Sunday, December 30, 2007


"Amandla", meaning "power", was a rallying cry against apartheid, as well as one of Miles' later albums. Amandla is also a character kicking the Jonathan Lethem/Farel Dalrymple Omega the Unknown series.

Previously I was reserved in my praise for this ten-issue thang, but it's only getting better. Part of the reason is the above-mentioned Amandla. She's young Alexander Island's only friend at Sammy Sosa High School, which has a pretty tough crowd. She's tutoring him in street life, for example advising him to keep his money in a sock. Ah New York, and the deglammed setting and characters are beautifully suited to Dalrymple's art.

And the Mink, a corporate super "hero" straight from the nightmares of Ben Edlund, is getting worse. Which is good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Get this Riefenstahl chick on the horn!

Via Digby, one of Rudy's shock troops in New Hampshire throws out some red meat.

He's got I believe the knowledge and the judgement to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims, and make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand years. These people are very dedicated and they're also very very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or in other words get rid of them.

And further...
In an interview with me, Deady confirmed that when he made the comments, he was referring to all Muslims.

"I don't subscribe to the principle that there are good Muslims and bad Muslims," Deady told me by phone from his home in New Hampshire. "They're all Muslims."

Well you can't say that Deady hasn't learned from the best.

Every Jew is our enemy in this historic struggle, regardless of whether he vegetates in a Polish ghetto or carries on his parasitic existence in Berlin or Hamburg or blows the trumpets of war in New York or Washington. All Jews by virtue of their birth and their race are part of an international conspiracy against National Socialist Germany. They want its defeat and annihilation, and do all in their power to bring it about. That they can do nothing inside the Reich is hardly a sign of their loyalty, but rather of the appropriate measures we took against them.

And more concisely
1. The Jews are our destruction. They started this war and direct it. They want to destroy the German Reich and our people. This plan must be blocked.

2. There are no distinctions between Jews. Each Jew is a sworn enemy of the German people. If he does not make his hostility plain, it is only from cowardice and slyness, not because he loves us.

Hot stock tip: If Rudy wins, put some money into the barbed wire trade.

(To be clear: I'm not saying that Giuliani is a Nazi. I'm just saying he's acting like one as a candidate, and may feel obliged to follow through if elected. The customer is always right, after all.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Look at that bridge burn, man

Ted Rall is getting ballsy. The cartoonist/journalist has certainly cheesed off people in the past--partly by "denigrating" Pat Tillman and helping to expose his friendly-fire death--but tossing a grenade into the center of the art comics world is striking a little closer to home. His.

For the record, I don't agree with everything that Rall is saying here. I think I'd appreciate a few comics that Rall hates. But there is something to his comparison between "Nemo" and "The Far Side", in that Winsor McCay's work is lovely, but I remember Larson's jokes better than the details of McCay's stories. (On the other hand, if you're writing about dreams it could be argued that details that fade upon waking are to the point. I can see it either way.)

I sort of agree with the Comics Journal quote too.

Comics Journal critic Noah Berlatsky thinks the current crop of art comics stars are obsessed with trying to overcome some perception that the medium is all about caped superheroes like Superman and Batman. "Alt comics have a huge chip on their shoulders, and they have responded by rejecting everything superhero in favor of Serious Art--which, alas, often means seriously boring art."

Comics have been trying to prove themselves grown-up for well over two decades now. The purported maturity has tended to take the form of anhedonia in both mainstream and indy comics. And God knows it's helped to winnow out child readers, if you think uprooting the saplings is a great way to save the forest. But from what Rall reports here, the big growth in the adult market doesn't seem to be hitting.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A man ahead of his time

This just in. That wily bastard J. Edgar Hoover just couldn't get enought of those wacky authoritarian shenanigans. F'rinstance, he wanted to intern about 12,000 Americans he suspected of not being 100% in the Cold War. A man of vision, when you get down to it.

Poor guy missed out on a time that could bring him new glories. He and his boys could have a high old time in the Big Easy.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ladies' Night

My friend Mark just gave me a mix CD with a lot of his favorite female artists. It's a pretty good deal. Some of them I already liked (Rasputina, Feist), others I didn't know. The band Over the Rhine, for example, I'd only heard about from him.

Gotta say, Amy Winehouse's "Fuck Me Pumps" is a funny song. She's one of many tabloid trainwrecks in the news now, but unlike most is actually contributing something to the class.

