state of the blog 2010

40 years ago this month, President Nixon gave his first State of the Union address. The 1970’s were, while not exactly a fiasco, a decade remembered more for its failures than its positive accomplishments.

10 years ago this month, I stood in the Capitol building as President Clinton gave his final State of the Union address. It marked the end of a successful decade; the 1990’s saw prosperity and the end of a short war in the Middle East.
Today President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union address. I’d mark my enthusiasm level somewhere between Joe Biden and a fan of the Boston Red Sox in September. President Obama spoke not only to the issues he campaigned for a year ago, but for a logical extension. He has a plan, and he’s taking steps to move to the next step. Like he stressed, these things cannot happen on their own. A health care bill needs to be passed. More help needs to be given to people without jobs, people with crappy jobs that do not pay the rent, and to people who want to go to college. As I typed the preceding sentences, it struck me how obvious that all sounds, but in Washington there needs to be someone to point these things out frequently and without obfuscation. I’m also happy he pointed his Presidential finger at the Supreme Court, 5 of whom decided corporations and special interests are more important than millions of working Americans. (Emphasis on “working.”)
I’ll end this highly biased, flag-waving post with my first State of the Blog. It is shorter than the President’s. Ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you internet readers, and thank you fellow bloggers.

ominous signs for ominous times

This is a redhead, also known as a ginger.
It’s actually me.

See how normal I look? Not at all like I’m descended from a cat, or an alien-human hybrid. The reason I mention this is because apparently people type these things into Google all the freaking time.
These are the top suggestions you get when you type “redheads are” into the Google search engine. “Redheads are gross” is the top search people have performed, followed closely by “redheads are aliens.” I certainly prefer “redheads are trouble,” because that’s 100% true.

I’m surprised that so many people think there’s a secret laboratory in which Scottish scientists grafted alien bone marrow onto a human baby to create the first ginger kid. That is 100% false.

Redheads are apparently a misunderstood creature. Some people say we’re going extinct in the next 50 years. Well, I certainly don’t plan on dying that soon and I know gingers younger than I who don’t either.

Redheads are so popular, in fact, they appear in the mainstream (liberal) media. Petey, from the comic strip Cul de Sac, is one of the greats.
Don’t fear us; we can’t help how awesome we are. And please stop typing weird stuff about us into Google.


happy new year! from Falling Rock and Dan Bern

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicians, Dan Bern. I like the idea of starting off the year with a fresh start rather than a closet full of murder weapons. I know, I know; you can’t stop the zombie apocalypse without some semi-automatics. But that’s what the military is for! Heck, the only reason I pay my taxes is just in case we need the Marines to halt the advance of the zombie army. In the meantime, though, let’s see if we can be a little less violent this year.

Here’s to 2010!


Well, you can’t stop
on the side of the highway
see if someone
needs help

You can’t pick
a hitchhiker up
He might
have a gun

How could you send your kid
to an American school now?
I could not send my kid
to an American school

Well I can almost see you
having a gun
if you lived out, way out
on the open range

If there was no one
within 30 miles of you
But these days we live next to
and right on top of each other

Well back in 1933
Einstein left Germany
He knew what he was feeling
And he wasn’t feeling safe

I wonder if he felt like his number
could come up any time
I wonder if he felt entered
in some dark lottery

It’s no wonder
we need so many drugs
The mall on the edge of town
has turned into Beirut

I do not like
anyone walking behind me
And I do not want to get stopped
by the cops for anything

I’m talking disarmament

Talking disarmament

See, I do not want my politicians in my bed or in my house or house of God
I don’t care what they believe in
Or what they look like or who their daddy is

And I do not care
who a senator sucks or a president fucks at all
How many ads they got on TV
What they did or did not do in the war

See I’d rather kill the guns
Then have to kill off my emotions
I’m scared to speak my mind, or disagree, or even move
I might get noticed

Man, it’s just no fun anymore
The golden rule has changed
Fire unto others
before others fire unto you

I don’t need no more erection pills
I don’t need a million baldness cures
Hell, these days to die in a car crash
Is practically dignified

What’s the point of going to the health club
building your body, pumping them weights?
If a five-year-old can walk up
and blow you away

Hey governor
What you doing about the guns?
Hey candidate
What you gonna do about the guns?

