Archive: 9 Chickweed Lane

Post Content

Blondie, 9/18/17

Sometimes I wonder about the Bumsteads’ relationship. They have a sweet romantic backstory: Dagwood gave up his inheritance to marry flapper Blondie (née Boopadoop) for love. And they seem affectionate — kisses in and out the door, shared bed, respectful and brief arguments, even if Blondie seems to get the upper hand more often. No Lockhorns-grade emotional desert, that’s for sure. Still, I’m just not feeling the spark, y’know? Arlo and Janis, Walt and Connie, Darryl and Wanda, Henry and Alice, Frank and Nancy, Ted and Sally; hell, Gil and Mimi — you know those folks got it going on, right?

Maybe 87 years together sands off the highs and lows? Or having a pair of teenagers underfoot since oh, say, 1958 puts a lid on intimacy? Maybe living so long in the public eye encourages an excess of modesty? Not for me to judge.

Anyway, every once and a while like today a co-worker will open a window to the cauldron of longing, passion, and betrayal raging just outside Dagwood’s matrimonial bubble, and it leaves him pensive: Is he missing out on all the excitement? Could Blondie be stepping out on him like that? Did he blow a chance to bang this guy’s wife?

9 Chickweed Lane, 9/18/17

Erstwhile Catholic schoolboy Amos van Hoesen checks his list to see if there’s any sacrament, commandment, or sacred tradition he and his new bride have not yet reduced to a sexual fetish.

“Nope — we’re good, babe!”

Herb and Jamaal, 9/18/17

For this joke to work, you have to believe that Herb a) remembers his wedding year, b) can subtract, and c) hasn’t aged since the strip ran five years ago. Even so, Sarah’s estimate seems way high.

Isn’t it adorable that Herb’s coffee gets mad when he does?

Curtis, 9/18/17

Some guys find dress codes an unbearable affront to their dignity — I guess Curtis is one of those guys; I guess Greg isn’t. But jeez kid, don’t call your father a corporate stooge after all those years he put in at the DMV. He’s a government drone, and don’t you ever forget it.

— Uncle Lumpy

Post Content

Mark Trail, 10/15/16

And it’s an invasive wild boar – the very worst kind! What’s more, he’s either a really ROUGH sort, or a real GROUCH – it’s hard to tell from context. Maybe both!

But hey waitaminute: what are wild boars doing on a volcanic atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? I’m guessing they weren’t carried ashore in bundles of firewood like the ants. Maybe the neo-Aztecs who built the mountaintop temple imported boars for sacrifice until the boars figured out the deal and turned the tables?

Most likely it’s all a plot by Abbey Powell’s sinister “U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Alarmed by the invasion of fire ants, they brought in Formosan termites to control them. This turned out to be a terrible mistake. So they shipped in “beneficial” nematodes, which promptly started eating all the coral. The marine iguanas they imported to kill the nematodes quickly overwhelmed the beaches, so they airlifted in packs of boars and here we are. In a desperate attempt, Abbey has conned Mark Trail to come in and punch the boars into submission. I hope it works, because the next step is nuclear weapons.

Dick Tracy, 10/15/16

When someone is killed for persecuting an ethnic group with exactly two members, the police know where to start their investigation. When both of those members are friends or relatives of Dick Tracy, they have a pretty good idea where to stop it, too.

Phantom, 10/15/16

OK, so the Phantom has one of those Lone Ranger-style “see my unmasked face and die” gimmicks going on, and it apparently includes his wife??? Brrr….

Maybe he only goes all shadowy like this when we’re watching, which frankly hurts my feelings a little bit. Dude, we’re your fans. We stuck with you through Hide the Lion. We toughed it out through The College Kid — that’s gotta count for something. How ’bout a little peek at them baby blues?

Judge Parker, 10/15/16

OK, now that Bob Dylan has his Nobel Prize we’d better get used to the fact that Boomer culture is universal culture everywhere and forever.

At 77, ’60’s icon Spencer Davis (Gimme Some Lovin’) is old enough enough to work at Neddy’s factory, but not desperate enough for her starvation wages. From his retreat on California’s Catalina Island, he writes:

Well, the factory’s collapsing, got a hole in the floor
Canes and walkers clacking on their way to the door
Let me through granny, I don’t want to be entombed
And you better hobble quicker, ’cause this place is doomed.

And I sure hope you make it — we olds can’t take it
You’ve got to: gimme some running (gimme, gimme some running)
Gimme some crushing, (gimme, gimme some crushing)
Gimme some shoving everyday.
Hey hey.


Hi there, faithful reader! I’m sitting in through Sunday the 23rd while Josh takes a break. Please let me know if you experience any access or comment-posting problems at uncle.lumpy@comcast.net. Enjoy!

— Uncle Lumpy

Post Content

9 Chickweed Lane, 8/10/16

Sooner or later, courtship plots need to resolve. That’s no problem if you’re writing a book or play – just get your couple to their Big Moment before the final chapter or curtain. But when your TV serial or comic strip is built on romantic or sexual tension and lasts more than a couple years, you’ve got a problem. Recap Dick and Jane playing footsie for the fortieth time and your audience will start to get restless. But resolve the issue in the customary way and your good thing could end faster than you can say “Season 5 of Northern Exposure.”

After fifteen years of footsie, 9 Chickweed Lane finally got protagonists Edda and Amos in bed – technically “on piano” – during an interminable cello competition in 2008. Since then, the strip has dithered around with minor characters, flashbacks, and fantasy sequences, trying to get what it apparently thinks is its groove back.

The solution on offer is to clone the main characters and do the whole damn thing over. So now we’ve got Piano Amos (shaving in the john there) and Chinese Edda, with exactly the same personalities and hang-ups as the originals, going through the same tired will-they-or-won’t-they scenarios. Genius, really – how many instruments are there to rotate through? How many ethnicities to pair them with? How long before Gamelan Amos melts at the sight of Paiute Edda? Tam-tam Amos grovels before Igbo Edda? Bassoon Amos babbles incoherently when a wisp of Pole Edda’s hair brushes his face? It could go on forever!

And every so often they can sneak in a beaver joke.

Luann, 8/10/16

Luann’s solution to their Brad and Toni problem is to re-create beloved ’80’s sitcom Three’s Company, with TJ in the Suzanne Somers role and Frank DeGroot as the nosy neighbor. Hijinx ahead!

The Crush — Brad and TJ angrily blame Toni for sending them to a nonexistent party, never dreaming that it is the DeGroots’ teenage houseguest who wants them out of the way so he can have Toni all to himself!

The Love Diary — TJ is hired to type up the diary of a mystery person, which contains several steamy entries. Mr. DeGroot sees the diary and becomes convinced that TJ is enamored of him!

The Bake-Off — Brad accidentally eats the pie that TJ was entering in a statewide baking competition, then tries to substitute a ringer from the bakery!

Since Three’s Company did in fact go on forever – the shame of my generation – there are lots of premium plots like these to choose from. And Brad and Toni can freeze their relationship right where it is, to the relief of everybody.

Pluggers and Family Circus, 8/10/16

Coincidence? I think not!

–Uncle Lumpy