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Comic Strip of the Day: Friday Funnies

Last Sunday’s Pajama Diaries made me laugh but also pinged some very odd, slightly painful memories, which is one sign of a good strip.

Jill’s conversations with her former selves are an ongoing feature in the strip, but, no, I don’t recall one with Awkward-13-year-old and OMG yes but she needs to stay in the past.

I work with kids 8-to-14 and being two time zones away is good, because I only see what they’re writing, not what they’re wearing or what on earth they’ve done to their hair this time. Middle school is an excellent time for adults to bite their tongues and wait for things to correct themselves.

They generally do. I have a school picture of myself in seventh or eighth grade that is so painful to look at that I may have tossed them all despite my archivist/hoarder tendencies, and I remember at one point affecting a ducktail until a girl I had a crush on commented that it made me look younger.

Pretty sure my parents weren’t paying her on the side, but, if they were, it was money well spent.

BTW, there’s an excellent interview with Terri Libenson here. and I would add that, the last time I was back in Denver with the aforementioned 8-to-14s, the enthusiasm for her two graphic novels was very high.

 

Which is a good segue for another friend-of-the-blog plug which isn’t about something funny but isn’t political either and has been in my file folders all week.

Brian Fies’ upcoming book, A Fire Story, got a nice write-up over at Comics Beat and my only negative feeling about the book is that it won’t be out in time for Christmas.

In my coverage of MOMA last April, I mentioned running into Brian’s editor, Charles Kochman, and reported:

Charlie said, based on what he’s got in hand so far, it’s the best thing Brian’s ever done and his enthusiasm seemed not just the hype of an editor with a book to sell.

From what I’ve seen of it so far, that enthusiasm is not misplaced.

 

Back to the funnies, where Red & Rover brings up several memories, though my childhood dog was a compulsive runner who couldn’t be trusted off-leash. However, I had younger siblings whom I taught to fetch, so the loss was minimal.

I don’t recall ever trying to hit a baseball with a tennis racket, but we certainly hit tennis balls with baseball bats. The benefit was that fielders didn’t need to wear gloves, the downside was a lot of balls going out into the woods, but that made you feel like Roger Maris, which was also an upside.

The combination of a Whiffle Ball bat and a tennis ball kept things a little more under control. We rarely used Whiffle Balls themselves unless we were playing with four-year-olds, because that’s about the speed and distance they had.

As for being able to hit the ball with the bat, we’d practice by hitting rocks into the woods, but god help you if you used anyone’s good bat for that.

Another memory: Had a game one time in which our second baseman was about five and was eating an apple, which at that age meant biting off the skin and the quarter inch under it and discarding the rest. I was pitching, and I managed to surreptitiously glove this white orb and deliver it nice and easy to the next batter.

There was applesauce all over the infield and everyone thought it was hilarious except for the guy who swung for a homer, as if I’d have tossed him a real baseball that was so easy to clobber.

I wouldn’t go back to 13, but I’d do 10 again.

 

But speaking of things I wouldn’t go back to, I laughed at this Brevity.

Some people hate puns, but, as someone who works with language, I enjoy them. However, I really hated Selectrics.

I forget how I happened to temporarily have one, but the only benefit to the thing was that, because the type ball inside moved instead of the carriage, it wouldn’t send your coffee cup sailing across the room.

That was pretty much the entire upside to a Selectric.

It did print pretty letters in a variety of typefaces, as long as you were wealthy enough to buy different type balls and to keep it stocked with that non-reuseable carbon tape, but I preferred my Olivetti Praxis 48, and not just because you could keep using the same ribbon until it was truly dead, then flip it over and use the other half.

It was one truly fine typewriter of which its designer said

The entire machine can be understood as a kind of inside joke: it aims to be a bit funny, joyous but also precious. It engenders a way of looking at mechanics as if you were looking at a toy rather than a real machine: it aims to be an object we are happy to look at, one we approach without fear and without thinking ‘I must get to work’: it was designed to sit on the tables of new photographers, new journalists, new designers, etc.

Okay, I’m not sure I liked it that much, but it was a damn sight better than a Selectric.

 

This is, admittedly, slightly political

Barney & Clyde find a way to make Fitbits and obsessive phone-staring both hilarious and chilling. The constant narcissism referenced here indeed makes people vulnerable to all sorts of manipulation and it’s not particularly encouraging to have a generation coming up who proudly, defiantly define themselves in terms of a marketing demographic.

But with one demographic old enough to have plenty of genuine aches and twinges and a younger one obsessed with imaginary ones, it’s a helluva time to be in the nostrums industry.

 

And this is, admittedly, completely political

But it’s the funniest damn thing I’ve read all week.and I offer it in place of my usual musical moment of zen. (Hat tip to Pat Bagley.)

 

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
August/24/2018
@ 6:48 am

Every Friday afternoon when he shows up on NPR, I imagine Paris Dennard defending Trump for shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.

“In the first place, I don’t know why the media isn’t reporting on what a good shot the President is, I don’t think Nancy Pelosi would be able to make such a clean shot, it was raining and there were crowds and bright lights and all sorts of distractions trying to prevent the president from bravely and resolutely exercising his second amendment rights and anyway, it hardly compares to the dozens of people Hillary killed in Benghazi, does anyone remember what a mess she made of that and I’ll bitchslap you if you don’t stop trying to interrupt me…”

#2 Brian Fies
August/24/2018
@ 9:39 am

Thanks, Mike! No need to be coy (unless you want to be coy, in which case you can delete this comment): you’re one of a few people I shared an early draft of the book-length “Fire Story” with, and your feedback was invaluable. Although I didn’t redraw that car you said I drew wrong, so you’ll have to live with that.

I just turned in my final files to Abrams yesterday; the book was laid out a few hours later and is already on its way to the printer. We’ll find out what anyone else thinks about it next March, but thanks again for your early thoughtful take. Very helpful!

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