Thursday, September 28, 2006


A friend sent me a link to something called the Marmaduke Project. Check it out, because it is most excellent. My favorite part is what the New Yorker would be like if Marmaduke appeared in every cartoon.

Speaking of Marmaduke, is it just me, or is there a hidden message to the American Association of Retired Persons in this strip?

It's a shout-out to the strip's most loyal readers, no doubt.

And, imagine my joy at yesterday's Gil Thorp:

A Gil Thorp character may attend my alma mater?? AWESOME. Just great. I can’t imagine anything I’d like better. Even the return of Brick House would pale in comparison (although I still really, really want Brick to show up again). Actually, I know what I'd like better: If Brick House would go to the Naval Academy! Not in real life -- he'd be eaten alive -- but in Gil Thorp world, it would be nirvana for me. Still, it will be cool if Stormy heads off to Annapolis.

Stormy? Brick? Love the names!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Looney Tunes in Kudzu

It's been a long time coming, but the News & Observer has finally printed another letter to the editor re: the comics. My guess is that with The Boondocks on hiatus, the paper has gotten fewer letters complaining about the comics. So, yesterday's paper had this letter:

Malpracticing 'Kudzu'
I have enjoyed Doug Marlette's work for years, but am very disappointed in his Sept. 17 "Kudzu" comic. It appears to equate depression with an "addictive personality." While the the disease of depression can co-exist with addictive disease, most persons suffering with depression are not addicts. I consider this irresponsible on the part of Marlette and The N&O to misrepresent an illness that so many Americans battle every day of their lives, and further perpetuate the stigma of mental illness.
Mary Bracey, R.N.

I think it is important to point out that Ms. Bracey is not the one accusing Kudzu of malpractice. That's just the letters editor having a little exaggeration fun. But Ms. Bracey does say that it is “irresponsible” of the artist and the paper to print this mis-information about mental illness. Really? You’d have to be totally off your rocker to get your mental health information from the comics. I mean, you’d have to be a total lunatic. Oh, wait. . . maybe that’s her point!

OK, for all my liberalness and PC-ness, I can’t help poking fun at the mentally ill. Actually, no I can. They definitely deserve our consideration and shouldn’t automatically be lumped in with drug addicts, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t seem to me that this comic is equating depression with addictive personality. It seems to be making the joke that the patient in question is now reliant on drugs to control his depression. And, I do believe I have read somewhere that many of the most effective anti-depressants are addictive. Stopping them can cause severe headaches, exhaustion, and other withdrawal symptoms.

I think that the drug manufacturers would have more of a beef with this strip than mental health advocates would. It seems to be implying that anti-depressants are addictive, NOT that depressed people are drug addicts.

But it’s Kudzu, and I think if you are going to get your mental health education from a comic strip, it shouldn’t be Kudzu. Kudzu is where you should get your religious teachings. For mental health education, I think I'd recommend Cathy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Are you surprised that Popeye still runs as a strip? I sure as hell am. We don’t get it here in the Raleigh News & Observer. So, I have absolutely no idea what is going on here. Swee’pea gone? Gone where? Did Bluto take her? Or him? Or . . . who exactly is Swee’pea? Olive Oyl and Popeye’s baby? I have no idea.

I just thought I’d point out that the problem in Panel 3 probably ISN’T that Popeye is so touchy. The problem is more likely that Popeye is succumbing to the devastating effects of E Coli O157:H7. I think I heard on the news that some of the signs of infection include a sweaty brow, stars and spirals circling your head, and shaking feet. Also, Popeye’s hat fell off, but he kept that pipe clamped tightly in his maw. Way to go Popeye!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mold, Pac-Man, and Cathy's Purse Mom

First of all, thanks to everyone who wrote in to explain the "green plate" B.C. joke to me. I agree: it is a "joke" about mold! Aha! But, I do want to say something in my defense: when food gets old, the food itself turns green and moldy, but the plate usually stays the same color. I just want to point out that that is probably why I didn't "get" the "joke" right away. That, and 3 weeks with no more than 3 hours consecutive sleep.

But! Last night I had a good long 3 and a half hour sleep, so found great humor in one of today's comics. Normally, this is a site for complaining and "I don't get it," but I would like to praise today's Bizzaro, which struck me as very, very funny:

Lest you think I've gone soft, I do want to complain about Sunday's Cathy:

Given Elektra’s presence in panel 3, you are tricked into thinking Cathy is going to carry her dog around in her purse a la Paris Hilton et al. I guess this wouldn’t make any sense from the joke-telling standpoint, because why give away your punch line so early?

