Monday, January 30, 2006


Good question, Killer. And, let me just say, it's not easy to find the answer (through Google at least). I Googled "aerial advertising" and "banner towing," and 9/10ths of the sites I found asked me to inquire for rates. They wanted to know where I wanted it towed, and what message I wanted. Too bad I didn't want to email the following: "I would like to know how much it costs to tow a sign reading 'SARGE IS A BIG FAT JERK!' over Camp Swampy, USA. No, I don't know where that is EXACTLY. So, what do you think?"

Luckily, I found The Flying Circus, and they listed some rates: $5 per letter per hour (maximum 45 letters, symbols, and spaces on banner), $100 per hour for pilot and airplane. Now, we can't answer Killer's question exactly, but we can get an estimate. I don't know if The Flying Circus would make Beetle pay for the exclamation point, but let's say they did. That's 19 letters at $5 per = $95 + $100 per hour for pilot and airplane = $195 (if Beetle got the sign for 1 hour). That's not too bad! I really did think it would cost more than that.

Essentially, Beetle's claim that he will "get even with Sarge no matter what it costs!" costs only 195 Frosties (as the Wendy's Super Value Menu commercials say). That's not really all that much, Beetle. Of course, maybe he had the sign for more than an hour.

And, he is a private in the US Army, and they don't make a whole lot of dough. Maybe this is a veiled commentary on the state of pay in today's armed forces? More likely, the Walkers didn't expect some MORON to go looking up the cost of banner towing.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

While we're at it -- clams don't have feet!

Ah, evolution! Let's begin with a mathematical theorem:

1) The existence of evolution is controversial.
2) The Christian Right is the group most vocally opposed to the validity of the theory of evolution.
3) Johnny Hart is a member of the Christian Right.

Therefore, Johnny Hart is vocally opposed to the validity of the theory of evolution. This should come to the surprise of no one who regularly reads Mr. Hart's work.

I will start with an admission: I believe in evolution. I think you see it all over the place, all the time: from anti-biotic resistant diseases to huge-eyeballed octopi in the deepest parts of the ocean. Shockingly, I also believe in God, and have never quite figured out how believing in evolution means we can't believe in God (as Mr. Hart is insinuating in the first 2 panels). So, you all know where I am coming from.

Are there holes in the fossil record? Yes. Does the theory of evolution need further study and refining? Yes. There are holes in the theory, and if you ask an Intelligent Design proponent, you can hear an earful of them. If a Christian Right comic artist wanted to pound away at those problems, more power to him. But, Mr. Hart has the theory COMPLETELY WRONG. He isn't even arguing his cause on its merits.

In panel 2, after hearing that evolution doesn't really mean re-incarnation, the fish says, "Then when you die, who turns you into something else?" Well, see . . . that's not how evolution is purported to work. Evolution works through the miracle of reproduction, and has nothing whatsoever to do with death (unless you die before you can pass along your genes).

What a terrible argument, Mr. Hart. There are holes in the theory of evolution to poke at. If you want to poke at them, then do so. Don't make up a false theory of evolution, then poke holes in the false theory.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Spirit and Opportunity

Boy, kids are damn dumb. He's so dumb he doesn't realize that it will likely be centuries before civilians can take a trip to Mars. And, he's so dumb he thinks he, an eight year old, can save enough money to go to Mars. When it will likely take millions, if not billions, of dollars. Moron.

Of course, let's say it takes 150 years for us to have regular vacations to Mars. Although, you know, it is 2006, and if you were to believe Cold War pop culture, we'd have a Sea World on Mars by now. But, whatever, let's just say we go there in 150 years. In 150 years, I will be 182. So, more than likely, dead. But do you know how old Billy will be in 150 years? That's right! He will still be eight. So, no matter if it takes us decades, centuries, or millennia to get to Mars, Billy will always be eight, so he has a decent chance of making the trip, once it's opened up as a vacation spot. If he saves enough money.

But here, Billy: NASA knows kids want to go to Mars. You know, Billy, when I was eight, we didn't have the Internet, and didn't have cool things like Mars rovers. You remember, don't you? You were eight then, too. Remember Voyager when it took pictures of Jupiter and Saturn?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Self Hate and Flagellation

Bloggers: Socially blighted creeps, living in basement apartments hoping for some glimmer of respect and recognition. Sigh. I sort of knew that blogging about the comic made me a loser, but now it is official!

January 23, 2006: A red-letter day; the official "I-Am-A-Loser" day. Yippee.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Heard It Through the Grapvine

Friday's comics brought to you by the California Raisin Marketing Board:

First, the California Raisin Marketing Board, along with SunMaid Raisins, would like you to know that all is not lost with stale raisins: "You can reconstitute them in hot water and drain." Also, keep in mind that stale raisins are good to use in oatmeal raisin cookies. Finally, did you know if you dream about looking at stale raisins, it means that forgotten things from the past are burdening your mind? True.

