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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kansan

I wrote this early this morning because of something our new SRS Secretary, Rob Siedlecki, said about him being a Kansan because he bought a house here and is paying taxes. Siedlecki has been here less than year so him saying he's a Kansan is essentially the same as me moving to New York City and after a day there considering myself a New Yorker but there is more to being a New Yorker and there is more to being a Kansan, which is something Siedlecki is nowhere near accomplishing.

Read my article here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Patrice O'Neal 1969-2011

Patrice O'Neal, actor and stand-up comedian known for his roles in Head of State and The Office, among others, has passed away at the age of 41 following complications from a stroke.

#heblowsalot


Courtesy of Brownback Meme
I don't pretend to like the man who is my state governor. He essentially won because of name recognition and ignorant rural people who like his small Kansas town values (even though he hasn't "lived" in Kansas in nearly twenty years). Well, Governor Brownback clearly isn't in office to make friends, at least friends who have differing opinions than him.

One of Brownback's staff members called up the principal at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village to complain that one of their students, who was visiting the Capitol in Topeka, tweeted a disparaging comment about Governor Brownback. The tweet?
“Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot”
The principal then called the student, a girl named Emma Sullivan, into his office and said it was unacceptable and an embarrassment. The school and the governor's office is asking that Sullivan apologize. Sullivan is not sure if she will.

Governor Brownback's spokesperson, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, stated “That wasn’t respectful. In order to really have a constructive dialogue, there has to be mutual respect." Which brings me to the point of this post: When was the last time Governor Brownback, or any Republican, showed President Obama any respect?

I've always been told that if you don't respect the person, at least respect the office. Barack Obama is our President. Our Commander-in-Chief and it bothers me that when a Republican was President, any disparaging remark was unAmerican and, from the way Fox News took it, an act of treason. It's not unAmerican. It's not an act of treason. And, to a point, it's not disrespectful. Living in the United States means that we can say what we want about our elected officials (as long as it's not a threat, libel or slander) and the government (Federal, State, local) can't do anything about it. In some countries, making a remark like that would result in, best case scenario, disappearance.

Why couldn't Brownback, or at least his social media monitoring team, just keep quiet? I want to think, since Sullivan was there during a Youth in Government meeting, that was the main reason. A preemptive "this girl doesn't think like us so we don't want her in politics" strike. Sullivan decided not to apologize, stating that it wouldn't be sincere and I agree. It would be like a teacher forcing two second graders to apologize after pushing each other off the slide. It wouldn't be sincere and they are just doing it to keep from getting in more trouble.

Brownback offered a statement late Monday morning apologizing for his staff over-reacting to the tweet. Why he didn't make a statement Friday just so the story wouldn't have time to simmer over the weekend is beyond me but now we can move on to more important matters.

Shells like sea shells? Why would anyone put sea shells in their pie? What does that have to do with pecans? And I'm assuming that since Brutus doesn't know there are shells in this pie that Mother Gargle just throws in whatever ingredient is nearby. Today it's shells, next time it will be beets...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Swearing

A few weeks ago I posted that "All I Wanted" was one of my stories that had the most cursing. It still is but I've often wondered why. It's not like my vocabulary is squeaky clean. I'm not a sailor by any means but I'm also not the Pope (maybe someday though.) I've often wondered why I don't use curse words as much in my writing. I've always been that way and a lot of times I need to force myself to put in a swear word. For some reason, to me, in my stories, there is never really a situation that requires a swear word. When I wrote Harter Union, I consciously made the effort to reduce the swear words despite the fact that most of us there swore like sailors.

I was trying to do some searching online about why I tend to censor myself but didn't find anything helpful except a Writer's Digest article about when to use swear words in your writing. As someone who has been trying to break free of writing and having nothing to show for it since I was 16, I always felt that an overuse of swear words, even when used properly, made me feel immature and hindered my ability to be taken seriously and while I know that writing tends to not be censored, I've just felt that it's better to limit swear words than use them and turn people off to my writing. And let's face it, my writing tends to turn people off to my writing.

I agree with Brutus. Nine-year-old Wilberforce does not need his own laptop. If the Thornapples had the money I would suggest Brutus and Gladys get a brand new desktop and give Wilberforce their old desktop though. After a thorough browser and porn stash cleansing, of course.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You Have Ten Minutes to Read This Post


Barney Google and Snuffy Smith
Snuffy just wants some fried chicken. He doesn't care if the chicken is really his own son or not.

