I recently watched "The Princess Bride" for the first time in maybe almost a decade - the night before its thirtieth anniversary, as it happened - and finally noticed how useless Buttercup is. If I got mauled by a Rodent of Unusual Size and all my "true love" could think to do was watch from a considerable distance away, I would let Humperdinck marry her. They would deserve each other.
Buttercup: Will you promise not to hurt him!?
Wesley: Huh? Suddenly you're concerned about me getting hurt? That's funny, you didn't seem to mind a couple minutes ago when I was GETTING CHEWED ON BY A MONSTER! "Buttercup"? More like "Buttface"!
At work on Wednesday, I was pondering the lack of justice in the world, as evidenced by (among other things) Hugh Hefner still being alive at a ripe old age. I got home to find that he is now dead at a ripe old age, and the world is now just a little bit better for it. Of course, the immeasurable damage he's done to American and probably global society and especially the women in it will last forever. But at least he's gone, away from us, somewhere else where in all likelihood his millions of ill-gotten dollars are suddenly of little or no use to him. RIP Hugh Hefner, who was a feminist in the same way that Colonel Sanders is a vegan. And by "RIP" I actually mean something entirely different that is not suitable for this blog. By the way, if you were outraged at Drumpf's misogynistic remarks but thought Hugh Hefner was a swell guy, you're a hypocrite of epic proportions.
Now on to more comic scripts. You know, sometimes people ask what my series is about and I don't know how to sum it up so I say, "A family." Which makes it sound dull and unoriginal. "And they have a pet Komodo dragon." That about covers it.
For better or for worse (which is a different comic series altogether), Alvin is often reduced to a puppet for disseminating my views. Sometimes I'm able to weave this into an actual joke, and sometimes not so much. The hope is that with further revisions they will all be funny someday. Here are a few examples from the dozens that I have.
Cashier: Whoops! Got stuck on “daddy duty”, eh?
Alvin: No, ma'am.
Alvin: For your information, spending time with my own child is not a duty, but a privilege.
Tyler: Too bad I can't say the same about “daughter duty”.
Less Subtle Preaching
Rachel: My land. I took Tyler to the petting zoo today and they kicked me out for breastfeeding in public. Threatened legal action, even.
Alvin: What? That's absurd!
Alvin: I can't believe there's so much ignorance in this country about something so natural and innocent. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that.
Alvin: Don't let them get to you. All that matters is that Tyler appreciates it.
Rachel: The baby llamas actually, but yeah they did.
Blunt and Not Particularly Funny (Insert Your Own Quip About None of them Being Particularly Funny Here) Preaching
Alvin: Oh no. The CIA will face global backlash and decreased influence if the Senate releases a report on their illegal, unconstitutional and immoral torture techniques.
Alvin: Poor CIA. This must be so hard for them. What have they ever done to deserve this unjust and disproportionate suffering?
Rachel: You're not making any sense, Alvin.
A New One that I Cranked Out for this Special Occasion
Alvin: I'm glad to see they gave Hugh Hefner a proper cremation.
Alvin: It's just a shame they waited until he was dead.
Rachel: Ha! Alvin, you're so funny!
Creation Vacation (2007)
Pastor Hartgraves: Alvin, I realize that you've had difficulties reconciling science and religion, and I'd like to offer my help.
Pastor Hartgraves: When you have a greater understanding of science, the apparent contradictions will fade away.
Alvin: I hope so too. You're a science expert then?
Pastor Hartgraves: No, but a friend of mine is. You know the Creation Museum that just opened in Kentucky?
Alvin: So Pastor Hartgaves' close personal friend Ken Ham gave him a bunch of tickets to the “museum”, and he wants us to go.
Rachel: We do need a vacation, Alvin.
Alvin: That's true... and I suppose I should see it for myself and give it a fair hearing before I criticize.
Rachel: That's the spirit!
Alvin: I may need some alcohol to get me through it, though.
Rachel: Think of your impressionable young child, Alvin.
Alvin: You immediately get a general idea of what this “museum” is teaching from the displays – very pretty displays, I'll admit.
Rachel: How do those people stand so still?
Alvin: Humans and dinosaurs co-existed. And all dinosaurs were vegetarians before the Fall. You can't assume they ate meat just because they had teeth and claws designed for piercing and tearing flesh.
Alvin: My sentiments exactly, Tyler.
Ken Ham doesn't seem to be aware that plants are also living things, so even if all dinosaurs were vegetarians, they were still killing stuff before the Fall.
Alvin (reading): “Many 'living fossils', such as crocodiles, once shared the same world as dinosaurs.”
Alvin (reading): “Since humans continue to live with crocodiles today, it is reasonable to believe that humans also shared the same world with dinosaurs.” Yes, that seems logical.
Alvin: Grandpa Ivan once shared the same world as Winston Churchill. Since Grandpa Ivan is still alive today, it is reasonable to assume that I also shared the same world with Winston Churchill.
Rachel: You did? Can you get me his autograph??
Originally was FDR, but then I thought Hitler was funnier, but then that violated Godwin's Law and also it was awkward for Rachel to want Hitler's autograph.
Alvin (reading): “Can you tell how old this fossil is? Fossils don't come with tags on them that tell us how old they are.” No kidding.
Rachel: The ones I saw at another museum did.
