Sunday, November 30, 2008

Three Porn Movie Titles That Parody Popular Political Movements

Cum-Passionate Cunt-servatives

Third Way Three Ways

Morning in America's Vagina

If somebody out there wants to whip up some graphics for a DVD box cover, I think we could make a fortune.

On Becoming Older

Due to unlikely and shameful circumstances over which I will temporarily throw a veil, I found myself on an early-morning LIRR train from the Flatbush Ave. station in Brooklyn to the untamed wilds of central Long Island.

I rode in predictable silence on the sparsely populated 3:00 a.m. to Jamaica Center, where I was to connect to a Ronkonkoma-bound train coming from Penn Station in Manhattan. But when we pulled in to Jamaica, who should I find awaiting my train but hundreds - HUNDREDS - of drunken teenagers.

My first thought was, "what the fuck?" My next thought was, "is this a threat to my safety?," which it wasn't (cops by the door, many kids already passed out, my generally inconspicuous appearance, etc.) Then I settled in to my seat and got down to the serious and inevitable business of passing judgement on others.

Here were the facts I had to work with: this was the last train from Manhattan to Long Island for a few hours before or after. It was the night before Thanksgiving, which, in America, is traditionally when we as a people go home to our families, become desperate for a way to avoid them, and go out to get drunk with all our other friends who also live out of town and are also desperate for a way to avoid their families.

Between these two bits of information, I could conclude these were Long Island kids out for the night, inexplicably travelling together 600 at a time. Harmless fun, right?

Thing is, these 1) kids seemed too young for college, 2) they had that sort of over-privileged, white-bred look, clothes and nature that bugged me (example: the one Latino kid seemed to know everybody, which I'm guessing was at least partly because he was the only Latino in the school.) and 3), and this is the part that really bothered me, the couple across the aisle from me each did a bump of coke about half an hour outside of Jamaica.

Now I'll talk later about why, but my initial reaction was that this just made me furious. Then I went through a bunch of possible courses of action (take their photo and post it here? Tell the cops? Confiscate it?) before settling on my standard New Yorker response of sitting quietly and not saying anything.

Then I went through a run of second-guessing - would they really do that with the cops three rows away? Could this just be some sort of nose-administered decongestant? Could I really dissaprove this strongly of a little coke and give the obviously stoned kids that filled up maybe every third seat on the rest of the train?

Finally I let myself accept the fact that I had definitely seen these kids doing some coke, I certainly disapproved of it, and I absolutely felt that I was within my rights to do so.

Here's my problem with coke versus, say, pot: it's dangerously addictive. Here's my problem with these kids: they were way too young to be fucking with this shit. What's more, this was clearly not a one-time thing for them. You don't casually do a bump on a train in more or less the middle of a nap with cops five feet away unless snorting coke has become ritualized and routine.

But we're not here to talk about over-privileged kids from Long Island. We're here to talk about me. And my thing is, there was a time - indeed, a time in recent memory, when I would have seen these kids - or maybe the non-coke-sniffing versions of these kids - as peers.

Well, almost as peers - not enough to expect casual drug use, but enough that I could see them as distant, Yankee version of my own friends.

Instead I was looking at this half-dressed high school senior and future frat boy and just trying to figure out how I could keep my future kids from ending up like that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Beware, Internet!

The internet is going through a Twilight fan fiction phase:

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Sore Thumbs
Shortpacked! (continues here, then click the forward arrow to keep reading.)

Ugh, is this another thing I'm going to have to learn about just because people are making jokes about it, like how I had to watch Titanic after I read this in the New Yorker?

Or will the internet be back to its usual stuff once the Christmas movies sweep the fall leftovers out and people start making jokes about how much Four Christmases is going to suck?

Must ... read ... socially-aware New York Times article about vacuous pop phenomenon ... must ... acknowledge ... popular tween entertainment choices ... must ... not be ... prejudicial ... NOOOOOOO!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

WALL-E as Outlier

My Hungarian friend has a habit of asking me questions that make me feel like a genius when I answer them. The other afternoon we were watching WALL-E and she asked me why WALL-E survived when everyone else had disappeared. The answer is that this WALL-E must have had something wrong with him.

