Monday, November 30, 2009

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Cyber Monday Exclusive – Free Ground Shipping On All Orders! Use code: FREESHIP2DAY

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"How the hell did you get the idea you could draw?" - Michael Maslin Remembers James Thurber

Above copyright The New Yorker.

From Michael Maslin's Posted Notes series, titled "Thurber's Unbaked Cookies:"

New Yorker historians remember that Harold Ross, the magazine's founder and first editor, initially didn't care for Thurber's drawings. When Thurber first submitted them to The New Yorker, Ross said to him, "How the hell did you get the idea you could draw?" It wasn't until Thurber and his friend and colleague E.B. White had a hit on their hands with their 1929 publication, Is Sex Necessary? that Ross caved, demanding to see a previously rejected Thurber cartoon: "Where's that goddamn seal drawing, Thurber?"

Read it all here.

30% Fantagraphics Books Sale TODAY ONLY

From the press release:

We've got Cyber Monday fever! Today only (Monday, Nov. 30, 2009), all of our currently-available and pre-orderable 2009 releases (with a few exceptions) are marked down 30%! That's a fantastic deal on over 75 items, including but not limited to: deluxe box sets like Humbug and Gahan Wilson; gorgeous, oversized, impressive-under-the-tree volumes of classic newspaper strips Popeye, Prince Valiant, and The Brinkley Girls; no less than 4 books from the Hernandez brothers (including the big Luba and Locas II omnibuses); new & reprinted stuff from mainstays Peter Bagge, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, R. Crumb, Tony Millionaire, Richard Sala, C. Tyler and Robert Williams; classics from Boody Rogers, Steve Ditko, Fletcher Hanks, Basil Wolverton, and the various artists of Blazing Combat and Supermen; two by the great Jacques Tardi; new comics from cutting-edge faves Al Columbia, Jordan Crane, Paul Hornschemeier, Kevin Huizenga, Jason, Miss Lasko-Gross, Michael Kupperman, Anders Nilsen, John Pham, Johnny Ryan, Dash Shaw, and Esther Pearl Watson; amazing art books like Portable Grindhouse and Rock Candy; Monte Schulz's novel This Side of Jordan; fully half a dozen issues of The Comics Journal; even some of our already-crazy-cheap Mome multi-packs — and much much more! Holy smokes, what a year it's been... and now's your best chance to get caught up and spread the love of comics with beautiful gifts for all your friends and family!

(Sale ends midnight Pacific time on December 1, 2009. Don't delay!)

Click here to see all the newest releases from Fantagraphics Books.

Video: THE LITTLE KING by Otto Soglow

Above photo of Otto Soglow nicked from The Bijou Blog.

Here is Otto Soglow's THE LITTLE KING in a 1933 Christmas animated short titled "Christmas Night." It runs about 7 minutes and has one of those great jazz scores. Produced by the Van Beuren Studios, direction by James Tyer, produced by Amadee J. Van Beuren, and written by the one and only Otto Soglow. Original release date: December 22, 1933.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


From 1982, here is a clip of a MISS PEACH made-for-TV video based on the Mell Lazarus comic strip which ran for 45 years (1957-2002).

The videos, titled MISS PEACH OF THE KELLY SCHOOL, featured a live actress and puppet versions of the children characters. Below is the first ten minutes of the Thanksgiving special. There were five different specials distributed by Carousel Film and Video. The others include the first day of school, Valentine's Day, career day, and the spring picnic.

1982 was also the year that Mell received the Reuben Award, the "Oscar" of cartooning, presented by the National Cartoonists Society.

Oddly, I can find no actor credits for the specials online, other than Martin Short providing some of the voices.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

$4 Off All T-Shirts, $3 Off Mugs

Blkack Friday Sale at the Mike Lynch Cartoons store going on until midnight tonight.

NEW Sled Dog Race mug.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Holidays

Illustration by Eugene "ZIM" Zimmerman.

Video: Why You Should Watch DOCTOR WHO

Above: "Tomb of the Cybermen" from a 1960s Radio Times cover, copyright the Radio Times. Complete DR WHO Radio Times cover gallery here.

