Reason in the Sun

A little fun with silhouettes from 1997. Once our idea of a good time was to lie around in the sun literally for hours and see who could get the deepest tan. It’s a wonder we aren’t all dying of melanoma. Many of us are. When I think about why skin cancer is a scourge now more than, say, the 19th century when working outdoors was the norm, I’d have to guess it’s because most cultures until recently did not condone stripping virtually naked and doing nothing but lie around all day. With enough beer and the right company, it was fun!

I’ve gotten myself into something of a corner. I’ve been teasing you with promises to discuss what happened to Arlo’s boat. You would be within your rights to expect an elaborate and entertaining yarn. However, there isn’t one. What you see in the strip is what there is. Arlo’s boat just… disappeared! A boat is a lifestyle. Believe me, I know. A boat would have taken over the strip. That would have delighted a few hundred boat enthusiasts and bored everyone else to tears. Most readers, I think, hardly miss it; an active few won’t let me forget it. I view that storyline as a misstep on my part. Having said that, it always is possible with a little comic-strip hocus pocus that the boat might rise again. I have defended myself in the past by pointing out that a comic strip typically covers maybe five seconds of the protagonists’ day. Given that, it hasn’t been years since the boat’s appearance but mere days! Are you buying it? Anyway, I do think that one way or another the coast people will return more regularly. If the boat should reappear, expect several days of jokes about scraping, scrubbing, stench, stinging insects and misery.

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

108 responses to “Reason in the Sun”

  1. My Uncle had several boats….and a plaque in each of them that said “A boat is a hole in the water into which money pours”….How true that was. It’s probably why my boat is limited to a molded plastic kayak to paddle around in. Not a lot can go wrong with it…unless I capsize it.

  2. While A&J is a crown jewel in the diadem of comic strips, it is still, when all is said and done, a comic strip. It is its own universe and subject to its own natural laws. Many have commented upon the aging of cartoon characters… well, it is its own universe there, and it is not odd that Beetle Bailey, Blondie and a host of others have not aged while Skeezix is now a geezer, it is just how it happens normally in that universe.

    Two thoughts:

    1) Clearly “the boat” is in what the fans have dubbed “Hammerspace;” the explanation as to how Bugs Bunny can pull a hammer from seemingly nowhere and bean someone. It can re-appear out of nowhere at any time without the need for any sort of maintenance in the meanwhile.

    2) One should not overthink certain things. From the wisdom of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”:

    If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes
    And other science facts,
    Just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show,
    I should really just relax.”


  3. I think that the sailboat may offer some exciting story lines in the future. A week or two during the summer months wouldn’t be too bad.

  4. So, I will quit annoying JJ about the schooner. It has gone to Pensacola to live, just as our schooner did. Sooner, schooner!

    The three feet of bubbles are gone from the jacuzzi, by the way. Good morning.

  5. Boat? What boat? You mean the boat that Arlo never learned to sail? The boat Janis liked because everything in it was so little and “cute”? The boat they never even named? The boat for which they didn’t have to pay marina fees after The Dock was sold? The boat that never required any maintenance or upkeep? The boat that didn’t eat their 401k accounts? Oh, that boat…the fairy tale, uh, I mean the cartoon boat.

  6. Bought a real bikini yesterday so I conform to motel bathing suit requirements. Why oh why does the largest top size still “need” padding? I don’t.

    Decided to quit worrying about my less than perfect body. If I am willing to be a public nudist, why worry about what I look like in bikini? I declare it a bikini body henceforth.

    My tans come mainly out of a tube with SPF protection and moisturizer but not all.

  7. The thing about the boat was, Arlo had been dreaming of it for so long, in that non-serious kind of way that people do. And then suddenly, one was practically dropped in his lap! He wasn’t even that enthusiastic about it, as if deep down he knew it was more about the dream than actually having one and having to deal with the responsibility. Except, that wasn’t really dealt with at all, probably because there wouldn’t have been much humor in it. I suppose I just assumed that he sold it “off-screen”. You know what they say, the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life: when he buys the boat and when he sells it.

