I had a lovely little birthday party with my wife, Melinda, and niece, Jenny. They bought a glittery banner and I realized I’ve never had a banner for my birthday party before. They also restarted a long-abandoned tradition of lighting a candle on the cake for every year I’ve been alive, and there’s a reason why we abandoned it: the lighting took forever and the cake is now covered in wax, and now the top of the cake looks like a squirrel couldn’t find his nut and dug everywhere for it.
Here are my presents, presented not to gloat over the big haul (it’s not) but to show what a wonderful wife I have:
This was from my niece Jenny. Allegedly. Next time, Melinda, tell Jenny what “she’s getting me” so that she doesn’t take it from my hand and say, “What is it?” It kinda spoils the subterfuge. Anyway, it’s a Wii version of a game I’ve found addictive on the computer. Will that translate to Wii play? We shall see.
And then here is a present from my cats Nina, Doris and Natasha. (I named “Doris” so that she could be criminal partners with Natasha. Would have been Boris but who names a female kitten Boris?) The cats have good taste. These are the original Peanuts cartoons from back when the Peanuts gang was first being conceived. It’s rather dark stuff for the time, which seems odd considering that Charlie Brown and Snoopy came to symbolize the tired, trite and boring of the comics page. Charlie Brown, the boy who never wins anything, who loses every kite he’s ever tried to fly, who is ridiculed by his friends and is tricked repeatedly by a girl who offers to set up a football for him just to mock him when he falls on his back. Charlie Brown, whose baseball team is a bunch of losers who would rather hold rubber cats, fluff their naturally curly hair, hang on to their precious blankets or debate philosophy than play ball, and whose meanest pitches get batted back at him so hard he winds up lying in his underwear on his pitcher’s mound. In a world of Blondie, Family Circus, Alley Oop and Prince Valiant, that’s actually pretty edgy. I think my favorite moment is when Charlie Brown actually wins something, and it’s a coupon for a free haircut. He points out that his dad is a barber and gives him haircuts. And he doesn’t really have a lot of hair. (Maybe I just like that because it’s meta-referential; the strip rarely commented on itself.) I’m anxious to dig into this volume.
Surprise! I got one more present on Monday. My buddy Robert Bavington (who has done many of the costumed Fuzzballs for this site and Fanzing) sent me the season 3 box set. I’m over the moon. Thanks, buddy!