Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Somehow, it's better that way

"Garfield Minus Garfield" posts Garfield strips with the title character removed "in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle."

It's so much better than the real thing.

(Update, 1/6/09: If you want proof, Gocomics.com posts both Garfield Minus Garfield and the original strips for comparison.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Harold Pinter: 1930-2008

Harold Pinter, who was ill when he won the Nobel Prize in 2005 and did not attend the ceremonies in person, died on Wednesday of cancer.

My thoughts from 2005 on his Nobel Prize address, including a link to his 1966 Paris Review interview, are here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where do you go for your comics news?

And yes, I'm reclaiming the word comics. ("Graphic novel" is not any more descriptive, and worse in that it implies fictional content to the detriment of memoir, travelogue, reportage, etc., which is where you find some of the most interesting work being currently done—Alison Bechdel, Joe Sacco, Lucy Knisley, perhaps?)

Other than dccomics.com (because, for better or worse, Batman is still at the top of my list, even though he appears to be dead, by the way, and there's a big shake-up over the cowl coming up), the brand spanking new Graphic Novel Reporter is making a good case for being my one-stop comics source. News, reviews, and interviews, what more could you ask for?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holy crap

The Detroit Free Press is cutting home delivery from seven days a week to three (Thursday, Friday, and Sunday), and The Detroit News is cutting from six days to two (Thursday and Friday, the News already does not publish a Sunday edition.) In a painful example of spin, the Free Press's web site is calling the move a "bold new transformation" and emphasizing a shift in resources to the delivery of online content. The Free Press is also stating that no news staff will be cut.

[Free Press publisher Dave] Hunke said the Free Press that will be sold on non-home-delivery days will be a more compact product. Editors are designing a product of about 32 pages with an easy-to-pull-out sports section, provocative commentary and enriched lifestyle coverage. Only 40% of the space will be available for advertising, compared with 55%-60% in the current newspaper.

The Sunday and Thursday home-delivery products will be more substantial, but also redesigned to provide a mix of in-depth news and features with quick summaries of information and events.

Hunke said he expects some home-delivery customers will not want a paper just three days a week, but he hopes to retain most of them while attracting new readers to the redesigned compact paper.

This is particularly painful coming on the heels of layoffs at The Lansing State Journal (which is not a coincidence—both the Free Press and the State Journal are owned by Gannett, so the layoffs and restructuring are different facets of the same process. The excellently reported and organized Gannett Blog is an excellent resource on the troublesome newspaper behemoth.)

I had been planning to write a post arguing that Lansing was a city worth covering, but if Detroit isn't a city worth covering, I may have a hard time making that argument.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Bible says a lot of interesting things

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

(via Sullivan)

I'm ready for a debate: who makes a better Jesus, Jack Black or Sam Beam?

A good year for. . .

The NYT has posted their annual 10 Best Books of 2008 list. (I know, I still haven't followed up on the 2008 Notable Books list. I've been busy this year, and sadly not with new fiction.)

I only own one book on the list (a shiny nickel to the first person to guess which one! one guess per person, please), and there are at least two more that I'd like to read, but astute eyes which examine the accompanying photo will pick out something interesting:

Seven of the ten books were published by Alfred A. Knopf.