Monday, Wednesday and Friday
I once got into a rather prolonged and interesting discussion with my friend Mini about how there was some guy sitting inside of a factory that all day typed out on a old 486 “expect to have a welcome visitor” or “Today is a good day to try for that promotion” and then arbitrarily picked a few different numbers to be the “lucky numbers” for the recipient.  Mini (yes, that is his real name) would counter that he wasn’t sitting in a factory with anything nearly as ostentatious as a 486, but was probably in one of those shady hotels that get painted drab green at some point and inevitably have one of of those giant chain link fences around it.  And instead of the 486, a sheet of paper and a pencil worn to the stub were his tools.  Either which way you shake it, the fortunes in the Chinese fortune cookie are useless at best.  To counter all those of you who want to tell me that you have had that ONE fortune that really reflected your life and where you were going…well…as I told a coworker today, the sun shines on a dogs ass every now and again.  I find it interesting that one of the things that we associate with Chinese cuisine, is really a new invention, historically speaking.  In any event, that slightly almondy taste is still one I look forward to.

I would also like to introduce you, dear readers, to a new character, Sarah.  Partially the result of my quasi contest on Monday, and partially the result of me just enjoying drawing her, Sarah may or may not be Jerry’s girlfriend.  Expect to see her a bit more often.

Happy Friday

Jason

Original Tweet from @bad_boyfriends : Had a dream about Hugh Hefner and a boarding school. What what it probably sounds like though. As I was trying to write the text for this particular comic, I found myself coming up short.  I am not unable to write, or find the right words, I just couldn’t find the rhythm that I was really looking for when I set down to write the Wednesday entry.  I wondered if perhaps I should discuss the irony of, arguably, the most famous men’s magazine being sold to a company named Virgin.  Which, while amusing, is not really enough to sustain my interest.  Or, I could discuss the wide variety of authors that have written for Playboy over the years (Scott Turow, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Clancy, Kurt Vonnegut just to name a few).  But when it comes right down to it, it is the interesting notions of our dreaming world that I really wanted to write about, alas I am dry on dream insights.

I will say, however, that there has been more than one time when I had what should have been an awesome dream, completely ruined by the fact that I realize I am dreaming, and not in a cool way. No, it is always some awesome freaking dream where the awesomest thing in the world is about to happen to me, and then the moment that I realize I am dreaming…buzz kill. I think if you realize you are in a dream, you should be able to go all Matrixy, but no…no Neo moves for me, just a buzz kill and a ruler to the back of my ass.

Original Tweet from @mactavish: I don’t see why Archie can’t go for Veronica and Betty, they totally seem the sharing type.

Truth be told, I was never really an Archie Comics fan, much less one of Betty and Veronica.  But, it does seem a little odd that the comic, marketed to kids, would be called Archies Girls: Betty and Veronica, it really makes me wonder what was going on down at Riverdale High.  What kind of social norms were there at a school where this guy was playing off the hot blonde and the raven haired beauty while still teaching educational life lessons and hanging out with the geeky kid in the stupid hat?

I always kinda liked Jughead, perhaps it was the fact that he was the social outcast that was only made cool because he was friends with Archie, who was the obvious heartthrob at Riverdale High.  Jughead was me, or rather, who I would have been if I was friends with the popular guy and had a stupid hat on all the time.    About as close as I ever got to really caring about this entire universe (dispite my obvious knowledge of the meanderings of these characters), was the Josie and the Pussycats movie, which is highly underrated and should be valued-if for nothing else-than its awesome pop-punk songs and how cute Rachel Leigh Cook is in it.  Oh yeah, and the super awesome line “If I could go back in time, I would meet Snoopy”.

As a kid, I moved around a lot, but for some reason as I moved further north into California, I ended up getting progressively more into role-playing games.  I don’t know why, maybe it was the fact that I was a geeky kid that wasn’t really accepted and within the auspices of Dungeons & Dragons, well, I could become an amazing fighter of unmatched skill (well, I never played a fighter, actually;  I almost always played a Neutral Good Halfling Thief).  Or perhaps through some geographical oddity, Role-Playing gravitates towards heavily wooded climates-who knows.   Truth be told, I didn’t actually stay with D&D, I ended up rapidly moving into Marvel Superheros, and rather stayed there for a number of years.

