The webcomics blog about webcomics

Chameleonic

Changes coming at us, changes from the past writ down so we don’t forget them. Let’s do this thing.

  • It’s a bittersweet thing, to see a webcomic wrap up; on the one hand, it’s a triumphant message, as the creator intended, an underline on a section of life concluded and new adventures begun. On the other hand, my Mondays will be less joyous without Angela Melick’s Wasted Talent cluing me in as to what’s happening in Vancouver, in bikes, in swords, in engineering, in battles for thermostatic supremacy, and in general in her life. I’m grateful for all that she chose to share over the past

    Eleven years, five books. A degree, two co-op jobs and three career jobs, five residences, a marriage and half a dozen broken bones.

    She left out swords, but I’ll take it as well as congratulate Melick on her constant growth and reinvention as a person, as well as her last-two–WT-books Kickstarter (which wraps up in about 30 hours as I write, this, and which just hit the final stretch goal of CAN$60,000 of a CAN$33,000 goal). Look kindly on us from your bike orbiting in the sky¹; thank you for always using your powers for good and for awesome.

  • Know who pretty much invented the reinvention game? Actually, that’s not quite right; Fitzgerald was wrong about their being no second acts² and plenty of people make their livings from constant reinvention — your Madonnas, your Ladies Gaga, etc. But one person invented becoming other people so thoroughly, and switching identities back and forth like your or I would switch clothing³, befuddling and bewildering all who observed from near and far.

    I speak, of course, of the dearly missed (although I suspect nobody 100% truly believes he’s dead, even if most of us are 99.997% sure) Andrew G “Andy” Kaufman. Much has been written about him, many stories have been told by people that knew him, and there’s about to be one more. And who better to tell the story of the self-proclaimed Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World and Fred Blassie interlocutor than wrestling superfan Box Brown?

    In fact, it’s such a great idea that they officially announced it today, in Playboy magazine, no less:

    [W]e’re proud to announce the release, in February 2018, of a graphic novel that revisits Kaufman’s brilliant and tragically short career—a career that thrived audience discomfort, confusion and anger, delivered by a man whose death at 35 is still viewed by some as an extremely slow-burning hoax.

    Author and artist Box Brown, whose book Tetris: The Games People Play came out earlier this year, returns to the biographical chops he displayed in his best-selling book Andre the Giant: Life and Legend.

    Two quick notes:

    1. Although the announcement was in Playboy, the book is from Brown’s regular publisher, :01 Books
    2. In case you’re at work and the filters don’t let you click through to the story (and excerpt pages), point out that Playboy has been SFW for nine months now.

    Some of you (including Brown himself) may be too young to remember Kaufman on Saturday Night Live or Late Night With David Letterman and only experienced him secondhand. Take it from those of us that remember — Kaufman was as weird as you’ve heard and weirder still. It suffused him, it ran from every pore in his body. Crispin Glover on his most bizarre day looked flat out fucking normal next to the living contradiction of Andy Kaufman; he contained more lives running simultaneously than anybody before or since.

    Is This Guy For Real?, written and illustrated by Box Brown, will be released in 2018. Pricing and exact date to be announced.


Spam of the day:

Thinking about retirement? Let us help.

Godsdammit, people — I’m old, but I’m not that old. Stay off my inbox’s lawn.

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¹ Anybody who can achieve escape velocity (approximately 11.2km/sec) on bicycle clearly has powers that dwarf those of mere mortals.

² Then again, I think he was wrong about most things, his writing ability chief among them. Yeah, that’s right, F Scott Fitzgerald is a hack, his books suck, fight me.

³ There’s probably a Final Fantasy game mechanic that resembles taking off one life and putting on another.

Friday, Thank Glob

Who would have ever thought a private tutoring session is more difficult than a classroom full of people? Actually, I would have, because it’s happened a couple times in my career and it’s either the Easiest Week You’re Ever Paid For or a Complete Horrorshow. Weekend, take me away.

