Thursday, April 30, 2009

Duck Comics: "The Duck Who Never Was"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter to switch parties

Huh. Now obviously, the ideal situation would be for Specter to lose in the Democratic primary to a more Democratic Democrat, who would then proceed to pwn Toomey in the general (sorry, Arlen--while I sort of appreciate the fact that you're willing to go against the grain here, it wouldn't be very hard for us to do a lot better, politically speaking). I have no idea how much support he can expect in the primary--will Democrats be willing to vote for a former enemy?--but I don't think it should be hard for whoever is nominated to take down Toomey--yeah, we have a lotta nuts in Pennsylvania--but I am virtually certain that they're insufficiently numerous and insufficiently nutty to elect someone as absolutely batshit as ol' Pat. So this could be a good gain all around.

But let's say Specter runs and wins as a Democrat. Great, you say. Another blue-dog type. Just what we need. And I share your annoyance, believe me. We might think of it another way, however. Let's face it: the Republicans are floundering something fierce. They have no coherent message, no clear leaders, and most people hate them. As much as I dislike Bayh, Nelson, Lieberman (barf) and the like, they aren't on the same level of crazy as actual Republicans, and it seems to me that we could be seeing the start of a real political sea change--that is, the Republicans are marginalized into complete, permanent irrelevance, and so the balance of power shifts. Right now the political divide is between, 1) progressives, moderates, and conservatives (Democrats); and, 2) screaming lunatics (Republicans). Once the Republicans are no longer a factor, we could see the Democrats split in half, and then we'd have, instead, a divide between actual liberals and non-insane conservatives. This kind of thinking is probably incredibly premature, but it no longer seems as crazy as it once did, and man would it ever be great for this country.

Duck Comics: "Back to Long Ago"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dog Picture Spectacular

It seems my brother is going hog-wild with his new digital camera. Hence, these.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What the HELL, Guile?

This is truly shocking. I hope we're at least training our soldiers to hold the back button to protect against possible sonic booms.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Republicans are hilarious

It's not just that they are under the misimpression that they still have power; it's how they apparently feel that there's still political capital in acting all petulant and arrogant about it.

"GOP: Sibelius Must Answer Abortion Questions". Oh she must, must she? You mean because you say so? And we're supposed to care about what you think...why, exactly?

"Significant questions remain about Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' evolving relationship with a late-term abortion doctor as well as about her position on the practice of late-term abortions," Steele said in a statement. "If Gov. Sebelius and the Obama administration are unwilling to answer these questions, President Obama should withdraw her nomination."

Uh huh. What Chairman Steele seems to be forgetting is that the Democrats are the ebil, pro-killing-angel-fetuses party; hence, his "significant questions" mean jack-all to us, and it's appallingly funny that you don't realize that your very important concerns have suddenly become irrelevant. Get used to it. We had to for eight years.

Hard not to feel sorry for these hapless schmoes (okay, not THAT hard): the black, Kenyan, islamofascomarxocommusocialist President is still super-popular, and their efforts to discredit him by shrieking "SOCIALISM!!!" at his slightest move are just making people think socialism is a good thing (sure, they may not really understand what the word means--but then, the 'pubs sure as fuck don't either, so that evens out nicely). Their much-ballyhooed tea parties, which were going to somehow tip the balance back in their favor by showing the righteous rage of the non-silent non-majority, just made them into even greater laughingstocks.

Right after whatsisface, the former president, was reelected (or something), one of my classmates at the time--a conservative type (actually a very nice guy under most circumstances, but at this point, I kinda wanted to punch him in the throat)--was getting intolerably smug about the results. I said something, more out of bluster than any real conviction, about how, he was gonna see--in just a few years, the Republican Party would be nothing more than a regional power in Utah. He laughed that off--well who's laughing now, Dave? WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?!?

Oh well. They will no doubt be able to stay relevant with awesome legislation to change the name of the Democratic Party to the Stupid Jerk Party For Losers. Good luck with that! It'll remind everyone of what it was like when The Adults were in charge.

(obligatory disclaimer: no, the Democrats aren't perfect, duh. But this is fun.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

South Park inexplicably socially conscious.

