January 26th, 2007 | Uncategorized

It’s late and I’m nearly hallucinating with exhaustion. But here are just a few items from my day.

A film clip of my TGV ride from Tours to Angoulême, where I’m attending this giant international comics festival. Check it out! I didn’t speed up the film. That’s how fast we were going. I wish we had trains like this in our godforsaken gridlocked country.

I spent a somewhat bewildering day at the Festival International de la Bande Desinée, doing interviews, signing books, and wandering around in a sleep-deprived stupor. My job is to hang around my publisher’s booth, see photo. That’s my editor Jean-Luc, and Marie.
Denöel booth

I did a signing, and made little awkward sketches in peoples’ books, because that’s what you’re supposed to do at comics festivals. But lemme tell ya, I felt a little ridiculous sitting next to this guy Hippolyte, a fucking genius who created these elaborate watercolors for everyone of the Robert Louis Stevenson pirate story he illustrated.
Here I am following Jean-Luc through the throng. I’m happy to say that I saw no one dressed in a spandex superhero costume.

me following jean-luc through the throng
But I did spot the Dark Knight himself.

me & the dark knight

After a lovely (but in the  French style, very late and lingering) dinner with some people from my publisher and the amazing autobiographical cartoonist Fabrice Neaud, whose work has inexplicably not been translated into English, and with whom I’m doing an event with tomorrow–I have retired to my very non-Ritz Carlton, ultra-budget French chain motel. I don’t care. I’m so fried I could probably sleep in the town square. Not that I’m anywhere near the lovely, medieval town square. Then must have thought that as an American I’d be more comfortable out here among the car dealerships and the Buffalo Grill, which is right next door.

no more ritz carltons for me

77 Responses to “Angoulême”

  1. mlk says:

    perfect! looks like the one bed is ready to crawl into, and the other’s there to hold stuff.

    sleep well, Alison. you’ll hear plenty about the rest of your entry tomorrow . . .

  2. sunicarus says:

    Nice digs, Alison. lol Has a…je ne sais quoi….youth hostel with wall-to-wall carpeting vibe. Check out that phone on the wall. Is that circa 1978?

    On a humorous note, the photo of you and Jean-Luc looks like you are in a casino.

    Great photo of you and “The Dark Knight”!

    LOL! on the car dealerships and the “Buffalo Grill”. It could be worse. You could be next to a mall. ((Shudder)).

    Thank you for the short film of the faster-than-light train ride. Amazing. I second the emotion on feeling gridlocked. Think about it. What if we had a national rail transportation system like they have across the pond? Amtrak is so limited.

    Anyway, sleep well and enjoy your adventures ahead! Bon soir. Q’est-ce que vous avez…. “Sweet Dreams”? Oh, well. My French is very rusty. Sheesh.

    Carry on!

  3. anon-eponymous says:

    The Master of Ballantrae is a longish novel and only a small part is about pirates. Wikipedia calls it “a masterful tale of revenge, set in Scotland, America, and India.” I’ve read almost every book RLS wrote and I’ld say it’s by far the saddest.

  4. Pam I says:

    But did you get a trouser press?

  5. Aunt Soozie says:

    Congrats on all of the awards that you mentioned in your earlier post…very exciting and well deserved recognition.

    That Batman is kinda sexy for a dude. I think I had a little crush on him back when he was on TV. Maybe it was that deep soft and sultry voice of his, or the androgynous nature of the costume, or his intimate relationship and gentle ways with the young and naive Robin?

    Glad to hear that there were no scary costumed real people to contend with…so…maybe even I would be safe coming to Comicon in NYC? Maybe your publisher could give us some more info as to how, where and when we would find you at that event. Their website is a maze of information and I couldn’t find anything other than the fact that you’d be there.

    Sleep well and sweet dreams!

  6. Josiah says:

    Wow — Alison Bechdel and Batman. It is a strange, strange world we live in. (Ain’t it great?)

