Like prison construction, editorial cartooning is a profession that thrives on the misery of others: The worse things are going, the better the cartoons are. Herbert Block‘s drawings are no exception. In 47 years at the Washington Post,Herblock and his stiletto pen gave us Richard Nixon emerging from a sewer, coined the term “McCarthyism,” and lampooned the Iran-contra scandal, the savings and loan crisis, the National Rifle Association, and countless other examples of political hypocrisy and corruption. Unfortunately, as he proves in his windy new autobiography, Herblock: A Cartoonist’s Life, sometimes it’s better to stick to the picture and forego the 1,000 words.Block signs his book at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 364-1919. (David Plotz)