Conditioned Response


Big players in the 1996 strips about the budding romance of Gene and Ruth were Ruth’s parents, especially her mother. Her name is “Jade.” Actually, her name was never mentioned; I just made the name “Jade” up. But I’m the cartoonist, so “Jade” it will be. Ruth’s father was, of course, the other parent. His role was there from the beginning, too, but as the ex-husband of Jade his was mostly an off-screen presence. Readers liked Ruth, and I did, too. Don’t you find it strange that with the ease and extent of social interaction these days she has never turned up? I do.
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93 thoughts on “Conditioned Response”

  1. Yes, Ruth was likable. And yet, I have some difficulty imagining her participating in a “Farm Girls (or any other kind of Girls) Gone Wild” photo session.

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  2. As I recall, Ruth left the day-to-day cast when her parents reconciled and she and her mother moved back in with her father, who lived out of town. Gene found this out when… she emailed him. It could be odd that she has not turned up again, but personally, I would rather remember Ruth as the saucy lass she was rather than have her turn up in “a very special episode of Arlo and Janis.” LuAnn seems to have that sort of drama well in hand if it is ever needed; I now avoid her strip.

    Given Ruth’s “passionate” nature, Ghost, not only would it be possible she would have participated in a “Farm Girls Gone Wild” project, I daresay say she would want to have been drawn “like one of your French girls.” 😉 Ooo la la.

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  3. —-DaveP

    What if Ruth shows up to buy veggies at Gene’s new roadside stand?—-

    *brandishes crucifix at such a development*

    As if Gene’s life is not already challenging enough!

    I also do not wish to see the return of Faye, and I for darn sure do not ever want to see Vince again. Our Humble Author shuffled them off to Buffalo, and they should stay forever offstage, amen.

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  4. I still suspect that Ruth’s “passions” were directed more toward the intellectual and less toward the corporeal.

    I can picture her living and “studying” in Paris…until about 2008, when a reversal of her father’s fortunes caused her to return to the States and assume the position for which her studies of French neoclassical art qualified her…assistant manager of a strip mall Starbucks store.

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  5. I once had an old boyfriend from past show up in my candy shop gift shop florist a long time ago. I dived under the stove with sneeze shield out of sight, signaled to my assistant manager and crawled into kitchen.

    Just saying.

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  6. I imagine Ruth received her PhD in French literature, and is now waitressing at an Interstate Cracker Barrel until her first novel gets published.

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  7. Debbe 😉 Only read Playboy for the articles and cartoons, eh? 🙂 I lost track of how many times, some years back, my all-female staff (at a previous job, and that is totally a coincidence) detailed me to travel to a nearby mall’s bookstore to buy the latest issue of Playboy, featuring An Aging Female Starâ„¢ of film or TV that had agreed to pose au naturel in an obvious attempt to extend her career. (Keeping in mind that Hollywood’s idea of “aging” is “just past 30”.) My all-female staff always seemed as much or more interested in seeing how the AFS of the Month looked in the buff than I did. (Despite yesterday’s “undressing with his eyes” cartoon, I’ve always suspected that most females are just as curious as males about what a good-looking woman looks like without her clothes, albeit perhaps for different reasons.)

    These days, that tactic seems to be being utilized in reverse, by females attempting to jump-start their careers. And they don’t have to seek out a magazine as a venue. They just climb out of an automobile in front of paparazzi wearing a short skirt and no knickers. Or do a music video, riding on a wrecking ball in the nude. Or post a Twitter or Instagram photo, showing the world the same thing their gynecologist saw during her last examination. No wonder Playboy Magazine is struggling financially.

    And one can’t help but wonder what this new generation of attention seekers will do when, as will inevitably happen, it becomes time for them to do something to attempt to “extend” their “careers”.

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  8. Lack of talent of some sort is still no bar to momentary fame, but when the world has seen all of what you do have, what do you do for an encore when it no longer cares about your body? Lot of sad news stories in the offing when that day comes.

