I Understand There Was an Apple Thing Today

Even though I haven’t — yet — got Apple sending me a bunch of e-mails with the subject lines somehow a different color from normal suggesting I buy a thing, I know something happened. Mostly I can see that everybody I know online is surrounded by people angry about Apple. I feel like it used to be Apple would do these things and people would sometimes be not-angry about it. But that was also back when Apple had a market capitalization of their unreturned pop bottles. And back then their big announcements were things like they had a search box called ‘Sherlock’ and it would tell you when movies were at the nearby movie theater, if you wanted to log in and wait for the thing to take as few as three hours to get the current movie listings. This was better than checking the listings in the Albany Times-Union, though, at least if you didn’t live within a 90 minute drive of the Albany Times-Union delivery region.

The Strangest Comfort of My Life

I went and checked and it turns out I don’t remember the theme to It’s A Living nearly as well as I thought. Mostly what I remember is the chorus about how “it’s … a living” and that bit about a bed of roses. So, good, I guess, that I don’t have that taking up otherwise useful space in my mind but then why do I remember anything at all about the theme to the sitcom It’s Your Move? It’s not just because it had a checkerboard for its opening credits, right? It can’t be just that?

But the Main Thing, I Suppose, Is

Sorry, I’m feeling humbled right now. It’s struck me that if I were cast into a Yesterday-type scenario, cast into a world eerily like ours except where none of the Beatles songs were known, I’d be hard-pressed to reconstruct “Eleanor Rigby,” one of the greatest expressions of the alienation of modernity. And yet, I’d be in great shape if the world needed the theme to It’s A Living, a short-lived early-80s sitcom brought back for first-run syndication for the latter half of the decade for no reason anyone ever wrote down so they could remember.

My Favorite _Raising Duncan_ Strip Just Reran

When Chris Browne, longtime artist of Hagar the Horrible, died earlier this month I mentioned my fondness for a particular panel of his wholly original strip, Raising Duncan. The strip ran for only a couple years, and GoComics has decided to keep it in endless repeats. I’m glad for this, as they recently got to that favorite strip of mine, and I wanted to share it here:

Adelle, hugging her husband: 'Marry me!' Big Daddy: 'I did!' Adelle: 'Marry me *more*!' Big Daddy, holding her arm, 'Aw!'
Chris Browne’s Raising Duncan for the 2nd of April 2002, and reprinted the 30th of May, 2023. (Original run here, though it looks just the same.) Duncan is the cute dog sleeping in the first panel there. I am surprised this hasn’t been used as an anniversary-card comic, though.

That isn’t to say the strip doesn’t have a good number of ‘husband’s a lunk and his wife is the tolerant sensible one’, but it’s quite gentle and kindly, in a way it’s easy to get wrong. I recommend at least one read-through of the comic.

I Always Always Always Find a Typo When I Reread Stuff

Even if I’ve read something and copy-edited it many times over the years I find some new problem. My only hope is if I never read something I posted already then maybe it’s perfect. But: In my Grumpy Weasel sketch I for some reason wrote about “the Spirit Express version of the Who Framed Roger Rabbit weasels”. I … have no idea how I got there. It should be Spirit Halloween, yes, or possibly Halloween City or whatever it is they call it there. I don’t know what a Spirit Express might be. Maybe something that pops up for a week when a mall kiosk closes, selling you just a couple quick Power Rangers-y masks from where they used to sell Dead Sea Mud? They get you in, they get you accessorized, and they get you out in plenty of time to go to the actual Spirit Halloween in the former Bamberger’s. That’s my best guess for what happened there, anyway.

You Know What Else the 80s Made? Jingles

I haven’t had any luck remembering what the point of Hands Across America was, not without looking it up. But this wandering around in memory did run across some other specific odd memory of the decade. This may be hard to remember but back then people were very tense about how the country had gone from having 118 million manufacturing jobs down to nine manufacturing jobs, most of them making those little toothpick flags for oversized sandwiches.

Well, the country wasn’t going to let that pass without doing something, and what they did was: make a bunch of TV commercials where they showed pictures of things while singing a jingle that went something like, “Hey hey! Whaddaya say! This was made in the U.S.A.!” and then repeating that until the TV station went off the air. It certainly did wonders to increase public awareness of the existence of things. And today the United States boasts over ten manufacturing jobs, making things from flag toothpicks all the way to styrofoam coffee cups, a noticeable increase even if it’s a per capita decline. So, great job all around tackling a problem with some creative thought there.

