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

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Friday, November 15th, 2019
12:26 am
Sunday, 17 November 2019
The one in which Michael grazes until the point that the fridge is empty and whines to Elly that there's nothing to eat.

(Original Publication Date, 18 November 1990)

Panel 1: We start things off with Mike grabbing a box of chocolate chip cookies out of the cupboard.

Panel 2: Since he's a means by which Lynn can be a passive-aggressive jerk about Aaron's appetite, he grabs a big handful of cookies.

Panel 3: He then goes to the fridge with cookie box in hand and drinks milk right out of the carton like a thoughtless slob.

Panel 4: As he watches television, he starts to methodically gobble down a bowl of fruit.

Panel 5: Since he's a growing boy, he's still hungry so he raids the fridge yet again.

Panel 6: The result of his search is a chicken leg.that he's gobbling down without re-heating it. He should thus prepare for a visit from his friends Sam and Ella.

Panel 7: Next, we find him sucking on a juice box and eating a big bag of taco chips.

Panel 8: He goes back to the fridge because he's still hungry.

Panel 9: Having noticed something not to his liking, he yells "Hey, MOMMMMMM!!" in order to get Elly's attention.

Panel 10: We see what Mike's problem is when he asks her why there's never anything to eat around here: he's an idiot who doesn't understand cause and effect.

Summary: The "punchline", such as it is, hints broadly as to what any comments might be: Lynn complaining about sons who she can't fill up who don't understand that a fridge isn't a food replicator from Star Trek. Someone has to buy the grub and duds and it ain't him.
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
9:42 pm
Saturday, 16 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Eleven (The Final.  At last!!)
(Original Publication Date, 17 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

Have you have ever felt terrific and then have everything go horribly wrong? 

When my love letter to you was returned because of insufficient postage, I was in the best mood possible.  I was twirling with my hands in the air and with my face to the sky and my leg bent back almost touching my butt.   It seemed a lot like I was imitating someone else’s dancing.

I thought “Returned due to insufficient postage! – I can’t believe I sweated for 4 days, and my love letter to Martha was returned!!”  I know that it seems like I have been writing about this for 2 weeks, but my sister spent time torturing Farley 2 days ago and I spent time BOP!ing my sister yesterday; so it was necessary to remind you what was making me so happy, just in case you have a short attention span or something like that. 

Not that I wanted to tell anyone the reason, but I was so happy I was actually picking up a math book and a sheaf of paper, like I was going to do homework.  Can you believe it? Me, Michael Patterson, doing homework?   Elizabeth was so astonished by this, she came up to me and said, “What’s with you?” I responded, “I dunno – have you seen that letter I had awhile ago?”   She pointed to herself and said, “Yeah – an’ don’t worry…I put another stamp on it, an’ mailed it back to Martha!” 

Horror of horrors!  I went from the best of moods to the worst.  I dropped that homework immediately.   I knew nothing about proper postage, but there was a really good chance Elizabeth did.  After all, she occasionally does homework.  I might have to die from embarrassment all over again.  It was the worst thing that could possibly happen to me!!!

Thanks for reading,

Epilogue:  The Unseen Letter from Martha in response:

Dear Michael,

I got your love letter.  I love you too.   You may not remember this, but I was the one who kissed you first two years ago.  I gave up my best friends for you.  I dated Lawrence to make you jealous.  I was the one who came up to you at the Valentine’s Day Dance this year begging forgiveness and a second chance.   I invited you to meet my family.   I have been going out with you almost every night for months.  It's cute you are worried about people knowing you love me, but I think we are two years past that.

See you tonight for our nightly date and then see you tomorrow at school.   By the way, the postal rate in 1990 is 39 cents.

Martha (not Marty or Mart or Mar or Ma or M and especially not Marthalicious)

Meanwhile: Back to the dreadedcandiru2.
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
10:36 pm
Friday, 15 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Ten
(Original Publication Date, 16 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

Have you ever felt terrific?  When my love letter to you was returned because of insufficient postage, I was in the best mood possible.  I didn’t have to worry about whether you were going to humiliate me by letting people know I love you.  It was the kind of mood when you just want to BOP! Your sister in the head.

It was also the kind of mood which makes me want to throw an orange croquet ball and hit my sister in the head.  Have you ever played croquet?  I haven’t, but the balls are really fun to throw at your sister.  They have a good weight and you can throw them pretty hard and they make a great WHAP! noise when they smack your sister in the head.

If anyone asks, I will say I threw a tennis ball, but it’s not really true.  A tennis ball’s stripes do not look the same as a croquet ball’s stripes. 

It was also the kind of mood which makes me pull my sister’s pony tail back and yank her head until she screams with pain, “Michael, what the heck is the matter with you, anyway?!!”  I will say, “Nothing.. … I’m just in a great mood!”  And it was true. 

