Back when Ellen Degeneres was a standup, before she became a skinny white Oprah, she had a gag in her act that went, "My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is."
It's not just a great joke, but it's a useful one. I've often used it in discussing, first my very active retired parents, and now my mother who just turned 89 and, while a great deal more sedentary than she was a few years ago, refuses to otherwise be an old lady.
In today's Soup to Nutz, Rick Stromoski launches a joke based on a different conversational assumption but similar in its utility and I am sure fated to become a stolen-and-reused gag in my repetoire.
It's particularly fine because it sticks a pin into the people who peddle the actual "when my grandparents came here" line, a self-important crew that could use a little deflation in general, but particularly because they are so callous and clueless about the broader issues around opportunity in the current economy.
Which is a fine segue to
... today's Kevin & Kell.
I can be fairly cavalier about the economy and the need to take a long-range view of things, mostly because my kids are not simply grown-and-gone but grown-gone-and-graduated.
Boy, how farsighted I was to have them when I was 22 and 26 rather than waiting until the onset of middle age, because I got to go completely broke while I still had a little time to rebuild before declining energy and a cratering economy managed to coincide.
And for those just starting out, it's great that they have the energy to work a couple of jobs in order to make ends meet, but that's going to pretty much guarantee that they'll have to put off kids until middle age, and then they'll be the ones scraping to pay for college when they ought to be off walking five miles a day or traveling unaccompanied to Greece.
In any case, I'm on top of my own situation. As a freelancer for the past four years -- that is, since the crash -- I've had a chance to practice living on not a lot more income than I'll have when I file for Social Security, and a few years to put together a second stream that will more closely equalize my current income with my future prospects.
Because it seems like even retired people have to have at least one job these days.
Nitpicker alert: Apparently, while they have an immediate impact on a variety of native animals due to predation, their displacement of native crawdads would take place over more time and over more than three panels at a time. If you're wondering how they eat and breathe and other science facts, click here.
And speaking of invasive specieseses:
It took me a minute to get today's Speed Bump, and then, as with most deferred laughter, it was that much moreso for the pause.
I've had quite a few conversations with people who -- whether they like them or not -- view cats as an invasive species, and belling the cat, while a useful metaphor, is often a futile gesture in real life, since they learn to stalk without jingling. Your choices are to keep the cat in the house or loose a blight upon the environment.
When I had a cat, it was a retired alleycat who had found his way into a very young son's heart and thus into our house, but who was not interested in the litterbox when he was constitutionally required to make regular inspections of the Great Outdoors anyway.
He kept our house wonderfully free of mice, but I hesitate to speculate on what he was doing outside, besides going to the bathroom.
What I do know is that I'm not big on pets who go to the bathroom in the house. No, not even if they give gallons of fresh, rich, foamy milk. Especially not then.
So I'm glad cows don't really eat birds. Or, at least, stalk-kill-and-eat birds. One should not inquire too deeply into the dietary habits of free-range bossies.
Somebody posted a link on Facebook yesterday to a discussion of the reality of cow-tipping. Talk about a spoiler!
Cow-tipping is not only an ancient and honorable sport that should probably be considered for inclusion in the Olympics, but it remains what it has been for decades: A rich source of entertainment for country folk looking for ways to keep visitors from the city active and outdoors.
And on the topic of nature and animals and such
The greatness of today's Cornered is not that the dogs are wearing glasses. The greatness is that the fact that the dogs are wearing glasses is not in any way remarked upon or emphasized and, moreover, has absolutely nothing at all to do with the gag.
That, my friends, is greatness.
Yeah, I know. Everybody in Cornered wears glasses. Even the dogs. I guess it cracked me up today because the punchline itself was so muted.
Every cartoonist should develop that artistic technique. Call it "DonMartinism."
And now, your infinitely recyclable quote of the day:
From Tom Spurgeon, discussing Stan Lee's (unsuccessful) case against Disney:
It always sounded to me something that would make a lot of sense sitting in a college dorm hallway at 2 AM, but maybe not so much in the courts.
Dude, that's like, the whole Internet.