My daughter cut out a strip from the comics page this morning, because she thought it was funny. Nice to know such a thing is possible, and that kids are not immune to the strange compulsion, the thankless duty, to read the page and see if there’s anything that lives up to the term “comic.” Last week we wondered why Arlo was yelling about lizards’ today the strip takes a much darker turn.

Janis is walking, and then stops to perspire. 

Dehydration sets in - and that’s when things get unnerving.

So . . . hah hah hah! Or not. It’s not so much the fact that she passed out on the lawn, and there’s a neighborhood looking at her with concern - it’s the dark cave from which the neighbor stares. Is that a window? No drapes? No panes? Or is it a monitor in his basement, where he sits all day and studies the world from a series of cameras installed on the periphery of his home? Does this mean he must now leave the room and help a fellow human being, even though he hasn’t been outside in years? Will he call 911, bringing the hated police to his yard, and they’ll notice the boxes and trash stacked up inside the house and call someone to check on his welfare, and that will begin the process of invasion he has dreaded for years? This might not end well.

NATURE “All these little sparkles are spiders deep in the grass.” Best argument yet for winter’s swift approach.

MOVIES A Vulture piece on the decline of the National Lampoon brand, here. Two things stuck out to me:

The jump to movies came in 1978 with the massively successful Animal House, and continued through the 1980s largely on the strength of the three Vacation movies: the original (1983), European Vacation (1985), and Christmas Vacation (1989). But by the time a fourth Vacation movie, 1997's Vegas Vacation, had begun development, the bloom was off the rose.

There was a fourth? Of course there was. It’s the one where Clark bumbles something and Cousin Eddie does inappropriate things. That one. It wasn’t a Lampoon movie, though. They’re turning out a lower class of tripe.

Next up is a movie directed by Donnes called Dead Serious, which he describes as “Animal House in a funeral home.” Backed by outside financing, it starts shooting this fall; Donnes says legendary comedian Jerry Lewis has signed on for a role after reading the script. Lewis is certainly a legendary comedy brand himself, but he’s been mostly retired for years, so it’s fair to wonder just how much he resonates with modern audiences.

Not a great deal, you imagine. But if there’s a chance for him to do this once more . . .

A new generation may discover his work.