Alvin (reading): “So we have to use the Bible as a starting point and use circular logic to determine that the evidence matches what we already believe.” Okay, that's a slight paraphrase.
Rachel: I can read, Alvin.
Alvin: That's the difference between real science and creation “science” in a nutshell.
Rachel: How can there be atheists with evidence like this??
The scathing subtlety of Rachel's line is that it's the opposite of the way things are. There are atheists, in part, because of "evidence" like this.
Alvin (reading): “When the Flood destroyed the world's forests, it must have left billions of trees floating for centuries on the ocean. These log mats served as ready-made rafts for animals to cross oceans.”
Alvin: I can only assume these trees were made of plastic? And they could somehow support the weight of hippos and rhinos and elephants?
Rachel: Yeah, it says that in Leviticus somewhere.
Alvin: And all the marsupials just happened to go to Australia and nowhere else?
Rachel: Silly marsupials, didn't they know about the poisonous spiders?
Space prevented me from getting into this, but Answers in Genesis actually teaches that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark, therefore surviving the Flood and dying for some unknown reason later. So these "log mats" would also have had to support the weight of Apatasauruses (Apatasauri?). Yeah, no. And this is still only scratching the surface of why this hypothesis doesn't work. I can only fit so much in a three-panel comic.
Rachel: Shush, shush. Your diaper's clean...you've got your binkie... are you hungry? No?
Rachel: I can't calm her down, Alvin.
Alvin: She's disturbing the other visitors, Rachel.
Alvin: Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to cut our visit short.
Rachel: Then why are you smiling?
Ken Ham: Hi, I'm Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis. Did you folks enjoy your visit to the Creation Museum today?
Rachel: Yeah, we had fun.
Alvin: It was interesting, I'll give you that.
Ken Ham: Good, good. Well, I see you're in a hurry, but I hope you'll return when your child is old enough to understand it, and we have some great children's books in the gift shop.
Alvin: Yeah, Tyler could use a good laugh.
Ken Ham: Beg pardon?
Alvin: I said thanks, Mr. Ham.
Another involuntary celebrity guest star! With his soft-spoken Australian accent and love of Dr. Who, Ken Ham is impossible for me to hate, so I had no desire to portray him in a negative light.
(in the car)
Rachel: My land. I learned so many things at the museum that I never knew before.
Alvin: Most of it was nonsense, Rachel.
Rachel: Don't you believe in God, Alvin?
Alvin: Of course I do! I even believe in most of the Bible. But science is pretty conclusive on a lot of things. We need to fit them into our paradigm, not throw them away out of fear and ignorance.
Alvin: I don't know where or if Adam and Eve fit into the picture, but they did not live with dinosaurs.
Rachel: Wait, are you saying “The Flintstones” isn't historically accurate?
This was meant to be another evolution storyline, but there are so many other things wrong with young-earth creationism that I didn't even get around to mentioning it by name. Everything that Alvin reads from the signs, except for his slight paraphrase, is taken verbatim from the real-life Creation Museum. Scary, isn't it? Look, I don't care what you believe about the Earth or life on it, but don't pretend your views have any scientific plausibility if they blatantly don't.
Rachel Explains Politics (2012)
Rachel, in case you haven't noticed, is a gender-swapped version of the overused idiot husband trope (and therefore, in a perverse way, a feminist icon) taken to a ridiculous extreme a la Brewster Rockitt. (I feel now is as good a time as any to explain to a certain person named Rachel who may be reading this that yes, she is half named after you and half named after a coworker I barely knew who stared at me all the time, though her name was spelled Rachael, but the character herself, as a person, is not based on you at all and should not be construed as my opinion of your intelligence or your anything else. Okay? Okay.) But I like to have her subvert expectations sometimes, either by doing something that raises the question of whether she's really as stupid as she seems, or by accurately explaining something that normal people take for granted and thereby exposing how stupid it truly is. Here she does it with politics. Elsewhere she also does it with dating, but that may be too controversial to share.
Tyler: How do politics work, mom?
Rachel: Well, you can choose whether to be liberal or conservative, which determines whether you vote Democrat or Republican.
Tyler: That's it? You only get two options?
Rachel: You only need two options! Those two options are the entire spectrum of American political thought!
Tyler: Well, that explains a lot.
Rachel: Oh, and you're not allowed to be friends with anyone on the other side, so choose wisely.
Whoopi Goldberg is pro-choice and a member of the NRA. Doesn't she know she can't do that?
Tyler: Okay, suppose I pick one, let's say conservative/Republican.
Rachel: Ooh, good choice, if you hate poor people.
Tyler: Er, liberal/Democrat then.
Rachel: So you hate freedom? All right then.
Rachel: The states take turns holding primary elections, where the Democrats and Republicans each choose who they want to be the next president.
Rachel: Of course, if your state has one of the later primaries, most of the options are already gone and its choice doesn't make any difference. This is perfectly fair because... um... because...
Rachel: Because that's just how democracy works!
Tyler: It's like you designed the system.
Yeah, living in Utah, this really pisses me off. And I do realize the United States is actually a republic, because the Founding Fathers were afraid of pure democracy, because people are morons, but you don't expect these comic scripts to be that educational, do you?
Rachel: So you end up with two options for president – well, more than two, but don't waste your time voting for another one because voting for another one is a waste of time.
