Monday, January 31, 2005
I happened to read the birth announcements in a local newspaper while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, and to my amazement, there were not one but TWO babies in there who had been given the name "Cash." In one case it was a first name, and in the other it was a middle name. Now, this newspaper covered a pretty upscale area, so perhaps the trend is isolated to an affluent few. Nonetheless, it struck me as the ultimate example of a growing tendency for people to give their kids gentrified-sounding names -- notice all the Brittanys and Madisons and Logans and Tuckers sprouting up everywhere? I don't know, maybe this has always been the case. Maybe "Jennifer" was once considered hoity-toity. But Cash? Damn!
It occurred to me that the name might be inspired by Johnny Cash, but I'd say there's a serious difference between Cash as a surname and Cash as a given name. A little research also uncovered that Slash of Guns N' Roses fame named his baby Cash, but somehow I doubt these parents are drawing on that particular example.
Note to in-laws reading this blog: This week's strip and today's post are not indicative of plans on my part to have a bun in the oven anytime soon.
Update: To those of you who have in fact named your baby "Cash" after the late Man in Black, your baby is totally cool. Okay?
Saturday, January 29, 2005
So... now that three pundits have been exposed so far as paid propagandists for the Bush administration, we should expect unbridled outrage from the Dan Rather-bashing crowd, seeing as they are such stewards of journalistic integrity. Right?
Relevant cartoon from last fall: The Twilight of Democracy Zone
Friday, January 28, 2005
If you've obtained a copy of America Gone Bonkers and enjoyed it, and you feel like doing a good deed, it would be very, very nice if you went to your local independent bookstore and suggested that they carry it. The stores I've approached myself have been enthusiastic, so you'd probably get a positive response.
Also, if you or someone you know works in the media, and is looking for content to write/blab about, might I propose a book review or interview? The Slowpoke interview package includes no fewer than a dozen scintillating observations and witty barbs, and is sure to delight audiences everywhere.
Sorry for the self-promotional blather; I'll try to keep it limited. It's just that word of the book has been very internet-driven, and I'd like to expand a bit into the material world.
I've posted next week's strip a little early, since last week's was an oldie.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
I saw Ron Suskind speak last night at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. Suskind is the author of The Price of Loyalty with former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was ousted by the Bushies for being too straight an arrow; Suskind also wrote that startling New York Times Magazine piece last fall about the "faith-based presidency" which led to the now-infamous quote from an administration official dissing those of us in "the reality-based community."
Suskind provided an interesting addendum to that quote, which didn't make it into the Times article. Apparently the White House official also suggested that thirty years from now, people like Suskind were going to be wearing tweed jackets, teaching a college history course -- but if they were nice to the visionaries in the administration, maybe the latter would come to speak in their class sometime. Talk about chutzpah!
One thing struck me as Suskind was telling his tales, which has occurred to me before -- and that is the irony of millions of honest, well-meaning (if misinformed) Americans voting for such a shockingly vicious, nasty, literally mafia-esque gang of thugs. If they only understood the cold, brass-knuckles culture of revenge they were supporting, many of these "moral" voters would be repulsed.
After his talk, I was able to thank Suskind for introducing the phrase "reality-based community" into the public discourse. He was very gracious.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Some longtime Slowpoke readers will recognize this strip from before -- to make a longish story short, I'm trying to get papers synchronized (due to a weird holiday production schedule, I had sent a three-part story to my local paper). ANYway... it occurred to me that to get through life, we all need a finely-tuned bullshit detector. Spam would not exist were it not for the people out there with NO BULLSHIT DETECTOR. Nor would we find ourselves in this gnarly political situation.
To wit: some dingdong wrote a letter to the NY Times recently, arguing that by belittling Bush's inaugural address, "the liberals" were being hypocrites, since spreading liberty and opposing tyranny are liberal ideals. Without going into a lengthy explanation, allow me to simply state that this man has no bullshit detector whatsoever.
The Uncynical Consumer
In a global ranking of nations as protectors of the environment:
The United States ranked 45th of the 146 countries studied, behind such countries as Japan, Botswana and the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and most of Western Europe.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
I'm sure this has been noted elsewhere, but there was a rather amusing opinion piece in yesterday's L.A. Times. According to Susan Campbell:
The character of the American people resembles that of a friendly chocolate Labrador retriever puppy, eagerly approaching acquaintances and strangers alike, giving from the heart with glee. But the rest of the world seems to hate Americans because they perceive us as being not so warm and cuddly.To her credit, Campbell acknowledges that "our economy is already being bankrupted by the U.S. government's misuse of funds in a senseless war." But then she goes on to dismiss the hostility of the world toward America as "envy." She concludes:
We lavish love like a Labrador puppy and open our wallets when any region requires assistance. The charitable character of the American people is like the pick of the litter. We enjoy playing, but we will bite when provoked. That's what keeps our nation strong.Ugh! How do these people get published?