  7. Jana C.H. says:

    The video made me think of a comment by Dr. Samuel Johnson to the effect that one of the most exciting things he could think of was to be riding very fast on a macadamed road in a well-sprung carriage with a handsome woman. He would have freaked to be on that train with Alison.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Samuel Johnson: Be not too hasty to trust or to admire the teachers of morality: they discourse like angels, but they live like men.

  8. Chewy says:

    New York Comic Con, Alison & Batgirl? or Poison Ivy?

  9. wednesday white says:

    Man, you’d think it’d at least be a Hippopotamus, not a Buffalo Grill.

  10. Silvio Soprani says:

    I can’t get that melancholy Elephant from Tours out of my mind. I will let you know if I dream about him (her?) tonight.

  11. Josiah says:

    Chewy, you know that the new Batwoman is gay, don’t you?

  12. RI Red says:

    Who knew that Microtel operated in the EU? Am I correct in thinking that the room does not have HBO? 😎

    Alison, would you consider posting a pic of the fabulous lemon garlic mustard (or the brand name)? I have a friend in Paris who likes to send us culinary “care packages”. Lemon garlic mustard–think of the sauces–mmmmmm. On the other hand, I can only imagine the menu at the Buffalo Grill.

    Sleep well.

  13. Deb says:

    Gawd, it looks like a dorm room! The pictures are great. I would be happy to just be in France and I understand the exhaustion. Keep up the good works. You are loved all over the world.

  14. Juliet says:

    I once hitch hiked through France on the way to Morocco to raise money for charity. From Caen on the north coast, down through Angouleme (probably at about 3am in a truck stop) and crossed into San Sebastian at midnight. If we’d been allowed to take that train it would have been a somewhat different experience.

    It took us 8 days.

    Something everyone should do once; and never, ever again.

  15. Vicky says:

    I love Fabrice Neaud. It’s worth learning French just to read his (beautifully drawn) journals. Wish I was there!

  16. Elisablue says:

    Oh dear, it sounds your hotel is in one of those ugly “zones commerciales” , all the hotels in town might have been booked up with le Festival ..

    As for the TGV, yes, it is great, and it seems almost normal now to whizz around at very high speed … In the seventies , Paris -Marseille , almost 7 hours by train, now 3 hours …

  17. Chewy says:

    Snap! Batwoman? I’m off to my local comic book store to check out Kathy Kane in 52. Thanks Josiah.

  18. Colino says:

    And just who is Jean-luc Fromental, Might you ask?
    Here’s something he wrote (he doesn’t do drawings). It was published in the early eighties (my heydays…) in a magazine called Métal Hurlant. I picked this one because there weren’t too many language barriers to break… (hope this works for everyone: click on the Fromental link on the left. By the way, I’ve been wondering: does this blog allow for BBcode, or is it plain html?)
    Oh, and Fromental also worked on a book called Hergé’s Adventures… And he won an award in Angoulême, a while ago, as co-author of another book (can’t remember which rightnow…)

  19. Lydia says:

    I just had the simultaneously horrific and groovy notion that Alison might expatriate to France a la David Sedaris. You’re not entertaining the notion, are you, Alison? I mean, yes, the trains are fast, but we’re on the verge of a bio diesel boom…


  20. yelena says:

    Hmmm, I went on the DC comics website and couldn’t find a word about any gay Batwoman… The 52 website ( doesn’t list her in the cast of characters, and describes her so-called ex-girlfriend, Renee Montoya as “reacting to the death of her partner, Crispus Allen.” …am I missing something? Was that article a spoof? Did they try to introduce a gay Batwoman and then abort the mission? Does anyone know anything about this?

  21. Chewy says:

    I went to my comic shop today. 52 is the title of a series, containing loads of superheros stories, slow moving I’m told, weekly for a year, thus 52. It is not just a Batwoman book. The latest issue is week 38. I picked out 4 issues of the ones currently available at my shop. Week 33 is the only one of them I could find with Batwoman. Bayboy gives Batwoman a Bat-a-rang for Christmas. Renne Montoya sharing a Christmas kiss with a woman who might be Kathy Kane alias Batwoman. I haven’t read it yet, just glanced at the illustrations. All the issues (with previous stories of Batwoman) are to be reprinted in 3 sets of graphic novels, according to my comic store guy.

