Everything I need to know, I learned from the funny papers

Confession: I’m 52 years old, and I still read the comic strips first when I get the Sunday newspaper. (Kids, ask your grandparents what a ‘newspaper’ is.)

This past Sunday, there were two comic strips that I found quite profound… tucked in among the usual banal suspects like Beetle Bailey and Hi & Lois.

Pearls Before Swine is consistently very good, and Stephan Pastis really struck a nerve with this one:

Non Sequitur is another standout strip, and this one was outstanding:

You can keep your philosophy books… I’ll take my life lessons in nine panels or less, thank you very much.

Saturday morning cartoons

Saw this video earlier this week and it cracked me up. Hope you like it too:

 

Exclusive: the true origin of the East Coast-West Coast hip-hop feud, revealed!

It all started with a Ho.

We’re down one clown

A few days ago, the guy who played Bozo The Clown on TV in Arkansas during my childhood passed away. I vividly remember watching the show. I even more vividly remember thinking “this is cheesy” even in my not-fully-developed brain. The wacky hair. The obvious scull cap. The goofy “no right answer” questions he’d ask the kids, like “Do you walk to school or carry your lunch?” or “How smart is your mother, 100 or 45?”

Back in those pre-historic days, a tape recorder served as an entertainment outlet for my siblings and me. The first “comedy” tape (using the term very loosely) we ever made featured several Bozo parodies. But watching the tribute segments and reading the obits, I have a newfound respect for Gary Weir, the Arkansas Bozo for more than 25 years. He clearly enjoyed the work, and made sure that the kids felt special.

 

There’s a lot to be said for giving your all at your job, and focusing on your customers instead of yourself… even if your role is to be the clown.

Marketing 101

“Give your product an appealing name”

“Make sure the product photo doesn’t look like dog poop”

Running on empty

I take the bus to work every day. When we run out of bread or milk, I usually ride my bike up to the Kroger that’s three blocks away. I also bike or walk to the library and church when the weather is nice. So I’m in a car a lot less than most folks. Yet somehow, someway, every time I get into one of our cars, here’s what I see:

I’m convinced that my wife and my 17-year-old son have no idea what that yellow light icon means, and couldn’t find the gas cap if you gave them a map. How they manage to stick me with the refueling chore (and bill) every time is a modern wonder, a sleight of hand called “now you see the wallet, now you don’t.”

I think they’re conspiring against me – when they know I have to take another kid to soccer or swim practice, they make sure they leave the “empty” car in the pole position in our driveway. My wife even jokes about it:

Then again, Tina could turn the tables and say that I have no idea what this means:

But that’s not true – I know exactly what a sink full of dirty dishes means… time to switch to paper plates!

 

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more

My daughter Leah wants to be a farmer – she thinks it’ll be fun. I could probably find dozens of local farmers who could disabuse her of that notion faster than you can say “sunk costs and unpredictable weather.” Actually, I could only find a handful of local farmers these days – there aren’t nearly as many of them as they used to be. To rework the old joke about the music business:

Q. How do you make a million dollars in farming? 

A. It’s easy – just start with two million dollars. 

But no, in this case, Dear Old Dad (emphasis on the “Old”) isn’t going to be the dreamcrusher.

After all, she already has her plans drawn up:

Looks a whole lot better than an office cubicle, doesn’t it? Perhaps I can join Leah on her farm… be the Eb to her Mr. Douglas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover…

… but you can judge a LinkedIn request by looking at the profile summary. Here’s an easy “accept” one:

Executive recruiter from Columbus? Sure, why not? I’ve never met him, don’t know him from Adam, but my LinkedIn bar is very low (it’s like Facebook “friends” but without the cute baby pictures). Maybe he can help me land my dream job (replacing Alex Trebek as host of Jeopardy. Buy American!)

Whereas this one is a no-go:

I appreciate the e.e. cummings lowercase style of the name. Thanks to my company’s Diversity & Inclusion training, I have a much better understanding of — and appreciation for — the fact that different cultures and backgrounds have different societal norms. Perhaps in Brazil it is customary for professors to wear clothes that in the U.S. would be considered “sleazy nightclub” outfits. But my gut is telling me no, unless I want to wind up becoming the plot of a Lifetime movie (working title: Extra Credit: The Abduction and Kidney Harvesting of Dubbatrubba) or a Van Halen video.

 

 

 

 

When did pop songs become clown cars?

I know I run the risk of sounding like Grandpa Simpson or SNL’s “Grumpy Old Man”….

… but when did every pop song become a clown car, where you cram in as many artists as you can? “Back in my day” there were solo artists (we miss you John Denver), bands (hello Pablo Cruise) and the occasional duet (Kenny/Dolly or Kenny/Sheena or Kenny/Kim, whichever you prefer). But now it seems like there is some sort of rule (actually “formula” might be more apropos) that a single can’t be released unless it has at least three of the following:

  1. A DJ
  2. A rapper
  3. a pop singer known more for their looks than their pipes
  4. A Disney/Nickelodeon kid show star
  5. Rihanna

Ryan Seacrest must get laryngitis every week just announcing the names of the Top 40. It’s like a music version of The Love Boat.

I think Rihanna just lives in some giant recording studio complex – she steps into Studio A, sings a hook, moves on to Studio B, then C, D, and E… and by the time she gets back to Studio A there’s another disposable band in place working on a song that she can “feature” on. (And I’m using the term “band” very loosely. Most times it’s probably a 22-year old with a laptop.)

More doesn’t always equal better, and the sum is not always greater than the parts. I don’t know how bands and artists can establish any sort of staying power when their identity is based mostly on a Lazy Susan of condiment guest stars. (DJ Khaled, you’re the spicy mustard. Lil’ Wayne, you’re the Dave’s Insanity hot sauce. Biebs, you’re the fat-free mayo.)

Maybe instead of breaking up, the Beatles could’ve just become Lennon & McCartney with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, featuring Yoko Ono and Billy Preston. And they could’ve done the theme song for Matlock. That’s music to my ears.

 

My 17-year-old son has a sweet new alarm clock

Pretty cool, huh? It doesn’t consume any electricity, never needs any batteries, and it’s very easy to reset the alarm time on it.

Patent pending.

(And yes, I did wake him at 8 this morning. Then again at 8:15. And 8:25. Snooze option sold separately.)