Monday, November 29, 2004


After "pik"-ing, flossing, and brushing, Broom Hilda says, "Now I know why the Mona Lisa has that satisfied, enigmatic smile. Really clean teeth!"

And . . . I just don't get it. No, I don't find it un-funny (like I normally do), I flat-out "don't get it" (TM Tom Hanks -- Big). The Mona Lisa's smile is considered enigmatic, in part (if not entirely), because it is close-mouthed. Broom Hilda's smile here is also closed-mouthed a la ML. So ... what, now? Don't we consider a clean, nice smile a wide, toothy grin? I can speak here from my day job. I am the managing editor of a dental journal, and many manuscripts I get talk about patients complaining about their smiles. When they are ashamed of or worried about their teeth, they tend to smile close-mouthed. After reconstruction they are able to smile the wide toothy Tom Cruise grin.

So, I ask again, what the HELL is Broom Hilda talking about? Is she saying that in the witch community, clean teeth are frowned upon? Because she is a witch with clean teeth, she has to smile close-lipped? If so, then why the hell does she spend so much time cleaning her teeth? Is she a MORON as well as a witch?

Is she sucking on her teeth? Like, she enjoys the taste of fresh teeth?

I mean, what????? What the hell is going on here? Why does she spend 3/4 of the strip cleaning her teeth, then the last/punchline panel hiding them???? I DON'T GET IT!!!!


Sunday, November 28, 2004

What Are Her Powers, Exactly?

The fortune teller says, "Someone named Bill is desperately trying to contact you!" Broom Hilda says, "Bill? Bill? I don't remember anyone named Bill. Does he have a last name?" The fortune teller says "Collector," and Broom Hilda responds, "Him I know!"

OK, I guess Broom Hilda does not have the power to tell the future. I suppose, when you think of it, that fortune tellers and witches have distinct skill sets. I mean, if you needed to whip up a cauldron of an evil potion, you'd go to a witch, not a fortune teller, right? But, if you wanted to speak with your dead Uncle Ralph or learn what dead Mary Alice's secret was on Desparate Housewives, you'd go to a fortune teller, not a witch. So, upon reflection it's not surprising that Broom Hilda has to turn to another practioner of the dark arts.

What doesn't make sense is why a bill collector frightens her. She's a witch! Does she actually have to pay bills? Can't she just cast some sort of spell on this bill collector? Like make him forget that she owes him money or something? Or make it so that his left arm rots off? And what in the world did she spend money on? Does she have credit cards or something? What?

And note that she's walking out on the fortune teller, leaving perhaps another bill unpaid.

Broom Hilda doesn't know anyone named Bill? That seems a little unrealistic, doesn't it?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

And now we will turn our attentions to Broom Hilda. Broom Hilda is an innocuous little strip (as long as you consider withcraft and sorcery innocuous and not the work of, you know, the DEVIL!). Aside from satanism, though, Broom Hilda is harmless -- no bad marriages, no sickly sweet kids, and quite a variety of "jokes." OK, so it's not funny, but really, is "funny" necessary on the "funny pages"? The answer, of course, is "NO."

So, Broom Hilda is generally inoffensive . . . until you actually start to pay attention to it. It makes absolutely no sense! The main characters are a witch, two trolls, and a buzzard. They live in a forest, but sometimes they are walking around in a city. I think the intended audience of Broom Hilda must be recreational drug users, or those experiencing LSD flashbacks. If any readers out there are drug users, please take a gander at Broom Hilda during your next high, and let me know if that helps any.

Here, the executioner says, "Any last requests?" and Broom Hilda says, "It is a far, far better thing that I do ..." Ha ha, that's a little high brow Dickensian humor; you don't need drugs to get that, just a big, dorky head. What Broom Hilda actually says is "You first!"

OK, first, let's get the "humor" out of the way. I think the humor here is that Broom Hilda isn't worried about getting her head chopped off. In fact, she seems quite happy. Maybe also she's planning on turning the table on the executioner. He does look a little scared. I am guessing she will use witchcraft to get out of this predicament, and I also assume it is witchcraft and/or sorcery that put her in this Marie Antoinette situation in the first place. Interestingly, the Broom Hilda strip rarely makes reference to her witchery. She's just a character who happens to be a witch. I think, though, this strip is predicated on Broom Hilda's witchery.

It's still, though, the same bizarre Broom Hilda world that we will be exploring over the next week or so. Why is she being executed by guillotine? Broom Hilda does not take place in Revolutionary France. Or at least, it usually does not. I suppose it's possible that the strip takes place in many different time periods. Even if it is Revolutionary France, Broom Hilda wouldn't be a prime execution target. She's not a noble or member of King Louis' Court. She's not particularly wealthy. Now, if she were being burned at the stake or drowned in a dunking chair, I'd buy it -- those are proper ways to get rid of witches, but guillotine? It just doesn't make sense.

Let's hope Broom Hilda does extricate herself from this situation, or we'll be done with Broom Hilda posts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Marriage Sucks - 7, Big Al's Patience - negative one bazillion

From Andy Capp:

Andy: "I'm back Pet, and I've seen the error of my ways. I won't take you for granted anymore. Why don't you make us a bacon sandwich while we --- why are you screaming?"

Oh, good grief. (TM Charlie Brown). The husband doesn't appreciate the wife, and she obviously doesn't want him back. (And, he's asking about sandwiches -- seems sandwiches are a marriage minefield to be negotiated with utmost care). STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT! Just go get a damn divorce already! All of you miserable comic characters - stop the whining, and fighting, and bickering, and hating, and just leave each other the fuck alone!

