April 28, 2007

They just don't even care any more

Seriously, they just don't.

The only other explanations for this are that Powerline is actually an automated script set up four years ago to publish thousands of comments about how great the war was going and no living being has actually touched its server since 2004, or John Hindraker is actually so stupid he carries a small card to the bathroom reminding himself to wipe because he keeps forgetting.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:42 PM

In which I query the intarweb braintrust

Okay, here's a puzzler that's been bugging me for a while for you all to ponder over the weekend: I've noticed over the last few years with the rise of blogs that bloggers like to title their posts with the old-timey phrasing of "In which ____ does _____." So, here's my question: anyone know if that came from one specific origin, and if so, where?

I posted this to Ask MetaFilter the other day and didn't get very far. The earliest someone suggested it being practically applied was Don Quixote in 1605, but I feel like it must have started earlier than that. Does anyone know? Keep in mind I'm hoping not to get idle speculation here; if you don't know either, it's perfectly okay. I'm looking for an actual answer (if one exists) rather than just an extensive list of books/etc. that used this style.

Internet: we use it for important things.

Update: Thanks to everyone (especially Atrios' readers!) who wrote in with suggestions. Sadly, it doesn't look like there's a pinpoint answer here. The most common answer was Don Quixote, but chronologically a few people suggested texts that go as far back as Chaucer. I suppose if anything new comes up I'll post it here, but it looks like this is just one of those questions that doesn't have a definitive answer.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:12 AM

April 26, 2007

Jack Valenti, RIP

A moment please for Jack Valenti, who passed away today at 85. A lot of people are probably angry with him for his policies wth the RIAA, but there is a special place in my heart for Valenti, for one reason, and one reason alone, that made a not-too-insignificant part of my childhood bearable. And that reason is the following statement: "Dear Mr. Valenti, I like your cheeks. My home is made of adobe."

RIP, Mr. Valenti, and all your men wrestling bears for no reason.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:39 PM


It's only 7:30 and I'm already torn over what's the most disturbing thing I've seen this morning:

1. Michelle Malkin offers a "commentary" on Democrats by dressing up as a schoolgirl and jumping up and down on video for her viewers; or
2. Chris Muir offers a "commentary" on Hillary Clinton's politiking by drawing her in blackface.

Update: Please enjoy Cap'n Ed, et al, spending the morning straining themselves to come up with a reason why a white guy drawing Hillary Clinton in blackface speaking "Sambo" slang isn't racist. As I reflected upon in a strip about a year ago, it's great to see the typical discussion of race in the media is alive and well.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:29 AM

April 25, 2007

These really are the stupidest people on earth

Shorter RedState: Bush visiting troops will make an excellent political backdrop for a statement about how Democrats are using troops as a political backdrop.

They really can't even hear themselves as they talk, can they?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:22 AM

April 24, 2007

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:54 PM

Home run

This needs to be repeated after every faux-Libertarian rant about smoking bans, fast food regulation, helmet laws, and so on ad nauseum [emphasis mine]:

This clearly expresses a fundamental tenet of conservative/libertarian thinking: that engaging in risky behavior with serious social costs is an entitlement. People who are injured by metal bats, or fall ill from smoking or fatty food, cost the rest of us money. We pay their emergency room bill, their Medicare bills or their Social Security disablity insurance. Only someone willing to forgo those benefits should have the right to also opt out of public health laws like those passed by the New York City Council, or pre-existing ones requiring that motorcyclists wear helmets and drivers wear seat belts. But Beston, like all conservatives, makes no serious suggestion about offering such an option in our society (much less explaining how it would be practically possible.) Instead he merely sneers at the New York City government's efforts to lower the costs that he, like all other taxpayers, will ultimately bear[.]

As I've mentioned before in conversations about "South Park Republicanism," Libertarian logic is our nation's epitome of selfishness. I'll clarfiy Ben's statement just a little: when boiled down to a single line, the true fundamental tenet of big-L Libertarianism is being inconsolably outraged over any instance, no matter how small, of being told you personally can't do something, no matter how it affects anyone else on the face of the planet. It doesn't actually matter if you want to smoke in a restaurant or play with a metal bat or draw a racist cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed, it just matters that someone said you can't, or in most cases merely shouldn't, and well that's just too much for someone as enlightened as themselves to bear.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:56 PM

Why won't liberals let us plant mines on the playground?

