Friday, December 31, 2021

Going To Be a Crowd Anyway

Isn't a reservation essentially a waiting list?

So the Thornapples are going out for New Year's Eve? That's a new one. Last year, they stayed in to toot horns, in 2019 they couldn't afford to go out, in 2018 they just sat around the TV, and in 2017 they barely celebrated because 2017 sucked ass. At least they are including Wilberforce in their revelries for once.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Freeway's One Big Parking Lot

If only there was something in the car--like a gauge or light or warning sound, something!--that could let a hapless driver know that the car was down to its last few gallons. Oh, well. I guess that's just a pipe dream and we'll never be able to tell how much gas is in our car until it runs out.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

What a Way To Make a Living

Does Alex pull a salary? Does Alex otherwise get his work done? If yes to both those questions then what does it matter if he's late?

I'm sorry but if I can do my job--maybe even better--between the hours of 10 A.M. and 6:30 P.M. then why should I come in at 6 A.M. or 7? Because society says I should? We live in a modern day world with modern day technology. The world should work 24 hours a day not just between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Welcome Back

"You know that channel that just shows a burning yule log?"

"Which one? The one the cable company offers? The Roku app one? The two or three that every other streaming service has? Are you casting a yule log from YouTube? Does it play instrumental Christmas music or is it just the fire crackling and popping?"

Maybe that's all Chip watched while he was recovering. "Look at this yule log. It actually shows the log burning up. You can see pieces of the bark burn and fall off."

"Honey, maybe you should go back to doing your little comics...?"

"They just burn and fall off. So realistic..."

Sunday, December 26, 2021

That Candle Is Awful Close To That Wreath

Small Wonder debuted in syndication on September 7, 1985. It was a reasonably popular series running for four seasons and 96 episodes. Its popularity was probably due to it being very kid-friendly for those coming home after school. Despite this, Small Wonder is considered one of the worst sitcoms ever by just about everyone. The premise is simple but stupid. Engineer Ted Lawson (Dick Christie) invents a robot that looks exactly like a young girl in order to help disabled children. He takes it home for some reason and hijinks ensue every week. The robot's name is Vicki (a variation of the robot's description Voice Input Child Indenticant, or V.I.C.I.) and it speaks in a monotone voice, has no emotions, but is able to do a multitude of different things, some lasting only for one episode.

Small Wonder was created by Howard Leeds and starred Dick Christie, Marla Pennington, Jeremy Supiran, Emily Schulman, and Tiffany Bissette. Let's go over the pilot episode. Some commentary here also appeared in an issue of Gyrbynerjk. You can watch the pilot for yourself here.

This is quite possibly the worst theme song I've ever heard. It's a syrup concoction of insipid words that attempts to explain the premise of the show but fails miserably because the premise of the show is utterly stupid.
Why is he eating outside? Do they not allow food in the building?

Now wait a minute. Jamie just gave a soliloquy about how he wishes he had someone to play with--a brother or sister--and someone actually comes over to play and he slams the door in her face.

"Harriet deserves it. She's a pill and she's nosy. What a waste of womanhood." I guess we can check off those boxes on the male child character personality checklist. He hates school. He talks about sex. He complains about women. He's whiny about everything.

He at least eats his vegetables.

So Ted, the guy that can't eat at work, comes home and is upset that his boss didn't want to talk about his weird child-like robotic sex helper doll. Ted believes this could be a world-changing invention. I mean, I get it but I find realistic robots disturbing and even more so when they are girl-child slave robots.
I'm sure Tiffany Bisette loved being able to be mocked by someone just holding up a CPR dummy.

Ted is given permission to work on his robot at home so we fade back in this guy has a little girl laying down on a chest in the bedroom and he's telling her to blink her eyes and wiggle her nose. Anyway, the newly-coined Vicki is now ready to be foisted upon an unsuspecting family. Being TV characters, I feel they take this better than they would in real life.
Joan: "You're putting us on. That's a real kid, right?" Ted: "No, no. It's a robot." So it's not technically illegal, says some pervert in the YouTube comments.

