Ripley Hicks 2020

Woman from Astoria

I’ve finally (kinda) hit the big time. I am featured in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine “Culture Issue.” In fact, I’m mentioned in the opening paragraph of this excellent article by Dan Brooks:

Earlier this year, before everything happened, I went to New York City to survey the state of American political comedy, which has never felt more important — or more fraught. At a taping of “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” I met a woman from Astoria who had brought a birthday present for the host: a mock campaign poster promoting Ripley-Hicks 2020 — the two main characters from “Aliens” — emblazoned with the slogan “It’s the only way to be sure.”

That’s me: woman from Astoria. Permit me to explain.

After I decided to start selling the anti-Trump stuff I’d been making for myself since the first Women’s March, I came up with the brilliant marketing idea of wearing one of my T-shirts to tapings of comedy shows—Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (@LastWeekTonight), The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (@colbertlateshow), The President Show (@PresidentShow), The Opposition with Jordan Klepper (@jordanklepper), and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (@FullFrontalSamB)—and hoping someone would notice it.

By the second time I went to Full Frontal, I had a business card and stickers. (I gave those away at protests hoping people would go to my shop and buy something. More marketing genius.) I brought a Ripley Hicks 2020 campaign sign to give a staffer who’d hopefully pass it on to Sam, who’d mentioned on Colbert that she’d named her daughter Ripley. I wasn’t thinking she’d make me famous but I thought as a fellow Ripley fan, she’d appreciate it. As it turned out, it was the last show taped in front of a live audience because of COVID-19. For all I know, it was burned.Ripley Hicks 2020At the taping, a guy in the audience overheard me talking about it and asked me what I was giving to Sam. So I showed him and gave him some stickers and a business card. Turns out he’s a writer for the New York Times Magazine. He reached out for some basic info for an article he was writing on comedy in the age of Trump. Needless to say, I was excited at the prospect of being mentioned. It looked like my lack of marketing savvy was finally paying off.

Once the coronavirus took over every news cycle, the article was put off for several months. At long last, the article is out. It’s brilliant. Everything Dan Brooks has written about humor is worth reading. I especially love his article about Tony Atamanuik, whose Donald Trump transcends mere impersonation. (I’m looking at you, Alec Baldwin.) inhabited  Donald Trump on The President Show and should have been beamed into our living rooms every week to keep us sane.

Dan mentions the Ripley Hicks sign I designed two years ago. Unfortunately, since then, many others have either seen my idea and done their own versions or just thought of the same thing independently. So my design doesn’t even show up on the first page of a Google search for those words. So I figure there are a few people who are going to be happily surprised to get some extra sales of my xenomorph vs. xenophobe tee.

Still, I’m thinking of having my name legally changed to Woman From Astoria. Maybe “Kathleen” has been holding me back all these years.

Vote with Your T-Shirt 2020

I’ve always loved funny tees. A lot has changed since 2013, when I put this directory together to share favorite designs I find all over the Web. For one thing, Donald Trump became president and life became a series of increasingly bizarre situations. I’ve always been a smartass but Trump made me an activist. After I went to the first Women’s March (in NYC), I started making protest signs for myself. People liked them so I taught myself basic design using freeware and started a business, Fighting Words Designs, to sell anti-Trump tees, signs, stickers, and buttons, among other things.Uninstalling Trump dialog box

I heard a lot of advice that I shouldn’t make political designs because I’d alienate people. Or, if I insisted on going ahead, I should make pro-Trump tees as well. I ignored that because I can’t make something I don’t believe in and also, not doing something I feel passionate about would drain the joy out of it. Also, if I went to a site that sold both Republican and Democratic party stuff, I wouldn’t shop there. It feels disingenuous to play both sides of the fence.

I understand that it’s a bit odd to build a whole business around designs that I desperately want to become obsolete after Election Day. (I have plenty of other subjects to create designs around. I’m never going to run out of fighting words.) Rather than feeling defeated, I went ahead and did what I wanted. I didn’t sell much but it was a creative outlet for me, one that I could turn to combat the demoralization I felt watching the news.Grim Reaper Trump It is what it is

Gradually, people’s outrage has caught up with mine. I’m never going to get rich with this but I’ve had the opportunity to connect with customers and make friends around the globe. That’s been especially gratifying since COVID-19 hit and all my relationships, except with buddies I see–masked up and distanced–at protests, have become virtual. I’ve registered voters here in NYC, too, and the interactions have been overwhelmingly positive, with a couple notable exceptions. But nothing came to blows so I consider that a win.

