CSotD: Old fella stuff

Tim Campbell (WPWG)‘s joke notwithstanding, one of the first things we learned in business law is that a price tag is not binding and that both parties are free to bargain until some kind of consideration changes hands.

That’s obvious with the sticker on an automobile window, less so with a tag on a can of beans, and, while car salesmen are expected to dicker, grocery store cashiers are forbidden to do so.

To which I would add that I hated Progressive’s “Unbecoming your parents” ads when they started, but either they’ve polished their act or I’ve mellowed.

Either way, this is the sort of unhelpful thing your parents might tell you, but fasten your seatbelts, because it’s gonna be that kind of day.


It’s not entirely my fault. Peter Schrank normally comments on politics, but he just bought a guitar and offered this cartoon.

Which reminded me of the time I took the train from South Bend to Toronto to visit a girlfriend, and the customs people at Sarnia saw my guitar case and asked if I was going to be playing for money in Canada.

I kept insisting I was not, but they kept asking. After the third time, I offered to unpack it and play something.

They laughed and moved on to the next compartment. A smart choice.


This Big Nate (AMS) could also, with a few modifications, be taken from my life and one of my greatest achievements.

Our Earth Science teacher reminded us at the start of class that he was going to be checking our lab notebooks and a rustle of foreboding ran through the room.

But there was no need to fear: Underdog was here!

I asked him how it could be that the same side of the Moon was always facing the Earth and played dumb until all the chairs and desks were pushed up against the wall and he was circling me with his rotation matching his revolution.

When the bell rang, my classmates played it cool, and did not carry me out of the room on their shoulders, but it went on my permanent record.

Theirs, not the school’s.


Bob Englehart (Cagle) points out that the original Thanksgiving proclamation didn’t mention Pilgrims or Indians, despite how many of my generation was divided each November into people with construction paper buckles on their shoes and people with construction paper feathers on their heads.

I was out of college before I realized that the whole Thanksgiving thing was, as Englehart puts it, malarkey.

Every agrarian society in temperate climates celebrates the harvest, and the Pilgrims did mark such a feast, but the reason it became — to use another Bidenism — a BFD was that, after the Civil War, we needed workers for our factories and farmers to homestead the prairies.

So we concocted a story about how the Indians welcomed the Pilgrims and, by golly, we’re gonna welcome you, too!

Which wasn’t even true back then, if you were Italian or Jewish or Eastern European or, certainly, Asian.

But it was a lovely story and we needed people to grow those crops, once we’d cleared out the buffalo and … well, that part doesn’t quite match the whole friendship myth, does it?


I did what I could to correct things, and this David Horsey cartoon was always a favorite in my political cartooning presentations, since it not only tore back the curtain on the original myth but revealed what a lousy job we were currently doing of living up to our own bullshit.

This having come in the presentation well after I had pointed out that Nast went after Tweed as much because he was a Democrat as because he was a crook, and that George Patton despised Mauldin’s disheveled, unshaven GIs but the dogfaces loved him.

Half of understanding cartoons is understanding why they were drawn in the first place. Englehart and Horsey are on the side of the angels, but not everyone is.

When you recognize that, there is what the editors of Ms. Magazine used to call the “Click” where it all suddenly snaps into focus.


Speaking of cartoon appreciation, I’m in sympathy with Pam in today’s Brewster Rockit (Tribune), but it’s also an excuse to point out that you shouldn’t complain about newspapers reducing the sizes of cartoons if you’re reading the same cartoons on a smartphone.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, after all.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mt. Pleasant – Tribune)


(Wallace the Brave – AMS)

I’ve recently gone on a tear about how Wally and Eddie and Lumpy used to dress up for dates and such, so I won’t repeat that.

And I realize that, since Ari Melber grew up when Don Johnson was the epitome of hip, I should ignore his stubble and just be glad he doesn’t wear white sport coats and aqua shirts.

But I got a particular laff out of “Who are we trying to fool?” because the idea of dressing up to show respect is becoming as much of an anachronism as eating food off of ceramic dishes with metal implements.

However, as seen in Wallace, it is the time of year when we put on monkey suits and slick back our hair for those Christmas card photos, and there is fun, at those moments, in pretending to be Leonardo di Caprio or Daniel Craig.

Though you rarely come off as cool as you think you look. There’s a music school on the next block and they must have had recitals yesterday, because I saw a four-year-old on the sidewalk in a suit and tie.

Poor kid looked like a ventriloquist’s dummy.

This video is a bit garbled, but it’s my best shot at reminding you, and myself, that I had the great good fortune to hit my teen years at exactly the right moment.

(Granted, the line between Mods and Costume Freaks was flexible at best.)


8 thoughts on “CSotD: Old fella stuff

  1. Besides, the first thanksgiving wasn’t the First Thanksgiving. Try Berkeley Plantation, VA, December 4(?), 1619.

    I’m always amused by all the ‘firsts’ credited to the Pilgrims that were actually first in the Virginia Colony. Actually the one first that can be credited to Massachusetts is the first codified law in the colonies defining slavery (Virginia didn’t get theirs until 1661).

    For some reason they don’t brag about that one.

  2. Along with the tradition of celebrating a successful harvest, there’s that of giving thanks for a safe journey, a new home, etc. Thus the argument that the first “thanksgiving” in what is now the US was a mass in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565.

  3. Assuming that only white folks hold festivals in which they thank their gods for good things. I’ll bet we could trace this back even farther.

    Without touching the point about building a myth in order to lure immigrants, mind you.

  4. Big Nate and your example reminded me of my own past.

    Growing up in the DC area I went to school with a few politician’s kids.

    In Junior High, a Congressman gave a talk for a General Assembly. He opened the floor for questions.

    Being a somewhat aware kid, I asked him about a specific bill I heard fleetingly on the news, House Bill 1.

    At the time, this was a sweeping proposal to reform the criminal justice laws.

    So not only did the Congressman have to first define the bill, but then stake out his position as well as other points.

    It took another 20 minutes and extended into the next period. My peers thanked me profusely.

  5. A cousin of mine once told me he had a teacher who could always be sidelined for the rest of any class period by asking him a question about God.

    I think he was a math teacher.

  6. I once asked the elderly nun who taught Latin why our girls’ Catholic high school did not have a May crowning. (May crowning is singing hymns to the Virgin Mary and placing a crown of flowers on a statue of Mary, and yes, the Church absorbed some fine Pagan rituals)
    She got that wistful “things haven’t been the same since the English mass” look and said it was too bad–but we could have a May crowning in class.
    So for the next several weeks we spent five minutes of each class practicing a Latin hymn, and then most of an entire class having a May crowning. Gratias, classmates.

  7. When’s the last time you saw an actual price tag on a can o’ beans, or anything else at the grocery store? I’ll bet the price[s] could be raised and no one’d know the difference.

  8. Machs nix. Whether the price is on a tag or on the shelf is irrelevant — legally, it’s still only a suggestion. But the cartoon showed a guy using a tagging machine, so I went with that. I still see them some places.

Comments are closed.