February 29, 2008

February 28, 2008

Flavour Faves

From Washington Bureau: Ben & Jerry Back Barack
Barack Obama picked up a tasty endorsement Monday when Ben & Jerry's Ice cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield announced they are backing Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Their support includes the release of a number of new, limited edition Ben & Jerry's flavours, among them:
Yes, We Candy
Strawbarack Shortcake
The En-Glace-ity of Hope
Bananobamarama
And, of course:
Chocolate Chocolate Whip
Ben & Jerry's endorsement is not always a blessing, however. In the last general election their "Kerry Jubilee" flavour irreparably damaged the Massachusetts senator's campaign; and in the 2000 campaign season their "Al S'Mores" flavour had a similar effect. (As a historical note, the ice cream moguls also weighed in during the 1988 campaign season with a limited run of "Michael Cookakis and Cream" — but their operation at the time was small enough that it didn't have a significant effect on the election's outcome. He just sucked at campaigning.)

I think that is enough puns for an entire month.

February 26, 2008

The Jerry's Still Out

From Newsvine: Seinfeld Seeks to Toss Author's Lawsuit

I don't know if other people have been following this, but here in publishing land it's pretty much all anybody has been talking about since October.

Basically, in 2006, a woman named Missy Lapine submitted a book to HarperCollins called The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. They rejected it, and Lapine found a different publisher; her book came out in April 2007.

Then, six months later, HarperCollins released a book by Jessica Seinfeld, called Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. (Good summary of the overwhelming similarities here.)

Now, obviously, it is entirely possible that Collins rejected Lapine because they already had Seinfeld's book in the pipeline, and the whole thing is just a horrible coincidence for Lapine (the same way Deepa effing Mehta has scooped my novel). But the timing is certainly suggestive, and Lapine sued.

The copyright infringement part of her lawsuit is pretty weak, unfortunately, as you can't copyright a recipe itself (KingCasey can breathe a sigh of relief) — merely the text with which that recipe is expressed. Which sucks for Lapine, but what are you going to do?

The second part of her lawsuit is a slander/defamation claim against Seinfeld the author's hired goon of a husband, who, in the wake of the plagiarism claims, went on Letterman and called Lapine a "nutjob". He then compared her to the loonies who assassinated John Lennon and Martin Luther King, which seems gratuitously offensive and, sorry Jerry, but not very classy. The poor woman has already been fucked over by your wife's publisher; why is there any need for you, the most popular comedian in the country, to go on Letterman, the most popular talk show in the country, and compare Lapine to a murderer (and just because she wrote a cookbook that was similar to your wife's!)? Come on! That is douchebaggery in the highest degree.

Of course, I doubt very much that Lapine will have much success in her second claim, either, because (quoth the lawyers): "Jerry Seinfeld made overstatements of opinion for comic effect." They shouldn't have much trouble convincing a judge that Jerry freakin' Seinfeld was making a joke; besides, under New York law, hyberbole is considered a protected expression of opinion, so Seinfeld is pretty safe — even if his actions here make him the most gigantic asshole ever to have graced the universe (hyperbole! hyperbole!).

So, in summary, it sucks being a small-time author, and Jerry Seinfeld is a dick.

February 24, 2008

The Apple Doesn't Blog Far From The Tree

Please consider the below pictures of me, circa early twenties, and my father, circa early twenties — and then tell me genetics aren't terrifying. We Ladds loves our womens!



Also, I just spent the evening eating sushi and watching the Oscars, which I think makes me officially insufferable.

February 22, 2008

Conversations With Greatness CLXIX



Apologies for lack of posting this week: Montreal, then minor novel-writing disaster requiring immediate attention.

February 15, 2008

Conversations With Greatness CLXVIII



As it happens, I am going to Canada today. Huzzah!

February 14, 2008

Pun Haters, Look Away Now

From BBC NEWS | UK: Olympic boycott has "no purpose"
[British Olympics minister Tessa] Jowell told The Times newspaper: "The world has known for the last seven years that Beijing would host the Olympics.

"Most progressive governments accept that there are wholly unacceptable aspects of Chinese policy but that did not stop the International Olympics Committee (IOC) awarding them the Games.

"A call for a boycott doesn't serve any purpose."
Bravo! I'm glad to see the British establishment taking a sensible line on this issue, especially following my post yesterday that expressed a similar opinion. I feel like I'm really standing cheek by Jowell with the government on this one.

--

Also from BBC News: 'Happy slap' attack girl guilty
A 15-year-old girl has admitted filming the death of a man on her mobile phone in a so-called "happy slapping" attack...

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "Judith Naylor, crown advocate and junior counsel in this case, made a landmark decision when she advised that the female defendant be charged in respect of her actions, namely for the recording the attack which led to the death of Gavin Waterhouse on a mobile phone."
Gavin Waterhouse is, of course, famous for living on a tin of beans for a week. He didn't fall off once.

COPYEDITING, people!

February 13, 2008

The Rights to Remain Silent

From WCBS NEWSRADIO 880: Steven Spielberg Pulls Out of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games Over Darfur
BEIJING (AP) -- Rights groups on Wednesday praised Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's decision to shun involvement with the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies because China was not doing enough to help end the crisis in Darfur...

Although not entirely unexpected, it appeared to catch Beijing organizers flat-footed.
Seriously? I'd be more worried about it catching them bound-footed.