Instead, we are given the old switcheroo, and find out in the last panel that Cathy is really going to carry her mother around in her purse. The switcheroo is a typical Cathy joke. You will think she and Irving are talking about having children, but no – HA HA – they are really discussing adding more electronic gadgets to their household! Or, you will think Cathy is talking about going on a new weight loss program, but no – HA HA – she is going to get a smaller purse!! HA HA HA. So, we shouldn’t be surprised at the old switcheroo here.

But, while having the “reveal” be that she is going to carry her dog around in the purse wouldn’t make sense from a joke-telling standpoint, carrying her mother around in her purse doesn’t make sense from a sense-making standpoint. Stated a less roundabout way: It makes no sense. No offense to my mother, or mothers worldwide, but why would you want to carry her around with you everywhere? A) she would get heavy and B) what would you do with her all the time? Would you take her in the bathroom stall with you? And, come to think of it, as much as you probably wouldn’t want to carry your mother around with you everywhere you went, why would SHE want to go everywhere with YOU? Does she not have her own life? What is she going to do at Cathy’s work? Will she hang out with Mr. Pinkley and Charlene and look at co-workers' vacation photos? Help Cathy sort through her in box?

So, I guess this is a metaphor (or simile? Whichever one doesn’t take “like” or “as”): Cathy just likes the thought of her mother to be with her wherever she goes -- her words of wisdom, her slight nags, her joy at spending time with her daughter. Good for Cathy and good for Cathy’s mom. But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Cathy has the lowest self esteem of anyone in the comics. Are we sure her parents did such a great job raising her?

Speaking of mothers, time to go tend to my little one. If he carried a purse, it might make sense for him to carry me around in it. He does seem to need me A LOT. Just like Cathy and her mom! But for a slight age difference in Cathy and my three-week-old. Also, he doesn't carry a purse because #1 that would be gay, and #2 he is too little to carry anything.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How Green was My Valley

Today is a milestone day! The News & Observer comics were in color! Their section (on Saturday's it's "Home and Garden") was tabloid-style, and they were on the back 3 pages -- teeny, teeny tiny, but in color! Even so, it didn't help in my understanding of B.C.:

Yes, that's black and white, but, trust me, the color doesn't add to the "joke." Or maybe it does. The thing is, I don't know what the joke is. I am sleep-deprived, so, please, if you do get it, don't feel bashful. Feel free to explain it to me.

The "Green Plate" is a "Blue Plate" that doesn't move fast enough. Yes, I know about a "blue plate special," but what's the story with green not moving fast enough? Is green slower than blue? Is this about wavelength? Visible blue light has a wavelength of about 475 nm, while visible green light has a wavelength of about 510 nm. Hmmmmm . . .

Or is this a poke at environmentalists, who are typically labeled "green" activists? Or does it have to do with money? Or vegetables? Gah! I don't get it! If you get more than 3 hours of sleep a night, does that help? You know what baseball players (used to) take to get them "up" for their games? Greenies! (aka amphetamines!). Just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gag Me with a Spoon

I no longer hide my secret love for Angry Jeffy. Angry Jeffy is reason enough to read The Family Circus. Poor Jeffy, really he has all the reason in the world to be angry. Think of his place in the family: he's not the baby, not the oldest, not the only girl. He's just plain Jeffy. And, he's the only one with curly hair. Since neither Thelma nor Bil has curly hair, that's got to make you wonder just a bit.

Anyway, Angry Billy just doesn't do it for me like Angry Jeffy does:

Still, though, a few points: I can't believe the Keanes have bit on that liberal bugaboo, global warming. Who's writing this strip these days, Al Gore?

More importantly, what sort of nasty slop do they feed those kids? Just recently, Jeffy was eating this nastiness. I'm way too lazy and tired to look for the post, but does anyone else remember when Jeffy was fed the black, shiny hot dog -- the one that looked like it was staring at you? Gross. Why is all Family Circus food black? It is obvious from this very panel, that the colorists do indeed have the ability to use the color red. So, why couldn't Billy's popsicle be a cherry popsicle? Why does it have to be a licorice popsicle? Tar popsicle? Seriously, what kind of food is black? Burned food, I guess, and maybe the Global Warming burned his food, in addition to melting it? Who knows. All I know is that it is grody to the max.