After all, when you are in a great mood, there is nothing like celebrating by BOP!ing your sister on the head.  I love doing that.  I have been doing it all my life and will probably keep on doing it.

Thanks for reading,
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
4:14 pm
Some observations about the 2000 cartoon series of FBorFW
- The portrayal of Mike really cracks me up. He’s just so....carefree about things. He’s able to laugh at himself more than he’s able to in the strip,and his sibling rivalry with Liz is there in all its glory.

- Liz is voiced by three people:Anna Wedlock in the Early Years segments,Vanessa Lengies in the Growing Years segments,and Lianne Picard-Poirier in the Later Years segments. Picard-Poirier voiced her in the early ‘90s Lacewood animated specials as well. I wonder why she came back.

- (Growing Years) Is it just me,or does Martha’s voice actress sound Russian?

- Time-and-story-wise,the segments seem to have a ‘null center’ of 1985 for Early Years,mid 1992 for Growing Years.and late 1997 for Later Years. This segment-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh4cFw1Cq1c-is the only one so far I can assign an actual time period to.

- I’m not sure precisely how much of the plots comes from the strip,but the plotlines for these segments seem to be original to the cartoon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jiqr8tGER-s&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=7&t=0s (Trade Off)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnvWDD9OBwE&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=13 (It’s a Living)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vO-mAYBz6Q&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=22 (The Bogeyman)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPhq3qaPIZk&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=27 (Young Love’s Kiss)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdl8oooz3rk&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=28 (Parade Passing By)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHqt84GEobQ&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=31 (If It Ain’t Broke)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDHca23W7Eo&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=49 (Learning Curve)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruVGvEmQ0pQ&list=PL698CF5D3EB8569CF&index=47 (Movie Magic)

- I really like the musical cues at the beginning of each segment.

Would you all mind if I posted reviews of each episode?

Current Mood: contemplative
11:24 am
A little question about Lawrence
(Apologies for slightly misleading title)

As most of you probably know,LiveJournal was bought out by a Russian site. One of the new site rules was or is ‘no pro-gay propaganda’. When we and the reruns get to 2022,and Lawrence’s coming out and any snarking thereof,how do you propose to address the issue of the content that will be posted then vs the new LJ rules?

PS. I’m ‘Bergemon’,posting under my real name.
10:22 pm
Thursday, 14 November 2019
And now for Exercises in Dog Torture featuring Elizabeth and Farley
(Original Publication Date, 15 November 1990)

Panel 1: The is the first of two panels of joke setup filled full of words.  In the meantime, Lynn Johnston is tested to see if she can draw the same picture two panels in a row.  While not exact, this is actually pretty close for Lynn.  The stripe count for the 3rd set of stripes on the arm of the couch changes.  Elizabeth loses an ear.   By Lynn Johnston’s art standards, that’s very good.   Whenever you see this kind of repetition in this comic strip, you know Lynn Johnston is about to turn in some of her worst and laziest work.  The only thing Lynn Johnston does as badly as political messages is social parody. 

Professor Bolus – From the Wikipedia - In medicine, a bolus is the administration of a discrete amount of medication, drug, or other compound within a specific time, generally within 1 - 30 minutes. 

Sounds like Lynn is doing her thing of reusing medical terms for doctor names, as in Dr. Fundus D. Sphyncter from a few months ago:

What kind of message would you send to an anti-social cartoonist who spent her days locked in her studio and whose eating habits consisted primarily of beer and snacks when no one else was around?   It might be something like this:

“Eating is more than just a necessity for survival.  It’s a socially significant activity; a time for expression and interaction.” 

While Lynn Johnston is probably parodying some kind of social trend of the 1990s, she may have also been mocking the advice people were giving her in real life.

Panel 2:  In this panel, the idea shifts from eating as social interaction to food presentation.   Serving food creatively sounds like Lynn Johnston is doing a parody of the professional culinary trend of the late 1980s - Nouvelle Cuisine.  This trend reduced the portion sizes in restaurants and instead concentrated on creating neatly presented food.   This parody doesn’t really work because what Elizabeth does in the next panel is not even closely related to Nouvelle Cuisine.  Now, if she had Elizabeth stack Farley’s food into a tower and put a colourful garnish on it, that would be closer to putting her parody across. 

