CSotD: Tuesday Potpourri

Two days ago, I complimented Wiley Miller for timing a Non Sequitur (AMS) commenting on the Patriots’ lousy season such that, though drawn weeks in advance, it was accurate and landed as the football season ended.

Now it’s Scott Stantis’s turn, with a Prickly City (AMS) the morning after Iowa, and, once more, it’s accurate and well-timed and didn’t require a crystal ball. In his strip, Wiley didn’t mention the firing of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, which had not happened yet when he drew, and Stantis is equally vague about the actual results in Iowa, but both managed to capture the general trend.

I’m sure we’ll see plenty of post-Iowa cartoons over the next 48 hours, but they’ll have to be astonishingly insightful to matter, given how few surprises the caucuses produced. In the meantime, the Guardian has immediate coverage and I got a kick out of this multi-source wrap-up.

Columnist Arwa Mahdawi dug up a great quote:

That’s how Stantis could vaguely comment on the results without knowing how things specifically shook out, while Lloyd Green, an attorney with DOJ experience, provided this analysis of Nikki Haley’s failure:

We’ll see how New Hampshire goes next week — we’re not known for our garden parties either — but for now let’s put it aside and just enjoy some funnies.

Not that the funny pages can’t be thought-provoking. Sunday’s Between Friends (KFS) provided me with at least a partial answer to my ongoing question of what national columnists, who provide two or three columns a week at most, do with the rest of their time.

I knew that many, if not most, of them invest in some hobnobbing as part of their reporting, having lunch with sources and going to the right gatherings and so forth. I had a Sunday column for several years and my work the rest of the week provided a fair amount of grist.

But one of the things I used to tell kids with an interest in journalism is that, if you work at a newspaper, you have to be fast. At one paper where I worked, we had a reporter who was an excellent writer but eventually left because she fussed too long over her copy.

That may work in magazines but you can’t fuss when you write for a daily paper. It needs to be now and it needs to be right.

Which is likely why newspaper reporting is, along with firefighting and emergency medicine, a popular landing spot for those of us with ADHD. As I recall a police officer saying in an article on the topic, when all hell breaks loose, things move at our speed.

Best part of reporting at a small paper was walking in thinking you were going to hammer out some piece on health insurance and having the squawk box suddenly announce a major structure fire or robbery.

Speaking of things I used to tell kids, Edison Lee (KFS) brings up an order I had to give my young reporters in Denver. We’d set up an interview with some author, athlete or performer and they would invariably tell the kids not specifically to “reach for the stars” but to “never give up on your dreams,” which is pretty much the same dreadful cliché.

I found a way to coach them around it: When they tell you not to give up on your dreams, ask them for a specific example of a time they had to do that themselves.

Best interview one of my kids did was with swimmer Missy Franklin, who had just won five medals at the 2012 Olympics but was still a local high school senior and talked about things like when she had braces. She wasn’t experienced enough to have a stock of prefab inspiration to hand out.

Best non-interview was when a couple of the kids were covering the governor’s swearing in, which included entertainment. The Beach Boys happened on them as they were taking a break and asked if they wanted their autographs.

One of the 12-year-old girls coolly replied, “Please. We’re the media.”

Though I’ll admit my boss was responsible for training that crew.

Good timing on this xkcd, because I just blocked someone for passing along one of those foolish bits of bogus Facebook advice in which you’re supposed to click on something to produce some wondrous but technically impossible result.

I don’t mind people brainstorming about real issues and glitches, even if, as xkcd suggests, there’s often no solution, but I had to laugh at “Can’t believe this thread is 5 years old now” because it’s a salute to the persistence of bugs and the futility of the recommended cures.

At least the ones chasing a for-real problem — rather than click-bait — won’t be back next week complaining that their account has been hacked and they can’t figure out why.

There’s no call to rent a beach house, but you don’t have to block them, either.

Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) offers a reminder that things are only worth whatever other people think they’re worth. One hopes that Eight Ball’s concern was purely emotional and not monetary, though, as Weenus observes, it’s not all that comforting to know how obsessive he is about collecting collectibles.

Some lucky few can prove to be a hedge. I once collected 19th century boys’ historical novels and, when I hit an eight-month period of unemployment, selling them on Ebay helped get me through. But I was lucky that the author was hot with collectors: A first-edition of a novel by Anatole France went begging.

Quality of writing had nothing to do with it. Collectability is its own sealed, eccentric universe.

Just an observation, but reversing genders doesn’t solve all the issues. If Jeremy Nguyen had drawn two guys having this conversation, he’d have caught hell.

Though every guy over 25 knows it’s true. That’s not a guess: Charles Webb was only 24 when he wrote about it. Paul Simon was 26 when he put it to music.

However, I don’t know how old you have to be before you realize that there could be a more important hint about Elaine’s future that Ben might have taken from knowing her mother.

That’s a whole other novel, though. Maybe two.

I wonder if anyone married Anna Alexianova Vronskaya or Berthe Bovary?

7 thoughts on “CSotD: Tuesday Potpourri

  1. And to put a finer point on it, the two female youth reporters were wrapping up their interviews with the Colorado governor and a state senator, while holding reporter notebooks and wearing their media IDs. That’s called “representing” and the Beach Boys were just jerks. Those reporters have gone on to graduate from college and are doing some phenomenal things, while the Beach Boys remain jerks.

  2. I’ll admit to collecting stuff, but I do so for the sentimental value and not because I think this stuff’ll make me rich someday.

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