Additionally, while Beetle Bailey seems to insinuate that raisins look like ants, bugs, and grubs, keep in mind that raisins are not that gross! Try not to think about ants, bugs, and grubs when you eat raisins. (EDITOR'S NOTE: I think raisins are gross, and avoid them at all costs).

Hey, everybody! FYI, the Raisin Administrative Committee is holding a Sales and Marketing Committee meeting this Thursday at 2 PM in Fresno, CA. They will perhaps discuss getting more raisin-themed comics in the funny pages. To see the agenda, click here. Then click on "Meetings and Events," and scroll to the sales and marketing meeting.

The California Raisin Marketing Board thanks you for your attention, and reminds you: raisins are a nutritious, healthy snack! (And what they don't tell you: they are an absolutely shitty Trick or Treat item).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Butt, Butt, Crap

Seems I'm not the only one paying attention to the letters to the editor:

Darby Conley has obviously read a letter from "some nut complaining that a comic stripp used the word 'butt'." Now he baits the bear by using the word crap . . . TWICE! I would question whether someone really did complain about the innocuous use of "butt," BUT (heh heh, one t) remember, Mrs. Probert did complain about the St. Peter joke. Who used "butt" in the comics today? Kudzu, the strip about the preacher!

Not just "butt," but "bubble butt!" That is soooooo offensive, I can't even tell you. Time to write a strongly worded letter.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

So, St. Peter Walks into a Bar . . .

. . . and says, "Ow. That hurts!" AH HA HA HA HA. Ahem.

Yay! A letter to the editor in today's News and Observer about the comics. I love these things! In fact, I read the letters column only because I like it when people complain about the comics, and I don't want to miss one. Here we go:

Unsuitable comics

I am very unhappy with some of the "comics" you have published lately. The Jan. 10 "Non Sequitur" strip was, I felt, sacrilegious and very offensive. The "Boondocks" strip addressed gay marriage. Neither of these "comic" strips are suitable for the Comics page. I hope you will move these strips to an adult part of the paper or, I hope, remove them completely. Please use a little better judgment on what you print.
--- Mrs. R.H. Probert

Ok, first of all, the N&O isn't so proper that it only uses last names and salutations (for example, the letter directly above Mrs. Probert's letter was signed by a Cyrus King). My guess is that Mrs. Probert is the ultra-proper one. Good on, ya, Mrs. Probert! Things are becoming all too casual in this day and age, don't you think?

I like her first sentence. I could also write a letter to the N&O that starts the exact same way: "I am very unhappy with some of the "comics" you have published lately." I like how she puts "comics" in quotes. Oh, Mrs. Probert, I agree. They are not funny, and never do they make me laugh. When was the last time that Family Circus, or Hagar the Horrible, or Dennis the Menace even remotely tickled your funny bone? I hear ya!

Oh, wait. She's not complaining about Family Circus, or Hagar the Horrible, or Dennis the Menace. Oh. She's complaining about the Boondocks and Non Sequitur, two of my favorites -- two that are most often comical.

Have you been following the Boondocks? First Granddad went to see Brokeback Mountain, thinking it was a standard cowboy flick. Aghast at the gay cowboys, he's been back home trying to talk to the boys about gay marriage. Granddad is REALLY against gay marriage and finds it very difficult to talk to the boys about it. It's been pretty funny. And, it's not like Granddad is portrayed as some sort of raving homophobic lunatic. He's just a sympathetic older guy -- someone very uncomfortable with the topic, but realizing it's something he should probably discuss with his children. It's funny precisely because it deals with the unease we all feel when discussing things we feel very uncomfortable about. It's the same joke, pretty much, as Hi and Lois trying to tell Chip about the birds and the bees. But, it's funnier.

So, Mrs. Probert thinks the 1/10 Non Sequitur was "sacrilegious and very offensive." Was it? Let's check:

Oh my God (while we're being sacrilegious). This is what offended her??? Gay marriage, I can see. But this??? This is nothing more than a "St. Peter at the Holy Gates" joke. This joke set up is as old as "a priest, a rabbi, and a minister" in a lifeboat, or "knock knock," or laywer jokes, or 2 guys stuck on a deserted island. I just Googled "St. Peter jokes" and got over 2 MILLION hits!

What do you suppose Mrs. Probert finds so offensive? The comic (*@!!!!!) cursing? Calling St. Peter an "activist judge?" I am 100% baffled. I absolutely understand someone being uncomfortable with the gay marriage comic. In fact, that's even the premise of the joke in the strip -- people are uncomfortable with it. How in the world can you be offended by a "St. Peter at the Holy Gates" joke?? How can you not have heard one of these or seen one of these before? Mrs. Probert, where do you live? And how are you so isolated?

