What th’?

April 24th, 2010 | Travels and Appearances

What a weird dream! I was Las Vegas with Harvey Pekar… oh… wait. I AM in Las Vegas with Harvey Pekar! Here we are in line at LAX this morning, just before Harvey was detained and frisked by security on account of his hip replacement.

89 Responses to “What th’?”

  1. Acilius says:

    Cool! I suppose it’s everybody’s dream to get strip-searched alongside Harvey Pekar. Oh wait, only he was searched. Ah well, better luck next time.

  2. Ruth in RI says:

    I dreamed that I rented American Splendor from Netflix more than a month ago, and still haven’t gotten around to watching it. Oh, wait. There it is on my hutch, still in its envelope.

  3. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I just don’t think anybody could replace Harvey Pekar, no matter how hip.

  4. Kate L says:

    Flying from LAX to any airport in the northeast, you probably flew over my house at the midway point. Hi, AB! :)

  5. rinky says:

    cool photo

  6. Anne Lawrence says:

    Therry and St. Jerome –

    HA HA HA HA HA THIS IS ME LAUGHING AT YOUR RIDICULOUS WORDPLAY HA HA HA HA

    Why Las Vegas, of all places? There are other much more exciting places to be, even with Harvey Pekar.

  7. Dr. Empirical says:

    Ah, the joys of traveling!

    Ya know, I forgot to pack deoderant. I had to BUY some!

  8. Sherry says:

    Alison, Kudos to you for standing next to Harvey Pekar!

    This is just a suggestion from me and I’m nobody….but, smile more. Show us those pearly whites! You’ve got it Sweet Pea, so own it! Don’t look so depressed all of the time.
    I’m new to you and your blog and your site and I’m liking it more and more.

  9. freyakat says:

    #8: wtf?

  10. Kate L says:

    According to the Associated Press tonight, “OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two abortion bills Friday that he said are an unconstitutional attempt by the Legislature to insert government into the private lives and decisions of citizens.”

    This makes two weeks and two midwestern governors who have vetoed abortion bills that would limit women’s reproductive freedom. First, Governor Mark Parkinson of Kansas, and now Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma. Unlike Vermont, the midwest lives in an eerie parallel universe where state legislatures are conservative and the governors are progressive!

  11. Michelle says:

    Just wanted to say hello & tell u I enjoyed seeing u on LOGO and today I stumbled onto your page. I must say your art work is very entertaining

  12. Jessica Bessica says:

    #3 ftw!

  13. Ready2Agitate says:

    wow, Harvey’s esprit de vie just jumps off the page. The fella has wonderfully playful energy.

    I hope you enjoy coming home to VT, AB, where it is likely all lush and bursting green right about now. (I call Las Vegas, my “anti-place.”)

  14. Pam I says:

    Tee-hee moment – someone at the UK Foreign Office let slip a brainstormed set of plans for the pope’s forthcoming vist (paid for by UK taxpayers, and believe me there are counter plans) – that his itinery should include opening an abortion clinic, launching Benedict Brand condoms, and demonstrating to schoolkids how to do forward rolls to keep them fit. One head has rolled.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/25/pope-benedict-condom-gaffe

  15. NLC says:

    Concerning the saga of the AB and the Lost iPhone:

    In the “It could be worse” category perhaps many folks have already seen this story: Lost iPhone Prototype

  16. Ian says:

    @Pam I: Thanks for that. Gave me a giggle on a blue day. Something tells me that the brainstorming meeting took place with some very bored officials on a lazy Friday afternoon.

    Of course, what the Pope should be doing is a barefoot pilgrimage to Jerusalem to atone for the Vatican’s recent sins – the silent collusion with the Holocaust (particularly appropriate for the current Pope), the silence with regards to slavery and racism, and most importantly, the widespread child abuse over the past goodness knows how many years. Somehow I don’t think we’re going to see it, more’s the pity.

  17. Pam I says:

    @ Ian, nah, I still prefer the idea of offering the pope to Eyjafjallajökull to appease the volcano gods.

  18. Kat says:

    I’ve never read Archie comics, and to be honest, I didn’t know that they still existed (I thought it was a mid-20th C thing….). But they do, and apparently there’s a new guy in town…who is gay:

    http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/93608?fp=1

    Does anyone here actually read those (or have they in the past), and if so, is it memorable/significant that the strip is getting a new (gay) character?

