Memory Lane: The Katzenjammer Kids

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The Katzenjammer Kids, at the hands of various artists and writers, were in newspapers and comic books for 109 years, starting in 1897, until 2006; and they’re still available in reprints.

They were in the Sunday color comics in my Grammy’s paper (but not ours), and I always looked forward to seeing what Hans and Fritz would get up to next. Looking back on it now, I wonder why they were so popular. Really, they weren’t nice at all–in fact, a couple of delinquents. Did they resonate with our sin nature, with some darkness in our souls? I can’t imagine trying to baby-sit for them: you might not live to tell about it.

Then again, perhaps they served a useful purpose, after all–an opportunity to let off steam without doing any harm. Hey, I watch the Three Stooges. That doesn’t mean I go around poking people in the eye and pulling chandeliers down from anybody’s ceiling. It means I laugh when they do it, because it’s so ridiculous. Maybe not as ridiculous as Okashii-yo-Cortez, but certainly more harmless.

I don’t know what I’d give to be at Grammy’s house again, reading the comics in her Sunday paper.

Some Things I Shouldn’t Like

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We all have our guilty little secrets, and we have all heard that confession is good for the soul. Today I’ll put that to the test.

There are certain things I absolutely shouldn’t like, there must be something wrong with me, how can I live with the shame of it, etc. “Ah! And what are those things?” I don’t hear you ask. Here I will fess up to three of them, and let the chips fall where they may.

1950s horror movies featuring giant insects and crustaceans continue to delight me. What could be finer, on a summer afternoon, than slipping into the air-conditioned darkness of the old Forum Theater to watch army men vainly try to stave off the attacks of giant bugs? If only we had some of those bugs for the Democrat National Convention…

The Three Stooges: thanks to Youtube, I can get the Three Stooges anytime I want–oh, huzzah! You may wonder why the Three Stooges wrecking someone’s house as they try to install a light bulb is funny, but colleges and Congress wrecking America is not. Thing is, when the Stooges are over, they’re over–and no harm has been done to anything or anyone. We don’t have to live with the consequences of the Three Stooges’ actions. And what a relief that is!

Finally, snow. Everybody else crabs and cranks on those rare occasions when it snows (rare around here, I mean: I don’t live in Buffalo). I love to watch it come down and cover up the mud; and for a little while, the neighborhood is quiet. Snow is the only thing, short of the end of the world, that can take away the constant roar of traffic. Engine noise is 24/7 in these parts; but a respectable snowfall can shut it down for 20 minutes or so. And then there is the evergreen memory of not having to go to school that day because it’s snowed. Yes, I admit it: I’d rather go sledding or ice-skating, or build snowmen or snow forts, than sit in a classroom “learning” something which I’ve totally forgotten by now.

As for the question of how I can live with the shame… well, as best I can, I guess.

I’ve Fixed My Drain (I Hope!)

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My bathroom sink’s drain was getting clogged again, time to take it apart and clear it out. It should be about a 10-minute job, but I have a problem: I’m just a little too big to stretch out on the bathroom floor, so some contortionism is required. Plus I’m not exactly anyone’s idea of a handyman. You’d think a childhood that included an erector set would count for something; but then you don’t have to be a contortionist with your erector set.

I’ve also seen the Three Stooges try their hand at plumbing, so I hope I’ve learned what not to do.

To my astonishment, I got the job done in 15 minutes. What a man! A living legend! Move over, Bob Vila! Then I turned on the water and the pipes leaked.

Aha. On the floor lay a little clear plastic washer that had fallen out of its place without my noticing. So I had to empty the cabinet again and do the whole job over, not knowing where the washer was supposed to go, having to reassemble the drain several times before I found the right place. I turned on the water once again: this time, no leaks.

I hope I should not have said “no leaks for this particular moment.”

Please, not that.

That’s It, I’ve Had It!

That last item about the so-called “rabbi” who said God sexually harassed Eve–well, I just can’t take any more this weekend. There ought to be a limit on how big a moron anyone can be, but obviously there isn’t.

So for the rest of the weekend we’ll have hymns, nature, Memory Lane, humor, and no more prattling idiots. I know we have to keep track of what the enemy is doing, but it’s not as if God needed us to tell Him what’s up. We are to serve as watchmen for our fellow sinners, whom Jesus came into this fallen world to save. But even watchmen need to take a breather now and then.

A TV Series That Can’t Miss: ‘Nut Squad’

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I’ve got to publicize my idea for a hit TV series before someone else thinks of it, so here it is.

Nut Squad relates the adventures of a group of delusional crackpots who show up at crime scenes, claiming to be from a secret government organization, and provide the investigating police with totally loopy scenarios–like, say, “Inspector, this man was not murdered! That thing that looks like a gunshot wound is where a kind of alien mantis chewed its way out of his body…” And they produce credentials that look real–until they’re checked, of course–so the cops have to listen to them. It’s sort of The X-Files meets The Three Stooges. The looks on the detectives’ faces as they listen to this pure crapola–I mean, what actor wouldn’t love playing one of those scenes?

A Nut Squad episode will usually end with the police chasing the Nuts and trying to shoot them, they’re so mad at all the time that got wasted, listening to these boobs. The thing is to see how far the Nuts can push the situation before it explodes in their faces.

OK, I’m waiting for offers from producers…

Does Entertainment Shrivel Your Brain?

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For as long as there have been people, there have been story-tellers. God created us in His image, and so we like to create things, too. And one of the things we create is stories.

Being sinners, we also create idols, street gangs, rap music, poison gas, and communism, among other things. And we create stories that edify, stories that ease or stir the soul–and stories that debase and corrupt the hearer.

Some of you have said you’re fed up with “entertainment,” especially TV and movies, it’s all cheap and worthless, if not downright malevolent–and I’m not here to disagree with you. Crikey–it’s gotten so anyone who’s looking for a life partner demands that he or she be “funny.” Like it’s everybody’s job to entertain you, all the time.

You will note I have posted a picture of the Three Stooges. Why? Well, if I’m really stressed out, their inane antics are a pick-me-up. And that’s a legitimate purpose of a story. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, fiction often provides a kind of escape, and no one blames a prisoner for trying to escape.

In addition to meeting my needs for vegging out from time to time, movies and novels, etc., are my diet as a story-teller. I learn by listening to other people’s stories; that’s how I learn to tell my stories. I gobble up stories, always trying to learn from them even while I’m chilling out. I hope the finished product convinces you that I’m on the right track.

This is a large subject and I don’t propose to write a book about it. Some “entertainment” is good for us, some is bad, and some is only good or bad depending on how we as individuals respond to it. There is a huge amount of entertainment out there that’s downright toxic, pure crapola. It’s good stuff to avoid.

I do know a few persons who never consume any form of fiction, and I just can’t imagine how they get by without any stories at all. Well, true, all of them watch TV news, and some of that’s fiction, and the sum total of all its parts is more fiction than anything else. But I would much rather get my fiction from Jules Verne than from CNN.