The webcomics blog about webcomics

T+59 Minutes And A Coping Strategy

So here we are; my plan for the day is to play the video above on repeat and to give away some money¹. I’m posting in advance of making the donations so that you can see where the cash is going, and I will update with receipt images later.
[Editor’s note: updated; see the links in the last table.]

The Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund saw donations in support of 12 organizations for a total of US$6409. The totals received were:

American Civil Liberties Union 2929
Brennan Center for Justice 40
Campaign Zero 150
Electronic Frontier Foundation 40
International Rescue Committee 185
NAACP Legal Defense Fund 155
National Resources Defense Council 190
Planned Parenthood 2190
Pro Publica 40
Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe 110
Syrian Civil Defense / The White Helmets 75
The Trevor Project 305

I hate to see anybody getting less than US$200, so I rounded everything up to that minimum:

American Civil Liberties Union 2929
Brennan Center for Justice 200
Campaign Zero 200
Electronic Frontier Foundation 200
International Rescue Committee 200
NAACP Legal Defense Fund 200
National Resources Defense Council 200
Planned Parenthood 2190
Pro Publica 200
Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe 200
Syrian Civil Defense / The White Helmets 200
The Trevor Project 305

And heck, I pledged up to US$10,000 and I have a fetish for round numbers, so let’s round things up again:

The Six-F thanks (in no particular order) Magnolia Porter, Mary Roth, Auilix, Bree, Matt Kuhns, Lia Herriott, Sean Kleefeld, Dave Kellett, Roo Khan, Red Wombat Studio, Mark V, Pierre Lebeaupin, Stephanie, Frank Gibson, Pamela and Kurt Mosiejczuk, CK, JB, and additional donors that wished to remain anonymous.

It’s not enough, but it’s a start. Take care, stay safe, help each other.


Spam of the day:

gary.tyrrell Get Your Trump Coin While You Still Can!

I might believe your attempt to get me to spend waaay too much money on an ugly-ass limited edition Trump Commemorative Coin that makes a great gift for family, friends, and co-workers if not for the fact that the very next email from the same spammers contained the subject line

SURVIVE THE COMING FINANCIAL CRISIS!

Well, that and the fact that any family, friends, or co-workers I gave one of those coins to would punch me in the face and rightly so.

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¹ Also, I have to take a dog poop sample to the vet, which seems somehow appropriate to where we are as a society now.

One Day To Go And Finding The Good Where We Can

We live, damn it all, at a time of great transition; things are ending and other … things … are starting. As it turns out, such is occurring in Webomicstan as well.

  • It’s been a long time coming, more than eleven and a half years since we first met Dr McNinja, as written & pencilled by Christopher Hastings and inked by Kent Archer. In the decade-plus since, color duties have been assumed by (briefly) Carly Monardo and Anthony Clark, and Doc has been written/drawn by everybody from Benito Cereno & Les McClane to Kate Beaton to Becky & Frank.

    A good 18 months back, Hastings warned us that Dr McNinja would be ending sooner rather than later; he warned us as well that there were no guarantees which characters would survive (spoiler warning, it’s all bad guys that died; it looked like Gordito might but he got better and thankfully Gary The Barber appeared to never be in danger).

    Since the announcement, Hastings has only increased his comic book writing, having graduated from miniseries (various humor-tinged 3- or 4-issue runs at Marvel) to ongoing (Adventure Time, and being the originating writer/person most responsible for shaping Gwenpool). He’s got lots of irons in lots of fires, and when things finish up — as is imminent — it will be with the knowledge that damn, this was completely a thing¹.

    You done good, Doc (both docs, Hastings and McNinja). The world will be a bit less radical and insanely fun next week, but you’ve taken us on a hell of a ride in the meantime. Thank you.

  • Announced today: the imminent start of an administration that has no truck with capital-s Science will not stop Zach Weinersmith from promoting a love of knowledge and critical thought. Namely, the latest iteration of BAH!Fest will take place at the hallowed Kresge Auditorium on the campus of MIT. The call for submissions is now open, and this show will have an open theme — any bad ad-hoc hypothesis, on any topic, is fair game.

