Terri Libenson has a talent for illustrating serious points with ironic humor, and today's Pajama Diaries is a spur towards more in-depth thought. And if Jill's dismissal of her own talent with "I got lucky" is the germ of the problem, I did get lucky in that Terri provided enough of a clue that I was able to find her source without needing a footnote.
I would suggest that not only is the study large enough to be valid, but they asked a lot of the right questions and have a wide array of factors for us to ponder, some of which seem insoluable, others of which we should be ashamed for allowing to fester.
And fester they have, not just for years but for decades.
As it happens, I'm reading "The Getting of Wisdom" at the moment, a classic 1910 Australian roman a clef about a young, somewhat poor country girl sent off to a boarding school in Melbourne where she discovers a nest of what her great-great-grandchildren would call "mean girls" and mostly learns not how to overcome it, but how to adapt and survive by fitting in and going along rather than by standing out and being creative and smart and different.
The Kindle version is free and, since the author is dead and there's no translation to wish were more up-to-date, you'd be silly to pay for a copy.
And you'd be wiser for having read it.
Juxtaposition of the Day
One of the frequent topics of conversation among dog owners at the park is whether modern dogs are less healthy than they were a generation or two ago or whether we're just more indulgent.
That is, we've got dogs having $4,000 surgery on their ACLs who I am sure, in an earlier age, would have either been left to limp or would have been put down.
And perhaps dogs die of cancer these days because they weren't left to wander out on the highway and get killed before they were old enough to get sick.
Or maybe they're more vulnerable to these things than in the past, but I can tell you this for sure:
When I was a kid, anybody who referred to their dog as a "fur baby" would have been locked up for their own protection.
And the food thing today is completely out of control.
I feed my dog IAMS, which is a premium compared to Purina Dog Chow or Pedigree, but hardly on a par with the gourmet stuff that is out there for people who are convinced their dogs need meat or need to be vegetarian or need a fish diet or need to avoid gluten.
The advantage of IAMS is that the dog produces smaller, dryer stools that are easier to pick up. So it comes down to the fact that he doesn't care and it benefits me.
I can't speak to cats because the only cat I ever had was an alley cat one of the boys brought home. We fed him regular cat food and he ate it without a lot of comment, and, if he didn't like what was on the menu, he'd go outside and get his own dinner.
The thing is, I'm not going to spend a lot of time trying to second-guess and cater to the dietary preferences of a dog whose olfactory abilities allow him to track someone three days later and who can pick out odors at a level of four parts per trillion but who then puts that magical nose right up to the butt of a dog I can smell from six feet away.
And who seems to spend an inordinate amount of time licking his own crotch.
Though I guess I'd like to see Rachael Ray come out with a Deelish variety in those flavors.
You blew it, Olive
There's a new Thimble Theater adventure beginning over at King Feature's Vintage section, this one from the very end of 1931, and it's certainly the first time I've heard talk of marriage between Popeye and Olive Oyl.
Perhaps there will be others, but I can't help but wonder if Olive ever looks back on this moment and kicks herself with those button-up gunboats of hers.
Reginald Perrin, Master Spy
British cartoonists are having some fun with the odd but not particularly funny story of the Russian journalist who faked his own assassination and then popped back into public view alive and well. Even his family thought the press conference was being called to announce a breakthrough in the murder investigation.
Grim as the motivation for this spectacular stunt was, it must surely have reminded at lot of British folks and PBS watchers over here of the Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, a 1976 BBC sitcom about a corporate cog who grew despondent with life, faked his own suicide and then thought better of it and attempted to sneak back into his old role in disguise.
You can find the entire thing on YouTube and I'll probably pop it up over the sink and do dishes to it for awhile, at least through the first season, since I felt it wandered off and lost focus later on. (Which I thought only happened to American sitcoms)
In any case, here's an early clip from before he sort of killed himself.
And I'd forgotten how his boss's "I didn't get where I am today ..." worked its way into my vocabulary back then, in part because it was brilliant and also because, by that point, I'd already worked for a CJ or two.
Which I suppose is what made it so brilliant for everyone.