The Greatest Quora Answer of All Time

My vote for Best Quora Answer Ever is still this answer from Elliot S. Maggin (yes, the comic writer) about security for the President.  Makes me wonder jow many other great stories there are out there…

On a whim, a friend of mine went to play a round of golf at the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles one day. Somewhere among the first nine holes he realized that the foursome behind him included the then-current sitting president, Bill Clinton. My friend looked around, noted that the big golf course was surrounded on all sides with hills peppered with high-end houses.


Click through for the rest…

The Day the Bird Died

It’s the 15th anniversary of that fateful day of Major League Baseball when a bird flew in the way of a Randy Johnson pitch and instantly exploded/vaporized.


Mourning Dove, like the one Randy Johnson hit

By derivative work: Snowmanradio (talk)Zenaida_macroura_-California-8.jpg: Don DeBold – originally posted to Flickr as Dove by Almaden Lake and uploaded to commons as Zenaida_macroura_-California-8.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.0,


Newsweek asked some ornithologists for their thoughts on the incident.  The best one is in the conclusion:

There are many reasons why Mr. Johnson should not feel bad about this event. First, the mourning dove is one of the most common species in urban areas of Arizona and across the country, and it is not a species of conservation concern. So he didn’t impact the future of a species or anything like that. Second, although he did hit the bird outside of the dove season in Arizona, which happens in September, it is a game species, and there are plenty of hunters who wish they could get off such a clean shot. Third, millions of birds are killed each year by outside cats, glass windows, wind turbines, airplanes and other human-related problems. So in perspective, it is just an amazing coincidence that got caught on camera.

Buy Clip Studio Paint for $20 This Weekend

Clip Studio Paint box art

Clip Studio Paint is the digital drawing program that’s used by, according to its maker, 1.5 million people in the world. It’s an amazing program for creating digital art, particularly comic-related art. The higher end version of the program comes complete with all sorts of functionality for creating comics, from projects with pages to export to EPUB capabilities.

A new update just hit this week, and the program’s makers are celebrating with a big sale through this weekend. CSP is as low as $20 for the next couple of days. If ever you wanted to jump in, this is your change.

Wait, What About Manga Studio?

This is Manga Studio. I’m not entirely sure I understand the whole story, but “Clip Studio Paint” is the name the developers in Japan gave it. SmithMicro renamed it “Manga Studio” when it began distributing it in North America. Now, they’re going back to the original name.

“Manga Studio” wasn’t a great name, but it worked well enough. “Clip Studio Paint” is a mouthful that is almost meaningless in the English language. But it’s just name, and so we move on. I’ll refer to it as “CSP” from here on out.

There Are Two Versions?

Yes, and here’s where the naming gets worse. The base model is named “Pro”, while the model aimed at comic book professionals is named “EX.”

No, I don’t have that backwards. Yes, really. That’s what it is.

What Do They Cost?

Here, take a look:

Clip Studio Paint Price Comparison Chart

That’s $20 for the low end and $87 for the high end this week, where they’re normally $48 and $210. It’s a great deal. SmithMicro runs deals on the software occasionally throughout the year, but this is as low as it usually gets.

What is the Difference?

Like I said before, it’s mostly that the high end version (“EX”) comes with the functionality to make comic books. The lower end (“Pro”) just lets you do images. You can assemble them yourself later.

Also, there’s some 2D and 3D modeling techniques that you’ll need to buy EX to get.

The top of the SmithMicro comparison chart summarizes most of the differences:

Clip Studio Paint Features Comparison

What’s New?

This new upgrade features the ability to do animation. Not 3D puppetry animation. (SmithMicro has another program for that.) No, this is old school, onion-skin animation. Make a drawing, flip back and forth, make the next one on top, watch it ‘move.’ I was looking for a “cheap” program to do something like this with last year and couldn’t find anything. Now, it’s built into CSP. That’s a good deal.

While this animation functionality is available in both versions, the Pro edition limits you to 24 frames, or what they assume will be 3 seconds.

Wait, What New File Format?

I didn’t mention it yet. You must be reading my mind.

Doug Hills points out the updated file format.

The long and short of it is that the new CSP uses an updated file format. It can read the old file format just fine, but previous versions of Manga Studio won’t be able to read these new CSP files. The .lip file is now going to be a .clip file. That kinda makes sense, actually. It might be the first good renaming strategy I’ve mentioned in this post.

Can My Mac Handle CSP?

Most likely. It’s guaranteed to work with the last three generations of Mac OS X. You can also download an older version if you have an older Mac OS, if you really want.

Officially, the line is 2 GB of Ram and an Intel Code Duo chip. I think your computer can handle that, if it’s less than five to seven years old.

Can My Windows PC Handle CSP?

Most likely. Windows 7 or better, 2 GB of RAM, and off you go. See all the specs here.

How Much Fun Is Drawing With A Mouse?

Very little. It can be done, but — no, just don’t. CSP supports a bunch of tablets, including all of the Wacom ones. It also works on other pen displays, like the Yiynova one I use relentlessly.

What Other Resources Do You Have?

How Do I Get Started?

Watch Doug Hills’ YouTube videos. Here’s the introductory channel, and his most recent Patreon-funded one, Manga Studio Guide.

If you do have a pen display kind of thing, be sure to bookmark this explanation for how to move CSP to your second screen.

And, of course, you can buy the software at the SmithMicro site always. But order it this weekend to get the sale price!

