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August 7, 2004

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David and Dale were at the 2005 Mocca Art Festival in NYC June 10 and 11th.

A Lesson Is Learned has been nominated in a bunch of categories in 2005 Cartoonists Choice Awards.

Dale has written a review for Mcsweeney’s in their Reviews of New Food section.


Interviewed by Xenex.org, David and Dale reveal their true ugly natures.

Dale has contributed to Ryan North's collaborative web comic project, Whispered Apologies.


Christopher B. Dino has kindly reviewed our comic in his blog, Totally Jawesome.

Here A Lesson Is Learned is discussed in a lively debate over conceptual webcomics.

There is a review of A Lesson Is Learned in The Webcomics Examiner.



A LESSON IS LEARNED BUT THE DAMAGE IS IRREVERSIBLE updates with incredible regularity, adhering rigorously to a pattern which remains elusive to the world's greatest mathematicians. If you would like to be notified of updates, join our mailing list. We promise to only use your email for our narrow, selfish purposes. You can quit any time you want.



(When the email opens, just click "Send.")


Archaic creature climbs out of primordial ooze. Dreams of new life for disgusting ooze covered family.

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Dale, who writes the comics.

The leaves are the seeds of the trees and the wind is when they breathe.

Hey partygoers,

And so a new page is turned in the book of Damage Irreversible, one which involves a moon rock and a video game neither David or I remember all too well. Our visitors are in the thousands now, so:

If you just beamed here from outer space then: Hi, I'm your co-host dale, and you're running your toes in the green grass of ALILBTDII today. This is our atmosphere, blue and clear, suck it in, and breathe it out. And on our planet, every Saturday we make comics to live, like the one you just read, and if you peel that one off-- Woah! There's another beneath it! Super cool! And so forth.

I would also like to tell you, mysterious visitor, that not only will there be a comic and two life-changing posts each week, but soon a store will come, and you may also tell your people, that, yes, animations will arrive at this site by the end of the month, and establish a new order amidst the simple structures of our once proud comics-based civilization. So now you get everything! Comics once a week! Life changing posts! Animations! And what? How much-- no, put that wallet away, yeah, no, slide it back in there! It's all free! No, seriously-- take it back out. Take it back out and look at the credit card, and think about how much money you have, and even if you have a small amount-- you want us to be happy don't you? You don't want us to STARVE. I'm not going to presume to tell you how much to give when you press that Paypal button at the bottom of the page because you are a kind and glorious soul alleviating the human condition from its own wretchedness, but the important thing is that you gave it to us. I mean, really, you were probably gonna give that money to some asshole at the mall for something that costs five cents for a child laborer to make in China. Well, we don't want to give that child the satisfaction!

Alright! Enough! Enough begging like the miserable street dweller I am. I'll just gingerly lower the manhole cover on top of my head on to the manhole and scatter down the dark passage until the watery splashes of my footsteps fade in to the soft chittering of the filthy rats I call my only friends. Oh pitiful mutant!

Alright! Enough! Enough mutant metaphors. It's time for the mail again. And this time, as per your request, I've used real mail!


To Whom it may concern;

I was checking my horoscope on a Russian website the other day (they seem to be more accurate) when I stumbled upon this loverly juxtaposition of doodles and prose. I find it to be one of the best in the entire internetland. Its satire seems soaked in inside jokes and saturated in pulchritudinous art. (I am about to start art school myself, much like your friend, which leads me to the actual question...) While headed down this expressway to college, I wonder if there is anything I am forgetting. What material possessions can you two simply not imagine living without? Packing is a bitch.

Sincerely, (Your favorite high school dropout)

Liz Veber

Dearest Liz,

Thank you for your kind words about the site. As for your question on what to pack for art school I have been Pondering these problems as I walked downstairs to get a soda. As you travel to live in a tiny box which is wedged next to other boxes that are full of kids remember these important items, and don't lose them!

-the internet
-your dignity
-your sense that you are better than all of them
-a paintbrush
-a portrait of someone nice
-a photographic camera
-an interesting story about how you got lost at the beach once
-the perfect line expressed by your hand
-a nice shape
-a nice texture
-a book in which a passage reads, "Play'd in a box whose candle is the sun /
round which the phantom figures come and go." (The Rubaiyat, Fitzgerald,
published 1859, OR The Rings of Saturn, Sebald, 1998, New Directions press)
-some music which you enjoy
-something sentimental that you can fit in your pocket
-that unquenchable fire of desire and intemperance, restless and longing, that
needs to shape what it expresses to live.
-a comfortable pillow
-clean sheets
-a musical instrument that produces calming and helpful tones

If you are like me, you have brought too much because it makes you feel secure to do so. I would do away with most of these things, since you will be secure once you see everybody else's art. (If you haven't already done so, throw out the piece of paper they sent you that has a list of things to bring on it.) Keep in mind, all great thinkers and artists lived with only a square of cloth a few inches by a few inches! Here are some important items to jettison on your buoyant upwards drift through art school:

your toothbrush
your boyfriend
your hairstyle
your mores on drinking and drug abuse (tip: however, be moderate lest you get
too boring)
your clothes
your cares and worries
your thoughts cluttered with ideas and shapes
your clean sheets

Remember also your professors, except for the few that are completely right, are mostly wrong and insecure, and through some cruel twist of fate someone has asked them to teach because they know how to paint, as if I would ask my radio DJ to tend my garden because it likes to grow to music.

