Ann Coulter Doll – In the Collection

If you had asked me to give you a list of strange ideas that make very little sense, there would be a non-zero chance that if the list got long enough I would have written down something like “ an Ann Coulter Barbie”. And the fact that something very similar to that exists, (and is a thing that I now own) is one of those things that makes the real world so surreal.

With very little attempt made to actually look like Ann Coulter (as opposed to a generic, blonde, doll-lady) and a voicebox installed (that now makes sounds like some insane person mumbling because I haven’t replaced the batteries) the doll comes in a “try-me” box, through which you can press a button to hear her “catchphrases”. On the box is info about how to replace the batteries and other standard box stuff no one looks at. Flipping over to the back, there is a photo of Ann over a blurry US constitution and a synopsis of her career. Strangely lacking is a justification for this item’s existence.

These photos are so pixelated I can’t believe someone proofed it.

The line of “toys” (dolls? collectables?) that this doll/action-figure-thing is a part of is the “America’s Real Action Heros/Talking Presidents” series, which had such other notable figures as Dennis Miller, Dr. Laura, Laura Bush, Uncle Sam (who, as you may know, is not actually a real person), Bill Clinton, and 4 versions of George W. Bush. Bush is, of course, the best of the line, because one version comes in a fighter-pilot uniform so he at least somewhat blends in with your GI Joes, unlike the super-adventure-having-terrorist-defeating-squad of Bill Clinton, Uncle Sam, and Ann Coulter.

Despite having a great idea (talking president dolls), and super marketable characters (like, they couldn’t do Roosevelt, or Reagan, or Kennedy, or someone cool… maybe keep with the whole “presidents” theme, I guess it would’ve been harder to get their voices) it seems that the company has disappeared. Indeed their website,, leads (me) to a healthcare website and nothing remotely close to a weird collectable doll website.

I don’t know how to feel about this one. I can’t really talk about it as a toy since I haven’t taken it out of the box and it obviously wasn’t really meant to be a “plaything” (I’ll bet the articulation is terrible). I’m still just sort of in shock that it exists. It’s like that time William “The Refrigerator” Perry became a member of the GI Joe team, except without the sledgehammer, or the interest. It just feels like it’s something from another dimension sitting on my shelf, and as a conversation starter that’s not bad.

The Book I had to have with Me at My Apartment (Of Mice and Men)

I moved recently and seem to not be able to shut up about it. So I might as well talk some more.

I like to read books, physical books, because I’d have to destroy each one individually by accident to lose them all. I guess there are several other reasons, too, but my point is that I had to move books with me when I was moving. Selecting the books I wanted to bring was hard. I had allocated myself only one box of books maximum to avoid overburdening myself, but one box only holds twenty or so books, and I own well over a thousand.

I selected my books to bring based on aesthetics (I collect the Shambala Pocket Classics and the Barnes and Noble Collectors Library books because they look great on the shelf together), interest (I just picked up the closest books that I thought I wanted to read, which was a lot of nonfiction, which would surprise the me of three years ago), and necessity (I write articles on the internet and do a comic about WWII tanks, so a dictionary and German Tanks of WWII were very much required). I packed these 37 books into a box and took them with me. This was all done in a rush, as I was under a strict time limit.

They look so much better than the pages read

They look so much better than they read

When I got to my new place I and unpacked everything, I thought nothing of the books and put them on the shelves. It was only later, when going through a bookstore, that I realized I had forgotten something vitally important to me and proceeded to buy one immediately

That was a copy of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, which is easily my favorite book of all time and must be with me everywhere. I’m not sure the copy matters, but the book does, and knowing that my original copy is sitting somewhere in my library is of great relief to me.

This cover is forever in my mind

This cover is forever in my mind

I’m not going to review Of Mice and Men here, though I may do that in the future. I just want to say a few things about why it’s my favorite book and why I had to have it with me at my new place.

I first read Of Mice and Men quite some time ago when I was vacationing in New Mexico. We’d gone to town for an afternoon before returning to our camp and had stopped in a used book store. I’ve always loved cartoons and therefore I’d picked up several newspaper comics collections. I don’t know exactly how I ended up picking up a copy of Steinbeck, but I do remember having seen one at the house before and that it seemed small enough for a person of my age to get through in a reasonable amount of time on a camping trip. (Though either just before or just after reading Of Mice and Men I read Jurassic Park on a week-long vacation). I (my parents) bought the book and I didn’t look at it for the rest of the day, preferring to look at cartoons as they were easier to read in the car. I only opened it when I got back and was about to go the sleep in my tent.

I read that book in three sessions, evening, morning, and evening. All told it took me only a couple of hours and I was thoroughly engrossed. I read that book faster than I have read 100 pages of any other book no matter my interest level. I thought it was amazing on first read.

I noticed a lot of things that generally were present in what I was expected to read (but I read Jurassic Park around that time like I said, so I didn’t exactly do as expected). The book treated the reader like both an intelligent and empathetic person, while using simple enough language that almost anyone could understand it. It wasn’t hard to understand what was going on, what the characters were saying and doing, and why they were doing it. But it still managed to make the relationships between them very interesting and developed. The various themes of the novel are presented in a way that packs quite a few thought-provoking observations and events into a small package without beating the reader over the head with them. In that way it made me feel more than any book or story that simply tells me something happened. I cared for and understood why George and Lenny made the decisions they made.

I didn’t really notice the swearing when I first read it. They say “bitch” a lot. I only really noticed it when I read it in a class in middle school, and the kids each read a page out loud. Everyone said something to cover up the swear words (I never read, because I never wanted too, but I would’ve just read them, and that would’ve surprised some people I knew, I bet). That made me realize how well the book goes together and how much not including everything takes away from it. Every word in the book is tied to every other word, getting all the information across in the fastest and best possible way. Adding any word would be a mistake, as would taking out any word.