Tyler: That doesn't at all sound like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rachel: So you pick whichever of the two options you hate less, and vote for him or her, but actually just him.
Tyler: And whichever gets the most votes, wins?
Rachel: Not exactly. There's this thing called the “electoral college”. I don't understand it because I went to a different college.
Tyler: Thank God I don't have to vote for twelve more years.
I actually agree with the electoral college - it got us a terrible president instead of a different terrible president, after all - but it does complicate things.
Rachel: Voting for president is a very important civic duty. You should be grateful and proud to do it.
Tyler: What's the chance of my vote affecting the outcome?
Alvin: About 1 in 60 million. Almost 343 times smaller than the chance of you getting struck by lightning within the same four years.
Rachel: She didn't ask you!
Alvin: In fairness, you can have more of an impact voting for other people. Have you told her about those, Rachel?
Rachel: Why would I? Nobody cares about those.
Alvin: That's exactly the problem. See, Tyler, besides the President, there are also national and local Congress members and a governor and a mayor and town and school board members to choose.
Alvin: Do either of you even know who our mayor is?
Rachel: We got a horse? Why didn't you tell me?
Preachy as this one is, I'm chastening myself as much as anyone else. I do know who my mayor is but couldn't tell you one thing about his policies. I'ma go fix that right now as far as you know.
You may remember that last year I shared one script where Dr. Robert T. Bakker, real life originator of the Dinosaur Renaissance (but with a fictional personality just for fun), visited Tyler's and David's Biology class taught by Dr. James Pitts (named after a real professor of mine) and his assistant Mary Hollenbaugh (named after a real ridiculously gorgeous friend of mine). But that was just the beginning...
Dr. Pitts: As promised, today we get to hear from Dr. Robert T. Bakker, who's largely responsible for the way we look at dinosaurs today.
Dr. Bakker: Yep! “The dinosaur heresies”, I called them. Not so heretical anymore, are they?
Dr. Pitts: Dr. Bakker has –
Dr. Bakker: Everyone was so blinded by their confirmation bias and prejudice against reptiles that they scoffed at my radical new theories. Well, who's scoffing now, huh?
Dr. Pitts: Yes, that's –
Dr. Bakker: Suck it, orthodoxy! SUCK IT!
Dr. Bakker: See, scientists are human like everyone else, and we aren't always objective and we make mistakes. But science is a self-correcting process, and the truth comes forward eventually.
Dr. Bakker: There's a certain methodology that everyone has to follow. I couldn't just say “You're wrong!” to the orthodoxy. I had to demonstrate my case with logic and evidence.
Student: Like Michael Behe?
Other Student: Or Andrew Wakefield?
Dr. Bakker: Let me start over.
I wanted to take two potshots in one comic, but I realize it isn't entirely fair of me to put Michael Behe and Andrew Wakefield in the same category. Both of them are wrong, but only one of them is a lying pos with blood on his hands. (Hint: It's Andrew Wakefield.)
Student: Mr. Bakker, you are an evolutionist, aren't you?
Dr. Bakker: Sure am! If God didn't use evolution, he must have gone out of his way to make us think he did.
Student: Wha? You believe in God too?
Dr. Bakker: Sure do! In fact, I'm an Ecumenical Christian minister. I believe that faith and reason are fully compatible.
Student: Well, that explains it. The ecumenical movement is of the devil.
Dr. Pitts: Dr. Bakker, I'm terribly sorry, but the state board of education forbids the f-word in this classroom.
Dr. Bakker: Yeah? They can suck it too.
Bakker's line "If God didn't use evolution..." is a verbatim or almost verbatim quote from The Dinosaur Heresies. It really made an impact on me. I hope it's obvious that the f-word here is "faith". Not to be confused with the really, really bad f-word that rhymes with "end zone".
Tyler: Dr. Bakker! You're still here!
Dr. Bakker: Yeah, Dr. Pitts and I have something do discuss with you and David.
Dr. Bakker: See, I wasn't just here to speak to your class today. How interested are you two in dinosaurs?
Tyler: More interested than I am in boys, at least.
David: That's not saying much.
Rachel: Judas Priest, spring break is coming up. I don't know if I can stand having Tyler at home for an entire week.
Tyler: Hi, mom. Dr. Pitts wants me and David to come on an expedition to an island off the coast of Costa Rica over spring break. I have the permission slip right here.
Tyler: You didn't even read it.
Rachel: If I just sold you into slavery, I apologize.
(aboard the boat)
Tyler: Wow. Going to an island off the coast of Costa Rica to study dinosaurs! Just like Jurassic Park!
Dr. Bakker: Did you know the book was heavily based on my research, and I was the scientific adviser on the movie?
David: You've mentioned that a few times, yeah.
Tyler: Too bad these ones will just be fossils.
Dr. Pitts: Er – there's something we should probably explain.
Tyler: They're actually alive? Yeah, I read your lab notes.
T. Rex (through binoculars): Rooooooooar!
Tyler (holding binoculars): I just wet myself. But in a good way.
David: Give me those!
Tyler's quote was originally used by Jane Padgett in my unpublished manuscript "Space Girls" after she goes back in time and hears a T. Rex roar. I plagiarized myself because the line is just that good.
Tyler: How did you guys do this? I know the mosquito thing in Jurassic Park was BS.
Dr. Pitts: Actually, I don't even understand it. Mary did most of the calculations.
Mary: It was childishly simple, but I'm keeping it to myself for now. There are all kinds of ethical concerns with this technology, and there are lots of people out there who would abuse it.
Tyler: Someone would make a real Jurassic Park, and it would be a disaster.
Mary: Right. Mesozoic Park will be nothing like that.
More lampshade hanging.
Mary: ...so then I thought, if we made this more like a national park, and didn't put the dinosaurs in cages, they won't feel a need to escape! They hopefully won't be restless and aggressive!
Mary: The tourists will be in heavily armored vehicles, and once we learn more about the dinosaurs' psychology we'll hopefully be able to design ones that they won't attack.
Tyler: What do we have so far?
Mary: My dad's Jeep. We're low on funding.
The national park thing is also an idea from "Space Girls". It could work, right? Cloned dinosaurs, mammoths, and passenger pigeons are all things in the year 2153, though they're not the focus of the story and mentioned only as worldbuilding details.
David: Guys! Hey, guys –
Mary: Not now, David, we're discussing important scientific matters.
David: But it's –
Mary: Just hold your horses and I'll be with you in a minute, okay?
(The boat is drifting away)
Tyler: Well? Did you tell them?
David: I always turn to jelly when Mary speaks to me...
Tyler: Welp, at least one of us is going to get eaten. That's just how these things go.
Tyler: David and I are just kids. Mary is an attractive woman. Dr. Bakker is too famous and awesome.
Tyler: Sorry, Dr. Pitts.
Dr. Pitts: Hey!
This is what I mean about the characters recognizing tropes and almost breaking the fourth wall. "Jurassic World" did blaze new territory by killing an attractive woman, in a ridiculous and thoroughly undeserved manner no less, but she wasn't a protagonist.
Dr. Bakker: You know that paleontologist in the second Jurassic Park movie, Robert Burke, who gets eaten by a T. Rex? He was an affectionate caricature of me.
David: Fascinating. Can we discuss this later?
Dr. Bakker: I was glad to see him get eaten. I'd been arguing with Jack Horner about whether T. Rex was a hunter or a scavenger. Guess we saw who was right.
(scene zooms out to show them driving a Jeep as a T. Rex chases them)
David: That was just a movie!
Dr. Bakker: Sure, but this isn't. Suck it, Horner!
A recent analysis suggested that T. Rex couldn't actually run at all without breaking its bones. If that's accurate, my excuse is the same as why Jurassic Park dinosaurs don't have feathers: they're cloned and they got messed up.
Alvin: I hope Tyler is having as much fun without us as we are without her.
Rachel: Of course she is. She's doing dinosaur stuff.
Alvin: Heh, but I wonder if she's getting disillusioned with it. Lying in the hot sun brushing rocks hour after hour? Sounds soul-crushingly dull if you ask me.
(Back on the island)
Dr. Bakker: There's a cliff up ahead.
Tyler: Of course there is.
Tyler the Troper at it again.
(Jeep drives off the cliff)
T. Rex: Roooooooar!
David: I love you, Mary! I always have!
(Jeep lands on another plateau a few feet below the first one)
Mary: Sorry, what?
Dr. Bakker: Smooth.
Dr. Pitts: Velociraptors! As you can see, they look nothing like their movie counterparts.
Dr. Bakker: I told Spielberg, but did he listen? Nooo!
David: They look like big skinny chickens!
Tyler: Hmm... I wonder if they taste like chicken too?
(Tyler is sitting by a campfire with a homemade spear nearby and meat in her hands)
Tyler: Nah. More like fish, actually.
The so-called Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are actually Deinonychuses (Deinonychi?) but like Norma Jeane Mortenson, they had to change their name for Hollywood appeal.
Mary: Dr. Bakker, Dr. Pitts, bad news. I calculate that these creatures could produce enough methane to submerge their own island within thirty years.
Dr. Pitts: Oh dear.
Dr. Bakker: Crap.
Mary: The methane will contribute to the greenhouse effect which will heat up the Earth and accelerate the melting of the polar ice caps, raising the level of the ocean until it covers the island.
David: But what do you mean, 'produce methane'?
Mary: Never mind.
Yes, I realize climate change isn't real. Yes, that was sarcasm.
Tyler: So what are you going to do about this methane problem?
Mary: I don't know... I can't destroy the creatures I created, but I can't be responsible for hastening the planet's doom either...
Tyler: You could be a true American and just ignore the problem until it becomes a crisis.
Mary: And ask for more funding in the meantime? Brilliant!
Originally Tyler said "You could be like a politician" but it isn't fair to always pretend they're the only ones.
Panel 1 (and only)
Dr. Pitts: The Jeep is almost out of gas. Our supplies won't last forever...
David: Well, this is it then. We're going to get killed on this desolate rock.
Tyler: Yeah, probably. But what a way to go!
Dr. Bakker: I like your spunk, kid. Die with dignity.
Mary: I just built an airship from a Triceratops carcass. Let's get out of here.
This storyline went unfinished for a long time until I thought of how to get them off the island. It doesn't have to make sense. It's a comic. Or will be if I ever draw it.
Dr. Pitts: Now remember, kids, as far as your parents know you've just been digging up fossils.
Dr. Bakker (giving them wads of cash): To protect the dinosaurs until Mesozoic Park is opened, we need to keep it that way.
David: I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with this...