    The most exciting part? The keynote will be delivered by Marc Abrahams, co-founder and editor of the Annals of Improbable Research and founder of the Ig Nobel Prize. It’s probably fair to say that there’s no inspiration for BAH!Fest that Abrahams hasn’t had a hand in², so this is very exciting … there’s pretty much a straight line from the seminal A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown (Seim, 1956) to BAH!Fest, so if you’re anywhere near MIT on 23 April 2017, 7:00pm-ish³, tell Zach & the rest they’re doing great things.

  • Speaking of great things, we’re down to the waning hours of the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund, which will cease its activities at noon EST tomorrow as Barrack Obama leaves the office of President of the United States and glob help us all. The next while is going to be a struggle (genteel for some of us, existential for far too many), so the Six-F will be matching any donations you make from Election Day to Inauguration Day to:

    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
    Pro Publica
    Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe
    Syrian Civil Defense aka The White Helmets
    The Trevor Project

    As of this writing, you have approximately 19 hours to send me (that would be gary) a receipt at the address of this website right here (which is a dot-com). I’ll match it. And as needs require (and I am able) between now and the end of the retrograde nightmare about to break upon us, I’ll repeat this exercise.


Spam of the day:

McDonalds Breakfast wants you to try all day breakfast – Free on us!

Not even if it was McBonalds.

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¹ Reminder: I met Hastings for the first time at an Andy Bell art show, where he was wearing a Great Outdoor Fight t-shirt. I would, by coincidence, be standing next to him at the Great Outdoor Fight signing in Brooklyn, when he and Onstad met. It was an entirely appropriate bookending.

² The other likely inspiration: the Journal of Irreproducible Results (which I was very fond of reading back in college), which Abrahams edited for a time before leaving and founding AIR. Alas, the JIR is not what it once was.

³ It’s doubtful I’ll be able to be there, as I’m applying for the Alaska Robotics Minicon Camp in Juneau that same weekend.

Two Days To Go And Looking To The Future

  • It’s the start of the year, and that means one of the things to do is look back at the last year. Specifically, the folks behind last year’s Fair Page Rates survey are back with a solicitation to see what rates were like in 2016. The 2016 survey is open to working comics pros and will be very interesting to compare against the results of the 2015 survey. Remember, this is a page rate, so no mistaking per-project bonus structures (as I did) or advances for page rates if you’re submitting data!
  • 2016 also saw a lot of references to KC Green’s most famous comic, not least being a response to this year from Green himself. But I think none of them have approached the melancholy of both of Green’s cartoons as a brief browser game by Nick Kaman. It’s actually two months old and I’m not sure how I missed it until now, but I did so I’ma talk about it now.

    Go play This Is Fine (assuming your browser is HTML5 compatible) and harness that feeling of optimism mixed with a horrific situation that can only be dealt with a little at a time. Maybe an extremely localized fine is all any of us can achieve in the near term; it may be a hell of a long time until things are better than This Is Fine. It’s going to be a significant struggle to resist the loss of gains that have been made towards a more equal society. I don’t really have an uplifting conclusion here … it’s going to hurt, but at least we get a head start while the firestarter in chief takes off the weekend after the hard work of being sworn in. I’m betting we can get significantly under his skin in two and a half days.

  • In that spirit, here is your daily reminder that I’ve established the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund and pledged up to US$10,000 towards organizations that will fight to maintain the progress made by marginalized groups as the American Experiment moves (in fits and starts and somewhat haphazardly) towards the ideals promised to We, The People. If you have given any money since Election Day to any of:

    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
    Pro Publica
    Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe
    Syrian Civil Defense aka The White Helmets
    The Trevor Project

    (this includes creators that ran their own directed fundraisers), then get in contact (gary, who blogs at this here website which is a dot com). Let me know how much you gave (receipt images help), which group(s) you gave to, and how you’d like to be acknowledged (full name, part of your name, or anonymous). Stay informed, stay mad, stay in contact with your elected representatives, and stay safe.


