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Lois on the brink

Hi and Lois, 3/8/09

My goodness, today’s Hi and Lois presents one of the most searing indictments of standard-issue suburban heteronormality that I’ve ever seen — it certainly strikes me as more compelling than Revolutionary Road, which, I should confess, I didn’t see, because it looked pretty snoresville. Side note: I think Revolutionary Road should have been marketed as a Titanic sequel, and framed as a dream sequence going through Leo DiCaprio’s character’s mind as he froze to death in the North Atlantic, imagining what his life would be like if he survived and married Kate Winslet’s character. The numb, soul-crushing lifestyle he envisions for their future would really just reflect the fact that his body and mind are shutting down in the icy waters.

Wait, where was I? Oh, right, Hi and Lois. Lois, driven completely bonkers by her unruly brood, contemplates just leaving, just walking out, getting some “fresh air” and not coming back. Her wide-eyed look in the next-to-last panel is particularly harrowing: she’s just staring off to space, thinking, “What if I just keep standing here? They say that freezing to death is just like falling asleep. You don’t even feel anything. Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be nice to fall asleep in the nice white fluffy snow, forever?” Eventually, she decides that venturing into her hell-house is marginally better than dying of frostbite, so she turns around and returns, a wan little smile on her face.

The first two throwaway panels add an extra little bit of awful to the whole affair. “Woah,” Hi says, “Your mother sure looks like she’s about at her breaking point! I’m just going to take this newspaper with me to the bathroom and not come out again for the rest of the night.” At least Chip doesn’t actively flee when asked to help, though I note that he “took over” without once getting off the couch or even looking up from the tiny little screen on his cell phone.

Mary Worth, 3/8/09

On that note, I should mention that Mary Worth appears to be setting itself up to compete with the recently completed “sometimes we slap and terrify our partners because we love them too much” Mark Trail storyline in the repressive patriarchy department. Adrian may be a full-grown adult and a doctor to boot, but we’ll soon learn what happens when a fragile, vulnerable, young little girl attempts to choose her own husband: betrayal and grifting and heartbreak and despair. Once Ted has left town with her life savings, Adrian will finally agree to the plan her father has been pushing all along: an arranged marriage with the son of Dr. Jeff’s neighbors, so that their children will eventually inherit both estates and achieve a higher status in the ranks of the local landed gentry.

Family Circus, 3/8/09

Ah, NyQuil — is there any problem you can’t solve?

Panels from Dennis the Menace, 3/8/09

There’s nothing Mr. Wilson longs for more than to pound back a few bourbons, get in his car, and slam himself into a tree.

Crankshaft, 3/8/09

Ha ha! It’s funny because Crankshaft is old, and all his friends are dying!

166 responses to “Lois on the brink”

  1. Rusty
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:21 pm [Reply]

    I’m calling bullshit on Crankshaft. Everybody knows he wears his bus company windbreaker and shitty cap to his friend’s funerals.

    H&L: Once again disappoints as it fails to dare the “Lois has Jungle Fever” episode.

  2. Rusty
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:30 pm [Reply]

    MW: Anyone get the feeling this is the first man “Queenie” has ever dated? Does he have some secret neediness detector?

  3. Spk
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:32 pm [Reply]

    I haven’t been to many funerals, I’m still young and I don’t live in a Batiukian hellverse, but a pink tie with that black suit? I guess I should be more in shock over the fact that he owns a tie at all.

  4. troy macgregor
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:35 pm [Reply]

    Hahaha Crankshaft is funny because you know in the Winkerverse you never have to put your funeral shoes away!

    And what is up with Dr. Jeff’s lips in the sixth panel? His daughter’s impending emotional and physical independence from him causes his lips to get puffy and pouty, I guess.

  5. Danel
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:40 pm [Reply]

    That second panel of Mary Worth with the “Fragile… vulnerable… young…” is one of the creepiest things ever. I think it’s his facial non-expression. I can’t help but imagine it being followed with a truly vile slurping sound as he licks his lips.

  6. Beatrice
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:43 pm [Reply]

    At least Trixie learned to get down out of her own high-chair between panels 3 and 6.

  7. Winky's Spleen
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:49 pm [Reply]

    FC – What happens next is Jeffy craps the bed, leading to a repeat of Thursday’s panel.

  8. P. Unicorn
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:52 pm [Reply]

    Mr Wilson reminds me of Willy Loman in a sense: demoralized and broken. Except it’s not the American dream that’s made him that way.

  9. kelsy
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:52 pm [Reply]

    I was going to take issue with having a designated pair of shoes for funerals, and then I realized this was Crankshaft, so of course he would have a pair of funeral shoes.

  10. Steve L
    March 8th, 2009 at 8:54 pm [Reply]

    It appears that Crankshaft is some alternate-universe Dagwood, signified by the four Dagwood hairs sticking out of his head.

  11. gnemec
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:00 pm [Reply]

    Look at the terror on Hi’s face in the first panel. I think he’s locking himself in the bathroom for his own protection when his wife snaps and the massacre begins.

  12. Ukulele Ike
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:08 pm [Reply]

    Castor Oil: See Fellini’s Amarcord.

    Death & Crankshaft: I went to my neighbor’s wake on Friday night…wore a dark grey suit with a dark grey tie, white shirt. No pink.

  13. Captain Insano
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:09 pm [Reply]

    Hi & Lois: where liberal fantasies like global warming are a myth. And equality of the sexes, too.

    Call Hi old fashioned, but women voters? Really?

  14. Wolf Shepherd
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:11 pm [Reply]

    Wow, this is one of the most powerful H&L comics ever. EVER! Ingmar Berman has nothing on B&G Walker.

    I didn’t know Trixie could talk.

  15. Mischief Maker
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:15 pm [Reply]

    Crankshaft has specified “funeral shoes?” The only way I can fit that detail with his personality is if in the final panel he’s singing, “these shoes are made for walkin’, and that’s just what they’ll do, one of these days these shoes are gonna walk all over you,” in preparation for dancing on the fresh grave of another person he’s bitterly outlived.

  16. Wolf Shepherd
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

    Captain Insano – I should probably learn to ignore people who spout non-sequiturs, but seriously, WTF?

  17. Roto13
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:20 pm [Reply]

    It’s amazing Ed Crankshaft can even get his shoes on at all with those freakishly short baby arms. Jesus Christ.

  18. Lithros
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:21 pm [Reply]

    There’s nothing more romantic than an afternoon on the town with your love, sitting in the backseat of your car and punching your fist through the seat to give her a shoulder rub. Watch out, Ted: she’s going to need another one soon, since she had to dislocate her other shoulder to pat your face awkwardly.

  19. Elliegal
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:22 pm [Reply]

    “It does help, although my favor can’t be bought!”

    Suuuuure it can’t, Jeff. And what a prissy little face!

  20. NoVan
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:22 pm [Reply]

    Judge Parker: “I’ll see you in a few days!” And I’ll be in a retirement home by then. C’mon, daddy needs his lovingly cross-hatched cleavage!

  21. Esther Blodgett
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:25 pm [Reply]

    MT – “You and your family, and even your business associates, should develop a plan…” Your friends and neighbors, on the other hand, can go to hell. Especially the ones who dress in identical blue pantsuits and have weird deer issues. They deserve to die.

    Crankshaft – Just start wearing those funeral shoes full-time, Ed. Soon enough they’ll be burying you in them. Ha ha!

    RMMD – I just hate not being in on a joke. There’s some hilarious significance to the fact that the ladies’ clothes keep changing color, right? It’s some kind of cutting-edge satire, isn’t it? Just as soon as someone explains it to me, I’m going to laugh my head off. I’m waiting. Waiting for the joke to reveal itself…

    MW – Forget Ted Confey. It’s his thought balloons that deserve their own Facebook page!

  22. Sophie
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:27 pm [Reply]

    The second to last panel of Hi and Lois is one of the most depressing things I’ve seen in awhile. My mom sent us outside if we were driving her crazy, blizzard or no blizzard.

  23. One-eyed Wolfdog
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:29 pm [Reply]

    Ah, a quick, sharp blow to the back of the neck — is there any problem it can’t solve?

    (That’s just occurred to me out of thin air when I was contemplating Crankshaft. Any similarity to your FC riff is pure coincidence.)

  24. Wolf Shepherd
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:30 pm [Reply]

    H&L – One quibble: “split-level ranch cabin fever?” I don’t think so. Split-level is one architectural style and ranch (aka rambler) is a different architectural style. There is no such thing as a slit-level ranch.

