Things were swell on the morning of September 18, 2002, right up until the web site that I had been writing the Klyde Morris cartoon for fired me. Indeed, I had been fired for using the word “dominatrix” in my most recent cartoon. The aviation web site that canned me was one called AvWeb, where I had previously enjoyed a few years of cartooning. What I did not know at the time was that the site had been sold to some big New York publishing house and one of their low level “editors,” who was probably some politically overcorrect nit who fetched coffee, found that word to be “offensive.” They demanded that I change the cartoon. I told them, as politely as I could, to pound sand; and they fired me.

It was quite similar to Dr. Johnny Fever getting fired from a radio station for saying the word “booger” on the air.

To my surprise the firing caused something of a small stir in the aviation community. It was enough to get the attention of another aviation news site called the Aero News Network, (ANN) who ran the story as news. While my former employer was busy scrubbing all references to my cartoon from their servers and posting only reader comments that condemned me personally, ANN’s Editor-In-Chief Jim Campbell decided that his site could really use a cartoonist. Thus, on November 8th, 2002 Klyde Morris appeared on for the first time. Meanwhile, I was later informed, that someone attached to my previous employer had been going around behind me telling perspective publishers that I was “trouble” and “very difficult to work with.” In one case that person, unknown to me, had been actually following me around an event. When I’d talk to a prospect, the little worm would come right up behind me and poison the water. Unfortunately, I did not get wind of this cheap little creep until a few years later- it seems that the bunghole had actually done its little act for a friend of mine from college. I doubt that this person had done this nastiness under direction of my former employer’s new owners. They’re cheap, but I don’t think they are that cheap.

In my parting phone conversation with the new “editor” of AvWeb, he warned me to not use the terms, “aviation consumer,” “aviation safety,” “IFR refresher” or “light plane maintenance,” ever in anything I wrote or happened to draw (including this ) because his company had the copyright to those words which were the titles of their publications. Unfortunately, once again, he was too dense to know that aside from being a cartoonist, I am also a published author with, at that time, nine books in publication. I’m quite familiar with copyright law; you cannot copyright common words, terms or phrases and more often than not, you cannot copyright titles. Thus, in my very next cartoon I used every single one of his so-called copy-written terms. In essence it was a fun way to say “In your face asshole.” There was no response, of course, from the blow-hard or the publishing house for which he worked.

My firing from AvWeb increased my readership stats by just over 13,000 in less than a week. I was told by persons still inside the place that their readership had fallen, by a similar number. In his final e-mail to me, the person in charge of AvWeb at the time said, “I have no doubt you've earned a following, but we will weather any disappointment voiced by the subscribership until we can audition and secure a replacement” Although I’m sure they “weathered” the disappointment of those readers who left them with me, they have never managed to secure a replacement. Although I was told that they tried some second-rate cartoons, nothing had the legs that my cartoon has.

Today, I celebrate a DECADE of working with the Aero-News Network. That is some 1,040 cartoons so far since the first one appeared on ANN on November 8th, 2002. If anyone reading this still believes that I am somehow “hard to work with” they would do well to contact Jim Campbell of ANN and ask him that question. You see, a funny thing happened to me on September 18th, 2002, I got fired from AvWeb, and went to a much better news site.

To read the entire e-mail exchange between me and AvWeb- visit here:

Oddly, they never expected me to take their own e-mails, remove the personal information and use it all against them.

Oh yeah, “… and by the way fellow babies, I almost forgot… BOOGER!!!!” – Dr. Johnny Fever, WKRP.

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