Dr. Bakker: Remember, it's for science.
Tyler (admiring cash): Silly Dr. Bakker. I lie to my parents for free.
Rachel: My land, spring break went by so fast without you! Did you have a good time?
Tyler: Yeah, it was very educational.
Rachel: That's good. Your dad and I were worried you might get bored.
Tyler: Not at all. Oh, before I forget...
Tyler: I brought you this, uh, fossilized Velociraptor egg.
Rachel: Aw, you shouldn't have! Ooh, it's so warm!
And now I'm not sure what to do about the Velociraptor egg. I don't want to just pretend it never happened, because I'm trying to be realistic, dang it.
Charmer - Mesozoic Mind
While we're on the subject of dinosaurs and 1987 films starring Fred Savage, here's this. It's from "Dinosaurs! A Fun-Filled Trip Back in Time!", which my uncle owned on a VHS tape (now an extinct format) and which, many years ago, I watched at my grandmother's house until it wore out. It's actually a Claymation film from 1980 with later footage of Fred Savage, and this stunningly animated music video, seamlessly(ish) tacked onto the beginning of it. I was being sarcastic about the stunning animation but this song was and is still the best part. Watch the whole film next time you have a half hour to spare.
September 25th, 2017
I recently watched "The Princess Bride" for the first time in maybe almost a decade, and finally noticed how useless Buttercup is. If I were getting mauled by a Rodent of Unusual Size and all my "true love" could think of to do was watch from a considerable distance away, I would let Humperdink marry her. They would deserve each other.
This post was published prematurely as a test because I'm having issues with it. Now I can't delete the bleeping thing. Sorry about that.
I'm over my head cold! Now I just have the usual cough that I've had off and on since March 2014. Yes, I saw a doctor. He said it was nothing to worry about, just inflammation. He gave me medicine that tasted like motor oil. I had to drink it every day. It didn't do jack for me. I stopped worrying about it. It's just part of my life now. I may as well have smoked.
I went to a wedding reception on Wednesday. It was for me and my beautiful new bride, Felicity Nicholson (nee Jones). You may be familiar with her. She was recently in a moderately successful film in a moderately popular franchise. She'll probably keep using her maiden name for publicity purposes. There is a bit of an age difference, but when you're in love that's just a number. And I made all that up except for the wedding reception part. It was for a friend from church. I know him a little bit and his new wife not at all. I think the reception was the first time I ever spoke to her, but what do I know? People say "Hi Chris" to me and I don't even recognize their faces, so I'm not a reliable source on that. He said to her "Do you know Chris?" and she was like "Yeah, we've met" so maybe that's a more accurate statement.
As I was riding back, the two people in the front seats discussed marriage and how they aren't super into it. I was shocked. Of course, I noticed long ago that most of the Mormons at church don't seem to be nearly as obsessed with marriage as Mormons are stereotypically supposed to be. Watching "The Singles Ward" didn't make me think "Wow, this is so relatable!", it made me think "Wow, Provo Mormons are freaks." (No offense, Provo Mormons.) But I thought I was the only one who didn't have any particular desire for it. Let me be clear. Sometimes I find a really incredible woman whose company I prefer to being alone and I think that sure, I'd like to marry her. But the concept of marriage per se, with no particular candidate in mind, holds very little appeal for me. I'm certainly not motivated to spend one iota of effort looking for such a candidate. I would want to get married because of a woman, not vice-versa. And I guess I'm not as unusual in that as I thought. But I'm not "anti-marriage" as someone once insinuated. Marriage is anti-me.
I didn't participate much in their conversation because I have difficulty inserting my comments in conversations with more than one other person. People don't usually pause at all between remarks, so I can't say anything without cutting someone off, and I'd feel guilty about that. So I mostly just listened. It was good stuff. "Most guys," the girl said to the guy, "I'm not saying you, but most guys only care about three things in a girl. Do I want to have sex with her, is she fairly righteous - she says she wants a temple marriage, and does she agree with and validate everything I say?" I only care about one of those things. I must be really exceptional. She also expressed her appreciation that she doesn't have to pretend to be stupid around her current boyfriend. She said lots of guys are intimidated by intelligence. That's understandable, but the alternative is worse. Talking to stupid people saps my will to live. But other guys are into that? Whatever.
She noticed me typing on my laptop and said, "I assume you're doing homework." And I had to admit that I was actually writing comics.
Alvin and the Cracrofts
Remember those comics that I wrote but never drew? (See the post category entitled "The Cracrofts".) I started writing them again, but after I cranked out at least fifty on Saturday and realized it would take much much longer to draw the same number, they may never get drawn after all. We'll see. In coming weeks I may share several more like I did last year, which conveniently saves me having to write much in the posts, but here are just a couple for now. Of course, I try to share the ones I'm actually proud of, and there are others that range from mediocre to downright lame. Sometimes I get too focused on moving a story along or preaching my viewpoints and sacrifice actual humor in the process (insert your own quip about me always doing that here). Also, I changed the title from "The Cracrofts" to "Alvin and the Cracrofts" as a chipmunk homage.