From Sea to Shining, See

Just sitting back, enjoying the thought of quiet days of sleeping as much as I want, and trying to remember stuff. Like, in the mid-80s we had this thing called Hands Across America, where on one day a great many people gathered in groups holding hands with the people on either side to make a line that stretched … not actually across the United States, because there’s a lot of United State out there and some of it is both boring and hard to stand around holding hands in.

Anyway, what was that all about? I know that it produced a song, or at least an unending chorus of “Hands across America / Hands across this land I love / Divided we fall / United we stand / Hands across America”. But that can’t have been the entire goal of the project, right? It must have been trying to do something. Maybe raise awareness? We were always trying to raise awareness in the 80s and it never did stick. But for what? How many states it’s hard to hand across?

If they had got enough people to actually go all the way from east to west I wonder what the plan was. Maybe pass a bucket of water from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again? That sounds about right.

Plus He Probably Rolls Like Two-Thirds of the Way Back Up the Mountain

Continuing to think about the legendary creatures of Pac-Land, because of my reasons, has made me consider. Pac-Sisyphus has got to have it a lot easier than our Sisyphus did, right? Because all he has to do is roll himself up to the top of that mountain over and over. And then he gets to roll all the way back down. He’s probably not only happy when he gets all the way up to the top but rolling all the way down again, because that’s got to be a lot of fun when you have so many directions you can roll without getting stuck, right? It’s just logic.

In Which I Think About the Legends of Pac-Land for No Good Reason

I’m glad not to be thinking about this so seriously as to run late, but … so, in Pac-Land as seen in the documentary Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the early 80s, like, are there equivalents of the various Ancient Greek legends? Because I have to figure they would totally have done a King Midas episode if they had figured a way to draw a goldificated Pac-Man that didn’t look just like Pac-Man. But now what’s on my mind is Argus, the son of Gaia, who had a hundred eyes all over his body. How would Pac-Argus fit a hundred eyes over his body? Would it be all smaller eyes, or eyes of different sizes so they all fit together? Or would he just have a really, really big body? I think you could make a fair case for either, but you’re going to get protests from those people with that phobia about large surfaces with lots of organic-looking holes in them.

I Grant That This Is a Handy Robot, Though

So let’s check back in on Nature Boy, the hero of the elements that we still can’t take seriously. What’s going on in Nature Boy #5, the one with the cover where he’s hugging a lightning bolt between his thighs?

At the Mayor's Office, the Mayor of Centerville talks with a six-armed white robot, Ikzip. Mayor: 'Where are you from?' Ikzip: 'I am Ikzip! I am from the planet Jupiter!' Mayor: 'Why hae you come to Centerville?' Ikzip: 'You need money! Ikzip will help Centerville get it!'
Panels from the bottom of page 4 of Nature Boy #5, cover date February 1957. Story titled “Nature Boy vs The Jiver from Jupiter”. Original writer and artist unrecorded, looks like. Ikzip’s plan is just to show off his rocket and charge admission, which works pretty well. Suggests the town maybe needs to shift to a more county-fair-based economy for long-term financial planning. .

Well! It’s very kind of the friendly robot Ikzip from the planet Jupiter to come all this way to … help Centerville out with its municipal budget problems. I hope it doesn’t mark me as a closed-minded skeptic, though, that I wonder how much we can trust Ikzip with economic measures when the robot needs three of its six arms to smoke one cigar. Even humans need at most two. This seems wasteful.

Also Ikzip could use a chair, I don’t see what the issue there is.

Also yes, I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t Centerville the town where Crankshaft takes place?” Yes. Yes, it is. Use this knowledge wisely. (There is no wise use of this knowledge.)

Did I Just Discover Something About Charlie Brown’s Family?

So last week I was reading the Peanuts repeats, because I don’t see any reason I should ever stop that. And last week we got to this pleasant enough exchange at the Charlie Brown Talking Wall:

Charlie Brown: 'I have a grandfather who is 76 years old. He just lost out in the first round of a tennis tournament.' Linus: 'Is he the kind who hates to lose?' Charlie Brown: 'No, he takes it quite well ... he says it's all part of growing up!'