But first! It’s been a while since we changed the tagline at the top of the blog; in the past we have been known (intermittently but not exhaustively) as

    Fleen: The Webcomics Blog About Webcomics
    Fleen: Written By Bitter, Haggard Wordbeasts
    Fleen: Try Our Thick, Creamy Shakes
    Fleen: Hack Webcomics Pseudojournalists

and the current

    Fleen: The Elcoertnic Swiss Army Knife For This Topic [thank you, spammer with a questionable command of English]

It’s time for a change. Thanks to today’s Achewood, we will for the next while be known as

    Fleen: The Awkward Christmas Dinner Of Our Obligation To Existence¹

Here’s something to look forward to: Ryan North, henceforth known by his alternate moniker of The Joybringer, has declared the annual Dinosaur Comics Holiday Party (okay, it’s actually the party of Toronto’s legendary comics shop The Beguiling, but you gonna tell North that he’s wrong?), where there will be FUN and PALS and the traditional SECRET SANTA EXCHANGE all fueled by TASTY, ADULT BEVERAGES. Wednesday, 21 December, 7:00pm to 10:00pm, at Paupers Pub (539 Bloor Street West).

And in honor of North bringing us this news, let us direct your attention to the alt-text of today’s Dinosaur Comics wherein he notes that he (North) has become the greatest hero to Dudes in history by (and I quote) [coming] up with a problem that is ACTUALLY SOLVED by jerking off. Although I would also point out that in a related Dinosaur Comics from July 2009, Ryan noted i the alt-text that (at the time) Google returned no results for the phrase it’s all thanks to sperm, which in the intervening seven-plus years is no longer true². Progress?


Spam of the day:

35 People Having Fun With Random Statues

I ain’t opening this one, but it’s all drunks pretending to blow statues of Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders, right?

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¹ Although a quick survey of the office revealed a strong minority preference for F-F-FFFUCK cunt-ass shit blogs what ain’t safe.

² Although unsurprisingly, this appears to be because of CafePress, who surely waited a whole hour after reading North’s 2009 declaration before running out and producing a full line (55 products worth!) of It’S [sic] All Thanks To Sperm merchandise. Thanks for ruining things again, CafePress!

WordPress Acting All Pokey; Let’s Get This Down Quickly Just In Case

How’s December treating you so far? Me, I’m glad that this absolute kidney stone of a year¹ is coming finally to an end, and also that it appears not to have claimed Buzz Aldrin as it was threatening to do. You’ll have to do better than that to get Buzz, 2016!

Anyway. WordPress is acting up, so here’s a quick rundown:

  • You know whose ass 2016 can kiss, on account of she is unstoppable and undestroyable by conventional means? Spike Trotman, that’s whose. Back over the summer she announced what the next Iron Circus Comics anthology would be, and today she opened the call for submissions. Take ‘er away, Spike:

    The Tim’rous Beastie anthology project is now open for submissions. We’ll be accepting them between Dec 1st, 2016 and Jan 1st, 2017. The full list of anthology participants will be announced Jan 15th, except in the instance we receive more submissions than expected, in which case this may be extended 1 week to accommodate volume.

    This is an anthology by and for those of us who grew up inspired by Redwall, The Deptford Mice, Rats of NIMH, and other tales of brave and imperiled critters defying their size and place in the natural order. We want to not only channel that inspiration into the medium of comics, but to approach familiar themes with fresh eyes.

    Tim’rous Beastie will be a joint venture, with Amanda Lafrenais as Managing Editor and Iron Circus Comics publishing and distributing.

