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I think I'm Sole.

I believe stupidity is a condition of humanity (much like tribalism or social drive).  I think the one thing that unites everyone is they're wrong about something (and probably most things, often for bad reasons).  I don't believe in the certainty or inerrancy of any proposition.  I believe people inevitably make mistakes (though no one mistake may be inevitable).  Perhaps as a result, though I am not above following others, it isn't something which typically appeals to me.  So, it's weird listening to someone who says a fair amount I agree with almost completely, as here.


Or, in the case of Doug Stanhope, it's depressing and alienating.  Seeing Stanhope live was one of the most angst inducing experiences of my life.  It felt a bit like staying up 'til three a.m. alone doing nothing for fear of not being able to sleep, hating all the motherfuckers cozy in bed, but with laughter added in.

Anyway. ... Sole has far better raps, music, and videos than that. ...

"Work makes free."

Vichy France, the short lived French State, printed its own money during the second world war.  I bought some (along with a few other French coins) when I was 13, though I had forgotten all about it by the time it fell out of a box of papers I was carrying to recycle.   I picked the coin up, took it out of its protective packaging, put it my jacket pocket, hurried off to work, and forgot about it again until a couple weeks ago.

Not much call for jackets in the summer, even in Seattle, but it was threatening to rain, so I found myself wearing this old leather number.  This time, when I fingered the coin, I noticed how oddly light it was.  Taking a look, I found myself holding an aluminum* two Franc piece from 1943.  On its face, there is a two headed ax towering above split wheat and the words 'Etat Francais'.  On the back, the bold number '2' stands between sets of leaves and beneath the slogan 'Travail, Famille, Patrie' (or 'work, family, fatherlan…

Publishing apocalypse predicted in Edinburgh.

In an interesting but spottily researched article, Ewan Morrison argues that authors, booksellers, and publishers are all about to lose the revenues they have become accustomed to because of a new business model, one in which content (with a price trending toward zero) is simply a means to attract consumers whose interests and information are then sold.  He tells us this new approach, driven by both pirates and online publishers, is destroying the current industry; it will leave creative sources underfunded and unrewarded.  His analysis focuses on 'the market'.  Morrison finds his worries and (small) hope in business and models thereof.

However, there are other approaches which might yield different concerns and answers.  Historically, the arts have been buoyed by patrons.  20th century American and British authors had businesses as patrons, in a (hopefully) mutually beneficial relationship.  Morrison suggests those businesses are dying, and encourages fans and authors alike …

My room is a mess, my painting unfinished.

...and I still haven't found a good alternative to my scanner with its missing power-cord.  Almost finished with this painting, though.  I just need to put in a bus seat in front of and behind the passenger.

Incidentally, the Seattle Metro buses have the ugliest upholstery I can remember seeing, and I spent five years working at a used furniture store.

British society: from 'Big' to 'broken'

After the three days of riots around England, Britain's PM, David Cameron, has gone from calling for the people to raise themselves up by their bootstraps (in a 'Big Society'), while government cuts back, to calling for government to fix British ills (in a 'broken society'), while government cuts back.  Short of clicking his tongue at perceived moral lapses and starting a 'war on gangs' (while lessening funding for police), it's not entirely clear what Cameron intends to do, but this is still a surprising shift in rhetoric from the Conservative government. --One wonders how much influence the Liberal Democrats (the minority party in the UK's governing coalition of conservatives and liberals) might have had on this.--

Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May both said, "There are no quick fixes."  On top of booing improper ethics and declaring a war in England, the British PM suggested studying the issues at hand.  His opposition proposed …

Tim Pawlenty has sadly dropped out of the race.

I would like to propose 'Tim Pawlenty's mullet' as a write-in candidate for POTUS.  I think it's something the Club for Growth could get behind, at least.

Seriously, though, I hope he grows it back.  He looks happy there.

Okay, so Newsweek's Michelle Bachman cover was stupid.

That magazine has unfortunately become a rag under its current editor in chief.  However!  Is a crazy cover-picture (and title) choice, which gives even greater excuse for right-wingers to complain about the 'liberal media', excusable if it leads to something awesome?  As a principle, probably not.  But in this case, maybe so.  Observe:

Mitt Romney with Michelle Bachman's eyes-from-the-cover-of-Newsweek.