Spam of the day:

Es la respuesta de valor

Todas mis respuestas son respuestas de valor.

Three Days To Go And Progress Is Being Made


Any steps forward are a good thing. Hell, at this point I’ll take any day that isn’t a step backwards.

  • The thing about webcomics is, no matter how big and audience, or how big an impact on society anybody seems to have, there’s always somebody that’s never even heard of the concept of webcomics and is amazed these things exist. Case in point: Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin pointed me to a story in Venturebeat, of all places, that ties directly into his beat of French [web]comics / bandes desinée [-web] française.

    You may recall that FSFCPL told us about Laurel [Duermael] and her French language autobio comic from Silicon Valley, Comme Convenu, in the context of crowdfunding to print a collection of her webcomics. A crowdfunding that exceeded expectations by about a factor of twenty eight / vingt-huit. Seems that nothing attracts the attention of SV press like success, so Laurel gets a feature about her experiences in startup culture which has to do double duty, explaining not just [web]comics, but also the importance of comics in French culture. And in the middle of that story, one very telling line:

    [Laurel] is now searching for someone to translate the book into English as she is planning her second crowdfunding campaign in early March for the next volume of Comme Convenu.

    If anybody out there is, or knows somebody who is, a qualified French/English translator, do us all a favor and contact Laurel, please. I very much want to read this work, as many volumes of it as there may be.

  • I’m going to be pushing the Six-F daily now that we’re down to the last couple of days before it concludes¹. Seems that mentioning it yesterday was a fruitful choice, as the Fund is up more than two thousand damn dollars since I hit Publish not quite 24 hours ago. This is costing me some money.

    Good. Keep it up.

    As a reminder, if you have given any money since Election Day to any of:

    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
    Pro Publica
    Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe
    Syrian Civil Defense aka The White Helmets
    The Trevor Project

    (especially if you’re a creator that had a sale or dedicated a portion of your own profits to these organizations), then email me (gary, who blogs at this here website which is a dot com) because I’m matching your donation. Send the amount, the name of the organization, and how you’d like to be acknowledged (by full name, partial name, or anonymous).

    Matching ends at noon EST on Friday 20 January 2017; all matches will be made in the name of Donald J Trump, except for Planned Parenthood and The Trevor Project, which will be made in the name of Mike Pence.


Spam of the day:

Confirm-Walmart-Order:#7308-Pickup-for-CustomerID-gary.tyrrell- Ready– Mon,-Now!

The only thing that would make me less likely to click on the link in this attempt at thievery is if I thought it actually did some from Walmart and it actually was a US$50 gift card waiting to be claimed. Walmart are evil and fuck them.²

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¹ At least for this year.

² Though very satisfying to type, that’s actually too facile.

Disentangling Walmart from the world economy without hurting anybody other than the billionaires that own it would probably take the rest of my life, so I can’t in good conscience say burn it down.

But I’d be willing to take on the job of carefully taking it apart, burying the remains, and salting the earth so that they never rise again.

Four Days To Go And An Amendment To The Six-F

Via the twitterfeed of Make That Thing majordomo Sara McHenry, a sentiment from Keith Olbermann that a lot of us are feeling right now. Right now.

  • So Jeff Zugale’s been in webcomics about forever (most recently as the artist on the currently-hiatused Not Invented Here, in and around his other careers (mostly doing concept art for videogame studios, fine art for John Scalzi, fronting a number of shreddy bands in his youth, and the task of bein’ a dad). A lot of what he’s produced for public consumption the last couple of years has been way cool spaceship drawings that he’s done for fun, one a day, from sketchbook to you (typically on Twitter).

    The thing about the VG industry is it can pay pretty well, but pretty irregularly. One day you’re just fine, next day 80% of the studio gets laid off. I think you see where I’m going with this.

    Zugale got laid off from his current concept artist job, so while he’s looking for the next job dreaming up fantastical vehicles he’s leveraging his strengths (cf: way cool spaceships, above) over at Patreon (which he’d rather fortiutously launched prior to losing his day job). Give him a peek, yeah? And if you’re looking for an artist that can turn out anything you’re looking for with skill and professionalism, give him a call.

