VistaPrint's rubber stamp doubles as optometric test had this great offer. A self-inking rubber stamp with your address for $5.99 including shipping. Of course they push it as if it's free and you only pay shipping, but that would still be a good deal. If you could read it.

Not that it's bad quality. From what I can tell, it's crisp and clear. If I unpacked my dad's childhood microscope from the basement, I could verify if it was legible.

I print a lot of stuff in 8 point type. What I do is copy the text from some online article, paste it into a Word doc, then switch it all to single spaced, .3 inch margin, 8 point type, so I can print fewer pages.

My best estimate is that this promotional stamper has the first line as 7 or maybe 6 point type, and the two lower address lines at 5 or 6 point. This stamp and the company that makes it are less than worthless.


Wil Wheaton Indicted for Role in Robot Fighting Ring

"Los Angeles, CA – Actor and Internet personality, Wil Wheaton, has been indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of promoting and hosting a robot fighting ring."


Don't get cocky!

Nekokaiju is keeping ZVP (Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls: the online comic) faithful to the original idea proposed by Hammer Films. It's set in 1917 with a German zeppelin and biplanes. Check out that first strip (linked above) and these sketches and buy a t-shirt while you're at it. (Here's a larger view of the t-shirt image.)


McCain: "I Was The Greatest Critic" of the Iraq War's First Four Years

"It’s entertaining, in that I was the greatest critic of the initial four years [of the Iraq War], three and a half years. I came back from my first trip to Iraq and said, This is going to fail. We’ve got to change the strategy to the one we’re using now. "
- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), yesterday on CNN.

Compare that with other quotes the war's Greatest Critic made in the past four years:

"But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators." [NBC, 3/20/03]

"It’s clear that the end is very much in sight." [ABC, 4/9/03]

"There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shiahs. So I think they can probably get along." [MSNBC, 4/23/03]

"This is a mission accomplished. They know how much influence Saddam Hussein had on the Iraqi people, how much more difficult it made to get their cooperation." [This Week, ABC, 12/14/03]

"I’m confident we’re on the right course." [ABC News, 3/7/04]

"I think the initial phases of it were so spectacularly successful that it took us all by surprise." [CBS, 10/31/04]

"I do think that progress is being made in a lot of Iraq. Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course. If I thought we weren’t making progress, I’d be despondent." [The Hill, 12/8/05]

(via Think Progress)

Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls: The Lost Cartoon (1942)

A rare collaboration between Fleischer Studios and Ub Iwerks resulted in this cartoon, based on the moderately successful Republic Pictures "Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls" cliffhanger serials. The cartoon was shelved for half a century due to a three way legal dispute between Republic, Fleischer and Iwerks. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejected Oscar nominations for Ben Burtt's sound design in the cartoon because it had not been formally released and because of the legal status.

Actually it's a mashup I made from the following old public domain cartoons:
Superman - (self-titled episode)
Superman - Arctic Giant
Superman - Billion Dollar Limited
Superman - The Bulleteers
Superman - Japoteurs
Superman - Jungle Drums
Superman - Mechanical Monsters
Superman - Terror on The Midway
Superman - The Underground World
Betty Boop - Ha Ha Ha! (laughing gravestones)
Cupid Gets His Man
Opening Night (black and white cat swordfight)
The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird (some robot footage)
Bosko Shipwrecked
Sinbad the Sailor

No reputations of Ben Burtts were harmed in the making of these cartoons, since he had nothing to do with it other than starting the inside joke of using Wilhelm screams. Be forewarned that the 1940s Superman cartoons contain some racist stereotypes. My apologies to Ub Iwerks, Fleischer Studios and the Academy.


Zeppelin vs. Pterodactyls: the online comic

Nekokaiju posted some preview sketches of ZVP the online comic, which should go live on ComicSpace this friday. Looks sweet.


Queen album cover inspired by cartoon?

My parents had Queen's "News of the World" on 8-track when I was about 6 or 7. It still worked about 8 years later when I was beginning to broaden my musical horizons and actively seeking 8-track tape players at garage sales. It's hard to forget the image on the cover, even if it was only two or three inches square on the front of the 8-track tape.

Queen "News Of The World"

Fast forward to last year. A 1950s cartoon hidden in a rack of $1 dvds. The Curious Adventures of Mr. Wonderbird. (Alternate titles: "Le Roi et L'Oiseau" or "The King and the Mockingbird" or "The Shepherdess and The Chimneysweep.") The title is underwhelming. Anthropomorphic animals aren't usually my bag. But the cover shows a fantastical city in the background and a giant robot aiming a ray from its eye. (Turns out to be just a normal light projected from its eye, but you had me at giant robot.) For a buck, I'll risk it.

Le Roi et L'Oiseau (aka The King and the Mockingbird)

The voice of the bird is Peter Ustinov (a legendary actor whose career I'll minimize by saying that my fellow geeks may remember him as the old man at the end of Logan's Run), and the animation is smooth, the style is unique, the story somewhat darker than your average cartoon.

Halfway through, the evil king activates a giant robot to stomp through the city and find the shepherdess he loves. The robot's head is different and the fingertips are pointed, but I couldn't help wondering if the artist of that Queen album cover was thinking back to this cartoon s/he might have seen 25 years earlier. Maybe it's just archetypal that a giant robot is going to hold humans in its palm in a way that's tender yet threatening.

Post-Script update: An anonymous commenter pointed out that Queen's News of the World album art was based on the October 1953 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.

astounding sci fi (queen album cover)


ZvP pinged by AMC tv SciFi Scanner Blog

"This is the sort of genius project that makes me bless the Internet every day as the greatest invention in the history of mankind."
- John Brownlee, AMC TV's SciFi Scanner Blog

Dungeons and Dayjobs = free digital version

My short story collection, Dungeons and Dayjobs, is now available as a free pdf file. You can get it from this page on (which requires registering on their site) or from this page on Then if you still want your own paperback copy, it's still available from Lulu.

Share it with your friends! Print a copy of your own or print a bunch of copies and give them to everyone you know. From what the internet gurus say, obscurity is much more dangerous to a writer's career than piracy.

PS - Some of these stories are also available as podcast mp3s (translation: FREE AUDIO BOOK) and the rest will gradually be recorded. Try some of them at


Esto es muy friki.

Esto es muy friki … esta película, llamada “El Zeppelin contra los Pterodactilos: la película perdida (1936)”, no existe. Me explico. Está basada en una idea de bombero de 1971, que nunca se llevó a cabo.

- posted on

[Sorry, I just can't stop googling myself.]

If only Beatles cartoons were public domain...
The Beatles - Paperback Writer

(I'm only slobbering over this because it shows a zeppelin and a dogfight.)