CSotD: The Wren, The Park and Other Things

The Dogs of C Kennel (Creators) are experiencing a temporary lull, but we’re not. However, St. Stephen’s Day is, granted, not as exciting as Christmas and the dopamine hit is more subtle. We’ll get to the wren in a minute, but there’s no park. I just liked the headline, because if you are of the right vintage, it will plant a particularly obnoxious earworm.


Liza Donnelly offers a quizzical piece. As noted before, I’m all in favor of ducking out of the Corporate Prom as soon as you’ve been seen by your boss and your employees, but private parties are a different situation, since it’s rude to leave early and I’m claustrophobic or agoraphobic or enochlophobic or maybe just a grouch.

This article promises that therapy, medication, and coping strategies can help with enochlophobia, but so can staying home, which is my coping strategy.

Which brings us to my calling the cartoon “quizzical,” because I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel guilty for failing to show up, or sorry for not having been there and humiliated that nobody noticed.

The other possibility is that she’s giving us permission to shrug it all off as inconsequential, and that’s the one I’ll take, thank you.

It’s a variation on the old joke about saying to the doctor, “It hurts when I do this,” to which the reply is, “Then don’t do that.”

For Santa, some things are mandatory at holiday time, and Fiona Katauskas takes a break from political commentary for this morning-after portrait. It would be unremarkable if she didn’t have the reindeer draped around in such wonderfully limp fatigue that I’ll forgive her for drawing one too many of them.

Perhaps Santa picks up a few replacements along the route. Or maybe that 10th one is Olive.

And while I’m in an indulgent mood, I’ll also forgive the Flying McCoys (AMS) for this error, but it will be 364 Days, 18 hours, 25 minutes and 7 seconds, because 2024 is a leap year.

Mind you, we’re already assuming that a reindeer could sit in a chair and talk. Maybe it’s pushing our credulousness to assume he’d also know about leap years.

Jimmy Craig‘s scenario, on the other hand, is perfectly believable, though it makes me wonder if an editor added the totally unnecessary caption. It would be funnier without it.

I sure seem to be in a picky-picky mood this morning. Let’s drop the seasonal cartoons for a moment and see if that helps.

Yes! Nothing about Christmas or Boxing Day or New Year’s in this past Sunday’s Bizarro (KFS) and I find it totally delightful, from Mom grabbing his tongue to the startled look on his face to Dad carving off a chunk of fly at the other end of the table. Piraro even got the tongue right: Taut from the grip to the mouth, totally flaccid beyond.

Bunny Hoest once remarked to me that people construct entire sequences of events around a single panel Lockhorns, and it’s true in this case, as well, because I anticipate that, later on, Mom’s going to complain to Dad that he’s not helpful enough in raising Junior, my supposition based on how uninvolved he looks at the moment.

Dave Whamond eases us unintentionally back towards the holidays with this commentary about Clarence Thomas’s utter lack of ethical self-discipline. Thomas revealed himself to be a self-centered crybaby during his confirmation and has only confirmed his shamelessness in recent times. We already knew it.

But for those of us with consciences, the issue of gifts can be tricky. There are newsrooms where reporters get the collywobbles if General Mills sends in a sample box of Cheerios but they’re okay if the Pulitzer folks hand them a plaque and a check for 15 grand.

It’s rarely that stark a choice, but it does call for judgment. We weren’t supposed to accept anything from a source, but, while we’d have to turn down a free meal, it was okay to accept a soft drink, and it was understood that going to the preview of a movie was free for all sorts of people, not just the reviewer, though some papers insisted on buying a ticket.

The holiday connection to all this is that various things turned up in the newsroom at Christmas, naturally, and we had to assess them one at a time, though we never had a new RV pull into the parking lot.

Come on, Clarence. You’re not that clueless and neither are we.

Matt Golding offers a tip for Boxing Day, though it’s a more pleasant concept in Australia than it would be here most years.

Well, my picky-picky mood hasn’t evaporated after all. Frazz (AMS) offers a light-hearted explanation of Boxing Day and it reminded me that we had a boxing game well before 1964, but I couldn’t remember the name of it. And looking up Rock’em Sock’em Robots didn’t help, because they claim to have invented them.

But I tracked it down and found a few examples of this 1950s version of the toy on Ebay. Note that the boxers are people, but mostly note that they are on paddles that you had to keep flat on the boxing ring if you wanted the thing to work, which it mostly didn’t.

We played with it anyway, because it’s not as if we had the choice of one that functioned better, just as, in the days before Madden, we played a football game where the field vibrated and the little plastic players all wandered off in random directions.

It’s not that we were that easily amused. I think it mostly explains why our folks didn’t have to tell us to turn off the electronic toys and go play outside.


Life was better before there was any electricity at all, because nearly everyone in northwestern Europe had some sort of day of mummery. Ireland’s comes on St. Stephen’s Day, which is today and also known as Wren Day, but has many variations thereabout, and is more fun than shopping because it invariably involves hospitality of a liquid nature.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: The Wren, The Park and Other Things

  1. I feel like the joke of the Holiday Party panel is the bug-eyed, buck-toothed person on the left, but I still don’t get it.

  2. I was a midlevel Federal employee in the late 80s and 1990s. When I went to give a talk about my job to students at my undergrad alma mater, I was not allowed to accept even a small honorarium. The college was allowed to pay for my flight (coach, of course) and to give me a framed print of the campus. I also got dinner on the campus. I had to report EVERYTHING I got of potential value.
    How did I get to and from the airport and campus? (An undergrad fraternity brother drove me.)
    Where did I sleep? (A faculty buddy’s guestroom.)
    What about food? (One dinner on campus. My buddy’s wife made me breakfast.)
    Meals at the airport? (Out of pocket.)
    To and from the airport and home (My wife drove.)
    Campus souvenirs? (One framed print, the rest out of pocket.)

    But then, I was a GS-11, well worth bribing, as opposed to a mere SC justice.

  3. Remember that in 2004 on this date, God murdered 234 thousands of people. This wasn’t a very nice thing to do.

    1. Reminder to who, and for what purpose? The people who believe in God will just tell you that sometimes bad things happen and that the souls of the dead live on eternally, and the people who don’t believe in God… don’t believe in God.

  4. “…we played a football game where the field vibrated and the little plastic players all wandered off in random directions.

    We thought the wandering was the best part- laughed hysterically.

  5. Bizarro’s frogs instantly reminded me of the scene in Star Wars (Episode One), in which Qui-Gon Jinn grabs Jar-Jar’s tongue in a very similar manner (and tells him not to do that ever again).

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