The ongoing environmental disaster in Japan is nothing short of heartbreaking. It’s tragic enough for thousands of people to be swept out to sea by a tsunami, but the threat of a meltdown makes things even worse. This must be especially true in a country that felt the brunt of nuclear weapons 65 years ago. (To be honest, I was surprised to learn that Japan even had a nuclear industry, given its history.) That said, I’m not sure it’s wise to prevent newer, sturdier structures from being built. What are the alternatives? Natural gas? Crude oil? Coal? I live one mile from a coal-burning power plant, and if someone offered to tear it down and build a brand new nuclear reactor tomorrow, I’d consider myself lucky.
Archive for the ‘La Cucaracha’ Category
Every day, I go to work as a communications coordinator (i.e. a writer) with the expectation that I’ll be paid for it. Every day, I also update this blog with the expectation that I won’t be paid for it. On the one hand, I’m grateful that my writing ability has led to a paying job in the not-for-profit sector. On the other hand, I’m grateful that I have this other outlet that allows me to express my thoughts and feelings without having to justify a paycheck. It’s incredibly liberating to write things that don’t bring me money…as long as I’m able to write other things that do bring me money.
Confession: I’ve never read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. One summer, when I was a kid, my mom tried her best to get me to read Mark Twain’s classic. She bought a beautiful, illustrated copy, told me it was the kind of book that appealed to young boys, and even “assigned” it to me to read over break. Unfortunately, none of her tactics worked. I browsed the book for a while, but found it to be more languid than The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Of course, now that Huck Finn has been edited to remove all instances of the n-word, I feel compelled to buy the original, unaltered version, read it for myself, and maybe even pass it on to my future children.
Here’s what bothers me about this strip: the green-shirted woman’s reaction to the punchline. Disbelief is the standard comic response to the crassness expressed by her oil-hungry Neanderthal of a husband. It would make sense to draw an exclamation point floating above the woman’s head or a few beads of sweat leaping from her face (or both!). But the expression she sports in the third panel seems downright content. It’s as if the thought of air pollutants has transported her directly to her happy place.
Forget politics, it’s sports that makes strange bedfellows. Take my hometown Chicago Bears, for example. There’s no segment of the city that does not cheer for this hard-luck, hard-nosed football team come fall and winter. People who have little in common with one another, and who might be openly hostile toward one another in a different setting, will happily sit together and cheer for the Bears. Sports is the great unifier, which is why I was surprised when the Phoenix Suns donned their “Los Suns” jerseys for a playoff game as an unambiguous statement against Arizona’s recently passed immigration law. I’m sure the team’s fanbase includes people on both sides of the debate. Now, thanks to their mutual love of the Suns, they’ll have something polarizing to discuss during timeouts.
As a child, I heard story after story about the U.S. space program. From grainy moon landing footage to astronaut ice cream to the awesome allure of Space Camp, my friends and I were inundated with pro-NASA propaganda. And we loved every minute of it. But for all the hoopla surrounding the space program, I don’t ever recall seeing a man land on the moon. Hopefully we can return there in the not-too-distant future, if only to see how Neil Armstrong’s American flag is holding up.
Curiously enough, this strip ran in the Chicago Sun-Times a week after the Chicago Tribune increased the size of its comics. That’s right, increased. At first, I was dubious of the plan to print the comics larger, since several of my favorites were being axed to make room. What good is a large-format comics page if it’s going to be filled with the likes of Blondie and Hagar the Horrible? But when I opened the paper last week and saw the new layout, I was pleasantly surprised. For the first time in my life, I was able to read the comics while the newspaper lay flat of a table. It was enough to make me forgive the poor selection, at least temporarily.