The next day, Jaime (Jamie?) wakes up and lets Vicki out of some weird toy chest/closet. "We've got work to do," he exclaims to Vicki before telling her to pick up his dirty clothes before saying he'll show her how to make his bed. The laugh track finds this hilarious because "Why can't he pick up his own crap? Ha ha!" but this is exactly how Vicki is supposed to work. It is supposed to be a robotic housekeeper. Everything Ted said about Vicki helping disabled kids or teaching is a pipe dream. We all know what something like Vicki will be used for.
Despite not mentioning it at any point before now, it's Ted and Joan's anniversary so Jamie and Vicki go downstairs to make them some breakfast in bed. Harriet comes over and wants to know who the new, weird girl is. Vicki is Jamie's cousin but it takes a few minutes to actually get to that because Jamie has to offer that Vicki is his sister first. What? Why?
I do like Harriet's hair.

Anyway, Jamie slams the door in Harriet's face again and it's time to go serve Ted and Joan their breakfast--which consists of bowls of cereal and grapefruit. There were going to be eggs but Vicki crushed the eggs and ruined them. I don't know why Jamie has to explain where their bedroom is to Vicki. She was created there so should know where it is.

Let's see how Ted and Joan are celebrating this anniversary on this beautiful morning.
Ted's reading an instruction manual. I don't know how Joan's panties haven't flown off yet. After complaining about 11 years of inconvenience, Ted does roll on top of Joan but are then interrupted by Vicki who wishes them a happy anniversary from her and Jamie and then throws the tray of food at them.
This is definitely the funniest part of the episode. Jamie, and Vicki, are sent to his room as punishment. I don't know why. It's not Jamie's fault Vicki misunderstood the command. I feel that's on Ted.

Jamie believes that if he gets his parents an anniversary present then he won't be in trouble anymore. "Dad sleeps late on Saturday so I'll be back before they wake up." What? They were just awake. Vicki threw breakfast at them.

Jamie puts Vicki in the closet and goes to a store and buys some sort of glass dish. Vicki, for some reason, arrives at the store, is believed to be a store display, and placed in a closet. Oh, no! How will Jamie and Vicki get out of this predicament?
Vicki tears the door off the hinges and they run home to find Ted and Joan waiting for them. "Why did you take Vicki out of the house?" Ted asks. "I didn't. I put her in my closet. I don't know why she followed me," is what Jamie should've said but doesn't. Jamie gives his parents his gift and he and Vicki are once again banished to Jamie's bedroom.
Upset at Vicki, Jamie banishes her to the closet but then feels bad. I don't know why. Jamie is one of the few 80s sitcom kids that's innocent. Vicki's the bad one. Anyway, Jamie apologizes, Vicki rips the door off the closet. "I can see I'm going to have nothing but trouble with you," Jamie says, rolling his eyes.

"Trouble," Vicki monotones and smiles.
So Vicki is going to kill us all. And this is the last thing we'll see before we die.

She's a small wonder, lovely and bright with soft curls. She's a small wonder, a child unlike other girls. She's a miracle, and I grant you, she'll enchant you at first sight...

Sherman's Lagoon
There are an awful lot of Boxing Day themed comics today. I'm not sure why other than it's December 26 and a Sunday so there's more room to talk about it. None of the comics get Boxing Day correct though.

There are also a decent-sized number of comics making jokes about supply chain issues and riling up the people in the comments. I don't know why you would want to take an issue as politically volatile and complex as supply chain issues and condense it into a eight-panel comic strip but you do you, I guess.

I don't why Peter had to read B.C.'s note either but, again, you do you.

Dark Side of the Horse
O...kay...Is there a reason the characters are drawn in Don Martin's style? It's great that you're a fan, Kerplotznik, but this was jarring.

Nothing like giving your mother the gift of pornography to warm the cockles of your heart.

The Family Circus
Why are all these stuffed animals so nightmare-ish? I'd stick with the older stuffed animal, you know, the one I've already conquered, too.

Gasoline Alley
Oh, no you don't. I rang in a new year back in 2021 and 2020 and both years turned out to be crap. No more new years. We should've stopped counting back in 2020. It should technically be March 666, 2020.

The Born Loser
I am happy to report that the three Matt Damon/Jason Bourne movies (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) are all available to stream this year, unlike back in 2019. The first two are on HBO Max and the third is on Peacock.

If these two streaming services owned by massive global conglomerates would like to give me a few bucks for maybe throwing some viewers their way, they or even you can buy me a cup of coffee over on Ko-fi.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

And Then He Made a Honking Noise and Danced Out of the Room

They did the same date thing I complained about yesterday.

