In 1999, I held a contest to send in pictures of orange cones in their native environment (i.e. actual unretouched unposed photos of cones.) I received many entries by E-mail and post. They were all so wonderful that I couldn't bring myself to disappoint all the losers by announcing a winner... until now.

Results of the September 1999 Conetest

Many of you sent in photos of weird-looking cones from around the world and I'd like to thank everyone, and to finally publicize the name of the winner:


...who hand-delivered to the judging a "Family Circus" strip he'd torn out of that Sunday's paper. It depicted that idiot Little Billy gleefully leaving a dotted trail between two orange cones and into an open manhole with a big smile on both his face and mine.

I would post that cartoon here, but you may recall that in the olden days, someone once ran a Web site showing "Family Circus" cartoons where the captions were replaced with funny ones, and Bil Keane's lawyers sued them into the ground (possibly leaving a dotted trail.) As a result, I could not even mention Sean Smith's winning entry for over two years due to fear of vicious reprisals from Bil Keane's enforcers.

However, now that Bil Keane's passed away, I feel it's safe to once again mention "The Family Circus" on the Internet. I still won't reproduce the actual strip, as Bil Keane's son (Little Jeffy) still might consider that grounds for a copyright violation (there are no copyright violations on this part of my Web site) but I think I'll be in the clear if I just present an artist's impression of that two-year-old cartoon, drawn from memory:

Littly Billy running into an open manhole, because he's a moron, then he says 'Mommy, mommy!  At school we learned all about safety!'

Okay, that's not the actual caption. And because I remember the original being printed in color, it must have been one of those really huge one-panel, no-words, all-one-big-piece-o'-slapstick Sunday epics showing Little Billy doing all sorts of unsafe things because child endangerment is always funny. I don't remember all the other hazards Billy traipsed past, I just recall it ending with him running past two cones into a manhole to meet his fate.

In any case, I figure I'm legally in the clear because I drawed that cartoon all by myself, and because Jeff Keane who now draws the strip seems to have it in for little Billy, as Funny Paper has observed more than once.

After seeing the strip I read the Boston Globe for the next two weeks because I was hoping that it had changed into a slow-moving "continuity" strip, like "Mary Worth" or "Mark Trail", but alas, the next two weeks were not devoted to Little Billy ever-so-slowly falling down the manhole and rotting away and turning into one of those dead people who hovers over the kids when they're playing Candyland.

P.S. I apologize for not being skilled enough
to draw Billy's deformed head correctly.

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