Santa’s Little Helper


Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"
Did you draw a cartoon lover’s name this year? Are you chafing because your plan to give everyone on your list an Arlo & Janis t-shirt fell through? Well, I have a suggestion for you. Check out “Team Cul de Sac.” Cul de Sac is the engaging comic strip drawn by Richard Thompson, the talented artist and illustrator whose blossoming career as a comic strip creator was cut off by the progression of Parkinson’s disease in 2012. The TCDS web site has for sale two books, and a portion of the money goes to The Michael J. Fox Foundation and to TCDS, both of which are dedicated to publicizing and funding the fight against Parkinson’s disease. One of the volumes is a collection of the work of various cartoonists—giants in the trade—assembled especially to benefit Thompson and the TCDS effort. Another is a beautiful collection of the work of Richard Thompson himself. Either would make a great gift for anyone who loves cartoons. It would make me feel better if you took some of that money you had set aside for A&J t-shirts and spent it one of these great books.

55 thoughts on “Santa’s Little Helper”

  1. Richard is the best. Thank you for mentioning us!

    Everyone, this is Chris. He is the man behind the formation of “Team Cul de Sac.” Chris, this is everyone. — JJ

  2. I used to “opt out” of secret Santa in school by pretending to drop my name into the hat, but actually palming it, and then the reverse when it was time to pick names out. Turns out if you have your own name and don’t say anything, people tend not to notice that you aren’t opening a secret Santa present when the day comes.

    Of course unlike Gene, I just wouldn’t mention school secret Santa to Mom at all.

  3. Ray, at the time the above ran in the paper you needed: mom’s credit card to buy the secret santa gift and her to chauffeur you to the mall. Today just order from Amazon, have it shipped to school, worry free living all courtesy of the internet.

  4. No, no, Jimmy! This is not how Shameless Commerce is supposed to work. You are supposed to tell us to hold on to our money in anticipation of your product being available for us to purchase at any moment, not direct to us to some other location to spend those funds.

    Oh well, if you insist, I’ll check out the TCDS site. And buy something there. Seeing as how it’s for a good cause and all. Perhaps there will be money left for a t-shirt later. 🙂

  5. My Grandfather had Parkinson and so does my brother-in-law. I am always concerned that I may someday come down with it too. Of course my Grandpa had a very high receding hairline and I have a full head of hair!

    My Dad and my other Grandpa had to have hips replaced and hearing aids. Of course I’ve had my hip replaced (2 yrs this last Sunday) and with my singing voice, really hope that my hearing does not worsen…

  6. At my age I sometimes forget why I come in here. Can some tell me what channel the Arlo & Janis Christmas Special will be on? I always like Arlo in his Santa outfit. Know also that Spirit Man 16 finds Janis’ elf costume eye appealing. Then there is Gene, all a delight with his new Game Boy. Those old Christmas shows are still the best

  7. Mike’s mom had a Parkinson’s type tremor, which he got when he developed cancer. One of my favorite boat designers has been diagnosed, along with several of my boating friends. If you draw it is usually impossible, of course, to continue but computers have helped with boat design.

    I loved my boating friend who was training his standard Puddle duck hunting dog to become an assistance dog. So far, the dog had mastered retrieval of his back pack with adult beverages and helping him steady to get up from a chair. He was trying to get dog “ready” before he became more disabled.

    We should all help if we can. Love, Jackie

  8. Poodle, Standard Poodle! Spell check turned it into a puddle duck dog.

    I get some hilarious spell check corrections and if I don’t watch they go through.

    Caught up on comments and was laughing about Ghost’s prolific cursing. I don’t type or write it but I often speak it. That is one thing boarding/finishing schools often do, perfect your language in more than one way. Smoking, drinking, cursing and confused sexual identities all go together for a really good debutante I found. Oh and anorexia and eating disorders. Drugs weren’t too much abused in those days but are now I am sure.

    Anyway, I could out curse a sailor and most Marines by the time I hit college and often did. There is that “offen” again! Mike does not use profanity, so it has been a great burden on him that I do, although I try to watch it more now. Do not ask me how he has put up with me all these years.

    Love you all, Jackie

  9. Steve: “My Grandfather had Parkinson’s and so does my brother-in-law. I am always concerned that I may someday come down with it, too. Of course my Grandpa had a very high receding hairline and I have a full head of hair!”

    Genetics of hairlines and most illnesses are often complex or not fully understood, or both. Examples we start with in freshman bio. are usually one locus, all-or-nothing sorts: Landsteiner blood groups [A,B,AB,O], Rh + or -, red-green color blindness [discovered that in a ‘senior’ hospital visitor once; he didn’t know he was RGCB], common form of hemophilia, etc.

    My type of baldness [a little fuzz on top, ‘tonsure’ around the back] probably involves several loci, and comes from Mom’s side of the family. Dad had a full head of salt and pepper hair when he died at age 80, as did my half-bro at 90. Dad and I both had/have a mildly abnormal right thumbnail, but half-bro did not, etc. Longevity surely also involves multiple loci, but also many environmental factors, esp. diet, exercise, booze, tobacco, but nothing is guaranteed, except that nobody lives as long as the biblical patriarchs did, and neither did they.

    Peace, emb

  10. Well, since I have been a good girl this year, I bought myself both books, along with another red metal barn squirrel proof bird feeder, a sustainable eucalyptus garden bench and 50 more bags of concrete for the driveway ditch and a new electric heater for my mom’s room since I can’t stay here long enough for the heating and air people to come work on her thermostat.

    I really was especially good, like Gene.

    Love, Jackie

    Thank you for your purchase, Jackie. The 50 bags of concrete will go a long way toward restoring our crumbling infrastructure. — JJ

  11. Lest you think I left Mike out, yesterday he got a new fluffy fake fur lap rug for the recliner/sleigh, the complete collection of Emma Peel episodes from “The Avengers” and “Killing Patton.”

    He likes all the maps in “Killing Patton.” I say either Bill O’Reilly never sleeps or that is a dang good ghost writer.

  12. To my complete shock, my stone mason is getting married tomorrow. I told him “You can’t do that! You’re already married!”

    He replied he had gotten his divorce on December 1 and was remarrying tomorrow. He was mourning the first wife when I met him, that is how I acquired him on payroll, so he is one of those men who are happiest married apparently.

    So, I overpaid him so he could go on a brief honeymoon. I am turning into a mushy old woman or else I was always mushy but added getting old.

    Love, Jackie

  13. Mark, thank you for that link. Yes, I would agree a dang good ghost writer. I never really thought O’Reilly really wrote any of these but I didn’t know about all the other books. I am surprised I didn’t know about the sailing and nautical books?

    I will see if Mike owns all those and perhaps he might like them as well. I asked him last night if he wanted the Lincoln book and he told me to just pick up the Patton one at WM, which I did. Amazon is cheaper by far, actually, than I paid.

    Since I signed up for free and fast shipping apparently, I get stuff fast.

    Love, Jackie

  14. If you don’t have Parkinsons then you know someone that does whether either of you knows it or not. One reason for that is that you have it for 10 years before you wonder about that little twitch and get a diagnosis.
    Therefore the word “onset’ depends on your definition. In my case I am as funny as ever. Why did you make that face? The speed at which PD affects you can vary greatly just as in old timers disease. My cousin was diagnosed at the same time as me and is in much worse shape. I have trouble with buttons, turning pages, typing (see above) and I don’t wear a tie anymore. I told my wife that I planned on wearing a tie just one more time. It has a severe effect on short term memory and you may have heard of the Parkinson mask. When I look in a mirror I wonder why that guy looks so mad. After I was diagnosed I began asking around in my family and found that several people had had PD so I think that it is true that it runs in families. JJ, Thanks for the mention.

  15. Back in the 60’s and 70’s my boss and good friend developed what appeared to be Parkinson’s at a young age, female. Up until then I thought it was a disease of the elderly. You know how young people are, they think they are bullet proof.

