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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The FOOBiverse!'s LiveJournal:

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Monday, May 29th, 2017
1:49 am
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Lynn injects a sort of circle of life element into the Death Of Thelma Baird arc when Elly cheapens the word 'miracle' by using it to refer to a predictable natural phenomenon.

(Strip Number 4975, Original Publication Date, 30 May 1988)

Panel 1: As the two of them head to that tree Mike spied on Molly from, Elly tells Lizzie to be very quiet.

Panel 2: Reason: she wants Lizzie to see the four baby birds in the nest she spotted a little while ago.

Panel 3: Since Elly seems to me to be rather easily impressed, she marvels at the four new babies in the world.

Panel 4: An awful lot about the Pattersons and why they're bad at school is explained when she wants Lizzie to agree that a normal, predictable natural phenomenon is magic.

Summary: This is sort of why Lizzie and the others do so poorly at school. For the first five years of their lives, they're surrounded by old people who want to protect their innocence by feeding them horseshit about angels who paint leaves.
Sunday, May 28th, 2017
1:47 am
Memorial Day 2017
We continue the arc with a bunch of warm and fuzzy stuff that has Ed talk about how much he's going to miss Thelma....as well as how little time he has before also dying of old age.

(Strip Number 4974, Original Publication Date, 28 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find ourselves back at the Seniors' Complex watching Ed remind Elly that Thelma was the light of his life these last few months. When he reminds her and the audience that they'd even discussed marriage, she states that this is something she knew.

Panel 2: When he consoles himself with the hope of seeing her again in the not-especially-distant future, the realization that he's not immortal freaks Elly the Hell out.

Panel 3: Having realized that the stray Thelma took in is probably about to start blubbering about how his heart should beat forever and ever, Ed tells her not to look at him the way she is. He's eighty six and no one gets to live forever.

Panel 4: He seals the deal on settling down the panicky child who can't wrap her head around his death by telling her that when she does see Thelma again, he'll give her a hug from her.

Summary: THIS, I should think, is why it's sort of stupid for Elly to act like she's the boss of this whole deal. We're dealing with someone who just can't cope with the idea of Ed dying too even though he's been aware of the possibility since long before he'd heard of any of the characters.
Saturday, May 27th, 2017
1:44 am
Sunday, 28 May 2017
As threatened, here's that remix of the crocus strip that has Lynn beef about how little boys and dogs are always chaotic evil and hate flowers and happiness and their poooooooooooooor mothers who they neeeeeever thank.

(Strip Number 6725, Original Publication Date, 29 May 1988)

Panel 1: We start things off with Lizzie walking up to a flower growing smack dab in the middle of the lawn with a watering can in hand. It is best not to get too attached to Chekhov's Probably Supposed To Be A Daffodil.

Panel 2: Lizzie waters the Sacrifical Flower Of Making A Questionable At Best Point.

Panel 3: Lizzie actually hugs the flower to show us that she is a Good And Kind Girl Who Is Too Pure For This Sinful World.

Panel 4: As the idyll continues, we see the shadow of hateful primeval chaos that loves war and sports and other things that hurt people emerge onto the scene when Mike and Farley's silhouettes intrude.

Panel 5: Since little boys and dumb dogs are both agents of CHAOS!!!! that ruin things because that's just what they do because they were made to ruin the lives of WE MOMS!!! because that's what Satan designed them to do, Mike and Farley run right over the flower.

Panel 6: Having borne witness to his cruelty and selfishness, Lizzie yells for Mike to come back.

Panel 7: When told of his evil crime of running over the flower, the hateful wickedness that comes with being a boy makes him ask what her problem is.

Panel 8: He attempts to muddy the issue with evil male logic that is evil by pointing out that there are loads of flowers about.

Panel 9: He compounds his selfish wickedness by asking why she happens to care about a stooopid flower that shouldn't have been in his way in the first place.

Panel 10: Elizabeth stares mournfully at the dead flower and says that she knew this one.

Summary: If this strip's purpose is to elicit sympathy for Elizabeth, it succeeds. If its purpose is to make us hate Michael for not caring about flowers, it also succeeds. If its purpose is to chastise Aaron for an imagined sin, it succeeds. If its purpose is to remind us that we care more about people we get to know than people we don't, it fails because people want to clutch The Daughter to their bosom and cry bitter, angry tears because of hateful little boys who ruin happiness.
Friday, May 26th, 2017
1:56 am
Saturday, 27 May 2017
Having volunteered to plan Thelma's funeral forces Elly to confront the fact that she didn't actually do all that much for the poor old lady when she was alive to appreciate it.