I mean, really. Stone and Parker almost always come across as smug assholes when they get political, but in this one, you almost get the impression that they have, I don't know, some sort of capacity for empathy or something. The ending, which does not shy away from the highly dubious racist overtones here, is absolutely brutal, and effectively so. Well done, lads. More like this.

Duck Comics: "Donald Duck Tells about Kites"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Then Daumier looked at Celeste and saw that the legs on her were as long and slim as his hope of Heaven and the thighs on her were as strong and sweet-shaped as ampersands and the buttocks on her were as pretty as two pictures and the waist on her was as neat and incurved as the waist of a fiddle and the shoulders on her were as tempting as sex crimes and the hair on her was as long and black as Lent and the movement of the whole was honey, and he sank into a swoon.
--Donald Barthelme, "Daumier"

Monday, April 20, 2009


Excellent post from Balloon Juice's DougJ:

You see, torture is a “tough decision.” The fact that it offends some moral sensibilities only makes the decision to torture that much “tougher” and more “courageous”. Choosing not to torture is just too easy. Privatizing Social Security is also a tough decision, whereas modifying it so that middle class Americans can continue to have a little dignity in old age, well, that’s just too easy. Similarly, raising taxes on those who can afford it while keeping them the same on the middle-class is an easy decision, while raising them a bit on the middle-class as well is a smart, tough one, even though it makes very little economic sense. Asking middle-class Americans to sacrifice more is always tough and courageous. Asking the wealthy to pay a little more is not.

“Tough decisions” have to come at least a little bit from the gut. They can’t be reasoned out with facts and figures. And they certainly can’t be the product of the “Hamlet-like” indecision that often plagued Bill Clinton. Most importantly, making tough decisions can’t bother the decision-maker too much, else they are more Carter-like than tough.

Bush’s decision to torture is regarded as tough, both by himself and by most of the Village. So there’s no need for anyone to lose any sleep over it.

I can't add much to that; I just wanted to quote it for truth. It goes without saying that real courage is pretty much exactly the opposite of this, but it's probably worth pointing out--and you know I say this as a purely secular individual--that, in a genuinely Biblical, non-Left-Behind-nonsense way, this attitude is very much that of an antichrist.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

People talk about guilty pleasures in art, and my general reaction is to say, fuck that! If it's a "pleasure," it means it has value to me, so why should I feel guilty about it? Have more self-confidence! Hmph! So, for example, I do NOT feel guilty about owning every ABBA album (although with a few exceptions, you really can stick with the greatest-hits albums without feeling like you're missing TOO much).

But as I think about it, I realize that there is a time and a place for the phrase. Case in point: I'm not proud of this, but I watched both the first AND second episodes of Comedy Central's Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. This show is meant to be what Blazing Saddles would be if it were a TV show, and took place in a fantasy world. Oh, and if it fucking sucked. Really. The concept seems theoretically promising (although if you were familiar with Comedy Central's track record of original shows, your hopes have been adjusted accordingly), but the execution is dismal. The dude who plays the title character is kind of appealing, but he ain't given much to do; of the other characters, the less said the better. I assume that they'll cancel it as soon as they've burned off the six episodes that Wikipedia says are already done, if they wait that long. Comedy Central's efforts to expand the brand have a truly frightening mortality rate. But hey, what do I know? The utterly fucking dreadful, existence-of-a-loving-god-disproving Drawn Together lasted an unfathomable three seasons. I truly do not understand people. Or things.

But anyway: "Krod Mandoon" is not a guilty pleasure, because--if I can get all technical on your asses for a moment--"guilty pleasure" implies pleasure, and that's in pretty short supply on this show. The best moment in the first episode: Krod doesn't understand why his sword periodically bursts into flames, and when a spirit tells him some guff about its legendary power, he responds "I always just assumed it was defective!" It's partially the delivery, but that made me laugh pretty hard. But that's not a guilty pleasure either! Because I feel perfectly justified in having found it funny.

