Friday, June 06, 2014

Frivolous Friday: Potpourri edition

"Potpourri." That's a French word. It means "no organized theme."

Which fits right in with Second Effort generally, doesn't it?

Let's start in with this Wizard of Id strip from May 28 (all comics here obtained from Yahoo! Comics unless otherwise indicated):

This is a pet peeve of mine -- judging by some of the things my wife (a teacher) has picked up at schools or seminars, educators seriously believe that kids don't have to memorize things (like facts) anymore because Google has all the answers.

But -- and this is a huge but -- search engines know all the answers only, only, only if you know the right questions and if you know how to sort the wheat from the chaff in the results provided.

While we're on the subject of teachers, though, Grand Avenue (by Steve Breen and Mike Thompson) has been doing a series this week on the end of the school year. This one struck me as very funny:

My wife would probably disagree. She gave her 6th graders tests yesterday. They complained bitterly. How can you give us tests now, they protested, don't you know we get out of school next week?

One parent, lobbying (I guess) for her son to get a second retake of a test he'd bombed already twice, seemed to be making a similar argument. Long Suffering Spouse had to remind the parent that, next year, when her son goes to high school, his last class will be a final exam. The kid's mother is an intelligent, educated woman; surely she remembers this. The good news, I suppose, is that the mother is concerned about her son's grade. The bad news, however, is that her son stopped caring around the time he took his high school placement test. In January. And his grades reflect this. It isn't just this one test that has brought down his grade.

Sticking with schools, this Grand Avenue strip struck me as all too true:

But, as apprehensive as parents may be about the kids coming home for the summer, it does not compare to the relief that teachers feel at being rid of the little monsters, er, darlings for the summer. (See discussion above.)

We switch now to the terrible world of telemarketing. I do feel sorry for telemarketers. I do. They have horrible jobs and people mostly answer their calls just to scream at them. Still, there's humor even in this, as the following Duplex comic, by Glenn McCoy, from May 28, shows:

I've spent a lot of time here crowing about being a grandfather -- and I truly do love the gig. I mean it when I tell people it's the best club I've ever joined. Even so, this F Minus comic, by Tony Carrillo, from April 18, strikes me as all too true:

I lack the discerning eye of all those (in my family, it's the womenfolk) who can gaze at a newborn infant for 10 seconds and pronounce authoritatively that 'the baby has her father's eyes' or 'she has her mother's ears' or 'she has her Aunt Tessie's tushie.' No! I don't believe it. Newborn babies look remarkably like Winston Churchill or Richard J. Daley. Eventually, as they grow, they will resemble this relative or that one -- but sometimes, at least it seems to me, for only a little while because, with another growth spurt, they then resemble someone else entirely.

But that's my opinion only. The weight of authority is clearly against me on this one. I guess.

I enjoy reading the comics -- lots of comics -- every day. For amusement. For entertainment. For laughs. But sometimes... well, sometimes it seems the comics are used as a place for the artists to work out their own issues.

Recovering lawyer (and one of my favorites) Stephan Pastis, the creator of Pearls Before Swine, may be going through some sort of rough patch and working it out right in front of us in our daily papers. At least if this May 23 Pearls strip is any indication:

This week, Stephan invents a little kid from down the street, a precocious 2nd grader named Libby, who turns out to be able to draw rings around the artistically-challenged Mr. Pastis (he's such a terrible artist that he's only syndicated in about a gazillion newspapers). Today's installment brings together his domestic issues, his insecurities about his artistic skills, and his concerns about how long there will be a gazillion papers to carry his work (and keep him from having to return to the practice of law):

I hope Mr. Pastis feels better soon. I hope his domestic issues are resolved satisfactorily. But, although it's a little dark for me to say it, right now, I'm sort of enjoying his pain.

Wow, that came out badly.

But not as badly, I'm afraid, as things turned out for Dorothy in this truly dark, (*ahem*) Wicked re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz in this May 28 Bizarro strip by Dan Piraro (this one was obtained from the Chicago Tribune Comics Kingdom):

UPDATE 6/7/14: This is so cool! Pardon me, while I gush like a teenager, but "Libby" in this week's Pearls episodes was none other than Bill Watterson. Yes, that Bill Watterson. The man who drew Calvin and Hobbes. The J.D. Salinger of cartooning. The recluse. Mr. Pastis kept the secret all week, but, he says, now the story can be told. Wow....


Lawfrog said...

It appears that Pastis is not getting a divorce so you can enjoy his fictional pain without guilt now :)

The Curmudgeon said...

That's a relief!