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Comic Strip of the Day: Friday Funnies

Alex Hallatt attempts to inject some sense into germaphobia with this Arctic Circle, but we seem to be past the tipping point.

Granted, even if you touch the dispenser of the disinfectant dispenser at the grocery store, the contents will (theoretically) wipe out the germs, and then your clean hands can make contact with the typhoid-infected shopping cart and all the rat-poop laden products on the shelves, each of which contain only the government-approved quantity of insect parts.

But, in other parts of the world, people eat insects, and not just the parts. And they manage to fight off common diseases because they allow their natural immunities to build up. Shopping carts, doorknobs, they face all sorts of horrifying perils without flinching.

Meanwhile, I’d like to see the Venn diagram of people who think we should ban plastic straws and people who think cooks should wear plastic gloves, because, as I do the math, there’s a 2:1 ratio at work there, and one day we’ll have all the straws and detergent bottles and six-pack holders cleaned up and out of the ocean and there will just be a giant swirling mass of plastic gloves in the middle of the Pacific.


My take on this may be somewhat skewed by my recently writing a news brief marking the centenary of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which used to be an epidemic back when we called them that.

And a decade ago, I helped put together a whole insert about flu and pandemics, which is I think when the disinfectant dispensers began appearing, and, by golly, killing the germs on your hands at the grocery store seems to have been the key, because we didn’t all die after all, which was kind of a disappointment after the build up we’d been through.

(I’m allowed to joke — I had the Hong Kong flu in 1968, which was really odd because I was living on campus and never touched shopping carts.)

Anyway, something to bear in mind about the Spanish flu (besides that it wasn’t Spanish) is that it struck about a decade before viruses were discovered and also before there were antibiotics to fight the attendant pneumonia, and also that we had, at the time, gathered large numbers of young men in close quarters.

Though at least we had learned since the Boer War that it is a bad idea to set up military camps downstream from where you’ve been shooting the enemy’s horses.

Unless they are wrapped in plastic and covered with disinfectant gel.


Still on the medical beat, Free Range got an extra laff this morning because every time I go to visit my urologist, I have to fill out a three-page questionnaire that asks, among other things, if I have trouble peeing, if I have any pain when peeing or if I experience a frequent need to get up at night to pee.

This may be TMI, but I haven’t peed since July 12, 2016, when my urologist — bless his soul — removed my bladder and the malignant tumor it was harboring, which is why I keep going there: We have to make sure it hasn’t grown back.

The tumor, not the bladder. The bladder isn’t gonna grow back.

But I dutifully fill out the questionnaire each time and he dutifully takes it and completely ignores it, working on the principle, he says, that it is easier for all of us to have me fill the thing out than for him to try to explain to the front desk who needs it and who doesn’t.

It’s okay, folks: It’s paper. It can be recycled.


And we’ll keep the segue wagon rolling with a Dog Eat Doug that, by golly, mentions peeing.

The real-life inspiration for Sophie the Brown Lab is now long gone, and I’m kind of assuming that Brian Anderson is drawing on his experience since, because he’s been populating the strip with pups being fostered, of whom the latest is Annie.


That particular strip is more preachy on the topic than most; today’s is more typical. In the past week, we’ve established that Annie doesn’t play tugging games and that she gets way too excited over the prospect of going for a walk.

It’s a brilliant way to plug adoption but an even more brilliant way to introduce temporary characters and bring a variety of chaos to the strip.


Wiley Miller, another adamant dog-adopter, teases the concept of a private dog park in Non Sequitur, and once more gets a laff because my dog doesn’t like dog parks, which he sees very much in this light.

Cities need dog parks, though I also see dogs trotting alongside their owners on the Esplanade in Boston looking very happy. But, even with dog parks, I hope city folks take their pooches out of town regularly.


Our daily hangout is a mile-long strip up the bank of the Connecticut River (north being to your right), a combination of open land, brush and pine forest trails that gives dogs plenty of space to run and a lot of things to sniff, as well as plenty of water for the goldens and labs and doodles, all of which makes the two small, fenced dog parks in our area seem a bit claustrophobic.

The parks may not, as in the cartoon, have a maitre’d, but they do need to guard against building up an in-group among the humans, while one of our two local parks has so many rules and regulations that people quickly stopped bringing their dogs there.

Meanwhile, even the dogs have their cliques and friendships and it can take a while for a dog to make connections in a new hangout.

When we go to a new park, particularly if it’s fenced, my dog acts like a spouse at a corporate cocktail party, going from one group to another and never quite connecting.

The larger the space, the easier it is for newcomers to either mingle or not, as they wish. Sometimes it’s a surprise to see who gets right into the flow and who hangs back, but, while different breeds have different social instincts, space is very much a factor.

I think the puma speaks for my boy:

Community Comments

#1 Williams
@ 5:34 pm

Genius! I think that’s the first Aardman animation I saw, unless it was A GRAND DAY OUT. Either way, it was fresh and original, and full of promise that delivered.

#2 David Reaves
@ 9:36 am

As you said about the Urologist, TMI, but I have kidney disease and my original kidneys were removed in 2002. Still, lots of doctor & hospital visits. Even when I’ve already explained that I was on dialysis and had kidneys removed I still was always asked about the last urine output… I first answered 2002, then after a kidney transplant failed, I answered “2008”. Always gets an odd look and then a laugh. :D

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