CSotD: A Break in the Doom

This K Chronicles brought me back to my (second) senior year in college, when my wife and I canceled our Chicago paper because it was such a downer. We still got the South Bend Tribune, whose editorial page was also depressing but which at least was not a compendium of murders.

Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. But dwelling on them doesn’t solve them, and, while voting helps and demonstrations can push bureaucrats to act, you need to also tend your own garden and keep your head healthy.


And, as Deflocked (AMS) points out, watching television doesn’t seem to help. Between cop shows featuring perverted murderers and reality shows that consist of people screaming at each other, TV decidedly adds to the overall sense of horror.

Yes, the cops magically catch the perverted murderers, but there’ll be another one next week. We’re surrounded!

I miss Adam-12 where most of their calls were for cat-up-a-tree sorts of mundane things.

Anyway, we’re taking a break today and saluting silliness:


Non Sequitur (AMS) brings back a different memory entirely, and an embarrassing one.

When I moved to Maine to edit a small community paper, I expected those dour Yankees to be cold to someone “from away,” but I was welcomed warmly.

Particularly since I started my tenure by giving them all a hearty laugh when one of the local teams won a series and moved on to the tourney in the state capital.

Only I headlined it that they were headed for Georgia.

Our sportswriter called as soon as the paper hit the streets, and he should have been angry, but he was laughing too hard.

Thank god my face wasn’t well known yet, because most of the laughter was mercifully behind my back.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Off The Mark – AMS)


(Roz Chast – The New Yorker)

Naming an apple “Delicious” won’t change its taste to match, and when I went to find out how long ago the apple was developed, I discovered that even the growers don’t like them.

Apparently, the original apple was an oddity that did, indeed, taste pretty good. But it was striped and people wanted red apples, and as the article explains:

“The strive for a better retail presentation led orchardists and nurserymen to try to design and crossbreed that Red Delicious to get that perfect dark red color and those perfect five little bumps on the bottom,” says Paul Vander Heide, owner of Vander Mill Cider. “And in the process, they forgot that things have got to taste good.”

I spent nearly 20 years in the Champlain Valley, which is apple country, and I still live where I can go to an orchard three miles from my home and pick my own or buy them fresh off the tree, which makes a huge difference in the taste though it also makes me far less likely to buy apples post-autumn.

A fresh Macintosh is crisp, firm and tart, but a Mac out of storage is dull tasting and mealy in texture. Honey Crisps are the big thing now mostly, I think, because they arrive from Chile in the off-season tasting like their name says.

And, as Roz Chast puts it, naming things is big business, and what I particularly like is that this humorless overpaid cog in the machine has wadded up papers around him, because combining marketing buzzwords is hard work.

So is producing/inventing new foods that actually taste good, but that’s hardly the priority.


This Rhymes with Orange (KFS) reminded me of a friend whose grandparents’ old farmhouse in Iowa was fully plumbed at some point in the middle of the 20th Century but still had an outhouse.

His grandfather appreciated having fresh water for showers and cooking and such, but adamantly insisted “You don’t s*** in the house.”

At least, he didn’t.

To which I would add that an outhouse for one family is a lot different than a Port-O-San used by a crowd, particularly if you use a little lime from time to time and stock it with toilet paper instead of back copies of the Sears catalog or corncobs.

And that last item brings up a personal issue which also may not resonate with city folks but which also goes back to the matter of naming things:

First of all, horseshoes is a better game and far more portable. But irregardless and notwithstanding, how on earth did anybody get that name past their mothers without getting smacked upside the head and a mouthful of soap?

It is a puzzlement.


Wallace the Brave (AMS) once more demonstrates the interplay between Wallace and Amelia, and the challenge it presents to their poor teacher.

As for stupid questions, both Lucy Van Pelt and Calvin came up with foolish theories of how things worked, but they innocently believed them. Wallace seems more like Caulfield in Frazz, purposely ferreting out oddities in order to challenge grown-ups to refute them.

Only Caulfield’s odd questions invariably lead to some truth, and, while we don’t know what Wallace truly believes, his question isn’t going to lead anywhere except to Amelia popping up to call his BS.

Mrs. Olson rarely gets the better of Caulfield, while Frazz either agrees or counters with a different logical nugget.

Amelia, bless her heart, simply cuts to the chase.


Brewster Rockit (Tribune) is not the only strip I’ve seen this week referencing income taxes, which suggests that either some cartoonists have long lead times or they don’t realize that the IRS gave us one more month to get them in.

Which is kind of counterintuitive, since being stuck at home gives us little else to do anyway, though I suppose it’s more complex for people who have been dabbling in the gig economy.

I’ve been freelancing long enough that I’ve forgotten the steep learning curve when I no longer just reported what was on my W-2 and how many kids I had.


