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CSotD: Catching Up

The Mueller Report is not the only important issue facing us these days. For instance, if you haven’t been reading Non Sequitur, you might not have begun contemplating the issue of whether squirrels poop.

So now I’ve given it some thought and I suppose they’re like mice and it just kind of falls out randomly, which would matter if they were running around your kitchen, but doesn’t as long as they’re running around in trees.

On the other hand, rabbits, which are not rodents but lagamorphs, have enough control of their poop that they can be litter trained and kept as pets.

And you can let llamas into your house because they prefer to poop in the same place, or the same two or three places, so that if you have a llama or a half dozen of them, they’ll establish two or three spots in your pasture where they poop. Which means you can let the llama hang out in your living room because he’ll probably wait until he’s back outside to poop.

I would advise against bringng a squirrel into your house until you’ve established their pooping pattern.

 

And now, here’s Agnes with the Non-Sports

Agnes is trying out for a league where she can avoid burnishing her utter lack of athletic skills, which reminds me of what happened to Camp Lord O’ The Flies, which is that, shortly after I quit going there, it was sold to some very nice people who raced it to the other end of the conceptual scale.

I hated the constant bullying at Camp Lord O’ The Flies, but I liked the activities and appreciated being required to do things I wasn’t inclined to do and wasn’t very good at.

I never got even passable at tennis or basketball, but I eventually figured out, for instance, that, if I played third base and held my bat down at the knob, I could compensate for my lack of depth perception and become a reasonably competent baseball player.

This would never have happened if I hadn’t been required to go to those activities when scheduled, and also been assigned to competitive teams within the color war.

I went back several years after the sale and discovered that the very nice people had eliminated the bullying — good for them — but had also eliminated mandatory scheduling and competitive anything, with the result that the athletic kids played sports and the others stayed in their cabins reading or just wandered around aimlessly all summer.

And, without schedules, even the kids who wanted to do things would find that 30 kids had shown up at the three tennis courts while one kid had gone to basketball.

Kinda made me wonder if anybody ever gets anything right.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pat Bagley)

 

(Jeff Stahler)

Elizabeth Warren has laid out a plan that would eliminate college debt, but that remains a promise whose greatest barrier is not whether it would work but whether Warren will end up president with a cooperative Congress so we could find out.

Meanwhile, Betsy DeVos, bless her shit-eating smile, is working to undermine existing programs that help college graduates reduce their debt.

DeVos is a major symbol of where we’re at, because she displayed astonishing ignorance and incompetence at her confirmation hearings but was confirmed because she was part of the majority party.

Education is truly messed up, but, if we want to fix it, we should view things with perspective, and Millennials seem too willing to buy into a myth about what their parents and grandparents experienced.

The presidents of major corporations did not attend college graduations, rounding up newly-minted grads like British press gangs emptying seaside taverns.

People who had plotted carefully had starter jobs and the rest of us made pizzas and sold vacuum cleaners.

As for Stahler’s cartoon, I don’t know how many Boomers went bust over their Gen X and Millennial kids’ college costs, but it’s not fair to pretend they didn’t take a substantial hit in trying to do the right thing.

Things are worse, but life has never been a bowl of cherries.

We’re better off comparing nation-to-nation rather than decade-to-decade, and I’d rather see us rally to prevent future Betsy DeVoses and install some of what works elsewhere rather than waste any more energy casting blame at each other’s demographic groups.

 

And while I’m in rant mode

I get tired of narrative comics that disclose things everyone should have learned in American History or that elevate self-congratulatory trivia without putting it in any sort of useful context.

However, the Nib currently features “When Kansas Was Bleeding,” by   and , and, while it’s simplified for the graphic format, it’s a good look at a complex period we’ve never taught properly.

We teach the various bits of legislature seen on this panel from the cartoon, but we’ve never contextualized them within the lives of ordinary people, which not only fails to tell the story but results in some paranoid, anarchistic misinterpretations.

History textbooks have not figured out what Ken Burns brought to the game, and, instead of teaching history as something that impacted everyone, they’ve simply adapted the Great Man approach by adding Great Women and Great Minorities.

Which just means that kids have three times as much trivial bullshit to memorize for the final.

For instance, it doesn’t matter that George Westinghouse invented the air brake. What matters is that the increased hauling capacity brought on the settlement of the prairies (and displacement of native people), the centralization of industry (and urbanization of America, displacement of craftsmen and need to attract immigration) and the cross-continental cattle trade (and hence, cowboys, who, BTW, included a lot of landless Confederates, local vaqueros and former slaves).

This graphic treatment of Bloody Kansas only lights up one corner of a chaotic pre-Civil War period, but they do a good job of lighting up that corner and of showing an approach that — in this or other formats —  makes history relevant and interesting.

Different period, but makes the point …

 

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