Thursday, February 28, 2008
But I was kind of surprised to see that William F. Buckley had a clutter problem even worse than mine:
(photo from NYT)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I must say, I find the concept of a seed vault on a far-flung Norwegian island north of the Arctic Circle extremely cool. It even looks cool. You can learn all about the vault, which officially opens today, on its official site (warning: photo downloads there are 20+ MB; thumbnail below taken from the site). Given Carl Sagan's rough calculation that humans are pretty likely to destroy themselves, I don't think the seed vault is all that far-fetched.
The "film nerd" in the third panel is my friend Justin, who makes a brief appearance in the upcoming Starship Troopers 3, and who keeps threatening to start his own blog any day now.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
While McCain has a well-proven history of infidelity -- he cheated on his first wife with his current wife, who has funded his political career -- I worry that this whole thing will ultimately work against the Dems and help McCain, like the CBS report on Bush's sketchy National Guard record, despite the fact that this was a clear conflict of interest on McCain's part, while Clinton's affair was not. We're already getting lines like this from winger Howard Kurtz, media guy for the Post whom, strangely, a lot of respectable people seem to take seriously:
As for the political fallout, the issue should be the confirmable facts and what they say, or don't say, about McCain's run for the presidency. In Bill Clinton's case it turned out to be quite relevant, and he had sexual relations with that woman, and some others. In this case, we have two people who deny such a relationship.Right. A possible extramarital affair with a telecom lobbyist at the exact same moment you're championing ethics reform is so much less relevant to politics than getting a BJ from an intern.
You would not be hearing this kind of tripe if McCain were a Democrat.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
between McCain and Oballary is probably someone who does not have a lot to lose should the Supreme Court become completely psychotic. We've been through this before with the Bushgore idiots, and we all know how that turned out. Please.
Not to gloat about my political acumen, but I recently came across this rather prescient blog post o'mine from October, 2006.
My money is on McCain to be the GOP's 2008 nominee. I think he'll be tough to beat, especially if the Dem insiders make Hillary the nominee. What freakin' solar system are these buttbrains from? Her base can't stand her pandering, and we all know how Joe Wingnut feels. Now that Mark Warner has dropped out, I'll have to pin my hopes on Edwards... or Obama, maybe.Yep, I called it for McCain nearly a year and a half ago. Do I win a prize or something? The cartoon, of course, rings even more true now that McCain has voted to allow waterboarding.
Monday, February 18, 2008
There's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about the possibility of superdelegates deciding the Democratic nominee. I somewhat doubt it will come to that because it would be so obviously destructive to the party, but I will say the whole process seems unnecessarily complicated. I'm just a popular vote kind of gal.
While doing a Google image search for the pod wall from The Matrix (which, as you can see, I reference in the second panel), I came across a forum post detailing how some guy modified a computer case to look like it. Check it out:
Clearly this person has no weekly cartoon deadline!
Lara in Italy kindly sent me a screenshot of one of Slowpoke's appearances in the TV series "Queer as Folk."
The book shown is Café Pompous, my first collection of strips from 2001.
Coincidentally, I had just started renting episodes of QAF again, after a hiatus, in hopes of getting some screenshots. Thanks, Lara!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Thought I would share a photo of my dog looking very comfortable yesterday:
You can see why I had trouble being angry at her for very long for destroying my glasses.
See this cartoon for background on post-ironic cutism.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this week's strip, I found out that Tom Tomorrow had done the exact same premise, only with the Republican candidates, last week. Usually I read This Modern World in my local altweekly, but I'd missed the latest installment. We cartoonists have a term for the instances when multiple cartoonists inadvertently draw the same thing: a Yahtzee. My fellow alties and I like to poke fun at the daily editorial cartoons for their frequent Yahtzees, which tend to involve repetitions of the most obvious, banal gags (think obits featuring "beam me up Scotty" or Evil Knievel jumping the pearly gates on a motorcycle). Well, it sometimes happens to us too. This concept, I fully admit, is not the most original. But at least it was sort of fun to draw.
