I'm leavin' Castor Oyl up there because I like him and because the blogging site was down this morning, so I had to hit some other deadlines and come back to this later. And that's pretty much what I looked like, which is why, if you tuned in earlier, that's who you saw.
All better now.
And so Non Sequitur sets the mood for the last day of the year, because I'm despairing of intelligent conversations.
"Don't read the comments" has long been a rule for those bright enough to know what a "conversation" sounds like in the real world, and socially adept enough to have been included in a few.
However, while that's wise when you are reading an article in the Washington Post or Atlantic, the rule fails in a place like Facebook, where the comments are not just appended to the content but are the content.
And I still laugh at this Jeff Danziger cartoon from 2005, but it was a lot funnier then than it is now that tiresome old drunks have pretty much taken over the place.
Though it's not all them.
I don't know if Putin is still paying trolls, but it would be even scarier to think there are people posting such nonsensical opinions and making such fools of themselves in public for free.
It's hard to believe anyone could be smart enough to know how to use a keyboard and yet silly enough to post such idiocy, because it suggests a level of mental health that could wind up undermining our democracy.
But here's the thing: Whether the person is a troll or a fool, it's pointless to argue with them because either they're purposely disrupting conversation or they're honestly too stupid and illogical to be persuaded by reasoning and evidence.
Either way, you're wasting time, bandwidth and brain cells.
And if the back-and-forth goes on for very long, I start to feel like one of the mean kids in the junior high cafeteria, needlessly picking on a kid who has no social skills and no friends.
In any case, I had a friend in Maine whom I had known in college but who had since veered far to the right, and we really did have an agreement to speak only of our dogs and of football.
Glad I moved away before this latest campaign hit the fan.
Doc and Raider gets more prescriptive and more specific on the topic, and probably more realistic as well, since I could make a New Year's Resolution to avoid engaging trolls and fools, but it would not last out the weekend.
My father once spoke of crouching behind a fence because life keeps throwing pies in your face, but then straightening up for a look to see if they were still there.
Whereupon you learn again that there is always another pie.
His point was not that you shouldn't look.
It was that you shouldn't be surprised.
Which is an excellent reason to listen to Raider's advice.
And speaking of Canadian cartoonists, Gary Clement has an alphabetical memorial to the year, of which is this merely a snippet, which stands out not only because he managed to find a full alphabet of things without cheating, and not only because so many of them are from this side of the border, but because, for the most part, his couplets not only rhyme but scan.
Scansion in cartoons is rare enough that I almost don't give a damn about the topic or the point of view. Just for god's sake let me read it without thinking of that poor fellow, Dan.
Incidentally, Pierre Elliott Trudeau famously said that living next door to the United States was like sleeping with an elephant, in that you were aware of every twitch.
However, Mike Luckovich comes up with a different application of the metaphor. Completely different.
I like the gag, but I disagree with him on a graphic point: Anyone who has had both a lover and a cat or a dog knows that there's a big difference between the pet curling up at the foot of the bed and the pet plunking itself down right smack dab between you.
That elephant is preventing neither hanky nor panky. Should have drawn it at the foot of the bed, Mike.
Which reminds me of another friend from college, this one a good-looking, would-be Latin lover who appeared on campus one Monday with his arm bound up in a sling.
He had met a beautiful woman and they had enjoyed a romantic candlelight dinner at her apartment, then did the dishes together, after which she went off into the bedroom to slip into something more comfortable while Jorge took the garbage out to the alley.
Or started to, in any case.
Seems her husky assumed he was stealing it, objected, and ripped his arm open from elbow to wrist.
Despite the stitches and pain, Jorge was philosophical about it all: "It's a good thing he didn't see what was going to happen later," he said.
And I'd rather have that over-anxious husky around right now than that stupid, purring toothless little elephant.
Adam Zyglis offers a fairly extensive collection of his 2016 cartoons, which not only re-cap the year very well but remind us that, when Tom Toles departed the Buffalo News for DC, they did a pretty good job of filling his shoes.
I like Zyglis's artwork and there's some good opinionating in here, too. I had trouble choosing one to feature here.
May auld acquaintance and Pringles be forgot ...
There is nobody with whom I would rather spend New Year's Eve than Agnes and Trout. I hope Trout brought enough spoons.
Now here's a moment of zen to wake up that elephant ...
Well, we all know he's lion ... including about that mane