I realize this does not paint me in a flattering light, but here goes.

This is, in fact, my basement. 

Most particularly the air hockey table that has seen approximately 12 hours of actual air hockey activity and about 23 months as a storage surface/laundry center. As in sorting all the laundry on it, keeping all the laundry baskets on it, and occasionally the extra room to actually fold laundry on it. It is also the prime destination for all things Christmas when I can barely cope with taking the decorations down, let alone sort them all back out into their various boxes and put them away. There is, in fact, a whole wall of storage closets in my basement but, as I send things on their merry way down the stairs, they often get piled up in front of the closet doors in such a way that they will no longer open, rendering the closets next to useless.

Now I realize that many people have basements, or attics, that look like this. What made it fodder for the strip is the fact that the rest of my house looks pretty organized and together. (Let me rephrase that - when the kids are all in school for the day and can't get anything back out, then the house looks pretty together. Summer is right out. The entire house is a disaster from top to bottom. I have learned to embrace this reality and simply wait for September.) What really pulled the "Dorian Gray" element in was when I was prepping the house to have people over. It is truly amazing how much stuff you can throw into paper bags and stuff into closets or send to the basement in order to create the "ultimate entertaining environment" illusion.

Of course, I have to hope that none of the folks I have over actually read the strip or this blog or my cover is completely blown :-)

And heaven forbid any of our guests actually want to play air hockey.

When John's Not Working Part Two

Again, John is practically always working. But he does have some other passions and talents besides the strip. John grew up working part time in his dad's flooring business and is an extremely handy guy. He designed and built the amazing treehouse pictured above when our boys were small - (not so great about cost projections though, the project took about 30 extra unforseen trips to the lumberyard/hardware store and cost about 5 times what he though it would) and, just before the launch he completely redesigned and rebuilt our screened porch. 

Another passion is gardening. Our backyard is quite small but John has managed to squeeze in an herb/kitchen garden (in the approximately 8 square feet of full sun we get daily - many, many neighboring trees) and a substantial flower garden. These plants bring all of us such great joy and have also created an inspiring writing space for John on the porch. My contributions generally consist of picking out a few new perennial additions every year and some thoughts on placement. This is for the best as I am known in the family as "she who kills all plants". This would be largely because I never remember to water anything and am then surprised as everything dies. 

So thank you for all the lovely flowers John!

Peonies, strawberries, evening primrose, the herb garden, and some of the rebuilt porch . This little corner had dead grass and a small bush of some sort (also mostly dead) when we bought the house. The 90 year old neighbor lady (who had lived on the block all her life) informed us "nothing ever grows there". John built some terrific terraced boxes and the rest is history!

Black Rasberries ( these have become jam since this was taken)

This year we have enough peaches coming on that we just might get to eat a couple. So far, the squirrels have managed to steal them all every year. This is the Peach tree's final chance or else it's getting replaced next year.

Our daughter's cherry tree - we got just enough for a pie. Delicious!

The evening primrose in bloom.

Peonies are my favorite! 

This is our first year for hanging Nasturtiums. I think we'll do this again next year - so much nicer than Petunia's and less deadheading.

This is also our first stab at a Hibiscus. We'll se if we can keep it alive over the winter. (Doubtful)

 Our Mock Orange - the most heavenly aroma comes from this.

Our daughter's little plot is inside the box. Since this picture was taken her watermelon has taken over most of the box and has designs on the rest of the yard. Unfortunately, this has been an absolutely dismal year for tomatoes. The pathetic little plants you see behind the box are only slightly bigger now than when this was taken. In years past we have had so many tomatoes we have spent a couple days canning the extras, not to mention eating tons of them. We've even had cherry tomato plants that have grown 7 feet up into the overhanging cedars.   Not this year :-)

Arctic Circle

This plug is long overdue. Another one of my daily reads is Arctic Circle by Alex Hallet. With storylines centering around some displaced penguins and their friends, Arctic Circle launched with King within a year of Edison and we have been reading it ever since. To my knowledge, it is the only nationally syndicated strip with a prevailing theme of environmentalism - every Monday, in particular, has an ecological theme - and is the official strip of the Daily Green. One of my favorite aspects of the strip is this ability to focus on the environment in a pointed but not "in your face" way while still being very funny. Alex also has a terrific blog (listed in the blogroll at below right) that is a great resource for information on environmentally responsible companies and also ecological groups like "I hate plastic".  Since I do, in fact, hate plastic (and have been hoping for the return to glass bottles for so many things I buy at the grocery store) I was particularly interested in that one. 


