CSotD: Of muses, frogs and fools

I’m not in the mood for politics today, but Kevin Siers’ comment on the resignation of Boris Johnson is simply too good to delay.

It’s one of those things where, once you see it, the connecting concepts are obvious, but combining Britain’s lion with Bert Lahr’s lion must have struck Siers like a thunderbolt.

As a writer, I can say there are moments when the Muse slips you such a marvelous goodie that you can’t believe it yourself and you wonder how it happened. It’s neither modesty nor bragging, but, rather, an appreciation for the things that happen when you’re in the groove that would never happen to you in your regular old walking-around consciousness.

It’s not confined to creative types. I was talking to a friend yesterday who has just completed her final radiation treatment, and we were sharing my astonishment over the surgeon who, six years ago, worked on me for 12 hours excising my cancer. I remain amazed that he could even just stand there that long, but he has since shrugged it off in conversations, because he was in the groove.

That thing about “Find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is true, and everybody deserves to find their own groove, whether it involves artwork or words or scalpels or wrenches or teaching or whatever.

Sometimes, you have to be flexible. I knew a girl in college who wanted to become Jane Goodall. She worked summers with chimps at a zoo, but she never became a primatologist. Instead, she wound up as a legendary expert on sea turtles and works to preserve them.

It wasn’t her first dream, but I’ll still bet it’s never felt like work.

If you haven’t found your groove, keep looking.

And hats off to Siers for a brilliant example.


Sometimes the muse slips you a less flashy but no less valuable little goodie, as in the case of Mark Parisi, who presented an Off The Mark (AMS) that, though drawn well in advance, happened to drop two days after the Highland Park shooting.

But then, wotthehell, it could have run just about any time and still seemed wonderfully apt these days.

What a world, indeed.


And a bit of housekeeping: I noted the other day that Buz Sawyer (KFS) is currently at a Russian research base in Antarctica and that his partying with the Russians reflected my own experience but seemed quite a contrast with Roy Crane’s staunch anti-communist bent, though this ran in 1959.

Perhaps Crane had met a few Russians less than a decade earlier, when they were our allies, but Buz isn’t a pushover.


I got a laugh out of Alex, but have to admit it’s also a bit more political than simply funny, since the strip purposefully walks the line between humor and commentary.

Granted, I’m a Brian Jones loyalist and haven’t been impressed with the Stones since his departure, but, even so, it seems they’d listen to their own lyrics: “Who wants yesterday’s papers?”

Then, that was about relationships, not careers.

I seem to recall Jagger in an interview back in the day, saying he didn’t want to be an old man still singing “I can’t get no satisfaction,” but we live in a world that dotes on sequels to sequels to sequels.

Meanwhile, Alex is right: It’s getting harder to retire. The value of my IRA has fallen 13% since January and, besides, companies are short-staffed as it is, and, in this country, the Ruling Class is talking about raising the age for full Social Security benefits from 67 to 70.

We can’t none of us get no satisfaction.


Well, except maybe this guy in Bizarro (KFS).

Wood frogs are notorious for sleeping through a full year, because they can actually freeze and then thaw out when the weather is more conducive.

Lucky little bastards.

But I knew a regular old garden variety bullfrog who did it when I was a kid. He was gone from the small pond at the edge of our yard one spring and I figured he’d died or a raccoon had caught him, but darned if he didn’t pop up the next year, good as ever.

I’m not sure that counts as tax evasion, though I’ve worked with a few people who appeared to be in deep hibernation and were still getting paid.


And Sunday’s Between Friends (KFS) reminds me of what those sleeping frogs weren’t doing: Making coffee.

When I was in talk radio, the building was a rehabbed one-level ranch house with the AM and FM studios tacked on at one end and the kitchen and bathrooms at the other. This was no big deal for the FM jocks, who could put on a five-minute song when they needed to, but my commercial breaks consisted of 30-second ads, and it was a rare 60 that gave me time to dash down to the kitchen and find an empty coffeepot.

I’d put on a fresh one, then race back to get on the air and wait for another 60, during which time the frogs would come out and empty the pot.

If it weren’t for the five-minute newsbreak at the top of the hour, I’d have never had a cup of coffee on that job.


This Pros and Cons (KFS) also brings back a memory, this of a reporting gig in a town where the Chamber sponsored a future leaders’ class, in which 30-and-40-somethings attended monthly day-long sessions at various governmental agencies to learn how things work.

It was incredibly valuable to a reporter, and I remember the session on jurisprudence because, among other things, we got to sit in on the final portion of a plea-bargain.

Everything was going fine until we got to the part where the guy agreed to skip his trial and accept probation, which he did.

And then he added, “But I’m still not guilty.”

There was a moment of silence while the judge stared at him and his attorney shook his head in despair, and then the judge explained to him why there was no longer a deal on the table.

Not the insight we were supposed to be gaining, but an insight nonetheless.


5 thoughts on “CSotD: Of muses, frogs and fools

  1. Another person who realizes the truth: The Rolling Stones haven’t seen worth crap since they fired Brian Jones!

  2. So, it never occured to you to buy a thermos, make coffee at home (exactly the way you liked it), fill the thermos, and bring that into work with you? (I did that for almost forty years. . . .)

  3. I had two little kids and a working wife, so getting out the door was not leisurely. I also had a job that required I be exactly, not just “sort of,” on time, and where there was a goddam coffeepot that should have had goddam coffee in it.

  4. Fun fact, the first web camera was used to monitor the office coffee pot.


    That session on jurisprudence must have been some time ago because now most states allow an Alfred Plea where the defendant can accept a plea deal while maintaining their innocence.

  5. I’d like to hear from an attorney on this point, but my impression is that it has to be agreed in advance that the defendant is entering an Alford plea, rather than that being the default.

    (This particular case wouldn’t have been worth appealing up the ladder anyway. I don’t remember the charges, but it was minor enough that they permitted an audience to the process.)

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