The All-New Random Comments Page for the Summer of 2019

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126 Comments

  1. Bummer.

    Isn’t the original one of the most famous strips ever? I’m pretty sure it was on this site’s Top Ten Iconic Comics list a few years ago.

  2. Here’s something random.

    I was reading Tom McCahill’s charming review of the new-for-1954 Cadillac in the August, 1954 issue of Mechanix Illustrated. Then I noticed the space-filling comic at the end of the article.

    The setup recalls Marilyn Monroe’s legendary scene from The Seven Year Itch which was filmed that year, but a quick Google suggests the timing might not be right for this comic to be a direct reference to to Ms. Monroe’s skirt-flying scene. Would any of you know for sure?

    Also, I don’t think this comic would fly in a similar magazine today.

    (Page scan courtesy the Modern Mechanix Blog.)

  3. @Grawlix: Probably not a reference. The blast of air from below was a fairly standard feature in fun houses, sometimes automatic and sometimes triggered by the operator who could limit the gag to attractive women.

  4. Are there any styles of skirt or dress actually still worn today that could even theoretically flip up in an air jet like that?

  5. @Mitch4: I think so.
    In 1990, I saw it happen in Paris to Japanese young women over a subway vent at the rond-point des Champs Elysées, in Paris. I laughed amiably enough that they came to me for directions to the place de la Concorde afterwards.

  6. “Are there any styles of skirt or dress actually still worn today that could even theoretically flip up in an air jet like that? ”

    A few years ago I saw (on the Web) an image of a Brit newspaper. The headline had to do with the horrible people who take and view upskirt pictures. The teaser picture for another article was of some public figure with her skirt blown up by the wind, enough to show her panties.

  7. When the Flatiron Building was built in Manhattan in 1902, the combination of design and location created such an updraft that no skirts or dresses were safe. There was actually a “Flatiron walk,” a maneuver that women used to try to preserve their modesty while walking in front of the building.

    So many men loitered in front of the building that a judge finally had to decide how long they could legally stand there before cops ordered them to move along.

    (As time passed and the area was filled with larger buildings, this peculiar updraft stopped being an issue)

  8. If you have seen “Putting Pants on Philip” starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy before they were Laurel & Hardy, you know that Scotsmen have the same problem that Marilyn Monroe did.

  9. If this is a new random comments board, I guess I can plug … (sounds of a scuffle and a door slamming again).

  10. I wasn’t aware of the ground effect winds around skyscrapers. Los Angeles only has (well, had when I lived there) one real cluster of skyscrapers and nobody goes there who doesn’t work there. Plus, of course, nobody walks in LA. I only knew about the Hancock building in Boston, where high winds created such an underpressure near the top that windows would pop out of the framing and fall to the ground.

  11. DemetriosX, not to sound like a New York snob, but… the first time I was in LA, we took a bus tour and the driver pointed out some “skyscrapers.’ my wife and I were unimpressed, because the apartment building we lived in was considerably taller.

  12. @Bill: Well, LA just doesn’t need to build up like NYC does.LA highrises are strictly office and companies can easily find places they can have all to themselves.
    Of course, there’s also the problem that as tall as those buildings are now, they flex a lot in an earthquake. Top floors can oscillate by 3 or 4 feet. Any taller and things could get pretty hairy.

  13. ” you know that Scotsmen have the same problem that Marilyn Monroe did.”

    Their skirts are heavier, so it takes a lot more wind.

  14. “Their skirts are heavier, so it takes a lot more wind.”

    In “Putting Pants on Philip” the wind was sufficient.

  15. @ Bill – It’s simply a matter of comparative scale: L.A. has vast areas with nothing over three or four stories, and the terrain is generally very flat, so there aren’t even hills to break up the monotony. The college I went to had only one “tall” building (a 9-story library), and it was built with a “floating” foundation, so that the entire weight of the building matched the weight of everything excavated below ground level. This trick wouldn’t work for Manhattan-scale skyscrapers, which are anchored to bedrock.

  16. Depending on when Bill was in LA, it might also be that the driver was proud not of the height of the buildings, but the architecture. Most of the downtown highrises were pretty cutting edge when they were built and of course on the older side there’s the old Capitol Records building which was intended to resemble a stack of records.

  17. SOMEWHERE, SOMETIME, in one of the threads, I’d recommended Linda Fairstein’s books and was gently flamed for it because of her prosecution of the Central Park 5 (about which I had no idea; all I knew is that the current WH resident applauded and encouraged their prosecution). In a bit of belated synchronicity, Leonard Pitts Jr, an editorial columnist whom I follow, wrote about it today, 6/9 – ‘What they see when they see us’ – about a NetFlix miniseries, “How They See Us”. I thought some might be interested . . .
    https://www.arcamax.com/politics/fromtheleft/leonardpittsjr/s-2216806

  18. I couldn’t read it, as I’m not a member. However, I can imagine how difficult this would be to watch. I cannot read or watch ANYthing having to do with the Holocaust or even just WWII in general, and my family isn’t even Jewish. They did, however, go thru the Nazi takeover of Holland; I just seem to internalize it all.

