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CSotD: Friday Funnies, From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

But first, this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Michael de Adder)

(Ann Telnaes)

Maybe this is what happens when cartoonists get locked down and have nothing to do but make richly detailed, multiple caricatures, but this is quite a pair to have drop on the same day.

The best part is that they assume the reader is intelligent and well-informed, and they each have confidence in their own ability. Any labels would cheapen the effect and insult everyone involved.

I’d point out, too, that they are artists with two very different styles, de Adder with a classic, realistic style and Telnaes showing her animation/Disneyesque chops, and yet each presents us with clearly identifiable faces.

I once brought a musician friend to a Boys of the Lough concert, and his response was that, normally, after a concert, you can’t wait to get home and play music yourself, but, after listening to them, he wanted to just go home, smash all his instruments and give it up.

Cartoonists might be forgiven for having a similar reaction to this juxtaposition.

 

We now resume our regular Friday Funnies

Frazz has always specialized in strips that make you stop, go back and think again, and here Jef Mallett straddles the divide between cartoonists who comment on the virus and those who, instead, keep to their normal tone and provide comic relief instead.

I never meta Frazz I didn’t like.

 

Macanudo alternates between thoughtful strips, silly strips and ones like this that just come out of nowhere for the sake of an odd, random cultural reference.

Which, BTW, is a pretty good trick for a cartoonist who grew up in Argentina, and Linears has no fears that a particular strip will go over the readers’ heads, though he admits perhaps he should:

People will put up with a bad strip. They simply won’t read it. But if they don’t understand the strip, they will hate you!

However, they do love a shared joke, knowing not everyone will get it. And not everyone will walk around with this damned ear worm for the rest of the day, but now I will.

 

Interesting choice in Sally Forth, where the normally silly, surreal strip pauses for a moment of thoughtful compassion — but wisely stages it in Nona’s household, where it won’t clash with the established comic superficiality of the main characters.

 

But a word of warning for Fastrack readers not to take Fi’s sharpness for numbers too literally: Home office deductions are slippery creatures indeed, and probably won’t apply to whatever happens in the lockdown.

You have to have a room used for nothing else, you must go through contortions to establish what percentage of income and expenses are attributable to that room, and that’s only practice for the hoops you’ll jump through when you sell the house.

Unless you have a genuine audio or art studio generating a significant income, it’s almost never worth worth either the tax break or the accounting.

 

OTOH, this Vintage Juliet Jones gave me warm memories of another dubious financial move, back when my divorce was imminent and I was all but broke.

A buddy turned me on to a company that needed someone to write movie reviews for a monthly catalog through which they would home-deliver videotapes like pizzas. They couldn’t pay me, but they’d give me shares in this preposterous venture, which I knew were worth precisely what Pop says here.

However, I got a tape deck and all the free rentals I wanted.

wotthehell

 

And Ben reminds me that, about that same time, I was head of what we called “The A-Team,” with A for “Apheresis,” because everyone else on it was a Realtor who (like freelancing me) could break away for 90 minutes to deliver a unit of platelets whenever they were needed.

It was a good feeling, but it did take me away from whole-blood donations where we had “frequent flyer” rewards. I had already earned several coffee mugs.

Today, my blood is so full of old-man chemical enhancements that I can’t donate anymore, but, if you can, you should.

And if you have a flexible schedule, ask about apheresis — they’ll really make you feel special, with or without a coffee mug.

 

Bizarro shows its youth with this gag, because some of us are old enough to remember when you didn’t have a choice: You were required to be part of the parish in your neighborhood.

Which meant that, even if your name were O’Grady, you might have to go to St. Stanislaus, while, depending on where you lived, if your name was Padjakowski, you’d still be a parishioner at St. Patrick’s.

At which point you might as well pay attention to the Mass and not bother flirting, because you’d damn well better not bring home a sweetheart of unacceptable heritage, Catholic or not.

 

Pearls provides an unpleasant little flashback.

I was out of the newsroom and running educational programs at the paper when the Ice Storm of 1998 shut our community down, but I started hearing from teachers and students that, despite our having lost Spring Break to a federally-declared disaster, the airlines were refusing to compensate for non-refundable tickets. (Sound familiar?)

