Pillow Stalk

Today’s old A&J is from 2014. Seems like yesterday, doesn’t it? I think cartooning is eerily analogous to hitting in baseball. If a baseball player hits the ball successfully 30 percent of the time he comes to the plate, he is a superior hitter. This would hold true even if every hit were a single. If a player hits home runs at a rate above average, he might hit successfully 25 percent of the time or less and still be considered a valued hitter. The rare batter who averages 40 percent over a season is a player of historic proportion. It almost never happens. I think those numbers come close to what a comic strip artist can reasonably expect. Of course, success is a little more subjective in cartooning. As in baseball, a cartoonist will whiff a lot, but there’s one big difference. The cartoonist will be standing on the bag after every turn at bat but will anyone be in the stands applauding, or watching at all? I am speaking here for myself; other cartoonists might see it differently. I think if I can be proud of one out of three cartoons I do, a batting average of .333, I’m doing well. To be proud of half of them (.500) is tremendous! That and better is possible over a week or two, as in baseball, but to sustain it over time? Very difficult. More often than not, I just try not to look foolish striking out.

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

31 responses to “Pillow Stalk”

  1. JJ, over the years I’ve rarely (2 or 3 times) had to resort to the Dark Side commentary to figure things out. Even then, your strips were satisfyingly funny and/or thoughtful. Any “whiffs” must have happened before my local paper introduced you to us.

  2. The main thing is to keep swinging! That is true all the way around. I can certainly appreciate the attempt even if it doesn’t land exactly where you want it to.

  3. Jimmy – I’d say you bat .750. And it’s more fun watching you strike out than watching another cartoonist get a hit. You are a righteous dude.

  4. Yours is the only comic I MUST read every day. You sell yourself short! Please keep up the good work for many years to come as my day would not seem complete without A&J!

  5. The sample above, another one exactly mirroring my life, (until my wife died). Is it true in general, that men simply enjoy looking at their significant other more than women do? I showed my current lady friend the pictures of her in my phone, telling her, “love that face”

  6. Jimmy you do sell yourself short. You have matured into a consistent and more often than not brilliant cartoonist where the art and dialogue work together to fulfill the joke.

    Few of today’s bunch can say that.

  7. I’m not sure if this is weird but I read every single comic in the Denver Post in addition to a few I really like (including A&J) that I have delivered to my email. I understand most of them, most of the time except for one. I have not understood, nor found funny, a single “Frazz” in close to a year. It is not my intention to criticize Jef Mallett . I am just wondering if I am showing my age. I think I used to get it but they currently fly over my head most of the time. Does anyone else see a problem.

  8. I like to read comics because they are funny. But I don’t usually read them regularly unless I like the characters. Arlo & Janis is one I keep coming back to because I’m interested in them and what they are doing and thinking. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Judy I think you are right, the characters must engage us to continue to read them.

    I used to feel that way about Cathy, Calvin and Hobbes, Shoe, Mother Goose and Grim, Geech, Shoe, Doonesbury and many others.

    Now I read A and J and Monty on Go Comics and Bloom County on Facebook. Why? I love comics but find few funny.

  10. Here’s a Ghost funny. I maintain several dozen feeders in a fly path for the birds. There are probably over a hundred cardinals plus another hundred brown birds out in yard right now.

    It looks like A Red Bird Christmas by Fannie Flagg out there.

    Ghost said they were like little whirling red vacuum cleaners sucking up the bird feed.