The book, in length (just over 100 pages), language, character development, and overall story is absolutely perfect, at least in my opinion. It is most certainly my favorite book and, like my favorite movie (the Great Escape), nothing has even come close to knocking it down. Having a copy with me at all times reminds me what the best I’ve ever seen of something is. And reading it each time is as enjoyable and sad and thought-provoking as the last. It is a wonderful book that I believe everyone should have a copy of. It’s certainly small enough to not be a bother, but the impact it leaves is far more than its mass would indicate.

Why Carry a Pocket Knife?

Sometimes people ask me if it’s really necessary to carry a pocket knife like I do. This is rare, though, as most of the people I know either carry, are going to carry, or know why to carry a “pocket” knife (one carries a Marine fighting knife). They all have various reasons. The one that comes to everyone’s mind for some reason is self defense. Why, I don’t know, as you’re carrying something every day for something that’ll hopefully never happen. Not that I would say carrying something for self defense is a bad idea (pepper spray, gun, etc), it’s just that with something as useful as a knife to say “It’s for self defense” seems cheap to me, like, I have no other way to justify carrying a “weapon”. A knife isn’t a weapon, it’s a tool, and a great tool, if a slightly scary one (that’s what my mom thinks).

Yeah, that's kinda scary

Yeah, that’s kinda scary

I carry a knife for the same reason I carry a multi-tool (which has another knife): because it’s super useful for opening boxes, letters, cutting tape to fix things, removing splinters (yes, you can still get those in the modern age), cutting things to fix things, untying things (as long as you don’t want the twine), and scaring people who don’t understand why you want a 3.5inch piece of sharp metal in your pocket and think that no one is responsible enough to carry anything that may at any point be possibly used to harm someone.

I’ve been carrying a knife now for years, ever since I left school, because for some reason they won’t let you have pen knives in school. And it’s been super handy. Now I haven’t needed it every day. Sometime I don’t even use it in a week. But just like the fact that you’ll sometimes need a bottle opener to open a bottle, sometimes you’ll need to open a package, and I’ll have my knife to do it. (And I’ll have it to stab the guy assaulting me).


Why Make Stuff on the Internet? (Obviously Subjective)

I have been making things on the internet for a long time. Not all of them were good things: for the first several years I made crappy videos on Youtube. In fact, I’d say I’ve only been making quality content for the last 2-1/2 years of my 7-year internet carrier. And that only started when I made a bunch of webcomics and then made a conscious effort to make my video and articles (blog posts) better. My videos might have been alright for some time before that, but other things I did weren’t.

Even so, I’m not particularly popular. I do quite a few things that get some views, but I am for the most part a background character on the internet. Sometimes I think about internet generations, and how I’ve actually survived through several of them. I haven’t quit since I’ve started, and during that time I’ve not been rewarded with tons of views or engagement, partially because a lot of it wasn’t the best quality.

That is not to say I don’t have people liking and commenting fairly regularly (less so on my main site). People do, but I do feel quite distant from them and like they are a minority. I do this because I like doing it. And even though I haven’t made enough money to cover the expenses of doing it, it’s highly likely that I will continue doing it in the future.

Especially considering that since I started, my viewers (readers, etc.) have only gone up (sometimes down suddenly, but up is the overall trend). While they haven’t exploded like many other people who put a lot of content on the internet, there is no denying that there are more people who read me now than there were before. And I don’t think that trend will reverse for quite some time.

Sometimes it does feel like I’m just talking into the void, which seems lonely. Bu I have confidence that if I keep putting things up, keep my accounts active, keep moving forward, that people, even a few, will see what I have previously done. Because, contrary to what many might say, it is quite possible for things to disappear on the internet, mostly due to neglect from creators. If one creates something, even if it is immensely popular, eventually fewer people will remember it, and there will be little to no chance of recovering it if the creator lets his domain registration lapse and the content is erased from its original servers. Because those who might re-post the content on their own Youtube channel, or their own blog, etc. are much more likely to lose the content later, whether they chose to, or their account was abandoned or deleted. Piece by piece, internet history (as all history) falls apart and we can’t remember it all.

I’ve been fortunate for my own drive to create, and keep creating even if no one is watching. I might even prefer it that way (though money to like, live would be nice). Many people can’t keep making videos, or drawing comics, or writing articles if no one is watching, if no one is engaging, etc. I can, and I made a conscious decision a long time ago that I would continue to do so, which I guess is quite vain. I keep creating so that my past creations aren’t lost forever, and to incrementally increase my chance of “making it”.

I enjoy it. I hope other people enjoy it and find it useful, and of course I hope it grows. There are plenty of project, large and small, that I wish hadn’t ended due to creators moving on in some way (having another idea, getting bored, changing lifestyle, etc) and maybe I’ll be one of those people in the future (I hope not). But for now, I’ll be here, plinking away into the endless stream of new and amazing things appearing all over the place. And even if it doesn’t work out that I “make it”, sometimes people like me just need to talk into the void.

Speak Your Mind 166 #826-830


1. Do you think the mayor of your town (city) is doing a good job?

2. What color do you think goes beast with red?

3. Do you think a father should have to change diapers?

4. Why do you think children have to go to school?

5. Have you ever gone sailing?

ANSWERS By: Austin Smith

1. Considering how much the city is getting audited, no not really/

2. probably blue, or green.

3. It’s as much his responsibility as anyone else’s. (yes)

4. To learn.

5. No, and I don’t want to.