CSotD: Sunday in the Dark with Funnies

In this morning’s Arlo and Janis (AMS), Arlo salutes the earlier sunrise on this first day back in Standard time. It all makes me no never mind, since I get up before anybody’s notion of daylight kicks in, though it felt good to roll over for another hour this morning.

Arlo has always seemed to track my place in life and I’m wondering now if he’s also retired, since we haven’t seen him go off to work recently and he and Janis are considering selling their house and moving to the coast.

Back when I had a job with regular hours, I had to walk the dogs in the dark at both ends of the day, and I also remember my kids’ varsity soccer when the last game of the season was played in near darkness.

These days, clocks don’t have much of a grip on me anymore and the shorter daylight hours happen anyway. We’ll have lost two hours of daylight by the Winter Solstice, at which point it becomes a little harder to brighten the corner where you are, even for me and Arlo.

Though he generally gets about an hour more daylight in Mississippi than I get up here in New Hampshire.

It’s not a competition, but it does mean I have to look for my gains more carefully.

Frazz (AMS) is also a master of personal reality: Even Caulfield, bright lad that he is, can get tossed around once in a while, and so can we. Frazz readers have to adjust to the fact that, while Mrs. Olson is rigid and maybe a little burned out, she’s still a compassionate teacher with a few tricks up her sleeve.

Most characters in comic strips are one-dimensional. It makes them easier to write and it gives strips a comfortable, soporific ease of reading, because they will always do today what they did yesterday and then they’ll do it again tomorrow.

You don’t get that guarantee with Frazz, where the characters are internally consistent, but not in the sense of being predictable.

It’s not the only strip that carries that distinction, but it’s one of a small handful.

Sticking with teachers but shifting to political cartoons for a moment, I’m going to assume this Pat Bagley cartoon is a reaction to reading scores, because reading scores have gone down in 30 states, of which his home state of Utah is one.

But tying it into book bans is dubious, because the people most likely to call for bans have long advocated teaching phonics and places that have gone back to that basic method are showing some improvements, despite pushback from those who find it mechanical and joyless.

The topic could be a whole book, and often has been, but it can be condensed into this: There is no single method that works for every student, and good teaching needs to include flexibility. Effective teaching means meeting a child where they can learn, not expecting them to fit an approved pigeonhole.

It’s appropriate for Cornered (AMS) to use a dog here because usage issues are only aggravated by the fact that English is a mongrel language, while pedants and grammar nazis insist on trying to apply rigid “rules” that don’t reflect that.

Still, there are conventions, starting with a difference between spoken and more formal written language. Within the latter, adverbs and adjectives seem a small issue, compared to an apparently growing inability to use prepositions.

It’s not helped, in this global world, by people importing British usages that are common there but nails-on-chalkboard here, at least for those of us old enough to remember chalkboards.

I tried to coach my young writers into using “based on” rather than “based off,” but without much luck. Here’s Grammerly with more than you wanted to know about that.

A bit of history from Mother Goose and Grimm (AMS), noting that rats (and house mice) are invasive species.

When I first ran into the Blackfeet story about why they never kill mice, I was puzzled, but realized they meant native meadow mice, who are relatively benign compared to house mice that get into everything and that came over on the same ships from Europe that brought in rats.

Some readers may spot a metaphor not hiding very well in there about imported pests that multiplied rapidly and became impossible to get rid of.

At least the introduction of rats and mice was unintentional. Importing cats to control them hasn’t turned out so well for our songbirds, while bringing rabbits and foxes into Australia was also done on purpose and turned into an ecological disaster.

New Zealand has made a significant effort to get rid of rats, which threaten its native species, while, by odd contrast, this article from an Australian museum comes across as somewhat affectionate.

I don’t know if the Mayflower itself brought in any rodents, but, then again, if everyone who claims to have had ancestors on that boat really did, it would have had to be the size of an oil tanker. Geometric progressions don’t begin to cover the claims.

Speaking of dubious claims, the Barn (Creators) has Rory exploring the conflicting world of ecological good intentions.

Note that it’s his insistence on speedy delivery that negates things.

It’s tricky, because, while it’s not as if Jeff Bezos would charter a jet just for that order, he is apparently willing to dispatch trucks and drones for delivery, rather than having packages hitch a ride on a mail van that would have been going that way anyway.

Though Amazon offers some options on delivery based on time which I’d bet could avoid individual vehicles.

But even if you could choose for it to come on a slow boat from China, climate change is choking off the Panama Canal. You can minimize delivery issues, but you won’t eliminate them.