    Having said that, I highly recommend the long-ago (well, it seems that way) PBS series, TENKO. Also painful to watch, but worth it.

  19. Oh, sorry, I didn’t reckon with their paywall. I’m not going to try to work around it, but just summarize that the writer asks who could this direct depiction of oppression be aimed at, what audience could watch it and benefit? They then try out different racial / political categories.

    Yes, I remember watching “Tenko”, a very powerful of the different sorts of mistreatment imposed on these women, both by the captors and later by the English bureaucracy after their return — and the forms of resistance they offered.

  20. I actually know someone who survived this as a child with his mother, but he doesn’t speak about it much. Don’t blame him, really . . . he now has a good life in Arizona with his dogs.

  21. ” what amused me was that the driver seemed so PROUD of his ‘skyscrapers.’”

    Sure. and the “mountains” of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina aren’t mountains, either.

  22. Mark in Boston – at last year’s “Long Island Occupied” event I found out that one should not sit lower than a Scottish soldier (reenactor). He was sitting on the stairs of the building and we were sitting on a bench on the ground. Thank goodness he wore modern underwear! (He did not come to this year’s event.)

  23. Thanks for sending this – it appeared before I began to read ‘Wallace the Brave’ [thanks for recommendation here] and I had to send it to a friend in England whose husband was in the Scots Army [or whatever it’s called] . . . I do believe, tho, that he wore his kilt correctly. Even when he was wheelchair-bound, he wore his kilt on special occasions. With a last name of McGuinness, what would one expect . . . .

  24. Just found another Bill Bickel. However, he isn’t real (as, I assume, BB1 and BB2 are). The Right Reverend William Bickel is a character in a short story book I’ve been reading today. What’re the chances??

  25. Andréa, there IS a Reverend William Bickel — though I think he goes by “Bill.”

    I’ve gotten his e-mails. Apparently some assistant substituted my address for his in the church dirrctory.

  26. Found a turn-of-the-21st-century British book of Best Bar Jokes (no authenticating body was named). It included this:
    “Why do Scotsmen wear kilts? Because the sheep can hear a zipper a mile away.”

  27. Thank you Olivier and Andréa. I had thought that I was seeing things until two of the other women started snickering a bit together. I am not sure if I hope he doesn’t come to our next of the same event in 2021 so we don’t have to worry about a member of the public – especially a child – seeing under his kilt, or hoping he does come as we need everyone can get for the event.

    This year there seemed to be an English “soldier” who went about in ripped uniform – including his breeches – luckily he also had modern underwear under it. Though since when I saw him again later in the day he was properly dressed (a soldier in ripped uniform, especially with large holes in it, is never properly dressed), he might have been using the ripped breeches to sleep in as he was one of the fellows (and women) who camped out overnight during the event.

  28. How exactly does one buy “a bunch of stamps”? Do you have to hand the postal clerk “a handful of money”?

  29. A wad, rather.
    Maybe the customer is not used to going to the post office or usually buys books of stamps rather than sheets.
    I wonder what’s wrong with the stamps that they’re unable to “unload” them.

  30. “I wonder what’s wrong with the stamps that they’re unable to “unload” them.”

    Nothing’s wrong with THEM; it’s that people don’t write real letters anymore and don’t need ’em. Except at Holiday times, perhaps. I order my Holiday stamps online when they’re available, as our local PO never has enough for me, if any.

  31. I get mine from the ATM these days. At VERY infrequent intervals. I rarely use stamps.

  32. “Nothing’s wrong with THEM; it’s that people don’t write real letters anymore and don’t need ’em. ”

    I’ll admit that I don’t write real letters any more, but I do pay all of my bills via checks in the mail, and make all my charity donations the same way, and order books from out-of-town dealers who accept checks, so I go through quite a lot of stamps. But I don’t know what the “we never thought we’d unload these” comment is supposed to indicate either, since while some commeratives are more popular than others, I’m not aware of any that are/were horrible sellers (e.g. I don’t recall seeing remaining on offer at any of the P.O.s I frequent for more than a few months, other than the flag stamps and a few others meant to be permanent(-ish)ly on offer).

    Especially since the stamps in question apparently turned out to be Batman tributes from a few years back, which someone (here or on Comics Curmudgeon, I forget which) pointed out were *very* popular and currently bring rather high prices from collectors.

    Just Batiuk working out some personal hostility to the post office (and, in the current CRANKSHAFT story, to banks), it seems.

  33. Apropos of nothing:

    “I count my chickens while they’re still eggs
    It’s easier than when they’ve got legs.” – Emma Wallace

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