I don’t really want to die
‘Cause someone’s pissed off at his girlfriend
I don’t want my kid to die
‘Cause someone didn’t make the football team

I don’t care what John Rocker says
The first amendment’s good by me
But the second one’s outdated
Its ashes ought to be burned and scattered

We’re talking disarmament

Talking disarmament

I write this from some highway rest stop
Now I’m gonna go sleep in my van
In America these days
That makes me practically a hero

I don’t care what the top ten movies are
I don’t care who just won a million dollars
I don’t care what you think of abortion
Though I think it’s probably better to eat the egg than kill the chicken

Hey senator
What you gonna do about the guns?
Hey Mrs. President
What you gonna do about the guns?

Hey Batman
What you gonna do about the guns?
Hey Superman
What you gonna do about the guns?

Hey Lone Ranger
You ain’t alone anymore
Too many other rangers
Time to turn in your gun

Hey policeman
Time to turn in your gun
Hey everybody
Time to turn in your gun

England isn’t coming
We ain’t holding off the Huns
If you want to hunt the elk
Check out a gun like you check out your bowling shoes

See, I’ve heard all the arguments
“We need the guns against the government”
But the last time that I checked
The government’s supposed to be us

And if that isn’t true
Let’s have a revolution right now
But if the government is us
Let’s get rid of all the guns

People say it could never happen
Well, that’s what they said about Jim Crow
The day he became president
John Kennedy said “Let us begin”

We need disarmament

Talking disarmament

I used to live next to a nursery school
Those kids screamed all day, every day
I often dreamed about killing them
I’m glad I didn’t have a gun

Blog comic book

rashida jones, i could’ve drawn your comic book

frenemy of the stateRashida Jones has written a comic book. Not exactly new news, but pretty darn exciting nonetheless. What’s it about? Just check these stories to read more about it.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. You see, Rashida, I am a cartoonist. I happen to draw a daily comic strip which has three strong female characters. Ranger Dee is about the same age as your protagonist. Although she is merely a Park Ranger, not a CIA spy, she still has plenty of style.

Were you too shy to ask me to draw your comic book, Rashida? That nervousness is completely understandable. Cartoonists are perceived by the public as stand-offish, off-putting, gruff, bed-wetting party-poopers. But none of that is true. We get a bad rap from the liberal media. Not all of us live in cardboard boxes under the freeway. We bathe regularly, clip our fingernails, are good at making eye contact. Some of us even get married!

In fact, I would have been honored to draw your comic book. Maybe, since it looks like you’ve got this project covered already, I could get on your “short list” for the next opus. Don’t worry about setting or characters or even story; I’d be happy to “brainstorm” with you. We could work it all out at one of Portland’s many late-night coffee joints.

Think it over; take your time. You can’t rush art, after all! In this crazy mixed-up world, sometimes comics are the only thing that makes sense.



Once again your friendly neighborhood blogger is here to remind you that he is, in fact, living below the poverty line. You see, the poverty line is way up there, and I can just make it out from where I’m standing.

So why not check out all this cool gear for not-quite-last-minute gift ideas?

Books! Falling Rock book collections are handsomely bound and perfect for the nature enthusiast in all of us. Not enthused about nature? These books are printed on paper, which is made from dead trees.*

Shirts! CafePress has enabled me to slap Friday Robots and select other designs all over their stuff. Isn’t that nice of them?

Thanks, and come again!

*Actually they’re printed on recycled paper, but you don’t have to tell.


more to buy

I updated my CafePress store! New designs, including Pigeons: Gettin’ the Job Done and a few new designs based on Friday Robots.

Shop now.

As always, if you see a design you like on a shirt that you don’t, email me and I’ll fix you right up.


bad car good car

Cars, like penguins, have the capacity for both goodness and evil. Do cars have souls? Doubtful, unless they are voiced by Paul Newman. But Saturday I witnessed the extremes of car behavior, and it all happened within a matter of two minutes.

I was on my bike, as is usually the case around these parts. Waiting at an intersection I should have been allowed to cross right away, as there was a crosswalk. Usually, though, cars on this particular road treat crosswalks as though they are speed bumps. Slow down a bit, but go as fast as you can without destroying the shocks.

