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Can this Foob be saved?

Cathy, 1/27/07

Dilbert, 1/27/07

Kudzu, 1/26/07

Some comics get trapped by success. They build a big audience with a new message – professional women are insecure, cubicle life is tough, Southerners are people too. But their audiences develop expectations the authors are afraid to disappoint. So they stop taking chances. Creatively, the comics stop growing and die, often at the peak of their popularity. But they don’t go away. They keep going and going and going and merciful Heaven why don’t they stop stop just freakin’ STOP YOU HEAR ME CATHY I’M TALKIN’ TO YOU!

Ahem.

Everybody admires giants who walk away at the height of their game: Gary Larson, Bill Watterson – have there been any others?

But credit two authors trying to revive franchises that died long ago:

Garfield, 1/27/07

When he gives Jon Arbuckle a life, Jim Davis pushes Garfield out of the frame. And that could cost him a lot of desk calendars, Mylar® balloons, and suction-cup car toys. I don’t like Garfield, but I’m not the one keeping Davis in lasagna. So: bold move, pal. Way to go.

Mary Worth, 1/27/07

I owe Karen Moy a debt. I have followed Mary Worth since the freaking Kennedy administration without seeing a centimeter of character development. Now, in just six months, Mary is the center of the story, out of Charterstone, and showing the faint beginnings of self-awareness – even self-doubt. Baby steps, maybe – but steps. Thank you, Karen Moy!

OK, blah, blah, blah. Where am I going with this?

For Better or Worse, 1/27/07

Trapped between a huge, dim, slavishly-devoted audience and a self-satisfied, ham-handed Stalinist author, this strip is creatively as dead as they come. Yet it will run on and on as a Frankenstein’s monster stitched up from Mike’s mewling brats and zombies from the Good Old Days, glued up with glop from that “novel.”

But suppose somebody wanted to make it good — and without losing the current audience. Could they do that? How?

253 responses to “Can this Foob be saved?”

  1. Sheilagh
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:21 am [Reply]

    Oh! >gasp

  2. Sheilagh
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:21 am [Reply]

    Hey! Where’s the rest of my post???

  3. Sheilagh
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:22 am [Reply]

    I was just tryin’ to say I’ve been stuck on a weeklong business trip with no comics and no Josh and it’s good to be back! Thanks for the updates! How’s ol’ Rex doing???

  4. Mibbitmaker
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:26 am [Reply]

    Just asking those two questions at once threatens to make the universe implode. It’s a bigger brain-teaser than Slylock Fox could ever solve.

    Oh, and first… or not.

  5. Caged Tygre
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:33 am [Reply]

    OBH: Ok, I chuckled, yes it’s not a joke steeped in originality, but I like poor Ruthie’s sad earnestness as she asks her mom that question, realizing how inadequately she was raised.

    Speaking of inadequate parental guidance, here’s a look back in Foob.

  6. Mike P
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:34 am [Reply]

    Perhaps focus more on the various animals living the household rather than the people themselves? It would spare us from the shoddy drama FOOB dumps on us day after day, at least.

  7. Mibbitmaker
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:35 am [Reply]

    Cathy: Oh, Men! Aren’t we just a buncha wacky, crazy nut-buckets? Zany competition freaks, that’s us!

    Kudzu: Either that guy’s not the Master of his Domain, or he’s Donald Trump.

    Garfield: I have one more thing to say about that last panel since my post in the previous thread, and that thing is: AAAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!
    Thank you.

  8. Caged Tygre
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:37 am [Reply]

    This is a rather menacing looking Dennis the Menace.

  9. Ubiq
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:37 am [Reply]

    Well, as far as For Better or Worse goes, even if you fix Liz as a character (having her realize that her relationship with Anthony is simply a different kind of cheating and having her wind up with anybody but Anthony would be a start), there’s still the literary Vietnam known as Mike.

    About the only character that doesn’t need a lot of work to fix would be April. Most of the problems that character has could be solved by her telling her friends to shut the hell up about Becky and let her be.

  10. Uncle Lumpy
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:38 am [Reply]

    #1, #2, #3 Sheilagh -

    I’m subbing for Josh this week. Sorry about the glitch.

  11. Trekkie
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:39 am [Reply]

    I think Bill Amend’s decision over at Fox Trot to go down to Sunday-only strips might qualify as a “getting while the getting was good”.

  12. dean
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:49 am [Reply]

    “that ‘novel.’” – heheh.

  13. Cafangdra
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:54 am [Reply]

    April has potential. SAVE APRIL.

  14. Trilobite
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:57 am [Reply]

    Okay, Judge Parker has kept me waiting for Cedric the Canadian Cannibal to do something evil. It’s a fair expectation: you’ve got this nasty old lady who constantly bitches out her butler (an old guy who obviously has worked for her for DECADES and is dying of the flu on top of that), and with just a plate of canapes she’s suddenly singing the guy’s praises. It’s a setup, right? Evil old woman is a lousy judge of character, yells at her friends and is charmed by her enemies, cut to the new butler stealing the silverware and setting the house on fire with her still in it. Ho hum, bring on the next round of crypto-homoerotic electioneering already, it’s got to be better than watching a 1950s B-movie plot play out in the spaces between listening to the old lady talk about how she’s going to die of brain cancer really soon.

    But…damn me if this Cedric guy doesn’t look exactly like Clark Kent! So either we’re going to get to see Superman stealing silverware and burning down the mansion, or…we’re just going to drizzle out of this plotline with nothing really accomplished, aren’t we? *sigh*

  15. AppleGirl
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:04 am [Reply]

    How to make FBOFW better:
    Stop trying to cover heavy issues like people having strokes, people getting assaulted, peoples’ houses burning down.

    FBOFW should lighten up! My favorite recent FBOFW was when John and Elly went to a costume party for Halloween, it was silly and fun, and drawn very well.

  16. jbates
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:07 am [Reply]

    Thank you for filling in Uncle Lumpy! You rule!

  17. Plasma
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:13 am [Reply]

    I actually have the opposite idea from AppleGirl. To make FBOFW good, they should start covering MORE strokes, assaults, and houses burning down. Now that they’re all gathered in the same house together, BURN IT DOWN! BWAHAHAHAHAH! The only one who will escape is April, and she will get severe PTSD and go on a murdering spree with a pickaxe, offing Anthony and the old people and the dogs for good measure, then she and the cat(s?) and the bunny(ies?) will all move to a penitentiary in Funky Winkerbean! This idea makes me much, much more excited than it should!

    And re: cartoonists who retired at the top of their game: The dude who did Bloom County, before he came back. Arguably the dude who did Boondocks.

  18. Andrew Cunningham
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:14 am [Reply]

    Kudzu: The guy looking into the mirror is not the same as the guy looking out of it.

  19. TaxiGirl
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:31 am [Reply]

    Oh lord the Foobness.

    Yeah, April’s the only character who even vaguely approaches interesting anymore. Possibly because the rest of her family hates her. Send Liz to teach in Vancouver, send Mike to research a second novel in Iqaluit or something, have Deanna do what she should have done a year or more ago and take the kids and go. Kill Jim. Send Iris back to her own kids. Get rid of all of the pointless, boring, overly melodramatic people. Do with them what FBOFW does with all of its other characters: have them show up randomly every few years and expect the readers to remember them.

    Then they can spend the next few years of the strip exploring the shock as John and Elly realize that their ignored third child has actually developed an independent personality, unlike either of their other offspring. And, um, hilarity ensues or something. Well, no. But it might be readable.

  20. Stacia
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:31 am [Reply]

    FOOB: Ah, I knew it, the family is going to paint Warren as a nice guy and not the bat[margo] insane, opportunistic, scheming little weasel he really is. Way to go. This is almost as creepy as… well, anything else FBoFW does.

    I kind of liked this Kudzu, but I never read the strip so it doesn’t seem repetitive to me.

  21. jordan
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:08 am [Reply]

    Boondocks is still going on, and it really sucks now. It died sometime in the last two years. Now somehow the art is crappy, the politics uninteresting, no real rage, and the main character has gone from a genius of Calvin level who knows about as much about politics than Calvin did about chewing gum to a kid who (har har) is going on a “klanwatch.”

    It died and turned into a shadow of itself.

  22. Whitebacon
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:13 am [Reply]

    I thought that the Boondocks strips that are running now are reruns?

  23. Jamus The Bartender
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:19 am [Reply]

    MW: YEAH…I was right….next thing you know…Dr Jeff will be talking about the soldiers who chopped off the kid’s inoculated arms, and “how he cried like a grandmother” and “…the will…to do that….so perfect..” Go get the machete Mary. This Is The End.
    FOOB: Liz is also about to snap like a dry twig. That house is a cauldron of repressed emotions just waiting for a match to set it off. A match named April. Go get ‘em roadside.

  24. Olaf glad and big
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:01 am [Reply]

    i don’t like april’s shirt. the pattern is the same whichever position she is in. if lynn doesn’t want to go to the trouble of drawing a complicated pattern, she should just have april wear a white shirt. she’s not fooling anyone.

  25. Zettaichan
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:05 am [Reply]

    FOOBfixia:

    I’d have the Pattersons make some damn friends. And not those Very-Special-Episode friends who teach us important lessons about native culture or starting fires. Expand the pool of characters!

    Or if FBOFW has to focus so minutely on the lives of the suburban bland, they could at least detail the actual problems that suburbanites encounter. Competing to keep up with the Joneses! Run-ins with the homeowners’ association over the lawn borders! April gets sent off to one of those “out of control teens” camps after dating a boy from a blue-collar family!

    Also, someone should be scheming to alter Grandpa Strokey’s will.

  26. Coffeeclash
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:33 am [Reply]

    FOOB: Liz – nice job at projecting your anger over Paul onto Warren. Hey, maybe you can really shake things up and get mad at Granthony for marrying someone else.

    A3G – Tommie finally has close contact with a male!

    JP – How can Cedric enjoy the view so much when his eyes are closed?

    Garfield – Looking at Garfield’s shifted head in the last panel, have to wonder just what part of Jon is melting.

  27. Oraclesteven
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:51 am [Reply]

    Dilbert has been a brutal regurgitation of the same set of jokes for a while now… Engineers (any sort but railroad apparently) are hopelessly bad at interpersonal relationships, Catbert is evil, when he wants to Dogbert can rule the world and, oh yeah, office life is made of stupid managers trying to demoralize under-paid, overqualified, smart-ass workers. Unfortunately, in the introduction to Still Pumped from Using the Mouse, Scott Adams discusses whether he plans to retire in the same manner as Bill Watterson, “The answer is no, I haven’t made enough money to be ‘burned out’ yet.”

  28. Robert Whitaker Sirignano
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:20 am [Reply]

    I’m surprised it took Jim David so long to deal with adding new people and ideas to his strip. But knowing that he doesn’t even draw the strip anymore, let alone write it, the new developments must have happened because he leaned on his staff. Lean harder, and put Garfeild on a diet. And don’t any more damn movies.

    There are a lot of strips that hit the walking fossil arena: CROCK, THE WIZARD OF ID, B.C., THE FAMILY CIRCUS, PICKLES, MARMADUKE, etc…

    DILBERT has lost a lot of gloss from ideas that just aren’t funny, and Scott Adams oftens picks ideas from people who submit them to his website (and he doesn’t pay, the bastard)…

  29. Ooten Aboot
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:30 am [Reply]

    #8 Caged Tygre: You have found the British Dennis the Menace, now called Dennis the Menace and Gnasher.

    See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_the_Menace/Dennis-UK

  30. some guy
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:40 am [Reply]

    A3G: Is that ‘Knock’ because Tommie hit her head on something, or is that her brain knocking inside of her skull? And if the latter, wouldn’t there be an echo?

  31. marykat
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:20 am [Reply]

    I think we all know that the “view” Cedric is enjoying is of Neddy’s youthful bosum..and his eyes are “closed” in an attempt to use his patented “Butler X-ray vision” to see beneath that a-typical high necked shirt Neddy is sporting today.

  32. lars
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:28 am [Reply]

    Berkeley Breathed walked away at the height of his game. Of course he has come back with Sunday Opus.

  33. Hysterical Woman
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:31 am [Reply]

    Cathy, not every woman has an eating disorder.

  34. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:35 am [Reply]

    I feel a rant coming on, and it’s all because of that first strip.

    CATHY MUST DIE.

    Dammit now I’m serious here! It’s bad enough having to battle people like Cathy every day in a similar setting but I know for a fact, it’s never funny in real life either. I dream of the day when I can bring in a simple donut – glazed, chocolate, or sprinkled – and actually have it at my desk without women there pointing at me and screeching like extras from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” because I dared bring in something fattening. And I don’t even have it out, it’s still in the bag, but they know the bag, they recognize the bag!
    So walk at lunch like I do, lardass.
    There are the ache-and-painers, who spare nothing in the telling of their most difficult childbirth, their operation or their cramps, and then glare at me because, what? – my chromosome is evil? But I just feel the heat of the glares on the back of my head because at this point I’m usually retching into the wastecan in reaction to the gruesome stories. Mind you, I am not allowed to tell about the splinter in my finger (“EWWwww, that sounds painful Stop it!”)

    Then there is Valentine’s Day, or known in some circles as You, Too, Can Subsidize Hell Once a Year, and its occasional result, Wedding Plans. Nothing gets done from Feb.1-13; 14th is the Big Wait and Brag, and the rest of February is spent figuring out why someone did or didn’t send the required sacrifices to the altar of love. And the dreaded words, “I’m getting married” means she will do absolutely no work until The Day comes, after which time she complains because he’s not changing fast enough to suit her. Damn you, Cathy! Damn your stringy hair and your thunder thighs all to hell, you [margo]ing bitch!!!

    Don’t get me wrong. Not all ladies are like that. The majority I find to be wonderful and I appreciate each in my own way ;) but Cathy (Must Die) only serves to remind me of the bitter gall the particular gals at my office evidently spread on their toast every morning. Maybe it’s what office strips are trying to say, but I have yet for my version of Mr. Dithers kick my butt into the air, and at least I can see our Miss Buxley’s eyes.
    They’re blue with little green flakes :)

    I know, I know: lots of men are assbags, but thanks to Cathy (Must Die), FBoFW and a dozen other comic strips and most sitcoms, examples of such activity is already well documented.

    Excuse me, I have to go belch now and speak in Conversational Sports and know what is wrong with a car just by opening the hood. [/rant]

  35. Mooselet
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    I had Berkeley Breathed in mind as someone who walked away when Bloom County was still kicking ass and taking names, but then he ruined it with Sunday Opus and Outland.