Update: Maybe the above statement could use some illustration.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Still here. I'll be back to blogging once I can get these things like "thoughts" into something resembling order. But for now, I attempt to distract you with a random picture of a flamingo plushie.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Whoaz Nellie!

Nellie McKay kicks off her new(ish) album Obligatory Villagers by crooning "Feminists don't have a sense of humor." Even if you're not familiar with her work, the priveleged fratboy sentiments she goes on to express may clue you in that there's going to be some tongue in cheek here.

It's a fun disc. Her last album, Pretty Little Head, wound up getting McKay bounced from Sony's roster for being too long. While I found it worthwhile overall, the evil corporation wasn't entirely wrong. There were some drags, and the fake tantrum about wanting a suicide pill wasn't really a keeper. By contrast, OV could easily tack on another 15 minutes without wearing out its welcome. It also feels like an organic whole. Actually its like she and a few friends put on a kitchen sink Broadway musical for curious onlookers.

Bob Dorough contributes some vocalese. I remember him as just a bill, sittin' there on Capitol Hill in the "Schoolhouse Rock" shorts. Some of those had Blossom Dearie too. Who'da thought those PSA's with their shaggy animation could teach kids to be fifties hipsters? Dorough, McKay and Nancy Reed trade lines on an enigmatically beautiful song called "Politan."

Oh well, here's a sample. Oh those nutty New Yorkers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


After hearing about it for a while, we finally got new computers at work today. We being me and another guy. Flat screens. Big screens. Speakers, which I've never had before. And the monitor has more light, so I can actually see stuff. To celebrate I selected a weird Jason Rhoads flophouse installation work as my wallpaper. Figure it should be good to start a conversation or two.

My usually off-site supervisor stopped by to do the honors. Nice to see him because this is his last week. It's getting so I'm one of the ancient Galapagos tortoises of the place.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cross purposes

Kaitlyn starts off with a money quote.
"The Catholic League wants Christians to stay away from this movie precisely because it knows that the film is bait for the books," said president William Donohue.

Books are a drug and if you're not careful movies will be the gateway drug? We're supposed to compete in the global economy with this attitude?

Three things to remember.

  • If faith has to be enforced, it's not faith. It's a five year plan.

  • There is no dignity in protesting books. None. People who read will see you as ignorant and provincial. People who don't will think you're swatting at imaginary flies (not counting those folks specifically on your team.)

  • Donohue needs to be ignored. Thanks to him, Catholics are getting tarred with the image of particularly knuckle-dragging Protestants. And that ain't right.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Can you picture that?*

Ja ever notice? Yahoo bought Flickr in 2005. Now, before that time, you could do an image search on Yahoo and get a pretty good range of pictures from a variety of sources. Now on just about any subject, the top layer of image results will be from Flickr. Which is a great site hosting many creative photographers, don't get me wrong. But if you're looking for a picture of an opthalmologist, it doesn't do you any good to see someone's vacation beach photo where they just happened to mention the word "opthalmologist" in the caption. It's another example of being synergy wise and use foolish.

*Also a wonderful song by Dr Teeth & the Electric Mayhem.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What we have here is failure to communicate

Bellatrys has a good, lengthy* post up aobut combatting trolls and when to say when. I've read some of the work by the gent who inspired her to write this and found him to be the most amazing of mythical creatures: a self-constructed strawman. If you ever imagine an argument and find yourself saying, "Oh, but no one would be so stupid as to try and make that case," well, he may have already done it.

It started me thinking about communication, and why on the interweb it so often turns ugly.

  • In social terms, stupid people tend to have the advantage over smart people. This is because the actual point of a verbal fight is--most often--to be seen as holding one's ground. An intelligent person will try to respond to the other person's points and tailor their own for the occasion. A moron will--intentionaly or not--miss the point and go ballistic based on their misreading of what the other person said to them. Then an onlooker will say, "I might not agree with him/her, but they sure show character."

  • Even if no one else says that, a sufficiently ego-hungry person will imagine it.

  • A large part of communication in the real world (or should I be calling it "meatspace"?) is nonverbal, as we pick up hints from posture, facial expression, tears if all else fails... But this is lacking online, which can lead to misunderstandings even among people of good faith

  • Not everyone has good faith

  • In fact, even in face to face conversation, some people only self-regulate so that no one will take a swing at their teeth and/or balls. Message boards and blogs free them from thinking about that contingency.

Of course a lack of self-censorship can be a good thing. I think it is a good thing in the context of goodwill. But again, you're not always going to have that context.