CSotD: March comes in bold and bright

I’m with Lola (AMS), though, since it seems like being nice doesn’t reach across the chasm either, it’s hard to resist the temptation to least amuse ourselves.

And there’s no lack of ammunition. I’ve got a pile of political cartoons ready to unleash, and thank goodness DD Degg handled and linked to the mass of Dilbert cartoons, because, as I said, there were some good ones, but I’m done with that.

However, those other ongoing crises and horrors will just have to wait. Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.

Plus Welsh stuff and some astronomy. We’ll get to that.

First a bit of seasonal humor from Pat Byrnes. The real joke is that nobody’s got any New Year’s resolutions left by Ash Wednesday, though, if they did, they likely blew them all the day before at Mardi Gras.

Though I guess if you can’t remember, it doesn’t count.

As a recovering Catholic, there’s not much I miss about being in the game, but I’ve always felt things like meatless Fridays and giving up things for Lent were good spiritual discipline, and it was sad to see them go by the wayside, particularly since their elimination is about all that remains of Vatican II.

But no politics today.

Pooch Cafe (AMS) continues its Wizard of Oz parody, and, by happenstance, wins the Serendipitous Timing award with a Coors beer plug just as Coors was slapped down for making fun of Bud Light.

NAD determined that, since you can tell the difference between the taste of mild, crappy beer and actual water, this was an unfair claim.

The ruling carries no legal weight, but if Coors ignores it, they won’t get to sit at the cool kids’ table anymore.

For my part, I think the NAD should have had to line up unmarked glasses of Miller Lite, Bud Lite, Coors Lite and water from Poland Springs, Flint, East Palestine and their own tap, and then grade them from one to six on flavor.

Frank Cotham explains why Coors probably won’t fight the ruling. Nobody wants to create a scene like this.

Still on the topic of ads, Pardon My Planet (KFS) touches on a new promise, which is that the new phone cameras can eliminate parts of the picture you didn’t want, which might make sense when it’s a photobomber in the background, but the ads specifically include removing ex-lovers.

How could you look at your photos of Maui without remembering who you went with?

I realize the term “self-centered” enters at some point, but so do the monks at the river. If you’re running around Photoshopping ex-lovers out of your photo collection, you’re still obsessing.

Mind you, PMP often pokes at vanity and superficial egotism. That’s why I keep it on my comics rotation!

Have a Happy, Dark St David’s Day

Macanudo (KFS) envisions a world in which you can only see one star, and, unfortunately, while the strip often lives in a fantasy world, this one reflects stark reality.

F Minus (AMS) goes for a grim laugh, kidding on the square.

As this article by a pair of concerned astronomers points out, we’re on the verge of making the vision in Macanudo real:

What’s this got to do with St. David? Today is his day, and it’s a big deal in Wales, of which he is the patron saint.

Photo: Steve Porter

And Wales is on top of this thing, having just hosted Welsh Dark Sky Week, and having had Ynys Enlli (Bardsley Island) named the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Europe.

There are only 16 such places in the world, and it’s an issue Scott Stantis raised in 2017, for which he was named a Dark Sky Defender.

Meanwhile, I continue to be flummoxed and depressed by the idea that most people have never seen the Milky Way, a sad fact that I learned from Brian Fies and Sherwood Harrington in 2006 when they were my consultants on a kids’ series I wrote, illustrated by the wonderful Dylan Meconis.

Here is the story that touched off that sad revelation (It’s half of the actual piece, which also included how to find the major stars and data about them.) :

The Magpie Bridge

Dylan Meconis, c. 2006

Once there was a boy named Niulang who herded cows for a living. He had a magical ox for a friend, but he was still just a poor boy.

One day, he came across seven beautiful fairies who had come to earth to enjoy a swim. Niulang fell in love with the youngest sister, Zhinu, and she fell in love with him.

They married and had two children and were very happy.

But Zhinu was supposed to be up in the heavens weaving cloth to make clothes for the gods. When the Jade Emperor realized she was missing, he sent his wife, the Lady Queen Mother, to bring her back.

The couple was very sad, but the ox told Niulang, “I am going to die, and you must make shoes from my hide.”

Niulang did as he was told, and with the magic shoes, he was able to go to the heavens and be with Zhinu again.

But the Lady Queen Mother became furious and, with a pin from her hair, she drew a line in the heavens and a great river was formed, the river we call The Milky Way.

Now Niulang and Zhinu were separated again, and they were very sad.

But the magpies of the earth felt sorry for them. So they flew up into the heavens and formed a bridge across the river.

Niulang ran onto the bridge with their son and daughter in baskets on his shoulders. Zhinu stopped her weaving and ran onto the bridge, too, and the family was once more together.