Monday, January 09, 2006

There's No Snow Shoveling in Clearwater

Heyyyy. . . doesn't Dagwood live in Clearwater Florida????? So, I just checked on, and the high today in Clearwater was 71 degrees! The low was a bone chilling 44! Brrrrr! Dagwood is right! Snow made in those conditions IS "perfect for packing!"

Here is your lesson for today folks: It doesn't snow when the low temperature is 44 degrees. Write that down; there will probably be a quiz. Water freezes at 32 (Fahrenheit) at sea level.

OK, so I guess we came to the conclusion that Dagwood doesn't live in Clearwater. Howard even told us it was some sort of in-"joke." Fine, I guess Dagwood lives up north somewhere. I guess all the comic strip characters live up north. I realize, of course, that it does snow from time to time down here in the South. HOWEVER, it doesn't snow every year, and it doesn't go up to our knees, and it doesn't always stick around long enough to do fun stuff with. And yet, in all the comics . . . it does. Calvin makes his snowmen and sleds with Hobbes, Jason Fox writes complex equations in the snow, Lucy Van Pelts poor Charlie Brown with a snow ball . . . EVERY SINGLE YEAR. If any of these people lived in the South, there would be some off years. But then:

Oooh, HA HA HA! We couldn't have the funny, topical, and insightful "Shoveling Snow is a Pain in the Ass" jokes. Without the "snow" jokes, the comic strip artists would be stuck with the vastness of January and February . . . with no material! YIKES!

Challenge: There WILL BE another "Shoveling Snow is a Pain in the Ass" joke in a comic strip before spring arrives. It may not be quite as literal as this one, where Hi actually STATES that it is a "pain in the back," but we will hear again, from someone, about how much it sucks to shovel snow. If I am wrong about this, my punishment will be to write a glowing letter of appreciation to Bil and Jeff Keane, thanking them for their wonderful work as cartoonists. The challenge begins with tomorrow's comics. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dolly Keane: Kooky Flat Earther or Misinformed Little Kid?

This is from Wednesday, and I am sorry I haven't been able to post on it yet -- busy, you know!

Is it funny? No -- it is not! I'm not even sure what the joke is supposed to be -- that people thought the Earth was flat because of maps? Or that Dolly's addled little girl brain thinks that it was only just months ago that the world's true shape was discovered? Or that little children have no real sense of time so that it is easy for them to confuse a few months with several centuries? To her credit, she really just says it "was months ago" that people discovered the earth isn't flat. And, she's right -- I mean, it's something on the order of six thousand months ago, but still . . . she's not wrong.

Plus, there are still people who believe the earth is flat. Visit their website, which is so kooky, I believe it's a joke. But, you can read about the historical origins, and more official stuff about the Flat Earthers on wikipedia. I found the most interesting thing there to be this tidbit:

"The last world model propagated by the Flat Earth Society holds that we live on a disc, with the North Pole at its center and a 150 feet high wall of ice at the outer edge. Curiously, the resulting map resembles the symbol of the United Nations, something Johnson [he's the last flat earth president or something] used as evidence for his position. " Hmmmmm . . .

Finally, if you would like to chat with the Flat Earthers (and maybe even Dolly Keane!) you can do so here.

Check out the map Dolly and Jeffy are looking at. It's some wacky, distorted version of the U.S., I think. It's like one of those old maps you see in history books where they haven't really accurately mapped North America yet. I've always suspected the Keanes were stuck in the 50s, but maybe I was wrong to think it was the 1950s. Maybe it's the 1550s?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Disposing of Your Tree

Happy New Year, everybody!

Helpful hints, courtesy of The Middletons:

Hee hee hee!
Dogs like to pee!
They like to pee on trees!

Also, bulldogs like to wear sweaters!

How do you dispose of your tree? Do you put it curbside on a specified day? Well, it depends on your location. Here are the details for Christmas tree disposal in my neck of the woods. Looks like we need to have our tree curbside by Friday.

But, wait! Should I take it down before then? Is it tacky to have it up too much longer? Well, etiquette says that the tree should come down on the epiphany - or the Twelfth Night. This is the 6th of January (Friday). You can learn that and more at this handy Christmas site. Bookmark it for next year. You can learn all sorts of helpful tips, and other things like . . . did you know mistletoe is "quite toxic"??? I did not know that! Also, good information on how to buy gifts for left handed people. Yes, I know every year you agonize over those lefties on your shopping list. I know I do!

Best wishes to everyone in 2006!