Thank goodness today is the last day of the "Marriage Sucks" Challenge. It's actually sickening how many crappy marriages there are in the comics. Why is this? Why? Why? WHY?

I'm not sure what frustrates me the most.
  1. Is it that thes comics all make marriage seem like a miserable lifestyle choice? Like, really, should I just get a divorce and become a single gal again? No, Cathy makes that look like a pretty bad choice. The comics are probably trying to turn Americans into homosexuals, because at least there aren't any bad homosexual lifestyles on the comics (or any, for that matter).
  2. Is it that they are the same handful of "jokes" over and over? How many times is bad cooking funny? Once is too many if you ask me. How many times is a nagging wife funny? Just stop it.
  3. Is it that none of these are remotely funny?
  4. Is it that they are a miserable representation of family life, and yet no one ever writes a letter to the editor to say they are horribly offended and wish (Beetle Bailey, The Lockhorns, The Born Loser, The Wizard of Id, Andy Capp . . .) were no longer where their impressionable children can be exposed to it?

Maybe I'm just out of touch. Maybe all of American thinks crappy marriages are pretty damn funny. If the recent election told me anything, it's that my choice for the country is not the same as the majority of my fellow citizens. This crappy marriage bit could just be another indicator of that. Am I out of touch? Are these funny?

The "Marriage Sucks" Challenge ends. Just in time for Thanksgiving, so I'll move on to something else after the holiday. Maybe back to some Family Circus for awhile.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Please Make it Stop - 1 More "Marriage Sucks" post after this one

OK; I'm back, and coming to the end of my marriage sucks challenge. 5 marriage sucks posts down, 2 to go.

Today's post is from a comic called Willy N Ethel, by Joe Martin. Joe Martin is my grandad! Also my uncle and my cousin. Well, they are all "Joe Martins," but probably not this particular one. I mean, I'd know if they were cartoonists. Plus, my grandad died last year, so it's not him. This comic started in 1979 when my cousin was 4, so it's probably not him. That leaves my uncle, but I think it's probably just some other random Joe Martin.

Can you read it? The lady says, "Ethel does all the work and all you can do is sit there and watch TV." Then Willy says, "Because unlike some people, I can wait until she finishes for my beer and sandwiches"

Yeah, yeah, the wife does all the work and the lazy husband just watches tv. Man! I thought it was getting old doing the Family Circus and writing "kids say the darndest things" over and over. These bad marriage cartoons are even worse. Don't they have plagiarism in cartoons? Are you telling me this very same joke hasn't been made over and over?

I don't understand:

  • Why Ethel doesn't reach over there with her vacuum and suck Willy's face off his dumb, bald head.
  • Why Ethel doesn't leave Willy (he's unemployed, so it's not like she's sticking around for the $$. Maybe it's love.)
  • Why the other lady is just sitting there. Who is she? Did she come to visit with Ethel? Can't Ethel just take a little break to visit with her friend?
  • Why the friend doesn't come back later when Ethel is done with her chores? Or, why doesn't the friend offer to help?
  • Who are these "some people" to whom Willy refers? Is he comparing himself to even worse husbands who don't wait until their wives finish chores? Or did Ethel give the friend some beer and sandwiches and Willy is implying that he is more patient than the friend?
  • Why can't Willy get up off his own lazy ass and fix his own beer and sandwich?
  • Why Ethel's arm gets smaller in the 2nd panel. Is vacuuming such a good workout?
  • Why the vacuum looks like a garden hose in the 2nd panel.
  • Why this is supposed to be funny.

Will Ethel poison whatever she eventually brings Willy? Why or why not?

Is it funny that the husband is so lazy? Like is this supposed to be funny from the husband's point of view? Like, ha ha, dumb broad cleans up after the lazy man? Or is this supposed to be funny from the wife's point of view? Like, ha, ha, men are such lazy oafs, I hear ya! Sing it sister! Is it funny from the friend's point of view? I don't understand. WHY IS THIS FUNNY? Someone please explain.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I think we need an amendment

Hey -- going to take a few days break. Friends are visiting this weekend, so no blogging. Plus, I am getting bored of my "marriage sucks challenge." It's not really a challenge, because it's so easy. I would stop the marriage sucks challenge, and move on to something more interesting, but I am a leader who sticks to my word. I do not "flip flop." When I say I am going to do something, I do it. Even if it sucks I see it through to conclusion. These are lessons I've learned this past election cycle.

Here in the Born Loser, the husband watches too much sports. Ha ha ha. I will admit to having this problem in my marriage, but with the genders reversed. My husband doesn't understand why I have to watch so many Braves games. He's a college basketball fan, and with fewer games, every game is more important. I'll admit, a Braves-Rockies game in early August doesn't mean much of anything, but I still like to watch. (That's what SHE said, yuk, yuk, yuk)

Man, I just don't have anything witty to say anymore. The state of comics marriage is just sapping all my strength, energy, and insight. Like Big Fun said in Heathers, "Teenage Suicide - don't do it." Here, the comics say to me day after day, "Marriage - don't do it." Or, in the immortal words of Cosmo Kramer, "It's a manmade prison, Jerry!"

I keep hearing how gays getting married will ruin the institution of marriage here in the USA, and therefore we need to amend the Constitution to lock them out of it. I'm guessing the people making this argument don't mean their own particular marriage will be weakened. Anyway, once the ball gets rolling on that, our legislators need to start looking into Constitutional amendments banning these comics. The Lockhorns at the very least. They make a mockery of the institution of marriage, and we can not have that.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Imagine if Homer didn't talk. Or move. Or wasn't funny.

