CSotD: Funny Stuff Between Holidays

I’m trying to be more productive than the fellow in Matt’s cartoon, but there does seem to be a lot of letdown in the actual week we’re going through. I’m going to assume things will pick up along about the Eighth Day of Christmas.

Which is Maids A-Milking and let’s hope we do better than this, because we’ll have 40 of them by Twelfth Night.

Though speaking of city girls, Ali Solomon got a laugh this morning mostly because, for those of us who lived amongst the ski hills, having one tag on your coat zipper was not a status symbol at all. The trick was to build up a sheaf of the things all stapled together so that everybody would know you went prit-near every weekend, and it was a tragedy if the whole collection fell off.

I am encouraged by the fact that Solomon’s young women are dressed for winter, though we haven’t had much of it yet this season. One thing I noticed when my folks lived in Buffalo, which has truly wretched winters, is that nobody tries to be fashionable except to the extent that parkas and toques are sensible winter fashion. Not all folks are so practical.

In fact, one thing that brings out the Grouchy Old Man in me is to see young girls echoing the idiot males who wear shorts in winter. Dagnabbit, if it’s cold enough to wear a jacket, put on some damn pants!

And I don’t digress because today doesn’t seem to have a theme from which to wander.

Though I can drag out the city/country thing a little longer by posting today’s The Other Coast (Creators), which is a pretty funny reversal. I’m glad Adrian Raeside used a bear, because for all the panic they induce in people who aren’t familiar with them, black bears are fairly harmless if you don’t count rampant destruction of garbage cans, bird feeders and the occasional automobile interior.

Mountain lions and grizzlies are more apt to get persnickity about people invading their space, and even they would rather avoid trespassers than confront them.

Trapping and transporting nuisance bears rarely works. They have astonishing homing instincts and are very apt to return even over hundreds of miles, as a bear named Mink did here a few years ago. And trespassing humans are apt to return from even further away.

Though I did get a laugh when I was looking for Mink’s story and came across a website telling you what to do if a bear comes into your house.

“Do not lock the bear in a room” is the kind of advice that, if you have to say it, you’re probably wasting your breath. I recall a story of a polar bear in Churchill, Manitoba, that broke into a cottage and tore all the cabinets off the kitchen walls looking for the only food accidentally left behind: an unopened packet of dehydrated onion soup.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Adam@Home — AMS

Speed Bump — Creators

It’s hard to get a laugh from someone who deals with people like you all day long. I had to exchange something for a larger size yesterday, but I think the pleasantness of the encounter stemmed in large part from my not trying to explain anything.

As for Speed Bump, when I’ve mailed books or manuscripts, I’ve occasionally answered the question about hazardous materials at the post office by saying “Just ideas.” Never a snicker.

And while the douanier’s suggestion here made me laugh, in the days when I used to pop up to Canada regularly, I never ever made jokes at customs. Not even when a summer intern of uncertain English asked, “Other than your personal clothing, is there anything you plan to leave in Montreal?”

Though when the liquor store clerk asks if you’d like a bag, if you say, “No, I’m going to drink it at home,” some will indeed laugh.

Others will just stare at you in puzzlement.

Still on the topic of people who don’t get it, xkcd is completely correct on this one. I used to write kids’ serial stories for newspapers, but I also purchased a few and there was some extraordinary dreck out there. (My stuff, of course, was uniformly brilliant.)

The problem is that kids’ books are very often purchased by adults, not by the kids themselves, and a lot of adults — including authors and editors — mistake having a limited vocabulary for having a limited intellect. Moreover, a lot of parents and grandparents buy books based on cover art and blurbs rather than actual examination of the content.

What made Harry Potter and the Hunger Games explode was that the authors didn’t talk down to their audience. But it was other kids, not grown-ups, who turned those books into such runaway best-sellers.

And, BTW, comic strips are selected by newspaper editors, not by readers. The impact of this is similar and should not be underestimated.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Paul Berge


In the commentary on his cartoon, Berge notes that priests can bless all sorts of things, and I had the same thought when the Pope made his announcement the other day. I remembered leafing through the back of my Missal and finding obscure prayers for obscure causes, and I also thought of the beginning of the movie version of M*A*S*H in which Father Mulcahy is blessing Jeeps.

Berge writes “As encouraging as it is to see Pope Francis willing to make this modest accommodation for same-sex couples in the Catholic Church, I’ll wait to see what his successor has to say about it before I get my hopes up that his church has entered the 21st Century.”

