CSotD: This time it’s personal again

I’ve long thought that “This Time It’s Personal” should have been a category in Jumping the Shark, a point at which you knew the writers had given up and the show was over, like the time on ER when Julianna Margulies became a hostage in a store that was being robbed and we were treated to an hour of something that had nothing at all to do with the premise of the show.

But in comedy being personal is necessary, because the laugh comes from the absurd extension of our own experiences, and today’s Wallace the Brave (AMS) touches on all the ridiculous things I told my boys in jest that I later discovered — sometimes to my amusement, sometimes to my horror — they took seriously.

Which becomes twice as relevant this time of year, given that, while only a few of us have told our kids that there is a mutated goat-boy in the attic, plenty of us have spun tales of a jolly old man who slides down chimneys.

My reaction to this strip being less about Santa than about the time my son asked, in all seriousness and several months after the story was first told, if I had really saved the life of the King of Squirrels and thus been given the ability to know all their names and to have extended conversations with them. In front of him.

At least he was skeptical enough to ask.


One of my sons grew up to be a sailor and acquired from a shipmate an appalling Turkish wall hanging of the classic Dogs Playing Poker — specifically “A Friend in Need” —  as seen in today’s Lockhorns (KFS), only as interpreted by a clothmaker with only a faint grasp of the original.

In other words, it was based on the original but far more tacky.

His wife wasn’t having it in their house, so I ended up with it, and hung it up in my office as a one-day joke, except that my assistant thought it was so funny that she talked me into keeping it on permanent display.

In case you’ve ever wondered why some men leave their wives and marry their executive assistants.


More workplace folly from On the Fastrack (KFS): I’ve read about year-end bonuses but only worked one place that had them, a radio station that gave everyone a gift certificate to a local jeweler, which they got as a trade-out for advertising, which made it a win-win, since the jeweler exchanged our certificates at retail which gave them their ads essentially wholesale.

Though it wasn’t called a bonus, however, newspapers also had a tradition of offering a grocery store — a different one each year, to be fair — a full-color, full-page ad in return for hams and turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Same deal: A nice morale booster for the newspaper’s workers, a cheap ad for the store.

Until Corporate decided nobody should do trade-outs, which didn’t induce the stores to buy expensive ads but was the end of holiday turkeys and hams, which induced the staff to recognize how very little Corporate valued morale. Or them.

Dethany, BTW, definitely deserves a bonus for saving Ms. Trellis from crypto, but I’ve never worked in a place in the real world where good advice was valued, much less rewarded.


Bizarro (KFS) riffs on the declining meaning of the word “literally,” which once meant “not figuratively” but was recently changed so that it now also means “figuratively,” putting it in a category with “flammable” and “inflammable” of words that mean whatever you’d like them to mean.

Though, to be pedantic, “flammable” means able to be burned, while “inflammable” means prone to bursting into flames, a distinction I just invented, but which matters a great deal for about half a second if you’re standing in the wrong place.

Such as the time at Camp Lord O’ The Flies when the Council Fire went out, or appeared to have, and a counselor started to re-light it by pouring in a can of gasoline.

Fortunately, as he ran screaming from the circle, Squagonah Who Keeps The Gate took off his blanket, threw it over him and wrestled him to the ground.

The gasoline was inflammable; Sid was flammable.

Anyway, the Oxford Dictionary has declared “goat mode” the Word of the Year, (Update — “Goblin Mode” — see comments) and it’s all tied in together, because, a few years ago, you’d have been correct to point out that “goat mode” is literally a phrase, not a word, and that’s still true, but only if you accept the new meaning of “literally.”

And that a point in every direction is the same as having no point at all.


I certainly take Moderately Confused (AMS) personally. I mailed the last of my Christmas presents yesterday, cleverly mailing them from the small post office by the park where I walk the dog rather than from the main post office which I can see from my window as I write this, because, while there’s never a line at the small one, there often is at the large one and the staffing is the same at both.

I found the scissors, but I’ve given up on tape and feel buying tape is much like changing the batteries in your smoke detector, only instead of doing it whenever you switch to and from Daylight Saving Time, you do it once a year just after Thanksgiving.

And this note: You can buy Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape at the Dollar Store, but you have to buy the boxing tape at a real store, because the kind at the Dollar Store is welded together at the factory.

When I went to the Dollar Store this year, there was a very long line at the cash register behind a fellow who was spending $95.



