CSotD: Funny stuff, intentional and otherwise

Chip Bok (Creators) was likely being sarcastic with this one, but the comments indicate that a whole lot of the wrong readers liked his cartoon.

Having recently been puzzled by the idea that maybe Michael Ramirez had had a Saul-of-Tarsus moment, I was prepared for this, but I laughed anyway. Sarcasm can be tricky, and there is always the danger that people will go with what you wrote instead of what you meant.

Particularly if what you wrote makes sense and what you meant is a stretch.

It has occurred to me, having been to more than one demonstration in my day, that there are probably a lot of people who followed the hard-core insurrectionists up the stairs and into the Capitol out of excitement rather than terrorist passion, and, as I understand it, the ones who realize this, who simply stood around in the chaos without doing much of anything, and who have since regretted being swept up in the moment, are getting probation.

The current parallel being that there are also a number of Republican legislators swept up in the moment and I would extend that same blend of mercy and forgiveness when they demonstrate that they have come to their senses.

Voting in favor of free and open elections would be an excellent opportunity to do just that.


Mt. Pleasant (Tribune) touches on that topic of people being swept up in cults with this slap at Facebook, and it comes, coincidentally, at a moment when a worldwide consortium of factcheckers have written an open letter to Mark Zuckenberg asking him to stem the lies, distortions and harmful propaganda on his platform.

It’s no joke: The impact of this megaphone for spreading paranoid falsehoods has varied from promoting quack covid cures in this country to touching off rape, murder and genocide in parts of Asia.

Facebook also played a role both in spreading bogus election fraud beliefs here and in the organization of the attempted coup.

But I think the second panel here sums up Zuckerberg’s interest in all that.

Which means he may be less concerned over the factcheckers’ letter at the moment than he is over the Federal Trade Commission getting the green light to haul him up over his (alleged) anti-trust practices.


Facts, of course, are slippery things, particularly in this era of “alternative facts,” and F-Minus (AMS) points out that public opinion is far more important, for instance, than nutritional science.

As a former marketer, I have to tip my hat to the Pork Producers Council or whoever masterminded the rise of bacon over the past few decades. There was a point in the 1970s when it was seen as a toxic combination of fat, salt and carcinogens, but it has clearly bounced back not simply to “part of a healthy breakfast” but to the level of an absolute obsession.

The meatpackers may have reduced some of the nitrites and nitrates, but their main effort has been in putting the stuff in everything from hamburgers to dog treats and drumming up excitement over it.

The result seems to be a nation divided into a small group of vegans and a much larger group of people who subsist entirely on a diet of fat and sodium.


Mind you, I’m used to facts that are hard to believe. Betty (AMS) is riffing on company parties, but today’s strip sent me back to an odd moment at a college mixer in the fall of 1967, my freshman year.

Trying to mix the 1500 girls from St. Mary’s with the 7,000 boys at Notre Dame wasn’t exactly oil and water, but simple math tells you where ND frosh ended up, so they’d bring in busloads of girls from all-women colleges so that they could also prefer to dance with seniors, juniors and, if things became desperate, sophomores.

So here I was, wandering lonely as a clod, when the guy singing lit into something familiar — probably “Cherry, Cherry” — and I looked up and realized it was Neil Diamond, in tight black jeans, a scarlet shirt and a ducktail haircut.

I suddenly felt I wasn’t the most pathetic person in the room after all, and, looking back, I guess the ’60s weren’t his best moment.

We’ve both come up in the world since then, him perhaps a bit more than me, thanks not to the Pork Producers Council but to Columbia Records.

Which just goes to show you.

As Churchill told those schoolboys, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty.”

There’s no telling where you’ll end up.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Real Life Adventures – AMS)


(Arlo and Janis – AMS)

More history of music here because, back in the Olden Days, a fellow who understood component stereo systems could rule the world.

Our house in Boulder — home to a core of some two dozen people plus whoever wandered by — included one fellow who would have been our mixmaster and who later went on (not kidding) to an executive position with Muzak, where he got to put together professional mixtapes with a variety of themes.

But he was overshadowed by a for-real disk jockey who worked at the local underground station, KRNW, and who had polished his skills at Radio Lai Khê in Vietnam, which wasn’t much at all like “Hello, Vietnam,” since even the DJs had to grab their rifles and take a turn on the perimeter.

Both our guys programmed endless music on our collection of turntables and cassette and reel-to-reel tape recorders, plus our assembled shelf-loads of LPs.

We also had some bodacious speakers, which would have gotten us a noise ticket July 4, 1970, except that one of the cops was thrilled to meet “Wake Up, Jason,” the DJ he’d listened to on his transistor radio every morning when he was lying in the mud somewhere out beyond Lai Khê.

Proof that God loves rock and roll and prefers it cranked up.

It was a long time ago. These days, you only need to know what to ask Alexa; she’ll take it from there.

There’s still room for the real thing, of course, but anyone thinking of starting a band should be required to watch this first:


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Funny stuff, intentional and otherwise

  1. Mike,

    Wow! Thank you for ” . .wandering, lonely as a clod.” It went immediately in my swipe file.

    p.s. The Commitments is a favorite movie. Superb soundtrack.

  2. Loved the Neil Diamond story. He’s had an interesting, kinda paradoxical career. Just when you think of him as Brill Bldg. journeyman hacking out pop hits for the Monkees, he turns up in “The Last Waltz” and you think, “Wait a minute, was Neil Diamond COOL?!” Some good songs, some disastrous career moves (“The Jazz Singer” remake?). I think the best you can say for Neil is he seldom said “No,” including to whoever organized the Notre Dame mixer in 1967. Not a bad quality, really.

    The Commitments is great.

    “Wandering lonely as a clod” is greater.

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