January 31, 2003

George W. Bush likes Babylon 5

Google Search (via Backup Brain, who got it via Interesting Times)

OK, being a Bab5 fan, I feel... dirty, somehow.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2003

Cartoon Art Museum does it again

Cartoon museum explores what happens when the funny pages take on serious issues

Got this from Boing Boing -- The Cartoon Art Museum, of whom I am a proud and quite happy member, has put together a series on cartoons of a controversial nature. To say the least, this is an exciting topic in cartooning: many cartoonists over the years, including and sometimes especially comic strip artists, have created extreme controversies. Take a look at Walt Kelly, creator of Pogo: at the time of the McCarthy trials, he was head of the National Cartoonists' Society. Some member was accused of being a communist, and was brought before the Committee on Un-American Activities. Kelly got together a lot of cartoonists, had them all sit in the front row, and any time McCarthy would speak... all the cartoonists would start scribbling furiously. The meeting was over rather sooner than expected.

Cartoonists can affect change; they, just like anyone else, have to be brave and clear.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2003

17 years later, another sick day

ON THIS DAY | Dates | 28 | 1986 Seven dead in space shuttle disaster

So my car died yesterday; not that unusual, it's a 1987 Nissan Sentra. It's got 160,000 miles on it. It's ailing with a bad water pump. I take a day off to get it fixed, and spend most of it watching TV while it's getting fixed.

But the item above reminds me of the day 17 years ago which I also took off... the day the shuttle blew up.

Interesting story: I was sick that day, and was watching TV when it happened. Wrapped up in a blanket, stuck in a house in Floyds Knobs, Indiana, watching "The New Love American Style" with some OJ in hand, this news flash comes on, with pictures. I'd been told by my mom not to call unless there was an emergency. This, I thought, might not be an emergency, but I wanted to call and talk to someone.

And 17 years later, I'm again in front of the TV, on a couch, wrapped up in a blanket -- this time, I'm not the one with a cold, but the house was freezing for some reason. I didn't hear of this yesterday... but it's a little creepy. Almost poetic, in a sense.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2003

Bill Mauldin Has Passed On

If you're in St. Louis, and you walk down Delmar in the area called "The Loop", you'll find the sidewalk covered with stars. It's the St. Louis Walk of Fame, an interesting collection of stars that have deep or tenuous connections to St. Louis. There's some people there that you wouldn't expect, and a few people that you would, had you lived in St. Louis -- they're cultural icons there.

There's three cartoonists there: a unusual number in comparison to the number of stars. One is Mike Peters, who grew up and went to college there at Washington University.One is the just passed away Al Hirschfeld, who was born there.

The other is Bill Mauldin, who worked at the Post Dispatch and won a Pulitzer Prize there in 1958. He died today.

I first found out about Bill Mauldin when I was in college, and got a copy of Up Front from my grandfather. It seemed important to him that I get it -- the truth is, he barely seemed to acknowledge my existance for many years, so this seemed like something important to him. So I read it, and still have that book.

Around the same time, I wandered the Loop and found this star. I can't remember exactly where it is, to be honest. It might be in front of that Ethopian resturaunt, or in front of the parking garage that was put in in the late '90s. But I can say that when I saw it, I was surprised; I had no clue about this guy, and I considered myself (at the time) an encyclopedia of cartooning.

From that book, from his autobiography, and from a few other souces, I learned about Bill Mauldin. He was a fascinating, almost bigger than life character. I couldn't even begin to describe the life he had; it would be a poor summary at best. But his independence and willingness to do & say what he considered right is something I respect tremendously.

I can't say the book brought enlightenment of what war is -- I can say it showed me exactly how much I didn't know, brought definition to my lack of knowledge of World War II, and war in general. That alone has helped me talk to my grandfather, given me some insight into the horrors of war, and has given me some strength as a cartoonist.

I will miss Mr. Mauldin.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2003


I suppose it's shallow of me -- and I despise it a bit -- but I like getting packages. Mail order delivery is fun, and it's great to be able to open a package. The joy is in the anticipation & the waiting: there's nothing like that moment before Christmas. It's especially great when the contents are good; and even better when it's free-ish. (Free-ish refers to those things you can think of as free, but you'll get someone who's preternaturally disposed to picking at nits and will point out that I paid for it, just not cash up front.) Naturally, since I'm writing about it, that happened today.

Discover's branched out so that cash back is only one of the ways to get money off of that card; the other way is rewards at stores. Like Borders.com. Which recently became Amazon.com's latest partner. Which means I can order Amazon.com stuff using this system.