    Thoughts:

    • With Lafrenais acting as editor on this project, Spike is developing a farm team of creative partners that can be delegated to; this is important given that she’s got like a dozen and a half projects scheduled for the near- to mid-term, and is now coordinating national-scale distribution for ICC. It’s no longer a one-person enterprise over there in Chicago, and she’s building up the talent pool. Ten bucks says in ten years she’s running a company that publishes as many pages per annum as any of the second-tier comics publishers do today.
    • Creators already announced on Beastie include Evan Dahm, Abby Howard, and KC Green, hecka yeah.
    • If you’re going to submit for glob’s sake read the guidelines thoroughly; every time Spike announces an anthology, somebody or other doesn’t follow the rules then bitches at length about how they’re being discriminated against because blah, blah, blah. She’s gotta be sick of that shit by now, and I’ma go out on a limb and guess that anybody that doesn’t follow the rules will find their submission tossed without a moment’s regret.
  • Pat Race is tireless in his efforts to bring Art and Comics and Fun to his corner of the world (that would be Juneau, Alaska), and that trend continues tomorrow as his Alaska Robotics Gallery from tomorrow, as his new show (Postcards From Juneau by name) opens with the traditional cheese and crackers. Gallery hours are noon to 6:00pm local time, but I suspect that if you bring Pat a beer, he’ll hang out with you after closing for a while.
  • The XOXO Festival — celebrating independent creators of art, technology, society, etc; think TED without the multinational corporate approval — has done a nice job of posting video of its talks and presentations. A new one went up yesterday that’s well worth the half hour it’ll take to watch.

    David Rees has been many things: a webcomicker, one of the first to really dig deep on the War on Terror; an artisanal pencil sharpener; a TV host that celebrated the profundity of the everyday. He’s also an inveterate record-keeper, and in XOXO’s new video, he tells us about his new podcast with This American Life vet Starlee Kine and the economics of the creative life. Specifically, his personal economics, laid bare and transparent to a degree that would make the President-elect melt. There have been really useful peeks inside the monetary curtain from the likes of Dorothy Gambrell and Erika Moen/Matthew Nolan in the past, but the sheer breadth of what Rees shares makes it uniquely valuable. Go watch.


Spam of the day:

Should these be legal? The military recently released technology that is not available to the public.

Okay, one, it they released it then it’s available to the public. Think before you hit publish, people! Two, you’re talking about a friggin’ pair of sunglasses. It’s not exactly the realm of secret technology that could affect national security. Get a grip.

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¹ Fun story — the oldest comic strip I can remember reading is a Doonesbury strip from late December sometime around 1978 or ’79. Mike and Zonker are talking about how bad life sucks and Mike notes that his his grandfather always said This too shall pass about bad times. He and Zonker agree to the sentiment and toast: To the worst of times! To a kidney stone of a year! as a boop-boop heavy disco song comes on the jukebox.

That punchline has stayed with me for near on 40 years now. Comics, everybody.

Limited Time Offers

I hate to rush you, what with this being the busy time of year for so many people, but there’s a couple of things you really can’t sleep on.

  • So we’re down to the final week of both Angela Melick’s Kickstart to print the final two volumes of Wasted Talent, and Angela Melick’s weekly autobio webcomic, Wasted Talent. In fact, we’re now at the next to last strip, with The Big Finish hitting next Monday, 5 December.

    One side effect of the strip wrapping is that Melick has decided that continuing to ship merch and books for a discontinued project is not how she wants to spend her copious free time, and so her store will be shutting down:

    The print edition books that are kickstarting now will NOT be available online for sale later on. I will no longer be traveling regularly to conventions to sell print edition books. I will still make convention appearances, but these appearances will be infrequent and selective, and the number of print books I bring will be very limited.

    No definite date for the store shutdown, but it largely doesn’t matter — if she’s not putting the new books in the store, the time to get them is now, via the Kickstarter campaign (which, by-the-bye, is currently sitting at 153% of goal, and stretched to the point where I’ll get a slipcase box for my previous books, so thanks for that). Get them now if you ever intended to get them, and honestly? Given how book 3 ended, books 4 and 5 form a reasonably complete story.

  • Another temporary sale event is going on, but this is more in the sense of a pop-up vending rather than the wrap-up of an ongoing enterprise. David Malki ! is using Kickstarter as a straight storefront for his annual calendrical offering — the tenth! — of odd “facts” and odder holidays. Given that these only come up once a year and start their usefulness on 1 January, the campaign is super short: it will run only another six days, for a total of 14 days.

