CSotD: Category Killers and other delights

I’ve recently mentioned my past covering shopping malls, but I hadn’t mentioned “category killers,” a term from that corner of retail business.

A category killer is a store that makes it pointless to add other stores in that category. For instance, if you lease to Dick’s Sporting Goods, there’s no point in a smaller sports store opening in your mall because they can’t beat Dick’s for prices or selection.

Bill Bramhall offers what I would call a category killer, because he directs a bit of pointed mockery at Top Ten Lists, such that, having pointed out this cartoon, listing any “best of” lists seems foolish.

And yet as I go through my bookmarks this time of year, I come across one “best of” after another, and some of them seem worth passing along.

But thanks to Bramhall, now they all seem unmasked as a way to fill the gap between Christmas and New Years when nobody feels like working.

And to quote Hamlet, “Seems”? Nay, it is. I know not “seems.”

So two thoughts: One is that I always offer links to the artists whose work I feature and so I’m going to hope I’ve led you to some artists whose work you follow on your own, since that’s a large part of why I do this.

And in that case you’ll already see the “best of” collections of the people whose work you most enjoy.

The other thought is that someone posting a “best of” collection is news, which puts it over in the bailiwick of my Daily Cartoonist partner, DD Degg.

You would do well to check out his work anyway, but this time of year is a particularly good time to do that.


And a third bonus thought is that rules, like pie crusts, are meant to be broken, but here I’m not pointing out a “best of 2019” collection.

Rather, it’s Kal Kallaugher’s list of “Best of the Decade” and he has standing to offer such a long range wrap up.

Particularly since he confines it to eleven cartoons, which is a pretty selective way to define a decade.


As for collections of 2019 comics, DD Degg has already passed along the news that cartoonists should be assembling and submitting their contest entries for this year’s Divisional Reubens Awards.

And if you’re going to pick out your best work for the year, you’d be silly not to put it up for an award. My low esteem for awards is well known, but in these hard times, being “award winning” can be a tie-breaker and thus translate into a sale.

And while I don’t care about plaques, I do like cheques.

I also like it when I have a

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Rhymes with Orange)



I came to RWO first this morning and felt it was a bit dated, given that not only do most dog owners know that confining your dog to the backyard is uncool but because it’s becoming illegal in many communities to leave your dog outside for more than short periods.

The Monks of New Skete contend that confining your dog to the backyard makes him possessive of the backyard but not of your house, such that he would raise hell over someone coming over the back fence but would be less alarmed over someone jimmying your front door.

Which may or may not be true, but a dog that is tied out is likely to bark incessantly anyway, making neighbors view his warning as something like a car alarm: Extremely annoying, but no reason to call 911.

Dogs should be indoors because they strongly bond to their owners on a level the most affectionate cats don’t, while cats should be indoors because when they go outdoors they wile away their time slaughtering songbirds.

Then I hit Retail, which continually emphasizes how much worktime Marla puts in for such little reward, and so I find it very easy to believe that she’d rather spend her free hours chilling with her family than at a party.

Getting a dog is good preparation for having a child, in that they both will repay you with a great deal of affection and loyalty, but less so if you simply “have” them rather than integrating them into your life.


Dire thoughts

I’ve been thinking that I need to study up on the Gilded Age, but Darrin Bell is jumping ahead, with today’s Candorville predicting that we’re about to repeat the Roaring Twenties.

An era of uncontrolled oligarchy was followed by a decade of fun and games and then the Great Depression, though it should be noted that Theodore Roosevelt reined in the worst abuses of the oligarchs, if only temporarily.

I particularly like Lemont’s suggestion that, rather than focusing on the excesses of the era, and the disaster that followed, we can just think about the flappers and all that fun.

The Roaring Twenties are a good example of how media images can overwhelm stark reality: For every Scott and Zelda cruising around in their Marmon, defying Prohibition and cavorting in public fountains, there were many more families scraping by on what little they had, such that when the Depression hit, they had even less.


And the Dust Bowl would have wiped out plenty of farmers even without the stock market crash.

Over at the Nib, Xulin Wang has an extended look at the melting of permafrost, and it’s pretty depressing stuff that is happening right now, not in 20 or 30 years, and seems unlikely to be reversed.

I was aware of the melting — a recent story about a puppy having come to the surface defrosted but with DNA and all sorts of flesh intact was fascinating — but I hadn’t considered the larger environmental aspects, nor the impact on towns and villages built on permafrost.

If Candorville’s summoning of the ghosts of the 1920s doesn’t bring you down, this will certainly do the job.


On a lighter note

Heart of the City offers a Gen X cultural touchstone.


While Dick Tracy offers them an earworm.


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