  25. NoVan
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:31 pm [Reply]

    Oh, and #5 Danel for COTW.

  26. yellojkt
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:33 pm [Reply]

    And I was so looking forward to the Kramer vs. Kramer antics of Hi trying to raise four kids while Lois goes on a self-discovery journey only to decide to dispute custody. And paternity.

  27. Jamus The Bartender
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:37 pm [Reply]

    Slylock Fox: I’m pretty sure Slylock will advise Kenny Kangaroo never to let his home life interfere with league play ever again. This isn’t ‘Nam after all. There are rules here.

  28. Joe the Plugger
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:39 pm [Reply]

    DtM: If I didn’t know better, I’d swear Mrs. Wilson was photoshopped into the first panel. Why is she pouring a plate of oven-hot cookies into Mr Wilson’s lap?

  29. Dingo
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:42 pm [Reply]

    Dear Dr. Jeff Cory, there is nothing sexier than an older man who can control his upper lip. Sometimes you show it and sometimes you hide it from Mary and from us just like it was your beautifully engorged manroot. Can’t wait until Ted treats your daughter wrong. Will the lip puff or retreat?

  30. migellito
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:44 pm [Reply]

    Comparing they way Jeff and Mary look, I can’t help the feeling that Jeff is about 20 years younger than she is.

    Clearly he’s a man who appreciates experience.

  31. Harold
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

    Haha, Ed! Just keep that suit on. You’ll save the undertaker the trouble of dressing you when it’s your turn.

    What we can’t see is the axe that Lois is holding just behind the door. Soon the kids are going to be running through a hedge maze, wondering which one of them their mother keeps calling “Danny.”

    Repost, with correction:

    OFF TOPIC: Ever wonder what our favorite comic strip characters (and some old ones from long-gone strips) would look like if they all got together for a cocktail party in the Marvel Universe? Check out the second item down on this page, a panel from Fantastic Four #276!

    The Hateeachothers look miserable, which is hardly surprising.

  32. Alan's Addiction
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

    Today’s Mary Worth provides a veritable treasure chest of potential humor. In the second panel, I can’t help but read it with a faux-Transylvanian accent, like Bela Legosi. Who the hell smiles in a creepily dreamy way while describing their daughter as, “Fragile… Vulnerable… Young…” Michael Jackson, that’s who.
    I also love the dialogue – “You can’t blame me for being reluctant to let go! You know I hate it when people are happy; that’s what first attracted me to you.”
    I also took today’s Family Circus to be more a searing indictment about the prevalence of date-rape drugs in today’s youth culture (or it provides an alternative to how the Keanes got all those kids in the kompound when klearly their kult forbids sex).

  33. Wolf Shepherd
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:52 pm [Reply]

    Jamus – I suppose Kenny could bring his newborn bowling, as long as he doesn’t rent it shoes, buy it a beer, or take Slylock’s turn.

  34. Harold
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:53 pm [Reply]

    Esther Blodgett @ 21: Aaaaah! We had the same thought!

  35. Les of the Jungle Patrol
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:53 pm [Reply]

    MW: Ted and Queenie are sitting in the car because the sign says “Parking 8am – 8pm” and they’ve taken it as an order.

    Crankshaft: I have a pair of shoes that I use for formal occasions, most recently a funeral. And they’re exactly the same kind of show that the ‘shaft is wearing. And I would call them my “funeral shoes” if I found them left out from a funeral while I was looking for them for the next one, and probably make a wry muttering to myself about it. In short, I can easily see myself turning into Crankshaft.

    This is the closest thing to getting an intervention from the funny pages. Wow, I need to take stock of my life!

  36. Tiako
    March 8th, 2009 at 9:54 pm [Reply]

    Hi and Lois seems like an indictment of the gilded suburban life, but I find it to be a touching illustration of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Lois is burdened with the cares and responsibilities, and in gazing into the distance, contemplates leaving it for the more peaceful and liberating life that is represented by nature. But her responsibilities weigh on her, and she realizes that the easy solution is, ultimately, superficial. The terror on her face in the second to last panel is the result of that realization. An enigmatic smile plays on her face, and we don’t even need to hear her thoughts, “And miles to go before I sleep…”

    Chip, on the other hand, is devastated that he has lost his new found power. Tyranny must wait.

  37. Dragon of Life
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:03 pm [Reply]

    In another case of throwaway panels affecting the entire strip: without them, who would know that Dr. Jeff’s entire speech is a supervillain monologue?

  38. gnome de blog
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:04 pm [Reply]

    Hi and Lois took the Bland Award with the lowest vote total in the Oregonian poll – 1% keep and 2% dump. 97% didn’t like or even hate it enough to care.

  39. Bobdog
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:10 pm [Reply]

    Slylock Fox — It’s a good thing Mr. Kangaroo has that fox around to explain to him the natural history of his own species.

  40. un_malpaso
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:11 pm [Reply]

    wow.. Crankshaft has scaled new heights of despair. Soon it will be reaching the moroseness level of the most cheerful Funkys.

    It’s like a Periodic Table of glumness. Little would anyone know (unless they also followed Funky WInkerbean) that even heavier elements can be created in the cartoonist’s lab, truly radioactive in their depressiveness.

  41. 150
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:23 pm [Reply]

    Stop the presses: Marmaduke movie under consideration. Seriously, MAKE THEM STOP.

  42. Carly
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:28 pm [Reply]

    Have you used that exact line in response to Crankshaft before, or is it just me?

  43. Bender the Robot
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:31 pm [Reply]

    “There’s nothing Mr. Wilson longs for more than to pound back a few bourbons, get in his car, and slam himself into a tree.”
    Sure there is; running over that little cookie devouring deformity that’s always lookin up his wife’s skirt!

    As for Hi and Lois, it reminded me of Joyce’s “Dubliners,” when in the story “Evelyn,” Evie wants to run away with her lover to Argentina, but while standing on the dock as the steam boat blows its whistle, she’s suddenly paralyzed with indecision as she recalls her promise to her dying mother to care for her abusive family. The story just ends with her moment of paralysis, not telling us which she chooses. Deep down I always hoped she got on the boat. Leave it to Hi and Lois, I guess, to remind me what choice Evie would’ve actually made, what she always makes. Goodness, not even Beckett could out do Joyce in shear existential despair!

  44. OKStan
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:35 pm [Reply]

    Death don’t muck around in the Cranky-verse. His sister died on Saturday, and is getting shoveled in the ground on Sunday. What, no wake or even embalming? Don’t bother with the makeup? But, HEY, he kept the shoes out! Don’t bother putting them back, Cranky. There’s bound to be another one soon.

  45. Joe Blevins
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:40 pm [Reply]

    ‘SHAFT: Since Batiuk’s only fans are those who fetishize death and dying, that opening panel with the lovingly-rendered “funeral shoes” must qualify as a money shot.

    MW: The only thing worse than dress-alike couples is dress-alike couples whose preferred color is butterscotch. This storyline could be brought to a swift conclusion if only Ted would accidentally say aloud all the stuff he thought-balloons. Then again, being a Mary Worth regular, Adrian might not even pick up on that. Adrian: “I love you, Ted.” Ted: “And I love you, too, money… I mean, honey… I mean, give me your money… I mean, let’s go back to your place and watch Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman: Season 2 on DVD.”

  46. Warofthebees
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:41 pm [Reply]

    Maybe Crankshaft buys new shoes for every funeral he goes to. Though, being Crankshaft, he’d probably have a home that resembles a Payless by this point.

  47. Ethan Shuster
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:44 pm [Reply]

    I know this is the place for snarky comments, but my God, that Crankshaft is just soul crushing. Is there actually supposed to be a joke, or is it supposed to be poignant? The comics page is meant to inspire a few mild chuckles, not an interest in eating your .45…

  48. Bobdog
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:46 pm [Reply]

    For your dramatic reading of today’s Crankshaft, you choose to emote:
    A) Remorse and Resignation
    B) Grim Detachment
    C) Annoyance
    D) Hideous Glee

    To get into character while playing the part of Ed Crankshaft, you try to recall what you felt when:
    A) Your pet hamster “Pooky” died when you were five
    B) You had to tell someone some bad news
    C) You were last constipated
    D) You had sweet, sweet vengeance

    To you the shoes represent:
    A) Death
    B) The end of a journey
    C) Discomfort
    D) Shoes

    If you answered mostly A) Funky Winkerbean needs you, we don’t. If mostly B), your choices shows great depth, but frankly you aren’t what we’re looking for. If mostly C) you are Ed Crankshaft. If mostly D), gratuitous displays of the Id can be humorous, but the joke gets old after a while

  49. Poteet
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:49 pm [Reply]

    BARNEY GOOGLE — Ha ha, it’s jest hilarious when people fish illegally. Try it in my creek, Snuffy, and see what happens.

