Monday, March 30, 2009

PBS: Newspaper Cartoonists Engage Audiences (Including Haters) Online

Good ol' Josh Fruhlinger of Comics Curmudgeon, editorial cartoonist Daryl Cagle and yours truly were all interviewed by the very professional and personable Mike Rosen for a PBS Mediashift web article on cartoonists, readers and the dialogue between them. The story also features plenty of shout-outs to such greats as Ed Powers of My Cage as well as a whole host of comics-related humor blogs.

You can read the whole article here, but you can get a sneak peek of the increasingly renowned Mr. Fruhlinger (who, judging from the photo, time-travelled to a Chucky Cheese in 1982) right below.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Absolutely Breathtaking

If you have not yet seen the new Where the Wild Things Are movie trailer then by all means go here and choose the largest HD version your computer screen can contain (embedding the smaller trailer on this blog would simply not do it justice).

You won't be disappointed.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Going Down to Liverpool

With the possible exception of their cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter", "Going Down to Liverpool" has long been my favorite Bangles song.

Of course, I'm not quite sure what that says of The Bangle's lyrical chops since both songs are covers. "Hazy Shade of Winter" was originally written by Paul Simon and recorded for the Simon & Garfunkel album Bookends, before it was redone for the soundtrack of Less Than Zero (featuring a young Robert Downey Jr. and Andrew McCarthy, who my girlfriend inexplicably has seen more than a few times on the streets on NYC). "Going Down to Liverpool," meanwhile, was first issued as a B-side to the Katrina & the Waves smash "Walking on Sunshine."

Interesting side note, both "Walking on Sunshine" and "Going Down to Liverpool" were written by Waves guitarist Kimberlry Rew, he formerly of the seminal band The Soft Boys, The main singer and songwriter of The Soft Boys was the truly great Robyn Hitchcock, who recently made a cameo as part of the wedding band in Rachel Getting Married, directed by Jonathan Demme (who a few years earlier directed the concert film Storefront Hitchcock). I still have my Hitchcock concert tee from 1989, which may also be the last time I wore it (unlike my Fishbone shirt, which I wore far longer than the fading cotton would really permit).

Anyway, back to "Going Down to Liverpool" and the reason for this post. Up until a few minutes ago I had never seen the original music video for the song. More importantly, I had absolutely no idea that it featured Leonard Nemoy in an extended cameo. So to celebrate this momentous discovery I present to you both The Bangles' cover version as well as the original (by way of videotaped vinyl). Enjoy!

And while we're at it, here's The Bangles' "Hazy Shade of Winter":

And what the hell, here's the Hitchcock song "America" from Rachel Getting Married:

Lady GaG - Butterface (Poker Face Parody)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Write Your Own Irish Memoir!

Few cultures have as rich of a literary tradition as the Irish. And few literary traditions are as steeped in abject sadness, soul-crushing squalor and pub-related fatalities as that of the Irish autobiography. Yet each year we continue to be enthralled by books from authors that by all accounts should not have lived past birth. So in honor of these fine men and women I present the following template to help you pen your own award-winning Irish memoir, Mad Libs style. For example:

“We boiled the (noun) for dinner and then got (adjective)-faced on Harps.”

Ready? Then get out a paper and pen let's begin!

I Can't Find Me Legs: A Tale of Growing Up Poor, Catholic and Eventually Blind in Ireland
By (Your name here)
It was day three of the Blessed Feast of the Prolonged Consumption and Father O'Hurley had just finished (gerund) me in the abbey. I put on the clothes my dear, defeated mother had fashioned me from discarded (vegetable) and quickly ran past the abandoned (town's sole economic lifeline)—only to learn that my (dearest childhood possession) had been sold to help pay for the removal of my wee brother's (body part of which there is only one).

These were tough times for the Mc (complete surname) clan. A blight had destroyed all the (chemical element for water), and we had just burned the last of the (choose a gender) in the house to stay warm. Still, we had faith in our (proper noun) that He would be merciful and soon (verb) the lot of us in our sleep.

