CSotD: Bouquets and Brickbats

Can’t argue with Danae in today’s Non Sequitur (AMS), though mainly because I don’t want her coming after me on social media. However, while she is an average person for condemning those who disagree with her as “stupid,” even a blind pig finds some acorns, and timing is wonderfully on her side right now.

As political pundits are looking at the frigid forecast for Monday in Iowa and wondering if it will suppress turnout for the caucuses there, we got expert analysis from Fox host Larry Kudlow, who points out that, if global warming were real, it wouldn’t be cold in Iowa.

It’s a throwback to a time when, every time it snowed, some cartoonist would do a snow-shoveling cartoon pointing out that obviously there is no global warming.

So climatologists changed to the more accurate term “climate change,” but, as the old gag goes, every time we come up with a foolproof solution, someone comes up with a bigger fool.

Leaving aside whether we all knew Nikki Haley had lots of friends in the defense industry and the military industrial complex … oh, never mind.

Anyway, this isn’t a day when I’m going to split hairs with Danae.

Here’s a more intelligent argument, though likely with about the same odds of prevailing. Joy of Tech notes the discovery that bottled water contains microplastics, and posits a scenario where the plastic bottles fight back, blaming water.

Well, many a truth is spoken in jest, and the question nobody ever seems to ask is “Compared to what?”

Microplastics are in everything, and I’d like to know some base presence that we could use to determine if bottling water in plastic adds to the (somewhat theoretical) hazard?

Mind you, I’m not a fan of plastic and would be happy to see glass returnables make a comeback.

But I’m a big fan of context and this isn’t the only place it’s missing. For instance, I see news reports that such-and-such a company plans 200 layoffs, and my reportorial mind asks “Out of how many?”

If the company has 300 employees, that’s a major layoff. If they have 300,000 employees, it’s a drop in the bucket.

But, of course, college presidents get fired for bringing context into the discussion, so I won’t ask how much microplastics are contained in a glass of unbottled tap water.

Nick Newman made a similar point back in June, when Britain was convulsed with issues of sewage in their rivers, at which point the context was plain and he wasn’t expected to cite actual numbers.

That cartoon was well out of date for our usual use, but I came across it while looking for his site after the Spectator featured this more contemporary piece of his, which also needs no added context, at least for those of us who’ve read the Hornblower saga.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s what the fast-food industry needs in this tragic moment of 3.7% unemployment: Press gangs that would go out, knock teenagers over the head and make them flip burgers for $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, David Ostow scores with this proposal, which is well-timed as television breaks down into individual streaming services in place of cable packages.

Though if you want to see tonight’s wild card game between Miami and Kansas City, you need a subscription to Peacock, and they don’t offer free trials anymore. Probably a coincidence.

I have a feeling that we’re two or three years away from everything you might actually want to see being on a separate streaming service and broadcast TV being down to Wheel of Fortune, Survivor and advertisements for car warranties and ground-up vegetable powder.

I’ve got 385 fonts on my computer, but all I’ve got for Monserrat is “regular” and it’s a really plain-jane nothingburger, which make this Monty (AMS) even funnier, because I did a search for it, and making it italic and semi-bold doesn’t change it into anything spectacular.

Which I would say makes the cartoon funnier than if it were some unique and wonderful font.

I understand hostility to a pretentious font like Papyrus, but I’ve never understood why the mob descended on poor inoffensive little Comic Sans, except that it was like having the mean girls declare you someone to be picked on.

And I could picture Arial sitting quietly in a corner being glad it wasn’t her.

Of course, the joke is that he ruined a surprise nobody else could possibly care about.

Well played!

And a salute to Pearls Before Swine (AMS) for a masterclass in how to handle a pun, which is to lay it on the table and let the reader figure it out.

It may be a case of the Prodigal Cartoonist coming back home penitent and such, because Pastis normally uses the last panel to announce that he made a pun, which makes me wish we could choose to only see the first three panels of a strip.