    As for FBoFW, kill Granthony. That will instantly lift the impending cloud of moustached doom hanging over Liz at the moment. April has potential but is such the one dimensional snot nosed teenager at the moment I just want to throw her under the wheels of Rebecca’s tour bus and shout “Now that’s roadside!” Deanna needs to take her freakishly lipped daughter and soon to be terminally ill son and leave Mike’s sorry ass. This will instantly make Mike more interesting as he turns his rage into horror novels and becomes a hermit, meaning we’ll never see him again. Huzzah!

  36. grinderman
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:50 am [Reply]

    So Karen Moy is Asian (or rather Asian-American). Come to think of it, “Moy” might even be a Vietnamese name. So couldn’t she help Giella with the way he draws Asians? Give him a BOOK with some pictures of genuine Vietnamese? Even if she doesn’t know Vietnamese, round up someone who does to help him with the goddam signs?

    Sheeesh!

  37. Frank Drackman
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:53 am [Reply]

    For Cathy:
    Friday breakfast: black cofee 10 calories
    Friday lunch: Mcdonalds 1/4 lb 575 calories
    “””””””””””” fries 450 calories
    Large Diet Coke 0 calories
    Friday dinner: 3 Heinikens 450 calories
    1/2 of a medium Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza 810 calories
    Friday snack: bag of fried pork rinds 420 cal

    Total: 2715 calories, weight 135lbs

  38. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:57 am [Reply]

    …now I feel bad for ranting. They have me better trained than I realized.

    And I blame it all on YOU, CATHY!

    Quick, Robin; to the Snarkmobile!

    RMMD Elvis may have tried to kill Niki, but June’s going to make damn sure Elvis gets a chance to finish him off in the car she abandoned the boy in.
    DtM Dennis plans to ruin himself in carefully planned stages until all bases are covered. More fun that way!
    Peanuts Peanuts this week IS funnier when you read it a week at a time.
    FC I misread the caption at first, but for that precious moment I was amused. I’ll just bet that’s what librarians say when they see the Keane kids.
    FW What? No word balloon that says, “Who’s Hope?”

  39. Drewbob
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:04 am [Reply]

    I have a feeling that Lynn is a great fishing fan. Every time a FOOB character starts yelling, all I can think of is a large mouth bass.

  40. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:11 am [Reply]

    DT TrueFable prediction: Diet Smith Industries will somehow resurrect Sparkle Plenty.
    Do that Zombie Mambo!

    Luann Oh, for God’s sake, quit [margo]ing around and hurry up, let Luann fall for yet another guy who doesn’t want her.

    SF Aw, man! I read “No Jigglers” and told Aunt Fritzi to go back home.

  41. Timothy Burke
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:14 am [Reply]

    God, it’s so simple.

    The cast of FOOB and the cast of Funky Winkerbean need to be locked in a cage together until they depress each other out of existence. Like Ultimate Fighting Championship only with Prozac, suicide bombings, cancer and porn mustaches.

  42. Edgy DC
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:16 am [Reply]

    All Jim Davis is doing is exhibiting some of the development, risk, and change that Lynn Johnston shows every damn week.

    Sure some of the plots are cul de sacs that she can’t get out of. That’s why it’s freaking risky. But don’t get so caught up in those that you don’t give her the credit she deserves.

    She’s the only cartoonist on your funny pages unafraid of time. And she’s the only one daring enough to not let herself be categorized as a gag strip or a soap strip. LJ, who is about ready to pack it in and start mailing in her job like so many others, needs your support. Yes, even in her failures.

    And if you don’t like it, well, then, I get Liz to mysellf. Hubba.

  43. Edgy DC
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:17 am [Reply]

    Oh, and great narrative by the guest in today’s post.

  44. kilgore trout
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:21 am [Reply]

    Re: Giants walking away at the height of their game, have we forgotten Tiki Barber already?

    Many TV shows, movie franchises, etc. continue on long after they are artistically bankrupt for the obvious reason that they make money for their producers. Comic strips exist in the newspaper only as long as they make money for their syndicators. If that means milking the cash cow dry, so be it. Lynn Johnston’s decision to continue the strip frozen in time (Frozen Foobland is my candidate for the title) makes sense in that light – minimal effort for maximum gain.The intersection of art and commerce is rarely pretty, folks.

  45. Vernitis
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:25 am [Reply]

    That Cathy strip is built on lies. Women are no good at math.

  46. Grendell
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:33 am [Reply]

    Has this been happening to anybody else?
    9 Chickweed Lane is infiltrating my Chron.com comics page! First it showed up without invitation on the first page just under Blondie. It has no excuse being there, if at all it should be right at top above Apartment 3G to abide to the alphabetical order. But it’s getting worse, 9CL has of late also infected the second page where it now brazenly sits between FOOB and Funky Weeperbean. Will it soon inhabit every single page? I decided not to put 9CL on my comic page with full deliberation as I cannot stand the ugly google eyes and mouths were chins should be and I can’t be bothered to turn my head to read speech bubbles. I don’t do it for Rose is Rose and I won’t do it for you, 9CL! You suck! Get off my comic page!

  47. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:41 am [Reply]

    “But suppose somebody wanted to make it good — and without losing the current audience. Could they do that? How?”

    Well, Uncle Lumpy, it’s like this:

    1) Stop pushing the “career women are evil” agenda so hard, and allow Liz to not marry anyone, just let her date different guys on the never-say-age version. Let her be the independant woman she is said to be, instead of Elly Jr. Plenty of bad date stories to be mined.
    2) Have Lynn read up on what writers actually go through trying to find a publisher with the kind of material Mike has written so far. Yeah, I said rejection.
    3) Stop making EVERY woman in the strip dumpy. Deanna and Liz ought to still aspire to someday live at 9 Chickweed Lane, not Charterstone tomorrow.
    4) Take off the halos and stop making Elly and John so smugly self-righteous.
    5) Get rid of Anthony. Yes, I know he’s Liz’s old flame, yes, I know he’s been in the strip for years, yes, I know he’s championed by Saints Elly and John, but the man has no balls (he has no hooooommmmme!), he’s creepy (a fenced in playhouse in a basement? Er?) his actions w/ his wife were deplorable and selfish, and he tried to pull a Paul stunt with Liz, long before Paul pulled his own Paul stunt with Susan … and this is a guy of whom Elly and John approve?!?

    That’s my take on the questions, and if you don’t like it, then… then… have Poteet, Kate and AppleGirl strip search me. Not that it will have any affect on you, mind you, but it would make my whole year, brother!

    Can you tell I haven’t had any sleep since yesterday morning? I can, and I’m going to bed right now. Goodnight/morning folks.

  48. Ted
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:43 am [Reply]

    Re: Boondocks, from Wikipedia:

    “The strip continued for the first few months of the show’s first season before McGruder announced in February 2006 that the strip would be going on a six month hiatus. However, it was announced in September 2006 that the strip would remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future and McGruder officially cancelled production of the strip on October 27, 2006. The last strip ran on March 27, 2006[2].

    The show, like the strip, has received critical praise and stirred controversy over its content. It was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and has been renewed for an additional 20-episode season set to begin in June 2007[3] .”

    You’re now seeing reruns on the comics page.

  49. Old Fogeyette
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:47 am [Reply]

    As this is our monthly Charades weekend,, this may be my only opportunity to stop by. But I just wanted to thank you, Uncle Lumpy. Your choices for today’s strips were excellent (starting with three strips I loathe and never read), and your observations were thoughtful and interesting.

    Keep it up!

  50. What's wrong with Mallard Fillmore
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:48 am [Reply]

    Berke Breathed/Bloom County would be a good example of leaving a good legacy. Until Outland trashed his legacy and Opus took the trashed legacy and threw it into the blender with an extra dose of rat.

    For all its faults, Foob did produce an interesting storyline and did the risky thing of having its characters age. If Johnston had gone ahead and committed to her retirement, she’d be at least a B in the getting out while the gettting is good. The revised plan to go forward pulls her squarely into D- territory.

    And I would argue that Peanuts stands as the Beatles of comic strips. Everyone is influenced by Schulz. whether they want to admit it or not.

  51. Pedantophile
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:50 am [Reply]

    To Bucky Ripsnort from the previous thread:

    The Wikipedia article reminded me, too late, that Gargamel usually wanted to melt the Smurfs down for their high gold content (fillings?), but sometimes wanted to eat them.

    OK, no more Smurfs talk. I promise.

  52. EBD
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:50 am [Reply]

    #46 Grendell-
    For some reason strips that are removed from chron.com gets replaced by 9CL on your personal page. The one below FOOB was probably Foxtrot, and the one below Blondie could be Boondocks. My theory is that is was the only way to get someone to read it.

  53. MyGoodName
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:51 am [Reply]

    MT: I love – love love love – how Mark and Ranger Rick are going to stave off a raging forest fire all by themselves. I don’t know how effective a Right Hook O’ Justice would be against FIRE, but I’m betting the old Morgan farm is doomed.

  54. Adam
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:01 am [Reply]

    Crankshaft:
    Inattention to detail in the artwork has ruined this very funny strip. How are people going to know that she is overdosing on Crankshaft’s unused valium prescription if the artist only draws in two pills? P.S. I feel for you lady – but instead of killing yourself, couldn’t you just have him committed?

  55. Poteet
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:04 am [Reply]

    CATHY — Today’s edition reminds me of one reason I quit reading this strip — being tired of the repeated implication that I was some weird asexual being from Planet Neuter. Back when I read Guisewite, she seemed to constantly feature every female stereotype that doesn’t fit me, and every male stereotype that doesn’t fit either. I think she’s just a little responsible for my affiliating with natural resource people and academics, because the ones I know don’t fit her stereotypes either. Actually, those affiliations worked out great. So thanks for the one tiny good thing you did for me, Guisewite. And now, back to ignoring your neverending opus. Ahhh, feels good.

  56. Terryfic
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    #49 and #52: If you notice, 9CL is the first strip (alphabetically) in the chron.com list. I am a web developer, and noticed the connection right away when Foxtrot left. When the code queries the database for your chosen comics, if a comic isn’t found, the first comic in the DB is substituted. They could have done it differently by not displaying anything though.

  57. Poteet
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:14 am [Reply]

    MT — Sorry for the repetition from the last thread, but I do find this situation annoying. Dickhead has a farm on a mountain in a conifer-intensive biome that looks Western to me (though I promise not to argue with the fierce LoFo-is-in-Arkansas contingent of CCs). In any case, the landscape looks reasonably flammable. And yet said Dickhead is only NOW wondering what he might want to do if wildfire comes his way? I’m a procrastinator myself, but geez.

  58. jules
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:18 am [Reply]

    I like April. Save the guitarist, save the strip.

  59. Squawk
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:19 am [Reply]

    I wouldn’t say that Larson walked out while on top of his game; toward the end of The Far Side there were a couple of years of lower quality output before Larson wisely admitted he was burned out and decided to throw in the towel. Watterson, on the other hand, definitely left at his peak, but I think his decision to quit had less to do with a lack of ideas than with frustration at the way the newspaper industry was treating the comics.

    Having said that, I think Scott Adams still manages to come up with some good Dilberts every now and then, although the one that’s posted today is clearly straining. The inherent challenge in drawing the strip is that life in a cubicle farm never changes, so Dilbert never changes. It’s condemned to consistency.

  60. confused newbie
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:22 am [Reply]

    sorry for such a dumb question…but can someone explain what “foob” means?

  61. Grendell
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:26 am [Reply]

    52 and 56: Thanks, that does make sense. Time for an update then. Oh yeah, too bad Foxtrot is gone… I kind of forgot about that, not checking the comics for over a month. Thank God I didn’t miss anything happening over in Judge Parker.

  62. kilgore trout
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:29 am [Reply]

    #60 foob (n): a mashup of fool & boob, once used by April as an insult. Indicative of LJs complete lack of connection to anything resembling today’s popular culture.

  63. JonO
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:32 am [Reply]

    Wait, “Southerners have lives” is the theme of Kudzu? Judging by this sample alone, I’d have to say the theme is “Southerners have profound mental illness.” Also, bad taste in neckwear.

  64. JonO
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    I misquoted, of course, I should have corrected that to “Southerners are people too.”

    Look at me. I’m concerned of being perceived as inattentive or stupid after posting something on the internet.

  65. Jason
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    Dilbert: I actually still enjoy it quite often. Its my favorite comic strip. Maybe because my life resembles it a little too much lately. I will admit though, todays installment was pretty crappy.

  66. Harry Paratestes
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:36 am [Reply]

    Spiderman: OMG, Spidey’s latest nemesis is going to be King Mullet of Nascaria himself!

  67. TaxiGirl
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:39 am [Reply]

    Every time I get one of those postcards reminding me that Cathy is in fact a spokeswoman for the United States Postal Service, I begin imagining the eventual meltdown… Cathy’s dumpy body in postal worker blue, shrieking her rage and insanity. No one noticing this as any different from Cathy on a normal day. Until the bullets start flying.

    Cathy as “irate postal worker” is at least more vivid than a few years ago, when the memories of anthrax in the mail still ran high.

  68. What's wrong with Mallard Fillmore
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:42 am [Reply]

    Phantom: Why does the lady need to whisper while Mozz can talk out loud? Does it have to do with their sudden teleportation away from the truck?

    And Mary, you shouldn’t be puzzled. Your DREAMS caused that. Stop psychokinetically hurting Dr Whatsisname..

  69. Remus - (A Tater Tot Man)
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:55 am [Reply]

    Congratulations, Lumpy. You’ve forced me to break my Cathy strike of nearly 243 days. I thought we’d all agreed that no matter how ripe, that one was off limits. Just too damn easy. Now I see you are making a point, but still…

    Check out Dagwood today though. That sandwich that is making him so happy is comprised of extremely odd foods. Is that a giant pink mushroom on the edge of the table? It explains alot about his perennial lack of sexual desire and general confusion.

  70. brendan
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:08 am [Reply]

    FBFW: how could they make it good? Sir, I take this as a challenge, and a big one: the strip is very far gone. And as we’ve been discussing at the foobiverse, the set-up is for Lizzie and Granthony to get married just before the strip ends, so the ultimate 3 panels can read “In sickness and in health” (panel 3), “for richer or poorer” (2), and “for better or for worse” (ultimate panel).

    But to make it better, Liz would have to reject Granthony’s proposal, and leave millborough for good. She wouldn’t have to go anywhere special, just get out, as the Amityville Horror house might say. Preferably following a huge blow-up at Elly and John for trying to manipulate her into marrying gRanthony.

    And as for granthony, he should be exposed as the creep he is: when Lizzie rejects him, he should try the same attack as Howard Erk (Bunt, whatever).

    Jim needs to die, followed by Iris (a massive heart attack).

    At this point, any device that gets mike/dee out of the picture works: I’d even accept “pattersons by little house, sell family home to mike-and-dee”. Although I WOULD enjoy seeing Mike leave Dee for Weed (his friend/crush, not the recreational plant), and Dee takes the kids to live far away.

