I like pizza, especially veggie pizza, and since I like fresh vegetables best, the prospect of “planting” a pizza seems like it would appeal to me. It doesn’t. Here’s the thing: toppings are only part of the pizza equation. Mushrooms, onions, and peppers aside, there are other, more basic concerns such as cheese and tomato sauce. But the most basic building block is the crust. If you start with good dough, you’ll have a strong foundation and, probably, one heck of a pie. What kind of dough could one expect to emerge from a vegetable garden? My guess is something suffused with rocks, roots, and soil. In other words…no thank you.
Archive for the ‘Blondie’ Category
At first glance, this comic strip struck me as…off. Was it the presence of a park bench so close to the shore? Or the concrete appearing to be level with the water? How about the black marks at the top corners of panel one, which look like placeholders in an old photo album? No, I think what jolted me most was the strip’s setting. I never noticed this before, but almost every Blondie strip takes place in one a handful of locales: the house, the office, the carpool transporting Dagwood from the house to the office… It’s like a sitcom, which is sad if you think about it. Television writers are constrained by the expense of building a set (or securing a location). Cartoonists can draw any location they want. Why not go exploring?
Where is this teal-jacketed fellow banking that us receives one-percent interest on his savings? Not a traditional brick and mortar bank, that’s for sure. Let’s say our hero has $20,000 to plop into a savings account. A quick glance at banking websites tells us he would be lucky to earn even half-a-percent interest. If he stashed his money a local institution, like Chicago’s Marquette Bank, he’d earn 0.2% interest. If he opened a credit union account, say with United Credit Union, he’d rake in 0.25% interest. And if he went with a national chain like Chase, he’d take home 0.1% interest (0.25% if he linked his checking account to his savings account). If this disgruntled depositor wanted to up his earnings, he’d have to open an online savings account; either that or secure himself a job as a bank president.
As a teenager growing up on the north side of Chicago, I spent many an afternoon and evening holed up inside the Music Box Theater, a beautifully restored movie palace that played foreign films, independent fare, and classics from old Hollywood. The feature attractions were screened in a large theater, complete with red curtains and small lights in the ceiling that doubled for stars. But there was also another, much smaller, theater tucked into the corner of the building. Its screen was no larger than the one in today’s Blondie, which seems ridiculous in an era of IMAX and stadium seating. But the screen more than made up for its diminutive size by playing host to some of the giants of world cinema. There may be bigger screens (hell, there may be bigger TVs), but given the quality of the films that played there, the small theater at the Music Box still looms large in my mind.
When I was out of a job earlier this year, I saw a police officer ticketing cars in front of the unemployment office during one of my many trips to fill out paperwork. I don’t blame the guy for doing his job, but it seems shameful to me that the city’s Department of Revenue would make it illegal to park in front of the unemployment office from the hours of 4:00-6:00. That’s when the highest number of people are likely to be sitting in line, waiting to speak to an official, and unable to move their cars to avoid a ticket. Needless to say, I drove around the block and parked on a side street, making very sure there were no parking restrictions to trip me up.
I have nine slices of roast beef in my refrigerator, although I had to go to the kitchen to count them. Even though I like lunchmeat at much as the next guy, I’m no connoisseur and can’t be counted on to keep a running tally of slices in my head. In fact, my trips to the deli counter rarely result in anything beyond the standard ham, turkey and roast beef trifecta. Every once in a while, I’ll venture into summer sausage territory (it’s particularly good with Colby cheese) but that’s about as bold as I get. To be completely honest, I’m a bigger fan of tuna fish than anything in the lunchmeat family of products. Dagwood would be disappointed, I know.
All this talk about “the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression” has me thinking about Blondie, a strip that enjoyed its heyday during that dark period in our nation’s history. This particular strip’s reference to “slow voting” should resonate with Chicagoans who took the time to fill out their entire ballot, including races for judicial retention and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. There were also a number of local and county-wide races that deserved attention. It took me an entire day to research the candidates and make my choices, but I left the voting booth knowing I had cast an informed ballot for every office, and not just for president.