I mourn the step down tabletop gaming has taken, and instead offered up its former position to MMORPG’s like EQ2, WoW, and even CoX.  It is no real wonder that many kids don’t play the way I used to, partly because  the games play before them.  Part of the reason that I got into art in the first place is because all my friends wanted pictures of their characters, and I got real enjoyment in trying to do that.  That was my starting point, I don’t know if I would have had  that same “jumping off” point if I was playing EverQuest at the time-who knows?  I suggest we start a movement to kick kids in the backside and get them to play, get them outside and doing some LARP (which, when I was a kid was called “playing with my G.I. Joe’s).

Let it not be said that I didn't grow up in an era where vampires were made cool or sexy.  There was Lost Boys, and Once Bitten, and then there was that crappy movie with Odo from DS9.  Then, of course, I am also a member of the generation that really gave rise to Buffy and her everloving vampire lover, Angel.  Fine, okay, but this is just out of control.  My mother, a 50 year old woman, has read Twilight (I refuse, on principle, to cross link anything having to do with Stephanie Meyer for this particular entry) 2 times, and is currently on her first read of Eclipse.

By itself, I have no issue with the Twilight franchise.  I think I got burnt out on it when my students at Castle Rock just went apeshit about it.  I mean, I had one student who had read each book four times, and the first book she had read 11 (probably more, as of this counting).  It just seems that perhaps Trey and Matt had it right and that is why it annoys me so much.  Just a buncha suburbanites who, when I was a kid, would have smoked a doobie and broken a window are now playing goth-vampire-poser.

I would deal with the damn window, honestly.

 

The great irony in songs like I’m Too Sexy is that the “artists” (I use this term loosely) are not, in fact, talking about themselves, but talking as a character.  Rod Stewart said as much in regards to If You Want My Body, which is sang in the third person.  These sorts of songs seem to be flash in the pan bits that are good for a last gasp from a dying artist or good to get a new artist several hundred thousand units sold, and then return their career to Europe (where it invariably started).  I made an observation, some time ago, to my friend that when an musician becomes “self aware” (kinda like Skynet), their career always goes down the crapper.  Think NKOTB and Games as well as N*Sync and Pop, both songs where they decide to talk about how awesome they are…and suddenly, they go Bye Bye Bye (I couldn’t resist).

And before anyone starts thinking that I am hating on Pop music (which all of this is, but then again, when have you heard Pearl Jam, Dylan or Chuck Berry sing about how awesome they are?), I actually really like pop music.  I am a sucker for good choreography and catchy chorus’ (chorusi?, chorus’s…what is the plural on that?), I just find that if a Pop artist has any hope of outlasting their own fad, they need to not acknowledge that they are famous and about as substantial as Tofu.  Madonna never made a “I am a badass” song.  Bobby Brown, however, did.  Suddenly, Bobby is doing crack and has no career.  Then, Britney Spears, in all her wisdom, covers the same damn song and has been fighting back for her career since.  Lesson to pop artists: DO NOT TELL EVERYONE HOW BADASS YOU ARE, you will do better for it (and unlike your posse, I will not charge you for this advice).


I think it is entirely possible that this entire sight gag is going to disappear completely from movies within the next generation.  Why?  Well honestly because since we (by “We” I mean Generation X, which honestly if you are reading my comic and not a Gen X’r then thank you, it makes me realize that I don’t have limited appeal) have grown up in an age of school shootings and knifes at school and metal detectors.  The school locker started to disappear when I was in middle school and by the time I got to High School it was gone (then again, I went to a ghetto HS that was a converted former JR. High).  I did attend a High School in Red Bluff California for about six months, however, that had the double lockers like those behind Lee, but they certainly couldn’t have even accommodated the short kid, much less the tall and wiry kid that was inevitably always the one John Hughes decided would be shoved into a locker.

What is really amusing, is aside from Sky High, I can’t recall a movie specifically that has employed this memorable, but rapidly aging sight gag.  I figure there has to be a plethora of movies that have employed this particular gag (probably of the Porky’s and Meatball variety).  It seems that something that is as a part of our generational identity as the coconut pie in the face or the locker room shower scene (male or female, the last 20 years have had a fair share of both), would easily pop up.  Certainly When Harry Met Sally had such a scene?  No?  Perhaps the Departed?  I can imagine Jack Nicholson shoving Leonardo DiCaprio into a locker and then going off to chase girls with his consigliare.  Or maybe I am thinking about a different movie.

