CSotD: Frivolous Friday

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.

UPDATE: Gannett has disputed the report, though it’s not clear how big a difference it makes. Stay tuned: DD Degg is on it. I have yet to withdraw my misgivings.

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.

The faint glimmer of hope is that the syndicates saw the popularity of those build-your-own-comics-page sites and launched GoComics and Comics Kingdom.

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.

However, today’s Loose Parts (AMS) is a reminder that Amazon plans to update Alexa with AI so she can go from being a humble servant to being an annoying noodge. Which I realize is redundant.

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.

I’m a Cholula person, others prefer Tabasco and Siracha has gained a massive following, but you should be able to tell one from the other blindfolded.

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.

14 thoughts on “CSotD: Frivolous Friday

  1. I will also be attending the AAEC convention next month. The ACC is a sister organization…I don’t know how many others are attending from our group, but at least two of us will be there.

  2. Not that I’m complaining about never seeing political ads from Wisconsin (which is where I live and vote) because our cable system is forced to carry Minneapolis TV channels because we’re within seventy miles of the Vikings broadcast radius, but repeatedly hearing the same damn ads about candidates you’ve never heard of from a state you can’t vote in is made all the more frustrating because you can’t vote for the ones you like and you can’t vote against those a-holes you hate.

    1. I feel ya. Living in northern Virginia we get Virginia ads, DC ads, and Maryland ads. We’re spared Delaware.

      The really right-wing ads come from the far suburbs in Virginia. The republicans in Maryland and the northern tip of Virginia are trying their best to seem moderate or at least conservative but not lunatics. .

  3. I saw The Killer live twice, each time memorable. On the first he stalked out because he tired of conflict between those who wanted to dance and those who wanted to listen. Second time, he was so out of it, they praactically carried him on the stage and sat him at the piano. He played without pause for an hour.

  4. Ha! I had subscribed to San Jose Mercury News back in the 90s just for the comic page. Was glad to save money when the syndicates took over as I didn’t live in California.

  5. Verizon also offers wireless home Internet, something I only know because I’m using it, so I can’t say if AT&T is doing the same thing. Depending on where you live though, T-mobile could easily be the only one with actual coverage.

    1. AT&T does it too. My daughter and son-in-law in DFW use wireless “5G” from AT&T for all Internet/streaming. I’m a boomer and still have cable internet from Spectrum.

  6. Watching college football on cable gives one the opportunity to watch a variety of political ads from out-of-state — not always involving the home state of either team. During the Wisconsin-Southern Georgia game last Saturday for example, we got to learn which Kentucky candidates were killing babies and which were supporting armed insurrection. (Did you know that Andy Beshear is forcing gender reassignment surgery on children against their will? Neither did I.)

  7. Ah yes, “innovation”, the bane of tech bros everywhere. It seems that everyone and everything has to “innovate”. Never mind that a hammer has served the same basic function for thousands of years, gotta add all the bells and whistles to make it really stand out… and so that no-one will actually want to use it.

  8. “Iā€™m a Cholula person”

    Ah, another man of class, I knew there was something I liked about you.
    There was a time when I put Cholula on damn near everything. I really need to go grab a few bottles, maybe Garlic or Chili Lime.

  9. Some years back, a bunch of us from one office tried a lot of different hot sauces to see which was the hottest. I don’t remember which was the hottest, but it made my glasses fog up, my eyes water, and my nose run. I had to take a long drink after each bite.

    Then my wife’s brother came by for dinner with his 2d wife. She was from the Caribbean (I forget which island), and she gobbled down wings with the hottest sauces without batting an eye. She was happy to take the bottles with the rest home. šŸ™‚

  10. The Philadelphia newspaper was both; the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, then as now owned by the same corporation, combined to make a web site that didn’t just let you select any of the comics you wanted. It also let you order the comics whatever way you liked, at least if you could figure out how to rearrange your bookmark’s URL. (It had a query string of something like ?strips=BCPNZG where, like, BC meant B.C., PN meant Peanuts, ZG would be Ziggy, and so on. Abbreviations may not be accurate.) And you could even pick that for any date you like in the archives.

    Really the best of all the early comics pages out there, although the Houston Chronicle offered the option of looking at a full week of a single strip, which was great for the story comics. It’s also how I discovered that the Locher-era Dick Tracy reached a point where you could read a week’s worth of strips vertically (all the Panel 1’s, then all the Panel 2’s, then all the Panel 3’s) and the story was about the same as reading day-by-day.

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