  19. Calico says:

    I saw the news the other day.

    I sometimes read my old Archies circa 1971-1976.

    This is a first, and a good one. Welcome to 2010, Arch, and congratulations.

  20. Dr. Empirical says:

    Archie editorial struggled with the gay issue for a long time. They wanted to make a statement on tolerance and inclusion, but they also have a decades-old policy of refusing to admit there’s such a thing as sex, straight or gay.

    So yes, this is a big step, but no, it really isn’t, because after this news-making story is over we’ll seldom, if ever, see the character again.

  21. Yeah, the last time I flew, at one stage in the detainment I mean boarding process, I forgot to announce I have a metal knee. When the detectors went off, my “silence” combined with my obvious fat dyke crip appearance meant I got to go behind an incomplete barrier, take off my shoes (which I cannot get back on by myself) and get thoroughly felt up while being grilled about my ability to forget I have an alien body part.

    But at least my skin is white, which means I’ll be able to drive through Arizona without papers to prove I deserve basic civil rights.

  22. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#18)

    I read them as a kid. Not sure how the storylines and characters have progressed over time, but the central characters were very white, and very whitebread, in the 1950-ish mold of conformism and consumerism, with the shallow concerns of sheltered high school kids. Of course, the girls were preoccupied with trivial sex-restricted interests.

    I assume that the characters were allowed to evolve somewhat over the decades (the cast widened to include persons of color), so addition of a gay character to the cast is probably not going to be a big issue after the initial flurry of attention.

    No doubt some “family” group will decry Archie and call for a boycott, but many ultra-religious folks don’t allow secular entertainment such as Archie in their homes in the first place.

    It’s interesting to note that while there’s increasing visibility of LG in mass media (not BT, unfortunately), there’s just about zero visibility for differently-abled folks. I can’t think of any actors other than Marlee Matlin who regularly show up in mass media with a visible disability. Forget wheelchairs, I can’t even recall seeing use of a cane, unless the character being portrayed is geriatric or recovering from an injury. Except of course, in DTWOF, where Thea did show up with wheelchair and arm crutches.

  23. Bechadelic1 says:

    Ha, plenty of fun comments on today, too lazy to respond individually, but I’m having a great time reading them! I still read Archie comics, when I can get them. I think their bigger struggle is with trying to move away from the straight women stereotypes they’ve ingrained many of the girl characters with. Still good fun and I’m glad to hear of the gay character. Let’s hope he isn’t here simply to appease and appeal for the moment and then disappear into oblivion. I always wished Jughead would turn out gay! He’s just the coolest of the Archie characters.

  24. Kate L says:

    Word has reached the States that CleggMania has begun in the U.K. Details, please?

  25. Kate L says:

    Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Republican Governors Association has decided to embrace the memory of terrorist Guy Fawkes. No, I am not making this up – see for yourselves !

  26. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Bechadelic (#23)

    Jughead is a slacker, a character type which has a long and noble history. Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s smarter brother, was also a slacker. In more recent comics, Zipper in Doonesbury is a slacker. Thinking back to Russian literature, Oblomov is a slacker whose sloth got him into the Russian, then Soviet, lexicon. My reading of Oblomov tells me he was also clinically depressed. The guy never even got out of bed for about half the novel.

    Slackers rarely get proper recognition, they are often dissed on some level. The slackers I mentioned above are creatively slothful, they work hard at not accomplishing anything.

    I’d love to be a slacker, but I have too much damn energy to do it right. I like getting things done.

    Imaginary conversation goes like this: “And what do you, little Hairball, want to be when you grow up?” “I wanna be a slacker!”

    Now that I’m getting close to retirement age (not necessarily voluntary retirement, I’ve turned down a couple of buyout offers that I couldn’t afford), I’m thinking about working on my slackerness.

    First order of business is to plop my butt in a well-padded chair with a glass of wine, and catch up on a few decades of reading. Then to catch up on a few decades of sleep deprivation. The wine will help. My therapist says I won’t be able to do that for more than a few months, at best. Too much energy, and too much inner drive to do stuff. Probably true, but I’ll give it the old college try.

