CSotD: Friday Funnies – Expect the Expected

Last Sunday’s Reality Check was an unusually detailed piece, within which Dave Whamond managed to capture just about every cliche in the cop-flick universe.

All genres have their standards.  When you pull the motorcycle helmet off the would-be assassin, long hair will tumble out and reveal a lovely-but-deadly lady, just as surely as Dagwood’s home repairs will leave him hanging from the gutter.

A cop flick needs to look like a cop flick and people want some familiarity.

So if you go back to the milestone movies, like “Bullitt” and “French Connection,” you’ll see things done that were fresh then but have since become cliches, and if Steve McQueen gave way to Clint Eastwood, the transition from cool to cruel seemed lost on the audience.

Still, there’s a blueprint and there are cliches.

You have to wonder about the writers’ meetings in which someone says “And then we’ll have this car chase.” Do they say “And we’ll bang off the high points of the road like in Bullitt” or “We’ll have him swerve under the train lines like in French Connection”?

Or do they pretend these are fresh ideas, in which case, how can anyone speak up with a straight face and say, “Don’t forget the fruit stand”?

Whamond worked under the advantage in this case that the torrent of cliches was intended to make you giggle.


Bizarro touches on podcasts, building, of course, on the fact that whales travel in pods.

But that pun didn’t make me laff nearly so much as the title of their podcast, because “chewing the krill” pretty much sums up most podcasts and is why I can’t listen to them without thinking “what a bunch of blowholes.”

Or something near that.

I’d rather read than listen, which doesn’t make me a good prospect for podcasts to begin with, but I do have a set of “Flash Briefings” on Alexa that I listen to during my morning ablutions, and I like being able to tailor things more narrowly than simply listening to NPR’s news and hoping the topics are interesting.

But, first of all, I’d like podcasters to do all their greeting of each other and giggling and what did you bring for lunch talk before they turn on the mics.

And worse than their friendly conversations are their pretend conversations: Breaking up an essay by having the podcast members take turns reading sentences is like listening to a fifth grade class report when none of the kids are yours.

(Boy, for someone supposedly doing “Friday Funnies,” I seem to be in a pretty sour mood.)


But speaking of Alexa, the Buckets got a laff in part because my son likes to annoy me as he’s leaving by standing in my driveway asking Alexa through the window to play some horrific earworm.

But it also reminds me of coming back from the World’s Fair in 1964 as a kid, and driving along the highway in the dark, past all these houses on Long Island.

I had the garage door opener and kept pressing it, looking for lights to come on, but to no avail, the apparent reason being that the frequency of the opener was a whole lot more unique than I had thought it was.

Which makes sense, given that a burglar probably shouldn’t be able to just drive around a suburban neighborhood pressing a button to open random garage doors.

The part that doesn’t make sense is why the Amazon Echo isn’t engineered to accept an individual wake-word that would be set like a password. That ought to be the first step in setting it up: Choose a name so it won’t start responding to the neighbors.

I’ll put that on the growing list of changes to be made when I become emperor.


I’ve got an appointment with an orthopedist Monday to talk about my arthritic hip, and, like the fellow in Moderately Confused, I’ll have to fill out a questionnaire, though I hope I don’t have to express things in emojis.

Jeff Stahler did a nice job, BTW, in drawing the fellow as impassive, because if the next question required him to stand on one foot and make a noise like a chicken, I’m sure he’d do it.

The “rate your pain” question always flummoxes me because, in order to be meaningful, it ought to be preceded by “One a scale of one-to-ten, how much of a whiner are you?”

But the real laugher is the questionnaire at my urologist’s, which is three or four pages mostly asking me about parts he removed three years ago in that whole cancer thing. So I fill it out and hand it to the nurse who gives it to him and he sets it aside unread.

He has told me that it’s easier to have everyone fill the thing out than to try to explain who needs to do it and who doesn’t, but I’m thinking maybe I should make some photocopies.


Finally, Retail has gone into a very funny story arc in which everyone in the chain is now required to take an ethics training because some bigwig ran off with a bunch of money.

I got an extra laff which I can turn into a valuable lesson for anyone out there who has to deal with the press.

One of the grocery chains had a head of communications who, when I was a reporter, was a total pain to work with. He’d not only refuse comment, but he’d chew you out for asking the question. I daresay every business writer in the Northeastern United States hated this guy’s guts and dreaded having to call him for a story.

And then he got caught with his hand in the till, and not just caught but caught as he was boarding a foreign-bound plane.

He got far more ink and much better placement than a nicer fellow might have.

Not saying that’s ethical journalism.

I’m just saying it’s inevitable.

The only thing worse than pissing off a reporter is making him curious. He managed both.


And don’t antagonize the cops, either.

2 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies – Expect the Expected

  1. My husband happened to be programming a replacement for our garage door opener just as a neighbor across the street was coming home from work and signalling her garage door to open.

    For a week or more, we puzzled why our garage door kept opening itself around the same time every night; somehow, we weren’t opening their garage quite as often. Eventually, we got together and determined that our garage door openers were giving the exact same signal.

    (It was easy to fix, simply by reprogramming our signalling device. But if you’re in the mood to break into your neighbor’s garage, that’s how to do it.)

  2. I seem to recall that Volkswagen keys were insufficiently unique back in the good old days. So if your grandkids ask about the paint job in your old pics of the bus, that’s why.

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