    Same with April: enroll her in college and get her out of there.

    Then the strip could end with Elly looking at the shards of her broken family, asking John, “well, was it for better or for worse for you?”

  71. Loony Lil
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:10 am [Reply]

    Why do I see this happening?

    a) Warren will keep trying to wear Liz down, knowing April is on his side, and will even enlist April’s help in getting Liz to see things his way.
    b) Happy Howard, through some goofy loophole, will be acquitted, sending Liz into a deeper tailspin that will cost her her job.
    c) With all the drama churning in her life – living in a crowded house, Paul’s betrayal, Warren’s “stalking,” Howard’s acquittal, the loss of her job – Liz is going to have a HUGE meltdown that not even Granthony, Elly, April and John will be able to handle.

    If LJ wants to go out with a bang, this is the way to do it. Have Liz suffer a massive emotional breakdown and end up in a psychiatric hospital for several months. Comments?

  72. j
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:15 am [Reply]

    At last I can post this Harry Enfield skit as Liz walks throught “The Mindfield of Caddishness!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ0jRuASVEQ

  73. valerie
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:17 am [Reply]

    hmmm..what if, in FBOFW, Elizabeth gives up the noble profession of teaching and instead becomes a stripper? She could get noble Deanna & horizon-seeking April in on it and open a new strip club: SisterSluts.

    just a thought….

  74. MrP
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:24 am [Reply]

    And no matter how much you beg the FOOB artist, she’ll never stop drawing people with freaky round, staring eyes and wide-open, tongueless, toothless mouths. They’re like evil dolls.

  75. Desoto
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:24 am [Reply]

    FBFW: Granthony vs Howard – go for Howard, Liz. At least Howard doesn’t keep small children caged up in his basement.
    FW: Go back to your roots, FW! Have Les wake up as a teenager again and exclaim “So it was all a dream…” Then have him go to back a school where the hall monitors use machine guns, the band director heaps endless abuse on his pupils, and the bullies and the bitches rule the hallways.
    CATHY: Get Cathy pregnant. (I know, I know, it’s the oldest cliche in comics, but at least it would be something different.) Of course, this is assuming she’s not to old already; she’s what, 45 now?
    H&L: This strip can’t be saved, but here’s what I would do anyway: Update the characters! For the first 30 years, Hi and Lois were the WWII generation, then they became the baby boomer generation, now it’s time to update them again: Generation X! “I still remember the day I met your mother, Chip. It was at the Whitesnake/Motley Crue concert. She was wearing a snakeskin mini-skirt and she told me how cute I looked with my mullet.”

  76. Steve
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:30 am [Reply]

    I actually find Kudzu pretty funny, ‘cept for the parrot strips. Maybe it’s cause I’m from Mississippi…

  77. Hap Hapless
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:32 am [Reply]

    Dilbert is the Seinfeld of comic strips. Even a bad one is much better than 90% of everything else available.

    And LOL to True Fable post #34 “So walk at lunch like I do, lardass”

  78. fishmorgjp
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:33 am [Reply]

    Imagine how much more interesting FBOFW would become if only the off-panel space-pods were revealed. You know, the pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the big seed-pods from outer space that sprout soulless duplicates of humans. Look at the fish-like eyes, the flappy mouths of the characters… they’re trying to get the “emotions” thing right, but they just can’t do it.

  79. Desoto
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:40 am [Reply]

    P.S.
    9CL: More tights, less dialog! Call me a pig, but I liked this strip better when Edda was still a schoolgirl. (It’s the Brooke Shields/Kelly Bundy/Britney Spears syndrome; once they’re of legal age, who cares?)

  80. queek
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:42 am [Reply]

    58: April as the cheerleader? ;-)

    FW obviously didn’t learn from FOOB about Native wisom turning out so well.

    9CL: best girl-art since Modesty Blaise folded.

  81. Richard Onley
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:51 am [Reply]

    #46: Grendel: It happened to me, too. Whenever a strip got cancelled, its place was filled in with that day’s 9 Chickweed Lane. If it’s appearing below Blondie, that’s because it’s replacing Boondocks, e.g. If you regard this as a problem, the solution is to restructure your “Build your own comics page.”

    #60: “FOOB” is an acronym for “Fuck Off, Old Bat,” which is something a lot of people would like to say to the cartoonist . . .

  82. commodorejohn
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:51 am [Reply]

    FOOB – Much as I hate this strip, I’m quite entertained by the way April has been acting as the voice of Not-Johnston. It’s like there’s some subversive over at FOOB who keeps writing in bits where April does what all of us would like someone in the strip to do – roll her eyes at the melodrama, suggest that anyone (fireman, copter pilot, whatever) would be less boring than the inevitable Anthony, etc. Of course, I’m sure we’re meant to view April as the (unwanted) voice of youthful inexperience, but I personally am saying “ROCK ON” to her as long as she keeps slipping in opposing viewpoints to Johnston’s.

  83. grumpy fiend
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:02 pm [Reply]

    I thought “Cathy” was going to be cancled soon after she got married. I’ts been almost 2 years since then. Are they going to wait for a divorce to be cancled so they can start running the strip from the beginning?

  84. Canaduck
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:04 pm [Reply]

    Holy crap, I hate Cathy. I know it’s been said, but:

    Women DO NOT do that, Cathy, complete psychos do that. Bored dieticians do that. People with severe eating disorders do that.

    Women as a whole do NOT.

    I hope Cathy chokes on a Slimfast.

  85. Sheilagh
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:13 pm [Reply]

    If April is the voice of not-Johnston, I do look forward to seeing her make gagging noises when Liz opts for Anthony.

  86. Harry Paratestes
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:22 pm [Reply]

    As Uncle Lumpy said: “Trapped between a huge, dim, slavishly-devoted audience and a self-satisfied, ham-handed Stalinist author, this strip is creatively as dead as they come. Yet it will run on and on as a Frankenstein’s monster stitched up from Mike’s mewling brats and zombies from the Good Old Days, glued up with glop from that “novel.”

    But suppose somebody wanted to make it good — and without losing the current audience. Could they do that? How?”

    I gave it some thought, UL, and here’s my idea:

    The Jurassic Family Patterson on Patterson’s Isle!

    The entire Patterson family and the whole cast of FBoFW goes off on a Caribbean cruise on a ship named ‘S.S. Minnow’ (a three hour tour, no less) to relax, and the ship sinks in a storm. The foobs are the only ones to survive the wreck, and eventually end up on a mysterious island off Costa Rica. OHHH NOOO, the foobs are stranded on Isla Nubar, where the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park rule! Not just too cool, it’s THREE cool! There will be savagery, survival, bloodshed, great sex (everybody’s going to live each day like it’s their last), self sacrifice, nobility, and don’t forget all the family squabbles that made you know and love the strip.
    It’ll be beyond awesome, with the tie-ins to Gilligan’s Isle Jurassic Park, and FBoFW it’ll create a media sensation beyond reckoning.
    I’m thinking that Lynn Johnson is a fool if she doesn’t option this winning concept right away.

  87. Hysterical Woman
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:22 pm [Reply]

    Kudzu: This comic may seem innocent, but it’s a satire on same-sex marriage. The “slippery slope” argument against same-sex marriage is that if we allow two people of the same sex to marry, we have to allow polygamy, bestiality, and even marrying inanimate objects. Now, the validity of this argument is a discussion for The Cockpit, but I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen it lead to marry oneself.

  88. Braniff
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:25 pm [Reply]

    For all the complaints about Kudzu, Cathy, For Better and the like, how would you change the direction of these “infamous” cartoons or comic strips? Or would you end them?

    Here are my suggestions:

    Kudzu: Rev. Will B. Dunn adopts Scientology and jumps up and down on a couch on his TV show to get everyone to follow him. Then he runs out of town with the cheerleader.

    Cathy. Irving’s long-lost daughter moves in with Cathy and Irving.

    Family Circus: Who’s been looking at the porn on the family computer? “Ida know” “Not me”?

  89. Dean Booth
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:27 pm [Reply]

    MW: It looks like Mary got hold of some Saigon weed, and can hardly pay attention to Jeff.

  90. Skullturf Q. Beavispants
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:28 pm [Reply]

    Grendell and others — very interesting re 9CL showing up uninvited into one’s comics page. I assumed it was some bizarre one-of-a-kind glitch that affected only me. My 9CL was showing up right under FBORFW, which I now realize was because it was replacing Foxtrot. Interesting. I re-builded my build-your-own-comics page earlier this month and that fixed the problem.

    And in today’s Garfield, Jon seems to have turned into early 20th century sideshow attraction Grace MacDaniel.

  91. topliff
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:37 pm [Reply]

    I hate to obsess about a minor strip like F Minus but the last few days have certainly pushed the envelope:
    1/25 – Cross-dresser caught by his wife
    1/26 Self-mutilation group
    1/27 Peeing in the snow/moondust
    Upcoming
    Monday – Cutting can be fun
    Tuesday – Practical jokes with amputees
    Wednesday – Dad diagnosed with emphysema (oops, sorry, wrong strip)

  92. Ukulele Ike
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:39 pm [Reply]

    Making Foob Good: I agree with the general consensus that April is our only hope. Let’s fastforward to her high school graduation and departure for college, and turn our attention to her far-from-home drug/alcohol binges and sexual debauches. We can hear from Mom and Dad and Mike and Liz every once in a LONG while, and only though letters or e-mail. That April can read out loud to us.

  93. Gadge Cubic, Mole Preener
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:45 pm [Reply]

    I hate Cathy. The art is crap (Bill Griffith of Zippy the Pinhead fame once likened it to dropping string on a xerox machine…) and the gender stereotypes obnoxious. (I’m particularly annoyed by this one having had to last-minute buy a couple of birthday cards at a mall store the other day – the greeting-card industry’s notion of what men and women are like is just depressing.)

    Re retooling FOOB: I think the Pattersons should be revealed as a secret family of mob assassins. Comically incompetent ones. A-and the Canadian mob is run not by [ethnic stereotype removed a la Tinsley] but by, uh, expatriate Andorrans! Oh – and Deanna should finally get fed up with Mike’s shit, grab his “novel” and laptop and toss them in the snow, and get in her car and drive rapidly to the nearest bar and get utterly wasted. Where her cunning neighbor – who’s been waiting for this moment – is waiting, all ready to be the most sympathetic guy in the world. Cue wakka-chikka guitars.

  94. Dean Booth
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:46 pm [Reply]

    Here’s one way to spice up FOOB: Liz gets an apology letter from the guy who assaulted her. She writes back saying she can’t forgive him. Their correspondence continues, and she finds herself visiting him in prison. She falls in love (ala Dead Man Walking or Truman Capote). He gets out and she moves in with him. It’s a quick ride to the bottom. He starts robbing banks, and sooner or later she participates, Patty Hearst style. Then he dumps her, which she loudly announces to the family as she comes in the door. That would be interesting.

  95. Dean Booth
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:48 pm [Reply]

    #90: Skullturf, I think Grace was the live model for most of the people in (DT)GT.

  96. TB Tabby
    January 27th, 2007 at 12:56 pm [Reply]

    MW: Are you sure this is taking place in Hanoi Peace Village, and not the Royal Hospital for Overacting?

    Slylock: More Bonnie & Boo-Boo today…and it’s actually kind of funny! If Weber wasn’t so good at drawing furry hotties, I’d ask him to do this full-time. It’d be an improvement.

    9CL: “DEBAUCHING?!” Thanks to this strip, the censoring of Get Fuzzy is getting more and more absurd every day!

    TDIET: Their battery died? I know Scaduto isn’t up to speed on modern technology, but surely he’s heard of jumper cables!

    BS: I see the big picture too…and I wish I was seeing less of it. Fix your pants, man!

    H&L: If fstdt.com is any indication, those “reinforcements” will be armed with more than just pamphlets.

    JP: “Someone’s trying to kill you son, but don’t worry, he’ll be perfectly safe alone in a car in the middle of a parking lot!”

  97. TB Tabby
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:00 pm [Reply]

    93: YES! Finally, an excuse for GTA: GTA!

  98. Dean Booth
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:04 pm [Reply]

    #52 and 48, here’s a techie explanation: Comics are displayed by number (e.g., c=123 in the URL). If the web program does not find a requested comic number it defaults to 0. Since the numbers are assigned alphabetically, 9CL, being first, is assigned 0. That’s why 9CL is displayed whenever another comic is not found.

  99. Dean Booth
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:08 pm [Reply]

    #56. Oops, you got to it first. That’ll teach me to write before reading.

  100. James Schend
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:12 pm [Reply]

    You know Uncle Lumpy, since this blogging system doesn’t say WHO posted entries to it, you might want to sign your postings in some way for posterity’s sake.

  101. Rhekarid
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:29 pm [Reply]

    Omigawd! You mean women and men are different? This changes everything. Thank you Cathy, you have opened my eyes with a joke that’s never been done before.

  102. ken clean air system
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:30 pm [Reply]

    #96 TB Tabby – first to spot your Monty Python reference!

  103. Mr Froth
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:36 pm [Reply]

    Smithers (Josh) should have never gone on vacation and left Homer (Uncle Lumpy) as Mr. Burns’ (us readers) assistant. Now that’s some great crumudgeoning!

  104. Mr. Nurse to you
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:45 pm [Reply]

    MARY WORTH: While you mention that there hasn’t been any character development since the Kennedy Administration… what is interesting is that the IV fluid bottle seems to be a glass bottle from the Kennedy administration as does the ‘iron’ hospital bed as well as the wooden side chair. Mary’s compadres must get their medical care at the most third-rate rural community hospitals.

  105. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:47 pm [Reply]

    I find it odd and unfair that I work with live action Cathy characters. The rest of you hate Cathy because she touts stereotypical male/female POVs, and rightly is your hate warranted. I hate her because she reminds me that her 3-panel hell is not representational of how people really are except in her mind and five people I know. I don’t want to be reminded of my unfortunate odds.

    Things to do: 1) find a new workplace 2)get an alarm clock that can’t get accidently set to 1:30 in the afternoon or doesn’t break the first time it is thrown against the wall

  106. SmartPeopleOnIce
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:48 pm [Reply]

    I believe George Carlin once proposed changing the rules of basketball to give extra points if you make the ball go in the hoop by bouncing it off the head of someone on the opposing team.

    It’s not clear how this would improve FOOB, but it would make basketball totally excellent.

  107. fillmoreeast
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:50 pm [Reply]

    How to save Foob:

    As many people here say, April needs to get out. She gets accepted to a college with a good music program, sufficiently far away from Toronto. Say, Berklee in Boston. She learns to play electric guitar, forms a band (with a non-horrific name), gets a few tattoos and piercings, and ends up working after graduation at the company in Cambridge that did Guitar Hero.