So I put on my consumer-reporter hat again and began working the phones for the news department, as a research assistant and ass-kicker.

I truly found out how long you could sit on hold when you were calling in to the executive tower, and TWA was promoting Pacific flights, using a 20-second clip of Tahitian music on a continuous loop.

I should have gotten combat pay.

I’d have settled for Rat’s stereo.

 

Finally, Big Nate learns that self-important editors of school papers do not appreciate being parodied.

I discovered much the same thing when my college paper declined to print a hilarious Cliff Notes guide to their own publication.

However, they were willing to print my take on student fiction, which I see now is a case of parody so close that it is indistinguishable from its target.

But it made me laff. Still does.

 

 

 

Community Comments

#1 mark johnson
May/1/2020
@ 9:02 am

Well,,, Pete, Cold Snap predictably brought back a lot of memories, in particular walking those same paths in lousy weather.

… and I still pull out my Ruben & the Jets CD now and then. It holds up, it’s tight and has lots of musical hooks

#2 James Keefe
May/1/2020
@ 9:53 am

Dan Piraro’s Bizarro hits it out of the park consistently as far as I’m concerned. Fantastic strip.

#3 Brian Fies
May/1/2020
@ 10:09 am

Man. Oh man oh man oh man. The Big Nate and your college essay bring back a memory in which I can’t believe I was ever so young and stupid. Shortly after I began my first post-college job as a city hall reporter for a small daily newspaper, the paper–which had been owned by a local family for a century–was sold to a small chain based 2000 miles away.

Once a week, the paper would publish a column written by a reporter, meant to be a little slice-o-life piece outside their regular beat. I wrote a parable about our newspaper’s sale, using the metaphor of Cap’n Crunch selling his boat and tossing his child crew overboard.

I turned it in. It got laid out. Shortly before going to press, the editor called, screaming. I could feel his veins bulging through the phone line. He’d read my piece but didn’t get the metaphor until someone else pointed it out, I think, and killed it immediately. After laying into me for a while as I sweated and shrank, he asked me, “What do you think I should do about this?!” “Well,” I gulped, “I’d like to keep my job.” He choked out a dry, wry laugh, and I got to keep my job. I think he liked my spunk. But it was close.

As I say: one for the young and stupid file, which I haven’t thought of for decades until you excavated it. Thanks for the memory.

#4 Kip Williams
May/1/2020
@ 10:41 am

I get little bribes for giving O- now (via apharesis), but I say wotthehell. It’s cheerio, my deario, and I get small bags of raisins that will be used in cookies one day. In the 80s, my boss’s husband was drawing a campaign for blood donors called ‘The O Team,” and the mascot was “Mr. O,” who looked very much like Mr. T., except for his distinctive O haircut.

Wonder Wart-Hog once battled a hypnotist who was putting messages in the Muzak. In the last panel, a triumphant Hog of Steel is tying him in a chair with headphones on. “For your punishment, you get to listen to Muzak for the rest of your life!” “Oh, please,” begs the villain, “Just kill me, so I can go to Hell!”

I had a job that included writing hold messages for our garden center chain. My boss and I made sure that there were five different messages in rotation, of which two were the usual “we value you so hold on” and three were new every couple of weeks, including a garden tip and a small discount on something, and it was someone else’s job to make sure nobody sat on the phone listening to them multiple times.

#5 Tara Gallagher
May/1/2020
@ 10:59 am

May 8, 1970?
And your college paper had space for parody fiction?

#6 Mike Peterson
May/1/2020
@ 12:20 pm

News, opinion, features and sports. Pretty good little paper for a smallish school (7,000).

Always room for the little inside jokes and references Mark Johnson just went rapturous over.

I’d forgotten the line about lolling on the quarterdeck of a 20-foot catamaran. It’s important to be utterly divorced from research in this kind of writing — and note that this was two months before my first Writers Conference. I had not yet plumbed the depths of extruded fiction.

#7 Tara Gallagher
May/2/2020
@ 11:29 am

I was mostly surprised by the date–four days after Kent State.

I went to a college with a major J-school, so the paper tended to be quite earnest; don’t remember much in the way of features except one or two comics. Also a certain amount of humorous fake classified ads. Don’t know if there ever would have been room for a delightful literary parody like yours.

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