    A3G — I really hope we’ll get to meet Janey. After seeing the supposedly normal people in A3G, I’d love to find out how this strip defines a “troubled soul.”

  50. Black Drazon
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:53 pm [Reply]

    Meanwhile, Ted and Adrian, driving through the parking lot while staring deep into each other’s eyes, are killed in a terrible car accident. There will be angsty fallout, of course, involving both their fiery deaths and the facts of Ted’s aborted plot, all of which, given the context (“happening in Mary Worth”) could only be funnier if Mary had been with them, trying to meddle them apart. If only they had listened!

  51. Black Drazon
    March 8th, 2009 at 10:55 pm [Reply]

    Urm, broken italics accident. Whoops.

  52. Josh
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:03 pm [Reply]

    #42 Carly — It’s fully possible. It probably sums up a good 30 percent of all Crankshaft strips.

  53. Poteet
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:05 pm [Reply]

    The Wikipedia article on CRANKSHAFT says that Lucy died in the March 7th strip. So I guess I can still hope she was dead before the announcement about the funeral home. It would be interesting if she reappeared as her younger self to haunt her guilty sister. Which is why it won’t happen.

  54. Howlin' Wolf
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:06 pm [Reply]

    We seem to be missing the larger significance of the current MW saga: Ted Confey is one of the few distasteful evildoers whom Mary hasn’t immediately identified and attempted to neutralize. That makes him something like her equivalent of Professor Moriarty.

  55. js
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:09 pm [Reply]

    The secret to Crankshaft is simply to hum the Benny Hill theme along with it.

  56. Crankenstank
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:10 pm [Reply]

    Hi and Lois: CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY! In the 70s we used to joke that Calgon had cannabis extract in it. Now I know the truth: it was hemlock.

  57. seismic-2
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:11 pm [Reply]

    # 30 migilleto – I think the reason that Dr. Jeff looks 20 years younger than Mary is that vampires don’t age. Just look at panel 2 and tell me that isn’t Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins.

    I’m getting up there in years, and I don’t feel so great. I don’t know which one I would be more frightened to see – Barney the Grim Reaper Cat or Crankshaft’s Wing-Tips-o-Death. Of course, if I saw Crankshaft coming towards me, I would be tempted to off myself right then and there, no matter what shoes he was wearing.

  58. Artist formerly known as Ben
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:11 pm [Reply]

    #42 yesterthread Joe Blevins,
    I’m pretty sure the Anderson family has the Trademark on comic strip Great Danes. And their standards are stringent.

  59. FOOBed again
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:15 pm [Reply]

    H&L: I didn’t know Trixie could say “Mama”.

  60. Chris Opperman
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:20 pm [Reply]

    I read the news to cheer myself up from reading Crankshaft.

  61. David Schraub
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:20 pm [Reply]

    In four out of seven panels Lois’ eyes have seized open to a degree that can only be explained by a mescaline binge. I think she’s freaking out — “Who are all these kids? Why are they all screaming? Holy @#%#, one’s an alien! Must … escape.”

  62. seismic-2
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:40 pm [Reply]

    I would like to see a crossover between FC and H&L, in which both Moms go on a homicidal rage and kill their 2 worthless husbands and their 8 hellspawn kids. Then they can take a hot car and flee cross-country. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in “Thelma and Lois”.

  63. uninterested bystander
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:41 pm [Reply]

    Mary Worth and Dear Abby are the same goddamn person. There, I said it.

  64. Strangefate
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:46 pm [Reply]

    I read the news to cheer myself up from reading Crankshaft.

    I second this comment. That was one depressing batch of comics.

    I thought the rule of thumb was that in times of hardship people want entertainment that makes them laugh, not entertainment that confirms the bleakness of life and makes them yearn for the sweet, comforting escape of death?

    Apparently the ‘funny papers’ think otherwise though.

  65. Jamus The Bartender
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:55 pm [Reply]

    41. Yeah, that’s just not right. Marmaduke gets a movie deal and Cassandra Cat doesn’t. Dammit.

  66. Poteet
    March 8th, 2009 at 11:56 pm [Reply]

    # 64 Strangefate —

    “I thought the rule of thumb was that in times of hardship people want entertainment that makes them laugh, not entertainment that confirms the bleakness of life and makes them yearn for the sweet, comforting escape of death?”

    Quite true. That’s why we come here:-).

  67. commodorejohn
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:02 am [Reply]

    #64 Strangefate – Bah! Tom Batiuk sneers at the ignorant proles who embrace concepts such as “funny” and “entertainment.” They obviously don’t understand true art.

  68. Edgy DC
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:06 am [Reply]

    The real gold in Mary Worth today is panel four. Dr. Jeff voices an independent thought and he immediately shrinks coweringly as his eyes flash to his right to look for the blow he’s been conditioned to expect.

  69. Dingo
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:07 am [Reply]

    A Day in the Life… of Crankshaft

    I read the news today oh boy
    I needed humor ‘fore the comics read
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to see my man, Barack
    Before I witnessed Cathy’s thousandth “Ack!”
    There is a funeral in the ‘shaft
    With people weeping now both fore and aft
    A crowd of people stood and gleened
    The deathcat worked its charms
    Could this be the moment now
    When we all get to meet Eugene?

    I passed a jewelry store, oh boy
    A man and woman dressed in butterscotch
    He had a fervent, desperate air
    His woman looked so much in love
    She didn’t even notice that her man
    Had Rod Blagojevich’s hair
    It seemed to turn her on

    Woke up, fell out of bed,
    My cat has ripped French flag to shreds
    Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
    Tommie Thompson’s getting schtupped!
    Quaffed my toast, it is my fuel
    Told Margo Magee, “Zippers, mule!”
    Took pen and pad and wrote a note, uh…
    Luann plus kerchief… South Dakota!

    I read the news today oh boy
    Four thousand bears in LoFo, ain’t that queer?
    And though the bears were rather small
    They had to count them all
    Fist o’ justice gonna get enviro-meddlin’ caterwaul!
    Rex Morgan turn you on

  70. Nekrotzar
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:08 am [Reply]

    I can see why Dr Jeff would rather arrange a marriage for Adrian; Ted’s moustache just cries out ‘Shudra caste.’

    But damn it, ‘Adrian’ is still the male spelling of the name.

  71. commodorejohn
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:12 am [Reply]

    #69 Dingo – If people are weeping “aft” in Crankshaft I don’t want to know about it.

    Seriously, though, that’s sheer brilliance. Approved!

  72. Donkey Hotey
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:21 am [Reply]

    H&L: I’ve never understood why baby Trixie is always yelling the postal code for Washington state. I’ve never seen any other baby in the comics do that.

    ‘Shaft: Yeah, that’s a pretty vivid tie for a funeral. I’m exclusively a bow tie wearer, myself, but I have one very subdued straight tie I wear to funerals. Bow ties (and pink ties) are just a little too cheerful for such occasions.

    #70 Nekrotzar – You’re right about the spelling; “Adrian” IS the male version. Hmmm….that raises whole new story possibilities.

  73. NotThatGuy
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:22 am [Reply]

    Crank: It’s been said, but I’m sayin’ it again: who the hell wears a pink tie to a funeral?

  74. The Ghost of Jarrod
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:23 am [Reply]

    In the Batiukaverse, Masky McDeath is a busy man indeed.

  75. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:30 am [Reply]

    H&L: “The fever”? Here’s where my brain went with that: “…your mom has the FEVER!” – “What fever?” – “The fever for the flavor of a PRINGLE!”

    Meanwhile, on the subject of funeral shoes, I remember when I graduated from college I bought myself a nice new charcoal grey suit to serve as a job interview and funeral suit. Let me tell you something I’ve learned since then: there is no better way than wearing a charcoal grey suit to a job interview to say, “Hi! I only have one suit.”

  76. bats :[
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:32 am [Reply]

    69. Dingo: oh, that is sweet! Kudos! Hershey’s Kisses!

    Both mr. bats :[ and I recommend the Sunday “Cow and Boy”:

    With Arizona being one of the few sane places in the U.S. (if only for today, since we don’t do the daylight-saving things), I get the comics at 9 PM instead of 10 PM…gotta read them, although a quick check doesn’t look too good in the funny department so far.

