Thursday, December 31, 2009

Delaware Affections #1.6

Eve Marsen brought Ludmilya, Anna, Alicia and Ralph into her office. "Everyone, this is Laurie. She'll be starting today as a bagger. On Monday we'll train her on a register and we'll begin rotating staff from register to bagger. All right, get to work."

Everyone left the office and headed to their post within the store. "How is being a bagger?" Laurie asked Ralph.

"Not the funnest job in the store but everyone starts out as a bagger. You'll do fine this weekend."

"I hope so. Did you see that look Alicia gave me?"

"Alicia gives everyone that look. I'm pretty sure her face is frozen like that."

"I guess that's reassuring," Laurie sighed. She took another look at Alicia who still had the same angry look on her face.

Holly talked with Adam on the phone. "Thanks for doing this," she said to him. "It's the only way Dad would even consider letting me go to New York with you."

"I said I'd do anything and I stand by that," he replied.

"Luckily it's just a double date with my brother and his girlfriend so you can actually be yourself more or less," she chuckled.

"I'm sure everything will be fine. I'll see you all tonight at 6:30, okay?"

"I can't wait."

"Double Date"
Rodney, Cat, Holly and Adam sat in Adam's car as he drove them to the only pseudo-fancy restaurant in Wrigley. "So you drive a Hummer?" Rodney asked.

"Of course. It's an awesome vehicle," Adam replied. "My dad offered to get me anything I wanted so I chose the most expensive SUV I could find."

"Our dad offered to pay for the first tank of gas when we get our cars," Holly said.

"Wait, isn't your dad a doctor?" Adam asked.

"Yep," Rodney said. "Doesn't stop him from teaching us about the value of a dollar."

"That sucks. Except for gas, my old man pays for everything."

Rodney and Cat looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Can we take this off-road and destroy a couple ecosystems before dinner?" Rodney asked.

At the store, no one had really spoken to Laurie except for Ralph. The Russians, Ludmilya and Anna, talked with her about mainly work-related things while Alicia gave her and everybody else the silent treatment.

Alicia and Laurie were working the checkout when Chris Donchin came through the line. Alicia quickly perked up and began talking to him even though he was noticeably uninterested.

As Chris was about to grab his bags, he started talking to Laurie. "Hey," he began. "Don't you go to Wrigley High?"

Laurie looked at Chris like he was was an idiot. "Yes."

"Sorry but you look older. Are you a senior?"

"Yeah," she replied.

"Will you help carry my sacks to the car?" Chris asked, handing a sack to Laurie.

"You only have two sacks..."

"I'll do it!" Alicia said.

"No, I want her to do it. It is her job," Chris said. Laurie shrugged and took the bag. They walked outside to his car. "So what's your name?"

"Laurie," she said quietly.

"Well, Laurie, a bunch of my friends are having a party and I would like to invite you," Chris pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to Laurie. "Just bring that with you so no one harasses you."

"I'll think about it," Laurie said and stuffed the paper into her apron. "Thank you."

"And thank you," Chris said as Laurie headed back inside the store.

Dinner with Adam went smoothly although Rodney could've done without all the food sharing between him and Holly. Cat decided to take control and asked Adam bluntly: "So what do you want to do after school?"

Rodney looked at her in amazement. The question caught Adam off guard. He coughed then took a drink of water.

"I would love to continue my football career," he said. "But if I am unable to for some reason then I would like to get into journalism."

"Journalism? Wow," Rodney said. "I thought about being a journalist. I would love to be a foreign correspondent. Traveling the world and writing about other cultures. I would like to travel to third-world countries, war-torn areas and places like that," Rodney explained.

"What?" Cat was stunned. "Why would you want to go to those places? You could be killed!"

"But you'd be contributing to this planet. Giving back to the world," Adam said.

"Rodney, you are crazy!" Cat hollered.

"Calm down. I'm not a huge fan of writing so I could never be a journalist. I actually don't know what I plan on doing after school."

"What? You're a senior in high school. You should at least kind of know what you want," Cat said.

"Well, I don't."

"I'm aiming for some kind of doctor," Holly said. "Follow in dad's footsteps. If, for some reason, I don't become a doctor then I want to start my own company."

"What do you like to do?" Cat asked Rodney, sounding angry.

"What kind of company?" Adam asked Holly.

"A publishing company," she answered.

"I don't know," Rodney shrugged. "Maybe something in television."

"I want to host websites, publish magazines. Maybe publish books," Holly said.

"'Maybe something in television'? You need to figure this out, Rodney!" said Cat.

"What's the big deal? I have plenty of time to decide what I want to do. Can we talk about this later?" Rodney hushed.

"Maybe I could write for one of your magazines," Adam smiled.

The four drove home. Holly rested her head on Adam as he drove as Rodney and Cat sat in the backseat as far away from each other as they could.

When they got to the Barton's house, Cat stormed off back to her house. "Ah, dammit," Rodney sighed and went after her.

"Thanks for the great evening," Holly said, putting her arms around Adam's neck. "I think it went really well. I'll let you know tomorrow when Rodney is actually able to talk to Dad."

"Okay. I'll see you tomorrow," Adam kissed Holly but they stayed in each other's arms.

Laurie was helping Ralph finish cleaning up after the store had closed. "So how was your first night?" he asked.

"It was okay except for Alicia. Oh, and I was asked out."


"I was asked out. By Chris Donchin," she handed Ralph the paper Chris had given her.

He looked it over and handed it back. "I don't know if you should go. Chris and his friends have a reputation for doing...awful stuff to girls at their parties."

