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CSotD: Earlybird Special

Frazz brings back a memory: Back when I used to visit classrooms to teach media literacy, my offer to teachers was that I would come for free, any time they wanted, except on the last day of class before a major holiday.

Nobody ever objected; most greeted it with laughter, because they didn’t want to be there then either. Worst part is, the kids get to an age where making handprint turkeys isn’t gonna work.

I think more kids bail out on school these days than when I was a kid, not because they’re not engaged but because their parents make travel plans without deferring to the school calendar.

You can blame that on schools easing up on absence requirements and parents being less respectful of rules, and that’s part of it.

But so are less expensive airline tickets and more scattered families. Back in the 50s and early 60s, just flying on an airplane at all was an astonishing adventure, and most Grandmas and Grandpas lived, if not down the street, within a few hours drive.

Once in college, I came home for Thanksgiving freshman year, but, after that, I skipped the hassle of such a quick turnaround, and some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories are of hanging on campus with the people who stayed.

Besides, there was a rule that, if you missed either the last class before a vacation or the first class following it, you flunked the course, which, in practice, meant that, if you had an 8:30, a 10 and an 11:30, the first two instructors would cancel class the day before a vacation, but you couldn’t leave because of the 11:30.

Which would consist of the professor wishing you a happy holiday before dismissing you.

Notre Dame no longer has that cut rule, but does have a rule specifically requiring professors to hold class before and after breaks. However, the faculty gets a payback: They can now show up 15 minutes late for class before it is canceled, rather than the former 10 which inspired this cartoon, back in the Good Old Days.

My senior year, I was notified that I had overcut freshman year phys ed by one class and would have to re-take the course in order to graduate.

I appealed to the Dean, who canceled the requirement after he had stopped laughing.

Not sure laughter is permitted under the current rules.


Speaking of Academics

Got a double laugh out of Andertoons today, in part because of the direct gag, and in part because of the notion that there truly is a rule differentiating “dressing” from “stuffing.”

This is yet another case of rules-and-regulations-obsessed people doubling back to invent a “rule” to explain something that doesn’t require explanation.

Yes, quite similar to the bogus pedantry lampooned on my very favorite web page on the entire Internet.

Not that it’s the only reason I love Jane Austen, but, like the fortune teller, I digress.

The difference between “dressing” and “stuffing” has nothing to do with how the bird is cooked because there is no difference between “dressing” and “stuffing.”


It’s like the difference between “soda” and “soft drink” and “pop,” and I’m surprised nobody has come up with rules to explain precisely which of those is which.

Butterball — and are you gonna argue about turkeys with Butterball, ferchrissake? — acknowledges the bogus “explanation” but then shows that it’s actually just a regional usage thing.


Meanwhile, Monty takes up the cause of the dissenters who will not only promote tofurkey but decry the holiday in general.

That’s small-d dissenters.

Capital-D Dissenters are the ones who started the whole thing, and we will hear all about them, too, mostly from people who can’t tell Pilgrims from Puritans or the Pequot Wars from Prince Philip’s War, much less Wampanoags from Pequots from Narragansetts from Mohegans.

And who certainly can’t tell the difference between an explanation and an excuse.

I was delighted to see this source agree with a Tuscarora historian whom I’ve cited several times. She notes that, while what people were doing to each other in the colonies was horrible, it was perfectly consistent with what people were doing to each other in Europe at the same time.

Which doesn’t excuse it, but does explain it.

Anyway, I’m planning to celebrate a time when we got along and helped each other, even if it didn’t last, or, maybe, because it didn’t.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote

 After all, any given moment has its value; it can be questioned in the light of after-events, but the moment remains. The young princes in velvet gathered in lovely domesticity around the queen amid the hush of rich draperies may presently grow up to be Pedro the Cruel or Charles the Mad, but the moment of beauty was there. 


Synchronicity for Bill Morrison

(Mother Goose and Grimm)


(Super-Fun-Pak Comix)


And our special guest star

(Loose Parts)

I don’t know the lead time for any of these strips, and, while Super Pak is actually trimmings from Bolling’s previous, larger comix, he had to put them into the system some time.