We can see other WALL-E units in the movie that have run out of juice right in the middle of their programming. However, we know our WALL-E is self-repairing. What's more, there's a lot of things about WALL-E that just wouldn't make sense to put in trash-compacting robot, like his proclivity for "Hello, Dolly"-slash-ability to fall in love.

If this unit survived, it must be because something was different about it that led to some other behaviors that lent it to survival in such a hostile environment.

It makes sense - make a million units of something, and ten are probably going to have something wrong. With a thousand units with various defects, one might be an improvement. It's the same way we understand mutation in evolution (yes, Americans - that evolution.)

Why I Like Superjail

Animating is boring. You have to draw the same scene hundreds of times for a single minute of screen time.

The modern American solution to this problem is to mail the thing to Korea and get them to do it, or to animate on a computer, or to do both.

Regardless of their actual methods, Adult Swim's new show, Superjail, feels like the product of bored animators who do their own animating by hand and are trying to keep themselves entertained.

When animators get bored, which is often, they draw inappropriate things. Violence, pink elephants with substance abuse problems and naked Jessica Rabbits are the well-earned province of the bored-slash-hard-working animator.

Superjail shows many signs of animators doing things for themselves, like how each of the main characters has a particular style of moving through a scene that seems well thought-out and connected to their personality.

The Warden, for example, seems to move in great looping sweeps, like a splash of paint or a well-practiced signature. The Warden is divorced from reality in personality, and in appearance he tends to change shape and size without feeling any need to acknowledge the laws of physics.

In another sign of a dedicated group of animators, Superjail is very, very violent.

Let me talk a little about the violence.

One of my pet peeves is when people describe a movie as "violent" when there are very few actual moments of violence in that movie.

Perfect example: Pulp Fiction. Some guys get shot, one dude gets raped, there's some blood and guts, but mostly Pulp Fiction is just people talking. Sure, bad shit happens to people, but in terms of screen time, you'll find a lot more violence in an average Gov. Schwarzenegger film. Tarantino movies just feels more violent to people because there's a constant threat of violence and the violence that is represented seems more visceral than in a popcorn action flick.

That said, Superjail really is violent. People get sliced in half, they get their skin ripped off, they get forks plunged through their eyes. I just chose a clip at random from their website and there was a throat-slitting, a beheading, and a fatal stabbing in the space of 30 seconds.

Your kids should not be watching this cartoon, but you know what? You should. Just like the rest of the show, the violence is animated, surreal and actually pretty entertaining.

I have a few rules of thumb that I use to judge almost any piece of media. First, you can only take something as seriously as it takes itself. If a movie knows it's a silly movie, I won't hold its silliness against it. It's why I like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle better than I like, say, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Second, I prefer that people make art for a reason, and that they're honest about what that reason is.

If you're making a James Bond movie, you know and I know that I came for boat chases, amoral villains and beautiful, ethnically ambiguous women. Because we both know it, I'm not going to provide any objection to your providing for my needs.

But if you're doing something serious, and you want me to take it seriously, you'd better be in it for the right reasons. If your art has a message, it better be a message you believe in. Audiences know Oscar bait when we see it.

Thing is, when I watch Jackknife getting sodomized by an armful of broken bottles in Superjail, I feel like it isn't in there for me - it's in there because the guys who draw Superjail really wanted to draw Jackknife getting sodomized by an armful of broken bottles.

And, you know, more power to them. If someone feels either compelled or bored enough to take the trouble to do really funny violence, I'm going to take the trouble to enjoy it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Very Short History of Me and Woody Allen

So I started watching Everyone Says I Love You Thursday night in the belief that I haven't seen it before, but it turns out that I have. I think I actually saw it when it first came out, 1996, which would make me around 15.

There is really no way to explain how important Woody Allen is to Jews from New York who are not in New York except to say that if you are a Jew from New York who is not in New York, you know what I'm talking about, and if you know what I'm talking about and you're not a Jew from New York, then either Judaism, New York or both are probably in your future.

I was born in the Bronx and lived for five years in Scarsdale before moving with my family to San Antonio, Tx. at age five. Now, I am not one of those people who thinks that everything developmentally significant that can happen to you happens by age five. But I do know that for the next eight years, from five to 13, I was really pissed off that we had moved out of New York.

Thing is, I didn't actually know anything about New York. I mean - I was five when we left! And what's more, I wasn't from New York City, I was from Scarsdale - the suburbs!

