Talk is Cheap


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It started over a week ago, with a few days off in Little River Canyon. The Little River in the northeast corner of Alabama is unusual, because it’s one of the few rivers anywhere that runs most of its entire course on top of a mountain ridge, in this specific case, Lookout Mountain. In the process of doing so, the river has cut one of America’s deepest gorges east of the Mississippi River. Google it if you’re interested. Anyway, I was in a rented cabin without so much as a cell-phone signal. Sure, I could have dragged myself out of my ravine and found a signal, but I was taking a few days off. Then, immediately upon my return, real life struck back with a vengeance, and that consumed a few more days, but here I am.

I’ve written here a lot about the ideal comic strip being a marriage of drawing and writing, and it is true. However, in the early going most of Arlo & Janis leaned heavily on the writing, for that is what I was trained to do. The above Sunday comic from 1994 is an illustration of that. It makes a pithy and, I think, worthwhile observation, but it is simply dialog. Written down, without cartoons, it could be understood. As spoken word it could be understood. Just because it was given to Arlo to deliver the lines doesn’t make this a bad comic strip, but a comic artist shouldn’t rely on this sort of thing every day. Keep in mind, by the way, that when this was drawn, I was referring to Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera. Most Americans had not yet heard of Jerry Springer and his imitators. Sometimes, I truly despair.

64 thoughts on “Talk is Cheap”

  1. Oh, Jimmy, yes, there is nothing like integrity. That’s one wonderful reason to admire A & J. One of Charles Schulz’s sons once said to him, “You know, Dad, I think Charlie Brown is the smartest one of them all.” Yes, and the one with the most integrity. Just like Arlo and just like Janis–and Gene.

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  2. Jimmy, welcome home. Sorry about breaking your blog on the 18th, won’t happen again.

    Your insight on Tumblr is amazing, but scary; never visualized you as a follower of Tumblr.

    Again, sorry for the breakage.

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  3. Welcome back! Glad you were in an isolated cabin and not isolated in a hospital! But… to look at the up side (as there is in all situations), some of us became unmasked on Facebook!

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  4. I figured you had gone and quit on us. but man, I know, I’ll flip through all 600 channels I have and think, my god what is this crap? and find an old movie on Netflix or listen to old time radio

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  5. I was away in Italy last week and we did not dare turn my wife’s phone for fear of racking up huge roaming charges. I had Wifi in my room, but just enough time to download all of pictures from the day and make some wise cracks on Facebook. I was surprised to see A&J stuck in la la land as I had a few observations to make.

    About the time that A&J went down so did I. I was hit with a violent virus that my lower GI is STILL trying to recover. 5 days of agony. Eating a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce & toast) and have lost 12 lbs. I am hungry but I have to tell my stomach “No you can’t eat that yet”. Tonight I plan to add chicken soup!

    Actually going to use this as springboard to lose some weight over the next few months.

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  6. I was away in Italy last week and we did not dare turn my wife’s phone for fear of racking up huge roaming charges. I had Wifi in my room, but just enough time to download all of pictures from the day and make some wise cracks on Facebook. I was surprised to see A&J stuck in la la land as I had a few observations to make.

    About the time that A&J went down so did I. I was hit with a violent virus that my lower GI is STILL trying to recover. 5 days of agony. Eating a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce & toast) and have lost 12 lbs. I am hungry but I have to tell my stomach “No you can’t eat that yet”. Tonight I plan to add chicken soup!

    Actually going to use this as springboard to lose some weight over the next few months.

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  7. Steve from Royal Oak, Mi: Because of my heart problems I am currently taking several pills that share the same warning: may cause diarrhea! Sometimes the doctor will have me try other pills, or combinations of pills, which cause a LOT of gastric distress.

    When things do go badly I have found relief by turning to a low FODMAP diet. It is intended to bring relief from irritable bowel syndrome.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FODMAP

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  8. Weee, The Village is back! Hello everybody. Debbe, was that you posting as “Spent Hen” on The Dark Side? I have been doing great and now must think of the brilliant things I would have posted when we were, um “broken.” (Sandcastler, I really doubt that was you!)

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  9. Greetings from Fort Payne. You probably passed right by my house if you went to Little River via I-59 & highway 35. Next time you come up this way stop in, I’m right on the way. I’m probably your biggest fan from Alabama. Little River is really beautiful in the Fall. I was once the naturalist interpreter for the park.
    Gary Wayner

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  10. Okay the other day, I woke up to the sound of Johnny Cash (I swear!) singing these lines. I have totally been unable to find them on the Interwebnet.

    I met an angel in a dream
    (Oh, what a dream!)
    I asked the angel to marry me
    (Oh, what a dream!)
    She said, “Young man, I can’t marry you,
    For I’m a dream that can’t come true.
    In this life,
    Who has an angel for a wife, sir,
    An angel for a wife?
    (Oh, what a dream!)

    Did I make it up? I swear I don’t think I did.

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  11. I’ve lived in Alabama for 34 years and have not been up North (north of Birmingham, that is). With children almost out of the house, maybe my husband and I can start seeing the rest of the State. And no, Gary, you aren’t the biggest fan of A & J and Jimmy, I am. haha Jimmy, looks like we’ll get a “I love Jimmy the most” ping pong going here!

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  12. Debbe 😉 Jackie 🙂 Others 🙂 Thanks for the concern you expressed the other day, ladies. I’m doing pretty well, except for one problem I’ll tell you about later. Mostly, I’m just busy, busy, busy, as I guessed I would be. My Mom goes this afternoon for the 14th of her 25 scheduled treatments.

    Last Tuesday, she began to have some minor burning in her mouth and throat, a not-unexpected problem when you are having your upper thorax irradiated. The onc doc got her started on “Atomic Tonic” the next day. (That’s a mixture of Benadryl, Maalox and lidocaine gel, not a cocktail. Although I believe it is in fact a cocktail, also.) So far, she’s getting excellent results from it.

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  13. No BofF here, either; who was “unmasked”?

    Glad the blog is back. Figured JJ wasn’t unconscious anywhere since new daily cartoons kept appearing. Wondered if the blog has a limit on, say, total words or keystrokes. Would have been nice to have been forewarned of the long outage.

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  14. Jerry Springer was a thing in 1994. I remember only because my sister was addicted to it, and I thought it absolute irritating trash, when I was in high school in 1991-1995.

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  15. Last Wednesday, I noticed my left index finger was a bit sore along the left edge of its cuticle. Thursday, I noticed it was a little painful and slightly swollen. Early Friday morning, it woke me up, hurting like hell and giving all the appearance of trying to turn into an eggplant. So I hied me to the nearest walk-in clinic and was waiting when they unlocked the door. After the nurse finished asking me a bunch of personal questions (all the while pretending to ignore the fact that I was pretending to ignore her rather noteworthy cleavage), the doctor walked it.

    “Hey, doc,” I said. “Looking forward to deer season?”

    “Yep,” she said, “if I can ever find time to get my four-wheeler ready. By the way, Ghost, do you know your left index finger appears to be trying to turn into an eggplant?”

    “Uh, yeah, about that…it hurts like hell, too.”

    “Come on, baby,” she said after a brief examination of the offending digit, “we’re going down the hall to take care of your bobo. Is it OK if they observe?” she asked, indicating the two DO students she was precepting.

    “Only if they promise not to tell anyone if you make me cry.”

    “Deal,” she said. “But cussing is OK.”

    “You might to want to rethink that for us military veterans,” I warned her.

    So off we went to the Minor Procedure Room (aka The Little Room of Horrors) for disinfecting, I&D and bandaging…none of which was particularly enjoyable. Especially the “I” part of the I&D. “Way to go, Ghost,” she told me when it was over. “You didn’t cry or cuss or scream or anything.”

    “Yeah, I was a good boy, wasn’t I? Can I have a lollipop now?”

    So I spent the weekend (the most exciting part of which was updating the OS on my phone and tablet) taking it easy; catching up on my reading; remembering to take my Clindamycin; and cleaning my wounded finger and changing its huge dressing twice a day. Talk about fat-fingering a keyboard…you should have seen this missive before speel-chek cleaned it up. But now only half of my finger is painful and the swelling has greatly decreased, so I suppose it’s healing pretty well. And at least it’s not my trigger finger.

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  16. ***Medical Update***

    My doc sent out a drainage specimen from my finger for culture last Friday, and I just got a call from her clinic confirming what she (and I) suspected…MRSA. The good news is that it is sensitive to the Clindamycin she had prescribed, so I’ll continue on the course of that antibiotic, even though it’s causing me some stomach upset. (This seems to be Gastric Distress Day in the Village.)

    If I had to guess, I’d say I probably picked up the staph infection at the oncology center, as many of the patients there are concurrently getting chemo treatments at the local hospital’s infusion center, have compromised immune systems, etc. I’ve been practicing good hand hygiene for that very reason, but I need to double down on it. And I’ll tell the onc doc about it, as he may need to tell his janitorial people to be a little more diligent in cleaning the waiting area.

    Lesson Learned: Be careful around hospitals and medical clinics. But who knows? It could have been from a shopping cart at my supermarket.

