CSotD: Overthinking the Funnies

Today’s Zits (KFS) stopped me in my tracks, not because it’s funny, which it is, but because my first response after that dissolved into uncertainty: What would you — as Jeremy and his buds — play for a dance at a retirement community?

First of all, not the stuff your parents always have on the radio in the car, all that stuff about Romeo in black jeans, because your folks are too young.

You need your grandparents’ music, so I was thinking maybe Crossroads or Whole Lotta Love or Dear Mr. Fantasy, but then I realized that these old folks wouldn’t all be the same age, and that there’s a major musical gap between people born in 1950 and those born in, say, 1947, based on their ages when the British invaded.

So for the folks who are 71, you’d play Cream and Zep and Traffic, but for those who are 75, you could play Chuck Berry but maybe, I dunno, Frankie Avalon or Bobby Rydell.

Even with us younger retirees, it’s tricky. I once asked a woman my age, “British Invasion or Beach Boys?” and she spat back “British Invasion” as if she were insulted I would ask. Which was fully justified.

Don’t sweat it, Jeremy. Just play your regular stuff, and, if they start throwing Ensure and Boost bottles at you, switch to the theme from “Rawhide.”

(Your parents might not catch that reference, but your grandparents would.)


Speaking of classic rock, I usually skip over cartoons that attempt verse, but I have enough faith in Stephan Pastis that I gave this Pearls (AMS) a shot and, by golly, he not only maintained scansion (!) but made a cogent point.

Well, except that this freighter ain’t turnin’ around. Pastis is only 53, so he’s not ready for the retirement home, but he’s also not a digital native, and his wish to have things back the way they were is, indeed, best put into Pig’s mind, because that is a reservoir of naive good intentions.

Which neither Facebook nor Twitter are, and that’s the world we’ve built.


And, speaking of the world we’ve built, it is a mainstay of comics that wives and children are wiser than fathers, a convention I often resent.

But this Barney & Clyde (WPWG) makes it work, especially in those final ripostes.



Elsewhere in the business world, Ms. Trellis has decided to mostly shut down the Fastrack (KFS) main building, leaving only a small core of techs to tend the servers.

I welcome the theme, except that Fastrack being a vaguely-defined high-tech company makes the move somewhat defensible, particularly since Ms. Trellis knows what the company does and how it can best function, or, at least, she knows it nearly as well as Wendy and Dethany do.

That makes it different from newspaper companies, whose Wall Street masters have no freakin’ idea how the enterprise functions and simply close down and sell buildings to scrape off the profits.

Though, of course, if you don’t know what anybody who works for you does, it’s easy to justify firing them to reduce payroll, at which point you don’t need those big buildings anymore.

This story arc ought to come with trigger warnings.

This Ann Telnaes piece is so universally applicable to our current business sector that it applies to the Barney Pillsburys as well as to the knotheads opposing Biden’s infrastructure proposal, which I think was her actual target.

I’ve said this before, but the issue is plain: In olden times, a pharmacist, for instance, wanted to leave his children a successful drug store, hoping that one or more of them would want to carry on the family business.

Today, business people want to leave their children a successful portfolio, which means bailing out of the businesses they’ve gutted and taking the profits before the resulting house of cards collapses.

As such, short term profits are what matter. Long term investment is obsolete.


Accordingly, Lisa Benson (Creators) objects to Biden’s long-term planning, which she demonstrates by mocking the notion of building a system of charging stations to make electric cars practical.

Which would create jobs, but, more to the point, the general store in my hometown still had a small hitching rail next to the gas pumps back in the 1950s, though I never saw anyone use it.

It’s not either/or, and transitional periods are possible, inevitable and necessary.

I suspect gas pumps will be around for awhile, but, at this point, anyone driving an electric car here can’t leave town and hope to get home again.

By contrast, Alexandra Bowman, who is a Gen Z, takes a more long-term view of the topic, because she’ll have to live with whatever we build, or refuse to.

Her inclusion of pipes, I assume, is a reference to lead content in urban water supplies, and the need to upgrade and replace old pipes and not just in Flint, Michigan.

Though I saw something on social media yesterday observing that we can’t afford pipelines to bring water to indigenous communities but we can afford pipelines to bring oil out of them.


I suppose this 1987 Tom Toles cartoon will make Bowman feel less alone, but, then again, it might simply disabuse her of thinking anybody gives a damn about the future nor ever has.

Bearing in mind that not only did the Greatest Generation and then the Boomers and then Gen X and now the Millennials fail to invest in the future, but the Lost Generation thought they were dying in “The War to End All Wars.”

Yet each generation swears they’re the one that will be different.

Gen Z had damn well better be.


Truth-telling in a time of crepe-hanging

British cartoonists are flooding the pages with sad tributes to Prince Philip, but Graeme Keyes takes the opportunity to score on Piers Morgan (the gutless bastard) and the toxic British tabloid press in general.

But rather than a chorus of “The Man from the Daily Mail” or “Don’t Buy the Sun,” we’ll salute our Canadian cousins — who are sort of British, after all — with this report from our late unpleasantry, 208 years ago this week.

(James FitzGibbon was a guerrilla warrior and noted bad-ass.)

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Overthinking the Funnies

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only person who is, um, troubled by song and poetry parodies that don’t scan.

  2. Few years back, I was looking for a side gig and read that DJ-ing was easier than ever. It only took a little research to discover that I’d have to learn today’s music.

    Oh well, there’s always Uber…

  3. My friends and I chuckle imagining our life in a nursing home. The resident appropriate music would be The Ramones and The Smith’s. “I Want to Be Sedated” and “Girlfriend in a Coma” would be deliciously ironic.

  4. I used to entertain Seniors, and over time I saw their musical preference go from Sinatra and Tony Bennett to Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

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