Charles Schulz’s Peanuts for the 13th of May, 2023. Originally run the 15th of May, 1976. Also, I mean, half of everybody oses out in the first round, there’s no shame in that. Unless it’s a double-elimination tournament and even then, half of everybody’s gone by … I have no idea when. But half of everyone loses their first round and half of everybody loses their second.

This strip, like almost all those repeats for this year, is from 1976 originally. So Charlie Brown’s grandfather was born in 1900. And hey, wait a minute, you know who else was born in 1900? Of course, the longtime star of Gasoline Alley, Walt Wallet. I hadn’t been sure whether he was born in 1900 or if we just assumed that, but here’s a strip from Jim Scancarelli which seems to make the case:

Official: 'Mr Wallet! I'm from Social Security and we've got a few questions to ask you.' Walt Wallet: 'Gulp!' Official: 'You've been drawing a check from us for quite a long time! Exactly what is your social security number?' Walt: '2!' Official: 'Two? How can that be?' Walt: 'I was second in line when it all started! I'm so old I can remember when General Motors was a Second Lieutenant!' Official: 'Hmm! Our records show your age as 114! We know that's a mistake! How old are you?' Walt: 'Age is just a number - and mine is unlisted!'
Jim Scancarelli’s Gasoline Alley for the 5th of January, 2014. Walt’s got some nice schtick going here, but may I suggest: “I’m so old I can remember when Jack Benny was 38”?

Is Walt Wallet Charlie Brown’s grandfather? I think we have to say he’s not, no. Never mind the temporal shenanigans that would have to be waved away for Charlie Brown to appear in a Wallet family reunion. I don’t see where there’s a Wallet who could be Walt’s child and Charlie Brown’s parent. And I know there can’t be an unaccounted-for Wallet relative, because if there were Jim Scancarelli would absolutely have done a strip about finding a lost Wallet. Also if Walt was 114 the first week of January, 2014, there’s a 98% chance he was born in 1899 anyway. So, not him.

(Also there is no reason to think this strip has to happen the 5th of January. Among other things, the day was a Sunday, when it’s not likely a social security official would be poking around on non-crisis business.)

Ah, but what other legendary comic strip character was born in 1900? And then we get to this repeat from a couple weeks ago:

1905 'Little Nemo in Slumberland' strip set on New Year's Eve, in which Father Time brings Nemo to the hall of ages. Each year that Nemo touches brings him to that age, and he grows to his mid-40s before Father Time helps him back to being five years old. The newly five-year-old touches '1999' and ages to 99 years, for the end of the dream.
Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland rerun for the 6th of May, 2023. Originally run the 31st of December, 1905. So, this Tome Morgue they’re visiting … why isn’t there a uniform spread between one row and the next? In panel five, for example, we have jumps from one row to the one below of 17 years, 12 years, 15 years, 19 years, and 24 years. In panel nine, we have gaps of 15 years, 21 years, and 24 years. Is part of the trouble that Father Time doesn’t have good organization skills?

So. Character born in 1900, unaccounted-for since 1927, always learning such useful lessons as “don’t wantonly grab the Time Drawers once you’ve already seen touching them can make you old and dressed uproariously out of fashion for 1948”. There’s no obvious reason Little Nemo couldn’t have grown up to play tennis and offer soft lessons about maturity to Charlie Brown. Do we have a match? What do you think, sirs?

If you don’t like this I have theories about Dumbo and Gertie the Dinosaur you might like better. Just warning you.

The Guy Who Draws _Beetle Bailey_ Has Seen More Squirrels

I apologize for pushing Mary Worth down the schedule a day. Don’t worry, it’s just people talking up how Wilbur Weston, huh, what are you going to do? I don’t know why that’s more important than even telling Mary Worth how great she is at advising stuff. But my weekend was busy so this is the compromise I make.

And that compromise does allow me to bring further good news on the Beetle Bailey squirrel art front: the guy who draws the strip has seen more squirrels and has got a better handle on drawing one that looks like a squirrel but also like it fits the art style of the comic.

Sarge: 'Get to work! You've been lollygagging all day!' Beetle Bailey, lounging against a tree: 'What does that mean?' He takes out his phone: 'Definition: 'to spend time idling'.' Sarge: 'Now you're lolly-googling!!' In the background a squirrel stands between them, watching Sarge disapproving.
Gret Walker, Mike Yates, and Janie Walker-Yates’s Beetle Bailey for the 12th of May, 2023. I am curious why the squirrel is there. The background animal doesn’t add to the gag any. Is it to define the horizon in the second panel? But there’s the patch of Schulz Grass for that. If there were any reason for Zero to be in this strip the squirrel would be a natural companion, but Beetle? (No, there is no chance they tossed it in to see if I’d react. There is nobody so interested in my reaction as to draw a squirrel to see it.)

