11 January 2006

Dear Mr. Kreider,

In the Artist's Statement for your most recent comic (posted online Jan. 11, I'm not sure if it went out in print media earlier), your footnote raises the question of whether snakes were punished by losing the power of speech.  The short answer (only to those who believe any of this, obviously) is yes.  In John Milton's "Paradise Lost," Satan, in the body of the serpent, tempts Eve in the garden, leads a group of rebellious angels in battle against God, and generally serves as the antagonist of the (obviously fictional) story.  After a battle in which Satan and his minions have been thrust into Hell, he attempts to address them, but finds that the only thing that can come out of his mouth is a hisssss.  The other "bad" angels try to respond, and find that their power of speech has been similarly taken away.

Now, this isn't the Bible, but Milton and his works actually form the basis for much of what fundamentalist Christians believe.  I'd look up where exactly in "Paradise Lost" this occurs, but I'm supposed to be working.  I believe it's located, as the Simpsons' Reverend Lovejoy would say, "somewhere near the back."

I'm a huge fan of your work, if you're ever in DC I'd be happy to buy you a beer.

Phil P.

Phil P.:

Mr. Kreider wishes me to thank you for shedding the light on this textual question of the snake for speaking.  We will consult the "Paradise Lost" as Rev. Lovejoy suggests.  Mr. Kreider wishes that the Republicans, like Satan and his henchmen, could only hiss.

I can assure you that Mr. Kreider will take you certainly upwards on your offer of beer.  Believe me it will be hard to oblige him to stop.



11 January 2006

Hi Tim,

I'm an old college friend of Tom Balog and Erik Sunday.

Anyway, I love your cartoons, and I just wanted to mention in regards to the story of carnivores living on vegetables in the garden of Eden- for some strange reason, my cat LOVES cantaloupe, but no other fruit or vegetable that I know of.

Happy New Year,

Mike L.

P.S. Have you ever thought of making any of your cartoons in 3D? Like action figures or something? I'm a sculptor and model maker for Nike, and I think some of your drawings would make great statues.

Michael L.,

Mr. Kreider invites you to subject the behavior of your cat and its love of the melons to the website of dingbat Creationists as it lends such a weight to their theories. His own cat, a detestable animal, it turns up the small pink nose to all things except the gratuitously expensive Fancy Feast, for which I am frequently dispatched and for which no reimbursement has been profferred, and also cheese, for which a long time it was a fiend.

Which of the cartoons do you envision to convert to the dioramas?  Mr. Kreider cannot conceive this but is willing to hear you out.  A figure of action of Boyd would be considerably well accommodated in his house.



12 January 2006

Many cats do, in fact, love avocado, probably for the oil.

Back when we lived in California, one of our cats would attack avocados that had fallen on the grounds of a nearby house, pick them up, and leave them for my wife like so many dead mice.  Each one had one tiny tie taken out of it---this particularly insane cat may have assumed that he had killed them, since they stopped moving.

This is not to say that cats can be humanely fed a vegetarian diet...."Futurama" once had a beautiful depiction of a lion forced to live on tofu.

12 January 2006

Thought You Would Like This

A letter sent to "Salon":

Subj: "The Prez and the land are One"

Back in the '90's, we had a president with appetite--for love, for sex, for food, for attention---born of childhood want and adult achievement; nearly the whole nation was replete.  Now, the C.i.C. is a man who formerly gratified himself shamelessly, and now the entire aware portion of our polity desperately feels the need for a beer.

Someone once claimed that Henry VIII is viewed much as pagan fertility gods once were, hence the durability of the fat-man-with-chicken-leg image long after most of us couldn't identify Charles Laughton if a night with Elsa Lanchester in her prime depended on't.  Poles have King Sas.  When Bill Clinton dies, he will join their august company in a hall replete with wine, beer, Jack, kavit, plump waitresses of negotiable virtue, and hams.  Lots and lots of hams.  Ummmmmmm.

P.S.: Uhhh, Ms H.-C., about those groupie pre-screenings...are they committed to film or videotape, 'cos if they are.....

Michael T.:

Mr. Kreider rejoices in your letter.  How he loves and misses old Clinton the lustful glutton.  Once he tells me he invited the President to share in a giant sandwich of fish with him and was rebuked politely.  It saddens him to hear about the reformed practices of the mode and the health of the former President.  He agrees cordially with you that the rigid abstemiousness of the current President has insidiously lixiviated all the joy of the nation and he joins you in requesting an obese and alcoholic lecher in the office once more.