I really hope Brutus got his wife and mother-in-law something more than just candy and nuts. I didn't comment on whether or not candy and nuts is a decent gift back in 2018 but I'm going to now. If candies and nuts is all that Brutus got the two most important women in his life, then that really pales in comparison to the, oh, let's just say, hand-crafted, engraved golf clubs that he got for Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Save the Date

In these reruns, they've removed the handwritten date that Chip put in the gutter and replaced it with a typed date somewhere in the panel, here, in the first panel under the fireplace. So far, none of the dates have matched up so it makes sense to replace them. This is the first strip where the date lines up--this strip first appeared December 24, 2018 and is being printed again December 24, 2021. But they still removed the 12/24 date from the gutter and typed it in anyway.

Anyway, the real gift isn't a gift at all. It's pointless attention to detail. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Billion With a B

They are not necessarily remaking "The Six Million Dollar Man". It's going to be a movie "The Six Billion Dollar Man" where Mark Wahlberg, as of this writing, has to repay the government for fixing his legs, arm, and eye--thanks, government!--after surviving a plane crash. The movie has been in development hell since 2014 so your guess as to when it is coming out is as good as mine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

What the Duck?

Maybe it's not too late to get someone else to close the Creterman sale. I don't know why you send the person who cost you the account back in 2009 but that's not my problem.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Wilberforce Really Aged In the Last Panel

School day is still the same length. Even the day is the same length. It's just the shortest amount of sunlight. Thankfully, the days are going to start getting longer and soon we'll be out of this godforsaken season known as winter.

Not that it's really been acting like winter around here.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Bonus II

I wouldn't be too upset about missing out on the bonuses. The other employees got a bonus but the bonus was deducted from their paycheck.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Why Does This Santa Stuff Seem New To Wilberforce?

Mary MacLane was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on May 1, 1881. At an early age, her family helped found Fergus Falls, Minnesota. After her father died, Mary's mother married a family friend and they moved to Montana, eventually settling in Butte. Mary began writing for her school newspaper in 1898.

In 1901, shortly after high school at the age of 19, Mary MacLane wrote her first book, The Story of Mary MacLane, published by Herbert S. Stone & Co. It sold very well and was very influential to young women although more conservative outlets criticized it. The book was raw, honest, self-aware, and extreme, even by today's standards. She wrote honestly about her life, even about her love life, egotism, and bisexuality and lesbianism. Her second book, My Friend Annabel Lee, was a modest success but not as notable as her first book. She continued to write article through the early 20th Century. In 1918, she wrote and starred in a silent film, The Men Who Made Love To Me, about her life and six love affairs. The film is now considered lost.

Her last book, I, Mary MacLane: A Diary of Human Days, was published in 1917 and may have sold well but was probably overshadowed by the United States' entry into World War I. She used the money she made from her books and other writings to travel the country living her Bohemian lifestyle. It's rumored that MacLane was a partner or even spouse to editor and writer Harriet Monroe.

On August 6, 1929, MacLane was found dead in a Chicago rooming house of "unknown causes" at the age of 48. Below is one of her essays, published in her third book, I, Mary MacLane.

My Damns                                by Mary MacLane

I bear the detailed infliction of being a person with a tired mixture of patience and indifference and scorn.

I say on Monday, Damn the ache in my left foot: on Tuesday, Damn that rattling window--I hate it: on Wednesday, Damn this yellow garter--it's too tight: on Thursday, Damn my futile life: on Friday, Damn the solitude: on Saturday, Damn these thoughts: on Sunday, Damn my two dresses.

But I pronounce each day's Damn in a half-perfunctory half-preoccupied tone, more from duty and fitness than from conviction. I intently mean each Damn, but the scornful indifferent patience which is my spirit-essence leavens each one. I swear at my life's perversities with only a fatigued contempt due partly to bodily fragileness but mostly to a cold continently reckless mood which is clasped on me like a strong stupefied devil-fish. In this mood I should murmur the same gelded Damn if I found myself penniless and foodless in strange streets: if I became suddenly deaf: if my Body were being lashed with whips or raped by a Mexican bandit. I should murmur the same worn Damn if I were this moment on a gallows with the rope around my neck and life were dearly madly precious.

