Incomprehensible, compelling stick figure comix

So, you wouldn’t think there’s all that much to say about the stick figure, the proverbially crappy substitute for actual drawing. But in the hands of a good artist, the stick figure can be a marvel; some of the best comix out there use stick figures, from the luminous minimalism of XKCD to the elaborate pages of The Order of the Stick (seriously, check out how The Order of the Stick’s creator tweaks mouths and eyebrows, and nothing else, to create a range of expressions; the second-to-last panel in the linked page is a great example).

Recently a German fan sent me some of his stick-figure work, and I thought it was pretty great. The translations are almost completely incomprehensible—like, one can see that there’s a joke there, somewhere, but Lord knows what it is—but to me this just adds to the appeal; they have an English As She Is Spoke quality that a more exact translation would ruin. (As I’ve mentioned, Google Translate is absolutely terrible at German to English, but the result is sometimes strange poetry).

These are available, in the words of the author, with a “do-what-the-fuck-you-want, non-commercial, share-alike-license.” 

I would love to give full credit to the creator, like with his name and everything, but I don’t actually know his name. He doesn’t sign his work, his email isn’t his name, and he identifies himself only as Kraut from Krautland.

And without further ado, the incomprehensible yet compelling stick-figure comix of Kraut from Krautland:

224_en_'BALLFEELING'_mar.14_Mail 126_en_NOTHING ON TV AGAIN..._jan.14_Mail 566_en_NEWS FROM PORNO..._okt.14_Mail 215_en_NEW SHOP...(IN TOWN)_mar.14_Mail

Czech translation!

You can see it here: https://www.kosmas.cz/knihy/198734/ekonomix/!

Also, it’s tap water with a label

Mother Jones today has one more reason not to buy bottled water: It’s coming from the most drought-afflicted regions of the country.

I’m not saying never buy it. If it’s hot, you’re thirsty, and there are no water fountains nearby, it can make sense to spend $1.50 for a bottle of water. It’s healthier than Coke, after all.

But seriously, if you’re buying it more than occasionally, stop. A little bit of planning (and filtering if the tapwater in your area doesn’t taste great) saves you money and doesn’t take water from where people actually need it.

Bob the Angry Flower describes my life without knowing it

Writing Economix took a lot of work—I started in earnest in 2004 and the book wasn’t published till 2012—and the whole time I had a rather loud voice in my head telling me that I was simply throwing away my life.

At some point during those years I came across Stephen Notley’s brilliant Bob the Angry Flower. One comic, called “Rhetorical Flair,” especially spoke to me.

I recently contacted Notley about buying the original art, and soon afterward it showed up at my house. And it’s great! It’s much larger and more awesome than I had any right to expect. Check it out:


Ουδετερότητα του Δικτύου: Τι Είναι και Γιατί Πρέπει να μας Ενδιαφέρει

I didn’t think anyone outside the US would care much about my net neutrality piece–it’s pretty US-centric–but apparently the Pirate Party in Greece cared, so much that they made a translation! It’s here.

And here’s a sample page:


I would have been interested to know what “Spock/Tyrion fanfiction” is in Greece, but they didn’t translate that. It must be universal.

New net neutrality piece!

Behold my take on net neutrality, illustrated by the awesome Ian Akin!

(I have Dan Burr working on a piece on Obamacare, but that will take a while.)

Quote of the day

FDR, who could have been talking about QE, in his first inaugural:

“Faced by failure of credit they [bankers] have proposed only the lending of more money.”

Awesome video summing up the mess we’re in

I come across very few things that make me jealous in an “I should totally have done that” way. This is one of them: a video from someone who goes under the nom de guerre of Haiku Charlatan that nails what’s wrong with our economy. Like, why did I bother writing an entire book, dammit?

It’s here. You should watch it. http://youtu.be/6zsXUDQXKuQ 

There are even Keynes quotes I hadn’t come across before. Seriously, my eyes are little hearts right now.

I’ve started looking at the creator’s other stuff; my favorite line so far:

“What about our job creators”?

“You mean the misunderstood superheroes of capitalism that are just ten million dollars away from sleeping under the nearest bridge unless they get further tax cuts?  Or those on Wall Street, who haven’t had a hit of cocaine in weeks, because Big Bird still teaches children to read?”

China Has Been the World’s Biggest Economy For a While

The Financial Times has a piece on how the Chinese economy is poised to take over the mantle of “world’s biggest economy” this year, which is earlier than previous estimates.

But China has been the world’s biggest economy since 2010. You can read about it in a post of mine from a couple of years ago, here.

That doesn’t mean that the news is meaningless; the fact that the relative economic positions of China and America are changing faster than expected means that the (nearly inevitable) political rebalancing will also happen faster than expected. As I said in my previous post: we’ll have to make room for others at the top, if we’re smart we’ll do it willingly and with good grace, but either way we’ll do it.

Wink books is doing God’s work

My incessant Googling of my own name recently turned up a review of Economix at Wink Books. It’s been a while since I mentioned a review (although I keep this page updated), and I’m not writing about the review itself now. Point being, I wound up reading their other reviews; it turned out that Wink an interesting site. It’s devoted to print books that should be print books–ones that don’t work as well as ebooks. I think they were being kind to include Economix (which, I’ve heard, works okay as an ebook ), but their other reviews include a lot of innovative and interesting stuff that I hadn’t known about.

Highlights so far include Denis Wood’s Everything Sings (a series of maps of an ordinary California neighborhood), Anthony Grafton and Daniel Rosenberg’s Cartographies of Time (a history of the timeline), and Joe Sacco’s The Great War (a giant pull-out frieze that stretches the definition of “book”).

So (as weird as it may be for me to review a review site) if you think there’s still a place for printed books, or if you’re open to being convinced that there is, check it out!