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Lileks @ Lunch

James Lileks writes about everything - except sports and gardening

Please Explain this Arlo and Janis

. . . you say, and I am happy to oblige as best as I can. 

Arlo and Janis are in their sixties, but you wouldn’t know it from the strip; they were frozen in their mid 40s for a while, and then unfrozen when their kid grew up all of a sudden. The names give them away: Arlo Guthrie, Janis Joplin, and Eugene McCarthy for their kid. The strip was about boomers who grow up and settle down.

None of that is relevant to this, but it explains why the strip suddenly went for a late-60s / early 70s callback. It does not explain what is going on here. The first two panels make no sense to me:

I wish the skink made it to the monkey grass? Janis - bent over with the weight of age and care - says something about lizards, and indeed a skink is a lizard. Did the skink escape yesterday? Are we supposed to remember that there was a skink around in yesterday’s panel? We move on:

So he’s going to pinch her, and his expression suggests lecherous malice. And then this:

Huh? you say. Well. It’s one of those “with apologies to” things comics do when they copy someone else’s style. In this case, it’s “Love Is…”, a saccharine little one-panel about two child-like people defining “love” in a series of simple gestures or actions. It has been running since the reign of Emperor Constantine. The “Kim” thanked at the bottom hasn’t drawn the strip since 1975, and what’s more, she died in 1997. As Wikipedia helpfully explains:

"The main characters are a man and woman depicted unclothed, with no primary or secondary sexual features shown other than depicting only the woman having nipples. It is clear which character is male and which is female due to tertiary features."

Also, here’s news you can use:

"The Turkish version of the strip (Aşk ...dır.) is sold in form of small pieces of comic strips wrapped around gum."

Why Arlo and Janis did this can be explained by the previous strip, wherein the cat is shown attempting to eat the aforementioned skink. "What did we tell you about eating lizards?" Arlo says, with Janis present. She looks away with guilt, and Arlo says "What did I tell you?" Okay. I suppose that explains the panels above, but  “letting her off the hook for not telling the cat to eat lizards” would suggest that a less-loving husband would hold his wife accountable for not instructing the cat to ignore millennia of hard-wired instincts, and that seems a little harsh.

The wrong way to protest a lion killing

There’s something about the phrase “Poached a bear in Wis.” that brings to mind a Johnny Cash lyric, no? Whether or not the Area Man in the center of an uproar about a Zimbabwe lion-killing ends up in Folson like the man who shot a man in Reno - well, we’ll find out.

The Telegraph quotes an associate, who gives us a preview of the defense:

“What he’ll tell you is that he had the proper legal permits and he had hired several professional guides, so he’s not denying that he may be the person who shot this lion. He is a big-game hunter; he hunts the world over.”

Oh, well, that’s a whole different story! 


During the hunt – which the organisers later admitted was badly carried out – it was alleged that Cecil was lured at night about half a mile out of the national park using bait, and then shot with a bow and arrow. The next day he was found wounded by the hunters and killed, before being beheaded and skinned.

And everyone was very proud of themselves afterwards. THEY SHOWED THAT LION.

His website is currently offline - a 503 error, which means the server is overloaded. His Facebook page, backed up by much more powerful infrastructure, is full of exactly what you might expect. Lots of people expressing their outrage by wishing horrible things on his children, which is the quickest way to tumble off the moral high ground.

HEY YOU What are you doing wrong today? Here’s Bloomberg with today’s stupid click-bait assumption / accusation: Your E-mail Font Is Ruining Your Life.

"It used to be, until relatively recently, that most readers in a corporate environment would not have very high-resolution screens," typographer Gerry Leonidas said. Simpler fonts, without all the details and design elements that come with serifs, would render cleaner on those lower-resolution screens. But "in the recent four or five years, we have significantly higher resolution to get good spacing, clean separation, so you don't get grayscaling of characters," Leonidas said. So e-mail clients no longer have to use sans serif fonts.

This is about changing the default settings. You can change the settings on your own. If you like. The article suggests  the  Bookerly typeface, aka the Kindle font.

I’m all in favor of making email as ugly as possible, so it dies faster.

Also today in lousy websites:

I’ve seen this going around in various forms; the number varies, and sometimes they will SHOCK you instead of inducing cringes. What’s this picture, exactly? I believe it’s the photographer in Hitler’s bathtub, or something like that. I’m not clicking on that. Not going to give them the satisfaction.

Okay, okay. I’ll click. For the cause. It’s mostly WW2 atrocity photos. One hundred of them. Bailed after 12. The arrow, by the way, points to Hitler’s picture.

Let’s see if there’s something else the web can do to annoy us all today . . . ah.

That sums up half the web better than anything.  No thanks; I'll just sit ere and dislike it in private.

UH HUH SURE This will rock your world and make you question everything.

In 1972, NASA shut down the Apollo Program. Budget cuts due to money being needed elsewhere and the public losing its interest was the official explanation. But not everyone was convinced this was the truth. Many conspiracy theorists became convinced the space program continued covertly and that Apollo 18 and 19 found evidence of extraterrestrial presence on the Moon, but Apollo 19 was lost due to a catastrophic collision.

And you know how hard it is to convince conspiracy theorists. It gets better:

Despite running into problems as well, Apollo 20 succeeded in recovering alien technology as well as a humanoid female in suspended animation.

It’s all on the dark side of the moon, which is why you can’t see it. No, you say, there is no dark side of the moon. As a matter of fact it’s all dark. You would be quoting the Pink Floyd album, of course, but who said it? Gerry O’Driscoll, the Abbey Road doorman. Wonder if he got a taste of the revenues.

VotD Related, in the sense that’s actual stuff in space: What happens when you put an antacid tablet in a water bubble in space in 4K Ultra HD? Here’s another question:“what happens when interesting science footage is set to slightly annoying music that belongs on a sports highlight reel?” This.