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CSotD: Friday Funnies and Freebies

We’ll start in the literary corner today, with a recommendation that is a bit ironic since it was inspired by a passionate screed against asking artists to work for free and involves my suggesting that you get the Kindle edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage” which is free.

However, Maugham is dead and wouldn’t get paid anyway, and, since he wrote in English, you’ll have his actual words and not some wretched 19th century public-domain translation.

But the novel is about a medical student who would rather be a painter and lives in a world of starving artists, some of whom surrender and some of whom persist.

The aforementioned screed is part of a movement in Ireland called “Pay the Artist,” which operates at a level I’ve never had to deal with, since the guidelines seem to involve a lot of public projects rather than petty, local ventures.

So I kind of don’t get it.

I went out a few times with a metal sculptor in Montreal who lived on 1-percent projects, in which that amount of a building budget was set aside for art, but, while her life seemed to be chicken one day and feathers the next, she never complained about not getting paid for the work that came her way, and if Quebec can do it, Ireland ought to be able to.

I’m not insensitive to the artist being last in line. I had a case of not being paid for an article which I solved by finding an old college pal practicing law in the magazine’s home town and having him send a nastygram.

A more substantive case involved everyone being fired and pretending they hadn’t agreed to pay me at all, which ended a day short of going to court when they finally admitted I was owed something in the low four-figures.

I wouldn’t have starved in either case, but I was damned if I was going to wind up sitting on the porch at the Home one day saying, “I should have sued those bastards!”

That article from Ireland concerns situations in which everyone is getting paid except the artist which reminds me of a story the whistle player in our Irish band told of being at a pub in Perth, Australia, in which, at the end of the evening, the publican told the Dubliners that he hadn’t made enough to be able to pay them.

At which point Luke Kelly hoisted him up against the wall and explained that it would be cheaper to pay the band than to rebuild the entire pub from scratch.

Sometimes the easiest solutions are also the ones that work best.

Now, how about some comics?


This Bizarro tickled me because I had recently called the hospital to arrange something and got a similar recorded advisory, and, just as the cartoon makes you question the well-known privacy of the confessional, the idea that my conversation with a medical provider would be recorded and potentially reviewed by strangers made me wonder how that fit in with HIPAA.

Mind you, most “your call may be recorded” announcements reflect policies of firing people who spend time chatting with customers instead of just taking their orders and moving on to the next, part of an important policy of making crappy, underpaid jobs even crappier.


Juxtaposition of the 11th

(Rhymes with Orange)


It sure seemed odd when these two popped up on the same day.

But, on reflection, there’s no discussion in the original story of why Goldilocks felt it was okay to just wander in and help herself, whereas the shared joke in this juxtaposition is that her actions seem like an intrusion today.

I’m wondering if the story originated at a time when small children could enter any house in the community and ask for food.

It was that way here, once.

I was interviewing a Mohawk historian and asked her if it was true that Native Americans generally and Iroquois specifically never used corporal punishment on their kids.

She said it had been true, but that, by 1812 — the period we were discussing — they had had 200 years of European contact and so, while decent people would still never hit a child, it was no longer an unknown concept, or, alas, technique.

Ah, the blessings of civilization!



I don’t know the lead time for Adam@Home, but Rob Harrell managed to catch a wave with an arc about Katie picking up odd language from noir movies at the moment when Joe Biden touched off that whole “lying dog-faced pony soldier” thing.

I’ve seen it credited to a 1952 John Wayne movie, either “Hondo” or “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” neither of which were made in 1952, while, if you follow those links, you’ll see it doesn’t appear in either.

A Vox article suggests it is a mangled line from “Pony Soldier,” a Tyrone Power movie that was made in 1952 and in which an Indian says, “The pony soldier speaks with a tongue of the snake that rattles.”

Which is less than half the line.

My guess is that it’s something he and his boys used to throw around in the family that has no real origin and that probably should have stayed in the family.

My other guess is that we’d do better to ponder the origin of “WGASA,” because that’s my response to questioning whether a 77-year-old’s use of old slang like “malarkey” is charming and fun, or a sign of dementia.

Meanwhile, Katy is demonstrating some admirable cultural literacy.

Good for her.


And speaking of old folks, Scott Hilburn should have saved yesterday’s “Argyle Sweater” for next Tuesday, which will be Vanna White’s birthday.

She’ll be 63.

Which is 13 years older than JLo and 20 years older than Shakira, in an era in which women are praised for remaining physically fit and beautiful as they age.


And she’ll be 31 years younger than this chick, who no longer looks like she did at 20 but managed somehow to learn a few career-extending tricks of the trade along the way.

No malarkey.


Community Comments

#1 Bradley Walker
@ 10:32 am

Angela Lansbury once traded on her beauty. I recently saw the Spencer Tracy flick “State of the Union,” where she played an ice queen/femme fatale. Quite a change from Jessica Fletcher. (And of course she was the fairy tale princess in “The Court Jester.”)

Lying dogfaced pony soldiers,
Lying dogfaced pony soldiers,
Lying dogfaced pony soldiers
Listen to Joe Biden misquote movies!

— Sung to the TMNT theme

#2 Mary McNeil
@ 3:57 pm

I think Biden saying “malarkey” may be a sign of his age, but in the way that he comes from a time where he would never have thought of screaming ‘BULLSH*T!’ at a public rally.

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