    Liz realizes Granthony is not for her, and rebels against her parents (finally) for trying to push him on her. She has a moment of clarity about how she abandoned the people of Mtigwaki after receiving a letter that Jesse has been arrested for some form of delinquency. To atone, she hops in Warren’s Chopper Ex Machina and has him drop her and Shiiiiiimsa off in another native town up north, where she resumes her duties as a teacher, AND STAYS THERE. She does not get married, but does finally get laid and finds out that homesickness is something you get over, not something you succumb to. She visits Paul and Susan after several years, admits her culpability in that particular cluster[Margo], and they end up becoming friends. Because it _is_ possible to be friends with your ex.

    Mike finds a new apartment for his family. His book is rejected by multiple publishers. He starts to drink, and neglects his family even more while sliding into depression. He loses his job. Dee leaves him, taking the kids, claiming (accurately) that he loves his writing more than he does them. She moves in with her mom, who turns out to be a good parent and grandparent after all. Mike tries to move home again, but his parents put their foot down and practice some actual tough love, telling him to find his own way and stop using them as emotional crutches. After a long, dark night of the soul, he gets a new job as an advertising copywriter, burns the Sheilargh novel (for closure), and gives up fiction writing for the good of mankind. He also hangs out with Laurence once and a while, rather than ignoring him completely.

    Jim struggles for a while, then has a second stroke and dies peacefully in his sleep. Iris accuses Elly of shirking responsibility for her own father, then dies shortly thereafter as well, of heart failure.

    Elly and John, finally empty-nesters, sell their house _and_ John’s train sets. They buy a nice place down in Mexico and retire there, as there’s no one to stay around for any more. They take the dogs with them. The rabbit dies.

    Granthony is hit by a bus and dies in great pain. His parents adopt Francoise.

    And Lynn Johnston freaking RETIRES, rather than letting her strip lurch around forever in some cockeyed “frozen” state so she can make more money. New and funny comic strips, drawn by young artists with fresh perspectives, take Foob’s place.

  108. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:51 pm [Reply]

    * 4-panel hell. It doesn’t matter, Cathy is essentially the same things every day, every week, every year, every circle of hell.

  109. Chesnut
    January 27th, 2007 at 1:55 pm [Reply]

    Since when has Garfield the character become the Legolas “Mr. Exposition” Greenleaf of comic strips?

  110. Dennis Jimenez
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:01 pm [Reply]

    MT – Oh, if only some lucky beaver had left a water impoundment nearby, we could get firefighting water chopper over there and save the Morgan farm! Of course we know how Morgan loves his trees and and hate those pesky, good for nothing beavers. What can we do now, except just let it all burn?

  111. Dennis Jimenez
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:08 pm [Reply]

    SF – Well it’s Saturday, so what will it be Ted. A lime green or salmon pink blouse today. Either would properly show off you’re manliness.

  112. yudantaiteki
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:15 pm [Reply]

    As much as FBFW hate is popular here, I still like the strip. It’s still basically my favorite strip in the paper, and I don’t think anything needs to be changed about it.

  113. Caged Tygre
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:19 pm [Reply]

    #86, you’re forgetting, Ma & Pa Patterson never take their family with them on vacation, especially not April. They would rather leave her in the care of Howard Bunt or in old man Anthony’s basement cage, than take her with them anywhere.

  114. Jmarkow
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:28 pm [Reply]

    As to leaving on top, how about Frank Cho with Liberty Meadows. I know it’s still on the Chron page, but I think it’s all reruns. He and Brooke (9CL) draw the best females in the universe. And I’m a female.Straight.

  115. Ribinin
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:40 pm [Reply]

    Dilbert – It’s not that it is so funny outright, it is familiar and it is about somebody else.

    It is a little like the Go Fug Yourself website. Being a fuggee whose choice of wardrobe is often critiqued unfavorably, I like to see others in that situation.

    When I was a cubicle mole, Dilbert was a constant reminder that if I changed jobs to get away from my company’s corporate stupidity, I would just be changing deck chairs on the Titanic.

  116. spinster with cat
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:53 pm [Reply]

    I might agree that April would be FOOB’s Great White (North) Hope, except that she appears to have tragically transformed into a Muppet in the last panel of today’s strip.

    Poor Muppets.

  117. Chert the Chort
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:54 pm [Reply]

    Foob: Jim isn’t going to die. LJ has stated on her website that when she switches to the “timeless” version of the strip, everyone will remain froxen in time while she starts the strip over in a sense, this time focusing on Mike & brood, like in the early years of FBOFW.

    Evidence of her hatred for her characters: “Ellie Patterson’s father, Jim, who has been suffering the depredations of age, will remain forever old.” Wow. Just wow.

    Have a look here and here.

    She’s gonna be around for a long while yet. So is Grandpa Jim. (“Kill me… kill me now”)………

  118. Professor Fate
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:55 pm [Reply]

    I really can’t think of anything better to save FBOFW than the other folks have come up with.

    This wouldn’t save it but it whould end it:

    I’d like to see Liz and Grandthony abducted by Aliens before their planned wedding -and Liz seeing what a compete simp Grandthony is during the anal probe (“No no do her first!!!”) breaks off the engagement and decides it’s time to get a real personality and life leaves for New York. April just leaves one day without a word.
    Not only is Mike’s novel rejected by everybody but his wife’s short piece she wrote for a local mag on what a nightmare is it having a husband who thinks he’s the next hemingway gets her on the Ellen show and she gets a book deal and Sony wants the movie rights .
    Mike crushed drinks the better part of a bottle of Johnny walker and ends up wandering into the snow and freezing to death his body not discovered until the spring thaw.
    The rest just die in unpleasent ways.

  119. commodorejohn
    January 27th, 2007 at 2:56 pm [Reply]

    #112 – Please elaborate. Don’t think me rude, but I can’t see what’s to like about the strip, and I’m curious as to what anyone else could see in it.

  120. Ribinin
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:00 pm [Reply]

    107 Fillmore east – I like it. It seems to me you could start a new strip based on that.

    LJ could not complain since it is nothing like her work.

  121. Chromium
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:12 pm [Reply]

    Interestingly, this is not the first time Jon has melted.

    (I would link to what I’m talking about, but there’s no way I’m crawling through the archives at the Garfield site. Longtime readers will know what I’m talking about.)

    21, jordan – Uh, the klanwatch strips are reruns from when Boondocks was just starting.

    Man, I am loving this Redeye strip more and more. A few days ago it was dismemberment, today it’s bestiality.

  122. rodent
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    “But suppose somebody wanted to make it good — and without losing the current audience. Could they do that? How?”

    A bout of the plague might be nice, plenty of opportunity for hand-wringing and tears, not to mention killing off all the nonPattersons. Leprosy would work too, and it would drag on longer. If it was up to me, the whole Patterson gang would go out in a blaze of glory ala Ma Barker and her boys, only this time the crime wave would be spearheaded by the amazon Patterson women, bare-chested, brazen and driven to wild debauchery by some little-known healing root Liz brought back called Mtigwacky tbaccy. Or something.

  123. Chromium
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:20 pm [Reply]

    OK, so I guess I misread today’s Redeye. It still doesn’t make any sense. The guy has to ASK which one is the wife?

  124. sabrechick
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:25 pm [Reply]

    Apt 3G – Was that Tommies HEAD knocking against the wall? It certainly would explain the hollow quality to the sound.

    Beetle Bailey – The funny thing is I know a lot of women who would do the same thing – and not see the irony in it.

    Cleats – I love the fact that this strip has the old guys in it also. Folks don’t stop being competitive when they get older, they just re-direct their energies. Plus the old guy on the left talks like he would fit right in on this board.

    Dennis the Menace – Once again not menacing, but I love the sentiment.

    Family Circus- So what kind of books are the kids reading?
    Billy: Surviving a dysfunctional family
    Taxidermy for dummies (they are running out of room for dead pets in the back yard)
    Dolly: Platitudes for beginners (author M. Worth of course)

    FOOB – Elizabeth, let me give you a hint. If you want your life to be “private” SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY!!!!

    Fred Bassett: I like Fred Bassett when I understand it – Today I don’t.

    Garfield – It’s all in your definition of “special” now, isn’t it.

    Spider Man – “Yellow Book”? No trademark infringement there!

  125. Dicky
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:27 pm [Reply]

    111, Dennis: I don’t know. That lime green has a pretty low V-neck going for it. If the pink were darker, like a real salmon pink, then I’d say go for that. As it is, he should just continue getting dressed with the shirt that’s already on him.

    FOOB: I have nothing to contribute besides yay April, and
    When I was playing Typing of the Dead earlier, the best phrase came up: “Roadside Olympics.”

    Crankshaft: Yeah, she’s definitely going to OD on that aspirin…

  126. Dean Booth
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:31 pm [Reply]

    MT Prediction: The trees that Theodore and Castoria cut down become a natural fire break that prevents Dick’s farm from being burned. He learns to stop worrying and love the beaver.

  127. Tom Ames
    January 27th, 2007 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

    Anyone else interested in staging a Coup d’Curmudgeon to install Uncle Lumpy as dictator?

    Not that I don’t like Josh, but it would be pretty funny to watch him get home from his wife’s vacation and find that the locks on his comics empire had been changed while he was gone. And Uncle Lumpy would owe us all big-time. Plus, we could empty the CC liquor cabinet.

    Who’s with me?

  128. Milo Bloom
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:20 pm [Reply]

    There is NOTHING FUNNY about that Cathy, and I don’t mean the same as when I usually say that about Cathy. The author seems to be so disconnected from reality that she thinks having her main character demonstrate signs of a serious eating disorder can somehow be used as the basis of a “women be different from men” joke.
    I mean, I know, it’s just a stupid Cathy strip. But the idea of “winning” from eating fewer calories than your lunch partner? That kind of thing is seriously sick.

    So, yeah, nothing funny about the strip and nothing funny about this comment, but there’s also nothing funny about people STARVING THEMSELVES TO DEATH.
    Except, ironically? The only person I can think of who it WOULD be amusing to see starve to death? Cathy. Wouldn’t it be funny to see her slowly waste away until, barely unable to lift that giant head of hers, she finally is able to fit into that bikini, only to have everyone recoil in disgust and horror at her skeletal, ghost-of-christmas-past-like body, and in the second between realizing what she’s done to herself and expiring, she reaches her talonlike fingers towards the saleslady and whispers, “….ack…”

  129. dramashoes
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:21 pm [Reply]

    Elizabeth is looking like a warmed over cadaver in panel three of FBOFW. She’s so glum and inconsolable that it fills my blackened heart with glee. Perhaps next week she will don corpsepaint and a withered dress made from burial rags. Then she can tour the world with her black metal band, Fecal Abomination. Or perhaps not.

  130. jordan
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:23 pm [Reply]

    I guess you’re right. I guess it was the early days of the strip which were not as good and he did quit when the comic was at it’s peak. The comic post 9-11 is some of the best work every done on the comics page.

  131. Happytim
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    “But suppose somebody wanted to make it good — and without losing the current audience. Could they do that?”

    No.

    I like easy questions!

  132. renton
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:40 pm [Reply]

    FOOB might be better if April became addicted to sex. Maybe that’s just me.

  133. BewaretheCreeper
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:45 pm [Reply]

    Remember when comics were funny or entertaining?! I guess that’s one of the reasons newspapers are in such trouble these days. No news, just stupid views and crappy comics.

  134. Foobaphobe
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:46 pm [Reply]

    Foob:
    I just don’t get the point of the Warren chopper trip. Liz was going to get to Mtigiwikiwiki land and be told by Paul that he’d dumped her for Chipper. (No one’s suggested Suds and Chipper were going to go on pretending they weren’t an item.) So what was the point of getting Liz there a day early, other than to make her feel worse by “discovering” the truth herself? It makes no freeking sense at all, not that we should expect anything better from this crappy Canadian “comic.”

  135. banana
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:47 pm [Reply]

    I think True Fable needs a hug :)

  136. Foobaphobe
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    Garfield:
    So Liz’s comment turned Jon into Cthulhu? Isn’t that a bad thing? Won’t he eat the souls of all the other comics now?

  137. Jose Pluma
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    Stalin enslaved an entire nation for decades, starved and murdered millions, and helped start World War II.
    Lynn Johnston draws a bad comic strip.
    I’m not really up on current events in Canada, but unless she has seized power in Ottawa, sent all the other Canadian cartoonists to the Yukon gulag, or expropriated the wheat farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan, I’m thinking she’s a little low on the continuum of evil to be called “Stalinist.”

  138. lr
    January 27th, 2007 at 4:58 pm [Reply]

    “Dilbert is the Seinfeld of comic strips. Even a bad one is much better than 90% of everything else available.”

    Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.

  139. Uncle Lumpy
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:02 pm [Reply]

    #137 Jose -

    Gracious!

    “the principles of communism associated with Joseph Stalin, characterized especially by the extreme suppression of dissident political or ideological views, the concentration of power in one person, and an aggressive international policy.”

    So I guess it’s OK if Lynn doesn’t kill people and enslave a nation. Thank heavens!

  140. reader-who-posts
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:03 pm [Reply]

    I also tend to give Berke Breathed credit for leaving Bloom County before it got stale, although as far as I’m concerned Outland never happened.

    However, I give Jim Davis credit for nothing. I’m sure this the was result of a 0.0025% drop in the strip’s popularity, and nothing more. This is nothing more than a feeble attempt at ingenuity for the masses.

  141. jules
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:14 pm [Reply]

    Milo Bloom, I am mostly here to admire your screen name. :) I may as well go on record as saying that Bloom County is my favorite comic strip of all time ever.

    I also agree with everything you said about Cathy, which I hate because it implies that as a woman I should only care about 1) my weight, 2) my shoes, 3) the size of my ass, and 4) how much I weigh. “Ack” indeed.

    More like “Oop ack pbbbbbtt!”

  142. Jamus The Bartender
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:30 pm [Reply]

    129. Liz will water flowers with milk at four in the afternoon. Liz will punch a mirror and drink a lot of booze. Liz will completely lose her shit. She’ll dress in black like those kids April and her friends laugh at. Liz is a snail crawling along the edge of a straight razor. The clock is ticking…

  143. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:30 pm [Reply]

    # 135 – Thank you banana!

  144. AwfulArt
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:43 pm [Reply]

    I got lucky reading “GF” after reading “FW”.. The worthless rag I read has then in that order.. Cause “FW” sucked again.. This 6 day mini soap on “GF” may be it’s best ever…!!!

