This began with the story of the kid who was attempting an around-the-world flying record but died, along with his father, in the Pacific.
It reminded me of the 1996 story of Jessica Dubroff, who was admittedly ten years younger than this 17-year-old when her -- or her parents' -- attempt to set a youngest-pilot record ended in tragedy.
This sent me off to the on-line archives to find an editorial I had ghosted back then:
So now comes the comics part: As I was clipping that editorial, which (except for a redundant clause I wish I could have back) I stand by, I noticed that the editor had paired it with this Doug Marlette panel:
So I decided to snag that as well. I liked Marlette and wish he were still around and working, and it's also a good cartoon that echoes what I wrote. Comic-and-text editorial page pairings are not always so congruent.
Then I looked down at the Doonesbury on the bottom of the page and was amused by the coincidence of Zonker going off to a Con just as I'm going to lose a portion of my readership to the zany hijinks in San Diego.
Which would be more strikingly coincidental if it were, say, 25 years ago instead of 18, and were a to-the-day anniversary rather than what is -- given that it has nothing to do with young pilots falling to their deaths -- kind of random.
So I went back to the Internets and pulled down the stuff from July 24, 1989, which is 25 years ago today and which I present for your amusement:
Was Pat Oliphant a little less angry in those days, or is this just a chance to stick a humorous pin in a particularly obnoxious politician?
Well, any time the Milk-Snatcher got poked, I was happy. The best part of Margaret Thatcher was her ever-quotable husband Denis, who remarked of the press: "Avoid telling them to sod off. It makes them cross."
Excellent advice. I had it over my desk in the newsroom.
The Doonesbury from a quarter-century ago was less well preserved, but it's still readable and comes at an interesting moment. Note that this is before the Big Jump, and Mike and JJ are still married. As it happens, the current arc of Doonesbury reruns are about Duke's 1976 arrival in China. Who knew then that pragmatic one-sided romance was in the air?
And here's the rest of my then-employer's comic strip lineup from 25 years ago today:
I was never particularly blown away by the offerings there, and, while most people were then still somewhat captive to the local paper's choices, it was only a short time later that I began to get my comics on-line, where the Houston Chronicle, Philadelphia Daily News and San Jose Mercury had "make your own comics page" offerings.
I had a conversation in 2000 with a syndicate exec who indicated that allowing them to set up these attractive on-line resources had been a major marketing mistake and that no other paper would ever, ever be licensed for such a thing.
Fortunately for the syndicates, all three papers were run by newspaper executives and so systematic blunders trumped momentary errors and each paper, one by one, dropped the advantageous feature for reasons that we'll get into some time when I once more feel the need to hit my head against a wall.
But speaking of father-and-son flying disasters
While we're getting all retrospective here, Dylan Meconis must be getting close to 10 Year Reunion time, given that she was about to graduate from college back in 2005 when she provided illustrations for a mythology series for young people I was doing, which included the story of Dedalus and Icarus.
At least that father had little choice but to send his kid off into the sky, even though the ending was the same.
Now here's your moment of zen
The whole flying thing didn't work out too well for them either.