A fourth-grader brought a grenade to school today. This is, of course, the liberal media culture's fault. I expect the editorials from the National Review any minute now chastizing local security for not shooting the child on sight immediately.

Of course, we also know this is just a sign of how the fragmentary-explosive-hating liberal agenda threatens our children. We need legislation allowing elementary school teachers to carry grenade launchers immediately to prevent potential disasters like this.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:47 AM

April 23, 2007

Steve Purcell

Because I've spent so much time working with so many great cartoonists in CWA and elsewhere, when I do shows I don't really drop into gushing fan mode like I used to do when I was just another fan. I still admire and respect everyone's work, but I like to think I have a little bit of a better understanding of being professional around other professionals. I say all that to intro the one major exception I knew would be applied to the rule.

I had absolutely no idea when I came to APE that Steve Purcell was going to be there. For the uninitiated, Steve Purcell is the creator of Sam & Max, which I have been confident since about the age of thirteen was the reason comics were invented in the first place. Anyone with a casual knowledge of Sam & Max can see (especially in the Christmas strips I've done) that Purcell's work has been a big influence on me, especially the writing and dialogue. Well it's more than just an influence.

I started drawing cartoons as a kid reading everything from Garfield to Doonesbury, but I didn't really read superhero comics that much. It wouldn't be until Bruce Timm's reign that I'd become a Batman fan. When I was about thirteen, I found a copy of the Sam & Max collection at a bookstore, and vaguely recognized the characters from the LucasArts game (which, in itself, raised the bar for all standards of quality in that field). I remember to this day how I laughed at every page, seeing weird obscure gags and clever dialogue like that for the first time. When I learned more about Steve and how he was also doing stuff at LucasArts, not just as a cartoonist but a game designer and a content writer, I was excited that you could actually be someone like that. I was at a point in my life when I wanted to do computer programming, but honestly didn't enjoy it that much. After I read Sam & Max, I realized that, without a doubt, I wanted to be a cartoonist.

When I applied to NYU's animation progam, the entrance essay question was to write about a piece of art or film that inspired you to be an artist. I wrote about I wanted to be Steve Purcell.

In a sad way, I'm kind of upset I'm not as professional as I want to be when I met him this weekend, because without any real work or job experience to share with him I was just another fan, but Steve was still just as gracious and responsive to me telling him all the stuff I just told you up there as I hoped. Maybe some day I'll have something really awesome in my reportoire to show him, but for now I'll leave you with the photo below. If you have any knowledge of how great Sam & Max is, you will understand immediately how jealous you should be that I have this and you don't.


Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:37 PM

Thank you for flying Screaming Baby Airlines

Having returned home after a redeye from San Fran in which the very, very youngest of our citizens succeeded in preventing me from sleeping at all, I have just woken up again from bed, aka New Bestest Friend Ever.

I had so much fun this weekend it's unbelievable. It felt like I was in California forever and for no time at all at the exact same time. I got to spend a weekend hanging out with my friend Amanda and get a hands-on tour of all the great stuff in SF. To crib Douglas Adams, The San Francisco Bay is just one of those views that require you to stand and applaud. Haight street is hilarious in that it's actually like every movie where the out-of-town guy comes to San Francisco and they show that wacky montage of the "crazy, freaky folks in San Fran." And even the hill are amazing to me. I lived in New York and now Washington, which are two cities not exactly known for changes in elevation. There are spots in SF where you can literally see every single house at one time, and it's breathtaking. Or, conversly, they are hyperventilation-inducing when being forced to drive through them at breakneck speeds courtesy of professional racing stuntman Ted Rall. While I love the Romanesque architecture of DC, the eclectic layout of San Francisco's buildings amuse and amaze me. The best metaphor I could give is that San Francisco is like SimCity after you've been playing for six hours, and all you have left are little green squares everywhere that you're desperate to find way to fill, so who cares if you just drop in a third of a residential zone or a single park fountain. I dropped my keys at one point and when I got back up after bending down to get them there was a four-story walk up where a pothole used to be.

APE was great, even if the sales weren't, but it was so much fun to see my friends in CWA again and spend a great weekend discussing cartooning, our ideas, and all that stuff. I'll have a few photos up soon, and I'm sure some of my fellow CWAers will too. I also have a great moment from the show to share, which I'll do very soon.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:16 PM