Today is a “Where do I begin?” day, but, with no particular plan in mind, let’s kick off with Bizarro (KFS), because Harold and the Purple Crayon came out when I was five years old and, while I had other books I really enjoyed, like Millions of Cats and Make Way For Ducklings, this was the first book that expanded my mind and drew me into active fantasy.
Somehow, even at 5, I knew that the magic was as much in Harold as in his purple crayon, but that simply meant that, instead of wishing I had a purple crayon, I wished I were Harold.
Which doesn’t mean I was completely grounded at such a young age, and this Rhymes with Orange (KFS) reminds me of going to Tschudy’s Store when I was a very wee lad, which I was only allowed to do with an older brother or sister, since it was on the far side of Mill Street. (We were still living in the city back then.)
There was a large plastic gumball machine at Tschudy’s which plainly said five cents over the slider.
Not “one nickel” but “five cents.”
So I jammed five pennies in there and got the slider about halfway over before it all seized up.
I don’t think Mr. Tschudy even gave me back my five cents. I think he just threw us all out of his store.
Speaking of books, Speed Bump (Creators) notes that we’re halfway through August already and so whatever you planned to read this summer had better also be well on its way.
It’s been nearly 30 years since I bought a copy of Les Miserables and proclaimed it my summer reading book and here’s an amusing but all too typical piece I wrote about that failed plan.
I’d seen the musical of Les Mis in Montreal more than once and regretted not having gone up there to catch the original French language version, but now that Mark Evanier has featured the Korean version of “One Day More” on his blog, I have another language to regret not having seen it in.
But I hadn’t intended reading it in the original French either.
Meanwhile, Andertoons (AMS) offers a reminder of when I was out of work, bankrupt and desperate and responded to a help-wanted ad for a major Big Box bookstore. Turned out I had to take a psychological test before I could even apply, and it became plain that the test was to make sure I would spend my time stocking shelves rather than chatting with customers.
Which I suspect is a major difference between small, independent bookstores and the Big Boxes, but I never went any further and consider it a bullet well-dodged by both of us.
The gummint is looking into filing an anti-monopoly action against Amazon, one of the gripes from publishers being that they push best-sellers and never give new authors decent positioning. But having seen some of these “Staff Picks” displays, I’d suggest it ain’t just Jeff Bezos doing that.
As said, a bullet mutually dodged.
Juxtaposition of the Day
I don’t know if it qualifies as good news or just another shift in the culture, but the latest TV analysis shows that use of actual television programming — as opposed to streaming — has dipped below 50%.
Which somewhat sort of answers my repeated question about the network programs promoted during football games, “Who watches this crap?”
Fewer than half.
You’ve always got the choice of either picking something you think is worthwhile or shutting the thing off entirely, and that choice is becoming more obvious by the day. Even Mildred Montag, the braindead fireman’s wife in Fahrenheit 451, insisted on being actively entertained by the pointless swill she watched.
I’m not sure the idea that we’re keeping up with Mildred Montag is all that encouraging, but it’s good to know we’re apparently not falling behind her, either, I guess.
I don’t know if the Women’s World Cup counts as broadcasting or streaming here, but it was live TV back in Australia and New Zealand where the games were hosted, and, if I’m using past-tense for a tournament that is still on-going, I suppose that exposes my sentiments and contains a bit of a spoiler, though enough time has passed that it’s your own fault if you don’t know where the Matildas stand.
First Dog on the Moon captures the mood and the cartoon is not simply revelatory in and of itself but also because First Dog generally addresses far more critical concerns. When he gets silly, you know it’s a sign of some major silliness afoot.
However, you’ll also note some serious reflections on women’s sports tucked in here and there, along with the overall observation that people have gone nuts over this.
As well they should. “A sound mind in a sound body” is a very old recipe for character, and, while the Battle of Waterloo was not won upon the playing fields of Eton, there’s nothing admirable in having an unbalanced personality.
There’s also nothing wrong with occasionally getting off your high horse and enjoying a little fun, as Peter Broelman suggests.
Even if, as Fiona Katauskas suggests, it inevitably leads to some sort of hangover. Even if they’d taken it all, they’d still have to contend with the four-year gap before the next one.
However, if you’re looking for more tangible heroism, here’s the front page of the Marion County Record, which managed to put out an edition despite the seizure of their equipment, a jackboot operation that has now been reversed.
It’s a tradition: When British troops smashed up the office of the Plattsburgh Republican in the War of 1812, they still made their next edition. When fire and flood all but wiped out Grand Forks, ND, in 1997, the local paper climbed a hill, borrowed laptops from the college and got their next edition out.
Not every paper follows that anymore; some chain-owned papers can miss an edition because (boo-hoo) it rained hard.
But the independent press still stands up to show what it’s made of.
They’re also journalists in a world that needs journalism.