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  17. Not only were some of us “unmasked” from screen names, we also got to put faces with those names. We’re not just a bunch of nice people – we’re a bunch of pretty faces!

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  18. Ghost: It’s called a paronychia. We drain them all the time and The Boss Of My Life never even puts them on antibiotics. Says once they are drained, they will be fine. Plus I know she wouldn’t put anybody on clindamycin since necrotizing enterocolitis is much more to be feared than a booboo on the finger. *shrugs* she is a surgeon, what can I say?

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  19. Gal & Ruth Anne: Still not sure how that would work, but I’ll take your words for it. Without delving into details, did any of The Unmasked look the way you had them pictured?

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  20. I dunno, Munchkin. I had a paronychia (a classic “run around”) on the “social” finger of my right hand 10 or 12 years ago; a week of Cipro cleared it up without intervention. This one looked (and felt) MUCH worse. But, whatever works. And I know what you mean…surgeons gotta surge.

    And yeah, like “Spent Hen” could have been anyone else. 🙂

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  21. Oh boy, the Village is up and running again! It’s so good to find people checking in with their latest news. Yes, it was interesting when some of us were “unmasked”. Shall I reveal the Facebook group that some of us found a refuge in while we couldn’t use this site? It’s “Arlo and Janis Fans” and keep this in mind, if this problem happens again, we can communicate there, just like here, only with our real names; and pretty faces too!
    For those of you who don’t want to use Facebook, it’s really easy to get on the site; I don’t remember now, it’s been so long; can be aggravating to learn all the ways of doing things, but you guys are so computer-savvy, you can figure it out. I like it for the photographs that family and friends put on: graduations, kids leaving for college, school sports, trips to the beach, family pets — all fun to see. Often photos decades old are posted too, babies and little children, now grown. If there’s uninteresting stuff posted you can delete it.
    Good to see Lilyblack, and Debbe, and Ghost — you turned that awful infection into an entertaining and half-humorous story, good for you. May you keep on feeling better. You too, Steve in Royal Oak — what a terrible experience! Thank my good luck, I have NEVER been that sick. May you recover fast.
    Where is Jackie Monies? Gone down with the ship — I hope NOT!!

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  22. Mine stopped at 314, but another blogger told me he got 318. At least that proves I didn’t break it. There’s no ‘Next’ at the top of this page to check. Maybe if I go to Archives . . ..

    Peace, emb

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  23. Ghost: I’d rather have a five minute procedure than take a week’s worth of life-endangering and expensive drugs. As The Boss Of My Life is fond of saying, “I prefer surgery because it separates the patient from the disease.” 😛

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  24. emb, I recall playing that song in 1964 on the jukebox at the local drive-in. Today I work with people who have a recall span less than half that long. Makes metaphors challenging.

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  25. There are also comments down from the day’s current strip. I know that some of you put comments there and I tried to find out if everyone was having the same problem but no answer. Oh well. Can the proper authorities please put a better lock on JJ’s chain so this doesn’t happen again?

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  26. I wondered why my doc told me, if I used hydrogen peroxide, to dilute it 1:1 with water and use very sparingly. I checked Wikipedia and found this: (with citations)

    “Historically, hydrogen peroxide was commonly used for disinfecting wounds, partly because of its low cost and ready availability compared to other antiseptics. It is now thought to slow healing and lead to scarring because it destroys newly formed skin cells. Only a very low concentration of H2O2 can induce healing, and only if not repeatedly applied.”

    So I guess pouring it right out of the bottle onto a wound and doing so frequently may not be the way to go.

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  27. Bill, if you meant TV’s were thick, front-to-back, in 1994, you were correct. I recently replaced an old and little used 20″ “flat-screen” CRT set in one of the bedrooms. It was 26″ in depth and weighed at least 50 pounds. Its replacement was a 23″ HD wide screen that seemed to weigh about 5 pounds.

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  28. Thank you, Sandcastler. The stone (3 cm) is being removed Wednesday morning. Rosh Hashonah starts at sunset and lasts until sunset Friday. (…and the evening and the morning were one day.)

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  29. Good morning Villagers….

    What day is it? Hump day for some of you. Same BS, just a different day. Loved hearing my rooster crowing yesterday morning….but, it keeps it up, may have to move him to a bottom tier.

    GR 😉 thanks for the ‘tune’, and the “oozing” details of your infected index finger 🙂

    Gotta go….

    Ya’l have a blessed day….

    Oh, did any of you read about the woman from Florida who had a third breast implant? Pokies 3 will be the title of her reality TV show….seriously????

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  30. Sideburns, speedy recovery. Should you wish a sixteenth century view of bladder stones, Michel de Montaigne wrote a pointy essay on his personal experiences. Probably best read post recovery.

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