No, no, no politics today, despite Pearls Before Swine (AMS) sneaking a good one in. DD Degg’s news of another chain abandoning its local readers is depressing enough without delving deeper into the mire.
The move reminds me of a couple of similar tremors from years past. There was a time, O Best Beloved, when the Houston Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News and one of the Philly papers (I forget which one) had a feature where you could assemble your own comics page.
An exec from one of the syndicates told me allowing it had been a mistake and they wouldn’t license any others, but they needn’t have worried, because the beancounters sabotaged their own click-generator. The Philly paper kept screwing up the updates, so you’d suddenly see a strip from the year before, Houston shut it down as part of erecting a paywall and the Merc’s page died when Knight Ridder decided all its papers’ websites should adopt a cookie-cutter design so uniform that you couldn’t tell which paper’s site you were on without clicking on the local news. The fact that they were angelfire ugly was a bonus.
That the Merc was in the heart of Silicon Valley but held captive by ownership that didn’t understand the Intertubes was a sign of the future. Corporate didn’t give a damn about local expertise, local coverage and, least of all, local audiences.
Now another Wall Street behemoth has decreed that comic pages should be extruded from HQ, not chosen by people who live in the community.
The result is that a lot of cartoonists are going to have to either get second jobs and cartoon at night, or hang it up entirely.
If you care about the art form, you’ll pop for the $20 a year or so they charge, and if you really care, you’ll find a couple of favorite cartoonists on our list of Patreons and similar support sites and give them a little more than applause.
Meanwhile, Andertoons (AMS) requires a correction, because the fellow does have core values: He wants to make profits and boost his stock’s price. That’s it. Nothing else.
And, as noted in this Non Sequitur (AMS), not only does it not bother him but he feels pretty superior about the whole thing.
The next item on the meeting agenda will be a screening of the new TV commercial telling everyone how much they care. It features the three orphans who got new bicycles before the fund for caring was depleted by the cost of shooting the commercial.
So anyway, no politics today.
Though this is as good a time as any for an update on the PCO’s volunteer effort to overcome Britain’s cruel treatment of young refugees, a coloring book inspired by the heartless order to paint over cartoon characters at a refugee intake center.
The book, which will be given out free, is a way not only to welcome children to Britain but to offer them an introduction to their new home.
It’s at the printers now; I’ll let you know when you can order a copy to support the effort, and to see some work by a number of caring artists.
Meanwhile, over at Edison Lee (KFS), Orville has been given his own desktop computer, opening a world of fascinating educational and mind-expanding opportunities.
As you see, he’s taking about as much advantage of this as most folks seem to.
Which reminds me to complain about people who complain about kids, because it only took a small amount of mockery to get teenage girls to stop making duck lips in their selfies, while no amount of pushback has persuaded their parents that we don’t give a damn what they had for dinner.
Except in the case of David Brooks, who made his dinner the focus of some delightful flaming. I’ll be flying through Newark to the AAEC Convention next month and am thinking of doing some drunk-posting of my own to see if I can get half as many clicks as he’s had.
Carpe Diem (KFS) goes for a tech joke as well, one that makes me wonder why T-Mobile seems to be the only (domestic) company offering no-cable Internet connections. I’ve had it for over a year and the only “problem” is that, because my signal comes from cell towers instead of a cable system, advertisers don’t know where I live.
Which is not much of a problem. Political ads from two states away seem comparatively quaint in their irrelevance.
I like Alexa, but I already wish she wouldn’t add unsolicited offers to her information. “Would you also like tomorrow’s weather?”
No. If I did, I’d have asked for it.
Worst of all is that they apparently aren’t simply offering it on new units. They plan to update existing ones.
I fear she’ll become less like Joanna and more like Brian:
I kinda like the bare minimum.
No. No, they don’t need a shake-up. What I was hoping for was a basic tool, something to tell me the weather and what time it is and to delight me when I say “Alexa, play some music from 1966.” (Seriously, try that.)
Speaking of Screwing Things Up
Two examples from Tank McNamara (AMS)‘s story arc about hot sauce. Bill Hinds is a Houston native, and, having spent nearly two decades out West myself, we appear to share an opinion about people who can’t tell flavor from heat.
However, there has developed a group who think dining is a contest of who can take the most pain, testing not only their propensity for ulcers but the expression “burns at both ends.”
They’re like the people who brag about how much they drank last night.
Come to think of it, I think they’re the same people.
The real trick, however, is to appreciate heat without losing your cool.