There have been a few other changes. It's become more "cartoony" overall as its world now canonically includes not just aliens and cloned dinosaurs but also ghosts and Santa Claus. This is largely because at the end of every year (the comic takes place in real time from 2004 to 2024) I wanted to have a different Christmas parody/homage - I posted the first one, "The Gift of the Magi", last year - and these more often than not have fantasy elements. With her having encountered all these things, Tyler's atheism became less plausible and she's been downgraded to an agnostic. One line I will never cross is having characters break the fourth wall, but they come dangerously close by recognizing the tropes at play around them.
But tropes are our friend. I changed the backstory so that Rachel acquired her pet Komodo dragon, Steve, at age five instead of twenty-four. I thought it made a much better story for her to grow up with him and form a lifelong bond and face the world together. But then I realized that made him too old and he would have to die during the comic's timeframe, because Komodo dragons only live up to thirty years in captivity. I tried to think of a way around this - perhaps yet another fantasy element like the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth. But in the end I decided, instead of resolving it, to just "hang a lampshade on it". This is the trope whereby writers draw attention to the implausibility of something without actually explaining it, to make the audience okay with it. This usually works because implausible things do happen in real life, but not without drawing attention. So I just have characters occasionally remark on Steve's incredible longevity a few times over the years. This had the unfortunate side effect of creating one of the least cynical moments I've ever written.
Alvin: Speaking of longevity... Steve's been around forty years, which is ten years longer than most Komodo dragons in captivity. That's just as amazing.
Rachel: Well, most Komodo dragons in captivity have never received as much love as ours.
(They silently watch Tyler playing with Steve)
To compensate for that emotion, here's a more autobiographical one. The name of the company involved has NOT been changed.
Alvin: #@$%! CenturyLink should be embarrassed to charge money for this #@$% wi-fi service.
Alvin: It should not take me eight #@$% minutes to load a five second long gif. There's no excuse for this #@$%. Screw this abomination of a company.
Alvin: Sorry about that, Rachel. I'm just stressed.
Rachel: And you're trying to relax by staring at a blank white webpage?
I don't think I shared this one yet. If I did, it's worth sharing again. If I had to pick only one strip to get drawn, this would probably be it. My sister thought it was gross, but what does she know?
Alvin: Playing with your dolls, sweetie?
Tyler: No duh.
Alvin: What's Barbie doing today?
Tyler: Removing Ken's head with a meat cleaver.
Alvin: That's... not very nice.
Tyler: If she's told him once to get his dirty underwear off the floor, she's told him a thousand times.
This is another one that I'm very pleased with and don't think I've shared. Mary is a college student interning with a high school biology teacher, and Tyler and David are her helpers.
Tyler: Hello, Mary. Up to any fun projects lately?
Mary: I've been testing a new perfume that simulates pheromones more thoroughly than anything before. It should be super effective.
Tyler: Oh, are you testing it on yourself?
Mary: Ha! Not yet. It's not in the stage where it can be used on humans.
Mary: That's a side project, though. We've got some real work to do today.
Tyler: Right. David?
David (off-screen): Just a minute. Have you ever noticed how cute these lab mice are?
I finally put one of my favorite ideas ever into writing. It was a stand-alone idea featuring Katy Perry herself, but I figured it still works without her so I added it to this franchise:
Alvin: Why so happy, Rachel?
Rachel: I almost ran over a bushy-tailed rodent. I swerved just in time, and I was so relieved that I got a feeling of intense euphoria.
Alvin: So what you're saying is –
Rachel: Right. I missed a squirrel and I liked it.
One of my very first ideas when I decided I wanted to write comics is never going to be used because it doesn't fit how the characters ended up. So this will probably be the only place you'll ever see it. Feel privileged!
(A bunch of people are being held hostage in a bank)
Criminal: All right, everybody stay down and be quiet!
Alvin: Please, sir... I have a wife and seven kids at home.
Criminal: Are you asking me to let you go?
Alvin: I'm asking you to shoot me.
Aaand a sneak peek at a new character! I figured Tyler needs authority figures to drive crazy at school as well as home. But don't worry, the new character will dish it out as well as she takes it.
Bill: Tyler, Al tells me you talk to your principal a lot. She's quite a looker. Do you know if she's single?
Tyler: Yeah, I think so.
Tyler: With all due respect, Uncle Bill, Principal Donaldson is a fine, classy lady. She deserves better than your nonsense.
Tyler: But since I hate her guts, I'd be happy to arrange it.
^ Inspired by Erica, a really classy and attractive barber I went to as a kid. More than once I heard my dad say that it blew his mind that she was still single, and that he wanted to set her up with one of his friends but none of them were worthy of her.
Fun at Work
Me: I found a book to help me with you.
Her: Do you have a marker?
She thinks she's so funny. You know, I do think it's funny how she threatens physical violence against me while I would never dream of doing the same to her. I understand why this double standard exists and I'm okay with it. I have joked about hurting her on accident. One time she was inside a box to cut it up and I was like, "Who left this box laying around here? I'd better flatten it. I'd better stomp on it to make it flat." She, by contrast, has threatened to stomp on me on purpose. Specifically on my throat.
Popeye the Sailor - A Date to Skate (1938)
I shared cartoons a few times and then just stopped but now for some reason this cartoon has been on my brain lately. It's one of my favorite Popeye cartoons because it's just cute and breaks away from the usual plot formula. Olive sassing Popeye by mimicking his unique speech pattern under her breath is priceless too imho. Ignore the one teensy little racist part. After I looked this up, I kept looking and accidentally stayed up way past my bedtime watching Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies ("Pigs in a Polka", "Robinson Crusoe Jr.", "Ali Baba Bound", "Porky's Railroad", "We, the Animals Squeak!", "The Henpecked Duck", and "The Coy Decoy", in case you were wondering).