Soon after I arrived home my father stumbled in through the (entrance other than door), reeking of whiskey and (woman's name other than "Mom"). "Damn the cursed English!" he yelled at our pet (inanimate object) before his (gimp extremity) gave out and he crashed face first into the (colorful Gaelic phrase for "open cutlery drawer").

With my father now dead, it was up to my mother to raise me and my (double-digit number) siblings, which she did by getting a job in (imagine the worst job possible for a woman, then imagine it occurring inside an underground factory). Unfortunately, a few hours later while walking back from the prostitute cannery she was struck from behind, both sides and above from (oh hell, you decide). She eventually died from (medical term for “the sniffles”).

Twenty years later I moved to America.

Congratulations, you’re now all authors!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Renew Your Faith in Something Other Than Yourself—A Guide for Aspiring Artists Who Have Lost Their Inspiration

One must admire or at least marvel at the hard road upon which the artist is willing to embark. A road fraught with dead end pursuits, potholes of misfortune and the burst sewer main pipe of success. A road that more often than not leads to melancholy, misery and marketing. A road that probably features more Arby’s than prospects. And it is not uncommon in the middle of such a dark, despairing journey that one turns to a higher power for guidance and reassurance. That one looks to the spiritual when the material has failed them. That one takes that quick detour to religious salvation. But being creative you wouldn’t simply want to co-op an existing faith. Of course not! You’d want to create your own church.

That’s when it’s time to use your God-given talents to give others a new take of God. But before you start penning parables, designing vestments and founding a limited liability company excused of all tax obligations, best to research how others have established their own church before you. This can be done by either acquiring a Masters degree in religion studies or by getting the quick gist of a four-page evangelical pamphlet discarded on a street corner with the rather pithy yet profound title of "Earthquake."

Written by one Tony Alamo, self-proclaimed (and one suspects self-ordained) "World Minister" of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, the pamphlet attempts to show the correlation between several Old Testament prophecies (read: threats) and a recent natural disaster. By "recent," of course, I mean the Los Angeles earthquake of January 17, 1994.

Now, why Minister Tony is a more than a decade off on his calamities is anyone's guess (mine is it took him a good ten years to scrape up the money to buy the MacWord program used to format the pamphlet). But that in no way means Tony is not an artist. In fact, his pamphlet could very well serve as the definitive template for all creative individuals who have given up on their craft but not their need for an audience. Just by opening the pious flyer one is immediately struck by how quickly Tony piques his reader’s interest, employing such attention-catching phrases as:

"Several Bible scriptures tell us that EARTHQUAKES are one of God's many instruments of judgment."

"Los Angeles is more sinful and more guilty than the other reprobate cities of the world."

"God is mankind's worst enemy."

Clearly Tony is a firm believer of the Old Testament (or "Old School") God, the deity who would rather put millions in peril than let the entertainment industry make a third sequel to Major League. But, alas, proclamations alone do not make for a gripping tale. Like many an accomplished artist, Minister Tony knows that to sell a story it must be set in a specific time and place. It must also provide a definite point of view so that the reader can locate themselves within the context of the action and never feel lost or confused by ensuing events. These are the hallmarks of great writing and Tony achieves these with perfect economic skill, as evident in his opening sentence:

"Thursday, January 13, 1994 I was in Los Angeles for a court appearance."

Almost instantly the reader is given both an entrance into the story as well as a desire to know more, such as "What possible good reason could a district attorney have to call in a minister of a religious organization named after said minister?" But Tony realizes that great storytelling is as much as about what you withhold as what you reveal, and so with his second sentence he chooses not to clarify so much as deepen the mystery:

"Three days later, Sunday, January 16, 1994, I was inspired again by the Lord to leave Los Angeles without delay."

Once again, the reader is left wanting for information, such as what possible reason would a man charged with a crime suddenly decide to skip town? (And why has he clearly done such before?) But rather than simply satiate his audience's desire, Tony wisely opts to play on its empathetic nature in the very next line:

"Everyone was disappointed because our original plans were to spend the afternoon at the sunny beach in Venice."

