2020 predictions? We got ‘em!

Posted 1/8/20

Resolutions, Schmezolutions.

Tony Burman, columnist at Canada’s largest daily, the Toronto Star, has a much better idea than offloading a clichéd list of New Year’s resolutions. …

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2020 predictions? We got ‘em!


Resolutions, Schmezolutions.

Tony Burman, columnist at Canada’s largest daily, the Toronto Star, has a much better idea than offloading a clichéd list of New Year’s resolutions. Instead, he offers predictions for 2020.

And his top one is more than a little endearing: Joe Biden will face Mike Pence this November, after Trump resigns to get a pardon. Make it so!

So, following his lead, herewith a few of my forecasts for 2020:

1. The three cable news networks will soon begin making plans for their 2024 election coverage, which starts this December. How the advertising money rolls in!

2. After yet another mass murder, the NRA announces its new publication, School Shooting Enthusiast.

3. An eye experts’ trade organization announces its new slogan: “2020: Year of the Optometrist.”

4. A few more billionaires — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, and Carlos Slim (!) form presidential exploration committees.

5. Mitch McConnell is hospitalized after tripping on his dewlaps.

6. Trump Named Man of the Year by Popular Psychopath Magazine.

7. Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Mississippi pass new laws allowing police to arrest anyone with a library card.

8. Tipsy Rudy Giulani staggers into State of The Union address, tries to punch out Nancy Pelosi.

9. Major League Baseball marches boldly into the 1970s, announces plan to bring DH rule to National League. This incenses diehard NL fans who like paying to see pitchers hit.

10. BLOTUS jokes at a MAGA “Hillbilly Nuremberg” rally, “There’s two things I hate: Racial discrimination and Filipinos.”

(Re)Turning to the comics page:

My recent piece on newspaper comics — namely, some I recommend — drew lots of comments/criticism about my choices, especially some I left out.

Newspaper cartoonists call themselves “strippers,” and the classic format is four panels, the first three setting up a gag in the fourth. But more often than not, the gag is either lame or nonexistent, making me, well, gag. There is never a shortage of bad cartoonists (or bad comedians.)

A few of the comics I actively try to avoid as I scan through online cartoons:

“Garfield” (Boy, that cat REALLY likes lasagna!)

“Marmaduke” (Boy, that dog is REALLY big!)

“Andy Capp” (Boy, that cockney REALLY drinks a lot!)

“Funky Winkerbean” (A crooked smile is not a REAL gag).

Here are a few more that are worthwhile checking out (most of these are posted at GoComics):

“Last Kiss”: Artist John Lustig has a great gimmick: Taking old romance comics from the 50s and giving them sexed-up captions.

“Ripley’s  Believe It or Not”: It’s back, unlike its late creator, Robert Ripley. Oddball facts again. (Rumor has it Ripley spent most of his days in a bathrobe. When I was asked what the best thing about being a daily newspaper television critic was, I always said, “Being able to spend 24 hours in a bathrobe.”)

“Sally Forth”: Intelligent dialogue about a modern woman with a juvenile husband and teenage daughter.

“Truth Facts”: Another original idea. Using charts and graphs as set-ups for gags.

“Liberty Meadows”: Fittingly, no one draws beautiful women (or handsome guys) more realistically than talented cartoonist Frank Cho in this intermittently funny strip.

—Old comics we boomers can still find for nostalgia (caveat: just as in days of old, most still aren’t funny): “Li’l Abner”; “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith”; “Mutt and Jeff”; “Nancy”; “Henry”; and “The Little King.”

One great old comic that’s not still being drawn, alas: The offbeat “Smoky Stover” (Notary Sojac!)

—Comic-Heresy Dept.: For years, I’ve skipped over the great writing in the New Yorker to check out the comics first. You too, I’ll bet. But the magazine really needs to replace comics editor Robert Mankoff. Almost all panels now tend to come at humor from the exact same direction — the unexpected — and most just aren’t that funny anymore. (e.g., A gingerbread man — in a hospital bed!) Then again, the mag’s weekly purported humor page, Shouts and Murmurs, is rarely funny. There, I’ve said it. Break out the pitchforks and torches!

—The PT Solution: we had a relatively late-model car recently park on the road across from our place … for a month. I was a bit fearful of what might be in the trunk.

Before the cops eventually put stickers on it and the car was finally driven away, a funny neighbor had the perfect Port Townsend solution: “Just put a sign on its side window reading FREE.”

(Disclaimer: PT humorist Bill Mann does not claim psychic powers of prediction)


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