CSotD: Black Friday Funnies

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.


Though David Rowe (AFR)’s depiction of St. Peter getting nutmegged made me smile.

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?


13 thoughts on “CSotD: Black Friday Funnies

  1. A note of protest (recycled, since I’ve said this before): I believe that’s it’s possible to be uninterested in sports without being *proudly* uninterested. As Farley Mowat put it, I was born without the sports gene. My mother is an avid birder (she even has a bumper sticker: “In case of raptor, this car will be empty.”*) Me, not so much. But I know stuff you don’t. 🙂

    *Not really, and if you have to ask you ain’t never gonna know.

  2. Are we allowed to be “proudly uninterested” in say, astrology, or television soap operas, or the sex lifes of people who are famous only for being famous? Or will I have to undergo manditory social conditoning to accept Big Brother and beome merely “vaguely uninterested” and be ashamed even of that? Inquiring minds want to know!

  3. A lot of people are uninterested in sports. No problem with that.

    But there’s a subset who take pride in it, who think it makes them smarter or more sophisticated and who brag about it, often with comical misstatements to emphasize their purported ignorance.

    First of all, that’s nonsense. There are many examples of brilliant, sophisticated people who were sports enthusiasts, of course. Mens sana in corpore sano and all that: Matthew Arnold, Whizzer White, Theodore Roosevelt, etc etc.

    But you can be uninterested without being a snob about it, which leads to the second point: A lack of interest doesn’t excuse, much less necessitate, a lack of knowledge. I dislike modern dance, but recognize the names of Agnes de Mille and Twyla Tharp.

    Hell, I even know that Mama June doesn’t like mayonnaise. You can’t explain “cultural literacy” any more simply than that.

  4. Most sports are fine. I think that it’s a little unkind to say people who don’t like sports are somehow bad. Sure, some can be annoying, but maybe there are good reasons they don’t like sports and besides since when is it wrong to just not like something?

    I would argue that, in general, the people who expect everyone to just like the same stuff they do are the ones with an attitude problem. I’m always especially surprised when liberals are shouting at someone to just go along with the crowd and ignore their personal inclinations, especially when those personal inclinations are on the side of good judgement (as, you must admit, an aversion to the NFL and NCAA are).

    I know you think I’m elitist, and you know I think you probably voted for Trump.

  5. 1986 is 34 years ago, meaning someone who was not born during the Hand of Maradona goal is old enough to maybe have teenage children themselves.

    I think the “I wasn’t even born” window is pretty open for that one.

  6. Brett, I actually rewrote that sentence a couple of times. The median age of Americans in 38, so, while most of us were born, it’s pushing things to assume that four year olds could name sports stars. So I started to write “most of us” but drew back to saying that it ‘isn’t an excuse for everybody.’

    Though my son, at 3, not only knew OJ but recognized 32 as his uniform number. (He has since amended his views of the fellow.)

  7. Sports are only useful as a means of exercising without being boring. Sports where someone can be injured such boxing or football need to be rethought or banned outright. Fans are often watching them on bigsreen TV with a remote control and so don’t even get the exercise! They might as well be doing something useful. Even reading a novel or comic book provides an improved knowledge of the world.
    Thanks Ben

  8. Mike, I think the problem is you keep going back to saying that a lack of interest doesn’t /excuse/ a lack of knowledge, as if it’s somehow problematic or undesirable to not know about absolutely everything. If I’m not interested in the world of (to take your example) professional dancing, where exactly do you think knowledge about it is going to pop up that I would know about it? I do not work in any field that would obligate me to educate myself about it. I don’t live in an area particularly renowned for it (as opposed to living in the home city of a big baseball team, for instance). None of my close family members or friends are interested in it. Nobody I work with talks about it at work. There’s never any big news stories about it (that go out to general-interest news sources).

    It’s entirely possible to discourage prideful ignorance without condemning those who simply have no interest in a particular subject and don’t otherwise encounter it in everyday life.

  9. Nicholas, see my comments about (A) curiosity and (B) the way the Internet has segregated information.

    In the days of mass media, it was impossible not to encounter names like Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth or, in this case, Diego Maradano.

    Today, as you say, you aren’t exposed to much unless you choose to be exposed to it. It’s nothing to do with intellect, but it does have to do with curiosity, which is a completely other trait.

    As for the value of sports (Ben), they have none except, as you suggest, for the cardio health of the participants. Painting, sculpture and playing music can’t even offer that much.

    As Aldous Huxley wrote, “Primroses and landscapes … have one grave defect: they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy.”

  10. My problem with sports is simple. It doesn’t add anything to society, other than a cathartic, which I do admit is important. But sports heroes do not add to society, with rare exceptions.
    It is common for the head coach at a university to make 5 times as the university president. The purpose of the university is to educate students to change the world. A typical engineer will change the world several times in their career. But the student athlete only has a 1 in 100 chance of playing for the professional team. But the student athlete is expected to devote much more time to the sport instead of their studies. The result is they are not adequately educated when they graduate.
    We have our priorities backwards

  11. You’d need to show what those non-pro athletes did with their lives. I had a lot of friends on the basketball team and some on the football team at Notre Dame and, yes, only a couple played professional sports. But their rabid pursuit of excellence didn’t stop when their last season ended and they are successful and some are excellent.

    It’s different than my former counterculture friends, who have devoted their lives to teaching, counseling and progressive causes like housing and the environment. Most of my ex-jock friends went into business or law, which isn’t as direct a “benefit” area, but they do good work and they’re good folks.

    Even the cheerleaders: One of them created an entire bus safety program for a major city school district, another went to med school and is a pediatric anesthesiologist.

    Point being that a lot of college athletes are compulsive overachievers and carry that into their careers.

    The pay issue for coaches has to do with television revenues and so forth. They aren’t raising tuition and in many cases are subsidizing it, because they bring in more than they take home. And I don’t think fencing or swimming coaches live in that stratosphere.

  12. BTW, speaking of coach’s pay and engineers, I did a story about the football program at the Colorado School of Mines, where the athletic director observed that his players would all start out at salaries better than his.

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