However, and I've mentioned this before, New York is one of two places I'm going to say ever that you can come to some sort of understanding of just by watching T.V. and going to the movies.

Just like Mad About You can teach you about true love, Woody Allen can teach you about being a New York Jew.

I loved Woody Allen growing up. I wore glasses because Woody Allen wore glasses. I cheated on girlfriends because Woody Allen cheated on girlfriends. I even played Woody Allen in a Woody Allen play. And first thing when I got of college? Moved to Brooklyn.

Okay, here's my final proof: I am visiting our New York-branch-of-the-family cousins in London in 1998 when Deconstructing Harry comes out (I remember it was Deconstructing Harry because of the snappy music in the opening credits) . We go to a movie theater. Suddenly I realize: every ex-pat New Yorker living in London in 1998 is in this theater.

Don't believe me? Go to a sort of arty theater in London next year the weekend Whatever Works comes out. You'll see.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Neglected Political Issues

India-Pakistan Peace
My odd and obscure high school in Wales was founded on the principal that if you brought future leaders of the world together in one place, they would meet people from other countries and later be much less likely to bomb those countries.

The most important thing I found out at school was that people from all over the world are pretty much the same. The people you went to high school with are the same as the people someone living on the other side of the world went to high school with.

One group of people at my school were "Subconties," i.e. of subcontinental Asia, i.e. Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshies.

those not attuned to foreign affairs, let me give you a quick version of 60-odd years of history: India and Pakistan fight a lot. They both claim ownership of Kashmir, both countries' politicians blame everything on the other country's politicians, blah blah blah, they fight.

Thing is, we are talking about two groups of people who are basically the same group of people. I would be talking to subconties hanging out together in the dorm, conversation would turn to the 60-odd years of fighting thing, and they would say "Yeah. We're the same." Once you take out the politicians on both sides saying "they started it and we'll make them pay," you get two peoples who really ought to be getting along.

Know what that is? An opportunity for peace. A GOOD opportunity for peace. I'd go so far as to say there's a better chance of India and Pakistan working out their differences than of Israel and Palestine working out their differences. Get some of those Israel / Palestine people in there, they'll have a Subconties' Cricket League organized within a year.

Tariffs on Imported Sugar
I think all my information here is based on a single article in The New Yorker, but here goes:

Ethanol is a fuel supplement not made from dinosaur bones. In the States, most ethanol is made from corn because Iowa, an important early voting state in Presidential elections, grows a lot of corn and has made ethanol a litmus test for presidential candidates.

Thing is, you could make ethanol a lot more efficiently by using sugar instead of corn. However, most sugar is grown outside the United Staes, and the small-big problem is that sugar from outside the country is heavily tariffed.

Get rid of the tariffs and you're one step closer to a green economy. Problem is it takes a lot of balls to stand up to a highly motivated lobby like the one aiming to keep sugar tariffs in place.

Amtrak is perpetually kept alive by federal subsidies, but, outside of D.C. to New York, it sucks. Why is there only one train a day to Vermont? Why does the train from New Mexico to L.A. have three hours of "padding" in the schedule between the penultimate and final stop? Why is Amtrak always slow, expensive and uncomfortable?

I can't quite decide if Amtrak sucks because it's grown lazy due to federal subsidies and a lack of competition, or if it just doesn't have the resources to do better, but I am HEAVILY leaning towards "lazy."

What, is America the only country IN THE WORLD that can't figure out how to have proper passenger rail system? Europe does it. India does it. Japan does it. Shit, they've got trains in SIBERIA. We can't do better than Siberia?!

I see functioning train systems running out of New York - Metro-North, Acela (the functioning part of Amtrak), etc. Why can't the national Amtrak system get its act together and become a serious alternative transport for traveling the country?

I know Biden is a big Acela guy, but I'm hoping it'll be a Nixon in China thing - no one could accuse Dick of being a commie, so he had the leeway to open up relations with the mainland. Biden is an Acela guy - he'd be in a perfect position to get Amtrak to stop sucking on threat of an end of subsidies.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The One Question I'm Really Stuck On

If there's one question I could pursue for the rest of my life, it is "How do references in media work?"

What I am looking for is some explanation of how one piece of media refers to another piece of media that is as comprehensive as, say, an explanation of how molecules bond chemically to one another.