I got a robocall from John McCain this morning -- my second, in fact -- informing me that he is a proud conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan. I thought of the final panel of this cartoon and chortled to myself.
Monday, February 11, 2008
There's something bleakly comic about the amount of thinking and hand-wringing many progressives are doing over the choice between Obama and Hillary when irrationality tends to carry the day in American politics, especially in this age of cable news insanity. I've been doing plenty of feverish cogitation myself -- yes, I've actually been waking up in the middle of the night with Democratic candidates dancing in my head. Tomorrow is the Virginia primary, and for the first time ever I am considering intentionally not voting. I realize this makes me sound like the sort of purist I usually can't stand, so let me add that I will absolutely vote for the Democratic candidate in November. People so enamored by one of the two candidates that they refuse to vote for the other in the general election can blow it out their behinds.
The trouble is, neither Obama nor Hillary have shown solid progressive leadership. Both of them pander to the right to the point of grotesquery. I could almost forgive Obama his weak health care plan even though that issue is extremely important to me, but that "Harry and Louise" ad was so wildly irresponsible, it really made me question his judgment. Wouldn't it be nice if Obama used his rhetorical talents to promote a real health care plan? He has also repeated right-wing lies about there being a Social Security "crisis"; his praise of Ronald Reagan was steeped in gauzy right-wing frames about the '60s, '70s, and '80s; and his campaign actually created an oppo page about Paul Krugman, a true-blue progressive hero whose intellectual integrity I greatly admire. Anyone who reads him closely knows Krugman is a former Edwards supporter who is very concerned about upholding New Deal principles, not some kind of hack for Hillary. Obama has been so reckless in his approach to these bedrock issues that I simply don't trust him. Sorry to rain on the hope parade, people, but there it is.
While I think Hillary knows better than to say some of the stuff that's been coming out of Obama's mouth, she is the apotheosis of the milquetoast pandering that seems to define (or un-define) the Democratic party these days. Her willingness to introduce a bill to outlaw flag burning is one such case in point. Recently, she accepted a FOX News invitation to debate. She also ran an ad in Louisiana featuring sleazebag former senator John Breaux, the subject of this cartoon, who just opened a lobbying firm with Trent Lott. (Maybe Breaux is a popular guy down there, but he's the kind of politician who has been part of the problem.) In the end, all of this costs her authenticity points, and authenticity matters.
That said, Hillary is getting the royal crapola treatment from the media, and it bothers me that some Obama supporters are sounding an awful lot like the paranoid Republican wackadoos who spent the '90s inventing scandal after scandal involving the Clintons (see today's Krugman column and blog post). I've heard Obama fans, hopefully not representative of the majority, call her "shrillary" and "the bitch." Not cool.
So much of my life is dedicated to battling right-wing language and memes, it's heartbreaking to see the candidates (and sometimes their supporters) embrace them and do damage to our long-term goals. So I'll make my statement -- which will be heard by no one -- by abstaining.
FYI: From what I can see on the streets of Charlottesville, the Obama campaign has a huge presence compared to Hillary's. He's everywhere. I even saw a spray-painted, sidewalk-graffiti Obama head reminiscent of the iconic Che Guevara portrait.
Whew! After 24 chilly hours, my power came back on. It's funny how quickly one's thoughts turn from the abstract to the very concrete when the utilities are gone. One minute I was pondering the intricacies of Adobe InDesign, the next I was obsessing over procuring food and staying warm. Now I just have a headache from not getting my morning cup of coffee soon enough. (Yes, despite my mockery of technology, I am embarrassingly addicted to modern conveniences.)
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Putting out a book is never without bizarre hassles, but the technology-related difficulties I have experienced putting out my latest just take the cake.
The tale of woe begins with the day before I left for my mountain redoubt in December. Central Virginia was hit with an unusually strong windstorm, knocking out my power – and heat, and water, and phone (my house is extremely electricity-dependent) – at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. It stayed out all day. Packing in the dark was tricky enough, but there was another problem: the files for my book were on my desktop computer. I know, I know, I should have backed them up. I was going to do it that very afternoon, honest!
Nightfall rolled around, and it became clear that the power might very well not come on until after my flight left the next morning. So Mr. Slowpoke and I took apart my desktop computer by candlelight, loaded all the components into the car, and started driving into town. I called a friend on my cellphone (which incidentally doesn’t work at my house, even under normal circumstances) to ask if I could use her electricity. Fortunately, she was home. I reassembled my computer in her dining room, grabbed the files, and heaved a great sigh of relief. As I’d expected, we still had no electricity when I left the next morning.
Fast forward a week and a half. Mr. Slowpoke accidentally destroyed the laptop I was working on. We won’t go into details out of respect for Mr. Slowpoke, except to say a smashed laptop monitor looks really weird when illuminated. Now, the laptop was ancient and on its last legs already, so that was no great loss. I had also backed up most – though not all – of my book files. I had to rewrite a few pages, which took a day. The biggest inconvenience was not having a computer to call my own during the few weeks I had set aside explicitly to work on the book. I wound up having to share others’ computers, which slowed me down a bit, but I ultimately got a manuscript done.
My labors finally complete, I burned a CD with the book’s interior pages and gleefully sent it off to the designer. He quickly informed me that he couldn’t open the CD on his Mac. I had burned the files in Windows format, which in my experience shuttling between PCs and Macs, have always been readable on both platforms. Well, I guess there’s some new Vista format that isn’t. The poor guy went to untold lengths to find a computer that could read the disc, and eventually succeeded, though not before I’d begun tearing my hair out.
Which brings us to today. I just need to complete the back cover and send a few more files to the designer, and then I’m finished. The book needs to get to the printer this week. I’ve got no time to waste.
Enter another fantastic windstorm, even worse than that day in December. Objects are flying all over our yard; the huge bin in which we keep our recyclables just blew off the deck. Our power blinked out at almost the same moment, around 2pm, just before I could send this week’s color cartoon off to papers. Once again, all the files I need are on my desktop computer. It will probably be tomorrow before we have power, or heat, or water, or phone, or internet. And people wonder why I’m a slowpoke!
Granted, it’s a millionth of what the Iraqis go through every day, and I’ll gladly take my situation over the devastation that hit Arkansas and Tennessee last week. But still, you should understand the suffering that has gone into the new Slowpoke book, and buy yourself a copy and one for everyone you know!(The above was written at home; I am now in a coffee shop, about to return to my cold, dark abode.)
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Kudos to the NYT for hiring Gail Collins. Today's column about Mitt Romney is really funny.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Dogs love eyeglasses. Keep yours out of reach.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Mitt Romney's son is named "Tagg."
(No offense intended to the few Taggerts out there. But when a guy named Mitt names his son Tagg, it is silly.)
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Wow. I just read a blog post by my friend Ted Rall from a few days ago that reads just like the one I wrote earlier today about my prediction that McCain would win. (He laments that Bill Kristol was chosen over him for the NYT op-ed page too!) I had no idea Ted had predicted that, or written that, until just now. I guess we cartoonists think alike. Though my prediction wasn't based on funding so much as a general feeling about McCain's electability.
America's next vice president, thy name is Huckabee.
I watched his "victory" speech last night, and it was just chock full o'nuts: "I really do look forward to nailing the 'going out of business' sign on the front door of the IRS." "And government ought to undergird a family, not undermine a basic family's rights to raise their own kids." I know this stuff shouldn't surprise me, but I find it frightening that it's coming not from a fringe candidate, but someone who just won several entire states. And who, I have a hunch, will be McCain's running mate.
May I just point out that I called it for McCain on December 26, well before the primaries began? Thank you very much. Now tell me why Bill Kristol (a.k.a. "The Man Who is Wrong About Everything") is on the NYT op-ed page and not me.
We must, I repeat MUST find a way to defeat McCain, if for no other reason than we cannot have another First Lady with that Laura Bush-patented Zombie Wife look.