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  9. Yeah, Evan, but I think a lot of that just reflected a teenage girl’s romanticized vision of adult love. I will give her props for the tattoo offer, though. 🙂

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  10. The third panel of this strip always struck me. Our Humble Author usually depicts the cast from the perspective of their profile to 3/4 profile. Upon occasion, we will see them directly from behind. But I cannot recall ever seeing Arlo or Janis directly from the front as Ruth is shown here.

    http://www.gocomics.com/arloandjanis/1996/10/09

    And did we ever get an answer or whether or not Ruth is a redhead?

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  11. Sand: Joke? What joke? As of 1906, that was the most recent sentence in my autobiography. It will probably melt tomorrow, unless we get more snow on top of it. Peace,

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  12. Here I am in Round Rock, Texas feeling like a round rock. Fell totally off wagon and ate everything I put in front of every one.

    The great failing of my life. I must get back on a proper diet and off the bad carbs and fatty foods. Plus exercise. I feel awful.

    Someone give me a tongue lashing.

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  13. Shame all these good looking men wanting to be my friend are bogus, if they were real it would be a good haul on a dating site. Since I did NOT sign up for any dating services I can only conclude someone wrote my name and specs on the men’s room wall in the Petroleum Club since almost all seem to be from that industry.

    Or it reflects the sorry state of America’s petroleum chemical industry. The engineers, geologists, executives seem reduced to another form of exploration.

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  14. Good morning Villagers….

    Thanks Evan for the links, really didn’t remember them. You have a good memory!

    Going to rain today and get cold…arrgghhhh!!!!!

    ya’ll have a blessed day

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  15. Me thinks we are all speculating on characters and plot twists like the characters were real or on All My Children.

    Folks, this is ALL in Jimmy’s mind! Just let it come out naturally. We cannot influence the birth nor delivery.

    Having said that, Rusty and I are anxiously waiting for the boat to be freed from the bottle. We MISS the sailing sequences way more than Gene’s old girl friends.

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  16. When I wrote that short note, didn’t occur to me that “So a guy . . .” is a typical beginning for a joke. In my home town, it is also a common way to begin a kvetch, speaking about yourself in the third person. emb

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  17. Well, Jackie, so you fell off the wagon. What can I say? Oh, I know: “Hey, you’re human, like all the rest of us.”

    Around the first of the year, my mom went through a rough patch that required me to spend a good part of my “spare” time looking after her. That seriously impacted my gym schedule. (To be honest, it destroyed it.) At about the same time, Weight Watchers did a fairly extensive revamp of both their program and their web site. (I blame Oprah. 🙂 ) Without the time to go to meetings or figure out the new system and on-line help, I stopped “tracking” my food intake. The results were predictable…I gained nine pounds.

    Mom is doing better now; I’m back on a 6-day-per week exercise schedule; and I’m tracking every bite of food that goes in my mouth, giving me control of my diet again. The results were equally predictable…I’ve lost nine pounds in the past three weeks.

    Not staying on the wagon for the entire journey is not a failure; not climbing back on the wagon and completing the journey is. And you don’t strike me as the kind of person who easily abides personal failures.

    Consider yourself tongue lashed, although in a loving way.

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  18. Whoa!! Is JJ using the strip to invite us to suggest names for the farm stand??? Gene said, the name “will come to us.” What do you think, villagers?

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  19. Ghost you are right on all counts. The only way I have lost and kept it off was to write it down and exercise daily. No matter the program that is how it works.

    Funny one here, this crazy guy was jokingly hitting on me in a convenience store yesterday, half drunk I’d say. Bragging about how old he was and all he knew, asking if I were single. I said yes but I was too old for him at 72.

    That sobered him up enough he looked closer and said honey you have taken good care of yourself, you could teach me things I suspect.

    The sad part is I haven’t taken care of myself but it still made me laugh.

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  20. Since I had my lower teeth removed – and don’t yet have usable replacements – I have lost 15 lbs. Moreover, as of yesterday, my HbA1c = 5.5. Doc threatens to take me off my diabetes med on the grounds that I may not be diabetic!! I can stand that kind of “threat”.

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  21. I suspect that when Lou said “It’ll come”, Jimmy was having her be unintentionally ironic. I also suspect that he himself was being deliberately ironic, knowing that between the Village and TDS there will likely be no shortage of suggestions for the name of the stand. Look, here’s one now…”The Garden Spot”*.

    And so begins Meg’s climb to becoming the CEO of the multinational conglomerate “Meg’s Eggs”.