First, some good comic news: in today's Get Fuzzy (by Darby Conley), the cat (Bucky Katt) is shown roasting Family Circus Billy on a spit! I'd like to thank my husband for pointing it out to me. Of course, he called Billy "Jeffy." To which I replied, (taking my marital cues from the comics) "You stupid lazy oaf! Now, go out and play some golf while I whip up some foul-tasting meatloaf here in the kitchen."

Today's crappy marriage segment is brought to you by Hi and Lois.

Hi and Lois actually seem to have a decent marriage. They have 4 kids and they both work outside the home, but they seem to be genuinely fond of each other (even if never funny). "Thirsty" Thurston and Mrs. Thurston are the designated married-couple-who-hate-each-other. They are the Flagston's neighbors, and Thirsty works with Hi (well, Thirsty is employed by the same company Hi is, I don't think Thirsty ever works). Thirsty (as his name may imply) is a lazy drunk. Using this same logic, you'd assume that Hi is a toked-out stoner, but, sadly, no.

As usual, the wife is complaining about the husband's laziness. I think Mrs. Thurston has good reason to complain, unlike Helga, who really was being unreasonable. A drunk who ignores his responsibilities! That's funny. Almost as funny as spousal abuse. His pants are kind of funny, I guess.

I started thinking, though. What is Homer Simpson but an animated version of Thirsty Thurston? I mean, Homer's a lazy, ignorant drunk, and, yet, The Simpsons? Brilliant. Absolutely wonderful. I wish I were perceptive enough to explain this phenomenon. Here in Hi and Lois a drunk slacker pisses me off. On The Simpsons it tickles me to no end. Am I so much of a simple-minded idiot that the fact that the Simpsons actually move and talk makes it so I "get it?" I'm 31. I've watched TV my whole life. And now I need movement and sound to "get" humor?

Of course, I don't think that's it. I guess Matt Groening is just a heck of a lot funnier than Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne. Somehow I get the sense that Groening is poking fun at these shitty comics as much as he is poking fun at all of America. And, man, I wish I had the perception to figure it out, and the writing skill to explain it. The Simpsons is just better. That's all I can come up with.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

You're an Ugly Bitch, Dear -- Love, Hubby

In the Wizard of Id, the Wizard and Mrs. Wizard are the designated married-couple-who-hate-each-other. The king (the short one always being called "fink") seems like the main character in the strip, but since it's called WIZARD of Id, I guess that's not the case. It's sort of like the strip Blondie, whose main character is really Dagwood. It would be like watching The Cosby Show with Theo as the main character. Or watching The Simpsons only to find out the main characters are the Flanders, or . . . I could go on, but for this post (and the next 4), I'm still on my "marriage sucks" kick, so the wacked-out names these strips give themselves will have to wait for another day.

If you can't read it, Mrs. Wizard says, "How do you think I would look with a face lift?" And Wizard replies, "Like a body with the wrong head."

Hey! Do you know what's just as funny as the cute things that children say? Yes, I know, huge-ass dogs, but also . . . Emotional abuse from your spouse! Ha, ha, ha! Boy, if you can't laugh at a husband putting down his wife's looks, what can you laugh at?

OK, look, it's just a comic strip, and, let's face it, it's not as if the Wizard's lying. Mrs. Wizard's not getting confused with Jennifer Aniston anytime soon. Still, can someone please explain to me why this is funny? The wizard doesn't even use a good line. If he said, "You'd look as out of place as John Ashcroft at a Queer as Folk cast party," it would still be pretty mean, but AT LEAST funny!

There's a secretary at my office (I'll call her Doris) who is always telling us the mean things her husband says to her.

Recently, Doris got a haircut and the husband said to her, "That makes you look so ugly. It's like you've got an itty bitty head on top of a big fat body." She's always telling bizarre stories, and I've learned to take everything she says with a grain of salt, but she makes it sound as if her husband treats her like the wizard treats his wife. So, when Doris sees this in the paper, does she think, "Ah, yes, I know that feeling," and sort of chuckle to herself? (much as I do on seeing a particularly good Dilbert.) I can't imagine anyone who actually experiences this kind of relationship sees it as "funny." And for those of us lucky enough not to experience it, well . . . still not funny.

What is funny is that Doris' husband's name is Hank Williams, Jr.! Doris can be absolutely clueless about things (for instance, not realizing until this summer that al-Qaeda wasn't a city in Iraq), so when I found out her husband's name and asked if he was "ready for some football?" She said, "He don't like football." See what happened? I attempted a lame joke and was shot down. Oh yeah, Doris has extremely bad grammar.

More "Doris" stories to come, as the situation warrants.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Hagar and Helga need to get it on

Posted by Hello

Not sure if you can read everything there, but Helga says, "It's noon already! What happened to your promise to paint the house, chop firewood, dig a well, plant a garden, fix the roof, build a barn and put up a fence today?!" And Hagar says, "Never believe a man holding a tankard of ale."

Whaddaya know? The husband wants to nap, but the wife wants him to do chores. I didn't see that one coming!