Panel 3: Lynn takes it to the familiar territory of dog torture as Elizabeth interprets the TV recommendation by blindfolding Farley and then pulling his food in his dish away from him by tying his dog dish on a string.  If Farley is blindfolded, then why use the string?  Why not use your hands? Is the purpose behind the string so blindfolded Farley can’t see what is moving the dog dish?  How does that make sense?   Is the blindfold used to see if Farley can follow the scent of the dogfood?  Is the blindfold going to improve Farley’s social interaction?  My guess is the blindfold was supposed to relate to the “experiment” aspect of the TV dialogue.  Lynn did a similar story back in April this year, except it was with Michael torturing Farley and the only difference is the blindfold.   This is less funny and more, “Elizabeth is a weird girl with a very patient dog.”

Summary: This interlude comes out of nowhere and is not even remotely related to the Michael love letter storyline.  I guess back in November, 1990, Lynn Johnston must have realized she needed a fill-in to take that story up to a full week. Tomorrow we will be back to it.
12:54 am
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Nine
(Original Publication Date, 14 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

So much time had passed since I sent you my love letter, I felt the need to console myself with Honey Zaps.  Even though we see each other every day at school and every night for our nightly date, no communication was more important to me than that letter.  I just knew that you had read it and you were keeping that a secret from me for some reason, because you never mentioned it in all the times we were together.  I thought to myself, “She has it now.  There’s no way Martha has not read that letter.  I put my soul on paper…my heart is in her hands.” 

Then as if the magic of Honey Zaps spread into the air, my sister Elizabeth handed me a blue envelope on it.  She said, “The mail came, Mike – there’s something for you.”  Yes, I know.  I had been waiting for a response from you for days and somehow my sister is the one checking for the mail.  What can I say but that I really like Honey Zaps.  In spite of the manner of delivery, I thought, “It’s from HER! – I know it!!!”  After all the letter came in the same kind of blue envelope I had used in my letter to you.  Somehow you sensed the need to respond to my love letter with a letter in an envelope that looked exactly like that envelope.  You hadn’t told me you got my letter because you were going to surprise me with the perfect response to my letter. 

I held it in my hands, enraptured by the thought of having a girlfriend so kind and so considerate as to send me a love letter back that looked just like my love letter.  I thought to myself, “This is an awesome event in my life . – I sent a love letter on the spur of the moment without thinking … and I’m about to experience the result of my actions!”  As I thought it, my eyes bulged and felt like they were about to pop out of my head. 

Then I realized it was actually my same love letter with “Returned due to insufficient postage” written on it.   I guess I really don’t know anything about the Canada Post.   Those numbers on the stamps must mean something after all.  Also, I have noticed that when I am disappointed about something my bangs grow down across my face and almost cover my nose.

Thanks for reading,
Monday, November 11th, 2019
12:21 am
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Eight
(Original Publication Date, 13 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

Sometimes I get so caught up in thinking my deep thoughts, it feels like my head is resting on a giant thought bubble filled with my thoughts.   Just the other day I was thinking, “I feel so totally weird.  I wish I could talk to someone.  I wish I could talk to someone who knows me and understands me and will tell me everything’s OK.”  I could almost feel the giant thought bubble pushing against my head with all those great thoughts.

I have discovered that a lot of times I stop thinking my thinks to myself and I start saying my thinks out loud.  This can be a problem because then people can hear me.  Just the other day I was thinking, “I wish someone would come up to me and say, ‘What’s wrong, Mike?’” and it turned out I was actually saying, “I wish someone would come up to me and say, ‘What’s wrong, Mike?’”  I realized that I had said that last part out loud, because my mother came up to me and said, “What’s wrong, Mike?”  It’s either that or my mother has developed some kind of mental telepathy where she can read my thoughts.  I am pretty sure she can’t do that or she would be mad at me all the time.  Either way it was weird because it’s really unusual for my mom to care what’s going wrong with me.

My mom is the last person I could talk to about you, Martha.  If I told her I wrote you a love letter and I was worried that you would read it and then use it to humiliate me, I would get a lecture about how I am spending too much time with you and how we should cool off the relationship because bad things happen when you spend too much time with your girlfriend.  I’ve heard it all before.  Mom thinks we shouldn’t be spending every night together, like she doesn’t do that with my dad.

I had to say, “Oh, nothing…”  That worked.  She backed off immediately and gave up.  Then I realized it wasn’t because she was really concerned.  It was because she heard me thinking.  Most times when mom comes up to me she is usually screaming and that’s when I know she cares.

Then I went back to thinking without saying what I meant out loud and said, “…and I’d tell them exactly how I feel.”  We Pattersons have the ability to complete our sentences no matter how much time has passed since we started them.  This happens even if we are just thinking the sentences and our mother interrupts us, so the sentence no longer makes any sense.

Thanks for reading,
Saturday, November 9th, 2019
7:34 pm
Monday, 11 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Seven
(Original Publication Date, 12 November 1990)

Dear Marty,

My master plan had failed.  I had to go back to school, but it was useless.  All I could think about was how little I knew about the Canada Post and how long it took them to deliver letters to people who lived in the same town. 