  8. One of my favorite aspects of A&J is Arlo’s indulgence in fantasy, whimsy, or daydreaming – and “Arlo’s Sailboat Fantasy” has long been a staple of the strip.

    Far from taking over, I would have thought that “Arlo gets a sailboat” would provide the singular opportunity to tell stories about what happens when dreams meet reality!

    You’ve already alluded to the grim and gritty reality of boat ownership. I would expect that to be part of it! But a harsh awakening is only the beginning. Does Arlo know how to sail?

    Or, what happens when youthful wanderlust meets the sober contemplation of risk? Will the boat ever leave sight of land? Does Arlo’s job interfere with fantasy-turned-reality?

    Does Arlo envision himself the ancient mariner, while the rest of the world sees him as Gilligan? What would growing self-awareness lead to, in that case?

    Or does Arlo go into The Boat Project eyes wide open, mature, confident, eager and well-prepared, only to have to grapple with the effect of this new obsession on family, hearth, and home?

    I dunno. Of course you don’t want A&J to become a boat strip, but I would have thought there was a rich vein to mine here, in the very best spirit of the characters and the strip.

    I now return to poking computers, and leave the storytelling to the artists. 🙂

  9. I remember when my wife and I rented a cottage down in the Keys some years ago. It came with a 21′ sailboat. We were given 5 minutes of instructions by “Doobie Dave” and we were off. We learned how not to put up the sails, how to misidentify islands, how to get off sandbars when we were on the wrong islands, and more! We actually had a great time and learned a lot that week. I could only imagine what kind of mischief Arlo could get into.

  10. I, for one, am perfectly happy to leave the boat wherever it may be. It strikes me more as a possible source of soap opera than as a source of JJ’s typical subtle marital/familial humor.

  11. That is because Dan and Don get it and you don’t ex-prof. I for one hate kid strips which seem popular with a lot of the Villagers, along with rest of the comics reading world. I detest Family Circus, hated Dennis the Menace et. al.

    Guess that makes me a curmudgeon too, I find Meg less than enchanting but gardening is ok by me, along with chickens.

  12. Ruth Anne, who here is old? We have just been seasoned and tempered by an abundance of experiences. Come back in thirty-five years, I might have an answer.

  13. In case you missed my post just before JJ posted, my step-son finally married his fiancé of approximately 14 years and we are so happy. Re the boat it was always a fantasy and, as such, it can appear occasionally with Arlo and the Janisnauts or whatever.

  14. Jerry, sounds like something’s in the hen house. Presumably nonhuman.

    Congratulations on the marriage of your step-son and his fiance!

  15. “Age is just a number.”

    Pretty sure that was the first time I’ve seen a paddle boat do 0-30 in 3.5 seconds.

    Based on where Meg lives, that could be a ‘gator in her hen house, too.

  16. To be honest Jimmy, I wondered if turning Arlo’s longtime fantasy about a boat into a reality would come back to bite him you-know-where. Didn’t expect that it would be you that it bit instead! I would still like to see some toons based on the boat in the future, but if the muse isn’t there for you with that then so be it.

  17. “…expect several days of jokes about scraping, scrubbing, stench, stinging insects and misery.”

    And owning a boat is fun?

  18. As one who actually spent time scrubbing and scraping and compounding and buffing, vanishing and bleaching and oiling and sanding and toiling on other people’s boats for money so they could just go out and sail………

    Jimmy described it pretty well.

    I cannot tell you what we were called, it is and was very politically incorrect then and now.

  19. Two items from today’s Writer’s Almanac. I’ll ignore a third.

    It was on this day in 1633 that Galileo Galilei was put on trial by the Inquisition, for supporting the theory that the Earth revolves around the sun. In late April 1633, Galileo agreed to plead guilty and was sentenced to an unlimited period of house arrest in his home in Florence. He gradually went blind and died in 1641. It wasn’t until 1992 that the Catholic Church formally admitted that Galileo’s views on the solar system are correct.