What's funny here (not) is that insane list of "honey-dos" (ugh - hate that term) she has for him. How long has she been married to Hagar? Long enough to know he wouldn't be able to do all that in a day, I would imagine! And now she's upset that he can't get it done? He's Hagar the Horrible, not the cast of Trading Spaces! Viking warriors don't do that shit! "Plant a garden," come on Helga! Ain't know way Hagar's doing that! Besides, if she's so pissed at him, why did she wait until NOON to wake him up? And, why does he sleep with his helmet on?

Does everyone see why they have such a miserable marriage? Hagar is sleeping in a single bed. Did they start sleeping in separate beds when they realized they didn't really like each other? Or have they always slept in separate beds and their lack of sex is what's made them so hostile? Just another mystery to ponder. Anyway, it's like TV from the 1950s; we can't see Rob and Laura Petrie or Desi and Lucy, or any other married couple in bed together. Imagine if your children picked up the paper one day to see that Hagar and Helga shared a bed! Shocking! It's completely OK for your kids to see a miserable, loveless marriage, but sleeping together . . . NO WAY!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Mmmmmm. . . . Meatloaf

For the first comic in my "Marriage Sucks Challenge" I am going to take the easy way out. I am going to post something from a comic called The Lockhorns. As their witty and evocative name tells us, this is a couple who, yes, constantly lock horns. Unlike some of the other miserable marriage strips (Hagar and Helga, Beetle Bailey's general and Mrs. General), The Lockhorns is a strip solely devoted to marriage suck-itude. There are no lazy soldiers, Viking raids, or other hi-jinks to dilute the humor. I used to see them in the Sunday Parade insert, but they haven't been there in awhile. The local paper here doesn't publish them, but I know I have lived somewhere where they at least show up on Sunday -- Washington, DC? Richmond, VA? Well, according to their website 500 papers publish this crapola daily.

I am just going to head over to their site and pick the latest panel posted.

From October 30:

Hey, waddaya know? The wife's cooking sucks.

Why in the world is this funny? If her meatloaf is so bad, why did she bring it to a dinner party? Is it because she doesn't think it's so bad? If that's the case, why does the husband announce it to the host? Why does he want to embarrass his wife like that? I would think he's just making a light-hearted joke, like everyone is supposed to know he's kidding (like the time on Friends when Chandler and Monica had to go to Chandler's boss' apartment for dinner, and the boss made the lame joke about his wife's coffee being so weak it shouldn't get in any fights, then Chandler and Monica had to fake laugh). Anyway, I don't think the husband here is being falsely jovial because the wife looks pissed and the host looks ... bored? Disdainful? Why does he look like that? Because the husband is being a jerk-off? Or is he pissed because now he has to serve crappy meatloaf at his party?

If the wife is such a bad cook, why don't they get take-out to bring to the dinner party? They could buy something from a take out place -- most grocery stores do prepared dinners now, then they could fake it by putting the store-bought food in their own dishes.

Lots of unanswered questions, but the biggest one is, Why is this supposed to be funny? I think it might be the term "meatloaf." Tee hee. MEATLOAF. A big loaf of meat. Each word in and of itself is a funny word. MEAT. LOAF. Put them together, and you really have something. Meatloaf. Meatloaf. Meatloaf. Say it to yourself a few times.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Marriage Sucks - HA! HA! HA!

OK, I will be taking a temporary break from Family Circus and the funny things kids say, to another source of never-dull, always orginal humor: MARRIAGE SUCKS! Are you trapped in a miserable marriage? Does your wife nag you constantly? Is she a battle axe who is completely unattractive? Does your husband love golf more than he loves you? Is he a big, stinky slob who sits around the house belching all day while you are slaving away over a hot stove? Does your wife's cooking make you want to vomit? Would your husband rather watch sports than spend time with you???

If so, then the comics are the place for you, because what's funnier than a miserable marriage? Right? Right?

Speaking seriously now, my real question is -- what's funny about a miserable marriage? I mean, your wife's cooking sucks - ha ha, right? NO that's not funny! Your husband is a slob who messes up the house you've so carefully cleaned - hee hee, right? NO that's not funny!

Whenever someone gets upset that there's a gay character in For Better or for Worse, or that one of the angry little boys in The Boondocks said something inappropriate, or that Doonesbury is showing the true consequence of war (amputation), there will be a letter in our paper complaining about the fact that the comics are a page for children and we shouldn't be exposing our poor kiddies to such horrible stuff. OK, point taken. But why doesn't anyone ever complain about the terrible state of marriage on the comics page? Here's the lesson many of these comics give:

To little boys: Don't get married. Your wife will emasculate you, make you do chores in every free moment, and you will never have fun again. Plus, she won't be attractive, and her cooking will suck.

To little girls: Don't get married. Your husband will not appreciate the work you do. You will be stuck doing all the menial chores around the home with no help. In fact, your husband will be a huge slob who ruins the hard work you've just done.

Even worse, this isn't funny, and it's not original. The jokes are the same:
I am taking on the following challenge: For the next 7 posts, I will show a comic that exposes the miserable state of marriage on the comics page. I will use a different comic each day, and I will only use the ones that are on line (so, I will have about a month's worth of comics to choose from). This, I have no doubt, will be an easy challenge.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Arafat is dead. Comedy is hard.

So, last night I made a little joke about Arafat not being dead yet. I posted that at 7:37 PM, and Arafat died at 9:30! YIKES! I hope I didn't cause his death! I mean, I realize that things I do or say have no bearing on the life and death of sickly Middle Eastern leaders, but I also "realize" that wearing my lucky sweatshirt during even numbered innings doesn't have anything to do with how the Atlanta Braves perform. And yet, I do it anyway. So, on the off chance that what I said ended up killing Arafat, no more jokes about those guys.