I have forwarded this email to David just in case you need advice from someone who actually goes to art school.

love and luck,


A letter from my high school literature professor:


Very informative. I have five questions:

Opus Dei?




Bard was very pleasant. Like a dream, it began in familiar places and dissembled itself in to the surreal. Though the disappearing memories are seeping in to my subconscious like the circular stains on cocktail napkins dry after a good conversation, I will relate to you what I know.
The sun there is brighter than it is here, and though a morning will start chilly as a crisp air billows between the mountains of the Hudson valley, an intense ray of yellow sun, pressing urgently through the gaps of the leaves of the trees will deliver its message, burning those lighter airs and leaving a moment in every day where a t-shirt would suffice, even if you were standing on a glaring white plain of mid-winter snow which you have watched freeze and refreeze through a stubborn and enduring winter.
I myself, learning to dress as fashionably as the most enchanting of Manhattan trendsetters sifting the snow or green grass with the hippest of kicks, would shuffle between ivy covered stone buildings to avant garde halls, wrangling in the meantime between the chrome of post-modern sculptures, like a child on the monkey bars.
Inside the buildings I would have classes. As often happens outside of high school, they were somewhat insulting, but interesting nonetheless. . Many of the teachers were very confused. Many hadn't thought about teaching as the act they performed when they woke up in the morning, but knew only they were conveying information as they had received it in grad school, as if the information itself was valuable. Many had considered it, but came up with all the wrong answers. Some wonderful exceptions I can think of were my Latin professor who had become a good drinking buddy, my thesis advisor in the Physics department, and the poet Robert Kelly.
The students were wonderful and remarkable, stirring and crazy, though many were hard to like in class because I don't think they liked themselves in class. This was one of the reasons I studied Classics-- because it was very unpopular. Most of my classes were populated by myself and a professor, and sometimes I thought if I could just get rid of the professor it would be much better.
I also partied a lot, learned to play rock and roll music, and bought a red bicycle.


I had begun my thesis on the fragments of Heraclitus of Ephesus. The greatest post-modern philosopher of the 6th century B.C, he wrote only one book which he dedicated to Artemis in her temple. It concerned, as Nietzsche would say, "where the tail of the burning comet points", in other words, the nature of the real and experienced world as we feel it and want it, why everybody else is wrong, the inexpressible unexpressed, and the hint of what's just around the corner but you may never see it ever. As you may know, the book was then burned in to tiny pieces through the passage of time, until it was received in to my hands, placed back in to a random order by a 19th century German classicist. With this book, I approached a Physics professor, Prof. Skiff, who taught a very remarkable history of philosophy and science. As it turns out, he was friends with Hannah Arendt when she spent her final years at Bard. Their last project together, which they had abandoned in frustration, had been to piece together Heraclitus and Parmenides. He then told me what Hannah Arendt had told him a few decades earlier, "You're just playing the Heraclitus game. The fragments can be placed in any order, and in fact, can be made to say anything in the most beautiful of ways."
And so proceeds the dialectic, and the parsed flower of ontology: Am I a process burning, lonelier than a fraction, never the same person twice or even once, or am I eternal forever and if so where would I ever go? What shall we do tomorrow? What shall we ever do?
In the end, it turns out I was half-right in a half-light, but so was everyone else.



I don't know much about MICA, sometimes I go to parties there and the girls are pretty. I have forwarded you email to David so that he can tell you.


Alex moved to San Francisco and seems to be quite happy. She has an apartment and many friends. She probably eats out a lot. I think eventually she will get a job, but not anytime soon, maybe as a teacher or administrator or something.

Opus dei?

The work of god, like the day, is long and hot, and will not be over until the heat death of the universe when the last portion of energy is expended on a plunge into uniform quiet.

My questions for you:

greek tragedy? yes?
to teach?
Park School?
primum mobile?


your student,


Dear Dale,

How hot is the earth's core?

Chris Persig
Oklahoma City


There is no way to measure the temperature at the Earth's core directly. I would say about 3000 to 5000 degrees Celsius.

Your friend,


That’s all this week! If you have a question that wants or needs to be answered, especially in a public setting, please email me at .

Your new stranger in a strange land,


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David, who draws the comics.

Encased in Placid Faces

I have to remember the things I was supposed to do...

Suddenly outside it is cool.

Sleep but first update and brush teeth. Sometimes I walk around while I brush my teeth and people find this strange.


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(c) David Hellman and Dale Beran 2005