    It was on this day in 1945 that Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in office. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia. That evening, Harry S. Truman took the oath of office. Eleanor Roosevelt called Truman to the White House with the news of her husband’s death. He asked her, “Is there anything I can do for you?” And she replied, “Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.”

    I’d forgotten it was 12 April, but won’t forget that day in ’45. I also remember the day in ’92, cause for various comments among science profs at BSU. Don’t remember if BUMC paid it much attention. Peace,


  20. Mark:

    Here’s what made me think he was talking about the boat: “If the boat should reappear,…”

    Did I misunderstand a context beyond the entire sentence?

  21. Granted I shop in highly discounted stores sometimes, but hey, I love buying Ann Klein at 80% or more off?

    Anyway, I had a most peculiar experience for Oklahoma, found myself the ONLY English speaking person I could find besides the two clerks. This was a large store.

    Hispanics are spreading north in huge numbers. This has to be affecting a lot of things in our country like elections.

  22. No. UT I bought a pair of black crocheted shorts and a matching part sheer and crocheted top tonight. I wonder if I should consider wearing that to the wooden boat show this weekend? It will be full of Cajun oil men but we know how that’s ging.

    I was leaning to white jeans and some nautical looking top in stripes maybe.

    There was this adorable pale turquoise bikini with a torn fringe from top but top was way too small.

  23. Rick, you didn’t miss anything. I just took the portion you quoted, and applied it to farming, because it does fit.

    Jackie, that was on a Dr. Demento boxed set of LP’s I once owned. So when the dinghy entered the conversation here, my memory sent me in search of it. I really miss Dr. Demento, but the only way to hear him now is by buying a subscription to his online service.

    By the way, anyone near Alabama that likes classic rock has two good choices. Ian Anderson and his current band are performing in Montgomery this Friday night. And Steely Dan will be in Birmingham the next weekend.

  24. When we escape the cold every February, I sometimes overdo the sun that first day on the beach. Then the next two days are under the umbrella. And as a naturist, I can attest that sunburned buns hurt. 🙂
    But the skinny dipping cools email right down.

  25. Well, I did think the same thing, hello Otis. However the Village has more nudists or naturists than one might think. The code of the clan is one does not out anyone unless they do themselves.

    So, hello Otis. And hello the rest of y’all too, I look forward to meeting you in person someday.

    Does this mean what I think? JJ has fans who would have Arlo and Janis sunbathing together? Whoa!!

  26. Well, I had the right family, Canidae, but the wrong genus, Vulpes. Turns out it was Canis lupus familiaris. Speaking of feathers as evidence, I sent this msg. to my blind copy biology group:

    “Those two black feathers at the edge of the nest are Anhinga tail feathers:

    Yesterday or Mon., the full tail was there. Thousands of visitors have probably seen them, so don’t rush to publish.” [G.H. Owl = Bubo virginianus; Anhinga = Anhinga anhinga.] Peace,

  27. I’m a naturist! I enjoy walks in the woods, observing little critters scurrying in the woods, watching birds in flight, the sound of a babbling brook… wait, naturists enjoy what? Are you sure?..Oh, never mind then…

  28. That is true. I forget about those kinds of people
    No phones, tablets or cameras of any kind at resorts and clubs. I just thought people looking for evidence, like in divorces.

    Once when I was living in New Orleans and nine months pregnant I appeared in a dIvorce report because Mike’s boss let me use his suite at Royal Orleans to change clothes for a dinner there. I wonder what that detective was thinking?

  29. GR6, yes drones are a new legal issue. Like with most new technology, the implementation shows the weaknesses in existing laws, forcing new regulations.

