CSotD: Laff Break

Jason Chatfield takes a shot at audience members who seem to wish they’d been the ones invited to speak on the stage, or perhaps to conduct the interview. The usual comment here would be “There’s one in every crowd,” but there seem to be at least three or four.

Audience mikes should have an automatic eight-second cutoff. If you can’t ask your question in that time, it probably wasn’t relevant, and the nice thing is, the people in line would only need to see it happen once before they’d start mentally pruning their own question to fit.

True Story: At a presentation I attended at a university not to be named, a student asked “I came in late. Who are you?”

This would have been funnier if I hadn’t, at the time, been enrolled in their graduate program, because it made me question the company I was keeping.

Which question was answered two or three years later when the program lost its accreditation.

But, hey, I had maintained a 4.0.


Ben (WMAM) shifts away from its title character, who is old, to his son-in-law, who is not.

Having been both, I can assure Nathan that he has nothing to worry about. I remember the days when I was in my 30s and had an alarm set in my office to remind me to start closing up shop at 12:30 am. Not only did I need to be on deck in the morning, but I had learned that anything written much after that would be garbage anyway.

However, I didn’t have to worry about Old Me kicking Young Me in the butt, because, by 12:30, Old Me would have been asleep for about four hours.

Dreaming of the days when bed was more fun than work.


Melding the above themes of college and old age, today’s Lockhorns (KFS) reminds me of the dear old days of racoon coats and flivvers, or perhaps denim shirts and flower power, but still back far enough that college football standings were determined by polls, one of writers and a competing poll of coaches, but not, as today, by some corporate algorithm that is supposed to make everything more objective but does about as well as anyone who has experienced the algorithms of Facebook and Twitter might expect.

The AP and UPI polls came out Sunday night, but on Saturday, fans of a ranked team would be in the stadium watching the game while calculating the likely shift should their team win or lose, and also hearing current scores of other ranked teams announced on the public address system.

Which means that, if your team had been ranked #3 the previous week and was currently winning, and you heard that #1 was losing and #2 was enmeshed in a tie with a low-ranked team, it made sense to start chanting “We’re #1!” because it was at least conceivable that you would be.

Bearing in mind that not only was teaching math still legal, but, at most colleges, taking it was compulsory.


The term “schadenfreude” was not in vogue in 1968, but finding out who really was #1 was often less fun than reading Steve Harvey and finding out who most certainly wasn’t.

I gather his column persists under new management, but the current ranking system has made the whole thing irrelevant and a bit tiresome.

Consarn it.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(F Minus – AMS)


(Next Door Neighbors – AMS)

Just to prove I’m not entirely an Old Fart, here’s a pair of gags to get you ready for Friday, which is Earth Day.

F Minus seems to carry more truth than humor: We do fire up the car far too readily, since it takes such little effort.

The concept can be expanded to point out that we’d still have neighborhood groceries and general stores if the triumph of the automobile hadn’t made centrally-located supermarkets and shopping malls economically feasible.

Next Door Neighbors, meanwhile, may be celebrating National Lawn and Garden Month, which is April, but it seems to be in conflict with No Mow May, a newer event aimed at preserving honeybees and other helpful critters by letting things grow and provide food and shelter for them.

I’ll be cantankerous enough to note that, depending on where you live, letting your lawn tend itself through May might require a Bush Hog or at least a machete by June, but, then, the movement is getting some traction in Maine, and one of my neighbors there was a competitive scythe-wielder who I’m sure would welcome the outcome.

And, yes, I am amused by the fact that the Maine city drawing attention for celebrating No Mow May is Rockland. I have had many lawns in my day that might well have been called “Rockland.”

I’m less amused by the way Earth Day, which began my junior year in college, was once a time when groups scoured the roadsides, woods and riverbeds for trash but now seems more like a notation on the calendar and a shrug.

My grandfather, who was highly enough placed in the steel industry to know, observed in those days that, if the companies had put the money into cleaning up that they put into fighting the EPA, Pittsburgh would have sparkled, while Abbie Hoffman said of Earth Day, “Sure, I’ll pick up the Dixie Cup. Who the f*** is gonna pick up Con Edison?”

Well, a half century later, Picksburg is looking pretty good and the Midwest has mostly quit dropping acid rain into my Adirondack lakes.

Maybe, as with the fellow in F Minus, it’s simply becoming embedded in our daily lives.

Assuming we can recapture and hold the courts.


One environmental triumph in recent years is the elimination of smoking at bingo games, which seems enough to make Bub’s innovative approach in the ongoing Betty (AMS) story arc unnecessary.

At one point, we had our boys enrolled in the local Catholic elementary school, not for religious reasons but because the kindergarten teacher at the public school hit kids and she wasn’t the least problem there.

Anyway, to reduce the cost of tuition, my wife volunteered us for Bingo Nights, then declared that she couldn’t stand the smoke and left the task to me.

When that didn’t kill me, we went ahead and got divorced.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: Laff Break

  1. This isn’t related to today’s post, but I thought you might be interested.

    A while back you showed an example of African Dodger used in Wellington’s “The Worst is Yet To Come,” probably from the 1910s. Today’s “Nancy Classics” on gocomics has another example of it. The original is from Jun/28/1949.

    While the Nancy strip doesn’t directly refer to an African, Bushmiller’s use of a dark-skinned head is unmistakable. I think the practice had been banned in most places by then, but the comic suggests it was still part of the collective memory.

  2. Nice to see the shoutout to Steve Harvey’s “The Bottom Ten”. He also had another humorous column in the L.A. Times called “Only in L.A.” It documented weekly some of the wacky things and happenings in Southern California.

    My favorite line from “The Bottom Ten” concerned one college team’s successful futility, enabling it to break in the list of mis-fortunates, “because’”, Harvey wrote, “as everyone knows, Missouri loves company.”

    It was a sad day when the Times laid Harvey off.

  3. Occasionally gocomics shows the original date of Nancy, but this one only has month and day. To locate the original date, I scanned newspapers that I knew carried Nancy in the early 1950s (because other gocomics Nancys are in that time frame). Eventually I found it, in 1949, in the Pittsburgh Press (pg 36) and in the Washington (PA) Observer (pg 14). Links Below.

    In the Press the head is unshaded — only a little around the edge. It’s hard to know if the original had been modified to remove shading, or it the shading got lost in the microfilm or scanning process. In the Observer the shading is slightly more evident than in the Press. I see *some* surviving shading in other comics in both papers. So maybe the syndicate offered an unshaded version of this comic? Is that even likely? Hard to know for certain.


  4. Looking deeper, the stripes on Sluggo’s shirt are similar to the shading, and they did not survive the preservation process in either of the Press and Observer versions.

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