'Announcements'

Does anyone else find it strange that the press buys into the notion of announcements or press releases on things that have already been announced?  On Thursday, the BBC reported Texas' governor, Rick Perry, had said he was going to run for his party's nomination for POTUS, and that he would announce this on Saturday.  And so he has, but wasn't his previous statement good enough to confirm his already telegraphed intentions?

I understand the notion of official communications.  As I recall, that sort of thing used to follow rumors, unattributed comments, and buzz from lower level members of the group which would eventually make the announcement.  No more.  Now, SONY can tell you what they are going to do, get coverage for letting you know, and then do it all over again.  The appeal to those looking for press is obvious.  The appeal to the press, a little less so.

That is, assuming the aim of the fourth estate is taken to be informing the public, as opposed to lazily rehashi…

Seattlest appears to be run by teenagers. Also, I am an unrepentant pedant.

If at any point, reading this becomes laborious, please stop.  I'll understand.  It is long, and probably uninteresting.  I promise not to make a habit of this sort of post.  I'm just venting a bit....

After having two minor spats with writers on local news site, Seattlest, I was disallowed from commenting on their articles.  Fair enough.  That's their right, and no one else seems to respond to them anyway.  I was, however, surprised to see a resident author tell me to basically stop reading their articles shortly before I was to be banned.  After all, isn't online business based (at least indirectly) on traffic?  Don't they want people to go their site?  So, setting the present petty argument aside, I e-mailed the editor, and had this untidy exchange:

Subject:  You might want to suggest to your authors they not actively drive away readers.

Myself:
In the comments section for 'Hail to the Co-Chairwoman!: Murray to lead "Supercongress"', I am engage…

"Has the sheep eaten the flower?"

Any ant we observe can seem to disappear, perhaps into its colony.  The colony is itself obscured by the ground or ant-hill it is in.  The signs of any such lair are diminished or consumed by their surroundings.  The whole scene is rendered insignificant by the world at large.  On this scale, the ant's civilisation is nearly invisible.  Satellite photos of North America will not show the crack in the pavement on this street from which ants crawl.  Still, the ant lives.  His existence, experiences, and import go on, or stop, unaffected by what we see in satellite born images.

Those who would dismiss them may cast us all as ants.  They say the individual is illusory, transitory, and unimportant; in the big picture, his time and place on Earth are insignificant or else nothing at all.  What a weird fate it must be to reason oneself out of existence.

Yes, we are indeed each individuals much smaller than skyscrapers, planets, or galaxies, yet we are also part of a society, the world, …

Obama is a fantastic figurehead.

About 3 years ago, I predicted Barrack Obama would be elected President of the United States of America.   Not a big deal by itself, considering I had a 50% chance of being right, but the reason I did so might shed some light on recent goings on in D.C.:

"The President is a figurehead....I am not saying the President of the United States is merely a figurehead, but that job is implicitly a part of the position. Which is why supposed lack of experience didn't stop Bill Clinton or George W. Bush from winning the office; why people whose best interest and politics ran counter to Ronald Reagan voted for him; and why Nixon was forced out not over engaging in illegal and unauthorized wars or for destabilizing countries and plunging them into decades of tyranny, but for having some of his staff break into a hotel. It is also why Barrack Obama will beat John McCain."

Now, with the debt ceiling debacle coming to a merciless close, we see President Obama (along with most …

I like hockey, and so should Tim Pawlenty.

Former Minnesota governor and current candidate for the Republican nomination for POTUS, Tim Pawlenty, has a problem.  People think he is boring.   To be fair, he is.  In the rare case where they talk about him, it is usually to point out how few people care about the guy.

He might have avoided  this issue if he had just refrained from cutting his hair back in 2008.  You see, Tim's biggest problem isn't that he puts pundits to sleep, but his lack of a hockey mullet. With that funky hair style he once had, people would have been happily talking about him. Sure, they would have been making fun of the dude, but not in any sort of damaging fashion.

Rather, it would have turned his biggest weakness into a strength. If people looked at him, and thought he was a goof, the fact that he is actually dry would make him seem 'serious' and 'electable' in contrast to expectations. Meanwhile, the mullet would have given him an immediate sense of place--the sort of …

More political thoughts and observations

-On his June 26 Meet the Press appearance, Gov. Chris Christie blithely said the US murdered Osama bin Laden.  "I do think that we have achieved a lot of what we wanted to achieve in Afghanistan, especially after the murder of bin Laden."  Bizarre word choice for an American, let alone a politician of national stature.  Still weirder to throw the claim out there in such cavalier fashion.  I assume murder is still a serious charge in New Jersey.