  22. Josiah says:

    Yeah, Batwoman is really a supporting character in 52 — however, her ex-girlfriend, Gotham cop Renee Montoya, is one of the protagonists. Crispus Allen was her partner in the police sense, not the romantic sense.

    Montoya was out before 52 — there was a book called Gotham Central (focussing on what it’s like to be a cop in Batman’s city) in which she was one of the protagonists.

    And yeah, that’s Kathy Kane that Renee snogged at Christmas.

  23. cybercita says:

    i loved those tgv trains when i lived in france! i had to learn not to look out the window, though. i’d get sort of sick to my stomach if i did, everything was so incredibly blurry that it was impossible to focus.

    re: the interview video.i was just in germany over the winter holidays. to my astonishment, smoking is now banned there in most public places. i now have very little excuse not to move to europe.

    have fun! eat something wonderful!

  24. yelena says:

    Thanks, Chewy and Josiah, for filling us in.

  25. Tera says:


    Will you be at WonderCon in SF?? Say yes!

  26. Josiah says:

    OK, more than you probably wanted to know about Renee Montoya and Kate Kane, thanks to Wikipedia and the fact that I’m a sad comics geek:

    The character of Renee Montoya first showed up in Batman: The Animated Series, and was later incorporated into the Batman comic books. In these early appearances, nothing was revealed about her personal life — she was just a Gotham cop who got frustrated when Batman got to a crime scene before she did. She became a bit more three-dimensional in a long crossover story called “No Man’s Land“; in part of that story (which was told in all the Batman comics throughout 1999), the Batman villain Two-Face became obsessed with Montoya, and developed a fantasy relationship with her. She was able to use his obsession to stop him from murdering another police officer (if I recall correctly), but it was clear that even if he hadn’t been a hideously scarred psychopath, he wouldn’t have been her type. There were a few very vague suggestions about Montoya’s orientation, but nothing concrete until the 2003 story “Half a Life”, originally published in Gotham Central issues 6-10 and subsequently collected in a trade paperback (here it is on, but of course we all know that it’s better to shop from your local comics store). In this story, Montoya is outed by Two-Face (you can see two key selections from the story here and here), and has to deal with the consequences on the job and with her (Catholic, conservative) parents. It’s quite a good story, and worth checking out; it won both the Harvey and Eisner awards, and was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award.

    Montoya’s been out ever since, and (as has been stated) is now a main character in the weekly comic 52. After her partner was shot by a corrupt cop who got away with it, she left the force, and has been working alongside a superhero/detective called The Question. In 52, Montoya’s been portrayed very much as a film noir-style detective: hard-living, somewhat bitter, with a weakness for the bottle and a bad history with women. One of the women from her past (introduced in 52) is Kate Kane; there’s an article about how the relationship is being portrayed here at, that goes into a bit more detail than the one at did.

    So far, Kate is a bit underdeveloped as a character; however, I expect DC will spin her off into her own title once 52 is finished.

    There. Wasn’t that pathetic?

  27. Olivier says:

    I love Fabrice Neaud, too. Please tell us something later about what it is you did with him.

  28. Alex Woychek says:

    Oh my,

    Batwoman, Angoulême and Fabrice Neaud.

    I definitely LOVE this blog.


  29. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh on Josiah…it isn’t pathetic…but, what is pathetic is that now I might have to go to my local comic book store and find that series, 52. (and after I mocked those superhero obsessed people…tho, I do have to say, the drawing quality in what you shared seems so inferior to what we’re used to here.)

  30. Aunt Soozie says:

    uhm, dyslexia,
    I meant to say
    Oh NO Josiah…

  31. Josiah says:

    Well, few comics artists are up to Alison’s standards, but Michael Lark (who illustrated those Gotham Central issues I linked to above) is pretty good — at least, he’s above par.

