You don’t actually have to be funny to be in the Friday Funnies, and Heart of the City scores with a sweet Sunday rerun that brought me back to my adolescence.
The only places open after dinner in our little town were bars, one of which was our designated hangout in high school, a place about a mile and a half from my house. This meant walking home at night, sometimes on the road, often using a shortcut through the woods if the snowmobiles had tamped down a path.
On truly cold nights, you’d get a fantabulous* lightshow from the stars as well as the sharp cracking sounds of tree branches freezing in the sub-zero, but on those feathery, snowy nights you’d get exactly what Heart and her mom experience here.
The best part is that, while this was a twice-weekly event for the last three winters I lived in that part of the world — more if you count walking home from wrestling practice in the dark — it never ever became routine, and I would often just stop and pause and drink it all in, particularly if I cut through the woods so that the streetlights weren’t interfering with the mood.
Which is why I paused over this strip on Sunday.
By contrast, Sunday’s Pooch Cafe simply made me laff, because the topic of how each snowflake is different is such a wonderful platform from which to dissect the absurd, pedantic notion that “unique” is a word that cannot be modified, that things either are unique or they are not and that it is impossible to be “more unique” or “somewhat unique.”
You start with the proposition itself, which is theoretical, since, as Nancy‘s friends had pointed out just the day before, it’s impossible to examine each snowflake and ridiculous to even contemplate doing so. Snowflakes are not only extremely numerous but extremely ephemeral, even if you don’t swallow them.
Certainly they vary, because, while molecules of H20 may be alike, the rules by which crystals of the frozen stuff assemble in the clouds are random within their six-figured shapes. And, whatever the astonishingly high odds of two identical snowflakes forming, the odds against your finding them both are even higher.
However, while they are beautiful and delicate, the level upon which they are unique is not, well, unique. Once you get beyond the structure of atoms — and we’re only guessing about the consistency there — everything is unique.
And if everything is unique and the word cannot be modified, then the word is meaningless.
So, yes: Everything is unique, but some things are more unique than others.
Which reduces it either to “point of view,” which is neutral, or “attitude,” which is not. If you think that all opera sounds the same, or that all Asian people look alike, that’s attitude and is more about your inattention and your lack of thought or lack of caring than anything else.
But there’s also a value-free difference between being Heart and her mother, out at 3.30 in the morning gasping over the gorgeous mantle of silent snow and catching snowflakes on your mittens to examine them, and Heart’s mother getting up again at 7 that morning and gazing out upon her car and a driveway filled with snowflakes that will all — with a shovel, not with tweezers — have to be moved to the side before she can get to work.
Once you begin to deal with them in that kind of volume, they’re not terribly unique.
Little-known food fact:
In this Monty strip, Moondog suggests that the French should simply refer to the sidedish as “our fries,” but, in fact, they are not, and the term “French fries” should be “frenched fries” and is applied not because of their place of origin but because cutting vegetables into long strips is referred to as “frenching.”
They originated not in France but in Belgium, and if you want proof of that, simply visit Musée de la Frite in Brussels, or, as it’s also known, “Home Frite Home,” which certainly suggests the place is more geared for tourism than to assuage some bitter Belgian jealousy over the universal assumption that the food was invented by the French.
And the fact that la musée is only open for five hours the first Saturday of each month and four-and-a-half hours the first Sunday, or by appointment, and does not charge admission, further suggests that the Belgians find this whole thing more a cause for amusement than a matter of national pride.
Would that we were all so mellow.
Or perhaps they simply put more energy and national pride into waffles, which, as this website about their pavilion in the New York World’s Fair explains, were critical to the nation’s elaborate entry, not only crediting the event with introducing Belgian waffles to Americans but proclaiming them “unquestionably the culinary hit of the Fair.”
I remember them more than half a century later, so that’s entirely possible.
And with Belgian waffles, you don’t have any controversy over vinegar, ketchup or mayonnaise.
Elsewhere on the tourism/culinary beat, The Other Coast offers an appetite-quashing hint that Adrian Raeside genuinely walks his dog, or somebody’s dog, in a rural area where organic treats abound.
Most dog cartoons trade on stereotypical ideas such as dogs despising mailmen. It may be because I mostly hang out with socially well-adjusted dogs, but most of the dogs I know adore mailmen or, to bring things up to the last century, letter carriers, who are a source of treats.
In fact, I warned the young woman who is walking my dog while I rehabilitate my new hip that she needs to watch out for letter carriers as well as UPS and FedEx delivery people, since he becomes very excited when he sees them or their vehicles. And has four-wheel drive. And weighs as much as she does.
However, since she keeps him on leash and in town, I never thought to mention deer carcasses.
(Various illustrative anecdotes deleted)