Family Circus
Jesus can't save you now, Jeffy. You will have to incur the wrath of Thel Keane for your beating, biting and...choking, I guess, of your little brother P.J.

Hi and Lois
Why does everyone imagine novelists sitting in a dark room while they write. People do know that would be a huge strain on the eyes, right? Apparently if Hi would become an author he would do his writing in an alley in downtown Detroit.

The Born Loser
That's a terrible special. But I'm sure Brutus will be back. He always comes back.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Forty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred


Why is he counting up? Shouldn't he be counting down? I'm trying to think of reasons he's counting up but I can only think that he's counting up to get up to the number of minutes until Christmas and then he will start counting down. Either way, it's more proof as to why Wilberforce is in the "turtle" group at school.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shirley Cemetery


Since it's Thanksgiving weekend, I've decided to do some reruns of a couple posts. Yesterday was a Thursday Comics featuring an old review of The Underfold's Best Apocalypse Ever. Today is the Issac Shirley family entry from the first and only post under 16th & Massachusetts. See you Sunday with an all-new Sunday Comics.

Issac Shirley was born in 1805 and came to Kansas in the 1850s and settled about two miles west of Lecompton. Issac, along with his wife Elizabeth, had seven children however two, John M. and George W. would not survive and are buried in a small cemetery near the remains of the house. Issac died in 1858 and only Mary Elizabeth and Franklin Pierce stayed on the farm to help their mother, who became ill, until she died in 1876. Franklin Pierce Shirley married Laura Nelson Pate in 1877 and they had four sons, William Leonard, John Franklin, Russell and Elmer. William Leonard died at age 16 while Russell and John Franklin (Frank) stayed on the farm as Elmer moved to Texas. Frank graduated from Lecompton High School in 1916. Russell served in World War I and continued living on the family when he got back until his death in 1957. Frank, who was diabetic, died in 1930 while their mother, Laura, died in 1929 and Franklin Pierce died in 1938.

The oldest of Issac and Elizabeth's sons, Wilburn, left to prospect for gold until returning to the Lecompton area in the 1850s where he bought a farm near his father's land. Soon, Wilburn moved across the river into Jefferson County where he would remain until his death. After Russell died, the Shirley house remained vacant. Nearby are the graves of Issac Shirley, John M., George W. and Martha Prather, wife of E. Prather. The ruins of the house remain on a hill overlooking the United Pacific Railroad and the Kansas River.

 As well he should. If stores and people in general would just being jerks about Black Friday, then it would go smoothly but no people have to be animals while standing in front of Best Buy at three in the morning and stores have to only order two of the 70'' LCD TVs that are on sale for $200. Jerks.

I have copied all of the Liberty post over to the new Liberty site. They will remain here as well but you can now find them, easier to read over at liberty.tauycreek.com. Also, things on LAMNB should be back to normal next week and for most of December until the 20th when we go on hiatus until January 2nd.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Best Apocalypse Ever


This is a reprint of A Review of the Best Apocalypse Ever that was published May 20, 2011 and was essentially a review of The Underfold's (a webcomic at theunderfold.com) first collection Best Apocalypse Ever. Thursday Comics will return next week with new material.

The Underfold, which sounds like some sort of skin flap located around the perineum, had it's humble beginnings as drawings on index cards at a church in 2008 and since then it is becoming a web comic known around the world. Best Apocalypse Ever is a collection of Underfold strips showcasing early strips and the Zombie Apocalypse of 2010. One of the more interesting things about collections like this is the evolution of the strip. Admit it, it is interesting to see how Calvin and Hobbes evolved from more cartoon-y drawings into a beautifully watercolored work of art of its later years or how Charlie Brown transformed from a wide eyed kid with a big head to a slightly chubby boy and into the version we know now.

