A Further Report On My Tooth Indignities


The dental hygienist was happy with the way my teeth looked and I sensed I was seconds away from getting another coveted “good at flossing” compliment when their floss snapped and got stuck in my teeth. It’s no fair.

In Which the Title Raises Questions It Can’t Answer


You may remember the Viennetta, which entered the United States market in the 80s and 90s as a way to provide a presentable fancy-looking dessert to company you wanted to serve ice cream cake. I did not, which derailed my love’s story about buying one. But this is how we got to finding that YouTube has a video titled “How a Viennetta is made (suitable for kids)”.

So it is. And yet the title implies there must be a similar video too emotionally raw and blunt about the horrors of modern life and the existential dread that an adult knows as the combination of regrets and fears for a too-short future all about the making of this ice cream cake. Where is that video? Who made it? Who is watching it? How badly would a child facing the nightmares behind, oh, chocolate or sugar be scarred by what it has to say? Or is the music just too risqué? What makes this undetected video so unsafe?

Statistics Saturday: Phrases That the Kids Today Use to Say They Like Something, So Far as You Know


  • “That really slaps!”
  • “That pours out the happy vibes.”
  • “tldr: tyjfdarwqsw!” (or other keysmash after the colon)
  • “That is so that!”
  • “Yeet that fleek!”
  • “That normalizes the singularity!”
  • “Well zip my per!”
  • “It’s as real as bowling!!”
  • “4:34, sweet!”
  • “Only now, it cross-pollenates!”
  • “That sings!” (said so sarcastically as to become sincere again)
  • “Everything else wants to be this and can’t.”

Reference: Mark Twain On The Damned Human Race, Editor Janet Smith.

So I Guess They’re Trying to Make a Slylock Fox Movie Now


So the news is that King Features has is developing an animated feature based on Slylock Fox. I don’t know how this is going to work, but I’m looking forward to it starting off with a short cartoon and asking us which six jokes got changed for the replay.

What My Very Dumb Reason for Being Angry at Crankshaft This Week Is


There are a lot of reasons to be annoyed at Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis’s Crankshaft right now. Let me set up the background: the Valentine was a failed sidewalk movie-palace theater in Centerville, Ohio. After it closed it got reopened as a strip joint that, somehow, failed even faster. Now, movie star Mason Jarre and his partner Cindy Summers have ventured over from Funky Winkerbean and it sure seems obliterated the ten-year gap between the events of Funky Winkerbean and of Crankshaft. (Since 2008, both strips have taken place in “the present”, but one was ten years behind the other. So characters from Funky Winkerbean are ten years younger when they’re in Crankshaft, and Crankshaft characters are ten years older when they’re in Funky Winkerbean. Until now.) Jarre gets the idea to buy the Valentine and reopen it as a movie theater which, luckily, it’s still basically okay for. And he calls the real estate agent on the sign.

Outside the Valentine theater, Jarre says, 'Here's the real estate agent now! Thanks for coming over so quickly ... I'm Mason Jarre!' Lois Flagston: 'Lois Flagston! Pardon me for being starstruck ... but you're Mason Jarre the actor, right?' Jarre: 'In person!' Flagston: 'I've never worked with a movie star before!' Jarre: 'Well, you're the first cartoon real estate agent I've worked with!'
Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis’s Crankshaft for the 11th of September, 2022. I have strong angry feelings about things that aren’t comic strips too but we’re better off sticking to these. Anyway, have you been following Funky Winkerbean this week and if you have, have you ever seen a funnier panel than Mitchell Knox’s face in the last panel of Monday’s strip? No, you have not.

