Friday, March 04, 2005

Today's Serving Of Irony


(That's peace, not pieces...which reminds me of The Simpsons episode where Homer makes a lobster his pet, until he gives Pinchy a warm bath with culinary consequences. He delivers the perfect eulogy and commentary on the food chain when he sobs and gorges simultaneously...funny and profound, somehow. Here's a monument to the moment.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Periodical Reminder For Readers Of Periodicals

If Spot The Frog is missing from your paper, please write, phone, or email the Features Editor. Remember, the strip is like a cooking show. And just as Good Eats would be perfect with the smell of roast chicken, Spot The Frog is even better with the scent of printer's ink.

Wish Upon A Nickelodeon Star

I mentioned that I liked The Fairly OddParents because of its strict observation of logic and premise. Here's an excerpt from the Butch Hartman site, courtesy of Dennis Cass who writes for Slate:

But the real genius of The Fairly OddParents lies in the complicated ways the show places limitations on Timmy. His wishes are constrained by a fairy code called "Da Rules." Written up in a floating pink book that Wanda frequently summons for consultation, some of the rules function to keep the show's premise from breaking down (Rule #3: A kid with Fairy Godparents can't tell anyone they exist), but others seem designed solely to frustrate Timmy. He can wish himself to be a "freakishly tall" and talented basketball player, say, but he can't single-handedly bring the Dimmsdale Ball Hogs out of last place because there is a rule against using wishes to win contests. There are also rules against stealing, counterfeiting, interfering with true love, and making every day Christmas, and they are often interpreted broadly. When Timmy wants tickets to a sold-out ice show he can't simply wish for them, because then some other ticket holder would lose theirs, which amounts to stealing.

These limits keep the show from operating as 15-minute reminders that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." In fact, Fairly Odd advances a more radical notion: that there is no such thing as absolute power. I hesitate to attach too much significance to a cartoon—especially one in which Cosmo conjures an ear of corn just so he can give it a hug, or Timmy's dad spontaneously loses the pants that he's wearing—but there is something heartening about the success of The Fairly OddParents. It's refreshing to see a show that acknowledges the truth that even those who have it all can't have it all. Sometimes you can't get what you want not because the cost is too high or the consequences too dire, but because, well, you just can't—no matter how hard you wish.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Taking On Elephants

When I started writing
Spot the Frog, I decided not to research frogs. I wanted the strip to be fanciful, where nature was informed by whimsy, not reality. But that's been a challenge.

For example, I've discovered that frogs are gluttons. Just as inclined to stuff themselves as Spot or Buddy or the cartoonist who draws them. The Goliath Frog of West Africa will eat anything it can fit in its mouth, which demands a flexible diet and a measure of temerity. And Bullfrogs -- the frogs I think of when I think of frogs, and the frogs that loosely define Spot and Buddy -- from what I've read, are equally consumed with filling their stomachs.

But for sheer crazed bravado, consider this note from Carl Franklin, curator of the Biology department at the University of Texas:
"Meik recently recovered from the bite of a burrowing asp, the legendary venomous snake that killed Cleopatra. His left arm was still in a sling when he encountered a rare African bullfrog, an aggressive creature that sometimes barks at elephants. When he reached for it with his right hand, it bit his thumb."

Barking at elephants.

I'd love to see that on film.

I wonder if the elephants notice.

The Perfect Marriage Between Spot and a Flytrap

I just saw this over at boing boing. I'm half-tempted to get one. I wonder how the fly bait works? What do I find when I pry open the plant's jaws? Does the fly swoon from a vapor and fall into the bucket, or does it stick to a lethal muck? If I find out I'll let you know.

Medical Update

If only medicine were always this precise: Spot discovers an ailment March 15.