And so in three short sentences, Tony has given us a setting, an action and a reason to mourn over missed opportunities. In fact, the only thing he hasn't given us is something to do with earthquakes, the bible or a reason for why he used three different fonts in the same pamphlet. But that's what those in the writing biz call "baiting the hook," and as disaster finally rocks L.A. Tony reels us in with one startling statement after another:

"God's wisdom for our leaving Los Angeles and moving our services to a motel in Phoenix was now made known to us."

"California has always been the pilot state or testing ground in North America for one-world government tyranny and stupidity. Now God is using this state as a sort of sneak preview of His coming attractions."

"We travel by car and generally never stop, except for fuel and food."

So the with each page the reasons behind Tony's story are slowly made known to us: Tony has a friend in God. Tony's court appearance has obviously given him a less than kind perspective on California state law. Tony doesn’t quite realize that “sneak preview” and “coming attractions” are pretty much the same thing. Tony drives like a man on a mission or on the lam.

But in the end the reader still does not know learn the true meaning of his tale. We still do not know why he felt so compelled to not only write his magnum opus but then take a full decade to edit it. Was it to warn us sinners to quickly change our ways before it's too late? Perhaps. Was it to tell us we are best to alter our flight plans? Possibly. Was it to play off recent mounting fears about everything without having to go through all the needless trouble of revising a hastily put-together newsletter from 1994? Probably. Tony leaves us wanting more, actually begging for more, and that, my friends, is the stamp of a truly inspirational artist.

Friday, March 13, 2009

California Goes One Toke over the Line

California Decriminalizes Marijuana
Users Celebrate, Forget Where They Parked

SACRAMENTO, CA—In an attempt to deter further economic collapse, California has become the first state in the union to legalize marijuana so as to allow its regulation and tax of sale, according to Governor Schwarzenegger's Press Secretary Aaron McLear, who announced the decree shortly after self-administering Visine Clear Eye drops.

Following the recommendations of a state congressional committee that a more-tolerant drug policy would not only result in in $1.3 billion in much needed annual revenue but also gain greater credibility among the ever hard-to-please youth, the government unveiled its "Don't Cash the Bowl, Man" campaign to thunderous "woahs."

The campaign—funded by the occasional temp job, a few local band gigs and some money a proponent's dad gave him to buy resume paper—hopes to send a credible message about the new law. Exactly how it plans to do so remains a mystery, however, since most of the campaign appears to have been written in one sitting, with a crayon, on the back of two veggie burrito menus, a free weekly newspaper and a fistful of EZ rolling papers and "Earn Big Bucks Stuffing Envelopes" handouts.

Numerous anti-drug organizations were quick to express their grave reservations, citing California would almost certainly experience the same dreadful social consequences England faced a few years back when Parliament relaxed marijuana laws.

"No one ever remembers to return a phone call in Britain anymore," said Tim Riley, a spokesman for Drug Free America Inc. "Neighbors go on and on about how beautiful some stupid moth they saw three weeks ago was. Television viewers think the characters on Coronation Street are actually watching them instead. And just try to find an unopened bag of crisps in that country."

Some federal officials also fear that any move toward decriminalization would make California a veritable haven for drug tourism, but Governor Schwarzenegger was quick to disagree.

“People visit California for three reasons,” stated the Governor. “To cheer on the Los Angeles Clippers, to get a firsthand look at the largest judiciary system in the United States and to experience the route initially taken by Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho."

Mr. McLear also stressed that the new law was not tantamount to an official condonation of excessive drug use, stating, "In fact, the whole point of the law is to remove the illicit allure of marijuana and perhaps decrease its usage. We're talking slices here, not whole pies. For example, imagine if the world were a pizza. Uh...I mean, if you were the pizza...No, no...umm...the world! The world is definitely a pizza! Is that freakin' awesome or what?!" The Press Secretary then became fascinated with the dirt under his fingernails.

Because When Your Child Is Missing Your Thoughts Naturally Turn to Nuptials

From CNN:

The father of missing child Haleigh Cummings' married his 17-year-old-girlfriend, who was the last one known to have seen the child alive, the girl's grandmother told Nancy Grace producers.

On Sunday Ronald Cummings asked his teenage girlfriend, Misty Croslin, for her hand in marriage at a local Chili's restaurant. While he was with several family members, Cummings got down on one knee, asked Croslin to marry him and gave her Haleigh's grandmother's diamond ring.

Because Croslin is only 17-years-old, her mother filled out the paperwork so the two could be married.

And on Thursday, the pair tied the knot, after the three day waiting period required by Florida law.

...In the middle of the search for the girl, the newlyweds will fly to New York Thursday night for their honeymoon and an exclusive appearance on the Today show.

For the complete article go here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On the Ocassion of Barbie's 50th Birthday--"The Diary of Ken Doll, Post Break-Up"

February 17: Woke up drunk for third time in as many days. If I even look at another Fuzzy Navel I’ll throw up. Spent entire day lying on my West Elm wood-frame sectional, recalling Barbie’s last words to me before she drove off in her Dream Tesla—“Well, like, bye!” Tried to forget whole agonizing ordeal by playing Xbox but couldn’t get through a single game of Dance Dance Revolution Universe 3 without sobbing.

March 9: Filled with rage and the most delightful strawberry whipped cream cakes from Phoenix Bakery. How could Barbie leave me for a guy who still wears pleats?! Clearly everyone was right— our relationship was a joke! All we ever did was spend time at her house, drive around in her car, eat at her restaurant, make tennis bracelets with her soldering iron. I was always following her orders, always doing things her way! That’s why I vow today, on this very page, that the next woman I fall in love with will at least let me lead in flamenco class.

April 12: Was working on tan when Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” came over spa’s intercom system. Despite pleas from management I refused to come out of my booth for the next three hours. Dermatologist later said I’m lucky to still have an epidermis. Also said not to wear any Lycra for the next two weeks. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.

May 4: Broke my lease, gave away the last of my possessions on Freecycle and said my goodbyes to coworkers at the Jamba Juice Bar. Today begins a new chapter in the life of Ken! No more being someone’s second banana. I’m going to see the world, test my limits, expand my horizons, embrace new ideals and, with any luck, work off the last of my winter pudge.

June 1: Have yet to make it past San Diego. Surf’s up and fish at Rainwater’s has never been so flaky and tender. Still, it’s imperative that I leave California, leave the country, if I’m ever to leave any bad memories of my break-up behind. That’s why I’m presently on my way to the airport to buy a one-way ticket to the first far-flung destination that sounds like an exotic spice. Adventure!

July 22: It’s been well over a month since I landed in Ulaan Baatar (which sounds less like an exotic spice and more like a villain from Barbie’s discontinued “Oriental Malefactors” series from the 1940’s) and I’ve never felt so alive—or been so frightened for my life—in my entire life. They do things differently down or up here. Take the beatings, for example. They have them! Every day! In the one, lone pub, behind the dune, in the back of the head, wherever, I keep getting punched. The elders say it will build my character and help train their young. I consider it a baptism by fire. Speaking of fire, apparently someone burned all my clothes. But I don’t need them anymore! I’m a new man, with the friends and multiple contusions to prove it.

August 7: Awoke scarred, starving and stripped of all clothes in a Shaolin temple. The monks tell me they saved me from a “dragon of many mouths and temperament most displeasing,” even though the last thing I remember before passing out in Mongolia was being traded to some robed gentlemen at the Naadam Festival. Every morning, afternoon and most of the evening I repay the monk’s rescue by scrubbing the floors, washing the walls, doing laundry and tending to every disciple’s needs. At night they teach me such venerable Shaolin Gong Fu tactics as “The Five–Finger Exploding Heart Technique,” “The Crane Technique” and something else that I could have sworn I once saw Billy Blanks do on a Tae Bo tape but the monks swear to me is an ancient martial arts move. They are a kind people and their constant laughter in my presence is proving quite infectious, although when I laugh along with them they tend to stop, look at me in a sad way and just shake their heads. Perhaps I have not yet earned the right to join in their merriment. Nonetheless, this is the most spiritually fulfilled I have ever felt in my entire life!

October 14: Having been banished from the Shaolin temple several weeks ago--just around the same time I finished laying the foundation for their swimming pool and cabana house (I fear I inadvertently insulted the monks in some fashion)--I now find myself to be the second-most powerful cocaine lord in Bogata. I am both impressed and puzzled by this accomplishment, seeing as that I don’t remember amassing my fortune, hiring my men or even laying my eyes on any drugs. But my second-command Juarez (who for some reason also has an ID that reads “Agent Ted Simmons”) assures me of both my stature and previous deeds. I’ve even met the new love of my life, Alameda, who revels in my tales of the girls of Wisteria Lane and playfully calls me “Tonto Americano.” I had planned to take her on a picnic in the back of my palatial estate—which I have yet been permitted to see much of outside of my bedroom—but Juarez/Ted says tomorrow I must meet the first-most powerful cocaine lord in the region. Juarez/Ted says I must meet him alone but should anything “go down” he and his men will be there “to pick up the pieces and close down any and all operations.” Nonetheless, this is the most emotionally fulfilled I have ever felt in my entire life!

February 4: Although I seemingly played an important role in the CIA’s sting operation and eventual capture of “El Rey de Cocaína,” they thought nothing of leaving my bullet-ridden body in a Colombian square. Fortunately I was taken in—or just taken—by a band of Basque National Separatists, who have taught me to shoot in the name of I think sheep-grazing rights. After months of training I have finally been given my first assignment—“Kill the thieving fucks at Barcelona General Motors.” Initially I thought this to be less a matter of ethnic pride and more a grudge against a single car dealership, especially since our group leader has spent the last two weeks doing nothing but complaining about the sluggish brake response and poor turning in his new Opel Coupe, but he swears to me it’s a matter of greatest and gravest importance for the cause.

April 3: So here’s what happened in Barcelona. Armed with several high-powered rifles and detonation devices, I spent several days idling in a parking garage across the street from the dealership, waiting for the right time to make my move, only to asphyxiate from carbon monoxide and wake up three weeks later in a city hospital bed between two guys who stabbed each other over a gun. It was during my lengthy convalescence—which took place not at some overpriced hospital or rehab center but rather at a youth hostel with a rented DVD player and a self-improvement disc titled So You’ve Gone and Hobbled Yourself—I decided to once more take stock of my life. I finally came to the conclusion that I am far too trusting of people. I trusted the Mongolian elders. I trusted the Shaolin monks. I trusted my best friend with the alternate identity in Bogata. I trusted the terrorists. And most of all, I trusted Barbie. And where has it gotten me? A one-cot room with 12 German tourists who don’t understand that you simply do not wear socks with sandals! From now on this Ken is going to look before he leaps! From now on this Ken is going to be wary of all strangers and offers. From now on this Ken is going to make only smart moves.

May 11: I’m a pirate! Yesterday I was begging for change in a Lisbon bar when I was approached by a few tough-looking men my coworkers back at Jamba Juice would have immediately pegged as “rough tricks.” Turns out they were honest-to-goodness buccaneers! They had eye patches, they wore striped shirts, their breath stunk to high heaven—the whole deal! They said they needed a new recruit to row their “pirate thing” and asked if I was interested. At first I was skeptical, recalling my recent pledge to be more alert and remembering that pirates tend to use engine-powered boats now. But then they said they had some shiny gold doubloons back at their “hideout” and asked if I wanted to see them. Quickly ascertaining that people who already have money—especially doubloons—wouldn’t have any reason to scam or do harm to a person like me, I quickly agreed to join them in the five-hour car ride to their base (I’m writing this as we round the last turn to what appears to be a heavily-wooded area). I really believe this is the start of something grand. Adventure!

