Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hope and Hiatus

THAT'S it????? This is the wisdom of the noble savage dispensed with heartfelt serenity?? I mean, not only is the guy a Native American, and therefore filled to the brim with ancient wisdom, but he also wears a Yin/Yang t-shirt, for crying out loud! Wisdom of the North American First Peoples coupled with the ancient teachings of the mystical Far East and we get . . . "Live with hope"????? Wasn't that Bill Clinton's slogan in the '92 campaign?? I mean, didn't James Carville or someone come up with that?? I gotta believe that the Native American father/daughter combo has more to impart to us than that. I will live with hope that this is so.

Now, here is a blog announcement: Sometime in the near future, I will be taking a hiatus of indeterminate length. So, yes, a hiatus of unannounced length to be taken at an unannounced time. You will just all of a sudden notice . . . no posts for a week? What's going on?

Mr. Big Al and I are going to be welcoming a Little Big Al into our family shortly, and as we don't know for sure when the blessed event will occur and how frazzled we'll be in the immediate aftermath . . . blogging will likely be put on hold. Who knows? Maybe I will be so frazzled that I will need to harp on the comics even more. As an outlet for my stress and frustration I will post five times a day. Perhaps motherhood will soften me up a bit, and I will find joy and peace in the crazy antics of Dennis the Menace. Maybe our little guy will remind me so much of Marvin that I become the World's #1 Marvin Fan. Maybe "Big Al's Comic Blog" will be no more, and instead you all can read my thoughts at "Family Circus 4-Eva." Who knows? I certainly don't. Until the time comes, though, I will be here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ancient Coaching Secret

Funky Winkerbean has added these two new folks: a Native American father-daughter duo taking graduation photos at the Grand Canyon in traditional dress. To what end? So that poor, dissatisfied teacher Les can be reminded of his soul sucking job as a high school teacher? So that poor, hairless Lisa can be reminded of her strength sapping chemo treatments? Perhaps. My guess: these two are getting ready to drop some of that noble savage wisdom on good ol' L&L. Maybe a little something of a folk cure? Stay tuned.

Boy, Gil Thorp pulls a switcheroo surprise ending of Sixth Sense proportions on us here! All along, we thought that Coach was using Riya to distract Keri, but in reality, Coach was using Riya to distract Riya. Brilliant psychological tactics! What a coach!

"I see scarred gymnasts. They're everywhere. Walking around like regular people."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cutting Loose in Sin City

So, I never pictured the Drabbles as the WholesomeWear demographic, but clearly I was wrong. Her STRAPLESS APRON is IMMODEST! HA HA. He's so concerned that she looks like a "showgirl" that you can see the worry on his face in Panel 3.

But, it does all sort of make sense. Mrs. Drabble, in her sensible shoes and Alice-the-maid house dresses, her gray bun, and her Wilma Flintstone-sized pearls HAS always looked more like kindly, frumpy, elderly Mrs. Wilson than, say, the more sensibly dressed modern mammas like Wanda MacPherson and Andy Fox. She's certainly a lot more dowdy than Mrs. Alice Mitchell (who today looks to be entertaining a friend while wearing her best little black dress), or the Queen of Housewife VA VA VOOM, Mrs. Blondie Bumstead.

It's why for the longest time I assumed Mrs. Drabble was the grandma. Now I see that they are just of the "cover yourself up woman!" school of thought.

P.S. Where do the Mitchells live that their guest brings a coat to the house? It's August.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Office Supplies and Sunscreen

Have you ever noticed that when Lt Fuzz has something to complain about, or make suggestions about, it is inevitably and invariably paper clips? It is. Why is this? I get the "joke," such that it is, but aren't there other minor details he can focus on from time to time? Staples? Post-its? Detailed procedures for the procuring of copy paper? Why must it always be paper clips???

At least he's not working up a good case of skin cancer, Margaret. I'd think she'd know better considering a) she's a know-it-all and b) she's a redhead, and therefore more susceptible to the dangers of the sun's rays.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cosmo Fishawk, Meet Mel Gibson

Woah ho ho . . . a political Shoe! And what do we find? Is Shoe as anti-Semitic as B.C. tends to be? What makes me ask? Well, "foreign aid" = "helping the enemy" = "treason" seems to be the gist here, no? And what country does the U.S. provide the most foreign aid to????

