Monday, June 30, 2008
Ben, a reader with a good memory, writes in with this question:
You mentioned on an earlier blog about John Kerry's run for president that Kerry had "no Elvis". Turns out you were right. I don't think Bush had much Elvis, but he had more than Kerry, I suppose.He's referring to my very first (and rather prescient, I might add) blog post back in 2004, when I quoted Molly Ivins about the Elvis Factor. My response? Obama definitely has some Elvis, while McCain is the anti-Elvis. So on those grounds, at least, things are looking good for Obama.
[UPDATE: I'm impressed. Not one, but two SlowpokeBlog readers wrote within an hour to point out that Mojo Nixon's song "Elvis is Everywhere" predated the Molly Ivins quote. It specifically refers to Michael J. Fox as the Anti-Elvis who "got no Elvis" (back then he played young Republican Alex Keaton on "Family Ties," you may recall). So maybe Molly took her cue from Mr. Nixon. I'm pretty sure I've heard the song before, but wasn't that aware of the lyrics. Tip of Mr. Perkins's hat to Justin and Elmore.]
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Greetings from New York City, where I just did an interview for BBC Radio 4 with a few of my fellow Cartoonists With Attitude (Mikhaela, Masheka, and Brian). I thought I was finally through with travel for a while, but lo and behold the Beeb came calling, and it's not every day you get to chat with the Beeb. So I zipped up to the Big Apple for the second time in as many months, and now I find myself sticking around to see the Skatalites tonight with boffo UK radio & TV host Phill Jupitus. Found out he's also taken over the role of the late Ian Dury singing for the Blockheads, which left me babbling like a dazed fangirl for several minutes. It's been a very cool week so far -- I'll have more in a later post. The interview is set to run on July 19.
Ah yes, the cartoon. I've been meaning to draw a strip for some time on the increasingly difficult task of distinguishing actual nerds from ironic nerds. The second panel comes from my recent fascination with photographing all manner of nature up close lately, especially insects. Check out this Polyphemus Moth! Actual size: 5-6 inches across.
To be honest, I've been a bit of an insect geek for a while now, having fallen in love with the indispensible site What's That Bug? I have not yet resorted to sporting them around my neck, however.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sigh. This one has really got me down. Without getting too maudlin, I'll just say that more than once over the years I referred to the "2,443 Dirty Words" section of his website when I needed a really good synonym for a sex act or body part. As Mr. Slowpoke says, it's a resource for the Enlightenment.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I often find myself in the position of contrarian curmudgeon, so I guess this shouldn't surprise me -- but at a time when progressives seem more hopeful than ever, I feel less than enthused. For all his rhetorical brilliance, Obama strikes me as another painfully milquetoast Dem. His indication that he would support the FISA bill is just the latest in a long line of wingnut-appeasing moves. I do not think he's going to do anything meaningful about health insurance, which is a huge headache for Mr. Slowpoke and myself. And while he is the only thing standing between us and the all-out devastation of a McCain presidency, and I will vote for him in November, I just can't see him bringing about dramatic, well, change. Aside from restoring the presidency vaguely back to normal, from its current clownishly criminal state. And that's if he wins -- I'm not entirely convinced key swing states will go his way, especially after the Republican slime machine kicks into high gear (and it will).
Part of the problem, of course, is not Obama himself but our utterly broken political system ruled by stupid sound bites and private sector codependence. As long as old-school, irrational ideologies continue to have well-funded outlets and mass appeal, I'm afraid we won't be moving forward very much.
See, I warned you I'm a curmudgeon! On the bright side, it's nice out. I should probably do something about that, like leave my computer.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I read an article in the Times last week about airlines cutting back on weight every which way they can -- from reducing the amount of toilet water planes carry to redesigning drink carts to digitizing flight manuals. All of these measures will save millions in fuel costs. I wish they would hurry up already and make planes run on Cheez Whiz or something. There'd be no more nickel-and-diming for checked bags, and no more carbon dioxide emissions -- only the faint scent of cheddar trails lingering in the atmosphere. Ah, but I suppose that sort of biofuel would wreak havoc on the fake cheese economy.
