CSotD: A Chance to Catch Up

Now only is GoComics still off-line (DD Degg offers some ways to find the missing comics), but Comics Kingdom has inadvertently offered its solidarity by hanging up and delivering yesterday’s comics, except for the Vintage strips, which are decades old but as up to date as they’re supposed to be.

Fortunately, I’ve been holding a few things, and how better to start the week than with Jeff Stahler’s commentary on yet another system failure, that of Ticketmaster, as this little Swiftie quizzes her grandfather about the Good Old Days.

I’m going to quibble a bit and suggest that maybe it’s her father who camped out for concert tickets, because I’m of the grandfatherly generation and don’t recall any such need. Or particularly high prices.

We bought campus concert tickets ahead of time, not because they’d sell out but simply to get better seats, but we didn’t need to camp out, just pick them up ahead of time. Maybe in the city people lined up for front row seats.

When we went into Chicago, we just bought our tickets that night, because most were not reserved seating and so one ticket was as good as another. I saw Cream and the Mothers of Invention together at the Aragon Ballroom, which was large, but I also caught a twin bill of Jefferson Airplane and Iron Butterfly at the Kinetic Playground, a smaller venue which, if anyone was going to sell-out, would have.

I suppose maybe Top 40 acts like the Four Tops and the Fifth Dimension would have sold out in the Big City.

Which reminds me of an evening when a couple of friends from town were over to pass the pipe and I made some wisecrack about a Wayne Newton concert that had been held on campus over the summer. They broke out in laughter, because one of them — a very hip young black man — had produced the concert.

He said he didn’t want to hear the music; he just wanted the money, and the place had been packed.

He used the profits to open a black nightclub in town. Unfortunately, he only paid off one of the two mafia families that ran things, and so was closed down by the other one a few months later, on some alleged fire safety violations.

So it goes.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Steve Kelley — Creators)


(Jeff Stahler again)

The economy is making for a more modest Christmas this year, though we can argue over how bad a thing that is, and my suspicion is that those devoted to wretched excess will dig deep anyway while others might welcome the excuse for a little perspective.

One thing about becoming parents young — we were married at 21 and had both our kids by 26 — was that their early years came when we were still at the lower end of the pay scale, which worked out because they didn’t yet have extravagant expectations.

In fact, one of our traditions came from the Little House books: We’d have oyster stew on Christmas Eve and then re-read the chapter in which Mr. Edwards saved a particularly bleak prairie Christmas when he “ran into Santa” in Independence, Kansas, and brought back Mary and Laura’s presents: A pair of tin drinking cups, two peppermint sticks and a pair of heart-shaped cookies.

It kind of set our boys up for what was, by contrast, a far more elegant morning, but one which still didn’t break the bank.

Matt seems to feel perhaps we should find a more interesting topic to discuss, and I’d say the cane is a particularly fine touch. I’m old enough to dig back far enough to bore anybody.

But I don’t complain all that much. What I mostly remember is that being young and just starting out meant that everything cost too much, and we expected it.

F’rinstance, I remember going through coat pockets and sofa cushions on Friday to scrape up enough for a quart of Millers to celebrate the weekend, but the memory makes me smile.

On to more fraught matters …

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(David Rowe)


(Clay Jones)

The Battle of the Monster Egos continues, as Elon Musk throws a party for Donald Trump and Donald Trump declines the invitation.

Much as I like Rowe’s caricature, particularly the elephant skull, I doubt Trump is having much of a suicidal soliloquy over this. Jones offers an interesting discussion of things, then narrows it down to this:

I agree he’d prefer to prop up his own enterprise, but I also think he’s unwilling to accept a handout from the only person in the world with a more outrageously over-inflated sense of his own importance. I could picture Kim Jong-Un going, “Jeez, fellas, throttle it back a little …”

Another factor is that, between people who despise Donald Trump and the Q-Anon suckups with whom Musk is populating his new toy, it seems every precious word Trump puts on Truth Social gets screen-grabbed and reposted on Twitter anyway. Why should he bend a knee to Musk and pay $8 a month for something he’s already getting for free?

For further insights, On the Media had an excellent program this week, and their podcast can be broken into segments if you don’t want to commit for the full hour, including not only what’s happening at Twitter and what it means, but also a piece on Mastodon and how it works.

Meanwhile, back at the Dumpster fire, it’s hard not to suspect Musk of purposefully trying to create his own more widely-seen version of Truth Social, given how prominent the rightwing crazies there have become.