Here are some of my unresolved questions about references:

What makes a specific moment or scene in a movie or T.V. show likely to be referred to by other media?

How does being referred to often correspond with the quality of a work?

How does it correspond to the significance of that work? For example, is being referred to often what defines a piece of media as important?

Here's why I think references in media are a big deal. (Note that this is not necessarily why I think you should think this is big deal.)

In college, I had access to a big media library, and I spent a lot of time tracking down the works that I heard referred to the most often and watching them. It was how I decided what to watch. As T.V. watching strategies go, it was pretty successful. I watched a lot of good stuff and figured out what people were talking about. Call this the beta version of a true reference sorter.

Second, references are what are currently driving the internet. Google, arguably the lasting achievement of mankind for this decade, is based on an algorithm that places the things people refer to front and center in any search.

Third, it is only a matter of time before all of television is catalogued, and all references are searchable. If you want an idea of what I'm talking about, look here. The referenced by page of an imdb entry is basically a primitive first draft of what will be a comprehensive database of when anything is cited by anything else.

Searchable video may be a ways off, but Google has already made images searchable and books are next - at some point, it will move past YouTube and start cataloging all the television that's ever been shown.

Fourth, references are both central to American dialogue and our one best shot at understanding the future of the world.

Fifth, ???, Profit! If you can figure out, and I mean prove scientifically and not just "have an instinct for," what will capture the world's attention and be referenced in the future, you have a shot at building it before anyone else. Bam, the ever-elusive corporate-produced viral video. Or maybe a way to get a message of art, hope or love out. You know - whatever.

I am especially interested in the idea of creating new systems of references that cross cultures. I know a fair amount about U.S. T.V. and next to nothing about T.V. from everywhere else. If we can rank all television in importance based on how often it's referred to in other work, I can watch the ten things everyone in Argentina has already seen and be able to carry on an insider conversation with someone there without doing three years of groundwork.

Or I could try to understand what people in Nebraska are watching. Or people in 1978.

You know.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Three Things About Atlantic City

I like that the best bet at a Casino is to not play. It gives me a good reason to sit around my hotel room in my underwear, writing.

Know who else gets a lot of writing done in casinos? Woody Allen.

Know who else compares me to Woody Allen? My mom.

I have a habit of finding one place where I like to eat and then never eating anywhere else ever again. In Atlantic City, that place is the Asian fusion restaurant in Caesar's, which is called KWI.

The first time I was in Atlantic City, I went on a tour of casinos because I'd read in a book that doing this was cheaper than gambling.

When I went through Caesar's, this place smelled amazing. I promised myself that if I won enough money to afford it, I would come back and have a meal. That night, I got exTREMEly lucky on the river, and so the next day I had lunch at the place.

It. Was. Amazing. I ate with a bunch of Asian-New Jerseyite high rollers and one of them shared his snow pea tips with me. The - Best Korean barbeque. Some other thing that wasn't on the menu that I don't remember that was delicious. Fuck. Ing. Amazing.

Last weekend, I took my second trip to Atlantic City, and I didn't waste any time. I think I ate three meals there in three days, and the portions were so big that I pretty much just ate that and breakfast.

The food there was so good that I actually had to start eating better food once I got back to New York. I remember the first time I ate a sausage bagel breakfast sandwich after I got back from AC. I was disturbed that one of my usual New York meals seemed bland and flavorless, but I was more disturbed that maybe it had always been that way and I just had never noticed it before.

That's the problem with affected luxury - you can get used to it.

PostScript: After writing this, I realized that after a single night being bumped up to a Trump Taj Mahal luxury suite, I finally rented a new apartment.

Despite my best efforts and self-awareness that I was a living cliche, staying at an Atlantic City casino reminded me of the following bits of media:

Ocean's 11
Ocean's 13
The Apprentice
This episode of Cowboy Bebop, particularly the scene where they're standing in the futuristic elevator and it lists all the games you can play at the casino and what floors they're on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bumped Up at the Taj

It is strange to walk in to a room and realize that, at some point, someone has had sex on every flat surface there.

In a related matter: mirrored ceilings above beds make it very difficult to sit alone quietly and read a book (the light bounces all over the damn place.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

ribble's Brief Foray in to 2012

I starting writing this post in mid-October, when I was checking three times a day. Even then, for those of us closely following prediction sites, it was looking like a landslide - (this Politico article [link via E-V] presents some of the many theories on why the press didn't see it that way, but it's all sour grapes now I suppose.)

