CSotD: Sunday Funnies and Not-So-Funnies

Monty (AMS) has been having various misadventures in the Arctic, and here, as noted in that fourth panel, he’s having his leg pulled by the locals.

Do the natives have 50 words for snow? According to this, yes but also no, since, to begin with, there’s more than one Eskimo/Aleut language and 50 was a rough guess to begin with.

And so what? English has multiple words for the stuff, too: Powder, slush, corn and so forth.

Mostly, it’s one of those condescending myths that “we” (real people) make up about “them” (exotic subspecies).

The in-your-face racist aspect is “Confucius say …” jokes, but well-intentioned people sincerely ascribe all sorts of faux-wisdom to Master K’ung that he never said.

Jokes and fortune-cookie philosophy aside, you should be skeptical of 19th century journalism when it comes to speeches from “them.”

Not only are the speeches of Chief Joseph and Seattle largely reconstructions of what maybe they said, but Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman” speech is more familiar in the minstrel-show dialect fabricated later than in the plain version reported at the time — Not surprising since she grew up in Connecticut and New York, far from Stephen Fosterland.

And I was interviewing the tribal historian at Standing Rock once and asked him about something I’d read in a biography of Sitting Bull, which was that religion was so interwoven in Lakota culture that there was no word for it in their language.

He laughed and said, “No, we’ve got a word for ‘religion.'”

Don’t believe everything “we” say about “them.” (We’ll deal with Mitch tomorrow.)


Today’s Bizarro (KFS) touched off a secondary thought. The nice thing about Wal-Mart is that at least they stick around after their initial blitzkrieg on local businesses.

By contrast, some major pharmacy chains are beginning to close stores, having long since killed off the old-school local pharmacist who could actually compound drugs as well as make a mean chocolate malt.

The pharmacists who work behind the counter at these chains still have to know a lot, but they aren’t being paid a lot, and they aren’t often equipped back there to make prescriptions, even if they know how.

So when I was reviewing my Medicare pharmacy benefits last month, I found myself being encouraged to buy prescriptions by mail, and my first reaction was “What, and deprive a local source?”

And my second reaction was “Who? CVS? Rite-Aid? Some major grocery chain?”

When my kids were little, we did have a local drug store, but the chains killed it, and that was 40 years ago.

Prescriptions are too expensive — Thanks, Joe and Kyrsten! — but it’s not the person behind the counter who’s making the profits.


Sometime the Juxtapositions juxtapose themselves

Here’s how Dogs of C-Kennel and F Minus lined up on my GoComics page this morning.


Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Rod Emmerson)


(Half-Full – AMS)

This pair popped up considerably farther apart.

I’m convinced that a lot of the empty shelves in stores are caused by people grabbing up more than they need, whether you call it “panic-buying” or “leisurely stockpiling.”

Having been shut down for four days in the 1998 Ice Storm — and I sure got off easy — I’m sympathetic to people who realize they’re low on batteries, for example, though I wasn’t sitting there bundled up wishing I had more paper towels.

Still, I even laughed at myself then for wondering if it was safe to go to the local firehouse where they were going to distribute dry ice, given that I was surrounded by a lot more wet ice than I needed at the moment. I emptied my freezer into a laundry basket and stuck it outside the back door.

Anyway, I blame Joe Biden!

Though I’m not entirely sure how he managed to foul things up for Rod Emmerson, who is in New Zealand.


In other things Antipodal, Arctic Circle (KFS) brings up Australia’s continuing fight against cane toads, which reminded me that taking a games-oriented approach to the dilemma didn’t go over so well when it was tried in earnest.

Rather than go into it all, I’ll simply repost what I told my young readers back in 2005:

As noted (you can embiggen it here), bringing in cane toads to eliminate beetles was a dumb idea in the first place, since the beetles attacked Queensland’s sugar cane higher than the toads could reach.

But, while golfing them infuriated animal rights people, they truly are a disaster, well past the area on that old map and now into Western Australia.


I wasn’t able to find any stories about drone strikes against them, but I did find a story about attempts to save the northern quoll, seen here (photo: Mitch Reardon), that involved drones.

It seems the quolls have been eating the cane toads and then dying from their venom. One solution being tried in Western Australia is to catch the toads by hand, kill them (humanely, of course) and then grind them into little sausages impregnated with a nausea-inducing chemical.

The sausages are then dropped by drones in the expected path of cane toad spread, in hopes that quolls will eat the sausages, vomit, and thus acquire an aversion to toads. No, you can’t make this stuff up, but you don’t have to, and, well, if it works, as they say down under, good on ya.

A more long-term approach is under study on an island off the northwest coast, where they are interbreeding the quolls there with quolls from Queensland who have survived the toad infestation by natural selection: They don’t like them.

Early results suggest that the offspring of this hybridization inherit this distaste, so are less likely to eat toads and die.

So I’m very grateful to Alex Hallatt for having inspired me to update my knowledge of cane toad control, but it hardly balances her bringing to mind that we gave the kids this handheld Frogger for Christmas, 1982, which was before such games came with mute buttons. And, lord, it wasn’t even played this pleasantly.

Here’s an informative and absolutely unforgettable documentary on the cane toad infestation, but it’s 45 minutes long. I promise you’ll enjoy it, but if you haven’t the time, here’s a sort of trailer:


One thought on “CSotD: Sunday Funnies and Not-So-Funnies

  1. Much closer to home (assuming your home is in the southern USA) is the cane toad invasion of Florida. As well as many other animals, from Cuban tree frogs to pythons.

    RE: The weather comic. I have stated often since moving to Florida, that meteorologists exaggerate the hurricane warnings to encourage panic buying; I saw it happen during H. Irma (9/2017), my first hurricane experience, and have seen it with every hurricane since. I PARTICULARLY noticed it when Publix grocery stores sent out hurricane supply email warnings; that certainly confirmed my suspicions!

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