    IMHO, drones and advances in electric and autonomous vehicles will not live up to current hype. Still too many unaddressed topics. I view it more like the space mania of 50 years ago; there is still no space tourism and no human has gone over ~250 miles above earth.

  30. Well, I have good hip bones so that’s not the problem. Have to have MRI of those pesky lumbar vertebrae and it will mean a new specialist. And those torn rotator cuffs aren’t going anywhere, along with knees, until one year post open on carotid surgery.

    She said at least get a cane since I insist on keeping active.

  31. This story is based on actual events, as reported in an entry on the local gaol booking log…

    “Got my meth? Check.
    “Got my weed? Check.
    “BAC over .08 percent? Check.
    “Open container of alcohol in hand? Check.
    “Got my driver’s license? Naw, already suspended.
    “Now what can I do? Oh, I know…I’ll jump in this car that belongs to some else, the one with the expired tag, and go joy riding! And when I get stopped, I’ll resist arrest! Well, got my evening planned.”

    Who says there’s nothing to do at night outside the major metropolitan areas?

  32. This has been a day. Have to go donate blood fasting, ie. Lab work in morning. If they found me an open MRI machine I have to go have that done.

    Dickens got groomed, found out he can go to Petsmart anywhere we travel, good to know. He is a big love bug charmer, got four toys including chicken, alligator, bunny Peeps, a beaver and what may be a second alligator?

    I wanted the Spoiled but Not Ruint tee-shirt for him but they only had large sizes left.

  33. Jimmy, tell us you planned today’s strip to (almost) coincide with Beverly Cleary’s birthday, and that the chicken (or the dog)’s name Ramona was not a coincidence!

  34. I haven’t been here in a while but I had to ask with regard to today’s strip: Is she actually getting 33 cents per egg wholesale? Or did Ramona lay a dozen a day?

  35. Had I seen the previous strips I probably would not have asked, but that’s ok. At least one person answered, kind of. Lately I feel like I forgot the password to get in here.

  36. Jackie
    No Yellow Polka-dot Bikini?

    You have a good memory – mine will come back someday – the old geezers disease-
    Reminisces. Not TOO soon I hope.
    Remember Miss Penosian 1st grade, Miss Diamond (Because she wrote a schedule for us to copy
    from when we were to get up – brush teeth – go to toilet – eat – etc.
    Mrs Fuchs 6 th grade introduced us to music, reading appreciation and science.
    PS132 on Amsterdam Ave.
    She also had a great Salt and Pepper shaker collection.

    Love the mustache on the
    you know why.

  37. Steve From Royal Oak, MI
    Tried to get Christmas at Tiffany’s at the library – no joy.
    Even inter-library loan.

    Karen Swan only.

    No Marianne Evans is she in paper?

  38. Jackie, an open MRI machine? I would have thought you would fit just fine in a closed one. Or do you mean available? They put me through closed MRI before wrist surgery two years ago. I’m not claustrophobic, but it was a very tight fit. Now I know how those cavers feel crawling through those tight tunnels.

  39. emb-

    One addendum to your note about Galileo’s run-in with the Catholic Church- his was convicted not for supporting the Copernican model of the solar system (which nearly every educated person of the time, including Pope Urban, accepted) but for a perceived insult of the Pope in one of his published defenses of his view. As it was, his sentence was light- he was allowed to receive visitors and to continue to study and write.

  40. Great! So he could have been killed or tortured. And still, 1992?

    Further, the notion that anyone has that much power over other men, in the name of a loving deity, is repulsive and, to my mind, sells Elohim short. Power and status and hierarchy have little to do with the [mostly] gentle prophet from Galilee, to whom is attributed the Sermon on the Mount.


  41. Just woke up. I have an hour I can eat a snack in. I honestly thought it was morning. Nothing after midnight and I fell asleep and skipped dinner.

