Sorry, I’m just extremely thrilled that the Institute for Pop Culture Research has awarded me a grant to study how it is Filmation never made a funny-animal version of The Bob Newhart Show. Over a decade of theory tells us they should have made one, most likely around 1979-81, probably with the central character as a flustered domestic cat named Bob Mewhart.
The Institute were very impressed with my hypothesis that Filmation might have had a hard time thinking of a funny animal name for Bob Newhart’s secretary, because in the days before search engines and the Internet Movie Database it was hard to think of what exactly her name was. “Marsha” keeps getting in the way of remembering, and that’s not the name of the character, that’s the name of actor Marcia Wallace remembered wrong. If anyone had at the right moment whispered “Carol Kestrel” to Norm Prescott all pop culture history could have been about the same, really.
I was unsubscribing from e-mails, mostly places that want me to donate to political figures because we’re facing a catastrophic defeat and on the brink of a triumphant victory sixteen times a day even now. And one tried to tease me back in by offering this heap of subjects they’d still like to contact me about:
My assumption is that most of these are procedurally generated subject lines, hoping that I’ll stick around and ask what the heck a “Recent Ad Names Surp” is. I thought it was something about syrup at first glance. Some things, you know?
Just sitting up, quietly fuming about that assignment in third-grade history class where we had to take a map of the outline of New Jersey, where we lived, and draw something that it looked like. And, like, I like New Jersey sure. There’s a lot of nice things to say about it. But it does not look like anything. Classmates were doing stuff like drawing it as a face looking west or something and just, no, it is not, stop pretending that it does, classmates from a very long time ago who probably aren’t sitting up thinking how they put one over on little Joseph Nebus like that. Maybe a sock that fell on the mattress, that’s the only thing the state kind of looks like.
I’ve had to stick both hands into jars of skin lotion and keep them in there all day, to keep my hands from drying out. It isn’t working, as the lotion’s turned into a fine powder too. All it is doing is making it hard for me to zip up my jacket. Driving hasn’t been any good either, just as you would think, because there are too many potholes to be fun. Send an enormous cloud of warm, moist air.
I don’t really have the time to go to Hollywood and pitch a script or write it up or anything so if someone could help me out how does this sound to them: movie where the person making a new version of 18 Again wakes up in the body of a person who’s making a new version of Vice-Versa? And so they both go and try to meet up and figure out how to undo this, but they find out that actually one of them is in the body of someone they didn’t know was working on making a new version of Freaky Friday? It’ll be something kind of but not exactly like something we’ve enjoyed enough before!
But in the shower this morning I realized that in all probability, they went ahead and turned fondly-remembered-but-not-rewatched TV show Mister Ed into a movie that even the people who worked on it don’t remember ever seeing. There’s an excellent chance they made a sequel where Mister Ed goes to New York or the Olympics or something too. What else are they getting up to while we’re paying attention to other stuff?
However, it does mean that now and then I spend all morning haunted by the memory of some 1980s commercial promising that in case of (something) you could have “Chicken Diane in less than thirty minutes!” I don’t know if that’s a good time for chicken Diane, or if it was a good time for it in the 80s but we have more sophisticated techniques of chicken today. Or of Diane-ing chicken. I don’t even know what chicken Diane is like. I don’t think we ever had it, or at least it wasn’t announced as such. And I don’t know why it’s lasting so in my mind but, there it is, just in case I need chicken Diane in under thirty minutes and can go back to the 1980s sometime and find out.
Sorry to run late but this whole thing where my hair ties exist or don’t exist depending on whether I’ve been refunded for them? It’s gone and stretched out to cover my tire pressure gauge, the one I keep in my care for when I’m feeling insecure about the car tires, which I am a lot because my old car was very bad about the air left in the tires staying in the tires. But now the pressure gauge has gone and stopped existing and that’s not doing anything good for my sense that things that started out existing keep on doing that. The pressure is okay, but how am I supposed to feel better when I know the thing I worry about is no problem at all?
It’s still vanished. I was so ready for it to be sitting there on the floor of my car, taunting me for not having seen it since last week, but there you go and I don’t have any good reason to go back to the store about it.
