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Peanuts

Mar 1 2013

Comic Relief

by Veronica W

Every Sunday  afternoon I get a newspaper and settle down for my usual ritual. I pull out all of the ads and coupons and set them aside for later perusal. I then pull out the sections in which I have no interest, foremost being the Sports section.  After that I neatly stack my favorites, World News, Metro, Living etc.  Then begins the hunt for the comics, which I set aside in a spot of their own.They will be the last thing I read; kind of like dessert.

The comics – or “funnies” – are considered by some to be lowbrow humor, not worthy of serious thought or consideration. However I have found that some of life’s most truthful and relevant realities are pinpointed in the strips. Listen to Lucy van Pelt (my favorite diva) from Peanuts, who asks, “What shape would the world be in today if everyone settled for being average?”  If you want to hear more from Charlie Brown and his gang, check out Peanuts: A Golden Celebration.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert,  speaks to those of us who get up every morning and spend a good bit of time in the marketplace. His take on life in the corporate world is both hilarious and frequently on target.  On your “grin and bear it ” days, pick up Dilbert’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life: Dispatches From Cubicleland, for a good laugh. If you need a quick fix,  here you are.

dilbert best

The great thing about comics is that they speak to every age, interest and situation.  As my marriage aged, so did my understanding of that battling couple, the Lockhorns.  In his exaggeration of marital struggles, John Reiner portrayed what life is like sometimes after you say “I do.”  If  truth is in wine, it’s often in humor as well.

lockhorns

Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine are comic strips for our times. Their edgy, occasionally dark and sometimes tart humor can be reflective of current values, thoughts and realities.  Those of us who grew up with Nancy, Blondie, Mary Worth, Little LuluPogo, and Popeye—just to name a few—are able to see how humor changes as the culture (and your age) changes.  That which elicits a polite, half-hearted grin from a fifteen year old today may make a senior laugh uproariously.   Which of these do you find amusing?  This one…

fuzzy

or this one…

circ 2

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it’s enough that we can laugh.   To paraphrase some wise person, in literature and love (and humor), we are often amazed at what is chosen by others.

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Dec 16 2009

Christmas Time Is Here…

by Jnai W

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, at least to me, now that the winter cold is finally upon us. It always takes me a bit longer to get into the Christmas spirit than most people I know. I won’t say that I’m a Grinch or anything but, when it comes to the holidays, I’m definitely more of a Charlie Brown.

It had been years since I’d watched the beloved Christmas classic A Charlie Brown Christmas so I figured now was as good of a time as any for a nostalgic dose of holiday cheer. I needed a little reminder of the true meaning of the holiday and, thanks to the Peanuts gang,  I’ve got a new lease on this Christmas season.

As a little kid the original Charlie Brown Christmas special was a holiday tradition. But even then I can’t say that I truly understood the plight of our greatly put-upon protagonist Charlie Brown. In those days I couldn’t understand why Chuck was so glum; it was Christmas, after all. In hindsight, of course, it’s easy to see why Charlie Brown, a youngster possessed of a thirtysomething’s melancholy,was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. He’d become disenchanted with the commercialism of the holiday, a  complaint that has grown much timelier in this day and age. His efforts to celebrate Christmas in a more meaningful way–from agreeing to direct the Christmas play to selecting a spindly, pathetic Christmas tree–are unpopular at first. But eventually the gang come to appreciate Charlie Brown’s sensitivity and simplicity–at least, until the next holiday special rolls around.

This is one of my favorite Christmas programs of all time for a number of reasons–the sweet and simple story featuring Charles Schulz‘s well-loved characters, the use of non-professional children in the voice cast. But one of the things I love most about this special is its  soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi, a charming score that lends a sweetness yet sophistication to the show. Not only does this soundtrack boast “Linus and Lucy”, the song that has come to be the Peanuts theme but it also features one of my favorite modern Christmas songs “Christmas Time is Here”.

I can’t think of a better way to get into the Christmas spirit than this:

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