"I think it'll be fun."

"Are you thinking of going?" Ralph was shocked.

"Yeah. I don't think what people say go on at those parties is true. I'll prove it to you," she said.

Rodney and Cassandra are assigned to work together; Adam betrays Holly and Ralph, Cat and Lillian try to convince Laurie not to go to the party.

Pushy, Drunk People Screaming In My Ear

Born Loser 12-31-09
I am ready for 2009 to be over. I came into 2009 thinking that it would be better than 2008 and it has become worse. I do not bid you a farewell 2009 because I don't even want to acknowledge your existence anymore. 2010, you have been warned.

What the hell kind of hat is Gladys wearing? It looks like a cross between a visor and a sailor's cap. Oh, well, Happy New Year to you, too Gladys. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Fruit Cake of Pope Innocent VIII

Born Loser 12-30-09
I wonder when the first fruit cake joke was made. I discovered while looking up fruit cakes, that Johnny Carson may have started the fruit cake hatred and sadly, we don't listen to our late night talk show hosts like that anymore. Of course, I can't really imagine taking advice from Jimmy Fallon or Carson Daly anyway.

I really have nothing against fruit cakes however ones that people draw in comic strips always look disgusting.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Since 1896

Born Loser 12-29-09
Who is Wilberforce talking to? Have The Born Loser characters become self-aware? Probably not. Chip apparently doesn't realize that there's this handy new invention on the comics page called a "thought bubble" that he could use when it's just one character talking. Using a thought bubble makes your character less...insane.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Last 28th of the Decade

Born Loser 12-28-09
I've got nothing for today's strip except why do Brutus and Hattie hang out with each other so much? I saw an episode of Law & Order: SVU that started out that way. Needless to say, Chris Meloni kicked some ass.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brutus Will Clear It Up So Hard

Born Loser 12-27-09
This just confirms my opinion that Brutus is Veeblefester's right-hand man or almost second-in-command. What I don't understand is why Brutus gave them this information and then immediately hung up on them.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

POtW: The Douglas-Franklin-Osage County Line

Today's picture is one I have been waiting to put up since I started this feature. The picture was taken in extreme southwestern Douglas County and is of the Douglas-Franklin-Osage County lines.
Douglas-Franklin-Osage County Line
The sign on the far left is Osage County's indicating the intersection of East 181st Street and Woodring Road. The next sign is Douglas' marking the intersection of East 1 and North 1 Roads and the sign on the far right is Franklin's marking the intersection of Woodson and Alabama Roads.

When I first out to N1/E1, I found a lot of cool stuff including a couple cemeteries, some abandoned houses a couple old churches and that I liked to drive around and take note of what I pass by.

Or She's Going to Her Grim Reaper Meeting

Born Loser 12-26-09
I am snowed in. I hope everyone had a good Christmas or whatever you celebrate. Either way you got a couple days off from work. Now, let's bring on 2010.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Editorial Comics Review (12/25/09)

by Ed Stein 12/19/09

I was happy when there was a chance for health care to be offered to every American if they want it for a reasonable price. But now I am like the guy in the last illustration and somehow I don't think I will ever be happy at what Congress does again. People keep blaming President Obama for either pushing this reform that America doesn't need through or not being man enough to order the Democrats to create a decent bill. I don't blame Obama for this piece of shit legislature, I blame the people that we voted into office to be our voice in Washington. Oh, wait. I didn't vote for my senators, I voted for someone else.

by Jeff Sherffius 12/20/09

It's been a pretty dismal decade. Since 2000, we got a president who didn't legitimately win, lost 3,000 lives in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania, started two wars, been illegally wiretapped, had a war hero's good name dragged through the mud, had a beauty queen run for vice president, shady companies connected to the president profiting off of the wars, an entire city almost completely wiped out, had our economy come crashing down around us, saw a man who got shot by the VP apologize to the VP for being shot and have seen how crazy uneducated Republicans can really be.

There's been talk about what to call this decade like the aughts or the O-zeroes. I just want to call it done.

by Henry Payne 12/21/09

Alright, I will make you a deal. I won't want government-run health care and/or medicine anymore if the Federal government and ALL of the states get rid of Medicaid, Veteran's benefits, Indian Health Services, Medicare and any other type of Federal or state assisted health care. You can't have Medicare but not want socialized medicine. You can't have it both ways. Health care for all or health care for none.

by Bill Day 12/25/09

But no matter what your political proclivities, I hope everyone has had safe and joyous holiday season.

Snowblow My Hopes Away

Meekrat points out yesterday's Lio strip in his X-Mas X-Travaganza over at the DCR and I just wanted to share it also. It's really very heartwarming.
Lio 12-24-09

And now onto today's Born Loser.
Born Loser 12-25-09
I love the random "Horray!" from Wilberforce today. Come on, Brutus. Get with it? How could Gladys buy you a car without you knowing? You're the one who makes the money, you're the one who manages the finances. I'm pretty sure while paying the electric bill you'd notice if there were $3,000 taken out of an account at once or a debit transaction from Happy Ned's Car Emporium.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Omaha Steaks

Born Loser 12-24-09
Homina-wha? Despite Gladys wanting the present she bought for herself to be a surprise, if this strip takes place today then her present won't be here by Christmas. I should receive my Christmas present sometime next week.

#205: The Christmas Blog

I wrote a story years ago that featured my Wilbur and Kolak characters where they follow the neighborhood bully back in time to stop him from killing Jesus Christ as a baby.