    * Those of you males of a certain age may recall what the word “spot” meant in reference to girl watching in high school and college. And yes, it is related to the infamous “peek”.

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  22. c ex-p good for you! Keyboard stuck. almost sent goo for you, which might be correct at the moment without lower teeth.

    Jackie, in that photo with the t-shirt, you don’t look anywhere close to your calendar age. Keep it up.

    How about JJ Kale?

    JJ could have them sell fresh seafood then they could call it Turf and Surf.

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  23. I’m going to weigh in for the first time. a&j.com is like having reruns of the best episodes of a long-running hit show. The characters have changed over the years, and the current storylines and areas of humor are less wide-ranging without:
    1. Gene’s cluelessness growing up
    2. Gene’s awkward-for-everybody teen years
    Bringing Gene and his family back every so often is reassuring that the family is still whole, if not all in one geographic place. Of course, if the farm stand (soon to be named) were to fail, perhaps there could be short-term comedic gold if Gene’s family moved back in. But, if you decide to do that, make sure that first they get a dog named Beethoven.

    Got the book; guess it’s time to buy a tee shirt.

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  24. Yep, The Okie from Muskogee has left the building.

    “I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
    A place where even squares can have a ball
    We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
    And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all”

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  25. Found my way to something not an interstate. Driving by compass, turned GPS off. Blue bonnets and wild flowers
    Lots of road conztruction.

    Guess Merle won’t be doing that show in Muskogee
    Flags should be at half mast in town.

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  26. RA, I added a Bacon Marmalade recipe to my collection a couple of years ago, when it was a topic here, and I will definitely add the Beer and Bacon Marmalade one. Thanks.

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  27. As long as she doesn’t end up at Rocky Top. Knoxville is a long way from where she is now! But you know why a compass is better than GPS? A compass doesn’t talk back.

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  28. I love David Allan Coe. Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother used to be my favorite. I am in LA Quinta full of teenagers and small children. In one of most remote places they seem to have put one.

    On positive note the bluebonnet and paintbrush are exquisite and widespread this year. I spent afternoon on two lane roads tacking my sailboat by compass to stay left of Fort Worth while still going north. It worked. So, here I am in Josua.

    Question, when did bowling make a comeback as social entertainment? Every smallish town in Texas I have been through seemed to have an active alley. Have skating rinks returned?

    Ghost, you are only man I can recall knowing who liked both David Allan Coe and baroque music. Of course, you aren’t perfect, you don’t like opera as I recall, nor sail or garden. I guess on a list of 100 you would still score high. I just spent two weeks with several men who mainly JUST sailed or built boats and weRe low scoring, if they ever scored at all! Nice guys but narrow interests.

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  29. Jackie, I might like opera if I knew more about it. Was somehow never exposed to much of it.

    You must have missed my posts about me doing some plantings for my mom. My yesterday afternoon of braless gardening produced three 17″ diameter urns each with a tiered arrangement of foxtail fern in back; coleus “Alabama Sunset” in the middle; and Snow Princess in front, spilling over the front edge. I planned and planted it, and a friend to whom I sent a picture and knows about such things said it looked lovely. My mom likes it so, that’s what matters.

    Sailing, not so much. But I already know a good bit about navigation and meteorology, so I might not be totally gormless on a sailboat. I’d also be handy if you wanted something shot and/or cooked…in either order.

    Yes, I am a freaking Renaissance Man. 🙂

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  30. Beginning to look like one in comparison to others Ghostly one. The easiest way to get introduced to opera is find someone whose voice you like and pick some arias and begin listening to those. In your case a female with large chest capacity would be simple.

    I have frankly found that plot plays little in an opera so wondering what the words mean or why the singer has a monkey on his shoulder isn’t too important.

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  31. Good morning Villagers….

    Winter has made a comeback here…arrghhh!! Hear the rain hitting my skylight! 33 degrees tonight!

    GR 😉 you’re keeping ‘early’ hours…saw you were the first comment on TDS…and a good comment at that 🙂

    Old Bear, I remember that song.

    Jackie, when I lived in Texas I loved looking at the bluebonnets along the interstates…it was like a carpet of bluebonnets. Texas pride!

    ya’ll have a blessed day

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