Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Attended a sold-out show at Vinegar Hill Theatre last night here in Charlottesville. We managed to get some of the few remaining tickets for the 9:30 show at 7:00. By the time the doors opened, the ticketholder line sprawled down the block.
There was so much good stuff in this movie, I feel I need to see it again just to catch details I missed the first time around. I will say this: anyone who dismisses the film as conspiracy theory is signaling their utter naiveté. I hate flaky theories as much as anyone, and I can say with confidence that this film simply lays bare the facts that those of us who follow the news closely have known for a long time. Dippy media critics like Tina Brown have questioned Moore's coverage of the mind-blowing Bush-Saudi connections, as though this were somehow irrelevant to the conversation. It's the conflict of interest, stupid! The Bushies can't pressure the Saudis to crack down on terrorists or stop human rights abuses like head-lopping because they're in bed together. Duh!
Moore did miss one important point about Iraq; he focuses on war profiteering, but fails to mention the Project for the New American Century. You can't overlook the radical neocon ideology behind the invasion. Nonetheless, it's a compelling, funny, and deeply moving film packed with amazing video footage.
By the way, I found out recently that my cousin has been deployed to Iraq.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Slowpoke took second place in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' annual cartoon contest. (First place went to John Callahan.) Winners were announced Friday at the AAN convention in San Antonio. So I've moved up a notch from last year, when I won third. Special thanks to the Gambit Weekly editor who gave me free tickets to the awards luncheon.
Whew! Just got back from my whirlwind trip to Texas for the annual AAN convention. A rockin' good time was had as always, due largely to the excellent company -- in particular, fellow cartoonists Andy Singer, Steve Notley, Keith Knight, and Ted Rall. I'll post a picture or two soon.
San Antonio is an interesting hybrid of '70s modern architecture and art mingled with Tex-Mex authenticity. The downtown area hums with bars, restaurants, and Alamo-seeking tourists, but I got the sense (particularly from my 80-cent bus ride from the airport) that the place is surrounded by a great deal of poverty.
I had a Texas stereotype-busting experience on Saturday night, when a bunch of us wound up at a gay nightclub that featured heavily-oiled, thong-wearing Latino beefcake dancing onstage. Both men and women flocked to the studs (who were suspiciously well-hung) to stuff dollar bills into their, er, pubic area. Tempted though I was, I didn't want their family jewels in my hair, so I refrained. I'd say there were more women slavering over the guys than there were gay men, which suggests to me that we need MORE DANCING BEEFCAKE.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
I'm leaving soon for San Antonio, site of this year's Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention. I'm looking forward to soaking up some Tex-Mex flavor and boozing with fellow cartoonists, but dreading my flights, both of which leave excruciatingly early in the morning (I am not a morning person). It seems I am always doomed to feel like crap at these things. The constant flow of alcoholic beverages doesn't help in this regard. Two years ago in Madison, Wisconsin, I appreciated the microbrews of America's Dairyland a bit too much on an empty stomach, the results of which were somewhat disastrous. We won't go into details, but suffice it to say the early-morning smells wafting up from the Cuban restaurant next to where I was staying did not ameliorate my situation. This year I will be sure to engorge a loaf of bread before swilling margaritas.
Monday, June 21, 2004
I saw this movie last night. It's funny, educational, entertaining, and with luck, may even save a few lives. In short, go see it.
As my hubbo unit was saying as we left the theater, defenders of the fast food industry rely on that old canard of "individual choice" -- that no one is forcing people to eat at McDonald's. But this tired argument assumes we live in a vacuum instead of a media-saturated culture where people are bombarded by seductive advertising from a very early age. It takes a media event like this movie to effectively contradict the enormous marketing power of these companies.
My Reagan cartoon. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I wasn't in the mood to do it last week because of media overkill. It seemed more appropriate to do something that wasn't about Reagan.
Even if you ignore the Latin American death squads he supported (and most people do), Ronald Reagan was one frosty soul. To say he was a great president is to be self-centered. If you think that, you probably weren't poor, black, gay, or a union member in the 1980s. Reagan waxed gloriously poetic about the American dream while he opposed anything that would actually help people improve their station in life. He was so detached from reality that he didn't believe hunger was possible in the U.S.
A great president leads all Americans, not just some.
Nation Mourns Death of Giant Warm Fuzzy
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Is it just me, or do CGI cartoon characters creep other people out? That digital Scooby Doo from the recent movies is just plain freaky, and the CGI Garfield is repugnant. I mean, Garfield is somewhat offputting to begin with (though I confess to owning some Garfield books in my youth), but a Garfield with vectorized fur? It just scares the shit out of me. Someday we will see this particular manifestation of technology as the height of kitsch.
Saturday, June 19, 2004
From the NY Times: "At Least 20 Iraqis Reported Killed in Airstrike in Falluja"
A U.S. military plane fired missiles Saturday into a residential neighborhood in Fallujah, killing at least 16 people and leveling houses there, police and residents said. A U.S. official said the target was a hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror network...This makes me sick. Firing missiles into residential neighborhoods in the hopes of killing a certrain person or persons is a disgusting, unnecessary practice that betrays a blatant disregard for human life. I can't believe this is even considered acceptable within the rules of warfare (not like we care too much about those these days). Can you imagine this happening in the U.S.? Firing missiles into an Akron suburb to kill a suspected murderer? And taking out 20 neighbors in the process? How would the chickenhawk war pigs like it if this happened in their cozy, gated communities?
What a waste.
Friday, June 18, 2004
Just got a spam with the above subject.
As my friend Cindy says, I've been wanting bigger penjs.
The penjses in my hood are much too small.
