CSotD: Go Read Something Else

Pros & Cons (KFS) captures the moment, or, at least, my moment.

The election is still six days away, but while we’re being beseeched on all sides to jump up and panic, I’m sinking into Stan’s attitude.

Things have probably been worse, and the fact that I didn’t have to live through those times doesn’t change my sense that it’s all just going to have to play out now.

It’s not a matter of not caring. It’s more like the odd feeling Richard Henry Dana described as his ship anchored in Boston Harbor after Two Years Before The Mast.

A year before, while carrying hides on the coast, the assurance that in a twelvemonth we should see Boston, made me half wild; but now that I was actually there, and in sight of home, the emotions which I had so long anticipated feeling, I did not find, and in their place was a state of very nearly entire apathy. . . . There is probably so much of excitement in prolonged expectation, that the quiet realizing of it produces a momentary stagnation of feeling as well as of effort.

Dana also noted that, while you’d expect a ship to limp into harbor after two years, they’d labored mightily to fix it up and show the owners what good care it had received.

No merchant vessel looks better than an Indiaman, or a Cape Horn-er, after a long voyage; and many captains and mates will stake their reputation for seamanship upon the appearance of their ship when she hauls into the dock.

Not much of a parallel there.


Stuart Carlson (AMS) has it right, and this applies to both sides. Minds are made up and, between states that allow early voting and states that have relaxed absentee rules in light of the pandemic, a lot of people have already voted, while others are standing in line anxious to do so.


Despite the efforts of state legislators to suppress their votes. Phil Hands (AMS) suggests that, if the legislators and the courts are agreed on not counting votes postmarked in time but delivered late, you take matters into your own hands and guarantee that your voice is heard.

It’s too late to count on the USPS to get it there on time now anyway, but dropping off your ballot is a better idea to begin with, though voting in person is the best idea of all, since, if you forgot to sign something, the ballot clerks will tell you rather than reject your vote on a technicality.

Meanwhile, the desperation to change minds at the last moment provides an odd

Juxtaposition of the Day

(John Deering – Creators )


(Kirk Walters – KFS)

John Deering reminds us of the dictators Dear Leader has embraced — sometimes literally — and for whom he has expressed friendship and admiration, while Walters warns that they are hoping for a Biden victory.

They can’t both be right.

Now, however you sort out this contradiction — and that’s up to you — Walters may believe the Chinese response to the outbreak was inadequate, which is subjective. But he should be embarrassed to flog that tired story of the “pallets of cash,” which has been so often refuted, disproven and explained that it is, objectively, absolute bullshit.

And both cartoons ignore the pushback we saw from Putin the other day in which he poked holes in Trump’s attempts to link Hunter Biden to various payoffs.  You don’t have to trust our intelligence specialists, but you probably shouldn’t impose upon Vlad’s good will, or, certainly, take it for granted.

For my part, I put the opinions of dictators low on my voting checklist. At this stage, I’d rather hear what our former allies are thinking.


For instance, how does Australia feel about it? I think we can rely upon First Dog on the Moon (Guardian) to reflect the official viewpoint of the Australian government and not simply be wise-assing around. (That is a subjective judgment on my part.)

The recommendation — and you should go read the whole thing — is that we need a raccoon, or perhaps several, in the White House, and we should take this concept seriously because, after all, they’re conceding that it would have to happen in the next election, not this one.

Which puts their vision miles above most efforts to change people’s votes between now and Nov 3.

And, unlike those others, they’ve got an historical precedent to cite, which puts them head and shoulders above those who are just making things up. You should go read that, too.


But, if you prefer watching to reading, a video of the recent Improv Conference of New Orleans tribute to Jules Feiffer, with Liza Donnelly, Keith Knight and Matt Wuerker, moderated by Michael Tisserand, is available here free for the next two weeks.

(Want more? Here’s my coverage of a session at Dartmouth, with Feiffer, Jeff Danziger, Ed Koren and Edward Sorel back in 2009. There’s no such thing as “too much Jules Feiffer.”)


But if you prefer your distractions to be purely apolitical (Whoops — see comments, read comic), check out Joe Dator’s intelligent discussion of Columbo over at the New Yorker.

I will confess that my expectations for this were very low, but I went ahead and risked running into one of those whimsy-fests in which youngsters mock the things they weren’t around for, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is both sincere and insightful and yet a whole lot of fun.

The thing is, nobody ever took Columbo seriously — not the criminals he uncovered nor the viewers who tuned in every week.

Or, rather, every couple of weeks, since it rotated on the NBC Mystery Movie with McCloud and McMillan & Wife.


Gimme Gimme Good Earworm

Still here? Oh, that’s too bad. You should have clicked off and gone to one of those fine distractions.

Because I am not going to forgive Tony Cochran, who not only draws Agnes (Creators) but makes guitars and therefore can surely be blamed for planting this earworm.

Dammit, that band was no more real than Agnes’s religion.


18 thoughts on “CSotD: Go Read Something Else

  1. The Columbo cartoon is worth every second of the read!

    BTW, wasn’t there a gruff old western guy (no, I don’t mean McCloud) in the NBC Mystery Movie rotation at first? Does anyone here remember it?