I’ll agree there’s something a little Muppet in the way the squirrel’s standing but that’s all right. Nobody has any reason to feel bad for getting a bit of Muppet in their light entertainment.

Please watch this space for further Beetle Bailey animal-seeing news. Thank you.

Also I’m a little surprised “lolly-googling” wasn’t something talked about as the fad of wasting time on computers at work got reported on around the year 2000.

It’s Not All the Glucond Delta Lactone, Is It? That’s the Best Part

What … what did the neighborhood supermarket discover about this, which appears to be an egg salad on a croissant, that required them to go back and cross out the word “sandwich”? What terrors would be unleashed by someone attempting to apply this in a situation where the benefits of sandwiches would ordinarily be expected? I want to know, but not enough to spend six bucks on it now that I’ve been warned this is merely the illusion of a sandwich and only the egg salad is guaranteed.

Photograph of the label for a grocery store ready-to-eat sandwich. THe label reads 'Egg Salad Sandwich', with the word Sandwich smeared out by what seems to be a marker pen.
I do like egg salad, generally, but it’s risky having egg salad from a place for the first time because there’s no guessing whether they do that thing where they make it with too much vinegar to ignore how that hurts the salad but not enough vinegar that the taste starts getting interesting again.

On the Other Hand, When He Says ‘I See’, That Means a Lot

Sorry I’m late. I got very tired thinking of Argus, the ancient Greek monster with a thousand eyes. Particularly about how annoying it must be when he reaches the age where he needs contact lenses. But worse, not in every eye, just in something like a quarter of them. Think how hard it’d be remembering just which 250 eyes it is that need contacts, and the process of elimination testing the ones where it’s not clear they’re going bad versus the ones where they just haven’t woken up enough to see yet. And I know what you’re thinking, why not just have Lasik and get the eyes fixed? That’s because of the not-small risk that he’d get chronic dry eye afterwards. At that point, there’s no carrying around enough artificial tears for 250 eyes. He’d just have to start taking baths in saline solution and that’s going to hurt, especially if he has any little cuts or bruises. So you see why pondering this is more important than whatever I was supposed to be doing today.

Not My Excuse for Where My Head Has Been All Day, but It Should Be

Sorry, just caught up by wondering whether Rich Hall thought of the word “sniglet” and then cast about for what that might be, or if he realized he had a thing and needed a word to describe it. If he came up with the word first and then went looking for what it might be we’re probably lucky. Imagine if he had decided a “sniglet” was going to be, like, the act of deceiving frogs about where the power station is. He’d never have got to the bestsellers list with that.

Starting to Think the News May Be Bad

Why else would that dentist who took an X-ray of my teeth in a dream not have gotten back to me yet? On the other hand, if it were bad news, wouldn’t the dentist want me back in right away, because of the health risks and because they make money fixing tooth problems? Maybe they haven’t got back to me because they’re trying to put together a special commendation for my being good at flossing, with special ribbon for also brushing my tongue. Anyway I hope it’s good non-news.

Turns Out Sometimes It’s Not Great to Be a Superhero

Boy, don’t you just hate it when the Gods decide to adopt you and to grant you the powers of the elements but then they also bestow upon you a superhero name which guarantees that nobody can address you without sounding like they’re being sarcastic about Mark Trail? Who, speaking of which, I hope to post about tomorrow so I’d better start writing something soon.

Comics interior full-page title panel in which Nature Boy, to the astonishment of those around him, is forcing a tidal wave back from the city downtown. A woman behind him cries out ``Save us, *Nature Boy*!''
Title page from the debut story of Nature Boy, in Nature Boy #3, cover date March 1956. Art by John Buscema. By the way the real actual gods that we see (on page eight) adopting Nature Boy? King Neptune, ruler of the sea; King Gusto, ruler of the wind; King Fura, ruler of fire; Queen Eartha, ruler of the earth; Queen Allura, ruler of love; Queen Azure, ruler of the skies; King Electra, ruler of electricity; King Frigia, ruler of the cold”, among others. In a later story this issue he also gets help from “King Blasto, monarch of explosives”. So is my crack about niobium looking all that ill-informed now? Huh?

