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Archive for January, 2009

My Pet Peeves: The Newspaper Edition

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I know I’m supposed to revere my morning newspaper since its days are numbered. I realize that by the end of my life, I will not have one waiting for me at the end of my driveway. In some ways, it will be good riddance.

Number One Pet Peeve: Half Pages. What stupid marketing genius came up with this ridiculous freakin’ idea? You can’t turn the page with them attached. They flap all over, you can’t read what’s under them. Is this Marketing By Annoyance? Like they figure you’ll be so pissed off, you’ll wrestle with the thing for a good long time, hopefully enough to imprint some of the advertising on your cerebral cortex. Did some marketing scientist discover that the angry brain retains more information? Or is this some cheap out cost-cutting measure implemented by a bean counter? Whoever came up with the idea needs to be beaten. Hopefully by a stack of half pages.

Number Two: Columns That Are Passed Down To Offspring—Dear Abby.
While the original Abby was an old stick-in-the-mud, she normally nailed her advice. Now that her daughter is writing the column, it is clear the advice gene did not get passed on. I am amazed at how stupid this woman is. Especially with regards to advising teenagers. A girl was being blackmailed by her stepsister because she found the girl’s birth control. Abby’s advice? Go to your parents and tell them. WHAT??? Did she smoke some crack? If the kid is hiding her birth control from her “blended” parents and her stepsister is a freakin’ creep, it means the household is a war zone. I think “Abby” is stuck in a time warp, doling out preachy, Victorian-esque prudish PAP. I hope someone invents a time machine, because I want to send her back.

Number Three: Comic Strips That Are Passed Down To Offspring—Family Circus. I hoped that once Bil Keane retired, we’d be rid of that stupid, saccharine crap. Why won’t these freakin’ developmentally disabled brats grow up and move the hell out? PJ is the oldest baby in the universe. By now, his drool could fill up Lake Michigan. I say, let’s move on! Here’s my dream Family Circus cartoon: Jeffy at thirty is on anti-depressants wearing a Mohawk, living in the garage and playing video games 24/7. Dolly works as a Dominatrix and lives with the Fusco Brothers. Billy becomes an interior designer and lives with his partner and their two Labradoodles in San Francisco. PJ, still behind bars, has traded his playpen for the NY State Pen, for selling Dolly to the Fusco Brothers. But alas, I’m afraid my dream will never come true. My only hope is that Jeff Keane will not produce any offspring interested in cartooning. I realize this is sacrilege to some people, but as far as I’m concerned, in regards to Family Circus, Barfy is not just the name of the dog.

Number Four: Garfield. I was a huge fan of this strip when it first came out in June of 1978. It was funny for the first three years. That means it’s been unfunny for 28 years. If you look at the percentages, Garfield has been funny ten percent of the time. Meaning 9 out of 10 strips have not been funny. This is a not a good record. What really pisses me off is when I get a chuckle out of it. Then I know it’s going to be a bad day.

Number Four: Pictures of Dead Bodies. I do my best to avoid these constant reminders of the “Horror of War”, yet they are in every edition. I think the editors have a Dead Body Picture Wheel numbered from one to eight. The editor gets up at the beginning of the morning meeting and spins the wheel. “Okay, put the dead body on page five today.” “But boss, that’s where we’re putting the second half of that heartwarming story about the dog rescue.” “Okay, so got any pictures of dead dogs? That’ll really get ‘em. Put it right next to the rescued dog. People need to wake up and realize it’s not all hearts and flowers out there. Besides, dead bodies sell.” Today my dead body came complete with an ad for cabinets. Right next to it. I suppose for the Jeffery Dahmers of the world, this is helpful. Here’s your dead body and here’s a handy place to keep it. Informative and entertaining. As for me, I hold the paper in one hand and block the picture with the other. If nothing else, I’m getting more coordinated.

Number Five: Horoscopes. For some stupid reason, I sometimes look to these tidbits of advice for a lift. You know, you get up, you stumble into the kitchen, your first cup of coffee hasn’t hit you, you had bad dreams. You hope your horoscope says something other than: You should have stayed in bed. But even in a half asleep-brain dead fog, I can’t buy this BS any longer. The advice is so vague, it could apply to my cat. I’ve found more prescient counsel in fortune cookies. But mainly I find horoscopes to be incomprehensible. Here was mine from this morning: At first it looks like you’re being handed the short end of the stick, but first impressions can be deceiving. Be patient and you’ll see it grow. This sounds like advice given to a girl going on a first date with a guy with impotency problems. Or an ad for Viagra. Hey, maybe I’m onto something here. Perhaps horoscopes are underwritten by pharmaceutical companies. Certainly anyone who pays close attention to this nonsense should be given massive doses of anti-depressants.

When I’m in my late eighties, I’ll get up in the morning and turn on my virtual computer by mind control to get the daily news bites, by then reduced to some form of Haiku. I’ll flick through the screens and there will be Garfield, waiting for me. At this point, I’ll remember the good ol’ days and long for the pictures of dead bodies.

©2009, Janet Periat

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