So, look, fine. The Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft timelines are unified again and we’re not going to ask nosey questions about character ages and when events took place. (This after Cindy just went to her 50th reunion in Funky Winkerbean, a strip which earlier this year showed Crazy Harry in high school in 1980, a date not fifty years ago yet. Fine.) And Lois Flagston isn’t so comfortable selling a commercial property since she’s always been about selling houses. Fine. And for some reason Crankshaft is hanging around while Lois shows Jarre around a place he’s already clearly decided to buy. And Jarre is acknowledging that Lois Flagston is a fictional character, existing as she does in the comic strip Hi and Lois. Fine. I will take all that for the sake of doing a story.

But by God and Rube Goldberg, Hi and Lois is set somewhere in New England, it feels like probably Connecticut, and there is no excuse for her having a listing in Ohio, and there is no possible way she is in a short driving distance of someplace that’s a day-trip to Cedar Point. I do not accept it, and shall not accept it, good day sirs.

Again, I Earned a PhD in Mathematics


So I was downstairs, and realized that I had something which I had to bring upstairs, and also that there was something upstairs I had to bring down. I went upstairs to bring the thing down, without taking the other thing up. Once upstairs, I immediately felt foolish that now I had to make an extra trip. How and why?

To Help You Understand What Life Used to Be


So I was thinking about the younger generations and how they’ve never known a world without the Internet. I’ve known both kinds of worlds and thought folks might like to know something of what it was like. What I’ve got, though, is that we used to do stuff like laying awake at night, trying our best to remember the name of Paul Reiser. So this is a problem we’ve solved. Yay us! Anytime we like we can say, “Hey, Siri, tell me the name of Paul Reiser” and get an answer right away. I’m not saying everything is better today. But some things are, and among those things are the greater openness about gender diversity and that if we struggle to remember the name of Paul Reiser it’s for recreational purposes only. That’s something good.

Granting This Is Not a Wrong I Have to Right


But do you suppose whatever advertising person first came up with the “Oops! All Berries” promotion got adequate thanks for inventing such a great meme format? Like, “Oops, All [ thing ]” just communicates whatever the heck the thing is and someone’s to credit for that. I’m not too worried, as you can see from how this hasn’t got me running late or anything. Just thinking about it, is all.

My Mind Is Weighted Down With Thoughts Like These


I apologize for running late, but my mind’s been weighed down all day with the idea that a couple years ago someone announced they were doing a new Golden Girls, even though everyone knew it would have to be awful and an enormous and sad failure. And then I don’t remember ever hearing anything about it again. I don’t think this really happened, but it feels so much like something that could have happened that I don’t feel safe shrugging it off either. But also I’m not bothered enough to go checking. Still, if anyone happens to be at Television Master Command, if you want to poke your head in and say, “Now don’t go doing a new Golden Girls and don’t use this as a prompt to start one!”

Another Instance of Nature Caught Healing


Our hipster bar brought back the Quiz and Dragons arcade game that was removed for a pinball machine. And didn’t replace any pinball machine for it either, just replaced a table that was next to a couple of pinball machines that was nice for setting your drink on. So I guess we have to hold our drinks through games, which is going to make multiball more challenging for everyone except the lucky players with three arms.

I’m off point. The important thing is now we can once again save the land of Capconia if we know something about the starting lineup for the 1991 Denver Nuggets. Although I’ve been horrified to learn it’s not just anything you have to know. You need to know the specific things the game asks you about to get anything accomplished there. That’s the usual trick for trivia games, though.

And Then I Noticed Something About Funky Winkerbean


I’m not any less angry at Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean than I was at the start of this week, mind you. This even though instead of a story about Crazy Harry’s wife making him drop his VHS tape hobby it’s flashbacks totally rewriting what we thought was the history of how Lisa Moore recorded the Dead Lisa Tapes for some reason.

No, the thing that I noticed this week — and remember, I’ve been reading Funky Winkerbean for so long that I remember when it was surprising that something bad happened to a character — is that the strip has two major characters named Harry. There’s Crazy Harry, formerly the guy who lived in his locker and listened to pizzas on his turntable and now a guy who returns videotapes to people; and then there’s Harry Harry L Dinkle The World’s Greatest Guy Taped Onto High School Band Director Office Doors. They’ve both been major characters in the strip since Richard Nixon was president and I just noticed this now.