July 6: Men are animals! That’s all I have to say about those so-called “pirates.” Animals! Had my body not been found by those Swiss hikers I might still very well be in those woods, trying to get a signal on my Blackberry Pearl. The Swiss family has since given me a job as an au pair for their three adorable charges. During the day I look after the children. At night I frequent a bar that’s a magnet for other American nursemen. We exchange child-rearing tips (“Never turn off the Noggin Channel”) and laugh about our occasional misadventures (happily I’m not the only one to have singed a tot’s eyebrow or two in my day). Odd thing though—yesterday when one of the au pairs asked me which family I worked for and I answered “The Sventons” the entire bar suddenly got quiet. Then another babysitter strongly suggested I buy myself a flak jacket. I guess there’s so much more I still need know about this business.

August 20: Well, the kids and I have been kidnapped. Turns out the Sventons are so obscenely wealthy that their children and current caretaker are held for ransom every four months. Once the kidnappers’ price is met they release the children for another day—since they are too young to be reliable witnesses and are no good to the hostage industry dead—but kill the au pair for fear of being identified. In fact, so certain are they of their plan that they’re letting me write down this entry in my diary, since they’re only going to burn it along with me. I fear this is my last day on earth. No one knows where I am, no one is coming to my rescue and no one will fall my clever ruse of letting me “take a jog just to stretch my legs.” All I ever wanted to do was move on from Barbie, to start over, and now I have only hours to live before the ransom is wired, the Sventons pick up their children and the kidnappers tie up all the loose ends before going back to class on Monday. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.

September 9: If you’re reading this then you obviously know that I am still alive. Alive! On that fateful day back in August, just as the kidnappers were about to do me in, I jumped up from my chair and threatened them all with the Shaolin monk “Five-Finger Exploding Heart Technique.” They instantly collapsed into hysterics, lowered their weapons and blue-tip matches and said, “Oh man, there’s no way THIS guy is going to lead the cops to us!” Once my personal threat level had been lowered to what I call “White” they asked if I knew anything about music. I told them I once carried all the equipment for Barbie’s band “The Clits” (renamed “Barbie and the Barbettes” in America) back in the early 80’s. Right then and there they hired me as the manager and promoter for their band, “The Sventon Kidnappers.” Adventure!

October 4: The Sventon Kidnappers are finishing their tour of the former Soviet bloc and things could not be going more swimmingly! We packed every arena in Moldavia, a country I still hadn’t forgiven for shooting all the guests at Catherine Oxenberg’s royal wedding to Prince Michael in the season finale of Dynasty, only to learn that was purely fiction, the country is now called Romania and maybe Prince Michael had it coming to him all along. Still, I finally think I have found my calling. The music is great, the band rarely holds anyone for ransom anymore (unless we’re low on gas or beer money) and I actually seem to be great at my job. This is the most artistically fulfilled I have ever felt in my life!

November 1: Both the band gear and the band have been stolen. Turns out The Sventon Kidnappers had forgotten they had once signed with a record label run by the Yakuza (Columbia Records). Turns out the band also ran off with money the Yakuza gave them to record their first album, which the label was then going to sell and take all profits from until the loan had been paid with interest—compounded daily. Apparently that’s why they turned to kidnapping, to pay off the debt accrued from their, well, own royalties. And apparently I am once more without money, direction or pants, having sold my last pair of Lucky Jeans to a Wallachian teen for what I thought was a hunk of chocolate cake but turned out to be cured hoof. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.