I have no doubt as to the generosity of Americans -- witness the tsunami relief jar in every other place of business -- though as a country, our foreign aid as a percentage of GDP lags behind many other nations. Campbell seems to gloss over the distinction between the people and our government.
And I might add, puppies don't usually bomb sovereign nations in the face of enormous global opposition. At least, most breeds don't.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I've managed to avoid The Horror for the most part, thank goodness. I think it bears repeating that a huge number of Americans voted for Bush not because they agree with him on the issues (the Oct. 21 PIPA study showed that many Republicans were hopelessly ill-informed about his actual platform, especially on environmental issues), but because they felt Bush would keep them safe from terrorists, because they perceived his plain-spokenness as honesty, and because they thought Kerry was a liar. In other words, they were sold a massive bill of goods.
As the powers-that-be crow about their mandates for various pieces of legislation that were hardly mentioned on the campaign trail, let us remember that the election was FAR less rational than that. And then let us stop castigating ourselves once and for all, and make Howard Dean the DNC chair.
Monday, January 17, 2005
My, how times change. Does anyone else remember when the concept of "freedom" was a lot more Easy Rider and a lot less Terminator? Not that I'm endorsing the "magic bus" version, as shown in the first panel -- but it seems freedom used to feel a lot more laid-back, man.
I'm also weary of having our side deemed "radical." Since when is it radical to not want mercury in the fish I eat? Since when is it radical to want to protect Social Security from market fundamentalists who have opposed the program for decades? Since when is it radical to prefer not to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians unnecessarily?
Sorry, but we are the centrists. The people in charge are the off-the-meter nutballs.
Friday, January 14, 2005
For real: Get your Inauguration 2005 medallion featuring the profiles of heroic statesmen Bush and Cheney cast in silver, bronze, or gold! Order a box set of all three for a mere $1,190!
I love how the GOP tries so hard to present these destructive buffoons as great historical figures worthy of immortalization in precious metals. It would almost be cute if it weren't so creepy. Also, does anyone else think the Inauguration logo (below) looks like a can of Budweiser?
I think they're trying to brand them as authentic as beer now.
Not Exactly for Real: The National Iraq War Memorial Council is now accepting submissions for an Iraq War Memorial. I find this entry rather accomplished. One minor quibble: Osama ain't in no trash can yet.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
After a flight cancellation that gave me a bit of unexpected extra vacation, I'm back. I should be checking more often now, though I do have to crank out a new cartoon here in short order. Stay tuned.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
I haven't seen the book yet, but I hear through the grapevine that my Terror Fighting Hats cartoon is featured in The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2005 edition, edited by Daryl Cagle of Slate.com renown. Woo!
I saw an interesting statistic on TV today. 59% of very red Idaho is pro-choice, while 32% is opposed to abortion. The rest were undecided or did not respond.
Let this sink in for a moment. By a margin of nearly TWO TO ONE, the population of a state that voted overwhelmingly for the chimp is PRO-CHOICE.
So Dems in Congress, I would suggest that having wobbly knees over reproductive rights isn't going to help us one bit. Perhaps developing some vertebrae would.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
Still on vacation. I'll resume more regular updates soon.
A few thoughts looking back on 2004. It was the year Things Fell Apart, an absolute nadir for those of us in the reality-based community. I'm really not looking forward to the insanities of 2005. The quiet unravelling of forest protections that occurred under the cover of the holidays is but a harbinger of the ugliness to come.
I've had conversations with a few people recently who feel very sanguine about the state of the nation, and I find myself envying their peace of mind. As one guy put it, God has always put a great leader in the White House during the country's times of need. He seemed confused when I mentioned the thousands of people dying prematurely of air pollution every month. Guess he hadn't heard about that.
On the other hand, I had a fascinating conversation with a physicist. His main fear is the possibility of a dirty bomb being set off somewhere in the world over the next decade, and the military response that might follow. He was very concerned about the loose nuclear material in Russia, the securing of which Bush has underfunded. Like I said, it must be nice to have the other half's peace of mind.
I also spent some time in a car driving through vast stretches of very red counties in Northwestern states, and I can assure you that HUGE portions of the electoral map represent hills covered in sagebrush. Apparently sagebrush is a staunchly Republican form of flora.
One last observation -- some graffiti in a bar bathroom:
"If you voted for Bush, you can't take a dump here. Your asshole is in Washington."Normally I don't sink so low, but it just seemed appropriate.
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