Go is the New Poker?

And so it ends, with Google’s AI winning 4 out of 5 Go games against a top Korean player.

A few days ago, this part of an article after the third game caught my eye:

The machine plays like no human ever would—quite literally. […] The result is a machine that often makes the most inhuman of moves.


This happened in Game Two—in a very big way. With its 19th move, AlphaGo made a play that shocked just about everyone, including both the commentators and Lee Sedol, who needed nearly fifteen minutes to choose a response. The commentators couldn’t even begin to evaluate AlphaGo’s move, but it proved effective. Three hours later, AlphaGo had won the match.  

Remember when the amateur players flooded the poker playing community about 15 years ago? Just after Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker?  Many long time professionals were baffled.  The new kids were playing a completely different game, often informed by playing thousands of hands of poker — often four or more at a time — at home on their computers.

The game changed and everyone had to adapt.

Many professional poker players adapted by taking on endorsement deals, hitching their stars to shady on-line poker sites, and teaching the game.

Isn’t that always the way, though?  The first to make money wind up teaching it to the throngs who want to follow in their footsteps. And 99% of them won’t, but they’ll splash some money around, anyway.

Your Birthday on the Internet

Your birthday is the day that you’re reminded of any message boards you joined in the last twenty years:

birthday email greetings from message board forums

And that CVS thinks you’re beautiful. Aw, shucks.

Also, it’s a reminder that Google KNOWS you.

Google's logo changes for your birthday

…which, I have to admit, is pretty cool.

It’s also the one day of the year everyone remembers you’re on Facebook, and you feel guilty about all the people you didn’t wish a happy birthday back to in the last year.

Middle X: Pixie

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Pixie. Don’t know much about her, to be honest. She became a regular X-Men at a time I wasn’t reading the books. But I felt like drawing a girl with pink hair. So sue me.

middlex pixie_web_wings

A Streaming Embarrassment of Riches

We live in an amazing time. It’s a time I couldn’t have dreamed of as a child: Hundreds of television shows — all their seasons — available at my finger tips. This season’s shows, last season’s shows, and shows from my childhood. They’re all there for the watching.

I have Amazon Prime —


— and Netflix:


Frustratingly, there’s no time to watch any of it. So I’m the guy from The Twilight Zone.

Twilight Zone Time Enough at Last broken glasses

Time Enough At Last, indeed.

I’m on the Elixir Fountain Podcast!

Elixir Drop records a podcast with Elixir Fountain

Recorded on Wednesday, today sees the release of my conversation with the ever-amiable Johnny Winn on the topic of Elixir. And Phoenix. And Perl. And Ruby. I may have even mentioned Haskell at some point in there. We cover a lot of stuff. (And then we talked comics, naturally.)

It was only afterwards that I realized I’m a complete blabbermouth and didn’t go too deep on any one topic and likely will need to explain myself at length on a couple of things after the fact.

In other words: More blogging material! =)

But if you have any questions, leave a comment or send me a tweet, and I might just make a post here out of it. Thanks!


(Cross-posted from

Joe Dante and Chuck Jones

25 years ago, Joe Dante developed a movie that would have been a dramatization of the Warner Bros. animation unit/Termite Terrace in the 30s and 40s.  It’s a movie many of us would kill to see to this day.

It never got made.

Pity.  Sounds like perfect Oscar bait. Nothing Hollywood loves more than movies about Hollywood.

In any case, this will likely be as close as we ever get to the movie: a six minute interview with Dante describing how the project came to be and why it died so young.  (“Space Jam.”  Ugh)



(Via Cartoon Brew)

Podcasting Again

No, not regularly. I was the guest on a podcast today and it was awesome. I miss podcasting a lot, but the timing is never good to make a return to it.

Plus, I wasn’t hosting so I didn’t need to worry about steering the conversation.

Turns out, I had a lot to say and probably just ran my mouth off too much.

I’ll post a link when it goes live, which I believe is scheduled for the end of this week…

Middle X: Black Widow

Enter a world where the X-Men have quietly retired from their years of superheroing. It’s a world where they settled down in the suburbs and lived to ripe old ages.

We look in on them as they hit their 40s. They are, perhaps, soccer moms and dance dads and who knows what else.

Now, Black Widow is more of an Avengers character than an X-Men character. This is a complete cheat. I’m OK with that.

Middle X Black Widow, though she isn't a mutant

Diabetes Still Not Cured; Insulin Ain’t Cheap

I admit, I’m protected against this by a good health care plan, but I know how ridiculous the prices are — especially when I did take more one month and am close to running out before the renewal date.

In the United States, just three pharmaceutical giants hold patents that allow them to manufacture insulin: Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. Put together, the “big three” made more than $12 billion in profits in 2014, with insulin accounting for a large portion.   What makes this so worrisome is that the big three have simultaneously hiked their prices. From 2010 to 2015, the price of Lantus (made by Sanofi) went up by 168 percent; the price of Levemir (made by Novo Nordisk) rose by 169 percent; and the price of Humulin R U-500 (made by Eli Lilly) soared by 325 percent.  

I’ve used two of the three of those in my life.

To make insulin affordable, we need more competition. Nothing would do this faster than a “generic” form of insulin. (Technically, because insulin is made using bacteria, it should be referred to as a “biosimilar” instead of a “generic.”) Unfortunately, there isn’t one available in the United States.

Don’t hold your breath, kids.