As he’s granted power to rule nature’s “more terrifying” elements, per the caption on top of the page, this does mean that he’s powerless in the face of an element that’s never particularly alarming, such as niobium or thulium.

My Thoughts While Enjoying Compulsory _Star Wars_ Movie Weekend

So in the Star Wars galaxy universe, there are a lot of people. Even more when you count the people who aren’t on-screen in one of the movies unless you zoom way in on one of the stars. So there have to be lots of people who just happen to have names like those of Our Heroes. Probability tells us there’ve got to be, like, dozens of people who are always explaining, “Yes, I’m Han Solo and yes, I’m a smuggler who has never been shown to complete a single smuggle job, but I’m not that Han Solo. Way different guy.”

And for all the people who share a name and a job with the famous ones, how about the people who don’t? I’m thinking here of the poor guy just working some boring office job who has to keep saying, “Why should I change my name away from Kylo Ren? He’s the one who sucks. And yes, thank you, I know about the Leia Organa working up in Solenoid Accounting. We don’t have anything in common besides that coincidence and we’ve already talked about that, thank you. Now if you’ll excuse me, these THX Droid forms aren’t going to fill themselves out. OK, they are going to fill themselves out, but it’s my job to make sure nothing stops them from doing that.” I guess we all have our burdens right up until someone blows up the planet and of course it’s after the Strategic and Long-Range All-Day Standup Scrum.

Hoping My Teeth Look Like a Dream

Just in case you didn’t already know who I was, please consider this: yesterday I was not able to wake up right away when the alarm went off. This because in the dream I was having, I was having a dental X-ray taken, and I knew if I moved to turn the alarm off I would mess up the pictures. So I may have woken my dear spouse (I did) but I did not force my dream-land dentist to waste film or X-rays.

Some Merry Nostalgia With a Soupçon of Violent Imagery

You know, Usenet had its structural problems, yes. But one thing it did right? Your personal block/mute list was called your killfile. And when you told someone you were putting them in it, they could get all huffy and start protesting to everyone else in the group that they were having a perfectly calm, reasonable, respectful discussion on the question of whether a female was capable of having a truly substantial creative new thought, and then you had to go and threaten them with murder.

And then they’d get extremely huffy about how nobody else was taking this threat to their lives seriously. If you were really lucky, they’d start saying how despite your needless escalation of hostilities, you were actually the one in trouble, if you ever got out of your Mom’s basement, because they had special training from the Marines’ elite Blue Rangers squadron.

You, of course, would see none of this, because they were in your killfile. Except for when you saw your friends quoting them in posts that dunked on them, and they got extremely Not Angry, Just Stating Important Facts You’re Hiding From. Good times.

I Assume His Director Was Ken Russell, Which Would Also Be Interesting

Sorry, I’ve been distracted all day by trying to think of the names of actors who played James Bond in the movies and somehow my brain. Thinking of things was a popular pastime before the Internet and I recommend it as a way to get yourself to daft corners. For example, right now, my brain wants to insist there was a stretch where Bond was portrayed by Roger Daltrey, which seems improbable but interesting.

But What I Need Is That Cool Board Where You Pick Two-Digit Numbers From the Price of a Car

So there’s this game on The Price Is Right called “Double Cross”, correctly. Contestant has to pick the right price for two prizes by sliding lighted rectangles along a pair of long, skinny touch screens arranged as an X. And, like, someone built that, this set of long skinny touch screen panels for sliding rectangles around. How many did they make? Can you just e-mail them and buy one for yourself? Where would you keep it? Would the price for one of those double-cross screens fit on the double-cross screen? If not, well, there must be all sorts of prices of things you could fit inside glowy rectangles anyway. We might not know them right away, but I bet if you had one all sorts of applications would turn up. You just don’t realize how you’re struggling on without one.

To Say Nothing of How This Hurts Our Chili-Eating

I am so sad. I broke one of our good soup bowls. It wasn’t on purpose, I was just taking it out of the dishwasher and then it wasn’t in my hands but it was in four pieces. The worst part of this, besides that it wasn’t the good soup bowl with the unexplained ineradicable stain on it, is that now we’re stuck not being able to have anything but adequate soup until I replace it.