  • I’m still mulling over what I will be doing at noon on Friday rather than giving any of my attention to a vulgar talking yam undermining everything our country aspires to¹, which is as good a reason as any to note that the Fleen Fight For Fungible Futures Fund² is still taking matches until the end of the Obama administration. If you have made donations since Election Day to any of ten organizations that work towards the attainment of a more perfect union, I’m matching them (in the case of recurring donations, I’m matching three months worth).

    Oh, wait, did I say ten organizations? Since I started the campaign, people have sent me receipts for two organizations that I hadn’t included on my list, but in retrospect I probably should have. So the list of supported causes now stands at (new ones in bold):

    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
    Pro Publica
    Sacred Stone Camp’s GoFundMe
    Syrian Civil Defense aka The White Helmets
    The Trevor Project

    I’m happy to say that every organization has received at least one donation, and that I’m receiving emails every day. Reminder: if you’re a creator that had a sale or dedicated a portion of your own profits to these organizations, I’m counting that. Send me (gary, who blogs at this here website which is a dot com) the amount, the name of the organization, and how you’d like to be acknowledged (by full name, partial name, or anonymous).


Spam of the day:

This email is being sent in order to inform you that a new invoice has been generated for your account.
Please see the file that is attached.

Wow. A file that you helpfully include a password to open, which actually defeats the entire purpose of passwords? Yeah, no, random address that doesn’t even claim to be from a company I might plausibly do business with.

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¹ I know that Friday night I’ll be getting reasonably drunk at the wrap party of a longrunning webcomic; since I’m not throwing the party, I trust that you’ll forgive me for not supplying more details now, but I’ll give you a recap next week, deal?

² For the suggestion that resulted in the name, Faithful Reader Roo will be getting a $50 donation on their behalf.

Deadline Approaching

Have I mentioned this yet this year? I feel like I should have. The National Cartoonists Society has its call for submissions for consideration of their annual awards open now — as in past years, webcomics (or On-Line Comics, as they are styled) are eligible for consideration in both the Long Form (think ongoing story) and Short Form (think daily gags) categories.

Also, I should note that, as in past years, I am involved in the process of selecting nominees that will lead to the awards ballot. Applications may be submitted until 7 February, and if you’re in the webcomics world, no physical items need be provided, hooray.

Some things to consider:

  • An awful lot of webcomickers do work of significant quality that’s not webcomics. Is there any reason why we should not see nominations for Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Adventure Time, Gwenpool, Hellcat, Giant Days, Glitterbomb, and Goldie Vance (comic books); every single damn Iron Circus anthology, Baggywrinkles, Tetris, King Baby, Secret Coders, Demon, and Ghosts (graphic novels); the entire breadth of The Nib and Jon Rosenberg’s SFAM Trump cartoons (editorial cartoons¹)? Nominate work outside of webcomics if you’re working outside of webcomics, people!
  • The NCS awards are presented at a black-tie dinner (it’s really fancy) in a different city each year (I went in 20012, to Las Vegas, and fulfilled a lifelong dream of gambling in a muthascratching tuxedo, drink in hand, after midnight; I’ve never felt more like James Bond, if James Bond ever played a $5 Pai Gow Poker table). This year it’s in Portland, Oregon, where more than a few of you live or have friends. Gonna be fun times in Stumptown, and you could meet some really interesting people.²

Okay, there’s your homework for the weekend — take a good look at the submissions process and criteria, consider well where you may qualify, and take a flyer if it seem plausible. Awards aren’t why you should be doing this, but remember — an awful lot of people first heard Gene Yang’s name not because American Born Chinese is a brilliant book, but because he was nominated for the National Book Award back in 2006. Want to be a MacArthur Fellow or National Ambassador For Young People’s Literature? Get your name out there.


Spam of the day:

JR Crooks’ mission is to help you earn more money trading gold this year than ever before in your life.

I’m pretty sure JR Crooks spends far more time trying to sell me on paying him money to teach me about trading gold than he spends on trading gold. Pass.

