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The Saturday Comics: Mutts Comic Cons 2014

30 Jul

July 29, 2014

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Every year at San Diego Comic Con time, Patrick McDonnell turns over a week of his brilliant Mutts strip to superheroes. Too bad for them, they are always tormented by Bip and Bop, a pair of squirrels, sure to be their newest arch-villains, who live in what must be the most perfect tree in the world, as every hero is compelled to spend a few minutes in its shade. In the past, he’s done DC heroes one year, Marvel the next, but this time he’s mixed them up. Bonus points if you can identify the classic cover he’s paying homage to in the Sunday strip.

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My Memories of The Three Little Pigs

27 Jul

July 27, 2014

My Memories of The Three Little Pigs

An installment of Fairy Tale Theater

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Once upon a time there were three pigs that lived in the woods and stop right there. The woods? Do pigs live in the woods? I don’t really know. In Lord of the Flies there’s a wild boar that lives on an island, and I know that for awhile people kept pot-bellied pigs as pets (why????) but do pigs live in the woods? I don’t know. I’m a city guy. I’ve only seen pigs in farms on TV. We must be talking about the same woods in which talking bears steal pic-a-nic baskets. And wear ties and porkpie hats.

So these three pigs, seemingly against all odds, lived in the woods. And to up the unbelievability ante, they A- talked, B- walked upright, and C- lived in their own, mortgage free houses. Plus they wore shirts but no pants, Porky Pig style.

Things were pretty good for these pigs. They were lazy and didn’t do a lick of work all day. Their houses were long-ago paid off, and their meals were brought in by local volunteers who delivered food to shut-ins. Oh sure, most days they spent by the pool drinking pina coladas and texting selfies to each other, but when it was time for their meals to arrive, they hopped in their totally unnecessary wheelchairs, affected coughs, and waited by their front doors, forks and knives at the ready.

Well, as you’d imagine, there were other people- er, animals- in the woods who were pretty mad at these 1 percenter pigs. One in particular, a wolf, had a real mad on and wanted to redistribute some of the pigs wealth right into his belly, preferably after roasting them over a spit. This wolf was once a part of the Occupy The Enchanted Forest movement, so you know he had never worked a day in his life. But really, can we blame him? If your parents had named you Big Bad, what chances of getting a job in a Fortune 500 company would you have? Will the New York Stock Market ever gain ten points at the thought of Big Bad Finklestein being named CEO of Bloomberg Media LLC? I think not. So go easy on The Big Bad Wolf. He’s a product of his environment.

One day The Big Bad Wolf was particularly hungry. He was also particularly smelly too, but hey, that’s just another day in the Occupy movement. So one day, as he watched one of the pigs lounging by his pool and ordering new smart phones to give out at Christmas to all his rich friends, the wolf reached his limit. That pig was just so fat and succulent that the wolf just couldn’t take it anymore. “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” he said, stealing one of Popeye’s catch phrases. He should have kept his mouth shut because that totally gave him away and the pig ran into his house, slamming the door right in The Big Bad Wolf’s face. (Snout? Whatever.)

Problem was, the pig’s house, like his fortune, was made out of straw. The pig wasn’t really a rich 1 percenter, and could only afford to build a house out of straw. All he cared about was appearances. And those smart phones he was ordering? He was way over his credit line anyway.

The wolf knew that no straw house would keep him out, so he huffed, and he puffed, and no, you really can’t blow a house of straw down, but he was able to more or less rip it apart with his bare hands. (Paws, claws, whatever.)

The pig ran off screaming.

The hungry wolf pawed through the straw but the only food he found was pimentos and Fresca. He took off after the pig, who had zoomed to his brother’s house and locked the door.

The second pig had done a little better for himself in the stock market and built his house out of wood, which I think we can all agree is much more sensible than straw. On the other hand, this pig was also a big Selena Gomez fan and spent a lot of time writing nasty letters to Justin Bieber, for which there was a restraining order against him. If he had spent more time on his investments and less time threatening Bieber he could have had a better home made of brick, but wood was still ok.

The wolf showed up and he was still determined to eat the pigs. Unfortunately, wood is a little harder to tear down than straw. The wolf tried to go in through the window, but the house was in a sketchy part of the forest and the windows were barred.

“Ha ha ha!” the pigs laughed, and it sounded just like that- ha ha ha, like in a comic book. “What are you going to do now, loser? Huff and puff and blow the house down?”

The wolf, being more of a wolf of action than words, took an axe and brought down the front door. “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” he cried, in a reference to Jack Nicholson in The Shining that most kids today won’t get. The pigs started squealing like, er, pigs, and ran out the back way.

The pair of bacony porkers ended up at the gated community where the third brother lived. There was a sauna and hot tub, and there was even a really good Thai restaurant so none of them had to leave if they didn’t want to. The Big Bad Wolf showed up but the security guards chased him off. He was last seen harassing Little Red Riding Hood, because seriously, what are the odds that there would be two wolves like this?

The moral of the story? Eat the rich is more than just an expression, some of them are full of flavor.

 

Two Minutes in Canada

25 Jul

July 25, 2014

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Americans have always looked towards Canada with fear and mistrust. But all that worry really just hides our own national insecurity. If Canada is America’s funny hat, what does it say about us? Why would we, as a nation, wear such a hat? Is America hiding a bald spot? Is it a hipster?

Fear not, Americans, the good ol’ US of A still has a full head of hair. It turns out that Canada is more than just a geographic chapeau; it has a rich history all its own, one that many of us who live under the Canadian brim are not aware of.

Being so far north, Canada has more than its share of hardships: Ice, snow, even many people who speak French. And worst of all, despite being so far north, Santa Claus shows it no special treatment and usually delivers Canadian presents last, on his way back to the North Pole.

But what do we learn about Canada in school? Fur trading. Canada has a lot of fur traders. At least it did back when the text books took place.

First, Americans traded with the Native American Indian* trappers.
Then, they traded with French fur traders.
December 10, 1984: New York Mets traded Hubie Brooks to the Montreal Expos for Gary Carter.

*Notice they don’t call them “Native Canadian Indians.”

Why was there so much trapping in Canada? Beavers. There were so many beaver dams in Canada that in 1833, official records show that a full 63% of Canada was underwater.

FUN FACT: The Montreal Expos were named after the expo, a small burrowing mammal hunted to extinction by French fur traders.

 

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