Today’s Cornered (AMS) reminded me of my favorite Christmas tree. As I said the other day, I’ve stopped decorating now that I’m an empty-nester, but one Christmas when I had kids at home, one of my sons and I went to the hardware store to get rope so we could go buy a tree and tie it to the car roof.
We ran into one of the copy editors from the paper in the parking lot with a stalled car, so gave her a jump, whereupon she offered to let us come cut a free tree from her extensive acreage in the boonies.
This was how I learned that the way to get a perfectly shaped tree is to cut down a tall one, take the top home and use the rest to heat your house, which was the plan she explained. (Obviously, “heat the house next winter” after the wood was seasoned.)
So we got all the fabulous tree we wanted and then some. We had to lop off the bottom three feet when we got home, despite a cathedral ceiling.
BTW, she was a terrific copy editor who not only lived a woodsy, semi-organic life, but tipped me off to a change in the federal law which robbed Census workers of their unemployment. I tracked it down, asked a few questions, got the law canceled and won an award for it.
One of the few times I got a plaque for a story that actually mattered.
Getting the tree was still cooler.
This memory’s from Tank McNamara (AMS): When I was in high school, I skied a lot, mostly at the local rope tow which the Lions Club ran. It wasn’t a huge hill, but it was free and a good place to have some fun and hang out with your friends.
If you felt ambitious and had a ride, you could go 40 miles to Big Tupper or 70 to Whiteface and a few people went all the way to Stowe, a three-hour drive. They each offered a mix of bunny slopes, medium grade hills and expert runs, but despite our leather boots and bear-trap bindings, broken legs were a rarity even on the black diamond slopes.
Then the jocks got hold of the sport, with the results seen above. Skiing went from fun exhilaration to a macho test, and skiing black diamond trails was like jumping off a cliff without a parachute.
The good thing was that the rah-rah crowd was all over there and you could still have a good time elsewhere on the hill.
Though, boy, it sure ain’t free anymore.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Not all monks work in a scriptorium, but it makes for good cartoons, and Matt Percival manages to combine the ancient and modern, while Bill Whitehead riffs on the demands of a contemplative life.
Then-Wife’s cousin spent six months as an oblate at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass in the late 70s, which I see is now preparing to close, which is a shame. Their means of support was an eggery which furnished the surrounding mountain towns and provided a level of work for the monks that also allowed for contemplation.
They weren’t under a strict vow of silence but were expected to speak only as much as necessary, which meant they weren’t muted but weren’t supposed to laugh a lot, either.
Which I know because Steve had the assignment one day to read from Thomas Merton as the monks ate dinner in silence, and, Merton being an engaging writer, he came to, and read, a passage that led to a bout of giggling.
Brother Abbott didn’t say “pack up your things right now,” but he did suggest that, in future, Steve “employ a little judicious editing.”
Between Friends (KFS) brings us up-to-date with this picture of a remote-workers office party, the joke being, at least as I see it, that the main benefit of working remotely is avoiding having to deal with people. I was remote the last decade of my career, flying out to Denver only twice a year and was perfectly happy to set my own schedule, which I would point out was frequently more demanding than a strictly nine-to-five life.
However, well before that, I had learned the middle-management skill of minimizing your presence at the Corporate Prom each December: Show up, have a drink, greet your boss and those you work with and then leave before the things for which people will have to apologize begin happening.
One of my assistants was hesitant to go to the annual Christmas party, but I told her she ought to go because that was how you found out who was sleeping with whom. She laughed, but went.
Monday morning, she said, “Boy, you weren’t kidding!”
I suppose working remotely has taken most of that fun out of it. Or, as one might say, “all the fun out of it.”
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
I spotted a typo in today’s Rip Haywire: She meant to say “AND I’ll get you canceled on Twitter.” At least that’s what would persuade me, because, like Pig, I believe in avoiding bummers whenever possible.
I dropped off Twitter a week ago and already feel more cheerful. As with the Corporate Prom, I still show up, but only briefly, out of obligation, because there are cartoonists who are behind paywalls at their work and for whom Twitter is the only other place to find them.
Seems to me that, given the increasing hardships of the marketplace, you’d want all the exposure you can get. You’re not making money by sharing your work for free, but it can sell a few books or help with fundraising.
More self-defeating are cartoonists who have Instagram or Facebook accounts but never update them. It’s like installing a business phone that rings but which you never answer.
Updating is not difficult or time-consuming. Each morning, I compose a promo for that day’s CSotD and then it’s a matter of copying and pasting to drop it on Facebook, Threads and Bluesky. Total of five minutes.
Anyway, if you had been following me on Twitter, you can now find me at https://facebook.com/mikecsotd.peterson, at https://bsky.app/profile/csotd.bsky.social, and at https://threads.net/@comicstripoftheday.
And even if you hadn’t been.