This week’s Crankshaft “plot” has been far too inane to discuss, involving a reality show called Ice Road School Bus Drivers — it’s like Ice Road Truckers, but for school bus drivers! — filming our characters in action. The producers are no doubt disappointed that Crankshaft didn’t engage in any of the property destruction or reckless endangerment of children for which he’s so famous, but nevertheless, the new reality show stars are getting their reward today: cheap giveaway hats emblazoned with the show’s logo. The drivers’ overjoyed reaction to this is probably the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. “Life doesn’t get any better than this!” proclaims Crankshaft, a man who helped defeat the Nazis in World War II, who has children and grandchildren, who played professional baseball, who overcame his own struggles and learned to read as an adult, who helped pay for a group of underprivileged kids from his bus route go to college. “Life doesn’t get any better than this.” He pulls the ill-fitting cap tightly down onto his head.
Mark Trail, 2/15/14
“I sure hope Trail is what he says he is … for his own good! If he’s a person, like he says he is, then that’s OK! But if he’s an animal, then I’m going to have to taxidermy him. I can’t stop taxidermying animals! But wait … what if a person is a kind of animal? Oh no. Oh NO. My taxidermying fingers are gettin’ itchy!”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/15/14
Well, it looks like Sarah was right to be suspicious of her editor, because her editor intends to put her in a cage and let other little kids come and gawk at her while she churns out books. This is quite frankly the best business decision anyone at the museum has made at any point during this storyline.
Mary Worth, 2/15/14
“But let’s not talk about such heavy topics now, Wilbur. Look, I’ve figured out that I can hold a full coffee cup using just my mouth! Pretty neat, huh?”
All across America’s strife-torn inner cities, members of the Bloods and Crips put down their newspapers with stunned expressions on their faces. “Why are we fighting all the time?” they ask. “No matter what crew we roll with, we’re all pluggers. We are all pluggers.” Consider the peace increased.
Dennis the Menace, 2/8/14
Implying that Almighty God might not be all-knowing and all-powerful, that there might be limits to His ability to hear prayers from His mortal creations, that He is somehow constrained by the passage of time as perceived by us puny beings, that He must occasionally rest? Menacingly heretical! It is perhaps ironic that Dennis is courting divine wrath only if he’s wrong.
This is … a joke about the metric system, I guess? Pluggers are glad that we don’t use metric time? Pluggers are relieved that the most radical phase of the French Revolution burned itself out before the icy tide of Jacobin rationality could wash away all of our long-standing traditional institutions, like the division of time into sixtieths that dates back to ancient Babylon? Sure, why the hell not! Let’s hear it for sexagesimal chronometry!
Writing a blog post about the daily comics pretty much every day for more than nine years has honestly given me quite a bit of sympathy for cartoonists who have to come up with a fresh variation on their basic gags daily, so I’m willing to forgive the bizarrely convoluted caption to this cartoon (would you be a non-plugger if you said “no” but then your granddaughter didn’t follow-up with this question? why does your granddaughter get to determine your plugger status?). I’m not willing to let the extremely and unjustifiably smug expression on the plugger-grandpa’s face slide, though. What exactly is going through that man-dog’s noggin? “Heh heh, look at this little girl, her life on earth so brief to this point that she doesn’t really understand the concepts of social and technological change over time. Why, all of existence is just one continuous present moment to her! It takes years of experience as a plugger to understand that life is a slow transformation of the world and your place in it, until one day you wake up and the things young people take for granted are baffling and scary, and everything makes you angry and confused. She’ll learn some day! Oh, she’ll learn!”
Six Chix, 2/7/14
It’s hard to tell because it’s so crudely drawn, but I’m thinking that bear is looking a little miffed. “You know, I have lots of opinions on ways we and our clients can work together to add value to both companies’ offerings. But, yeah, sure, just call me in when you need someone mauled. HEY, I’M STANDING RIGHT HERE, I CAN HEAR YOU TALKING ABOUT ME.”
Hi and Lois, 2/7/14
Hey, Ditto, at least your sister has a normal name she can use! At least she isn’t named after a primitive means of reproducing printed material that went out of vogue in the 1980s! You’re playing with fire here, Ditto.