July 26, 2013

Revised 'Compound Curse Words' Network Graph

by Gordon

Dear readers: Clearly, I should've done more market research on the 'Compound Curse Words' network graph from my last post. Many people have graced me since with utterly correct additions and thoughtful questions - many more than regarding my usual posts (I must say I'm impressed with everyone's passion and strong opinions about profanity). Below are some contributions.

To clarify, this was supposed to encompass compound words that are used as derogatory curses. I am omitting other 'bad words' that aren't usually directed at people, such as bullshit and jackshit (shithole, on the other hand, I believe is in the vernacular).

July 24, 2013

All Your Base Are Belong to Bell Curve: Graphing the World

by Gordon

And now, a return to sciencey goodness: the endless joy of graphing. Or rather, the joy of graphing that peaks at a certain optimal number of graphs, and drops off with increasing rapidity below or above that number. This is tricky business! - in essence, semantic calculus: extrapolating the relationship of two dynamic variables, at least one of which is usually complex and problematic (e.g. your happiness, your chance of being a circus performer). I hope my high school math teachers will appreciate this.

First up, some newer graphs (since some of these already appeared on spacebook). Let's start with improvising musicians:

That dip at the left is because if you play a solo with only one or two notes, you're either Wayne Shorter, or at least someone with overwhelming musical cojones.

July 20, 2013

Comics by 9-Year-Olds: Morph Man is Not Funny

by Gordon

The inaugural Comic by 9-Year-Olds, The Adventures of Robotron, could be called a work of a pure stage of childhood - untainted wonder, action, desperation, sci-fi grandeur, or at least the imitation of all that. Whereas The Amazing Adventure of Morph Man, which followed by perhaps only a year or two, seems to come from a wholly different place: the exceedingly awkward stage at which a child discovers humor, wields it clumsily, and thinks, almost exclusively mistakenly, that (s)he is hilarious. Cue mountains of poop jokes, fake burps, and armpit farts. In that spirit, I rather unproudly present:

July 17, 2013

Creepy Crawlies!

by Gordon
originally published as "Meet Your Neighbors: Bugs of Japan" in The Hyogo Times, 2003

Of the many wonders of Japan [or the American eastern seaboard], you may count the host of creepy-crawly, blood-sucking, gigantic poisonous insects as among your least favorite. Perhaps the likes of the semi, at least, you can tolerate - so long as they hum their unearthly serenade at a respectful distance from you; however, the moment a six-legged guest turns up at home, the standard aisatsu for most of us is AAAA SHIT, WHERE'S THE BUGSPRAY??? But, in your next encounter, why not stay your shoe for a moment, and reflect on what we can learn from these strange denizens of the East?

Asian Tiger Mosquito - link
The Mosquito

First honors go to the ka, Japanese for "blood-sucking fiend from Hell." It's really a summertime invader... but, nonetheless: shortly after I came to Japan, one of these somehow crept into my bedroom; that night, I woke up again and again, batting it away from my face (sort of like a really, really bad date). Around the sixth time, I finally dragged myself out of bed, turned on the light, rolled up a newspaper... but it had simply disappeared. The next night, I was attacked again and tried to find the culprit, and even used a paper fan to clear all the walls and ceiling (sleep-delirium, I suppose)... but to no avail. Prior to night #3, I searched the bedroom again - and... nothing. At that point I quarantined the room and slept elsewhere.

July 6, 2013

Comics by 9-Year-Olds: Conversations with Robotron

Time for another treasure from the attic boxes... this time, the homemade comic book that started it all, yes: the legendary ROBOTRON #1, circa 1990. I think the Robotron series went up to #5 or 6, before giving way to the 'Morph Man' series and its spinoffs, and various superhero fan comics. Robotron had a companion / friend in a parallel galaxy named Robobot (penned by my best friend Doug), with whom he joins forces in the sequel.

Anyway, please enjoy....

AKA, Adventures in (Poor) Space(ing of Letters)

July 1, 2013

Rejected Stories By First-Graders

by Gordon

N. Hardwell
Editor, ABC Publishing

Mrs. Thompson
Dill Elementary School

July 1, 1987

Mrs. Thompson:

I recently received your submission "A Witch: a Collection of Creative Stories by Mrs. Thompson's First Grade Class" (facsimile below), along with the similarly-subtitled anthologies "I Am the Easter Bunny" and "Ladybugs." As I was between major editing projects, I was able to read through them rather quickly.

I should say start reading through them, because I was unable to make it all the way through any one submission. Frankly, your writers cannot be called 'First Grade' in any sense. Despite being somewhat inured to bad writing (thanks to decades in this cesspool of an industry), after reading "A Witch," I felt so nauseous I had to lay down to avoid vomiting. I had to restore my faith in human language by recalling Dr. Seuss rhymes and reading from a recipe book. I am now reconsidering my life.