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Kenny Rogers

For those outside of the U.S., I thought I should post this
link to the weirdest-backslash-saddest idea anyone ever had for a restaurant chain.

Imagine being in that marketing meeting:

“People! When customers think of Kenny Rogers’ dusty grey beard, and semi-creepy ‘old-man-even-when-he-was-a-young-man’ look, what do they think of?”

“Delicious, delicious chicken, Bob. Delicious, delicious chicken.”

[EDIT: A reader just e-mailed me to tell me there’s only ONE “Kenny Roger’s Roasters” still open. Man, that makes Sunday’s comic just… depressing.]


I’ll be picking the three Grammarians™ later this weekend.

But here’s the good news: if you were one of the 25 volunteers who offered to be a transcription editor, I’m sending each one of you a character sketch as a “thank you”. Kindness should be rewarded in this world, and each one of you exhibited an awesome enthusiasm and generosity of spirit in your e-mails. So if you volunteered, send me your preferred mailing address…’cause I’ll be sending you a little sum-sum.

Thanks for volunteering!

Two dozen folks have stepped forward already, volunteering to be one of three “Sheldon Editors” for the transcription system. So, awesome-possum to all of you! And, in a wonderful turn-of-events that doesn’t AT ALL make my decision more difficult…they all seem to have doctorates in editing.

(By the way: instead of “Sheldon Editors”, I’m thinking about giving these folks a superhero crime-fighting name, like “The Grammarians”. Just sounds cooler.)

Also! Save the date for Monday night, Dec. 4th! We’ll be holding the launch party for “The Good, The Bad & The Pugly”. The party will be held at a truly awesome location…to be revealed shortly. But trust me: if you’re anywhere near Los Angeles (Beverly Hills, actually), you won’t want to miss this.

Quick note on e-mail signups

If you look at the little post-it note up on the left, there, you’ll see we have roughly 200 folks signed up and raring to go. But there are far, far more folks who have *started* signing up, but who have neglected to answer the confirmation e-mail. PLEASE DO THAT. Without confirmation, you haven’t completed the process, and aren’t signed up for the e-mail delivery and the Sheldon newsletter.

I just want to make sure no one misses out. Thanks!

Volunteers Needed!

First, from today’s strip: Rex Chestington rides again! If there’s one thing that I enjoy drawing, it’s a duck in a cowboy hat. These are some of my favorite storylines, so I’ll hope you’ll indulge me as Rex, Li’l Britches, and Flaco head out on the dusty trail for a while.

But the thing I particularly wanted to talk about today was volunteers. The strip transcriptions are going really well…so much so that I’m realizing I have now become the bottleneck. See, the system allows anyone to transcribe a strip, but right now only I can edit and approve them before they go “live”. And the truth of it is, I can’t keep up with all you folks transcribing!

So here’s what I’m thinking: if you’ve been transcribing strips, and really enjoying it, you should consider becoming one of three select Sheldon Editors. These three primo Sheldon readers would have the power to edit and approve all transcriptions. It’s like having the power of the sun! And to help sweeten the pot even more, these three folks will also get a personalized package of goodies:

– An original, “finished” character sketch of their choosing, drawn on Bristol vellum paper, using archival india inks (perfect for framing)

– Personally inscribed copies of “The Good, The Bad & The Pugly” and “Pure Ducky Goodness”

– A high-five any time I walk by

If you’re interested, and have strong enough editorial chops to pass muster, e-mail me with the subject heading “Sheldon Editor”, and I’ll tell you the next steps on Thursday.


PS: If you hadn’t yet seen it, here’s the cover for the second Sheldon book, “The Good, The Bad & The Pugly”. Special pre-orders will start on Sunday night…but only for newsletter subscribers! So make sure you sign up!

Kindness Returned

I woke up this morning to a message from my friend Scott Kurtz, telling me I should check out the old Sheldon page at Comics.com. It seems they are kindly linking readers to the new site, and letting them know the end-date.

A kindness like that should be returned. But rather than link just to Get Fuzzy or Pearls Before Swine — arguably the two best strips to come along in the last decade — I’ll recommend to you one of the best new strips on Comics.com: LITTLE DEE. There is something — and I know I’m going to sound silly when I say this — magical about that strip. It has an almost other-worldly sweetness that few, few strips achieve. And the art style, particularly that of Vachel the vulture, is almost Watterson-esque in it’s simple, expressive line. It is original, it is amazingly creative, and it is funny. If this strip doesn’t make it into papers, then there really is no hope for the future of syndication.

Please check out Little Dee at Comics.com.

From the mailbag…

Thanks again to everyone who has been spreading the word about the site move. I got a good three dozen emails on Sunday from folks who had just “discovered” the site from various links — and it was great to read the excitement in their tone. Some folks seem particularly excited about the RSS feed, some about the larger strip sizes that load faster than Comics.com…but most everybody seems to be excited about the six years of strip archives.