    (… goes back to her cuppa Joe and the task of sifting through the pile of unopened mail that can go straight into the shredder …)

  27. hairball_of_hope says:

    re: Wheelchairs in mass media…

    Oh, how did I forget Ironside? Of course, Raymond Burr only played a guy in a wheelchair, I can’t think of any actors who actually USED a wheelchair in real-life. Christopher Reeve in the remake of ‘Rear Window’ does not count here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironside_(TV_series)

    (I think this URL will get munged-up because of the parentheses, Mentor will have to work his HTML-magic on it)

  28. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ HoH # 26

    I would love to be a slacker too. But if so, I would love to also have Jughead’s metabolism. My goal of living on potato crisps and fried onion rings will never come to fruition if my metabolism continues with its own “ah let it all go to her hips” slacker mentality.

    That said, oh for the life of a cat. The life of one of my spoilt cats preferably.

  29. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Bechadelic (#28)

    Ah yes, the life of a cat. Indeed. I’m with you on that one.

    (… rolls over on her back, waiting for someone to stroke her belly as she purrs …)

  30. Ready2Agitate says:

    Like Hairball, I, too, cannot fully tolerate too much down-time. Gotta DO stuff! Clearly we are in good company here (not to mention the prolific AB, cough cough!)

    was Lois the slackerest character in DTWOF?

  31. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#30)

    Yeah, Lois was the slackerest character, but only by comparison to the hyper-productive Clarice, Sydney, et al. I had originally included a reference to Lois in my post, but I deleted it.

    Upon reflection, I realized that while Lois has slacker tendencies, her slackerness is directed at the conventional career world. She is quite un-slacker-like in her work at home-schooling Janis (and presumably JR), and in her social activism.

    I guess we can call her a selective slacker; she directs her energy where she feels it is most useful, and disdains spending energy on the conventional making-money-treadmill.

  32. lh says:

    Archie was the only comic I was allowed to read as a kid–especially the “special” ones from the Christian bookstore. Everything HOH said sounds pretty familiar. I’m pretty shocked to hear they’re going to have a gay character. But, I do think I remember them having a character in a wheelchair. Does anyone else remember him? I don’t have any of the comics anymore.

  33. hairball_of_hope says:

    @lh (#32)

    Don’t know about the wheelchair character, but you are right about the “special” Archie comics from the Christian bookstore. In the 1970s and 80s, there were “Christian” editions of Archie.

    When I’m deep in the heart of Bible-belt country, I go into cultural anthropology mode and cruise the Christian bookstores to see what stuff they are selling, and turn on the “Damnation and Doom Channel” to see how the fear-mongering preachers inspire/fleece their flocks (“we will send you Pastor Fleece-A-Lot’s latest inspirational sermons for your offering of $25″). Joyce Meyer is entertaining, but many of those other preachers are downright scary, as is the so-called news on the 700 Club.

  34. Kat says:

    Hairball, one of the characters on Glee is a wheelchair user….but, like all of the characters on Glee, stereotypes abound….

    I think I’ve learned more about Archie in the last few minutes than ever before! You folks rock

  35. Ironside wound up in a wheelchair because of a badguy bullet, and the show relentlessly emphasize the “tragedy” of his being in a chair. Plus he had to have a full-time attendant (the shows’s only person of color, of course) and get around in a ginormous van with a lift. He was definitely not independent or disabled-rights proactive.

    House walks with a cane and finagled (in his usual nisanthropic manner) a disabled space for his motorcycle. Interestingly, Hugh Laurie has complained he’s starting to have orthopedic problems from faking a limp so much. I can well believe itm walking in a manner which accommodates a physical limit is exhausting and painful.

  36. Andrew B says:

    Hoh and others, interesting points about the slacker type. If we’re willing to count a recurrent but not major character, I think Carlos was actually the biggest slacker in dtwof. Among the major characters, I agree about Lois.

    Many of the characters were slacker-ish without completely filling the role. E.g. Ginger took forever to finish her dissertation, then got a job that let her continue living in the same place she always had. Mo spent a large chunk of her life in a dead-end sales job. Clarice made an art of indecision. Lois, as R2A points out. Even Sydney has some slacker characteristics, in her desire for pleasure and her refusal to be serious about things that other people consider important. But all of them were too tightly wound, in one way or another, to really be slackers. A lot of the comic tension of the strip came from that.