I mark that with my musing regrets. I remember in the strong young furies of eighteen each new day of my life was filled with passionate poetic blasphemy, protests and rebellions of youth. Those were not tired, not acquiescent, not indifferent to slings-and-arrows, but firey-blooded quick-pulsed breathless brave young Damns.

There is splendor in being brave in a fighting attitude, but in being brave through indifference there is no splendor.

But it is only toward calamity and adversity and worldly untowardness that I feel indifferent. Fighting blood is stirred in me if not against the hated things then for the loved things. I could fight and I could die, and love it, to save poet-lusters, poet-fineness, poet-beauty from the world's flat griefs. In that, which I feel warm and real and sparkling in my blood, in some splendor for me.

--and also I could die for my country: and there is fighting hatred stirred in me against its foes--

But in poetry there is nothing that evokes a lusty curse against its vulgar adversaries. Poetry floats too high upon its dazzling wings. I get delicately drunk from watching it till I can see the wings' Gold Shadow touch its foes and magically split them into dust-atoms.

So then the morale of my Damns remains perfunctory.

But they are apt and useful. They fit into the nervous rhythms of my life. They mark time in my spirit's flawed action. I begin each day with a Damn of sorts. I end each day with a Damn of sorts. At midday sometimes it's, 'Damn the terrifying ignorance of people.' In the dusk a deep-felt Damn of the blood. In the night another. And at my late eating time a negligible Damn.

A wonderful word, Damn. It means enough and not too much. It means everything in life, and roundly nothing.

Without Damn my day would lack tone. Damn richly justifies each pronouncement of itself in word-value, substance-value and musical resonance. It harms nobody and it helps me. It destroys nothing and it strengthens me. It damages my annoyances and mends me somewhat.

But--perfunctory, desultory, tiredly insolent, it would be thrilling to think the hot fire would sometime be back in my Damns. Better that than Youth's faith in my dreams. Better that than the jeune-fille beauty in my hair. Better than even Youth's ichor in my veins: Youth's fire in my Damns--

But there is dearness in this mood, which is indifferent and scornful and slightingly patient, though it wants splendor. Let my Damns be always brave, always contemptuous of disaster to me, and they will be first-water value though their kind alter never-so.

News and Notes of Movieland by Daisy Dean, a syndicated column
talking about young Hollywood. This article, reviewing Men Who Have
Made Love To Me
, appeared in the Hutchinson News in 1918.
Dennis the Menace
What's the point? I've read this comic strip most of my life. Dennis'll just leave the clothes on the floor, too.

Earl doesn't have to take this. If Earl wants to howl then either let him howl or he'll start a pissing contest a la Libby in Mary Worth.

Mark Trail
Oh, no! Mark Trail has snapped! He's going to start burning down corporations until they end their dependency on fossil fuels. How is anyone going to stop him?

Mark apparently hasn't heard that Elon Musk and/or Jeff Bezos is going to save us. They are going to help get all of us into space to either live in Earth's orbit or to colonize Mars. I'm sure we'll take good care of whichever situation we're placed in. I mean, Mars already have a lot fewer trees.

Arlo and Janis
Is...Is Janis dead and Arlo is now just a shadow of his former self seeing his dearly departed wife in places she used to always be? Or is Arlo just a sexist ass who thought "She's a woman and women belong in the kitchen"?

The Born Loser
You can't just bring up magic and elves and say "Santa has to watch his budget" when your kid wants more stuff. Santa has no budget, he and the elves make all the presents themselves. Just tell your kids when they want more stuff from Santa that they're being greedy little pigs. Santa Magic can't fix that.

Stay safe this holiday season. Get vaccinated, get boostered, get tested, and wear a mask. Do your part to keep everyone safe and healthy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

The Special Wasn't Going To Be Good Anyway

Is that a dress she is wearing or an apron? If it's apron then she needs some tchotchkes to put on it. At least 10 pieces but we'd prefer 25.

Friday, December 17, 2021


I agree, Brutus. I got my two coffees today. This week should've ended three days ago. Once I got hit with fart spray on Tuesday, I was done for the week.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Does *squints at nametag* Billy Get a Commission?