It's not quite Calvin and Hobbes but you can hardly tell the difference.
The Underfold features Brian, a fictionalized version of creator Brian Russell; JB, Brian's friend whose face is never shown and is covered with a paper bag--a bio-electric facebag to be exact. The early strips feature mainly back and forths between Brian and JB usually about random things including the reason for the comics, geek-dom topics such as Lost, Heroes and comic books. Within time, more people are introduced including Julius Reynolds (a crazy old man with a Facebook), JB's son Fred and Eye, which is Brian's eye after it was cut out by Fred. (It won't sound any less confusing in the book.)
I'm hoping this is a homage to Knightfall.

The relationship between Brian and JB remind me of the relationship between me and my best friend. We get along good but it's kind of a hassle to be each others friend and there is a slight possibility that we hate each other and talk bad about each other behind each others backs. A prime example is when JB is talking with Fred and Fred asks how JB can stand Brian because "he just keeps talking and talking [...] It's horrible!" which is a phrase I'm sure I've used explaining my friend to my wife. And we all know the best thing about books, movies and TV shows is when we see a little bit of ourselves in the characters.

The introduction of Fred.
A little more than halfway through the book, Brian and JB begin bouncing through various times and dimensions including a world drawn in crayon, CBS's The Amazing Race and a dimension where birds are the dominant species and humans fly. And then the comic starts to get weird. Brian's goatee comes to life and JB gets irritated with the storyline so he resets the strip. *Cough* After the reset, life returns to normal for Brian, JB, Fred and Eye. At least normal for the Underfold.
Eye breaks the fourth wall.

The four-panel strips are my favorite. I am a sucker for standard comic strip joke-a-day formats. It harkens back to a bygone era where four-panel newspaper comic strips were actually funny and not the watered down dreck currently permeating people's retinas. The Zombie Apocalypse comes and goes, we got an homage to the Terminator series of movies and then a murderous robot assassin attempts to kill Baby Jesus which is something I wrote about several years ago. So it's clear that at some point in 1993, Brian Russell rifled through my trash and stole my idea. My attorney, Lionel Hutz, is looking into it.

The art is simplistic but it is better than anything that I could do. Each character is drawn uniquely and are more than expressive enough. Even JB and he has a bag over his head. The character to really grab my attention was, of course, Eye. Eye, who is an eye with arms and legs, always speaks in the third person, replacing word like "I'm" and "I'll" with "Eye'm" and "Eye'll". It makes perfect sense if you don't think about it too long which is the way to really understand The Underfold. Brian says in the book that he is bad at endings and wrapping things up but if you don't think about it then everything makes perfect sense.

Sadistic Bag Puppet sounds like another web comic.
They are.
The book ends on Christmas 2010. There is something for everyone in this book. At least everyone if you are under the age 35. Let's face it, older people don't understand things like this. Only the really cool or really perverted ones do. But after you have ordered your copy of The Underfold, you need to head over to theunderfold.com and get caught up and find comics that were not included in the book. It's the only right thing to do. And when the real Zombie Apocalypse happens, you don't want Brian to hand you over to the zombies because he found out you don't read his comic do you?

Eye thought not.

I wonder this myself.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Plainest Coat Ever

In the early 1920s, Kansas legislature was tasked with attempting to decide on a state flag. Kansas was one of the few states without a flag. In 1925, backed by the politically powerful Grand Army of the Republic, who argued that our flag should not compete with the U.S. flag so instead of a flag, a banner was chosen and was essentially the Kansas state flag until 1927 when the state legislation enacted a proposal to designate the State Flag of Kansas.

Opposition quickly rose against the banner when it was determined the design was not liked, it was hard to hang and march with and the final nail in the coffin for the banner was probably when the banner was not chosen to fly among other state flags in Washington D.C.

Brutus is ready to start his Thanksgiving weekend. Or he just wants to get down to the bar early.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sorry. I Mistake You for Someone With a Brain


I don't think Brutus is making these mistakes on accident or even on purpose. I think Brutus is suffering from a series of mild strokes that will soon render him as useless as Stephen Hawking except Hawking at least still has his amazing brain while Brutus, let's be honest, does not.

Also it looks like Veeblefester is also having a mild stroke in the last panel. Heh. Thornapple will do that to you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ostrich Syndrome


I've been trying to write a holiday-themed story for December's Liberty and it has not been going well. I've erased several beginnings and have spent a decent amount of time just staring at a blank piece of paper. I think I have an idea for a story and I'm making it a point to not have the story be at all Christmas-y but we'll see how that goes when I actually start writing it.