    I don’t know if I can recommend 52 to “non-superhero-obsessed” folks — it’s a sprawling saga with many interrelated story threads, and might be difficult to follow (especially if you’re not starting at the beginning). The Montoya storyline (featuring Batwoman) is just one — other narrative threads include a mystery superhero in Metropolis (while Superman’s temporarily AWOL), Lex Luthor creating his own superhero team, a group of heroes lost in space and the former Elongated Man (yes, you read that right) trying to bring his wife back from the dead. The story is compelling in a soap-opera fashion, and fun for fanboys and fangirls who know the ins and outs of the “DC Universe”, but you can tell it’s created by a committee. (The art’s rather variable too.)

    But if you can get hold of Gotham Central, either in back issues or trade paperbacks, I recommend it highly. It’s like a good police drama that just happens to be set in Batman’s home town.

  32. Doctor E says:

    52 is intended for an audience of hardcore comic book geeks; in fact not just comic geeks but adolescent power fantasy geeks. If you’re not into the boots-n-spandex thing it won’t do anything for you.

    Yes, there’s a gay Batwoman, but they haven’t done anything with her beyond some juvenile humor at the comics cons. The Gotham Central story Josiah mentioned above is a good one, though, concentrating on how the costumed psychos affect the lives of real people.

    As for New York Comic Con, expect crowds. BIG crowds. Expect to have to walk sideways, forcing your way between people, some of whom will be in Superhero drag, and some of whom will not have bathed as recently as one might wish. Last year it was so crowded that people had to stand in line outside in the February wind for hours, and many couldn’t get in at all, even the ones who’d bought tickets in advance. Supposedly they will be better organized this year, but it will still be crowded.

    That said, I’ll be there, and I’ll definitely stop by to say “Hello” to Alison. If you’re thinking of going just to meet her, then wait until they post the final schedule before making your plans. That won’t be for another week or two, at the earliest.

  33. --MC says:

    Here’s some news you can use.
    We picked up a rental film last night, a collection of educational films from the 60s, the “sex and drugs” assortment — anti-pot screeds and helpful information on adolescent changes to the body.
    One of the films was called “It’s Wonderful Being A Girl”, and was a film about the joys of menstruation — joy of joys! — and had a thinly concealed commecial for Modess pads and belts. The thing was bankrolled by Johnson and Johnson, so there you go. Anyway, at one point the hip teacher with the big hair passes out a book with a helpful calendar in back to help the girls track their cycles — the book is that “Growing Up And Liking It” book mentioned and pictured in “The Indelible” —
    So if you want to see the film that goes with the book, the collection is “The Educational Archives: Sex and Drugs” (Fantomas Video, 2001). Or (hail technology!) go here:

  34. Aunt Soozie says:

    Josiah and Doctor E,
    Thank you so much for the comic afficionado and convention scoop! I may opt to wait for Alison to be back at some quieter venue… like Bryn Mawr…
    Doctor E…you have quite a way with the descriptive language!
    Thanks Again,

  35. Aunt Soozie says:

    Alison…hmmmm…I’m wondering where you are?
    I know you weren’t off skiing in Angouleme so I’m certain you aren’t stuck on a slope somewhere in the cold risking your talented digits.

    Maybe your charger died, or you’re having some other lap-top problem? Or the convention exhausted you beyond ability to post? Or…and this is the sordid speculation of my paramour…you found a lovely French woman who politely requested (en francais with a cigarette at the ready) that you to do a private reading from Fun Home?

    Power point is so convenient like that…the lap top, and therefore the presentation, can go from the auditorium to the boudoir with little advance preparation. I think even Austin Kleon would agree that such an example reflects Power Point being used for good, not evil.

  36. Doctor E says:

    Why thank you, Auntie!

    When I say “adolescent power fantasy geeks” I am, without question, describing myself.