Although it's worth a try:

Q: How is Bin Laden like Fred Flintstone?
A: Both may look out their windows and see Rubble.

Yuk yuk yuk. (I didn't make that up, BTW, it was forwarded to me in an e-mail.) So, anyway, if Osama ends up dead or captured tomorrow, you can thank me later.

So, yeah, doubtless I had anything to do with Arafat's death, and it just proves how hard it is to try to be humorous and timely. Family Circus has it right -- stick to 1950's humor, and you can't go wrong. You can't be funny, but you also don't cause people to die!

In case you were wondering, the caption to the second comic in yesterday's post was, "Enough! This is a lecture, not a debate!" If you mistakenly thought it was "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again," you are confusing Billy with Buffalo Bill. Don't fret. It happens to me all the time, too. Especially since they have a dog that looks like Precious! Pree-cious! Pree-cious! Now I am just creeping myself out.

Good night.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Even the Drawings Repeat

"I'll stop being naughty, but I don't know what defiant is." Posted by Hello
This from October 12.

Hee hee. Poor Jeffy, he wants to do what FC Mom tells him, but she is using words that are too big for a little child. That’s hilarious! You'd think she'd choose her words more carefully. She is the mother of 4 children, she must have some sense of their vocabularies.

Maybe Jeffy is just dumb. Maybe at the same age Dolly and Billy both understood the word “defiant.” FC Mom is now concerned about the development of Jeffy’s vocabulary. Perhaps in future Family Circuses (Family Circi?), we can see this play out. FC Mom and Dad will be worried about their son. They will seek professional help and still try to affirm Jeffy’s self esteem. A humor gold mine! I bet Dolly will be a bitch to him while he struggles with his disability. It will be touching and poignant, but we will see the life-affirming struggle of this family.

Probably not, though. And good lord, is the FC Mom skinny in this one or what? YIKES!

So, as we've mentioned, the jokes in Family Circus are all really variations on a theme: Kids say the darndest things. What I didn't realize until just now is that even the drawings are variations on a theme. Here is October 13th's drawing:

OK, now scroll back up to October 12. See anything familiar? FC Dad points with his left hand and FC Mom points with her right. I wonder if that means anything. Does anyone even care what the caption to the second comic is? Try to guess:

  • "I'm sick and tired of your bullshit!"
  • "It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."
  • "No, you can't be the leader of the PLO! Arafat isn't dead -- yet!"
  • "You're fired!"
  • "I don't ever want to hear you call Jeffy a 'Fuck-wad' again!"
  • "I'm not lying! Lenny Briscoe WAS the dad in Dirty Dancing!"
  • "Enough! This is a lecture, not a debate!"

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This is Deep, Y'all

"Today's Columbus Day. If it wasn't for him, we'd be Europeans." Posted by Hello

WTF????????? Columbus was European, right? I mean, he was sent here by Ferdinand and Isabella of SPAIN, and he himself was ITALIAN. Spain and Italy are both in Europe, right? Right? OK, I looked here, and yes, they are both in Europe. I've visited both, and thought they were both in Europe, but you never know if something is true until you've seen it on the Internet.

I imagine if Columbus had anything to say about it, we’d be Spanish or Italian –Europeans. I think Billy has Washington or Jefferson or one of those guys to thank for not being European. But, since he is a child, he sees things differently than we do, and HA HA . . .Oh, wait! I think I get it now!

Billy is implying that if it weren’t for Columbus, America would never have been discovered, and everyone would still be living over in the Old Country. This is so not true. Forgetting the Native Americans and the Vikings, there were still tons of Europeans (Magellan, Cabot, Cartier . . .). Ooh, and don't forget de Soto (George Costanza's favorite explorer)! Anyhow, it's not like SOMEONE wouldn't have found America even if Columbus weren't around.

I'm now more convinced than ever that Family Circus is operating on a higher plane. What Bil Keane is saying here is that only a child would think that Columbus was important. Adults realize that the North American continent would have been discovered with or without Columbus. Bil Keane is a lot more subversive than I ever gave him credit for. Wow. I'm really seeing things in a whole new light. Family Circus is an underground, counterculture comic that only the most keenly observant among us realize.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Billy in Kevin Costner Baseball Roles

Sorry, they don’t put the Sunday comics on line, so no picture. But this was October 10th's:

Panel 1: Jeffy and P.J. build a tower of blocks.
Panel 2: The family’s two dogs and cat knock the tower over.
Panel 3: Billy walks in and says “If you build it, they will come!”

A hip, up-to-date reference to a recent, popular movie. Well, Field of Dreams did come out in 1989, but still, that’s good for Family Circus. I’m not sure Billy should have seen this movie. Well, it’s PG, so I suppose Field of Dreams is OK. At least he didn’t come onto the scene quoting Bull Durham. Although, this would be pretty damn funny if in the last panel Billy was saying, “Well I believe in the soul... the cock...the pussy... the small of a woman's back... the hangin' curveball... high fiber... good scotch...”

