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CSotD: Friday Funnies

Sally Forth specializes in bizarre takes on holidays, but they get special credit for last Sunday’s take, which kept me wondering what the hell was going on until the last panel.

A lot of their weirdness relies on your being familiar with the characters, but this is an excellent standalone — anybody could stumble into this one and get a laugh.

Frosty living in your basement is also a good intro to our

Juxtaposition of the Week

(Judge Parker)

 

(Pajama Diaries)

I was pleasantly surprised to find two such disparate strips both addressing the issue of whether college is worthwhile.

They’re coming at it from two different points of view, and I’ve linked to the specific episodes above so you can follow their arcs.

In Judge Parker, Sophie is trying to get over a traumatic event and is plotting her future in a conversation with a significantly older friend of her sister.

The issue in Pajama Diaries is much more about parental expectations than the value of college itself; While Jill mentions the possibility of taking a gap year, Emma’s stated goal is to leave the prestigious school she’s in and go to a less intense college.

In my family, I have a scattering of young people with advanced degrees, with vocational training and with take-a-few-classes-while-I-work, and I’m good with all of it.

Still, even I used the phrase “K-16” recently, and we’re too often operating under the assumption that four years of college is not simply the default but is required.

It’s neither.

I’m encouraged by the fact that, when each of my elder granddaughters graduated from high school, their superintendent didn’t brag about the number going on to four-year school. As noted before, I’ve always thought they ought to also have to say how many from previous years had dropped out.

But as they’re smartening up, the rest of us are arguing over whether kids should have to pay for college, too often suggesting that the K-16 concept is very much alive.

When you hear that political conversation, listen to see how many honor the idea that we should pay for those who want to go, rather than assuming everyone should.

 

I’ve been impressed with IBEW’s ads, which seem more a boost for vocational training than for the specific union itself.

We’ve got a long way to go. Voc Tech is still treated as an add-on here, unlike in other industrialized countries where kids who go the engineering rather than academic routes are in a unified curriculum in which everything happens in one building and academics are geared towards their chosen goal.

Still, we’ve come a long way from the days when guidance counselors were so fixated on getting kids into college that they didn’t have time to deal with kids who were abused or suicidal or had other personal problems.

All of which is to say that it’s good to see the topic raised in comic strips because that suggests it has truly entered the mainstream.

And, by the way, having more kids voluntarily and eagerly enter the vocational world could bring a strength and vitality back to unions that we dearly need.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

 

Pooch Cafe cracked me up this morning.

It reminded me of a thing a generation or so ago, about buying a live Christmas tree and then planting it in your yard, which seemed very ecological even before we were talking about carbon whatever.

But perhaps the reason I remember it from many years ago is that we were very young adults then and still had a youngster’s unrealistic sense of time.

Which is to say that, after you have lived in the same place for 10 years, the notion of a yard containing 10 evergreens seems ridiculous, unless you’re out in the country and own substantial acreage.

You could plant one Christmas tree in your yard and then decorate it, and not have one with your presents under it in the living room.

Good luck selling that idea to your family.

Better yet, resurrect the basic concept but then have people sneaking into state forests to plant Christmas trees instead of sneaking in to poach them.

 

Real Life Adventures marks another change in society, and they’re right: We have strip malls, but the days of the enclosed mall are nearly over.

They still exist, of course, but there are plenty of empty shells around the country, and even the ones that remain alive are hard-pressed to fill their storefronts.

It leaves me knowing a whole lot about something that doesn’t matter anymore: I was covering business back when malls were changing from neon-lit caves to bright, open skylighted indoor avenues, and there was a continuing attempt to host events that would turn the mall into a mini-community.

The main mall I covered not only had the full Santa spread with trees and elves and photos each Christmas, but included a little train kids could ride on.

There was a whole industry built around those enclosed malls that is pretty much gone.

 

Dave Blazek announces his unfitness to be President of the United States by using a funny, outdated word in Loose Parts.

Funny words used to mark you as not taking yourself too seriously, back when not taking yourself too seriously was a good thing.

“Kerfuffle” is Gaelic, but we also learned a lot of Yiddish back in the Olden Days, from Mad Magazine and from Borscht Belt comedians on Ed Sullivan.

Myron Cohen was like having another grandfather: He’d rope you in  with stories that, even when they were set in other places and with other people, somehow all involved immigrant Jewish New Yorkers.

Half the words he used, we’d never heard, but his deep roots were part of the fun.

Times change. Mike Myers could never be president, not because he was born in Canada but because he used the term “verklempt.”

Whether a funny word is Gaelic or Yiddish or simply outdated, not everyone who screams “Speak English!” wears a red ball cap.

So here’s some malarkey to annoy those snobs:

 

Community Comments

#1 Brad Walker
December/20/2019
@ 12:31 pm

I used to go walking in a since-demolished mall. I quit when they turned off the air conditioning. Those things are monsters when it comes to heating and cooling.

There’s a whole subculture on YouTube of people who visit dead and dying malls — Retail Archeology is the one that comes to mind. Many of these commentators said Fry’s was going to go out of business after Black Friday, so take what they say with several grains of salt.

#2 Mike Peterson
December/20/2019
@ 1:11 pm

I could have done a whole posting about the things I learned about leasing in malls — incredibly competitive and open to all kinds of connivance, starting with “if you want to be in this mall, you have to also rent space in this mall” but well beyond that.

I had one case where a rental agent from one mall fed me a story about how a little old lady was suing a developer of another mall for having damaged her well water, but the damn fools were using attorneys from their HQ city, which is to say, they were suing on her behalf and hoping I was too dumb to catch on.

Had another where a rep from a major store flew into town and, at the airport, asked the mall guy if it was true his major competitor was also coming to town. Told it was, he turned on his heels and got back on the plane.

Definitely a beat where my ability to read upside down paid off, as I would sit listening to their self-serving nonsense while scanning the memos on their desks.

I don’t miss those people, but I sure miss those days.

#3 Fred King
December/20/2019
@ 2:46 pm

Near where I live in Maryland, there was a mall that used to be a really big deal. A while back, it was torn down to make room for a new ‘n’ improved mixed retail/residential development. Problem is, there’s one store left that refuses to vacate, so it’s standing alone with a bit of parking lot while nature is reclaiming the land around it.

A few months ago, I drove through the property and said to my wife “See these fields? I remember when it used to be mall.”

#4 Denny Lien
December/20/2019
@ 4:07 pm

St. Paul, MN used to have a mall which, a couple of decades ago, was torn down to build a swamp. (O.K., to let the area ‘go back to natural watershed’ or somesuch, but my memory is funnier.)

And the name of the mall? Phalen (pronounced, yes — at least in my mind — as Failin’ .

(St. Paul also has a major throughfair named Cretin Avenue, and once had a nearby Cretin High School, which finally wised up and changed its name.)

I can find these funny because I live in Minneapolis. . . .

#5 Mark B
December/21/2019
@ 3:11 pm

I teach college and I do see a lot of students who do not belong there for all sorts of reasons. Yes, some are not smart enough, but others just do not need it for what they want to do with their lives. They have the brains, but could be using their smarts doing something other than working in an office or in retail.

FWIW, my first job out of high school back in the 70s was on an assembly line in Moraine, Ohio. And I was a member of the IBEW.

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