Well, Arlo (AMS), the problem is that you’re celebrating the wrong saint. If you wait two days, you can have corned beef and cabbage on your St. Joseph’s Table at a heavily discounted price.
Best of all, Festa di San Giuseppe falls on a Sunday this year, so you don’t need a dispensation to have meat on your table, since Lenten restrictions are off on Sundays.
It’s a tradition in America, at least, for Catholics to get a dispensation so they can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and cabbage, as well as with drunkenness, since back in Olden Times, alcohol was also forbidden during Lent.
Though I would add that the source there is an Orthodox priest being quoted on a winemaker’s website, but we seek spiritual guidance wherever we can find it, particularly when it tells us what we want to hear, and God know RC’s have struggled with Lent forever.
Today, cafeteria Catholics are finding a new dilemma in the lunch line: If you can’t eat meat on Fridays in Lent, can you eat vegetable matter pushed through a laboratory so that it looks and tastes like meat?
I remember arguing with my mother back when Bac-Os came out, because she’d sprinkle them on our salad on a Friday and I’d pick them off mine, insisting that it was the taste that mattered, not the chemical makeup. Impossible Whoppers raise the stakes considerably.
Ah well. When I was in, I was in, and when I started looking for loopholes, I left, though I suppose you’re not required to be more observant than Himself.
If I’d realized the decisions that were coming up, I’d have eaten the Bac-Os.
But the way I figure it, if they’re right, I’m going to Hell. If they’re wrong, I’m going to heaven.
And, either way, I won’t have to run into Clarence and Ginni.
I’m also stiff-necked when it comes to beer and wine, and this Bizarro (KFS) seems more of a documentary than a joke. My preference is that they focus on what they put in the bottles rather than on all the clever stuff they put on the label.
If nothing else, I’d like brewers to remember to say what’s in there. I hate having to lean in, take off my glasses and examine the label to get past all the puns and psychedelic graphics to find the little words that tell if it’s an IPA, lager, stout, porter, or, gawdhelpus, a cider.
On a vaguely related topic, Susan has been warring with store clerks in Between Friends (KFS).
When a clerk actually does help me sort through things, I’m careful to ask if they’re on commission, because I often put off the purchase until I’ve checked out other stores, and I want to make sure they get paid if I come back and buy the thing.
But I much prefer places where they’re hourly, because it reduces both the hovering in that first example and the cheerful off-target hyperbole in the second.
And there’s this: Between Friends takes place in English Canada, but when I took a French language course at the Chamber of Commerce, we were dealing with cross-border shoppers from Quebec. Our instructor, herself from la Belle Province, told us not to say “May I help you?” because it implied that you thought the person was an idiot.
Instead, you would look at whatever they were looking at and say something like, “Isn’t that a lovely color?” to start the conversation.
And then, of course, sell them a whole bunch of things they hadn’t come in to buy.
The Duplex (AMS) brings back memories of a job where we didn’t have a company newsletter, but we did have a bulletin board in the break room with mugshots of all the employees. It was a really good idea, because it let you attach a name to a face you ran into but who worked in another department.
It also was a good way to keep track of who got fired, because the publisher’s secretary was a model of efficiency, and she’d pop that photo off before word had spread.
The standing joke was that, when you came in in the morning, you should stop by the break room and see if you still worked there.
I suppose that’s not as funny anymore, newspapers being as they are. If she still worked there herself, she’d be one busy little woman.
I enjoy Johnny Hazard at KFS’s Vintage collection, both for Frank Robbins’ art and the long, complex storylines. In this episode, the fellow in the beret has just killed his accomplice in an old robbery and hitched a ride into town to recover the hidden loot.
Which brings up a different kind of robbery, because this strip ran in 1953 and, 12 years later, The Big Job repeated the general plot as a comedy, and then, in 1999, Martin Lawrence recycled it in Blue Streak.
Not saying they all got it from Johnny Hazard, mind you, and this iteration of the tale is far from a comedy.
Big Ben Bolt, on the other hand, is a Vintage KFS offering that alternates serious storylines with comic relief, and the appearance of blowhard conniving cowboy Alamo Smith a few days ago signaled the start of a lighthearted arc.
I got a laugh out of this particular episode because Alamo offers a piece of downhome Western dialogue that could have come straight out of the pages of the Virginian.
Though my favorite example of such lovely use of sparse language comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s autobiography. The story, about his first trip West at 25, features a pair of Mainers transplanted to the West, which is a bodacious combination of droll cultures:
TR loved a good laugh, even — and maybe especially — at his own expense. That, and his willingness to pitch in on the work, is why a four-eyed intellectual from the East was so popular with his ranch hands that they later volunteered to ride up San Juan Hill with him.
They sure don’t make’em like him anymore.
Juxtaposition of the Day
One of the disadvantages of growing older is that I don’t know if pranksters still hand out “beerslayers” to their buddies. If so, they don’t call them that anymore.
One of the advantages of growing older is that none of my friends secretly shake up the can before handing me a beer anymore, either.