The Whole Web/Intellectual Property Thing

I have recently subscribed to the New Yorker after a many years absence. I'll be honest - I get it for the cartoons. Specifically to see more of Rina Piccolo's single panel cartoons. Unfortunately, there have not been enough of those and I may have to cancel the subscription if that doesn't change. I hope the editors appreciate the gravity of this situation. 

Anyway, last week I actually stopped to read an article by Malcom Gladwell that caught my eye. Titled "Priced to Sell - Is Free The Future", it reviews the recent book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" by Chris Anderson and also addresses the basic premise behind it. He also recounts a story of the testimony of Dallas Morning News publisher James Moroney when he recently appeared before a congressional committee at a hearing in May. The story centers around negotiations with Amazon's Kindle for Dallas Morning News content. This is a story anyone associated with newspapers should read.

One of the driving forces in Anderson's book is the statement by Stewart Brand that "information wants to be free". My personal problem with this philosophy is that I draw a distinction between "information" and "entertainment".  While I agree that information such as basic news like "There's a tornado coming - take shelter" should be free, many, many things  on the internet do not fall into that category. Rather they are in the category of intellectual property I would classify as entertainment. Movies, columns, editorials, The Daily Show, comics, etc. are all entertainment and intellectual property. Just because consumers would like them to be free does not mean they should be. My kids would like it very much if the candy at our corner store was all free and they could gorge on it to their hearts' content. However, the candy is not free, and if my kids go help themselves, they will most definitely be prosecuted for shoplifting. There has to be a way to protect the creators of intellectual property as completely as we protect the retail industry. 

Malcom Gladwell actually addresses this very succinctly - I hope you can find time to read the article. 

And Mr. Mankoff - if you're reading, please give us more Piccolo cartoons :-) 

The 1000th strip

Today marks John's 1000th strip since Edison launched in 2006.  We would like to thank everyone who has made The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee part of their daily reading. In a time of great struggle for comics and newspapers we feel extremely fortunate to have made it this far and to still be adding papers. We would like to welcome the Clovis News Journal and the Logan Daily News on board as two of the most recent additions. 

Remember, if you're not getting Edison in your local paper and would like to, please contact your paper and petition to get the strip added to their line up. Even in these challenging times papers are trying new things in the comics section and the best way to be part of that change is to let them hear from you.

We would also like to thank all our readers on Dailyink and Comics Kingdom. Don't forget, if you're reading Edison in an online newspaper, take a moment to cast a vote and let them know it's one of your favorites.

When John's Not Working

What am I saying? He's always working :-) Between his graphic design business and the strip, there isn't a lot of free time. However, John occasionally squeezes other projects and activities in. One of these is our 1968 Bahama Islander sailboat - or, as friends like to say, "that hole in the water we throw money into".  Because of its age, coupled with our hard Wisconsin winters, it often needs a lot of work. 13 years ago John basically stripped and refinished everything and now, this summer, it is time to do all that again. 

All the woodwork has been taken off and refinished in our garage - I'll post pics when I get them. The deck has been completely stripped, sanded and refinished with new fiberglass. (These pics are pre-fiberglass)

All the railings, the mast etc. are also getting a facelift and are being checked for stability and safety. It's also time for a new compass - useful for not getting lost on an enormous freezing lake!

The interior cushions are original and are in pretty bad shape - I made covers for them 13 years ago but it's time to do that again as well.

Before they can be recovered, some of them need a little help.

Gotta love Gorilla Tape!!

New covers - I have these three done so far - I should be able to finish the rest by next week.

I'll post more pics when it's finished. It's a lot of work but hopefully all the repairs and restoration will last another 13 years! 

Latest Oz Pics

An update on the painted Oz cabinet can be found here.