Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday morning toons: Special "Clock's Ticking" Edition

Greetings from a strip mall with a big box anchor, somewhere in central Indiana. I've been driving for over an hour trying to find someplace with free wifi--a concept apparently as-yet unknown in the Hoosier state, since the standard reply to my question is, "Yeah, there's a Starbucks about two or three blocks from here." (Locals are stunned to learn that Starbucks doesn't give anything--anything!--up for free. But perhaps they think that the Starbucks connection actually is free--once you've paid your AT&T bill. After all, this is the land where, if you ask the server, "Is the fish fresh?" they'll cheerfully reply "Sure--fresh frozen," leaving you to imagine the unpleasant alternative.)

So no free wifi out here: not at a pub, not at a pizzaria, not at an indie coffee shop, not so much as an electronic crumb to be found. (In fairness, most McDonalds in the area actually do have free wifi, but none of them has electrical outlets in the dining area. Go figure.)

Indiana may have gone for Obama, against all odds, but that apparently doesn't mean they're going to get sucked into all that socialist tomfoolery like experimenting with free public internet connectivity for the people. (They spread the broadband wealth around in the beautiful working space at the local public library, but they can't afford to open until 1pm on Sunday. And several people assured me I could sit in my car at the local City Hall parking lot and steal their wifi all day. Since it's currently about 15 degrees out, I've tagged that as Plan B.)

So I'm sitting here at a table just outside the coffee shop in a Barnes & Noble, nursing a large Earl Grey tea and a small anticorporate grudge, with my power cord snaking across the carpet to the only available outlet, under an end-of-aisle display for 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, which is cheaper at Powell's, where I believe the wifi is also free. Anyway, this is costing me $1.99/minute hour, so let's get cracking. [My mistake--this is central Indiana, not Weimar Germany. Or maybe I was thinking of those 976-numbers on my phone bill. -bn]

Bob Geiger's toon review is excellent this week--let's hope he left anything for the rest of us humble toon bloggers. I particularly recommend Chan Lowe (the first one).

Daryl Cagle's round-up this week has the bailouts leading, Christmas shopping a length behind, terrorism fading, and O.J. bringing up the rear.

p3 Picks of the Week: Pat Bagley, Mike Lane, Jeff Parker, Jerry Holbert, Henry Payne, Gary Brookins, Matt Davies, and Jeff Stahler.

I'm not always a huge Eric Allie fan, but he's the only one who picked up on this, and did a pretty funny job of it, so he gets featured this morning. And it's nice to see him bashing the CEOs instead of the workers (at least I think those are the CEOs).

p3 World Toon Review: Arcadio Esquivel (Costa Rica), Frederick Deligne (France), Mohammad Al-Rayies (Saudi Arabia), and Stavro (Lebanon).

This week's take by Ann Telnaes on the Bush valedictory is funnier if you remember Lawrence Welk and his Champaign Music Makers, but it's still pretty good.

Tom Tomorrow reviews what's been playing for the last 8 years on Alternate Universe Basic Cable.

The NYTimes discovers an unprecedented new idea: an animator who hand-draws his cartoons, frame by frame. Where could this radical idea lead? Animation that was created in some measure for art, rather than as a cheap, ratty merchandising tie-in? . . . naaah! (The article also makes evident how much the Cartoon Network and Nicktoons now drive the visual aesthetic of animated shorts.)

Portland homeboy Jack Ohman reviews the fundamentals.

Animator Max Fleischer loved Cab Calloway, and worked avatars with his slick-dancing moves into several cartoons for Betty Boop and Popeye. Here's the best, "Minnie the Moocher" featuring Betty Boop, from 1932. It comes in at a well-deserved #20 on the list of 50 Greatest Cartoons. It's dedicated to everyone who only knows Calloway as Curtis the custodian in "The Blues Brothers." And for those of you with no interest in classic animation or classic jazz, this also contains one of the few cocaine references you're likely to see outside of "Fritz the Cat."

p3 Bonus Toon: Jesse Springer puts the kidding on hold for a moment to observe a cruel truth (click to enlarge):


JG Hitzert said...

The last time I was in Indiana I had a similar issue. I wound up buying a power inverter for my car and parking outside of a hotel that had internet access. Hope this helps, should be more cost effective than two bucks a minute.

Nothstine said...

Shoulda been $1.99/hour, not per minute. Figures: The title punchline, and I blow it.

And the irony is, B&N has an arrangement so that Starbucks runs their coffee shops--which means that after all that, I still wound up in a Starbucks for all practical purposes [although the billing seemed a little easier than the Starbucks way.]