CSotD: Incurable Grump Edition

First, some good news: At a time when political cartoonists are under increasing pressure to toe the company line, the new website at the Buffalo News announces that Adam Zyglis is under no such restraint:

At least, I’m going to assume that’s what it means. (That would be Adam “One Shed” Zyglis, not to be confused with Adam “Two Sheds” Zyglis.)

Meanwhile, in a sign of changing times, this panel from the June 22, 1977 Judge Parker offers a line I wouldn’t expect from the current management of the strip:

I thought that was the whole point of having a house guest.


And as long as I’m waxing nostalgic, Bizarro reminds me that the first taste of ‘shine I ever had was from an actual moonshiner, not some fancy-pants Yuppie entrepefuggineur.

In fact, it was from a Tea Party hardliner, thanks to a mutual friend of like persuasion by which I mean our friendship rested precariously on a declared policy of discussing nothing but football and dogs.

And, on this occasion, distilling. Their politics may have been unpalatable, but their moonshine was right tasty.


While we’re discussing other people’s politics, this Bliss got a wry, rather than jolly, chuckle, because it touched on a couple of sore spots.

First is the travesty of the “Little House” TV show, which began with long conversations between producer Ed Friendly and Laura’s heir, in which Friendly promised adherence to the original.

Which worked for a few episodes, after which Friendly was shoved aside and Michael Landon took over and any resemblance between the books and the TV show went out the oiled-paper window.

More recently, the Censors of Past Thought have consigned Laura to the garbage bin because, in her semi-biographical books, she depicts her mother as having been racist, an issue not softened in their eyes by her also depicting Pa trying to offset Caroline’s intolerance with his own acceptance of the Osage people.

Or her heroic description of Dr. George Tann, the African-American doctor who nursed the family through their bout of “fever and ague.”

No doubt brought on by a tick bite, though the book blames mosquitoes.

Laura did know that Osage land claims were upheld and the Ingalls family was forced to give up the Little House, but she, or her Libertarian editor daughter, blamed the government, not the Osage.

Damn literature is nearly as complicated as history, and literature based on history moreso.


Leaping ahead some 140 years or so, Rhymes With Orange celebrates the return to the office, somewhat.

That is, celebrates it somewhat, and the return is somewhat, particularly with record levels of infection now showing up on the stat sheets.

Of course, social distancing isn’t so difficult for those of us in the newspaper industry, since our Wall Street overlords have been actively thinning out the offices for a couple of decades now.

If two reporters are working within three empty desks of each other these days, they’re suspected of having an affair.

Think I’m joking? Here’s the Denver Post newsroom in 2013:

And here it is in 2018.

They’ve made further cuts since then, but at least it sparked an angry and public rebuke from the paper’s own editors.

Anyway, the need for masks isn’t quite as dire in that corner of the business world.


In the meantime, out of the office doesn’t mean totally free of bureaucracy, as demonstrated in On the Fastrack.

I was fortunate in that my boss would provide a stipend for my expenses when I went out to Colorado for workshops with the kids. For the first couple of years, I made a slight profit or “honorarium” for my appearances, but as budgets tightened, it became more of a break-even proposition.

But it sure beat my years working at papers where you were expected to front the money and then they’d reimburse you if they felt like it.

Never broke even on that system.


Speaking of breaking even, the Lockhorns touched on another sore spot, which is that I’ve quit donating to several nonprofits whose missions I agree with.

I can’t afford to give enough to offset the cost of them asking me for more.

Seriously. I gave $25 to a particularly well-known non-profit about eight years ago and still get solicitation letters twice a month or so from them, and ditto with another that got a similarly modest gift six or seven years ago.

I know they get separate grants for fundraising, but that’s no excuse for wasting it.

I’d rather buy cases of canned goods and hand them over to the local food shelf: My left hand may know what my right hand is doing, but neither one of them inundates me with junk mail.

I’ve spent more time grousing than guffawing today. Let’s shift gears:


One of my cutbacks in retirement is that I have to think twice about hitting the fastfood places, because they’re not expensive, but then, that’s why they can sneak up on your wallet.

But Off the Mark catches my latest drive-thru experience, which was made worse by the fact that, before his voice even got to the kazoo-filter on the speakers, it went through the kids’ mask.

Which slowed things down to the point where there was a line of cars behind me when I finally got my meal or what I assumed was my meal until I’d pulled out and found out how wrong he’d gotten it.

I’d have gone inside and complained but you’re not allowed inside anymore and I sure as hell wasn’t going to go to the end of the line and wait half an hour to resume my conversation with Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Wait. This doesn’t seem to be lightening the mood.

Let’s go for a

Juxtaposition of the Ridiculous

(Reality Check)


I could rant about humorless grammar nazis, but I’ve got no grumpy response that encompasses ornithological gags.

Instead, I’ll pretend I’m helping you scratch that last earworm when what I’m really doing it is implanting it so that you’ll never hear the song without remembering the pun:

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Incurable Grump Edition

  1. I just recently found this site, Mike, and I have to tell you that what you and DD and the staff do is some really smart stuff. I love it.

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