  77. Noah Rodgers
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:36 am [Reply]

    Whoa! Holy Shit! I was totally not ready for that Crankshaft. Holy crap, that was extra

    Reading that Crankshaft was like having God himself walk up to you and punch you in the gut. And as you’re on your knees, throwing up, he says, “God hates you. But you wanna know something? I hate me, too.” You look up and you see his face, filled with remorse, grief, sadness, shame, regret. You watch as he takes a swig from his hip flask and he walks away. You know then that God can’t save you from anything. God can’t even save himself.

  78. Winky's Spleen
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:39 am [Reply]

    Dingo for COTW. If the whole song is too much, then the lines-

    “She didn’t even notice that her man
    Had Rod Blagojevich’s hair
    It seemed to turn her on”

    -exemplify the pure genius of the effort.

  79. mollificent
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:40 am [Reply]

    #69 Dingo: LOVE IT!

  80. True Fable
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:41 am [Reply]

    # 69 Dingo – Bravo! It scans so nicely!

  81. seismic-2
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:44 am [Reply]

    Why does Crank wear a suit and pink tie to some funerals and a billed cap and windbreaker to others? Perhaps the suit and pink tie is for those funerals where, in lieu of a eulogy, all the mourners take turns singing karaoke about the deceased.

  82. Windier E. Megatons
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:50 am [Reply]

    Clearly there is only one way this Mary Worth plotline can end: with Ted cheating on Adrian, followed by her running back to the arms of her childhood sweetheart Anthony in a pairing heartily endorsed by her just-a-bit-too-controlling father. Wait, what?

  83. Sarah
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:51 am [Reply]

    MW: 1) Dr. Cory sure looks hungry in that second panel, if you know what I mean. I think he’s savoring those words a bit too much.

    2) I believe Ted is just looking for a beard. This is all going to lend with some sort of lesson that homosexuality is evil and gay people just want to steal your money. Mary will be pleased.

  84. Niall
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:57 am [Reply]

    For the record, I actually liked today’s Family Circus. That definitely is one thing that I’ve heard happens with young kids and naps. Josh’s snark however is not out of the realm of possibility for that particular family, though.

  85. Niall
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:01 am [Reply]

    Hmm, I have a slightly odd request… Is there anyone here who is registered with or I have found two friends I’m sure are the ones listed there (one has a rare spelling, the other has a job directly in line with previous studies) with whom I have not had contact in a decade, and would like to renew friendship. I would not wish to register just for that one thing, though, and so I was wondering if someone already registered my pass on a message. I know they’d know and remember me. If so, you may contact me with ab438 for the first part and for the second part of your standard electronic communication system. (How’s that for a way to defeat bots?) Thanks.

  86. fluffy
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:08 am [Reply]

    I’m 30 and I never outgrew naps. Jeffy doesn’t know what he’s missing. Naps are fucking awesome.

  87. Phoebe
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:10 am [Reply]

    Funny, I don’t remember marrying someone because they love you a lot as being a bad thing.

  88. bats :[
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:15 am [Reply]

    Well, let’s just make that coffin is nailed good and tight, shall we?

    Dr. Reed and Masky McDeath aren’t getting a moment’s peace recently.

  89. Roto13
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:22 am [Reply]

    And now Crankshaft is in his red jacket at the funeral. I guess consistency isn’t important.

  90. Judo Throw Toy
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:23 am [Reply]

    Crankshaft has friends?

  91. Donald the Anarchist
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:38 am [Reply]

    H&L So all it takes to get Dot to run in fear is an alien mask? Then again, my sisters were older than me so I never figured out a way to scare them. I made up for it by being really, really annoying.

    MW “I just can’t help but think there’s another wealthy businessman out there who’d make a better husband for her.Yet for all that, I don’t doubt a single thing he told me!” It’s a little disquieting to think someone this dim is working as a professional doctor. Does he use the pop-up version of Grey’s Anatomy?
    FC Jeffy, like most of us, has difficulty staying awake through an entire installment of Family Circus.

    DTM Could Dennis’s alcohol problem be the reason for the decline in his menacosity? “I’m gonna set fire to a whole buildin’ one o’ these days, right after this drink…what was I sayin?”

    Crankshaft Always a bridesmaid never a bride, huh Crankie?

  92. Oregonian
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:39 am [Reply]

    Does the joke in today’s “Hi & Lois” somehow involve Chip?

    He’s sitting there on the sofa, engaged in some electronic pursuit with earbuds in his ears, when his mama loses it and heads out the door. She asks him to take over and he gives her an oblivious smile, totally unaware of whatever she’s saying. She heads out the door and he doesn’t even look up from the glowing screen. The three younger children rush to the window to peer out into the dark, cold night. Then mama comes back in, the younger children go to greet her, and Chip still sits in the same place on the sofa, unaware of the drama unfolding over his shoulder but staring at the screen with a shocked expression.

    Did he just get a disturbing text message, or what?

  93. late2theparty
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:50 am [Reply]

    “… my favor can’t be bought! Now, I’d better e-mail Ted my PIN number, so he can deposit his donation to Peace Village directly into my bank account, like he suggested. At least I know Adrian will be marrying someone with excellent financial common sense!”

  94. Poteet
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:55 am [Reply]

    MW — That last panel makes my eyeballs twirl. On what planet do the laws of perspective operate in such a hideous way?

  95. True Fable
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:58 am [Reply]

    Fist O Justice Theater Okay, I was sincerely hoping this storyline would have a different, sensible outcome but since it hasn’t…well, I must rant before I explode.

    I mean WHAT THE FUCK??!? Does Jackelrod use some sort of AutoSquirrel2000 to crank out his stories or is he STILL using the plots from forty years ago, back when shit like slapping your wife around was considered “okay”? In what logical universe does having a baby improve a marriage where the wife couldn’t even have a fucking pet without the guy flying off the handle? And even if Ken gets everything at his business “worked out”, suppose something else happens on down the road? Is he going to go all slap-happy on both her AND his kid? And I thought they HAD talked about it before! And what kind of test is the nurse going to run, we can TELL Ken’s got no brain and Patty’s got no goddamn common sense OR brain. And just what the fuck does Mark Trail, Nature Boy want now? “Say, Ken, I’m glad you’re not dead! I’ve found a great home for Bucky? It’s called Frigidaire! Can I do your wife now?”

    This is just a metric fuckton of Stupid on a scale that totally dumbfounds me. NO IT’S NOT OKAY TO BEAT UP YOUR WIFE AND THEN JUST SAY OOPS, SORRY! Ken needs to be read the riot act! Ken needs to go to Anger Management classes and damn well pass the tests with flying colors! Ken needs to wear one of those electronic fence guards so when he start getting all shitty, Patty has a way to defend herself! Oh but what am I saying, Patty FORGIVES THE FUCKTARD, and blames herself for his rages!

    So what are you going to tell little Mark Jr., Patty? “If Daddy Ken has a bad day at work, I want you to go to the Honeycomb Hideout to your happy place until I can get him drugged into submission”?! “Oh, and don’t look Rusty directly in the eye or you’ll go blind! Use a mirror!”

    Recycle a fucking NATURE storyline; Kill off Cherry and bring back Sam Hill if you MUST have drama and romance back to back; rerun Molly the Fuckiing Sweetheart Bear again or Theordore the Adorable Beaver but Damn Your Eyes, Jack Elrod, don’t run horseshit storylines like this again or you will feel the fucking Wrath of the Greater Metropolitan Roopville Ninja Goats!!

    Don’t make me come after you, Jack. I’ll bite you.


  96. SecretMargo
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:59 am [Reply]

    90: Not any more! *rimshot

    Isn’t one of the [many] problems with that strip the extremely unnatural way that “funeral” is repeated in the dialog? Wouldn’t the sense have come across much more smoothly just to say I never even had a chance to put my shoes away from the last funeral I went to, and avoid the intrusion of the fairly odd concept of “funeral shoes” as this thing that everyone has?

    As you can tell, I’m carefully avoiding the much more obvious problems, like Crankshaft consistently having been shown attending funerals in his full, unlaundered bus driver regalia (here, here, and, well, today), although I guess we’re meant to infer that he puts on a suit and then puts the red jacket and hat over it, making him stand out at every funeral he attends like an unrepetentent gold-digging second wife who’s confident she’s in the will.

  97. TruthOfAngels
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:04 am [Reply]

    Well, either Crankshaft’s left sock is talking, or I need to stop taking drugs. Or start taking them.

  98. True Fable
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:05 am [Reply]

    Programming Note: “My Favorite Year” is just now coming on BBC America, EDT, for those of you fellow night owls who crave a great comedy. And, uh, can get BBC America.