Without even touching on the subject of how the bully, Marty, went back in time, the story was rather disturbing when I look back on it because Marty is going back to kill a baby. And not just any baby--God's only child. I remember that it had a very climatic scene with Wilbur begging Marty not to snap the baby's neck. I was really demented for 1991, and I was eight. Marty finally relents and places Jesus back in the manger, the three return to the present and Wilbur invites Marty over for Christmas dinner. What I never really established was why Marty hated Christmas. I established that he hated it then whisked him away to ancient Jerusalem to kill Baby Jesus. Not one of my better plot devices but, again, I was eight.

I honestly think it was my most controversial thing I ever wrote and that includes my story about abortion. I don't advocate going back in time and killing Christ and that story, along with hundreds of others were burned back in 2001 and I have no plans on bringing it back. I just thought I'd share this Christmas memory thought up by eight-year-old Brian.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Every Time a Bell Rings, Brutus Salivates Like a Dog

Born Loser 12-23-09
I've never seen It's a Wonderful Life but I do know this: it's not a Christmas movie. It's a movie that happens to take place on Christmas. Just like Die Hard is a movie that takes place on Christmas.

Still, I do not consider it Christmas until I have seen the Grinch, Rudolph, Charlie Brown and A Christmas Story.

Delaware Affections #1.5

Ralph arrived at McDonald's and saw Rodney sitting in the corner. Ralph ordered his breakfast and went to sit down after being handed the tray.

"Thanks for having breakfast with me," Rodney said. "I've been really wanting to get a good McDonald's breakfast before school but I didn't want to do it alone."

"Why didn't you ask Cat or that other girl you seem to talk to a lot--Cassandra?"

"cat didn't want to get up so early and Cassandra is just a friend just like you are friend," Rodney said.

"But I love you with all my heart," Ralph joked.

"I would almost take you seriously if you weren't so fond of Laurie," Rodney said.

"I am not fond of Laurie. She's just a friend," Ralph said.

"Mm-hmm, sure. So you put in a good word for a friend?"

"My mom does own the only grocery store in town and maybe this will help get rid of Alicia. She's the worst employee we have," Ralph complained.

"Do those Russians still work at the store?" asked someone sitting behind Ralph.

Both Ralph and Rodney looked as the girl who spoke turned around. "Hi, Ralph. Long time, no see." The girl was a fair-skinned, green-eyed beauty with short red hair and glasses.

"Lillian? They let you out?" Ralph asked.

"Of course not. I escaped," she smiled.

"And yes Lillian, those Russians do still work there. Ludmilya and Anna are our best employees."

"That's great. Who's your friend?" Lillian asked.

"This is Rodney Barton. His family just moved here. Rodney, this is Lillian Floresch," Ralph introduced.

"Floresch? Is she...?" Rodney began.

"The mayor's daughter," Lillian said as she scooted into the booth next to Ralph. "I've been away for awhile. Until a few years ago, Ralph and I were the best of friends."

"As much as I hate to admit it..." Ralph sighed.

"You've been away? Away where?" Rodney asked.

"Depends on who you ask. Some say my dad's house, some say a hospital, others say a mental institution and a few have said I was in a special school for knocked up girls getting an abortion," Lillian said.

"So which one is it?" Rodney was confused and faked a smile.

Lillian scoffed. "Like I'd really say. The only people who know the truth are me, my therapist and my mom and you know she ain't saying anything," Lillian smiled and winked.

"She didn't disappear," Ralph corrected Rodney as they were standing at their lockers. "She went away."

"All right, where did she go away to?"

"No one knows the actual reason or where she went to," Ralph said. "Most people are in agreement that it was a hospital but are unsure if it was medical or mental."

Cat came up behind Rodney and hugged him. "What are we talking about?" she asked.

"Lillian is back," Ralph sighed.

"Oh, my. Did she escape?"

"Apparently she was let out on her own recognizance," Ralph said.

"Okay, wait. Since no one knows the full story, what do you two think?" asked Rodney, becoming aggravated.

"Well, it all starts the same. Lillian was part of our clique until something happened," Cat began. "She started hanging out with the depressing goths more and dressing more like them."

"Shortly after she became goth, she lost her virginity to our Mexican goth, Miquel," Ralph said.

"She didn't lose her virginity to him, he raped her!" Cat corrected.

"We don't know that for certain and even so I don't consider it rape if the victim then has consensual sex with her rapist," argued Ralph.

"But it's still rape, right Rodney?"

"I don't care," Rodney said. "I just want to know what happened."

"Well, after Miquel, she started acting weird but that didn't stop her from slutting it up with many different guys then one day, she stopped showing up for school," Ralph said.

"Since she was sleeping around so much," Cat continued, "people thought that is was STDs or a pregnancy."

"I think she just couldn't handle being sexually active. If she was raped I think that's what started it. Why she slept with her rapist and why she slept with a good portion of the rest of the school," Ralph commented. "But again, no one knows the exact story."

"Are we talking about Lillian?" Laurie asked, coming up to her friends. "Because I just saw her skipping past the office."

"Laurie? Where do you think she's been the last two years?" Rodney asked.

"I would say with her dad," Laurie said. "It makes the most sense."

"Where does her dad live?" he asked.

"New Mexico. I'm not exactly sure what he does there. Her dad's kind of wacky."

"Like father, like daughter," Ralph shrugged. "By the way, Laurie? You start work at the grocery store on Saturday."

"Oh, thank you. I can't wait to get to work!" she sounded ecstatic. "Thank you for helping me," and she hugged Ralph.

"That's the most action Ralph gotten since...ever," Cat said.