Bits of Stuff
I neglected to mention last time that as of the day after Labor Day, I have now worked at Jenson Online for a year. It went by faster than my less than four months at the call center. My worst day here (Valentine's Day, when none of my equipment was working right and there was a new quality control guy who was stupidly strict and I felt like I was being eaten alive all day) was better than most days there. I can't say all days there because I did enjoy doing surveys for the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, and near Independence Day we had a picnic. But mostly it sucked so I always try to remember and be grateful for what I have now. I feel that it's like a marriage. You start out all excited and happy and in love, but as the months and years go by the novelty wears off and the more mundane realities of life set in and take over, and you need to make a proactive effort to remember how blessed you are and how wonderful your spouse is. But I'm not married so I wouldn't know that for a fact.
There's a Facebook page called USU Memes that doesn't really do anything anymore, but during my freshman year when I discovered it, around the same time I discovered what memes are, it posted a lot of stuff. I made a few of my own and shared them to the page, and now I feel like sharing them again because what else am I supposed to do here? I couldn't find them, so I recreated them from memory. If there were more I've forgotten about them.
Like, every other week it was broken again. One time there was a note that said: "Seriously guys? If the elevator won't go down, you do not jump on the floor to make it go down. This is why we can't have nice things." That was the first time I'd heard the expression "This is why we can't have nice things" and I thought he was being original.
But this story has a happy ending! After I stood there silently for a couple minutes, she noticed her mistake.
Christian Thrapp was his name. He became USUSA president. I wish he were USA president too, because I'm 99% sure he'd be more qualified than our current tool. This was by far my most popular contribution and Christian himself was quite pleased with it.
Here is my take on the wedding cake thing that everybody, by which I mean nobody, was asking for. First of all, it's quite annoying that people keep misrepresenting what the issue actually is, claiming that the businesses in question are "refusing to serve gay people". As if they make prospective customers fill out a survey on their sexual orientation and then refuse to sell any goods or services to the gay ones. In reality, they are merely declining to provide goods and services for a specific ceremony that violate their religious beliefs. To my knowledge, every one of them is perfectly willing to serve these same customers under any other circumstances, and has done so.
Now from a fairness point of view, both sides have a compelling argument. But from a legal point of view, it appears to me that the businesses have it hands down. The First Amendment protects their religious practice as well as belief. It doesn't include a caveat that says "only in church" or "unless you own a business" or "unless your beliefs are deemed to be discriminatory". The Fourteenth Amendment that many people have fallaciously cited refers only to the State, and says literally not one word about citizens or privately owned businesses. Many people who have never looked at the Constitution don't seem to realize that it actually tells the government what it can and can't do, not the citizens. I'm not sure why a constitutional right that actually exists (practicing your religion) is now considered to be trumped by one that doesn't (getting cake/flowers/whatever from whichever business you want).
Myself, I would have no problem serving a same-sex wedding because I really couldn't care less, just like I would provide birth control for employees, and of course this is all very hypothetical because I don't anticipate ever owning a business or being able to bake a cake. But I don't believe the government has any right to coerce anyone else to if it violates their conscience. Just like it has no right to force anyone to buy there. If you think they're being discriminatory, take your business elsewhere. Why would you want to give money to people you hate anyway?
Also, this is a thing that happened: a teenager with Down syndrome confronted German chancellor Angela Merkel over the fact that nine of ten German babies with Down syndrome are aborted. I thought Germany was super paranoid about not letting anything resembling Nazi stuff happen ever again, but here it is embracing eugenics again. Herpa derp derp.
My family used to have a VHS tape (ask your parents what that is) of Riverdance that my sister watched all the time. I made fun of her for watching it all the time but secretly liked it. Shhhh. This was my favorite part and it still is. The good bit starts about 1:49, but it isn't the same without the buildup. Then about 3:22 (SPOILER ALERT) Michael Flatley comes along like "A powerful, independent woman? I must put her in her place." And then he's like, "You can twirl around? That's cute. I literally have the fastest feet in the world." As a kid this part where they stare each other down made me think of taming a tiger. Unfortunately, this video omits the bit at the end where he kisses her on the cheek and they walk off stage with their arms around each other. That's how every mixed-sex battle for supremacy should end.
I'm pretty sure I've posted this comic before, but oh well.
In "The Power of Everyday Missionaries", Clayton Christensen discusses some of the religious questions that people Googled. At the top, by a long shot, was "what is love" with 226 million searchers a month, including 45.5 million in the United States. When we discussed this chapter in Sunday school, people talked about how beautiful this is and how it speaks to the soul of what people really value and crave out of life. And I just sat there and thought, Surely I can't be the only one who realizes that most of those people were looking up the song. Really, it's a very famous song, and if I want to look up the definition of a word, I just type in the word and usually the first thing that comes up is a dictionary entry.