    I’ll be covering the convention for one or more comics publications (People with press passes don’t have to stand in line!), and I’ll be glad to post a link here to anything Alison-related I may write. Is such shameless self-promotion considered socially acceptable?

  37. […] The 2007 Angoulême Comics Festival took place in France over the weekend. Major English-language coverage of the Festival was best provided by The Comics Reporter’s Bart Beaty (Previously linked: part one, an overview of the shortlist of award nominees; part two, a brief weather report; part three, which notes concerns over the Festival’s future; part four and part five cover the opening day on Thursday. Over the weekend: part six reports on Friday’s activities; part seven offers some immediate post-Festival reflections) and MetaBunker’s Matthia Wivel (Previously linked: a look at Angoulême and its discontents prior to the Festival’s opening. Over the weekend: a brief encounter with Lewis Trondheim; some observations on Thierry Groensteen’s new book, Un Objet Culturel Non Identifié, which debuted at the Festival; the above-quoted commentary concerning an on-stage interview with Charles Burns; a detailed report from another on-stage panel, this one a roundtable discussion of Thierry Groensteen’s aforementioned new book; and some reflections on this year’s prize winners). Elsewhere, Fun Home/Dykes to Watch Out For creator Alison Bechdel blogs her impressions of the Festival. For those who can read French, ActuaBD and BDzoom both offer extensive Angoulême coverage. […]

  38. Ann S. in Madison says:

    OMG. I knew comix and graphic arts were big, but not this big!

  39. Thérèse says:

    What’s the book in the lower right hand corner of the first photo in this posting? The one with Jean-Luc and Marie? The cover looks like the silhouette of an adult, and a child holding onto a fence and hanging from her/his right arm……

  40. Deena in OR says:

    Oh, MC…the memories that video brings back!!! (Background)I grew up attending school on US military bases overseas. My dad was an elementary principal in the military schools system. Anyway…the year I was eleven (early seventies…) there was *one* year that the sixth graders had a sex segregated “health” class, one hour a week for four weeks. One of the main pieces of the curriculum for the girls was that film. Like I said, that one year. Didn’t happen for the sixth grade class for the two years before, or the two years after.

    I still think that it was a way for my dad to ensure that I got the information without actually having to have “the talk.”

  41. Aunt Soozie says:

    I also was subjected to that film in the early seventies in sixth grade…at my school it was an every year affair…a one day thing for the sixth grade girls. After the film they gave out a booklet and a little gift bag with samples of pads.

    As I watched that film today I thought it should be retitled…The Stepford Wives Educate Girls About Men-strew-a-shun. and to all of you menstruating women out there reading this, please, please remember…don’t over do it!


  42. Maggie Jochild says:

    In 1974 or thereabouts, my partner at that time (with whom I was in “menstrual sync”) persuaded me to use each other’s menstrual blood to paint designs on our faces before we went for Sunday dinner at my mama’s house. We were young and it was the times, what can I say. She swore she’d read that Yoko Ono had done it. Our daughter, who was 4, clamored to be included but we used watercolors for her face. When we arrived for dinner, Mama took one look at my face and said “I know exactly what that is, and I may be a member of NOW but if you want my pot roast, you’ll go wash your face.” I obeyed without a word.

    Did I overdo it, Aunt Soozie?

  43. Deena in OR says:

    Ann S., thanks for the Comicon calendar link. And that doesn’t even have the manga/anime cons listed. I chaperoned my 14 year old daughter to one here last year. Conventioneers are *definitely* their own minisubculture. There’s some way cool sociological observing that can be done at those things…masquerading as peoplewatching.

    Yes, she did do cosplay, if anyone speaks the language 🙂


  44. Maggie Jochild says:

    Aw, c’mon, Deena, we’re language freaks here. For those of us who are non-comicas (as opposed to non-commies), please ‘splain what cosplay is. Tell us what we’re missing when we don’t go to these thangs.

  45. Josiah says:

    Hélène, isn’t that book the French edition of Fun Home, as seen here?