  16. Mom had PD and it eventually got so bad that she couldn’t even hold herself upright with a walker. My sister has it too, but nowhere near as bad. One of the few obvious effects has been that she’s needed to switch her computer away from a Desktop Environment (Unity) that expects you to put the mouse into a tiny space on the edge of the screen to do certain things. So far, all seems well with me, except for one thing: sometimes when I’m moving the cursor around in text I end up putting it one or two letters away and using the arrow keys to adjust it. Don’t know if it’s an early symptom of PD and as long as it doesn’t get worse, I’m going the Alfred E. Newman route.

  17. Darn it, I typed a letter just now on *yesterday’s* site … can someone tell me how to move it back to today? It can be done, for I’ve seen it happen.

    Need to go fix supper now.

  18. Before reading these posts, I had never heard of peanuts in Coca-Cola. Isn’t there some danger of choking on a nut while drinking? And what happens to them when the drink is finished, do you eat them, or leave them in the bottle, or what? Do tell!
    All these soft drink stories make me shake my head. Thank goodness, I’ve never gotten the soft drink habit. Drank those five cent glass bottles as a little girl, when I had the money — two or three times a week, in hot weather. Never bothered buying it when I grew up. You guys seem to enjoy it so much, and have such strong opinions on the many different kinds … makes for interesting reading, I’ll tell you! You know, it’s thought that drinking that stuff can bring on diabetes later in life; other health problems as well. Have you tried drinking milk instead?

    😉

  19. Hello, Chris! It’s a pleasure to meet you! I do miss Alice and Petey and even Big Shirley…and I wonder what Mrs. Otterloop’s Christmas sweater looks like this year.

    Charlotte, the only way I know to do that is to go to yesterday, copy the comment, and paste it in today’s comment box. Not an elegant solution, but it will work.

  20. No, Charlotte, choking on one of the peanuts in a Coke should not be a danger (although some mook somewhere has undoubtedly managed to do it.) You take a swig of the drink with some peanuts in it, chew them, and swallow. The sign of a “pro” is one who can make the Coke and the nuts come out even, so the the last swallow consists of some of both.

  21. Charlotte, the peanuts do not sink actually but float towards the top of the bottle. You must use salted ones to achieve the true salty/sweet effect. It really takes glass bottles to do this correctly, as the Coke will fizz and bubble and you need them to be REALLY cold. Then you guzzle the goobers and the Coke down in big swallows all at once. The peanuts come out with soda and you don’t chew them, just swallow.

    Mind you, I have not done this since 12th grade, so my technique may be rusty.

    On a marginally connected thought, Southerners eat boiled peanuts, which are put up in cans and which I had never eaten even one until a few years ago. My mother and my mom’s baby sister who traveled with us loved the things and I had to buy them for them. This is the song, “Eating Goober Peas”.

    Another Southern peanut item are fried in the shell peanuts. You eat the shell and the peanut inside, as the shells are soaked in a flavor brine, dried and then deep fried. Or so I was told when I asked. Eating the shells creates a high fiber snack! I have eaten these.

    A highly popular peanut treat when I was a kid that you always drank a Coke with were peanut patties. They were died a repulsive deep pink color and the peanuts were surrounded by a pure sugar candy, also pink, poured into a round mold about four inches across.

    Anyone else want to contribute to our gourmet discussion?

    Love, Jackie

  22. Stupid spell check changed dyed/died! Although some people might have died from the sugar in those things.

    Ghost, you chewed? I don’t remember that step?

  23. When Cokes were available in vending machines for 25 cents you could go into the local bottler in my hometown and get a bottle out of their machine for a nickel. The building has been sitting vacant for many years as has the one in Pensacola. They stand as monuments to a time gone by .

  24. You’re talking about peanut brittle which is a necessity when growing up in the south. My great Uncle John boiled peanuts for sale and I always enjoyed visiting him up in the country.

  25. Yes; I chewed the peanuts. You get very little flavor from them if you swallow them whole.

    Parched peanuts…Yay! Boiled peanuts…Ack! Boiled peanuts have the sliminess index of (I can only imagine) poached squid well marinated in oyster liquor. Or of boiled okra.

