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CSotD: A Merry Monday

I retired in June in a combination of newspaper cuts and my boss’s retirement, but before we shut things down we were facing the prospect of a spring workshop for our young reporters in the midst of the pandemic.

Today’s Alex (Telegraph) is therefore particularly relevant, because I telecommuted the editing job except for two in-person workshops, in which we’d gather about 50 middle-school reporters and their parents for a day-long session.

But we’d also work in some other projects while I was there, because there was the cost of flying me out and putting me up at a hotel and so forth.

Which was a whole lot less expensive than my moving out there, given the difference in the cost of living here in rural New England and in Denver.

Still, as the cartoon suggests, for what they paid to bring me out, they could have gotten someone phenomenal by Zoom.

Glad the cartoon didn’t run sooner. Might’ve given them ideas.

 

Meanwhile, in a more distant past …

(Dec 3)

(Dec 7)

I’m not sure where Stan Drake is taking the 1963 Juliet Jones arc now unfolding on Comics Kingdom, but it seems like an obvious opening to let our girl try her hand at journalism.

If so, she’ll be mirroring Nellie Bly, the bold, self-promoting, barrier-breaking reporter of the 19th century, at least in how she got started.

Bly — Elizabeth Cochrane — was struggling to make ends meet, along with her widowed mother. Things were tough enough without a Pittsburgh columnist writing that working women should quit their jobs and make “home a little paradise, herself playing the part of an angel.”

Like Jones, she wrote a furious-but-brilliant letter to the editor, and thereby hangs not one tale but a slew of them, from infiltrating a madhouse to busting a bribe-taking state legislator to breaking Phileas Fogg’s fictional round-the-world record to being stuck behind enemy lines as a WWI war reporter.

Go thou and do likewise, Julie.

 

Back to the topic of pandemics, Tank McNamara (AMS) poses a question I can answer, my folks having spent a decade or so in Buffalo.

It’s definitely the weather, despite the fact that basketball is an indoor sport. You still have to be able to get to the venue.

Toronto and Buffalo are only about an hour and a half drive apart, three seasons out of the year. But Buffalo gets all the lake effect snow a body could want, and, in winter, you can drive out of Toronto on bare ground and be lucky to be able to drive into Buffalo at all.

 

Meanwhile, out in Michigan, Frazz (AMS) discusses the onset of winter in terms I can identify with.

At the start of winter, we used to say we were waiting for our blood to thicken, and, if you want to follow a useless discussion, try to track down that notion. Still, for whatever reason, the cold becomes easier to bear as the winter goes on.

She’s right that even moderate cold seems colder in November than in December, and 45 degrees at this point seems like a heat wave, as long as the wind isn’t whistling up the river valley. I’m sure we’ll go through our usual fretting over a white Christmas, get one at the last minute as usual, and then wish in February that we could even remember what 45 degrees felt like.

Still, as noted yesterday, nobody forces us to live in a four-season climate.

 

And to carry forward another conversation from recent days, First Dog on the Moon (Guardian) picks up on the topic of Santa and belief.

And lying to children.

And pretending that the presents they get are a measure of their character rather than of their parents’ relative wealth or poverty.

I’m too old to have had Elf on the Shelf, but, as pre-Vatican kid, I was assigned a Guardian Angel who performed something of the same role, only all year long.

The stakes were a little higher, as I recall.

Which brings to mind, that, when people stop believing in Santa, it doesn’t make many of them stop celebrating Christmas entirely, but there are a lot of people who, once they get wise to the mythological aspects of religion, write off the whole thing.

Jefferson didn’t.

Look at it this way: George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree and he didn’t throw a dollar across the Potomac, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t exist.

And if you look into St. Nicholas, you’ll find that sliding down chimneys isn’t the most preposterous legend assigned to that real person.

 

Not suggesting you be anything except consistent, and honestly skeptical rather than reflexively nihilistic.

Too Much Coffeeman (AMS) has suddenly begun to once more refresh regularly at GoComics, BTW. Worth a follow.

More coffee-based philosophy on the topic is available here.

 

As for me, I’m joining Leroy Lockhorn (KFS) in cutting myself off from as many unnecessary annoyances as possible, though it’s not easy. As he notes, there are some sites that have become almost belligerent in refusing to accept an unsubscribe and they even find ways to ignore being marked as spam.

There is good news, since, in 24 hours, the bogus Medicare supplementary coverage ads will all disappear, but holiday shopping is just getting under way, and we’re also just in time for the end-of-year donation requests to begin.

It’s been a few years since tax deductible gifts were able to actually deduct anything from most people’s taxes, which means I still give but it doesn’t matter when anymore because I can’t afford enough to register on the system. (CORRECTION: This year is different. Hope you saved your receipts.)

And, speaking of unavoidable spam, I’ve always said that the reason they can’t find Jimmy Hoffa is because he wasn’t a college graduate. His alumni association wouldn’t have lost track of him.

Oh well. It’s good to be loved, I guess.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
December/7/2020
@ 6:20 pm

Good: My daughter’s field hockey team was in state playoffs for her last years in high school.

Bad: After the season has gotten colder and colder, we had to go to this high school in Buffalo, where no amount of chemical hand warmers helped. One of those years, the host facility simply declined to plow the cubic acre of snow off their field, and the organization had to find another school to play at at the last moment.

That high school in Buffalo has a Jumbotron, by the way. I think they have a pool and a planetarium as well.

#2 Bandit
December/7/2020
@ 8:40 pm

I went to an anime con in December. I walked up to snyone wearing a Santa hat, and said “bah humbug to you ” in a jolly tone. Out of about 20 or so under 20, about half had never heard the phrase.
How can one live in a materialistic society and never seen a Christmas Carol? Even the muppets version? I was shocked.

Ps: I am a one-name person

#3 George Paczolt
December/8/2020
@ 6:11 am

As a resident of Erie, PA, 1968-1977, the answer to that Tank McNamara question was incredibly obvious. Reading it on the day Richmond, VA got its first snow (lasted three hours, nothing stuck, and it was all gone by noon) added an additional chuckle.

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