Well, OK, Iraq, and technically, we ARE at war with Iraq. Well, we aren't at war WITH Iraq, but IN Iraq or whatever. Doesn't matter. Traditionally, the largest amount of U.S. foreign aid goes to . . . ISRAEL! And, even now, Israel is second only to Iraq. State Dept. figures here. (page 17)

So, what's the political commentary going on here? That we shouldn't provide aid to Iraq? Is this an anti-war strip? Or is it anti-Semitic, and the artist is hoping we don't realize how much aid we provide to Israel? Or is it a plea for isolationism? I will say that there are some real doozies on that list of aid -- Sudan, for instance. I'm just not entirely sure of the point here. It could be an anti-Peruvian screed . . . Peru's on the list, and you know, that damn Peru and its Shining Path -- crazy, mixed up Maoist leftists. . . yeah, that's the point here. I'm sure of it!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chutney's One Crazy Ass Bizzotch

The Curtis-Michelle-Chutney love triangle is tiresome to me. Although is it really a triangle? I could graph it. I think a triangle is typically when two people are in love with the same person, right? Something like this:

I don't if it should be just like that or if it should look more like a carat (^), because while Arthur and Lancelot both love Guinevere, it's not like they are in love with each other. Although there is that father-son type relationship there, complicating manners somewhat. So, the triangle fits. But what we have in the Chutney loves Curtis loves Michelle relationship is this:

Chutney >>>> Curtis >>>> Michelle

Not a triangle at all! It's a line. Yet, still tiresome. By the way, if there IS a triangle going on in this strip, it is diagrammed as such:

Because, you see, Michelle loves herself as much as Curtis does (if not more).

Now, that is an awful lot of diagramming and explaining just to make a real simple observation:

EYIIIIIKES! Chutney has always seemed sort of harmless and sweet. But now she has reached a Gollum-like obsession with Curtissssssss, her precioussssssss . . . Geez, Chutney, chill out. Just because you are named after a South Asian condiment doesn't mean you can go around scaring little boys.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hagar Needs Two Weenies

Hagar the Horrible "humor" is based on you recognizing your daily plight in the daily plight of a hard-nosed ancient Viking warrior. So, you've got the harridan/battle axe wife, the cowardly and slightly effeminate personal assistant, the golf-playing quack of a doctor, the government taxmen out for your very last dime . . . you know how it goes. Same as it ever was.

Except today:

Here we have Hagar interrupting his sacking of a castle in order to order 2 dogs with the works . . . from a conveniently (and humorously!) located hot dog cart. And I don't see why it's funny. Is it the anachronism of the hot dog cart? Is it the fact that Hagar is distracted enough by food to ignore the raging battle? Some combination of those two?

It's the same thing that bothers me with B.C. (well, ONE of the things that bothers me with B.C.) In B.C. they write on stone tablets and live in caves, and yet when the BASEBALL team gets INTERVIEWED, the guy uses a MICROPHONE. Question: since it takes place in the olden days, are they traditionalists, or do they use a designated hitter?

What the hell is the point in setting your strip in the past if you are just going to use random things from the present? A hot dog cart? Why not just arm the guys in the castle with Katyusha rockets while you're at it??

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mallard, Mallard, Mallard

Easily the best part of my exposure to the Wilmington Star-News for the past week was the lack of The Family Circus. Just imagine! No big-headed cutesy kids sayin' the darndest things. How wonderful! But the worst part of my exposure to the Wilmington Star-News? Mallard Fillmore! Yugh.

First, major props to Austin, who actually wrote his paper to complain about Mallard. Read about it here. Even better -- in his letter of July 6, Austin writes "The problem with Mallard Fillmore is by the time he draws the strip and submits it and it’s published, whatever he was writing about has vanished off the political radar. In about three weeks we’ll get the first batch of North Korea missile test 'jokes'." And, here is the Mallard Fillmore of July 24:

Wow, Austin, it's like you have some sort of "in" with the Mallard people. Is there something we need to know?