I thought, “How many days?  How many days ‘til Martha gets that letter?” I leaned my ear against my locker to see if could hear the letter coming through the vibration in the locker walls.  I tried not to attract the attention of the silhouette kids moving through the halls.

I leaned my back against the wall and tried to look pregnant, thinking my faux maternal instincts might send you a message about my letter.  I thought my thoughts with my biggest think.  “I hope she keeps it confidential.  I hope she tears it up.  – I’ll tell her to tear it up.  I’ll ask for it back, an’ then I’ll tear it up!!!”  All those thoughts were running through my head and everything depended on whether you had gotten my love letter to you.

Then I saw you in the hall.   You were carrying your usual sheaf of paper but you had actual books in your hands.  I was impressed that you seemed to be doing school when you were in school; but it did not distract me from the important question I needed to ask.  I said, “Uh, Marty…You didn’t happen to get a letter from me, did you?”  You looked so excited that I was actually talking to you in school instead of calling you on the phone or waiting until our date every night.  Plus, I called you, “Marty,” instead of “Mart,” the nickname you said you hated because you were not a store.

You said, “Not yet!”  Then you turned and walked away from me mid-sentence, talking to me over your shoulder and said, “But don’t worry, my mom will tell me…She usually reads the mail first.”  Walking away from me mid-sentence and talking to me over her shoulder is something my mother always does and I was shocked. 

Shocked that you reminded me of my mother and I found it…um…exciting.  Shocked that your mother might read my love letter to you, but I was also shocked that your mother read your mail.  What about privacy?  What is it about your life where your mother would need to read your mail?  What kind of secrets have you been keeping from me?  Why weren’t interested even a little bit in why I would write you a letter or what was in my letter?   After all, it’s not like I have written love letters to you before.  Well, I wrote love notes to you before, but this is a real letter with a stamp on it going in the mail.  That’s a big deal.

What if the worst thing happened and your mother misread the letter and thought I was in love with her and not you?  I am not in love with your mother.  She’s old.  She’s married.  She doesn’t remind of my mother like you do.  I don’t think I could handle two girlfriends unless…is your mother a good cook?  Forget I wrote that.  Concentrate on the love letter you are about to get and when you get it, tear it up so that there is no proof I am in love with either you or your mother.

Thanks for reading,
Friday, November 8th, 2019
10:08 pm
Sunday, 10 November 2019
The one where Elly remembers that Grandpa Jim used to sing a lot of songs not from World War II.
(Original Publication Date, 11 November 1990)

Panel 1: From the Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_%27Till_the_Sun_Shines,_Nellie
"Wait 'Till the Sun Shines, Nellie" is a 1905 popular song with music written by Harry Von Tilzer and lyrics by Andrew B. Sterling.  In a long-standing tradition, floor traders at the New York Stock Exchange sing this song on the last trading day of every year and on Christmas Eve. The song has been the stock exchange anthem at least back as far as 1934.

Panel 2: From the Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pack_Up_Your_Troubles_in_Your_Old_Kit-Bag
"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile" is the full name of a World War I marching song, published in 1915

Panel 3: From the Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Now_Is_the_Hour_(song)
"Now Is the Hour" is a popular song from the early 20th century. Often erroneously described as a traditional Māori song,

Panel 4: From the Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(There%27ll_Be_Bluebirds_Over)_The_White_Cliffs_of_Dover is the one and only WWII song in the bunch.
"(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover" is a popular World War II song composed in 1941 by Walter Kent to lyrics by Nat Burton. Made famous in Vera Lynn's 1942 version, it was one of Lynn's best-known recordings and among the most popular World War II tunes.

Panel 5: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Johnny_Comes_Marching_Home
The lyrics to "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" were written by the Irish-American bandleader Patrick Gilmore during the American Civil War. This is the oldest song of the bunch.

Panel 6: Now for the dialogue to explain why Elly is enjoying those songs (as opposed to explaining why any radio in 1990 would be playing that music).  Elly explains that she remembers her dad singing those songs.  Elizabeth asks, “Why?” and before we see the reason Elly gives, let us look at the real reason.  Grandpa Jim is based on Lynn Johnston’s father, Mervyn Ridgway and he was born in 1920.  All of these songs (but one) predate Mervyn.  So, most likely these were songs he heard growing up and not during WWII.

Panel 7: Elly goes to the Remembrance Day theme (November 11, 1990) and suggests the songs reminded Grandpa Jim of the wonderful people he met overseas during the war.   My wife has the Satellite Radio station 40s Junction and it is truly a fascinating thing to listen to songs written in the 1940s which bring up World War II themes.  Here is a favorite:

Panel 8: Elizabeth asks if Grampa had a lot of friends, seeming to have missed the whole war part of what Elly said.