  99. True Fable
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:09 am [Reply]

    # 96 SecretMargo – I figured he’s wearing the funeral clothes because this is a Very Special Episode of “All My Churlishness” back to back with “One Life To Lose”.

  100. Mibbitmaker
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:10 am [Reply]


    9CL: Don’t, Brooke. Just….. Don’t!

    A3G: I may’ve lost track of Margo’s love life of late…. she’s got it bad for a pizza delivery boy now? I thought that was beneath her station. Is he passive-aggressive, too? All the 3G men are, lately…

    DT: Really? I thought he was playing the stock market.

    FW: Happiness is only a dream in Batiukland.

    GF: “Queeno-Centric”? Like something out of
    Mary Worth of late.

    MT: Oh, no; Ken’s going to go from spousal — and deer — abuse to child abuse. Punch him, Mark! PUNCH HIM HARD!!

    MC: Ed Power, is she named Debbie, by any chance?

    Earlier: The crew is on strike! We’re screwed!
    Now: The crew is no longer on strike! We’re screwed!

    Zits: Not a problem for us ‘Mudgeons!

  101. True Fable
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:15 am [Reply]

    SnSm GOAT! Hillbilly goat! (look, my little Roopville ninjas! A cousin!)

  102. True Fable
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:22 am [Reply]

    IFHZ Today, I fucking like Zits, especially when it reflects any Curmudgeon snarking Mary Worth, Spider-man or Foob.

  103. mojo
    March 9th, 2009 at 3:09 am [Reply]

    As much as I appreciate the nod to “repressive patriarchy” going on in Mary Worth, I gotta say Dr. Jeff might just be on to something here. Adrian may be “a full-grown adult and a doctor to boot”, but if you were in serious medical need, would you want to put you life in the hands of a full-grown adult who moons and gushes and sighs and makes out in public with her boyfriend like she’s still in junior high? I think I’d rather just DIE on the operating table, thank you very much.

  104. DrPill
    March 9th, 2009 at 3:39 am [Reply]

    Slylock Fox: OK, so now Slylock is the town’s expert on the lifecycles of all the other animal residents. Pah! Here’s what Kenny said just after this scene: “Thanks, Slylock, but I can handle this” and then uses his powerful back legs to kick the shrew into a puddle of goop. Means a new pair of bowling shoes, but what the hey.

    H&L: A bit of realism slips into the eternally happy cartoon family. Trixie utters her first word out of immense relief that Mama is indeed staying.

    Batiuk has decided he’s a novelist and has been writing one since the first change when he abandoned the thinking leaves and rocks. And, as any good novelist knows, it’s not a novel without heartache, despair and death. This explains FW, but the application in Crankshaft is just leading to some bizarre moments. Batiuk got the idea, BTW, from Lynn Johnston, who’d been doing it all along. When Batiuk had his mid-life crisis and wondered if life, much less the cartoon, was worth continuing, he decided getting serious and setting childish things aside was the way to go.

    I eschew snarkiness for the moment to point out a strip that made me laugh, especially from one where I’d given up expecting such: Sunday’s Dilbert

  105. Frank Parsnip
    March 9th, 2009 at 4:03 am [Reply]

    MT: The problems implicated by today’s strip are marching shoulder by shoulder:

    Panel 1: Ken vows that once he straightens out his business he’ll talk with Patty about their future with “a” baby.

    a) Ken is not going to ever straighten out his business.
    b) To have their own baby, he and Patty will actually need to eventually have sex.
    c) Does anyone really want to see a child born to Ken and Patty? I think not.
    d) Failing their figuring out how to bump uglies, we’re probably looking at Ken and Patty snatching a child from the hospital’s preemie ward on their way out from his goring treatment.
    e) Oh, and we’ve never heard of the “let’s have a baby because it will pull our relationship out of the crapper” school of thought before.

    Panel 2: Ken thinks an “addition” to their family would be “great” and acknowledges his regrets for not having flapped his gums about it before.

    a) See “e”, above. When Ken expands the membership in the Slapaho Tribe to include a new baby, will Jack Elrod be there to pick up the pieces? I think not. This isn’t Gasoline Alley.
    b) Ken’s sorry for not having talked about it before. What was a better time for him to talk about it? Now, while he’s sitting in a hospital bed acting all nice … or before, when he was shooting deer in his own living room and smacking Patty about? I’d beg to differ on his thoughts on timing.

    Panel 3: Patty is such a sucker, but given that the style of drawing looks like something from a Charles Atlas advertisement, I’m just glad she’s not dragging the rest of us down with her. The only thing that would make this perfect is seeing Patty kick over a chair while proclaiming her willingness to “gamble a stamp” to order a baby from the nearest stork.

    MW: Mary and Jeff were at Mountview Hospital this whole time? Given the hideous color of the couch and Jeff’s bizarre off-panel pocket pool, I had assumed it was in Mary’s home at Charterstone Assisted Living. But the French’s Mustard Yellow of the couch does make sense in the “institutional furniture” context of Mountview. In the second panel, some of the less-fortunate residents read lengthy treatises on sandcastle construction and maintenance… probably so that they don’t have to hear Jeff and Mary talk on about Adrian Corey’s skills as a potential mother and breeder of future Confey/Corey children.

    Sex Organ, M.D.: Who’s this bald guy?! An old friend! After the rather hopeless story arc a few months ago involving Rex’s work for the Public Health Dept, we get to see the return of Count Olaf in his much-beloved role as a guy who keeps botching pandemics erupting under his control. After tackling MRSA, we get to see him team up with Rex to tackle a bad case of the lazies. In panel 3, we’re also pleased to announce Jonathan Winters in the role of Rex Morgan.

    DtM: Yes, I’m alive but very badly burned… if you could somehow just get me to a vet, I’d be….

    A3G: In panel 2, we see the scar cut from the corner of Tommie’s mouth that has somewhat limited her appeal to men other than The Joker.

    Marvin: Without my extensive training from Bob Weber Jr.’s Slylock Fox, I would have assumed Armstrong had merely inserted different grandparents into the same photocopied panel showing a scale and Marvin.

    BB: In the midst of unspecific brands such as “FUDGE” and “CHOCO CHIP”, I see Sarge has invested in M&M’s as well. And the enormous food conglomerate that owns M&M’s will surely pay the Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Enterprises LLC handsomely for this plug. Well played, sirs!

  106. gleeb
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:15 am [Reply]

    64, 67: Here’s a frightening thought: I think Batiuk may think he is being funny.

    Jump Start: Klondike Ike don’t have nothin’ on this.

    Curtis: “Onion”‘s face may well be just a mask, with a terrifying hollowness underneath. I mean, look at it, sitting there in it’s two dimensional falsehood.

    ‘bean: That better not be Summer you’re fantasizing about. It’s Les’s turn.

    Sam Driver: Sam’s really sweating now. This has been his strip, really, for a long time. Now this cocky young Parker could be making a play for the whole ball of wax with his CIA romance.

    Phantom: Next: exciting chatting action!

  107. Anachron
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:48 am [Reply]

    #106: I had the same sickening thought re: Crankshaft. The “funeral shoes” panel looks like a punchline to me, with the panel after it just there to give you that extra sickening punch in the gut. Double punchline.

  108. Jay-El
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:52 am [Reply]

    Gil Thorp: Mrs. Larkin should really think about getting rid of that mustache. Who does she think she is, Ted Confey?

  109. Little Guy
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:04 am [Reply]

    Curtis: Great. A week of Pole Lifter and Quotes.

    Big Nate: Since we’re on another plot, I’ll reserve my pique at “Let’s Put Nate in Detention Because She Hasn’t Been Laid” plotline.

    Candorville: So, are you going to kill him? Or do something besides talk?

    JP: Who ordered the Old Man yaoi again?


    MT: ….



    It–it..the f–, it–flame…flames…flames on the side of my face, breathing, breath… heaving, breaths… heaving…

  110. Little Guy
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:08 am [Reply]

    95: True Fable. Bravo, Sir.

  111. Shave Ezra
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:18 am [Reply]

    I saw this headline today:

    “Report: Shoe hurled at Ahmadinejad in Iranian city”
    and I couldn’t help think of some anthropomorphic bird being tossed.

    What has happened to me?

  112. Aitherion
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:46 am [Reply]

    If this arc of Luann doesn’t end in sloppy makeouts between Luann and TJ, I’ll… actually, wait, it would enrich me as a person to just stop this train of thought right now before it starts the nightmares again.

