CSotD: Friday Funnies, Educational Division

Real Life Adventures comes as close to politics as we’re going to get today, because it’s Friday Funnies. But it’s a reminder of why we have Friday Funnies.

I’m starting a procedure which worked well for me during the 2016 election season, which is to read the funnies — i.e., the strips as opposed to the political cartoons — before I’ve gone into my email, Facebook and Twitter.

They seem a lot funnier if I read them before I get all riled up by the bad vibes in those other places.

Which makes me wonder what the rest of life would look like if I saved all my social media for late at night.


No, life wouldn’t look quite this good.

Moderately Confused touches on something I see in TV commercials and on-line advertisements but that would scare the hell out of me if I began seeing it in real life.

Apparently, these days, happy people leap into the air, and that little kid is lucky because normally they strew whatever they’re carrying all over the place in their uncontainable joy.

Either this never really happens or New Englanders are as dour as the stereotype suggests, because people around here smile and laugh a lot, but they don’t leap into the air and strew things


There’s always a segment of the population that takes its cues from pop culture media.


Starting, harmlessly enough, with what they order for food, as suggested in today’s Half Full.

Avocado toast is quite tasty. As is tiramisu and crème brûlée and you can wash them down with Cosmos, except that those things are no longer trendy and I think some of them have completely expired.

We don’t do politics on Friday, but apparently politics (i.e., tariffs) aren’t the reason avocado prices have spiked. It’s supply and demand, which means it’s the fault of those damned Millennials and their avocado toast.

Maybe if they’d quit leaping into the air with uncontainable joy and strewing their groceries all over the place, they wouldn’t waste so many avocados.


Speaking of food, Brewster Rockit reminds me of why I tend to be cynical about ethnic claims, because I once read in the Irish Echo that “mayonnaise” got its name from a sort of “Count of Mayo.”

The claim was that one of the Wild Geese, a McMahon, had a chef who whipped up the stuff. Close, but no cigar.

The Mahon in the name is purportedly Port Mahon, Minorca, which goes back way before that and is named for Hannibal’s brother.

Assuming that story is true, though of course it’s disputed.

Anyway, the full name of the city in Catalan is “Maó-Mahón,” but, in English, it’s simply “Mahon.”

Yes. We hold the “Maó.”


Also on the topic of language and education, today’s Barney and Clyde reminds me of a story going around Notre Dame in my day of an educational symposium on Natural Law, in which a professor known for his iconoclastic attitude sat at a table under a banner that read “Lex Naturalis Avibus Est” (“Natural Law is for the birds”) but got neither laughs nor challenges from the true believers attending the event.

And this was back when former altar boys knew at least a little Latin.


Which brings us to Francis and the question of Mary of Magdala and all the other Marys in the New Testament.

It’s clear in the Bible that the penitent who washed the feet of Jesus is Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, but Mary Magdalene is repeatedly described in sermons and such as a reformed prostitute.

The term “prostitute” has been so loosely applied to women throughout history as to have little meaning. Mary of Bethany may, for instance, simply have been a woman whose husband deserted her and who moved in with someone else.

Or she simply came to Christ as a thoughtful person who acknowledged her shortcomings, as many of us do.

But, in any case, there may be a bit of Church politics in blending the “prostitute” with the Mary who was tangled up in all that Gnosticism controversy.

When I went to look up Gnosticism, I stumbled across this book, which saves me the trouble of saying anything more.

Except that I’m glad the worst aspects of the Inquisition are over, even if true reform still lags behind.


I really like Existential Comics and, while I usually only publish snippets and send you there to read the rest, this one is relatively compact, so here it is.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Camus, but perhaps it’s because he seemed no more practical to me than he does as depicted here.


I think most of us who were in college in the 60s had trouble differentiating Camus from Belmondo, but I had read “The Stranger” and seen “Breathless” and I knew which one of them I wanted to be.


Granted, Jean Seberg may have had more to do with that than either of them. I was 19 years old, after all.

Still, I think I’d rather be cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark café than marry a figure skater and buy her a dishwasher and a coffee percolator.

Anyway, the English majors took a more romantic view of most things than we did, perhaps because they had lectures while our classes were all seminars.

It’s easier to romanticize stuff from behind a lectern at the front of the room than when you’re around a table being challenged to justify everything.


Those English majors might enjoy following Sheldon, where, for the past several weeks, Dave Kellett has been featuring portraits of famous writers.

Kellett also went to Notre Dame, but he was born about the time I graduated, so neither of us is responsible for the other’s viewpoints and I’m okay with the fact that he majored in English.

I know my old department had become stuffy and academic in the interim.

Ah, the Sixties!


(Our department didn’t really place the ad. But they did laugh.)

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies, Educational Division

  1. I had philosophy-major friends in college, and there wasn’t a single one of them who wasn’t absolutely sure that he (always “he”) was uniquely qualified to be the philosopher king.

    Most of them got over it. One or two didn’t. Now that I think of it, their Venn diagrams nearly overlap the Ayn Randians’. Those guys are the worst.

  2. Nice thing about an integrated major — we read both literature and philosophy as well as a substantial dose of history of science. It tended to take the edges off all three.

    Which is to say, no matter what the topic, there was always someone at the seminar table willing to tell you when you were being full of shit. And cite the evidence.

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