CSotD: Taking our best shots

John Cole (Times-Tribune) bemoans Bob Dylan’s decision to sell his catalog to Universal Music, and his worry that meaningful songs will become meaningless jingles isn’t off the mark.

Still, Dylan is 79 and I can understand if he feels he should get his affairs in order. I guess his choices were to set up a corporation to manage his music in perpetuity or sell the catalog to someone who already does that.

The argument in favor of setting up his own company is that they would always, invariably, make good, moral, artistically valid decisions. (Excuse me for a moment. I just spilled my coffee.)

Given the number of iconic artists and creators whose own families have sold out over the years, not just with jingles but with licensing for cheesy movies and crappy sequels and other ways of extending a profitable franchise in depressingly disloyal ways, I’d vote for taking the cash and leaving artistic purity in someone else’s hands.

Anyway, it’s always been hard to see into Dylan’s mind, despite the many who have tried. He won’t stand still, for one thing, but mostly he preaches individual values and then has the nerve to hold onto his own.

So I don’t know what he was thinking, but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t worrying about how Mike Peterson was going to take it.

And I do admire what he said to the Nobel Committee:


Which, speaking of Literature, brings us to Chris Britt’s latest piece, which I enjoyed despite my deep hatred of all seasonal doggerel beginning with the word “T’was.”

Seriously. Back in the days when most of our digital input came from email, I had a spam filter set for the phrase “Twas the night.” Nothing good ever followed and very little of it scanned.

Britt’s parody does scan, as does Cole’s, as rare a conjunction as Saturn and Jupiter, and Britt drives in the needle nicely, though I do wonder how many editors are going to publish even an elided f-bomb. But you sure can’t accuse him of selling out.

Perhaps his children will do that later.


While handing out rare plaudits, I will give Pia Guerra (Nib) credit for a Chuck Yeager obit cartoon that doesn’t involve him shooting through the Pearly Gates at Mach One, as opposed to all the cartoons that predictably did.

This even suggests that she’s seen the movie and perhaps read the book, in which he was only in the first part as an exemplar of “The Right Stuff.”

Given that he was 97, the caption makes sense as does the fact that, for most people under 60, that book and movie were their main encounters with him.

Signe Wilkinson (AMS) does what I’d say qualifies as a local obituary cartoon, given that Dick Allen left his biggest footprint in her hometown of Philadelphia, though Chicago could also claim him.

But I suspect only dedicated fans outside those towns remember him, and then perhaps more as a lightning rod than a ballplayer.

He was both, in an era in which Cassius Clay was fighting to get back in the ring and to be called what he wanted to be called.

We needed lightning rods who could back it up with performance, and Allen was one of them.


In the current era, however, you can be a lightning rod without accomplishing much of anything, and John Deering (Creators) plays upon Trump’s term “Warp Speed” to point out that the administration inexplicably turned down an option to pick up additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine.

It might be less of a blunder if Trump hadn’t proudly declared that Americans would get the vaccine first, before any was released for other countries.

Apparently, the Wizard of Wharton was not aware that, before you can exploit a monopoly, you have to corner the market.


Britain is already rolling out the vaccine, though Patrick Chappatte (Ind) is only making a symbolic statement in showing the Queen taking a shot, with Charlie watching around the corner for reasons open to speculation.

Chappatte apparently relied on early reports that the Queen and Prince Philip would be stepping up to show the safety of the vaccine, which would have been a nice gesture, echoing Victoria’s well-known support of Edward Jennings’ smallpox vaccine by having the Royal Family vaccinated to demonstrate that it was safe.

Which didn’t happen either, in part because Jenner made his discovery some forty years before Victoria took the throne, in part because her physician was William, not Edward, Jennings, not Jenner, and in part because it simply didn’t. (She was supportive of Joseph Lister. Different fellow, different breakthrough.)

In any case, the people loved Victoria while the status of the current Herself is such that perhaps she’ll do better with the Grand Gesture of getting in line along with everyone else, which is what she’s doing, according to this story.

And if you can’t trust the Royal Correspondent for Yahoo News, whom can you, eh?

Straight from the corgi’s mouth, that is.


We could use some kind of Grand Gesture to assuage the fears of Americans like the fellow in this Mike Smith (KFS) cartoon, driven insane, or at least rendered foolish, by repeated attacks on science over the past four years.

Now, to be fair, we’ve always had a problem with risk assessment, which is why we need seat belt laws and laws against drunk driving instead of being able to count on common sense.

Nor does it help that, well before the coronavirus crisis, we had established a strong element of anti-vax nincompoopery now coming into full bloom.

We could leave them to kill each other off, except that they’re scattered amongst us, so that won’t work.

On the other hand, of the 17 states petitioning the Supreme Court to overturn Trump’s defeat, only Texas and Florida pay more in federal taxes than they receive in benefits, so perhaps secession could solve a couple of problems.


But, theories and speculation aside, I’m with the guy in this Jeremy Banx (Financial Times) piece.

I’m not really scared of Covid.

I just want a hug.


7 thoughts on “CSotD: Taking our best shots

  1. Perhaps about 30 years ago there was an SNL skit in which actors were on an elevator listening to Dylan music reduced to, well, elevator music. I remember thinking “Oh crap! This is where it winds up”. Hard not to chuckle about some other music that would not easily make that transformation. George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” Janis Joplin’s “Take Another Piece of My Heart. Some songs have built in protection from this

  2. Oddly enough, Mark, I was thinking of this the other day at our local Price Chopper grocery store, because the damned Christmas music has begun, but Price Chopper has always mixed in other music at the holidays, including by people like Leonard Cohen.

    And I was trying to remember what Cohen song I’d heard in there, last year, but was pretty sure it wasn’t “Chelsea Hotel” or “Take This Longing.”

  3. Hey, someone (Chris Britt) finally got around to beating up Mike Pence. People don’t really understand how bad things would have gotten if Trump had been removed from office. Pence is just as nuts, but actually knows how government works, and how to get things done. WAY more dangerous!

  4. I’m just glad that Utah’s current and next governors have both said that they don’t agree with our AG (A man whom I voted against in both the primary and general elections) adding us to the list on that lawsuit.

  5. Phil: As an Indiana resident, I can attest that Mike Pence is a duplicitous piece of work who is much more dangerous than his boss. On the upshot, he’s partly in his position because he screwed the pooch trying to get RFRA passed in IN and was facing a losing race for governor (which in IN is saying something—I swear you could stick a flag pin on a can of beans and Hoosier Republicans would vote for it.)

  6. I dont understand Cole’s complaint. Dylan has every right to get his affairs in order for his heirs, and more to the point, he’s been licensing his songs for commercial purposes for years. Specifically, ha has already “sold out” to one of the companies Cole mentions: Apple. He and (if I’m not mistaken) a demo of “Forever Young” were featured in the Think Different ad campaign.

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