But it is a legitimate question. I got into an argument with a coworker over it. He insisted that love is a biochemical reaction designed to make sure our genes get passed on, and isn't real. I tried to explain to him what I'm about to write here, but we just talked in circles a bit and I gave up. Of course love is a biochemical reaction designed to make sure our genes get passed on. So what? How does that make it not real? Brain chemicals are real, they're measurable, you could touch them with your fingers if given the opportunity. And they have certain noticeable effects, and some of those effects are what we call "love". Now certainly, one could argue that the common understanding of love is flawed, but that doesn't make it nonexistent. Maybe he just meant that science makes it not magic and therefore ruins it. I think that's the wrong attitude. Do flowers and bird songs cease to be beautiful when you realize they're weapons in a battle for sex? Are humans worthless if you understand that they share a common ancestor with apes, that they grow from zygotes, and that their appearance is determined by mixing genes together?
People with ideas about love that don't conform to reality (aka most people between 8 and 30) are setting themselves up for a lot of disappointment. I'm not like a love expert or anything, but I get a great deal of perverse satisfaction from shattering people's fairy tale nonsense about it, so there's that. I feel like shattering this post that annoyed me.
Well, first of all, even though I regard this post as a load of crap, you can rest assured that I'm not likely going to tell her I love her in the foreseeable future because she kind of has a boyfriend. And even if she didn't, I don't think it would get her hopes up. I imagine her reacting with the exact same words that Wanda Sykes used when someone told her there was once water on Mars: "Oh, I'm sorry, are you talkin' to me? Cause I don't give a ----." (I could hardly disagree more with Wanda Sykes' shortsighted view of the space program, but that's just the most relevant thing that comes to mind.) Now I think I will dissect this post the same way I dissected one of Mr. Drumpf's damage control statements a while back, because I enjoyed that immensely. I have yet to see his rebuttal Tweet, by the way.
"If yelling at her in an argument doesn't make your throat burn like you just downed 6 shots, you're not in love with her."
So... why are you yelling at her so loudly or so long that your throat hurts so much? Why are you yelling at her at all? Did you know that you can have a civil argument with someone without yelling at them? If you didn't know that, you aren't ready for a relationship or much of anything else. My father has never yelled at my mother in his life, so there. If you claim to yell at someone because you love them, then where I come from that's called "abuse" and is frowned upon. Now perhaps what you meant to say was that yelling at someone you love makes you feel really guilty. In that case, you should have been a heck of a lot more clear because for me, neither guilt nor any other negative emotion has ever manifested as an intense pain in my throat. Maybe I'm the weird one. Crud - maybe I'm just anatomically incapable of love. God hates me.
(Aside to everyone else - if you have a partner and this partner thinks that yelling at you is acceptable behavior, dump him/her faster than a hot potato with Ebola.)
"If her eyes can't make you stop in your tracks and think about what you're about to say next, you're not in love with her."
"Honey, we're out of toilet p-buh-buh-buh-buh what continent am I on?" Okay, so, this is a symptom of what we call infatuation. And this is often a component of love to start out with. But the giddy swirly twitterpated feeling is scientifically proven to disappear after a year or two, and this is why that's a good thing. Interference with your ability to function normally gets old after a while and is not something you want sticking around for your whole life.
"If her laugh doesn't make you tense up your knuckles thinking about never hearing it again, you're not in love with her."
So... when you love a woman (you said "girl" but I'm saying "woman" to appease my feminist friends), you don't enjoy hearing her laugh? You hate it, in fact? You must have some really fun dates trying not to make her laugh. But if you really loved her, you would just want her to be happy, with or without you. Ohhhhhhh snap.
"If her voice can't calm your worst anxiety attacks and makes [sic] you want to listen to anything she has to say, you're not in love with her."
Wait, what? Her laugh causes you anxiety, but her voice calms it? Isn't her voice part of her laugh? Or is she one of those people who just laughs silently and gasps? Okay, for the sake of simplicity let's assume by "voice" you just mean talking. What if she laughs, and then says something, and then laughs again? What if she laughs while she's talking? This seems like it would be rather detrimental to your mental health. And speaking of mental health, I'm 100% sure you don't know what an anxiety attack is. Let me guess, you think a walk in the woods is a cure-all for depression too? And unicorn farts heal schizophrenia, amiright? Look, I'm sure a loved one's voice can calm some anxiety attacks for some people, but this all-or-nothing sentence is ridiculous and perpetuates mankind's idiocy about mental illness.
"If her smile doesn't make your chest quake and your lungs shrink but feel refreshed all in one motion, you're not in love with her."
That's very specific. Hear me out for a moment - is it just possible that any of however many of the 3.7ish billion other men in the world are heterosexual and/or heteromantic, which is most of them, might experience their emotions differently than you? I admit I'm extrapolating from my religious training here. I have been told that the Holy Ghost feels different to different people, and I just assume that more standard-issue emotions can work the same way. Not everyone's brain chemistry is identical. It just strikes me as the height of arrogance to presume that any experience deviating from your very specific one is invalid. And again, this is the sort of thing that vanishes after one or two years. That doesn't mean you've fallen out of love. A lot of people make that mistake and get divorced to go find someone else, wrongly expecting that the same thing won't happen again.
"If her taking her clothes off is when you pay the most attention to her, you're not in love with her."
This is literally the stupidest - wait. Oh my goodness, this is accurate. This is true. This is good. If you just deleted all the other sentences in this post, it would be a great post. But you shouldn't be watching her take her clothes off anyway, you sick shmuck.
Now I'm posting this clip from "The Red Green Show" for the third time because, well, I love it.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.