As a father, I can honestly say that Kid Logic trumps all.  There are few things that I can intelligently reason my way with my children through, and instead I need to speak with them on a basis that makes sense to them.  At least that is what I tell myself.  I tell myself that my son or daughter just don’t understand how the world works, and that I need to simplify things for them.  I need to demonstrate the rules of social etiquette and how they are supposed to function in “polite society”.  What I think the reality is, is that they are the ones training me and informing me on the rules of society.  Consider this: children learn not to cut in line because if they do they are going to upset someone around them, and then they can’t get to go play.  Yet, while I am on the freeway, I am waiting to get into another lane just so I can go two car lengths up.  Kids find that their toys and their coloring books seem to sate them quite well on a daily basis, and they want me to color with them.  Instead, what I want to do is play Guitar Hero with them and then maybe go to an arcade.

When you get right down to it, if we follow our kids examples, we would not only have more money, but we wouldn’t be getting the middle finger from the guy in the white Camry that we just passed so we could inch along slightly faster on the freeway. However, we would also be watching some of the most idiotic television programming in the world right now…Toot and Puddle, for example.  Then again, as adults we edify ourselves by watching an over-hyped karaoke show.

Come to think of it…I think the kids do have it right.

Strictly speaking, the moment I read this particular tweet, I just assumed it was something akin to Towelie, but..ya know…for trees.  I got this vision in my head of a military coup being led in the United States by all these redwoods with massively buff arms (like Towelie’s brother) with anchor tattoo’s and deep voices and they all wanted to destroy things.  I thought about this for at least three weeks, until one day it occured to me that it was highly likely that the original tweeter did not mean it like that.  In fact, what she probably meant was something more like what the Sierra Club is concerned with; which while not as funny-AT ALL-does open up a really good discussion, I think. (I would also like it known that I didn’t consider the LotR implications until just now).

I have talked with friends of mine over the years, and we have often universally agreed that girls did not look like that when we were in school.  I always joked that it could be something in the milk or something like that.  I mean, after all, a cursory look through Fast Food Nation (a book you all should read) reveals the lengths to which our beef has been manipulated throughout the years.  It is amazing the industry that has risen just to give us a .99¢ Jumbo Jack and really, I can’t pretend to imagine that this industry would be limited to beef.   Consider the UglyRipe tomato (or most tomatos for that matter).  Most of the produce in our supermarket is aggresively aged, colored and bred simply so we can have something out of season.  Carrots as we known them are a result of selective breeding.  While I could turn this rant into several pages easily, I will say that people survived on seasonal foods for millenia without any sort of adverse affects (such as obesity), it would seem that it would do nothing but benefit us to eat in season, or at least eat things that haven’t been spliced with swine flu (yes, I went there).

I love how kids can get the comedic drop on you.  Honestly, a kid comes to you with such innocence and naivety that you just want to to believe anything that comes out of their mouth (or perhaps I do, I don’t know. When my nine year old comes to me, I tend to want to believe almost anything that he says).  But then sometimes, they have these zingers that really get you.  A friend and former classmate from High School texted (odd, isn’t it, how this simple now has become a very active verb) me the other day about this exact thing that her daughter had said to her.  I couldn’t help but laugh, it reminds me of those courtroom mistakes where the lawyers are so caught up in lawyering that they forget that the English language, in fact, has rules that they are not allowed to appeal.

These kid humor things also have their problems too.  The first is timing.  Some kids just have no natural sense of timing or inherent understanding of humor.  My son understands humor but not timing (I think that can be taught), my daughter is five…I will forgive her as she barely understands how to use her brakes.  The second potential problem is stupid parents.  Sometimes we just don’t get it.  I haven’t so much had a problem as a parent yet, but I once tried the “Pete and Repeat are sitting on a wall” bit with my dad when I was 14 and that basically didn’t stop for about ten minutes.  It is, however entirely possible that my Dad was screwing with me and that he wanted to tire me out…which I did, cause it is an endless loop of inanity, much like Survivor.

This is just one of those days when the basic essence of Twitter’s trending topics is basically being transmuted and transmogrified into a comic.  As probably one of the more important events during this particular news cycle is occurring, to some notice: the confirmation hearings of Sonia Sotomayor.  While the actual results of the hearings may be a forgone conclusion, much like the hearings of John Roberts ended up being, I believe these hearings are profoundly important, and this is where my beef with Harry Potter comes.