"They make such a cute couple," Rodney smiled.

"Guys, shut up," Ralph said.

"Hey, Cat," Lillian said as she sat down next to her in science class.

"Hey, Lil, you have science this hour?" she asked.

"Yeah. I need, like, half a credit to earn so here I am. Why are you here?"

"I like science," Cat said.

"How long have you and Rodney been dating?" Lillian asked, biting her tongue and smiling wide-eyed.

"Only about a month or so. We actually met the day he moved here but we only started our relationship at the beginning of October," Cat said.

"Is he okay? Is he a good boyfriend?" Lillian asked.

"He is a very good boyfriend. Best I've had," said Cat.

"That's really good to know..." Lillian said quietly.

"I don't know Holly," Mitch was unsure about Holly's want to go to New York for a weekend. "I don't really know this guy and I just don't think New York is the kind of place for two small town kids to be."

"Daddy, I understand but I really would like to go. How about just for a day. We can leave early and be back that night?" Holly compromised.

Mitch thought for a moment. "I'll say yes on two conditions. First, I set the hours. Leave at seven in the morning, return home by ten at night. Second, you and Adam have to double date with Rodney and Cat so they can tell me what kind of person he is. If they give me a bad review, it's off," Mitch said.

"What? Why can't he just come over for dinner one night?" Holly asked, sounding irritated.

"Because I'm going to be biased and Rodney and Cat will be able to see Adam more vulnerable than he would be around me. Do you accept?"

Holly thought and nodded her head. "Yes, I accept. I'll go tell Adam."

Holly left the doctor's office and Mitch grabbed the phone on his desk and dialed a number. "Hey, Rodney? Glad I caught you at home. Don't make any plans for this weekend because you and Cat will be double dating with Holly and Adam. So you can tell me what he's like. Well, I could just have him over for dinner but it's more fun pissing my children off."

The double date and Laurie works her first shift at the grocery store.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chunky, What a Chunk of Chocolate

Born Loser 12-22-09
I know exactly how Brutus feels. You watch the Hallmark Channel or TV Land enough in the mornings and you really start to think you need to buy denture cream.

Also, Arnold Stang, who appeared alongside Milton Berle and appeared in movies such as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Hercules in New York and provided the voice for Hanna-Barbera's street-smart feline, Top Cat, has passed away at the age of 91. Our thoughts are with his family.

16th & Massachusetts Ashcan Edition

I don't quite know what to do with this new section of mine. I originally planned on doing stories of history about where I'm from but then I decided to do something different and make it more of a grab-bag type of thing but then I realized that there's no way I could do different stuff every other week or so but that may be a future thing if I can think of stuff to do. Then I thought about not even starting the new section until I could definitely come up with something to put in it but then I came back to the history thing. Always to the history thing. So, here are three short histories from where I am from. If you like it or hate it, let me know. "The Corner of 16th & Massachusetts" makes it's official debut in mid-January just so you're prepared.

Fifteen miles southwest of Lawrence, along a road known as the Lawrence, Bloomington, Clinton and Emporia Trail, a few families settled in an area near Rock Creek in late 1854. The small community was disected diagonally by the trail and a look at a map of the area, County Roads 6 and 1023 follow virtually the same route. In 1856, a Scottish immigrant settled a few miles southwest of the small community and established the St. John's Catholic Church and started a small cemetery. After numerous other Catholic settlers came to the area, it was learned that when Rock Creek would flood, it would keep people on the south side from attending church or visiting the cemetery so the church was moved to a new location near Lapeer which is now the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. The foundation of the old church is still visible in the southwest corner of the Rock Creek Cemetery.

By 1869, the small community was it's own separate entity from nearby Clinton and Twin Mound and was named Belvoir after Fort Belvoir in Virginia which was chosen by Lawrence D. Bailey. Bailey immediately decided that a schoolhouse should be built and in 1865, the school was completed for a cost of $1,500. Because of Belvoir's proximity to Clinton and Twin Mound, there was no post office until 1868. However, in 1873, Belvoir moved to two and a half miles north where a new railroad had been constructed. Only the Belvoir School remained open while the rest of Belvoir's businesses moved to New Belvoir. The first school in New Belvoir was constructed in 1874. The railroad quickly went out of business, the post office closed in 1874 and reopened briefly between 1888 and 1903 but New Belvoir remained a small country town until construction on Clinton Lake began. Ironically, New Belvoir had to be demolished and is now underwater while old Belvoir remains above water.

Information gathered from Soil of Our Souls by Martha Parker and Betty Laird, Parker-Laird Enterprises 1976, 1994. Photos by author.

Standing alone and abandoned in a field north of Lawrence but just south of Midland is a beautiful stone house with detailed Italianate windows, roofs and chimneys. The Vermilya-Boener house stands as a testament to Elijah and Cynthia Vermilya, early settlers of Douglas County. The Vermilya family moved to Douglas County in 1866 and lived in a log cabin while William worked with Swedish stonemasons to construct the Italian Villa-style house that now stands on the property. The building remained in the Vermilya-Boener family until it was sold in the mid-1950s and was used as a residence until 1948. It has remained vacant since.

Ella, Elijah and Cynthia's daughter, married William Boener in 1891 and lived in the house until 1893 when they moved to Lawrence but they returned in 1900. William died in 1903 and Cynthia died in 1905 and Ella and her three children continued to live in the house until sometime after 1915. Ella's son Julian then took up residence in the house with his wife and family until 1948 when they moved to California. William Boener opened a grocery store in Lawrence on Massachusetts Street in 1891 but sold it in 1893 and established the Boener Brothers Cigar Factory which was originally located at 700 Massachusetts but soon moved to a bigger location in the 600 block. Boener Brothers went out of business in 1920 due to increased competition from cigarettes and Eastern cigar makers.

The house itself has lost much due to it's current state. The main staircase no longer exists but the condition of the original woodwork and the stone walls are quite good while the non-load-bearing interior walls display their age.

Information provided by the National Register of Historic Places Nomination sheets. Photo by the author. The Vermilya-Boener house can be found here.

Issac Shirley was born in 1805 and came to Kansas in the 1850s and settled about two miles west of Lecompton. Issac, along with his wife Elizabeth, had seven children however two, John M. and George W. would not survive and are buried in a small cemetery near the remains of the house. Issac died in 1858 and only Mary Elizabeth and Franklin Pierce stayed on the farm to help their mother, who became ill, until she died in 1876. Franklin Pierce Shirley married Laura Nelson Pate in 1877 and they had four sons, William Leonard, John Franklin, Russell and Elmer. William Leonard died at age 16 while Russell and John Franklin (Frank) stayed on the farm as Elmer moved to Texas. Frank graduated from Lecompton High School in 1916. Russell served in World War I and continued living on the family when he got back until his death in 1957. Frank, who was diabetic, died in 1930 while their mother, Laura, died in 1929 and Franklin Pierce died in 1938.

The oldest of Issac and Elizabeth's sons, Wilburn, left to prospect for gold until returning to the Lecompton area in the 1850s where he bought a farm near his father's land. Soon, Wilburn moved across the river into Jefferson County where he would remain until his death. After Russell died, the Shirley house remained vacant. Nearby are the graves of Issac Shirley, John M., George W. and Martha Prather, wife of E. Prather. The ruins of the house remain on a hill overlooking the United Pacific Railroad and the Kansas River.

Information from The Bald Eagle Vol. 17, No. 2, Summer 1991. Published by the Lecompton Historical Society. Article written by Sara Walter, researched by Iona Spencer. Photos by the author except for the drawing which is by Ellen Duncan.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the Holidays. Chip Is Phoning It In

Born Loser 12-21-09
A career? You can't make a career out of being a mall Santa because you would only work one month out of the year. If I were Brutus I would be less insulted by the crack against my weight and more insulted that this guy apparently thinks that malls have Santas year round.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

POtW: Topeka State Hospital

Today's picture is of the main building of the Topeka State Hospital. In operation from 1872 until 1997, the TSH was another example of a Kirkbride Asylum. The TSH housed mentally ill and insane patients who were unfit to mingle with society. The land is now owned by USD 501, the Topeka School District.
Topeka State Hospital

#204: Cars of a Feather

I love my car. It's a 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix SE. I bought it in 2005 and I have been really happy with it. It's gotten me as far north as Nebraska, as far west as Denver, as far east as St. Louis and as far south as Fort Scott and all places in between. It's been a good car even in situations where it shouldn't have been a good car. But before I get into all that, I want to talk about my other cars.

My first car was an 1987 GMC Jimmy and despite not being able to use that car very often, I loved it. I hardly got to drive it because immediately after I bought it, the starter went out. It took nearly two weeks to get the money to fix it because it had to be towed and everything but I finally got the Jimmy back and was able to drive all of one month before, funny story, the brakes went out.

I was going eighty down a gravel road when I tried to slow down and nothing happened. When I took the car in to have the brakes and transmission looked at, the mechanic told me the brake booster was shot and that it looked as if someone took an hatchet to my transmission hose. I told him to fix the transmission thing but I couldn't afford the $400 for the brake booster so the car remained parked and unused until I finally sold it for $100. I loved that Jimmy and it broke my heart. The next car I had was an Oldsmobile but it wasn't technically mine but was my mom's. The car became very dangerous because the door wouldn't latch so you had to hold onto it when you turned--especially turning left.

My Pontiac has lasted since 1995--since 2005 in my care--which is pretty good for a car I've owned but over the last year or so, stuff has been happening that tells me that I should start looking into getting another car. First the knob came off of the hot-cold designator. So I have to keep a pair of pliers in my car now if I need to change that. Then the driver's side windows stopped working. Not just one window, both of them. I've had cars where the windows stopped working so it was just par for the course. And nothing extraordinary happened until a couple months ago when the knob to turn the heater and A/C on and off broke off. That was the straw. I'm hoping to look into getting a new car next summer. I stopped doing my monthly drives (I may do one more in the Spring as a last farewell) to stop putting unnecessary miles on my car. I'm going to miss my car but hopefully a new car will be better. Sadly, after I typed all this, my car apparently got mad at me and now the transmission is going out.

Until next time, I remain...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Someone Should Deck Him

Born Loser 12-18-09
I've nothing to say about this except that Wilberforce is stupid.

Editorial Comics Review (12/18/09)

Here is more editorial cartoons for you to read and get pissed off about what's going on in our world. I, for one, am ashamed.
by Rob Rogers 12/17/09

You know what I have loved about President Bush being out of office? I haven't had to see him on TV. Sure, I had to deal with Dick Cheney for a few months a while ago but he soon learned that no cares what a vice president has to say. Bush has had the good sense to stay away from the media. Here's hoping that lasts.

While I do know that people want to know President Bush's rationale about invading Iraq, I really don't. They gave us excuse after excuse about why we invaded and none of that has panned out. I can justify Afghanistan but never Iraq and I don't want to hear another lie come out of that man's smarky mouth.