Also, I recognize that a fair number of readers won’t get the pun at all, but I don’t mind a little intelligent challenge on the funny pages.

Betty (AMS) is one of my favorite strips, but Delainey and Rasmussen blew this story arc on a couple of levels, starting with their choice of the Potsdam Conference.

I ran across a high school kid in the ’90s who had to learn the products traded in the Hanseatic League, and I cannot imagine a more pointless assignment.

But the Potsdam Conference led to about two-thirds of our modern world: What’s going on in Ukraine right now and nuclear proliferation and Cold War impact on the Middle East and all sorts of things Junior will have to vote about in a few years when he turns 18.

Plus he’s right: There are hours of fascinating things you can find out about the Potsdam Conference if you know how to use Google and are curious.

Like this

and this

After which he’d be ready for this.

And this.

Which I really hope would lead him to this.

Why insist he take the quick, dry route in a textbook that was written before he was born?

He might even get extra credit for explaining this tune from Germany:

14 thoughts on “CSotD: Bouquets and Brickbats

  1. Hard to be precise – various investigators looked at different microplastic size categories using different methodologies – but it appears that bottled water (plastic OR glass) is worse than tap water, which however is better than the natural source from which it is drawn. (Bottling process seems to introduce MPs even into glass bottled product; water treatment plants remove some.)

    By the way, don’t dis the Hanseatic League. We spent a day in the well-preserved Bruggen district of Bergen (where the League had established itself to trade in the dried cod wealth of Norway) and it was very interesting.

  2. Most comic page readers are old enough to get the Frank pun.

    As for the Hanseatic League, you could include it as part of a lesson on the historical importance of international trade, which WILL affect students as jobs move between countries. Of course, it’d be relevant to students in Europe.

    1. But would teaching about it include making the students memorize the trade goods and regurgitate the list instead of, say, writing a brief essay about why the League mattered?

  3. Just in case you have any readers that care, and use your column as the sole source of their sports information; the Kansas City and Dolphins game is tonight (Saturday) at 7:00 CST, not Sunday. Remember, it’s streaming exclusively on Peacock. 😉

  4. I probably would miss, or at least be late in getting, the PBS joke, as I first knew the song “Fly Me To The Moon” (or “In Other Words”) from my parents’ Johnny Mathis record. Did that other guy do it too?

    1. Mike – I think this is your best post in quite awhile. I was disappointed to see it end. Are you snowed in?

  5. For decades I have thought that there should have been an Operation Little Vittles carried out over North Korea.

    Maybe even morph into Operation Big Vittles.

    At worst, it would have been a fascinating experiment.

    Of course, we couldn’t do that nowadays — for the same reasons we couldn’t do it back then. I mean, they’re Communist ferPete’ssake.

  6. The reason people hate Comic Sans is because it is everywhere, and often used inappropriately.

    It’s one thing to have a hobbyist blog use Comic Sans, it’s another to have board meeting notices use it.
    Very unprofessional.

  7. Hey, gezorkin, am I correct in noting you using a play on words/pun of Pete Seeger being ‘communist’? I’ve always considered Pete was a national ‘treasure’ not treasonous.

    D. D. Degg really hit it with his reference to ‘gop-pollster-says-average-age-of-iowa-caucus-voter-is-deceased’

    I was taught by a mentor who was born in Germany in 1915 that the Potsdam demands of the ‘big three’ on Germany almost completely blew it. Truman tried to limit the USSR’s demand for massive reparations from Germany, because he correctly believed the destructive reparations demanded by the post-World War I Treaty of Versailles almost destroyed the German economy which he said directly lead to the rise of Hitler as a desperate attempt to recover prosperity.

    And, Wiley Miller’s current series on Danae is a work of art. (Yeah, I’m a fan of his) She so clearly typifies and lampoons the scheming RtWingNut mentality.

    Wow, Mike, this column has so many points to consider. Any thoughtful person (I hope I’m included) will take a while to fully understand all that you presented here.

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