(Yeah, yeah, they're a monopoly. Until I can find some way of getting free-ish stuff from the non-monopoly people, I'll use the monopoly for the free-ish and purchase the rest at Powells.com or whatever politcally correct store that my liberal brethren have determined is good for us today.)

Anyway, this is a long way of saying, I got Aimee Mann's latest album today, and it's pretty good. Great, in fact. And I'm quite pleased by this; it's soothingly depressing & deep. It's not harsh like many depressing albums, nor incoherent. It's a salve to soothe the burns of an less-than-wonderful life.

So, I got free-ish stuff, I got it in a package, and it was good free-ish stuff. Getting packages is just a joy from beginning to end.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2003

John Ashcroft: Civil Rights Advocate

CNN.com - Ashcroft defends civil rights record at MLK event - Jan. 17, 2003

One day after the Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to reject a affirmative action plan, Attorney General John Ashcroft Friday avoided the subject in a civil rights address honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr.
... "From the first days of our administration, honoring the diversity of the American people has been a priority for President Bush and for me," Ashcroft said. ... The largely African-American crowd of Justice Department employees responded with restrained but polite applause.

I haven't laughed so hard in weeks. He's

Posted by Ted Stevko at 06:04 PM | Comments (1)

January 14, 2003

Transforming XML using a link

O'Reilly Network: Services and Links [Jan. 13, 2003]

Ever wanted to transform some XML using your own XSLT on the fly? This article includes a link, information, and a nice RSS feed sample... and explans why this is neat. Rapture!

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

Bookmarklets for libraries

Jon Udell: LibraryLookup homepage

This is just a cool project: bookmarklets for searching a library for a Amazon book that you happen to be looking at. Sadly, it doesn't include my local library... but I'm working on that.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

January 07, 2003

Voodoo Economics Rises From The Dead

CNN.com - Bush to seek $675 billion economic boost - Jan. 7, 2003

I think I've finally figured out how ironic this is. During Morning Edition this morning, someone mentioned that cutting taxes on stock dividends was part of Bush Jr.'s trickle-down economic theory. Ironic, of course, because Bush Sr., just before becoming Vice President, called the trickle-down theory "voodoo economics". (Watch Ferris Beuler's Day Off to see Ben Stein explain this.)

Even worse, I didn't have statistics to back me up earlier, and thanks to CNN, I now know that this "tax break" will give around 30 million americans a break... out of nearly 297 million americans. call it 150 million tax-payers, and you still get 20% of Americans actually getting a tax break. Of that 20 percent, 27 billion will go back to 15 million people getting less than 50,000 a year -- $1800 bucks. And 27 billion will go the 10 million getting between 50 thou and 100 thou. Then around 5.2 million people earning 100 thou plus will get... 78.5 billion back: the 400,000 people earning $200,000 a year or more will get $44,000,000,000 back. That's $11,000 back each
for them.

Yeah, "tax break" my rump.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2003

Yeah, it's the Penn Jilette link

Road Penn

Yes, it's the infamous Link To How Penn Jilette Was Accosted At The Airport By Someone Searching Him. I had to link to it. I like Penn and Teller a lot, respect their opinion even if I don't necessarily agree with all of it. And Penn has shown to be a generally intelligent and smart character. So I don't doubt for a second that he's telling the truth, unlike the pregnant-wife guy.

The abuse of power that Penn talks about is, of course, nothing new; these guys have been screwing around and tossing their new-found power around for a while. My 80-year-old grandfather, being brought to Atlanta because he's too frail to take care of himself, got searched. My friend from work went on a trip with her family, and her kid got searched. My mom travels often for her job, and she gets searched all the time. I travelled alone, and with my parents, across country with a laptop... and wasn't even looked at funny. My dad, though, got searched.

Now that the people who are doing the searches are federal officers, we end up with people in jail for even the stupidest stuff.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 03:12 PM | Comments (2)

A tax plan only a millionaire could love.

CNN.com - Bush wants to end dividend tax - Jan. 6, 2003

Huge surprise. Kind of like watching an Ent vs. Hobbit wrestling match, and the Ent wins round one with a hobbit-toss to the far corner.

Look, if you're going to be a crook, could you at least be a little subtle? A tax cut on stock dividends? How many middle-class or lower-class tax payers: a) have stock at this point, b) have stock which is paying dividends, and c) paying dividends in such a large quantity that it's a major tax problem for them? That would be... near zero.

Subtle like a Warner Brothers' cartoon. Sheesh.

Posted by Ted Stevko at 02:53 PM