Mrs. Obama has also had to learn to tamp down her sometimes biting humor because it too often leaves Mr. Obama as the punch line. (It has been a long time since she has talked publicly about her husband of 15 years being smelly in the morning, as she told Glamour magazine, or forgetting to put away the butter.)
"What I've learned is that my humor doesn't translate to print all the time," she said in the interview. "But usually when I'm speaking to a group, people understand what I'm trying to say, they get the humor, they understand the sarcasm, they get the joke."
When I was at university, I was editor of a small college newspaper and in one issue we printed a story in the sports section accusing a team from another college of cheating in intramural sports.
The day the paper hit the stands, we were sitting around in front of the computer (a 286 with an amber monochrome monitor running Pagemaker 2.0, printing on a Hewlett-Packard Laserjet Series 2) and the head of college sports came running in, full of drama and panic, complaining that the sports rep from the other college was upset about the article and chewed him out.
Our sports editor replied, "Did you tell her to fuck off?"
Obama's "offended" supporters need that; they're not offended, they're concerned about the cartoon because of how it might be interpreted by the patrons of the Creation Museum. Art Speigelman was offended by that:
"They sound so elitist," Spiegelman told The Chronicle. "The essence of what they're saying is, 'I get it, but I don't trust the people in Kansas to get it.' But isn't that what the whole hope and change thing is supposed to be about? That they will get it."
Personally I'm not sure why the conversation about this goes any further than, "Oh yes, that was a mildly amusing reference to those crazy right wing emails everyone has heard about," before moving on to other topics. But it's appalling that a piece of artwork clearly mocking the delusions of the right is being excoriated as if it presents those delusions approvingly.
Do cartoonists really have to worry about how the images they create could be misapporpriated by bad people? Every time I draw a picture, for whatever purpose, should I pause and wonder whether the forces of evil could possibly use it out of context in a nefarious scheme, thus saving the $250 it would cost to hire an illustrator to draw exactly they want?
I'm sure Dan Bailey over at istockphoto is asking himself that very question right now. Over in Ireland, the Orange Order splurged -- SPLURGED! -- and paid about ten bucks for an image of a cartoon superhero and adopted him as their new mascot, Diamond Dan (I am not making that up):
"Diamond Dan will be the kind of person who offers his seat on a crowded bus to an elderly lady. He won't drop litter and he will be keen on recycling," he said.
That image has been downloaded almost four hundred times, so he should be keen on recycling.
Fortunately for all concerned, my ancestors left Ireland many generations ago, otherwise the mascot may have ended up being something more like this guy. His name is Diamond McPenisheadman! He recycles and smokes pot because he's proud of his Dutch heritage!
As for Diamond Dan, they're likely violating the terms of the license in some way, so expect an update later. Stock is useful for some things, but using a stock image for your organization's mascot makes you a dick. Pay an artist and get it done right.
I'm always looking for uses of my stock city silhouettes and thought I'd found one when I saw this ad in the weekend Globe & Mail. It looked like they used this pic of Nathan Phillips Square and this skyline of Chicago ( for some reason, everything to the right of New City Hall is Chicago, including the Sears Tower).
But a close check revealed that they weren't my files ... the images are taken from slightly different positions. And so, the hunt continues ...
When I was very young, my half-sister Jenny died tragically. She was a teenager, and it was the 80's. .... I asked my friend Thomas to cover the album, which, sheltered as he is, he had never heard before. I was clear that I wanted to him to cover the whole album - the point wasn't to rework any one song, but to re-imagine the picture they made together. With a new Footloose we could reply to the past, tell our own story about being young.
The True Tommy Douglas Story, 1962 As relayed by Woodrow Llyod
Even though I'd taken over from Douglas as premiere of Saskatchewan, on that cold winter night I knew I needed Tommy. I needed his his magic. It was a bad one, the worst yet.
LLOYD: They came back! They thought that because you were gone, it was safe.
DOUGLAS: It's good that you brought me.
LLOYD: We should call the mounties, too.
DOUGLAS: NO. I will face them. You stay here.
Douglas set out and walked towards the glowing hanger. Mad laughter and other sounds echoed from the place. He got closer. And closer.
Figures darted around Douglas in the night. He fought them. He struggled forward, towards the hangar. And vanished inside. Howls and screams rang out. I wanted to run, I wanted to rush to help Tommy. But I just stood in my place, frozen with fear.
I waited for hours. I didn't know what to do. I must have nodded off at one point because when I awoke, Tommy was standing over me.
He was exhausted. His face weary. He looked as though he bore the burden of a thousand centuries.
TOMMY: That's the thing I hate about Saskatchewan ....
Official versions don't always work out as well as you'd expect; for example, Atari 2600 Pac Man was a bizarre adaptation of the original. But the worst official/unofficial conflict in gaming was the NES Tetris battle.
Tengen Tetris was the first version of the game available for the NES and it was a playable, faithful version of the original (and fortunately, we had that version). But after a complicated legal battle:
June 21, 1989 - Tengen's version of Tetris is taken off the shelves, and manufacture of the Tengen version is ceased. Several hundred thousand copies of Tengen Tetris, sitting in their boxes, lie in a warehouse.
Nintendo's "official" version of Tetris, which was released the following month, was garbage. It sold a lot of copies because of the name, but it was a very poor version of the game.
Vista's bad reputation began because companies like Dell forced it on people and hardware that weren't ready for it. That's what happened to us: we wound up with a laptop loaded with Vista but not powerful enough to run it properly (at the time, Dell had discontinued the XP option). On a recent service call to Dell, they had the gall to tell us that the laptop -- the one they sold us -- wasn't powerful enough to run Vista properly. Gee, thanks ... idiots.
But I've been using Vista and running Adobe CS3 on a new desktop for the past two months and it's just fine. As a garden-variety user, I would say that Vista is about equivalent to XP; every improvement is countered by something annoying. The main irritant are those constant pop-ups. Vista can't do a thing without asking your permission and there's never a "don't ask again" option to save your preferences. It wears you down after giving permission to the same process for the gazillionth time.
One of the main "features" was the transparent glass effect on the windows. Even though my system is powerful enough to run the effects, I found it distracting and disabled it after a few weeks. Here's the benefit of having frosted glass windows: there is no benefit to having frosted glass windows.
But Vista looks better than XP. XP's chunky, colourful interface made it look too much like a kid's toy. Vsta also seems to do a much better job of recovering from crashed and hanging programs.
So now it's mostly a lateral move from XP to Vista. There's nothing to fear anymore ... but nothing all that great, either.