Fri 30 Jan -- Fun n' Excitement!
Well, maybe. I've got a fair whack of stuff to put up here this sunny and very freezing Friday morning (afternoon for you East Coasters), so I shall get right to it, first with this week's cartoon featuring the non-triumphant return of Lovebot:
Movies n' stuff
Well, now, I gots a review for you in the review section, a fabulous animated French movie called The Triplets of Belleville. And lessee, what else do I have in my movie bag o' tricks today...?
Ginger Snaps 2
Well, almost a full year after I completed my collage-making work on it, Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed hits theatres this Friday:
The above is the only remaining piece of art I still retain from the job, an early drawing of Ghost, the character who takes over the movie about halfway through. I'm a little too close to the movie to give you a full review, but I wrote a piece about the experience of working on it for See, so if you care you can read it here.
Links n' all
My Bush on Mars rant last week seemed to please a fair number of readers, several of whom sent in handy links on related issues. Here's a fairly interesting web site that discusses the strategic relevance of the fact that we're running out of oil; not too bad. And then there's a link to a PNAC page (that's Project for a New American Century, the ideological source of much of the Bushites' mad policy) that discusses the program to maintain military dominance of space. And here's a very handy link to a page maintained by Southern Californian Democratic rep Henry Waxman which lays out a lot of data on the Bushites' general hostility to science. And here's a great link to a page at the Centre for American Progress that lays out a nice little chronology of warnings that the Bush Adminstration received over the last three years telling them they were wildly exaggerating their Iraq WMD claims. And somebody pointed me towards this Whisky Bar blog; y'might wanna check it out.
On a non-political topic, here's a link to the Philosophy of Sinistar.
Hey! Buy books!
C'mon, please? PLEEEEEEASE?
Just wanna throw my wee poster up here, just to remind folks.
(Except I took it out to reduce bandwidth. Sorry.)
I also plan to do a signing at Million Year Picnic in Cambridge, MA; I haven't worked out the exact details with them yet, but I imagine it'll be sometime next weekend. Check back here for details.And I think that's it for this Friday. If you only check in on Fridays, you might want to read the Wednesday update below.
Wed 28 Jan 04 -- Mid-week update
People liked the Mars rant (below) for some reason, so I'm gonna try to give people reason to check in more than once a week by throwing in some other wildly unstructured complaints and quickie contests, as we see here.
Taking the spacey line forward a bit, let's take a moment to talk about nuclear missiles and the efforts, acronymically known as NMD, or National Missile Defense, to figure out ways to shoot them down as they come arcing in at us from space.
There's some debate at the moment in Canada over our new Prime Minister's decision to co-operate with Bush's ridiculous NMD initiatives. It's a tough question. On the one hand, NMD is a wholly retarded, financially egregious, strategically indefensible stupid idea that Canada would do well not to enable. On the other hand, if we say no, the Bushites will get all pissy with us.
In order to understand why NMD is so stupid, it helps to take a look at global strategy-making in the nuclear age. During the Cold War, the prevailng idea was deterrence based on the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction (the acronyms just keep comin'!). That is, Russia had missiles and America had missiles, so if one launched an attack on the other, he knew that he himself would be wiped out by the retaliatory strike. Nobody wants to commit suicide, so nobody launches that first attack.
Now, with the emergence in the minds of many of America as the sole Superpower, we're out of MAD and into just AD: Assured Destruction. Anybody who attacks America with a missile will be wiped off the face of the Earth. Deterrence, it seems, has become total and one-sided; under these strategic conditions, who would possibly launch an attack of this kind that would require an NMD to shoot down?
The stated bad guys are "rogue nations", by which we mean North Korea or Iraq before we took over or whoever gets on our shit list this week. These are nations, suposedly, run by out-of-control lunatics who could at any moment decide to obliterate themselves and their nation in a futile stab at the belly of the Beast, or something. The problem is that the people who run countries tend to have stakes in remaining alive, so the principle of AD means they're not gonna be launching any surprise attacks on us.
