CSotD: In which I get to say ‘Dadgummit’ a lot

Let’s start with Daddy’s Home (Creators) and no, I haven’t finished doing my taxes yet, but I’m finished dealing with the cost of putting kids through college, and somewhere in my storehouse of columns I wrote in the 90s is a rant about how college costs should be tax deductible.

And now they are sorta kinda, in that you can take a $2500 tax credit for costs of having a kid in college, at least for the first four years.

So I could shift into “dadgummit” phase and rant about how grateful today’s parents ought to be, except, well …

The scariest part of all is that this isn’t for four years. Just one.

This graph is from US News & World Report, which publishes the yearly roundup of the best schools, but they don’t include the US Navy, which was the saving grace for one of my kids and one of my grandkids-in-law.

There’s also a growth in high school voc-tech programs and an emphasis on community colleges, both of which I’ve had grandkids take advantage of, and there are movements to make them even more affordable.

So, yeah, if Elliot gets into college, they’re screwed, but maybe we’re going back to the days of Stover at Yale (1912) and Tom Brown at Oxford (1861) when colleges were a harbor for rich, spoiled wastrels, with a smattering of a few kids who honestly wanted to be there and scraped to get through.


While I’m in dadgummit mode, a salute to Will Henry for the way Wallace the Brave (AMS) breaks the mold (intentional choice of words) of comic strips set in some twilight zone of the long ago, because when I was the father of small children, we made mix-tapes on cassettes and were grateful to have upgraded from 8-tracks, dadgummit. CDs were for the next generation.

I love that Sterling has no idea what the old fellow is going on about this time. Welcome to irrelevance, m’man.

To set my own timeline, the first tapes I made — 53 years ago — were of Nashville Skyline and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere because I was tired of buying pre-recorded tapes and having the cassette player in my car chew them up.

And, for the record, I’d bought the vinyl I was recording from, dadgummit, so I wasn’t ripping off Bob or Neil.

God knows how musicians in the age of Spotify handle the horror of one of their kids getting into college.

This dadgummit is inspired by today’s Off the Mark (AMS).

Mark Parisi faced a real challenge in coming up with ridiculous flavors that aren’t actually in production, and I’m not sure he didn’t stumble here and there.

Some of it is gross but harmless: It doesn’t matter that new, silly flavors of Oreos now take up yards of shelf space so long as they continue to stock the regular ones.

But ketchup on Froot Loops makes nearly as much sense as most of what you’ll see in the cereal aisle, where the candy seems to outweigh the grain and a dose of tomato couldn’t make things any more gross than they are.

And, dadgummit, putting pineapple and Canadian bacon on pizza was only harmless while the kids in the kitchen still knew how to make the real thing. There are pizza places now that offer two dozen flavors of pizza none of which anybody from Naples would recognize or, certainly, eat.

And I’d comment on beer, except now the rednecks are all upset that Budweiser is marketing to everyone, instead of just straight white men.

First of all, I don’t want to get into politics, but, second of all, the beer coolers are full of alcopop confections and fruit-flavored beers, and I’ve seen these macho guys buying that silly stuff, so don’t be going all Ted Nugent on us now, dadgummit.

In fact, there’s an unintentional segue to this In The Bleachers (AMS), which I had already pulled out for a rant on how, yes, jury duty rocks. Which it does.

It took me years to get chosen and I found the process absolutely fascinating. I can’t understand why people are so eager to avoid it.

In fact, calling it “courtside seats” is accurate, because you not only get to hear every word, but they pass most of the evidence around so you can examine it yourself. You’re not just courtside; you’re in the game.

The connection to alcopop and such is that, in the case I got to be part of, two guys got into a fight that ended with one of them slicing up the other with a broken bottle of some light-flavored swill that, yeah, technically qualifies as beer, but not the kind you’d expect to become a deadly weapon in a bar fight.

I find it ironic that these flavored beverages are classified as “fruit beers,” given all the homophobic/transphobic uproar from the macho brutes who drink them, but facts are facts, and I held the remains of that 12-pack in my own hands.

I’ve ranted about this one before, but was delighted to see Deflocked (AMS) take up the cause.

I’m aware of the shortage of help in a land of low unemployment, but I’m also seeing signs promising $16 an hour to people willing to wear paper hats, and I’m similarly aware that the price of what they sell has gone up. Which makes perfect sense.

At this point, if anybody is still offering a “tipped wage,” and anybody is working for it, shame on them both.

I’m with Mamet: Handing me something over the counter is not the same as coming to my table, topping off my coffee, asking if I’d like anything else and so forth.