January 23: Well, I’m back in the United States, having stowed away in the steerage compartment of an oil barge only for it to be immediately dry-docked for six weeks after I sealed myself in one of its containers. Eventually I was rescued after the ship went out to sea and hit a seagull, causing it to instantly rupture and release 400,000 gallons of crude oil and one former amateur California surfer. The Coast Guard deposited me in Los Angeles, where I quickly went for looking for employment. I started by lying about my previous job experience on my resume. So I wrote I was a "Manager” at my last job. On the next draft I wrote I was the "Senior Manager” at my last job. With each subsequent draft I kept inflating my previous job title, from “Senior Manager” to "Vice President” to "Senior Vice President" and so on until I eventually assumed the title of "Super CEO and Ultra Uber-President Publisher Chairman Person of Previous Employer." With each unofficial step up the corporate ladder I entertained better offers, commanded larger benefit packages and granted more and more interviews to magazines, television networks and the U.S. Cabinet. By the time I climbed my way to the title of "Super CEO" (over the course of a grueling two-and-a-half weeks in which I fashioned my own office stationery by pasting words cut out of lingerie catalogues and copies of The Racing Form onto the backs of fliers for tarot card readings), I was mulling over three high-level job offers, two in international political think tanks and one as the President of Argentina. I had also made several sweeping and impromptu statements to the press that resulted in both a lucrative three-book deal and the total collapse of all Pacific Rim economies. But just as I was about to score millions of dollars (not to mention a sweet 42-room presidential estate in Buenos Aires) one of my old coworkers from Jamba Juice just happened to come across my face on the cover of The Economist and Time as well as my interviews on CNN, CNBC and VH1’s "I Love the 80’s Strikes Back.” Talk about bad luck! Still incensed over some Savage Garden CDS of his he thinks I scratched, the coworker revealed my true identity. Within 20 minutes not only were all job offers rescinded but I was sued, arrested and publicly disgraced across all media outlets. Never have I felt so low, so desperate, in my entire life.

February 13: Turns out Barbie saw my fall from grace on one of her own brand of HDTVs (which she quoted me an excellent price on) and felt sorry for me. She even called to say how much she’s missed me since her last boyfriend went away on holiday this morning. She invited me to join her this afternoon so I can help her choose the right Restoration Hardware for all her retro screwdriver needs. I could be wrong but I think I definitely picked up a different vibe from her on the phone, as if she’s changed, she’s noticed how much I’ve changed and that our relationship will not only start fresh but start on the right path toward complete and utter happiness. I do believe this is the most personally fulfilled I have ever felt in my entire life!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Watchmen: One Man's Thoughts

Having written today's Medium Large strip at five in the morning immediately after coming home from the theater I fear my above take on the movie may be too dismissive and knee-jerk. But now that I've had a cup of coffee and got a good hour of sleep I wish to explain my reaction a little more.

While seeing Watchmen I had the odd–and the ultimately impossible to address–realization that the movie felt it need far more depth, more background for both the characters and the alternate reality yet was far too long of a film. In short, the visuals were incredible, the admittedly few action sequences were remarkable and the allegiance the director showed to the source material was exceptionally admirable. As most reviewers said, the opening six-minute montage is a work of genius and yes, had that approach somehow been maintained throughout the movie this might very well have been if not a brilliant film than an exceptionally entertaining one. However, to do that one would have to have created a whole new version of Watchmen that could breath within the confines of a film’s length but, alas, would only irate the book’s legions of admirers.

I by no means wish to take the standard but pointless approach of “put something up on a podium only to knock it down.” (One I can completely understand people accusing me of after a full week of Watchmen Medium Large strips). I think Zach Snyder should be applauded for what he did and I fear most directors who work on an adaptation are setting themselves up for a thankless task, not because of any lacking in their skills but because favorite books have played out so often in the minds of their fans without concern of such film necessities as time length and feasibility that they cannot possibly meet expectations.

My "capsule review" is that it was a triumph of technical skill and sheer–for lack of a better word–gumption on the part of Snyder, the cast (especially Haley and Wilson) and everyone involved. By no means should their hard work be dismissed so easily. But, alas, I found the movie dull and often realized I was watching a movie, which leads me to believe I failed to connect with it.