Now, there are some people out there who have demonstrated that they *are* willing to kill themselves in order to stab the Beast, those few thousands of people out there who actually fit the label "terrorists". They'd love to launch a missile attack if they could, but they don't run countries so they just don't have any nuclear missiles. If they had a nuke they could very well try to sneak it into a harbor on a boat or something, but there's not much a faulty system of anti-missile-missiles in Alaska is going to be able to do about that.
So why do we need a missile defense system to shoot down missiles nobody's gonna shoot at us? Because make no mistake, the Bushites are rushing the job on this. Incredibly, they're even suspending experimental and test requirements that are supposed to determine if these things actually work in their haste to get some kind of system up and running by, I think, 2005. They're desperate to deploy these systems, insisting on getting stuff that doesn't even work in place as soon as possible, just so they have something. Why? Part of it is simple Greed, of course. Those billions go into well-connected pockets and it's easy to keep the money tap flowing. But I think there's more than that; they really think they're going to need to be able to shoot down missiles somebody's fired at them. But where are those missiles gonna come from?
The stinky secret is that there *is*, in fact, a use for NMD in Bush's sick interpretation of the Assured Destruction world. By the principles of AD, nobody is going to launch a pre-emptive attack on America. Nation leaders have too much to lose and terrorists don't have them. So who would ever fire a nuclear missile at America? Why, somebody who'd already had a nuclear missile fired at them, of course. Deterrence will ensure that nobody launches an attack on you, but if you've already attacked them you can't really expect to deter them any more. The purpose of NMD is to provide a shield, not from pre-emptive attack, but from retaliatory attack from an enemy or its allies. It's to preserve America's ability to use nuclear weapons without fear of consequence.
Despite their ideological fixations and internal history-rewriting, the Bushites must be capable of understanding that America's conventional military is stretched rather thin at the moment. They're bogged down in Iraq, their soldiers are exhausted, and they just don't have a lot of conventional muscle to throw around right now. If something flares up and threatens their interests in a new locale, they could rapidly find themselves with no credible threat but the use of nukes. They want to keep that option open, and NMD is supposed to let them do that.
Stupid, of course, because they're placing their fantasy hopes
creaking, technologically nowhere-near-ready system. Trying to hit a
with a missile is really difficult, and there have been more failures
sucesses in the various tests they've conducted. Now, that story may
in another 5 years or so with the advent of anti-missile laser
it may actually become feasible to shoot stuff out of the sky. But
all really beside the point. At best National Missile Defense is simply
nonsensical and wasteful, and at worst it's tremendously evil. As a
a good friend to America, I'm levelling with you: it's crap. Don’t get
"The crying sounded even louder out of doors. It was as if all the pain in the world had found a voice. Yet had I known such pain was in the next room, and had it been dumb, I believe --I have thought since-- I could have stood it well enough. It is when suffering finds a voice and sets our nerves quivering that this pity comes troubling us. But in spite of the brilliant sunlight and the green fans of the trees waving in the soothing sea-breeze, the world was a confusion, blurred with drifting black and red phantasms, until I was out of earshot of the house with the chequered wall."Here's a hint: it wasn't written recently.
** mini-update ** - That didn't take long; I've gotten
a hundred responses since I posted this last night. I was all
to compliment my fans for being so literate but it turns out if you
copy the passage and stick in Google, it'll pop up the answer. So my
contest turns into a "how often do you check the site" contest and a
quick can you Google" contest. Still, everybody did very well. Thanks
January 23 -- Days Get Longer
Maybe it's just me and my solstice fixation, but I can't help noticing that just a few weeks ago I could expect to look out my window and see total nighttime by 5:30 pm, and now 5:30 rolls around and the sun's barely ducked under the horizon. Nice.
The cartoon this week is about
(Removed for bandwidth reasons)
The more I think about this event, the cooler I think it's gonna be! Woo! Yeah!
Buy my book
And now some drunken blogging...
