CSotD: Mostly laffs


Today’s Non Sequitur (AMS) offers my favorite: A combination of humor and potential for serious thought.

It’s only funny if you recognize the blend of fact and folklore that runs not only throughout most religions but most ancient histories as well.

Fundamentalists on either side simply don’t get it. One group feels you should believe absolutely everything, while the other end is equally sure that, if George Washington didn’t chop down the cherry tree, it means George Washington never existed.

Well, they at least feel that way about Jesus.

Obviously, George Washington existed, and, just as obviously, there was a war in Troy. You don’t have to believe that Ares and Aphrodite took an active role in that war in order to accept archaeology as real.

I often ponder what various peoples believe in a literal sense, mostly when I’m reading religious texts that are from outside “The Book,” but also, for instance, when I’m reading ancient science.

Could you really be that close to figuring out atomic theory or the circumference of the (round) Earth and still believe there were gods on Olympus actively intervening in mortal affairs?

The best explanation came when I re-edited Old Man stories collected from Cree, Blackfeet and Ojibwe sources by Frank Linderman.

Here’s what I told teachers:

Evidently, Linderman’s friends did not include fundamentalists of either stripe.

Wiley is correct that you can lead the True Believers around by the nose, but, then again, I don’t much trust the judgment of the True Unbelievers, either.

I go by the old Irish explanation of fairyfolk: “I don’t believe in them, but they’re there.”


To indulge another personal take, I did suggest a few days ago that you watch this Wallace the Brave (AMS) storyline and it’s turning out even better than I had hoped.

And I don’t think that you need to have padlocked the head counselor’s door and put “Surfin’ Bird” on the camp’s PA system at 4 in the morning to enjoy Wallace and Spud’s latest adventure, though it helps me.

The main storyline aside, this look at Amelia and Rose is evidence of the depth of character Will Henry has brought to his strip. The entire arc starts here.


Still in the personal-take category, today’s Lio (AMS) got a smile because about ten days ago, a small spider built a web around the nightlight behind my bathroom door, and she was doing such a bang-up job of attracting bugs at night that I let it stay.

Then a larger spider joined her and expanded the web, whereupon they began catching even more pests.

However, I haven’t seen the smaller spider in a few days.

So I’ve named the large spider “Rite Aid.”


Frazz (AMS)‘s current arc about flannel shirts (which starts here) has been fun, but today’s brought me back a few decades, to when the Pacific Northwest first began to attract pilgrims, and those who had already arrived flooded the nascent Internet with messages about how much it rains there, hoping to prevent Californication.

Fat chance. I flew into Seattle in the late-80s and, seeing the sweep of housing developments below, realized the war had been lost.

I think Portland is still probably okay, but they wouldn’t have embraced “Portlandia” if Frazz weren’t at least a little on target.

Meanwhile, I would point out that it sure does get cold in that other Portland.

You’d hate it there.


Ben‘s take on bagging leaves doesn’t impact me personally, since leaves are my landlords’ problem and they are believers in letting the leaves be a habitat until spring. (They also plant milkweed for the monarchs).

However, I do have a dog, and there is a growing interest in biodegradable poop bags, which makes me contemplate this cartoon with foreboding. It’s not so much that I expect the bag to disintegrate on the spot, but since it has to sit in my pocket until the trail’s end, I don’t want it to be too permeable.

BTW, as the first bits of cold weather have arrived, someone at the park made a wisecrack the other day about “organic handwarmers,” but I’ll spare readers of refined sensitivity and not repeat it here.


Speaking of the park, the owners of one of my dog’s best friends got engaged over the weekend, but said they have no particular plans except something at a date to be determined that will be guaranteed to disappoint a whole lot of people.

Though this Jeremy Nguyen cartoon from the New Yorker suggests it probably won’t.


The Duplex (AMS) hits on a bit of truth, though perhaps one that’s fading a teeny-tiny bit as more women become interested in sports.

It’s a development I’m sorry to have been too late for.

I’ll confess that, when firstborn was in the womb, I kinda hoped he would be a boy not “to carry on the name” but because I didn’t want to have to fight for my daughter’s right to be who she wanted to be.

I needn’t have worried: By the time he was old enough to play youth sports, there were plenty of girls out there on the field.

And by high school, one of his cute blonde classmates had a fastball that caused the town to have to reinforce the backstop at our neighborhood park.

On the other hand, I doubt she was interested in losers, so the cartoon holds up.


But F-Minus (AMS) suggests that, if the We’ll-Kill-You-If-You-Call-Us-Terrorists crowd has its way, we won’t have to worry about our kids being forced to be athletic anymore, just as they won’t be forced to know anything about history or science.

And if they sign up for AP English Classes in their senior year, they’ll be able to substitute “Pat the Bunny” for “Beloved.”


Though if you feel we should all sometimes face reality instead of cocooning in our safe places, this book has leapt to the top of my “next read” list, based on this explanation of what cartoons they included and what they didn’t.

Here’s where to find it.


And here’s what you get when you try to keep a smart kid safe from reality:



7 thoughts on “CSotD: Mostly laffs

  1. In 1968, Charles Preston put out a collection called “Taboo,” full of funny but unpublishable cartoons. It’s kind of interesting to see what was considered offensive 50+ years ago.

    And I have a saying similar to the thoughts of your Irish ancestors: I don’t believe in the Evil Eye, but I think the Evil Eye believes in me.

  2. Dave Breger published But That’s Unprintable in 1955, a paperback that included such innocent unprintable cartoons as a naked little girl saying to a little boy bundled up in heavy winter clothes, ‘We women have layers of fat. We don’t feel the cold so much.’ Or an enthusiastic young priest exalting, ‘We prayed for rain and got it! Not bad for a little church like us!’
    One of Breger’s cartoons was okayed by General Eisenhower after Stars and Stripes nixed it.

  3. Your mention of “…the Pacific Northwest…” was the second I’ve noticed in as many days.

    Whenever I hear this, I can’t help but try to unpack it:

    (Seems to fit the definition of an oxymoron.)

    “The Pacific (Ocean) Northwest” would locate Kamchatka.

    Pacific NorthEAST could describe Alaska and British Columbia — less so Oregon and Washington, which are are in western North America.

    Oregon and Washington are at best, “Contiguous 48 Northwest”.

  4. Nel, a history reminder: Our first “Northwest” was what we now call the Great Lakes region — the Northwest Ordinance that covered its governance was before the Louisiana Purchase, when the area was our most northwestern territory.

    Once the US included the Missouri and Columbia valleys, we had a new Northwest, this one on the Pacific. Hence the name.

    (Don’t take geographic names too literally. New York is more than 350 years old. It should probably be called “Newer York.”)

  5. Hey, kids, comic strips! 😉

    When I was a kid growing up in South Dakota, I could never figure out why we were called the “Midwest” when we were obviously smack in the middle of the country. And to hear “Midwest” applied to Chicago, which was halfway to the Atlantic from me?

    Of course there was a time when “West” applied to everything on the left side of the Appalachians….

    I figured it all out later.

  6. Then there is living in one of the four Canadian provinces east of Quebec and Ontario and having those two referred to as Eastern Canada. Yeah, there are historical reason, but still!

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