Maybe I'm out of the loop on the latest human rights tactics, but what the hell kind of bullshit is this, anyway? I mean, in case you hadn't noticed, guys, China has about one billion human rights violations going on at home — and you're mad at them because of Darfur? What next? Are we going to start blaming them for greenhouse gas emissions, too?

Sorry… I'm being told that we in fact already do that.

Okay, so apparently China is "to blame" for Darfur because it pumps money into the Sudanese economy by buying oil. But that's only part of the problem. According to Ban Ki-moon (aka Kofi Annan II, aka Boutros Boutros-Ghali III), the other reason Darfur is so messed up is because of climate change. Which is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. So, man, I guess the buck really does stop at China. No wonder Spielberg is pissed.

But China is doing its part! It built that huge dam on the Yangtze! That way they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels! See, they listen!

Oh, but… Right. We're not too happy about that, either. Apparently it's also kind of a human rights/environmental/financial disaster.

Man, it's tough being a developing country! How did the western world manage to industrialize without damaging the environment or infringing upon human rights? If only they'd taken notes!

Anyway, let's see if we can wrap this all up into a neat, conclusive plan of action for the Chinese. First of all, you've got to stop buying oil from Sudan, because that's a human rights disaster. But don't try and replace it with coal, because that's an environmental disaster. But don't try and replace it with hydro-electricity, because — well, man, you don't even want to know. Oh, but you'd better get that energy from somewhere, because you have a billion people to heat, house, feed and employ! (And don't forget the Olympics!) And if you even think about trying to cut any corners on any of this, Clooney will be down there in a heartbeat.

I believe that reports of western imperialism's death have been greatly exaggerated.

February 12, 2008

KHAAAAAAANNNNN!!

From USA Today: Television production goes from stalled to high gear
Anticipating the end to a 100-day writers' strike after a vote tonight, TV producers were back at work Monday plotting the springtime reblooming of their shows. Many series will restart production within two weeks, even sooner than expected...

Fox's 24 resumes production next month on 16 remaining episodes and will continue shooting through July, even though viewers won't see them until early 2009.
I knew I should have gone to be a scab! Now I have to sit through an entire, Kieferless year. Unless he attacks an Easter bunny next month, which doesn't seem altogether outside the realm of possibility.

Oh well. I suppose I'll be thankful when I'm actually employed as a writer and not getting completely shafted.

February 08, 2008

February 06, 2008

Stupor Tuesday

From WCBS NEWSRADIO 880: Some Accidentally Tried to Vote Tuesday
UNDATED (AP) -- Hey, where's my Super Tuesday?

That was the sentiment of hundreds of would-be voters who showed up at the polls yesterday in Virginia and Wisconsin. But it was just an ordinary Tuesday in those states.…

Virginians get their chance to vote next Tuesday. Wisconsin's primary is in two weeks.
See, now some people might choose to interpret this as proof of the sad state of American voters. I disagree; according to FOX News:
By noon, the [Virginia] State Board of Elections … had received about 400 calls, with many callers wanting to know why their polling places were closed.

Officials say that’s double to triple the normal volume of calls.
So, really, this is just another sign that American voters are more involved than ever in the current election: turnout is way up! Even among the borderline retarded!

February 04, 2008

Girl Power

I don't mean to contribute any further to the waves of gleeful literati scorn radiating around the internet right now, but...

From Newsvine: British Stores Halt 'Lolita' Beds
LONDON — Woolworths stores in Britain have stopped selling "Lolita" beds for young girls after a parents' organization complained because of the name's association with the famous novel about a pedophile.
The thing I find funny is, first of all, the blithe statement by the Woolworths' spokeswoman that:
"There aren't many people in the company, in the whole world, who know about the Lolita book or films." (Emphasis mine)
And, second of all, the fact that, despite blaming the mishap on website staff being "unaware" of the book and films, Woolworths' website actually sells both films. Go figure.

Still, at least they didn't call it the "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" bed.

--

In other news, the Spice Girls are cutting short their reunion tour.
The group, which reunited in a blaze of publicity last June, said on Friday that the tour will now end in Toronto on Feb. 26.…

The Spice Girls' tour kicked off in Vancouver, Canada, on Dec. 2, and has also included stops in Britain, the United States, Spain and Germany.
I'm sorry, but it started in Vancouver and is ending in Toronto... and in between it went to Germany? I think I speak for environmentalists everywhere when I say: zig-a-zig WHAAAAA?! Apparently they are trying to leave a carbon footprint that will rival Mel B's waistline HO SNAP!

Sorry, I know I normally don't stoop to such levels, but I think if you are going to waste oil and money with such cavalier disregard for anyone else on the planet, you deserve a fat joke or two. To wit, a few more zingers (Leno, if you're reading this — and who are we kidding, you probably are — feel free to use these. I know your writers are still on strike):

No, this is true, the Spice Girls have cancelled the second half of their tour. In a statement they said it was due to family and personal commitments… So I guess David Beckham needs to be burped.

But seriously, the tour has been drawing a pretty poor turnout now that Baby Spice is more like Old Spice. Hey oh!

No, but really, they've cancelled their show in Sydney. I guess they've realised that, these days, no one wants to see them Down Under.

Zing, wah-wah, etc.

February 01, 2008

Conversations With Greatness CLXVI



Edit: re-issued with tweaked final panel.