CSotD: Ancient skinks and other delights

I took one look at the beast being transported in this BC (Creators), summoned up my inner eight-year-old and declared it an ankylosaurus, because palaeoscincus wouldn’t have that club on its tail.

But I decided I’d better look it up, because I was sure about the tail thing but a little rocky on how to spell palaeoscincus and didn’t want to touch off another spelling uproar.

What I found was that the source for our knowledge of palaeoscincus was a tooth, which made me a little skeptical about how they knew what was at the other end.

So what was the difference between palaeoscincus — the name means “ancient skink” and I’m not making that up — and ankylosaurus? And boy-oh-boy if I was skeptical before, I was doubly so after reading some of that.

However, the search for clarity did lead me to this fabulous rant on the overall topic of ankylosauri and it’s got a number of dead-linked illustrations but many that aren’t and, more than that, it’s just a terrific rant that you won’t want to miss.

I remain skeptical, mind you, but I feel better knowing I’m not alone.

I’m pretty sure, after reading this Existential Comics, that I’m not the most skeptical person in the world. I’d say I’m certainly not, but I’m at least skeptical enough not to believe in certainty.

So maybe I am. But I doubt it.

There’s a difference, mind you, between being skeptical and being cynical, and people who claim to be skeptical but are really only cynical are annoying.

But properly deployed, cynicism can be hilarious and I loved today’s Brewster Rockit (Tribune), though I have many readers in the UK and past-and-present Commonwealth who may not have giggled as much as I did at the official royal photograph.

Perhaps if we’d never seen them in their street clothes, they wouldn’t look quite so much like costume night on Carnival Cruise.

Juxtaposition of the Season

It’s a difficult time of year for cartoonists, because they may want to do end-of-school-year cartoons, but the timing is problematic. I think some schools are already out while some won’t get out for another month. Neither of these kids are out yet, which is probably the safest bet at least until Memorial Day.

When I was in high school, we didn’t graduate until the third week of June, but I think if the teachers could have voted, we’d have gotten our diplomas in January. We were a class of smart jocks, sandwiched between two classes of nice compliant students. We’d walk through stone walls for teachers we respected but we pranked the others mercilessly.

Most colleges are out, which I know because one of the kids was at the dog park the other day and also because Boston University got some publicity for their graduation. They invited the CEO of Warner/Discovery to be commencement speaker and the kids — bless their little Gen Z hearts — chanted “Pay Your Writers!” at him.

When my stepdaughter graduated from BU, their speaker was Fred Rogers. It was a different time and a different world.

Anyway, cartoonists have eight weeks of summer cartoons and then the guessing game begins again, since each state starts up at some other date.

I’ve ranted about this before, but this Pearls Before Swine (AMS) coincides with a Business Insider piece headlined “Why are you suddenly being asked to tip more? It could be because workers are getting more expensive.” which is the sort of elongated, undisciplined headline you end up with when you’re not in print.

It’s an interesting piece that seems to argue that rising wages explain increased demands for tips, which makes no sense. But what they appear to be saying is that, because some places are paying more, places that don’t are hoping you will.

And that they also hope employees don’t notice management skimming off tips for themselves.

With unemployment at 3.4% and help-wanted signs in every window, you’re an idiot if you work for these scroungers.

Two other observations: One is that I don’t carry cash, and I’m not about to start.

The other is that I encountered “service charges” in Europe in 1965 and thought it was a pretty good idea then. I still do, but for service staff, not counter help. Them you should pay up front.

Maybe we need to invite some of these CEOs to come speak at BU.

Madam & Eve offer a lesson we small-town folks don’t need, because half the time that maniac owns the business, and the only reason for a phone number of the truck is so you’ll call and offer him work, not your opinion of his driving.

It works both ways. I used to schedule things so that, if my car was in the shop, I didn’t have to go anywhere that day. But when that failed, I’d take one of the paper’s delivery vans, at which point I had to remember that I had no anonymity and that, as the operators of amusement park rides caution, I should keep my hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

The Lockhorns celebrate some people’s willingness to bet on anything, but the problem with a Pickleball Fantasy League is that you probably know the players personally.

I tried Fantasy Football once and found that I was rooting against teams I wanted to win because they were playing against athletes on “my” team. There are sports like jai alai and horseracing where the betting is everything and the play doesn’t much matter, but that’s not why I watch sports.

Leroy’s going to end up with a lot of enemies in the neighborhood once they realize he’s counting on them to lose.

Which leads us to Dr. MacLeod, and I agree that legalized sports betting has gotten out of hand with extravagant promises that a five-second tag at the end about problem gambling won’t offset.

But it’s still relatively clean, and prohibiting players from betting is key to that. Players offer the excuse that they only bet on their own team to win, so they have no motivation to tank a game, but, first of all, there’s the point spread to consider and, second, pull the other one, pal.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: Ancient skinks and other delights

  1. I realize that swearing is true-to-life in 2023 and that many people, in this era of R-rated movies and TV are not only not bothered by it, but don’t even notice. Maybe I’m just too damn (sorry) old, but i remember the days when “@#$%&!” meant something completely vague, something that told you a character like Sarge in BEETLE BAILEY was simply speaking like your average enlisted man who doesn’t need to protect anyone’s sensibilities, but not actually “saying” anything specific, so you could read it as either completely profane or sort of offcolor. The sample of MADAM & EVE does leave you to choose between two or three swear words that do the job in your head, but it’s emblematic of current comic euphemisms where those symbols simply take up exactly the number of letters in the exact word being self-censored. The reader has no choice but to “read” the “word” as the profanity. That’s not really doing the job of protecting the readers who’d rather not be swearing in their heads, is it? I’m learned enough to know virtually every swear word you can think of, but I’d rather not turn a comic strip or comic book into an R-rated experience. I’m probably alone in this.

    1. I seamlessly filled in the gap and then had to look back to see if it was really just symbols. Hm.

    2. The left, right, middle, and fringe are all EQUALLY toxic, artificial, narcissistic, egotistical, arrogant, prideful, predictable, bland, boring, counterproductive, elitist, stupid, and evil and humankind would be better off without the lot of them in the end.

      1. I’ve been swearing since I learned what my mother’s hand felt like at high speed across my face. Oh well. That was at least 60 years ago.

    3. I’m good at Wordle but Cursdle leaves me wondering about a six letter word which consists of two identical three letter combinations.

      Though, granted, South Africa has 11 official languages. I’m sure it’s filthy in at least one of them.

      1. So.. mankind would be a lot better off without mankind. Could be true, but I’m skeptical.

    4. Um, 6 < 7. That is a true grawlix, not a cipher. Well, a TRUE grawlix would be hand drawn with daggers and 'splodey things, nowadays I suppose we have to settle for Zapf Dingbats.

  2. Gosh ! I’ve been reading the comics for 70+ years and swearing for almost that long and it never occurred to me to count the !@$^&(* symbols to try to decode the word. I knew Sarge was cussing Beetle, that was all I needed to know.

  3. This says nothing except the ignorance of my eight-year-old self, but I assumed that ankylosaurus was about the size of a coffee table. Imagine my surprise when I later learned that it was closer in size to a stretch limo.

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