odds and ends

Without going into a tremendous amount of detail, this has been an extraordinarily weird week at my school. We’ve had some problems with potential gang violence. These threats have messed with both the school’s attendance and the focus of my students in class.

I try to keep the comic focused solely on my classroom, but you may see some of this stuff reflected in the strip over the next few weeks.


Gotta share this: We’ve had some beautiful days in Southwest Ohio over the past week. Elliot and Henry have been playing in our backyard quite a bit. It makes me happy that they spend so much time there; having more space is one of the reasons Ellen and I chose to move out of New York City. So the last few days have been nice… but preceding these wonderful days, we had a lot of rain. Parts of the backyard are still a bit damp and muddy. We tell the boys to stay away from that stuff, and they mostly listen.

HOWEVER… Ellen and I were getting dinner ready and I suppose our usual attentiveness wasn’t quite up to snuff. We leave Henry alone for five minutes, and this happens:

Look at that! He’s so covered in mud, it looks fake. It looks like a team of production assistants and make-up stylists organized and designed that glop of mud on his head for maximum comedic effect. Incredible. We had to hose him off outside before taking him in and giving him a bath.


Here’s something I absolutely loathe about the Internet. I will put it behind a cut; for the lion’s share of the people who come here, this will be boring. More so.

This week, it was announced that DC Comics were going to bring their longtime horror character Swamp Thing back into their superhero books.

Even beyond his origins, Swamp Thing is a strange character. He’s a household name to most folks, thanks to a string of somewhat awful B-movies in the 1980’s, but Swampy hasn’t been in many comic books in the last decade. In fact, outside of Alan Moore’s run on the character, I can say I absolutely and categorically do not care about Swamp Thing. I am almost positive you don’t care very much about Swamp Thing either.

The character’s return is, however, big news for some superhero comic fans. I suppose I can appreciate the small contingent of people who love the character, but man… to read some of the Internet speculation, you would think that DC Comics just announced that Jesus Christ was coming back, not Swamp Thing.

From what I gather, the return of The Swamp Thing was going to be a big surprise at the end of Brightest Day #23, a comic book released this past Wednesday

…but the cat was let out of the bag early. By Monday morning, comic book fan sites and message boards were awash in people complaining about a plot twist the majority of people hadn’t even had a chance to yet read. Here’s an example of one such thread of conversation, which, when last I checked, was about 80% grousing. I am betting that you could fish around and find others.

… and this is what I’ve never really understood about the Internet. People seem to waste SO much time being angry and annoyed about things they dislike, to the point where they’ll find places to gather and kvetch about those things to an insane degree. I enjoy reading a lot of articles on The Onion’s A.V. Club but my enjoyment is occasionally tempered by the level of bile unleashed daily in the “Comments” section of those articles, to the point where I usually avoid ’em entirely.

Which brings me to my point: if you don’t like The Return of The Swamp Thing, why would you waste even a minute’s time on it? Go read something else! Enjoy something else! Why use a lot of time and energy disliking something when there’s a world of stuff out there that you can like and experience, a world made all the easier to access WITH THE INTERNET?

If a band sucks… well, whatever. There have always been sucky bands and writers and poets. It seems like such a waste of energy to spend a part of one’s day talking about how bad they are.

I know I’m not saying anything new here. As long as there’s places for obsessive people to gather (especially anonymously), there will be people who complain and berate. I just don’t really understand why folks put so much weight behind hating on things that are ultimately, quite trivial and unimportant to their lives. Surely Swamp Thing deserves a chance?

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