Kyle Basa

Back in high school, I collected Garbage Pail Kids cards. GPK cards had gross pictures of not-cute monstrous Cabbage Patch-style kids with rhyming or alliterative or corny joke names. A kid eating his own mucous was Snotty Scotty. A head being preserved in a jar was Formalde Heidi. Most of the kids also had a twin, which was a card with the same image but a different name. Formalde Heidi’s twin was Decapitated Hedy.

Anyway, most of these names made sense in their own way, and I enjoyed most of them, but there was one I could not abide, and that was Hot Doug’s twin Fran Furter. FRAN Furter? How could you think of Fran Furter and not go to Frank Furter? Who was responsible for this?

Then I went back and checked out GPK Series 1 and 2 cards and found Furry Fran, Schizo Fran and… Fran Fran. I guess there was a GPK artist with a thing for the name Fran.

This story doesn’t really have a resolution, but that makes it perfect for today’s cartoon, which also doesn’t really have a resolution. It features hot dogs, at least for a while.


Etiquette & superstition: corn

There are a few theories about the origin of the word “corny.” One story goes that mail-order seed catalogs in the early 20th century included dumb jokes and hokey stories amongst the listings for corn prices. Another opinion is that it was a pejorative for unsophisticated country folk, a la “cornfed hayseeds”; this one continues that the country bumpkin would get especially mawkish after a bit of corn liquor. The most illogical postulation I found tried to pin it on the people of Cornwall, who seem to have a reputation for being different. I’d never heard of this anti-Cornish sentiment before, so it was rather alarming to come across it. However, since “corny” doesn’t mean strange or different, this theory is busted. Nice try, Cornwall haters.

ETIQUETTE: The proper eating of corn on the cob seems to have been an obsession with etiquette experts once upon a time. Flip through any chapter on table manners in an etiquette book written before 1970, and you’ll find corn on the cob. I imagine that the readers of these books during this period were delicate city gentlewomen who needed to be talked through a procedure that involved eating with one’s fingers. Fried chicken is another favorite topic of this time.

Anyway, the basic idea for corn consumption is to go forth bravely without being a complete savage. Do not butter and season the entire cob at one time so that butter and mayonnaise and your little cheesy bits are dripping all over the place; just butter a few rows at a time. Take hold firmly by both ends of the cob if no corncob holders have been provided, and eat away (in her etiquette book from the ’60s, Eleanor Roosevelt actually directs the eater to “gnaw it,” and as soon as I read that I couldn’t get the picture of old Eleanor Roosevelt gnawing away at a corncob out of my head for some time). Don’t get all fussy with cutting the kernels off the cob unless your dental situation merits it.

SUPERSTITION: When you harvest corn, the spirit that lives within the crop loses its house. If you’re nice and make a temporary home for it, you’ll have a good harvest next year. Make a corn dolly out of the last few stalks of corn and hang it up in the kitchen. The “dolly” is often not actually a doll figure, but a bell, spiral, horseshoe or lantern shape (and it’s not always made of corn; sometimes rye, wheat, or oats are used). In parts of Germany, the dolly actually is formed as a doll, dressed in women’s clothing and called the Corn Mother. The Corn Mother is thrown into the barn for the mice to eat so they’ll leave the rest of the harvest alone. Gnaw the Corn Mother, mice. Go ahead.

Photo by _cheryl on Flickr

Early bird special

“Hi folks! And welcome to Home To Roost, the only age-restricted community for active-minded senior birds. We’re nestled in a tree in the front yard of a house in beautiful Carthay Circle.

“Home To Roost offers an avian lifestyle you can not find anywhere else, in a place you will definitely want to call home. We offer amenities aplenty, but respect your need for independent living.

“Deciding to live in a safe environment shouldn’t mean giving up your unique personality; no siree, bob-o-link. We have a diverse society here and we encourage you to express yourself. For instance, what would our tree be without our beloved characters? Cecil at the bait shop. Lydia’s dragonfly collection. Sideways Herb and his crooked house.

“And if you do find yourself needing a higher level of care, you’ll find our assisted living tree right across the sidewalk. It’s nothing fancy, but you’ll find it provides you with all the continuing care a senior bird needs.

“So hop on over for a visit. We’re sure you’ll be coming HOME TO ROOST.”

%d bloggers like this: