Alex notes the slight easing of quarantine and, one hopes, the slight easing of tensions caused thereby.
The element of holiday visitors is a lively one here, because, when NYC blew up in the pandemic, a lot of people with second homes in New England skedaddled up here. There was some resentment at first, on the assumption that they were bringing the infection with them, but that didn’t last long.
There have been other complications, however.
Some 15% of Granite Staters work in Massachusetts, and have previously paid a 5% income tax there, but they were allowed to deduct the days they telecommuted from home.
Which worked until they began telecommuting from home entirely, at which point Massachusetts decided they shouldn’t deduct those days after all and things got a little pissy.
And now we’ve also got a bit of a land rush going on, as people from Boston and NYC have realized that you can be perfectly productive without being in the office or in the city at all and are buying year-round homes in NH and Vermont.
I suspect that all the previous quarreling over cross-country Internet sales taxes was only the warm-up for the quarrels we’re going to see over interstate income taxes.
Meanwhile, the guy who brings the drinks may see his rent go down if all those white collar types leave a lot of vacant apartments behind, but, then again, he’s going to need people to bring drinks to.
May you live in interesting times indeed.
Also on the topic of eating in restaurants, Harry Bliss riffs on a gender-based test of love.
There’s a difference between taking a taste of someone’s main course and inviting them to sample yours, versus not ordering an appetizer or dessert and eating half of theirs instead.
But the whole sharing thing is a decidedly female thing; Guys’ instinct is to protect their bowl like a dog, growling and snapping at intruders.
Not good or bad, just different, and I like that the fellow here is so bland that you can’t tell whether he’s genuinely concerned or playing some kind of passive-aggressive game.
Bliss works in single panels, but, in this case, what she says next could be really interesting, and I’ll bet that guy doesn’t want to hear it.
One of the many fascinating, intricate threads in the Count of Monte Cristo is that Edmond Dantes adopts a custom of the banditi which is that he never eats with someone whom he intends to kill.
Just throwing that out there.
And love plays a central role in Existential Comics’ probing of the Turing Test, the whole of which you can read by clicking here.
They aren’t particularly kind to seekers after artificial intelligence, perhaps because the real thing is, itself, rare enough. Worth the click.
Juxtaposition of the Day
I took some grief here a few months ago for mirroring James Joyce’s “Pomes Penyeach” and, like Earl, spelling it that way, and so here we are and if I can’t riff on Joyce I can at least riff on Earl.
Robert Frost described free verse as being like “playing tennis without a net,” and I’m already grinding my teeth over Agnes’s poetry, because if her best friend Trout thinks it’s bad, it must be pretty awful.
On the other hand, perhaps Agnes is an undiscovered genius and Trout simply doesn’t get it. That would certainly put her in the same category as Joyce, but, then again, it might mess up her plans to become wealthy later on.
Joyce had plenty of friends who accepted his current poetry and his current prose, but the prospect of future cash eluded him and, therefore, them.
I think he’d have made more money selling actual pomes.
I knew a fellow who moved to Paris to become Ernest Hemingway, but mostly became like the poet in “Hard Lovin’ Loser,” who “rents a groovy little attic and discovers that he can’t grow a beard.”
Or a novel. He returned to the USA, got divorced and went to work as a currency trader, which did indeed put him on the path to cash.
But, hey, at least he gave the pomes a shot.
And now for something completely different
I thought this Bizarro was silly in the good sense: Silly enough to get a laugh out of me, which is about as silly as things should be.
But within 24 hours, I got an update video about a puppy who is about to arrive on my doorstep and discovered that both her mother and Mother Aussie have discovered that you don’t have to wade very far into the pond to leave those pesky, aren’t-you-weaned-yet? puppies high and dry on the shore.
Bathing suits optional.
I’m up to about 100 daily bookmarks, several of which are things like GoComics and Comics Kingdom that feature several strips, so there are few days in which I don’t see at least one pretty lame, obvious, shopworn gag being trotted out again, presumably on a day when the cartoonist just hit a wall.
But in this Argyle Sweater, Scott Hilburn shows how to belabor a dumb joke to the point where it becomes a shaggy dog story in one panel, such that the laugh comes not from the joke itself but from the extent to which it was stretched.
Not only does he present us with the story of a wildebeest escape coupled with the notion of some sort of roving Animal Recovery Unit that prowls the countryside picking up stray beasts, but he has the zookeeper provide a set-up line that is so clumsy that it gets a laugh simply on the basis of ineptitude.
Which makes the whole thing work because, as with a shaggy dog story, we’re really laughing at ourselves for having been willingly dragged through so very much for so very little.
Mind you, the way people react both to shaggy dog stories and to puns in general varies depending on how tightly they are wound to begin with.
Here, unwind with this variant pronunciation: