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It’s Not For Tying Boats

April 15, 2007

Are you there? Are you like me?

Before I say some stupid things, I think it’s time to point out that thanks to the hilarity of this webcomic and my own staggering interpersonal skills, the Dan & Steve Show will be performing live at the Broadway Comedy Club in New York City. Formerly the Improv, we are honored to have a place at the one of the two most famous comedy clubs in the world… the other being Caroline’s. The show is Thursday, April 26th starting at 9:30 PM at the Broadway Comedy Club, 318 West 53rd Street, New York, NY. For reservations, call 212.757.2323 and tell them it’s for the Group Hugs Show.

Chris asked 30 people before he agreed this was funny Why Group Hugs? Well, we’ll be performing with some other groups like Pembroke & Lou and the Victims. The door is 10 dollars and there’s a 2 drink minimum. I’d like to say that we’re much funnier when you’ve been drinking, but really we just go too fast and go over your heads, so pay attention. Well… maybe as a group we’re funnier when you’re drunk. Maybe it’s just me that talks too fast and makes obscure references.

We’ll have to see.

Moving on:

Hi, everyone! I spent the weekend in Somerville, MA at the New England Pen Show. I’ve been working at pen shows for 8 years and I really enjoy being in the same room as 100+ people insane enough to work at a pen show.

I also stayed up overnight to watch the pens in the ballroom. That’s my new job at shows. I mention this so you can all be acutely aware that I haven’t slept in a few days… don’t be surprised if this thing gets a little disjointed right about… now.

By the way, when I say “pen show” it’s vintage fountain pens. They’re neato.

I have a theory that there are actually a lot of people who would like fountain pens but they don’t know about them in any real capacity.

I liken it to grammar that way.

Will it every be widely popular? No, of course not. It’s a silly, quirky fringe thing. But I think there are a lot of people who are the type of person that would enjoy grammar if they were properly exposed to it. The tragedy, as with the stylus, is that the bulk of the material is boring, dry, and not easy to read.

There are exceptions with both pens and grammar, but they’re largely not prevalent. Eats, Shoots,& Leaves or the Transitive Vampire are both good grammar books and accessible. Paul Erano’s quarterly pamphlet is nice as is the PENnant. I have a special place in my heart for the PENnant because they published me.

There is a certain romanticism for writers in using fountain pens and, frankly, if you’re the type of person that goes, “Ooh! Moleskine journals! On sale at Borders!” then you’re probably the kind of person who says, “Oh, I love pens” but your basis for comparison is between a bic and a pilot or uni ball.

I’m far to exhausted to get into it now, but there’s some interesting stuff with my friends Pier Gustafson and Richard Binder.

I’m off to sleep and think about how to seal the blind cap on a Japanese jumbo eyedropper fill and see if Pier can seat a dip nib on its feed channel.

-Ian K.

Well, since Ian wanted to talk more about grammar and pens than he did about the strip, I feel like I should, for once, be on topic and speak on the inspiration behind this piece.

It has become unfortunately clear, especially in the most recent weeks, that new issues of intolerance have come to light in the hearts of all Americans. When we speak of Othello, we refer to him as “that black guy”, yet when we speak of Shylock we don’t say “oh, that Jew!”

So why the double standard? I blame Shakespeare. This isn’t the first time he’s led us to believe ill of different cultures. Consider Macbeth, which is clearly intolerant of murderous women. Or take Romeo & Juliet, which is clearly intolerant of homosexuality.

According to an essay I found online:

“The play, Othello, is certainly, in part, the tragedy of racism. Examples of racism are common throughout the dialog. This racism is directed toward Othello, a brave soldier from Africa and currently supreme commander of the Venetian army. Nearly every character uses a racial slur to insult Othello at one point in the play. Even Emilia sinks to the level of insulting Othello based on the color of his skin. The character that most commonly makes racist remarks in Othello is Iago. It is very apparent that Iago uses racism as a scapegoat to hate and blame Othello. Societal racism takes its toll on its victims. The affect of racism on Othello is quite evident and is one of the main causes for his insecurity about his marriage. However, Othello is not wholly the tragedy of racism. The theme of jealousy is also extremely important in Othello. Racism may play a large part in the tragedy, Othello, but it certainly does not adequately explain the entire play.”
I disagree with the author of this piece. In fact a large part of the downfall of Othello comes when Iago says to Othello, “If you don’t do what I want, I’m going to do bad things to you, because I’m a racist.” It is at this point in the play when Othello harms Iago and says “I’m not jealous!”. Then Iago harms Othello. My favorite part of the play is when Othello, enraged at the thing Iago did to him, does something completely different. Through these examples, it’s easy to see that it is racism, and not jealousy, that causes the downfall of this tragic hero.
…ya know what. I actually just realized I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t like Shakespeare and haven’t actually read any of his works unless forced and Othello is definitely NOT one of the plays I was forced to read. I’ve failed you all.

-Big Gay Mike

On some levels, largely not yet attained, we are a funtertational multimedia extravaganza. This means that we are a high energy, fun, entertaining, informative crack squad of savvy, motivated personnel dedicated to bringing low-commitment comedy to those in need using whatever medium we feel suits us best. Low-commitment comedy means there is as little story as possible contained here. Some might say that story is what draws people back. We say that comedy can be enough. Please, enjoy our fine works and share them with your friends and family. Especially your family.
Chris Ian