CSotD: I don’t think we’re in Wyoming anymore

In light of DDDegg’s news that Wyoming is losing all but one of its Monday papers, we’ll start off with Gary Varvel‘s riff on a classic Norman Rockwell illustration.


Which I add here for the benefit of those too young to know the original, though cultural literacy should include a heapin’ helpin’ of Norman Rockwell.

To which I would add that those insufferable twits who pop up on social media to brag that they don’t understand sports are no different, and certainly no smarter, than people proud of not understanding ballet or those who think “Gunga Din” was a novel.

But it’s possible not to know that the Florida Marlins have totaled 20 Covid-positive players on their 30-man active roster, calling into question the viability of the entire season, not just for them but for the league.

Hence Varvel’s excellent tie-in to Rockwell — how much of a sprinkle do you need before you call it off?

I mentioned in the comments to yesterday’s post that 20 is the golden age when you don’t need permission but you haven’t yet developed good judgment, which I bring up here because of reports that the Marlins players ignored instructions on avoiding the coronavirus.

Which would point towards the “dumb jocks” stereotype if NFL veterans weren’t deep in conversations about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity rookies may miss this year, and the importance of balancing their own dreams against the safety of their families.

The Florida Marlins team exhibits a Louis Gohmert level of stupidity that is not only putting their own lifelong dreams in jeopardy but those of every player in the league.

Quite an achievement, as a result of which a lot is hanging on the decision of those umpires.

Meanwhile, the tie-in to Wyoming’s newspaper shortage is that there are no NFL teams in Wyoming, hence no need for a Monday paper wrapping up the previous day’s game.

That likely seems frivolous to non-sporting types, but if a Shakespeare Festival sold the same number of papers, it would make the same difference to a newspaper’s bottom line.


And — illustrating the point with Varvel’s former employer — god help the circulation manager of a team that wins a championship in any major sport, because single-day sales will leap as the season progresses, which is great until the next year when the team slumps and Corporate demands you duplicate your sales or lose your job.

And if you think I’m joking or exaggerating, let me repeat my oft-told story of the memo that came down from Corporate demanding to know how we planned to duplicate our single-copy sales from 9/12/01 on 9/12/02.

To which I suggested, “Well, we could rent a couple of airplanes …”

(Given that neither the circ manager nor I lasted a whole lot longer anyway, I wish he’d have submitted that idea.)


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Non Sequitur)

(Free Range)

Apparently, storming a castle isn’t at all like horseshoes or hand grenades.

What I particularly like about this pair is that in neither case does the person in charge take responsibility for the failure, and, even in Non Sequitur, concern for the consequences is only suggested, since we don’t know whether the client complained about the waste of lives or simply the failure to get over the wall.

I know where my suspicions lie.

But my real affection for Wiley’s version is based on having edited two very small papers where we didn’t have a tech person on staff but relied on a local computer service.

At one paper, the guy did make some effort to understand what we wanted the software to do, though he didn’t entirely grok it all.

(By comparison, at my last mid-sized paper, our team of techs forebade people who laid out pages to have wallpaper because anything but pure putty would throw off their color adjustments.)

Meanwhile, at the other, the guy who came in to solve our problems had the disks and the passwords, but had no idea how Quark and Photoshop differed from The Legend of Zelda.

His universal solution to everything was to re-install the program. Sometimes, it worked for several days. Other times, it didn’t work at all.

The only thing that never really changed was his hourly rate.


Christopher Weyant‘s hometown paper is the Boston Globe, making this cartoon solid commentary for his core urban audience.

But I was driving through our small shopping district yesterday and passed sign-spinners promoting going-out-of-business sales for JCPenneys and Pier One, our local K-Mart having closed last month.

I did check out Pier One, which was where we used to buy incense burners, cheap-ass furniture and Indian-print bedsheets to hang on our walls, but since those days they had gone so far uptown that, even at half-off, the price/quality ratio is just not there anymore.

And Penneys has been in so much trouble for so long that I’m kind of surprised they didn’t pull out back when our Sears and Radio Shack stores left.

So we’re mostly down to BJs, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Kohls, plus we just got an Old Navy. I’ve no idea what Old Navy was thinking, though I know mall leasing often involves “We’ll give you a prime location here if you open another store there.”

Making us the “there.”

Point is that, just as McDonald’s drives out local diners, so, too, these corporate chains drive out local retailers, and, given the crap wages they pay their serfs, handing them the money or giving it to Jeff Bezos is a moral toss-up.

Although if you order from Amazon you get it in four days, while if you special-order locally it takes two weeks.

Meanwhile, grocery stores and chain pharmacies have driven local druggists out of business and turned what used to be a well-paying profession into a better-trained form of wage slavery.

(Jeff has an answer to that, too.)

Bottom line is that I wish the new interest in breaking up monopolies would actually happen, but, meanwhile, those of us out here in the sticks need a place to buy atonal apples, amplified heat and dog-legs and feet.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: I don’t think we’re in Wyoming anymore

  1. I hope JCPennys survives. Where else am I going to find cheap middle-aged white guy pants?

    (And I know full well that the second sentence could be taken two ways. I used to be an editor.)

    Concerning sports, Farley Mowat put it well: he said that he was born without the sports gene. Kind of like my prosopagnosia–it’s just how I am.

  2. It’s okay to not like sports, as long as you don’t make a fetish of it. While I like classical ballet, I can’t even begin to understand people leppin’ about in leotards. My ex was public relations for a college that had an Agnes De Mille summer program each summer in leppin’ about in leotards, and I’d agree to go to one show each year, just to show the flag.

    Jay-zuz even she wouldn’t blame the breakup of our marriage on that. In fact, it should have made us last that much the longer.

  3. About driving our local diners/pharmacies etc and paying slave wages : Don’t forget Ivanka Trump’s advice. (Speaking of cultural literacy,has she ever heard of Marie Antoinette ?)

  4. I didn’t need to see a clip of Cream to know the reference to the song Pressed Rat and Warthog. Kofi Baker, who is the son of the late Cream drummer Ginger Baker, still tours the world, at least he did before covid-19, playing nothing but songs by Cream and Blind Faith. Both of which had Eric Clapton and his father. I recommend that everyone go see Kofi Baker when he comes to town, back when live music comes back to reality. He was on my calendar, but the concert was canceled due to the early days of covid-19. I’ve seen him about half a dozen times and I strongly recommend him. Every time I see him in concert I request Pressed Rat and Warthog, and he obliges!

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