Here is the long version of a BBC America commercial for DOCTOR WHO in which producer Russell T. Davies and star David Tennant talk about why the program is worth watching.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Charles Schulz

Tomorrow is Charles Schulz' 87th birthday.

Ted Dawson, one of the Three Men in a Tub blog, shares the photo below. It's an ice sculpture, that was created in Schulz's hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota almost ten years ago, to commemorate the very last PEANUTS Sunday strip on February 13, 2000.

As you may remember, Mr. Schulz passed away the day before his last strip was to run. It was on the news that morning, just as the Sunday papers were delivered.

The sculpture became not just a tribute to the newspaper comic strip, but also the focal point for fans to stop and honor this great cartoonist. People heaped cards and flowers in remembrance of the man and his Charlie Brown and Snoopy and all of those moments that have stuck with us.

Like so many people I know, I grew up with the newspaper strip, the CBS specials and the collections. It was so cool that the libraries in the small towns I grew up in (Iowa City, Lawrence, KS) stocked those PEANUTS paperbacks. I learned words from Lucy, like "psychological" and "real estate." I tried to copy the drawings when I was a kid, too. Schulz's simple style was deceptively hard to reproduce!

Happy Birthday, Charles Schulz: an American original.

R. Crumb's and guitarist Dominique Cravi's "Les Primitifs de Futur" Band

Yes, that's Mr. Crumb himself in there, seated behind the drummer.

From eyefortalent's description:

Legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and guitarist Dominique Cravic founded Les Primitifs du Futur in 1986 craving real Parisian musette instead of poor imitations heard in variety shows. Sounding like they've stepped right out the '30s, the members of Les Primitifs du Futur brilliantly blend world-musette and Django-style guitar into old-fashioned originals.

With their three albums "Cocktail d'amour", "Trop de routes, trop de trains" and World Musette" made up of original compositions, Les Primitifs du Futur remain at the forefront of the renaissance of chanson française manifestly occurring in France today.

Carolita Johnson and Michael Crawford

Above: a photo of Carolita Johnson and Michael Crawford in their Inwood apartment by Tina Fineberg.

"Where Punchlines Pay the Rent," and article for the New York Times by Constance Rosenblum, showcases the lives and habitats of New Yorker magazine cartoonists Carolita Johnson and Michael Crawford.

"The two became good friends by way of Mr. Crawford’s admiration for Ms. Johnson’s work.

"'She had a great drawing style,' he said. And, he thought to himself, “The New Yorker could use a woman with her offbeat wit.'

"He encouraged her to try drawing cartoons for the magazine, and his instincts proved correct. It took her only five weeks to sell her first drawing to The New Yorker; it had taken him half a dozen years.

"Eventually, a relationship blossomed. They are not married, but as Ms. Johnson describes the arrangement, 'we just like to say that by the power invested in Michael and Carolita, we pronounced ourselves Michael and Carolita.'"

Hat tip to John Klossner for the link.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sadowski Edits Toth, Jack Cole, Dick Briefer, Wolverton and More

Via Digital Spy:

Fantagraphics has announced a six-book deal with editor Greg Sadowski. All of the books will focus on old comic books.

Sadowski will produce a series of new collections of classic comic material for the publisher, reports ICv2.

The first collection, due in April 2010, is titled Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s. The massive 300 page book will feature comic book reprints by Ditko, Frazetta, Jack Cole, Basil Wolverton and Al Williamson.

The other planned titles, schedule for a one-a-quarter release are:

  • Setting the Standard: Alex Toth at Standard Comics 1952-54,

  • The Road to Plastic Man: The Golden Age Comics of Jack Cole 1937-41,

  • Away from Home: EC Artists at Other Companies,

  • Creeping Death from Neptune: Basil Wolverton’s Sci-Fi and Horror Comics 1938-55,

  • and The Comic Book Frankenstein: The Monster According to Dick Briefer.