    And Maggie, here’s Wikipedia on cosplay. It’s a portmanteau from “costume play”, and apparently its origins are Japanese.

  46. Deena in OR says:

    Costume play, when you dress up as a character from your favorite anime (or less frequently, manga). Acting out scenes is optional. 😉 Manga, for the uninitiated, is a Japanese comic strip, long form, or graphic novel. Anime is, unsurprisingly, Japanese animation…frequently aimed at young adults and teens.

    Yuri = lesbian manga 🙂 Google it.

  47. Maggie Jochild says:

    Hey, for all of us who have at times discussed or wondered about the impact this blog is having in Alison as an artist, and about the dynamics of this blog itself, there’s an excellent article up at (you’ll have to get past an initial ad if you’re not a subscriber) that covers a lot of this territory. The tag for it read “Massive online feedback has rocked writers and changed journalism forever. This brave new world is filled with beautiful minds and nasty Calibans and everything in between. Its benefits are undeniable. But do they outweigh its insidious effects?” You can find it at

  48. Alex K says:

    Thanks, Maggie. A very effective admonition to comment less.

  49. Elisablue says:

    Maggie, thank you . Extremely interesting article indeed …

  50. Helene says:

    Josiah, yes it is. What do you think, do you prefer the American one?

  51. sunicarus says:

    Josiah~ Are you familiar with Yoshihiro Tatsumi? I believe he calls his work “gekiga”, a term used to describe darker, more realistic cartooning. A friend recommended “Abandon the Old in Tokyo”. Have you read or heard of this work? Any info you might have would be great. Thanks. ~sun

  52. Nan says:

    While you were out…the book editor of the Seattle Times, who is on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle Association, wrote this interesting piece about the selection process, in which she reveals that Fun Home was voted onto the finalists’ list by the membership (if 20%–or more!) of the voting NBCC membership votes for a book, it’s an automatic finalist. Only one other book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, received such a consensus this year. Wow!

  53. --MC says:

    Oh, yeah, I saw that in Sunday’s Times, but it was before I had had my coffee and my brain wasn’t hitting on all six, and I didn’t read the article to the end, shame on me. Anything more complex than “Mark Trail” I can’t handle too early on a Sunday.

  54. little gator says:

    yowch. I just figured out why Fun Home felt so eerily familiar.

    I could take much longer explaining but I’ll try to stick to the bare facts.

    My best friend in high school was a gay man. He died around 1984 when he was hit by a van or truck. Somewhere in PA.

    It was offically an accident but his brother told me his valid reasons for suspecting it was suicide or murder.

    I still love you Chris.

    Just in case my posts have confused anyone, I’m a straight woman.

  55. Josiah says:

    Hélène, I think I prefer the French cover to the American one, because it places the emphasis on the relationship between Alison and her dad, rather than on their environment.

    Sunicarus, I’m sadly ignorant of Japanese comics — aside from a few obligatory classics like Akira and Lone Wolf and Cub, I’ve read very little manga, and wasn’t familiar with gekiga at all. But Tatsumi looks very interesting: the Wikipedia article on gekiga compares it (as an artistic movement) to Will Eisner’s work in American comics, which is pretty high praise. I’ll see if my local comic book store has any of his work.

    Speaking of Eisner, have people here read the novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? It’s about two young Jewish men — one of them gay — working in the nascent comics industry in New York of the 1930s and ’40s, and deals with issues of popular and “legitimate” art, cultural and sexual identities, and the value of escapism. It won the Pulitzer in 2001, and it’s one of my favorite novels.