  2. Thank you for the shoutout, but unless you missed the last panel, it’s inaccurate to describe my New Yorker piece as “purely apolitical”. Tying it all in the the rich entitled “Columbo” villain currently occupying the White House was the whole point.

  3. Mr. Berge, you’re probably thinking of Hec Ramsey, starring Richard Boone (though it was a later addition rather than in the rotation “at first”).

  4. The Colombo piece was nice, but I would have been just as happy if it left the tie-in to t Rump as implied. I guess I, like host Mike, have some level of fatigue about the entitled underachiever and the prospective joyous downfall or tragic survival.

    But the worst cartoon is better than the best chemistry textbook, or something. I’m sure the Greeks had a word for it.

  5. Thanks Mike Beede. I feel ya, but I thought all of our collective fantasies of Columbo confronting Trump needed to be visualized for the sake of catharsis.

  6. If memory serves, NBC began their “Wheel” programming in 1970 as “Four-in-One” on Wednesday nights. McCloud was the only one of those that survived the next year when they retitled it “NBC Mystery Movie” adding McMillian & Wife and Columbo.

    They moved this wheel of shows the following year to Sunday, retitled it “The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie” and added Richard Boone’s old west detective Hec Ramsey, giving them a rotation of 4 shows again.

    This stayed a ratings winner for NBC (I know that I was a viewer) throughout most of the decade, making occasional changes, losing Hec Ramsey, adding a Tony Curtis detective show called McCoy, killing off “Wife” and reworking McMillan & Wife to just McMillan and eventually adding Jack Klugman’s Quincy (which became so successful it got it’s own 1 hour weekly slot)

    Throughout all of this, Columbo & McCloud always remained the most successful and popular shows of this concept.

    BTW, this was all done from my memory. God knows I can’t remember what I did yesterday, but retaining all of this old arcane TV listing crap never leaves my brain.

  7. Gops aren’t big on being debunked. Even if you think you’ve gotten through and impressed some bit of reality upon their consciousness, there is usually a moment of confusion, then a click as they re-align to whatever they believed before. The only ‘debunking’ they will accept is one of their own issuing a flat denial.

    I’m reluctant to use my New Yorker articles up this early in the month. I remember my conservative Dad was irate over Columbo, because he went after rich people. I have a theory that the Lieutenant is based on the detective in Crime and Punishment, but haven’t researched it yet.

    My favorite thing Richard Boone ever did was in an episode of “Maverick” that was completely about something else. I don’t think he was credited. Part of the story takes place in a saloon, and whenever Brett looks in a particular direction, he sees Boone (Paladin without a label) sitting at a table staring fixedly at him. Maverick reacts a little and goes back to what he’s doing until the next time he feels that stare and looks over. As nearly as I can recall, they never speak, and Boone/Paladin’s presence is never explained.

  8. Kip, I know exactly what you mean. I was once having a conversation with a conservative, who was blaming the crash of ’08 on “those Democrats with their taxes and regulations.” When I reminded him that every branch of government, from Federal down to local, was controlled by Republicans, I saw it: That brief “deer-in-the-headlights” look of reality, followed by a violent shaking of the head, followed by the exclamation: “No, It’s the Democrats.” Truly a spectacle to behold!

  9. Love the Columbo comic, and since I have family members who are both Columbo fans and Trump supporters, maybe I should show this to them before they vote (not that I think it will make any difference, sadly!). (Oh, just one more thing – does anyone else remember a short-lived series called “Mrs. Columbo” in which Columbo’s wife solved crimes herself? I believe it starred Kate Mulgrew.)

  10. Yes, I was thinking of “Mrs. Columbo” on my drive to work (when I also remembered Hec Ramsey’s name). “Mrs. Columbo” might not have lasted one season, yet I can’t imagine that the writers could have made it through the pilot episode without giving Mr. Columbo a first name.

    A friend commenting on my Facebook link to Joe Dator’s cartoon tells me he recalls seeing the name “Frank Columbo” on a nameplate in one episode of the original series (which, yes, he has been rewatching lately).

  11. Yes Christine, a year after Columbo went off the air they premiered “Mrs. Columbo” starring Kate Mulgrew (1979) It got horrible ratings and was disliked by Columbo fans but they brought it back for a second season, renamed the show to “Kate Loves a Mystery” had her character get a divorce from Columbo and renamed her as Kate Callahan.
    None of that helped.

  12. Banacek. Let’s not forget Banacek! I could use a good side of self-confident, smart-assed Banacek right now.

  13. I, for one, did appreciate seeing Columbo confront Trump. Yes, I could understand the point without it, but cathartic is a great word to describe seeing the scene. I needed that. Thank you, Joseph Dator.

  14. Oddly enough, Steve, George Peppard was not overly fond of Banacek, but he loved playing Hannibal Smith.

  15. Even if the implied message was obvious earlier, I loved the ending of the Columbo strip because I’d been waiting and waiting to hear (I mean read) his trademark “Just one more thing.”

    And the sight of him saying it as he stepped back into the Oval Office really made me smile because I went on to imagine him finally throwing Dear Leader off his game of blustering his way through interviews with buffoonish responses that he makes up on the spot.

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