(Strip Number 4973, Original Publication Date, 27 May 1988)

Panel 1: Since the main characters have to do everything no matter how little sense it makes, we find ourselves watching Elly talk on the phone with the mortician as she (and not, as one would expect, one of those nieces and nephews Thelma referred to) plans Mrs Baird's memorial service; we join the conversation with Elly agreeing that two bouquets would be nice and that given the number of people attending, they'll need the corner lounge.

Panel 2: Next, we deal with the catering arrangements as Elly thinks that soft drinks will have to be added to the menu of sandwiches, tea and coffee.

Panel 3: As she reviews her plans, Elly pauses to reflect on how guilty going the extra mile to give Thelma Baird a nice funeral makes her feel.

Panel 4: Reason: she can't remember doing anything nearly this nice for the old lady when she was alive to appreciate it.

Summary: This sort of actually does kind of belong on fridges because it's something everyone can identify with. No matter what you do, you don't feel as if it was enough.
Thursday, May 25th, 2017
1:55 am
Friday, 26 May 2017: Kung Fu Pander.
Lynn trolls shamelessly for praise by having Lizzie spew treacle about how now, they have their own angel.

(Strip Number 4972, Original Publication Date, 26 May 1988

Panel 1: Late at night, we find Mike and Lizzie unable to sleep as neither of them have ever known anyone who's died before.

Panel 2: Michael starts to break down in tears because he cannot believe that someone as nice as Mrs Baird has died and is gone forever.

Panel 3: Before we have a chance to ask if it would be okay if a jerk like Brad died, Lizzie tells Mike not to cry.

Panel 4: This is because now, they have their very own angel!

Summary: As we're about to be reminded, Lizzie comes by her Saturday morning cartoon version of theology honestly. Not only is she the victim of elders who try to "protect her innocence" by feeding her bullshit about angels who paint leaves, her mother is an idiot who makes every damned thing a miracle.
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
12:55 pm
Lynn Johnston Productions at Surtex 2017
The latest News Note seems to be about a trade convention Katie and Lynn are currently attending in New York City.

Collapse )

Personal observations.

1) The "they' that got Lynn to head to the Javits Centre is probably "Katie Hadway."

2) If you stick a camera in Lynn's face, she'll remind you that she's Just Lindy with a pension book.

3) At least this keeps her from doing something really destructive.
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
1:53 am
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Having been given Thelma's hope chest, Elly tries to explain to the Delicate Genius that it's the memories attached to it that matter more than the absent content.

(Strip Number 4971, Original Publication Date, 25 May 1988)

Panel 1: A few hours later, we find Elly telling John that she went down to the seniors' complex to visit Ed who is very upset by Thelma's death but is otherwise all right.

Panel 2: Mike, John and Elly crowd around the station wagon to look at a cedar chest Ed said that Thelma wanted her to have. It seems that she bought in China years ago.

Panel 3: Mike looks inside the thing and, having seen nothing in it but air, states "But....it's empty."

Panel 4: Elly gets all sentimental and reverent and stuff when she says "No, Mike....it's full of memories!!"

Summary: Her comment would mean more if she had the blindest idea of what those memories actually were. The problem is that we know for a fact that when Thelma tried to talk about old times, Elly tended to tune her out because who cares about boring old days before you were born?
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017
1:51 am
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
Lizzie counters Elly's attempt to soften the blow of Thelma's death by reassuring her that she didn't suffer by reminding her a seven year old isn't inclined to split hairs like that.

(Strip Number 4970, Original Publication Date, 24 May 1988)

Panel 1: It would appear that Lizzie overheard the conversation Elly just had with John because she wants to know how and why Mrs Baird passed away.

Panel 2: Elly sort of goes into vapor lock when she stammers out that Thelma was in her eighties and had a stroke and died in her sleep before sort of trailing off.

Panel 3: As Lizzie starts to cry uncontrollably, Elly makes an attempt to make her feel happier by pointing out that since it happened so fast, it was easy for her. This, sadly, is well within Elly's established parameters as it's an attempt to use adult logic on children. (It should be noted that Elly's pitch puts me in mind of one of the insect characters from Pogo complaining that after the Big One got dropped, he and fellow bugs would have to struggle through a post-atomic hell-world while all the vertebrates would be comfortably dead.)

Panel 4: Lizzie replies by saying that it's not easy for the rest of us because all she sees is that the nice old lady is gone forever; the realization that to a seven year old girl, it doesn't matter how much pain Thelma was in when she died further saddens Elly.

Summary: There is no good way to break this sort of news and Elly does deserve credit for at least trying to reassure Lizzie. The problem is that Mrs Sad Miracle is somewhat...uh....tone-deaf and doesn't quite as such understand that "At least she didn't suffer" is not a message a seven year old can process the way Mommy hopes she will.
Monday, May 22nd, 2017
1:47 am
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
We begin the "Death of Thelma Baird" arc with a puzzle: "Why is John required to be a total simpleton who can't recognize bad news when it's about to be dropped in his lap just so Lynn can rock her some mood whiplash?"

(Strip Number 4969, Original Publication Date, 23 May 1988)

Panel 1: We start things off with John asking a distinctly subdued Elly who she was talking on the phone with.

Panel 2: We can see that she looks like she got some really bad news when she tells him that it was Thelma Baird's friend Ed. John can as well which makes his next comment questionable at best.

Panel 3: This is because he asks how the old doll is because he is expecting to hear about the second marriage Elly was all fretful about last Autumn.

Panel 4: This is pretty much why his jaw is scraping the floor when Elly tells him that she died last night.

Summary: In John's very narrow defense, Elly could have been over-reacting to news of an impending marriage. That being said, her over-reaction to that would be more panicky and ragey than what we do see. (Also, he might have expected that the first person to be called in the case of Thelma's death would be a relative, not some random idiot who she happened to live next to.)
Sunday, May 21st, 2017
1:46 am
Victoria Day 2017
We end the arc with Lizzie making a Hallmark card-worthy comment about how people should be grateful for the little things.

(Strip Number 1295, Original Publication Date, 21 May 1988)

Panel 1: We start things off with Lizzie asking John "Isn't this a beautiful day?" and John agreeing.

Panel 2: Lizzie mouths treacly dialogue not very many seven year old girls would actually spontaneously say when she asks Daddy if he knows why we should be 'specially thankful for happy days like this.

Panel 3: John sets up the pandering by asking her why.

Panel 4: For some reason, the rather predictable answer about how somewhere, someone is having a sad day confuses him.

Summary: Given what happens tomorrow, we can be thankful that there wasn't a caption saying that it's the Pattersons' turn to have a sad one next.
Saturday, May 20th, 2017
1:44 am
Sunday, 21 May 2017
Today's strip in which Elly makes more noise calling Farley into the house than he was making to begin with seems to have been lifted from one of those hokey old sitcoms Lynn loves so much.

(Strip Number 6724, Original Publication Date, 22 May 1988)

Panel 1: We start things off with John and Elly trying to sleep when a complication is introduced: Farley barking at something.

Panel 2: Elly reacts to this the way she does to any sort of disruption when she's trying to sleep by succumbing to homicidal rage.

Panel 3: The strip most people actually see has Elly panic when the dog barks at whatever.

Panel 4: Having noticed that he's outside and barking at something, Elly wonders who let the fucking dog out this time.

Panel 5: This, of course, transitions to Elly standing outside bellowing for Farley to come inside.

Panel 6: Since his natural reaction is to flee because he remembers that loud noises coming from the angry creature who is just always angry mean pain, Elly continues to holler for him to come in NOW!!!!!!

Panel 7: Elly's hostile screeching finally wakes up a baffled John.

Panel 8: When John asks Elly what's going on, she explains that she let the dog in.

Panel 9: He sets up the stupid punchline by asking her why.

Panel 10: She baffles him when she asks if he wants the dog to wake the neighbours.

Summary: The 'joke' is that Elly doesn't understand that her yelling is just as loud as the dog's barking. This dovetails nicely with a long-term pattern in which she's totally unaware that she's seen as someone who just stands around bellowing in rage all the time. 
Friday, May 19th, 2017
1:44 am
Saturday, 20 May 2017
A pleasant afternoon heads towards its end when John lets the little kid in him come out for a bit.