Well. It could be worse. Adequate soup is better, after all, than being stuck having disappointing soup. And soup does still remain the best way to have food but wet. And I know, you were thinking this was better than having poor soup. But I can’t say anything bad about poor soup, because the alternative is having to ladle soup, and none of our ladles are anything to say anything about.

I Am Ambiguously Reassured

So I had the realization that in the last seasons of Mork and Mindy, when Mork laid a giant egg and it hatched and it was his son? And he named him Mearth? That it was of course a parallel between Mork-from-Ork, so Mearth-from-Earth? Yeah so I realized this week that “Mearth” also sounds like “mirth” and was feeling bad that this is not just pretty obvious but also probably something they said on the show, which was an important one to me as a kid, because the only thing a TV show needed to be important to me was that it be pretty dumb.

Well, a friend tells me that no, the show did not make explicit that “Mearth” sounds like a word for making someone happy. That was left for us to figure out at home, I suppose, and it’s no shame if I took what must be longer than the median for that. Half of everybody does.

And Yet I Can’t Remember a Single Practical Joke

But you see I can’t have got out of the shower any sooner. I was busy thinking about how much of my life has been spent remembering the theme song to TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon. Certainly more time than I’ve spent thinking of the theme to TV’s Foul-Ups, Bleeps, and Blunders. Anyway I used the 1980s well, how about you?

What do you suppose they ever did with the host segments’ outtakes?

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 22

We’re drawing closer to the end of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. All of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of it should be up at this link. Please let me know if there’s a chapter missing and then I’ll sulk about that all weekend.

Grumpy Weasel’s been having encounters with many of the residents of Pleasant Valley, most of whom don’t like him. Now that he’s escaped Farmer Green’s dog Spot, though, what other canids could possibly vex him? Read on …


TOM: Eggs and eyes?!


CROW: He warns he’s going to break into song.

JOEL: o/` I’m mean … you know what I mean … o/`

> Meeting Grumpy Weasel in the woods one day, Tommy Fox

TOM: Tommy Fox? The Dodgers pitcher?

> stopped to have a chat with him.

JOEL: Oh, it’s so nice to bring a chat, split it with friends, dip it in tea …

> He always liked to chat with
> Grumpy, it was so easy to get him angry, and such fun to see
> him fly into a passion.

TOM: Hey, that’s mean!

CROW: That’s like two-thirds of you and me hanging out, Tom.

> "You’re looking very elegant in your winter suit,"
> Tommy Fox remarked. "White is becoming to you

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Yes, white be coming to me every winter and be leaving every summer.’

> —there’s no
> doubt of that. And that black tip on the end of your tail is
> just what’s needed to complete your costume.

TOM: Without it your tail would be infinitely long.

> It matches your
> eyes nicely…. You must have a good tailor."

CROW: Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs Robinson?

> People were apt to be wary of Tommy Fox when fine
> words dripped from his mouth like that.

JOEL: [ As Tommy ] ‘Dripped? I enunciate clearly, my good narrator!’

> It usually meant that
> he was bent on some mischief.

TOM: Never ignore the predator’s drive to just mess with folks.

> And now Grumpy Weasel looked at
> him suspiciously.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Well, we’ve known each other our entire lives but I’m only going to act on what you say and do right this minute.’

> "If you admire my clothes so much why don’t you get
> some like them?" he demanded.

JOEL: Jeez, learn to take a compliment, Grumpy.

> Tommy Fox shook his head mournfully.

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘No, no, we foxes must be Naked Boot People if we’re to remain true to the model of Sonic’s sidekick Tails.’

> "I’d like to," he said, "but I’m too humble a person
> to dress like a king, in ermine.

TOM: By the Dead Milkmen.

> My family have always worn
> red.

CROW: Foxes stand for the liberation of the world from class warfare.

> The neighbors wouldn’t know me in anything else.

JOEL: What about your Robin Hood costume?

> Or if
> they did they’d say I was putting on airs."

TOM: And if I want to put on airs I’m going to dress all in balloons.

> "If you want to know what I think, I’ll tell you that
> red’s entirely too good for you," Grumpy Weasel sneered.

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘What do you think of orange for me?’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Too loud.’

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘How about green?’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Too immature.’

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘Fuchsia?’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Nothing but vaporwave purple!’

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘Chartreuse?’

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘That ought to be what we call heliotrope!’

> Tommy Fox smiled somewhat sourly. Grumpy Weasel’s
> remark did not please him.