  37. lh says:

    Wikipedia reveals the existence of the character “Anita Chavita, a character that briefly appeared in the 1990s, who was both African-American and paraplegic. Rather than handling her disabilities naturally, Anita kept bringing them to the surface with comments like “my legs may not work, but at least my brain does”. Ultimately she was jettisoned due to lack of reader interest. However, she is worthy of note because she was a love interest for both Jughead Jones and Dilton Doiley, making her the first instance, in an Archie comic, of interracial or interethnic romance.”

    Anita can’t be who I was thinking of. I quit reading them by the mid 80′s and I really think I remember the character being a white guy. Maybe my memory is just unreliable.

  38. Ian says:

    Lois was never a slacker! Look at how assiduously she undertook her love life and, later on, her trans activities/ism. She also put a lot of effort into helping and homeschooling Janis as well. Carlos was the slacker par excellence of DTWOF.

  39. Feminista says:

    And he was damn good at it! A nice,relaxed male role model for Raffi.

  40. Kate L says:

    What is the mysterious, Svengali-like power that this Nick Clegg person suddenly has over the British masses? Is it due to his boyish good looks, his velvelty oratory? Enquiring yanqui minds want to know !

    Oh, and a few minutes ago, I had to brake for an otter running across the street! Or, it may actually have been a prarie dog… out here, it could have been either. Maybe this isn’t much compared to the coyotes of Manhattan or the werewolves of London, but it was my big excitement for the day! Wait a minute, I’m pretty sure that Werewolves of London was just a Warren Zevon song…

    “He’s the hairy-handed gent/
    Who ran amok in Kent.
    Lately, he’s been overheard in Mayfair.
    You better stay away from him/
    He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim!
    I’d like to meet his tailor.”
    - Warren Zevon, Werewolves of London

  41. little gator says:

    Ironside had severe chronic pain, but never took anythign for it except aspirin. This was supposed to be a good thing.

  42. Ian says:

    If you must know about Nick Clegg, Kate L, he did something no politician has done since Margaret Thatcher in the 80s. In a prime ministerial debate between the party leaders on TV he actually talked about real, solid, actual policies instead of vague sentiments about “change” and “healing broken Britain”. He actually stated a policy that his party stood for. He also opened up the possibility that you don’t necessarily have to vote for credibility-bereft Labour or Conservative parties.

    Isn’t it revolutionary? He actually said something and it was vaguely interesting too. I’m still reeling from the shock. People are so sick of Labour and Conservative that they’re actively considering voting for other parties. Sadly this includes far-right parties.

  43. Kate L says:

    (Ian, #42) Thanks! I thought that it might be something like that!! Cleggmania has begun!* :) Actually, when I was in grad school back in the late 80′s/early 90′s, I was hooked on the televised sessions of Prime Minister’s Question Time from Parliament. And, dare I admit, on the dashing former British marine who was the leader of Britain’s Liberal Party back then. As I recall, though, it turns out that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way…

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Republican governor of Arizona has signed into state law a bill giving police in Arizona the ability to detain people “on suspicion” of being “illegal aliens” and to demand that they immediately produce papers proving their legal status or face arrest. Can you say, “Identity papers, please” in your best Third Reich gestapo impersonation? The bill allows police to search private homes on the same “suspicion” without warrants. Can you say “racial profiling”? This is all somewhat less edifying than what’s wot in UK politics these days. “Blimey!”, as we say in Kansas.

    * – What Canadian political sensation of the 1960′s was the first to have his last name used in connection with a “_____mania” label? HINT: It wasn’t Diffenbecker, or even Lester Pearson! Hmmm… are my 60′s references becoming increasingly more obscure???

  44. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#43)

    Trudeau.

    Calico and her fellow Canucks can better explain Trudeaumania, and how Trudeau pushed through the Charter of Rights (which is why there is gender-neutral marriage in Canada). His legacy is a mixed bag in PQ, however. He’s seen as having betrayed Francophones.

    I had the unfortunate experience of visiting Montréal around the time of the separatist votes in 1980/81, and it was not pleasant to be an Anglophone unless s/he was waving American dollars. Open your yap in English with Canadian dollars in hand, and prepare to be treated with overt hostility and rudeness, even around McGill.

    Extra points if you know who said, “Vive Montréal… Vive le Québec …Vive le Québec Libre!”

  45. Kate L says:

    Le Grande Charles (DeGaulle) !