I was tweeting with a fellow webcomicker, @elissarose (who draws a great editorial comic) and I simply asked why (at the time) the hearings were not a trending topic (the way Twitter indicates what topics are being discussed most), it occurred to me that the top topic was not the direction the US Supreme Court would go, no, but Harry Potter.  Harry Potter.  Really.  Now, for those of you reading this saying somewhat flatly “yeah, so?”, well that is the problem.  The Supreme Court has decided more often than not what sort of direction that the US’s overall direction would head, from free speech to abortion.  It is the highest court in the land, and sometimes it is difficult to conceptualize that.  But bear in mind that the Supreme Court basically helped assure the Civil War as well as ensure school integration, but what are we talking about-Harry freaking Potter.  Now, I have nothing at all against Mr. Potter, I really don’t. I have read every freaking book, I have have bought all of the DVD’s, the whole tamale, but what I don’t think is right, is this adulation of him over a position that is assigned FOR LIFE.  Yeah, for the remainder of her life, she will be on this court.  That is kind of a big deal.  What it is even more disturbing, that as of this writing, Michael Jackson is till a bigger trending topic than Ms. Sotomayor-things I think should be taken seriously since the Trending Topics are aggregates basically what is on people’s minds.

Really, what does this say about our priorities as a society?

Some of you may or may not know that I used to be a High School English teacher.  It was not uncommon for some of the grandest travesties of the English Language to go whipping by me on any given day.  It didn’t matter what the assignment was, there was always at least three or four students that took liberties with English that were never really intended.  I am not talking the difference between there, their and they’re (although that matters a great deal to me).  What I am talking about is receiving a perfectly clear essay assignment and the student returning with a paper that is full of “LOL” and “BRB”.  Take that in for a second.  What the frakk are they gonna BRB to? I didn’t go anywhere! What am I supposed to do during that time, break for reflection?  It drove me nuts.  And now, as I casually peruse the public_timeline  for tweets to turn into comics (thank you @bitchthatcodes, you not only said a lot, but you also didn’t butcher English), I see great travesties.  These aren’t people trying to write novels, these are people that are typing like they actually speak.  It is like we, as a society, have thrown grammar straight out the window in all instances.  And this is where I start to think.

I believe that the Internet, in many ways, has made us stupider and lazy. I remember the old AOL chat rooms and the shortcuts we used to take with language then.  By comparison, that was Victorian freaking grammar.  It just blows my mind that people have let themselves take so many short cuts that if you can’t fix it with spell check and find it on Wikipedia, then it just isn’t worth noting. Perhaps it is just this week, I feel like I am on a lazy/stupid person rant.  I think I need to go drink some horrible beer and karaoke!

Oh, and just to prove a point.  Lee’s text dialogue, is from an actual tweet.  Go ahead and search it yourself, I am so embarrassed for the author, I didn’t want to list his name.

Original Tweet from @kaichita @yourmatt: when you plant bird seed you get birds.
 I have always loved interesting little turns of phrase, evolutions on sayings and things of that nature.  When I was young there was the “If people can have bare feet, can bears have people feet?” and of course “Why do we drive in parkways and park in driveways”.  Basically, commentaries on the English language borne of humor or just boredom.  I have always enjoyed idioms, however.  They are those things that I really just find of interest.  One of the bits I have always enjoyed was one from my grandmother, she would say “Three Sheets to the Wind With the Other Flapping”.  Now, this always intended, in my family, to represent extreme intoxication, but I never really understood what it meant, until I started poking around a little.  

What I discovered (not necessarily from this source, but this is basically what I found) is that it is a nautical phrase, meant to represent one of the sails not being tied down properly.  It is an interesting bit that I think we, as a society, have lost over time.  We just don’t really use language in such a colorful way anymore.  Consider the last e-mail you wrote to your partner.  Now compare it against, say, a letter from a soldier during the Civil War, you will find a real disconnect. 

I am curious, though.  What sorts of idioms, euphamisms, turns of phrase etcetera, did you grow up with that really have that same “Three Sheets” quality?  Another favorite of mine was “About as useless as a tit on a bull”.  Gotta love growing up in a blue collar family.

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