It's assortment of links day, because the ongoing political crisis is simply too depressing to write about two days in a row.
It's not so much that I'm envious of this nine-year-old kid getting published with his dating advice book, so much as wondering where the hell he was when I could have actually used some of this advice. You know, when I was 24.
And if you think I'm kidding, talk to the women who were around me at that time. They will gladly point out I could have used all the help I could get. "Oblivious" is, I believe, the key word used to describe me during that period of my life.
Neil Gaiman gives a nice defence and explanation of why the First Amendment defending free speech and freedom of the press in the United States is important. Really, take most of those points and apply them to Canada and they work just as well.
And since he's plugging the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund, so will I. It's a US organization, but they still do good work. They're in the middle of a fight right now because a guy was charged with owning comic books that authorities found objectionable. Not selling, just owning. And yeah, they're icky comics and I'd just as soon they not be made, but Gaiman's right, freedom of speech tends to be a sledgehammer, not a scapel. You have to defend the ugly as well as the beautiful.
I said earlier this year that I got bitten by the comic art sketch bug after the New York Comic Con. I've managed to be a good boy and only get one commissioned sketch since then, a very nice Marvel Girl and Scarlett Witch from the fun and talented Colleen Coover. However, the Comic Art Fans site might be my undoing. I haven't bought anything there...yet. Mainly out of fear that once I start, things could start getting ugly.
Also, I still like the idea of commissioning an artist directly to draw something just for me, rather than buying someone elses commission. Still, it's a fun site to poke around at and ooh and ahh over.
Every year I have some variant of this conversation with my loved ones:
"We don't know what to get you for Christmas or your birthday," they say.
"I like comic books," I respond.
"I mean, you're so hard to buy for."
"Graphic novels are good."
"And you tend to go out and buy the stuff you like before we get the chance."
"I mean, anything comic book related is good - graphic novels, t-shirts, artwork, toys, special edition DVDs, gift cards. That sort of thing."
"So do you have any suggestions?"
"(sound of head banging off wall)"
Folks, I started collecting comic books when I was seven-years-old. My birthday is in about a months time, so we can now make it about 32 years I've been buying them. And I'm grateful for anything I do get during the holidays. But I think it's time to accept the reality that I like comic books. It's not a phase that I'm going to grow out of. You're not "enabling" me. One day, I'm going to be 80 years old and in a retirement home, grouchy and yelling at the nurses. But on a wall in that room there will be a shelf of graphic novels. And that will calm me down and ease my moments of surliness.
In Cathy's defence, she has bought for me The Complete Far Side and the Complete Calvin and Hobbes, both of which make me very happy.
On the off-chance you feel like buying me comics, well, just type my name into a Chapters wish list search and you'll find me soon enough.
Your US politics update: more people voted in the 2008 election than the 2004 election - 130 million compared to 122 million - but voter percentage was still low. Sixty-one per cent of Americans voted in the most recent election. The record, apparently, was in 1960 when there was 63.8 per cent turnout.
The vile Saxby Chambliss won the Georgia senate run-off by a mile, which is a pity. Even sadder is that he attributed the support of Sarah Palin as being one of the reasons why he won going away as she fired up his "base." You know, I was mocked when I said this silly twit would be a serious contender for the Republicans in 2012. But right now, she has to be considered one of the top four contenders for the nominations in 2012, as terrifying a thought as that may be.
And finally, no one really seems to know what the hell is happening in Minnesota or when it's going to be settled.
1. Uncle Milo - Mark Bragg
2. Cool on your island (live) - Tori Amos
3. Down - Blink 182
4. Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac
5. A sort of homecoming - U2