So, the problem with Mallard (as I see it) is not that it's normally so conservative (although, I'll admit, that's what gets under my skin). The problem is, you have a duck reporting an event, then a commentary on said event. No character development, no plot, no change in the setting, just the same thing day after day after day. Duck, comment, editorializing. But, OK, I would probably just write it off as another lame strip if it didn't offend my liberal sensibilities. So, I think it is doing its job where I am concerned.

The Mallards I got to enjoy over the past week were a series of back to school tips, which essentially pointed out the liberal and nefarious nature of schools today. To wit:

OK, now something I learned in school (maybe because I didn't sleep) is the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." If this kid ain't disruptin' class by his prayin', no one can tell him otherwise. As I see it, you can pray silently (as would be the case when mistaken for sleeping) before every class, test, meal, whenever. Any teacher who tries to stop you is in the WRONG. The problem we liberals have is with organized, sanctioned prayer. Pray away, students. Although, this guy here is cutting a serious log, so why the teacher might think that is praying is beyond me.

Another reason not to sleep in class is because you won't learn anything. Also, it is disrespectful to an authority figure. Learning and respect. These would seem to be conservative values, no?

Well, I don't have much to say about this one. I think the point is that we liberals are all too sensitive and worry too much about offending people. Probably true. Still, not funny.

Yay, Mallard! Good work! While the other strips were just sort of eye-rolling and dumb, this one actually managed to make me mad! I know for a fact that in Mallard's world, I would be considered a liberal. This despite the fact that I am a married white woman living in the suburbs. Despite the fact that I served in the military, and my husband continues to serve in the reserves. Despite the fact that we are both Christians. And, oh no! We have been allowed to marry each other. Raising kids? Well, stand by. Ugh. We're good people. I know a lot of liberals who are darned good people who make wonderful contributions to society (like, for instance, teaching your kids for low pay). And you know what? I know a lot of good conservative people too. Can't we just all get along? (what a namby pamby pinko liberal thing for me to say).

That's not the point. The point is that mankind's. . . ooops . . . humankind's actions are speeding up and/or slowing down the natural warming and cooling trends. . . Oh, I just don't even have the energy.

Game, set, match: Mallard Fillmore. You have worn me down, you righteous, unfunny duck, you. Thank God I am back to the Raleigh News & Observer. Bring on the cute Keane kids because they are a hell of a lot better than this damn duck!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Vacation Comics Update

Ahhhh . . . a nice week at the beach, enjoying the comic stylings of the Wilmington Star-News. What goes on in the WS-N comics pages, you ask? Well, there's no Garfield, no Mutts, and no Marmaduke. Do the good folks at the WS-N have something against pets??? Not that any of this is a great loss, but I did leave Garfield on such a high note -- Jon's triumphant pairing with Liz, the vet -- that I wonder what went on in the interim. I see today that Garfield is going to use an acetylene torch to open a can of cat food. HA HA HA! I am too lazy to see what went on all week.

While I did get to read FBOFW daily, I see that the Liz -n- Anthony storyline is on hiatus while we get a week of April's band followed by April-goes-to-the-farm. Snooze. Come on, enquiring minds want to know -- will Liz ditch Mr. Wright in favor of Mr. Milquetoast?

There was no Funky Winkerbean, so I am completely flummoxed at today's hospital scene. What happened here? Food poisoning is my guess. Can anyone confirm for me? I am almost interested enough to go back and catch up on what I missed.

What was the best part of the Wilmington Star-News comics? No Family Circus! In past years, the FC was shoved into a random part of the Classifieds. I looked one day, but didn't see them. HA HA HA! Way to go WS-N! And -- no Peanuts! Thank you, WS-N, for not bowing to the "MUST HAVE PEANUTS" mindset.

The paper did have a daily dose of that horrendous Mallard Fillmore -- in fact, my next post will likely be a ranting, raving, anti-Mallard screed. Plus, the paper had Pluggers, which is a strange strip. I've got to think about Pluggers for awhile.