(Strip Number 4968, Original Publication Date, 20 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find ourselves watching Elly ask John where Lizzie is; he tells her that she's at the park and volunteers to fetch her.

Panel 2: When she says that she'll get Lizzie, John says that, no, he'll get her.

Panel 3: After all, Elly's busy getting supper on so it's (literally) the least John can do to go and get her.

Panel 4: We next see John and Lizzie on the swing set having a nice-ish time.

Summary: While it is sort of cute that John let his little kid flag fly, the problem is that Lynn's refusal to understand that it's not the job of every adult in the drainage area to look after her brood really tends to bug the crap out of me. Well, that and the pregnant possibility of notes that display Lynn's ignorance of the world. 
Thursday, May 18th, 2017
1:42 am
Friday, 19 May 2017
We have a mildly pleasant thing that has Lizzie notice that the swings she and Christopher are on are making different noises.

(Strip Number 4967, Original Publication Date, 19 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find ourselves watching Lizzie and Christopher playing on the swing set. As they do so, our attention is drawn to the scraping noise made.

Panel 2: Having noticed that his swing is making a different noise, Lizzie calls Christopher's attention to that fact.

Panel 3: She does so by saying that their swings have different songs.

Summary: Aside from the improbability of a swing making a kaching noise, this is harmless enough.
Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
1:40 am
Thursday, 18 May 2017
We get fodder for a Little Lindy Show when Lizzie finds out what happens when bare legs meet hot metal.

(Strip Number 1294, Original Publication Date, 18 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find ourselves watching Lizzie have not an especially nice time going down the slide because it got kind of hot in the sun and she doesn't have much on to insulate her.

Panel 2: She makes a stagey gesture I've only ever seen Sylvester The Cat make when she comes to a realization.

Panel 3: She covers her sore arse when she thought-bubbles "Never go down a hot slide with shorts on."

Summary: Elizabeth is young so probably this is the first time she's been exposed (if you'll pardon the expression) to what sunlight does to metal.
Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
1:37 am
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
John is confused when Lizzie misinterprets what Elly told her to do again.

(Strip Number 4966, Original Publication Date, 17 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find ourselves watching John comment on the fact that Lizzie is barefoot and asking where her shoes are. She tells him that they're up in a tree.

Panel 2: As she points them out, she tells him that she tied the laces together, swung them around and they ended up up there.

Panel 3: Since he's gonna need a ladder to get them down again, he asks her why she did it.

Panel 4: Since she doesn't have any common sense, she says that Mommy said that if she was gonna take her shoes off, she had to put them where she could find them. (Hint: Lizzie doesn't realize that Elly didn't want her taking her shoes off at all because she's sort of thick.)

Summary: Once again, we have to contend with the fact that neither parent wants to especially admit that their kids aren't especially all that bright. They'd rather live in a world where they were cleverly plotting to ruin them than in the real world of their being too dumb to live.
Monday, May 15th, 2017
1:34 am
Tuesday, 16 May 2017
We begin the "Calm Before The Cliché Storm That Is Thelma Baird's Death" arc with John comparing himself to an ant Lizzie happens to be tormenting.

(Strip Number 4965, Original Publication Date, 16 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find Lizzie in the park down the road calling John's attention to an ant that she keeps covering over in sand every time it climbs out of it.

Panel 2: She then reports that she is confused by the fact that no matter how many times she covers it up with sand, it refuses to understand that it's just supposed to stay there and die because she wills it thus but insists on trying to get to its nest.

Panel 3: This makes John pause for a second.

Panel 4: Reason: he's realized that he's had days just like that.

Summary: A lot of what makes John so pissed off all the time is his fear that his life is an exercise in futility. The problem is that he's the creation of someone who thinks that a life not pledged to the service of a monstrous and infantile mind is futile and bad.
Sunday, May 14th, 2017
1:31 am
Monday, 15 May 2017
We end the arc with Trash Bag Johnny repeating a comment his chubby-chaser grandfather made that sort of reinforces Elly's dread that she's expected to stop worrying and love becoming a tub of lard.