    Other Malkidian wonders are also up for sale at his permanent store, including holiday-[in]appropriate cards and the ever-fun multipurpose cards; given the number of checkboxes on the latter, you can give the same card to just about anybody for just about any reason¹.


Spam of the day:

They are looking for sex now!

Forgive me for my cynicism, but I don’t actually believe that (given the photo attached) a lesser Kardashian sister is attempting through your alleged dating site to have squishytimes with me. Just a hunch.

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¹ Seriously, though. Just one card covers thanks for everything from a commemorative plate of Commander Riker to sex acts, with the duration of thanks lasting from fleeting until the end of all things.

Re: Releases, Returns, Rewards

Where to start, where to start, on this drear and wet Tuesday (there are worse things, certainly), oh but where to start?

  • How about here: KB “Otter” Spangler is perhaps the person I’ve met via webomics who has had the greatest influence on me; she was the first to ask me to contribute to a print collection (the forward here), the first to threaten me with horrific violence, in many circumstances has been the first to console me on loss, congratulate me on good fortune, smack me when I need it, and generally be the retroactive weirdo best friend from high school that movies and TV tell you you’re supposed to have¹. She also weathers house-related horrors that would crush an ordinary human.

    I’ve been an early reader/kibitzer on each of her novels, and on occasion my nitpicking has been mildly helpful (or at least not actively detrimental). That habit continued with the latest novel — the fourth (of seven) in her Rachel Peng series — which is out today; my involvement in the creation of this latest book may affect my impartiality, so take it with a grain of salt when I tell you that I love her words², unabashedly, and want the entire world to enjoy them.

    Said latest book — Brute Force, available today in a variety of formats — has been somewhat delayed by actual life catching up to what’s supposed to be a contemporary slightly SF plotline, where technology, media, sociopaths, nationalists, and authoritarians blend in ways that society and rules couldn’t predict³. Bad situations and poor alternatives lead to sometimes terrible decisions, and consequences echo both to early books and are left to be resolved in later. There are also dick jokes.

  • In other news:

  • Holy glob, KC Green warned us he was taking a week off of He Is A Good Boy to catch up with other things, but never hinted it was to drop a new chapter of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio on us! Oh, Pinocchio, will you ever stop making bad decisions?
  • Interesting! Kel McDonald has a new Kickstart going — nothing unusual there, this is her tenth after all — with a couple of interesting things I’ve not seen before: a) She’s working with an art team instead of drawing things herself with Kara Leopold on pictures and Whitney Cogar providing colors; b) And this is the really interesting part, the rewards for this campaign are entirely digital.

    [Super]Natural Attraction is described as a digital comic series, with the US$5000 goal dedicated to paying Cogar and Leopold for the first 22 page chapter of the story; each additional five grand will provide for another chapter, with ten chapters agreed to by the creative team. With nothing to ship, nothing to manufacture, and the high-tier rewards adding in PDFs of McDonald’s earlier work, this is as close to a no-risk situation for a creator as ever I’ve seen. It’ll be interesting to watch if other creators get on the digital-only bandwagon, and if Luddite obsessive dead-tree collectors (cough, cough) can ever be convinced to join up. If nothing else, it makes the reward structure far more affordable for backers.

Updating the charity contributions matching drive: we have our first suggestion for an improved name for this thing. The Fleen Future Fighters Fund is much better than my initial thought (Welcome To Screwtrumpistan4, Population: Us). Anybody else want to chime in?


Spam of the day:

Are you tired of battling the look of the belly bulge and/or muffin top?

AM I? Oh, boy, tell me more about this amazing camisole/bra combo!

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¹ Her love of bad movies is so legendary, I made her a plush sharktopus for her birthday. It was supposed to be for her wedding, but you now how long it takes to sew tentacles on a plush shark?

² Not her writing, mind, but her words. What she does it beyond the mechanical act of arranging words in a particular order according to rules of grammar and syntax; she is closer to retaining the power and might of capital-w Words like might be found in some great wizard tapping into forces primordial and/or primeval. I love your words is a nearly unique sentiment, one that I’ve only ever expressed to one other person, who likewise languagebends in ways that make me swoon.

