Thank you, Monty (AMS), that will be all for now.
Today marks the end of cartoons in which turkeys pretend to be other kinds of birds and brings us to Beartrap in the Fireplace season.
It’s possible to do good holiday cartoons, as Edison Lee (KRP) demonstrates, with a Black Friday gag that marks the day with more than a passing nod to our immediate situation. It didn’t knock me out of my chair, but it’s timely and fun and, yeah, I need to get the rest of my shopping done, too.
Which is to say, you don’t have to be hilarious, but don’t insult my intelligence with same-old-same-old.
I alternate between scratching my head over cartoonists who ignore holidays and scratching it over pedestrian clichés that are the equivalent of those mandatory Pearly Gates cartoons when somebody famous dies.
And I’d add, BTW, that you should at least know that Maradona was a legendary footballer.
You shouldn’t have to be a sports fan to recognize the name “Diego Maradona,” any more than “Babe Ruth,” or any more than you have to be an English major to recognize the name “Jane Austen.”
It’s a matter of cultural literacy, and people who proudly dismiss any knowledge of sports come across like the fellow who asked why producers of ballet don’t simply hire taller girls.
My early response to news on the Internet was that people would only know what they wanted to know, rather than coming across random stuff as they leafed through the newspaper.
Still, Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal was in 1986 — long enough ago that the Internet was not yet dominant, recent enough that “I wasn’t born yet” isn’t an excuse for everybody.
And “I’m not curious” isn’t an excuse for anyone, but there it is anyway.
I often said to my young reporters, “I can’t teach you how to be curious.”
Dave Coverley ventures into politics a bit with this Speed Bump (Creators), though he couldn’t have foreseen the Leader of the Free World holding a press conference while sitting at a little table that gave the impression of a fourth grader in timeout.
Not quite naked with a fez, but distracting enough.
However, while there are politicians who expect you to only ask what they want to be asked, there is also a type of reporter who comes in with a list of questions and is determined to run down that list regardless of what they may hear or see.
I’d get laughs from my kid reporters with this fictional interview:
So, you grew up in Arizona, but then you moved to California …
Yes, I had to leave the state because I’d murdered my family with a chain saw.
And then you enrolled at UCLA and majored in history …
The benefit of a Terry Gross or a Jon Stewart is that (A) they’ve actually read the book and (B) they listen to and respond to what their interview subject says.
When I was a reporter, one of the local TV stations hired a reporter whose foolish questions were the highlight of any press conference. Police officers do not often crack up at their pressers, but she provoked laughter on more than one occasion.
But she was very pretty and photogenic and so one of the networks snatched her up and presumably fed her scripts researched and written by plain-looking producers.
(Granted, she wasn’t the one-and-done rookie at the same station who asked the police spokesman “How was the killer able to get around all this yellow tape?”)
What isn’t funny is that we’ve had four years of a president who not only doesn’t mind stupid questions but bristles at intelligent ones, and who lowers himself to insulting reporters who don’t follow his script.
But, hey, no politics on Friday.
Speaking of being fed your information, this Between Friends (KFS) story arc has been bringing me back to a job where I had an assistant, and, while I didn’t have the budget to pay any of them what they were worth, I sure enjoyed the touch-and-go landings before they moved on to someone who could.
Part of that is letting them take on more responsibility rather than keeping them in the corner crunching numbers and sending out invoices. I sent one of them off to a rural school to deliver some curriculum materials and she reappeared four hours later because she’d stayed to teach several classes.
Nobody has a budget sufficient to reward that kind of initiative.
Another, who had a teaching degree and was also brilliant in the classroom, posed a bit of a problem because I wouldn’t dream of asking an assistant to get me coffee, so we ended up freshening each other’s cup each time we went back to the pot. By the end of the day, we were both so wired we made the building vibrate.
The day she left, she not only began making more than I’d been paying her but she was making more than they were paying me.
Catch a rising star, offer encouragement and know she won’t stay long.
At the other end of the scale is this Willy & Ethel (NCF), which also reminds me of someone in a low-paying job: A fellow I lived with when I first got married, who worked at a turkey processing plant and warned us against ever eating turkey loaf.
It was made, he said, from turkeys that couldn’t be processed as whole birds, but the part where Willy comes in is this: If someone was assigned to process 10 tubes of turkey loaf, he’d be given 10 baggies of preservatives so he could mix one into each loaf.
But sometimes he’d realize he’d packaged five tubes but still had six baggies left, which meant one of the loaves hadn’t gotten any preservatives, though he couldn’t know which one.
The solution was to put two baggies of chemicals into the next loaf so the count would come out even.
I’m sure they make other sandwich meats differently, though, don’t you think?