CSotD: I’ve Yelled at Clouds from Both Sides Now

Remember that graffito that read “We are the people our parents warned us about?”

Well, as Non Sequitur (AMS) points out, we are now the people we warned ourselves about.

I miss the old days, but when I really think back, I realize that most of the fun things I did then fall under the heading of “What the hell was I thinking?” A small part is the danger factor, but most of it has to do with being incredibly reckless in dealing with others and, for that matter, with myself.

On a personal level, I’d like to think it went like To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before, but, to be honest, it was more like Jimmy Webb’s song, The Name of My Sorrow — a series of wonderful, unfortunate misconnections that might have worked if we hadn’t both been 19 and stupid.

The near-misses hurt more than the outright disasters, and I know, because I sampled both.

But on a larger, generational level, we were right about a lot of things, and what I remember of the old guys then is how they groused, mostly about us, and how I swore I’d never be like that.

It makes me a lot more tolerant of today’s kids, because their hearts are, for the most part, in the right place, even if they have unrealistic hopes expressed in hyperbolic language.

Young people are supposed to be fools. That’s why you can fight wars with them, because 19-year-olds will storm a machine gun nest. And the ones who won’t will cling to the foolish belief that sticking daffodils in gun barrels can end war forever.

And then they fall in love and get married and have kids and bring forth a new generation of fools. Who else would be so foolish?

The trick to it all is to become practical and grounded without snuffing out your idealism, and most of my friends from the old days have managed to do that, often admirably.

Which is not to say that getting old can’t be an endless font of humor, as seen in this

Juxtaposition of the Day

Arlo & Janis — AMS

Between Friends — KFS

Arlo and Janis are contemplating downsizing and moving to the coast to be closer to their son. Susan and Harvey aren’t there yet, but, as seen in today’s strip, they’re on the brink. Both strips have a flow of time in which we’ve watched their kids grow up and leave home, and both have also featured regular moments of introspection.

Constant Readers will recognize this ancient A&J, since I feature it from time to time and wish I could have it engraved on my tombstone. As noted above, I wouldn’t want to be 19 again, but I would love to go back to my 40s and park there awhile.

Susan spends more energy fretting over aging, and this 2006 strip echoes today’s in her sense of mortality. Arlo can dream all he wants of living his life over again, but Susan is concerned with getting through it the first time.

I’m somewhere between. I’m nostalgic for my past, but also realize it wouldn’t take much to outlive my money.

I suppose if I could be 40 again, I’d have to go back to work, which I wouldn’t want to do but my IRA would be grateful.

Then again, I don’t know what I’d do for a living, because I think Ben (MWAM) is already in some past era in which newspapers came in sections with 12 pages or more, which was a time when they also had full newsrooms that were fun to work in.

You probably had to be there.

It’s also where Mother Goose and Grimm (AMS) live, because even Sunday papers aren’t big enough anymore to cover a bed and spread out on the floor. Our local paper has stopped printing a Sunday, and the major metros from Boston and New York have gone from doorstops to pamphlets.

Which, to continue Grimm’s thought, may be why pet stores now sell pee-pads so that people have something to spread across the floor for their dogs.

Okay, there’s a product that brings out my grumpy old man.

As marked in this Brewster Rockit (AMS), there is indeed a new nostalgia.

For us old folks, even Netflix is modern: I can remember, O Best Beloved, when the Wizard of Oz was on television once a year, and if you missed it, you missed it, because we didn’t have any way to record it.

And most of us missed that classic shot where Dorothy opens the door to Munchkinland and everything shifts from black-and-white to color, because it wasn’t until 1972 that half of US homes had color TVs, at which point videotape recorders were still under development.

Meanwhile, I remember having to go down to Butchie Nagel’s house to watch Howdy Doody, because they had a television set before we did.

We all have our place in the flow. My grandfather once remarked that he’d picked a good time to be born, because he could remember seeing his first automobile, and then he lived long enough to see us land on the Moon.

I can’t compete with that.

And now for something completely different

Rhymes With Orange — KFS

The Argyle Sweater — AMS

Happy Anglerfish Day to those who celebrate.

I have no thoughts about this topic, but I assure you that, if I did, they would be very deep indeed.

Though I will say that adding “to those who celebrate” is both stupid and kind of offensive. If it’s a day that only some people can enjoy, “to those who celebrate” is redundant, and if it’s not, why place limits?

I think everybody can enjoy Anglerfish Day — that’s what makes it so special!

I’m featuring today’s Reply All (Counterpoint) for two reasons: One is to have a chance to use Donna Lewis’s new Counterpoint affiliation, reported by my colleague DD here.

The other is as an excuse to feature Memphis Minnie.

To be honest, I first heard this song on Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, with Signe Toly Anderson taking the lead vocals, but Minnie wrote it and she recorded it four months before Signe was born.

Which fits in with today’s theme of old folks and young folks.

13 thoughts on “CSotD: I’ve Yelled at Clouds from Both Sides Now

  1. The near-misses hurt more than the outright disasters, and I know, because I sampled both

    Ain’t that the truth. But both make me wince when I think of them.

    The only things I miss about being 19?
    1. How new things felt.
    2. Physical things: knees, waistline, my joints in general, hearing.