The Lady Queen Mother was angry that her wishes were being disobeyed and that Zhinu had once more stopped doing her work. But when she saw how happy they were, her heart melted.

She decided that, once a year, the magpies could return to the heavens and form a bridge, and the couple could be together. Now, every year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, the couple is united once more.

In China today, that day is a festival much like Valentine’s Day in the West. Qixi is a day when young couples enjoy being in love, and young people who are not yet in love ask Zhinu, the weaving girl, to help them find someone.

And if it rains on Qixi, they say it means that Zhinu is crying because she knows she and Niulang must be separated once more.

Mary Hopkin, whose “Those Were the Days” I used the other day, grew up in a Welsh-speaking community as a child and has recorded several Welsh-language songs.

Happy St. David’s Day, and may your skies be always dark!

15 thoughts on “CSotD: March comes in bold and bright

  1. I always appreciate the Milky Way mention and am sorry I made you sad. But I like seeing the Niulang-Zhinu story again.

    I love the Stantis cartoon, haven’t seen that before.

    Dark sky activism is a real movement, albeit a tiny one. Of course, most people don’t care at all. Those that do give it a moment’s thought fear that dimming the lights will make things less safe. But here’s the deal: a lot of that light is shooting uselessly upward, blotting the night sky. Simply redesigning lights to aim most of their light down, where the people are, could actually make the ground brighter and safer while reducing sky glow considerably.

    Another related gripe is satellites, particularly Musk’s swarms of Starlink internet satellites. There are close to 4,000 Starlinks in low Earth orbit, with the possibility of 20,000 to 40,000 more. They do no harm to folks just looking up–in fact, it’s kinda fun to watch a satellite go by–but are hell for anyone trying to do astronomical photography. Imagine your pretty picture of the Orion nebula crisscrossed by dozens of satellite streaks. But I think that horse is far out of the barn.

    On another astronomical note everyone will enjoy, look to the west after twilight for the next several days to see Venus and Jupiter dance closer than they usually do. Venus is the brighter one. If you have clear skies you can’t miss it, and if it doesn’t raise just an inkling of awe in you, well, then, you may not be hooked up right.

    1. When I was an editor in Maine, we had a new drugstore come to town. The town required them to install down-facing lighting in their parking lot. Baby steps, but they add up. It can happen if people are paying attention.

  2. I read the mentioned article yesterday, and what really angers me is that still, in this day and age, we have lights like the Twin Towers Lights, shining upwards for seven nights a year, disturbing the migration patterns of millions of birds. For what? Two lights that few people will ever see? Will it bring back those who died? So, what’s the point? And why for seven nights, instead of just one?

    1. Its 7 for the months its two lights one for each tower the lights are not just lights by the way there a mirage of the towers. And birds dont fly at night

      1. Ahem…birds do fly at night during migration…weather radar picks them up and those twin beams reach far into space with no obstruction…

      2. In Bay Bulls, Newfoundland, there is an annual “Puffin Patrol” which rounds up baby birds whose nocturnal navigation has been disrupted by lights on the shoreline. Seabirds don’t have nests in nice friendly forests where they can spend the nights.

  3. There is an excellent novel, “The Bridge of Birds” that uses this legend/myth to good purpose.

    1. Just looked it up and it looks good, even though fantasy isn’t my thing. A number of years ago, Ji Li Jiang wrote a newspaper serial based on the Monkey King, which brought that myth to life for American kids with the respect only a Chinese ex-pat could muster. I suspect there’s a lot of untapped source material in that culture!

      1. Thanks for humor & clever diversion. Political: Wish more than jokes available, I.e. remedies & recovery from Biden Administration: They’ve re-named the US National Luge……….Its now called “The Biden”…….Because its all downhill! ?

  4. Et tu, Mike. Some people besides me while realizing that Scott Adams would have been far better advised to think before vomiting nonetheless found Dilbert to still be funny and clever . Or am I alone in decrying obliteration of work’s of art because the artist is a fool, I wish he’d just shut up, and I wouldn’t want to have a beer with him

  5. If Scott Adam’s would have sung what he said in a rap song, he would have received a grammy by now.
    It’s all in the delivery. Segregation is what all the cool black kids cry for everyday. Not whitey tho. You can’t have black hair on a white girl. But for some reason, Dianna Ross’s flowing soft straight “white hair” is OK. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still hit the black chick on In the Heat of the Night. Caramel.

  6. Thanks for the humor & clever diversion. Political: Wish more than jokes were available for this, i.e. remedies & recovery from Biden Administration:
    They’ve re-named the USA National Luge……….Its now called “The Biden”…….Because its all downhill! ?

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