J. Caleb Mozzocco has more at Newsarama


Alex Toth is one of the giants of the comic book business and his career -- whether it was Hanna Barbera character designs, Hot Wheels comic strip ads, or his hand-written postcards to friends -- is always worth paying attention to. Here is the complete THE LAND UNKNOWN via the Hairy Green Eyeball blog. It's a movie adaptation Dell comic book from 1957 and it's full of dinosaurs and helicopters and sweaty men and women in danger. It's also full of great composition, use of black spotting and fearless, clear drawing. In other words: typical great Toth!


Strange things happen in THE STRANGE WORLD OF MR. MUM by Irving Philips. Mr. Mum himself tends to look on as things get odder and odder. Ger Apeldoorn, who shares some of the early 1960s panels, describes him as "a curious man in a weird world, who never gets involved, but only observes with ever growing amazement."

And with his large glasses, blank expression and floppy bow tie, he lived in this weird, wordless panel that was syndicated for 16 years (1958-74).

Joe Maneely

Ger Apeldoorn shares some Joe Maneely art from a short-lived Stan Lee-edited parody magazine (i.e. MAD magazine imitation) SNAFU. Maneely's ability to ape gag cartoonists is breathtaking.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Video: TINTIN Museums

A video tour and chat with Luc Mieuws, who has been collecting all things related to TINTIN for a dozen years. A fun tour and the amount of TINTIN collectibles is boggling. I forget how wonderful the "clean line" drawings of Hergé are to linger over. Within a minute, I was getting iterested in having a couple of the items that Luc has as well! Och! Thanks to Jogee for putting this up on YouTube.

The official TINTIN Museum is in Brussels. Below is a report from the BBC from July:

Related: Confused by the cult of TINTIN? You're not alone.

Also: that new TINTIN movie that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are readying for 2011.

Video: David Small: "From Crayons to Rembrandt"

Above: a capture from the video.

Below is a link to David Small, whose graphic novel, STITCHES, has been getting critical acclaim. He talks about loving to draw as a kid, trying to decide what he would do with his life, his favorite artists and his education.

He mentions Rembrandt. It wasn't until I visited the Rembrandt House in Amsterdam that I saw so many of Rembrandt's sketches with, as David says, loose, relaxed brush strokes. Rembrandt could have been a great graphic novelist!

From Crayons to Rembrandt | David Small | Big Think

What's the Deal With Those New Yorker Cartoons?

Above: a screen capture of the David Remnick video.

A site called Big Think has a 2 minute video of New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick titled What's the deal with New Yorker cartoons?

He talks about how hard it is to find young cartoonists to submit to the magazine and how hard in general it is for cartoonists to make a living.

He doesn't answer "What's the deal with those New Yorker cartoons?" or why acquiring young cartoonists is important to the magazine. But, he does acknowledge how hard it is to be a cartoonist -- in particular a gag cartoonist -- and how some people, for instance Bruce Eric Kaplan, have other ways of earning a living which help.

Me? I'm still working without a net.

Hat tip to Michael Maslin.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Video: Gene Roddenberry on TO TELL THE TRUTH

This is from 1977 or 1978.

Hat tip to Booksteve's Library!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Mike Lynch Cartoons Store

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Workshop Video from Juana Medina

From my pal Juana Medina, who is the final days of her final semester at the Rhode Island School of Design comes this video. From her description:

Cavan Huang, from Time Warner, came to RISD for a short workshop.

We pulled this literally in 12 hours... and here's the result!

©2009 by Campbell George, Jess Yan, Katie Koti and Juana Medina

It shows you what some creative people with half a day and a camera can do. Such fun!

Friday, November 20, 2009

BBC America: DOCTOR WHO "End of Time" US Premiere Dec 26

Via the Doctor Who News Page:

The special preview clip of The End of Time [below], shown as part of the BBC Children In Need appeal is now available on the BBC YouTube channel.

BBC America have also posted their clip on their website and revealed that the full episode will be shown in the USA at 9pm EST on the 26th December 2009 a day after the expected UK showing and 1 week after the US showing of The Waters of Mars.

More for US viewers at the BBC America Doctor Who page.

Video: James Kochalka

Here is James Kochalka and some of his cartoonist friends for your weekend viewing pleasure.