  11. I know we have some SciFi fans here so here’s a question posed by Sharyn McCrumb over on FB:

    “Approximately 40 years ago, somebody wrote a short story. I don’t remember the title or the author. (Librarians’ nightmare; I know.)
    But here’s the plot:
    Earth has become a polluted wasteland, and the survivors live in a domed city that is quiet, serene and park-like. Only Our Hero keeps having flashes of “hallucinations” — when he’s crossing a street and suddenly he sees a cacophonous gray world of smog and pollution. The vision only lasts a few seconds, and then it’s gone and everything is normal again.
    He goes to a doctor to see if he’s going crazy. ~ Actually, he is going sane. Everyone in the city is under permanent mass hypnosis so that they will see a beautiful park-like city, but after 500 years crowded into the dome, the place is a nightmare. The city is run by blind and deaf people. The Hero is told that anyone who can see or hear would go mad in an hour if they could see what the place was really like. So the populace is kept permanently hypnotized for their own safety. But anyhow the hero decides to try and lead some people out into whatever earth has become. End of story.
    It’s not Tiptree… could be Simak or one of those guys. Not Bradbury, and doesn’t seem like Asimov.
    Anyhow I want to re-read it. If you recognize it, I can find it.”

    Any ideas?

  12. We had a nice view of the Falcon Heavy launch from a parking lot near our house. Sorry we didn’t get closer to the coast and/or somewhere quiet so we could hear it too. (The space shuttle launches used to rattle our back door when the weather conditions were right.)

    The idea of Musk sending his personal sports car into space along with a “Spaceman” made me smile. My smile grew when I heard that the dash display says “Don’t panic” and kept growing when I read that there’s a towel in the glove box. One article claimed that he once said he would also include a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but I don’t know if he did.

  13. I once got some used “Peanuts” books. The former owner used to simply jot down next to some of them “NR” for “no reaction” or something else to indicate how funny or how really funny each strip was to him. That made me think how I had always sort of thought of them that way, too, and how hard it is to be really meaningful or funny or something every single day. I agree that Jimmy does at least .333. Maybe it’s .334. Kidding! I’d say really higher than that. Quite higher. It’s a quality detector that does it.

    But Judy in Conroe, I agree: The characters keep you coming back to lots of strips. Until, maybe, the jokes just don’t seem as good anymore. “Frank & Ernest” made me laugh out loud today (Feb. 6). It was good! But then I laughed even more at the bonus strip at the bottom, from 2006, written by Bob Thaves himself, I bet. In his last year. Boy do I miss him. And how. Wow.

  14. Ted Williams himself would have been thrilled to have your batting average. Hey, you’re more like a basketball player great at making free-throws! You’re Rick Barry, but you’re not underhanded like he was!

  15. My older son sent this today. Delicious. Hope nobody finds it offensive.

    Actual tweet from FES: The Flat Earth Society has members all around the globe.


  16. Jimmy:

    I know that you’ll disagree with me. You have different eyes.

    I have always liked every one of your strips.

    However, I love nearly all of them.

    For me, you’re batting about 0.997.

  17. emb, I find that funny, not offensive. Did you see that the FES member who was going to launch his own rocket to prove Earth is not round failed again? His efforts are beginning to sound like a Buster Keaton movie, except this guy really means it.

  18. As far as I’m concerned, Jean dear settled it when she stated that if the Earth were flat, cats would have knocked everything off of it years ago.

  19. Jimmy has written before about the demise of videos and the video rental stores. This morning, I read that Best Buy will phase out CDs by July 1. Many customers are upset about it.

    I’m surprised that it’s taken this long.

    I also expect that new CDs will disappear before too long, and Amazon and eBay will have only used CDs available.

  20. Just got up to replenish fluids and nourishment. Not how I had envisioned 48 hours in bed with Ghost for my birthday.

    Cranberry juice, shredded wheat, blueberries and skim milk for a very early celebratory breakfast. I had wanted blueberry pancakes but anything beyond cold or microwave seems beyond either of us.

  21. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio: Many of us still have older cars with CD players but no USB ports or other ways to play our music without wearing earbuds or headsets. We prefer to hear the traffic noises while driving as a safety issue.

  22. Ruth Anne, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but someone suggested the story Sharyn was looking for is Jesting Pilot by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. If you have a Kindle you can buy it from Amazon for $.99.

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