In any case, they make a nice, if unintentional, commentary on the kerfuffle over Bill Morrison’s Simpsons take on Sgt Pepper being copied and sold for $14 million by KAW, who traces things, X’s out the eyes, adds sideburns and calls them his own.

As noted here before, it sucks, but Morrison is unlikely to recover any damages, since it was work-for-hire and, as he has noted, the actual copyright is with Disney, not him.

To which I would add that, if you are a creative type and you don’t know what work-for-hire means, you need to smarten up, because it’s likely to cost you far more than you’d lose from a copyright violation.

Also that messing with the Mouse is considered a very bad idea. The Big Three Litigators are Disney, Dr. Seuss and the US Olympic Committee and smart creatives avoid pissing them off.


There aren’t just “stories.” There are epics.


Community Comments

#1 Nancy O.
@ 9:35 am

The Butterball statistic for New England is incorrect, because if they had asked me, they’d have to give me the 0.000001 percent I’m entitled to. I make potato *dressing*, not stuffing, and I’ll continue to call it that because it’s an old German recipe handed down from my great-grandmother, who made it long before Butterball was a company telling us what “everybody” calls things.

Yes, I’m old and cranky. But I’ve taught my kids the difference between stuffing and dressing, so they’ll carry the explanation down at least for one more generation after me. Harumph.

#2 Laurel Strand
@ 9:43 am

One of my graphic design instructors sued Target and Disney…

… and won

#3 Mitch Marks
@ 10:22 am

In Chicago Public Schools this year, the Friday following Thanksgiving (that is, this Friday) will *not* be a day off. It’s one of the make-up days for the recent strike.
It does feel like a gesture by the CPS administration to punish the teachers.

#4 Kip Williams
@ 10:27 am

I worked at a place that booked rooms in Hawaii (I was not in Hawaii), and our wall charts that tracked everything were ‘original.’ A co-worker explained once that they based them upon a system someone else had made, but in order to not pay them, my company made their own–and in order to be sufficiently dissimilar, it had to have sixteen points of difference.

AIR PIRATES funnies were epics, all right. Some of the best work those creators did, in many ways. I still regret not shelling out the dollar for the tabloid they put out while they were being sued, which included an affectionate tribute to H.T. Webster by Shary Flenikin.

#5 Mike Peterson
@ 10:37 am

I first ran into “dressing” in Northern New York, but that’s also where I was first old enough to hear what anyone called anything outside the house.

I’m sure they could micro-tune that map more and I’d question their sampling technique — NNY and New England both have Canadian influence, and I believe it’s “dressing” up there.

Josh Katz probably knows, but it looks like he had to take his maps down when he published his book — but here are some that are still up. They at least show how gradation can work:

#6 Chris West
@ 1:08 pm

My late mother-in-law, who was from Luzerne co. Penna called it “filling” which avoided the stuffing vs dressing kerfuffle altogether.

#7 Bob Rawson
@ 7:44 pm

While vacationing in Idaho over the summer, we visited the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise. It’s the only Anne Frank memorial in the U.S. If you get a chance, go see it — it’s beautiful. One of the best features is the quote wall, which has lots of inspirational, thought-provoking quotes from the likes of Ghandi, Elie Wiesel, and Frederick Douglass. It also has a quote from “The Lorax.” Instead of a simple attribution like every other quote on the wall — “‘The Lorax,’ by Dr. Seuss,” say — the attribution says, “‘The Lorax,’ by Dr. Seuss TM and C Dr. Seuss Enterprises, LP 1971. All rights reserved. Used by permission.” Unbelievable.

#8 parnell nelson
@ 10:49 pm

A long set of strange circumstances resulted in me hanging out with Gary Arlington in his office at Last Gasp Comics the day the initial Air Pirates injunction was handed down. Kim Deitch walked into the room and said. “We lost.” Gary reached over to a display rack containing copies of the Last Gasp line of comics and grabbed the copies of Air Pirates, handed them to me, and said, “Here you go kid, take ’em – Disney’s just gonna burn the f****** anyway.” Somebody snatched up #2 but I still have #1.

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