Imagine my surprise when I opened up the morning paper (May 6) to see the picture of an older man, concentrating in earnest, accompanied by the headline: "Swiss, Cartoonist Win Balloon Race." That's all well and good, but what does it have to do with local news in Los Angeles? As I soon learned, the Swiss was Regula Hug-Messner, and the cartoonist was none other than The Times' own Paul Conrad.
For Angelenos, Conrad is a rite of passage, much like one's first beer, or initial semester of college finals. When you begin to grasp the world of politics, Conrad's editorial cartons titillate. As one becomes a seasoned student of governmental dealings (and a bit more opinionated) Conrad inspires laughter and evokes rage.
His caricatures and accompanying epigrams cut across political boundaries. My conservative Republican parents are just as likely to have a Conrad cartoon affixed to their refrigerator as their liberal daughter is. Conrad's pen knows few bounds.
We discuss his cartoons at work, pasting them up on our office doors, and near the Xerox machine where everyone can view the barb that tickles our individual fancy.