³ I know, far-fetched, right? Leave out the one bit of implausible technology and the rest is still so improbable it would never happen.

4 With a node to KB Spangler of A Girl And Her Fed, which nicely brings us full circle.

Post Thanks

Oh my, but things happened during the extended break time for the blog; the American version of Thanksgiving, of course, but also the travel associated with same (ugh), a birthday of note (that of Jon Rosenberg¹, who is killing it with the Trump comics these days because you have to laugh), some weekend EMT duty, pie, and the gift of a really excellent book that I am enjoying the hell out of.

Oh, yeah, and some webcomics things happened since we last saw each other. Let’s do it.

  • Honestly, I expected to see a lot more of this in the cultural media, or even more in the comics media: Alison Bechdel updated Dykes To Watch Out For for the first time in forever. Cultural touchstone, Eisner laureate, National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, creator of the source material for a musical that’s garnered literally dozens of awards, and — oh, yeah — MacArthur Fellow, Bechdel was a self-syndicated cartoonist for two and a half decades with DTWOF, which for at least a third of that time meant puttin’ ’em up on the web, which means webcomics. It’s a shame that the prompt for the strip was an act of collective national insanity.
  • We mentioned Evan Dahm’s Kickstarter for an illustrated edition of Moby-Dick ’bout two weeks back, and we’re happy to report that he’s about 65% of the way to goal with 15 days to go. We’re even happier to note that he spent some time to share with us his process of typesetting the text, to honor the original material while matching with the illustrations. If you’re a type geek, this is the sort of stuff that makes your heart sing.
  • For those of you looking to get books for the younger readers in your life in the upcoming gifting season, Gene Luen Yang (best selling author, MacArthur Fellow, Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature) has you covered, bucko. Thanks to the twitterfeed of Yang’s publisher (and all-around wonderful people) :01 Books, we can all check out a list of five recommendations that Yang made adjacent to an interview in the Washington Post (Post staffers add another dozen-plus, both illustrated and not).
  • From over the long weekend, there’s a damn good interview with Sophie Goldstein at Paperdroids. It’s deep on process and light on fluff, so dig in.

Updating the charity contributions matching drive²: as of today, you have donated more than US$1200 towards a US$10K goal. Donations will be matched through 20 January.


Spam of the day:

G?t an SUV with the latest cold weather features

I will never own an SUV, and I already have a small station wagon with all wheel drive, wiper-defrosters, and butt-warmers. What more could I need?

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¹ Okay, and me, since Jon and I share a birthday. I may have been born six years earlier, but somehow he’s the grumpy old guy and I’m the grumpy moderately younger guy. Proof of my theory that kids age the crap out of you.

² It needs a catchier name. Suggestions welcomed.

Fresh Start

So Unshelved wrapped not quite two weeks back, and if there’s one thing both nature and webcomics abhor, it’s a vacuum. You can’t have the world go on without a daily (mostly) library comic written by a librarian, not while Gene Ambaum is drawing breath, by glob! Thus, Unshelved finished on Friday the 11the, and on Monday the 14th Ambaum and Chris Hallbeck launched Library Comic¹.

It’s not Unshelved. It’s a completely new comic written by the same guy, and drawn by the same guy that did the last significant chunk of Unshelved. It’s set in a library, it features overworked, underfunded library staff including cranky reference types, nerdy types, childrens librarian types, all interacting with patrons. None of this is in any way familiar or what you have seen before. These are not the librarians you’re looking for. Move along.

Okay, look, it’s a workplace; there’s only so many character archetypes you get in any workplace, much less one as specific as a library. Is Martin the Mirror Universe Collen? Is Dewey reborn in Esther, Mel in Lucy, or Tamara in Laura? No, no, maybe. Look, Ronald D Moore took the grittiness and moral ambiguity of Deep Space Nine and mapped it to another set of pre-existing characters and ideas to produce Battlestar Galactica; similar themes, similar tropes, in service of a different story. Same deal here.