2 lessons for today:

1) Huge-ass dogs are still funny. Have you heard of the comic Howard Huge? It comes once a week in the Parade insert. It's about a huge-ass St. Bernard. The joke is that he's huge. Get it? HA HA. This link shows that junior ROTC students were sending Howard Huge calendars to deployed troops. How nice. I know when I was deployed I used hope and hope for Howard Huge memorabilia. It never came. Instead my mom sent over things like Seinfeld and Friends tapes, candy, new socks, etc. You just know the troops are over there hoping for some Howard Huge stuff right now. All kidding aside, it also looks like they sent Howard Huge stuff to children who had lost family members. Ah, this makes so much more sense than sending HH calendars to the troops! I imagine that most troops, if they are getting an "HH Calendar" will probably be disappointed to find it is Howard Huge, and not Hugh Hefner (and I don't mean they'd want a calendar with Hef every month, I mean a calendar that Hef would put together, you know what I'm sayin'? Shh . . . I'm saying, they'd want a Playboy calendar)

2) "The modern circus owes its name, but fortunately not its regular program of events, to the amusements of ancient times. The Latin word circus, which comes from the Greek word kirkos, “circle, ring,” referred to a circular or oval area enclosed by rows of seats for spectators." Read more on the origin of the word here. This has to be why Family Circus comes in a "ring" or "circular area." No other daily comic does. This proves that Family Circus is operating on a much higher level than I have been giving it credit for. I'm guessing that all the FC's are operating on a higher plane than I can fathom. They are probably hilarious, but I'm obviously not smart enough to "get them."

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Guess what?? In my paper this morning, the comic editors reduced the Sunday Family Circus to half-size, and made it share space with B.C.! Yay! This opened up space for the return of Berkeley Breathed's Opus! Yay! Hi, Opus! Hi, Bill the Cat! Good to have you back!

"Cheer up. Pretend they're dollar bills." Posted by Hello
F.C. Dad probably got the idea because the leaves are green, like dollar bills are. Where the heck does the F.C. live? Here in North Carolina the leaves that fall on the ground in autumn are brown. Of course, in the summer we have green leaves, but they usually don't fall on the ground, and people don't rake them up. It's just so strange that they are raking up green leaves!

Now, I like the fact that the kid’s pissed. You don’t often see that in the F.C. But the dad’s statement makes no sense. I’m guessing they are raking the leaves into a pile, bagging them up, and leaving them on the curb. Is that what Billy would do if they were dollar bills? I hope not! Does F.C. Dad want Billy to pick up the leaves and put them in his pocket or wallet? Does he want Billy to go to the store with some leaves and try to buy something?

Now if F.C. Dad is bribing Billy, and will pay him a dollar for every leaf he rakes, well that’s pretty non-F.C. parenting. And, it would bankrupt them. Billy would have all the money and he would be buying the family’s groceries. He should take Dolly. She’d show him how to save money on fat-free items.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Kids Say the blah, blah, blah

I am going to have to branch out and do more than Family Circus soon. You can only say the same thing over and over so many times before people start to get bored (are you listening, Bil Keane?). Anyhow, I have about a week's more Family Circus lined up, so I'll do those, and then start to branch out: Hagar, Broom Hilda, Hi and Lois, Marmaduke, Dennis the Menace, Blondie . . . Or any other comics you suggest. Let me know. I won't completely ignore Family Circus, though.

October 8 Family Circus:

"This one's cheaper. It says the fat's free." Posted by Hello

HA! This is funny, because a child says something that’s not quite right. Funny! Original! Exciting! (No, that’s the new motto of our local Fox station. Or is that nationwide? It spells FOE, by the way, not FOX, which is what I imagine that were going for. But, "Funny! Original! Xylophone!" doesn’t make much sense and "Fascist! Outraged! Xenophobes!" isn’t going to get people to tune into That 70’s Show. . . ) Ahem! Back to F.C.! This installment is funny, original, and exciting! Except, not. Because (see previous entries).

In case you were wondering, the fat is NOT free, the product is fat-free. Since you are probably an adult, you realize that, but see, children have a funny, more innocent view of the world, so they misinterpret things like that. HA HA HA. Besides, if the fat is free, and the product is fat-free, then you aren't really saving money. To save money on a product where the fat is free, you would need to be buying a product with a LOT of fat.

I am intrigued to see the grocery shelves. Everything is stocked with the skinny side of the boxes facing forward. At grocery stores I’ve been to, they always stock the shelves with the widest part, the front, facing front. I think that’s why it’s called the front. And it’s also why multinational food conglomerates spend all sorts of time designing the boxes. Becoming a Wheaties box champion just doesn’t have the same appeal in F.C. world. Unless you got your picture on the side of the box

At least Dolly’s not being a bitch in this one.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Family Circus is whack. Fo'-shizzle.

Some comments on yesterday’s entry brought up some humorous ideas incorporating everything we’ve learned so far about lame comic “humor.” I’ll copy them here:

"You know what would be funny... a big ass dog on a skooter and his friend, the ant, going by on roller skates listening to the Mary Tyler Moore Show on an IPOD. Now that's good times! And if they ran over the bitchy girl... "

"Oooh yeah, and if the big dog hit the clown while he was at it . . . "

Now, first let me congratulate the posters on such funny (Funny!) ideas but . . . I think you guys are missing the humor of Marmaduke. Marmaduke isn’t just a “big dog” or “big ass dog;” he is a huge-ass dog. Can’t you see how much funnier it is that he’s huge?? I mean, a big dog . . . that’s chuckle-worthy, but a huge-ass dog? That’s worth a guffaw! It’s very subtle, you see. Read Marmaduke today, and imagine how much less funny it would be if he weren't huge, but just big. See?

Family Circus October 7:

"P J's gonna have it easy learning to write his name." Posted by Hello
Uhm, yeah. Because P J’s name is only 2 letters, and it’s not even a word that you have to “sound out.” So, even if P.J. doesn’t get “hooked on phonics,” he can still spell his own name. I think that analyzing the Family Circus in such depth is going to get me hooked on something, and I doubt it will be as benign as phonics.

