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CSotD: Friday Funnies – Snowbound Edition

Harry Bliss, who lives about 20 miles south of here, cites 40 inches of snow from yesterday’s morning dump, and I got a laff over his having bought JD Salinger’s home and then joking about having to dig himself out.

Salinger wasn’t a hermit — he came into town and was sociable enough — but he purposefully lived in a place that guaranteed privacy, and the townsfolk cooperated by sending literary tourists on wild goose chases into the hinterlands.

I moved into the center of my small town some years ago, such that, when I got stuck halfway out of my driveway in our three feet of powder, one of the first people to drive past stopped and helped dig me out.

However, if you feel isolation spurs creativity, Bliss offers a cartoonist’s fellowship through the Center for Cartoon Studies so you can work in Salinger’s workshop for a month in the fall, when the only distractions are the fall foliage and sunsets that inspired Maxfield Parrish, who also had a studio in the area.

Here’s an alternative view of artists and isolation from Ellis Rosen (Ind), who cracked me up with this pitiful portrait of how the pandemic is impacting things.

The only times I’ve written in public were when my Internet went down, and then I’m more apt to sit in the car outside the library, given the hours at which I have to be productive. However, I’ve been known to hit a Denny’s or McDonald’s, and, yes, we’ve even got a couple of coffee places with wi-fi.

But, unlike this chap, I’m always a little embarrassed to tell people I’m a writer because it sounds pretentious, perhaps because it is, particularly if you are out posing with your laptop in public places.

“Posing,” that is, as in “poseur.”

 

Real artists and writers focus on art and writing, sometimes to the detriment of much else.

This Arlo & Janis (AMS) got a laugh because I’m ADD and can never, ever maintain focus long enough to put a teabag in boiling water, leave the room, and then remember I’d done it.

And Arlo has spotted the crucial difference: Mr. Coffee indulgently keeps things hot until I remember he’s there.

I don’t think Mr. Tea even pities the fool.

 

Going back to small town musings, Jeff Corriveau grew up in New England, as his annual strips about maple syrup suggest. In today’s Deflocked (AMS), however, he riffs on school funding, which is hardly as sweet a topic.

School taxes are one of the few places people get to vote on specific spending, which makes them a political lightning rod. We had a variation on the Deflocked scenario in a nearby town, where developers put in a chi-chi community of professionals and trust-fund bandits, who promptly voted up school taxes, leaving the original residents facing ruin, which resulted in a backlash and, boy, I’m glad I don’t live there.

Meanwhile, a relative lived in a suburb with a small school district where a family with a couple of special-needs kids moved in and the school budget went through the roof.

I don’t know how they finance education in civilized countries, but I’ll bet it doesn’t have this kind of unfair local impact.

Yeah, I know: No politics on Friday.

 

Instead, let’s let Zits (KFS) bring up pandemic pandemonium in our schools.

I laughed, because I’ve heard from students and teachers about kids who don’t put their faces up on Zoom and sometimes aren’t there at all, but I’ve also heard about classes where things are going well and most of the kids are cooperating. The digital divide is an issue, as is whether parents are working or at home, but so is basic classroom management.

For instance, there’s this: One of the best tricks I learned from teachers when I was presenting in classrooms was to go stand near the desk of a kid who is creating distractions or just flaking out. It’s so universal, subtle and effective a technique that I can’t imagine what it must be like now to not have it at your disposal.

Calling on a kid who hasn’t volunteered can force him to sit up and pay attention, but it is tricky business at best.

Meanwhile, the Jeremys will always find a way, and you’ll always have Jeremys.

 

 

The Lockhorns (KFS) play on a familiar complaint.

Arguing over how to hang the toilet paper is either done purely for amusement or else is a sign of something very wrong in your marriage that you don’t dare address.

Toilet seat wars are equally trivial, but are a more overt argument over control and refusal to compromise.

Men’s restrooms used to have toilet seats that rose when you did, so that someone not sitting didn’t have a chance to sprinkle them.

Haven’t seen them in awhile, hence the graffito “Be like Pop, not like Sis. Lift the seat when you take a piss.”

Meanwhile, women sometimes put fluffy covers on toilet lids, which forces men to stand to the side, bracing lid and seat with a knee. Or to be like Sis.

I understand that nobody wants to sit on the cold, wide porcelain, but I’d point out that nobody wants to sit on a wet seat, either.

I blame men for not having shared our solution to the problem:

We look before we sit.

It wasn’t a secret. We just assumed y’all would figure it out on your own.

Leaving the seat up seemed the kinder of the two hints.

 

Dark Side of the Horse (AMS) touches on a piece of obsolete lo-tech that once mattered a great deal.

Parents shelled out a lot of money to provide encyclopedias for their children as part of that American dream in which kids do better in this world than their folks, which I guess is now also obsolete.

I gave my encyclopedia to a youth facility, but that was more than 30 years ago. They’re now on the list of prohibited donations for book drives.

You literally can’t give them away.

Oh well. I still remember how I learned to spell it.

 

Community Comments

#1 George Rogers
December/18/2020
@ 8:24 am

Around our house the argument has always been about which end to open a soft-boiled egg from. And that was long before we discovered how old that argument was.

#2 Kip Williams
December/18/2020
@ 9:14 am

My preferred solution is to keep the lid down.