  26. Did anyone and your girlfriend/boyfriend ever go to the local commercial bakery and get them to pull an unsliced and still-hot-from-the-oven loaf of light bread off the line and put it in a paper bag for you and take it home and tear it apart with you hands and put real butter on it and share eating it with your girlfriend/boyfriend? I’m pretty sure I remember doing that when I was a teen.

  27. Jackie, here you go: http://www.oldtimecandy.com/walk-the-candy-aisle/peanut-patties/

    I remember a stick bubble gum that was a strange reddish-pink and had a taste that was different from any other gum. Don’t recall the name, but chewed a lot of it. Bought it in a curb market inside a log cabin type building next to my grandparent’s favorite Phillips 66 station. Now there is a Rite Aid on that site.

    Also liked Clove, Teaberry and Beeman’s Pepsin chewing gum. But I gave up gum chewing years ago.

  28. Gourmet discussion? Where?

    The only soda I bother with is root beer, and won’t go to much trouble to have that. Peanuts, roasted but unsalted, are for eating straight, Thai food, and grinding to make real PNB, available at the co-op, smooth, un-homogenized, keep in fridge to avoid separation. Milk? [You know this]. Yep, av. quart/day. Reminds me, time for 8 oz. of light ice cream. Gotta go. [Illiterate speelczech doesn’t recognize ‘gotta’.]

    Peace, emb

  29. My good deed for the day was to agree to stop at Wally World and pick up an order for someone who did not feel up to it herself. (You knew there as a woman involved somehow, didn’t you?) Holy Mother of Pearl, the parking lot looked like the vehicle staging area for Operation Overlord!

    As quietly as a little LRRP mouse, I made my stealthy way to customer service, without being ambushed by any of the battalion-sized group of middle-aged ladies patrolling the aisles, any of whom might have suspected me of trying to buy the last one of some item on their “must-have” list. I then obtained a position of advantage and waited while two WW employees attempted to retrieve my package from wherever the Quartermaster Corps had logistically and magically placed it, possibly at the bottom of a pile of 3 million life preservers.

    However, as I waited, I struck up a conversation with an attractive, shapely and pertly accoutered young matron of the redhead persuasion as she also waited for her package to be located by a recovery team. While I do believe that virtue (the package pick up) is its own reward, I have to say that sharing close quarters with a nice-smelling female who also offers a significant cleavage display (the redhead) is a nice bonus.

    And yes, I got to sub-vocalize some of those steam-venting-words on a few drivers in the parking lot. “That’s right, you $&%#! Sit there and block the lane while you wait for the van whose driver is loading 40 bags of swag into it to leave so you can take that space. Everyone behind you has all *@%#$^+ day! Oh, and have a Merry Christmas, Reverend.”

  30. Last night I got to stand in the pharmacy line at WW and present my picture ID’s twice while they ran me against the drug dealers list. I buy so much medicine I was afraid I might be on it!

    There is the sweetest female clerk there who was still smiling happily and being pleasant at 5 minutes until closing, which I considered a Christmas miracle. She was wearing a Christmas tree hat on her head, all decorated and twinkling. She has a different hat for each day I think.

    You know what is rewarding? Running into your local Dollar General and having the cashier and stocker on duty greet you with “Here’s our favorite customer! What do you need today?” and then getting a ladder and dragging it down for me and loading it in my car while I talk to the cardiologist’s assistant about my mama’s heart!

    And not having anyone here making snide remarks about Dollar General, WM or people wearing overalls. Mama and I had brunch at “Smells Like Bacon” today and Santa came in wearing camo overalls, rubber boots, a cap that said “We don’t call 911” and a Duck Dynasty teeshirt with the sleeves cut out.

    On my way to pay I had to stop and tease him about how much I loved good facial hair and how much he looked like Santa. His wife showed up in a flash that I was moving in on her husband!!!
    I will admit I was stroking his white beard!

