CSotD: Your Comic Weekly Man

Mr. Boffo offers a chance to visit the ungracious past.

The idea of pop-up wine tastings out of paper bags reminds me of the Olden Days when the gentlemen of the streets would scrape up enough money to buy something utterly undrinkable, plus a dime for a packet of pre-sweetened Kool-Aid, which they would add to the bottle.

The result was called “Shake’em Up” and it wasn’t much of an improvement on the original swill, but you could get it down and possibly keep it down and so it fulfilled the needs of the moment, which were modest and pathetic.

As far as I know, nobody has trademarked the name “Shake’em Up,” but the shelves and coolers today are full of undrinkable swill flavored with some sort of wretched fruit drink and they seem to sell very well indeed.

Possibly because, back in the Olden Days, nobody made commercials of happy, attractive young people on the beach drinking Shake’em Up while they played volleyball.

Anyway, in most places, if you’re just gonna sit on the park bench chugging it down, you’re still supposed to keep the bottle in a paper bag.

Bizarro (KFS) takes me somewhat forward in time, though not to any place all that gracious. I was marketing director for a local TV station that was sold, whereupon the new station manager hired an all-new crew of telegenic news people to replace the tried-and-true news readers we’d had for years who were, it must be confessed, not all that telegenic.

I may be somewhat prejudiced by the fact that one way they could afford this new crew was to fire the marketing director, but the new station manager and I despised each other instantly so my departure was both inevitable and mutually welcome.

Anyway, the new gang stuck around for maybe a year, long enough for the sports guy to marry one of the few really talented natives in our remaining on-air talent and take her with him. And long enough for one of them to say something really stupid on the air that cost us a week’s worth of ratings in the middle of Spring Sweeps.

Eventually, the new station manager’s wife wised up and left him and then he corkscrewed into the ground and also had to leave, but the station wound up with a really cool news set in the studio, so all was not lost.

Speaking of putting telegenic people on the air to say stupid things, Tank McNamara (AMS) takes a swipe at what Barb correctly terms “yelling talking heads.”

I think I’m too old for sports broadcasting or something. Over the years, the networks have gradually replaced sports talk with obnoxious scream-fests hosted by the sorts of loudmouths who make it more pleasant to drink at home than to hang out in bars.

Obviously there are still bars and the networks are still on the air, so they must be onto something that works.

The joke here being that, if they really did program it so the people agreed with each other, they’d have to tear it all up and start over again.

Elsewhere in the Meathead Round-up, Rhymes With Orange (KFS) brings back memories of a story I covered of an extended chase that ended up with the perp committing suicide at a police road block.

Pretty grim stuff, yes, but I turned in my film, wrote up the story and went home to dinner, only to get a phone call from an editor because the local TV station had turned up a witness who said the police had poured a volley of shots into the car.

Which, if they did, they managed to do it without making any holes in the vehicle, because I’d seen it in its after-condition.

But I left my dinner and managed to track down the witness who — like the witness in today’s RWO — hadn’t actually seen anything but had been inside a nearby store and heard loud noises.

By the time I found him, he’d stopped talking to anyone about it and my dinner was cold. We added a paragraph to the story for the benefit of anyone who’d seen the TV report, carefully wording it so the guy couldn’t sue us but such that nobody would believe him.

Great Adventures in Journalism.

Great Adventures in cold dinner.

Frazz (AMS) kicks the Back to School strips up a level to college, and Caulfield introduces a point that also applies to year-round school proposals.

It doesn’t much matter to Walt Disney, whose tourist season runs 52 weeks a year, but local tourism was built on a calendar in which not only did families have particular times to take vacations, but young people had particular times in which they could work full time.

For that matter, there are places that depend on teachers for summer staff, including not just summer camps but museums and even places like Ausable Chasm, where you need a mature, experienced helmsman on the boats that rocket down the river.

Disney and Universal and other megaparks have put a lot of smaller, family-owned businesses out to pasture, but even so, Caulfield notes, there are still a lot of local places that rely on young folks for staff.

Or, at least, used to.

We haven’t worked out a plan for year-round school, but the pandemic was good rehearsal. The sign at the local Wendy’s not only tells you they want to hire more help but lists all the hours they aren’t open so you needn’t worry about having to work overtime.

On a related note, Frank Hansen comments on San Francisco’s proposal to allow self-driving cars to operate as taxis, which brings the issue of scabdrivers to its ultimate resolution.

I mention this mostly to remind editorial cartoonists that we’re all getting together in October at the AAEC Convention in San Francisco. Being there is critically important for anyone who hopes editorial cartoons have a future and you can get information at the new, improved AAEC website.

But I’ll be damned if I’m gonna try to get from the airport to the hotel in one of those things.

I’m not scared. I’m just dubious.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Your Comic Weekly Man

  1. I have seen those self-driving cars in San Francisco, and as unsettling as it is to see an empty car pull up beside you, I found it slightly more unsettling to see one with a passenger in the back. That have WAY more trust in a computer than I do. Don’t they realize that the Robot Uprising will begin with computers logically deciding that the best way to serve humanity is to drive us all off cliffs (or maybe with a nice Chianti).

    I’ve read that so-called Urban Guerrillas who object to the cars on principle have learned to disable the by placing orange traffic cones on their hoods. They can’t move until a human removes the cone. Because I respect private property and free capitalism, I in no way find that a hilarious and admirable form of protest. No way.

  2. “Disney and Universal and other megaparks have put a lot of smaller, family-owned businesses out to pasture”

    You mean like Pirates World, that wonderful establishment that gave us ‘Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny’?
    hmm… sometimes huge corporations putting Mom ‘n Pop out of business isn’t such a bad thing after all…

    Also, did anyone notice the major typo in Bizarro? There’s “ACTION 2 NEWSCENTER” and “ACTIO2 2 SPORTSCENTER”
    ….ACTIO2 2?

  3. Ten driverless taxis in San Francisco suddenly came to a halt, causing gridlock for several blocks. The cause was said to be unavailability of cell phone bandwidth because of a music festival. This happened one day after the California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan to allow the driverless cars.

    Cars that depend on connectivity easily lost due to big crowds and especially at times of crisis. What could possibly go wrong?


    1. I’m just waiting for a gaggle of driverless taxis to come to a halt around a group of emergency vehicles for the same reason and causing a traffic jam, preventing other emergency vehicles getting in and out of the area. Who gets sued when somebody in a burning building or traffic accident dies because a jam was caused by driverless vehicles? And don’t talk to me about the driverless vehicles almost causing accidents once a week in San Francisco because they don’t pull over or stop for sirens.

  4. Your comments on summertime jobs hit both a memory and a next-week issue with me. A high school teacher, with whom I had a good relationship (e.g., graded his classes’ book reports, corrected final exams), used to work summers at a Finger Lakes winery. Doing some “touring” with a cousin who lived near the winery, we lucked into getting him as a guide. I say “lucked into” because, unbeknownst to us, they had a “VIP” room that guides could use at their discretion. It was way better (and much more drinking) than a “normal” tour. As for next week, it’s our annual end of August vacation at a nearby lake resort. However, PA kids start school that week (as opposed to after Labor Day like NY), so the close the outdoor pools due to lack of lifeguards. On the plus side, there aren’t any teens telling me I can’t drink beer on the beach.

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