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¹ Actually, just let anybody other than Michael friggin’ Ramirez win, that guy is awful. Of note, both Jen Sorenson and Ann Telnaes have won in the past few years, both of whom regularly contribute to The Nib; it’d be sweet to see Matt {Bors | Lubchansky} take it.

² For example, I got to thank Jerry van Amerogen for a punchline I’d read early in high school and had been occupying my brain for more than 30 years, and Bill Amend for a punchline nearly 25 years old. It’s odd what grabs you by the brain and stays.

Stupid, Stupid Stupid

Guess who left the power brick for his laptop back the hotel? This is going to be brief because Compy is bleeding watts like nobody’s business.

Okay, that’s it. Let’s hope there’s enough juice here to


Spam of the day:
Taking a day off because I’m an idiot.

Because Sometimes All It Takes Is One Image To Remind You Of What Comics Can Do

We at Fleen have never been shy about our admiration of Meredith Gran and what she’s doing on Octopus Pie; in fact, we at Fleen own a number of OP originals, and love them dearly. We’ve also made no secret of the fact that Gran’s work has been improving, has taken a tremendous jump particularly in the past two years, and especially since she announced that she was winding up the strip. It’s like she’s got decades of further improvement in front of her, and is determined to not let any of it go unseen by readers that might not follow her to the next project¹, so she’s throwing it all in now.

But sometimes she finds a way to make it screamingly apparent that maybe nobody understands how comics work, how they can tell stories uniquely, like she does. Case in point: the top tier of panels in today’s update. Marigold is knitting, time pauses at sunrise and she is for a moment lost in a reverie of yarn and needles and contemplation of possible futures — disaster or new day. I suspect she has been at it all night.

It’s gorgeous. It’s immediately intuitive what’s going on. It’s emotionally affecting, even before you realize the whole time, Jane was asleep next to her, and that the sweater is a gift. It would lose a fair amount of its impact if not for the stellar coloring job by Valerie Halla, but that image lived in Gran’s brain first, and she had to direct Halla to get it just right. I honestly can’t think of as simple and quiet a collection of panels, such a small moment that revealed itself so beautifully.

While the remainder of Octopus Pie is now in that borderland where the most appropriate unit of time is shifting from months to weeks, Gran is in no way easing off. There’s no senioritis here; she’s spent the past decade achieving ever-higher plateaus of skill and will make us miss these characters like crazy.

But for now, someplace in Brooklyn it is that dawning time when we’re not sure what the future brings, and a young woman is knitting a sweater forever.


Spam of the day:

Obama–is- leaving, this- is- your – last chance

Not for another nine days, he’s not, but you’re right, it’s nearly my last change. The Six-F is still taking donations, folks. Ten causes, I match your contributions up to a total of ten thousand damn US dollars cash money.

Oh, and thank you, President Obama. You’ve been better than we deserved and we shall miss you mightily.

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¹ Memo to readers that don’t follow Gran to her next project: What the hell, people?

New Books! For You! Soon!

Since I spoke to you yesterday, two very cool books have been announced for the near term. Let’s do this.

  • There’s a huge trend these days for adult coloring books — no Disney Princesses or sparkleponies here, but abstract designs, tattoo art, great Impressionist paintings and suchlike. Also, it was inevitable for there to be adult coloring books, if you take my meaning and I think you do:

    Oh shit, I guess we’re officially announcing it today! :D

    Ready for the sexiest adult coloring book? Pre-order OH JOY SEX TOY: THE COLORING BOOK @ErikaMoen @Plustenstrength! http://bit.ly/2iwR8Ab

    Straight from the pages of Oh Joy, Sex Toy by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan, a color-it-yourself collection of very sexy renditions of the Masturbateers doing all the sexy things they do, will be in comics shops on 8 February (just in time for Valentine’s Day!) from Limerence Press (the sexy division of Oni Press). The great thing about the Masturbateers is that they encompass all shapes, sizes, points along the gender spectrum, body types, adult ages, and degrees of physical ability — everybody is sexy in their own way, and I’ll bet that Moen’s artistic choices have meant a lot of people have seen someone that looks like them portrayed as a sexual person for the first time. Inclusion, y’all: it matters.

