Saddamapalooza, Day 3; or, Stuck Inside of Kuwait With the Baghdad Blues Again

It is early morning when we hear that our flight to Iraq has been canceled.

The ten of us cartoonists have a free day in Kuwait.

With an entire nation to explore, a Middle Eastern culture to learn and the coastline of the Persian Gulf to roam, we take full advantage of the free time.

We play ping pong.

The table is in a small room at the back of the hotel.

I pick an easy mark.

Cartoonist Jeff Bacon.

Here is a picture of Jeff Bacon:


I don’t want to brag, because I think that’s in poor taste, so I’ll just say this:

I beat Jeff Bacon so bad I made him squeal like the little animal that produces his last name.

Four games to zero.

He did not win a game.



Then came the excuses.

“I think I’m still jet-lagged.”

“I am so tired.”

“My leg hurts.”

Explanations poured out of Jeff Bacon like he was the Excuse Piñata.

Not content with destroying Jeff’s ping pong aspirations, I then sought to crush his morale.

I did this by spinning in circles between shots.  I’d hit the ball, do a 360, and hit the ball again.

It is not easy to do.  And it should not be tried at home.

I don’t want to embarrass Jeff by revealing how he reacted to my acrobatics.  So I will just say this:

He almost started to cry.

Now, as I sit here, I almost feel bad for showing you his picture and potentially exposing him to more ridicule.

I know what I’ll do.  I’ll alter his identity.



Hang on.

That Saddam mustache is probably not enough to make him unrecognizable.

I’ll need to do something else.

I’ll change his shirt.


Now, before my fellow Iraqi-bound cartoonists get ahold of the comment section of this blog and start spreading rumors about something that may have happened later that night when we arrived in Iraq, let me preempt them by saying the following:

Possibly, allegedly, later that night when we got into our base in Tikrit, I may have played a certain Family Circus creator in a casual game of ping pong.  And sources tell me something strange may have happened and I may have lost three straight games.

But I don’t remember it.

Because I was jet-lagged.

I was tired.

And my leg hurt.

32 thoughts on “Saddamapalooza, Day 3; or, Stuck Inside of Kuwait With the Baghdad Blues Again

  1. Wow, you’re photoshop work on his shirt is so realistic. It looks like it just came off the rack at Macy’s.

    I know, you couldn’t do your best because you were jetlagged and you were tired.

  2. Always love your posts! I may have won a game or two of ping pong myself. Of course, with no beer, the game sounds rather pointless.

  3. Oh, Stephan, quit being so modest. We all know after seeing the picture of Mr. Keane that he is feeble and meager and you must have let him win as to not look to cocky and arrogant in front of all of your cartoonist buddies. Oh, who am I kidding. Must have been jet lag. Or you were tired. Or your leg hurt.

  4. Oh I have to read every broadside cartoon to see when Jeff’s going to lampoon you. I know being the true sailor that he is that he’s not going to let this go without a fight! Fire at will.. (Damn but you crack me up)

  5. I was going to write a blog about helping Soldiers’ Angels in their fundraiser (see, and make sure you donate money in the Navy section) to help wounded troops, but now I have to defend my honor. Guys who fought to defend our nation won’t get laptops to help them recover because I have to take time to respond to this alleged event, which may or may not have happened like Pastis said.

  6. Just wanted to say thanks for spending your time visiting troops in Iraq, Pearls kept me sane for the year I was there.

  7. Are you sure he wasn’t crying because while you were twirling, the image of you in a tutu popped into his head? Because that is the stuff of nightmares. Horrifying, ballerina-induced nightmares.

  8. I’m glad you added that last section Mr. Pastis… but you forgot to mention the fact that it was hard to play the last of our three games due to your teary complaints of the table being too short, net to high, ball too round, and my distracting habit of spinning in circles…of course,going around in circles is nothing new to me…

  9. If the ball was too round, it’s obviously not regulation equipment. No way under the International Rules Governing the Roundness of Equipment, can the 3rd game be considered a loss. I’m not sure it would be considered more than a warmup…except you already played two games, so it technically is really just a cooldown.

  10. Rat is defininitly starting to get to you. Let your inner rat freeeeeee! hahahahahahaaaaa!!!!

  11. Pingback: Broadside Blog - Military Times – Pearls Before Angels

  12. Do you think that JeffyK guy (second from the bottom) is really him? I just saw that and was curious.

    p.s. great post Stephan!

  13. Stephan, I have been trying to decide if you are really “Goat” in disguise or “Pig.” Now I know…you are “Rat.” Thanks for the giggle!

  14. I’m still laughing!!! Thanks for the comic relief – no pun intended. Gave me something else to think about other than the contractions I’m having at this time!!=D

  15. Similar excuses were used when he tried to kill me on USS Cook (FF-1083) in the Gulf of Oman when trying to turn my SH-2F off the flight deck and he orchestrated a 38 degree roll…”Sorry Rob, I didn’t get my crew rest last night and didn’t think about turning into the swells at 3 kts.”…or was it, “My legs are so tired from working out I couldn’t make it over to the starboard bridgewing to see the swells.” Sadly, our proud helo slid off the flight deck into the nets while both of us pilots ran for our lives. I hit the growler, called the bridge and heard Jeff say, “Hold on Rob, we’re playing Trivial Pursuit on the bridge…I’ll get back to you.”

  16. Ahhh..I see the problem. There are TWO games that are often confused. The first, table tennis, involves terms such as “topspin”, “lob”, “smash”, and often involves players standing so far back from the table that they are in different states. The second game, ping pong, involves terms such as “puh-dink”, “clonk”, and “my leg hurts”. Put two table tennis players together…fine. Put two ping pong players together…also fine, albeit a little freaky. Put a table tennis player up against a ping pong player and you have trouble. As in “Puh-dink……KERBLAM”

  17. “explanations poured out of him like he was the excuse pinata.” that is freakin’ hilarious. I’m stealing that line!

  18. I’ve never heard of the Broadside, but thanks to Pastis’ winning streak, I have a new comic to lookup. I like the “Excuse Pinata” line, too. That should be used in Pearls. BTW – Bacon’s blog was super funny and I love the pic of Stephan in his protective head gear.

  19. Pingback: Pearls Before Angels

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