CSotD: Sunday in the Park with Suzi

Real Life Adventures (AMS) is more of an “Ain’t it the truth?” strip than a “Fall on the Floor” laugh-a-thon, and here Wise and Aldrich tap into something universal in the pandemic.

My own pup, Suzi — seen here at the right in a conference with two of her friends from the park — knows exactly what it means when I swap my sweats for jeans and begin to fish around under my desk for shoes.

She’s about to turn eight months old, and, while the process of acquiring her started well before the virus struck, she’s got a lot of pals her own age whose owners took advantage of having all that time at home to deal with puppy issues.

I promise you, those Pandemic Puppies all know what it means when their owners put on pants and shoes.

And as long as I’m nattering on about myself, here’s a

Juxtaposition of the Day

( Next Door Neighbors – AMS)


Now that I’m retired and living on Social Security and the scrapings of freelance writing, this may be the last year I pay income tax.

But I have to account for having been employed for the first five months of 2020, and, even into the future, I’ll have to at least show that I made no profits, or at least very little.

The not-making-any-money part is easy — artists and writers have done that for centuries — but filling out the forms to prove it can be complex. Adding to that is the fact that I never got my second stimulus check and am now supposed to take it as a tax credit, which is more paperwork not to foul up.

Turbo Tax is the best software, but they’ve priced themselves out of the market in recent years, so I’m trying Tax Slayer.

And, unlike the grandfather in Sheldon, I don’t fret over organization because I simply put everything deductible either on one particular debit card or on Capital One, so I get a printout each month of what I spent on what.

I don’t know if the IRS likes that or not. They probably want faded, illegible slick register receipts instead, but, then, they want odometer readings for claiming mileage, which had always been a joke, as well as a way of denying the deduction.

If I get audited, they’ll either accept bank information and Google Map mileage or else you’ll start seeing future postings coming from the prison library, since the IRS only goes after us po’ folk these days.

Well, wotthehell, three hots and a cot aren’t the worst threat I could face.

Though I’m thinking that, if they would start going after the One Percent, we’d take a good chunk out of the deficit.


Lalo Alcaraz (AMS)‘s commentary on the ongoing Texas Dumpster Fire reminds me of something else I wouldn’t want you to miss, mostly because I enjoy depressing people.

You may recall that, when Texas’s unregulated utilities spent scads of money buying power to keep the state alive through the recent disaster, they sent four- and five-figure bills to people with a certain type of utility contract.

The dumbstruck consumers were assured by Governor Abbott that this obviously unfair situation would be resolved, but now it turns out that the resolution is that the Texas Utilities Commission is going to make the poor saps pay up, because to do otherwise carries “the potential for unintended consequences.”

Between those who die from covid and those who simply pick up and move somewhere sensible, Texas may become once more a land of wide, open spaces.

I’d say “Last one out, turn off the lights,” but, then again, they may not have to.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Baby Blues – KFS)

(Wallace the Brave – AMS)

It’s Arachnophobia Day in the funnies, though, technically, the arachnid in Baby Blues probably isn’t a spider, unless it is. But it’s definitely an arachnid.

I feel about spiders the same way I feel about bats. I don’t hate them and I even kind of like them, but only with appropriate social distancing. I don’t want to have to deal with them up close and personal.

Though, despite Spud’s pleas, I’m more apt to use the twig than the brick or the shovel.


Mr. Fitz has been rerunning some 2003 cartoons about standardized testing, which has gone from a responsible assessment to a means of punishing schools for failure to meet impractical standards written by unqualified political hacks.

When I was in elementary school, we took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills each year.

Some people freaked out over them, but I test high and so, for me, it was as if they’d suspended teaching for three or four days so we could do crossword puzzles or play Trivial Pursuit.


The downside being that I think it was the source of all those dreary “Michael has such great potential” lectures my parents got on Parent Night and brought home for me.

The upside came in high school, where we had a local rule that your final grade would be the higher of your actual average or your score on the NYS Regents Exam in that subject, which I think was intended to aid people who freaked out on tests.

The fellow in Fitz’s cartoon cautions against “teaching to the test,” but it wasn’t a bad thing in New York, where the test — newly written each year by master teachers — was content based.

It meant an incompetent history teacher couldn’t only get to the Civil War, but write his own final and lead colleges to believe his students had heard of the New Deal.

Granted, it favored people like me, who could sail into the Regents on red ink and emerge with an 80, and penalized those who actually knew the subject matter but fell part when tested.

However, it worked well for the middle of the bell curve, and schools began learning to deal with test anxiety and second-language issues.

So here’s the short-answer part of the American History test I took senior year, in interactive format.

I also had to answer three of six essay questions, but you don’t.

Take it, pass it and make Ms. Beecher proud.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Sunday in the Park with Suzi

  1. Hah! I got something like 19 on the school Physics final and something like 90 on the Regents.

  2. I saw a photo online of a motel in Canada that was doing major renovation and had an entire wing in a state of rubble that looked fairly catastrophic from the street.

    The manager had the signboard out front changed to say


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