The siftings of the groupies are not of the nature which you suppose.  Several photographs have been submitted but these are not appropriate to public viewing, I can assure you.



P.S. Mr. Kreider now seriously considers to add Elsa Lanchester to his puerile list.

12 January 2006

Dear Tim

In answer to your question on 11 Jan 06: Yes, according to tradition the snake's power of speech was removed by God after the fall. In fact, all creatures in the garden had the power of speech, which I guess is why Eve wasn't very surprised by the appearance of a talking snake. This is mentioned, for example, in the extended version of Genesis which appears in the apocryphal Book of Jubilees. It was written around 2nd century BC.

Chapter 3 verse 28 reads

And on that day [the day of the fall] was closed the mouth of all beasts, and of cattle, and of birds, and of whatever walks, and of whatever moves, so that they could no longer speak: for they had all spoken one with another with one lip and with one tongue.

You can find out more about the Book of Jubilees here:


Kind Regards,



This information comes as being from great interest to Mr. Kreider and seems to confirm several of his prejudices, already ferocious. He is happy to learn that God is as much arbitrary and unjust and cruel as he had suspected--"even bigger a dickwad" are his words, I am afraid.  He seems grimly happy to find the Bible is stupider even than he had known.  "Is this The Chronicles of Narnia?" he asks aloud. But perhaps he wonders whether this insults one called for a king of Elf in the imagination-stories of Tolkein. He laughs but seems enraged.  Oh it is an agitated business with being the intern of Mr. Kreider's, I say to you, particularly when he is started on the matter of the Christian maniacs whom you have here in America.  However, I thank you for helping to elucidate this matter.

Mr. Kreider also wishes me to thank you for your support of his work and to wish you well in your recovery from Christianity.



12 January

Your latest

"Hysterical, militant virtue seems to be in direct proportion to the preponderance of temptation and the weakness of the local will."

You know who you sound like? That other Baltimore smarty-pants, Mencken. More specifically, his essay titled "Homo Neanderthalensis."

The first thing I thought of when I saw your drawing was the end of the opening sequence of "2001: A Space Odyssey:" the bone flying into the air, replaced by the spaceship. By removing the gulf of time that existed between the scenes in Kubrick's movie, you pose the question, "What would those primitive humans have thought of the spaceship that their descendants would build?" And Mencken answers: "Every valuable thing that has been added to the store of man's possessions has been derided by [the great majority] when it was new, and destroyed by them when they had the power." (Homo Neanderthalensis)

As to your doubts about the Ark:

"... including dinosaurs--whom God placed in stasis so they would not disrupt the voyage by fighting ..."

Not stasis. Eggs, my good man, eggs. At least that's what I heard on NPR this week. Talk about removing your gulf of time.

Gary S.

Gary S.,

Mr. Kreider is large admirer of Mencken and appreciates your comparison.  Moreover he is a fanatic concerning Kubrick and particularly 2001, except that he insists (and I do not know why he will not sit down and write all this to you himself as he is so vehement) that the famous match cut is to prove that there is no difference between the cave men and the astronauts.  A sentiment of Mencken.

When I explained the theory of eggs of dinosaurs to Mr. Kreider a terrible weariness seemed to surmount him.  When the insane ones of Christ speak always it is in a tiny room to the speechless.



12 January 2006


About talking animals in the Bible, it didn't just happen in the Garden of Eden.  Take this exchange from Numbers 22:28:

And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, "What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?"  And Balaam said unto the ass, "Holy shit, it's a talking ass!"

OK, the end of the passage isn't quite KJV.  But Balaam seemed to have no trouble believing his ass would talk with him.  As strange as this is, I think the best part of the Balaam story happens moments later, when Balaam begs forgiveness for doing exactly what God commanded him to do.  And then the angel tells him to keep doing what he was doing, the very thing that almost got him skewered with an angelic flaming sword.  Sheesh, I've had bosses like that...

David S.

David S.,

Thanks of Mr. Kreider to you for illuminating the ass of Balaam.  All this last week I have received E-mail concerning the speaking animals of the Bible.  It makes Mr. Kreider wonder aloud why we do not base our civilization on the fables of Aesop or the books of Beatrix Potter in its place.  In fact he argues that The Wind in The Willows is a superior moral guide to the Old Testament.  Always it is in this way with him when the lunatics of Christ are the topic.


