Earlier today, my wife and I chatted with one of the neighborhood kids. He’s a high school student who’s been cutting our grass this summer, but no more. Starting next week, he’ll be living downstate, attending a military academy and preparing for a stint in the Marine Corps. He’s a driven young man who’s eager for a challenge. Fortunately for the Marines, he’s also one of a dwindling number of youth who manages to maintain a healthy weight. In fact, according to a group of retired generals, America’s young people will soon be too fat to fight. That’s pretty troubling, and as good a reason as any to start packing healthy lunches for our kids.
Archive for the ‘Doonesbury’ Category
Without wading too deeply into the cliquish world of heavy metal, I find it hard to believe that fans of the genre would lump an underground icon like Slayer in with a hair metal band like Guns N’ Roses. And although I find the debate over metal genres to be insufferable, I have to agree that Guns n’ Roses is, musically, worlds apart from their harder, heavier contemporaries. In fact, they’re the only band I can think of that managed to peak with the very first song on their very first album. “Welcome to the Jungle” was a pretty good track, but to my tastes it was all downhill from there.
James Earl Jones will forever be known as the voice of Darth Vader, the (mostly) faceless villain of the Star Wars saga whose heavy breathing and hands-off strangling of subordinates gave the first trilogy a cohesiveness that the second trilogy lacked. He also gained notoriety as the voice of CNN, another role that required him to take full advantage of his booming baritone. But whenever I think of Mr. Jones, I recall him walking into McDougal’s restaurant as the king of Zamunda in the classic comedy, Coming to America, wearing both an enormous skinned lion across his shoulders and a look of complete and utter disgust upon his face.
As a Cubs fan, I object vehemently to this strip. The facts don’t matter to us? I don’t know any Cubs fan whose sense of urgency isn’t fueled by the fact that the team hasn’t won the World Series in 100 years. We don’t deny this fact, and certainly have no desire to see the actual World Series trophies from 1909-2008 as proof that our team has been dismal. But instead of being bitter and disappointed, Cubs fans have shown a surprising amount of faith. We take pleasure in small victories and bite our fingernails to the bone in anticipation of something bigger. And despite the well-documented yahoos in our midst, the average Cubs fan tends to be optimistic and festive, words that don’t apply to those in the birther movement.
By the time I reach retirement, I’m sure 70 will be the new 30. But even if the rest of my generation goes to desperate lengths to cling to the last vestiges of youth, I hope I’ll have the good sense to relish making it to 70…or 80…or 90. And if I’m lucky enough to share my golden years with the love of my life, then I’m certain to spend a good deal of time repeating jokes that she doesn’t find all that funny. Now if we can only fix social security by then…
Some might say it was a bold move for Doonesbury to write a strip assuming an Obama victory, although in retrospect it seems like all those poll respondents were trying to tell us something. I arrived in Grant Park last night just as the networks were calling the election and made it to a jumbotron in time to see John McCain’s incredibly gracious concession speech followed by Obama’s short and sweet address to the crowd of 240,000. There was excitement and nervousness and pride and even a bit of disbelief in the air as the enormous (and, appropriately enough, multiracial) crowd cheered on Chicago’s own president-elect.
While I applaud Doonsbury for its honest and honorable treatment of Iraq War veterans, I can’t say its approach has been particularly funny. That’s not a bad thing, but it can make the social and political points less compelling, especially on the comics page. Today’s version is a welcome exception, fusing good intentions with the strip’s traditional sarcastic wit.