"Mischief in the Forest" on by Stephanie McMillan and Derrick Jensen

Here is cartoonist Stephanie McMillan. She and writer Derrick Jensen are collaborating on a new children's book, MISCHIEF IN THE FOREST.

They ask that people give them money in exchange for copies of the book, sketches, being taken out to dinner by Stephanie and Derrick, etc.

This is a project. Kickstarter is a "funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers" and others to pitch their ideas to the public. They propose the project and the readers decide if they want they want to send money to support it.

Related: Jamie Tanner's business plan.

My Mail

Above: When you see Al Jaffee's name in the corner -- that's GOOD mail!

I overheard a guy state loudly, "Yeah, if ya ask me they should just get rid of the mail! Who needs it? I hate mail!"

I didn't know the fellow's context and could just guess that this is because the regular mail is full of

  • bills you don't want,
  • junk mail,
  • catalogs you don't need,
  • credit card come ons.

And if that's the mail you receive, then, yeah, that sure is some kinda dopey, dull, time wasting mail.

But the correspondence I receive, it's great. A lot of it is from cartoonists and a lot of times it's full of cool cartoon drawings. My mail rules. My mail could beat up your mail.

Here's what I mean:

Above: Rina Piccolo slipped this in the mail to me. I love her sketches.

When I moved, my pal Mark Anderson hand-drew the above card & sent it, along with a bucket full of tools. He rules.

A mass-produced card from 6 years ago when Dan Piraro was running the annual National Cartoonists Society holiday party in NYC. Love that nasty elf!

Above: the one and only Joe Edwards, the man who drew Archie and Li'l Jinx for years, draws a colorful parade letting the Long Island NCS chapter know that there is now a new place for their get togethers.

From an update for the Reubens convention with the McCoy brothers drawing themselves. Like Dan's postcard, this bit of art is unseen outside of cartooning circles.

The inimitable Roy Doty. When I sent an 85th birthday card on behalf of the NCS Long Island chapter (the Berndt Toast Gang) to Roy, I received this thank you card in return (front above and interior below). Look at all the STUFF Roy draws!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NEW Dog Sled Race T-Shirt

From cartoon to consumable in 24 hours.

I drew this cartoon yesterday. Detail above.

Click on the cartoon to supersize.

Just put this shirt out for sale at Zazzle this morning.

Christoph Niemann: Bio-Diversity

I always enjoy Christoph Neimann's work and this week's NY Times' Abstract City piece "Bio-Diversity" is no exception.

Cartoonist Pat Byrnes' Musical

If you're in Chicago on November 24th, consider taking in a show. New Yorker cartoonist Pat Byrnes has written a 50 minute musical titled "Fässi Goboggan and the Curly Headed Girl" which will have its first staged reading next Tuesday night at 7pm at the Theatre Building Chicago.

"'Fässi Goboggan and the Curly Headed Girl' — by Pat Byrnes (with help from Rebecca Byrnes (age 4) — Nine-year-old Sarah flies through what would have been an impossible day at school, thanks to the return of her old imaginary friend, Fässi Goboggan. Join them as they battle ketchup-spewing cloud sharks, cavort with snowbots, and learn how parents protect us even when they are far away."


There's big money in cartooning and enormous markets, so says the Cartoonists' Exchange booklet titled HOW TO MAKE MONEY WITH SIMPLE CARTOONS. Here are the principles that all successful comic strips are based on, editorial cartoon techniques, chalk talk information, caricature, proportions, realistic figure drawing, the "three steps in developing a cartoon sketch" and so much more. This is copyright 1949 The Cartoonists' Exchange, Pleasant Hill, OH.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Video: Greg Evans

Real straight forward, how-I-do-what-I-do kinda advice here in this video of LUANN creator and Reuben Award winning cartoonist Greg Evans.

Although this may look like a casual speech, it's obvious that Greg is a polished presenter. In this 9 minute presentation, he talks about how he sold the strip, why he draws the way he draws, and the evolution of the way he draws LUANN.

Videos like this were catnip to me when I was a kid -- and they still are. I love seeing a professional draw, and Greg draws quite a lot as he talks, letting the audience of teachers in on some solid cartoon techniques.