Bush on Mars
And here it is. During the Clinton era, I was all behind a policy of moonbase-making and Mars exploration. That was my number-one big-science dream, and it was one of the major reason I was mad at the billions blown on national missile defense when we could've been going to Mars.
Now, Bush comes out and says he wants a moonbase and a Mars mission; shouldn't I be on board? Well, I don't know about should be, but I'm not. I hate Bush for Mars.
Here's why. In principle, Mars missions and moonbases are good investments. People complain about spending money in space instead of right here on Earth, but that's idiotic. Of course the money's spent here on Earth, spent on employing researchers and scientists and engineers to solve a particular problem in a way that creates solutions for lots of other problems in the bargain. True, it's a high-end social investment, billions of dollars, but you get payoff from these kinds of things you just can't get any other way. Players of any of the Civilization games know what I'm talking about; Wonders of the World are worthwhile investmests.
But -- and here's the key-- they're worthwhile investments for a growing, confident, enthusiastic, forward-looking society that has its affairs in order -- kinda like Clinton's America or Canada today. But that ain't Bush's America, not by a longshot. Bush's America is a nervous, imploding, looking-over-its-shoulder train wreck of historical proportions due for rendezvous with its nemesis long before any spaceship's gonna be taking off for Mars.
The Bushites doesn't give a damn about science; in fact they hate it. There's the whole animosity for science that comes from their connections to fundamentalist Christian ideology, and then there's just a basic disrespect for what science is and what it does. Their attitude to science they don't like is: get different scientists. It's a pattern of thinking we can also see in their selection and interpretation of the "intelligence" on Iraq. Conclusion first, evidence after.
It's the ideology of power: what I say goes. I make reality. It's the defining characteristic of the Bush government; in a recent speech Al Gore said "in almost every policy area, the Administration's consistent goal has been to eliminate any constraints on their exercise of raw power, whether by law, regulation, alliance or treaty", and that pretty much nails it.
Consider what we've seen in Bush's first term. After running a campaign based on the messages of bringing civility back to the White House and of being a uniter rather than a divider, after losing the popular vote but taking the presidency through a blatantly partisan and legally indefensible Supreme Court decision, what did he do? Did he reach across divides to create a new America, offering basic respect to his opponents as Americans just as devoted to the dream of America as he was?
No, he didn't. The approach has been, tentatively at the start but locked in after 9-11, to push every agenda as far as it can go with zero compromise. Gigantic budget-busting tax cuts, secret energy policies, billions in handouts to drug companies, aggressive new powers of search, seizure and detention, and of course two wars, one of them launched with a case riddled from end to end with falsehoods against the objections of eight tenths of the world.
And incredible as it seems, get your head around it --this is all stuff Bush did when he's still holding back because he's worried about getting re-elected.
Scary, isn't it? But it gets scarier. Another result of the ideology of power is its startling short-sightedness. If your basic assumption is that everything will be as you would have it, you make one plan and you execute it. Things are not allowed to go wrong. Nothing has gone wrong. You just keep clunking along, exerting power with less and less idea how it's affecting everybody else. You can no longer even imagine anything other than your viewpoint. We saw that in Bush's 2004 State of the Union, which was such a bland recitation of old lies and justifications, without a single nod to reality, that it's meaningless.
The situation in Iraq is bad, and under Bush's control it's gonna get worse (keep an eye on the most important man in Iraq right now, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, who's single-handedly blocking the absurd American "sovereignty handoff" planned for June by peskily insisting on elections). But the real problem, as they say, is the economy. The Bushites have served notice that their economic plan is to drive America towards bankruptcy as quickly as possible by blowing the budget on needless wars and gigantic handouts to people who need them the least at the cost of racking up enormous debts and starving all the government services that ordinary Americans rely on. It's economic suicide, and the financial markets of the world are starting to take that into account by backing, slowly but surely, away from the American dollar and the shakey, no-longer-guaranteed-to-be-solvent American economy the dollar represents.