  46. Kate L says:

    I used to live on Rue Parc Fontaine, just off Charles DeGaulle Boulevard… in New Orleans.

  47. Fester Bestertester says:

    Speaking of which:

    The story of how Canada got its name.

    Years and years ago when the country was first settled it was decided it was necessary to come up with a name for the new land. But, sadly, try as they might, no decision could be reached.

    When all seemed the most hopeless the oldest, wisest member of the group stood and said “Since we cannot come to a decision, I suggest we let fate decide. Here is what I propose. I will write each letter on a slip of paper, place all the slips into a toque, then draw out the letters one at a time. Whatever is spelled out will be the name of our wonderful new country.”

    So the preparations were quickly made and the assembled party stood in rapt silence as she drew out each slip of paper and solemnly read the results:

    “C, eh…”
      ”N, eh…”
        ”D, eh…”

  48. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#40)

    Perhaps you sighted a jackalope?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackalope

  49. Kat says:

    Kate L, there’s no “E” on the end of “grand” if it’s masculine….not to be a pest, sorry!

    Ian, I’ve not been paying attention to English politics just lately, is Clegg the Lib Dem candidate?

  50. Ian says:

    @Kat(49): He is the leader of the Lib-Dem party indeed. It’s a very close election indeed and I don’t think it’s been that close since, ohhhh, the days of Ted Heath and Harold Wilson! We’re talking 40 years ago. So far, the Conservatives are predicted to win the most overall seats in parliament, but not to win an overall majority. If this happens, then either Labour or the Conservatives could form a government, but they would need to make a coalition with the Lib-Dems in order to do so. Usually, the largest party in parliament is invited to form a government first.

  51. Pam I says:

    @ Kate L at al: two things have happened here for this election. We are moving even more towards presidential politics, where the personality of party leaders is the supreme decider. And there are live TV debates for the first time. The liberals got themselves airtime as the third party in our essentially two-party system. Clegg performed well on the first one, and suddenly bumped the liberals into the light. If the votes really follow him, we could have a hung parliament, so it all gets more lively.

    IMHO he did it by being None Of The Above, there is a lot of switching off from party politics not least because of the exposure of ridiculous expenses claims from all parties last year (the third significant thing this time). Clegg (Lib Dem) does seem fresh because Brown (incumbent, Labour) looks tired and has a wonky eye, Cameron (Conservative) looks smooth to the point of slimy.

    The broadsheet UK papers are the best place for info though all have their bias. So check the Guardian, the Independent, the Times and the Telegraph. See if you can work out which paper wants what…

    Me, I’m voting Green.

    Oh and Kat, this is UK/British election – not English!

  52. Pam I says:

    PS The election is on May 6th. Here the whole process is meant to happen in 3 weeks – from announcing the date (which is not fixed, anything up to five years), there is a week to clear up Parliamentary business, the house shuts down, candidates are declared and there are 3 weeks of hardcore electioneering.

    There are also local elections in most of the country, in my case a much more important campaign as the incumbent Labour council looks like losing power after 40 years. This will make a difference to the things they have control over – planning is where I get exercised.

  53. Antoinette says:

    Maggie #21, I had the dubious honor of being felt up by a creepuscular security guy in the Daytona Beach airport on my way home in 2005. He asked me out for a drink. It’s put me off air travel ever since.

    Kate #40, there were a couple of movies too.

  54. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#15)

    At least The Woz has a sense of humor about the lost iPhone prototype… Steve Wozniak released some photos of himself drinking a beer and checking his iPhone, while wearing a T-shirt which reads: “I went drinking with Gray Powell and all I got was a lousy iPhone prototype.”

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20003345-37.html

    Of course, Steve Jobs isn’t laughing, and he’s the guy in control of Powell’s career at Apple.

  55. Kat says:

    “Steve Wozniak released some photos of himself drinking a beer and checking his iPhone, while wearing a T-shirt which reads: “I went drinking with Gray Powell and all I got was a lousy iPhone prototype.”

    …That’s because the Woz is awesome. Did you see him on Dancing with the Stars last year? Much fun. Poor guy had about 17 left feet, but he looked like he had a blast.

    Pam I, thanks for the correction, and please don’t tell my father about my slip up! I’d never hear the end of it!

  56. Kate L says:

    (Kat #49) My apologies. Gender identity is not my strong suit.

