CSotD: Friday Funnies

So say we all.

But if the week has been jammed with political fodder, it also featured some less fraught humor.


Which is not to say that a joke can’t make you think. I won’t go so far as to say “the best ones do,” because I like the silly ones.

Still, this Rubes contains plenty of truth, starting with the fact that it overturns a major cartoon setting: That of the wise man on the mountaintop dispensing wisdom.

It’s been long enough since I read “Lancer at Large,” the sequel to “Lives of a Bengal Lancer,” that I don’t recall quite how Yeats-Brown‘s post-WWI search for a guru ends except that he does visit an ashram or two and doesn’t stay there.

It is the climb up that mountain that imparts wisdom, not anything you find at the top, and even that climb is more metaphorical than physical.

And Yeats-Brown became one of those intellectual British fascists, so it’s hard to argue that the climb automatically brings wisdom.

In college, one of my professors brought a Navajo elder to seminar, and he derailed some of our Sixties fascination by quietly asking why we sought wisdom in other people’s cultures when we had not yet explored all the sources of wisdom within our own.

Real gurus don’t help you find the answer.

They help you find the question.


The Search for Truth (cont’d)

Pajama Diaries offers a truth, but there is another side to this, which is that, if you only created the two, neither of them would be worth a damn.

Maybe that’s not true in graphic design, but it’s true in photography: If you take 30 pictures of something, the “good one” will be among the first three. If you only take three, they’ll all be crap.

It is a puzzlement.


Juxtaposition of the Week


(Joe Heller)

While I’m feeling all cosmic and stuff, I’ll spare you my usual dark-skies lecture but offer the observation that Heller promotes a style of parenting I approve, since, had they simply forbidden phones on the trip, that would have become the dominant topic.

You can’t force people to learn, but you can put them in positions where it’s a likely outcome. That can include taking them to museums and zoos and aquariums when they’re babies, so that they learn to say “wow” before they can say much of anything else.

It can also include taking them to restaurants where the food is served on plates and eaten with metal utensils, and to plays where children sit quietly in the audience instead of being prompted to jump and shout.

And, yes, taking them out into the countryside to see the night sky.

If nothing else, you may be able to save your daughter from becoming attached to some philistine who expects a light show and cannot see the one stretched out in front of him.


Less Cosmic Juxtaposition of the Week



I like the idea of a tiny Luxembourg Shepherd, presumably bred to herd tiny Luxembourg sheep in tiny Luxembourg meadows. Though perhaps what I really like is visualizing Luxembourg as a real-world Lilliput, since everything in the Shetland Islands seems full-sized except the sheepdogs and the ponies.

Herding Dog Trivia: Some herders are heelers and some are strong-eye dogs. Heelers, as the name suggests, run after their charges, nipping at their heels to keep them moving.

It is best for heelers to be built close to the ground, like Corgis, because even a startled reflex from the heelee, never mind a defensive one, is better passed overhead than delivered to the chops.

Strong-eye herders get out in front of the animals and stare them back into place before running alongside or behind the flock and moving them as desired.

To put it another way, heelers annoy their wards into submission, while strong-eye dogs command them to obey.

Another point of interest: Sheepdogs intended for protection — Komondor, Kuvasz, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian — are light in color so that they are seen by the sheep as “one of us,” and the sheep will keep close to them.

Dogs bred for herding — Puli, Border Collie, Aussies — are dark or largely so, and the sheep see them as “other” and respond to them by moving.

As for that Retail strip, the reason I include it is that one of the people at the park reported that she’d been using poop bags as a food storage alternative to larger, less environmentally friendly plastic bags until she realized all her leftovers had acquired a hint of lavender.

Which was the first time she realized that she’d bought scented poop bags, since they couldn’t possibly work as intended.


Juxtaposition of the Week #3


(Mr. Boffo)

Retail had a good week, and Cooper is always dependable for morose but accurate observations, while Mr. Boffo adds what I wish were more than a little bit of comic exaggeration.

I entered semi-intentional semi-retirement a decade ago, but I’m now contemplating for-real retirement in about a year.

Having chosen the life of a starving artist makes it easier to tighten your belt, but, then again, it’s a lot easier to contemplate sharing a crappy apartment with three friends when you’re 23 than when you’re 73.

And all that balloon juice about “paying yourself first” doesn’t factor in the shift over the past 30 or 40 years from an economy that included pensions and other worker-friendly elements to a Scrooge & Marley system with no pensions, no holidays, not even a goddam turkey at Christmas.

Plus frequent moves so you never pay off your mortgage.

Mr. Boffo exaggerates, but Cooper is right: Saving for retirement has become difficult if not impossible.

“I’ll start contributing to the 401k again just as soon as the kids are grown and gone.”

Yeah, well, man plans and the gods laugh.

I had my firstborn at 22 and I’m worried. I don’t know how these folks who wait until 40 will have time to rebuild their nest eggs.


And, finally

(Argyle Sweater)

In fact, we do: