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Comic Strip of the Day: Friday Funnies

Arctic Circle sends me back to my freelancing days in Colorado, 30-some years ago.

I was writing for a real estate magazine, which meant that every Wednesday, I’d go to the Holiday Inn and have breakfast with about 300 Realtors, lenders, title people and assorted others. Some Wednesdays, we’d have a speaker who would talk about new laws or provide marketing tips or give us a look at a new housing development.

Other weeks, we’d have a motivational speaker. Sales people love motivational speakers, though they’d probably sell more stuff if they’d listen to Gordo and go sell something.

At one point, I co-wrote the script of a play for the annual Associates Night at the Homebuilders’ Association. It was set in the Old West, and so we created two marketing directors: Colonel Cowboy Bob, US Cavalry Retired, who was a loudmouth in a cavalry hat and a Hawaiian shirt who carried a golf club everywhere, and Cowperson Jane, who wore a gray suit, string tie and gunbelt and was endlessly searching for  “win-win situations.”

The builders in the audience thought they were a whole lot funnier than the Realtors in the audience did.

In any case, the motivational speakers at that breakfast mostly motivated me to stop coming to the Wednesday breakfast, but I wasn’t really able to do that, given that it was part of my job to sit there and take it and agree to write down my goals and post them on my bathroom mirror and read them aloud each morning.

And they motivated everyone to be very careful who you sat next to, because every motivational speaker in the mid-80s began their talk by having you stand up and hug the person next to you.


Which I suppose is probably how Snuggles and Nina first got together. Harry Bliss picks the story up a little farther down the line.

There’s probably a joke in here about Snuggles being softer than Nina had hoped for, but I’ll go with the one about him not having that same fresh smell anymore, not because it’s in any better taste but because it’s a better segue.


Frazz often touches on things I’ve pondered while walking the dog, and I suppose Jef Mallett’s mind also wanders during his long runs-bikes-swims.

But walking the dog has specifically led me to wonder why someone who can detect three parts per trillion has to glue his nose so deeply into a canine message board and for so long.

As that article notes

Alexandra Horowitz, a dog-cognition researcher at Barnard College, writes that while we might notice if our coffee has had a teaspoon of sugar added to it, a dog could detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, or two Olympic-sized pools worth.

My conclusion is that having such a huge number of receptors — and not just in their bulbous noses — must make life a flood of sensory stimuli, such that being a dog is pretty much like being on a permanent acid trip.

Which means that the tree where everyone stops is like a lightshow for the nose.

More “Oh Wow” than “Bow Wow.”


The segue to this Buckets is “parts per trillion” and Greg Cravens has an uncanny ability to ask the logical-but-silly question a bright seven-year-old would raise, before he was old enough to learn to just keep such imponderables to himself.

Or he might fixate on it, like a dog with his nose on the hydrant, until he is old enough to pass legislation requiring everyone handling toys in plastic bags to wear gloves, and not latex gloves and make sure they’re dusted with corn starch, not talcum powder, corn starch being gluten-free. Can’t use Wondra.

I realize I’m being insensitive, but a little bit of insensitivity is good for you.

In fact, if you can keep things more or less at a parts-per-trillion level, you’ll find that kids raised on farms have fewer allergies than city kids because they’re exposed to more good ol’ dirt and animal fur and poop and god knows what other forms of unfiltered reality.


They’re also less afraid of the dark, and this F Minus reminds me of talking to a company that provides executive retreats in Saranac Lake, which is lovely and isolated during the day but very, very scary at night because it’s too dark and too quiet.

Not kidding. I spoke with a teacher from Tito Puente Educational Complex in Harlem at an educational conference in Lake George who admitted she’d had her room at the Sagamore changed from one facing the woods to one facing the parking lot, which had street lights, while city freshmen at Plattsburgh State — which to me is in a city — have been known to play hard rock all night long, to compensate for the lack of sirens and other familiar noises.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pearls Before Swine)


(Too Much Coffee Man)

And, continuing that theme of dread, here’s some of the existential kind, served up on August 14, which is just another wise-ass day in Stephan Pastis’s life but happened to be Shannon Wheeler’s 52nd birthday, which makes you wonder if this scene on the porch was coincidental or … well, hell, boy, 52 isn’t nothin’

I’m 68, and, as Bob Mankoff remarked at the New Yorker exhibit you should have gone to, “I’m 70. 70 may be the new 50, but ‘dead’ is not the new ‘alive’.”

Funny guy, that Bob Mankoff.


Finally, and back to the freelancing business at which we started, Pajama Diaries offers a little insider humor for the graphics crowd, or anyone who has been a freelancer.

Freelancing requires working with a lot of people who don’t know quite what they want or quite what you do.

The advantage of a staff position being that you only have to please one such person, as long as he stays out of meetings.


Now I’ll walk around with Tito Puente in my head the rest of the day, so you should, too:

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
@ 7:07 am

I will see your Tito and raise you one Geraldo…

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