Panel 9: In case we forgot that Elizabeth has no friends (because Dawn Enjo does not count), she is jealous of WWII Grandpa Jim’s wartime friend-making.

Panel 10: Elly gathers Elizabeth to her and points out that Grandpa Jim was lucky because he was one of the ones who came home.   Awww!!

Summary: This is the first Remembrance Day since Lynn’s father died in August, 1990, and I fully expect Lynn to have notes talking about how all these songs were songs that her father actually sang around the house.  This is also one of many times when Lynn will use Remembrance Day as a day to celebrate WWII veterans or her father’s participation in WWII.   She creates a perception that Canada does not have any veterans after WWII and the most egregious part is that she never uses Remembrance Day to recognize her own mother’s participation as an officer in the WWII RCAF using Grandma Marian.  Here’s to you Mervyn and the amazing Ursula Ridgway and to all of Canada’s veterans, even the ones that did not serve in WWII. 
Thursday, November 7th, 2019
8:51 pm
Saturday, 9 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Six
(Original Publication Date, 10 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

My master plan was that after mom left for work, I would go down to the mail collection box way before 11:00 am and wait for the mailman.  When the time came I could hear myself arguing, “Just a few more minutes of sleep.   You will wake up way before 11:00 am.”  It turns out I was right.  I woke up at 10:58 am.   I ran down to the mail collection box and said to the mailman, “Excuse me!  Wait! (Puff, gasp) I put a very personal letter in there, and I hafta have it back!!”  I know what you are thinking.  I should be trying to present myself with authority and I should not be saying, “hafta’, but “have to.”  It turns out it didn’t matter with this mailman.

I don’t know if you are aware of the history of mailmen in our town of Milborough, but my mother often tells me that if you see one with buck teeth, then most likely they are not a client of dad’s, but they are almost entirely recruited from dairy farm workers and don’t make enough money for proper dental work or for that matter, conversations that do not involve cows.  This mailman was one of those.

He said, “Sorry, son.” I responded brilliantly with “But!...”  Then he told a cow story.  “Once it’s gone into the system, it has to be processed and go through all the proper channels.  Yes, sir.  Puttin’ a letter into Canada Post is like knowing a cow just swallowed yer car key.   They only way to retrieve it…is from the other end.”

I was sad.  Sad because I didn’t get my love etter to you.  Sad because I had to endure a terrible cow story about the Canada Post.  But most of all sad because my mother turned out to be right about mailmen.  He certainly was not like the mailman I remember growing up.

Thanks for reading,
Wednesday, November 6th, 2019
10:49 pm
Friday, 8 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Five
(Original Publication Date, 9 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

Because I mailed your letter after 4:00 pm, and because mail pickup is 11:00 am and 4:00 pm daily.  I thought, “OK, yeah!  I’ll be here when they open the box tomorrow and get my letter back!”  That seemed like a great plan.  What could go wrong with that?  The mailman would realize my situation and of course he would let me pick through all the letters in the mail collection box until I found mine.  I doubt it would take me much longer than an hour or two to find it.  Plus, he would be helping out a Patterson, so he might get some free dental work out of the deal. Dad loves giving free dental to people who help me out of a jam.

Then I thought, ‘How am I gonna get here on time?  - My bus leaves at 8:30, I don’t get home ‘til 4:15.  Even in my thoughts, I could not pronounce “going to”.  However, I was smart enough to realize that school was going to get in the way of my master plan.  School was going to be a problem. 

Then I thought, “How can I get outta school without lying to one of my teachers?!!” Even in my thoughts, I could not pronounce “out of”.  You know me, Martha.  When it comes to talking to teachers, I have to be completely and utterly truthful.  “Honest Mike” that’s what the teachers call me.  “The most trustworthy boy in school.”  I just can’t lie to a teacher.  Can't get a lie
out of me.  I would ruin my reputation in school. 

Then I came up with my master plan.  The flu.  Mom knows nothing about the flu.  She thinks you can take a person’s temperature by pushing their head into a pillow while holding onto a thermometer.  Mom did that to me and she said, “Are you sure it’s the flu, honey?  You don’t have a fever.”  Then I said, “Remember what dad said the last time you tried to measure my temperature this way?”  It’s hard for mom to admit she doesn’t know anything about taking a person’s temperature and even less about the flu.   After all, the last time she thought she had the flu it ended up being a lot worse than that.   Anyway, I got to stay at home.  My master plan for getting into the mailbox was finally coming to pass.

