Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Everyone else is doing it, so why can't we? (The Strokes? Bo-ring!) I'm going to refrain from calling these the "best" of the decade, as there's so much music I haven't heard. Just compiling this list made me realize that about 90% of what I listen to is from the last century. These are the albums that appealed to my ultra-melodic sensibilities, or in the immortal words of Nick Lowe, PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE. In no particular order:
1. Ladytron - Light and Magic
Tough to choose between this, 604, and Witching Hour, but I find Light and Magic somehow the most consistent.
2. Dungen - Ta Det Lungt
Hearing "Panda" on the radio for the first time was one of those "What was THAT?" moments. The rest of the album, while different from the single, is also great.
3. Miss Kittin and the Hacker - First Album
"Stock. Exchange. Woman."
4. New Pornographers - Electric Version
Again, tough to choose between this and Mass Romantic, but Electric Version was my first love. Twin Cinema also noteworthy.
5. Calvin Harris - I Created Disco
Warm yet angular keyboardal goodness for the synth lover's soul. Sophomore effort not so much.
6. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues
Let the bells ring! A full-bodied, transcendent masterpiece.
7. Ween - Quebec
The album that made me realize they're not just jerkoffs, but geniuses.
8. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
A perfectly-crafted pop album.
9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Psychedelia for millennials. And lead singer is the son of an altweekly editor. What's not to like?
10. The Rogers Sisters - Purely Evil
A dark horse submission, but had this been recorded by the Talking Heads in the '70s, it would be considered a classic.
Pansy Division - Total Entertainment!
Fischerspooner - #1
Gang of Four - Return the Gift
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
It's a classic Slowpoke this week, though one so old that I had to spend an hour removing Zip-a-Tone dots from the original scan. (For those of you not in the know, or too young to remember Zip-a-Tone, it's a film we used to use to add dot shading to cartoons before the miracle of Photoshop.) So unless you own my first collection, Café Pompous, you probably haven't seen this one.
Taking a week off over the holidays is part of my belief system (Slowpokedom), though I haven't had much of a vacation. I've actually been moonlighting as a hostess and sommelier at a log cabin restaurant in an undisclosed location in the Rockies. (Longtime readers know I repair to my underground bunker in a cold, snowy place each holiday season.) Yes, the collapse of print media has come to this: cartoonists pouring wine in rustic dining establishments. I'm doing it partly for fun, though the extra cash is welcome too. So the next time you go out for dinner, be nice to the staff. Some of them might be syndicated. (You should, of course, be nice to the staff anyway.)
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I've been known to mock the excessive attention paid to cute animal photos on the internet. But this blog is MONETIZED now, baby, which means you get the occasional photo of my dog covered in tiny snowballs.
I'm glad they really are snowballs instead of hideous fleshy, fluid-filled growths.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I've had this basic concept kicking around in my head since the Bush administration, which felt like an incredibly long, bad science fiction movie. But I'm glad I waited until the end of the decade, since even more stuff has happened that would fill a '90s person with disbelief.
Personally, I'm filled with disbelief that it has been ten years since "The Blair Witch Project" came out. I remember watching millennial fireworks like it was yesterday -- okay, five years ago tops. And I remember looking at the New York Times on January 1, 2000, and thinking how utterly weird it was to see that date in the banner. And now, in the blink of an eye, we're all ten years older. At this rate, I'll be eighty by tomorrow.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Responding to my post yesterday which mentioned those horrible "ONE RULE" web ads, reader Paul had this to say:
I've always been slightly troubled by the "1 rule" ads. Apart from their trivial purpose (flat abs, white teeth), I am somehow deeply troubled by several aspects of these ads. First, although you said "One rule for a flat belly" the ads themselves always say "One rule of a flat belly" which is a very weird semi-literate construction of the grammar, and somehow creeps me out. They also all then go on to credit a discovery of a mother for this "old weird rule." I don't get this. Why is the fact that a mother discovered it important, or that it is an old weird rule. I should probably let it go, but the whole thing is very strange in a troubling way. And anyway, I'll never have a flat belly, and I don't give a shit if my teeth aren't white. I brush twice a day; that should be enough.Hear, hear!