    Little gator, thanks for sharing your story — the parallel is indeed eerie. (I actually checked my copy of Fun Home to see when Bruce Bechdel died.) None of us really knows what death is — the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns — and because of that ignorance we cling to every detail we can about this side of the passage. (“Was it quick? Did she suffer? Could it have been prevented?”) Any additional uncertainty, as in the death of Bruce Bechdel or your friend Chris, adds to the pain of loss and makes the search for meaning more challenging. Of course, we all have to find our own meaning in the world, but I take comfort in remembering that just because I don’t, or can’t, understand the meaning of things, that doesn’t mean that the meaning doesn’t exist. And where there is love, there is always meaning. As the Song of Songs says, “love is stronger than death” — even though your friend is no longer here, your love for him is, and always will be. Thanks for sharing that love with us.

  56. shadocat says:

    Ummm, I know somwone mentioned this before, and I don’t want to pry—BUT—could someone on Alison’s staff just drop us a line to let us know she’s OK? I’m sure she’s off having a wonderful time, and I don’t want to know any details, just “She’s fine–feel free to go back to discussing comics, cake, menstrual cycles or whatever.”

    Hey, I’m a mother–I worry! I just want to make sure she hasn’t fallen into a crevasse somewhere in the French Alps, or been kidnapped by the “Angouleme Asphyxiator” or whatever boogeyman may be running around there. That’s all. Now everyone go back to their daily lives. Have some coffee. Discuss…

  57. sunicarus says:

    Thanks Josiah. I’ll have to do some research. Interesting comparison to Eisner.Yes, I really enjoyed “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”. Michael Chabon, i believe? here’s a website you might enjoy if you don’t know of it already. Enjoy!

  58. silvio soprani says:

    A perfectly valid query, I think. If Alison could get into trouble in her own Vermont, how much more dire dangers might Angouleme present? (I don’t know the terain.)

    Of course, when I was young and on adventures, I did NOT like to have to “call home” every week. Then it would not even feel like travel, you know?

    I was watching the PBS documentary last night about the creation and demise of the French and British Concorde, rest its soul. (I think it did have a soul, considering the heart that went into designing it.) Even though the documentary went into all the sound pollution issues, I still found myself rooting for those melancholy and yet exhuberant engineers who were reminiscing about how beautiful it was. (They were all men, and all referred to it as “She,” as sailors and race car drivers will.) Perhaps there were some female engineers involved? French and British bloggers, do you know?

    So at least we don’t have to worry about Alison travelling faster than the speed of sound (except perhaps on that train.)

    One person interviewed about the Concorde said, “I had never before been on a flight where everyone was smiling the entire time.” (i.e., they were all so thrilled at the experience…)

    Alison, Phone Home.

  59. Pam I says:

    A favourite from the set of weird gestures car drivers make is one that involves pointing to the roof of the car and grinning inanely at anyone they can catch the eye of. Or rather, a previous example from the set. It is the result of a driver being caught on their own and being unable to say – “Look, Concorde…”

    It used to show up in the Google Earth pic of Heathrow airport. I’ll have to check whether it has disappeared in their rolling updates.

  60. Pam I says:

    Still there. Phew. It’s at 51deg 28’27.84″N, 0deg28’08.73W if you haven’t the patience to scroll for yourself.
    And hey, they have updated my road and my car is there now. 51deg 34’56.89″N, 0deg04’14.43″W. How cool. Got that CIA?

  61. little gator says:

    Thanks Josiah. There are still things that happen that I wish I could tell Chris about. I’ve done a few goofy things that I know would have pleased him a lot. We were born the same year and in a few more I’ll have been alive more than twice as long as he ever got to.

    Woudln’t it be great if you could leave blog comments to dead loved ones, and know they’d been read?

  62. Jana C.H. says:

    Ah, the Concorde! It may be gone, but it has a basketball team named after it. Well, sorta. The Seattle SuperSonics were named for the projected American supersonic transport, the one that never got built. It’s common now to drop the “Super,” but that doesn’t make much sense; “Sonic” isn’t even a noun.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Oscar Wilde: Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

  63. Josiah says:

    Jana, I bet there are a lot of kids in the Seattle area who think the team is named for the hedgehog. (Did you know that a key protein in organ development is named for Sonic the Hedgehog?)