Family legend has it that one time in the early 60s, Dad didn’t notice the seat was up, and when he found it out the hard way, he said “Cool, man, cool!”

#3 Brian Fies
December/18/2020
@ 10:13 am

You only have to fish a panicked wet cat out of the toilet once before concluding that both seat and lid down is the way to go. Although if you left the seat up, it probably wouldn’t take the cat long to learn not to jump up there.

When I was a kid, my Mom outfitted the house with, I think, three sets of encyclopedias, at least one of which was bought one volume at a time from the grocery store. In retrospect, it was one of the most endearing things about her: a single mother barely scraping by who thought to herself, “This is how I can make my kids’ lives better.” And you know what? It worked. My sister and I spent hours poring over those books. And we turned out pretty good.

#4 Elizabeth Oliver
December/18/2020
@ 10:47 am

Google “toilet aerosols” and you will see why the lid should be closed before the toilet is flushed. These days what you will find is mostly about Covid, but then again what isn’t? Unless it’s about Trump.

Which brings me to aesthetics. Toilets aren’t the prettiest things in the world, but they are even less pretty when the lid is up. Life is too short not to do simple things to make it nicer.

Oh, dear, that could bring me back to Trump. But it’s Friday, so no politics.

#5 Tara Gallagher
December/18/2020
@ 10:51 am

After a lot of wince-and-spit, I finally found a black tea that can be left to steep for a neglectful 20 minutes and is still drinkable (tepid, but hasn’t dissolved the mug).
Yeah, could have learned to set a timer, but problem solved now.

#6 Paul Berge
December/18/2020
@ 11:44 am

Worse than forgetting tea steeping in the cup is forgetting the teapot boiling away on the stove.

Kids today — at least the ones on the bright side of the digital divide — are so lucky to have a constantly updating encyclopedia in the house. My parents bought a handsome set in 1957, much of which was out of date by the time I was writing school reports ten to twenty years later. Well, that’s what a bicycle and the library were for.

And as for the great toilet seat debate, I’ve always held that the lid should be down and the door open. Guests would like to know where your bathroom is, but don’t need to see what’s in the bowl every time they walk past it. And yes, it keeps the dog and the cat out of the water.

#7 Abraham Faerber
December/18/2020
@ 1:36 pm

My solution: prefer to use the restroom sitting down. Why put yourself into a situation where you have to worry about lids at all? If you can’t beat them, join them!

#8 Bob Crittenden
December/18/2020
@ 1:57 pm

Yep – we had that mid-1950s Funk and Wagnalls on the shelf. It wasn’t much help for my reports on LASERs or the Apollo program. Though, as Paul noted, I had a bicycle, and the library was only a mile away.

#9 Charles
December/18/2020
@ 7:48 pm

I agree with the arguments to keep the seat and lid down when not in use, but I found the seats that came with the house have a failure mode that I periodically activate while sitting down. It’s not destructive but does involve enough cleanup to be discouraging.

I am exactly old enough to have benefited from electronic encyclopedias. I remember looking up “plasma” on the library computer in Boulder, CO, where my grandparents lived, after AOL, but we’ll before Google. I didn’t know until sometime in college what the real ramifications of the constantly updating information on the ‘net would be. That was still (just) before social media or smart phones had really taken hold though, so it took another decade to see that start to really play out.

I still think we have another step to go, that we are seeing the faint starts of, where AI plays a significant sorting role beyond just what floats up to the top of our feed. Whoever gets it right will crush Facebook right out of existence (I’m betting facebook will not get it right since they can’t even seem to float the fact that my friend had a baby recently into my view).

#10 Steve Eldridge
December/18/2020
@ 7:57 pm

Years ago, Ann Landers or Dear Abby printed a letter about a toddler falling head first into an open toilet and drowning. As a new father at the time I was horrified! The lid was always closed after that. But ‘toilet aerosols’ and the video showing that nuclear tornado erupting from the toilet scarred me forever.

#11 D. D. Degg
December/18/2020
@ 9:18 pm

Yep, we had the Funk and Wagnalls, got it one volume a week as part of a promotion from the local supermarket.

#12 Steven Brooks
December/18/2020
@ 9:31 pm

Leaving aside the asthetics of leaving the lid down to simply discuss the seat up or down issue, what do women think that men do when they need to sit and the seat is up? They put it down! It’s not rocket science.

#13 Bandit
December/18/2020
@ 9:38 pm

(I am one of those with only one name)

We had an encyclopedia from pre-ww2. Really showed the world changes to when I used it in the 70’s. I can only assume my father got it at a thrift store . I actually learned a lot from it.
I also remember the encyclopedia sales guys were against electronic versions because it was going to cut into their commissions.

#14 Robert Berend
December/19/2020
@ 6:44 am

Regarding signs of a deeper problem you don’t want to discuss in your marriage or relationship, I have thought that this is not the case. If the two of you are fighting about putting the cap on the toothpaste, or how to hang the toilet paper, and then basic civility and willingness to please the other partner is gone from the relationship. It isn’t necessarily that there’s a big hidden issue. One party will not spend three seconds to screw on the toothpaste cap. Or one person is so stubborn that they must win the toilet paper direction battle. The problem is that small, there need not be an elephant in the room.

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