Friday, October 3, 2008

Single Issue Politics.

Just a quick note after seeing the vice Presidential Debate last night. I've always liked Biden, and during the primaries I thought he had the 'presidential' knowledge and charisma that has been missing in American politics for a long time. Watching him carry himself in such a gentlemanly and cool manner just reminds me why I think he would have been a great President. But in the VP spot he definitely is an asset. His knowledge, common sense, and desire to stand up for issues that were not politically popular at the time make him much more of a maverick than McCain ever was. So there is some irony in McCain and Palin using the "Maverick" line about themselves so consistently. The description could easily apply to Obama and Biden. Biden was fluent and suave throughout the debate and restrained himself with a heavy breath at the frustrating fakeness of his opponent.

Palin on the other hand simply memorized her lines for the debate. She hurriedly twisted her answers back towards the subjects she had crammed on for the past week and rattled off lists of topics and made broad ideological generalizations rather than being specific. This not only created a very forced delivery through a never disappearing 'Joker' smile, but also demonstrated that if she had to assume the role of president we would be stuck with someone who knew less about the issues than even George Bush.

When given a choice between a VP who understands the issues and a VP who has memorized them, it should not be a difficult decision, however a few throw away 'hockey mom' lines and I could just imagine right leaning viewers nodding thier heads with a deaf ear towards the lack of substance to her answers and her personality. I find her to be extremely superficial, uninformed, and unqualified for the position of Vice President. Maybe a Parent Teacher's association or Board of Trustees however.

In my opinion, she was chosen by McCain's strategists because of the superficial value of having a woman on the ticket as a counter to Obama. This lame attempt however, is likely to have the desired affect on a large portion of the American public who do not seem to vote on the issues, but rather the personality, and or a SINGLE issue. I remember when I heard several people make the Kerry vs Bush election an issue of which First Lady suited the Whitehouse better, or simply which candidate was more attractive. Not to forget the 'swiftboat' BS which struck a mortal blow to Kerry's campaign. This sort of insanity lead to Bush winning a second term. Something that had seemed unthinkable.

Surely the single issue politics of this election should be the economy. Therefore the debaters should have turned any question back into an issue of the economy, and yet they did not. Biden could have hit back against Palin's naive and old fashioned anti-environment 'drill baby drill', by saying "gee whiz, gas prices sure burn a hole in the pocket don't they folks?"

By talking about how expensive gas has become, along with the harm it does to our environment, Biden could have segued into the opportunities that heavy investment in new energy technology would create for employment, the export of new technology, not to forgetting the positive impact on the environment. The best come back against Palin's "drill baby drill" is sure to remind everyone how expensive it is at the pump and that the Obama-Biden ticekt would like to free us of dependence on oil altogether. Talking about the gas price pains, as well as the Wall Street and Main Street blues would have won bigger emotional responses from the public.

Fortunately for Biden, Palin's attacks lacked follow throughs so he escaped unscathed. Neither side really managed to deal a significant blow and this is largely due to Biden's holding back in an effort to avoid being painted as a bully or sexist by the Republicans and the media.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Baltimore Comic Con

My wife and I just got back from Baltimore Comic Con, our third such convention this year. The con was reminiscent of North Carolina's Heroes Con in that our neighbors in artist alley were great people and wonderful to talk to. Thanks for the great company Josh, Melo, Juan, Paige & Phil. These artists have amazing talent and I wish them all the best and hope to see them again.

I was particularly struck by Josh Johnson's work. He has a website which I encourage everyone to check out. He paints all his work in water colors which to me is so amazing compared to the ever growing breed of artists who do digital colors only. Josh also writes making him an incredible storyteller. His "Spindletons" book was probably the most magical experience for me since seeing the Snowman cartoon to the song "Walking in the Air". After the first page I knew I had to read the whole thing and I did so as soon as I got home this evening. The Spindletons is an enchanting book that desperately needs to get picked up by the major retailers. Check him out at

Overall, Baltimore Comic Con was another good forray into the creator side of comics which my wife is working hard towards becoming a part of. While there, I also promoted my friend James Eatock's magazine "Cereal Geek" for which both Leanne and I have contributed work. If you love 1980s animation then check it out at

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What is a Callifrax?

So, you found your way here. But now what?

What is a "Callifrax"? That does seem to be the most obvious question. And to answer that, a Callifrax is a mythical creature of my own invention, a hybrid between a unicorn and a lion. It symbolizes a true union between Scotland's traditional heraldic symbol of the Unicorn, and England's Lion, which were merged into a single royal coat of arms after King James IV of Scotland became King James I of England. But as you may know, the union has hardly been balanced or amicable since it came into existence. The nursery rhyme "The Lion and the Unicon" is well known throughout the British Commonwealth.

"The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread,
and some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town."

A Callifrax comes into being when true harmony can be found between the competing Lion and the Unicorn. How and when this might happen is anyone's guess, though I would say it seems as unlikely as a Callifrax ever being born. The problem is that most nations are diverging into their constituent cultural parts, as the world becomes ever more tribalistic.

I invite anyone to sketch the Callifrax from your own imagination and email me your work. Art is the most visual expression of an idea after all.