CSotD: Midweek Frivolity

(Rabbits Against Magic — AMS)

(Prickly City — AMS)

Politics are everywhere, and it’s good to see them on the funny pages because it just might get someone who actively avoids thinking to give it a try. That may be a pretty slim slice of the pie: I doubt the people who most need to see these will recognize the suggestion not so much of willful hypocrisy as of simply not thinking things through.

In Ron White’s words, “You can’t fix stupid,” though it should be remembered that White housed that phrase in a memorable discussion of why you should never marry for looks. And he was right: There’s a lot you can do with cosmetic surgery, but you can’t fix stupid.

Stupid is part of it here, but the main issue is loyalty. In just under two weeks, the NFL season will begin and some teams will fall flat on their faces and go on to have disgracefully inept seasons, but their stadiums will still be packed and you’ll still see people walking around sporting their hats and jerseys.

They’ll blame the refs, they’ll blame the schedule, they’ll blame the coach but they won’t admit that the team just isn’t very good, because that would reflect on their decision to keep rooting for a bunch of losers.

And, if I may shift from Ron White to Jonathan Swift:

Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired: for in the course of things, men always grow vicious before they become unbelievers.

So we’ll skip politics for today. It’s not like they’re going anywhere.



Instead, we’ll join xkcd in examining the critical issue of place names that share the scansion of the word “America.”

I tend to go the other direction, mentally singing names to fit songs. I’m glad Slobodan Miloševic is dead, not because he was a war criminal but because every time his name came up it reminded me that you could sing it to the William Tell Overture. Or the theme to the Lone Ranger. We’re not snobs around here.

And there are any number of correspondents on the radio whose names fit “Frosty the Snowman.”

Being able to make those connections on the fly is more of a curse than a gift.

Somewhat sort of on a related topic, Reply All Lite (WPWG) brings up the issue of mondegreens, which flourished for a brief moment celebrating misheard lyrics. Sylvia Wright coined the term after realizing that what she thought was “They hae slain the Earl of Murray, And Lady Mondegreen,” was actually “and laid him on the green.”

It was fun to swap these things back and forth until people began inventing rather than confessing them. It’s perfectly reasonable to foolishly think that Hendrix sang “Scuse me while I kiss this guy,” but nobody could really have thought Creedence was singing “There’s a bathroom on the right” in a song named “Bad Moon Rising.”

The Internet is why we can’t have nice things, and, no, you can’t fix it.


Though I bet I could fix it if I could find the right connecting cord. Brewster Rockit (Tribune) has the tangled mass becoming sentient, which could be threatening if — as noted here — most of them went to anything that still existed.

I’ve got a deep desk drawer and a banker’s box full of stuff like phone cords and cable splitters and unmarked remotes that likely work on things I haven’t owned in this century.

This isn’t a modern phenomenon: Many a tool bench has been surrounded with jars of screws and bolts and washers and nails and potentially useful metal pieces, but the difference is that screws never become obsolete. An AB switch doesn’t have a lot of uses when you have neither rabbit ears nor coaxial cable to switch between.

But we all know what happens if you garage sale your baby furniture. Same thing here.


Big Nate (AMS) is shopping with his grandfather, and the encounter brings to mind one of my Old Guy things, which is a resistance to more help than I wanted.

Apparently, some stores have ordered employees to physically show you where the thing you’re looking for is, which is more disruption than I like to cause.

The other day I was looking for something at Target and spotted a couple of employees stocking shelves, so I said, “I have a question but I will only ask it if you promise to keep doing what you’re doing and just tell me where I can find it.”

Back when stores were fully staffed, however, I’d always yield to the bagger who offered to carry my groceries to the car, because we both knew I didn’t need help toting a loaf of bread and a bagged salad and that he wanted to take a break and walk outside for a minute.

I’m a willing conspirator.


This Non Sequitur (AMS) happens to coincide with a memory I shared with a friend the other day, of a tech writer who was working on a classified computer program to monitor space junk and spot potential incoming ICBMs.

She learned a lot about what we were capable of, but she also learned that the contractor she was working for was more concerned with hitting deadlines than getting the code right. When a deadline hit, they’d submit whatever they had and, if nobody at the Pentagon spotted any flaws or gaps in it, that was success.

The contract was eventually pulled, but whether it was over quality or deadlines we never heard.


It was a decade before this 1985 Doonesbury, but the insight made me laugh even harder.


I’ve never liked the idea of “soul mates,” but Carol Lay does hit a harmonic resonance with this strip, because she shares both my doubts and my infatuations.