    Here is the Guy Fawkes – glorifying, Obama- attacking ad of the Republicans that I mentioned. The link is in a Huffingtonpost story about it.

  57. Acilius says:

    @Feminista: I just replied to a comment of yours on the previous thread.

    @h_o_h #22, Kat #34, Maggie #35: As you three and other regulars probably know by now, my wife uses a wheelchair. She occasionally comments here under a very long screenname that includes the word “Believer.”

    The Believer and I often talk about how wheelchair users are depicted in mass media. More precisely, we talk about how rarely wheelchair users are depicted in mass media. One thing that seems remarkable to us is how few wheelchair users appear in TV commercials. Those who do appear all come from a very small range of categories. Young wheelchair users are particularly invisible; they don’t show up even in ads for wheelchairs.

  58. Feminista says:

    @Acilius last thread: True,but it’s still worth a read.

  59. Calico says:

    #44 – Ah, PET – the much-revered and oft-dreaded enigma of Canada.
    I generally admire the man, except for the “Longest Knife” betrayal of René Lévesque, and I’m still debating as to whether or not he should have initiated the War Measures Act during the FLQ crisis. Odd for such a hip, seemingly liberal politician. (However, the FLQ did kidnap James Cross and Pierre LaPorte, and LaPorte’s strangled body was eventually found in the trunk of a car at a Montréal airport.)

    What I do admire him for as well is his statement that “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.”

    Oh, and, Charles de Gaulle for the point.

    I went to see several concerts in Mont. in the early 80′s and never experienced any hostility, but them again I never visited McGill.

    Phun Phact: Mia Kirshner from “The L Word” attended McGill.

  60. Calico says:

    #45 – Sorry Kate, I didn’t see your post!
    Point revoked! Rrrrrnnnnt! : )

  61. --MC says:

    WAIT. Why are you and Harvey in Vegas?
    Why not in Portland for Stumptown? I was there. Met Kate Beaton, had a blast.

  62. Kate L says:

    (Kat #49) Right you are! Once, I even wrote “St. Genevieve Limestone” in a professional article when everyone knows that it’s really the Ste. Genevieve! Was my face red!

    In middle school back in the late 60′s, I put together a storyboard about the crisis that happened when President Degaulle insisted on France using gold as the basis of international exchange instead of the dollar. I appropriated Charles Schultz’s Peanuts characters for the strip. Tragically, my artistic skills were never encouraged! If they had been, who knows where it may have led – perhaps to the glamorous and exciting life of a cartoonist!!

    Sorry, Calico (#60) :(

    Hey, everybody, they caught the goat ! Yeeeeeehaaaaawwwwwww !!!

  63. Sherry says:

    I raise pygmy goats. Please expand!

  64. I just wanna say, whoever included that Wiki link re jackalopes, I learned more there than I would ever have imagined, thanks.

  65. Alex K says:

    @24 / Kate L: Backing up Ian and Pam. Both the Tories and Labour are so beholden to various interests (Tories, to “old money”, Labour to unions) that neither of them can say: “Britain is overspent. We have the commitments of a world power and, without financial-market City-of-London jiggery-pokery, the economic base of Belgium. In order to be allowed to fawn at the USA’s feet we’ve embarked upon illegal wars and promised to spend billions of pounds on the likes of nuclear armaments and aircraft carriers, which have no purpose against any true threat — read, against domestic terrorism. This has to stop; we have to cut our coat to fit our cloth.” The Liberal Democrats can step back, assess our situation, and sum it up: Neither Tories nor Labour offer hope of getting to grips with the changes that must be made. With those debates, Clegg has begun to be frank with the electorate. This is refreshing and energising. Perhaps only a Tory Prime Minister can safely say: We can’t afford to defend the Falklands; good luck with them, Argentina. Perhaps only a Labour Prime Minister can safely say: We can’t afford a third aircraft carrier; we’re closing down the Glasgow shipyards to which the work would have been contracted. However, neither the Conservative / Tory candidate nor the Labour candidate has shown any signs of being ready to face facts, whilst Clegg has done. Time was, because proportional representation has not been introduced into Britain, that no one would consider voting Liberal Democrat unless tactically — but with Clegg, perhaps this can change, and the ping-pong back and forth of power between two groups, neither of which thinks of Britain’s interests but instead only of its backers’ interests, can be broken. And that is why Liberal Democrats are poised to do very, very well among the people whom I know, in the constituency where I live.

