Pow! Zap! Sigh...

My dad, who lives in the Binghamton, NY area, about 150 miles south of where I live, has e-mailed me a scan of a clipping of this article from his local newspaper, the Press & Sun-Bulletin:


"Holy makeover! Big changes come to comic books"

I haven't yet had a chance to read the whole thing, but these observations spring immediately to mind:

1. One thing that hasn't changed, evidently, is some mainstream news headline writers' penchant for holiness--forty years or so after that stupid Batman TV show ended. I say "some" because in general (and speaking as one who writes newspaper headlines every day) I think the trend is improving; I have read quite a few news and feature articles about comics in recent years, with "Holy-" free headlines, in which the subject was treated quite seriously. But...

2. I wrote an article for that same paper, in a similar vein ("today's comics are more grown-up than as the ones you read as a kid," yadda, yadda, yadda...) circa 1981 when I was working part-time in the mail room and getting the occasional byline as a stringer. (In 1984 I joined the reporting staff of the Cortland (NY) Standard, 40 miles north of Binghamton, and wrote another, similar article there--also more than 20 years ago. ("Holy" may have been in one of my stories' headlines-- I forget--but in any case I did not write those headlines.)
Evidently the target audience for these pieces is still people my dad's age, who haven't read comics since the 1940s.

3. ...which could speak to the issue of why print journalism, the industry in which I work, is apparently dying. But I'm somehow glad that my dad e-mailed me a scanned clip rather than the link to the same article on the Internet.

Holy curmudgeonly commentary!

unexpected check

In today's mail I received another now-rare, nice-surprise $35 check from Parkhurst Exchange, a Canadian medical magazine which used to buy a lot of my cartoons a few years ago. That venture sort of dried up (for one thing, I haven't been drawing many cartoons of late; for another, the print media are in serious financial decline, as I know all too well from my job on a small daily newspaper. This month the editor of a Scottish mag I used to sell to informed me he is now buying far fewer and is reprinting cartoons from his inventory.)

But last I heard, Parkhurst Exchange had some of my cartoons in reserve, and I assume the check is for one of them (it'd be nice if they let me know which, but they no longer do that; they used to send tearsheets of the published page with the cartoon on it.)

Anyhow, this comes in handy as I had to raid my fund for March's apartment rent to meet other expenses.

Thanks, God.


The newsmaker blizzards wreaking havoc on the major cities of the Northeastern U.S. have not reached way up here in the sleepy boondocks, where huge amounts of snow are usually a matter of course at this time of year.

But, to quote the philosopher Yogi Berra, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

And --because it's still cold and gloomy up here, with snow on the ground and flurries-- I really wish winter was over.

the snowblower's back (and the back's a bit better)

This afternoon, the snowblower was returned by the repair shop, which finally fixed the chute crank handle I broke. (The delay was due to the wait for a part -- a "kit" to replace a no-longer-made cable attachment on the 1980s-vintage machine.) The bill was 97 bucks. Far, far less than the price of a new machine--which I could not afford.

This evening, it's snowing again.

We've had a bit of a January thaw, which allowed me to clear our stretch of sidewalk and much of our small driveway with just a shovel. The frozen slush had melted.

My poor ol' back is on the mend, nearly two weeks after I strained it. I have resumed my gym workouts--but very carefully. If I use my back for much (as in shoveling the driveway Sunday) it's quite sore the next day.