Monday, June 14, 2004
I received an interesting e-mail from a New Yorker about the smoking and noise bans, in response to my earlier post supporting these measures. Peter Bernard writes:
I love your comics and writing but as a New Yorker I felt I should let you know that you're way off-base about Bloomberg. The smoking law was Giuliani's work, Bloomberg just took over after him and put it into play. It's killed bar and club business and destroyed the band scene, as it was intended to do. People who are working can't pay their bills because they're not making tips, then they have to go outside their own establishments to smoke, so the idea of it being a health improvement is ridiculous. THEN Bloomberg pulled a typically Republican move by falsifying the statistics to show that it hasn't affected business. They ONLY INCLUDED STATS FOR RESTAURANTS AND NOT BARS OR ROCK CLUBS. Of course restaurants weren't going to be hit as hard by this new wave of fascism disguised as liberalism. As for the noise law (which won't pass because it's so loony) he wants to silence Mr. Softee trucks and cover jackhammers with blankets.I concede that I may have been naive in thinking Bloomberg was acting out of a genuine concern for public health. It does seem more likely that this is part of the larger Disneyfication of New York. And if that is the case -- that the ban is driven by a neo-puritanical crackdown on nightlife -- then it's a shame.
I guess I'm coming from a more general perspective, that the dangers of secondhand smoke are sorely underestimated, and that one must weigh the "freedom" to smoke anywhere against the "freedom" from carcinogenic air. Studies have shown a dramatic decrease in heart attacks in cities where smoking in restaurants and bars has been banned. If secondhand smoke just smelled bad, I wouldn't care so much. But it harms people around you, people who just want to see their favorite band without contracting blacklung.
I don't know the ideal solution to the problem. But a good first step would be for lefties to realize they're supporting a staunchly pro-Bush industry with every pack of smokes they buy.
I just wasn't in the mood to do a cartoon on That Former President, so it's a non-political strip this week. For my personal anecdote about seeing That Former President, coincidentally written just a couple weeks before his passing, read a few posts below.
Back to the cartoon at hand: For those not in the know, there actually is a dish called "turducken," supposedly invented by chef Paul Prudhomme. Please note that no animals were harmed in the drawing of this cartoon.
The Persnickety Palate with Chef Perkins
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
I know the mayor of NYC is reviled for his smoking ban in restaurants and bars -- a measure I support (sorry, puffers, but I just think the right to breathe non-toxic air is more important than the right to smoke indoors; it's a respect-for-your-fellow-human thing) -- but you have to admit it's nice to see a Republican with the gonads to do something unpopular. And it looks like he's at it again with the noise code, though it seems more people are in agreement on this one. It's about time someone cracked down on early-morning jackhammers, as well as cars with intentionally flatulent mufflers and pounding subwoofers that serve as nothing more than a metaphor for the driver's imagined penis size. Of course, there's always a risk with noise codes that enforcement becomes overzealous, fining outdoor cafes and the like, so it's important to draw a distinction between ambient sound and this:
At West Coast, tattooed and pierced grease monkeys turn junk into funk. The mechanics smoke cigarettes and horse around as if they're still in high-school auto shop. But they are modern-day artisans and automotive engineers who can rewire the electrical system of a $50,000 Hummer H2 to support a 11,800-watt sound system with 8 subwoofers, thundering bass and enough speakers to blow away the Hollywood Bowl.(From the Washington Post, a few days ago.)
Monday, June 07, 2004
Slowpoke has been named a finalist in the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies' annual Best Cartoon contest for the second year in a row. Winners will be announced at the convention in San Antonio, which I'll be attending later this month. I'm not getting my hopes up too much, though; the competition is stiff.
I've been meaning to do a cartoon about the trend of pre-cracked t-shirt lettering for quite some time. They really haven't perfected the art of simulated wear-and-tear yet, if you ask me. You can tell when jeans have been artificially faded. The light areas are just a little too perfect. I'm not prone to talk about TV personalities, but that puffy-faced celebrity ass-kisser Carson Daly regularly wears strategically faded jeans, and they just look AWFUL. Didn't we get past this sort of thing in the '80s? Surely people remember the whole acid-washed debacle? And yes, I really have seen brand-new, pre-faded Converse Chuck Taylors for sale. A sure sign of the Apocalypse.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
I read a lot of news that makes my head spin, but sometimes I come across something so outlandish that it rises above the milieu of general stupidity and enters new, uncharted realms of bullshit. Such was the case with this quote from right-wing hack Steven Milloy (see cartoon), who suggests that environmentalists are driven by a desire for social domination. It's easy to dismiss such paranoia as ludicrous, except there are many out there who believe this stuff.
I did some background research on Milloy, and it turns out the guy has made an ironic career out of debunking what he calls "junk science," which happens to be anything that interferes with his industry backers' bottom lines. For example, he ran a "research" outfit called the National Environmental Policy Institute, which was nothing more than a front organization for Big Oil and Big Tobacco (the truly dedicated can read more here). It's one thing to be pro-business, but people like Milloy are nothing short of psycho-capitalists: those who seek profit at any cost.
This tidbit was buried in the Washington Post on Saturday (would've posted it sooner, but I've been "internet-challenged" since my move). The speaker is an Iraqi woman who waited in vain for her husband to be released from Abu Ghraib prison during a recent freeing of 600 detainees.
Heifa Naser, 50, Abdullah's sister-in-law who had waited in vain for the number of her husband, interrupted with tears and a choked voice. "We hate them," she said. "If I can, I'll kill them by myself, but I know I can't. We have only tears, and that's all. We like the American people, but the problem is their government. They are just like us, without any power. We saw them carrying banners and having demonstrations against the war."But wait! Where does this fit into the "With Us or Against Us" equation? I'm so confused!
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010