Which seems like a segue to Francis, in which it is speculated that the Pope sees his time coming to a close and is trying to set a few things in motion lest they be abandoned once he’s gone.

Well, as a “recovering Catholic,” I’m not nearly as interested in what happens next as I am in what happens now and what should have happened some time ago.

Hugs are welcome, Arlo, but Janis is right: They are necessary but not sufficient.

As both Hamlet and Eliza Doolittle said, “Words, words, words.” Let’s have no more of this papal bull.

6 thoughts on “CSotD: Funny Stuff Between Holidays

  1. Mike wrote: a lot of adults — including authors and editors — mistake having a limited vocabulary for having a limited intellect.
    I reply, I resemble that remark! (I am amazed, now, how slowly my intellect developed with so few to assist me) Indeed, my vocabulary developed quicker than my ability to think analytically.

    And, speaking of ‘words, words, words’, they are often used as filler and a stall tactic. However, I wonder (heavy sarcasm) who Wiley Miller is referring to here:

    Brace yourselves everyone the new year is coming. And, it won’t be pretty.

  2. The DC area is a magnet to people from all over the US. No surprise there. So when wintery weather comes here, the joke weather report you often see is “A winter storm warning is in effect with up to a foot of snow and ice expected tonight. Southerners: stay indoors. Do not leave your homes. Stay off the roads. Northeners: You’ll need your heavy coat. “

    1. Upon Hearing the Prediction of Snow for the Washington, DC, Area, Written by One Who Has Lived There for Over a Quarter-Century

      Bread and milk and toilet paper!
      Snowshoes, hats, and skis and poles!
      Snow is coming! Snow is coming!
      Spread the salt and stir the coals.

      Snowplows sit with blinkers blinking,
      Students line up in the hall,
      Radios announce the panic
      As the flakes begin to fall.

      Metro’s open underground,
      Outdoor stations will be closed.
      Thousands trapped on escalators!
      Things are worse than we supposed.

      Drivers slide along the Beltway
      From the dusk until the morn,
      Must get somewhere in a hurry,
      Brakes don’t work, so use the horn.

      Bread and milk and toilet paper!
      A phrase to chill you to the core.
      Snow is coming! Snow is coming!
      At least an inch! and maybe more!

      December 2007, with later revisions.

      Released under Creative Commons: (1) You are free to reproduce these works at will without asking my permission. If you make millions of dollars off them, I’d appreciate it if you’d throw a few dollars my way. (B) Attribute them to me, Fred King, if feasible. (iii) If you make improvements, please send them to me at phred (at) phred (dot) us.

      I wrote that back in 2007. Not much has changed except that running through red lights instead of stopping when they’re yellow is even more common.

  3. I’m more disturbed by the milkmaid referring to the cow as a “him”

    Regarding winter wear, it was 50 degrees in the Midwest this Christmas. That’s practically shorts weather.

    I also read a few of those “kids solving mysteries” type books when I was younger, and most of them were pretty bad. I enjoyed the first two Boxcar Children books, but once it devolved into that genre, I quickly lost interest. Also doesn’t help that there’s like 200 in that series alone.

    I’m not Catholic, so who cares whether the pope thinks I’m worthy of being blessed or not.

    I do accept hugs as a form of currency, though.

    1. “I’m not Catholic, so who cares whether the pope thinks I’m worthy of being blessed or not.”

      Of course, but it’s amazing how many active, dedicated Catholics are gay, despite the official stance of the Church. I live in Manhattan, and Catholic Churches that welcome gay Congregants and volunteers is pretty much standard. This must be VERY important to them,

  4. I always hated the term “Recovering Catholic”–that implies that you were a Catholic voluntarily, and that you realized how it was screwing up your life and decided to get assistance in keeping away from the religion, much like someone who has an addiction, staying on the wagon.

    I was raised Catholic in the 1960s by my parents (I had no say about it); I went to a Catholic school for grades 1 through 4, and if you exclude being taught Catholicism as a subject, the education was far ahead of what I was learning when I transferred to a public school in grade 5. I do feel that with religious studies thrown into the mix (I was taught by penguins in grades 1 – 3 [one of whom, Sister Raymond, seemed to even wear army boots all the time under her habit], a lay teacher in grade 4), I learned enough to be scarred for life as far as guilt and sin goes.

    Ask me what I am today, and I would refer to myself as a screwed up former Catholic Hostage.

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