CSotD: Friday Funnies; Sociophiliacs Unite!

This week I think we’ll start our Friday Funnies with a Jason Chatfield cartoon that seems likely to piss off some people but gave me a laugh of recognition.

I’ll admit he doesn’t have a caption reading “This is set in NYC,” but, then again, I’d suggest he doesn’t need one. Maybe other cities have more alleys where you can stash this stuff, but, whatever the reason, Gotham’s core stinks of stale garbage.

Though parts of it are excellent.

(Update: Jason expands upon the process, both thought and artistic)


On the other hand, this Brevity is a reminder that, miasmas aside, there are advantages to living in a place where people explode in a second and are over it in a moment.

Dustin Hoffman captured it perfectly with that ad-libbed line in Midnight Cowboy when he pounded on the hood of a cab in the crosswalk and screamed “I’m walkin’ here!” and then went right back on script.

It’s an acquired skill, which is why country folk freak out in the Big Apple: With so many people crowded in there, it’s easy to get angry, and it’ll kill you if you don’t just let it out and let it go.

Yesterday, I sat in the #4 position at a stop light. It turned green and we all sat there. I was too far back to know what was happening, but assumed #1 was playing with a phone and would look up in a minute.

Nope. We all sat there until the next green light, with nobody honking or cursing out their window.

And Tuesday, the day before this panel ran, I was at a left turn onto the Interstate, waiting for the person in front, who was waiting for a long enough gap to perhaps move a fully loaded oxcart through.

Again, no honking, no cursing.

When he finally found the chance he’d been looking for, all seven of us were able to make the turn.

There’s such a thing as being too damn polite.


As long as we’re talking about things that should unleash white hot hatred, Fastrack introduces another in their series of virtual characters, and, boy, do I hate this guy.

I can tolerate some random driver sleeping through a green light or not being able to summon up the nerve to make a lefthand turn, but it would infuriate me if it were a cab driver or someone else who drives for a living.

So I have very little patience with tech security people who don’t realize that everyone else in tech security has moved on beyond fretting over passwords, much less coming up with asinine, confusing requirements for them.

Coupled also with dire warnings that you should never write down your password, because, God knows, someone might find it and be able to log onto Puppy Love Magazine posing as you.

Meanwhile, those savvy in-house tech people I mentioned the other day used to tell me that 90% of the bugs and trojan horses they found in our system came, not from password-breaches, but from the circ department where, after the rush of morning calls ended, people sat idly downloading animated screensavers and obeying commands to share if you love your daughter.

Every time you improve a foolproof system, they just develop better fools.


I can’t fault the Hambrocks for failing to drop this Edison Lee yesterday, when I might have worked it into my anti-millionaire rant, because I think they did damn well on timing anyway, given that it was probably written, inked and colored several weeks ago.

Not that insensitivity from the upper crust isn’t kind of an evergreen, but they couldn’t have known the eviction protection and unemployment would be running out, unextended, just now.


Mr. Boffo is a little less specific and I have no idea what Joe Martin’s lead times are, but I love this fellow’s bland abandonment of morals and ethics.

Looking back on my salad days, I find no support for the cynical stereotype of hippies who sold out and became brokers. My counterculture friends from the 60s became teachers, musicians, social workers and so forth. One of them even became an EPA administrator, back when the EPA still administrated.

Okay, one guy went to work for a tobacco company, but he was in a rock band. That’s not the same thing, and it’s not selling out if you never bought in.


Summer breeze blue bayou

Part of the fun of Frazz is seeing smart little Caulfield get foxed from time to time, even if it sullies the image of Mrs. Olsen as totally burned out.

Children’s author Kate Messner was a journalist and then a middle-school teacher before her books took off, and I visited her classroom once or twice. She was one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen in action and I’ve sat in on hundreds of classrooms.

A decade ago, she wrote this brilliant essay on summer reading lists and it has not faded a bit. Go check it out.


Finally today, Macanudo often offers sweet, simple thoughts, but this one struck me on two levels, one simple, one less so.

The first is that, having grown up in one of the largest forests in the country, I had more than one good friend among the local trees.

Granted, that’s not the only way to grow up, but Theodore Roosevelt used to hand out John Burrough’s nature books to homeless kids when he was police commissioner in NYC, to encourage them to at least go sample the countryside, if they ever got the chance.

But it also reminds me to kick back against the selfish me-firsters who have decided Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” is a bad book because the tree gives and gives to the little boy and asks for nothing back.

They’ve got a great deal more in common with that fellow in Mr. Boffo than with tough, strict Mrs. Olsen in Frazz.

How sad, to not understand instinctive, loving sacrifice.

But even at the end of Dolly’s autobiographical classic, the mean, selfish folks still don’t get it.

That’s real life, folks. Don’t let’em win.


9 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies; Sociophiliacs Unite!

  1. 1. Nice drop of the Curate’s Egg. Just wanted you to know someone caught it.

    2. I’m no bandwagon joiner, having hated “The Giving Tree” since it came out. I get the selfless love of the tree; it’s the thoughtless, inconsiderate, ungrateful selfishness of the boy that grinds me. The little psychopath doesn’t deserve the tree. Plus, at the end, the world is short one good tree, which is always sad.

  2. Reading lists are not all bad. Yes we should read more than what’s on the reading list — but the reading lists have led my family to read books we otherwise would not have heard of or considered. For example, I don’t think my son would have picked up “We are Displaced” if it hadn’t been on the summer list, and this was a much more important read than all the dystopian novels he would have read otherwise.

  3. Stuck behind one of those long-term waiting drivers at a stop sign, my father used to ask, ‘What’s he waiting for – an engraved invitation?’

  4. I like Kate’s idea of a list drawn up by the kids. My son, who teaches a slightly younger group, used to have them recommend books for him to read.

    Filtered that way, it eliminates both the Old War Horses that end up on lists because they’re always on lists, as well as the Books With A Message that teachers and librarians like because They Have A Message. Plus, having the kids recommend books will often give you a more optimistic view of them — they’re really pretty bright and insightful.

  5. Story from way back when the cops walked beats:

    When a car sat at an intersection through the cycle, the beat cop walked over and asked the driver:

    “Don’t we have any colors you like?”

  6. Regarding Books With A Message —

    I used to love donating to kids’ books on Kickstarter until I noticed how many of them had messages. I had to ask myself, how did I feel about message books at that age? Saved a lot of money.

  7. One of my tasks when I was editing young writers was getting them to write what they thought rather than what they thought I wanted them to write. I was quite frank with them that I was an editor, not a teacher, and that I wasn’t going to “grade” them by how much they echoed my own opinions.

    Part of that involved persuading them that the books and movies they were reviewing didn’t have to have messages. “There is,” I would explain, “no message in Captain Underpants.”

  8. I channel Mom at unrequited green lights. She used to say “It’s not gonna get any greener.” I say “Put down the Pan-tone chart and drive.” Once or twice, passengers have thought I get too annoyed, but perhaps they didn’t notice that I very seldom honk. Sometimes I don’t even know where the horn is on our car.

    (Reminds me also that traffic in China was amazingly thick and tangled, but I never saw an accident or a near miss, or heard a horn honk in the weeks I was there.)

Comments are closed.