Don't forget to check out the new Tauy Creek site and the updated Tauy Creek Facebook page.

Brutus that's your solution to everything. Three day downpour? Close the shades. First snowstorm of winter? Close the shades. Zombie apocalypse? Close the shades. A new Spy Kids movie comes out? Close the shades. Just because the shades are closed doesn't mean those things aren't happening.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Squirrely-Girly


Head on over to Tauy Creek's relaunched Facebook page for all the new updates pertaining to the many changes that have been going on the last week or so. And there will be plenty more chances to all the sites over the next few months.

Today's Sunday strip showcases more drawing and work than Chip has showcased in a year or more. I mean, look at all that detail and that squirrel almost looks lifelike and that overhead shot through the tree branches in the first panel >mwaah!< Amazing.

Join us back here tomorrow when Chip returns to drawing his simple characters in the void that is white space.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Beginning of the End

The Facebook page for Tauy Creek and Watch This Space I created several months had laid stagnant since it's creation. But yesterday it came back with a vengeance. I am starting a new business venture over the next few months. Using my knowledge of my hometown and great sense of direction I have decided to start a business giving tours and sight-seeing excursion around where I'm from. I don't have the details hammered out but I will be working on that over the next couple of months.

Since I will be using this site for that (as you can probably tell from the Coming Soon page at the top), I plan on Losers Are Made, Not Born coming to an eventual end. Stull will be coming to an end with issue number 27 in February and Liberty will move to a new site with issue number 35 starting in May 2012. So while the changes will be gradual, Watch This Space should be completely dissolved by the end of 2012.

Edit: Change number and date of Liberty change from #43 (Jan 2013) to #35 (May 2012).

 Can't you just remember what they said the weather would be? It seems a lot easier and takes up less space on your DVR.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stull #23

John drove up the driveway and around to the back of the house. "You know Frank would never condone trespassing and breaking and entering," he said to Katie and Caitlin.

"I know. That's kind of why we didn't invite him," Katie said. "Besides, he doesn't feel this house warrants any attention."

"How can an abandoned house with a giant stuffed panda in the front window not warrant attention?" Caitlin asked.




"The Panda"
The house was located about a mile southeast of Frontenac along Ohio Highway 49. It was a yellow two-story house built in about the late 1940s. The family who lived there left in the mid-nineties leaving the house abandoned and it had been empty ever since. Around 2005, a large stuffed panda appeared in the front window. Over the next six years the black and white toy got dustier and faded.

The back door was unlocked and opened into a sun room, added after the house was originally built. John, Katie and Caitlin entered the sun room. It had a dusty, musty smell to it along with a tinge of rotting wood. "That's always a wonderful smell," John said, crinkling his nose.

"Ew. Do all houses smell like this?" Caitlin asked.

"When you don't live in them for a decade, yes," Katie answered.

They left the sun room and entered the kitchen which was nicely stuck in the 1970s. A huge bird's nest rested in the corner above the counters on the wall. John headed toward the doorway to the living area while Katie headed toward the sink and Caitlin headed to the refrigerator.

"I wouldn't open that if I were you," John said.

"Why not?" she asked.

"You never know what you will find in an abandoned refrigerator. One time Frank, Matt and I found a refrigerator in the basement of a house we were investigating when we first started the Society and we opened it and not only did it smell like death rolled in rancid meat and year-old milk, it had three dead raccoons in the freezer. We then decided that we will never open refrigerators unless they are taken out of the house," Katie said.

"Ew," Caitlin said again.

They walked into the dining room and just began wandering around. The dusty and matted carpet was an ugly green color. Holes could be seen in the walls and the ceiling. There was one bedroom underneath the stairs that had a ragged mattress in it with a pile of animal excrement covering it.

"I think it's clear to see what that mattress was used for...until the animals got to it," John said. They left the bedroom and began walking up the stairs. Caitlin went over to the stuffed panda and looked at it, shining the flashlight on it, turning it off when a car would pass by. "Holy crap, this is disgusting."

"What is it?" Katie asked.

"The second floor is just covered in animal crap," John said as he descended the stairs. "Wall-to-wall poop up there. I've never seen anything like it."

"Should I move this panda?" Caitlin asked.