  64. Jana C.H. says:

    I’m not sure I was aware there WAS such a being as Sonic the Hedgehog, and I work within five blocks of KeyArena, aka the Coliseum, where the Sonics play ball. I’ve heard of the Mariner Moose, but that’s all.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  65. little gator says:

    Sonic isn’t a noun, but neither is Celtic. And the Boston Seltics don’t even pronounce it right.

  66. Anonymous says:

    There’s a worm named after Gary Larson – as in The Far Side, my all time greatest single frame cartoonist. What an honour. Or maybe it’s a bug. off to check once more.

  67. shadocat says:

    Yeah, silvio you’re right-that did read like a comment from my mom–except sh wouldn’t have tried to be nice. Sorry for prying…

    lil gator–I’d love a blog to the “other side”—I have a few things to talk about with Charlotte Bronte…

  68. silvio soprani says:


    Not everything Moms do is bad…Although I confess that even now when I am driving and my 21-yr old son is sitting next to me, sometimes I still stick out my arm in front of him when I slam on the brake! (And then of course, apologize!)

  69. Meghan says:

    Anonymous- The Owl Louse is named after Gary Larson.

  70. shadocat says:

    OMG Silvio-I still do that to my grown daughters!

  71. judybusy says:

    Forget moms doing the arm-flinging thing–my partner, who was a nanny for several years has done it to me! Those instincts just don’t die, and it helped seal the deal for me in terms of “Now, THIS is a good woman!” I think it’s very sweet. (Silvio, for a split second, I thought you were driving and blogging on a laptop at the same time. I read that sentence way too quickly, but it was a funny image!)

  72. Pam I says:

    I still do this – probably a reflex acquired from when i learnt to drive in the days before seatbelts. That must be around 1971 (or later in the cars I’ve owned).

  73. Anonymous says:


    I can see how you might think that. When I wrote “Even now…” I meant “after all these years. I do drink coffee and occasioally try to pour those little envelopes of hot sauce into the top of my burrito while driving…yes, very bad, I know.

    But lucky for me, I don’t wear eye makeup or shave so I am spared some of the more egregious multi-tasking behaviors that cause accidents while driving.

    Personally, even though I agree we should not talk on cellphones (and certainly not BLOG) while driving, it is really just as dangerous to drive with small children in the car. They talk your brain to death while you are trying to concentrate on the road; they fight and do houdini-like escapes from their car seats, and when they get older, they put on the loudest, baddest, most misogynist rap station and then pout when you try to explain that you can’t concentrate through all that distraction.

    Then one time when one of my daughters was around 19 or 20,she put a cd of some kind of club mix electronica which I swear messed with my synaptic circuits or whatever you call them in the brain. It more or less put me in a trance and annoyed the hell out of me simultaneously.

    Life is so much easier with no friends, no family, and no arguments, but then of course, it isn’t “life.” 🙂

  74. Silvio Soprani says:

    The above “anonymous” post was from me. I think I forgot to type “silvio” into the name box.

  75. mike weber says:

    I came here on a Google search for info about the DC character Rene Montoya – the ironic thing is that i’m a big fan of DTWOF.

    Talking about comic cons and costumers (and the shot of Alison with batman) reminds me of an incident comics writer Peter David opnce reported in his column “But I Digress”:

    While the second “Batman” film was still in release, there was a comics convention somewhere in the New York/Philedelphia area (as i recall), and a con member showed up in an incredibly well-made (and sexy) version of the movie Catwoman costume.

    “Catwoman” was one of the convention volunteer staff (i think), and various DC Comics people present were happy to be photographed with her.

    Until they found out that, under some incredible foundation garments, “she” was actually “he”… (Peter ran a photo. Quite sexy, says the hetero male.)

    With more than a bit of schadenfreude, Peter reported that the DC people immediately tried to have “her” banned from the convention – at least in that costume. And then he pointed out that they were trying to ban a female impersonator from wearing the costume of a character who, in their own current continuity, was established as being a lesbian and a former prefessional dominatrix…