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CSotD: Sunday Funday

Stan’s probably right in this Pros & Cons (KFS). I hope that everyone is watching the world crumble, but I suppose I take the role of the optimist, thinking realistically that people don’t generally change until they hit rock bottom.

And hoping they hit bottom is probably a pessimist’s most optimistic take.

 

But Paul Fell is perhaps the true realist here, because he doesn’t expect the American public to become engaged at all, as long as there are chips in the cupboard and the cable doesn’t go out.

It’s a safe bet. We had one of the most consequential Presidential Elections in history in 2020, and a record turnout, but, the Census Department reports, a third of eligible voters still stayed home.

Well, la-di-da.

If there’s any comfort in that, it’s the realization of how much of life these dismal drones miss out on, though, of course, they don’t know it.

Huxley imagined a world in which test-tube babies were programmed to accept their place in society. I have no idea why he thought this would ever be necessary.

But, hey, I’m just an optimist trying to come across as a realist.

.

Maybe, like Agnes (Creators), I should lighten up and become a poet. Which I did, or, at least, like Agnes, I managed to look like one.

It’s an old gag but never fails: I dressed up like a poet in a dark jacket and long scarf, mostly taking my cue from Richard Burton in Candy, which had come out that year.

I got up on stage at the campus coffeehouse and explained that Hal David never gets credit for the beauty of his lyrics, that they are often overshadowed by Burt Bacharach’s symphonic music. And that I intended to set things right by reading them as the poems they are.

For instance:

A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight
 
A room is still a room, even when there’s nothin’ there but gloom
But a room is not a house and a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
And one of us has a broken heart

It went very well, chiefly, I think, because a chair is, indeed, not a house.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Big Nate – AMS)

(Zits – KFS)

One of the disadvantages of being ADD is that nobody will play Trivial Pursuit with you because you’ve got so much random garbage floating through your brain ready for quick recall.

However, it did come in handy at test time, not simply for rapid recall but for a tendency to look behind the curtain.

This is a bad thing when it comes to action movies, because you’re always focusing on the special effects rather than the storyline.

But it’s a great thing for test-taking, where it’s not important to know the answer as long as you understand the questioner.

I would question Big Nate today on this basis: Not that his casual attitude rings false, but because my experience was that his classmates — the honor roll kids — walked into test trembling over all the people they would disappoint if they didn’t know the products traded by the Hanseatic League, and what it would do to their GPA.

They’d come out in a sweat, swearing they’d failed it, which, of course, they hadn’t. But, then, neither had I, which raises an objection to Zits, as well, since I can’t picture Jeremy being the type who feels pressure, either.

As for a test’s impact on my GPA, report cards were six weeks away. I couldn’t focus on things that were six hours away.

Besides, it would be hard for me to mess up a test so badly that it lowered my GPA.

I didn’t say it was a perfect system. Just stress-free.

 

Speaking of imperfect systems, Real Life Adventures (AMS) is funny in itself, though I think I might be more tempted to switch to some alternative station, given the half century gap in my age and that of the valet I’m trying to impress.

But it put me in mind of another piece of wisdom the source of which I’ve long since forgotten but the wisdom of which remains largely intact: If you’re buying a used car, turn on the radio and punch the tuning buttons.

It’s not infallible, but, if you turn up two NPR stations, you can be relatively sure the car got regular oil changes and was driven at or below the speed limit.

On the other hand, if they’re all country, there’s a good chance the car was even better maintained, though it might not have been driven as conservatively.

If it’s hard rock, let the valet buy that one. He’s been practicing for a car that wants to be driven like that!

 

Paying attention to comics history comes to the fore on today’s Lockhorns (KFS), because, a few years ago, it would have been a variation on that gag: “Someone stole my wife’s credit card.” “Did you report it?” “No, they’re spending less than she did!”

The strip has evolved, however, and these days their incapacity is mutual, with Leroy sometimes coming out on top, Loretta being the winner other times and a lot of panels in which they share a life of quiet frustration.

Or maybe I’ve just learned to relate to them: “Who steals my purse steals trash,” Iago said, and I agree with him, though perhaps not for the reasons he gave.

 

Finally today, a reminder from Arlo and Janis (AMS) that quiet frustration is mostly a choice. Being alive and having lots of food is reason enough to celebrate.

