First, three Halloween arcs worth noting which are wrapping up today, so I've provided links to their starting points.
Deflocked has been doing an extended "Christmas Carol" knockoff with the Great Pumpkin in the role of Jacob Marley and the guardian ghosts. Funny stuff all along and well-worth clicking to, but today's pay-off strip was killer-diller.
Meanwhile, there's no way to show the strip without spoilering Caulfield's annual costume puzzle, but Frazz fans will have already been following it anyway and this bit of wisdom is certainly worth pointing out.
A beautiful refutation of those who unwittingly follow Mark Twain's rule that a classic is a book everyone praises but nobody reads. And a good excuse to link back to a favorite column I once wrote proving just that: Here's to you, Mrs. Olsen and to faux literature experts everywhere.
Agnes merits praise simply for getting references to a farmer choking his chickens into the comics page four days in a row.
Bonus points for the chickens being legless, which, while not a particularly fine-tuned use of that bit of UK slang, is a nice counterpoint to the joke about the fellow who managed to breed chickens with four drumsticks but who didn't know if they tasted good because he'd never been able to catch one.
To which I offer this poignant salute from Carla Thomas's father, and I say "poignant" because it is a word I've noticed people using a lot lately with no particular relevance to what it means. Anyway, here's Carla's old man, whose work I have always adored:
(Oh, damn. Change of plans! I found a clip
that's too long to stick in the middle of a post
but too good to skip. Keep reading,
then don't miss it at the end.)
And on another rant entirely
Channeling Arlo, or maybe I'm not. Depends on whether he's asking for a better system or dissing the entire idea. If it's the latter, I'm with him.
I've quit following college football, though the insistence of fans that they need a playoff system is only a part of the reason. The fact that a team can have a .500 season and still go to the "Fred's Laundromat and Tanning Booth Bowl" is another part.
But when I hear fans and commentators arguing over the merits of the playoff system they were finally given, I go into full Old Man Ranting status.
1. Of course it doesn't work. Football isn't basketball, where you can play every other day or so. A real playoff system for football would be longer than the season itself.
2. No you don't "need" a playoff system. What you "need" is to get a grip.
The whole point of the college rankings was to give fans something to argue over. The 1966 Notre Dame/MSU 10-10 tie not only got everyone through the off-season, but sparked Duffy Daugherty's immortal line "A tie is like kissing your sister."
Not to mention his story about getting a letter addressed simply to "Duffy the Dope, East Lansing, Michigan." He said he didn't mind the fan feeling that way, but he was upset that the post office knew where to deliver it.
The whole point of "The National Championship" was that you had one poll of sportswriters and another poll of coaches and so, even before you got down to the merits of the teams, you could quarrel over which poll was more accurate.
We didn't need ESPN to lay it out for us, either. When the stadium announcer said that, say, Nebraska was beating USC, there would be microseconds of mental calculation in the stands before the chant went up "We're Number One!" because if USC lost, that meant that since they'd already beaten Ohio State and Michigan beat Nebraska, then ... well, never mind. We understood it.
And "We're Number One!" didn't mean "We're very good," dammit. It meant "We're Number One" and if the next week's polls didn't agree, that was great because then we'd have one more thing to argue about.
Damn stadiums don't even have any real grass anymore for me to yell at the kids to get off of.
"Get off the blue plastic carpet!" just doesn't do it.
And then there's this:
Please make it stop. I was tempted to assemble all the "Democrats in hazmat suits to avoid Obama" cartoons and "Obama in a hazmat suit to avoid decisions" cartoons and "Kids trick-or-treating in hazmat suits" cartoons and ... well, you get the idea.
I thought better of it. This will have to do.
But, look: I know a lot of cartoonists don't look at each other's work because they're afraid it will influence their own, and I get that.
There is, however, a point at which you are simply choosing to remain ignorant of what is going on in your own industry. The damn things are still coming -- I saw a fresh "Democrats in hazmat suits to avoid Obama" this morning.
Come on, man. If you don't know the difference between a clean slate and an empty mind, I can't help you.
So I offer this "No, Dear," panel in lieu of the cartoon Daryl Cagle threatened us with on Facebook but then didn't draw:
So, here's the cartoon idea: bunch of trick-or-treaters at the doorstep all dressed in hazmat suits, lady says - "Ooh, Ebola, so scary" kid says, "No, we're dressed like all the matching editorial cartoons they made us read in school last week."
Read this one instead:
Jim Morin nails it. And if you look back through his GoComics archives, he has not drawn any hazmat suits.
He doesn't have to.
Okay, now here's Rufus: