The More Things Change

January 18, 1988


I’ve probably watched more television news this year than any period since the days following September 11, 2001. This old cartoon predates that disaster by 13 years, and it’s just as useful today, In fact, Arlo & Janis drew upon a lot of this sort of thing during 1988, which also was a presidential election year. Much of that old material also is relevant still, but with your permission, I think I’ll skip most of it.


53 thoughts on “The More Things Change”

  1. I probably have been avoiding more Network News than ever. I kind of zip in and zip out so that I don’t suffer information overload and get depressed.

    I have watched more ’60’s sitcoms and Mary Tyler Moore and The Bob Newhart Show episodes. I believe that I have seen them all….

  2. I probably have been avoiding more Network News than ever. I kind of zip in and zip out so that I don’t suffer information overload and get depressed.

    I have watched more ’60’s sitcoms and Mary Tyler Moore and The Bob Newhart Show episodes. I believe that I have seen them all….

  3. I’ve basically stopped watching broadcast television and listening to the radio so I don’t have to see the political ads. I get my news online from the local newspaper’s and TV stations’ websites where I can get the news all while ignoring the banner ads and keeping my blood pressure down.

    • I’m doing much of the same. I’ve got about 200 DVDs to watch again, plus a birthday present of the complete Wild Wild West I haven’t opened yet. My daughters keep me supplied with DVDs for the complete seasons of shows we all like. Then online there’s the old shows I grew up with… with new levels of meaning in the dialog I missed as a kid!
      .
      I’m also sticking to the local newspaper’s and TV stations’ websites, where I scan the headlines and read only the stories I care about.

  4. I wake up every morning and think, “How am I going to be lied to today?” It’s sad. I used to be a voracious newspaper reader – at one time I read 5 a day. Now I feel like I can’t trust anything I read or hear. If you make the observation that it would be nice for the media to be a bit balanced, you’re accused of being a Trump supporter. No middle ground on anything.

  5. I’ve had Amazon Prime for a while now, but never tried their video service. But I just found out I can watch the original Outer Limits series for free. I haven’t seen those since I was 9 years old. Whee!

    • Ghost,

      There were also times when 1200 points would have been complete disaster. When the cartoon above was penned in 1988 was one of those times since it first hit 2000 only a year earlier. The 500 point drop on “Black Monday” in October of 1987 was pretty earth-shaking. I’m guessing Mr. Johnson penned this comic playing on some of residual angst from the previous fall– and our frustration with 24-hour news.. It took almost two years to recover. It took fours years to recover from the market drop of the “Great Recession” in 2009. On the other hand, this year plus or minus 4000 points doesn’t seem to be a problem. I still think that a “24-hour news cycle” is to blame for many of the country’s ills today. :/

  6. Re 10-8-20 real-time cartoon: That reminds me of the story about the two elderly gentlemen residents of a high-rise assisted living facility who had finished breakfast in the ground-floor dining room and were waiting in the lobby for the elevator to return to their suites. When the elevator doors opened, an elderly lady who was not wearing a stitch of clothing walked out and casually strolled across the lobby toward the dining room.
    One of the gentlemen turned to the other and asked, “Did you notice how wrinkled her dress was?”
    “Yes,” the other gentleman replied, “and my wife has one just like it.”

  7. JJ, yes! I come here to think about things other than political. I think the most contentious argument should be amongst those who thinks all bras should have claps in the front, in the back, or no straps at all!

  8. I’m curious department: JJ, do you get much feedback about how you depict Ludwig’s ears? I much prefer your use of a mere line for each as opposed to using a triangle for each. It just seems that the lines are more expressive. Perhaps that is because a line can be in more obviously different positions, while a triangle has fewer possible positions [because the base of the triangle is much wider than the width of a line].

    Just asking.

    • From the Department of Pretty Nearly Useless Information: Reportedly, Mary Shelly, author of “Frankenstein”, had the heart of a man. It was her husband’s, and it was found in her desk after her death. And obviously after his death, as well.

  9. Just saw on-line that a grandson of President Tyler [born 1790; in office 1841-5] just died at 95 years of age. There is still one more Tyler grandson still living, rather remarkably so.

    Comparison: my oldest grandparent was born in 1870 and I’m 80. Anyone else want to compare?

  10. I turned off all television on December 24, 2014 when my husband died. Ditto all radio except SiriusXM’ music. I canceled the Tulsa newspaper at the same time. I am still far more informed than I wish to be.

    My oldest grandfather was born in 1879. His father, my great grandfather was born in 1843. I am 76.

    My grandson is 9. Hopefully he lives to 95.

  11. Don’t know when any grandparent was born. Dad was born / Webster Groves, MO, in 1878, had 3 kids, all now d. My oldest niece = 86 or so. Dad’s first wife d. before WWI. Mom probably b. in Bay St. Louis, MS, in 1892. 1 child: b. 1929, still alive, 90, now in 2d wk of quarantine* in eldercare living. Only cooking I have to do is make tea, Taylors Yorkshire Gold. Time for a cuppa. *Quarantine to make sure I’m not going to come down w/ COVID-19.
    Peace,

  12. One grandfather was born 128 years ago; the other, 127 years ago. As I remember them both quite well, that seems somehow a bit odd. (Not to mention that one great-grandmother lived long enough for me to remember her.) My father, were he living, would be 104. It’s enough to make a fellow feel old.

  13. Went to look up Wanton-Lyman-Hazard-House, Newport, RI. Anyway, a Miss Lyman married a Mr. H. [this H secret became public here years ago]. He was of the “R.I. Hazard” clan which goes back to an Anglican Brit seagoing* lineage in 17th C. When some moved to MO I don’t know. My dad was b. 1878, Webster Groves, MO. Don’t know diddly re Granma H’s surname or history. Dad’s first wife, Hettie[?] , died 9 yr after bearing their 3rd child.
    Dad married Mom ca 1922 [she was 14 yr younger, b. 1892]. Mom’s family = more recent immigrants. Her Mom was born in the S, but family apparently came here / 1840s potato famine in Ireland, Irish Catholic. Mom’s father, however, was a non-practicing Portuguese Jew from Curaçao, once a Dutch colony [came in the 1840s-’50s]. When Port. & Sp. exiled or eliminated their Jews in 1492, Netherlands was delighted to acquire these educated, relatively literate refugees. In Germany in the ’30s, I’d have ended up in Auschwitz or some such. Mom’s fam. & some NO area friends dropped us from their yuletide mail decade or more ago. Politics?
    I’ve written most of this here [& elsewhere] before. *Seagoing reached its peak in Dad’s ygr bro nicknamed “Jim” who reached USN Capt., Commodore, or some such, but had no kids. Rest of us are landlubbers. Just realized this partly repeats entry above. Sorry.
    Peace,

  14. While browsing my ancestry I confirmed my lifetime belief. My great-great grandfather from Louisiana fought for the Union Army. His brother in Alabama died fighting for Confederacy. Their younger brother, a Union supporter and teen, was impressed by Confederates and managed to escape in Mississippi.

    I knew my great grandmother but she was only a few years older than my grandfather. Her father the Union soldier had two wives and 13 children. Some of my direct line ancestors had 4 to 5 wives!

    Someone is doing some good geneology on my family! I love knowing whence I came. In case of my father I suspect my grandfather was not his father but the maternal history is fascinating.

    If my paternal history is true it is very interesting as well.

    My father’s genetic pool was very small, his mother’s family and father’s family stayed in tiny geographic area (still there) for about 300 years. My mother’s did the same.

    I owe my existence to WWII.

  15. emb:
    If all your father’s children are deceased – you are a lively ghost.
    Trying to give Ghost a run for his money? 😀

    Mom would have been 102 10/08, dad 107 in March.

    Stay Safe!