Thanks for reading,
Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
10:29 pm
Thursday, 7 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Four
(Original Publication Date, 8 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

“I am an idiot!  I actually mailed you a love letter!  I am a stupid, moronic, butt-headed jerk!!!”  I remember saying these things right after I mailed you my letter.  I tried to get the letter back, but my initial attempt to open the mail collection box using the top of my head did not work.   Maybe I believed the mail collection box would open thanks to my deep thoughts.  Or maybe I believed when I called myself butt-headed, this meant I could butt my head against the mail collection box and it would open.  No matter how deeply I thought or how hard I butted my head, the mail box would not open.  I knew I was not really stupid or I would have called myself “stoopid”.  However, right around this time, a man walked by and said, “Use your hands, you moron.”  This was when I knew I was moronic. 

“Why, oh why didn’t I think before I dropped the letter into the box?  Why didn’t I wait until tomorrow?” I remember thinking this when I finally used my hand to open the top of the mail collection box and realized even with the top of it open, I could not get to the letter.  If had waited until tomorrow, then everything could have been different.  Maybe the opening on the top of the mail collection box would be wider so I could get my hand in there. Maybe I would develop super elastic powers and I could stretch my arm really thin to get in the mailbox.  Maybe a passing bee would zip into the mailbox and get my letter for me.  There were all kinds of possibilities, if only I had waited until tomorrow.

“I can now prepare for complete and total humiliation!  -- What made me do this to myself?”  I remember saying this after I closed the lid on the mail collection box.  After all, you know when you write a love letter to someone else it is all about you.  People tell me all the time, “It’s all about you, isn’t it Michael?”  It’s hard to be truly humble and admit when someone else has it exactly right.  They are giving me the hard truth.  It really is all about me. 

“Love and stupidity.  They mean the same … they’re just spelled differently.”  I remember thinking this after I put my hands in my pockets and was leaning my stomach forward so I looked pregnant.  At least I think I thought it instead of saying it.  There was a man walking by who said, “What are you talking about youngster?  Love and stupidity don’t mean the same thing.  Oh wait, I see you are pregnant.  I getcha now youngster.  Yep, it was pretty stupid of you to get pregnant, that’s for sure, if that boy didn’t love you.”  I know what you must be thinking.  “Michael can’t get pregnant.  Michael is not a girl.”  You are right of course, but you will have to admit I am better-looking than most girls. 

Thanks for reading,
Monday, November 4th, 2019
9:47 pm
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Three
(Original Publication Date, 7 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

I did it.  I wrote you a love letter.  It has all the things I wish I could say in person, except written down.  That’s how letters work, you know.  It’s good for when you have a hard time talking. Or when you want to use words you really don’t know the meaning of but they sound good and you like using them except you can never remember them when you are talking or if you do use them people will make fun of you.  I remember trying to use the word “ardency” and Gordon heard me and started saying, “Are dunce, eh?”  You don’t have that problem with a letter.

I’ve written it twice.  I’ve read it over and over.  I know every line.  I know what you are thinking.  Which letter did I read over and over and memorize, if I have written the letter twice?  Was it the first letter or the second letter?   I will have you know that Michael Patterson is no “are dunce, eh?”  I read and memorized both of them, but don’t ask me to see the first one, because it’s not as good as the second one.

I’ve put it in a blue envelope (Why is the envelope blue?  Don’t ask.  Let’s just say you should never put your envelopes where your sister can get to them).

I’ve put a stamp on the corner, and…. I am pretty sure it was a postage stamp.  Are they different from regular stamps?  Mine was like a square and completely white with nothing on it.  That sounds right.

I put your address on the envelope.  I also put my return address on the envelope.  Why do I list all the things you need to do to mail a letter?  It’s because people ask me if I have ever mailed a letter before.   Just because someone saw me running around with my eyes on my forehead, with beads of sweat flying off my head, and jutting out my chin with only my bottom teeth showing in my mouth and yelling, “I’ve actually MAILED it!!” when I was standing near a mailbox, doesn’t mean I haven’t mailed a letter before.   That’s just what I do whenever I mail people letters.  It shows I care.

Thanks for reading,
Sunday, November 3rd, 2019
10:42 pm
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part Two
(Original Publication Date, 6 November 1990)

Dear Martha,

I’m sitting here trying to do my homework, but I keep thinking about you.  Your face, your eyes, your smile, even the sound of your voice is recorded on the video in my mind.   Dad would ask me if the video was Beta, because he still thinks Betamax has the best quality.  For my mind, the recording of you is VHS SP, 2 hours of the highest quality that VHS can offer. 

I can see you so clearly.  I wish we could touch.  I mean of course we touch when we go out every night, but that’s different.  That’s just kissing and stuff.  I mean like when you see a recording and you want to touch what’s on the recording.  I wish I could touch the you that’s on the recording of you in my mind.