-Tea-Party-style Republicans are willing to make a deal with Obama, so long as it only contains cuts like ethanol subsidies.  Admittedly, ethanol is a largely ineffectual waste, the greatest effect of which is to cause food to cost more, but it's also a major interest/industry in several states key to any victory in the Electoral College.  In other words, doing away with ethanol subsidies means doing away with one's chance to be elected President of the United States of America any time soon.

-Similarly, Mitch McConnell's …

Art Installation

The aluminum and glass Winchell's Donuts stands abandoned, dilapidated, its partial gutting on display through a fishbowl lens.  More than two years after this shop's closure, the manual newspaper stand at its front continues to be serviced. 

Today's headline reads, "Art of decay".

Things I've been wondering for a short time now:

If Israel's 1967 borders are "indefensible", as Benjamin Netanyahu claims, why did Israel have so little trouble beating three nations in six days from within those same borders?  How is it they lasted for over 18 years before being expanded?  Were they so untenable, why couldn't this supposed problem be addressed by negotiated 'land-swaps', as has been suggested by most parties since before the Oslo accords?

If the Israeli PM's claim seems unjustified on its face, why are so many politicians and pundits eager to repeat it ad nauseum?  Why do they cheer this false objection?

Is it because Israel is our friend?  How?  We give it cover on the world stage and in the UN Security Council.  We give it hundreds of millions of dollars a year.  What does Israel offer us in turn?  Lectures and insults?

I'm not anti-Israel.  Its people deserve to live in peace and prosperity alongside their neighbours.  But this will not be achieved by an intransigent Israeli PM…

An introduction to a book that doesn't exist:

Prose and verse are generally accepted as distinct writing formats with their own rules, styles, and grammars.  Though their borders are somewhat vague, they have come to be seen as something of a dichotomy in the eyes of the general public.  There are, however, at least 3 other popular approaches to writing as exhibited in picture-books, comicbooks, and plays.  Though sometimes given short shrift, these styles are accepted as literature.  They are included in libraries, book stores, and academic study.  Most importantly, they are read.

In the general case, there is clearly writing being done in the creation of any one of these.  But what of the wordless comic or silent play?  Should we consider scripts written, but fully realized plays, comics, and picture-books, to be performance, art, or some other kind of non-literature?  These worries of theory are kinks to be worked out, surely, but they are not of immediate practical concern to the writer.

On firmer ground, we may say, where wo…

These look better in person.

My scanner doesn't seem to work without it's power cord--surprising, I know.  I seem to have lost it in a recent move.  Such items are frustratingly difficult to replace now that Radioshack has become something like the sad little brother of Best Buy.  As a result, I am reduced to using camera-phones, with which I am nowhere near skilled enough to make my drawings look good.  This is why I haven't uploaded any sketches or comics in a while.

But here is a sample anyway.  The face on the left has become my phone's background image (without the blue noise).  The lady on the right was kind enough to sit for me one day, or rather, she sat in front of me on the bus, and I sketched her without her knowledge.  It's all the same, right?


If the Tunisian revolution carries...

...that is, if its waves in Egypt, Yemen, and perhaps elsewhere unsettle the current governments, I predict future Republicans will praise George W. Bush for bringing Democracy to the Middle East. They will be wrong, in many ways, but it won't stop them. They might even Reaganize him. How weird would that be?

Palin and 'Blood Libel'

Sarah Palin recently released a video striking against those she claimed had committed 'blood libel' (by saying violent, martial rhetoric and a vitriolic political atmosphere fostered by Palin and her ilk had contributed to physical violence, as in the case of the recent shooting in Tuscon, AZ). At first, I thought this was the sort of write-first-ask-questions-later, gut-reaction I've become used to seeing in Palin's reported tweets. Then I heard quotes from the release, and watched it myself. It didn't have the diction of the governor's extemporaneous remarks, but instead sounded and looked highly prepared.

Palin almost assuredly did not write this speech herself, or decide to release it without consulting professional advisers. Thinking so, I wondered what political aim her team might have in avoiding the three more obvious, standard, and palatable routes of respectful silence, a brief statement offering sympathy and prayer, or a call for a sort of rhetorica…