It’s also hard not to laugh at the way he objected to bots when he was over-paying for the site, considering that one of his recent tweets was greeting with a flood of praise in which every enthusiastic lickspittle made the same two spelling errors: “Thankss a millonn.”

Still, they aren’t all bots. Ran into a fan there who was hoping Musk would run for president. Informed that he was born in South Africa and so isn’t eligible, the response was that Obama wasn’t born in the US either.

Which is pretty funny until you realize these geniuses actually will vote for somebody in 2024.


14 thoughts on “CSotD: A Chance to Catch Up

  1. I remember some camping out for concert tickets in the mid-late 70s but only for the biggest acts. Almost got tickets for that Who concert in Cincinnati but they sold out before our buddy who had waiting (and waited, and waited) in line reached the front. OTOH, got to see Elton John a year later and there were unsold seats.

  2. One of the quirks of growing old is that you tend to forget how long ago things were (until you’re talking to someone a third your age).

    The movie “Sideways” was on TV the other day; I have tended to think of it as a movie my better half and I saw in the theater when it came out not terribly long ago. But when Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church drove by a gas station where the prices out front were $1.75/gallon — in California! — ouch!

  3. Put me down the road from the warning sign about people complaining about how much things used to cost. Back in the early 70’s, the concert venues in Chicago ( Aragon & Kinetic Playground) offered front line talent at what would be considered a bargain today. If memory serves me correctly, we’d pay in the neighborhood of $5. Adjusted for inflation that brings you nowhere near today’s cost. Would have been interesting to hear what my parents paid for the Aragon when dating in the 1940’s

  4. Black nightclub? You can have a nightclub where you can cater to just one race? Really, couldn’t you just have said nightclub? And what did his race have to do with the story anyway? Zip, as far as I can tell.

  5. The racial aspect is that Wayne Newton — not to be confused with Huey Newton — was a very middle-of-the-road singer with virtually no fans among young hip African-Americans, hence the surprise in Ray having produced the concert.

    He then opened his nightclub in a predominantly African-American neighborhood and named it “The Black Mikado.” I doubt he refused service to anyone (well, anyone over 21, which I was not), but he made his target audience clear.

    I suppose I could have just said he opened a nightclub, but the story centers on the incongruity of him having produced a concert so incompatible with his musical interests, as he said at the time, which was what gave the story additional spark, particularly since he then opened a nightclub consistent with his strong racial awareness. I might have added that his buddy, the bridge relationship between us, was a graduate student from Howard who taught African-American studies, but I didn’t think it was necessary to hammer the point home.

    Still, sometimes race is relevant, in which case it’s fatuous to fail to include it.

    The relevance of the place getting shut down is more subtle, but Lloyd Haines, who starred in the TV show “Room 222,” once told TV Guide that, between the not-so-accepting dominance of the large Polish-American population and the overwhelming influence of the mob in South Bend, it was a good place for an ambitious young black man to be FROM. It was more than 50 years ago; perhaps Mayor Pete cleaned things up a little.

  6. I always think of those prairie girls when I see a peppermint stick. We also were small children living on the prairie in eastern Montana and would be amazed by the gifts in our Xmas stockings of almonds, walnuts, filberts, and n-toes (Brazil nuts) plus the all important and mystical orange. Later we moved to California and we still live amongst most of those delicacies. Thanks for the memories and happy holidays to everyone.

  7. That elephant skull may actually have been intended as a mastodon skull.

    And, for a humorous take on one particular mastoDON, see Carl Hiaasen’s latest book, Squeeze Me (from 2020).

  8. Taking advantage of age here:
    In the early sixties I had $20/week to buy food for two adults and 3 preschoolers. We didn’t eat fancy and I knew the prices of everything. $8.50 every three months for a sack of dried skim milk powder. $0.29 pound for hamburger. It was a very different life.(We were living on $206/month – my husband was a grad student at Cal.)

  9. I just an advert for Mannheim Steamroller’s Holiday show; ticket prices STARTED at $60. We saw them in Milwaukee many years ago, and I think we paid $20 or so. Saw The Doors, Tom Waits, Eric Burden & the Animals and many many more – whilst in high school, so you know they had to have been affordable.

    Attended Jimmy Buffett concert in 2014 as VIP; I’ll admit I paid $800 per ticket, but I knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I had just inherited quite a bit of $$, so I treated us.

  10. Wanted tickets to Jimmy Buffett at Alpine Valley. We’re going to take our wedding party. We’re big parrotheads. Got to the local ticket center stood in a line was number three; imagine my surprise when the door opened and I was handed a raffle ticket. When my number was called there were no seats left, that was last time I tried to get tickets.

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