[I had to ask my husband if he remembered the phonics program – I was thinking it was “Down with Phonics.” Haven’t there been phonics controversies from time to time? If one ever pops up around here, perhaps I will organize a “Down with Phonics” anti-phonics group. I think “Down wit’ Phonics” would also be cool. “Schwa?” “Aw dawg! Schwa ain’t all that; schwa be frontin’ for the other vowels.” “But you gotta holla for the double O dipthong – it’s sportin’ some tight bling bling.” “Word”]

Ahem. As you may have gathered I have not much to say about this Family Circus. Question 1: Does anyone think Billy is “Gellin’? And if so, is he gellin’ “like Magellan?”
Question 2: Is Billy just now learning to spell his name? Shouldn't he know by now? He's 8 years old (yes, I know this, don't ask me how -- I am sure it will come up eventually). Is he stupid?
Question 3: Is it possible that P J was an accident? I'm thinking that FC Mom and Dad already had 3 kids, then one night hit the Purple Jesus a little too hard, and 9 months later . . . here comes little PJ!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Kids Say the Darndest Things (and Huge-Ass Dogs are Funny)

In non-Family Circus comic news, you will all be interested to know that today's Marmaduke had an interesting premise: Marmaduke is a huge-ass dog whose size gets his owners into all sorts of hilarious scrapes. Today, he sat on someone who was shocked (shocked!) at Marmaduke's weight.

I now present the handy dandy guide to understanding the jokes in Marmaduke. Ready?
  • Marmaduke is a huge-ass dog whose size gets his owners into all sorts of hilarious scrapes.

Trust me, that's all you need to know. And, the only thing funnier than a huge-ass dog (whose size gets his owners into all sorts of hilarious scrapes) is a child saying something precocious and unintentionally funny. And so . . .

October 6's Family Circus:

"Hey! That ant looks familiar!" Posted by Hello
As we have discussed previously, a child saying something cute is a never ending vein of comic gold to be mined over and over and over (Gold, Jerry!). How funny! Especially when it's in the paper for, like, 50 years. I don't understand how the F.C. is still in the paper! There's a reason even classics like I Love Lucy or The Mary Tyler Moore Show (greatest theme song ever, BTW) aren't on TV anymore outside of TV Land. You cannot make the same joke day after day year after year and it still be funny. Nice try, Bil Keane.

Do you see the humor here? How an adult would realize that all ants pretty much look the same? And if the ant looked different (like if it were a foot long, or had giant pinchers, or was carrying a back pack, or was listening to the Mary Tyler Moore theme song on an iPod) that would be worth commenting on? But see, a child, seeing through the innocent eyes of youth, doesn't realize that all ants look pretty much the same. HA HA HA that's a good one, Bil Keane.

Maybe Jeffy has an ant farm and one of his ants has escaped, and it really does look familiar! In which case, poor Jeffy (and might explain why he's so pale here), but still . . . not funny. What would make this funny? Come on, you know the answer: a huge-ass dog!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Foxy Moms!

My congratulations to those of you who were pleased with yesterday's election results. I was not pleased . . . but since the GOP is the "Family Values" party, they may also be the Family Circus party. Yay! At least four more years of this crap! (I mean the comic, not the Administration, but now that I think about it . . .) No! Politics won't be taking over the comic blog.

A few notes: Some interesting theories about the Creepy Clown: namely, that the clown was farting. Hmm . . . interesting, indeed! But, as someone pointed out, there aren't the "reference lines" coming out of the clown's butt. Nor are there any other indications of a foul odor . . . other than the foul odor that emanates daily from the "funny" pages.

Speaking of . . . Hagfish congratulated me on being "funnier than most alleged cartoons." YEE-HAW! I was excited and congratulating myself on my most awesome wit. Then, the whole point of this blog dawned on me. I think DICK F'ing CHENEY is funnier than most alleged cartoons. And, as far as I'm concerned, the only thing funny about Cheney is that he kind of reminds me of the Batman villain, the Penguin. If during this term, Cheney were to start walking around with a monocle, top hat, and umbrella, then I'd be happy they won. Oops! (To quote Jeffy and/or the Creepy Clown) that's politics again. So, back to the name of the game, which is the suck-i-tude that is the Family Circus . . . (and thank you, Hagfish)

October 5's Family Circus:

"I don't remember being a baby, so I'll have to take your word for it, Mommy." Posted by Hello
The most common Family Circus “joke” is a child saying something precocious or slightly off-kilter. I guess this falls into the “precocious” category. I wonder if FC Mom has recently said something to Billy about being a baby.