And I’m not being unfair: I don’t tip at the hardware store or the book store or the place I buy dog food, either.

Nor do I tip at the grocery store, whether I go through the cashier’s line or, like this fellow in Rubes (Creators), check myself out.

Mind you, I’m a generous tipper at real restaurants, the ones where I don’t have to fetch my own food. I give at least another 20% and I round up, on accounta that’s how it works.

It’s not that I’m refusing to change. I already did, 60 years ago.

I let my hair down and learned a whole new way of walking, and I’m not about to change again now.


17 thoughts on “CSotD: In which I get to say ‘Dadgummit’ a lot

  1. The only one of Parisi’s godoffal foodstuffs I haven’t (yet) seen in the wild is the blueberry feta pizza. But I have no doubt it exists in Dante’s fifth circle of culinary hell somewhere.

  2. Re: gratuities you’d never expect: After failing to maintain a thirty-year career freelancing in the comics industry, I spent the last 24 years of my working life (until it ended with a stroke) at Walmart, where we were repeatedly told that no matter what we did for a customer, it was forbidden to accept a tip. Okay, so now I’m retired and sorta handicapped, though I can make my way to and from my former store without much trouble (indeed, it provides most of my exercise). So while I was going through my difficulties, the store adopted the corporation’s much vaunted home-delivery initiative. And I was offered a trial period of free delivery…only to discover that “free delivery” (as well as Walmart-Plus, their yearly delivery membership deal) offers “free delivery” which includes a mandatory gratuity of $7.00 per order to the driver who brings about 80% of my requested groceries (because not everything listed on the website is always in stock) the mile and a half from the store to my doorstep, where the delivery is left, without ringing my doorbell. (I do get a photo both e-mailed and messaged to me to prove they delivered it.) So, until I can no longer ambulate and pick my own groceries, I choose not to take advantage of “free delivery,” and its attendant “tip.” (Here’s my tip to customers: shop for your own damn groceries and quit complaining about inflation, or at least pick them up yourself. And that’s coming from a guy with 1000 shares of Walmart stock in his “portfolio.”)

    1. Mike-

      So sad to hear. I was a subscriber of The Comic Reader.

      I wish you health and comfort.

      1. Thanks, Harley. I’m doing fine, just a bit annoyed that my retirement isn’t quite what I’d envisioned.

    2. Maybe since you have a lot of free time now, it’s time to bring back the “Gazette”.

      1. Wouldn’t that be nice? My old partner, Jerry Sinkovec, still lives in the Milwaukee area while I’m living 300 miles to the north (oddly enough, in Menomonie, WI, different in more ways than spelling from Menomonee Falls). And though the internet might have made things a lot easier in some ways, it seems like we missed our window in doing an analogue comic-strip newspaper that would pay for itself. Our seven-plus years of publishing nearly 60 strips on a weekly basis seems so astonishing in retrospect that it seems like it was somebody else’s life.

  3. There’s absolutely no reason for me to point this out, but the fellow in the Rubes cartoon is not seeing his reflection in the mirror. What he is seeing I don’t know. Maybe that’s part of the joke and I’m not getting it?

    1. Ah, I see the problem. Y’all were looking for the Edward Hopper version of Rubes. I usually use that one, but this time I used a variant version. They’re more collectible!

  4. The ‘ketchup of froot loops’ reminded me of the many hours with the kids spent flipping back and forth through “Ketchup on your Cornflake?” by Nick Sharratt.

    I haven’t seen blueberry feta pizza in a pizza parlor yet, but there’s a bunch of copies of a blueberry, feta, honey, & caramelized onion pizza recipe out there. I’d probably like it, I used to put blueberries in my quesadillas.

  5. When I added up dorms, food, books and tuition, my 1973 Anthropology degree cost $12,000. I had a small Regent’s scholarship, washed dishes and borrowed $900.

  6. Yeh, the barista only hands you your coffee. And of course there is never a mess left on the table to be cleaned up when “someone” comes out to wipe the table off .The Minimum Wage Fairy does that.

    Never mind all the flavored vapes. When I first saw Green Apple Flavored cigars I wondered why anyone would bother to smoke..

    1. The barista is a cook, the table-wiper is a busboy. Those are not waitstaff positions.

      Waiters should share their tips, but I’ve never directly tipped either a cook or a busboy. If they’re getting $16 an hour, they’re being fairly paid. If they’re getting a “tipped wage,” they’re being ripped off.

      Maybe the trick would be to publicize who pays their employees well and who doesn’t, so we’d know where to put our business. Meanwhile, I ran into “service charges” in Europe in 1965. Seems we’ve had time to adopt them here, if we wanted to.

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