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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Coming Soon: Wonder Girl in Monster Land

A grad-school classmate had me do some illustrations for her book. To top it off, a frame for an old-time "List of Illustrations."

Featuring "skull thistles," which do not appear in the book.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Penny Racer

How many pennies does it take to cover a passenger car? Only the depressed-looking Hispanic dude in this awesome ride knows for sure.

Also, nickels for trim, gringo!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Products You Never Knew Existed

You may find a thing that reminds you that, No, you haven't seen everything yet, not by a long shot.

It's just odd when such a peculiarity has clawed its way up to being a full-fledged commodity, complete with its own bar-code.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy the Ozarks

I got an email saying there would be an Occupy Wall Street gathering in Springfield, in front of the office of Senator Roy Blunt on East Sunshine St. It was late in the day on Thursday, so I decided to go. I made two signs, one nicer and one harsher, summing up my current biggest concern that others should worry about, too: big money co-opting democracy. I also stopped at the store, bought a ready-made "For Sale" sign, and wrote "AMERICA" in the slot under FOR SALE, an idea I stole from the internet.

Remember "Mr Yuk," poison's greatest spokesman?

I arrived 30 minutes after the 4:00 start time. Though fairly small and uneventful, the gathering was quite visible from the road. About 40-50 people stood waving signs along the curb along the busy street. A wide range of signs and folks, but unfortunately, many or most of the signs were impossible to read from a distance. The worst was a whole sheet of posterboard plastered front and back with magazine pages, all from a FORTUNE magazine article about jobs leaving America. While I’m sure the information was relevant, I couldn’t even really read it, and I was standing 10 feet away. Some others said, basically, “Don’t Cut Medicare,” “Preventive care equals healthy families,” and “Jobs, Health Care, Education.”

Not one of Springfield's premier singles markets, though you may notice one pair of overly tight jeans.

A couple of reporters showed up and did some minor interviews, both for radio and TV. A woman walked up and down the other side of the street gently swishing a big American flag. No response came from Senator Blunt's office as far as I know, but his neighbor, a lady lawyer, came out and complained that we were standing in front of her place, and she didn't want people to think she was being protested. Kinda dumb, but we scooched down 20 feet to appease her. The best part was that it angered this old classic Vietnam-era hippie man who kept saying he wasn’t going to move, fuck her, we needed to get more militant, but the calm young Euro-style hipster who seemed to be in charge kept cooling him down and arguing against using the word "militant," with which I nodded agreement. I didn’t really talk much. The stocky, hispanic-looking guy to my right was getting cold. Most of the people were underdressed for the chill: it was a decent day, until you stood still.

There were many flip-offs and mad faces from the traffic even though the signs were no more extreme than "We are the 99%" and "No War in Iran". I never even used my "Plutocracy is for Assholes" one, because of the overall positivity/non-militancy of the gathering. But there were easily three times as many good responses, if honking can be reliably counted as supportive. I talked a little to the guy to my left, with “We are the 99%” on an orange sheet of paper on a clipboard. We got a few laughs out of the number of women who flipped us off. “There’s a lot of hate out there,” he said. But we agreed that the response was mostly good, especially for Springfield, which is relatively conservative and repressed. He said he was from Chicago, where there was more protesting, and that sometimes if he was supposed to write his race down on paper, he wrote “Chicagoan.” He wasn’t as funny as he wanted to be, but I guess I liked him.

After I’d been there for an hour, everybody started getting cold and going home. I went back to work. I didn’t expect any real payoff to come from this. Springfield is home to nothing, in the world of big finance or big government, but at least Roy Blunt should know that we’re here, even here. I’m sure he could give two shits about any of it. He’s a long-time Washington fixture, bought and sold long ago. Now he’s like an anti-Obi-Wan: if we strike him down by voting, he’ll just come back more powerful than before, as one of the Sith lobbyists he takes payola from now. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween 2

IMG #1666 from my iPhone: Potato Devil roasting a potato victim

The neighbor dogs popped some kind of ball.

Sophie, a little camera shy, will paw through your arm skin with her carborundum paws.

Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be a skull decoration for Halloween.

Good job, Sophie!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Report

On the shopping trip where we bought candy, nothing Halloween-related measured up in grisly intent the way these cat treats did:

Is this a feline fantasy, as filtered through the consumer's surrogate desires?

Oh, the carnage.

Our neighborhood has lackluster Halloween gumption, but there are always a handful of trick-or-treaters willing to give it a go. This year I decided to force more vigorous interaction by making a game show effort. I deployed a couple of decorations, along with my 12-sided lawn die, and a chart of corresponding prizes.

The die-rolling turned out to be a good move. After the initial confusion, most kids got into it, and were impressed with my homemade die. I should have told them I made it with a chainsaw—not only true, but it would have added some Halloween terror-craft. Parents liked the oddball spectacle it provided, except for those parents waiting in their car, who found it a waste of time and gasoline.

A Hispanic dad character got especially excited about the game, commanding about nine kids (doubt they were all his own) to line up to roll, and then he did it at the end, which was good—he earned it.

A kid dressed like Darth Vader dropped the die on my door threshold, almost on his foot, possibly because of complications from his mask. Only one semi-clever teen tried to walk off with the die, perhaps absent-mindedly, although it's hard not to realize you have a basketball-sized wooden dodecahedron in your hands.

I had a bunch of little LED keychains left behind in an office I had to clean out, so this was a good chance to get rid of them. They are actually a dream treat item, as they also contain a small compass and a whistle. I would have been blown away to get such a thing as a kid, though I might have scraped off the Allstate logo and replaced it with a sticker or drawing.