Apropos of nothing:
Q: Name a task that would be difficult enough, even if you weren't busy taking care of a newborn.
A: Collecting a urine sample from your cat. No kidding. This is not easy, and you've got to wonder why it's never featured in Garfield or Mutts.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Family Circus Isn't Funny

Apparently, motherhood saps some of your brain power. Or, at least, lack of sleep does. Today that was most obvious when I did not get the Sunday Family Circus. I can never find them online, so I will have to describe:

Panel 1: Daddy Keane is driving the car, looking to his right and his mouth is open. It looks a little like he may be singing along with the radio.

Panel 2: DK is still driving, but now looking to his left and seems to be shouting in anger. Looks like a road rage incident.

Panel 3: DK still driving, now shouting angrily to his right and gesticulating with his right hand (no, he's not flipping anyone the bird). It looks like the road rage incident may be escalating.

Panel 4: Still driving, but this time he seems to be happily shouting . . . maybe singing again, or shouting hello to a neighbor (the background shows that he is now in a neighborhood).

Panel 5: Daddy Keane is in the driveway, and opens up the door, letting one of the dogs (Barfy?) out.

So, I didn't understand. Did DK not know the dog was there? What was the joke? My husband had to explain it to me. See, all along he was talking to the dog. That bit of humor gold isn't revealed until the last panel. According to the hubby, "The point is you think he's a weirdo for talking to himself in the car, and then -- HA HA HA -- you find out that all along he has been talking to his dog." I had to ask, "Do you think it's really that weird to see someone talking to themselves in the car?" And the answer, of course, is no. He could be on a hands-free cell phone, singing to the radio, yelling at fellow drivers, etc. People talk to themselves ALL THE TIME in their cars. So, it's not funny.

It's actually just strange. Where was he with the dog? He looks like he is coming home from work. Was it Take Your Dog to Work Day? Why is he so angry with the dog? Did it pee on the back seat? Poop? So many unanswered questions.

One thing I love about the Sunday paper is the Parade insert. I love to read the ridiculous questions people send to Marilyn Vos Savant, Parade genius-in-residence. My favorite today was a question asking her what would happen if an asteroid hit the Earth. Anyway, in today's insert, there was a list of books that had been banned by school libraries. Along with the usual suspects (Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird) there were also some newer entries (i.e., the Harry Potter books - SATAN!). But, most intriguing to me . . . some school, somewhere, has banned a collection of Garfield cartoons! Why? The column said I could go to to find out more, but unfortunately, that site is down right now. Well, I will wait and wonder, and report back when I find out more.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Katie Couric and the Menace

So, I watched Katie Couric's debut on the CBS Evening News last night. Not because I'm a huge K.C. fan or really particularly cared what was going on in the world yesterday, but because I guess I am a lemming for media-driven "events." And, you know what? Katie's news interested me. Not because of Katie, but because she (and CBS) are trying different things with the news. Longer segments, interviews, other views. . . I liked it! And, no reports on social security, the Aging Baby Boomers, or prescription drug benefits. Thank you, Katie! Not that these aren't important issues, but we don't have to hear about them EVERY night do we, NBC?

Point? Sometimes a stale genre that is losing audience needs a shake up. And it doesn't have to be a massive shake up. I mean, Katie didn't swallow fire between segments or read the news standing on her head. There were no musical numbers and as far as I could tell, no nudity. Maybe when she's done at CBS, Katie could take on the job as News & Observer comics page editor.

Her first step could be to axe Dennis the Menace, please Katie.

Yes, now that I have a precious little Menace of my own, I realize I am supposed to be more sympathetic. And I will be! I promise I will, Mr. Hank Ketchum. Except for today. You can't ask "what's new?" about Mr. Wilson's attic because I assume he keeps a bunch of old stuff up there . . . like everybody else in the attic-having world. Who puts new stuff in their attic? I guess if you buy new Christmas ornaments, you put them up there, but generally speaking, the whole point of attics is old stuff. Right?

Man, poor Joey. He spends his whole life listening to the Wisdom of Dennis.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hiatus began . . .


So, yeah, the hiatus, which was really supposed to begin sometime in mid to late September suddenly arrived on Monday. I haven't read the comics since! But, I did just look at Marvin online.

Awwwwww . . . I think Marvin is the greatest! Isn't he so cute? He's like a little baby T.O., and that is just soooo precious. I hope that my son starts acting like Barry Bonds!

And Jeffy eating this prison slop? I secretly love Angry Jeffy.

What a funny and precious child! All children are God's gifts, especially those witty and big-headed Keene kids.

Motherhood is softening.