CSotD: Sunday Mixed Bag

Let’s start with the fun stuff and move to other topics later, and here’s a Brevity that doesn’t call for any commentary except to note that, while Dan Thompson is the best punster on the funny pages, this is over-the-top even for him, not simply making the pun but logically drawing in the lyrics that started it all.

I feel sorry for folks who hate puns. It’s not a matter of “intelligence” but rather a type of mental agility that allows for a couple of things to be happening in your brain at the same time, which is how words collide.

It’s also how you end up on Ritalin, if you let anybody know.

But when Dan writes his biography, there’s his title: “When Words Collide.”


Meanwhile, Mark Anderson checks in with this nearly-New-Yorkerish commentary on modern childhood and parenthood and suburban life. I’m not sure, looking back, how often my kids’ friends showed up at the door. I think they usually phoned, and that was back in the days of one-phone-per-family.

For that matter, I’m not sure how often we actually knocked on the door, as opposed to just standing outside and yelling the kid’s name.

But I never had a playdate in my life. I’ll admit I arranged a few.


On the topic of kids, don’t miss DD’s wrap-up next door, of the 100th Anniversary of the start of Gasoline Alley, which will give you plenty of examples and then links for more.

The above is from a few years later when, on Feb 14, 1921, Walt found a basket and a baby on his front porch.

My dad was born a few weeks later and promptly given the nickname “Skeezix.”

Which leaves the mystery of what paper the family took, since the strip was not being carried by the Ironwood Daily Globe in 1921.


However, before we get all sentimental about that, here’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal with a parenting gag that is close enough to the bone to be more gallows humor than absurdity.


If everyone would just listen to Epictetus, as shown here on Existential Comics, we wouldn’t get bummed out by death or divorce or any of those things unenlightened people see as bad.

I embrace Stoicism and it’s gotten me through some things, but it’s like the people who bought into Lance Armstrong’s philosophy years ago, and then found out that, while the parts about believing in yourself and working out regularly were valid, to rise to his level, you had to cheat because that’s how he got there.

Same with Epictetus. He’s a bit overboard, but he’s on the right road.

And certainly a more pleasant fellow-traveler than Diogenes the Cynic.


Meanwhile, out in the Sandbox

Ann Telnaes does a nice mashup of those “This is your brain on drugs” PSAs and the even more ridiculous level of denial Dear Leader brings to climate change.

There was apparently some sort of compromise in the release of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, since a 1990 law requires it be compiled and released, while our having evolved into a kleptocracy demands that discouraging anti-oligarch information be suppressed.

So it was released as required, but on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the worst possible day for announcing anything.

We’ve long since passed the stage where anyone but an utter imbecile would deny climate change. However, we’re also in the midst of an experiment testing whether an utter imbecile can govern a major nation.

Besides, he’s promised we’re gonna have a great climate. Seriously.


And then he somehow got the idea, memorialized here by Dwane Powell, that, because the Navy is still working out the bugs in its new electromagnetic catapult systems, steam-powered catapult systems are superior.

There’s something almost Nixonian in Trump’s using this random fragment of partial knowledge in the teleconference that took the place of the usual Presidential Thanksgiving visit to the troops.

Except that Nixon’s attempts at small-talk were endearingly pathetic because he had the good sense to stick to football and other trivia.

Nixon never came across like this:

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.  Pat, tell me about the catapult system.  So on the Gerald Ford they don’t use steam, which is the first one that I’ve ever heard of that doesn’t use steam.  And I know they have some difficulties, which I’m not happy about.  And they spent a lot of money.  And I was just curious.

The steam system is tried and true for many, many years, as long as we’ve had aircraft carriers.  How do you find steam versus what they’re doing on the Gerald Ford, which is electronic and digital, if you can believe it?

CAPTAIN HANNIFIN:  Yes, sir.  All of our Nimitz supercarriers have been using steam for decades, and we find it pretty reliable.  However, the electromagnetic catapults they’re running there offer some great benefits to — obviously, like any new piece, you got to work through the bugs.  But they offer some benefits not only to stress and strain on the aircraft; to extend service life and other pieces.  I have no doubt we’ll work through that just as we work through all of our other advancements and continue to bring it to the enemy when called to do so.

THE PRESIDENT:  So, when you do the new carriers, as we do and as we’re thinking about doing, would you go with steam or would you go with electromagnetic?  Because steam is very reliable, and the electromagnetic — I mean, unfortunately you have to be Albert Einstein to really work it properly.  What would you do?

CAPTAIN HANNIFIN:  Yes, sir.  You sort of have to be Albert Einstein to run the nuclear power plants that we have here as well, but we’re doing that very well.  I would go, sir — Mr. President, I would go electromagnetic cast.  I think that’s the way to go.  We do pay a heavy cost for transiting the steam around the ship.

THE PRESIDENT:  Good.  Okay.  I like to hear that.  I’m actually happy about that answer, because at least, you know, they’re doing what they’re doing.  

Then — having established that “they’re doing what they’re doing” — he quizzes “Pat” as to why we only have one aircraft carrier operating in the Pacific, which is a perfectly reasonable question.

If you haven’t, for the past two and a half years, been Commander in Chief.


Maybe it’s best if we keep him and his staff away from the troops

Starring Lee Marvin as John F. Kelly