  113. Twinkles the Elf
    March 9th, 2009 at 7:53 am [Reply]

    “Queenie,” forsooth. If any guy I was dating ever came up with a sick-making nickname like that, I would yack up a hairball. Bad enough that it implies a pedestal — yo, competent professional woman here, NOT pampered royalty! — that diminutive ending turns it into something you’d call your hamster. Ol’ Ted sure has a tin ear — and Adrian a strong stomach…

  114. Patrick
    March 9th, 2009 at 8:02 am [Reply]

    “Ah, Queenie, I love you so much, I’d cut off my right arm for you. Oh, wait! I already did!”

  115. One-eyed Wolfdog
    March 9th, 2009 at 8:03 am [Reply]

    Mm! Margo’s having a pizza boy for dinner, while Tommie’s evening will yet again be “plain, no sauce, no sausage”.

  116. Chyron HR
    March 9th, 2009 at 8:21 am [Reply]

    9 Chickweed Lane – You couldn’t find any reviews? But cellists are international superstars! Surely the newspapers would have rushed out special editions with reviews of the concert that just ended!

    Between Friends – Try surprise buttsex. Hey, I’m just trying to help.

    Crankshaft – Hold everything! I’M the REAL Ed Crankshaft!

    Curtis – Yeah, well, I heard yo’mama drinks so much her son came out mentally retarded.

    Funky Winkerbean – Woooo, baby! Hot-t-t-t-t Dirk the Daring on Pat Benatar action!

    Pluggers – Dog Plugger is just outraged that Washington isn’t spending more of his money waging war on camel Pluggers.

    Popeye – Babies explode, everyone dies?

  117. Sheila Sternwell
    March 9th, 2009 at 8:44 am [Reply]

    #92 – Chip’s earbuds are out at that point, so I think the shocked look is that he just realized his mom left the house and left him in charge earlier. It’s a background gag or something, I guess.

  118. tuesy
    March 9th, 2009 at 8:57 am [Reply]

    MT- Because a baby fixes everything!

    MW- Why are they loitering around the hospital? And is Mary some kind of weird beige candy-striper?

    Crankshaft- Actually, the arrival of Eugene (I’m assuming) is really kind of sweet, albeit a bit late.

  119. Anonymous
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:05 am [Reply]

    MW Do cars have steering wheels? Where does that seat belt attach?

    The Family Circus: Note that it’s far more peaceful when mom comes home.

  120. kalki
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:15 am [Reply]

    9CL: Too late. Edda is intrigued. The note will cause trouble. Another long cycle of hatred and then makeup hand sex will ensue. It is a bad comic strip version of The Worm Ouroboros.

    Archie: Jughead also heard there were cooking facilities ahead and was watching what he thought was a cooking show, but was actually a documentary on Jeffrey Dahmer.
    That big stick Jughead is carrying will become his killing wood.

    Crank: Gee, what are the odds that the old lover would show up a thousand years too late? Maybe he’s hoping for a leftover kidney or something…

    DTM: Take out the caption and between the position of Dennis behind the other overalls, the look on his face and where his hand is…one could almost see Joey in those other overalls…

    FW: “How dare you, Mr. Winkerbean!? Nobody has fantasies about underaged girls in my classroom except for me!”

    Hi/Lois: Ah, the joys of Benedryl!

    GA: Why hasn’t Slim showed up for revenge with his tire iron yet?

    Luann: “On my hand…”

    S-M: “Damnit! Somebody put Aunt May in the hospital. I specifically left her on the concrete outside so I can swing over and see if she is still breathing. Now, I’ll just have to unhook her from this ventilator and life support equipment and leave her outside….I need to go stop Electro…oh, but I better swing back and check on MJ first…”

    By the time, Peter gets around to fighting Electro, he’ll be in a non-extradition country with his extorted millions.

  121. Hank
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:18 am [Reply]

    Doonesbury. Nearly two months into the Obama administration and four months after the election and Trudeau is still doing Bush jokes? Way to speak truth to power there, Garry.

  122. Hank
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:27 am [Reply]

    FW. MISter Winkerbean…no one is allowed to have those dreams about my daughter except me!

    Mark Trail. “…and then I’ll threaten to harm the kids if you ever leave me…”

  123. UncleJeff
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:31 am [Reply]

    Ed Crankshaft reminds me of a woman I met at a funeral a few years ago.
    My family is a small one, so we knew everybody at the service except one person.
    So, I walked up to her and asked if she was a friend of my Aunt June.
    She said: “Nope. I’m just here for the cake.”

  124. UncleJeff
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:33 am [Reply]

    Luann: Wait a minute. TJ is now Italian?

  125. Crankshafts funky smelling corpse
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:34 am [Reply]

    FW: Was little ‘bean dreaminga bout giving tongue to Summer? Oh, this is going to be wretched.

    ‘shaft: Batuik is really screwing up his comic here. I mean, ‘shaft is now not aging as fast as his contemporaries for some reason. Given that he started as a character in the 1970′s when a WWII vet in his early 60′s could still be expected to be driving a school bus, It doesn’t make any sense now that its almost 40 yeasr later. Even if ‘shaft was as young as Tom Clem at Chickamauga, he’d still be in his 80′s. ‘shaft now looks about like the age of a Vietnam vet. I suppose that Batuik still thinks that his comic hasn’t ‘aged’ the way FW has, but time has to have passed, since ‘shaft has done things like tried to get his PC to pick up Wi-fi from the village square. (to note the most glaring time screw up) And other time passing things have happened. None of this of course, is of any importance, but it now amuses me to watch Batuik choke on his own plotting inconsistencies. And that’s probably the saddest thing, reading his comics just to see how he screws up next. And the arrival of Eugene (if that is him) just underlines the hideousness of the Batuikverse. The guy has been holding a candle for this woman for like 70 years, and now he’s going to find out that the sister ruined his love life. How’s that for shits and giggles?

  126. Crankshafts funky smelling corpse
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:38 am [Reply]

    @121 hank: You can’t expect Doonesbury to possibly criticize the big 0, so I figure he’ll start recycling Reagan and Nixon jokes too. Hell, he might as well do what Johnson did and let it run in reruns. It’s not like anybody would really notice anyway.

  127. Dingo
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:47 am [Reply]

    Ah, the comics today…

    That Cat ‘shaft: Yes! Yes! Yes! The introduction of Eugene. Will this last a week or longer? The exposition train is in the station and ready to roll.

    Mark Trail: I have three older sisters. Three women who spent their teen years reading Harlequin Romances with names like Reservation Nurse (a real book). The trail today goes off on a jagged course of regret. For all of you former English majors, please leave the fries in the cooker and look at Ken’s first panel.

    “As soon as I work out some of my business problems, we’ll talk about our future with a baby!”

    Okayyyy. Please note he did not say “including,” “involving,” or “with the addition of.” He said a bold “with.” In other words, Ken and Patty are going to sit down with a baby to discuss their problems. This is an easy out and Patty is too dense to notice. How many years have they not discussed having children? In panel three, Patty looks like Joan Blondell in Here Come the Brides plus rode hard and put away wet. Maybe Ken misheard her and thought she gave up her minstrel show and unicycle.

    A blonde nurse with her arm tucked into Mark Trail’s pants’ zipper (yes, look at it again). Not sure what just happened or what she expects to happen but this is Mark Trail. I’m waitin’ for him to knock that cap off of her head.

  128. Dingo
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:51 am [Reply]

    There was a gay porn movie in the 1980s called The Pizza Boy. He Delivers. As I finished today’s Apt. 3G, I began hearing the boom-chicka-bow-wow! in my head. Will he choose Margo, Tommie, or both?

  129. Brick Bradford
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:55 am [Reply]

    A3G The lascivious grins on Margo and Tommie as they contemplate “pizza delivery” tells me that the “delivery” boy is in for a night of degrading sexual exploitation. And no tip.

    MT This is stupid even by Mark Trail standards. I can only hope Mark is bringing the right fist o’ justice, that ranger who looks like John J. Pershing, and an arrest warrant.

    Archie So much for Betty’s plans for a “feeled” trip.

    Popeye This just makes me wish all the more that the android Sweet Pea had been sent to the Family Circus. “Here Sweet Pea, you and PJ have a nice bath togeth—” Cut to mushroom cloud.

  130. Calico
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:59 am [Reply]

    #128 – Yeah, what the hell, make it a threesome.

    FC – NyQuil-I think Thel went for the Ritalin this time.

