Is Olde Fortran Coming Back?

There’s been a lot of buzz about Family Guy’s success on DVD and the Cartoon Network bringing the franchise back to life. That was fine with me. Family Guy is a decent show and better than any VH1 clipfest. But it is not the greatest thing ever, not even in the hour it runs on Cartoon Network. Futurama is by far the better of the two shows, and now there’s word it might be coming back as well.

My indifference to Family Guy is well known. I think it promotes a lot of what went wrong with comedy in the past ten years. It’s a lazy type of humor that uses eighties references and pointless wackiness as punchlines. It is the Austin Powers of cartoons aimed at adults. I know I’m guilty of similar crimes against comedy, but I always feel very dirty and ashamed after comitting them.

Futurama however, is great. It came out just as the Simpsons was starting its decline and I thought it would take its place in the Fox 8 o’clock Sunday spot. But Fox hated the series and most Simpsons fans are now zealots who refuse to believe the show has jumped the shark, no matter how many talented writers abandoned it.

I’m not sure where or how the series will be revived, but Cartoon Network is the obvious choice. Comedy Central would also be a great spot for it, and it would give them an excuse to kill that awful Crank Yankers show.

I am a skinny Tom Shales.
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The Giant Hamburger Bun

Last year I made a rather lengthy section of the BFW website called Dispatches from the Third Grade. It featured scanned journal entries I wrote when I was eight. It was briefly popular then sort of fizzled out once the gag got old. Oddly enough, without any links on a BFW page, the dispatches still get about five hits a day, mostly from people seeing them in Google Image Search.

Since its been a while here on the blog without a substantial post, I figured I would tap the well of my youth once again to provide you with cheap and easy content. I wrote a story for a fourth grade class called “The Giant Hamburger Bun.” I would just scan it and post it here, but sadly the entire story is written in nine-year-old boy cursive and illegible to most people. But here is the cover illustration, followed by a word for word transcript (misspellings included) typed by me, fifteen years later. The parenthetical is in the original text.


The Giant Hamburger Bun

Micheal A. Surfer lives in (of course) California, in the city of San Francisco. Mike likes to surf, but he hates the smog.

Mike’s fourteen years old but he has the strength of an adult. He has spiked blonde hair. Mike also has blue-green eyes. He can surf with his eyes closed and his hands tied behind his back. Mike works part time at a “Burger King.”

Whenever he leaves “Burger King” Mike starts to choke on the air. Mike was disgusted by the pollution. Allthough he rode a bike wich didn’t give off pollution the air still had smog. Mike was going to make the biggest hamburger bun in the world. Mike was going to put the bun on top of San Fransisco.

Earlier that day there was a warning so nobody was in the city. Mike went to the Pacific Ocean. A big wave came and Mike was fifty stories high. It was difficult because Mike was holding the sixty thousand ton bun. Mike dropped the bun on San Fransisco and the smog was gone. The bun absorbed all the smog in San Fransisco.

Mike was a hero for just a day because it was sunny and people wanted to go to the beach. Mike knew everyone’s name because everyone is called “dude” in California. When Mike became older he was elected mayor of a city nobody heard of. He wasn’t mayor of San Francisco because the mayor’s term wasn’t over. But Mike was proud and so were his parents because he stoped smog in San Fransisco.

End

Keep in mind that I’m from New England and being only nine, I imagined Californian geography to be similar to that of Massachusetts, and assumed San Francisco to be just down the road from LA.

I’m not sure how I was led to believe that a 14-year-old with the strength of an adult could lift something that was 60,000 tons. I won’t go into any analyzing of the story, but you can tell my irrational west coast hatin’ was already in its nascent stages.

It says a lot about the public school system I was in at the time that the only correction made by the teacher through the entire story is a tiny red x through the extra ‘L’ in ‘allthough’. Each bastardization of San Francisco is left alone, apparently correctly spelling it twice was good enough.
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From Unknown to Obscure

A mention on Metafilter came out of the blue Friday afternoon. It was quickly followed by people adding links to their blogs and posting comics on message boards. That caused traffic to go bonkers over the weekend.

