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CSotD: Sunday Combo Package

Some serious thoughts, some purely silly ones, but starting with a good insight by John Cole into the impact of the shutdown.

There have been several cartoons commenting on the fact that our National Parks are unable to service their trash cans and washrooms, and I’m certainly not going to dismiss that.

But I don’t see a pile of McDonald’s bags and Solo cups at the intersection of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho being the focal point of a revolution, in part because it’s becoming awfully clear that rural America is not a priority for the urban majority, but mostly because, if people cared about our National Parks, they’d have already risen up over the long-term massive damage being done to those treasures.

And yet Ryan Zinke is only one label on the festering, stinking, overflowing garbage can of the Trump administration.

 

There are some new kids in Congress and they’re not afraid to shake all your windows and rattle your walls, which brings us to a surprising Gary Varvel cartoon.

This is, I believe, Varvel’s first cartoon since, as discussed elsewhere, he took a buyout from the Indianapolis Star and is relying on his syndication income plus some new ventures.

I wouldn’t expect that stepping away from the Indy Star would turn him into a raging liberal, but he’s also one of the more thoughtful conservatives on the editorial page and has often taken positions that surprised me.

You could interpret this as dread on the part of the young people over what is to come under Democratic leadership, but note that they are gathered around, not facing, Pelosi.

I’ve never seen Varvel take Pelosi’s side, but this looks to me like an incisive commentary on an angry young constituency that is about to shake things up.

Assuming that’s his intent, I think he is correct, and that, whatever the numbers in the 2016 midterm elections, the trend is clear.

Republicans had better brace themselves and perhaps think about dumping out and scrubbing that aforementioned garbage can.

Only I suspect that those Republicans who might be willing to reform have long since left the building, which would not be unprecedented: After successfully electing Millard Fillmore, generally conceded to be among the worst presidents in our history, the Whig Party fell apart, as Wikipedia describes it:

Most Whig Party leaders eventually quit politics (as Abraham Lincoln did temporarily) or changed parties. The Northern voter base mostly gravitated to the new Republican Party. In the South, most joined the Know Nothing Party.

We aren’t so geographically divided this time around, and I’d suggest that there’s no need for those who want to embrace the Know Nothing philosophy to leave what’s left of the GOP.

I’d also recommend that the Democrats embrace these angry, diverse, dedicated young newcomers, because a Third-Party attempt in 2020 would simply divide the moderates and progressives, clearing the field for a Trump victory and four more decisive and more permanent years of Idiocracy.

 

So let’s talk about silly things:

Speaking of cartoonists with changes in their lives, Steve Sack is back on the job, but this cartoon suggests that the time he took off to deal with health issues exposed him to a lot of the garbage calls our cell phones now generate.

I dropped my landline more than 20 years ago, but only stayed in the 9-to-5 world another decade, so I was out of the office setting before the untraceable robocaller explosion of recent years.

I suspect, otherwise, that I’d have turned my cell phone off at work and told family to call my office in an emergency.

Working at home, more than half my calls are fake, spoofed to phony numbers in New Hampshire’s area code.

If nobody has yet done it, someone needs to create a Captcha-style app that intercepts incoming calls and says, “To complete this call, press the number on your phone for the sum of (2 random single figure digits).”

In the meantime, I occasionally go ahead and let the scammer get on the line and, when he asks how I am today, I tell him I’m fine because my mother is not ashamed of what I do for a living.

 

Changing Times Division

Tim Rickard chose well for this Brewster Rockit gag, because I think, today, only sweaters and wool socks use dyes that are not colorfast. It’s been a long time since I’ve separated colors, though I did learn to keep white socks separate because you end up with little white fuzzies embedded in your dark clothes.

I think that, if you do rewash your Storm Trooper uniform with a little bleach to take out the pink, you should take the opportunity to wash your down pillows and comforter separately, but then dry them all together, since their combined tumbling would deaden the clanking of the armor and fluff the pillows and comforter up nicely.

 

Meanwhile, the Duplex raises the question our grandchildren will ask: “What’s a check?”

I just reordered checks for the first time in eight years and I expect this (very small) batch to last pretty much as long as I do, since I write so few of them.

I was once apt to write the previous year more often in February than in January, when the change was new.

But now writing a check is such a rarity that I focus more on the task at hand.

OTOH, I was behind someone in the grocery store yesterday who — while the line behind him lengthened and grumbled — painstakingly wrote out the whole check rather than handing it to the clerk to be auto-filled by the cash register.

(Our grandchildren will also ask why it’s called a “cash register,” but that’s a different rant.)

 

Ah, youth

I didn’t laugh at Danae in today’s Non Sequitur because, at her age, I had fantasies of riding a horse to school.

In a cavalry uniform.

I had neither, but I watched an awful lot of Rin-Tin-Tin.

 

(I had one of those bugles at 1.20 — actually a gold plastic kazoo. One dollar and the divider it was advertised on in a box of Shredded Wheat.)

Community Comments

#1 S Eldridge
January/6/2019
@ 6:11 pm

I think you might be misreading Varvel’s cartoon. I’ve been following Varvel for a few years and my take, based on his past performance, is the old ‘tax and spend’ trope that Republicans glued to Democrats. So Pelosi the Democrat is in and suddenly deficits matter again to the Republicans.

#2 Mike Peterson
January/7/2019
@ 2:53 am

Exactly — that’s why I put so many disclaimers on it, including the one that says, if you’d never seen his work, you’d assume he was saying the spending party is over. I want to see what he does in the future, now that he’s shifted from the Indy Star to being a freelancer.

#3 Paul Berge
January/7/2019
@ 10:54 am

Gary is a nice guy and all, but I don’t think he’s become a closet liberal chafing under the reins of tyrannical editors. What you’ve seen is what you’ll get.

Granted, he was anti-Trump before the Republican National Convention, but came around to him once the die was cast, and has written as much. https://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/varvel/2018/07/11/varvel-how-went-trump-critic-trump-supporter/770573002/ Perhaps he’ll re-reconsider if there’s a viable GOP challenger next year, but what are the chances of that?

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