    Josh – great rant on Sunday’s H & L – have you ever read or seen The Ice Storm? Your comments reminded me of this movie.

  131. Matmaduke
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:00 am [Reply]

    Maybe it’s just daylight savings time or the bummed out feeling I get after reading crankshaft, but I’m really going to need the folks down at Judge Parker to start wearing name tags. I mean, I appreciate ruggedly handsome men (RHM) as much as the next person, but I thought RHM#1 had spoken to April, weren’t we treated to that on Saturday?

  132. Hibbleton
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:03 am [Reply]

    Is that Benjamin Button sitting in the wheel chair in today’s MW, or a middle-aged architect being shown a diagram of the hospital grounds, or a kid (judging by the tiny arms) being shown a coloring book, or a teen ager being shown his next homework assignment? Who’s drawing this strip? Is it Mary Worth herself in original primitive colonial style which she learned as a child in the 1720′s?

    Today’s Marmaduke may actually be funny if said with a heavy german accent, or maybe not. Eh, I guess it’s funny enough him being a big dog and all.

  133. Perky Bird
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:08 am [Reply]

    Hi and Lois: Lois has a fever, and the only cure is…MORE COWBELL!

  134. Winky's Spleen
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    #121 – There was a Bush joke in today’s Doonesbury??? I thought Trudeau was continuing to ride last weeks (lame) twitter story line into the ground. But considering that this past weekend we saw someone dressed down for being unduly harsh on the noble Mallard Fillmore, this particular complaint seems, at the least, infelicitously timed.

  135. Artist formerly known as Ben
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:11 am [Reply]


    MT: Well, it’s nice to see the Ken/Patty/Bucky saga end happily, with the couple ready to continue the cycle of abuse for another generation. I guess what I’m trying to say is AAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!

    FW: Cory daydreams of making out with Summer, only to be interrupted by her dad. Come on, kid. You knew they were a package deal.

    S-M: Premature electrocution.

    C-Shaft: Lucy stated in her will that Crankshaft wasn’t to be allowed within fifty feet of her grave. It’s a surprisingly common clause in Westview.

    SFx: Koppy Kat (who should really think about changing the name) stole and perfectly copied an original Lu Ann Powers.

    Lockhorns: Freddie Mercury is pulling a hosting shift at the restaurant? How did Leroy and Loretta get into Rock n’ Roll Heaven?

    H&J: Since Hi is usually a pretty uninvolved parent, it’s a nice change of pace to see him sharing valium with his kids.

    DT: Mr and Mrs Larkin are telling Brenda to tell her brother to break up with Ashley. The key to truly snobby parenting is to delegate.

    Blondie: Actually “pastrami” is a pretty weak-security password. Especially if any hackers have seen your sandwiches.

    Luann: TJ had a layover in Rome on his way to the Southeast Asian sex tour.

    A3G: The girls of Apartment 3G will spend this week reenacting some of your favorite porn setups. Today, Margo says the classic line, “Oh dear, I forgot to hit the ATM. There must be some way I can pay for the pizza.”

  136. Uncle Lumpy
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:19 am [Reply]

    So Eugene wrote, “if you don’t reply to this letter, I’ll go live out my days in misery”? Makes sense, if passive aggression is the founding principle of the universe. Which, in Crankshaft, it is.

  137. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:22 am [Reply]

    #124 – Uncle Jeff

    The coloring gnomes are still insisting that TJ is black, which is a recent development. It will be interesting to see if they change their mind based on any upcoming “yes, I know about Italy, because I’m Italian” story line.

    But Luann always runs right up to the point of giving TJ a backstory behind the rictus grin, then inexplicably backs down. We never learned what he does for a living, why the DeGroots are his only family, what he does with his days, etc. – we just get hints, followed by another two weeks of Brad having inopportune emissions at the sight of Toni in her firefighter’s uniform.

  138. Steve
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:27 am [Reply]

    Sunday Crankshaft: The bold pink tie especially combined with his the opening shot of the finely detailed black wingtip shoes is just absurd, especially for local schlub Ed Crankshaft at a funeral. The last time that fashion combo was seen in Batuik-ville, Ohio was when some guys from Lehman Brothers convinced the local schoolboard to invest in exotic securities.

  139. Joe the Plugger
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:36 am [Reply]

    9CL: Today is a great example of why 9CL moves so slowly. Unless tomorrow’s strip is some plot/dialog intensive opus (unlikely, say I), all four of today’s panels could easily have fit into the first of tomorrow’s three/four panels.

    Seriously, “What’s that piece of paper?” / “Nothing” takes an entire day to develop?

    BTW, thanks to whoever posted the link recently to some older 9CLs (from when they were in high school). I’d forgotten that the comic could actually move at a decent pace once upon a time.

  140. Phred22
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:51 am [Reply]

    Is Beetle Bailey for once more relevant than Doonesbury? Hell, for an audience whose reading is focused on comic strips, investing in candy bars might actually catch on as an anti-recession strategy.

  141. teddytoad
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:51 am [Reply]

    Hi & Lois: Chip’s Story
    In panel 2, Chip notices that his mother’s face reminds him exactly of that one South Park episode where Butters’ mom tries to drown him. In panel 4, he’s smiling because he’s just found something with his iPhone internets that can let him have all the casual sex he craves without any risk of this nightmarish parenting hellscape.
    Panel 5: Chip, still grinning, “It’s called ‘homosexuality.’”
    Panel 7: Chip, wide-eyed, “I’m in wayyy over my head.”

  142. Niall
    March 9th, 2009 at 10:52 am [Reply]

    Mark Trail: is now off my Chron page. A baby??? WRONG tack, Elrod. Well, kind of realistic, as abusers will try to bring that in to reel in and manipulate their victims even more. I have an intelligent ladyfriend who has had that happen twice to her with two different men now (both of whom I would kick their face on sight – no, honestly, and really, so I never want to meet them) and it infuriates me to see it trivialised and worse, offered as a valid solution to spousal abuse.

  143. Calico
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:01 am [Reply]

    #142 – I did volunteer for a battered woman’s shelter in 1991 as part of a Graduate Study program (turns out Social Work was not my cup of tea for various reasons), and you all are absolutely correct about The Abuser’s general profile.
    Beat, apologize, cajole, “love”, make promises that are false, and then the tension rises and the verbal, if not physical abuse, begins all over again.
    It literally is called “The cycle of battering.”
    Yeah, I’m not happy at all with this MT thing.

  144. Esther Blodgett
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:03 am [Reply]

    H&J – Quick survey: Does anyone here actually still have a phone like this one in his/her home? I’m not actually trying to be snarky here. I haven’t seen a tabletop touchtone phone in years; just wondering if they are still in use anywhere.

  145. Iggy
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:09 am [Reply]

    MT: As long as the baby is old enough to talk back.

  146. norbizness
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:14 am [Reply]

    Family Circus is missing panel 3, also known as The Chloroforming.

    As for Crankshaft, Dick Cheney sure is a downer.

  147. Donutzilla
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:26 am [Reply]

    Crankscythe – If that is Eugene arriving at the funeral, I think we can take comfort in knowing that he won’t find out about his letter not being received until he’s on his deathbed with a cat at his feet. Of course, we won’t have long to wait for that. Still, it might not be Eugene. It might be Hilary Hahn with a note.

  148. Eric the baker
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:50 am [Reply]

    Esther Blodgett @144: I do in fact have a white tabletop touchtone phone, of that design from that era. (It’s labelled on the bottom, “Bell System Property, not for sale”) I also have a black rotary from a few years earlier. But, I assure you, I do not represent the population at large. For example, I also have a 300 baud, acoustical coupled modem, and an Atari 2600. (All of the above are fully functional.)

  149. commodorejohn
    March 9th, 2009 at 11:55 am [Reply]

    A3G – Hah, you people and your random innuendos! Margo doesn’t want the pizza boy for “sausage,” she just needed someone to order around, since Lu Ann was in South Dakota and Tommie was at work. “Starving” is an interesting metaphor for her drive to dominate others, but Margo’s just that kind of person.

    AS – Note to Hillburn: it was far, far funnier trying to figure out whether that was the obvious “rabbi from a hat” or just some Amish guy (as the hat would seem to indicate) than it was reading the actual joke. Needs work, but at least you had something funny today.

    BBlue – *insert furry joke here*

    Blondie – You know, the joke was okay, but the thing that really charmed me about today’s Blondie was the use of Chicago (a.k.a. the old Mac OS font) for the dialog text.

