Friday, April 06, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #207 (April 6th, 2007)


Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.

15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.


If you'll remember from yesterday

("literal yesterday", not "the golden days of your joyous youth", by the way)

Matt Dow had just asked if me and Gerhard were interested in being characters in the next issue of

Racecar Comics. With only two weeks to go until SPACE (check it out at

This seems like the perfect time to say "Yes" if only to see if Matt can write, draw and print the whole thing by then. Remember this is the same guy who wrote the Entire Warren Commission Report as a song parody to the tune of "Green Acres" in three hours. Is there nothing he can't do (I mean besides remember to pick up his socks and underwear off the floor)?

Okay, meanwhile we've got a letter from Billy Beach in Portorecanati Italy dated 13/02/07:

Hi Dave

How are you after your nightmarish ordeal with prolonged sickness? I sincerely hope that all the effects of that have worn off by now or are in the process of doing so.

I'm writing this in the middle of March and as of now the only noticeable after effects are that I am still mostly deaf in my left ear. I'm susceptible to ear infections which in my case cause the tissues of the inner ear to swell up and to, basically, stay swollen up unless I take a lot of decongestants. It's mostly a winter thing. Any trace of winter air on my left ear and KAFLOOMP the tissues swell up. So it'll probably get better gradually over April and May when winter in Canada – eventually – comes to an end. The only other side effect is that for some reason while I was bedridden there was a period of a day or two when if I stretched my right arm to pick something up I would tear tiny muscles in my right shoulder, right shoulder blade and back. Severely enough so that I have about a half dozen spots along there that are now completely numb. That was one of the things that made me think that I might have had a stroke.

This is great, since I never go to the doctor or a hospital I never before have had a chance to document my health problems at excruciating length. And it's all available exclusively right here on The Blog & Mail.

As we discussed on the phone before your illness struck, and as Jeff Seiler has told me he has discussed with you since, I am enclosing the best possible images I was able to find of the inside of the "Holy House" at Loreto…

The Santa Casa which is housed within the Basillica of the Santa Casa at Loreto which is a town neighbouring Billy's Portorecanati. According to legend, sometime around 1294 Angels moved the childhood home of Jesus (and the house where Mary experienced The Annunciation) to the Adriatic Coast of Italy in advance of the Levant being overrun by forces inimical to Christianity. It's pretty widely accepted now that the house was dismantled and transported aboard ship by retreating Crusaders…but, you never know. It was formally acknowledged by the Vatican during the reign of Julius II as a valid place of Catholic worship and was visited several times by John Paul II (a devoted Marianist) during his own reign. The literature is somewhat coy about whether or not the Vatican believes the house to actually be Jesus' childhood home and I would really like to see how the formal acknowledgement was both phrased and arrived at back in the 15th century. For me, this was one of the big selling features when Billy offered to host me on a vacation trip back in 2004.

…to use for photographic reference in doing the artwork for the cover of Cerebus Readers in Crisis #2. I was able to get some decent copies of photos that make up a panoramic of one side of the inside of the "Holy House" from a large book that my in-laws have on their bookshelf. They give an idea of what you and I saw when entering the other door on the opposite side of the room. The effect is walking straight into the room (covered externally by all that sculpted marble, as you will remember) and looking across the room to the ancient internal wall with the other door in it directly opposite, then moving one's head to the right towards the altar. Sounds like exactly what you are most interested in drawing for the cover based on what Jeff S. has said in an e-mail to me:

"He has in mind doing a montage of the inside of the shrine that would transition from the old walls (of Roman or whatever time) to the hanging lamps and the Renaissance style altar. He wants to highlight the contrast between the walls of the house and the Renaissance architecture. To do that he would need a high quality, high contrast photo of the inside that you could blow up into one or more (he said more like three) eight and half by eleven pages to mail to him."

The detail and contrast look sufficient to me, what do you think? I really don't think I'll be able to get anything better. I was really surprised to find photos of this size and quality and to have been able to keep enough of that quality having scanned and reprinted them.

The photos weren't ideal, but I was asking a lot, since as far as I could remember there was no photography allowed inside the Santa Casa whatsoever (and Billy confirmed that recollection when we spoke on the phone). In all the material that he had sent me before the visit and the brochures I collected while there and others which he sent to me afterwards, I could only remember one pretty much "square on" shot of the altar that was about the size of a postage stamp. Most of the publicity photos are of the sculpted marble "dressing" in which the Santa Casa is housed dating from the reign of Julius II. Basically, it's a big marble box, roughly three storeys high inside the church with an entrance on one side and an exit on the other decorated with dozens of bas relief scenes and a half dozen or so marble statues – all of which have that Michelangelo look to them since, as I say, it was during the reign of Julius II that the Vatican first gave explicit rather than tacit approval of Loreto as a place of pilgrimage.

I'm going to be devoting this week's Sunday Edition to the Santa Casa.

As I say, the photos weren't ideal – what I envisioned was the exact borderland where the ancient cottage merges with the altar and the photos were "square on" which would mean having to extrapolate perspective on a piece of art I wasn't getting paid for! But, then, Billy wasn't getting paid as my research assistant either. When I spoke to him on the phone later on he said that he was as surprised as I was that the book his in-laws had (which, evidently, they had gotten as a premium from their bank!) contained photos of the interior of the Santa Casa. And the photos were a big improvement of the low resolution images he had found on the Internet and emailed to Sandeep. As soon as Sandeep tried enlarging them on his laptop they went severely pixilated very quickly.

There's also a photo of me that I took on Saturday afternoon. The focus isn't perfect as it was taken using a cell-phone, but I think it will do, and the contrast between light and shade is reasonable.

I wanted to do a drawing of Billy as well since he is the "Cerebus Reader in Crisis" – my vacation visit being the crisis in question.

Tomorrow: Billy Requests





If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

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P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

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