  145. Jamus The Bartender
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:44 pm [Reply]

    88. Family Circus. It’s been done. It used to be called Dysfunctional Family Circus. * sighs*

  146. Jose Pluma
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:46 pm [Reply]

    Again, I’m not up on the news from Canada (who is?), so I missed all the international incursions by the Johnstonian forces and their proxies, the roundups of the letter-to-the-editor writers, and the establishment of the foobatariat dictatorship.
    When FBOFW became idiotically banal, I stopped reading it. I recently found the CC and I’m enjoying the comic again because of the snide comments being made about it.
    Yes, it is a bad comic strip, but comparing a cartoonist to Stalin (or Hitler or Mousie Dung, for that matter) is just silly.

  147. Terryfic
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:46 pm [Reply]

    Today’s comics.com has Born Loser on the front page, and they are declaring ketchup a fruit. But didn’t Reagan declare ketchup a vegetable back in his administration? born loser

  148. Donald The Anarchist
    January 27th, 2007 at 5:55 pm [Reply]

    Cathy I play a game whenever I’m eating lunch w/ a good-looking female. It’s called, “How many times, and how long, can I stare at her chest w/o her noticing?” I consider it a “win” if I don’t get slapped…

    Just kidding. If I’m attracted to them, I’m usually trying to make eye contact and flirt with them. Otherwise I’ll just talk to them like we’re both human beings. Never has it occurred to me to analyze what they’re eating.

  149. True Fable
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:15 pm [Reply]

    I never saw any of Stalin’s cartoons, but I bet they sucked.

    Of course, no one was gonna tell HIM that.

  150. Alex Blase
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:17 pm [Reply]

    Am I the only one who’s going to defend Cathy here? Maybe not defend Cathy per se, but the potential that Cathy has if the author could think of some better premises.
    I mean, the drawings are cute. The dialogue is quick and natural. She has a central character that is lacking the in the comics page: a career woman. Sure there’s Sally Forth, and there’s Lois Flagston (who rarely seems to work), and for the joke-a-day comics (that I read) that’s it. And of those three, she’s the only one that does jokes that directly involve women’s issues, even if the observational comedy is more based on hyperbole than reality. The only others doing that sort of comedy are Rhymes with Orange and Six Chix, and they don’t have any recurrent characters. I’d like to see plotlines that deal more with other women’s issues and not just weight-loss, like that one about the sexual harassment suit.
    Basically, how many joke-a-days have a career woman as the central character who actually works regularly? 2, Cathy and Sally Forth. How man joke-a-days have a career man as the central character who actually works regularly? Too many to count. That’s why I still read Cathy, more out of respect than for the humor.
    Speaking of respect, I did cut out Garfield from my viewing pattern about two weeks ago. I now skip directly down to Marmaduke and Momma. The first time I did this, I thought, I like Momma and Marmaduke more than I like Garfield? And yet I can’t really bring myself to care about Jim Davis.

  151. cinephile
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:18 pm [Reply]

    #58– I’m no fan of “heroes,” but your adaptation of their catchphrase was great, and almost makes the show worthwhile (perhaps Heroes+FOOB is an example of two negatives miraculously transforming into a positive?).

    To the earlier poster who praised Johnston for daring to change her strip, let her characters grow, etc.– I admire your courage in posting a relatively pro-FOOB sentiment in a relatively anti-FOOB space. But I’d respectfully diagree that this is what Johnston is doing. She seems to suffer from what we might call Woody Allen’s Disease– the erroneous belief that because you are talking about an important subject (such as infidelity, assault, stroke, house burning down, to name just a few recent FOOB plots) you are necessarily saying something interesting and/or important about said subject. But as anyone who’s suffered through some of the recent woody allen ‘films’ can tell you, that’s not always the case. If anything, Johnston is doing harm, by taking these important and potentially interesting topics and writing about them in the most ham-handed, self-righteous, and as BrendanCalling has eloquently stated on more than one occasion, offensively un-self-aware ways.I’d love to see a strip that balanced pathos and humor, seriousness and snark, but I don’t think that’s what FOOB is (It’s arguably what Doonesbury is, it’s hard for me to think of any others).

    My own prescription for FOOB? Johnston retires to a life of cinammon buns and Robert Fulgham books. Joss Whedon takes over the strip. April finds out she’s a “chosen one,” that her smarts and outspokenness are a virture, not a deficit, starts hunting vampires (with the help of Becky, truly the strip’s latent cordelia), and must eventually slay Granthony to save the world. There is much rejoicing.

  152. Poteet
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:24 pm [Reply]

    This is Poteet, hoping I haven’t accidently turned myself into Anonymous by messing with my password. Anyway, I sometimes think of this site as kind of a test of fire for the comics I like. If I can read various clever snarks about them and still like them, they’ve passed the test. Or I have. Whatever.

    # 105 — True Fable, I sympathize because I have felt a little of your pain. When I did temp work, I found myself in a teeshirt factory where the denizens (all female), during lunch, would ponderously rehash the plot of their favorite primetime soap-type TV show, the name of which I have mercifully forgotten. It wasn’t fun, like picking apart MW here. No, it was sheer torture, like listening to someone read a bad romance novel like “Love’s Fiery Furnace” or “Hearts Alight With Passion” aloud, very slowly. I tried sitting there quietly with a smile on my face, I tried quietly eating elsewhere, but I could tell my act wasn’t fooling anyone. I was grateful when that gig ended.

  153. Mibbitmaker
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:31 pm [Reply]

    #136: Empty calories. Which would make “Cathy” meta.

    #137: It’s just satiric hyperbole. It’s what makes this site great. Remember, to us, Lynn’s just a cartoonist past her prime; to her characters, she’s a capricious god-dictator.

  154. Poteet
    January 27th, 2007 at 6:40 pm [Reply]

    Foob — As a Foobloatharian, I am pledged to hate the Foobiverse no matter what, so I am not qualified to offer suggestions for possible improvement. Still, I think those monthly letters have been among Lynn’s biggest mistakes. They remind me of that old saying about how it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let others wonder if you’re a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  155. Harry Paratestes
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:02 pm [Reply]

    #146 and #137
    Lynn Johnston may not be a Stalinist, but FBoFW is the rancid grease which lubricates the Axis of Evil.

  156. Randy S
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:29 pm [Reply]

    A few quick notes.
    Hi and Lois is actually tackling the relatively controversial subject of annoying religious proselytizers. (I.e. “controversial” insofar as they’re portrayed in a bad light. Imagine how a strip like BC would treat the same scenario)
    http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20070127&name=Hi_and_Lois

    The plugger bear is doing the hokey pokey in the shower, which is probably not the safest thing to do.
    http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComic.mpl?date=2007/1/27&name=Pluggers

    Slylock Fox has somehow transformed into a comic strip called Bonnie and BooBoo
    http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20070127&name=Slylock

    Oh and P.S.
    #5. That OBH you quoted is apparently from 2005. For some reason, many websites post OBH strips from previous years instead of the current strip (which appears on the Houston Chronicle site).

  157. Bucky Ripsnort
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:30 pm [Reply]

    UH. . didn’t Jon Davis of Garfield kinda. . . die? I don’t know who playing Jeffy to his Bil Keane, but give credit to somebody for bucking the “petrified strip monolith” syndrome.

  158. Gadge Cubic, Mole Preener
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:31 pm [Reply]

    #150: Just because “Cathy” is one of the few strips not to be set in some 1950s world of housewives who don’t work, that’s no reason to like it…especially when its actual content tends to reinforce the idiot notion that women are vain, self-obsessed, immature dolts. Also: can someone photocopy the definition of “hyperbole” from a dictionary and e-mail it to Jose Pluma? Yes, of course Lynn Johnston hasn’t killed and enslaved millions (that we know of). But look at it this way: all of Stalin’s victims are dead and mercifully beyond suffering. Johnston’s are all alive and stinging painfully from her foobity. (Well, they’re all alive … that we know of… Has anyone ever seen Lynn Johnston and Osama bin Laden in the same room together? So how do we know they’re not the same person?!)

  159. TB Tabby
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:44 pm [Reply]

    156: We know about Bonnie and Boo-Boo. I guess they’re the subs for when Weber can’t come up with a confusing and counter-intuitive “puzzle” for the day.

  160. PeteMoss
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:55 pm [Reply]

    I have to come to Breathed’s defense. I would agree that Bloom County was better than Outland and Sunday Opus. However, I still enjoyed Outland and Opus is still one of the top 3 strips on the Sunday page. Opus is capable of making me laugh out lout over my breakfast.of toasted sugar poppin’ crackle bits.

  161. King Folderol
    January 27th, 2007 at 7:59 pm [Reply]

    Yeah, I’ll add Berke Breathed to the list as well though, yes, the fact that he continued on with Outland and Opus hurts his case a little. Frankly, the last year of Bloom wasn’t great, but at least he tried going out with a bang.

    Frankly, I don’t think Dilbert was ever great. Dilbert was very, very good at its best, but has always been trapped to some degree by the fact that it’s not universal. If you have any teacher, police officer, or other non-office friends, ask them what they think of Dilbert. I guarantee you’ll get a shrug, indicating “I don’t get it.” A sign of greatness in a comic should be that it has some sort of universal appeal. Dilbert could be screamingly funny at its peak for those of us who worked in offices, but has never had a universally funny strip in its history. So I say its not one of the classic comics, which I know is a controversial view amongst many.

  162. Prehumous
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:00 pm [Reply]

    #158 — I suppose that no, we haven’t actually seen Lynn Johnston and Osama bin Ladin in the same room together, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the same person. Yeah, they have similar senses of humor and seem to have the same level of artistic talent but lots of people share those characteristics. Next you’ll be saying that Guisewhite and Jim Davis are Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro, respectively.

  163. Artist Formerly Known as Ben
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:13 pm [Reply]

    I know I’m not the first to mention The Boondocks, but Aaron Magruder did get out while the getting was good. I just wish that he had been up front about it. It pisses me off that he led readers to believe he was only taking a Trudeau-style hiatus, when really they would never be getting any more of the strip.

  164. Trixie Belden
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:15 pm [Reply]

    # 151- cinephile said “My own prescription for FOOB? Johnston retires to a life of cinnamon buns and Robert Fulgham books. Joss Whedon takes over the strip. April finds out she’s a “chosen one,” that her smarts and outspokenness are a virtue, not a deficit, starts hunting vampires (with the help of Becky, truly the strip’s latent cordelia), and must eventually slay Granthony to save the world. There is much rejoicing. “
    IT’S PERFECT!!! I LOVE IT!!
    # 34 – True Fable & #152 – Poteet
    Oh gosh, I can relate to those posts. When I was temping I once worked for a while in business in a section of mostly guys with a kind of frat-house atmosphere. This frat-house type atmosphere could get a little annoying sometimes, but I later looked back longingly at that office as a paradise after I subsequently temped for two other business where I worked both times in all-female sections. As it happened, I was at work at all three places during the months of January and February. The frat-house type office was perfectly ordinary during those months, but as far as the two other places were concerned, forget it! Those ladies started talking about Valentine’s Day three weeks before the event! And once they started talking about it, they talked about it almost all the time! Since I am a member of what must be, according to comic strips like Cathy, a tiny group of women in the Northern Hemisphere who happen to think St. Valentine’s Day is kind of a dumb, fake holiday, I had to silently endure many, many tedious conversations.

  165. Don Iguan
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:25 pm [Reply]

  166. Don Iguan
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:25 pm [Reply]

    BTW, I didn’t draw that.

  167. MonkeyHawk
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:30 pm [Reply]

    Somebody wrote: “…comparing a cartoonist to Stalin is just silly.”

    How true.

    At least Stalin had some redeeming qualities.

  168. commodorejohn
    January 27th, 2007 at 8:36 pm [Reply]

    #150 – Granted, the art is hardly the worst stuff on the comics page, and yes, Cathy is about the only real career woman in the funnies (except Alice from Dilbert, who is on the whole much less stereotypical,) but still, I’m not surprised that most of the ladies around here find Cathy as offensive as I find “men are stupid beer-swilling NASCAR-watchers” Hallmark cards. The last thing we need in this society is a comic-strip character who comiserates with healthily-built women who see themselves as fat rather than pointing out that no, you’re perfectly fine, and that most guys seriously don’t care if you’re not Barbie.

    #151 – If that happened, I would totally become a FOOB devotee. Seriously.

  169. zeeba
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:02 pm [Reply]

    1/27 OBH:
    http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComic.mpl?date=2007/1/27&name=One_Big_Happy

    I LOVE RUTHIE!!!! Yeah, I can relate. Whenever something’s to hard to do, I can respond, “Wouldn’t it be easier to move to Hawaii?” Wonder how my boss would like that?

  170. stoptheride
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:10 pm [Reply]

    While I applaud the bold new directions of the Mary Worth storyline, it continues to bother me that Ella Byrd just might be psychic after all. Does this bother anyone else? It’s like if, in Saving Private Ryan, the soldiers get killed by a powerful voodoo witch.

  171. parkyakarkus
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:12 pm [Reply]

    #71: Liz, I bet I can go one(or two)better…Anthony, after his proposal of marriage to Liz is soundly rejected, sells his house, leaves his kid with his parents, and uses his sales profit to bankroll his one-man-stalking of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whereupon Anthony is shot down by the Canadian Secret Service for getting too close with a homemade thermite bomb made from his baby’s feeding bottle…meanwhile, April, disgusted with her family’s enervating behavior, gets a sudden interest in behavior experimentation, and decides to drive her entire family insane(or dead) through psychotic mind-games, a la the Andrew Neiderman thriller “Brain Child”. She writes a term paper on the whole experience, gets an “A plus”, and a sterling reccomendation to one of Canada’s best institutes of Psychiatric Study. After graduating, she goes into private practice as a psychiatrist, making tons more money than she would have with the band(she still plays acoustical guitar for free at the local hospital for the criminally insane).

  172. Mr. O’Malley
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

    163. I heard Aaron Magruder interviewed on the radio a couple of years ago, and he said that he was getting tired of doing a strip, and wanted to give it up, but he was keeping on because he felt the strip contributed to the political dialogue in the US. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he was waiting to see what happened in last November’s election, and given the result, he made the final decision to quit.

  173. Mr. O’Malley
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:26 pm [Reply]

    124. “Out on the tiles” is English slang for being out drinking. I think it comes from pubs usually having tiled floors in the old days (for easier cleanup of spilled beer). So it’s a kind of Andy Capp coming home joke, I guess.

    It would be funnier with a cat, since cats like to sit on roofs.

  174. Beauregard Bugleboy
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:33 pm [Reply]

    Maybe we need a phrase like “jumping the shark” to denote the moment when good strips go bad. Something like “warming the puppy” in comemmoration of the point at which Peanuts went from droll to cloying and commercial.

    Hmm. “Warming the puppy.” Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

  175. Mr. O’Malley
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:46 pm [Reply]

    How to improve FBOFW? I liked it better when Elly was working in the bookstore, because you got a bigger variety of characters. A lot of the problem with the strip now is that there are just a small number of characters continually bouncing off each other. But since independent bookstores have all been put out of business by big chains, bringing the bookstore back would make the strip as anachronistic as TDIET.

    There are several examples of strips that have been taken over by what were originally minor characters. There’s Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, Fritzi Ritz and Nancy, Thimble Theater and Popeye. So there’s plenty of precedent for handing the strip over to the only tolerable character—April.

    But I really don’t want to sit through her going through high school. There are more than enough high school strips already.

    I suggest a few months running the best of the old strips, and then fast forward to April leaving home to pursue her musical career. She moves into an apartment above a body-piercing establishment in downtown Toronto with some interesting roommates—perhaps a bad-tempered brunette and a dowdy redheaded nurse.

    Of course, you would need to have someone else write the strip.

  176. Booper
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:50 pm [Reply]

    #174 — How about something like “humping the foob”? Actually, that would be a pretty good line for whenever life takes a turn for the worse.

    Jim — Hey, did you hear about Ron? He lost his job and his wife left him.
    Jon — Oh, man, he really humped the foob.

  177. Skullturf Q. Beavispants
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:51 pm [Reply]

    #124 sabrechick and #170 Mr. O’Malley — It’s also (probably inadvertently) a Led Zeppelin reference.

    Sabrechick, are you from Buffalo? Toronto here.

  178. Caged Tygre
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:53 pm [Reply]

    #156, whaaa’, you mean I’m living in the past? I knew from a previous post that OBH has an odd web distribution, but since I already had it on Yahoo, I didn’t feel like having it on my Chronic page, too. Dadgum wonky strips, like I have time to look for comic copyright dates, well actually, apparently I do. Regardless I still enjoyed that particular strip.

  179. Skullturf Q. Beavispants
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:55 pm [Reply]

    I meant #173 Mr. O’Malley, but whatever.

  180. Richard Onley
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:56 pm [Reply]

    #128: “So, yeah, nothing funny about the strip and nothing funny about this comment, but there’s also nothing funny about people STARVING THEMSELVES TO DEATH.
    “Except, ironically? The only person I can think of who it WOULD be amusing to see starve to death? Cathy.”

    She’s already eaten her nose in a fit of desperation . . .

    #138: Ir: “Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.”

    Actually, Sturgeon had ten laws, but the other nine . . .

  181. Vanya
    January 27th, 2007 at 9:59 pm [Reply]

    Clearly April is the anti-Dawn. Liz is the anti-Buffy, Michael the anti-Xander, Anthony the anti-Angel, Lynn the anti-Joss and on and on.

  182. cinephile
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:05 pm [Reply]

    181– Yes, exactly! (: And since GIles is a smart, loving and supportive mentor figure, John is clearly the anti-giles.

  183. Booper
    January 27th, 2007 at 10:14 pm [Reply]

    Or, if you will, some days you hump the foob, some days the foob humps you.

    Ok, I’m done now.

    #147 — Thank heaven, because silly is what I’m here for.

  184. Edgy DC
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:32 pm [Reply]

    I get it. April hunts vampires, gets addicted to sex, starts a black metal band.

    Depravity=substance. I get it. The joke has been made so many times that it’s more banal than anything the strip has been up to.

    Woody Allen is lost. Has been for 20 years. He’s a terrible analogy for Lynn Johnson. He sucks because he’s lost his moral center. She seems so hated because she’s so comfortable in hers.

  185. Joshua
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:45 pm [Reply]

    #157 — The creator of Garfield is Jim Davis, who is still alive and still in charge of the strip. However, the extent to which the strip is actually written and/or drawn by him is in dispute.

  186. Loppie Scaduto
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:57 pm [Reply]

    53 MyGoodName says: “I don’t know how effective a Right Hook O’ Justice would be against FIRE…”

    O ye of little faith.

  187. Artist Formerly Known as Ben
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:57 pm [Reply]

    #172, That’s plausible, although I’m sure he know’s America is not out of the woods.

    #181, If Granthony is the anti-Angel, who’s the anti-Spike/

  188. Artist Formerly Known as Ben
    January 27th, 2007 at 11:58 pm [Reply]

    Damn that wonky shift key. There was supposed to be a “?” at the end.

  189. Loppie Scaduto
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:01 am [Reply]

    184 Edgy DC says: “Depravity=substance. I get it.”

    I can’t quite put my finger on why, but this is one of the most arresting, pause-to-reflect things I’ve read on this site in, well… yonks. Like I can feel an imminent clash of aesthetics in the offing, or something equally purple…

  190. JB2
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:41 am [Reply]

    Luann

    Just had to get this off my chest:

    For all these years, we’ve never seen or heard a thing about Bernice’s family, or, indeed, anything whatsoever about her personal life (except for the feeble, forgotten Zane romance). We’ve never seen her parents; they’ve never even been referenced.

    Now, they’ve invented this ridiculous “long-lost brother” storyline. Obviously, the whole point of this brother-soldier-guy is that Luann will have one of her icky, cringe-inducing crushes on him. I get that.

    But must Bernice’s first meeting with brother-guy take place at Luann’s house? Does that make any sense? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate and realistic if this had taken place at Bernice’s house, with Bernice’s and brother-guy’s parents present? Then Bernice could’ve brother-guy to Luann and the disgusting, sex-less flirtation could’ve commenced.

  191. Gadge Cubic, Mole Preener
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:48 am [Reply]

    Despite being able to ride topless on top of the plane with his wife, Josh is not entirely having a pleasure-orgy of a vacation: he has not, for example, passed off his “Cartoon Violence” duties to some lesser Wonketteer – witness this week’s withering flagellations of such topics as Barack Obama’s divinity and ostensibly gay-sex-having truckers framed for running down and turning to jelly the President, despite Bush’s rather questionable judgment in setting up his lectern directly in the middle of I-95.

    Now we all know who Josh loves more.

    (All will be forgiven, however, if it turns out he’s on a secret mission to assassinate the Family Circus gang.)

  192. Anonymous Prime
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:51 am [Reply]

    I was always under the impression that Mr. Breathed was forced out of the business, due to Donald Trump taking offense to having his brain transplanted into Bill The Cat.

    (first-time post! Be gentle.)

  193. Rhekarid
    January 28th, 2007 at 1:02 am [Reply]

    #150 – It’s all well and good to want more career women in the comics, but Cathy is to women as Curtis is to black people. The comic is as non-threatening as possible: bathing any sort of “new ideas” in as many stereotypes as they can to make it palatable to people uncomfortable with the concept. Personally, I see nothing to respect in it.

    And seriously, Cathy. You’re married. We know you’re married because you made sure everyone knew. I think if your husband (or anyone else on the planet) thought you were too fat they’d have SAID SO.

  194. AppleGirl
    January 28th, 2007 at 1:57 am [Reply]

    True Fable, I couldn’t agree with you more about Cathy. I worked briefly in an insurance office a couple years ago, and the women in that cubicle-hell acted just like Cathy. Exactly like your co-workers! Absolutely drove me nuts. Obsessing over food. AACK! Complaining about every ache and pain. AACK! Feeling inferior because of body weight, yet never taking a brisk walk at lunchtime, (despite being directly across the street from beautiful Millenium Park in Chicago.) The Planning Of The Wedding by one girl completely crippled ALL her client activity for months. So the stereotypes exist, at least at your office and that insurance place I was at.

    Now please, we should all put Cathy completely out of our memories and never speak of her again! Cathy is dead to me.

  195. Bill
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:33 am [Reply]

    Does it bother you to think that Cathy’s getting laid?

    I mean, every time I imagine this I just think “Ack!”

  196. MonkeyHawk
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:35 am [Reply]

    #194 — AppleGirl (and True Fable, by association):

    The problem with clichés is that they become clichés for a reason. Guys tend to put more time and effort into planning for Super Bowl Sunday than women, and gals think Valentine’s Day is more important than the Super Bowl.

    That’s the cliché, that’s the mainstream, and that’s the basis for mass media entertainment. What a bore.

    But step outside of the tried-and-true rut, nobody will believe you.

    I used to work with a woman who was morbidly obese. She and her equally obese husband saw fit to tell everyone about their desire to have a baby. The mental images still sear my soul.

    Once a month, every month, the florist would deliver a single red rose which she wistfully received and everyone knew it signified that, no, she wasn’t pregnant again. More searing mental imagery.

    Although “Cathy” isn’t morbidly obese, this woman totally identified with, clipped and scotchtaped the swimsuit and dieting strips. And I’ve lived in mortal fear, since the marriage to Irving, that somehow art (such as it is) might imitate life and a monthly rose might show up in the office.

    “Cathy” could be worse.

    “Gil Thorpe,” not so much.

  197. skulking on the outskirts
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:47 am [Reply]

    #105, True Fable- There are alarm clocks which are actually designed to be shut off by being thrown against a wall, and if anybody can tell me where to find one, I will pay them one thousand niffelburpskis.
    Also, I just want to say that Zits made me LOL on Saturday. Any day Jeremy can make control-freak Mama Zits leap skyward (ok, ceilingward) right out of the frame is a good day. And he pulled it off with a straight face, too. Attaboy, Jeremy.

  198. Milo Bloom
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:50 am [Reply]

    145: The DFC! *sigh*
    You know, no more than a month ago, I was reading a blog entry, and the person mentioned that they were “trippin my nutsack in a frenzy of dikplay,” and I’d be lying if I didn’t honestly become a little wistful and, yes, teary-eyed. Man, that stuff was FUN.
    No, I’m not going to reread that sentence to myself to see how it must sound out of context.

    Actually, you know what? That kind of sums up all our suggestions to fix For Better or For Worse, too. More nutsack-trippin, more frenzies of dikplay. BOOK IT.

  199. Jack Parsons
    January 28th, 2007 at 3:05 am [Reply]

    In our quest for new euphemisms for a certain activity, we have a new winner: running with the bulls.

  200. skulking on the outskirts
    January 28th, 2007 at 3:14 am [Reply]

    And oh, yes, True Fable: I also work in a similar type of office situation, mercifully minus the Valentine’s Day tizzies and wedding plan craziness, but to make up for it, we have a supervisor currently going through menopause, plus other health issues. She has apparently decided that if she has to go through this hell, we’re all coming with her. ‘Ack’, indeed. I feel your pain.

  201. skulking on the outskirts
    January 28th, 2007 at 3:16 am [Reply]

    And–200th!! Woohoo!

    Ok, I’ll shut up now.

  202. Milo Bloom
    January 28th, 2007 at 5:15 am [Reply]

    145: The DFC! *sigh*
    You know, no more than a month ago, I was reading a blog entry, and the person mentioned that they were “trippin my nutsack in a frenzy of dikplay,” and I’d be lying if I didn’t honestly become a little wistful and, yes, teary-eyed. Man, that stuff was FUN.
    No, I’m not going to reread that sentence to myself to see how it must sound out of context.

    Actually, you know what? That kind of sums up all our suggestions to fix For Better or For Worse, too. More nutsack-trippin, more frenzies of dikplay. BOOM.

  203. skulking on the outskirts
    January 28th, 2007 at 6:41 am [Reply]

    Awww, crap. I missed.

  204. T Campbell
    January 28th, 2007 at 8:30 am [Reply]

    Hook Liz up with Warren, then end it. The strip HAS been moving toward some sort of conclusion for the last several years, and to continue it beyond that would be even more strained than what we’re seeing now.

  205. commodorejohn
    January 28th, 2007 at 9:09 am [Reply]

    #195 – Noone’s said that no women are like Cathy – the ladies here have been objecting because there are tons of women (many of whom I know personally) who too intelligent to watch soaps, comfortable with their body weight, and emotionally stable, and they understandably object to being portrayed as stupid, anorexic basket cases as part of a stupid stereotype, much as I and other guys like me object to being portrayed as dumb, insensitive, sports-obsessed slobs because of our gender. Yes, there are plenty of stupid women out there, but there are also lots of perfectly normal ladies, and they don’t in the least deserve to be lumped in a group with the idiots because they have breasts too.

  206. commodorejohn
    January 28th, 2007 at 9:13 am [Reply]

    Addendum: Moreover, they’ve been objecting because Cathy gives the stupid ladies someone to comiserate with besides each other; instead of telling them to stop being stupid, Cathy tells them that such behavior is normal and just part of life. Anyone who’s ever talked with an anorexic girl should realize that it’s not, and society doesn’t need comics telling them that it is (that is, after all, the function of the rest of the media. Damn media.) So…in conclusion, Cathy Must Die.

  207. Lynngineering
    January 28th, 2007 at 9:20 am [Reply]

    Sorry to miss this posting earlier!
    Garfield: The issue is, why did he make Jon the character to discover the opposite sex? Why didn’t he just get Garfield involved with some cat. The only time Garfield interacts is with pesky dogs and small-fry cats. Is he neutered?

    FBOFW: Where to begin, where to begin. Well, Lynn did say that she wants to experiment with the new style ahead, and have things like Mike looking back at his family album in a way, but that would be a family album that then links into the older comic strips of the past FBOFW. So that is offering some potential, but only if then, some author would start with rewrites from different past strips. Like with dreams, or recollections, start up with the nostalgia of “family album” angles, but then really GO FOR IT, start a new path that would lead to alternate end results than the staid, straight, and lifeless dead-end in which the strip, literally, stops and freezes in time.

    Otherwise, the other option is the one I have written on before – someone hijack the April character and start an underground zine with her.

  208. schmoopy
    January 28th, 2007 at 10:04 am [Reply]

    Every time I read Cathy, a baby feminist angel dies ….

  209. PurpleMartin
    January 28th, 2007 at 11:50 am [Reply]

    Cathy: These comic artists must phone it in. Cathy whines about her weight for the 56,896th time. YAWN. She is shallow, and totally brainwashed and everything a woman should aspire NOT to be. To fat people, there is nothing more then an annoying then a harpie who does nothing but whine about her extra 10lbs.

    FOOB: Martyrs aren’t funny they are just annonying. Anyway, considering that a pharmacist and a senior editor of a magazine have to make at least $60,000 a year combined {Im lowballing that figure} and had renter’s insurance, having them live at home with Mom and Dad, like they are broke, and unemployed makes no sense.

    Elly’s been yelling her head off all week, and Liz crying and acting like a baby. I wish theyd all grow up!

  210. Hysterical Woman
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:06 pm [Reply]

    205. Garfield did have a girlfriend of sorts (Wikipedia reminds me that her name was Arlene). Garfield wasn’t much interested in her, but she tried for some stupid reason. Perhaps instead of Liz and Arlene, Jon and Garfield should get together. (I’ve been reading to much slash, haven’t I?)