So far, I’m not that close to exceeding my monthly bandwidth limit, but we’ll see what happens after the holiday weekend. Please bear with me and my budget hosting plan as I try to determine where the traffic is going to plateau after this initial spike.

Feel free to remote link to any comics you want, but keep in mind that the ‘current.html’ page and ‘current_big.gif’ image will change each week. I’ve added a permalink to the bottom of the ‘current strip’ page for your linking pleasure. And if you have a high traffic site, you’d be doing me a huge favor by hosting the image on your own server. Just offer a link back to bigfatwhale.com.
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Spoofed @bigfatwhale.com Emails

I just received this email in my catch-all email account:

Dear user of Bigfatwhale.com gateway e-mail server,

Our main mailing server will be temporary unavaible for next two days,
to continue receiving mail in these days you have to configure our free
auto-forwarding service.

Pay attention on attached file.

For security purposes the attached file is password protected. Password is “01251”.

Cheers,
The Bigfatwhale.com team http://www.bigfatwhale.com

Obviously it’s spoofed. So if you’re one of the few people who have a Big Fat Whale email account, this message is not from me. Delete it. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that, but just in case. I’d never refer to myself as the bigfatwhale.com team. I prefer to sign all my correspondence with:

“Tallyho!,
Stinky McPhee”
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Fun With the Slogan Generator


I had to come up with something quick that didn’t have a lot of involved drawing before I left for SPACE. And abusing the Bush-Cheney sign generator seemed easy enough.

If you missed it, the Bush-Cheney campaign had a feature on their site that allowed people to make their own printable campaign signs. It was quickly flooded with people using it to advance the causes of satire and irony. They promptly removed the feature from their site. You can find similar versions at Dubya parody sites Whitehouse.org and GWBush04.com. I guess the program is really popular among people who have no idea how to use Photoshop.

Panel Roundup
It was recently discovered that Bush’s campaign apparell is made in Burma, which is currently enjoying a ban on all other imports to the US.

There is always room for an Orwell reference. I think the chocolate rations are very similar to the absurd glee the administration showed when employment numbers had a slight bump, after years of spiralling into a decline not seen since the Hoover administration, which is where I was going with that other panel.

‘Up With Rich People’ and ‘Building a Bridge to Armageddon’ reference the two key groups their campaign actively courts, rich people and those nutjobs who are making those novels about the Rapture so goddamned popular.

The mandate gag covers the theft of the 2000 election and the threat e-voting company Diebold poses to the future of a representative government.

Thanks to the hilariously named Clear Skies Initiative, we can all enjoy more mercury in everything. Things have gotten so bad that pregnant women need to avoid the chicken of the sea.

I already mentioned the Hoover reference, which leaves us with ‘No Fat Chicks,’ my attempt to make a preachy self-important political cartoon appeal to the masses with a zinger aimed at fatty boombalattys.
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Vietganistan

Condoleezza’s testimony today has bumped a lot of stuff out of the way as the weekend approaches. News like Ted Kennedy’s comments Monday at the Brookings Institution where he compared Iraq to Vietnam and a week of unprecedented organized violence in Iraq.

I doubt it will ever happen again, but I just heard a pundit make an interesting point regarding Kennedy’s comparison. It was during WCVB’s Chronicle, but I can’t remember the guy’s name. I think he was a retired general, but I’m just playing the pundit odds when I say that. When asked if Kennedy’s comparison was apt, he said Iraq has a lot more similarities with Soviet occupied Afghanistan than it does with the Vietnam War.

Both wars were militarily won in a matter of weeks, but things disintegrated during the occupation. In Afghanistan, the Soviet occupation was plagued with constant attacks by US funded freedom fighters, some of which would eventually start up Al Qaida. That resulted in more force being used by the Soviets, which created more animosity among the afghans, who were constantly increasing the ranks of the Freedom Fighters. Once the Ruskies pulled out, Afghanistan became the terrorist breeding ground we all know and love today.

This same kind of thing is going on now in Iraq. Many Sunnis, Shiites, and Shias are now united against the US. That backs the US into the corner of using more force just to keep things under control, which recruits more to the uprising against the occupying Americans. Pulling out will just create another Afghanistan and using more force will bring the word “Quagmire” back in style.