(Th)ink by Keith Knight 12/16/09

And with this, the jokes about Tiger Woods have worn themselves out. Once again, we're just learning that athletes are not special but that they are human. You put a human on a pedestal and sooner or later, they are going to fall. And every time this happens, we never learn, we continue placing people on those pedestals and then get angry and take shots at them when they fall.

This kind of stuff happens so often that I am amazed that people continue putting athletes and movie stars in hero categories. Sure, I have my heroes but I don't place them on a pedestal and worship them like a god, mainly because I don't want to see my gods fall.

by Robert Ariail 12/18/09

Does Joe Lieberman ever plan on running for public office again? He's not helping out anyone from what I can tell. I knew the public option was off the table (which is mainly what WE THE PEOPLE want) but I didn't know there was a Medicare expansion part in the bill. And I guess, if you don't get insurance then the government can fine you. That makes sense. Force people who can't afford health insurance to get health insurance or fine them money they can't afford. Makes perfect sense to me.

I don't see why this health care bill is so hard to figure out. Why can't there be a public option? Why can't the health insurance companies be held accountable? Why can't we fucking expand Medicare to everybody who wants it? Our current health care system punishes those who cannot pay and doesn't have insurance, if this bill passes it will continue to punish those that cannot pay and essentially rewards the insurance companies. Creating a health bill that works for everyone was possible if our Senators would quit listening to the insurance companies, Fox News pundits and moronic constituents who don't even know what's going on.

by Marshall Ramsey 12/18/09

When did Al Gore become evil?

You have scientists around the world along with hundreds of other people saying that global warming is real, you would think you could just give them the benefit of the doubt. I reading the online comments of my local newspaper and one of the commentators said that his "father was a paleontologist for over 40 years" and that "he's laughing at all you global warning idiots". global warming is just a huge global conspiracy aimed to do...what? What's in it for the scientists and other people who believe? Do they think this is their chance for their 15-minutes of fame? They think scaring people into recycling will get them famous and not, say, curing cancer? While I can typically see both sides of an issue when presented to me (in a direct, non-yelly format), I cannot see the other side of this issue. Even if global warming isn't true, what's the worst that can happen? We lose our dependency on foreign oil, we recycle more, reduce our carbon footprint and save a polar bear or two.

by Drew Litton 12/17/09

"Because he has some family issues he has to deal with." Why was that so hard? Is this going back to my "hero" rant earlier? You don't have to tell your child that Tiger put his wood into other women that weren't his wife. God, the way we coddle our children these days is disturbing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#203: Damn Facebook

I am 99% sure that I am somewhat addicted to Facebook. I enjoy going through and finding people I used to go to school with and I don't have to pay a $30 monthly fee to do it. I currently have 53 friends and all of them, but one, I know either from school or work. A couple I have even dated but that actually falls into the category of work. What gets me is when people drop me from their friends list. When I learn that happened, I want to know why. One of the girls I dated back in high school dropped me suddenly (just like back in high school) so I tried adding her back and she ignored my request. So I shrugged my shoulders and moved on.

Another "defriending" was very weird. It was about 8:30 in the morning and one of my friends started chatting with me. Normally, this is no big deal but this was a friend with whom I had no interaction. We worked together at one time but that was it. Anyway, after our cordial greetings, he directs me to the reason he is talking to me. He and his family are in London, stranded because they were mugged. Now, if true, this somewhat horrible but something stuck out that made me believe this was fake. First, he said that he was at a resort in London. You don't go to London for the resorts. Does London even have resorts? Second, my friend was recently laid off. I know some vacations are planned months in advance but still, it seemed shady. Third, I'm not, never have been, never will be a close enough friend to him for him to ask me for money.

That's right, he wanted money. And, seriously, I couldn't afford to send a dime anyway if I wanted to. I told him this, made a suggestion about finding the American Embassy then got his email off of Facebook and sent him an email suggesting that his account may have been hacked but offered my apologies if he was in that situation. And do you know what happened? I never heard back and his account was deleted. I've checked back to see if he's come back but I can't find him if he has. I wouldn't friend him again if he returned anyway.

I had to hide one of my friends a couple months or so ago. I had grown tired of his anti-Obama status updates and decided to do away with actually reading and seeing them. Fun fact: this guy currently lives in Utah but was born in Iowa--the two most boring states ever! Throw Nebraska in there and he'll have the boring state trifecta! I plan on bringing his updates back after the new year. The update that pissed me off the most was during the election when he posted that it was a "dark day for the city of Provo" because the person he didn't like won the mayoral election. Yes, how dare the majority of people vote for who they like. The bastards!

I have a friend who updates her status every five minutes to tell us what she's doing at work and I find that less annoying than political opinion updates. And I'm sure everyone agrees with me because (prepare for shameless plug), none of your 256 friends care about your political opinions.

Until next time, I remain...

New Phone Shopping

Born Loser 12-16-09
I'm getting tired of these jokes. Yes, cell phones have evolved from something the size of a phone book that only took phone calls to something the size of my thumb that has a projector. Yes, technology confusing. Old person SMASH!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Superman #76 (Feb. 1993)

Written and Penciled by: Dan Jurgens
Inked by: Brett Breeding

Welcome to the return of my Superman comic commentary. Today's installment is Christmas-ish themed as it is a Metropolis Mailbag somewhat similar to Superman #64. This issue is also part four of the eight part "Funeral for a Friend" storyline that occurred shortly after Superman was killed by Doomsday. This is one of my favorite covers because of all of the heroes and the image of the cape.

We start off this issue with Captain Marvel marveling at how many heroes have gathered to break Federal law and read Superman's mail for Christmas. Batman, true to form during this time, spends an entire panel whining about the death of Jason Todd which was voted on by readers. It all has Guy Gardner insulting everyone who has written a letter to Superman. I was never a fan of the arrogant prick Guy Gardner, I like him better after he became Warrior but even then that like wasn't all that much. Anyway, the heroes begin reading the mail as Mitch Andersen arrives in Metropolis. Mitch was someone Superman saved during Doomsday's rampage and now he wants to pay his respects because Superman stayed and saved him unlike his father who left. Yeah, I guess that makes sense.

Elsewhere, Lois and Jimmy are assigned to report on a woman calling herself Mrs. Superman which Lois refuses to believe for obvious reasons and then refuses to do her job and storms off to meet Ma and Pa Kent at Clark's apartment. They hug and talk and it's discovered that Lana Lang came too. So I don't know who is watching the Kent Farm right now.

Unlike Superman #64, the only thing we really see these heroes do is a bunch of piddly stuff. Guy Gardner helps reunite a mother and son and Wonder Woman goes to reunite Mitch's father with his mother. Meanwhile, Green Lantern and Flash help rebuild the Andersen's house which is all fine and dandy but what about the other people whose houses were trashed by Doomsday? The JLA says they did it because even though her life had turned into a living hell, she still took the time to write to Superman to thank him for saving her and her family. So the Andersen family is all reunited except for Mitch who is still in Metropolis hanging out with Jimmy and Bibbo. Mitch is complaining about how Superman deserves more because he was a true hero and saved his family and that even his old man couldn't even hang around when things got tough. Mitch and Jimmy go to Centennial Park to the Superman statue to pay respects (because that is where Superman was buried--in the middle of a city park, not a cemetery or anything). Shortly after leaving, Lois, Lana and Ma and Pa Kent visit the statue. However, neither of them are able to hear the drills whirring underneath the statue so are oblivious to the fact that Cadmus is stealing Superman's body.

Supergirl, along with Lois, will find Superman's body in part eight and Superman will be reburied and will soon recover from his death but what I find interesting about all this is the cover to this issue. Look at it, Batman stands front and center on the cover because he was DC's most popular character and Superman's closest confidante. However, if you look at the Doomsday trading card set produced by Skybox in 1993, Batman has been replaced by Captain Marvel! Don't believe me? Check out the Funeral for a Friend card based on Superman #76. Captain Marvel standing tall and proud. Look at the card based on Superman: The Man of Steel #20, Batman and Robin has been completely air-brushed out. The same is true on the reverse of the cards, which reproduced the funeral procession poster. Captain Marvel takes Batman's place carrying Superman's casket and some new hero named Thunderbolt takes Marvel's place in the procession. So, why the editing? Apparently it's because all DC Comics cards were produced by Skybox except for Batman, who were produced by Fleer. Well, I find it fascinating. I kind of want to hang up my Death of Superman poster now.

Gladys Shows Some Skin

Born Loser 12-15-09
Well, I'm pretty sure my eyes just screamed and threw up a little in their mouths when they saw Gladys in her slip. And I don't feel so good myself.

On the plus side, Gladys looks very small in today's strip which is probably something she'd like to hear.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dr. Thornapple? I Think Not

Born Loser 12-14-09
While I understand what Brutus is saying in the second panel, but think about who probably said that. It was someone who was trying to justify why they screwed up in the first place. Mistakes are okay a few times but after awhile, if you are still making mistakes on something you should've learned by now, then you are officially classified as a bumbling idiot.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Entrepreneurism Isn't Dead After All

Born Loser 12-13-09
They only made $8 shoveling snow? Did they only shovel one house? I feel in this day and age that they should have made about $10-20 per house, depending on how much they needed to shovel so at most they should have $100. Hurricane Hattie is not a very good businesswoman however I do believe she would work well at AIG or Goldman Sachs.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

#202: The End of Childhood

I think that my generation (roughly people born during the eighties) is the last generation where we actually let our kids roam free around the neighborhood. It's really sad when you think about it that we have either become so nervous about child abductions or so regimented in routine and organized sports that we don't let our kids roam free anymore. I would let my son go outside and roam around more often but there are no other kids out. We have a park right outside of our backyard but I rarely see any other kids using it except for young teenagers and kids out with their parents.

I remember when I younger, I would wander all over the neighborhood with my friends exploring what crevices lie in hiding. When I got slightly older, my best friends and I would hang out around a beautiful tree-lined creek. The trees no longer exist but the creek does and it is currently a nature park situated between two massive housing developments. When I moved to Baldwin, the exploring expanded but I still did it until I got my first job at 14. I discovered some really cool stuff while out but about half of them have wound up like the creek, or worse.

Depending on who you listen or talk to, the number of children who go missing hasn't risen as much as the national coverage of missing children has. I tried looking for an actual statistic showing how much child abduction has gone up since the 1960s but I wasn't able to find one. I'm not saying this isn't an important problem that doesn't need to be addressed but the way local news and some cable news programs exaggerate and exploit the missing children is just appalling. Most of the missing/abducted child alerts in my area are children taken by parents for one reason or another and the local news makes it seem like the world is ending. I hardly think a parent is going to harm their own child, I know it can happen but I consider it rare.

My son and I went over to the school playground, which is nearby, to play. It was a beautiful day, slight overcast, about 75 degrees. Not too hot or too cold and just an almost perfect day. We walked over to the playground on this near-perfect day and never saw another kid. We were out for over two hours and still saw no one. Which makes me wonder that when he gets a little older to where I'll let leave the property by himself to go play, will there be anyone to play with? Will he have to join outside opportunities in order to make and keep friends? Generations before his didn't have to, why should they now? I trust my son to make the right decisions and that's what part of this is, a form of trust. Creepy guys in vans luring kids near and drugging them only happen in TV shows. All it really takes is to teach your kids not to go with someone they don't know, tell a trusted adult if there is someone they don't like hanging around and to implant in their brain to always tell you where they are going and who they are going with.

I remember my mom used to bring up letting her know where I was and who I was with so I wouldn't get taken. I would roll my eyes and think "that's not going to happen" but yet, I still did it because she didn't scare me or make it seem like she was prying or making it a chore. I admit that sometimes I didn't do it but most of the time I was able to keep her informed and I am still here, much to the dismay of some people. In actual numbers, there are roughly 76,000,000 children under 18 in this country; roughly 800,000 go missing every year [NISMART Report, Oct. 2002]. That's 0.01% and of those only 100 are murdered. Those are some really small percentages there and the 800,000 also takes into account children who run away and while even one missing child is one too many, the actual percentage is not enough to cause me any alarm.

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. Maybe parents just do more things with their children these days like organized sports and family outings. I like doing that stuff with my son, too but he has just gotten to the age where he starts to appreciate stuff like that more but it won't be a couple more years until he remembers doing stuff like that without having to be reminded to it's pointless to take anywhere all that special. But that's a whole other issue I have.

Until next time, I remain...

POtW: Volland General Store

Volland General Store
The abandoned ruins of the Volland General Store in the now-ghost town of Volland. Volland is located on Old K-10 Road in Wabaunsee County between Alta Vista and Alma.

Why Is He Sitting In the Middle?

Born Loser 12-12-09
I have proof he's real, too. I have Santa locked up in my shed. If anyone ever wants to see him again then I suggest you start mailing or delivery the following to my house at once:
*A 42-inch flat-screen television
*A refrigerator with the ability to make ice in both cubed and crushed forms
*A flat-top stove, preferably in smoky gray
*A 2009 Subaru Forester, preferably in green with tan leather or smoky gray seats
*$30,000 (checks OK)
*Picture frames (all shapes, all sizes)

I enjoy that Hattie is kind of happy at Wilberforce's ignorance even though at the same time Brutus is starting to panic and screaming in his mind: "OH, NO!! HE'S ON TO US! HAVE TO CANCEL CHRISTMAS!! ABORT! ABORT!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Editorial Comics Review (12/11/09)

by Gary Varvel 12/10/09

Am I the only one tired of the Democrats goal to pass ANY health care bill and the Republicans goal to reject ANY health care bill? Why should people who can't afford health insurance be punished? I don't understand this. And no one has given me a good excuse aside from either not wanting government interference (which Medicare is by the way) or not wanting to raise the debt. Those are two of the flimsiest excuses I have ever heard. Why am I being punished with possible bankruptcy and/or death because I can't afford $300 a month for health insurance or because my employer doesn't offer benefits to me? Come on, I'm waiting for an answer.

by Bill Day 12/8/09

I don't really care that Obama got the Nobel. I even wrote an earlier blog about it which elicited some complaints. What I was trying to describe was the fact that people on the right take this whole thing way too seriously. If you don't think President Obama deserved the Nobel then fine. The decision is out of our hands and even if Obama rejected the award, it would still be his. The Nobel Committee wouldn't give it to someone else.

But onto the matter of this comic. I do see the irony--everyone does--but even without the troop surge it would be ironic because Obama was going to be the president to pull us out of Afghanistan and Iraq, neither of which has even come close to being realized. There's really nothing more I can add here except this.

by Steve Breen 12/9/09

Who said there'd be public funding for abortions? I'm sorry but if an abortion is medically necessary (such as in the case of ectopic pregnancy or if giving birth would be detrimental to the baby and/or mother) it should be covered. Abortion has never, and shouldn't be, an easy way to get out of being a parent. People who choose abortion for whatever reason typically have thought long and hard about making this decision. They have to live with their decision and the guilt of it for the rest of their lives. Abortion isn't cheap so it's not something someone can do every eight months just because they don't a baby. If someone chooses to have an abortion, you can guarantee that they have thought about it in depth, did the research and came to the conclusion that would benefit everyone involved. And if anyone doesn't believe that, you live in your own fantasy world and I feel sorry for you.

by Steve Sack 12/9/09

This is how I typically feel. When snow falls, people forget how to drive. They either drive the same or they drive too cautiously. They never find the happy medium. And the people in trucks and SUVs who feel they are safe because they are in trucks or SUVs are just the worst.

by Jeff Stahler 12/11/09

There were like, three comics that talked about iPhone apps or apps in general. I've had my cell phone for almost three years now and I plan on keeping it until it plan stops working. Also, I don't need my phone to do all that crap. Make calls, take pictures, play music and maybe a mapping/GPS feature but that's all I need. That's honestly all anyone needs.

What's with the hat that kid's wearing?

by Mike Keefe 12/10/09

Here is a link to an article associated with this cartoon. I don't understand what the issue is. Colorado State University banned guns from it's campus. Good. Why in the hell do students need to bring guns onto campus anyway? I'm sure the uproar has something to do with infringing on our 2nd amendment rights but I do agree that you never quite know when King George III will return from the grave and demand taxes on our tea again.

Hunting is the only reason you need a gun. Let the comments begin....