I’ll say this for today’s Pluggers: it’s managed, without having heard of any of the bands, to put together an actually realistic summer concert series lineup, in the sense that it runs the gamut from relatively popular, relatively current acts (Animal Collective) through jam bands that had a minor mainstream breakthrough years ago but have been touring the festival circuit more or less nonstop both before and since (Rusted Root) to bands that were popular in the early ’90s and subsequently broke up but then a subset of the original members gained legal control of the band’s name and now are cashing in with a bunch of new people (Color Me Badd). We’ve rounded out the list with two separate bands who were apparently mistaken for one (Slightly Stoopid and SOJA, who are touring together this summer) and, apparently, just to stick it to know-it-alls like me, the truly obscure “Kongas,” which as near as I can tell was the name under which Marc Cerrone, an “Italofrench disco drummer, composer, record producer and creator of major concert shows,” released a couple of albums in the late ’70s. I guess it’s probably more likely that this is a mistake for Kongos, a band that’s in that first category with Animal Collective, but I want to believe that we’re talking Italofrench disco drummer here.
Mary Worth, 7/14/16
Oh man, it looks like Tommy’s upcoming opioid addiction’s going to arise from a bad interaction between a lower back injury … and broken heart. I guess this is why you shouldn’t start dating someone before you start growing your hair back out. The relationship begins under false pretenses. They won’t know the real you.
Family Circus, 7/14/16
Mommy’s grim facial expression tells us exactly what she thinks of the MPAA’s censorious reign of prudery and its effect on film as an art form. “More like a Profoundly Grotesque stifling of cinema’s ability to shock us out of our comfort zones,” she thinks, glowering at her hopelessly middlebrow children.
A lot of people have asked me, in so many words, “Josh, man, what’s your deal with Pluggers? Do you hate Real America?” Not at all! What I do have a problem with, though, is an attitude that I think that Pluggers has slowly over the years shifted into showcasing, which is that many people who consider themselves residents of Real America (which is, it goes without saying, a cultural and psychological attitude rather than a geographical location) are just better at everything than other people. I say this because the strip less often depicts cultural folkways or life’s little foibles and more just basic life skills. Like today’s panel! Pluggers: they sure now how to manage their urinary processes! Speaking as a big-city liberal and resident of godless Hollyweird, let me assure you: we too know how to go pee-pee in a toilet. So do terrorists! I’m willing to guess that at some point in a terrorist’s training program, they get advice on always making sure to go to the bathroom before embarking on a mission that ends in an act of horrific violence, so they don’t get distracted. What I’m trying to say, pluggers, is that you should either focus on what really sets you apart, or maybe just acknowledge that non-pluggers are in fact humans like you, who breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and, yes, go to bathroom in advance.
Mary Worth, 7/6/16
Thank goodness for health care market innovations like urgent care clinics, which have created grades of service that can work around anybody’s irrational phobias! “No hospital!” “His father died in the hospital. Most people die in hospitals, because most people die after getting sick or being injured, and hospitals are where people go when they’re sick or injured. Tommy’s scared of them.” “Tommy, would you like to go to a health care facility for sick or injured people that has a different name?” “Sure, sounds great!”
Mary Worth, 7/1/16
This Mary Worth story isn’t just going to be about Wilbur forcing the Japanese to express emotions or Mary ghostwriting Wilbur’s column or Mary managing the help; it’s also about Wilbur’s girlfriend Iris and her ex-con son Tommy moving from one apartment to another! You might remember Tommy as an an aspiring meth entrepreneur (that panel’s from four years before Breaking Bad came out, people: Mary Worth is once again an innovator) who had cool hair; later, after he got paroled, he sold out and got a haircut so he could get a job as a janitor and a sandwich emporium. It’s nice to see that gainful employment hasn’t prevented him from growing it out again, although from the look of things maybe he’s just trying to match his mom’s hairstyle, presumably because they’ve joined some kind of cult together.
Gasoline Alley, 7/1/16
Since this coin is supposedly nearly 2,000 years old, you think Skeezik would want it examined by … I dunno, maybe an academic of some kind, rather than a pawn shop? I bet he regrets voting “Yes” in the referendum on the Expel All Intellectual Eggheads From Gasoline Alley Act now!
Judge Parker, 7/1/16
“Or maybe she just doesn’t like you! Have you considered that she might not like you? Often the most obvious explanations are also the correct ones.”
[at the Tribune Company, 1993]
“…and we’ll illustrate the reader ideas with whimsical half-person, half-animal creatures.”
“That sounds great. One thing that occurs to me, though: won’t a lot of these reader ideas involve pets? The ordinary folks we’re targeting with this strip love their pets! Won’t that be extremely unsettling, as we’ll be implying a world where the division between humans and beasts isn’t a bright line, a world where there’s a muddled continuum of sapience?”
“No, I don’t think that’ll be a problem at all.”