So I'm thinking: what can I, an intelligent but unexceptional political observer, predict about the future (say, 2012) without doing any research? Could I, for example, predict who will be THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?!?!?!*


But here are some guesses about who the Republicans could put up to run against Obama, a little bit of no-research handicapping, and then a sort of general statement that dismisses the whole exercise as pointless.

* I am writing a lot of things IN CAPS because I am reading the new JOHN HODGMAN and he does that a lot.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (Cal.)
Arnold has what David Bornstein might call a "small-big" problem - he would probably do pretty well if he ran for president, but it would be illegal.

Yes, you have to be born in the United States to run for president, and it would take nothing short of a constitutional amendment for him to be able to run. There is an "Amend For Arnold" movement out there which I refuse to google but I imagine has lost some momentum in the last three years or so.

So why mention him? Well, I like the idea of an amendment that allows someone born outside the U.S. to immigrate and run for President. Back when only white men could be President, maybe it didn't matter, but in this modern world, why not open things up to Americans with international backgrounds or funny accents?

It might be difficult to pull this off while my side is in control of things in D.C. just because the other guys already have their guy in mind, but I'll I'm saying is - Madeleine Albright 2016. Maybe at 79, she'd have to be at the bottom of the ticket, but come on. That would be awesome.

Leaving that aside - I almost feel like Schwarzenegger is too good a politician to take a show in 2012.

National name recognition, a carefully cultivated position as a moderate, awesome 1st lady, governor of some place (it doesn't super matter where you're governor of if you're running for president), and maybe even able to win California if he doesn't screw anything serious up in the next however long - this guy has too good a shot to try to run against a popular president with a high approval rating running for re-election. That's a sucker's bet. Look for a new Amend for Arnold movement around 2013 or 2014 anticipating a 2016 Arnold for President campaign.

Ugh. When CNN isn't talking about Obama's dog, they're talking about McCain's people calling Palin an idiot. And when they aren't talking about that, they're talking about Palin 2012.

It kind of makes sense to put these two ideas together if you assume running as a Republican in 2012 is a sucker's bet and Palin's some sort of sucker.

But I don't think Palin is the idiot we've been lead to believe. I certainly don't buy these anonymous campaign aids saying she didn't know Africa was a continent and couldn't name the countries in North America, and shame on Fox News, Jack Cafferty and whoever else for repeating it.

(Reminder to journalists: these McCain staffers were the same people making shit up about Obama.)

Sitting in her hotel lobby, Palin looked a lot smarter talking to the press than she ever did before. Now she has two years to get her act together on national and international issues instead of two months. She may surprise us.

Okay, that said, Palin represents a certain identity for the Republican party that I don't think is any longer tremendously effective or even very electable.

Maybe it's liberal wishful thinking, but I think if anyone's at the wheel for Republicans after they've had a chance to regroup, they'll start thinking of themselves as a pro-capitalist (as opposed to pro-business), more technocratic party that believes in climate change and puts results ahead of culture wars.

Absolutely none of that describes Palin.

Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.)

Young, fashionably non-white, willing to take charge of a place in trouble, from a state that had earned a reputation as nigh-ungovernable before he showed up, governor of anywhere and ready to make an argument on where the GOP should be going, Jindal is a serious guy with a serious shot at the nomination.

Gov. Jim Pawlenty (Minn.) or any of these other governors you hear about

Governors generally beat senators in presidential elections, but presidents tend to beat challengers. These guys are where the media is looking for the GOP's great white hope, if you'll excuse the term. Look for at least two governors to join the early hunt against Palin 2012.

REMINDER: I am not being more specific because I have not done ANY RESEARCH.

Alan Keyes (Illinois or wherever)

Alan Keyes is the perpetual African-American Republican candidate for president who no one takes seriously (or maybe this last time he ran as an independent or something? I am flying without a net here, people.) Last time Keyes was noticed by anybody: when he ran against Obama for Senate in Ill. after the original guy dropped out due to being corrupt or something.

Look for Keyes's name on your ballot on Nov. 6, 2012, and expect to be surprised to see it there because you have not really heard anything about him, and then to forget all about it by the time you leave your polling place.

