CSotD: Quips and quibbles quaint

(I pirated today’s headline!)

Brewster Rockit (Tribune) is totally on target, though I can’t remember who it was that I backdoored the other day to avoid their automatic answering system. But when I mentioned what a pain it was, she laughed and acknowledged it.

Everybody knows except the brass who bought it.

Might have been my doctor, since he’s one of the many whose practice was once allied with the medical center but has since been gobbled up by same. You can call with a question, but you’ll get the machine featured in Brewster Rockit.

In this case, the way around it is to go to the medical center’s website, log in to your account, go to the drop down for questions, select your provider, select the nature of your question, ask it, and then wait for a response, which often comes the same day. Or maybe the next.

Meanwhile, dialing 911 is nearly futile out here in the sticks because not only is it centralized, but, since we’re on the VT/NH border, they can’t even tell which state you’re in, much less what town.

I called 911 about a foaming, stumbling rabid fox in the park a few years ago and the woman wouldn’t help me unless I gave her a street address. Telling her the name of the park and the town in which it was located simply wouldn’t do. I gave up and called the local police, who (A) were familiar with the geography and (B) seemed to want to help.

You watch: By next year, to get 911 help, you’ll have to log in with your password and then identify each square that contains a stoplight.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Bizarro – KFS)


(Dr. Macleod)

The Bizarro is timely because, after last week’s discussion of “War and Peace,” I got into a second discussion of it at the dog park, which became a discussion of the fact that no good movie has been made of it, and of other books of which no good movie was ever made, the bottom line being that, aside from the absurdity of condensing a book that size into 120 minutes of cinema, thoughtful novels make bad movies anyway.

It’s already easy to screw up novels that aren’t particularly deep. I had to look up their dates to see if “Lad, a Dog” or “Swiss Family Robinson” was the first case of my going to a movie wretchedly adapted from a book I loved.

“Lad” was 1962 and “SFR” was 1960, so I was 10 years old, watching Moochie heave coconut hand grenades at Japanese pirates when I lost faith in Hollywood.

Now I’m watching cartoonists line up to compare the new Texas law to “the Handmaid’s Tale,” and, while I don’t think MacLeod’s paper will publish that F-bomb, he’s right: It’s been done and done again and done yet again.

However, I’m giving this one a pass. It’s both apt and popular, which makes it a powerful tool for cartoonists, while the difference between a familiar metaphor and a tired cliché resides in the pen of the artist.

I’ll admit I haven’t read the novel or watched the miniseries, but I haven’t had to, because, even when it was only a novel, it was widely discussed, and then the TV adaptation made such a stir, that you can fake having actually read or watched it.

Which means that a cartoon making the comparison may penetrate the Great Undecided.

It’s all well and good to rally your own troops and keep their spirits high, but inspiring change requires winning converts, and “the Handmaid’s Tale” cartoons might do that.


Paul Gilligan shows some chutzpah in today’s Pooch Cafe (AMS), because dogs-in-cars is a topic that attracts lynch mobs.


I once did an experiment in which I tested my car on a hot day to ascertain the temperature differential with windows closed, cracked three inches, half-open, or completely open. I posted the results on a dog group, asking others to try the same thing and see what they found. (I assumed it would have a lot to do with size of interior compartment, color of car, etc.)

Instead, I was overwhelmed with incredibly hostile responses from the righteous, who were quite sure that no dog should never, ever be in any car between May and October.

Like vaccination, it is not a topic to be debated or even discussed at all.

So I laughed at Pooch Cafe today because, no, I don’t put my dog in danger of heat stroke, but I do worry about her being hit by flying bricks and broken glass if someone decides to “rescue” her while I’m mailing a letter.


This Flying McCoys (AMS) reminds me of how much I miss living in the Mountain Time Zone, where the late news came on at a civilized 10 pm and football games began at an hour when you might be awake for the ending.

But the late and early news are markedly different because the early news knows a half hour of national network news will follow, so it goes longer on features and local sports, while the 10 must include a national wrap-up.

When I was in TV advertising, it was at an NBC affiliate when NBC was on a ratings slide, though we had more control of our lead-in show in the afternoon, which could help our five o’clock. Our network lead-ins went from flaccid to disastrous, but we did have Johnny Carson, who boosted our 10 o’clock news because people didn’t want to miss the monologue.

In selling ads, I referred to the five o’clock as the Blue Collar News, because the shift workers were home then, and the ten as the White Collar News because that’s when the boss got to watch.


Sherman’s Lagoon (KFS) sees the boys visiting a disappointingly modern London.

It reminds me of a Yank who wrote an impassioned essay in the Irish Echo because he’d arrived in Ireland expecting to find good musicians ready to make up a band and pubs eager to pay for said band to play.

Or at least willing to shut down the jukebox for him.

Sad as it may seem, however, Britain and Ireland are not living-history theme parks.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Quips and quibbles quaint

  1. Thanks, Mike, for re-animating a long-dormant brain cell in the movies lobe.

    Shortly after “Doctor Zhivago” hit the Great Silver Screen, director David Lean answered a complaint that he hadn’t filmed all of Pasternak’s novel by saying that if he _had_ filmed the book “word for word”, the movie would have been eighteen hours long.

    Nowadays, of course, that would mean “miniseries”.

    I’m putting that brain cell back on Standby.

  2. Sergey Bondarchuk’s eight-hour epic version of War and Peace is basically Tolstoy’s novel shot word-for-word. I bailed in the first half hour because it was like having someone read it to you instead of making a movie out of it. I can read it on my own, thanks.

    Movies and books are different art forms and require different approaches.

  3. “Modern” is one thing. “Global at the expense of local” is another (and surprisingly hard to encapsulate).

    Last time I was in Britain I found myself in a bookshop and asked the clerk if they had collections of British strip cartoons. She assured me they had both Garfield and Dilbert.

  4. You may be aware of this, but there is no single definitive version of “Swiss Family Robinson”. Various editors and translators have felt free to modify and add events.

    Of the three free versions I found on Apple’s book site, one is 816 kb, another is 1.2 Mb, and the third is 2.3 Mb.

    None, as far as I know, contain pirates.

  5. The Handmaid’s Tale is worth watching, the only real negative is that it has the same failing as any other well-made successful show: It’s going on too long, because it is successful.

    What should have been a one or two season program has now completed its fourth, with season five scheduled. That said, I have to give the writers credit for keeping it as interesting as possible, and season four happily turned out to be completely different from what I was expecting, nay dreading (superhero Offred singlehandedly takes down Gilead).

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