Not Fit for Fido

I’m currently finishing up an ebook for the iPad that I’m doing with Chronicle Books.  It’s called “Only the Pearls” and is set to come out in early December.  It will have 250 of my favorite Pearls strips, as well as both audio and video commentary.

But in doing the videos, we occasionally used a product for which we needed approval from the company that makes it.

Long story short, the company said no.

They said Pearls Before Swine was not a “good fit” for their product.  i.e.  That the comic strip was not something with which they wanted to be associated.

Was it Mercedes Benz?  Perhaps concerned with tarnishing their pristine image?

The Ritz Carlton?  Maybe worried the strip wasn’t a good fit for their customer?

Cristal champagne?  Not sure I meshed with their upscale reputation?


It was a dog chew toy.

That’s right.

Apparently Fido would take one look at my videos and spit the toy right out.

So now I can officially say…

My work is not fit for a dog.

Hello Minneapolis (and Kansas City and Denver and Tempe and Portland and Seattle and Sacramento)

The Stephan in Wonderland Fall Tour begins in just a few weeks.

I’ll be visiting seven cities.  Sorry to all of you that live in cities I can’t get to this time.  We’ll try to get to them next time.

Here are the dates and times:

SACRAMENTO:  Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 6 p.m. in the third-floor conference room at The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q Street, Sacramento.  To register for it (it’s free but seating is limited), click HERE.

Update on Sacramento:  If you’re having trouble registering (the site’s a bit confusing) call this number:  (916) 321-1128


MINNEAPOLIS:  October 16, 2011, 1:00 pm, Wild Rumpus, 2720 W. 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

KANSAS CITY:  October 18, 2011, 7:00 PM, Rainy Day Books, Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 West 47th St., Kansas City, MO 64112, 913-384-3126,

DENVER:  October 19, 2011, 7:30 PM, Tattered Cover Book Store, 1628 16th Street at Wynkoop
Denver, CO 80202, 303-436-1070,

TEMPE:  October 20, 2011, 7:00 PM, Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe, AZ 85283, 480-730-0205,

PORTLAND:  October 27, 2011, 7:30 PM, Powell’s Books, 1005 W. Burnside, Portland, OR 97209

SEATTLE:  October 28, 2011, 6:30 PM, Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA 98155, 206-366-3316,

A Burning Question

The motto of Salem, Massachusetts is, “To the farthest port of the rich Indies.”

I don’t know what that means, but I do know this.

If you’re walking around the town, don’t ask them how many witches they burned.

It’s a sensitive question.

“We didn’t burn any witches,” the tour guide says to me, “We hanged them.”

They say it with pride, like a dog owner telling you he never hits his dog, but only chastises him.

“Of course, there was that one woman,” the tour guide adds, “We crushed her with stones.”

I could tell that even he was embarrassed by that one.

Armed with this knowledge, I continued my walk through Salem doing the one thing I simply had to do:

Ask as many people as I could how many witches they burned.

I can tell you from experience that if you try this little experiment, each and every Salemite you encounter will give you the same lecture about hanging (but never burning) the witches.  The only part that varies is whether or not they’ll disclose the poor woman who got crushed by stones.

I was going to give the Salemites a pass on all these indiscretions, until I saw this thing.

That’s right.  It’s a statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The man whose only literary goal was to torture me in high school.

This guy lived here?” I ask the tour guide.

“Yeah,” he answers.  “In fact, the house that inspired The House of the Seven Gables is right down the street.”

“So here you are burning all these innocent women —”

“Hanging,” he interrupted.

“So here you are hanging all of these innocent women, and not one of you thinks to go after this guy?”

He didn’t seem to understand.

“You have a good afternoon,” he says and walks away.

I left the town with a thorough disdain for all the people of Salem and their sadly misplaced priorities.

I even thought of a new motto.

“Salem, Mass:  Where we burn all the wrong people.”

I Guess That’s What I Get for Never Attending Sunday School

My nine year-old daughter and I were playing with her Playmobile boat on Sunday.

I put a bunch of Playmobile people on the boat and started dragging it around the carpet.

But the people looked bored.

“This boat needs a bar,” I told my daughter.

“You can’t put a bar on it,” she said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“It’s Noah’s Ark.”

Hey.  It was hard to tell without the animals.

There Will Be No Cure for Cancer (At Least Not Soon)

Spent the last week in Boston.

Toured everywhere, including the Freedom Trail, the Sam Adams’ Brewery, Fenway Park, Salem, Plymouth, Harvard and…


I hesitate to tell you about MIT because it was there that I might have changed the fate of the world.

You see, the big brains there come up with equations that create powerful weapons and cure cancer and alter the cosmos.

I know this personally, because I walked into one of the buildings and saw a huge complex formula written on a whiteboard.

I’m not sure what it was a formula for, but I know it was important.  Because it looked important.

Until I did this:

That’s right.  I picked up a pen and started drawing right in the middle of this confusing thing.

So if the cure for cancer is delayed a few years, at least know this.

It was a nice doodle.