  211. Lynngineering
    January 28th, 2007 at 12:38 pm [Reply]

    #208 – It figures, this being the C.C. comments, we end up just cutting out the middle(wo)man, and have Jon and Garfield just logically come together 4ever. Maybe they should enlist over at the Camp with Beetle and Sarge.

  212. Poteet
    January 28th, 2007 at 1:32 pm [Reply]

    (DT)GT — It finally occurred to me that I should check the actual spelling of the name of this strip, since I have been calling it “Gil Thorpe.” Turns out it is Gil Thorp. I apologize, and in the course of checking the spelling, I saw Saturday’s strip and seared my eyeballs. If that’s not penance, I don’t know what is.

  213. Tonyman
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:03 pm [Reply]

    SF- Okay, Sally is turning 40. Is Hillary ever going to age?

  214. True Fable
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:16 pm [Reply]

    MW Jeff: “but then I came down with something.” He could have followed up with, “Every now and then I turn yellow, and I’m afraid I will grow a third eye in the middle of my forehead like other victims do. We’ve had to put them down with a shotgun. Mary, you’ve got to beware of people with the yellow third eye!”
    He is doomed anyway – look at the last panel. Mary is determined that Jeff will not die of exhaustion. From the position of her arm and body, Mary is about to grab a pillow and smother Dr. Cory, and put him out of his misery quick.
    Only Mary can have the omnipotent Third Eye.

  215. Fred P.
    January 28th, 2007 at 2:36 pm [Reply]

    How to make FBOFW good? That, my friend, is a tall order. But I can only imagine that, if FBOFW was to somehow become good, it must involve chainsaws. Perhaps cleaver-wielding zombies as well, but I think chainsaws are pretty much a necessity.

  216. Tux Pendelton
    January 28th, 2007 at 4:36 pm [Reply]

    #183 Edgy DC:

    No. Depravity != substance. But conflict = entertainment. Despite the Sunday strip, this comic is always in black and white.

    When I was in college, it was a running joke that we’d walk in on one of the roommates a little too into some action movie and say, “I don’t wanna spoil it for ya, but Arnold wins this one too.” I think a the real reason that Joss Whedon has been mentioned more than once is he has taken huge risks by killing off or drastically growing major characters, both in Buffy and Serenity. You suddenly realize that everything is on the table, and no one is guranteed safe. That’s life — no one gets out alive.

    But to paraphrase Archie Bunker, “The Foobs don’t make mistakes, that’s how they got to be Foobs.” You’ll notice we refer to “St. Pattersons” and “martyrs.” That’s because Lynn’s creations are all sinn’d against and never sinning. In that it’s unrealistic. So when people write about piercing and roadside gigs, they are just being hyperbolic, because none of them has ever had a cavity, for Josh’s sake. Myself, I’d settle for one honest mistake, like admitting that Liz and Paul just grew apart.

    Have any of us been the least bit surprised by FBoFW in the last six months? The lasy year? Someone even called the pet-centered interlude after the Mtigwacky trip, for heaven’s sake!

    Now Lynn has more than once said that her characters sort of tell her what to write. I call shenanigans. If Liz had stayed up North and married Paul, we would have all gone with the flow. But Lynn needs to make a lot of water run uphill in order for Liz to end up with Anthony. Fine, but don’t try and tell us you’re not bailing, Lynn.

    He [Woody Allen] sucks because he’s lost his moral center. She [Lynn] seems so hated because she’s so comfortable in hers.

    Lynn’s comfortable with a moral center that seems a bit, well, Stepfordesque. I have no problem with things like fidelity, love of family and integrity. Doesn’t mean I can’t move more than a few miles from my parents or stay home and care for the kids if my wife makes way better money than I.

    And then there’s the condescension. Not just to Shannon or the Ojibwe, but to the readers. The way she’s handling these final years is like a Greek tragedy — we know it’s coming but we can’t stop it.

    Damn I’m long winded.

    How to fix it? A double-dose of reality. Let the events of the last few weeks cause the kids to lift their gaze from their navels long enough to decide to make some changes. Have Liz turn down Anthony’s proposal; have her wonder if it was the right decision. Have April decide that no matter what she does after high school, it’s going to be outside of apron-string range. Have her take a chance on being a professional musician. (This may mean she might have to meet and befriend the sorts of people her mother imagines her with in her worst nightmares.) Show that April can stay in a city for more than ten minutes and not become a drug addict or roadside.

    Hell, I’d settle for them all getting on each others’ nerves being in such close quarters and Liz losing control and hinting that maybe Farley could have died of old age if someone had been a little more careful. (See, real families hurt sometime. : ) )

  217. Hooper_X
    January 28th, 2007 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    #184: “Depravity=substance.”

    Y’know, I’m not sure how this was necessarily intended, but I kind of agree with the point. MAN FOOB WOULD BE SO MUCH BETTER IF THE COPS SHOT GRANTHONY AND APRIL WAS IN A LESBIAN SEX RING AND MIKE DIED IN A CAR CRASH!

    Because you know, having a bunch of random retarded violent crap happen to the cast means it’s a way better strip!

    In which case Funky Winkerbean is a goddamn triumph. Except everyone hates Funky Winkerbean. I don’t get it.

    #200: I too remember the days when I would trip my nutsak in frenzied dikplay. Good on you, mate.

    -hx, oing, psychic fern, etc.

  218. Jack Parsons
    January 28th, 2007 at 5:36 pm [Reply]

    I’m actually catching up!

    Yo, John’s dentist: You put the cameltoe on the wrong end.

    Dr. Benway as plastic surgeon: Costo-size novacaine and collagen are not a good mix.

  219. LittleGuy
    January 28th, 2007 at 5:46 pm [Reply]

    58: That makes John as the HRG, Mike and Weed as the Petrellis, Howard as Skylar, and Liz as Niki/Jessica.

    Oh, and Granthony can bemoan “I’m not on the liiiiiiiiiiiiiist!”

  220. commodorejohn
    January 28th, 2007 at 6:24 pm [Reply]

    Depravity != substance, but complete lack of depravity != substance as well. People are suggesting the ludicrous things they are because it’d be humorously at odds with Johnston’s clearly narrow spectrum of “acceptable” character behavior, and because it certainly couldn’t make the strip less interesting.

    As for a realistic way to make FOOB better, that’s a trickier matter, but it would start with Johnston recognizing that real life is complex. People, even people we admire, as she clearly does her Pattersons, make mistakes and do stuff they shouldn’t. That doesn’t have to be held up as exemplary behavior (though she’s been doing more than a little of that as well,) but with the current “Saint Pattersons” mentality, the strip has all the plot depth and character development of a Chick tract.

  221. Red Greenback
    January 28th, 2007 at 7:35 pm [Reply]

    Way to make FOOB better: “Frickin’ sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads!”

  222. Barr
    January 28th, 2007 at 7:38 pm [Reply]

    In the world of the FOOB’s, nobody gets dinged. Nobody had regrets that last more than a week. They have a Seinfeld Safe world inside their bubble.

    So, Liz needs to pick a man and regret not picking a different one. AND THAT NEEDS TO STAY.

    I think about the divorce in Doonesbury way back when. That has regret.

    So….

    Writing stops being proftitable and he becomes ateacher (Mr. Holland)

    John gets Arthritis.

    Mommy finds a lump.

    Get Dark.

  223. Jack Parsons
    January 28th, 2007 at 9:26 pm [Reply]

    Costco. arg.

  224. Scotty
    January 28th, 2007 at 10:13 pm [Reply]

    make FBOFW better? two words: gun fight.

  225. Jack Parsons
    January 28th, 2007 at 10:34 pm [Reply]

    I vote cat fight.

  226. Poteet
    January 28th, 2007 at 11:28 pm [Reply]

    Actually, the very worst thing about Foob is Michael’s novel, and it hasn’t even hit real storyline status yet.

  227. Edgy DC
    January 28th, 2007 at 11:55 pm [Reply]

    Thanks for the response. I’ll try to just work with your thesis statments.

    But conflict = entertainment.

    I think there has been conflict. That love triangle or hexangle or whatever is conflict. Homeboy running back for his laptop is conflict. Elizabeth being — on one hand — sweet and decent and hotcakes enough to have three dudes to choose from at any time, but being — on the other hand — self-absorbed enough to bitch at her teenaged sister for being intrusive when she was merely responding to Lizzie’s complaints? Conflict!

    Michael is the one who named her E-lizard-breath, not the Curmudgeon posters.

    I think a the real reason that Joss Whedon has been mentioned more than once is he has taken huge risks by killing off or drastically growing major characters, both in Buffy and Serenity.

    I don’t watch TV, but she has killed off characters. That Farley thing was a massive bait-and-switch that got us all and we all know it. Are the conclusions of many plotlines predictable? Yeah. I submit that (1) it’s because we’ve been seeing her strips for decades and recognize patterns like with every other strip, and (2) they’re still far less predictable than most every other gag strip and soap strip.

    That’s because Lynn’s creations are all sinn’d against and never sinning. In that it’s unrealistic…. Myself, I’d settle for one honest mistake, like admitting that Liz and Paul just grew apart.

    Yeah, they’re nice, and it’s not cool to like nice. Ask any Lit professor and they’ll tell you Satan is the most interesting character in Dante. But they’re hardly perfect. Mike was a dick to run into the fire. Liz is torturing herself as she simultaneously wonders how she played it wrong with three different fellers. Ms. Johnston does not seem to believe members in a loving family don’t make mistakes, but perhaps maybe that people from healthy loving family navigate these mistakes a little more risk-free. Maybe? Does that sound right? I don’t know.

    Have any of us been the least bit surprised by FBoFW in the last six months? The lasy year? Someone even called the pet-centered interlude after the Mtigwacky trip, for heaven’s sake!

    Which strip is less predictable? Besides Mary Worth? BC is predictable even after Johnny Hart going insane. The pet interlude is a signature of hers. Predicting one after the wrapup of a plotline is no more impressive than predicting there’ll be a blue checkerboard wipe edit in Happy Days after Richie says, “I’ll try and find the Fonz and meet you at Arnold’s.”

    It’s her device. It doesn’t mean you predicted the substance of the pet interlude. Uh, uh, Potsy.

    But Lynn needs to make a lot of water run uphill in order for Liz to end up with Anthony. Fine, but don’t try and tell us you’re not bailing, Lynn.

    I admit she’s bailing and clearly trying to wrap up some plot lines in order to do it. Marrying Liz off in another town and then making time stand still would maybe give Liz the Chuck Cunningham treatment. (Attention: No more Happy Days analogies in this post.) I’m disappointed by LJ’s announcement of her future plans for the strip.

    Lynn’s comfortable with a moral center that seems a bit, well, Stepfordesque. I have no problem with things like fidelity, love of family and integrity. Doesn’t mean I can’t move more than a few miles from my parents or stay home and care for the kids if my wife makes way better money than I.

    While she may be too comfortable (most — or all — of us are; try Mallard Fillmore on for size) I think Stepfordesque is a harsh and unfair accusation. There have been a lot of non-traditional domestic situations in the strip. And I’ve found it fascinating that one of Mike’s childhood friends turned out gay, and another passing puzzling him by settling for blue-collar life in contrast to him looking to make the big score as a man of letters, and his family has been supportive of and helpful to them while he’s merely shown decent but uncomfortable tolerance.

    And then there’s the condescension. Not just to Shannon or the Ojibwe, but to the readers. The way she’s handling these final years is like a Greek tragedy — we know it’s coming but we can’t stop it.

    Is predictability (and we haven’t predicted everything) condescension? Strokes, homos, dogs lying there dead, homes in flames, and six-fingered mutant babies. Not too many strips have given you these things.

    Damn I’m long winded.

    Well, you put up with me so it’s cool.

    How to fix it? A double-dose of reality.

    Again, homos, dogs lying there dead, homes in flames, and six-fingered mutant babies. Does April really need to join a death cult? Has she been raised so oppressively?

    Have Liz turn down Anthony’s proposal; have her wonder if it was the right decision.

    Weren’t we all whining when she initially wandered around his house wondering why she let him go?

    Have April decide that no matter what she does after high school, it’s going to be outside of apron-string range.

    I thought Mike and Liz have all wandered pretty far afield in finding themselves.

    All your plots are fine, I guess, but I imagine they’d unfold slowly enough (working in real time and all) that they too would seem predictable by the time they played out.

    Doing this stuff is tough. And LJ has done it different than anybody else ever. Her supporters include mega-genius Bill Waterson and uber-genius Chuck Schulz, and that says a lot. But my own damn eyes have said a lot more. You don’t like happy familiy stories because it seems too easy, I don’t blame you. But focus your hate on Hi and Lois, Sally and Ted, Dagwood and his force-of-nature wife Blondie. The Pattersons have weathered more to earn their happiness than the lot of them together.

    A home burns down on a Wednesday in a gag strip like Hagar and the place is brand new a day later. Same thing happens in a soap strip and they still have forgotten it in a few weeks when the plot arc wraps up. Only FBofW and Doonesbury are accountable enough to make that part of the character’s person forever henceforth. It’s hard work and risky. I admit she’s slowed down as she tries to effect a retirement compromise. But it’s silly to bitch because Michael (quite understandably) doesn’t find a place to re-locate to within a week or two.

  228. Marion Delgado
    January 29th, 2007 at 5:39 am [Reply]

    It’s my duty to the Lord, and to decency, to point out that a certain young Canadian girl, sweet and pure, would not be “gig” and “roadside” now had not an interfering secular humanist whose initials are EP put *THAT* book where her small daughter and her unhappy friend could read it!

    uh … For Worse!

  229. Marion Delgado
    January 29th, 2007 at 5:46 am [Reply]

    Oh, @#$#@$! Look at this!

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/judgeparker.asp?date=20070128

    Cedric has Neddy absolutely legless and blind with drink!

    Look at the bleary eyes, listen to “…. mmmmm breath … hic …. taking … R U MARRIED Cedric??” and note his amused expression as he says they’d “better get her back.”

    I think he’s judged Abbey’s indulgent mom level pretty well. She won’t say a word. Or maybe, later “don’t sleep on your back, honey!”

  230. commodorejohn
    January 29th, 2007 at 9:43 am [Reply]

    #227 –

    I think there has been conflict. That love triangle or hexangle or whatever is conflict. Homeboy running back for his laptop is conflict. Elizabeth being — on one hand — sweet and decent and hotcakes enough to have three dudes to choose from at any time, but being — on the other hand — self-absorbed enough to bitch at her teenaged sister for being intrusive when she was merely responding to Lizzie’s complaints? Conflict!

    These might count as conflict if the characters were at any time allowed to act as real people would in their situation. But they’re not, not by a very long shot.

    I don’t watch TV, but she has killed off characters. That Farley thing was a massive bait-and-switch that got us all and we all know it.