  66. Minnie says:

    Thank you, Alison and Harvey! I very much enjoyed your presentation, discussion, and Q & A at Royce Hall, UCLA, last Friday.

    #51 – Pam I, a question:
    Do the candidates in the British elections have spending limits?

  67. Ian says:

    @Alex K(66): Brava! You put it so much better than I could. I find it very hard to be balanced about politicians these days as my contempt for them generally has limitless depths.

  68. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    @Ian #38, I’m with you! I think of the immense amount of energy that Lois put into her love life, and how available she was to Mo to get her jobs and comment on Mo’s love life, such as it was. And Lois always had a job! Admittedly below her potential as a wage earner, but for cat’s sake, who’s working at capacity these days? (Actually, now that I think of it, my husband, sitting next to me at the other computer, is working like a sumbitch.) But Lois is no slacker.

  69. Alison, thank you and Harvey for coming out to Vegas for your Titans of the Graphic Novel tour this past Saturday! Have you ever been to Vegas before? I can’t imagine that you or Harvey would ever come to Las Vegas of your own volition, I’m just now after 28 years of living here learning to appreciate this city for the charms it does have.

    I also wanted to share with you and readers of your blog, my blog entry (with an accompanying photo of you and Harvey and a photo of your tour illustration) from this past Saturday night: http://ichliebecomics.blogspot.com

    [Freed from spam-trap limbo. --Mentor]

  70. Pam I says:

    @Minnie #67. Good topical question. I don’t think there is a spending limit – ? No party is meant to accept donations from non-Brits. The Tories have a good friend in their deputy chairman, billionaire Lord Ashcroft. He is pouring (unlimited) tens of thousands of pounds into marginal constituencies. Turned out that he is domiciled in Belize so does not pay UK tax on his overseas earnings, but that deosn’t seem to matter. He is a significant bogeyman in this increasingly bitter election campaign.

  71. Pam I says:

    Oops wrong – there is a limit of thirty thousand pounds per constituency. I think from a quick read of the Electoral Commission site, that this can be averaged out. So that’s 19,500,000 GBP overall per party if they run in all 650 seats. A little less than the hairdressing budget in the US no?

  72. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#56,63)

    As long as we’re being picky about your French, you forgot the accent grave in Ste-Geneviève. :).

    Blurring gender identity must be tough for folks whose native language has very strong masculine/feminine components. It’s not just the first name, pronouns, and honorifics. In some languages, even the surname identifies the gender (e.g. Navratilov/Navratilova, Khrushchev/Khrushcheva).

    (… goes back to her blurring vision, oh wait, that’s rain on my glasses …)

  73. Kat says:

    “So that’s 19,500,000 GBP overall per party if they run in all 650 seats. A little less than the hairdressing budget in the US no?”

    Yep. I wish we could impose such limits! Here in California, we’ve got a probably-evil-but-we-don’t-know-yet (because she won’t actually speak straightforwardly about anything) billionaire running for governor, and another running for the senate, and they will probably spend more than those 19.5 million pounds (well, the dollar equivalent) each.

  74. Alison, you seem to be having the most amazing life.

  75. NLC says:

    hoh#73: concerning: Gender-specific naming.

    To point to a specific example of this: I have a Czech friend for whom this means that she and her mother have the last name of Somethingska, while her father and her brother have the last name of Somethingski.

    This became something of an issue when she decided to become a single mother by choice. Figuring that her son would probably have enough “interesting” questions to answer as he grew up in the American Southeast, she decided not to add to the confusion by requiring him to constantly explain “Why do you and your mother spell your last names differently?”. As a result, she kept his last name as Somethingska (i.e. the feminine form of the name). Needless to say, she’s still getting mail –10 years later– from various relatives who can’t seem to understand why she gave him a “girl’s name”.

    …and, of course, there’s the Icelandic convention of Ericson/Ericsdotter…

    …or semitic languages (e.g. Hebrew) where the verbs can be gendered…

    …or cultures in which there are distinct “men’s language” and “women’s language” (e.g. Lakota)

  76. Kate L says:

    (Sherry #64) A goat was running down the center of the street the other day. He had a look of pure joy on his face!

  77. Sherry says:

    #77
    Kate L
    LOL…good for the goat!

