CSotD: On a lighter note (autumn edition)

Wiley Miller lived in New England for some years, which he proves with this Non Sequitur (AMS). It’s nice to live in the Northern Forest because autumns are spectacular, but, yes, timing is everything and those “from away” must learn that it’s nearly impossible to plan a trip ahead of time that will put you there at the right moment.

This year has been somewhat meh, at least in my part of the woods, with a lot of yellow, not much red, and suddenly a lot of bare trees.

So it goes. I plan to be here next autumn and we’ll see how that turns out.

I’m not sure xkcd‘s solution would work, having lived at one point on a time zone border where Daylight Saving was also a local decision. The confusion was year ’round, because whether it was on or off, you had to keep track of which communities where followed which protocol.

If they ever did find a way to deal with it all, they’d have to find something else for people to whinge about, because that’s what we do best. On my flight to San Francisco earlier this month, I noticed that the toilet paper roll in the airplane restroom was under rather than over, and I hoped nobody else would notice because we’d probably have to turn back.

As documented in this Frazz (AMS), the important thing for kids to learn is what kinds of complaining are relevant and what kinds are not.

I had a brilliant professor my senior year in college who would actually argue with you in her marginal comments, and she could be quite caustic but in that raised-eyebrow sense that squashed you down but made you realize it was your fault, not hers. I adored the woman because she genuinely paid attention to what I was saying rather than nit-picking issues of style.

Most teachers/professors who claim to be “strict but fair” are more accurately described as jackasses, and if I hadn’t been graduating, I would have signed up for more classes from her.

Which brings us to Bizarro (KFS). I have little inside knowledge of the Army, but having a son and grandson-in-law in the Navy provides some insight there.

Herman Wouk, himself a Navy veteran, famously explained it all in the Caine Mutiny:

The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you are not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one. All the shortcuts and economies and common-sense changes that your native intelligence suggests to you are mistakes. Learn to quash them. Constantly ask yourself, “How would I do this if I were a fool?” Throttle down your mind to a crawl. Then you will never go wrong.

The book was fiction, the quote is not. My son was a damage control/firefighter, and his training manual was the clearest, best-written manual I’ve ever encountered. And yet the Navy was full of well-trained specialists like himself and another level of shipmate known derisively as “deck apes,” or, as in the cartoon, “nothing special forces.”

In his early days aboard the ship, his chief took him aside and said, “Peterson, you think too much. The Navy has set things up so that the biggest fool aboard can keep the ship from sinking. When you face a problem, think back to the stupidest rock you knew in boot camp and ask what he would do? That’s the right answer.”

Mighty fine system. We could use more like it.

Not that the world should be devoid of wit, and, in this Reality Check (AMS), Dave Whamond puts a creative spin on a factoid normally so tiresome that Ruben Bolling uses it as a running gag in Super-Fun-Pak-Comix. But, yes, she’s the Bride of Frankenstein.

Everybody is lining up with Halloween gags this week. The good ones stand out that much more.

Juxtaposition of the Holiday

Arlo and Janis — AMS

Big Nate — AMS

When I was a tiny tot, our next door neighbor, a little old lady known to us as Aunt Effie, handed out blue and pink popcorn balls. We moved away when I was five, so I wasn’t old enough to judge them, though I’m not sure I ever finished one, because they were sweet and sticky and huge.

But Aunt Effie was a sweet little old lady and we liked her. She could have handed out Saf-T-Pops and we’d have still loved her. Maybe a little less.

(When the 1950 Census was released earlier this year, I looked it up and found out that the sweet little old lady was about a decade and a half younger than I am now.)

Anyway, Nate is wrong about Good & Plentys because they’ve been ruined. Good & Plentys were once a hard-shelled licorice candy which meant a box of them would last pretty far into the movie. Now they’re soft and not only are they no longer Good but, like all other candy portions, it’s been a long time since they were Plenty either.

As for the licorice part, don’t get me started. Another candy that used to last all day until they began “improving” it.


