And a good morning to you, Dean.
I'm pleased to welcome Daylight Saving Time because the dog began sensing it about three weeks ago, I hope. That is, he began pestering me for his dinner a little earlier each day and I hope it's related to the sun because, if so, we'll be back on schedule this afternoon.
He did seem a little surprised when the alarm went off an hour early this morning. He accepted his breakfast like a good hound, but then went right back to sleep without asking to go out or wandering around to see what else might be available.
So we'll see. Meanwhile, you don't really need an alarm clock, as Dean notes, as long as you've got a four-legged pal to let you know when it's breakfast time.
Steppin McFetchit Day
I was planning to save my annual rant for Friday, but Luann touched it off early.
Yes, folks, Steppin McFetchit Day is Friday, and our favorite ditzy blonde is not only looking forward to it but even treads on a particular peeve with her use of "Patty."
I, of course, identify with her father and am bewildered and yet amused by her silliness as intended.
And I don't know how many Patricks anywhere get called "Patty" after they are perhaps two years old, but it certainly doesn't happen in Ireland where the diminutive comes from "Padraig" and is "Paddy."
Irish Catholics were one of the last immigrant groups to assimilate into the American melting pot rather than becoming part of what the Canadians call "the cultural mosaic," though not without some pain and division.
For instance, they started parochial schools in large part to avoid having Protestant theology taught to their children in the public schools.
This following an attempt to separate church and state in which, as Thomas Nast so kindly put it, the little monkey-children were directed by the evil priests to kick the Holy Bible out of public schools with their big clodhopper boots, while waving rosary beads and terrorist flags.
I'm sure Nast would be happy to see that there is such a strong movement afoot to reintroduce Protestant theology in the public sector and to use taxpayer funding to support quasi-public Protestant parochial schools.
The tension within the Irish community between "lace curtain Irish" who were anxious to fit in and "shanty Irish" who were content with who they were was the basis of "Bringing Up Father."
Maggie was a frantic social climber, desperate to be invited to the opera by Count Uptoten, while Jiggs, unashamed of his blue-collar origins, was happy to go down to Dinty's for corned beef and cabbage and a beer or two and to play some poker.
And over the years, St. Patrick's Day, which started out as a somewhat defiant demonstration of ethnic pride, became willing to be accepted on any terms, aided by John Ford's sentimental portrayals of music-hall Irish, a minstrel show in green and if you're so proud of your roots, Seáinín, why'd you change your name from Feeney?
Now even in Dublin, the day has gone from a religious observance to a festival of drunken excess.
When I was in an Irish ballad group in the Eighties, we had a love/hate relationship with March 17, because we'd make more money then than we did playing for ex-pats the rest of the year, but we'd get requests for faux-Irish tunes like "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and "Danny Boy" and have to watch drunks pretend to do jigs.
After the group broke up, I played one last March 17 gig, with the understanding that there'd be no green beer and no plastic derbies handed out, and that I'd play for free if they donated the proceeds to the local food bank.
It was a very pleasant evening and a good chance to quit while I could take some pride in things.
I'm always interested in getting the inside story on how different parts of the comics industry work, but I'm not sure I wanted to know this: Johanna Draper Carlson pulls back the curtain on independent comic book publishing and it's an ugly sight indeed.
It seems a lot of independent publishers don't pay creators until they've made back their costs. There's no advance at all, and no royalties until the project makes a profit.
I'm appalled anyone would offer such an unconscionable deal and also appalled that anyone would accept it.
I understand the desire for exposure, but I remember a writer I met quite early in my career. I said that being published in the campus humor magazine didn't pay but it was a chance to see my name in print, to which he replied, "When I want to see my name in print, I look in the phone book."
I can't say I've never worked for free since, but rarely so and never on anything that involved more than dashing off something light. And I've reviewed books for $5-and-keep-the-book, but only when I was starting out and needed to build a clip file.
Decent treatment of artists is not impossible.
The artists I work with on my children's serials get a small advance and then a cut of the gross. When I had to split with the paper I worked for, it was a third. Now that I'm on my own, it is half.
Sometimes that's a nice income, sometimes things don't work out so well, but the money comes off the top, always.
Anything less is thievery and nobody -- nobody -- should agree to be ripped off.
Much less offer to do it.
Good morning, Spock. Good morning, Dean.
(Until I started going to the Episcopal Church, I thought he'd written this.)