That is way too much for a kid's remote control truck, even three years later. That's the price for a R/C vehicle that dedicated hobbyists use. For that price, you can literally get Wilberforce a vehicle he can ride around in.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Yet You Make No Effort To Improve Yourself

Why is Brutus looking at the reader? Is this some sort of documentary a la The Office? If so, why'd they choose a company with so many unattractive people?

Monday, December 13, 2021

Back In Time

2018? We've gone even further back in time!

We are now at strips I have already commented on. Instead of coming up with new stuff, I'm just going to link to the original post. There's no reason I should do the same job twice--and three years later.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

If They Can Rerun Comic Strips, I Can Rerun Commentary

It's time once again to check in on my nemesis Captain Kid. What is interesting about Captain Kid is that he looks different in every appearance. Did they just hand off the story to whatever artist was available or was there a regular artist who didn't really know what they were looking for in Captain Kid? We'll probably never know. According to the Digital Comics Museum, Al Liederman did most of the writing and art but I don't know how accurate that is.

This story first appeared in Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel Adventures #12 (June 1942) and features Captain Kid and his nameless girlfriend at the circus and Captain Kid trying to prove he's better than all these professionals. Here's hoping he dies!

Captain Kid does look like he belongs in the circus. He has the same forearm/leg condition that Popeye has but it has apparently affected his head as well.

This circus just lets anyone perform? Things must not have been as regulated back then.

That even lower-rent Butch Matson seems to love the trapeze artist.

You failed. Miserably. And hilariously.

Your hands slipped? Was it because of or despite of the gloves you wear for some reason?

Horse, you had one job!

Crackshot? Why are you closing your eyes? Don't tell me the loud bang scares the great Captain Kid!

Look at that carny, he's seen some stuff. Or the cocaine at this circus hits differently.

Everybody changes their look in this comic. On every page, Captain Kid looks different.

In fairness, that's a pretty good shot to just shoot the pants and not the underwear or ass itself. I say give him the doll. *squints* On second thought, maybe it's just badly colored. Don't give him the doll.

Are you just going to ignore that elephant wearing glasses?

Captain Kid couldn't even ride a horse but you expect him to subdue a gorilla? You are putting an awful lot of pressure on this mediocre white kid.

And I am not ignoring that of-the-times-but-still-very-wrong racism in the second panel. There's no reason for him to be there except for the idea that "scared Black caricatures are funny". That kind of humor may have worked in the Captain Marvel stories with Steamboat but this is Captain Kid. Nothing's funny.

On second thought, it didn't work and wasn't funny in Captain Marvel either.

Glamourboy's size seems to fluctuate with each panel. When we meet him he's about the size of three Captain Kids but here he can easily wrap his hand around Unnamed Girlfriend.

Captain Kid. Our hero.

I would definitely change that name. Torro Pedo? I understand the name play but Pedo? Really?

I'm going to start calling Captain Kid Mister Kid from now on. Or maybe Dumbass.

What the hell is that? I almost want to call that a racist caricature, too. But of what? Spanish? Italian? Jewish? Romani?

"I'm gonna grow a pair and show that gorilla what-for! But not really."

That ended quickly.

So Glamourboy was just sitting on that, what, petting Unnamed Girlfriend? She should stick with the gorilla, Mister Kid's a dud.

Defense bonds? You can shove your propaganda in a sack, mister. What was the circus doing to try to capture Glamourboy? Nothing? Because it looked like nothing.

What was with the elephant in the glasses?

panels from Barney Google and Snuffy Smith
I like to imagine that the Christmas gifts Snuffy is purchasing here and wants wrapped are just normal items. A box of baking mix, a box of macaroni and cheese, and a Marie Callendar TV dinner.

Hi and Lois
Your youngest daughter does not take after their older siblings. Trixie's hair comes from Lois, everything else clearly comes from Hi, just like Chip, Dot, and Ditto. And instead of laughing at Trixie's wet nose, get a tissue and clean the damn thing.

panel from Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Fairmount, Indiana to Saline, Michigan is only a three hour drive. I've known people who drove a lot further for a lot less.

The Born Loser
I've already commented on this strip so I'm just going to copy what I had two years ago. City chicken is kind of a poor meal, just throwing meat together and cooking it. Maybe Brutus' aversion to it stems from him growing up so poor that city chicken is all that his mother made. Brutus isn't going back to his city chicken days. He can't. He won't.

If you would like to support my writing or research, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi.