CSotD: Love in perspective, love of perspective

I don’t know how much lead time Jimmy Craig takes for They Can Talk. I guess it’s up to him, since he’s self-syndicated, but I’ve also heard he’s working on a book, so who knows?

However, the migrators have been returning to New England over the past 10 days or so. The ducks and geese are yakking it up on the Connecticut River, those of us who risk attracting bears are seeing avian traffic at our feeders, and there was a flurry of bright goldfinches at the dog park two days ago.

Mostly, we’re hearing the male cardinals who, as the cartoon says, are bold in color, and who are also bold in their loud, clear call for mates. The cartoon is correct that those bold colors may attract predators, but that seems part of the plan, since the female is duller and the male can thus lure said predators away from the nest.

I like the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” feature of brightly colored and loudly singing birds. It’s like the batter who swings hard at everything and often strikes out but, then again, hits some astonishing home runs.

There is, of course, an argument in favor of the more selective batter who waits for a ball he can hit and winds up with a high batting average based on a lot of singles. He’s probably more valuable to his team in the long run, but we know who the crowd cheers for.

To shift metaphors abruptly, I like how Kerouac’s doppelganger put it:

(T)he only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

At the other end of the scale is Fillmore the Sea Turtle, whose propensity for romantic failure is a continuing theme in Sherman’s Lagoon (AMS). Note that the dating tips he’s given Ernest are not considered offensive, but, then again, neither are they considered appealing.

I suppose it’s better than being Merle in the old Geech strip, which I miss as much as I miss its creator, Jerry Bittle. Losers on barstools can be a very tired theme in comics, but Jerry managed to keep it fresh.

Which is more than such fellows can manage in real life.

Juxtaposition of a Different Kind of Love

Mannequin on the Moon — AMS

Baby Blues — AMS

Ian Boothby and Pia Guerra haven’t invented hostility towards Shel Silverstein’s classic book. The negativity has been around for a couple of years and I haven’t figured it out. This wordless cartoon isn’t nearly as hostile as what I’ve read from people who hate hate hate the fact that the tree gives absolutely everything for the little boy and gets nothing material in return.

I guess I never tried to enter parental love in columns in a ledger, but I think I’ve seen it done. Somehow, “What’s in it for me?” never came up when I was raising my kids.

Though I’ll accept “What’s in it for me?” when parents are bargaining over who’s going to get up in the middle of the night, if the stakes are a few foot rubs that likely would have happened anyway.

I mentioned the other day that I’m seeing more Dads not only sensibly grocery shopping but doing it with kids in the cart. I was the at-home parent when the kids were little, so I did a lot of that, but I was just about the only guy doing it back then.

But don’t hand me my halo yet: My kids were breast-fed, which got me out of getting up at night. Now young mothers will express milk during the day so that Dad can take his turn on the 2 AM shift.

Anyway, there is a throng who hate Silverstein’s book, but there’s also a group happy to live it.

Love is like jazz: If you hafta ask, you ain’t never gonna know.

Juxtaposition of Inspiration

I saw this Bliss (Tribune) the other day and it was amusing but not to the extent that I was going to comment on it, until a reader pointed out this Ernest Shepard illustration from Winnie the Pooh:

This, Dear Friends, is the difference between being inspired and copying, and between using source material and tracing.

It’s not the same tree, not the same branches, not even the same placement of the upper window. But it sure seems likely that Harry Bliss (or his co-writer, Steve Martin) had been looking at Ernest Shepard‘s work.

And why not? Shepard was a master. Who else should you study?

Nice catch, George!

While we’re on the topic of art itself, Sunday’s Speed Bump (Creators) was an excellent example of putting the day’s larger canvas to good use. The gag is good, but the perspective absolutely sells it.

In fact, while it made me think of what it must be like to be a bird and to be able to just launch out into space without pondering the move, it mostly reminded me of a time when I got to the center of the suspension bridge over Royal Gorge and suddenly needed to be anywhere else in the universe.

I nearly had to crawl off, and it wasn’t my feet tingling but my stomach tightening. You might say my gorge was rising.

Worst part? We’d already driven across, which meant the car was on the far side of that 956-foot hole in the ground. Thank god I was still married and I could deputize then-wife to drive back.

I went back to the gorge a few years later and had no such reaction at all. Can’t explain it.

Betty (AMS) sent me to the Googles today, where I discovered that “bumf” is short for “bum fodder,” an ancient (1650) slang term for toilet paper applied to pointless paperwork that is good for only one purpose.

Since nobody writes checks anymore and most magazines are on-line, it’s true: “If it wasn’t for junk mail, I wouldn’t get no mail at all!”

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Love in perspective, love of perspective

    1. I’ve known parents who gave their children money for a down payment on a house, and I’ve even known ones who let their adult children live at home. For that matter, I’ve even heard of a parent giving a kid one of their kidneys. I guess the issue is what you think is “appropriate.”

      1. I was thinking more in terms of emotional and behavioral boundaries.

      2. I never held back from my kids on emotional grounds and the behavioral stuff took care of itself. Since I’m hoping to outlive my money, and could also outlive my wits, I guess you could consider it a wise investment, but it’s just how things went.

        “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”

    2. Once they were old enough to understand I have given copies of the book to grandchildren with the postulation that the tree symbolizes their grandmother. I think it increased their appreciation.

  1. If you see the tree as a parent, I guess your reading works. But I encountered it and the Lorax at the same time, and it seemed to ennoble using a resource to exhaustion when the Lorax had just taught me tha that was not good.

  2. I went to Royal Gorge in 1987. I love it. I went with the guy i was dating and some of the guys from his unit. One of the fellows had a panic attack. Back then I joked that as long as I was high enough up that the fall would kill me then I had no issues. Today after having a few strokes I cannot even stand on a chair.
    Did you take the train to the bottom? That was neat. I lived in the Springs for a total of 8 years and I loved every minute of it. Of the 20+ places I have lived that was my favorite. We moved there a few days before my 15th birthday. My sister took us to The Garden of the Gods on our third day. It was so beautiful and peaceful.

    1. I was in the Springs for nearly 20 years. Had to leave when the jobs left in the late 80s. Sometimes I wish I’d kept my house as a rental — Sure couldn’t afford to buy it back today.

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