  2. I was in college watching Wizard of Oz in a revival house and exclaimed out loud when Dorothy opened that door. Had only ever seen it on our B&W TV. So I guess I had the experience that moviegoers had in 1939….

  3. As I’ve said often, ‘don’t wish for the good old days that never were’. And if you look around you will certainly agree with my saying that, ‘So many grow old, so few grow wise’

    In city slickers, Jack Palance as the old cowboy looks at Billy Crystal and says, “Getting old isn’t for sissies”

    This is pertinent to Mike’s interests and it is sad but true:

  4. “Anglerfish Day” intrigued me, so I went to the Googles. [Aside – I mistyped that as “Goofles”, and I actually like that term better.] The only Anglerfish Day hit I got was in October, several years ago, but then I looked for today’s “holidays”, and there are over 30 including National Grammar Day, Old Inauguration Day, Toy Soldier Day, Backcountry Ski Day, Global Day of the Engineer, Brain Injury Awareness Day; National Days for persons named, Ray, Ida, and Quinton, as well as Casimir Pulaski and Benjamin Harrison; and of course, the classic March Forth. So I’ve got a few reasons to pop a beer in celebration today. (Ref. https://nationaltoday.com/march-4-holidays)

    1. Is Brain Injury Awareness Day for those who suffered a brain injury and have trouble remembering it? Wait…

  5. My grandfather came to the US in 1899. He spent his first years on horseback herding cattle to market in Montana without ever seeing a car and remembered reading about the Wright brothers flight in the newspaper. And he lived long enough to see the Moon landing on television. He never lost his sense of wonder. What a great span of time to be alive.

  6. We know, kids are foolish and will do anything. In some cultures, the elders make decisions that keep them safe, rather than putting them in danger.

  7. For any young people who may not know it, you can hear thousands of records from the 1890s to the present time. If you Google Sam Lanin/What a Day or Sam Lanin/Great Day, You can hear two really great songs from the late 1920s. It’s not Taylor Swift, It’s basically live performances done in single takes, and a mistake could make you start from the beginning again or just be left in. There’s a lot of really fun stuff from that time period available on the internet, give it a try.

  8. 37 here. I’ll admit I do miss the “good old days” mainly because it was the 90s and I was just a kid who didn’t have to worry about politics or employment or dying alone.

    Being a kid makes everything seem better.

    Susan makes a good point that many retired people are now outliving their money. Maybe it’s best to die young and leave a beautiful corpse after all?

    Again I say it’s been a long time since I’ve seen an actual newspaper.

    Regarding Brewster Rockit, I’m old enough to remember landline phones, dial-up internet, and VCRs.
    My parents bought their first VCR for $700 in the early 80s. That’s like $2000 in today’s money.
    As for Netflix, I have not and will likely not ever subscribe to a streaming service. There’s nothing that I really want to see, and I can get most of my entertainment for free off the internet anyway…

  9. We only get one weekend paper, too. It’s labeled “Sunday,” and comes Saturday morning.

  10. For a brief period of about 8 months back in the early 80s, I worked casual night shifts as a graphic artist at Rotten Rupert’s “Daily Mirror” in Sydney, Australia. Common duties were drawing maps of Middle Eastern trouble-spots and creating decorative borders for feature stories etc. with ink washes and good old high-maintenance Rötring Rapidograph pens! But by far my most labour-intensive task involved “MirrorBirds”, whose photos occupied a half-page on Page 3 of every issue.

    They weren’t topless as they were in Rupe’s UK red-tops of the era, but simply healthy glowing bikini-clad Aussie girls, usually aspiring amateur models sourced by scouts from local beaches. When I arrived at 9:30pm each evening, I would find my In-Tray loaded with their 8×10 B&W images, commonly about 30 or 40 of them. Each one was meticulously marked with numerous “X” marks in white or red oil-pencil by the Art Director, indicating where he wanted my airbrush to either add or subtract curves and shadows to match his concept of Page 3 perfection. We’re not talking Photoshop here, but real old-skool airbrush (compressed air cylinder under the desk, ink-bowl spraygun). On hooks along the edge of the desk were several ancient well-used pieces of plastic acetate, thoughtfully pre-cut into useful sensual curves to spray around in order to expedite the job. By the end of my shift at 6am, these images were all expected to occupy my Out-Tray completed to the aforementioned Art Director’s satisfaction, which could often involve 2 or 3 revisions (“A bit more here, a bit less there”). Although only one of these shots appeared in the paper per day, I later learned that there were FOUR in-house photographers whose sole duty was the generation of these cheesecake pics in the studios upstairs. I can only surmise other images would appear in Rupert’s overseas editions. Those pics, although commonplace at the time, already seemed anachronistic and inappropriate to me and it was not a task I relished.

    ** Also on staff at that time was a rotation of 2 or 3 political cartoonists (gasp!) who worked the long nights in order to promptly cover Northern Hemisphere developments. I vividly recall one great artist (unnamed for the purpose of this anecdote) who, when news broke, would disappear into the darkroom in the dead of night, emerging minutes later to feverishly draw his brilliant, dark, often award-winning panels. He would gleefully remark on how his lines of “speed” glowed fluorescently under the red darkroom lights…

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