Ted Rall plays with something that I also pondered the other day, when I heard that we'd killed the Number Two man in ISIS.
I like his take, which proves that criticism can be both pointed and funny, and is more in the line of "things haven't changed" than a direct attack on the particular president, which I bring up mostly because of the times Obama has been attacked from the right for things his conservative predecessors got a pass on.
Ted puts the blame on both presidents, and I'm good with that, though the real point is that they are rubber-stamping rather than leading. I streamed the Frontline special "Losing Iraq" the other day and it's ironic that the people who bleat and weep over how the liberal media and the liberal Congress won't let the military do its job were apparently so unaware of how the Cheney administration's ideology and politics handcuffed the people who knew how to handle these things.
Which is to say, it's one thing to "hire the right people and get out of their way" and another thing to turn a blind eye while the ill-considered agendas of your own political hacks steer critical policy.
In any case, hearing that news story reminded me of the playing cards handed out during the invasion and the breathless countdown as we dutifully ticked them off, and made me wonder how many of them we ever caught.
But at least they were real people with real names and faces.
Hearing about yet another dead #2 man in ISIS made me think that, as Ted suggests, I would no more want to be made the #2 man in ISIS or al Qaeda than I would want to sit in that swiveling eggshell chair in the Prisoner.
Thank you for your loyal service
A lot of Retail gags are specific to the industry, but others are more generally targeted and boy-oh-boy have I seen this in a variety of forms.
There is a certain type of manager who feels he's not doing his job unless he's fixing a problem. This sort of person can't imagine that maybe there isn't a problem and, as shown here, will by-gawd find one.
Meanwhile, his report to HQ highlights his capable management. Many a Marla has remained in obscurity while her boss took the credit, all the time micromanaging and fiddling with her to keep her insecure and working twice as hard as necessary.
As for her wisdom in the final panel, I quickly learned to come into the daily newsroom meeting with a couple of stories on my agenda.
The rule was, indeed, "if you don't have something to do, I'll give you something to do" and it was hard enough to escape bad assignments without inviting them.
Good management, of course, wants to hear from employees, as today's PC & Pixel notes, and I would guess that "complaints" would have been labeled "suggestions" but for a perceived need to further clarify the message.
The message being that there is no difference between a "suggestion" and a "complaint."
As this Catch-22 passage I've quoted before says, not everyone understands that:
'I want someone to tell me,' Lieutenant Scheisskopf beseeched them all prayerfully. 'If any of it is my fault, I want to be told.'
'He wants someone to tell him,' Clevinger said.
'He wants everyone to keep still, idiot,' Yossarian answered.
'Didn't you hear him?' Clevinger argued.
'I heard him,' Yossarian replied. 'I heard him say very loudly and very distinctly that he wants every one of us to keep our mouths shut if we know what's good for us.'
'I won't punish you,' Lieutenant Scheisskopf swore.
'He says he won't punish me,' said Clevinger.
'He'll castrate you,' said Yossarian.
'I swear I won't punish you,' said Lieutenant Scheisskopf. 'I'll be grateful to the man who tells me the truth.'
'He'll hate you,' said Yossarian. 'To his dying day he'll hate you.'
Some people have to learn from experience. The smart ones learn from other people's experiences.
My life has pretty much been a mixture. It's not that you become wiser with age, it's just that you start running out of new ways to screw up.
Which is why they say there's no fool like an old fool: Once you can't blame inexperience anymore, the central problem becomes kind of obvious.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Another advantage of growing old is that you can tell jokes that are new to your audience and that make the rest of us do a little Googling of our own, and then some math and then some sighing because damn but we're old.
This first iteration of the gag played in 1978, which was 37 years ago and my older son just turned 43 this week and so I'm pretty sure he remembers it from that big domed theater and they should have more of those but these days movie theaters are just a buncha damn walk-in closets ...
Sorry. Drifted off for a moment.
Anyway, so, yeah, I've got a kid old enough to remember this and he's got a daughter about to turn 19, so I guess theirs are the demographics in Dustin and mine is the one in Lola. Swell.
I have no idea if she's seen the movie -- my granddaughter, that is, not Lola -- but when I was her age, 37 years ago would have been ...
Well, "Shanghai Express" was the one with Marlene Dietrich, not Madonna, who was in "Shanghai Surprise," which is now 29 years old, and which only she remembers though I'll bet she's trying to forget it, too, and it also wasn't "Shanghai Noon" with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson which is all of 16 years old, so that my granddaughter who is now of voting age would only know it because it's on cable about twice a week.
Meanwhile, a pair of my more-or-less contemporaries have a new movie coming out this week in which they play a pair of clueless old farts.
Now here's your 37-years-old-when-I-was-19 Oscar winner