Ambaum will have ideas from the day job for approximately forever, and Hallbeck will infuse these characters with their own quirks; the are professionals, dammit, and as long as a community (that would be librarians) is looking to see their lives and experiences in comic form, A&H are going to meet that need². And given that libraries are meeting so many needs in so many communities, giving the selfless people that work in them their own laugh-chuckles seems like a pretty fair tradeoff.

NB: This will likely be the last posting of the week; I’ll be in transit or in a pie coma for the next several days, in observance of American Thanksgiving. If you celebrate (or don’t; lookin’ at you, CANADA), please go safely and enjoy the respite (from life, from me, from whatever).


Spam of the day:

Let’s talk!

Over the past few months the written-in-Portuguese, originating-from-Russia spam claiming to be from a frustrated woman neglected by her husband who wants sexytimes from me has undergone a slight but noticeable change: the age of the fake woman in question has been adjusted downwards from 47 years, to 37 years, and now to 27 years. Spammers, no 27 year old woman has ever been referred to as a MILF, just a suggestion. Oh, yeah, and the woman in the photo is maybe 23, so there’s that, too.

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¹ Whoa, guys, don’t give away the story with the title! Spoilers!

² The fact that said community temperamentally inclined to buying a metric squatload of books I’m sure has no bearing whatsoever on the choice of topic and audience.

That List I Promised You

Re: me playing Soros, minus a few orders of magnitude.

  • From now until 20 January 2017, show me a receipt that you donated to any of the organizations below, and I’ll match it, up to an aggregate of US$10,000. If you’ve made repeating donations, I’ll credit you for the November, December, and January amounts.
  • If any of the organizations ceases operation in the meantime (practically speaking, only the GoFundMe page is a possibility for discontinuation, given that GFM has yanked funding pages with regularity in the past), I will find the closest equivalent source for matching donation. If I can’t find one, I’ll redistribute to the other organizations on a proportional basis.
  • If total donations from you guys exceeds 10K — please, exceed! — I reserve the right to increase my giving. If you absolutely demolish the 10K goal, matches will be made on a proportional basis so that I don’t spend my retirement years eating the generic dog food; I want the premium brand.
  • If you don’t see your favored organization here, it’s not that I don’t approve! I looked for a variety of non-overlapping groups fighting in different areas; I have a preference for those with proven track records of effectiveness and favorable reports in Charity Navigator.
  • Email me (gary at the name of this here website dot-com) or DM me on Twitter with your receipts; I’ll post occasional updates of the totals here. I plan to run a list of names of people who contact me; if you don’t want to be credited, just note that with your receipt.
  • Creators who have run your own fundraisers — that counts for matching! Send your numbers in!
  • Oh and one last thing: all donations will be made in the name of Donald Trump, with the exceptions of Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, which will be made in the name of Mike Pence.

American Civil Liberties Union
Brennan Center for Justice
Campaign Zero
Electronic Frontier Foundation
International Rescue Committee
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
National Resources Defense Council
Planned Parenthood
Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe
The Trevor Project


Spam of the day:

Top 5 Best Products For Your Dog

Unless one of those products is his balls back, I’m pretty sure my dog don’t care.

Fighting For Something Better

We all do what we can; the way forward seems fraught and full of those who would harm us for who we are, but forward we go. Two people doing their damndest to find that way forward today.

  • First, Jaime Noguchi of Yellow Peril, who sums it all up beautifully in today’s panel one:
    What to do if you see a swastika. Because that’s where we fucking are now.

    Which follows with handy tips how a hateful symbol can be hidden, its intent to intimidate and oppress turned into a delightful kitty or turtle or corporate logo. I suspect that this is the sort of thing that fucking Nazis will hate more than anything else; they’re so convinced of their superiority and the purity of their philosophy, message, and iconography that to see it subverted is likely to make them sputter But, but … my mighty swastika¹.