Video: Will Elder Documentary

Here's a 20 minute documentary with the same title as the 2003 Fantagraphics book: WILL ELDER: THE MAD PLAYBOY OF ART. There is a small site (one page) devoted to the film here. Lots of terrific 1983 footage of Kurtzman, Gaines, Jaffee and others. Not to be missed.

Rob Rogers: Mister Rogers and The Thing

One of the many things that Pittsburgh produced was Mister Rogers, whose long-running children's program has been enjoyed for generations.

Pittsburgh recently unveiled a statue of Mister Rogers. Now, I think everyone can agree that a statue of Mister Rogers is a nice idea, but when the end result revealed to be, well ... lumpy ... it divides people.

Here's a photo by Steve Mellon for the Post-Gazette:

The Post-Gazette editorial cartoonist Rob Rogers has chimed into the debate about this work of art at his Sketch Blog:

When I saw photos of the statue by sculptor Robert Berks I was perplexed. The surface of the statue is rough and jagged to the point of looking dangerous. Jimmy Kimmel called it a "mud monster." In my opinion, this is not the gentle man from the Neighborhood we all knew and loved.

Sure, art is subjective ... but who are these folks defending the Mister Rogers statue? Can they somehow relate to the monument's crusty exterior? Then it dawned on me. There IS one character in the world who can really relate to this statue: Comic book superhero and member of the Fantastic Four, The Thing.

The rest is at Rob Rogers' Sketch Blog.

Harvey Kurtzman's Early Gag Cartoons

Found this via a Web search for something else. Which is, of course, the most fun way to find something, isn't it?

Russ Maheras shows us some early gag cartoons by Harvey Kurtzman. All are from 1945 issues of Yank Magazine, when Harvey was twenty years old and in the infantry.

"A mere seven years later, Kurtzman would forever change the way the world viewed itself when he created the iconic satire magazine for E.C. Publications, Mad," notes Russ.

This was new to me, but may have hit the Web when it was first published on Open Salon in August.

Warren Kremer Originals

Warren Kremer. Not a household name, but a comics artist that millions of kids have read. He drew a lot of the Harvey Comics characters for 35 years and created or co-created (along with Harvey Comics publisher Alfred Harvey and editor Sid Jacobson) Stumbo the Giant, Hot Stuff and others. During his 35 years with Harvey, he drew all of the covers. Warren's son Richard is the namesake for "Richie Rich."

When it comes to clean layout and a wonderful sense of story-telling, take a look at these original Warren Kremer comics pages at the Three Men in A Tub blog. I don't know for sure who did these inks, but it may have been Kremer himself. Shades of Jeff Smith's smooth inky style here, huh?

Hat tip to Comics Reporter!

William Steig: "Punch and Judy: Their Later Years"

The Hairy Green Eyeball blog shares a series of drawings titled "Punch and Judy: Their Later Years" from CONTINUOUS PERFORMANCE by William Steig. Go look.

The Happy Working Song

Well, I don't know about you, but our place could use a little bit of the ol' spit & polish. No one likes cleaning. If only housecleaning was like it was in the movies ....

"Happy Working Song" from Disney's "Enchanted" movie. Music by Alan Mencken, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and performed by Amy Adams. Is there anything Amy Adams CAN'T do? Copyright Disney, natch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Video: Paul Krassner on American Power, the Contras, and Ronald Reagan

A couple of different clips (from the 1980s? Not sure.) are compiled in this 5 minute video of Paul Krassner interviews.

From the Film Archive description, a bio of Mr. Krassner:

Paul Krassner (born April 9, 1932) is an author, journalist, stand-up comedian, and the founder, editor and a frequent contributor to the freethought magazine The Realist, first published in 1958.

The Realist, edited and published by Paul Krassner, was a pioneering magazine of "social-political-religious criticism and satire" in the American countercultural press of the mid-20th century. Although The Realist is often regarded as a major milestone in the underground press, it was a nationally-distributed newsstand publication as early as 1959. Publication was discontinued in 2001. The Realist was the first satirical magazine to publish conspiracy theories.