TOM: Hey, *you* started it.

> But he managed to say nothing
> disagreeable.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I disagree!’

> "I suppose," he went on, "you’ve met the newcomer in
> our valley who dresses as you do, in white and black?"

CROW: Johnny Cash and his evil twin?

JOEL: Boss Hogg and his good twin?

TOM: Pepe le Pew?

> "What’s that you say?" Grumpy Weasel barked.

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘That’?

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Yes, that that! That’s the that you said!’

> "Who’s
> gone and copied my cold-weather clothes?

CROW: Grumpy believes in fashion copyrights!

> If I meet him I’ll
> make it hot for him."

JOEL: Grumpy’s going to be so embarrassed when it’s Mildred Weasel.

TOM: Funny thing is on a date he’s a perfect charmer.

> "Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned the matter,"
> Tommy Fox said softly. "I don’t like to displease you.

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘Well! Say, did you ever think of re-racing Jimmy Rabbit?’

> And I
> don’t want to get a stranger into trouble either,

JOEL: But that’s the best kind of Western, where a stranger’s in trouble.

> just as he
> has come to spend the winter amongst us.

TOM: Black-and-white visitor for the winter … are they getting polar bears? Or penguins?

> "And besides," Tommy added, "it would be a shame for
> you to quarrel with the stranger because he happens to choose
> your favorite colors.

CROW: Quarrel over something meaningful instead, like a Star Wars movie.

> That only goes to show that your tastes
> are alike."

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Well, I do like tasting people.’

> "That’s exactly what I object to!" Grumpy Weasel
> complained, getting much excited.

TOM: [ As Chico Marx ] ‘I abject!’

> "If his tastes are the same
> as mine he’ll want to come and hunt along my stone wall.

CROW: Hey, you only use that stone wall to check for holes going halfway through!

> And
> there’ll be trouble if he does that! The fur will fly!"

JOEL: Turns out the visitor is a hot-air-balloon and …

> Tommy Fox turned his head away,

TOM: Sorry, no room on the shoulders, already got Snuffy Smith filling up the spot.

> for he simply had to
> enjoy a grin and he didn’t want Grumpy Weasel to see it.

CROW: Y’know the law says your boss has to give you one break to grin for every four hours you work.

> "I’m sorry I spoke about the stranger," he said
> glibly,

TOM: I just assumed you had read Camus.

> as soon as he could keep his face straight.

JOEL: Oh, he’s corpsing, they’re going to have to do the whole scene over.

> "But I
> thought the news would please you."

CROW: [ As Tommy ] ‘Ah well, off to mess with Albert Alligator’s head.’

> "It would certainly please me to meet him," Grumpy
> Weasel declared fiercely.

JOEL: Careful, this is how Miles Archer got it.

> "And it would please me much more
> than it would him, I can tell you."

TOM: [ As Tommy ] ‘Imagine that!’

> "It wouldn’t be treating a newcomer well to let him
> wander through the woods when you feel as you do about him.

CROW: If the stranger’s a birch tree he’s just being part of the woods.

> I
> ought to warn him to leave Pleasant Valley before it’s too
> late," Tommy said.

TOM: Maybe he can stay if he covers himself in polka dots?

> "It would be treating him better to give him a good
> lesson before he goes," Grumpy Weasel said.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Do you still have that talk you gave about the historical Sparta?’

> "You needn’t say
> a word to him about my wanting to meet him.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I’ll tell him I want to meet him when I meet him! So there!’

> Let the fur fly
> first! And then he’ll flee.

TOM: Easier said than done.

CROW: No, no it is not.

> "That’s my way of getting rid of strangers!"

JOEL: Grumpy is a firm opponent of gentrifying Pleasant Valley.

[ To continue … ]

Explaining myself now … Joel singing ‘I’m Mean’ references Robert Altman’s Popeye and one of its more charming but less written songs. The Dead Milkmen riff comes from thinking ‘A king, in ermine’ to ‘The King in Yellow’ and from there it’s a toss-up whether the original story or the album is the better joke. The riff about chartreuse reflects my own feelings about the color. Miles Archer is the redshirt other detective from the first 20, 25 seconds of The Maltese Falcon.

Why aren’t you explaining Dick Tracy today?