No, a guilty pleasure is this: in the second episode, the villain--who is clearly modeled after Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, but, again, not funny--is having a press conference, and in response to a question--which I don't even remember--he launches into our former president's "fool me twice, won't get fooled again" verbal farrago--exactly the same as whatsisface did it, except with fantasy names replacing Texas and Tennessee. And I have to admit, I found it pretty damn funny--but even while I was laughing, I was aware, in the back of my mind, that this was a really easy, lazy, uncreative joke, so I felt a little bit self-conscious about my laughter. And THAT is the definition of "guilty pleasure," for me.

This post was going to be about something else, but I got carried away talking about Krod Mandoon. There's a sentence you've never seen before or will again.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Makes me hope Jack Chick is right about Catholics.

I mean, really. As a bleeding heart liberal hippie relativist type, I am uncomfortable with loaded words like "evil," but what else can you possibly SAY? Fuck the fucking Catholic Church. Sure, there are plenty of individual Catholics who are good people, but it's beyond me how they can stand to be associated with an entity that is always always ALWAYS incredibly regressive wherever it counts.

Rather than leaving it at that, though, I'd like to highlight a fallacy that this article elides.

The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, ran an article Friday summarizing reports in mainstream Western newspapers quoting experts who have questioned the efficacy of condoms alone in fighting AIDS.

That's as may be, but this is bullshit. You know it, I know it, we all know it: the church doesn't care what "experts" think, except insofar as they can use it as a convenient self-justification. They don't oppose condom use because they're worried about its efficacy--they oppose condom use because they're opposed to fucking, and they think that condoms encourage fucking. They would take exactly the same position even if AIDS was suddenly, miraculously eradicated. But, of course, AIDS hasn't been miraculously eradicated, so what the hell--a few million extra corpses here and there, whatevs--if they can prevent one couple from getting it on, it'll all have been worth it!

You know, I find professional atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins generally insufferable, but goddamned if this doesn't make me moderate my views a little--sure, they're intemperate, but at least they aren't giant, malignant, death machines.

In conclusion, and to reiterate: Fuck the Catholic Church. Fuck them. And not in a fun way.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Is Jack Chick just in it for the money?

So there's this book, Hot Topics, which compiles six klassic trakts along with commentary and stuff. I kinda badly want it, but I kinda badly don't want to give money to ChickCo. So it's a dilemma. But that is not my point. My point is:

Home Alone - not available anywhere else!
This book also contains one new story that is not being released in tract form: HOME ALONE. It is an emotional message against homosexuality and child abuse. The interview and research on the pages that follow show the shocking plans of the homosexual activists who are determined to have your children. The chart showing the current age of consent in many major nations is proof that these people are making real progress to get our children, and will stop at nothing.

As you can imagine, I'm extremely interested in the homosexual agenda to abuse children, but this raises troubling questions: "not available anywhere else?" Where's the logic behind that? You can't hand it out if it's printed in a book, and partisans are probably already comfortably on board the God Hates Fags train, so what good is it? One would almost kinda think that, rather than evangelizing to non-believers, ChickCo was trying to make a buck by marketing themselves to insufferably ironic Chick connoisseurs like me. Jack, I call on you to prove this scurrilous accusation wrong by sending me a free copy of your book!


Dear President Obama,

Yeah. This makes sense, because I remember when some European country the name of which escapes me went through "a dark and painful chapter in their history" mid-century or thereabouts and then afterward made up for it by pretending it didn't happen and not prosecuting anyone. Oh, wait, didn't happen? Well I'll be!

Seriously, fuck this shit. I'm not even demanding that we haul out the guillotines; a South African-style reconciliation process would go a long way towards getting us where we need to be. But this is just high-grade BULLSHIT that virtually guarantees that this kind of fucked up behavior will continue.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Duck Comics: "Cave of Ali Baba"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Things it is impossible to be cynical about

Have you SEEN this video, from Britain's Got Talent? If not, you really ought to. I'm just saying. It makes you feel good about the world.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hooray for defeating Somali pirates!

Seriously, as you may have divined, I'm not much of a rah-rah-USA type of guy, but in this case I will say, rah rah USA. I'll tell you, I was really feeling for that captain, and I am damn glad that he made it out safely.

UPDATE: Check out all the rightbloggers going "BLARGH RESCUING PEOPLE FROM PIRATES PROVES OBAMA=TEH SUXX0RZ!!!!111eleventybillionone" Truly a sight to see.