Newt Gingrich

I am a diligent watcher of Stephanopoulos, where former house speaker and former kind of a jerk Newt Gingrich made occasional appearances on the round table.

From where I was sitting, Gingrich was coming across as a sort of lapsed elder statesman - he'd had his shot, been around, still knew the score for the most part, but could sort of do his thing as a commentator because no one really thought he'd be getting back in to politics (see Carter, Gore, Ayers, etc.)

So maybe a month ago, Gingrich was on and giving it pretty hard to the McCain people. Specifically, he was making a lot of anti-Obama arguments much more strongly and starkly than McCain had been doing it. Gingrich was sounding a lot less like a guy spending his retirement writing book reviews on the internet and a lot more like, well, like Rush Limbaugh.

At first, I just assumed that Newt had been politicized by the election just like everyone else. But when I was writing out my notes for this list, it occurred to me that maybe Gingrich was looking ahead, positioning himself for a run at 2012.

Gingrich is a return to the past, but he's still got a nationally recognized name, and there are those who think that what McCain did wrong was not being ENOUGH of a 1998-style Republican. Without doing any research, I'd take a chance and rank Gingrich among them.

I would not be surprised to hear about Gingrich taking a shot in 2012, but I'll be even less surprised when the media starts mentioning it a few years from now.

Why It Was Especially Dumb to Spend a Month Writing This

Here's a big secret that ought to be conventional wisdom: Obama is going to win reelection in 2012 no matter who runs against him. Here's why:

1) Incumbents tend to be re-elected.

2) The stronger challengers will wait for 2016.

Biden has said he won't run, meaning the Republicans will have a lot of the advantages in 2016 that Democrats had this year - basically, an open field against an incumbent party. Smart contenders will bide their time. The 2008 field will be taking their last shot before they're too old to compete.

3) Obama probably won't screw up in either his governing or in campaigning.

The most opinionated Republican commentators have adapted this very annoying "just you wait - you'll see we were right when Obama starts screwing up slash being a liberal terrorist" sort of attitude since the election. Fact is, Obama probably won't screw up.

The most persuasive evidence I see for this is how Obama ran his campaign. My mom was volunteering for the man in New Mexico. One week she came up to Brooklyn to visit, and there happened to be an article in the Times about an Obama campaign office in Pennsylvania or someplace. Mom said she recognized almost everything described in the office from her own Obama campaign office.

That sort of national consistency takes a master administrator. If you don't want to take Mom's word for it, check it this last word from FiveThirtyEight's On the Road series. It's almost enough to make you pity McCain - that guy was out organized from start to finish.

Obama is someone who learns from his mistakes and corrects them. Here's how Clinton won reelection: he never announced he was running and he started campaigning early for the time (like, two years before the actual election). Obama knows this. He will do these things.

4) Either the economic crisis will be resolved and Obama will be able to take credit for it, or it won't be resolved and the electorate will look to the Democratic party to fix it.

Reelections generally have more to do with the economy than anything else - it's the biggest reason Clinton won in 1996.

I believe that if anyone can solve this thing, it's our man Obama. But maybe he won't, or no one could - no matter.

The American electorate tends to favor Republicans on national security and Democrats on the economy. It's the number one reason Obama won this time out. Even if the economy is as screwed or more screwed than it is now, if Obama looks like he takes it seriously (and he will), he'll win reelection.

Don't buy it? Take 2004 as an example. That year was a national security election. The country was in deep trouble in two wars.

The American electorate still thought Bush was the only one who could be trusted with a national security crisis. It didn't matter that Bush was the one who had gotten us in to that mess in the first place - Americans trust Republicans with national security and Democrats with the economy, full stop.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Six Comics About Obama

Six Post-Election Comics About Obama

Three Mock-Cynical Comics About Obama
"Barack Obama and the Invasion of Time" from Bob the Angry Flower (compare to "Kerry Wins", maybe the saddest non-Peanuts comic ever written)

"The Two Presidents" (context starts here-ish or you can read up on Presidential Candidate Kerry Edwards in the news post here. Obama is becoming a strangely defined character in Overcompensating, take a look at the strip here to see what I mean.)

"President Hussein" at American't

Two Genuinely Sentimental Comics about Obama
"Dear Mr. Obama" from American't

"$15 from Leendert Geffen" from Donation Derby

One That Could Go Either Way
"Morning in America" from Cat and Girl

Tellingly, and lot of the cynical and genuine comics are coming from the same people.