"Why?" Katie asked.

Caitlin shrugged. "I don't know. I think the house would be less creepy if the panda was not in the window."

"But looking out the window is the only thing the panda is able to do. There's no one around to play with it. No one to love it. The panda needs this window," Katie said.

John looked at her. "Are you high?"

"What? Why I can't I treat inanimate objects as if they have a soul and feelings?" Katie asked. "What I said makes more sense than the real reason the panda is probably sitting there. Where did the panda come from anyway?"

"If you're bolting in the night they may not have had time or the room to lug this gigantic thing with them," Caitlin said. "So we're just going to leave it here."

"Yeah. Come on, let's go. There's nothing in here," Katie began and the three of them went back through the kitchen and into the sun room. "Frank was right."

They left the house as they left it. The panda continued the sit in the window, looking out over Highway 49.

Mound Cemetery


There are several scenic places in Douglas County from Mount Oread on KU's campus, to Well's Overlook south of Lawrence to Liberty Hill near Baldwin City and plenty more. One of them is a small hill south of Stull where you can see the Clinton Lake Dam ten miles away. Mound Cemetery was originally started in 1888 and contains about two dozens graves mostly from the Ice, Rake and Hall families that lived around the area.

Over the last few years, Mound Cemetery has been lumped into the stories and tales given to nearby Stull Cemetery and has been erroneously referred to as "Old Stull Cemetery" which is inaccurate as Mound wasn't established until almost twenty years after Stull Cemetery. Rumors claim that the trees on the hill formed a pentagram and that a witch is buried under the pine tree.

The intersection where Mound is used to be a small hub of activity. There used to be both a school and a church at the corner but both are long gone. School-aged kids now go to Perry-Lecompton or Shawnee Heights in Shawnee County and church services are preformed by the church in Stull or Clinton or another nearby community. The cemetery is a nice place to go to be alone and is a unique cemetery in Douglas County essentially being both isolated and in plain sight.
The trunk of a dead tree in Mound Cemetery. The tree has since been cut down leaving only a stump.
I don't like when people just let their dogs run around higgeldy-piggeldy around the neighborhood. The worst offenders are people who live in the country and their damn dog chases you for a quarter of a mile because you drove past their house. I don't care if you are on 110 acres, leash your damn dog, idiot because it's being a nuisance and is one jerkass driver away from being run over.

I had a friend who tried to scientifically prove that it's not money that's the root of all evil but women. Granted he was going through a break-up at the time but his theory was almost sound. However, now that I think about it, lack of money did seem to be a major factor though. So maybe Brutus is onto something.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Doomsday!


An ad for the Death of Superman
Nineteen years ago tomorrow, DC Comics did the unthinkable. They killed Superman. Sure, it was clearly a stunt thought up because they couldn't marry Lois and Clark because of the new TV series and to help boost sales of the fledgling series but it got a lot of people interested in comics. I began reading comic books because of the Death of Superman and continued to read them until 2002. And I've started reading them again.

The story was simple. A monster erupts from below the Earth's crust somewhere in Ohio and begins a trail of senseless destruction, killing birds, snapping the necks of deer and overturning semis until he is met by the Justice League--not the good JLA, the one comprised of C-Listers. The monster, named Doomsday by Booster Gold, easily disassembles the JLA and only Superman still stands. Superman and Doomsday battle halfway across the country until they wind up in Metropolis. The seven-part storyline is essentially just a slugfest (which is what I mainly see complaints about) so it's pretty easy to follow and the editors do a good job adding footnotes to the comics when things from previous issues show up like the Underworld and the Tree City so new readers are not completely lost.

Superman would come back, of course, but not until after an 8-part funeral which showed Supergirl trying to fill the void, an out of control funeral, Metropolis flooding and Jonathan Kent having a heart attack plus a 20-part Reign of the Superman where four Supermen supposedly returned from the dead.

Doomsday!
Originally published in Superman #75 (Jan 1993)
Written and penciled by Dan Jurgens
Inked by Brett Breeding
Lettered by John Costanza
Colored by Glenn Whitmore
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
All characters and stories (C)1993 DC Comics. All rights reserved.



























One of my favorite pieces of art. From Wizard Superman Tribute (Apr 1993). Art by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding and Mike McNabb.