UPDATE II: Man, Somali pirates are assholes. I am not normally a violent person, but in this particular case, I think it's imperative that some people get their shit fucked up.

UPDATE III: The more I think about it, the more I realize that UPDATE II represents exactly the kind of unhelpful attitude that is just going to spawn more violence. I mean, yes, we need to do what we can to rescue people who've been captured, but think about it: you live in Somalia, a borderline anarchist state afflicted by mass grinding poverty. If the only way out of that appears to be via piracy, well...obviously it's not a good thing, but we can no more solve the problem by killing people than we can solve the problem of terrorism by killing individual terrorists. The real solution would be to work towards a functioning government for Somalia. Of course, that's a pretty massive proposition, but it's the only way, if one's goal is social justice. UPDATE II is pretty embarrassing to me now, but it shall stand, as an object lesson in how people can react without thinking.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Duck Comics: "Three Un-Ducks"

Friday, April 10, 2009

World of the Dragonlords

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Duck Comics: "Collection Crisis"

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Update to below

Geoffrey Blum: Very nice, apparently both flattered and a little surprised that someone--let alone an American--would be sufficiently familiar with his writing to notice something like this. Not, however, inclined to make a big fuss over this--which is perfectly understandable, when you think about it in the larger scale of things. It would be an awful lot of trouble to defend intellectual property which very few people are ever going to see, and when you consider the stress involved, especially given that it would wreck whatever professional relationship he has with Andrae--well, you can see why it wouldn't seem worth it. Still bothers me, however, because seriously, dude, what the fuck? That's just not cool. At all. I suppose I'll still read the book, but my opinion of it and of Andrae is permanently tainted, so when writing, I'll try to credit him as little as possible.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Plagiarism among duck comics scholars? Say it ain't so!

UPDATE: Andrae responds.

Um. I feel a little weird writing this. I, after all, am just some random grad student; Thomas Andrae is a big-shot perfesser and journal editor. But...fuckin eh, man, I don't know what else to do.

So I was reading Andrae's book Carl Barks and the Disney Comic Book: Unmasking the Myth of Modernity. And when I got to a section about Magica, I thought, huh. This seems kind of familiar. So I went back and looked at Geoffrey Blum's introduction to Gladstone's Giant Comic Album Special #6, The Many Faces of Magica de Spell, and...well, you be the judge.


Yet her assumptions are fundamentally different from those of the tycoon. Believing that wealth inheres in objects, she inverts the whole ethic that built Scrooge's hoard, and Flintheart's. Nothing pleases her more than the prospect of gain without work; in one story she even invents a way to absorb good fortune passively through sunlight. I'll get extra-rich every time I get a sunburn!" she crows. "Laziest way to make money I ever heard of!" snarls Scrooge. Appropriate to her sorcerous calling, Magica is a kind of ghoul. Having no achievements of her own (even her spells are borrowed from Circe), she seeks to assume the power and wealth of others.


More disturbing is the fact that Barks' stories seem to confirm Magica's belief. When she hurls a meteor at Scrooge, the juggernaut simply deposits a second fortune in gold and diamonds on McDuck's land, proving the power of his lucky dime.


However, she ascribes to a philosophy directly antithetical to Scrooge's apotheosis of work, thrift, and self-denial. Believing that wealth inheres in objects, Magica inverts the whole ethic that built Scrooge's fortune. Having no accomplishments of her own, she seeks to assume the power and wealth of others through an alchemical charm fashioned from the first dime that Scrooge earned. Nothing delights her more than garnering profit without work. For instance, in one story, "Raven Mad" she even invents a way to absorb good fortune through sunlight. "I'll get extra-rich every time I get a sunburn!" she crows. "Laziest way to make money I ever heard of!" growls Scrooge. She is a kind of vampire who seeks to live off the blood and sweat of others, amassing a fortune while earning nothing for herself through her own labor. (243)


But Barks's [sic] stories seem to confirm Magica's belief in the magical power of Scrooge's revered coin. When she hurls a molten meteor at Scrooge's money bin, it simply deposits gold and jewels on his land, making him even richer. (247)

I do not wish to make accusations lightly, but this seems pretty damning to me. I am extremely bothered by this: I can't find any other specific examples of theft in Andrae's book, but how can I assume that therefore none exist? There's an awful lot of criticism--buried in fanzines and in the extremely out-of-print Carl Barks Library--that I've never had the chance to read, and it's hard to avoid thinking the worst. And what makes this especially irksome is that there's a lot of material in Andrae's book that would be very useful for the Barks-related paper I'm kicking around in my head. But goddamn, man, now I just don't know.