My favorite thing said in a comic about Obama, from before the election:

"The engine of America is smoking and making clanky noises, ladies and gentlemen. We can worry about the radio when we hit the next gas station -- if we can make it there. Obama is not perfect but for a hitchhiker he's pretty good-lookin and he has a half-gallon of gas and says he knows how to work on cars and he doesn't seem too weird so let's pick him up."

Thank you, Jeffrey Rowland.

[update 8/14/09: Gastrophobia. I remember when I first started going through online comic archives, I would inevitably come across the strip the artist made for 9/11. Maybe now I can start coming across the strips everyone made for Obama's election!]

Friday, November 14, 2008

Johnson for Mayor 2009

May I be the first to recommend Avery Johnson for mayor of San Antonio?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Casino Vay Kay

Okay let's play roll the dice /
At the casino they treat you nice
-Freezepop / Vacation

I like Atlantic City because there is always someone around to help you out. Where's the bathroom? Where's the poker table? Could you get me a drink? How do I get to the Marina? Is there anywhere to get something to eat this late? They would love to let you know.

You don't even really have to pay attention to who you're asking - a uniform is a uniform. I once accidentally asked a New Jersey State Gaming Commission officer where I could check if I'd earned any comps. He didn't know specifically, but he certainly made an effort to answer.

I should note that I am not a relentlessly over-privileged capitalist in the grand American tradition. I do not send food back in a restaurant. Whenever someone pours me a glass of water, I look at him and say Thank You. I am uncomfortable being too attended to as I tend to equivalate this to making a scene. I surprise cashiers by speaking Spanish. I am an unceasingly polite customer.

In the casinos, however, the math changes. I am essentially making everyone money simply by being there. In these circumstances, it is in everybody's interest to listen, smile politely, and explain calmly how I may be able to add my name to the poker tournament starting in half an hour.

I don't mind enjoying this consumer haven for a couple of nights. After all, I'm paying the rake same as everyone else.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

ribble's Brief Foray in to Politics: Could This Be THE END?!

The election is over, but I have still not broken the habit. That said, if CNN says one more word about Obama's goddamn dog, IT IS OVER.

Seriously, I am thinking of starting a new blog consisting of nothing but cursing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

ribble's belated foray in to politics

The comment below this comic made me think of this, which had similar results.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Feels Like a Tuesday

I woke up at six a.m. and headed to my polling place to find it already packed.

I voted, got a cup of coffee and a bagel, read the paper and went home to watch CNN.

Now I'm on the train, and I think I recognize this feeling. It is exactly like the feeling I had Sunday in between the time when I finished making my movie and the time we showed it to other people.

It is the feeling of having made your effort and now having no choice but to await the results.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Presidential Stereotyping

Based on the prejudice map.

John McCain is known for *
... championing campaign reform
... straight talk, not snide talk
... having complete temper tantrums

Sarah Palin is known for *
... winning the world's longest snowmobile race four times
... her strident views on religion
... dirty tricks in Alaska

Obama is known for *
... his command of the English language
... his use of strategically-placed pauses
... firing up crowds with his oratory

Joe Biden is known for *
... his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
... misspeaking
... long-windedness at Senate hearings


The problem with watching Borat for the first time this weekend is that I'm incredibly tempted to do the voice, and two years ago that shit was so over that it actually started again.

I have a movie showing tomorrow at First Sundays that I'm actually pretty proud of, maybe because I haven't edited it together yet.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

How I Spent My Last Presidential Election Night

Four years ago Tuesday night, I was hanging out with My Friend The Kiwi at my place. The Kiwi and I had been hanging out a lot at my place even though she lived uptown because I had a TiVo and we were watching a lot of 24, and because I guess we didn't know a lot of people in the city at that point.

I was not following the EV and other important factors as closely then as I do now.

Also, we were drinking.

As a result, we started out very, very excited, and I remember as the night went on we just got more and more sober and depressed. Around the time Edwards came out and said "I'll guess we'll just have to wait until tomorrow, kthxbai," we just went to sleep.

Our feeling the next morning is represented in artistic form here, in the saddest cartoon of all time.

Post Script - Tuesday night's plans are here.