  • As mentioned last week, Tyler Page’s Nothing Better has been overdue for its third print collection for a while, and at long last it’s here. Lagies and jenglefenz, please allow me to present the Kickstarter for Nothing Better: Great Expectations (Part 1)

    It’s been 7 years since the last collection came out though I’ve been sitting on this material for almost two years. I’ve been busy with raising a family, freelance work, and publishing another book [Editor: Raised on Ritalin. So it’s time to give fans what they want in print.

    My goal here is modest – Nothing Better has a small but dedicated group of fans who continue to bug me for more of the comic in print and I’d love to give it to them. So I’m only looking to print 300-400 copies of the book to sell online and at conventions. The book is already done – laid out, designed, and everything. I’ll be working with a great local printer here in Minneapolis so the turnaround shouldn’t be too long.

    The combination of the finished book and the modest goal (only US$1000! Remember what Spike said?) means that Page is only running the campaign for 20 days total, with delivery expected in March, mere weeks after the campaign closes. As of press time, he’s at 41.5% of goal, and a lucky couple-hundred people are going to be able to get a hell of a good book before everybody else. Nothing Better really is that good, so get pledging.

    [Obligatory disclaimer: A review of mine is quoted on the Kickstarter page as a blurb; I have not received any offers or rewards for the use of my words. Also, people that are much more famous than me are also much more succinct than me.]


Spam of the day:

Woman sheds 42 lbs. in 30 days with this simple night-time drink

I’m guessing some kind of horrific toxin.

Totally Don’t Worry About The Bears

So while I was in transit on Friday afternoon, the news came: the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con is back on for 2017! School programs! Camping! Probably not getting mauled to death by enormous land predators!

Everybody that went to last year’s confab in/just outside lovely Juneau, Alaska, has relayed a tale of renewal of purpose and energized creative batteries. Alaska Robotics honcho Pat Race has invited a slew of guests for public programs and opened up applications for the really appealing part for the creator community: the camp.

A few dozen creators/aspiring creators/interesting people will get to attend an informal confab in the temperate rainforest, sleeping in cabins, eating s’mores, hanging out with other cool people away from deadlines and internet; the invited guests will be there, and you might as well. I’m filling out an application and hope that I make the cut (given the limited capacity of the camp, I might not; if Race has to choose between accepting me and allowing, say, a Boulet or a Jeff Smith¹, I hope he goes with them and not me).

Now here’s the rub: this isn’t a show weekend to vend and make money (there is a one-day public con component, but the real attraction is the camp); it’ll cost US$600 to attend (including lodging and food), and getting to Juneau will certainly cost more. Look at it as a professional-development opportunity of the first rank, a weekend-long equivalent of Comics Grad School. And if you’re still not convinced, consider that ARM-C has the absolute best code of conduct/harassment policy ever:

Many conventions have harassment policies and we feel like it’s important to approach this event in the spirit of inclusion. We love the many varied groups and fandoms that congregate at comic conventions we’ve attended and we want everyone to feel safe and welcome at our convention. If anyone makes you feel unsafe or goes out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable, let us know. We’ll feed them to the bears. [emphasis mine]

More information at the site, at the intro video, and at the camp exploration video; the application is also available for your perusal.

Oh, and if I do get in, I’m planning on bringing my trauma bag, so if they do feed you to the bears, I can probably patch you back up again.


Spam of the day:

Luukkaan evankeliumi, luku 12. “kukaan ei tiedä, milloin tuomiopäivä koittaa, ei edes Jeesus itse, vaan yksin Isu;o&qu.t¤mÃtta Jehovat tuntuvat tietävän, tai aikankin ajankohta on ainakin tarkentunut:).

Google Translate assures me this is a somewhat-garbled extract of the Gospel of Luke, in Finnish. Just in case you were wondering.

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¹ I have no idea if they’re applying, I just went with people that it would be insanely cool to learn from.