I’ve got all the answers to the people I connected with (as do they), but the near-misses remain on my list of wistful what-ifs.

One of my chief beliefs is that, if you like where you’re at, you ought not to despise the road that got you there.

Still, a heart’s reach should exceed its grasp, or what’s a heaven for?


14 thoughts on “CSotD: Midweek Frivolity

  1. I also enjoy making up new lyrics to songs on the fly, though I admit that my go-to is simply substituting my own name so it’s all about me. In Five For Fighting’s “Superman” song, for example, “It’s not easy to be me” becomes “It’s not easy to be Fies,” and that’s my cue to look over for my obligatory eyeroll from Karen.

    I was tickled by the reversal in “Rabbits Against Magic.” That’s all I have to say: it was a neat idea that made me laugh. Good one, Jonathan Lemon.

    Re: Football teams, the older I get the more I embrace Jerry Seinfeld’s observation that eventually we’re just rooting for laundry. After a while, all of the players, coaches, owners, and even hometowns are different. Joe Montana and Jerry Rice don’t play for the 49ers anymore, so why do I still care? Because the new guys whose names I don’t know are wearing the same colors and clothes they did. I’m rooting for laundry.

    Re: Soulmates, one of the best-remembered bits of “Citizen Kane” is Mr. Bernstein’s reminiscence of seeing a girl in a white dress on a passing ferry. They never met, she didn’t even see him, but there wasn’t a month gone by that he didn’t think of her. I think it’s nearly universal. I’ve got one, a young woman I passed in a shopping mall who turned and looked back at me for a second, which I only knew because I’d turned to look back at her (when I was single; everyone knows married guys never look). And of course it’s not just about the other person–it’s the road not taken, the parallel life unlived, the precariousness of life that can turn on a moment.


  2. >Being able to make those connections on the fly is more of a curse than a gift.

    All too true.

    Slobodan Miloševic, a man who’s quite ferocious
    All the war crimes that he did
    Were really quite atrocious
    Now he’s gone and is no longer
    At all braggadocious
    Slobodan Miloševic, his death is not negotious.

    With thanks to rhymezone.com.

  3. “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” can be sung to the tune of “Hernando’s Hideaway..”

  4. Grandson #1’s full name has the same amount of syllables as
    “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.”
    Grandson #2’s first and second names (Johnathan Paul)
    can be substituted for “Johnny B. Goode.”
    (“made of earth and wood” becomes “with an earthen wall”)
    Granddaughter #1’s name (Adriana) can, by dropping the last
    vowel, can be sung in place of “Barbara Ann.”
    and so on as I adopt their names to songs.

  5. Any tune plays on a loop long enough in my head, I’m gonna start messing with the lyrics just to get back at it.

    Although it’s been said many times, many ways, meet the Flintstones; yabba dabba, doo do.

  6. “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” by Emily Dickinson

    Because I could not stop for Death –
    He kindly stopped for me –
    The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
    And Immortality.

    We slowly drove – He knew no haste
    And I had put away
    My labor and my leisure too,
    For His Civility –

    We passed the School, where Children strove
    At Recess – in the Ring –
    We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
    We passed the Setting Sun –

    Or rather – He passed Us –
    The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
    For only Gossamer, my Gown –
    My Tippet – only Tulle –

    We paused before a House that seemed
    A Swelling of the Ground –
    The Roof was scarcely visible –
    The Cornice – in the Ground –

    Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
    Feels shorter than the Day
    I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
    Were toward Eternity –

    NOW sing it to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island.”

  7. Or sing the lyrics of “Gilligan’s Island” to the tune of “Stairway to Heaven.”

  8. On top of Spaghetti can be scaled over to the tune of that song the 80’s runner movie and Rocky uses… cannot recall the name though… it’s a slow tempo one though

  9. There’s also the challenge of singing lyrics to tunes which they are insanely far away from fitting. I recall a session in a bar at a science fiction convention many years ago in which another fan and I challenged each other to top improbably funny tunes to pair with Heinlein’s “Green Hills of Earth” poem/lyrics. Second place went to “Cool Water,” but the consensus winner was “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.”

    (“We — pray .. foronelastlandingontheglobethatgaveusbirth
    DING DONG the cool green hills of earth….”)

  10. Correction (if anyone is keeping score…): the #2 silliest song was not “Cool Water” but rather “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” I got my cowboy cattle drive anthems stampeded the wrong way in my brain.

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