    Crankshaft – And in a final cruel twist of fate, here comes ol’ Eugene to really drive the bitterness home. Ha ha ha! (On a side note, this is like one of those sitcom funerals where they just drag in the whole cast – what are Crankshaft’s yuppie neighbors doing there? Did they even know Lucy?)

    Curtis – You know, this would just be another typical appearance of Derrick and “Onion,” (brief aside: if the quotes are part of his actual name, does the comma go inside? Discuss,) with the confoundingly dumb insults and vague threats of violence never acted upon, if it weren’t for panel three. But with this panel, where they are silhouetted in awkward, contorted poses and emitting noises like “BRAYY” and “HEE HAW,” recalls the horrible, horrible transformation sequence from that twisted, nightmare-inducing beloved, time-honored children’s classic Disney’s Pinocchio: Collodi? Never Heard Of Him quite strongly. Is this intentional, or merely coincidence? More importantly, does it mean that this is the last we’ll see of Derrick and “Onion” before the abominable Satanic soul-chilling moderately disconcerting yet charming and whimsical coachman drags them off to a horrible life of castration, involuntary servitude, and eventual death a doubtless Willy Wonka-esque off-screen restoration after which they Learn Their Lesson? Who can say? But whatever the case, it brings the strip to levels of disturbing not seen since that one time Curtis was coming on to the Thanksgiving turkey. (Disclaimer: DISNEY IS FUN AND WHIMSY AND CHILDHOOD WONDER™ AND ANY MEMORIES OF PAST TRAUMA FROM DISNEY PRODUCT ENTITIES ARE CLEARLY COMMUNIST LIES.)

    DTM – There is no way that isn’t intentional.

    DT – “Sunny Dell Acres V?” What happened to the other four? Did Dick burn them down in the process of apprehending dangerous senior citizens?

    FC – “We’re gonna get flossbite!”

    FW – gleeb beat me to the punch, and I couldn’t best his comment, so I’ll just point out that he’s fantasizing Summer in a sort of slightly punk/goth-tinged look (note the eye shadow and black lipstick.) Classy, but in Westview adopting this kind of look just means you’re one step closer to cutting than everyone else.

    GA – So I wonder how Famous Big Band Musician I Don’t Recognize feels about being portrayed as obese and gluttonous? God, if you pasted in Slim’s head in that last panel, you seriously wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

    GT – So, obviously the theme here is that Urkel and his Romulan wife are FOOB-caliber control freaks (though, thankfully, minus the passive aggression/mind control) who absolutely must ensure some absurdly strict standard of moral purity/financial solvency/what the hell ever for their children’s potential significant others. And, obviously, Gil is somehow going to have a hand in getting them to unclench their sphincters and leave their children in the capable hands of the Milford athletics department. All that remains is to see how that happens; let’s hope it involves putting out a hit on somebody.

    JP – Forget Sam having a moment with Randy, how about Sam having a randy moment? When was the last time that happened? Ask Abbey; she probably marks these things on the calendar.

    Love Is… – remembering that she’s the one who created the comic strip in which you’re being depicted out in the snow, bareass naked.

    Luann – Why do the deGroots let him around their daughter? Really, more generally, why are they less protective of her than they are of Brad? Is it because he’s the one in greater peril of getting laid?

    MT – Wow. This is such a stupid resolution it’s making the world blur into incoherence in panel three. Ken looks like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

    Marmaduke – Brad Andersen is insane, and Paul is just smiling and nodding.


    OBH – I know exactly how you feel, Ruthie.

    Phantom – You know, as long as you’ve got Zelda-style sages who telepathically communicate with lizard men, why bother with stuff like “Bandar medicine?” Why not just go all Silver Age-y and have the Ghost-Who-Chitchats use super-kisses that selctively wipe people’s memories of Whispering Grove?

    PC – Opie? From The Andy Griffith Show? In a giant robot suit? And this is apparently a recurring thing? Man, with stuff like this and the manga hole, why does Prickly City even bother with politics?

    Popeye – Ha ha! Exploding babies!

    SFx – Find the six differences between today’s Slylock Fox and a Six Differences strip!

    SM – Spider-Man adopts the Mary Worth format of two-panel dailies, presumably to emphasize the comparable pacing of the two strips’ non-events.

  150. Jilliterate
    March 9th, 2009 at 12:21 pm [Reply]

    I love the requisite No Intimacy Zone between Mary and Dr. J. Look with your eyes, Jeffy, not with your hands!

  151. queek
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:10 pm [Reply]

    wait, the punch line for Argyle Suckitude was “pull a rabbi out of the hat?” And I though my “one trick pony” punchline was lame.

  152. Ralphie
    March 9th, 2009 at 1:13 pm [Reply]

    Perhaps the reason Lois is driven insane by her kids is because if she leaves them for a few minutes, even if her kids can see her from the window, they go crazy and assume she has run away from home.

  153. Bitter Scribe
    March 9th, 2009 at 2:46 pm [Reply]

    What is that vaguely BlackBerry-like thing that so pleases Chip in Panel 4 and so disturbs him in Panel 7?

  154. Johnny Q
    March 9th, 2009 at 4:19 pm [Reply]

    Re HI & LOIS: That reflection on how freezing to death isn’t so bad reminded me of the ending of the Jack London story “To Build a Fire.”

    BTW, you don’t die of frostbite. Frostbite is actually a sign that your body is coming back to life!

  155. BRWombat
    March 9th, 2009 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

    Jeff may be concerned about Adrian’s relationship with Ken. I’m more concerned that Adrian appears to have the lower half of her body wedged in the glove box.

  156. flodnak
    March 9th, 2009 at 5:27 pm [Reply]

    Hi & Lois: So I’m coming in a little late, and I don’t have time to read every single comment in detail, and that leaves me to ask… Have we figured out what that disturbing thing hanging over the back of the couch is yet?!?

    My son thinks it’s a deflated alien.

  157. Sparky
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:08 pm [Reply]

    Crankshaft: 10 to 1 – the red jacket is on over the suit. That said – “Evil twin is Evil – gee what rich writing we have in the funkiverse.

  158. Duckman30
    March 9th, 2009 at 6:51 pm [Reply]

    MW – In panel two Dr. Jeff could be starring in an old Nuprin commercial: “Little, yellow, different.” Of course if he’s a closet racist it could also be the way he describes the denizens of his peace village.

  159. Niall
    March 9th, 2009 at 8:31 pm [Reply]

    122. bats :[ : Hunh, weird. I rechecked my original post and it looks correct: ab438 for the first half, for the second half, that little symbol in between. Make sure it’s not .com but .ca? A common error…

  160. Harold
    March 9th, 2009 at 9:00 pm [Reply]

    flodnak @ 156, that is the alien mask being worn by the younger son as he chases his twin sister. I had to scrutinize this cartoon for a while before I noticed that. Otherwise I was thinking that there was an inexplicably deflated alien draped over the couch.

  161. Lulu Arfin Nanny
    March 10th, 2009 at 12:22 am [Reply]

    I just lost my dad to cancer last week, so I can give a pretty good review of the dress for the various rites associated with death. I live in the south, but I’d say a lot of the customs are pretty universal.

    When a person is visiting the family at the funeral home or at their home prior to the day of the funeral, men’s dress is fairly casual. A cap and a red windbreaker would fit in. For visitation just prior to and the funeral itself, a man is not required to but will probably dress up–wearing black, button down shirts, a tie and dress shoes is considered highly respectful to the family. If a person chooses to attend the burial and it’s outdoors and blustery, some might wear a wool or trenchcoat, but the windbreaker and a hat over the suit and tie is fine.

  162. Amateur
    March 10th, 2009 at 8:50 am [Reply]

    Lulu, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  163. Lulu Arfin Nanny
    March 10th, 2009 at 10:49 am [Reply]

    Thanks. We’ll miss him but he was really really sick. We’d had a few months to prepare ourselves.

    I guess he was Crankshaft II–honestly, the man must have had about 70 ball caps of various types…and quite a few “good” nylon jackets.

  164. Dude Abides
    March 10th, 2009 at 11:55 am [Reply]

    Hi/Lois: My take is that in the last panel, she’s sweating from a rendevous with a stranger and the smile on her face is the afterglow. Maybe that was the fever she needed a cure for. Maybe the green thing on the couch is an alien blowup doll?

  165. Charly Hoarse
    March 11th, 2009 at 4:09 am [Reply]

    This Crankshaft line is so sick and pointless I expect Hollywood to pick it up. Maybe they’ll dig up Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Vincent Price to play the sisters and the old flame.

  166. mahuya
    March 12th, 2009 at 8:23 am [Reply]

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