The only child of B.D. and Boopsie, Sam was born in the emergency room of an LA hospital during her parents' wedding. Growing up on the shores of Malibu, this girl of California spent quality time in a backpack while her highway patrolman dad pulled over speeders on the Great Coast Highway. From toddler-hood until high school Sam was nannied by virtual family member Zonker Harris, who tutored her in the surfing arts and the tanning arts, and emparted to his charge all the wisdom at his disposal.
Sid Kibbitz A fixture in the Los Angeles entertainment community, Super-agent Sid Kibbitz almost defies description, though a reporter requesting a resume once received a 250-page document. Widely acknowledged as the first agent to use the car fax, Kibbitz is also still admired for his persistent, though unsuccessful, efforts to package former President Reagan in a "buddy picture" with Tom Cruise. Mr. Kibbitz represented Duke in negotiations for the Delorean project Fast Lanes, White Lines, and has paid special attention to the career of Barbara Ann Boopstein, landing her numerous roles and tirelessly pushing her New Age epic, Hard Bodies, Soft Minds. The son of a rabbi, Mr. Kibbitz is also a fully ordained minister in the Christian Order of Immaculate Pacifism.
Toggle SPC Leo Deluca (a.k.a. “Toggle”) was a young headbanger and Humvee driver in B.D.’s old unit, known for the mixes he prepped for fellow soldiers. Unfortunately, his love of ear-bleed battle music sonically distracted him enough to get his vehicle blown up by a VBIED. Missing an eye and suffering from aphasia, Toggle still fights to recover from traumatic brain injury (TBI), a journey of recovery that has brought out the best in his former commander, B.D. Striking up an improbable Facebook romance with an MIT techie named Alex Doonesbury led to a serious romance. While studying his way through junior college, undaunted by the limitations his TBI tries to impose, Toggle found himself drawn toward a career in the recording industry. Taking courses in computer acoustics, sound design, and business administration, he worked part time as an apprentice recording engineer at Arc Light Studios under the tutelage of a hearing-impaired studio vet (and Vietnam vet) named Sherm, Toggle cut his teeth on a GPS project, recording directional soundbytes with celebs including James Earl Jones, Clint Eastwood, and Sarah Palin. Toggle shares a passion for heavy metal with his heavily-tattooed mother, who is certain that his father was either in Metallica, Motley Crüe, or Black Sabbath. Happily married to Alex, the father of twin boys named after two of his fallen battle buddies and a daughter possibly named after a riveter of WWII fame, Toggle continues to pursue his undergraduate degree and deal with his war injuries.
Zeke Zeke Brenner, long-time paramour of J.J., is a man of great resources, largely sponged or purloined from other people. For many years, he was caretaker of Owl Ranch, Duke's Colorado spread. When his employer was listed as missing in Iran, Zeke moved quickly to have him declared legally dead. Capitalizing on his employer's notoriety, he then hired a ghostwriter to pen Duke: Portrait of a Mentor, which he promoted nationwide, appearing on The Phil Donahue Show. Soon thereafter, Zeke managed to burn the ranch to the ground. When Duke unexpectedly returned, he rewarded his caretaker's various initiatives by pumping several bullets into him. Subsequent to the shooting, Zeke, wisely, sought other employment. A star-crossed, chance reunion with J.J. at an art exhibit quickly led to adultery, an extended road trip, cohabitation, and eventually marriage, the ceremony artfully consummated as an online pay-for-view event. His never-on, ever-off relationship with stepdaughter Alex earned him the moniker “Uncle Stupidhead.” An entrepreneur in his own distasteful fashion, Zeke was the mastermind behind an elaborate scam in which he and biker/suitor Skid sought to defraud the Widow Doonesbury. Always willing to up the ante on disrespect, Zeke attended her funeral drunk, hit on a mourner, then helped Skid break in through an upstairs window. Zeke and J.J. reside in Seattle, where he is known as the guy who lives with the Art Princess of Puget Sound.
