Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Calvin and Hobbes!

Happy Anniversary to Calvin and Hobbes! It was November 18, 1985 (I know, I’m a few days late), that the precocious little boy and his sage stuffed tiger/real tiger first hit comic pages across America. So, I thought I’d hit you guys with a little C&H trivia… I know, it’s not nearly enough to fill the void Bill Watterson has left us, but it’s a little something.

Bill Watterson
Ever since he retired from Calvin and Hobbes, Watterson has been painting and “studying music”. He’s notoriously private and apparently hasn’t changed his lifestyle much. Up until fairly recently, he still lived in his hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Now he lives in Cleveland, not too far away. He doesn’t do pictures or autographs, not for anyone, although he used to sign copies of his books and slip them into a little family-owned bookstore in Chagrin Falls. He found out that people were eBaying them instead of tucking them away in their own private collections, though, and stopped that practice.

Calvin’s Older Brother?
Originally, Calvin and Hobbes were supposed to be minor characters in the strip Watterson was trying to syndicate. They were both the same as they are now – a little kid and his tiger – but were supposed to be only occasional characters. When he sent that strip to United Features, they suggested that he rework the whole thing to center around Calvin and Hobbes. So Watterson did. And United Features rejected the strip anyway. It was eventually snatched up by Universal Press Syndicate instead.

You know those decals you see on trucks sometimes that have Calvin taking a whiz on the Chevy logo (or the Ford logo, or the BMW logo, or whatever)? So not legal. Actually, almost anything you see with Calvin and Hobbes on it is copyright infringement. Here is the complete list of things Bill Watterson has approved for mass production:

Two calendars (1988-1989 and 1989-1990)
A textbook called Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes
One t-shirt for a traveling art exhibit
Watterson issued a cease-and-desist. Some of the makers complied and substituted a different (but similar) boy for Calvin, some replaced him with a female Calvin, and some just ignored him altogther. “I clearly miscalculated how popular it would be to show Calvin urinating on a Ford logo,” Watterson once said. Go here for a rather comprehensive site of all of the fake Calvin logos. It’s pretty impressive.


You can probably figure out where Calvin and Hobbes come from (I’ll go over that in a second) but lots of the other characters are inspired by real-life people too – or not-so-real-life people.
Calvin, of course, is named after John Calvin, the 16th century theologian who was a huge proponent of predestination. We don’t know Calvin’s last name. Watterson has said that people often assume that Calvin is based on his own childhood, but he disputes this fact and says that he was actually a very quiet, obedient kid.

Hobbes is named after Thomas Hobbes, who said that the natural state of humans was to be at war. Watterson has said that he feels Thomas Hobbes had a “dim view” of people. Hobbes’ feline characteristics were based on Watterson’s cat, Sprite.

Miss Wormwood got her name courtesy of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. In the C.S. Lewis tale, Wormwood is the nephew of an experienced demon and is being advised by his uncle on how to damn men to Hell.

Susie Derkins received her distinctive last name because “Derkins” was the nickname of Watterson’s wife’s family’s beagle.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

America's Treatment of George W. Has Been a Disgrace

Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.

According to recent Gallup polls, the president's average approval rating is below 30% -- down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.

This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."

Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.

The president's original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.

It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.

Like the president said in his 2004 victory speech, "We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America."

To be sure, Mr. Bush is not completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the good company of former Democratic President Harry S. Truman, whose own approval rating sank to 22% shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman's low numbers, a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president in history.

Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

I really thought I should post this.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Politics in the Newsroom...and Family Guy?

If you are like most Americans last night, you probably tuned in to CNN, analyzing everything that you saw—even those television screens about the Magic Wall. And if you're looking over the wall, you might catch Family Guy running on screens above all that red and blue. It wouldn't be the first time we'd catch these guys goofing off during politics. I wonder if this episode is the one where Peter becomes the president of his own nation? If so, it’s certainly fitting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Why Men can not trust Women!

I am a Lame Blogger Lately so here is a comic to appease you all for a while