I like First Dog on the Moon’s work so much that I feel guilty over reproducing the whole thing here as often as I do, so I’m sending you to the Guardian to read the rest of this handy dandy checklist for assessing public transportation.

I’d point out that he neglected to include the category of which modes of transit keep a-rollin’ all night long, but I can fix that:


20 thoughts on “CSotD: This time it’s personal again

  1. “You can buy Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape at the Dollar Store, but you have to buy the boxing tape at a real store, because the kind at the Dollar Store is welded together at the factory.”

    By the Dollar Store, I’m assuming you mean the Dollar TREE, or as it’s now known, the Dollar-Twenty-Five Tree. Best/least $$$ clear packing tape is available at Big Lots. Also reasonably-priced scissors so there is one in ev’ry room in the house.

  2. I’m not sure what it says about the financial state of many Texans, but we have four different “Dollar Stores”. Those being: Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and 99-Cent Only.

    My suspicion is that most exist in Red-State areas of Texas where most are poor and generally vote against their personal interests. The dollar store is often the only retail “department” store many areas can support. Even then, they operate with underpaid, overworked staff that don’t have many other options for employment.

  3. There’s another way to keep track of scissors: I bought a dozen pairs and hung them on a hook in my basement. If I can’t find a pair in the house after five minutes, I get one from the basement stock. I think I have about six new pairs left.

    As for packing tape, buy the good stuff. As George Price put it, “oven-ready costs a few pennies more and oven-ready is worth a few pennies more.” (From memory and a Google search–may not be an exact quote.)

  4. The Twin Cities also has multiple outlets of Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar, plus a few standalone/non-chain shops with variants on the “dollar” name — haven’t been inside any of the latter type for years so don’t know if they do price everything at a dollar or just “dollarish.” And I’ve seen “dollar store aisles” inside larger/more traditional stores, though again maybe not lately.

    As for Dollar Tree raising prices to $1.25 but keeping its original name, I’m reminded of the hot dog stands at the Minnesota State Fair which feel they have to say “about a FOOT LONG” on their signs lest someone measure one, find it a quarter-inch short, and sue them. (On the other hand there is or was a “MILE-LONG HOT DOG” stand there that didn’t worry about that problem, for obvious reasons.) So maybe DT should become the “about a DOLLAR Tree” chain (with the “about a” in small letters). And yes, I know that Dollar General and Family Dollar do not price their goods at a dollar each, only in increments of dollars.

  5. In Tokyo I ocassionally shopped at the 99 yen store. So not a strictly geographic phenomenon. Literally.

  6. A la flammable/inflammable, there is also “cleave” as in “I shall cleave only onto you, until they cleave us asunder.”

  7. Yikes. Yeah, and I even linked to a story that got it right. Corrected, thx all.

    I was probably thinking of that Donald Duck song:

    Trick or Treat on Halloween!
    When the goats and goblins come to your door,
    You’d better not be stingy or ….

  8. re “you can get the full story from the squirrels in your back yard” — boy, if I had a dime (or a walnut) for every time I’ve heard *that*old line. . . .

  9. And incidentally, Ratatoskr tells me that the “Squirrel King” you allegedly saved is an imposter. There’s a long line of claimants — Screwy Squirrel, Squirrel Nutkin, Secret Squirrel, even the human Squirrel Girl — but we all know that, even though he’s living as a plebian and is too modest to claim his honors, the one true king of the squirrels is Rocky the Flying Squirrel. (And Bullwinkle is his prophet.) And he can save himself, and does. So nyahh.

  10. “Goat” has completely flipped meaning from when Charlie Brown was the goat when his team lost the game.

    And let’s not forget “Dollar Admiral” from the very last “Retail” strip.

  11. I remember when, after each game in the World Series, the Sporting News would proclaim a goat, and I promise you, it was not “greatest of all time.” Or even that afternoon.

  12. Ohio also has the multiple incarnations of ‘It Costs $1 more or less.”

    I also remember The Sporting News. (sigh)

  13. @Mark B, I too was thinking fo Norm’s Dollar Admiral.

    If I live long enough, I fear that inflation might reduce my retirement savings to where I can only afford to shop at a Sawbuck Station.

  14. In terms of inflation jokes, there’s the vision of the future where the checkout counters have little bowls with “Need a twenty, take a take twenty; have some extra twenties, leave some twenties.”

  15. I think it was during the short-lived revival of Pogo that a sign in Mr. Muggle’s general store read “Have a penny? Leave a penny. Need a penny? Get a job!”

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