Zipper Unlike his uncle, the renowned Malibu tannist Zonker Harris, Zipper was born and raised in Northern California. Thanks to a legacy non-athletic scholarship, and following a family tradition now two generations old, he went on to minor glory as a receiver on the Walden College football team. In a radical break with his forbearer and hero he is, however, occasionally dating, though as a coed Alex did not respond to his interest despite the fact that he had already coined “Al-Zip” as their tabloid name. Zipper was co-founder, along with roommate Jeff Redfern, of He made an unsuccessful attempt to download and license the real-time wireless output from Dick Cheney's defibrillator, and for a poli sci class undertook a project to deliver Cheney to the Hague. Zipper’s “Donut of the Month” blog is devoted to Krispy Kreme products. He also maintains a blog devoted to his stop sign collection. His real-world experiences with long-time pal Jeff Redfern include a desperate attempt to extract despot Trff B from Berzerkistan, a failed mission which earned Harris the sobriquet “Worst sidekick ever.” Now a college graduate, Harris enjoys the formal status of student emeritus, and looks forward to life as a revered icon of Walden. In the wake of Colorado’s pot legalization, Zipper joined his uncle and moved to Duke’s chateau in Woody Creek, where the two are marketing limited edition product under the brand name “ZZ Bud."
Zonker Few young people have so thoroughly savored the joys of college ("the best nine years of my life") as Californian-American Zonker Harris. Known for his wheat patch and his explorations of Walden Puddle, Harris was a founding member of Walden Commune. Following graduation he swiftly rose to national prominence on the professional tanning circuit. Two-time Grand National Tanning Champion, he also won the Jack Ford Medal for Best Tan at the l980 Gerald R. Ford Pro-Am Summer Biathlon and the bronze medal at the Sonny Bono Indoor Tan Fest. Retiring from competition in l98l, Harris reversed field and appeared in an influential series of public service ads on skin cancer. Although he may not have been aware of it, he was briefly involved romantically with a woman (Marcia Feinbloom) during the late 80s. Thanks to a mind-blowing dose of lottery luck while a student at the Baby Doc College of Medicine in Haiti, Zonker was briefly favored with a vast sum of money, most of which he used to re-purchase the freedom of his Uncle Duke, who had been zombified and sold into slavery. Enough remained, however, for him to purchase an English title, making him Lord Zonker, Viscount St. Austell-in-the-Moor Biggleswade-Brisham. As the millennium turned, Zonker moved to Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and served as spin doctor for the unsuccessful Duke2000 presidential campaign. In recent years, when not living with his parents, he has devoted himself to the field of professional childcare, nannying and surf-mentoring Boopsie and B.D.'s daughter Samantha. He occasionally commutes to Malibu to work with his longtime mentor, Old Surfer Dude, in the campaign to maintain public access to California’s beaches. In a stunning break with tradition, Zonker has held an actual job from 2005 until 2013. Working at McFriendly’s restaurant, he daily struggled with personal responsibility issues, enabling customers to order profoundly unhealthy amounts of food. And as Vice President in Charge of Station 5, he daily gave truth to the axiom “What happens on break, stays on break.” During off hours, Harris took online courses at Beck U., and in 2010 he was able to help Wesleyan students preserve the decades-long tradition of Zonker Harris Day, held annually as a salute to “New England’s Greatest Living Slacker.” Among the highlights of his career as a nanny was taking his young charge to England, where they had curbside seats at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. For many years, when no one else was using the oven, he baked and delivered marijuana brownies to AIDS patients. When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2013 Zonker and his nephew Zipper pulled up stakes and headed West in search of high and lucrative times. Having taken up residence in Uncle Duke’s cabin, they now produce and market ZZ Bud, a high-end artisanal smoke fully worthy of the man-child known as the “Prince of Inner Space.”

In The News

If Mark Twain had been a cartoonist, he would have drawn Doonesbury, or something very like it. Master satirist Garry Trudeau, like Samuel Clemens before him, pokes fun at modern American life through stories that are an addictive combination of silly and serious, and readers can't get enough of them.

Millions of longtime fans have followed Doonesbury's original cast of college innocents on their long strange trip from tenuous beginnings in a little commune called Walden. Their adventures earned Trudeau the first Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning ever awarded for a comic strip, and he's been a Pulitzer finalist three more times since then. Doonesbury has been collected into 60 hardcover and paperback books, selling more than 7 million copies worldwide. The animated film "A Doonesbury Special" won an Academy Award nomination and a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

If you're new to the neighborhood, don't be shy -- poke around and get to know the gang. They've come a long way since 1970, and their numbers have grown, but you'll feel right at home.

In The News

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