I think the only way to restore order without either of those things happening is to put a different face on the occupying forces. If a real coalition was put together, and war profiteers and their hired guns were kicked out of the country, extremist clerics like Sadr might not be such a galvanizing figure among the general population. Then reconstruction can really begin, not this constant cycle of things being built and then blowing up.

Realistically, this can only happen if another administration takes office, unless Bush travels the globe willing to give rimjobs to all of our former allies and the UN. Of course there will still be violence even if a broad UN coalition joins the US, with warlords, clerics, and that douchebag Chalabi all clamoring for a piece of the post-war pie. But it will be much more difficult for them to unite the population against a coalition that includes countries that were opposed to the invasion in the first place.

I’m babbling out of my ass.
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Cross-Bloggenation Experiment

Since I started the blog, I’ve noticed a lot of traffic comes from various sites that link to blog entries that are discussing current events, based on the keywords they use and the news stories they link to. Technorati‘s one example. These programs are a lot more immediate than a typical Google search of the rest of my site, which can take up to a month for a BFW cartoon to show up in its results for a given topic. And that’s if I ever bothered to include the relevant keywords on the cartoon’s permanent page.

For a couple of weeks, I’ll try posting a tiny black and white version of the Friday comic here, along with a little bit more commentary than I usually do on the BFW main page. I have no idea if it’ll have any effect on increasing traffic, but judging by the surge in people looking for info on Air America Radio last week, I doubt it’ll hurt.

Of course, the week I start doing this has a cartoon that isn’t really related to any current events. The closest thing is probably the announcement that Jimmy Buffet will be playing at Fenway Park, which is very similar to a Catholic learning that Ray Stevens wants to have concert at the Vatican. Don’t get offended, I’m not comparing Baseball Fandom to Christianity, that would be ridiculous. Baseballs actually exist.

Also, I apologize for the sniglet that is ‘Talent-chondria.’ I was going to capitalize on the William Hung zeitgeist that’s been lingering forever, but I really can’t draw him without looking like a racist.
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Why Bob, Why?

I have no problem with Patton Oswalt shilling for Sierra Mist, Jay Johnston selling Spam, or that bizarre garage door opener commercial with John Ennis and Brian Posehn. I’m sure they can all use the cash and are flattered that companies would want them to hawk their products.

But when the creator of TV’s greatest show has been reduced to a Miller commercial, something has gone seriously wrong with my faith in a comedy meritocracy.

This post has been brought to you by Zima.
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Arrested Development

I’m listening to Speech being interviewed by Chuck D on Unfiltered, and he’s claiming Fox stole his band’s name for the show Arrested Development, one of the few shows worth watching these days.

Apparently, he named the band without any knowledge of the term ‘Arrested Development’ which means an abnormal state in which development has stopped prematurely. For example, a 24-year-old holding on to the teenage delusion of doing cartoons for a living.

You can’t claim ownership of a term that existed before you used it. The same goes for National Narcissist Association Spokesman Donald Trump, who tried to own the phrase, ‘You’re Fired.’ I don’t know if there’s a lawsuit pending or what, but if he’s successful, I’m going to get the paperwork started to prevent people from describing fatties at the beach as ‘Big Fat Whales.’

Legal Update: I should’ve said you can’t have exclusive rights to a term that’s been in common use long before your claim, like trademarking the phrase. However, there’s probably some recourse if someone uses the same name for something similar. Like another band using the name ‘Arrested Development’, or another cartoonist using the name ‘Big Fat Whale,’ in an attempt to ride the coattails of an unknown comic strip.
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Live From Columbus

Because of my bizarre sleeping schedule, I had to drive out here in the middle of the night. Which means I got in around noon, well before most of the SPACE crowd. I figured I’d make use of the free computer room before it gets overrun when all the other comics dweebs show up.

I sampled one of the local Kmarts to get new windshield wipers. Other than that, I know nothing about the city, except the Yankees triple A team plays here and that is ridiculous, they should have to play in New Jersey.

I’m going to be busy the rest of the weekend, so I doubt you’ll here from me. If anybody reading this is in Columbus and knows anything I should check out, email me and maybe I’ll catch it.
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