Baby Blues (AMS) gets the odd timing award for its current story arc, because it coincides with SAG/AFTRA sending out a memo to its striking members telling them not to dress as characters from popular movies because that’s a form of strikebreaking.

Former SAG President Melissa Gilbert was unimpressed:

So I guess she’d be on Zoey’s side, eh?

Meanwhile, Wallace the Brave (AMS) has never lobbied for his family to get a dog, but here’s a pretty good reason to at least keep one in the neighborhood. Even if his mother volunteered a lock of her own hair (and she seems somewhat reluctant), human hair takes too much time and effort to get placed properly. Clumps of good fuzzy dog hair are much easier to work with.

Or so I’ve heard. From other parents. Certainly not me.

Finally, we’ll end with a Halloweenish horror from Dave Blazek at Loose Parts (AMS). Swinging a smoky thurible while fasting for communion was a major cause of collapsing adolescent altar boys back in the day.

Filling it with stink-pretty would not have improved things.

13 thoughts on “CSotD: On a lighter note (autumn edition)

  1. (Note that, coming from his Black Hat Guy character, that ‘solution’ to daylight savings time is absolutely intended to be malicious.)

  2. I dislike flipping clocks back and forth more than most and would vote for (almost) any politician who promised to abolish it, but am dismayed that most folks seem to think we should keep Daylight Saving Time. No no no! We must keep Standard Time. First, to keep kids from going to school in the dark, which is what would happen to DST in the winter. Second, to preserve the elegant, graceful, may I say even beautiful, ideal that high noon is when the Sun passes highest in the sky. Apollo’s chariot should not mark its zenith at 1 p.m. That’s just wrong.

    Actor Ryan Reynolds, who seems like a witty scamp, responded to the Guild guidance with a Tweet: “I look forward to screaming ‘scab’ at my 8 year old all night. She’s not in the union but she needs to learn.”

    1. I got very excited a couple of years ago when I heard Congress had passed a motion to end the whole Daylight Saving Time nonsense. I don’t know what happened to it.

      1. Sorry, Wiley, it was deemed to be woke, communist, and common sense so it failed miserably. I’m not surprised. Are you?

      2. The Sunshine Protection Act in 2022 was passed unanimously by the Senate, but died in the House. Surprisingly, it was the Democratic leadership (in charge of the House at the time) that bottled it up. The Democrat in charge of the committee that had jurisdiction said it was not a priority. Steny Hoyer wasn’t impressed with the legislation, either. See: https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3571007-permanent-daylight-saving-time-hits-brick-wall-in-house/

      3. In one of Arthur C. Clarke’s novels (I think it was The Fountains Of Paradise), he posited a near future in which the world only had four time zones, with a difference of six hours between each one. I once had a coworker who spent much of his military service at a base in Alaska where they kept Eastern time because it kept them in synch with DC and the Pentagon.

  3. For this Halloween I’m going as a creature of unspeakable loathing, of horror, destruction and murder: . . a human being!

  4. When to comes to autumn, I live in northern Illinois and it’s a mixed bag. Good autumn days are absolutely stunning and bad autumn days are a nightmare. We have a solid mix of yellow and red trees, but also plenty of trees that just turn slightly brown (including the big tree at my parents’ old house, ugh).

    Mike & Ike are my go-to theater candy. They’re like Good ‘n Plenty but aren’t terrible.

    That ‘Nothing Special Forces’ comic reminds me of the RiffTrax short “A Day With Fireman Bill” which mostly consists of him doing things like cleaning their dorm or making dinner.
    “Hey, nobody said it would be an *exciting* day with Fireman Bill…”

  5. One of my friends who had the experience said that the perfect example of an oxymoron was the term “Army Intelligence.”

    Brian Fies : Absolutely on one STANDARD time ! Especially because of the kids in the dark !

    1. I can top that. A grand-uncle of mine was for a while, in the 1920s, head of Irish Army Intelligence. Think about that for a moment.

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