We now return you to your normal state of despair. Click here to read all the bad news from First Dog on the Moon.

wotthehell there’s a dance in the old girl yet

12 thoughts on “CSotD: A Break in the Doom

  1. This is a followup to the African Dodger cartoon you posted a week ago.

    Today I was looking through Oscar Cesare cartoons in the New York Sun and happened across one on Aug/3/1912 with Teddy Roosevelt getting ready to play that game. You can see it at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030272/1912-08-03/ed-1/seq-7 .

    I’m unclear on the point intended by the comic. I doubt it’s making any statement about negro civil rights. At the time Roosevelt was running as a 3rd party candidate (this was about 3 months before Election Day, maybe he hadn’t announced yet?). And while he has a baseball in his right hand, he seems to be hiding a brick in his left hand — maybe that’s meant to indicate he intends to cheat?

  2. I’m mystified, too, but suspect your interpretation is correct — has nothing to do with Black people and a lot to do with cheating.

    Looking for more by Oscar Cesare, he attacked TR several times in that time period without making a particular point, though he later (1916) accused him of being a warmonger. He liked Wilson, wanted the US out of WWI and later visited Moscow and profiled the leaders of that revolution, but I couldn’t find much actual analyzing his politics.

  3. The cosmic crisp apples are the best apples I’ve ever had; if you get a chance to try one, you should. As an added bonus, they are all grown in the United States.

  4. I recently heard an interesting podcast about the apple industry, the development of new varieties, and the Cosmic Crisp in particular.

    (I’m way behind in some kinds of podcasts, so yes, it was from September 2020 and I did *recently* hear it.)

    I listened to it from “Science Diction”. They don’t provide separate links to write-ups of individual episodes, but from https://www.npr.org/podcasts/813012842/science-diction you could search in-page for “Cosmic Crisp”. Or to listen, there is a direct link to the audio (well, to download mp3) at https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/audio.wnyc.org/science-diction/science-diction092220_sporkfulcosmic.mp3?dl=1&siteplayer=true&dl=1

    But originally it came from “The Sporkful”, and their version is at
    https://www.sporkful.com/a-new-apple-is-born/ with apparently some selling restriction on the audio but providing a text transcript for our convenience. (Plus comments.) This one seems a year earlier, September 2019.

  5. The cartoon may be in reference to what was announced on August 1st.

    From Wikipedia:

    The Progressive Party announced that it would not allow African-Americans from Southern states to be delegates at its organizing convention in Chicago, with the approval of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt emphasized that from Northern states, “there would be a number of negro delegates; more, in fact, than ever before figured in a National convention”

    With footnotes:

    “Roosevelt Men Bar Southern Negroes”, New York Times, August 2, 1912; “Roosevelt Insists He’s Negro’s Friend”, New York Times, August 3, 1912

  6. Speaking of corn, this week the Brewster Rockit dailies have all gone down the co– uh, rabbit hole.

  7. Always knew that game as beanbag. As in “Politics ain’t beanbag” (a phrase I always think of as from Chicago mayor Harold Washington, though it originates with Finley Peter Dunne)
    There is a fair equivalence between politics and the other name.

  8. Thanks, MP, for the info about Cesare’s anti-TR stance. And thanks, Kevin, for that insight about the convention.

    The convention seems like the best answer, probably mixed with a penchant by Cesare to throw shade at TR.

  9. A quick look at the topic suggests that Roosevelt and Booker Washington were both dealing with pragmatic issues on opposite sides, Washington trying to avoid having Taft (the Republican) defeated and Roosevelt trying to break the Democratic hold on the South by appealing to white voters there, at the expense of black delegates.

    Washington had the ear of the black press and Roosevelt was fighting an uphill battle there to begin with, and it appears that he gave up on the black vote and hoped to make it up with white southern votes. This didn’t win him any friends in the black community, which is hardly surprising.

    However, in other news, I found those apples at my local grocery and they are indeed excellent. (Roosevelt not nearly so.)

  10. Glad to read of some other folks having the same opinion of the visually glorious “Insipid” apples.

  11. I disagree that Mrs. Olson “rarely gets the better of Caulfield.” Regular readers of “Frazz” know that first, and most important, she cares deeply about the kids. And second, she’s often a step ahead of Caulfield but lets him have his say because she doesn’t want to suppress his inquisitiveness — and on the occasions when he does beat her to the punch, she’s happy to be outwitted by someone with such a keen intellect.

    We may only see that side of her now and then, but without those glimpses, “Frazz” would be unreadable — just a smug, fitness-obsessed janitor and a snotty kid fat-shaming a woman who has worked long enough and hard enough to earn her daily crossword-and-coffee routine.

  12. I don’t disagree with your assessment of Mrs. Olson, though I’d maintain the Caulfield has the better win/loss record with her.

    The breakthrough on the character came a few years ago, during a summer break when Caulfield ended up helping her with her gardening. It wasn’t that it changed their relationship (or the fact that, of course, Caulfield was back in her class that fall), but it gave her some humanity. As you say, we got to see behind the stock character and there have been glimpses ever since.

    It’s a wonderfully well-done strip.

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