Anyway, I sent Blum an email, so we'll see what he says. Perhaps I should have written to Andrae directly, but I tend to doubt that a professor would react well to being called a plagiarist by some no-account grad student.


Monday, April 06, 2009

I'm STILL waiting for the Nicaraguan nun-raping simulator, though.

Hi, Konami, I'm A Basic Sense Of Human Decency. I don't believe we've met, but I'm thinking it's about time you got to know me. I'd like to talk to you about hey! get back here!

Duck Comics: "No Such Varmint"

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Duck Comics: "The Queen of the Wild Dog Pack"

New Chick Tract!

In spite of the awesomeness of the above image, it is generally at best, shall we say, workmanlike. Not super-inspired. We do however learn that eating disorders are caused by Satan, which is certainly a good thing to know.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Duck Comics: "Treasure of Marco Polo"

Friday, April 03, 2009

Gay marriage in fuckin' IOWA?

Man, maybe this country really is moving forward.

Truly despicable commercials

I can't find it online, but it's an extenze commercial that you see all the time on comedy central for the past, oh, week or so. I keep getting extenze confused with enzyte, but I guess they're basically the same thing. In one of the many digressions in his essay "Host," David Foster Wallace explains--not that this is a big surprise or anything--that what these places do is get people to call with their promises of a week's worth of their product for "free," then automatically set them up to receive more and get billed accordingly indefinitely and refuse to stop unless the victims actually go so far as to get a consumer group of some sort involved. And given the nature of the product--well, obviously a lot of people are reluctant to admit to having fallen for the scam.

But anyway, the commercials that I--and most people, I reckon--was most familiar with were the "Bob just got a big boost of confidence" spots, and while I wouldn't defend those, they're so blatantly, exuberantly sleazy that it's hard to take them too seriously. Which is perhaps the point, and perhaps what makes them effective, assuming they're effective.

But in this commercial, oh look, here's a normal-looking, Boomerish couple. They wouldn't screw you over, would they? And the guy says something like, "I've seen all these commercials for years promising to enhance size and performance. And I thought, I don't care about size, but performance--well, that could be fun!" See? He's a normal, well-adjusted guy who isn't doesn't have neurotic size insecurity! He wouldn't be flogging a dodgy product--he's far too respectable! And the woman says, "When he told me what these pills did, I thought, performance? This could be fun! Maybe we could increase our intimacy--make love more often." See? A nice, normal affectionate couple who's still hot for each other after all these years! Isn't that sweet! If they recommend it, well--it's gotta be legit, right?

I guess what's wrong with this--what I find really, really fucking deplorable--is that this is a very effectively-executed commercial. I suppose the intent is no worse than that of Smiling Bob, but while all commercials are manipulative to one extent or another, jesus christ does this one ever manipulate your feelings of goodwill while remorselessly lying to your face to an extent rarely seen in even the most mendacious advertising! If it were a human being, he or she would be a truly frightening sociopath, and I have serious doubts about the people who wrote, produced, and starred in it.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Duck Comics: "Volcano Valley"

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Somewhat big announcement

Well, maybe not. But: it's obvious that at this rate, Duck Comics will overwhelm this blog entirely. So from now on, I am going to post my duck posts here. That way, anyone who wants them can see them, and anyone who doesn't doesn't have to. A fair deal? I think so.

A Helpful Index Page

Well, "helpful" is very relative. Completely unhelpful for anyone who doesn't like the duck posts, but very helpful for anyone who wants nothing but! Anyway, here is a page that will be updated every time I do a duck post.

Duck Comics: "Dangerous Disguise"