And I can tell not just from the e-mails, but from the site logs. In the first five days of operation, the site has logged in the ballpark of 2.5 million pageviews(!) as folks churn through the free archives. I mean, I assume it’s “folks”…it could just be my mom reading the archives over and over again. And if it is, she’ll tire out sooner or later…she can’t keep up that pace.

Amid all the e-mails, a few questions keep coming up, so I thought it would be best to answer them all at once:

1.) Why are Sheldons still appearing at Comics.com? The answer is that some Sheldon readers paid through November to get Sheldon via Comics.com, and the right thing to do is to get them what they paid for.

2.) When will the free, daily deliveries of “Sheldon by E-mail” start? I signed up, but it hasn’t arrived yet. This is the result mostly of an overburdened cartoonist, and I apologize. Dumbrella Hosting has everything in place and ready to go with the free, daily Sheldon deliveries, but I need to tweak a few things in the e-mail’s “design”. My goal is to have the daily e-mails going out by the end of the week. But go ahead and sign up now, and you’ll be rarin’ to go when the first one is sent out.

3.) When do pre-orders start on the second Sheldon book? Either at the end of this week, or the beginning of next week. More news on that in the next few days.

4.) Why do birds, suddenly appear? Everytime, you are near? I believe it’s because just like me, they long to be…close to you.

Thanks all, for continuing to get the word out about the site move. High fives all around.

Strip Transcriptions / Haircut Tipping

Thank you to everyone who has been transcribing Sheldon strips. We have about 1/8th of the strips done, and so far the results are looking good.

If you haven’t tried it yet, why not join in on the patented Good Times®?

Under every strip in the Sheldon archive is the text “Information for this strip has not yet been entered. Transcribe this strip.” Click that link, and it’ll take you to the Sheldon-o-matic Auto-Fabulous Transcription System®, where you can capture the magic of each strip in text form!

This’ll let you search for punchlines, characters, and favorite strips. (For example: you can now see how many times I’ve used the word dude in Sheldon.


Here are a couple of tips when you transcribe:

1.) Use sentence case when transcribing dialogue, not Title Case or ALL CAPS.

2.) Don’t go overboard in listing props or attributes. As a general rule, just list the props and attributes that someone would ever want/need to search for, or which play a key part in the strip itself.

3.) Proofread your strip one last time before you submit it.


Next, we need to talk about “haircut tipping”. Everyone has their own preferred percentage in restuarant tipping, so we can skip over that. I know friends that think anything above 10% is absurd, and others who think that anything less that 20% is like going out to lunch with Ebeneezer Scrooge. So let’s leave all that aside and get to the trickiest tipping of all: Haircuts. What’s the verdict on this one?

‘Cause I have no clue. I just tend to grab whatever receipts and random scraps of paper I have in my wallet and awkwardly thrust them toward the person while mumbling something along the lines of “Chip-chip, old bean…”

…Is it 10%?

Zis Out-a-rage

Is it wrong that the first thing I thought of, when I read about the wine-smelling robot, was “Oh man, the poor French”?

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the hand-wringing going on in France — a general sense of national malaise and pessimism that’s being called “Declinism”. Dozens of books have been written for the French market, lamenting the current status and future direction of the country.

And when I read about a little 12″-tall Japanese robot that can recommend an awesome cheese to go with your pinot, it just seemed like the straw to break the camel’s back.

But before I sound too high-fallutin’ about the reasons why I do a particular cartoon, I need to be honest: The real reason I drew today’s strip is…it’s just fun to write for French accents. Saying “out-a-rage” just the right way in your head can keep you chuckling for a solid 10 minutes.

At least, it did for me.


Oh, and in case you liked today’s strip, here’s another past favorite on France.

A Few Quick Notes

My last few posts have been pretty long-winded, so today’s will be a few, short bursts:

1. It made me so nervous when Comics.com edited out my notice to Sheldon readers, telling them that the strip was moving. My huge fear was (and still is) that thousands of readers wouldn’t be able to find the strip in the move. But thanks to readers, bloggers, and other cartoonists, you’re helping get the word out that the strip has moved. Thank you for your help!
2. The book sale ends Friday at midnight. So if you’ve been digging the strip, get the book today and save six smackers.
3. Got a lot of e-mail regarding the TV show “Heroes” yesterday, so I thought this would be the perfect time to plug fellow Blank Label-cartoonist and three-time-arm-wrestling champ, Brad Guigar. Brad’s strip, Evil, Inc., chronicles a corporation run by and for super-villains, Cause You Can Do More Evil, If You Do It Legal™. It’s a great concept, whether or not you’re a comic book reader. Here’s a good storyline to start with.
4. Another sci-fi, TV-related joke today? I know, I know…that’s two in a row. But Mr. Tivo and I have been getting acquainted in those rare, free moments. And unfortunately, Mr. Tivo has been recording a lot of great sci-fi lately.
5. Mr. Tivo and I have a love-hate relationship.