My friend Nicholas, currently doing an internship in Shanghai, sends me this note:
I thought you might appreciate knowing that there is a television commercial that I've seen several times on CCTV that uses the theme song from Clarissa Explains It All. I think the product is for iced tea, but I'm not entirely sure. The ad is basically just a couple of women in brightly colored outfits dancing and jumping around to the buoyant na-na-na-naas. Sadly, it doesn't feature any backward shakey pink handwriting.
My band in high school covered this song:
- Good Housekeeping, June 1955, illustration by Al Parker
[via today's inspiration]
I love daily newspaper comic strips, something that I am sure I will write about more in the future. I'm particularly drawn (hahaha!) to the serial strips, like "For Better or For Worse," "Mark Trail," and "Mary Worth," but I do also read the gag strips as well. If "Cathy" ever becomes a legacy strip, I have proven that I've read enough to be able to match the style and take over with a seamless transition.
For reasons I can't explain, I have fallen behind in my comics reading...to the tune of about eleven months. I have spent much of the last week trying to catch up, and I've made it up to November 2008. As I've gotten back into it, I stumbled across a 1996 Salon.com article by Dave Eggers about "Pluggers," the daily single-panel comic based on reader suggestions of puns about the simple lives of slow-paced, average Americans. It turns out "Pluggers" really pisses Dave Eggers off.
Pluggers are defined in phrases that appear to have been lifted from an early draft of Dole's forthcoming acceptance speech: "They're the nation's team players -- the honest dealers, the deadline meeters, the hangers-in-there. They're the everyday wit-and-grit heroes this great nation truly depends on." (It really says that.) Also, we learn that this "good-hearted majority of Americans" are "deeply committed to democracy;" that they "use technology, but don't go gah-gah (sic) over it;" and that they try "to keep life simple, uncomplicated." Can you imagine such a vainglorious manifesto from Broom Hilda or The Wizard of Id?
Much of Eggers's vitriol is leveled at the "Pluggers" creators' hypocrisy in presenting themselves as somehow in tune with average Joes despite their obvious wealth and privilege. He cites a statement of philosophy posted on the cartoon's "elaborate Web site," pausing to ask, "do pluggers have elaborate Web sites?"
Eggers's argument all sounded well and good, and then I realized this article was from 1996. What did this "elaborate" site that got Mr. McSweeney so upset even look like?
Thankfully, there is the Wayback Machine to show us this.
The terrible GIF transparency! The "under construction" sign! The impossible to read black text on top of the repeating wood background image! So much funnier than any "Pluggers" strip.
During my tenure at the University of Chicago, I was virtually alone in my attempt at total avoidance of the Regenstein Library. Despite it being the social nexus of the entire school, I could not bring myself to study within its bleak, brutalist walls. On floors where there were people I knew, I was too distracted. In quieter parts, I was too creeped out to work. Sitting directly above where Enrico Fermi set off the first nuclear reaction, I was sure I heard the ghosts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki whispering in my ear each time I opened up my copy of the Critique of Judgment.
But if I had studied in the Reg, I would have seen plenty of cubicle graffiti. Quinn Dombrowski, a library staffer, has collected 703 examples of this in her lovely Flickr set. I think this one represents the healthiest approach to studying at the U of C:
On Saturday, August 1, The Heavy Boxes are very excited to play a full set to close out the latest edition of the Chicago Ukulele Cabaret. The Uke Cabs are always highlights for us anyways, but now we'll have an opportunity to throw together a whole bunch of crazy stuff for you. All the other performers throughout the evening will also be great, of course. This time, the theme is Ukers Wild - design your own theme. It starts at 9 p.m. at Silvie's Lounge, 1902 W. Irving Park Rd. We'll likely go on at some point after 10:30. No cover!