I mean, I can’t fault the realism of having two characters with the same name around. At my former workplace, which had like two dozen people in it, there were somehow four people named “Joseph”, and when one of them retired somehow there was another Joseph I hadn’t ever seen or heard of before except now he was the person who actually responded to my weekly status reports. It just seems the Harry situation is a little cramped for a comic strip that has … well, dozens of old white guys who are way into comic books and superhero movies and moping. Mr Tom Batiuk please change the name of at least one Harry to something not already in use by another prominent character, thank you.

In Which I Am At Peace With The Neighbors


I saw the neighbors’ woodchuck shuffling around in our backyard in an amble that also caused every sparrow in the world to fly away from our bird feeder. Also, if you’re missing a sparrow, it’s probably flying back to you after visiting our bird feeder this afternoon.

Some happy news from the neighborhood


Saw they’ve got the kid-size car righted and standing on the edge of the patio, so it looks like they had no trouble getting things sorted out with the Kiddie Car Insurance people and finding a reliable Kiddie Mechanic. I wonder if they went to the place on the corner with the quietly despairing signs. Well, it’s still good to see they have that fixed. I hope they’re having fun.

Their woodchuck was unavailable for comment.

I’m Sure Once They Hear the Concept They’ll Agree It Has to Be Made


You may question my use of the time machine to go back and make an episode were SCTV’s Movie of the Week is the Ken Russell remake of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but what alternative would do so much to make the world a more wonderful place?

In Which I Do Not Envy The Neighbors


I do not envy the neighbors today, because I see that the kiddie-size car was flipped over on its back. I don’t know how it happened, but I know how stressful and exhausting it is to deal with the Kiddie Car Insurance Agency. I hope they can get through the trouble all right. I feel like I should offer them a hug or bake them a cake or something.

In Which I Assume There Is a _Columbo_ Prequel Somebody’s Working On


I don’t envy the people working on the Columbo prequel, other than that I assume they’re getting money for work. But they have to be glad of one thing. Any time someone complains about how we don’t need to know Columbo’s origin story, we know how he turns out, they can just glare intently back and point to the name of the intellectual property. It’s something the poor folks doing the reboot of Cool Million can’t fall back on.

How Will I Live Without This When the Popeye Project Is Done


Just admiring the chutzpah of whatever YouTube AdBot thinks I’m going to sit through a two-minute-and-40-second advertisement for prostate medication, plus a second advertisement after that, in order to watch a five-minute Popeye cartoon from 1960. I feel like I want to sit down with the AdBot and have it state clearly what it thinks it’s doing and why, and whether it could do anything else.

Oh and Now the Neighbors Have a Woodchuck


They’ve got a woodchuck living in their yard! An actual woodchuck, all ready to come over and chuck some wood if they would. On top of all the other stuff they’ve got going on, they’re also going to be able to run their very own early-end-of-winter forecasts? That’s just too much, right? Why can’t we have a woodchuck living in our yard? We’ve got a great yard, it’s got a fence that really annoyed the other neighbors, and we’ve got this squirrel feeder that we found a real live worried mouse in the other day, and a goldfish pond, and a bunch of perennials that I can’t tell apart but that have names that sound like the butler in some low-effort 1930s cozy mystery movie series starring a reformed cat burglar, like, “Astilbe” and “Yarrow” and “Fescue” and stuff. And they get a woodchuck. I just can’t.

In Which I Envy the Neighbors


Like, I guess, everybody except the people at the end of the world we have neighbors. One set of ours has some fun stuff in the backyard. One of those trampolines like you see as one-bid prizes on The Price Is Right. A little canvas tent to make sunny summer afternoons pleasant to lounge in. A bunch of kid toys, little plastic slides, child-size cars, tetherballs, you know, stuff. Apart from the days each of these pieces were brought in, though, they’ve never used them. Now, I’ve told you all about how much I don’t how to have fun myself. But I can recognize signs of fun in other people. And now it’s got me worried that the fun that I’m not having is of a lower quality than the fun that the neighbors are not having. I don’t see any way out of this unless they have another trampoline party.

