CSotD: Laff Break

In my defense, unlike Wallace the Brave (AMS), I’m retired and don’t have to know what day it is.

The post office is closed from noon Saturday until Monday, which is when the Chinese restaurants and barber shops are closed. That’s about it.

Now that I’m retired, I don’t get a haircut very often and, as for mail, financial stuff happens online, so those things don’t matter the way they did a few years ago. (Though the garlic eggplant is still excellent.)

But I didn’t always know when I was his age, either. Fortunately, there was always a Rose explaining how to organize things, and, over the years, I learned the value of a friend like that.

If I needed to know what day it was, I’d ask her.


Speaking of having checks no longer show up in my mailbox, this Moderately Confused (AMS) reminded me to go online and check out the new apartment complex about to open down the street.

It has studio apartments beginning at $2,950, which doesn’t include the parking fee. The Census Bureau puts median monthly income here at $3,556.25, so little piggy would only have to put in about 83% of his gross income.

The joke being that the old rule suggesting you budget 30% for housing is dead, because, these days, people have student loans and, besides, should be setting aside money for retirement. Also, that was supposed to be 30% of take home pay, not gross income.

So that’s pretty funny.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Flying McCoys – AMS)


(Mother Goose and Grimm – KFS)

Neither of these knocked me out of my chair, but their coming up together did cause me to think about the Bat Signal.

Even as a kid, the Bat Signal was problematic because I wasn’t very old before I realized that Bruce Wayne would have to be looking out the window to notice it.

This was also the point at which I began to spot a few holes in Superman’s story, and it didn’t help that, when kids would write in asking how he cut his hair and so forth, the explanations from the editors were, shall we say, less than convincing.

Just in the nick of time, people like Spiderman entered the scene, and if the Mighty Marvel Bullpen didn’t come up with completely logical rationales, they did include a wink of the eye to suggest you just enjoy the comics.

So now — about 60 years after I stopped reading Batman — it finally occurred to me that, if I were going to rob a bank in Gotham City, I’d do it on a clear night, since, even if Bruce Wayne spent all night gazing out the window, the Bat Signal wouldn’t work unless there were clouds.

And that robbing the bank during the day would be another excellent plan.

(Note: The Batphone first appeared in June, 1964, nearly two years after Spidey debuted and nearly three after the launch of the Fantastic Four. Too little, too late, DC.)


And Gary McCoy gets extra credit for this mashup of two comic strip perennials.


Speaking of technology and signaling devices, Pros and Cons (KFS) seems to be mocking my relationship with Alexa, dammit.

I’m not all that dependent on her, but I do ask her for the weather as I’m dressing to take the dog to the park in the morning, with the result that, just as many dog owners have to spell the word “W-A-L-K” to avoid chaos, I’ve just realized that the word “Alexa” gets an alert head tilt.

BTW, if you want to know what she really thinks of you, say “Alexa, play some music” and see what she picks out.

The dog isn’t the only one in your house staying one step ahead of you.


More technology: Betty (AMS) caught Jr checking out his phone under the table, which is kind of hard to miss when the meal is hamburgers and corn on the cob (Well played, Rasmussen & Delainey!)

I’m grateful to have been empty-nested before cell phones became universal, though we often broke the no-TV rule, at least as often as I was able to get the meal on the table while the news was still on.

I wish “Nothing is the new something” were as funny as it ought to be. As it is, it’s a painful contrast to the 1957 best-seller, “Where Did You Go? Out. What Did You Do? Nothing” in which the author recalled childhood games and bemoaned their increasing disappearance.

Back in them thar days, “Nothing” truly was a cool hand.


There’s a lot of work-from-home/return to the office commentary, but trust Alex to get down to brass tacks on this one, just as Elon Musk informs his staff that the coffee break is over and they must get back on their heads.

It also comes just as Joe Biden seems to be focusing on student loan forgiveness, which brings in the nepotism issue, correctly mentioned here as a vestige of “the old days,” but one that is hardly gone.

Those most in need of student loan forgiveness are those who believed college hype only to see too many good jobs parceled out to the already-privileged.

The hype vs. reality issue is universal: Tom Brown at Oxford (1859) and Stover at Yale (1912) each contrasted spoiled upper-class college slackers with more deserving but unheralded working-class students. Fitzgerald praised Stover and ripped it off wholesale in This Side of Paradise (1920) but seemed far more approving than either Arnold or Johnson had been.

Which, (hat tip to Wikipedia), caused Fitzgerald’s death to draw this grumpy old-man response from Westbook Pegler:

The rant is worth reading in its entirety, and inspires me to admit that, while I don’t much like Fitzgerald, who seemed to enjoy his characters, I still love The Sun Also Rises (1926).

I thought it wonderfully romantic when I read it at 20 but then, when I reread it in my 40s, I was appalled at its cast of cruel, useless, self-centered wastrels.

The difference between the Gatsby crowd and the Pamplona gang being that — try though I have — I can’t tell how Hemingway felt about his (admittedly war-ravaged) crew, and I admire him for forcing me to ponder it for myself.

And about myself.


4 thoughts on “CSotD: Laff Break

  1. This has nothing to do with today’s post, but I thought you might find it interesting.

    The Sep/18/1901 St. Paul Globe has a cartoon by Frank Wing reacting to a recent comment by Methodist Bishop Cranston that cartoonists were as bad as an anarchists. The comment, described in some papers as a part of an anti-cartoonist tirade, came less than a week after president McKinley’s death at the hands of an anarchist.

    The Globe can be viewed at no cost at chroniclingamerica.loc.gov .

  2. If you truly haven’t read any Batman comics in the past 60 years, I encourage you to check out Frank Miller’s (with K. Janson and L. Varley) Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

    It looks like you can get a used paperback copy for just a couple of bucks:


    The Reagan caricature is worth the price of admission on its own.

  3. As a Middle School Art Teacher, I experience the demise of attention spans every day, as students chronically sneak peeks at their cell phones under the table. Talk about addicted!

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