  16. My paternal grandfather was born in 1872, died in 1942 of diabetes complications. His wife was 16 years younger, being born in 1888 and dying in 1957 when I was only 2. Both maternal grandparents were born in 1906. Paternal great-grandfather born 1833 and death date unknown. I’d always made jokes about Vick’s VapoRub and other things with the family name. When I found a group trying to tie together all the Vicks in the US to see if they had a common ancestor I found I had a connection to the Vick those products are named for. But he didn’t create them. A local pharmacist was creating patent medicines and wanted to use a Doctor’s name to give more credibility to the products. My ancestor was willing to license the use of his name and that’s how the family name ended up on those things.

  17. Delving around on Find A Grave looking for Ghost’s ancestors I stumbled over a photo from mid 1800s that looks just like him were he to grow a longer Civil War era beard.

    Just like mine, Ghost’s ancestors fought on both sides. Some served Union, some Confederacy. Same state, towns, family. And we think we have political problems.

  18. Charlotte in NH, we haven’t heard from you in a very long time. I hope you are well and still a faithful follower of A&J via JJ. Stay safe and keep warm as the cooler months sneak up on us.

  19. Folks, choosing up sides a little early aren’t we? Today’s news, just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse. Reminds me of the story that ends “and then they came for me and there was no one left to speak up.”

    • That may be Niemöller you are quoting. His prose would suggest that now, and the earlier the better, would be the time to speak while there are more around to help. They in turn may be interested in helping you in your time of need. I’d say October may be a little later than you think. But I would encourage you to find a more effective arena for discourse. This blog may not be read by those who would come for you, so you miss your tormentor. And you may not want to disturb the patience of those who would speak with you, in those more appropriate places.

  20. If Jackie ever tries to find you, don’t count on being able avoid being found just by dying and being buried. She found a picture of the headstone of my maternal great-grandfather (whose gravesite I had visited some years ago). His military record showed he enlisted at New York City and was mustered into Co. H of the 3rd Cavalry; was later transferred to Co. A, 3rd Cav; and then to Co. F of the 1st Mounted Rifles. The regiment was later designated the New York 4th Provisional Cavalry, which is the unit designation shown on his headstone in Bedford County TN. The record shows he was mustered out with his company on November 29, 1865, at City Point VA.
    I have no idea how or when he made it from there to Middle Tennessee, but he had to have been there by about 1882, when his son, my maternal grandfather, was born. Interestingly, his last name was misspelled in the Union Army records, although it was very close, phonetically, and is, in fact, a legitimate surname of a different family that is well established in Middle Tennessee.

    • Jackie also showed me the photo she found of another great-grandfather from my mother’s side of the family, he being the one who served in the CSA Army. I must agree that he and I share some amount of family resemblance.

  21. She tells me she also ran across a photo of me on the InterWebNet, this one taken while I was standing beside what she described as a petite-but-busty, dark-haired woman wearing a strapless red cocktail dress. I do not remember that person, although from her description it seems somewhat likely I would. 🙂 She is trying to find the photo to show to me. Perhaps an unknown evil twin is involved?

  22. Re 10-11-20 real-time cartoon: Last Tuesday was a travel day, to Tulsa, and the temp when we left was around 50. Without giving it much thought, I pulled a long-sleeve shirt out of the closet and donned it. By the time we got back that afternoon, it was 79 degrees, and like Janis, I felt as though I were wearing thermal underwear.
    Tonight, at 9:30, it’s 78 degrees in eastern Oklahoma. Obviously, the reports summer’s death were greatly exaggerated.

  23. My mother started trying to get me to find my uncle’s first wife about 1961. I didn’t give in until about 2009

    It turned out none of information my mom had was correct but close enough. Took me about 3-4 days to find her in Ajo, Arizona dead from spider bite.

    Turns out she had about 7 husbands after 1944 not counting my uncle. I saw ruins of her family’s shack, ruins of one room school she attended, church family went to, house where she and uncle lived, cantina where she worked for her grandmother, visited her home in Arizona and stood on her grave. Normally I don’t stand on graves but lots of snakes in cemetary

    I interviewed everyone who had known her in both states. Found out she was 12-13 years old when she and uncle lived together. Due to marriage records for that year being missing I never proved nor disproved marriage.

    But I thought it an amazing tracing anyway. People help you find lost relatives.

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