They’re not. Gads, no, they’re not. I’m sorry. Everyone is not mad at Broom Hilda. I think nobody is mad at Broom Hilda. It’s not impossible that nobody has ever been mad at Broom Hilda. What’s to even get mad at it for? I just miss that great Being Mad At Funky Winkerbean energy. I don’t know what’s ever going to match it. Something will. Probably Luann. We’ll see.
So, yes, I’ve been busy finally getting around to putting these shrinkable plastic sheets over the bedroom windows. We’d rather have storm windows put up there, but we don’t know where they are. The storm part, I mean. We know where the windows are. They’re the things that let in the 50,000-watt power of the streetlight outside. But for some reason we only have the screens, and when we think about how to get the pane of solid glass we’d need to put in there for the winters we feel helpless and sad. Anyway, those plastic sheets are surprisingly effective ways to turn a drafty window into a drafty window with a transparent balloon that buffs in and out all winter, like the weather is breathing all over you. Oh, I know there’s people who tell you to tape up bubble wrap over the windows, so that they can spend the winter poking the windows. These people are glaziers who hope you’re going to pop the window too.
I apologize for running late once again with the story strip recaps but please understand: I did other stuff than write it instead. No, I can’t remember exactly what besides looking at some lights in the zoo. (The zoo knew we were there. Also the lights.) Anyway to tide you over here’s a Far Side panel that sat up and demanded I make sure you saw it.
I spent today wearing a hair tie, in my hair as is usual and custom for such objects. It was on an experimental basis. Anyway, while getting back from the store, somewhere between taking off my hat, removing my earbuds, and taking off my face mask the band went missing entirely. It’s not in my hair, it’s not in my car, it’s not in my jacket, it’s not in my shirt, it’s not anywhere. Now, yes, object permanence is one of my five favorite things about objects, and I’d be sad if we were losing that principle. But it’s not the principle that’s bothering me. It’s that those things are like 34 cents each and I feel something owes me a bit of money. I can make change for a 35 cents, if someone wants to help me out here.
Special thanks to Milt Josefsberg and John Tackaberry for help with this minor daily inconvenience.
Sorry, but my iPad is giving me the extremely unpleasant feeling that one or more applications went and updated itself without asking permission and now I have to figure out whether it actually did that, or whether something just decided I wanted dark mode instead of normal mode, or if something forgot a preference I set back when I first got an iPad and that was carried on perfectly fine up until now. Anyway so that’s why I’m busy circling my electronic devices while hissing at them. This doesn’t help anything but feels so much like it should that I’ll pretend it does.
I am — without bragging — over fifty years old and it is just this past week that I first stopped to wonder whether the word “together” might have some etymological connection, however tenuous, to the verb “to gather”. Anyway, I’ve been telling possible employers that one of my skills is my curious mind and eagerness to learn, and I have gone through fourteen months without income.
It would seem our pet rabbit has knocked over the pantry shelves or maybe one of the larger bookcases, none of which she’s anywhere near. I don’t know how she managed this feat and I’m afraid to go look what did happen.
I don’t know that this is actually trouble. I just want it known if I go inexplicably silent a while. There’s this really fat squirrel, looks kind of like they’re shoplifting a medicine ball or maybe a boulder left over from falling on Wile E Coyote. And they keep sitting in the front yard, eating a nut or whatever, looking at the house. They’re maybe just curious what I have on the TV, but I can’t rule out that they’re sizing up the house to figure if they can eat it and in how many gulps. This may seem an unlikely worry, but what I have on the TV most often is the Broadway music channel and how many times does any squirrel really want to hear the Gary, Indiana song from The Music Man? Right? Anyway so if you see my place on Street View and it’s not there please notify someone appropriate.
I don’t know a better way to express the weather than “it heckin wimdy”, as the kids assure me with absolutely sincere tones and promising they’re not making a joke that the young say. And when I say back to them that yes, it heckin wimdy all right, they are so impressed with my perfect encapsulation of the circumstances that they start giggling and nudging each other to make sure they saw how perfectly an Old like me can speak the language of youth.
