CSotD: Laughter, sometimes uncomfortable

I think we could use a few laughs at the moment, though they needn’t be completely frivolous. Man Overboard, as so often is the case, makes a point about our responsibilities and our debts that gets both a chuckle and a sigh.

I’d add, too, that we often see things online about how gentle and thoughtful babies can be with each other, but he’s driven the “What the hell happened to you?” aspect home with a great deal more of an accusation.


If you need more details, Cathy Wilcox goes more deeply into it: It’s not just that the fellow has forgotten the instructions with which he came into this world, but he genuinely doesn’t get it. He’s not only failing to act for the Greater Good, but he’s not even acting in the best interests of his own grandkids.

Australia is currently in a major debate about coal and the environment, but this goes farther than that, because we’re all of us trapped in a world in which, while business owners once hoped to pass their businesses on to their children, today these leaders aren’t particularly invested in the actual business but, rather, are focused on their portfolios.

They’ll readily trash the companies they’ve built, and the world they’ve built them in, if they can profit from the results.

It’s a variation on that thing about how nobody on his deathbed ever said, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

If all you leave your children is a fortune, you’ve wasted your life.


Meanwhile, Jen Sorensen notes, the unbridled greed with which these amoral portfolios are gathered has damaged a great number of people, her particular example being the results of the current housing market.

This isn’t entirely new. There have always been lovely places where “the help” had to live in neighboring towns, while inner city poverty is not alleviated by factories built at the edge of town, outside a reasonably affordable commute for people who need jobs most.

But as Sorensen suggests, and news reports confirm, the current surge in housing costs are making it particularly hard for low- and middle-income people to live anywhere.

The unemployment rate sits at 3.6%, which sounds good until you realize that it only counts people actively looking for work, not those who have given up or those who have accepted something that doesn’t work for them very well. The whole thing is a lot more complex than simply looking at numbers, or even looking at numbers and holding your breath.

That guy in the fourth panel is lucky the diner is open at all. It’s not clear, here, if the town will have enough people to open the swimming pool this summer, while the Cumberland Farms convenience store had a sign up yesterday that they’d be closing at 3 pm because of a lack of staff.

When convenience stores aren’t open for the 5 o’clock rush, never mind 24-hour service, it almost makes you suspect that trickle-down doesn’t actually work very well.

Let’s shift to more frivolous topics:


Juxtaposition of the Socks

(Half Full – AMS)

(Off the Mark – AMS)

Maybe not quite this frivolous, but this Juxtaposition popped up on my GoComics feed together and in this order, suggesting two chapters in an ongoing story, which made both cartoons funnier.

And, in my neverending quest to overthink things, I’d point out that Mark Parisi does well to set his cartoon in a laundromat, because if you’re losing socks at home, it’s your own damn fault, while, being a laundromat customer myself, I know the mystery of coming home with a sock I’ve never seen before.

Makes me want to go back and dry some more clothes to see if I can complete the pair.


The Lockhorns (KFS) continues to impress me not only with its evolution from the bickering, hostile tone it once maintained but with a hipness that follows changing times and tech.

This one cracked me up, however, because it reminded me of a time a couple of decades ago, in our first few post-divorce years, when I had a conversation about money with my ex on the phone. Teenage son was sitting at the kitchen table, which made me maintain a very polite tone, right up until the point where I said goodbye in a perfectly calm, rational tone of voice and hung up the phone.

Tearing it off the wall and earning me a “Who do you think you’re fooling?” smirk and head-shake from him.

Only one of several ways in which cell phones fail the ergonomics test.

(Things eventually mellowed out, BTW. You won’t fool the kids, but you can get credit for having at least tried to maintain.)


On a cheerier note, Marc Murphy‘s salute to the 50th Anniversary of Title IX made me smile, because the growth of women’s sports is a major advance in our culture. When I see young girls walking down the street with their ponytails out the back of their ball caps and a lacrosse stick over their shoulders or a soccer ball under their arms, I’m envious of a youth culture that contains such easy-going, joyful confidence.

As for the timing, when our first was on the way, I didn’t feel the need for a boy to carry on the name, but I did worry about how hard I’d have to fight to make sure a daughter got all she deserved.

Fortunately, I wasn’t alone.

Six years later, I was coaching co-ed soccer teams in which some of the little girls were better athletes than some of the little boys. It’s become a world that, while hardly perfect, is far wider than the one I feared we were going to offer them.

It’s not just about the sports themselves. A granddaughter graduated from high school this week, and while she coxed for crew, she is not particularly a jock. What she is, however, is 5’10” and completely mystified when I tell her that, when I was her age, tall girls used to stoop in order to fit in.

I might as well be telling her about whalebone corsets.

I did add, however, that — pop culture stereotypes notwithstanding — cool guys had never been intimidated by tall, confident women.


3 thoughts on “CSotD: Laughter, sometimes uncomfortable

  1. “The rich drive up real estate prices…” Government regulation (e.g. requiring electric heat) and rent controls drive up prices and make low income multiple dwelling housing unprofitable. If it were highly profitable, competitive entrepreneurs would build until demand was met – which would drive renter/occupier costs down. Read Adam Smith.

  2. Thanks for the smiles at the end of a week that included hearing 01/06 testimonials, no info regarding the death of 19 children and 2 teachers, no real movement to put reasonable gun control in place and the Trump announcing his Presidential run in 2024.


  3. With millions of vacant homes and unused properties littering this waste land, it only seems logical to provide housing to all. I don’t recall the part of the constitution saying its a right to own multiple homes when others have none. Redistribute unused housing, problem solved.

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