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7 December 1999

Self-publishing does not just happen. Even if I put everything that I know about self-publishing into a single volume and mailed a copy free to everyone who wrote in asking for advice, self- publishing would not just happen. One of the biggest obstacles you are going to face in trying to self-publish is your own inertia.
-- Dave Sim, Note From the President, Cerebus 185, August 1994

eToys bad. Don't buy from eToys. Tell your friends not to buy from eToys.

Movies update: Toy Story 2 rocked. Zero complaints. Go see it. 10/10.

Dogma was so-so. Leaving out Jay's crass, infantile monologues would have improved the movie immensely. Other than that, not nearly worth the protests being made by churches. 5/10.

Speaking of protests, it's interesting to read Paul Tatara's disgusted review of End of Days [CNN], saying it's got much worse content than Dogma but isn't getting protested at all. Why is that, d'you think?

In last night's Republican debate, Gary Bauer started it off by implying that the Littleton shootings wouldn't have happened if the Ten Commandments had been posted in the school. Wha? He seems utterly unaware of the cynical, nihilistic frame of mind of many adolescents. I believe that if schools did post the Ten Commandments, a certain kind of student might be more inclined to rebel violently. That might be inconceivable to Mr. Bauer & co., but really, he should try talking to such kids.

Orrin Hatch often spoke too fast and kept tripping over his words (which is neither here nor there; I felt bad for him, honestly). Hatch telling GWB that his prior experience qualifies him more to be vice-president than president wins hands-down as best moment of the night. (Hey, anybody think Gore would be open to being Bradley's vice president? Nah, me neither, but it's a funny idea.)

McCain was just sort of there this time (or not even there, as he wasn't on the stage). Alan Keyes had some interesting metaphors and rants; about 1 out of every 4 made pretty good sense. Steve Forbes ... same old. Bush ... still very un-leaderly & unimpressive. Is he going to start acting presidential soon, or is this how he'd act in office, smirking & avoiding specifics & replaying the same stock phrases over and over? Jyecch.

In last Thursday's debate [FOX News, link will break if JavaScript is on], when Forbes tried to explain why he thinks the Microsoft suit should just go away, he referred to "the rise of Loonix", which for one thing shows just how tech-clueless he is, but for another...well, I'll just let Dave (no, the other Dave) say it:

  • Note From The President, Cerebus #108, March 1988
    You know those science fiction movies where the robot suddenly gets a hitch in his git-along and for a second the tape loops inside and a word comes out funny and that's when you cop to the fact that you're dealing with a robot and not a human being? I rest my case.

(By the way, the whole note's worth reading, though it might lose something without the original context. Writer/artist Dave Sim is one of the earliest influences on my thinking with respect to creative work and what conditions are acceptable to work under. I'm glad to see somebody put up his little inside-front-cover essays; I'll be coming back to them from time to time. Thanks to iBoy for pointing them out a little while back.)

I've been reading rumors in a few different places of ABC News throwing Al Gore a dinner party with Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts & George Stephanopolous in attendance but not George Will or Bill Kristol. Anybody got a link to an actual story about it? Seems like a pretty big no-no on ABC's part if true.

Madeline Kahn, 1942-1999. :(

I'm a big believer in the concept of an endpoint in artistic matters: a point at which something has either been done as well as it can be, or has been taken to its logical extreme. Once an artistic endpoint has been reached, IMO it's pretty pointless to try and match or outdo that effort; one is best served instead by directing one's endeavors elsewhere.

For example: John Cage's silent composition, 4'33", is an endpoint. There is nothing to be gained, no new ground to be broken, by someone now composing a 2 minute 10 second silent piece, or a 'different' 4 minute 33 second silent piece -- it's been done, the end has been reached, find some other way to make your mark.

In the humor arena, The Onion is good at milking a concept for its full potential and leaving anyone else's attempts looking pale or derivative. New Study Too Frightening To Release is the best example I can find in their recent issues.

The Princess Bride. Young Frankenstein. The Rabbit of Seville. "Milk and Cheese are Dead". Any remakes of these or attempts to cover the same ground would be a serious case of gilding the lily. Obviously people will disagree about whether a particular item qualifies as an endpoint, but I think it's a concept worth contemplating.

Even though it's a comparatively minor joke, I'd like to consider this an endpoint:

  • No problems reported for Y2K 01001011 [Brill's Content]
    Ronald Miller, the owner of a small bank in Houston, was relieved, as were many in his industry. "Even though we had fixed our software last October, we were still Ronald Miller 27 Oak Lane Houston TX 32245 Age: 47 Income: 598,000 American Express ...

It's a timely joke with a cute execution, it looks like it's covered all the available bases, and so now no one else needs to do it again. Right? Fat chance of that, sadly; I expect we're going to get so many bad rehashes of this joke that we shall all be heartily sick of it before January.

Yeah, yeah, I woke up on the judgmental side of the bed today.

Thanks to Lynette Millett of Medley for the kind comments (eventual permanent location). While you're waiting for my oh-so-infrequent updates, check out her site for a more-frequently-updated, most excellent log.

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