    I don’t know about anyone else here, but it certainly didn’t get me. After all, not only was it just a freaking dog, (albeit a dog who has his own cult,) but his place in the strip was quickly filled with Farley 2.0, whatever that one’s name is. “Massive bait-and-switch?” I don’t think so.

    Yeah, they’re nice, and it’s not cool to like nice. Ask any Lit professor and they’ll tell you Satan is the most interesting character in Dante. But they’re hardly perfect. Mike was a dick to run into the fire. Liz is torturing herself as she simultaneously wonders how she played it wrong with three different fellers. Ms. Johnston does not seem to believe members in a loving family don’t make mistakes, but perhaps maybe that people from healthy loving family navigate these mistakes a little more risk-free. Maybe? Does that sound right? I don’t know.

    It’s not that they don’t make mistakes by real-world standards, it’s that they are still held up as exemplary (the “saint Pattersons,” as many people here refer to them.) No matter what they do, whether or not it’s stupid or selfish or any other kind of negative, it’s the right thing in the FOOBiverse.

    I admit she’s bailing and clearly trying to wrap up some plot lines in order to do it.

    She’s not just bailing, she’s making the characters do things they’d never do in a million years in the real world. It’s bad writing, pure and simple.

    While she may be too comfortable (most — or all — of us are; try Mallard Fillmore on for size) I think Stepfordesque is a harsh and unfair accusation. There have been a lot of non-traditional domestic situations in the strip. And I’ve found it fascinating that one of Mike’s childhood friends turned out gay, and another passing puzzling him by settling for blue-collar life in contrast to him looking to make the big score as a man of letters, and his family has been supportive of and helpful to them while he’s merely shown decent but uncomfortable tolerance.

    Again, it’s not that she hasn’t had “non-traditional domestic arrangements,” it’s that they’re Not The Right Thing. Although I’m by no means a feminist (by the modern definition, anyway,) I find it telling that Anthony’s ex-wife is portrayed as such a cold-hearted bitch simply for not wanting to be a stay-at-home mom. She didn’t want a baby, she took him up on his offer, and then he whined about it, and not only were we expected to sympathize with him, she went and had her cheat on him just so we’d know she was a Cold-Hearted Career Woman (R). And Liz, who planned to be a teacher, is now clearly going to be made into a stay-at-home mom, with the added bonus that she doesn’t even have to have sex to do it! All the mommyness Lynn wants without Liz having to lose her virginity, what a bargain. It is quite clear that in Johnston’s world, stay-at-home mom is The Right Thing for women, and sex is only for procreation purposes when absolutely necessary. “Stepfordesque” is just about right.

    Is predictability (and we haven’t predicted everything) condescension? Strokes, homos, dogs lying there dead, homes in flames, and six-fingered mutant babies. Not too many strips have given you these things.

    The condescension is in the way she deals with this stuff. Grandpa Chinnuts has a stroke? Oh, time for some platitudes about surviving tragedy together. Whatshisface is gay? Oh, time for some platitudes about tolerance. Farley dies? Oh time for some platitudes about what a noble dog he was (and time for April to eventually redeem herself for daring to get into a life-threatening situation and get the Great God Farley killed by becoming a doctor/vet.) House burns down? Oh, time for some platitudes about smoking. It’s like a comic strip written by Mary Worth. (And “six-fingered mutant babies?” Big freaking deal. Show us some actual birth defects if you want us to care. Six fingers is a fucking CAKEWALK.)

  231. Braniff
    January 29th, 2007 at 10:08 am [Reply]

    174–I agree. However, some people have called the “jump the shark” point of Cathy “marrying Irving” and say that any downhill point for a comic strip should be named after Cathy’s wedding. But I agree–it wasn’t hard to take Peanuts seriously after the Warm Puppy gift books, Warm Puppy dolls, Warm Puppy off-Broadway plays, Warm Puppy games and everything else.

    The comic strip began to take the importance of a Hallmark greeting card. Charles Schulz sold out to his syndicators and the comic strip really went downhill, although none of his syndicators nor fans cared.

  232. Loony Lil
    January 29th, 2007 at 10:33 am [Reply]

    Look at the last panel in today’s FOOB. Liz’s meltdown is starting already.

  233. steve
    January 29th, 2007 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    What I’ve learned from For Better or Worse:

    When people are really angry, they throw their heads back, close their eyes tightly, open their mouths really really wide, and scream with their tongues protruding slightly.

  234. Craigers
    January 29th, 2007 at 11:24 am [Reply]

    Edgy DC #184 : Woody Allen is lost. Has been for 20 years. He’s a terrible analogy for Lynn Johnson. He sucks because he’s lost his moral center.

    Gotta disagree there. Woody never had a noral center – his early work was always about the amoral man. His best serious work (Crimes and Misedemeanours) is about getting away scot-free. I mean, did a Woody Allen character ever learn a lesson or become a better person? Even in a comedy, a genre in which the hero always goes through the cliche of becoming a better person at the end?

    Woody sucks now because he’s totally unconnected to his time and place. He always was, but what’s charming and endearing in a younger man is bizarre, offputting and repellent in an old man. You want a comics equivalent to Woody Allen? Look no further than Johnny Hart.

  235. Edgy DC
    January 29th, 2007 at 12:05 pm [Reply]

    Really? I think he had a moral world. It was an existentialist morality pinned in intellect and philosophy, rather than metaphysics, but Woody Allen heroes used to get away with shit and neurotically tear themselves up. Since C&M, it’s been like “I’m too old to worry about anything catching up with me in this lifetime and I don’t sweat any possiblity of any other, so what’s the point?”

    Which is a valid view, but life is too short to watch films full of douchebags.

    I don’t think Edgar replaced Farley.

    More sainthood here:

    I guess I’m not curmudgeonly enough. Comic characters are unrealistically idealized, but we’re the first to attack them for human moments of bitchcraft. Characters are in stories because they’re supposed to be out of the ordinary. We hate them for being idealized and hate them for being banal.

    Lynn can’t wynn.

  236. Edgy DC
    January 29th, 2007 at 12:07 pm [Reply]

    Oops, my image link didn’t work. It was Elly being mean.

  237. PTrig
    January 29th, 2007 at 12:35 pm [Reply]

    Put a smudge on Mary Worth’s forehead, then put her in front of a mirror. If she tries to wipe it off we’ll know that she is truly self-aware.

  238. nancysluggo4ever
    January 29th, 2007 at 1:00 pm [Reply]

    I’m with #132!!!!

  239. monica
    January 29th, 2007 at 1:18 pm [Reply]

    True Fable, I feel your pain, and can only hope to make you feel better about your Cathy-ridden job situation by sharing that I, in fact, work with Mary Worth. She’s a full-time volunteer here at our little academic establishment, and as she has gobs of money, her word is law. And oh my, she knows so much about life and work and MY JOB IN PARTICULAR that I just don’t know what I’d do without her. Probably my job, only better and faster.

    Oof, sorry for venting. It’s Monday. I still have to build up my tolerance.

  240. Tux Pendelton
    January 29th, 2007 at 10:52 pm [Reply]

    Edgy DC #227:

    I think there has been conflict. That love triangle or hexangle or whatever is conflict. Homeboy running back for his laptop is conflict.

    And yet all of it has the same amount of suspense and drama as wondering if the Lone Ranger will beat the bad guys and win this one too. To be an effective conflict, there has to be at least a plausible doubt as to the outcome. Nothing you cited is in doubt.

    I don’t watch TV, but she has killed off characters. That Farley thing was a massive bait-and-switch that got us all and we all know it.

    commodorejohn said it first: it was just a dog. Whedon has done the equivalent of killing off Liz or Mike. In at least two cases it was a lightening bolt out of the blue, and you hated him for it, but came back anyway. Again we’re just pointing to the antiLynn out of exasperation.

    Ask any Lit professor and they’ll tell you Satan is the most interesting character in Dante.

    More to the point: after awhile in the Book of Job God kinda comes off as a jerk because He continues to let Satan clobber the poor trusting schlub long after the point is made. I, at least, don’t hate the Pattersons for getting clobbered. I hate the one who can stop the pointless madness — Lynn, the Almighty.

    But they’re hardly perfect. Mike was a dick to run into the fire.

    And no one has called him on it. He hasn’t even admitted it was stupid. Just one fireman thought it to himself.

    Liz is torturing herself as she simultaneously wonders how she played it wrong with three different fellers.

    And all will be forgot when Lynn forces the squarest of pegs into that round hole. She, of course, will learn nothing.

    Ms. Johnston does not seem to believe members in a loving family don’t make mistakes, but perhaps maybe that people from healthy loving family navigate these mistakes a little more risk-free.

    She’s erected a risk-free zone around the family. No risk, no drama.

    The pet interlude is a signature of hers. Predicting one after the wrapup of a plotline is no more impressive than predicting there’ll be a blue checkerboard wipe edit in Happy Days after Richie says, “I’ll try and find the Fonz and meet you at Arnold’s.”

    I know it’s rude, but are you actually using Happy Days as an example of a show that never, ever declined in quality? That’s the sort of thing that turns “damn” into a three-syllable word.

    Strokes, homos, dogs lying there dead, homes in flames, and six-fingered mutant babies. Not too many strips have given you these things.

    And aside from the stroke, which I argue has given us no insight whatsoever, Lynn isn’t either. At least not in a long, long time. That coming out story line happened fourteen years ago. It can be used to argue that it was a great strip, but not that it is a great strip.

    I thought Mike and Liz have all wandered pretty far afield in finding themselves.

    Yeah, I guess those stairs are a pretty long climb. They are all living in the same house! I’m not talking about college, or spending a year up North like it’s a phase. How about having April decide that she loves the excitement and the stimulation of the city and that she even might want to raise her kids there? Or (gasp!) that she might not want kids?

    You don’t like happy familiy stories because it seems too easy, I don’t blame you. But focus your hate on Hi and Lois, Sally and Ted, Dagwood and his force-of-nature wife Blondie.

    Apples to oranges. Gag strips don’t pretend to be real, and they don’t start every article and press release reminding us how real they are. And I love happy family stories when they aren’t forced. Lynn has grown a tin ear and nothing rings true anymore.

    The Pattersons have weathered more to earn their happiness than the lot of them together.

    And there it is: see, Lynn acts like she’s earned it. Since FBoFW was a great comic we’re supposed to just accept that it is a great comic. Well, what has she done for us lately? Those laurels are so crushed her butt’s asleep, and she’s got Mr. D.X. Machina as the first button on her speed dial. I want to be eager to open the morning paper; instead I’m wearily looking to see how far the glacier moved this week.

    And it’s worse because we know she was once capable of much, much better.

  241. Edgy DC
    January 29th, 2007 at 11:26 pm [Reply]

    Well, cool, you admit it was great. I certainly agree that it hasn’t sustained itself. And obviously comic writers don’t have as much motivation to challenge themselves because they have their real estate protected a lot more fiercely than TV shows.

    I think anybody reading what I wrote fairly knows I wasn’t speaking to the general quality of Happy Days, only that getting mad because the transitional technique is being re-used is seriously (and unfairly) picking nits. I could have referenced the diagonal wipes of Star Wars.

    What I’m getting is that only a dead Patterson will satisfy folks. A dead young Patterson. A shockingly unexpected fuck-the-world-and-its-arbitrary-cruelty grizzly death. I don’t get it at all.

    Fuck Josh Whedon and fuck pretty shows about pretty vampires. If I have to go to one more dinner party where the guest next to me is whining about missing some show where “He’s a vampire with a soooul.” Christ. You want realism? People are plainer and their heroism a lot less glamorous than on TV.

  242. Anonymous
    January 29th, 2007 at 11:54 pm [Reply]

    I have been reading FBFW all my life. I liked Lizard Breath. I liked Lizard Breath when she was like me… on her own, doing something semi adventurous, and important and living far away from the family.

    Here is how I want it to end.

    I want Lizard Breath to go up North to fight for the man she loves. This could go either way. I would be happy with Paul and Liz living up there away from the other Pattersons, but I could live with her being rejected by Paul – provided she get a shotgun, blow him and Susan away, hunt down Warren, and Anthony as well. She should have two personalities — sweet old Liz, and Lori the crackwhore. Let Lynn deal with that in real time

  243. Original Lee
    January 30th, 2007 at 10:27 am [Reply]

    FOOBness: I think a significant improvement would be if Liz elopes with Warren in his helicopter because she’s so pissed off that her parents keep pushing her toward Granthony. Then we can have a whole story arc about Liz suddenly becoming a military wife while at the same time returning to Mitgiwaki (sp?) to teach. Lots of angst and second-guessing with Paul and Susan (sort of like Battlestar Galactica’s love quadrangle with Apollo, Starbuck, and their respective spouses). Maybe even emotional adultery! (I don’t think Johnston would go for physical adultery, sadly enough.) Actually, turning FOOB into Battlestar Galactica would be totally cool.

  244. Dr.MAD
    January 30th, 2007 at 3:31 pm [Reply]

    In the strip of the 27th, where’s Liz’s tongue thingy? You know, the one that’s always wagging out of a FOOB’s mouth whenever they yell? The one that looks like a cross between a used condom, a small red duck and a heroin packet? What happened to it? Also, check out they stylin’ duds, boy those tops the canuck gals wear are the stroobiest [newly made-up word just for this occasion - vaguely based on Doug Adams meaning exactly 14 years and 5 months behind the times]. As to her amours, I think Liz’s folks want her to marry Aunt- thony so they don’t have to ever worry about her having sex.

  245. Loony Lil
    January 31st, 2007 at 10:26 am [Reply]

    Hmm. Today’s FOOB.

    Mike’s book is getting published, John and Elly are bemused, And April’s going “WHOA!” Meanwhile, Liz is an emotional train wreck upstairs.

    Trust me, Liz is about to erupt.

  246. What's wrong with Mallard Fillmore
    January 31st, 2007 at 3:28 pm [Reply]

    Foob: Good lord, the guy sends his first draft direct to a publisher and they accept it and offer him a $25,000 advance? Sorry, as a writer I know that ain’t never gonna happen, even if it is $25,000 canadian which is enough to, what, buy dinner?

  247. Edgy DC
    February 3rd, 2007 at 1:36 pm [Reply]

    I don’t know about anyone else here, but it certainly didn’t get me. After all, not only was it just a freaking dog, (albeit a dog who has his own cult,) but his place in the strip was quickly filled with Farley 2.0, whatever that one’s name is. “Massive bait-and-switch?” I don’t think so.

    This is factually untrue. Edgar was in the family before Farley’s demise.

    It would be irrelevant if true. You want death. But somehow it doesn’t count if others remain? For Better or for Worse is awful because there isn’t an apocalypse?

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