Do your best. Which means, Rory, that if you put that recyclable cardboard in the no-sort bin for the truck to pick up, you’re pretty well guaranteeing it will be contaminated and sent to the landfill. One bonehead putting out a half-empty beer bottle can destroy several people’s attempt to recycle cardboard.

In fact, there’s a whole category of futile efforts known as wish-cycling, which, alas, is what most of us practice.

22 thoughts on “CSotD: Sunday in the Dark with Funnies

  1. I was confused by the General Palmer photo caption, until I read your note. People actually say “based of”? As I’ve never heard anyone use that. But I see your link says it is gaining in popularity. As I used to be a paid listener, I’m not how I missed this, but then I haven’t listened to television in decades.
    Amazon still puts a lot of packages in the mail, but that would be for us rural folks, who get no overnight express from anyone.

  2. Our local paper yesterday had a story about a ship that is “based out of” our local navy base.

    In my experience,“based out of” seems to be (mis)used more often than “based off”.

  3. “English is a silly language invented by the Normans with which to pick up Saxon bar girls.”

  4. I’ll admit I can get rather pedantic when it comes to ‘proper’ English.
    Why, just the other day I read a post that said “bare with me” instead of “bear with me” and I was like I don’t think I will thank you.

    As for DST ending, I like having the extra hour but I also prefer extra daylight in the evenings than mornings, so it’s win-lose.

    Rats get a bad rap. Sure they’re invasive and can spread disease, but they’re also intelligent, social, and make good pets.
    There’s a stray cat who lives at my apartment building and she regularly catches chipmunks, mice, and even voles. I still have no idea where she even finds the latter two. I haven’t seen her with birds yet.

  5. Greg Olson said: “English is a silly language invented by the Normans with which to pick up Saxon bar girls.”
    I reply: Yes, english is a silly language. I’m not a linguistics expert, but I see that most languages seem silly and haven’t evolved (even though many insist they do). Instead, due to their complexity and chaotic nature, the more ignorant of the ‘native speakers’ have caused languages to deteriorate in common use. What would a non-english speaking person think of the phrase: the springs of spring spring forth?
    We are not linguistics experts, but, we try to be articulate. Our Art Organization has the motto: ‘Toward Enlightenment, through Communication, by Mean of the Arts and Sciences’

    And, often Frazz presents some fun gems.

  6. O.K. final silly comment: AJ and Mike P.: your remarks about bare with me, are likely ‘unbare-able’ because they are the naked truth and are cloaked with deeper meaning.

  7. Mike, I’m a little concerned about the grammerly link. “Based on” links two clauses? “Based” describes a noun?

    1. I can’t see either problem. Read’em again. He demonstrates use of based as a noun, and the example of “based off of” rather than “based off” is also relatively clear to me, though it’s a construction I hate anyway. Bearing in mind that something can be grammatically correct and inelegant, or — as he says — grammatically incorrect but idiomatically acceptable.

      1. Come on, Mike. Take the phrase “a story based on a police report.” “A story” isn’t a clause. “A police report” isn’t a clause. I don’t know if you want to call “based” an adjective, as he does, but even if you do, it doesn’t describe the noun “story.” You may want to say that it describes the thing, the story, but that’s different, isn’t it?

      2. In his example, he uses the term “phrase.” He also notes, I think correctly, that “based off of” is better kept to informal, spoken English and avoided in more formal settings. But, yes, it could connect either a phrase or a clause. Irregardless. 😉

  8. Full quote: “English is the result of Norman men-at-arms attempting to pick up Saxon barmaids and is no more legitimate than any of the other results.”

    That was H. Beam Piper from his novel Little Fuzzy, which in a better world would’ve been E.T. before E.T.

    BTW, Little Fuzzy is apparently in the public domain. Somebody tried a Kickstarter for a graphic novel treatment but it didn’t fund.

  9. Oh, no, someone please stop me. I can’t seem to find my way out of this cycle.

    Mike C. says: Mike, I’m a little concerned about the grammerly link. “Based on” links two clauses?
    I reply, snootily: upon what is your concern based (Costello: third base!)
    then Mike Peterson says: I made collard greens this weekend, but they weren’t plated. They were bowled.
    Mike Peterson’s sense of grammatical justice just bowls me over pinning me to the ground.

  10. That Frazz strip was beautiful because Caufield finally ends up on the short end. I can’t stand that little twerp. He’s a prime justification for bringing back paddling into our schools.

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