The upcoming holiday here, announced on the main site, not only gives me my first break in a dozen years or so — at least the first break that didn’t include major surgery — but relieves me of having to pick and choose among “New Year’s Resolution” gags, very few of which come up to the level of Ann Telnaes’s wish for the world.
I particularly appreciate the spread she offers, from individual MAGAts to world leaders. It’s a gift to pull in that much commentary with six images, and she could have doubled or tripled the list. Lord knows she’s not afraid to go to lengths to make a worthy point, but keeping it short increases the impact of each segment.
This was a good time to keep it simple.
Can’t get much simpler than a tabletop sketch, and Bill Amend posted this on social media. It’s quite a contrast to the usual handing-over-the-new-year cartoons, and I hope he’s being unduly pessimistic, but I guess we’ll find out.
Mannequin in the Moon (AMS) happens along just as someone complained on social media that her kids were traumatized by the number of Disney films that include, or assume, the death of a parent.
I’ll grant Guerra and Boothby that the coughing-up-blood element can become a cliché, but it’s also fair to point out that, until fairly recently, consumption (tuberculosis) was one of many, many things that would probably kill you.
I’ve long thought it was a copout for Tolstoy to have Pierre’s first, horrible wife simply drop dead, but such things did happen, after all, and an audience in 1867 likely considered it entirely plausible, if fortunate.
Then again, Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, published only eight years later, included the unexpected return of a spouse who might better have died but didn’t. But, then, it’s a much funnier novel, even if you ignore the almost clairvoyant parallels between the shady financier at its center and a certain recent head of state.
But the issue of orphaned children is simple: Protagonists need to solve problems, and a child with two loving parents doesn’t have the agency to go out and behave heroically.
The history is real: If you go through cemeteries reading the stones, you’ll see how common it was for widowers and widows to marry. It gave her some financial security while giving him needed help in an age when farmers, miners and millworkers had impossibly long hours and housekeeping was a full-time job.
I’m sure that, in the vast majority of cases, it was a good, workable arrangement. Still, in classic children’s literature, it also gave rise to the “wicked stepmother.”
The development of penicillin sure put a burden on authors.
I love train travel, but Paul Fell seems to be over-romanticizing the concept. Perhaps a new screening of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” would remind him that we underwent some serious efforts to undercut public transportation, such that, while Europeans were building autobahns and public transit, we constructed our Interstate system — and the cars we rode in on ’em — at the expense of maintaining rail beds and other necessary infrastructure.
I dunno who framed Roger Rabbit, but it’s pretty clear who killed passenger trains. The EU has 560 automobiles per 1,000 people, while the US has 890 per 1,000. China has high speed rail, yes, but they’ve also got 221 cars per 1,000 people.
Add that to the list of things you can hate about Henry Ford.
As for their rough-weather performance, even at their height, the trains couldn’t get through the blizzards of 1880-81, which set up Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter” when DeSmet, SD, nearly starved for lack of supplies.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Another thing more common in Europe than here is dogs traveling with their owners and going into shops and restaurants with them. I’m agnostic on the overall concept: Well-behaved dogs are as welcome in my world as are well-behaved children, and I’m not that crazy about badly-behaved adults, either.
But either change the rules or enforce them. The flood of “emotional support” animals seems out of step with the number of people who travel today but — assuming their honesty — weren’t able to leave the house 20 years ago.
This isn’t about necessary animals. We had a Gulf veteran in the neighborhood who had, and needed, a German shepherd, and she took her job as seriously as a Seeing Eye Dog or other service animal. To exclude a for-real service animal is, legally, the equivalent of barring someone from bringing in a wheelchair.
As I understand it, you’re not allowed to ask a person about their disability but you are permitted to ask them about their animal’s training. But who’s going to?
There is no way to ask that doesn’t risk a confrontation and it’s easier to shrug and let anyone who makes the claim succeed, though I wouldn’t mind a crackdown on the companies that sell phony service-dog paraphernalia.
My dog comes with me to Tractor Supply and to the pet store, but, like the pooch in this recent The Other Coast (Creators), she has a job to do when I go into other places.
In any case, if I were so paralyzed with insecurity that I couldn’t stir without her, I’d take Coverly’s advice and get an emotional support prairie dog.
As it is, I don’t know where I am half the time, which made me laugh at Aislin’s cartoon.
Like the guide in the old joke, I’m not lost. I’m right here. The trail is lost.
Microsoft thinks I’m in Seattle, where it’s 42 and mostly cloudy, but, since I’m on T-Mobile rather than cable, social media feeds me ads from Rhode Island and Boston, while, until I called and complained, FUBO assumed I was in the Los Angeles viewing area.
Alexa knows where I live, so I can ask her the weather, though, if I do, the dog assumes we’re going for a walk, and the excitement is not always worth it.
Anyhoo, Free Range (Creators) notwithstanding, this is not the end of the line, just a break in the action.
See you January 2.