I guess it's ironic that, for all their obsession about security, the Bushites' policies expose and weaken America's most vulnerable flank. America's military supremacy is unchallenged and currently unchallengeable, but it has gaping weaknesses in its economy. The Bushies are running America just as Bush ran all his previous companies: at a loss, crumbling into debt and eventual bailout. Who the hell is going to bail out America once Bush is gone?
January 16, 2004 -- The healing continues
Sorry for being so obsessed with my broken ankle and all, but it really does tend to kinda take over your life and confine your thinking to how long you're going to have to wear this stupid thing and how you're gonna come up with different ways to explain the same set of events in a fresh new way to each and every one of the half-million people who want to know what happened.
Huh. So, in the spirit of broken-ankle inspired comic strippery, I offer the following cartoon:
And then, two weeks later will be the scrumtastic carosel of joy known as the Alternative Press Expo in gay-filled San Francisco at the The Concourse on Feb 21-22. Should be pretty sextastic; that is if there's any justice in this universe.
Oh yeah, buy my book
And that's it for th' links dump. It's free, and there's
January 9, 2004 -- Quite late...
Not that the update is late; if anything it's early. I've been up much of the night watching episodes of the BBC series The Office, with each new episode more excruciating than the last, and now it's so late I have to garbage my plan for getting up early Friday to do the update and replacing it with a plan to do it now, 3:30 in the morning.
Wow. Who cares? Anyway, here's the most recent strip, inspired by my foot mishap.
You can buy books after Christmas, y'know!
It's true. Buying doesn't just stop because the big Christmas buy season is over. You have a responsibility to the economy to spend, to keep that money moving, and I assure you that if you are kind enough to spend it on my books I will immediately turn around and spend that money on something useful like eating, thus continuing the grand cycle of money on which we all rely. So don't just buy my books for me, or for yourself, though we both will benefit. Do it for the economy, for the nation, and hell -- do it for the children. They need help, bad.
Big Swack of Links Dumpage
January 6, 2004 -- Just some quick stuff...
Not a full update or anything, but I just wanna throw down some quick links to some articles I've read in the last few days. First is a great little 2003-in-review piece "2003: The Imperial Gong Show" by Tom Engelhardt of the Nation Institute, whatever that is. And then, gosh, I just found a couple of really clear-headed articles by self-described conservatives in a magazine called The American Conservative. "The Cost of Empire" does a nice little clear-headed realist take on US foreign policy, and holy cats, Pat Buchanan seems to be talking a lot of sense when he asks What is Victory? Wild!
January 2, 2004 -- Let's get crackin'
Gosh, I'm all a-tingle over all the exciting surprises this coming year has in store for us! Bush re-election? Bush defeat? Terrorist attack? Superflu? Jesus-return? Who knows? Whatever it is, it's gonna be a corker, I have no doubt. I can't wait.
Anyway, here's a new strip, a little thing entitled
And gosh, that's about it for the update this time around, I'm afraid. What with being crippled I haven't seen any movies since Peter Pan or Paycheck. I guess I can take a moment to urge y'all to buy my book, no longer pictured below.
Upcoming travel n' stuff
December 26 --Ow, ow, ow...
Not to harp on my broken foot or anything, but, ow. This is annoying.
(Broken foot? What am I talking about? If confused, please reference Wednesday Dec 24 update below.)
Anyway, hup-ho, gotta hobble over to the computer and provide another cartoon for y'all, this one a stern call to action I like to call
And these aren't movie reviews, but I'll toss in Friday-update links to two UBOPE reviews I mentioned on Wednesday's update, my brother Paul's review on Amazon.com and Johanna Draper Carlson's review at ComicsWorthReading.com.
Dec 24 -- Merry Christmas! Also, Goddammit!
No new cartoon for this mid-week update, but I'm gonna post a link to a newly-relevant-to-me strip, to wit:
Why am I re-posting this older cartoon? Why, because I broke my foot last Friday tobagganing, of course. When I did "Boggin'", I was just commenting in general on how whenever people go tobagganing, somebody gets hurt. Eventually it had to be my turn, and so it came to pass, zipping down the insanely icy Connors Hill, hitting a bump, crashing onto a dead spot tufted with frozen grass, flying off while hearing a loud "KNOCK!" sound, thinking "Uh-oh, I think I'm hurt", staggering to my feet, stumbling 30 steps up the hill before collapsing and crawling --Sam and Frodo-like-- the rest of the way up the hill. Ah, good times.
I went to the medi-centre, got an X-ray, and was told it wasn't broken, merely sprained. My foot swelled up enormously, my ankle swallowed up in gross misshapen flesh, and nasty rotten-sausage bruises appeared and started to wander around my foot. Then yesterday I got a call from the medicentre wanting me to come back, and sure enough, it turned out to be a fracture after all, forcing me to decide between a cast plus 6 weeks on crutches, which I'd already determined I hated more than just about anything, and an $169 "airboot" that would allow me to skip the crutches and hobble around in low-level pain. I went with the airboot, but man, it hurts.
So that's my inspirational Christmas story. Like it?
Anyway, the reason I bring all this up is to let folks who've placed orders in the last week or so know that it might be a few days before I'm able to get your stuff together and in the mail, hobbled as I am.
In other news
Dec 19 -- Christmas Weekend-Before
Well, if you folks hadn't checked out my Wednesday update, I reviewed Return of the King, so there's that. Here's a strip, a good one, I think...
See Mag stuff
Links and effluvia
At least, that's how the person who saw this at a "psychedelic trance event" interpreted it. It could just be an entirely unrelated flower; certainly neither the number of petals nor the color nor the expression match up. So actually, it probably has nothing to do with anything.
And while we're at it, let's toss in a link to my brother Paul's growing list of excellent Amazon.com book reviews. Apparently he's the 124th reviewer on Amazon. Way to go, Paul, and if anybody is interested in reading exceedingly learned reviews of important or not-so-important books about history, you should check it out. Also, in the spirit of profiling my brother, I'm gonna repost the link to Paul's Top 500 songs thusly:
Pretty sweet, huh?
Dec 17 - Ring Day
Ah, it's finally opened. At last people get to go see it, at last I can link to my Return of the King review on my front page. Ah, so sweet. So good. Gotta go see movie again! Must!
The above image is something I whipped up as the cover for this week's See Magazine, by the way...
Dec 12, 2003 -- C-c-cold out there!
Man, is it ever, and it's only -17 degrees. Just think how much colder it's gonna get! Plus the fact that the days get ever shorter, me looking out the window at 5:30 and seeing only inky night. Man, am I ever looking forward to the winter solstice on the 21st; then the worst of it's over, and every day will bring more light. That'll be pretty sweet. Still gotta get there, though.
Okay, enough about that. Here's a new strip:
Keep on a-buyin'!
More link stuff
Dec 5 -- This is gonna be a good day
Why is it going to be so damn good? What am I so goddamn happy about? Simple: in a couple of hours I'll be watching Return of the King. Ah, movie-reviewing has its privileges, and this is the one I've been counting on all along. So awesome. So very awesome.
Anyway, cartoons. Here's one:
BUY BOOKS NOW!
"Bob The Angry Flower is the greatest anti-hero since Raskolnikov, and the funniest comic strip since Peanuts-when-you're-tripping. Stephen Notley remains a towering reminder that Great Art comes not from above, but from sweaty, embarrassing neuroses and gratuitous robots."
Sounds about right, I'd say.
Links n' stuff
And here's a special treat: a mirror of the Space Moose site. Www.Spacemoose.Com has been defunct for a while, in perfect keeping with Adam's shoulder-shrugging indifference to his cartoon work, but people still ask about it and want it, some five years after he stopped doing the strip. You have to like sodomy humor to appreciate Space Moose, but if you do, then you will like Space Moose very much indeed.
And this isn't a link exactly, but a fan put together a tiny little animated gif of the "Uh..." cartoon, and I append it here.
Okay, I gotta take off to get breakfast and then see the movie for which I've been waiting my whole life. I'll let you cats know how it is.
More updates from earlier in the past! Click here or here; they both link to the same page!