Tuesday, June 26, 2007
When I found out Robert Bork was suing the Yale Club for injuries he sustained while climbing a stage, I knew I had a cartoon on my hands -- partly because the hypocrisy is so juicy, and partly because it's so much fun to say "Bork." I was tempted to work in even more Borks, but restrained myself in the end.
I'm not claiming Bork's suit is necessarily frivolous. The hypocrisy comes from his lack of sympathy for so many others who just wanted their day in court. I cannot imagine Old Bork speaking kindly of New Bork's $1 million lawsuit (plus punitive damages!). In fact, I considered drawing a cartoon called "Battle of the Borks," but lost steam trying to write the dialogue. It would've required more research than I had time available to spend, though I do like the image of two Borks going at it with gavels. On second thought, that's a horrifying vision.
In addition to being a vituperative SOB (if I may be petty for a moment), Bork is not much of a looker. I was like, "Damn! It's like my cartoon got hit with the ugly stick!" But a cartoonist's gotta do what a cartoonist's gotta do.
Monday, June 25, 2007
One of my comics, "Two Memorials", was chosen as a finalist in the Union of Concerned Scientists' "Science Idol" cartoon contest. Check it out and vote for whatever you want. Really, I'm happy just to be included in their 2008 calendar.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Apologies to people reading this for the umpteenth time on the CWA feed, but there's a doozy of an event coming up in DC on July 7:
The Cartoonists With Attitude gang storms the capital on July 7 with a satirical cartoon slideshow and book signing!
Check out the CWA group blog (also available as an RSS feed) if you want to get all our blogs and most of our cartoons in one convenient place. We also have a CWA MySpace page if you want to be our friend.
My mom checks in:
enjoyed your strip because I have seen skulls strewn over junior knit tops at the mall and said, "Yuck!"See, I'm totally right about this!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Apropos of this week's cartoon, reader Brian alerted me to this remarkable blog.
August points out this recent TIME cover (hint: look at Arnie's belt buckle).
I haven't read the article, but aren't Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger mainly "getting things done" because they are somewhat progressive politicians operating in places without a wall of insane opposition?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
One of the first signs that confirmed for me that I was in Portland was the special green flush handle on a toilet in the airport (pull up for light duty, push down for heavy duty). The next sign was the bus that read "Powered by clean-burning natural gas" on the bumper, which I spotted on my way into town. Clearly I wasn't in Virginia anymore. Indeed, you can almost feel the logic pulsating through the urban landscape all around you. It's kind of refreshing.
To recap from earlier posts, I was in town for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies annual convention, where I had booth at the trade show in hopes that I might convince some more papers to carry Slowpoke. This year, my booth happened to be next to that of a tech company giving away free margaritas as a promotional gimmick. Suffice it to say, I had a few margaritas.
The highlight of these conventions is getting to hang with my cartoonist pals, and I did quite a bit of hanging with Matt Bors and Shannon Wheeler. I also enjoyed a trip to Powell's Bookstore with Jonesin' Crossword/Psycho Sudoku guys Matt Gaffney and Matt Jones, who told me all about the secret lives of "puzzlers." And this is going to sound awfully name-droppy, but I got to meet progressive provocateur Jim Hightower and cartoonist John Callahan, both of whom were nice. And Shannon, Matt, and I wound up going out to dinner with Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone/Spanking the Donkey fame, who actually wanted to hang out with us cartoonists. (Usually the only people who want to hang out with us ink-stained wretches are other ink-stained wretches.) Matt apprised us of his latest undercover project, which promises to yield many tales of wackiness.
And to give credit where credit is due, Alaska Airlines provided a far better trip than I've had in a while. They were surprisingly competent, in contrast to my experience with Northwest a few weeks ago.
Another strip inspired by our trip to Toronto. While there, we noticed a number of people on the streets sporting skulls on their shirts, Chuck Taylors, etc. The department stores at that big mall downtown were selling various skull-patterned items. And it's not just Toronto; they're everywhere. Mr. Slowpoke, who is something of a death metal connoisseur, is mildly outraged at this crass appropriation of cranial imagery by the masses.
It crossed my mind that "Baby's First Death's Head" would make a decent, absurdist one-panel cartoon on its own. But I imagined editors used to the standard Slowpoke format scratching their heads and muttering "WTF?"
I drew this while I was in Portland at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention. Most of the work was actually done at fellow cartoonist Matt Bors' house. One of the nice things about staying with another cartoonist is that you can always count on a computer with Photoshop and a good internet connection. These are things in life that make me happy.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This may be old news to some of you, but when Mr. Slowpoke and I got our credit card bill covering our recent trip to Toronto, we were shocked to find international transaction fees of 3% for every single purchase we made. This was not the case whenever we’d bought something overseas in the past, the last time being about four years ago. According to a writeup we found in Consumer Reports (subscription only), the international fees started taking off around 2005, much to the consternation of the Consumers Union. On top of the fees, the exchange rate we got was lousy.
Apparently most of the major banks are charging these fees now; Consumer Reports recommends getting a card through your local credit union. The credit card industry is a good example of why we need consumer protections.
I’m off to Portland, OR tomorrow for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention. I hear they have some totally sweet public transportation out there, man.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
I usually grouse about TIME here, but this photo-essay of fifteen families from around the world and the food they eat in a week is fascinating. Guess what country seems to have the fewest fruits and vegetables and the most processed, packaged crap?
And for the truly bored, there's Ramen Haiku.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
For years now, whenever I've seen a "W" sticker on someone's car, I've wavered between the impulse to label the person a major-league doofus and a more compassionate view of them as a victim of propaganda. That so many people get their knickers in a bunch about other people's purported "laziness," while getting their facts on the issues so horribly mangled, has always struck me as a tremendous double-standard. What I tried to do here was expose the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of the right-wingers' language about welfare by turning it back on them. I imagine some might perceive this cartoon as “elitist” but in fact, they would be perceiving the elitism of their very own rhetoric about the poor.
Speaking of welfare, the Republicans' fixation on it has always struck me as bizarrely out-of-proportion to its actual importance among Issues That Matter. It's not uncommon to hear someone profess Republicanism because they believe their "hard-earned taxpayer dollars should not be given to someone too lazy to work for a living." This is often code for racism under the mistaken idea that most public assistance goes to black "welfare queens." And the amount of your hard-earned dollars going to the poor isn't diddly compared to what's being wasted in
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