Andy Capp, meanwhile, hasn’t made any acknowledgement, at least in strips run on GoComics. I can’t say whether this reflects the lead time of the strip or what. The comic strip did join in the celebration of Charles Schulz’s centennial this past Saturday, but that’s something anyone could have known was scheduled for almost a hundred years. They’re probably not working a hundred years ahead of deadline, though.
Finally got to the annual viewing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and I hope you’ve been wondering what trivial thing I’m fixated on this time. It’s a moment from early on in the special, when Linus asks what all the commotion is and Charlie Brown explains they have another holiday they have to deal with. No, it’s not Sally complaining she hasn’t even finished eating all her Halloween candy despite how we saw how she didn’t get any Halloween candy because she was waiting for the Great Pumpkin. It’s that Linus asks what Charlie Brown’s plans are for Thanksgiving, and he says, they’re going over to their grandmother’s for dinner. And then Charlie Brown just walks off, rather than risk Linus asking any follow-up questions or saying what his family’s doing or saying goodbye or anything. Just, he’s delivered his line, he’s done, until he needs Linus’s help managing Peppermint Patty. It’s a delightful, odd little moment. I hope you notice it next time you see the thing.
This Saturday, the 26th, is the centennial of the birth of Charles Schulz. It’s possible to imagine what comic strips would look like today if he had gone into some more likely profession, with great effort. Rather than repeat things that everyone is saying about him, though, let me point you to a pleasant newspaper feature about it. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, hometown newspaper for Schulz’s adult life, published a special section about him on Thursday. All the articles also have a slideshow, some of them with rare pictures, such as showing the Snoopy illustrations that Schulz drew in a rehabilitation exercise room from a 1981 hospitalization.
I have noticed I’m listening more to the Broadway Musicals channel on the satellite radio, and I’m curious why. Is it simply that the audience-tested crowd-pleasing music is catching my ear? Do I have a preference for the more strongly narrative, often sung-dialogue patter of many of these songs? Or is it just that so many of these songs have 16 verses and 22 choruses and, being a nerd, if I like something then I want to have a lot of it? Like, great heaping piles, enough to overflow canyons. Enough to smother giants under an avalanche of “thing”. Possibly as a side note, I also really like prog rock, a genre where a tune that runs on for 38 minutes with seven major and four minor movements in eight different kinds of acoustic character plus three poetry readings is regarded as “a quick little trifle”. There’s no way to say.
“Side note” was not intended as a pun but you’ll notice I’m letting it stand.
It’s nothing too personal and it’s not anything I have against Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail. It’s more that I’ve had a very annoying couple of days and not been in the head space to talk about fun stuff like idiots trying to get mauled by tigers and elephants.
I’ve filed bug reports with them, of course. And they’ve e-mailed back to say they’re working on the problem. Now, we’re in the ninth month of Sunday strips such as The Lockhorns, Prince Valiant, and The Phantom being unreadable on their Favorites page, and they haven’t been able to figure out how to solve the problem, even when I have told them exactly how to fix the problem on eight separate occasions. So they’re working without any credibility here.
So since the PowerBall lottery didn’t work out — I mean the way I wanted, it seems to have gone fine for someone else — now I’m hoping to get in on the betting pool for Twitter’s final complete demise. Trouble is I’m having trouble getting people to place bets with me without giving them some means of contact besides my Twitter handle, @nebusj, I guess because even they notice I haven’t actually interacted there in years, it just reposts announcements of these posts going up. Well, there’s one born every minute, they tell me, but they’re circumspect about one of what.
Sorry to run late but you know how it is. You step into the shower and remember that time Underdog had to fight some aliens who were part magician, part flying saucer, and who were kidnapping Sweet Polly Purebred because they couldn’t find anyone else in the galaxy who knew how to make cake, and they cast a spell on him and he spent two installments struggling and shaking off the spell only to recite, “I’m back to myself, but I’m not right at all; I feel myself changing back to a ball!” before turning into a sphere with his face on it and accidentally getting put into a women’s volleyball game or something like that. Throws your whole day off and you can’t even explain it to anyone outside your age cohort because there’s not a single element of those sentences that doesn’t sound like I’m the daft one, but there they are.