Aaron Diaz (of Dresden Codak) on naysayers. How can you not love a reference to the Skesis?

Aaron Diaz (of Dresden Codak) on naysayers. How can you not love a reference to the Skesis?


Four years ago, when I started tweeting, people would say, “How do you feel about giving away material for free?” I said, “Well, no one will pay me for it, and I’ve got to get it out there.” So I would constantly churn out jokes saying, “Hey, look at me, I have a work ethic. Please, please, please world, hire me so I can afford pants, and cheese, and heat.” That was another thing, being married—my wife was not yet pregnant, but I didn’t have a choice but to succeed. It was either that or the unthinkable, a fate that I associate with death, which is not doing comedy. That was the other choice, so I just had to work furiously to get out there, with no promise of success. When I thought about other careers, I thought about death. I know that might sound morbid and not funny at all, but it is truly how I felt.


Covering Politics the David Broder Way (by Richard L. Berke)

From the 3/10/11 POLITICO Playbook, by Mike Allen, one of several tributes from fellow news reporters and editors to David Broder. Good guide for being a political reporter, hard worker, and mensch:

Richard L. Berke, National Editor and former National Political Correspondent, The New York Times: It was hard not to feel like an imposter covering politics alongside David, let alone trying to compete with him. He was not a blusterer or know-it-all like so many other big-name political scribes. He did know it all, but he was confident (and smart) enough that he had no need to lecture his increasingly fresh-faced interview subjects. When he appeared on TV, it was not to pontificate but to pass along what he had learned. One could never fathom a “Do you know who I am?” moment for David Broder. It was never about him. David was respectful of his fellow reporters and editors as well as the politicians he covered. While he was by no means a pushover, David was not jazzed by the quick hit or scoop as much as finding opportunities to draw insights by listening to lawmakers and voters. Among the enduring lessons David left for so many of us who aspired to his unflagging standards of covering politics:

—Get out of Washington. And when you do, don’t pass up that last event of the day so you can retreat to the bar to tell war stories. Remember: Politicians are often more candid when they’re tired at the end of the day.

—Talk to Governors—and mayors. At those NGA meetings, David would set up schedules of interminable interviews with lawmakers. He cared about governing, and knew that you can’t be an effective political reporter without understanding policy and governing beyond Washington.

—Work the Hill. That said, David knew that successful political reporters knew the Hill intimately, and devoted as much time working the halls of Congress as talking to consultants and pollsters.

—Talk to voters. Hour after hour, David would knock on doors, interviewing voters. That gave him deep authority and insights that you can’t get by interviewing political strategists.

—Don’t ever become cynical. Don’t ever stop reporting. For some reason, I have a memory of David at a coffee shop one late night in Branson, Missouri, many campaigns ago. He had no interest in joining the group heading out for a night on the town. All he wanted was a slice of pie and, of course, to talk politics.


To win, it is necessary to accept lost positions.
Bent Larsen, Danish chess grandmaster, 1935–2010

(Source: The New York Times)


The first month will be hell. Early mornings, uncaring stars, frost on the car and ice in the bones. Temptation will call you back to bed and warm oblivion. Fight past the alarm and into the morning. Exercise six—SIX—times per week, 30–45 minutes each. Eat right. Pursue each day with cheer. Revel in success and be humble, forgiving, and wise when course corrections are necessary. You wield the most powerful force on the planet—an unfettered human will. Stack successes like the bricks of an immortal monument and meet triumph head on. —10/6/07
Typed on a 3” × 5” after becoming frustrated with a stalled fitness routine. Just got righteously angry at my indolence and banged this out in one shot on the typewriter, then thumbtacked it to my bathroom wall, in the spirit of doing something rather than stewing, beating myself up, and doing nothing.



Al: Why ain’t you up and runnin’ again?

Merrick: I’m in despair. The physical damage is repairable, but the psychic wound may be permanent.

Al: You ever been beaten, Merrick?

Merrick: Once. When I thought I had the smallpox, Doc Cochran slapped me in the face.

[Al slaps Merrick in the face.]

Merrick: Stop it, Al!

Al: Are you dead?

Merrick: Well, I’m in pain, but no, I’m obviously not dead.

Al: And obviously you didn’t fuckin’ die when the Doc slapped you.

Merrick: No.

Al: So including last night, that’s three fuckin’ damage incidents that didn’t kill you. Pain, or damage, don’t end the world. Or despair. Or fuckin’ beatin’s. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man  .  .  .  and give some back.