What’s really interesting about this panel is how skinny FC Mom is! She has four kids, but what a figure, huh? Is FC Mom supposed to be foxy? I think most of the lame-ass comics have nice looking women in them. I’m a straight woman, but hey, I can admit, Blondie’s pretty hot, and the Dennis the Menace mom ain’t bad looking either. Lois (from Hi and Lois) -- yeah, baby! Miss Buxley (from Beetle Bailey) -- hubba hubba! (You must first look past these women's hair styles, as they are often outdated by several decades -- just like the "humor" in these cartoons).
Dagwood? Dennis’s dad? Hi? Sarge? BEETLE BAILEY? UGH UGH UGH. Not so good looking. What’s up with that? I also hate Hagar the Horrible, but at least he doesn’t have a hot wife. Unless you dig that Viking opera chick thing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bitchy Little Girls

I'm a bit preoccupied watching the election returns. I'd like to be a big person and say to you all that I hope your candidate wins, but I really only hope your candidate wins if he is my candidate. But, this isn't about politics, so I present:

The October 4 Family Circus:

"You're only a two-wheeler. I'm an EIGHT-wheeler." Posted by Hello

Now we’re talking. This is the kind of Family Circus humor that just isn’t funny. The humor here is in the fact . . . well, darn, I just can’t even explain it. Is it because she’s comparing roller skates to a scooter? A scooter COULD have 8 wheels, but that would be a lame scooter. So, is that what’s funny? That she’s making this bitchy announcement, but her statement doesn’t make sense? If Billy really wanted 8 wheels, he’d have roller skates. He obviously prefers the scooter. What if he had a Segway? This would be funny. Or not. If Dolly's theory were correct, and number of wheels was directly related to coolness, then men going through their mid-life crises would be signing up for truck driving school, not buying Harleys.

Really, though, why is Dolly such a bitch? If you start paying attention to Family Circus as much as I do, you will notice that she is usually bitchy and/or bossy. There are a lot of bitchy little girls in the comics – Lucy in Peanuts, Margaret in Dennis the Menace. The little girl in Baby Blues, a comic I actually enjoy, is also a bit of a know-it-all. Are bitchy 6-year-old girls an untapped comedy resource?

Speaking of Dennis, in today's (November 2, 2004) strip, I see that I forgot one of the Dennis jokes: Anything to do with the dog. In today's strip he says that he would let the dog be his Veep. That Dennis! What a handful!

So, back to the Family Circus, please note also that while they are wearing protective headgear they do not have on knee or elbow pads. Get with the safety program, Family Circus Mom and Family Circus Dad!

OK, here’s something that is funny: in the bathroom at my office there is an aerosol can of cheap-o air freshener. The brand is “Swell Smells,” and the specific smell we have is “Orangia Glad.” That’s supposed to be a pun, I think, like, “Orangia glad your office doesn’t smell like shit?” Just, think, that's someone's job: to come up with the "flavor" names on cheap air freshener.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Straw That Broke the Camel's Back -- The Creepy Clown

For many years, I have observed the newspaper "comics." From time to time, someone will write a letter to the editor to complain about the inappropriateness of comics like The Boondocks or Doonesbury. I seem to recall some newspapers pulling For Better or Worse strips a few years back when a secondary character turned out to be gay. The letters usually complain that the funny pages are no place for a political agenda.

But at least those comics are funny! I have never seen a letter from anyone complaining about the comics that are NEVER funny. I don't mean the Mary Worth, Rex Morgan, MD comics that aren't meant to be funny, but comics like the Family Circus, Dennis the Menace, Hagar the Horrible, Broom Hilda. Aren't the things on the FUNNY pages supposed to be, well . . . funny? Maybe they were at one point, but they've run out of jokes.

For instance, here is my handy guide to following Dennis the Menace. It consists of one the following "jokes" day after day, week after week . . .
  • Dennis annoys Mr. Wilson.
  • Mrs. Wilson thinks Dennis is cute.
  • Dennis gets put in the corner.
  • Dennis says something inappropriate in front of guests or adult friends.
  • Dennis complains about the food.
  • Dennis says something "wise" to Joey (his younger friend).
  • Dennis has a confrontation with bossy Margaret.

Trust me, that's it. That's 7 possible punchlines, and they have to be recylced constantly. Please email me if you read a Dennis with a "new" joke. I'll add it to the list.

But finally, the Family Circus published a cartoon that broke the camel's back. It was so indecipherable and unfunny that I could take it no longer. And so, I am starting my comic blog. I will attempt to find the humor in each published Family Circus. Maybe you can help me with some of them. They'll be several weeks behind their actual published date. For some reason, I can't find digital copies of the F.C. until a week after they were published. But, I think I'll do them about a month behind. And without further ado . . .

October 2nd's Family Circus

"Oops!" Posted by Hello

Today not only do I not find the Family Circus funny, but I actually don’t get what’s supposed to be funny about it. Maybe you can help. Email me to let me know.

Who is saying “Oops?” Jeffy? Neither Jeffy nor the clown has an open mouth. Jeffy does have little sweat lines coming off his face.

If it is Jeffy, why is he saying “Oops?” Because he missed the clown? Or, maybe because he almost didn't miss the clown? Or because he didn't get free coupons? Or because by avoiding the clown on the sidewalk, Jeffy was out in the street?

Or, is the clown saying “Oops” because he scared a little kid? Or because he is getting paid to hand out coupons, and he missed a potential customer? Is the clown actually a pedophile? Is he not giving out free coupons, but just pretending to do that to attract little kids? If so, he’s a pretty bad pedophile. Shouldn’t he be offering candy or something? Free coupons aren’t a good way to entice kids. Maybe he just realized that, and that’s why he’s saying “Oops.”

And, what's the deal with "free coupons?" What kind of shitty place would make you PAY for COUPONS? Is that the joke? Maybe if we could interpret what kind of store it is, we may understand the joke.

I usually don’t think Family Circus is funny, but I “get” what they’re trying to insinuate is funny. This time I don’t even get it. You know, something I just thought of, maybe it's sort of a meta-statement by Bil Keane. And the “Oops” is actually Bil Keane talking. Like, "Oops I forgot to come up with a caption.” Or, "Oops Family Circus sucks like always.”

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