First published in the spring of 1958 in New York City in the offices of Mad, The Realist appeared on a fairly regular schedule during the 1960s and then on an irregular schedule after the early 1970s. It was revived as a much smaller newsletter during the mid-1980s when material from the magazine was collected in The Best of the Realist: The 60's Most Outrageously Irreverent Magazine (Running Press, 1985). The final issue of The Realist was #146 (Spring 2001).

The Realist provided a format for extreme satire in its articles, cartoons, and Krassner's editorials, but it also carried more traditionally serious material in articles and interviews.

The magazine was the first to provide a forum for conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell and also published political commentary from Norman Mailer, Ken Kesey, and Joseph Heller. Among the more controversial products issued by Krassner was a red, white, and blue automobile bumper sticker, decorated with stars, which proclaimed "Fuck Communism." In advertising this item, Krassner advised that if anyone displaying the sticker received criticism, the critic should be told, "Go back to Russia, you Commie lover."

His Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster, illustrated by Wally Wood, was a highlight of the magazine, so successful that Krassner printed it as a poster that was widely pirated. The poster was recently upgraded by Krassner into a new, digitally-colored version. Other cartoonists featured in The Realist included Dick Guindon and Mort Gerberg.

When the magazine ran into financial difficulties in the 1970s, it was the conspiracy theory element that attracted ex-Beatle John Lennon to donate.

Art and articles from the magazine were collected in Best of the Realist (Running Press, 1984).

Krassner's most successful prank was The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book, a grotesque article following the censorship of William Manchester's book on the Kennedy assassination The Death of a President. At the climax of the grotesque-genre short-story, Lyndon B. Johnson is on the Air Force One penetrating the bullet-hole wound in JFK's corpse throat. Krassner acknowledged Marvin Garson, at the time the editor of Good Times in San Francisco, for coming up with that surreal image. According to Elliot Feldman, "Some members of the mainstream press and other Washington political wonks, including Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, actually believed this incident to be true." In a 1995 interview for the magazine Adbusters, Krassner commented: "People across the country believed - if only for a moment - that an act of presidential necrophilia had taken place. It worked because Jackie Kennedy had created so much curiosity by censoring the book she authorized - William Manchester's, "The Death Of A President" - because what I wrote was a metaphorical truth about LBJ's personality presented in a literary context, and because the imagery was so shocking, it broke through the notion that the war in Vietnam was being conducted by sane men."

In 1967, the Canadian campus newspaper The McGill Daily published an excerpt from Krassner's story. The Montreal police confiscated the issue and Rocke Robertson, principal of McGill University, charged student John Fekete, the supplement editor responsible for the publication, before the Senate Discipline Committee.

In 2003, Italian satirist Daniele Luttazzi produced the short story Stanotte e per sempre (Eng.: Tonight and forever), which transposed Krassner's elements in the Italian political context. In the climax scene, Giulio Andreotti penetrates the bullet wounds in Aldo Moro's corpse. Lewis Black included an excerpt, precisely the final part, from Krassner's story in his 2005 book Nothing's Sacred.
More Krassner clips here.

STAR TREK Paintings by Luke Butler

Just the thing for November 17th (the date -- as if I have tell you -- that that new STAR TREK JJ Abrams movie is available to be consumed at home via DVD, BluRay or download): here are a selection of STAR TREK paintings by artist Luke Butler:

"For Butler the greatest form of strength is openness. For his model of vulnerability, Luke Butler looks to a most stout and reliable figure.

"He didn’t have to make one up- if you have watched enough TV, you know this to be true."
If you're in San Francisco, the series of paintings, titled "enterprise," are in the Silverman Gallery.

Thanks to John Martz at Drawn!

Related: And you all know that Roddenberry's pitch to NCS execs was that his show would be like a western; a "Wagon Train to the stars." Well, here is a touch of serendipity: also released today: the Wagon Train TV series's first season is out on DVD.

Aren't You Glad You're Not A Mormon by Winsor McCay

Via Allan Holtz's Stripper's Guide, here is the "Obscurity of the Day," a 1912 strip from the New York American by Winsor McCay titled "Aren't You Glad You're Not A Mormon"

Big hat tip to Tom Spurgeon.