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Dustin, 3/10/24

Hey kids, let Grandpa Josh tell you about the Do-Not-Call List! Starting in the mid ’00s in the United States, you could put your phone number on a list and it became simply illegal for telemarketers to call you! It wasn’t a perfect system — political fundraisers successfully sued to be exempted for First Amendment reasons, for instance — but it immediately eliminated a huge percentage of unwanted phone calls, and, combined with increasingly widespread caller ID features, made using the phone a much more pleasant experience. Unfortunately, this paradise only lasted a few years, and by the ’10s people figured out that they could bypass the list, using voice-over-internet technology to make phone calls ostensibly “from” U.S. numbers even though they could originate anywhere in the world. Since these calls are all illegal, there are no legit telemarketers anymore, so people’s phones are bombarded by scam after scam. Old people who remember a world where phone calls were a useful form of communication still answer and get bamboozled, while younger people who grew up with other ways to connect find the scams yet another reason to think of talking on the phone as a repellent act and are wont to simply never answer a phone call.

Anyway, my point is that Dustin is a product of the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, and while usually you can tell because its central conceit is based on a world of high youth unemployment that simply no longer exists, there are other clues that all of its action takes place 15 years ago, such as an ostensible early twentysomething knowing what a “Do-Not-Call List” is.

Dick Tracy, 3/10/24

I will admit that I have not been following this Dick Tracy/Little Orphan Annie crossover very closely, so I don’t remember if Dick has already interacted with these two undercover kidnappers, but it would be very funny if he hasn’t. “As far as he’s concerned, we’re just the dumb housekeepers!” [Later, Dick sees them for the first time] “Warbucks, don’t worry about these two people waving guns at us. They’re just the dumb housekeepers! Which you can tell by, uh, just look at them. It’s fine. They’re probably using the guns for cleaning purposes.”

Hi and Lois, 3/10/24

I gotta say, if you asked me to come up with the meanest possible parody answer to the question of “What would a legacy newspaper cartoonist say was their favorite part of Daylight Savings Time,” it would 100% absolutely be “Hooray, an extra hour for more golf!”