    Fat Tardises. Super Triforces. Pixel hearts. Screw the cowards, screw their message, put ’em in the ash-heap of history where they belong.

  • Secondly, when we have (eventually, and I have no illusion it will be quickly or easily) fully populated the ash-heap of history², the task will remain to ensure that this crap doesn’t happen again³. That’s going to require a population that’s far more rigorous about sifting actual information from propaganda, reality from falsity, facts from lies. Learn well we will have to tell future generations or repeat our folly. One of the people on the front lines of that learning is the semipseudonymous Dr Dante Shepherd.

    Today his photo-webcomic, Surviving The World, celebrates 3000 entries with an observation that an exercise meant to help deal with the stresses of graduate school has turned into a professing career, and also:

    I am very pleased to announce that I have been asked to make science comics for the quarterly scientific journal Chemical Engineering Education over the next year, and will have the first comic released in the spring issue next year.

    For those of you wondering how that teaches the next generations to not be fooled by charlatans, let me assure you that chemical engineering does not care if your pet theory comes from your preferred Weltanschauung4 or not; if the equation that keeps the chemical reactor from blowing up in your face came from a person that you consider beneath you and you disregard it, it’s gonna blow up in your damn face.

    Honestly, a stronger grounding in the scientific method (which pits ideas against the test of reality) over the past three decades could have saved us all a lot of problems. In the meantime, send your youngsters to Shepherd and others like him; the vaccine of knowledge is armor against the plague of ignorance or some other similarly mixed metaphor.


Spam of the day:

That Realty Chick — CA Real Estate Market News & Updates from your local real estate agent

California is not local, but thanks so much for thinking I’d be interested in buying a house — pardon me, an estate — in Beverly freakin’ Hills.

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¹ Any coincidence with Randy Newman’s pondering as to Why must everybody laugh at my mighty sword? entirely intentional.

² And, hopefully, found a way to re-burn things that have already been burned.

³ One of the most astute things I’ve read since the election is the observation that this rising tide of authoritarianism is occurring as living memory of World War II is lost. Dunno about you, but my grandfather would not have put up with this fascist posturing. As he was the biggest man in the world in all of my memories pretty sure he would have fixed it all by his lonesome.

4 Look it up.

National. Book. Award.

I may have opinions (oh baby I got opinions) on which previous works of comicdom nominated for the National Book Award should have received the honor without doing so.

But it hard to hold the contrary opinion that the March trilogy — the story of the civil rights movement as recollected by Representative John Lewis and realized in comics form by Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell — is anything other than a towering achievement of remembering our history lest we repeat it. And it is equally impossible to say that March: Book Three is anything other than a wholly deserving nominee for the National Book Award.

So it’s pretty fitting that it won last night in the category of Young Peoples Literature.

In the words of Congressman Lewis:

This book is for all of America. It is for all people, but especially young people, to understand the essence of the civil rights movement, to walk through the pages of history to learn about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence, to be inspired to stand up to speak out and to find a way to get in the way when they see something that is not right, not fair, not just.

It’s been five decades since the years that John Lewis put his body and his life on the line to ensure that all Americans would be recognized before the law as equal. It’s been 35 years since he ascended into political office in Atlanta as a city councilor, and this year marks the 30th since he was first elected to the House of Representatives. I’m certain he had hopes that some fundamental questions about the nature of our democracy were settled. I’m pretty sure that he’s got a close eye on current events and keeps a well broken-in pair of shoes ready for the next march he needs to make.

Congratulations to Congressman Lewis, Aydin, and Powell; I wish that we had learned your lessons better.


Spam of the day:

From: Gliceria Tyrrell
Your message is ready to be sent with the following file or link attachments: 20160831_104911
Note: To protect against computer viruses, e-mail programs may prevent sending or receiving certain types of file attachments. Check your e-mail security settings to determine how attachments are handled.

You’re going to send me an email from a fake relative with a Harry Potter first name and I’m just going to click on your virus-laden attachment because you put in a sentence about being safe around viruses and implying I should disable safety measures? That’s just insulting.