Last night a friend of mine said "I'm surprised you don't have a blog."
I said "Really? Cause I'm not surprised in the least, given the number of notebooks I've purchased for journal-writing purposes and then abandoned after one or two pages. I'd hate to go to the trouble of starting a blog and then have it sit gathering cyberdust after the obligatory 'Welcome to my blog' entry."
But then I got to thinking about it and decided that I might as well try it, if only because I don't have a good outlet for expressing my contempt for the "Alley Oop" comic strip.
I'm passionate about a lot of things. I think George W. Bush is the worst president in history. I think Jerry Springer is at least partially responsible for the decline in civil behavior, and I wish SNL would go back to featuring more eclectic musical acts. I believe that elected officials who seriously consider amending the Constitution to outlaw flag-burning probably don't have the brains to be in office, and should consider refunding a portion of his or her salary commensurate with the time spent thinking about something so flagrantly unconstitutional.
At some point I plan to write at length about all those things. But right now I just can't believe how ridiculous Alley Oop is.
In the category of Comic Strips Set in Prehistoric Times, Alley Oop holds last place only because the self-righteous and preachy B.C. does still, on rare occasions, fire off an amusing gag.
Alley Oop spends most of his time in the land of Moo, acting as bodyguard for King Guz and romping with his pet dinosaur Dinny, who, along with the numerous other dinosaurs that appear in the strip from time to time, forgot to become extinct before the evolution of primates. Now, I like a good anachronism as much as the next guy, but some consistency would be nice. The soldiers in the land of Moo wear helmets made out of turtle shells, but in today's strip there's a guy wearing a visor. Is it made of rock? The pelvic bones of a dinosaur? It's hard to say--it just looks like a 99-cent plastic visor from Wal-Mart.
Why? Because apparently the cartoonists just thought this character needed a visor.
In a recent series of strips, Alley Oop and his cave-girlfriend Ooola travel as they often do to the future, courtesy of the brilliant physicist Dr Wonmug (one mug = Ein stein, get it?). Wonmug plans to use his time machine to send Alley and Ooola on a romantic trip to Paris, but just at the moment of intertemporal molecular transportation, a can of soda drops on the control panel and changes the coordinates to the 15th century. The wacky cave couple lands in Paris, all right, but when they try to exchange their dollars for euros, they're met with sneering suspicion by all the Parisians save one, a friendly hunchbacked bellringer from the nearby Cathedral of Notre Dame. Alley realizes that he's not in modern-day France at about the same time a mob of peasants accuse Ooola of being a witch. The neighborhood cleric loses no time sentencing Ooola to be burned at the stake.
Alley Oop ponders Dr Wonmug's general time-traveling warning not to change the course of history, as if the presence of a couple of homo erectus dressed in J.C. Penney casual wear hadn't already caused a few 15th-century Frenchmen to question their sanity. He disguises himself as the hunchback, rescues Ooola, and graciously lets Quasimodo take the credit.
We're left to wonder what the bloodthirsty mob did to Quasimodo after the cavepeople left.
Now, while Alley Oop is cavorting around France, Dr Wonmug is assaulted and tied up by two thugs named Heck and Marko, as part of their evil scheme to become millionaires through the illicit use of the time machine. Just what do they have in mind, you ask? The theft of the original Mona Lisa? Pillaging the gold of ancient Peru? Buying Microsoft stock at an IPO?
No, Heck and Marko plan to go back to caveman times, lure every dinosaur into a pit, and fill it in, thus creating the first do-it-yourself oil deposits. Part 2 of the plan is to return to the present and drill for the oil they "planted" lo those many years ago.
They might be criminals, but by golly they aren't above doing some hard work and getting their hands dirty.
Their plan is foiled by Alley Oop, fresh from his trip to the 15th century. And--good lord, did I just write ten paragraphs about Alley Oop? Ahem--how about that George W. Bush, huh?
More soon. And don't get me started on the Family Circus.