CSotD: Clear thinking on a Sunday morning

So here’s the thing: I didn’t have to wait until the final panel of today’s Barn (Creators) to know what musical selection the ducks were performing.

I could attribute that to my educational and cultural upbringing, and I do, but only to the extent that cartoons used to be a lot more educational and cultural. Like most people in my age cohort, my knowledge of classical music can be attributed to an animated rabbit and his colleagues.

I’m not claiming that my age cohort has big brains, mind you, and Daddy’s Home (Creators) reminds us of how we are losing previous skills. Well, sort of.

I don’t know anybody’s phone number, but, then again, I don’t need to, as long as I don’t drop my phone into an active volcano.

I used to know a lot of phone numbers, though I certainly didn’t know as many as are stored on my phone.

But when I was old enough to make phone calls, I only had to know four digits. By the time it became seven digits for local calls, I was lucky because all my friends had the same first three digits. But I would say that, when we started needing 10 digits, my collection of memorized phone numbers was starting to slide.

Now, thanks to portable phone numbers, I’ve got numbers on my phone from people who have moved to entirely different parts of the country, but their old numbers still work because they haven’t changed them.

The result is that, today, you don’t have to be smart enough to remember phone numbers any more. You just have to be smart enough to keep the phone in a pocket where, if you bend over an active volcano, it won’t fall out.

Not everyone seems to be able to pass that test, mind you. But that’s the test.

Meanwhile, over in Betty (AMS), Bub seems to have come up with a solution to e-mail. It’s not a good solution, but it’s a solution.

One of the benefits of retirement is that I don’t have to sit through the “good solutions” anymore. Long before Marie Kondo, there were any number of efficient busybodies who traveled around giving lectures and workshops about how to de-clutter your in-box.

Most had more elaborate systems than Bub’s but it all boiled down to not actually giving a damn. It just has the advantage that sorting your emails into a variety of silos makes you appear to give a damn. It also provides you with a chimp-like activity to keep you looking busy and efficient.

I prefer Bub’s. It’s more honest and it didn’t take 40 minutes to hear.

Clearing your email gives you time to contemplate important issues, like how the porcupines in today’s Loose Parts (AMS) got up there. Porcupines are surprisingly nimble, as too many dogs have learned the hard way, but I think this would only work if someone took them by their smooth bellies and flung them against the Styrofoam blocks, and that would still leave the issue of what happens when they want to get down and go home. Or even just enjoy some of those snacks.

However, you can tell these are extremely intelligent porcupines, because they all wear glasses. Pretty sure they’ll not only figure all this stuff out, but that they would recognize Beethoven’s Fifth as sung by ducks even before they saw the final panel.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Two cartoons about time travel, but Crabgrass is one of the most intelligent you’ll see while Pooch Cafe is refreshingly, delightfully dumb.

When Crabgrass debuted at GoComics, I’ll admit I only followed it because it came loaded with a large dose of hoopla, which was then doubled up at CXC 2022 in Columbus.

Often it takes a new strip a little time to find its feet, though most of that should be ironed out in the developmental phase before it’s released. In this case, I think the strip was fully fledged, but that it takes some time to get into its pace, because it’s not just a set-up/slam four panel style, and often the continuity in a story arc is relatively slow developing and dare-I-say subtle.

It’s worth the effort, and this was a particularly funny standalone example.

Pooch Cafe, by contrast, appears refreshingly stupid, because it is, but, then again, you have to have both a little cinematic background and a knowledge of how vacuum cleaners break down. You also have to be able to dance the line between dog behavior and Ralph Kramden behavior in a strip that, as far as I know, pioneered the gag of dogs all dressing for Halloween as nail clippers.

You have to be pretty smart to be that kind of stupid.

Sometimes, however, the jokes just fall on your desk, and I was amused at how the NBA served this one up for Tank McNamara (AMS), though, in the words of Dennis Green (different sport) he let’em off the hook.

I don’t follow basketball, so I had to look up the schedule and they have been playing one game at 8 pm every night. Every night in Prime Time seems like a recipe for fan burnout.

Meanwhile, the NFL has doubleheaders every Sunday afternoon, and triple headers if you count the night game. Different teams, different cities, but that doesn’t matter for the fan watching at home.

Does it work? The NFL gets five times the ratings of the NBA.

Wiley didn’t mention basketball in today’s Non Sequitur (AMS), but he provided a coincidental theme with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s latest Substack.

If you like my work, you’d like Kareem’s, because, in that column, he manages to cite Bachman-Turner Overdrive, ABBA, Oscar Wilde, Jean-Paul Sartre, the movie Shane, Jim Carrey, Peanuts, George Santayana, Joan Baez and WH Auden.

He also cites a study showing that billionaires are no smarter, and generally not as smart, as people who earn less, and echoes Wiley’s opinion of the matter:

Later, having touched on other topics and shown a video of a busker who has trained his little dog to collect the donations, he has some words about everyone’s favorite billionaire:

I never envied his basketball skills, but I wish I could pack as much wisdom into my work as he regularly does into his. Every one of his columns is like having coffee with a good, wise friend.

Try to leave every day smarter than when you walked in. Don’t let the world catch up.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Clear thinking on a Sunday morning

  1. Re: Elon Musk: Sheer Genius (South African version). First, borrow way too much money to buy a business purely on a whim, to wit, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I were the emperor of what everybody says on the internet?” Second, in order to ensure that business decreases in value as soon as you do, say a bunch of stupid things, then third, declare that everyone now needs a subscription to post what used to cost them nothing, thereby actively eliminating the very product he needs to sell to the advertisers who were making the profits for the former owners. This is known as the old “That’s just what we want them to think,” stragem aka the “So stupid it just might work” scheme, clearly inspired by Wile E. Coyote in imported comic books and cartoon reruns.

  2. I have a very smart friend who once leaned over and dropped her eyeglasses down a glacier crevasse in Iceland, making the rest of her trip very blurry. Not quite a phone into a volcano, but it happens to the best of us. Luckily, I still remember the phone numbers of my wife and one of my two children (the other kid’s number just doesn’t stick in my head for some reason, even though I ostensibly love her the same). Of course I also remember my own phone number from when I was six years old, as well as my long-dead grandparents’. My mind would be a dangerous weapon if only I could overwrite its useless clutter with useful information.

    Pooch Cafe is an underrated gem.

  3. I have been reading your website ever since it popped up in my feed. I very much enjoy the selections and commentary you provide.
    Many of the cartoons don’t appear in my local newspapers; so many talented people out there.

    Thank you for the Lou Reed tribute to Nico.
    Gone but not forgotten.

  4. Most of the new comics I follow have come from your referrals. Crabgrass quickly became my favorite comic on GoComics. Thanks!

  5. I followed Crabgrass (which is excellent) from the beginning because it’s by Tauhid Bondia, the loss of whose A Problem Like Jamal I still mourn.

  6. I identified the musical piece after the first 4 quacks. It was pretty obvious.

    My local daily started running Crabgrass as a replacement for Dilbert. So far, I consider it an upgrade.

    1. I pay tribute to your local newspaper – that’s some master level trolling.

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