At this time, there was a man already halfway through the crosswalk as I began to cross. You figure that cars may not slow down enough to see a pedestrian waiting patiently on the sidewalk, but surely they’ll stop when a person is directly in front of them. Not so! This guy nearly got hit by a big green SUV. The driver, a surly young man barely paying attention, stopped only because the pedestrian put his hand out and started yelling. The pedestrian told the driver that you have to STOP AT A CROSSWALK FOR CHRISSAKES. The driver acknowledged this with a wave of his hand, not even lucid enough for a middle finger. I really hope that driver’s girlfriend just dumped him for his younger brother.

Shaking my head, I rode on.

When I looked up again, it was just in time. A car that had parallel parked was halfway into the road. The driver of that car (a midsize sedan of indeterminate color), leaned out of his window to wave me on. “Go on,” his friendly face and extended arm implied, “you’ve got the right to pass.” I smiled and thanked him on the way by.

People don’t usually think you can communicate to the outside world once you’re in a car, but that is not the case. This driver knew that.

The rest of my trip was uneventful. But in that matter of minutes, I experienced both the worst driving and the nicest. And it wasn’t even raining.


rashida, i’m sorry

Here is Rashida Jones, making Anne Hathaway look like a bridge troll by comparison.rashida-anneI’ve made no secret that this blog’s raison d’être is to propel Rashida Jones into my strong, comforting arms. Mega-stars such as Jones do not associate with unknown bloggers. They may, however, associate with famous bloggers. That’s what I’m counting on.

That’s why I took it especially hard when I was not selected for the Top Ten cartoonists in Amazon’s Comic Strip Superstar contest. I thought for sure it was my ticket to stardom. Heck, it’s right there in the name of the contest. Obviously, if I had made it to the Top Ten, then won the Grand Prize, there would be nothing stopping me from meeting my destiny.

Now, however, out of the contest and out of luck, I must find another way to become hugely famous. Rashida, if I should fall behind, will you wait for me?rashida-jones1


helicopters make music & comics OK, too

Sometime after Helicopters Make It OK, I began thinking on the true power of helicopters across all media. The thin rotating blades have held the movie business aloft for years, but what about other commercial art forms?

It turns out that the same theory can be applied to music. Check out Guided By Voices and their song Everywhere With Helicopter:

Indeed, even I used a helicopter in the grand finale of my college comic strip Atticus and Glen. I knew intuitively that to cap off three years of drawing, I needed the woosh and whirr of modern technology.

Helicopters do make it OK, no matter what you’re selling.


helicopters make it OK

3141044350_fb55464927_bFilms are complicated endeavors, and there are many things that can go wrong while making a movie. Conversely, there are relatively few things that a director can do to save a doomed movie. One of the most reliable ways a director can save a movie is by adding a helicopter.

Chuck Norris made more than his share of cheap, undercooked action films. Yet, even after all these years, they are enjoyable to watch. He knew that, by featuring helicopters in key scenes, he would transcend the very genre – nay, he would transcend commercial filmmaking itself. And he was right. Helicopters saved Chuck Norris from being a laughingstock. He is internationally feared and admired, with no small thanks to helicopters.

Sylvester Stallone made a small movie in the early 80’s called First Blood. How ironic that the series, later known as Rambo, would achieve fame only when Stallone co-starred with helicopters in Rambo II and III. How would the world look today if there had been no helicopters in the Rambo movies? We’d still be up to our eyeballs in the Cold War.

Predator, a fantastic movie already (featuring two future governors), propelled itself to international renown by featuring helicopters. Echoes of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line, “Get to the chopper!” can be heard in almost every speech he has given to the California State Congress.

Even in an otherwise irredeemable movie, helicopters make it okay. The Steven Seagal direct-to-DVD movie Against the Dark is poorly written, directed, lit, edited, and acted. Seagal, looking like the fat, sweaty Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now (another helicopter movie), shuffles his way to another paycheck. Yet, it has a helicopter in it. I am proud to say I finished watching Against the Dark due to this very occurrence.

Hack directors like Michael Bay manage to stay in the movie-making business because of their reliance of helicopters. Bay has used a helicopter in every single one of his movies. Is this the sign of a desperate man? Yes. But he’s also made a boatload of money.

Helicopters elevate crap movies to okayness and good movies to greatness. It is on their swiftly rotating blades that all our hopes and dreams lie. Maybe one glorious day every movie will feature a helicopter. Until then, we have the Chuck Norrises and Sylvester Stallones of the world to keep us afloat.