Relevant cartoon about those creepy internet moms:"Momvertising"
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I finally broke down and decided to experiment with some web ads. I resisted for a long time, because I don't think they pay well enough for the havoc they wreak on site design. But my web traffic has grown dramatically this year -- so much that I exceeded my bandwidth and had to upgrade my hosting plan. (This is the compensation one gets for having a popular cartoon in the internet age -- not only does the cartoonist not get paid, she has to pay out of her own pocket for being "successful.") I'm hoping to at least recover my hosting fees; I know, I could host the images for free elsewhere, but I'm just not into that. If the economy improves, and/or the ads get too annoying ("ONE RULE FOR A FLAT BELLY!"), I might reconsider.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
If you haven't already purchased all of your presents -- and who has? -- let me humbly suggest the latest Slowpoke book, One Nation, Oh My God! whose title remains relevant as ever. Available from Powell's, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon or your local independent bookstore. My publisher also just released Tom Tomorrow's new children's book, The Very Silly Mayor, so you might consider buying that for the kid in your life.
There are also signed Slowpoke prints, which I will ship via Priority Mail for free until Saturday. Give the gift of cartoons, inscribed with a personal message of your choosing! Nothing too obscene, please.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
A few interesting things I've seen on the internet over the past week or so:
Cartoonist Julia Wertz has lupus and cannot afford health insurance. (Hat tip to my friend Derek)
Paul Krugman on global warming deniers. Krugman notes the gendered aspect of environmentalism, and also the deniers' distrust of "experts." I would add to that a religious humility that causes many doubters to believe mere humans couldn't possibly change the weather. I've observed this rationale several times over the years.
Duke University grad student living in van. I really admire this guy's pluck. Screw the student loan industry. (And overpriced rents that eat up what little money young people do manage to earn.)
"Male" freelance writer outs self as woman. The gigs started coming in once she changed her name.
Ah, it's time once again for our annual coverage of the Perkinses' trip to the mall. This is the fourth such installment, and you can get a sense of our economic downfall by reading them in succession. Here's 2005, 2006, and 2008 (I skipped '07). Rarely do I toot my own horn, but the background gags in '08 are a personal favorite.
Keen readers will note the inside joke in the second panel of the new strip, referring to last week's cartoon.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
I've been meaning to draw this one for years now. I'd really like to see the response of Afghanistan hawks if we tried taking out the dangerous criminals in their cities with remote-controlled aerial bombings. 'Cause I don't think that would play well in Cincy or the O.C.
A reader noted on Twitter that the drones are actually used in Pakistan, which I'm aware of -- though they're used in Afghanistan too. This recent New Yorker piece explains things:
The U.S. government runs two drone programs. The military’s version, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare. The C.I.A.’s program is aimed at terror suspects around the world, including in countries where U.S. troops are not based.If I'd included both Afghanistan and Pakistan, the already-long title would have been kind of ridiculous. And "Afghanistan" is sort of shorthand for the war being waged in that region; nevertheless, I probably should have thrown Pakistan in there somewhere. Or referred to the countries as AfPak, per Lloyd Dangle.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I got a chuckle out of some of the comments on last week's Slowpoke cartoon on Gocomics. You'll recall that I suggested a market-based solution to our economic woes by having all business install biometric investment banker detectors. The detectors would alert you to the presence of, say, a beneficiary of Goldman Sachs' $23 BILLION bonus pool, and charge that person according to their insanely-bloated, parasitic income. Hence a hot, caffeinated beverage for a Goldman employee would run about 12 grand, stimulating the real economy and helping us all.
You'd think even the hardcore market fundamentalists might take some pleasure in price-gouging investment bankers, seeing as they profited from a taxpayer bailout. But no, like the brainwashed automatons they are, they responded thusly:
From commenter harleyquinn:
How about [giving] the ordinary person back something that might work instead of buzz words read on a teleprompter.
From commenter Lewreader:
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to all those jobs created by Goldman Sachs employee bonuses. Oh, what heroic risk-takers they were!
Meanwhile, a reader named Dan emailed me to suggest the possiblity of a guaranteed living income for all American citizens. But he admitted being afraid to mention it publicly for fear of getting beat up.
Nothing will change in this country until the brainwashing of ordinary Americans with psycho-capitalist ideology comes to an end. (And by psycho-capitalism, I refer not to the capitalism of mom-and-pop shops, but to economic absolutism bordering on religious zealotry.)
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Can you believe an aspiring cartoonist imitated my style and sent a faux Slowpoke strip to newspapers as a publicity stunt to get on a reality show?* They did a pretty good job, I'd say. So good, in fact, that I decided to use their cartoon instead of my own this week!
*Clarification for the dense: I am kidding.
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