We’re together at school all the time, we joke around….Why doesn’t anyone ever believe I spend time with you in school?  I don’t know why they say, “I never see you and Martha together at school” or “I never see you taking a class” or “I never see you eating lunch in a school cafeteria” or “Do you even go to school you little creep?  Stop asking if I have seen you at school!” Some people just don’t believe in anything they can’t see. 

Anyway, even though we spend all this time at school together and we joke around all the time and….another thing.  Why do people tell me that I never joke around and how they have never heard me say anything funny?  You are my witness.  We tell jokes all the time, really funny jokes, BUT I never tell you how much you really mean to me. 

Martha, I l…

Yes, Martha, it is the “L” word.  That word is so hard to say, I can’t even write it down!  In fact, I can’t even think the “L” word.  I look off into the sky plaintively as if to say, “Why God?  Why can’t I say the ‘L’ word?  Why did you take this from me in my time of need?  I need to be able to say it or think it or at least write it down.”  Then God says, “Stop acting like you are in some kind of idiotic, sitcom romantic comedy and start acting like a regular human being who can pronounce words.”  Those are tough words from God, but so right.   I know what you are thinking and it’s true, Pattersons can talk directly to God.

Thanks for reading,
Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
9:30 pm
Monday, 4 November 2019
Letters from Michael Part One
(Original Publication Date, 5 November 1990)

My darling Mar
Dearest Martha
Dear Martha,

Sometimes it takes me awhile to remember what your nickname is.  Mom says everyone has nicknames.  I go by Mike when my full name is Michael.  Mom goes by El when her full name is Elly.  My sister Elizabeth goes by Lizzie when her full name is Elizabeth.  My dog goes by Farl when his full name is Farley.  My dad John doesn’t have a nickname for some reason. 

That’s pretty weird, but my mom gets a lot of strange ideas.  She looks at the plate I was using for dinner and just because there is food left, she thinks that her food is something I can eat all of and be done.  I have done enough vomiting after dinnertime to know that you never eat all of my mom’s food.  That’s doing what you have to do to survive.  That’s one of the reasons I eat so much when we go out every night (and are back by 10:30 pm). 

My mom looks in a closet and thinks “tidying a hall closet” is a chore to be done instead of something you only do before grandparents visit.   She also looks in a closet and thinks the newspapers need to be stacked and tied.  I don’t know why she thinks the newspapers need to be stacked and tied if they are in a closet.  One time she told me that things that are in the closet need to be stacked and tied, but I wasn’t really sure she was talking about newspapers. 

The strangest thing of all is if she sees me sitting on a couch chewing on a pencil eraser, I must be doing my homework, instead of having a little snack.   Mom has seen me doing homework before.  I usually look a lot like this:

If I am not screaming or shrieking or cursing, then I am not doing my homework.   Actually, I am not ever doing my homework even if I am quiet.  Why mom would think I was doing homework when I was sitting on a couch calmly eating an eraser? That is not right.   There must be screaming and if anyone knows about screaming, it would be my mom

Thanks for reading,
Friday, November 1st, 2019
12:38 am
Sunday, 3 November 2019
The one wherein it's revealed that it took Elly until her late thirties to come up with the idea of a sort of boot rack kind of deal.

(Original Publication Date, 4 November 1990)

Panel 1: We see Mike and Liz walking home from the bus stop in the pouring rain. Mike smiles as he gets drenched (because he'd rather have pneumonia than hat hair) and Liz (who is actually carrying things in a binder) walks into puddles like a toddler. This is meant somehow to show their hatred of their mother and all of the love in her great big heart.

Panel 2: Speaking of Elly, she looks over her shoulder as one of them slams a door on his or her way in.

Panel 3: As always, she gasps in horror as boots are just plain dumped all over the hallway floor for her to pick up. It is as if she has never heard of an item called a boot tray. At least they weren't in such a hurry to either warm up or get out of wet clothes that they forgot to hang up jackets and such this time.

Panel 4: Her reaction this time is not to point at the mess to dumbfounded children who can't pick up on the fact that clothes don't magically hang themselves up. It is to tell John to do something. We do not know what that something is.

Panel 5: "Something" turns out not to be "going to Canadian Tire to finally buy a boot tray" so Elly can point to it as her idiot children fail to understand what it is and why they should use it. IT is instead to go to a building supply store and ask for wood.

Panel 6: We see John in his workshop putting together a sort of drying rack for boots in which the boot goes over one of the long wooden dowels sticking out of a longer, flatter piece of wood.

Panel 7: Elly finally points something out to dolt children who forget why she claims to chase after them picking up the things they drop behind them thoughtlessly.