But that is one man’s opinion (much as the above strip is in no way meant to represent what I think the general opinion is nor how believe others should perceive it). Was I victim of my own hype? (I can’t blame others for such because marketing is marketing). Almost certainly. But all I can say is that I felt the time drag and my spirits deflate with it.

Of course, if you want to see the movie by all means do so. You may love it and you have ever right to tell me I am way, WAY off on my assessment. In fact, I hope as many people as possible enjoy it because who would wish others to have an unsatisfactory time?

I look forward to your opinions.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What Did Rush Limbaugh Do After His Speech to CPAC?

Foamed at mouth for nine more hours, first on stage, then in press room, then while hanging upside down from rafters of The Omni Hotel.

Sought to raise army of dead in Arlington National Cemetery, first with incantation, then with shovel.

Ran down Pennsylvania Avenue, naked and repeatedly screaming "Rush smash!"

Flipped squad car. Tore into vehicle's exposed underbelly with own teeth.

Drank blood of all orphans he captured with butterfly net.

Replaced own hands with battle axes, chest cavity with mini fridge.

Challenged all comers to "fiddle contest" for their very souls.

Hijacked airplane. Demanded pilot take him back to 1950's.

Stabbed elderly and poor indiscriminately while straddling a freed circus lion.

Chiseled 300-foot likeness of self into side of Lincoln Monument using only his bare fists.

Amassed cabal of homeless people for own "Transient Legion of Doom."

Believed himself to be Spider-man after mistaking own string of drool as webbing. Fell 40 stories.

Consumed 14 gallons of high-octane gasoline to ready himself for cross-country run.

Argued long and loud with penguins in Washington Zoo. Eventually adopted many of the birds' more salient political points.

Flew over Georgetown District for one whole minute courtesy of own makeshift "human crossbow" device.

Attempted to singlehandedly build Tower of Babel in National Mall using inferior "Mega Blocks" as opposed to far more acceptable "Lego" bricks.

Rubbed himself provocatively against trees, traffic cops.

Spun around in circle all night in attempt to reverse earth's rotation.

Repeatedly bellowed, "Rush shall have thee!" to every attractive woman on sidewalk.

Set fire to self, did "The Worm."

Monday, March 2, 2009

What More Could Go Wrong?

With the Dow Jones in free-fall, plunging below the 7,000 mark for the first time since October 1997, people everywhere are wondering what more could go wrong. Here's your answer:

* After a nice, long vacation you come home to find your dog wearing your clothes, answering to your name and pointing a gun at your head.

* What you had always believed was a childhood alien abduction proves, under hypnosis, to have been an exceedingly unpleasant weekend with your uncle instead.

* After 10 years of home schooling your children you discover that the film History of the World Part One was in fact a joke.

* Authorities trace all those threatening phone calls you’ve been receiving to your split personality.

* While enjoying a late night swim you notice that “Beware of sharks” is listed as Number Five under “Pool Rules.”

* You wake up from anesthesia to hear the surgeon say, “Wait, does renal mean liver or kidney?”

* You accomplish all 12 steps in AA and attain full sobriety only to learn that you’re still a complete asshole.

* One day it dawns on you that you were not so much “adopted” as “won,” that you don’t so much originally hail from “Europe” as “a travelling carnival” and that you’re not so much “human” as “a large, pink teddy bear.”

* Your homemade robot achieves full artificial intelligence the very moment you realize you need his parts for your kit car.

* While attending a science exhibit with your high school class you’re bitten by a radioactive spider, causing you to vomit acid on all your meals to aid in digestion.

* The leprechaun informs you that “Neapolitan ice cream” counts for all three of your magic wishes.

* You find as the last surviving human of nuclear Armageddon you now have all the time and privacy in the world with which to read, only to be mauled by a bear.

* While driving drunk you smash into a clown car, resulting in 46 personal injury lawsuits.

* As President of the United States you introduce the Premier of China to the melodic strains of “Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting.”

* Terrorists attack the Shoney’s where you’ve been working for the past 20 years but fail to kill you.