Particularly when you can assemble a feast from flour, refritos, a few rashers of bacon and some eggs.

Knowing how to cook is both vital and sexy.

Not to mention sparing you from this tragic heartache:

 

Community Comments

#1 Rich Furman
February/6/2022
@ 7:46 am

Zits – Despite the day to day portrayal of Jeremy is a typical, slovenly, clueless teen it is strip canon that he is a straight A student.

#2 Neal Skrenes
February/6/2022
@ 12:50 pm

If you’ve never experienced “test anxiety” you don’t understand what it is.

I managed to process all through elementary Jr & High school without doing so. I heard friends describe it, never doubted them (well maybe a little) THEN in college sophomore year I studied hard for a chemistry test- read the _first question_ and my mind offered up . . . *nothing*!

“Well ok”. I thought, “I’ll just skip that question and come back to it latter”- “that’s what you do; go find something you remember and answer that”.

Next question- another blank; I paged through practically the entire test before I found a question I believed I could answer correctly.

Flipping back and forth I completed _most_ but not all of that test. A first for me.

I finally _actually_ understood what my friends were talking about.

Yes “freezing” on an exam is actually “a thing”.

#3 Mike Peterson
February/6/2022
@ 1:09 pm

Not denying it’s a thing. I was denying that Nate’s classmates would be so blase, since most “good” students tend to freak out at least a little.

As for Jeremy, it seems a mile from his normal personality. I’ve known some pretty laid-back honor students, but they were laid back. Maybe “Scholarman” is his secret identity.

#4 gezorkin
February/6/2022
@ 2:41 pm

Long, LONG ago, Steve Allen had a bit where he read rock ‘n’ roll lyrics aloud as if they were poetry.

One of the first, maybe THE first, was the lyrics to ‘Get A Job’

Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip

Mum mum mum mum mum mum

Get a job

Went over well with the audiences for a few weeks.

Probably led to Sha Nah Nah, the band.

#5 Christopher Riesbeck
February/6/2022
@ 4:32 pm

Jeremy’s status as a student has varied over the years. Many years ago there was a sequence where a student showed him the site where she was buying her straight A essays. He debated for several days then one day ended with an ominous mouse click. The next day had papers being passed out, with an F and “not your work” for the straight A student and C+ “sadly is your work” for honest Jeremy. And in 2015 he bought homework on his mother’s credit card and only got a C+.

#6 Denny Lien
February/6/2022
@ 5:08 pm

“Long, LONG ago, Steve Allen had a bit where he read rock ‘n’ roll lyrics aloud as if they were poetry.”

Even longer ago, BOB AND RAY had “Mary Margaret McGoon” reading college anthems in the same manner in a semi-regular “Say the Song” segment.

I always thought the one from my undergrad college (Moorhead MN. State) would have done well on the pretentious meter; it opens:

Where flows the river from prarires to the frozen north
Builded our fathers a school to stand for years to be
That from its portals its sons and daughters might go forth
Throughout the nations till the truth be spread that sets men free….

(Hey, I just trying to kill four years studying EngLit and getting drunk on weekends with my friends; don’t put all of that on me, song….)

#7 Bob Crittenden
February/6/2022
@ 11:15 pm

Mike – was this a CSoD anniversary column?

#8 Mike Peterson
February/7/2022
@ 5:18 am

Bob — not quite, but stay tuned. Eleventh anniversaries are not required to be observed on the exact date.

#9 Mark Jackson
February/7/2022
@ 10:38 am

We’re loyal to you, Illinois,
We’re Orange and Blue, Illinois;
We’ll back you to stand
‘Gainst the best in the land,
For we know you have sand, Illinois,
Rah! Rah!

#10 Michael Dooley
February/9/2022
@ 3:32 pm

to put aside the post-2003 Phil Spector for a second (impossible, obviously), i’ll never forget witnessing the early-1960s Open End program (recounted in Tom Wolfe’s profile of Spector) in which David Susskind tried to mock the Crystals’ “Da Doo Ron Ron” by reading the lyrics, and Spector’s perfect rebuttal was simply to start drumming out the beat on the coffee table. ¶ it was right then that i realized, at a tender young age, that one can simultaneously be both a liberal icon and completely clueless.

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