Panel 8: As the boots dry on the drying rack we never see again, Elly tells herself that it's exasperation and not necessity is the mother of invention.

Summary: This irritating fixation on things not done and how much that hurts her leads nicely into the next two weeks in which howtheduck will tell you about Mike and his non-stop fear that people will see him as weak and vulnerable and deserving of abuse if it's ever revealed that he has feelings for someone not himself. Only totally egocentric monsters who only care about their own needs are strong and worthy of respect, you see.
Thursday, October 31st, 2019
12:38 am
Saturday, 2 November 2019
John is gobsmacked by Elly's insistence on piling work on herself despite having an excuse to slack off.

(Strip Publication Date, 2 November 1990)

Panel 1: Shortly after Elly's soppy homage to the prettiness of nature, John makes the scene and tells her that she shouldn't be working hard in her condition so she should let him do the raking.

Is he a condescending twit? Yep! Is he too stupid, gutless and lazy to question the stuff he was fed growing up because it works for him? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full, sir! Does it cross his mind that it probably don't work for anyone else? Neeeeeewwwwp!

Panel 2: She goes back inside. John probably thinks that this means sitting on the couch eating bonbons because that's what housewives 'really' do all day because men who never got married and nen who flee housework can't be off base, can they?

Panel 3: Since John thinks that getting to actually learn the people he lives with are is a cruel and evil thing because it requires effort, curiosity, self-examination and other things that are of Satan, he is shocked to see her struggling with the laundry.

Summary: Since John is John, he thinks that the kids will pick up the slack with the housework because they have to work off their debt to their victim parents somehow.
Wednesday, October 30th, 2019
12:34 am
Friday, 1 November 2019
We begin November with a sort of greeting card thing that has Elly tell her unborn child that she thinks she's going to like it out in the world that contains lovely things like overflowing streams and insane idiots who KNOW that she knows that Daddy left them to play harmonica in a bar band, they just KNOW it.

(Original Publication Date, 1 November 1990)

Panel 1: As Elly rakes the leaves herself, she looks up at the sky and tells herself that the autumn has been beautiful but she can feel winter coming in the air.

Panel 2: She makes the odd choice of personifying Winter as female when she says that her arrival means that along with the frost she's bringing, she's also got frost and glitter, white, blowing snow and clear, snowy nights. Perhaps she will also help her sister, a hot guy and a snowman fight villains like herself, a hot guy and a snowman after singing a "You only live once" song.

(What is left out of her reverie is driving herself into ditches because she doesn't realize that in winter conditions, all season tires are as useful as a Band-Aid on a stab wound, screaming at children for leaving winter gear all over the hallway and bitching about the heating bill.)

Panel 3: After that, it will be Spring again. The ground will thaw and warm rains will waken the flowers out of a deep sleep after a long slumber(and also flood her basement because it's too much like work for anyone to check the drainage system). Then comes Summer (and going into hysterics because the children will be underfoot ALL DAY!!!)

Panel 4: Having ignored all the things that bug her because she's not looking at them and because exposure to nature brings out the punk poet in Lynn, Elly tells the baby she thinks that he or she is going to like it out here.

Summary: Yeah. She's going to like spending the rest of the strip being thought of as a hindrance because 'we want to retire NOW!!!" and because someone can't listen to warnings about people who are sand in the chewing gum of life. Being surrounded by unsympathetic assbuckets who call her a picky-face Martian princess because she doesn't know that she has to go away unless she smiles stupidly no matter what shit her idiot relatives hurl at her is supposed to be a non-stop thrill ride through Candyland. Being the target of blind rage from scuzzwad bloggers who insist that she be forced to grovel pathetically in apology forever and always because a fucking DOG died is bliss eternal, supposedly.
Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
12:32 am
Halloween 2019
The one in which Lynn makes a super-obvious joke that is somehow meant to make Dawn and Elizabeth look stupid.

(Original Publication Date, 31 October 1990)

Panel 1: We find ourselves watching Liz and Dawn going trick-or-treating. I find myself flashing back to all the strips that have Lynn be an annoying turd about how her children speak that have it as tricker-treatin' when Liz (who's dressed as Little Bo Peep) tells Dawn "I love Hallowe'en, don't you, Dawn?" because my spell-checker hates the apostrophe Lynn insists on like fire. Dawn says "Yeah....." because we're about to be beaten over the head with a stoopid moral.

Panel 2: We zoom out to see kids in all kinds of costumes wandering about (and also an adult who's outgrown that foolishness) so that Dawn can say "It's a night you can just go out and be yourself."

Summary: This is meant to make Dawn look dumb because the children are in disguise. It makes Lynn look dumb because she doesn't realize that what a child chooses to wear on Halloween reveals a lot about the kid.
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