(Strip Number 4964, Original Publication Date, 14 May 1988)

Panel 1: Since Elly has a deep-seated need to feel bad about herself that she won't acknowledge, she asks John the loaded question of whether he'd like her if she were thinner so she can blame her mental malfunction on him.

Panel 2: Rather than simply flat out ask what answer is least likely to result in her being pointlessly angry at him for an indefinite period of time, he tells her that he likes her just the way she is.

Panel 3: He forgets that she's watering the lawn when he repeats Grandpa Patterson's comment about how a woman should provide heat in the winter and shade in the summer. Being told point-blank that John wants more of her to love has a rather predictable consequence: outrage.

Panel 4: After having been drenched for telling her that she must learn to love the ten pounds too much that make her miserable, John says that the old boy didn't say it that often.

Summary: Let's remind ourselves that she took a sick sort of pride in not listening to people who tried telling her who she is as a person mattered than an appearance that she can't admit that she's hard-wired to loathe because that's not 'normal'. That way, we can see that she's telling the world that this is what they 'really' meant.
Saturday, May 13th, 2017
1:28 am
Mothers's Day 2017
We celebrate Mother's Day with a reminder that what We Moms really want is to not have anyone underfoot.

(Strip Number 6722, Original Publication Date, 8 May 1988)

Panel 1: We find ourselves watching Elly stare in confusion at an alarm clock that reads 10:45 in the morning.

Panel 2: Since she's getting up at an hour of her own choosing for once, Elly is actually glad to greet the abbreviated new day.

Panel 3: The strip most people will see starts with her sighing in contentment as she takes a looooooong bath.

Panel 4: She then slathers on that face cream she loves so much as she makes herself pretty.

Panel 5: This is so can spend hours on end reading some scandal sheet.

Panel 6: She then phones someone.

Paenl 7: Said someone is her mother. As she wishes Marian a happy Mother's Day, she says it's been great talking to her; she sets up the punchline by saying that John took the kids out for the day.

Panel 8: Since Marian didn't realize she raised an antisocial jerk who can't deal with people, this surprises her. After all, she thought that John and the kids would at least do something for Elly because it IS Mother's Day.

Panel 9: She might not be able to see the shit-eating grin on Elly's face but she can hear the slightly sinister intonation to her statement "They DID!!"

Summary: This is just another in a long line of strips that remind us that while Elly would almost certainly die gruesomely within fifteen minutes of being left to her own devices, she yearns for a world where there are no people in the way.
Friday, May 12th, 2017
1:43 am
Saturday, 13 May 2017
We end the week with Annie saying something that makes a lot of sense to people like us but would clearly be taken as an admission of defeat by Lynn's restless and angry target demographic.

(Strip Number 1293, Original Publication Date, 13 May 1988)

Panel 1: Anne tells Elly that unlike her, she's stopped worrying about her shape.

Panel 2: She's tried exercise and dieting and what we see is what we get and Elly or anyone else doesn't like the way she looks, that's tough.

Panel 3: We can't be what we're not and our shapes are as individual as fingerprints. Besides, it's the person inside that really matters anyway.

Panel 4: She then makes a self-effacing comment about how she wishes that she was this smart when she was fourteen and needed to know this.

Summary: The problem with this strip is two-fold. Not only does it go in one ear and out the other, said process is accelerated by Trash Bag Johnny repeating a stupid and hateful crack his arsebucket grandfather made.
Thursday, May 11th, 2017
1:41 am
Friday, 12 May 2017
Today, we get the real reason Annie had to go away and take her supporting cast with her: she is straight with Elly about how she is a born malcontent and hard-wired to never be happy with what she has, who she is or what she looks like.

(Strip Number 4963, Original Publication Date, 12 May 1988)

Panel 1: Elly hints broadly at what Lucy Van Pelt would be doing these days if the Peanuts Gang aged in real time when she hollers about how if she could only lose ten pounds, she'd be happy.

Panel 2: Annie has to endure Elly playing moving the goalposts again when she says that if she get rid of her thunder thighs and lose ten pounds, she'd be happy.

Panel 3: She adds reshaping her posterior to losing ten pounds and getting rid of her thighs to the list of things that will make her happy.

Panel 4: Annie's telling Elly to face the fact that she will never be happy silences and confuses her.

Summary: This is, of course, an obvious lead-in to notes that insist that she would indeed be happy if only she could lose ten pounds.
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