STOP THE ZOMBIE WIVES NOW!!!
(Update: see two posts above)
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
...when I speak of the mainstream media's McCain stiffy:
McCain Tops the Democrats in Media Coverage
Monday, February 04, 2008
Several months ago, I read an article in the NYT (which I am unable to track down now) about the explosion of services catering to the new super-rich, allowing them to live in practically a separate universe from the rest of us mortals. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the birth of the luxury airline, like EOS, which shuttles people back and forth between New York and London in supreme comfort (beds over six feet long!). The use of private and chartered aircraft has also surged. I guess first class, which shares the same airport security lines as the coach chattel, and occasionally entails said chattel wandering into the elites' bathroom, just isn't good enough anymore.
Also, there is the trend of "boutique" or concierge doctors who, for a pretty penny, offer the kind of personal, round-the-clock care people received from doctors of yore. To some extent, you can't blame the doctors for wanting to escape our increasingly factory farm-like medical system. But you see how this is problematic. When the most privileged and powerful members of society can escape the inconveniences and declines in service the rest of us must put up with, there's that much less impetus for change.
I'm reminded of another Times article, "A Privy for the Privileged" in which a woman confesses how she hates the people in first class and the system that puts them there, despite the fact that other luxury perks for the rich don't bother her. I feel much the same way. I'd say this is because first-class seating makes the American class system all too plainly clear -- it chafes against some fundamental, egalitarian aspect of our identity as Americans, in which we stand opposed to aristocracy. But many of the readers' comments on the article are disappointing. So many of them are along the lines of, "They're paying for it. Get over it." While I understand that reasoning, it seems so limited in scope. It fails to question the larger system that created the aristocracy in the first place, and that for the past decade has enhanced their wealth while doing nothing for the middle class. Yeah, we're living in a caste system. Get over it!
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Amazon will be placing its order for my book very soon, and my publisher is waiting with bated breath for the numbers. Please, if you feel like doing me a big favor, pre-order the book right now. As I've mentioned, you get a discount if you do; the book is cheaper now than it will be in a few weeks.
I ask you this favor not because I'm a money-grubbing ho, but because if the book doesn't sell well, it will be extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for me to get a publisher for the next book. Also, with the newspaper industry slowly wilting and popular websites unwilling to pay for content (see: Huffpo), cartoonists may soon become an endangered species. Buying our books is one way to support the craft. And you get a cool book!
Don't hesitate. Go here now!
...says Bill Kristol.
Um, maybe you're the problem, Bill.
So I was more or less set to vote for Obama when I found out his campaign has been distributing mailers modeled directly after the insurance industry's despicable "Harry and Louise" ads that derailed health care reform in the '90s. Anyone old enough to remember these (or anyone familiar with history) should recognize what a shameless spit in the eye of the progressive movement this is. It's like distributing campaign lit featuring the Swift Boat vets. There's no getting around it: Obama is gravely jeopardizing the dream of universal health care for short-term political expedience.
If there is one thing I've been hammering away at for the past several years, it is that progressives need to go on the offensive with language and stop co-opting right-wing memes if we ever hope to be viable. I am disturbed by the lack of people who seem upset by the new "Harry and Louise." Have they simply not heard about it? Or are they in denial?
To answer the Obama camp: I want health insurance. As a self-employed person, my health insurance costs are spiraling out of control. Seriously. I can't afford to keep my plan over the long term if it the premiums keep going up at their current, exponential rate. I honestly don't know what I will do. Universal health care in which everyone participates means I pay less, and I get to keep my insurance. This issue is extremely important to me. Stop hurting the cause.
The "Harry and Louise" gambit seems so unnecessary to me. It's going to turn off voters like myself who find their consciences deeply troubled. Who knows how many lives have been lost because the insurance industry prevailed in the '90s?
Of course, with the Virginia primary so late in the season, this may all be moot as far as my vote is concerned. Maybe I'll just write in Al Gore.
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