13 January 2006

Dear Ms. Hautpanz, I think Tim should do a cartoon about Rex, the dog that was recognized as a hero in the War on Terror by act of Congress and the President.  Maybe there are other hero dogs out there, Protecting Us From Terrorists?  What do you think? Sincerely, Mike J

Mike J:

Mr. Kreider is intrigued by your suggestion but we do not know this heroic dog Rex about whom you speak.  Can you return us an article?

Mr. Kreider also wonders if you are familiar with this photograph.  It shows King Timahoe, the dog of former President Nixon, being jokingly awarded the presidential medal of of freedom. The Presidential aide Stephen Bull congratulates Mr. Timahoe as Lt. Col.  Jack Brennan, military aid with the president, views.

14 January 2006

Well, the reality isn't as funny as the initial idea.  And certainly not the picture.  To tell the truth, I first imagined dogs being awarded medals for Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay (scaring detainees, offending devout Muslims) etc.  But the truth is in fact a fluffy feel-good load of fecal matter. This actually made mainstream national news, it was on the "fluffy kitten" section of NBC Nightly news on Thursday.  A couple article follow, the key names are: "rex" and "sgt jamie dana".  A google search brings up way too many hits. 

-mike j

17 January 2006

Subject heading: Could you expand on the Lebowski-Vietnam theory?

As per the subject. My curiosity is piqued.

I enjoy your cartoons and statements a lot.

E. C.

E. C.:

Well, you know how Walter relates everything back to Vietnam (his buddies "dying face-down in the muck") and even invokes the war at Donny's farcical funeral until finally The Dude screams at him in exasperation, "What the fuck does anything have to do with Vietnam?" Here's what:

The two main characters are both products of the Vietnam War, Walter a crackpot veteran, The Dude a countercultural burnout. The film is set during another foreign war, the Gulf War. (The Dude even appropriates some of George Bush's rhetoric: "This will not stand, man!") The whole plot, such as it is, is a sort of bizarre halfassed allegory about cynical foreign wars like Vietnam and the Gulf War. Think about it: The Big Lebowski is a pompous right-wing blowhard full of talk about the hippie bums and handouts and getting a job, he has a handshake shot with Nancy Reagan on his wall, but he's a fraud: none of his money was earned, he only has a trust fund from his wife. The entire kidnapping/ransom scenario is a ruse, like the Gulf of Tonkin (or W.M.D.); no one was kidnapped, and there is no ransom money. It's just an excuse for the fat old white guy who orchestrated the whole thing to embezzle some funds. And the only thing that happens as a result is that an innocent man gets killed. So actually Walter's speech at Donny's funeral is kind of appropriate, albeit in a subtextual kind of way.


18 January 2006

Hello, Phelatia. How are you?

Please tell Tim that this week's cartoon and artist's statement are absolutely brilliant. I expect no less from Tim, but I just wanted him to know it this week. He is absolutely right in his thinking...no "crackpot" theories there.

Ok. Please also tell Tim that if (when...??! fingers crossed..!) Tim decides to cross to the other side of sexuality (as he mentioned several weeks ago..), that I am here, waiting!




Mr. Kreider appreciates your complements on his work.  He is easily discouraged and needs the constant reassurance. It is completely probable that he will turn soon thereafter to the homosexuality of despair but I would advise you that even the casual relationships with cartoonists are not uncomplicated.

Thank you also for the polite investigation after me; I am very well but kept most occupied with my work like the constant complex needs for Mr. Kreider.



23 January 2006

 A right-to-life movie title

I give up all rights to the use of the title, "Scream, Blastula, Scream!"

Michael T.

31 January 2006

Dear Ms. Hautpanz,

Kindly inform Mr. Kreider that astronomers have discovered that Pluto has two more moons than was originally thought: http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2006/01/02/the-origin-of-plutos-moons/


David T. R.

David T. R.:

Mr. Kreider follows all the news of Pluto closely and is well informed about these additional moons about which you speak.  He estimates that this strongly bolsters his position on the right of taxonomic legitimacy of Pluto.  "What has the moons?"  he asks (rhetoriquement).  "Planets!"  He appreciates your interest in this subject and recommends to you to write your elected representative to support that the plantethood of Pluto is protected by law.