  78. Renee S. says:

    RE: Slackerville and Steel Knees

    My coworkers tell me I live on adrenalin. I have to admit that they’re right.

    In June I’ll be getting a steel knee. (I asked the doc if he could make it super bionic; as I wanted to see if I could kick a football 1000 yards. But he said my insurance wouldn’t cover it..)

    I’ll not be at work for 90 days while recovering. Slackerville sounds inviting. Maybe for about a week. Yeah, wine and books sound great. But I’ll probably be on some form of narcotics.

    I’ve decided that I’ll spend my summer making more guitars….

  79. Dr. Empirical says:

    I consider myself a slacker. I mean, I’ve had my doctorate for over 15 years, and I haven’t published more than half a dozen papers, none particularly ground-breaking or controversial.

    I’ve always done the minimum I could get away with to reach my goals. Does the fact that I have goals at all elevate me above slackerhood? Generally, my goal boils down to “get THEM to leave me alone so I can lay on the couch and read comic books.”

  80. Acilius says:

    @Dr E #80: “I’ve had my doctorate for over 15 years, and I haven’t published more than half a dozen papers.” You never know when you’ll start taking more advantage of a professional qualification. For example, I finished my master’s degree years before I ever got a dog.

  81. Kate L says:

    (Dr. Empirical #80) Back when I was a doctoral student, I published more than the man who was the chair of my department. He resented it like hell. Since then, I’ve slacked off considerably, but I’ll be darned (pardon my language) if I’ll feel bad about that. Yes, darned I say! As Buzz Aldrin once said, some people will be against you no matter what you do. Oh, and while we are on the subject of publications, the Huffington Post is running this story of publications with names that are unintentionally sexual…

  82. Dr. Empirical says:

    Alison & Harvey’s LA presentation was written up in Comic Book Resources: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=25947

  83. Hayley says:

    Sorry if this has already been covered and recovered but as a vegetarian, I always sort felt “kick-the-can” about bacon conversations because we all know that “fakon” just doesn’t cut it for bacon eaters…so I am happy to have found this: http://www.jdfoods.net/products/baconnaise.php
    Has anyone had it, this bacon in a jar? This spreadable carcinogenic wonder?

  84. Hayley, their website says a local grocery carries Baconnaise — and the nutitional info beats bacon, which isn’t saying much, but still, I do dine on swine. So next time I get groceries, it’s on the list. Will report here if no one else has yet.

  85. Kate L says:

    Maggie, no, no, no! :0 Don’t do it! Get a nice bunch of vegetables instead!

  86. Lurk-A-Lot says:

    @ Dr. Emperical #80

    Just got up from lying on the futon reading a comic book (Adrian Tomine’s Sleepwalk). As a lifelong slacker, I’ve structured my entire life around being able to do just what you expressed:“get THEM to leave me alone so I can lay on the couch and read comic books.”

    Jughead played a very important role in my life: He was the archetype for my dream guy (my animus, I believe).

    @ Haley #84

    Baconnaise! YOWSA! I don’t eat meat from the pig for many reasons, the least of which is being a vegetarian. But bacon always has my attention.

    The nearest I’ve ever gotten to experiencing it’s alluring flavour was through Hostess brand Sour Cream and Bacon (flavoured) potato chips, and that was over twenty years ago. This particular flavour disappeared from the shelves of corner store I frequented, and eventually from my radar.

    But now you tell us there’s Baconnaise! Thank you for this.

    I sure hope it’s available in Toronto.

  87. Kate L says:

    The former Republican leader of the United States Senate, Dr. Bill Frist of Tennessee (also a surgeon) has said that he is “very proud of the (Obama) administration for having addressed this (health care reform), and that he could have voted for the bill had he still been in the Senate. Details from the Huffington Post.

  88. hairball_of_hope says:

    Well, I’ll be… Obama is honoring the memory of Dr. Dorothy Height by ordering all US flags flown at half-staff on 4/29/10. Now THAT’S change we can believe in.


    The White House
    Office of the Press Secretary

    For Immediate Release April 26, 2010
    Presidential Proclamation — Death of Dorothy Height
    DEATH OF DOROTHY HEIGHT

    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    A PROCLAMATION

    As a mark of respect for the memory of Dorothy Height, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that, on the day of her interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such day. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

    BARACK OBAMA