I’m sorry, just, stuff kept coming up. I should have kept Prince Valiant in this week since, while Dick Tracy didn’t have intensely complicated stories the last couple months, Prince Valiant had less story. Anyway, please enjoy something I never knew about Tastee-Freez: that it’s spelled “Tastee-Freez”. Also that it’s shipped from mountains by snow-bunny power under the supervision of Casper the Friendly Ghost gone through a chocolate fountain.

Tee and Eff, humanoid figures with chocolate- and strawberry-magic-shell hairs, ride in a sled filled with Tastee-Freez cones; the sled is pulled by a large rabbit. Tee declares 'The Tastee-Freez must go through!' and Eff, 'Hurray for the Bunny Express!' Tee's eyebrows are posed in a way consistent with his being angry.
Title panel from page three of Tastee-Freez Comics #2, published by Harvey Comics in 1957. Artist uncredited but I’m going to guess Warren Kremer may have had a hand in this. Anyway I don’t know why Tee, on the left there, is so angry. It’s just bunny-pulled ice cream-based product.

And the Topic for This Weekend’s Slow Descent Into Madness Is

I’m not proud of this, but a part of my brain has decided that “rodeo” should be an anagram of “order” and it’s only getting more and more upset as the reality continues not to be so. I agree, on first glance they look like they should be anagrams, but they’re not, and just try telling me that. I’m not sure I can ask for society to change one of the words. I guess I’d ask for a change in “rodeo”, as that’s probably going to be the smaller hassle. But I doubt we could get that changed before I get distracted and move on to something else. I know the process. This isn’t my first roder.

Not Sure if That’s a Misprint or a Plan to Conquer Ogallala, Nebraska

So I was for some reason reading Speed Comics #1, with the thrilling yet dumb story of Shock Gibson, superhero and Pontiac Eight hood ornament. Anyway what looks like an ordinary story of grafters having taken over The City government by building a skyscraper on his own takes a twist. The evil Baron Von Kampf is trying to take over the world, starting by taking over this story that was by all rights finished. And, with Shock Gibson tied up and helpless he starts explaining his plan, complete with maps:

The evil Baron Von Kampf shows Shock Gibson a map with many major cities of the United States marked with dots, and explains his plan to destroy civilization: he and his zombies will conquer the United States first. The zombies he made from parts of animals and gave them radio control, to obey his every word. When Shock taunts the Baron he orders the zombies --- large, shaggy, one-eyed green things that look kind of cuddly, actually --- to throw Shock to the lions.
Page 18 of Speed Comics #1, cover date October 1939. Script credited to Maurie Rosenfield and Bill Scott, art credited to Norman Fallon but apparently there’s room for doubt in the opinion of ComicBookPlus.com. I don’t know if it’s that Bill Scott. He would’ve been 19 at the time and living in Denver but that doesn’t seem impossible? Probably not, though. The Baron’s appearance feels like it’s maybe a racial stereotype but I can’t pin it down exactly past maybe “saw Nosferatu and had some flesh-colored eyeglasses”.

So, like, I understand that it’s 1939 and all, but his plan is to conquer the United States by going through Grand Rapids, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; and both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania? And why is he sending his remote-control zombie animals to destroy Reno? Is he afraid his wife is getting a divorce that, have to say, I think she should be granted? How does Butte, Montana make the “take over by radio zombie animals” list while neither Annapolis nor Baltimore do? And not to make this all about New Jersey pride, shouldn’t the Picatinny Arsenal and the Springfield Arsenal be on the list, at least ahead of Parkersburg, West Virginia?

Also, I’m going to say it: those are some adorable robot zombie animals. No, I wouldn’t want a pack of them grabbing me and throwing me to the lions either, but if you saw one of them on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends? They’d be some of the most snuggly good guys in the series. You know it’s true.

Maybe Melt Some Butter and Sprinkle Garlic Salt Into It

So today I learn that the state has a Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. (I bet Wisconsin is so envious.) Don’t worry, no, they do not meet in the Cherry Room or even the Carrot Room in the fictional town of “DeWitt”. No, it turns out their next meeting is the 26th of July, but it’s going to be a Zoom meeting.

But that’s their meeting to be open to the public. I’m sure that the Asparagus Advisory Board conducts regular business and will, when appropriate, issue an asparagus watch, sounding the alert that there might be conditions suitable for asparagus in the near future, or an asparagus warning, meaning that it’s time to take such action as appropriate for asparagus. I guess if we can hold out until July we can ask.

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