In Which I Was Wrong, So Very Wrong


Oh gads. Oh no. Oh, oh dear. I was so wrong. I was so very very wrong. Do you know how hard it is to type a company’s name in Helvetica Bold Italic and put a little monocolored regular polygon next to it? These people earn every penny. Gads I have learned things about rhombuses that even I, a mathematics PhD, was not meant to know.

Maybe I’ll Get Into Corporate Logo Design


I’m not thinking to get into corporate logo design because I love art, understand. Or because I like corporations any. I just need some money, and I figure, hey, I can type a company’s name in Helvetica Bold Italic and put it next to a regular polygon in a single color and send an invoice for $185,000 plus expenses. Of course this competes with my desire to not do anything, but, like, even if I spent two hours on a company logo I’d be getting a pretty good wage. Maybe I’ll up it to $232,750 and give myself some savings.

Apparently the Labor Market Is Heating Up


Since just days after that $65-a-month LinkedIn job I saw this one.

Screenshot of a LinkedIn job listing detail, offering a base salary of $0/year.
On the one hand, they are only promising zero dollars, but they are offering it per year, which is twelve times as long to be employed as per month offers!

Sad News From Capconia


Our local hipster bar put in a new pinball machine, which I’m normally all for. But to make room they had to replace the old Quiz and Dragons arcade game. And that’s a shame, really. I like the old trivia video game’s worldbuilding premise, wherein a peaceful land is threatened by the intrusion of the ultimate evil, who’s sent out a flock of dragons to enforce his will, and the dragons will devour anyone who resists them — unless they know something about the starting lineup for the 1991 Denver Nuggets. They don’t make games like that anymore, and there’s no reason for it. I’m sure there’s still things about the starting lineup for the 1991 Denver Nuggets that people might remember.

Thinking of Dropping an Application in Anyway


Just ran across this job listing on LinkedIn and I’m thinking of seeing if I can snag an interview just so I can ask if they’re getting a lot of ironic applications in.

Screenshot of a LinkedIn job listing detail, offering a base salary of $65/month.
Or maybe the job is, like, two hours of work a month? If that’s it and I can do it remotely, okay. I bet I could do like a hundred of those jobs a month.

Imagine My Surprise at Politics in the United Kingdom


My many, many readers in the United States may have only a rough idea about the troubles going on in the United Kingdom’s politics. Let me try to explain: they’re having a bunch of trouble there in the United Kingdom’s politics. I’m a little vague on the details but the upshot seems to be someone finally took a good clear picture of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and everybody started saying, “Wait, that Boris Johnson? No, no, we wanted as Prime Minister this other Boris Johnson, the one who works at that pub where they always have jacket potatoes on the menu but every time you order them they don’t have them for some reason.” That’s as close to right as you need to know, anyway.

Anyway so the last couple days they’ve been getting a lot of resignations of every possible government post. This includes big posts, sure, like the Minister of Finance or the Minister of Posts (Big), but also smaller and more obscure and archaic ones. And they’ve had to reach pretty far down in to the back benches to fill spaces.

So anyway, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find that I had become the Lieutenant-Stewart of the Cinq Hundreds and Crown Escheats of Flumwich. Like, I’m not British. I haven’t even been in the United Kingdom since 2015, when I was there to ride some roller coasters, or at the British call them the “rumbly-bumblies” so far as you know. This could all have been embarrassing, what with my responsibilities here reading Gil Thorp or whatever it is I do. But it all worked out since as I kept on reading the news I learned I’d resigned already. I’d probably just get myself into some real trouble if I hadn’t.

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