While Googling for an image of a Smart car, I came across the following custom build, to be filed under "Defeating the Purpose":
Image lifted from this site, where you can get yer own free Monster Smart Car wallpaper!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
... about writers not getting paid:
Hmm, I'm hoping he doesn't mind this clip going viral all over the web.
Via Freelance Writing Jobs via Dreams With Sharp Teeth.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Anyone reading this in central VA, just a reminder that I'll be presenting my highly-entertaining cartoon slideshow and doodling in books at WriterHouse tonight at 7pm. That's at 508 Dale Ave, in the building just behind Bodo's Bagels on Preston.
I have mixed feelings about Google Street View. On the one hand, the geek in me finds it very cool, a triumph of imagination and technology. On the other, it feels a bit too close to the surveillance that has steadily encroached upon our lives in recent years.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Very nice review from Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon here. I dig Amanda's writing.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Got back yesterday from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention in Philly. Slowpoke took third place in their annual awards, which I'm perfectly content with considering I was up against tough competition ("Tom the Dancing Bug" creator and One Nation, Oh My God! introduction-writer Ruben Bolling took first). An artfully-rendered cartoon about LA called "Los Angelopolis" took second.
Even though the streets of Philly were about as hot and hazy as Jakarta at high noon, I enjoyed myself. Highlights of the trip included hanging out with cartoonist pals, eating a hoagie and tasty Thai food at the Reading Market (not on the same day), meeting Ben Franklin from the Colbert Report, having a beer at the historic Pen & Pencil Club, and exiting the ladies' room at the National Constitution Center only to practically walk into PA governor Ed Rendell and his entourage. Rendell was speaking at Saturday night's event; he started off by saying he didn't have a prepared speech, took a question from the audience, then launched into a lengthy speech about uniting the Democratic party behind Obama (Hillary had given her concession speech earlier that day). Which is a sentiment I wholly support, though I sometimes get the sense that politicians forget they're speaking to a bunch of jaded writers instead of a general audience. Same thing happened at AAEC last year when Dennis Kucinich, after delivering some funny jokes tailored to cartoonists, launched into a standard stump speech. You gotta contextualize, people!
1.) This Globe and Mail column about animated smilies and Zwinkies:
Smileys get used as a shorthand for emotions in online chats. These particular smileys have been rendered in three dimensions as emotive golden orbs, with giant mouths and wide anime eyes that beg imploringly for a fist. The ads promise users access to more smileys than they've ever had before, allowing them to express emotions that might have been out of their reach.2.) Artist Chris Jordan makes the statistics about humanity's destructive behavior shockingly and depressingly concrete. "Denali Denial" is especially clever.
Hat tip to Mr. Slowpoke.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Remember, tonight (Wednesday night) at 6pm I'll be readin' and greetin' at Robin's Bookstore, just a few blocks from City Hall, at 108 S. 13th Street.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Cville Words, a blog about writers and writing in Charlottesville, recently interviewed me. Author Elizabeth asked some really good, nuanced questions. Check it out.
Also look for an slightly sillier interview in the July issue of the Funny Times. (Interview not online.)
This NYT piece from a couple days ago about the word "elite" is worth a read.
It is past time to retire the sliming of elite knowledge and education from public discourse. Do we want mediocre schools or the best education for our children? If we need an operation, do we want an ordinary surgeon or the best, most elite surgeon available?It's time we called the use of "elite" as an epithet against informed people for what it really is: anti-intellectualism.
It's nothing new. Over the last century, intellectuals have been persecuted by oppressive regimes. Khmer Rouge, anybody?
It saddens me to see progressives absorb the "elite" slur and mock their own in this way. I make my choices as a citizen and a consumer based on reason, not out of some frivolous lust for status. When valuing education makes a person reviled for being "inauthentic," it's a problem.
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