    Mark, I am most claustrophobic. The way I got through the tunnels in the caves connected to Carlsbad Caverns that require a lamp on your hard hat and crawling was:

    1. I was VERY tiny back then. 2. I closed my eyes while crawling. 3. The tunnels were short. 4. Couldn’t do it now. Younger.

  42. Good morning Villagers…

    Ruth Anne, thanks for the NY Times link, it is still scary around here….I pray we (the whole SIN) don’t let our guards down…we still follow strict protocol at my hen house.

    Yesterday’s strip followed me to work, I kept thinking about that dog running with the hen. But, then, the only fox allowed in the hen house is me 🙂

    Old Bear, yup.

    Good to see Indy Mindy dropping by…


  43. GR 😉 Leon Redbone!!!!! Had not listeded to him in years…..trying to find the music score from the Bill Pullman movie ‘The Virginian’, woke up to the movie last night ten minutes into it. Great scenery and sound track…..

  44. emb-

    I am sure you did know that, but most people think Gallileo was persecuted due to ignorance of science, especially looking back with the benefit of 500 years of hindsight and experience.

    There is no doubt that by Gallileo’s time, the papacy was more concerned with earthly power than spiritual salvation (hello, Luther). Still, there were many men of the cloth still doing good Godly work and scienctific work- the Jesuits for instance were a leading force in astronomy and have for centuries directed one of the most important observatories in the world.

    Still, then, as know, it is easier to try to frame issues in black and white instead of shades of gray. Usually, the truth almost always in the gray areas.

  45. Hi Jackie. . Nice to meet cha.
    GR6, the Guy Dawes reference missed me. . No matter, I suppose.

    As for drones, I live in a state where outdoor nudity isn’t really legal. So not an issue. And really, if someone wants a photo of this aging and slightly overweight body, well hell. I’ll pose for them. Spencer Tunick maybe. ?

    I think Arlo and Janis could visit a C/O resort, sure! No hanky panky on the beach though. Strictly prohibited. (and awkward-let’s be honest)

  46. Otis, Guy Fawkes is a person from English history. He was part of a plot intending to blow up the British Houses of Parliament. Guy Fawkes Day is a holiday commemorating his capture, where kids set off fireworks, like we do for July 4th.

  47. Debbe 😉 You can be the fox in my hen house anytime. 😉

    I had some students that landed Cessnas pretty much the same way as Hover Cat.

  48. Clothing optional resorts are full of people Ghost might prefer to have keep their clothes on. Oklahoma offers shelter to people from other states who come here to enjoy our “liberal” laws.

    Go figure!

    It’s hardly about sex.

  49. All this about public nudity and folks you’d wish were more fully clothed brings up today’s “Ballard Street” by Jerry Van Amerongen” [sp.?] Peace,

  50. My first encounter with a European-style beach was in Aruba. The couple next to us were adorned in the slimmest of thongs and were probably over 60 years old and 50 pounds overweight. I quickly realized that American images about public nudity were not very realistic.

  51. The English Gardens, a large park in Munich, has a c/o section. We were there in ’85 [I was there earlier, in ’52-’53, but did not get that far into the park]. There were lovely figures and others, but a notable lack of males from my age to a decade older. True likewise, clothed, everywhere in W. Germany. French parks notably had many top-free women. Peace,

  52. My wife worked as a research nurse for one of the top melanoma doctors in one of the top cancer facilities in the country, M. D. Anderson in Houston. Her boss was adamant about never getting a tan, and whenever somebody came in with the slightest hint of a burn he would scold them mercilessly.

    Unfortunately I spent most of my childhood in the 70s on Galveston beaches without a scrap of protection, and came home lobster-red more often than not (don’t even get me started about being trapped in a closed car with two chain-smoking parents). As I plod through my sixth decade, I’m starting to worry more and more about all these moles all over my body…

  53. Hi, Peter B. Steiger. Welcome to The Village. I don’t remember seeing you here before. Re those moles, do get them checked really regularly by a good dermatologist, and take care of anything the doc shows concern about.

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