    Love, Jackie

  31. Dear Sandcastler, thank you ever so much. You are very kind to help me out, especially since I simply CANNOT learn to “cut and paste”. Now to scroll up and see the rest of the comments. I scooted down here to answer as soon as I got back on the computer.

  32. Charlotte in NH, the only milk I find drinkable is buttermilk. Preferably not the cultured type. Or regular milk with Ovaltine or malted milk powder in it.

  33. The comment above from eMb is exactly how I feel. You guys are so funny and good-natured, and I’ve learned amazing things today that I never knew before … about peanuts, soda pop, and other “gourmet treats”. (When I was growing up in New Hampshire, soda was called “tonic”. No kidding.)

  34. Good morning Villagers…..

    GR 😉 thanks for the Elvis tune…..and the laugh…..been a long time since I’ve heard “Holy Mother of Pearl”…..and I don’t do Wally World, I avoid it like the plague.

    Jackie, I love going into Dollar General, or is it General Dollar that I go into on payday. They know us too, as we’re in there every Friday, and I also go in there once a month to buy supplies for the hen houses.

    Gotta go…..and yes, the sandman does come early on some evenings….first I fall asleep in the recliner, wake up, have some milk and cookies, and then onto bed and I’m awake around 3:30. Vicious sleep cycle. But at least I wake up 🙂

    JJ, you are a very generous man.

    ya’ll have a blessed day.

    today’s grin: https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/8263434240/h18AE993A/

  35. The recent mention of the Southern Breakfast of Champions (salted peanuts poured into a bottle of Coke) reminded me of what some of my USAF buddies from the Left Coast claimed was the California Breakfast of Champions…a Ding Dong and an Oly, purchased and consumed at a convenience store on the way to work.

    Of course, that was some years ago. There is probably now a state law that codifies the CA BoC as “tofu and kale juice.” 🙂

  36. Mark inTTown, I remember Teaberry gum! I preferred it to Juicy Fruit. And I was pretty good at the Teaberry Shuffle, too- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk11Acjofu8 (and I still listen to my Herb Alpert records, though now on cd)

    Jackie, I don’t remember Peanut Patties. I do still like Turtles, though. 🙂

    Ghost, flirting with another redhead? Shame on you, philanderer that you are!

    And yes, peanuts DO go with milk-on a PBJ with grape jam. I do love boiled peanuts in the summer, and boiled okra.

    I’m not quite up to eMb’s quart a day, but I do drink a lot of milk. I tend to stay with whole sweet milk, but my Dad loved buttermilk. His favorite thing was to crumble cornbread in a bowl and pour buttermilk over it and eat it with a slice of Vidalia onion.

  37. My entire family seemed to have eaten the cornbread and buttermilk, minus the onions. Even today after 70 years my mama still tells me “I can’t eat onions” every day at least once!

    I just laughed at the Teaberry Shuffle commercials and stumbled over a Jeanne Robertson routine about “Don’t Go to Vegas Without A Baptist” which made me laugh out loud. She is so funny and I knew of her comedy routines thanks to my good friend the chicken farming Baptist from Louisiana.

    Try to find something each day that makes you laugh out loud. Or at least smile. That is why I come here.

    Love, Jackie

  38. Longest twelve-hour work day I’ve had in a long time. Get to back in at 5am. Will be hating that alarm clock at 4am.

    Decided to aggravate my annoyingly unhelpful, pregnant, assistant by giving her pending baby girl an “inspired” name. The father has already promised my assistant’a mom the baby would have her middle name – Joelle. (Which my assistant hates, btw.) I came up with Rutabaga Harlequin Joelle P*****. The joke was on me, as it turns out, my assistant had no idea what either a rutabaga or a harlequin was – she thought a rutabaga was a car (Studebaker) and harlequin a made-up word. She actually was more annoyed with harlequin than rutabaga – which would be even funnier to you all if you ever saw my assistant – she wears heavy, bright, glittery, makeup, and looks like a harlequin most of the time herself. If I hadn’t explained either one, I might have almost convinced her on Rutabaga. Ha!

    Early wake-up, off to bed. Night all.

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