While I’ve never stopped linking to new tees and cool stuff I find, I’ve neglected this blog in the last four years. After all, if you’ve landed here, you’re looking for T-shirts, not my deathless prose. If you’re still reading this and are interested in my stuff, check out my shop, Fighting Words Designs. And thanks for sticking around. I’ll keep letting you know when I find funny stuff and, hopefully, soon I’ll need to repopulate my own shop with new stuff that has nothing to do with Donald Trump!

Stewart Colbert 2016

Vote with Your T-Shirt

Time is running out to wear your political heart on your (short) sleeve and get something off (or on) your chest. Vote with your t-shirt. There’s no reason to limit yourself to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Who’s on your dream ticket?

Stewart Colbert 2016 - Vote with your T-Shirt!Poehler Fey 2016 Vote with your T-Shirt!Underwood 2016 campaign vote with your t-shirt

Don’t stay home. Get out and vote. Don’t know where your polling place is? Find it here. The rest of the time, vote with your t-shirt!

Happy Alien Day!

alien dayHappy Alien Day! Pot smokers have 4/20. Now fans of the Alien science fiction series have a day, too. Today’s date, 4/26, symbolizes LV-426, the planet where humans encounter chest bursters, banana heads and the Alien Queen, with deleterious results.

LV-426 is featured in the first two movies, Alien and AliensAlien³ and Alien: Resurrection take place elsewhere–and are reviled by many. Prequel Prometheus occurs on LV-223, another moon in the same star system.

Director Ridley Scott’s sequel to his prequel, Alien: Covenant, is scheduled for release October 6, 2017. It may or may not include a visit to LV-426 or LV-223.

Meanwhile, Neill Blomkamp has been working on an untitled sequel that will most likely ignore Alien³  and Alien: Resurrection and pick up where Aliens left off. There has been much rejoicing among fans. Unfortunately, Scott requested that the project be shelved until after Alien: Covenant opens.

alien day

Blomkamp has been teasing fans by sharing concept art since last year. In them, Hicks and Ripley are very much alive. He released this pic of Newt this morning in honor of Alien Day.

alien day

We really want to see both movies. October 2017 seems a lifetime away—more than a lifetime if you’ve just landed on LV-426. Why not show your allegiance by sporting a classic tee:

alien chestbursterVitruvian Hunter Alien vs Predator

Scare your friends with this little guy:Alien chestburster-in-a-can

Carry your gear in style with this:

Alien Xenomorph pattern tote bag

Check out one of our new favorites, available as a tee, hoodie, phone case, sticker or poster:

Alien Evolution

No matter how you choose to celebrate, we wish you a very happy (alien-free) Alien Day!

Get Lucky on St. Patrick’s Day

Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know “the luck of the Irish” used to be an insult? Edward T. O’Donnell, author of 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History, explains on Irish Central:

“During the gold and silver rush years in the second half of the 19th century, a number of the most famous and successful miners were of Irish and Irish American birth. . . .Over time this association of the Irish with mining fortunes led to the expression ‘luck of the Irish.’ Of course, it carried with it a certain tone of derision, as if to say, only by sheer luck, as opposed to brains, could these fools succeed.”

We respond with this impromptu limerick:

Thank goodness, it doesn’t mean that anymore
So lift high your glass and exclaim with a roar:
“I won’t be done
until I see sun
So pour me another, dear barkeep, please pour!”

We know it’s not great, or even a good one—but when you get started it’s hard not to have fun. You could pen a winner before you have dinner, and please post it here when you’ve gotten it done.

Better yet, write it while wearing an awesome tee from Design By Humans. Here are a couple favorites:
st. patrick's day lucky leprechaun shirtirish you were beer

Be extra lucky when you order by March 17, 2016. Enter Coupon Code SPD15 at checkout to receive a 15% discount on apparel.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Special Tees for Collectors

2/18/2016 Update: The theme of the March Collector’s Box is Cosmic
and will be available to pre-order on Sunday, the 21st.

Disappointed by the same old chocolate from your valentine? Impatient for Spring? Looking for original work by new artists? Surprise someone special—and who’s more special than you?— with the gift that keeps on giving: two exclusive tees and delivered to you each month.

DBH Collector's Box Nature

Each month, Design By Humans (DBH) chooses a new theme. February’s subject is Nature. You’ll receive two high-quality tees designed by ThePaperCrane & NDTank and printed only for Collector’s Box subscribers.

Pricing for a one-month plan is $29.99 + $5.99 shipping & handling per box. A three-month plan costs $28.33 + $5.99 shipping & handling per box, billed every three months at $102.96. You can cancel anytime.

It’s not often you can get to wear something and be sure no one else is wearing–unless you clue your friends in. That’s entirely up to you. Design By Humans is a leader in the t-shirt community. It attracts talented artists and showcases their work on t-shirts, posters, phone cases, stickers and other items.

You really should check it out. If you’re a first-timer, sign up for DBH’s newsletter and get 15% off your first order of just about anything except the Collector’s Box, of course. Good hunting!

Wear Your Heart On Your (Short) Sleeve this Valentine’s Day

UPDATE: The 14% discount at Design By Humans applies to all merchandise through February 5, 2016 and to the Valentine’s Day Collection through February 14, 2016.

If the only thing Valentine’s Day inspires in you is the desire to say, “Meh,” then we say, “Snap out of it! and fall in love with Design By Human’s Valentine’s Day sale.

If you don’t anticipate romance, you can at least look forward to spring and your right to bare arms. Get 14% off any product in DBH’s Valentine’s Day Collection, which includes t-shirts, tanks, hoodies, phone cases, art prints and stickers by entering coupon code MEH at checkout. (Not all designs are offered in every format.) Here’s one of our favorites.Valentine's Day

The bride and groom make a lovely couple, don’t they? If Frankenstein’s monsters can be happy, why shouldn’t you? Here are a few other designs guaranteed to start a conversation while simultaneously covering your torso. It’s multi-tasking writ large (or small, medium, extra large….) You get the picture.

Valentine's DayValentine's DayValentine's Day










Like love, this sale is fleeting. On February 15, it will be a memory. A t-shirt will stay with you forever and never care if you forget to send flowers or introduce it to your mom.

Happy Day After Back to the Future Day

October 22:
Yesterday was a big day: a new hoverboard was revealed and Michael J. Fox, star of the Back to the Future trilogy, received the first pair of Nike Air Mags with working power laces! Although the hoverboard will only work in a specially designed skate park, a limited edition of the sneakers will be auctioned off sometime in 2016, with the proceeds going to Fox’s Parkinson’s Foundation.

back to the future day hoverboardback to the future day nike air mags

One especially outlandish plot point of the movies came (kinda) close to fruition. The Chicago Cubs made it to the playoffs this year, spurring speculation that they just might win the World Series as “predicted” in Back to the Future Part 2. New York Mets crushed that possibility last night by sweeping the first 4 games of an expected 7 game series, sending the Cubs home early and empty-handed.

But there’s no need to be glum or go shirtless today. Design By Humans  is following up its Future Day sale with FREE worldwide shipping of ALL apparel orders. You must enter code FALLFREESHIP to qualify but hurry. The coupon expires October 27th, 2015.

zombie subway

Zombie Subway t-shirt at Design By Humans

PS: The TEELIGHTFUL promotion at Design By Humans–$10 off $100 t-shirt order–is still in full swing, as it were, through December 31st, 2015. (Only one code can be redeemed per order, so choose wisely.)

UPDATE! The FALLFREESHIP promotion has been extended through October 29, 2015.

(Back to the) Future Day Sale at Design By Humans

Future Day, October 21, 2015:
destination of Marty McFly and Doc’s DeLorean
in Back to the Future

How will you celebrate Future Day? What could be better than a sale? (Note: you don’t have to wait until the 21st to take advantage of it.) Design By Humans has been showcasing the work of great graphic artists since 2007 and has an extensive Back to the Future themed collection available on t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases and more. Here’s one of my favorites:

Things I'm Still Waiting For

We can’t blame Doc Brown for the lack of hover boards (or lightsabers, for that matter). If Marty shows up, with the resurgence of all things 1980s, how will he know he’s in the future at all? We may never hear his answers to our pressing questions:

  • Did you cross paths with Kyle Reese? How could he father his friend?
  • Why did Starfleet need whales to communicate? Was the translator not, in factuniversal?
  • Are Bill and Ted smarter than they look?

For now, we can pass the time by celebrating the Back to the Future saga with this special sale through DBH: Enter coupon TEELIGHTFUL for $10 off all t-shirt orders of $100 or more. If you’re new to the site, sign up for DBH’s newsletter and receive a welcome gift of 20% off your first order.

But hurry. Future Day is almost past. Though I would never recommend exceeding the speed limit, I’ve heard that 88 mph and 1.21 gigawatts of power are recommended.

More info:
October 21 is Back to the Future Day

24 Hour Sitewide Sale at TeePublic

The artists at TeePublic are always coming up with great new t-shirt designs. I especially love their funny and inventive Star Wars tees. Right now, every t-shirt on the entire site is on sale for $14. But the sale ends in 24 hours…well, actually in 31 hours, 53 minutes. I don’t know why.

If you need an excuse to buy a new tee,  here it is. You don’t need a promo code or coupon; you just need to move with alacrity. It’s t-shirt season, people! Here’s one cool shirt I’ve got my eye on.

are these the droids you're looking for?

“Are these the droids you’re looking for?”

Happy hunting!