Edited to Add:
It occurred to me cartoons, even if clipped from the newspaper, are copyrighted material. Ignorance is no excuse for using them without permission. I could try and get permission from the authors, but it’s difficult to get contact information on some of them, so I decided to remove the images.
I’m leaving the text in case anyone saved a link, but I will not be doing any more posts about Hartwick Joke(s) of the Week.
So, nine years have passed since I did this post . . . and what I notice is that Pinterest, Facebook, and many, many places share cartoons all willy-nilly. I’m not normally prone to do something illegal just because so many others do it (apparently, that’s no longer a virtue in today’s world and gets you incredulous looks I interpret as saying “you’re an idiot”), but, in this case, and for a good cause — laughter — I decided to restart the Jokes of the Week<<link documentation so that posterity can enjoy some cartoons that have likely passed from memory.
Note that depending on when you click on the link and read the series, there may be more coming. At the time of this writing, there are only eight published out of more than a hundred. At one a week, it might go for a while. Why, I may not even finish publishing them because I don’t know if I’ll live another 20 years.
At the end of March 1995 I had the bright idea to start publishing the Hartwick Professionals Joke(s) of the Week. What better way to share my odd sense of humor than expose a relatively captive audience to it.
The above was the modest beginning to a weekly sheet that kept going until Hartwick closed in 2004. As you can see, this first weekly foray into what amused me was relatively simple. The yellow paper is because our stationary was somewhat that color, and these are scans.
I knew this first one was not enough for something that would have to entertain for a whole week. I decided to include favorite quotes to both entertain and stimulate the reader’s mind.
It still seemed sparse to me. But I worried . . . just what kind of precedent would I be establishing if I packed this thing with lots of comics and quotes? Where would I get the material?
As it turned out, I worried for nothing. There are vast resources of both humor and quotes, and in the nine years I did this I never had any problems coming up with stuff.
Note the jokes about computers. This was still relatively early in what would be the incredible explosion of both PC usage and the Internet. For instance, I am pretty sure a few of the younger readers will miss the joke of the hunter holding up a flying toaster . . . then again, that might be so iconic that everyone knows the reference.
The B.C. cartoon was modified to reference our own company and report writing. We had a brilliant, but young, crew. Mike, my business partner, and I were often asked to “look over” the reports before they were forwarded to the customers.
Happily, around this time I discovered Joe Martin’s Mr. Boffo and Willy ‘n Ethel. They would feature prominently in these pages, and I still read them (I’m subscribed, and have them delivered each day to my e-mail).
I will never meet the man, but Joe Martin’s sense of humor and mine’s were aligned from the start; I just enjoyed the shit out of what he draws.
Notice the B.C. cartoons. When Hart died the cartoons suffered mightily.
My quotes typically held a skeptical viewpoint. I was not shoving it down anyone’s throat; they were welcomed to submit their own jokes and quotes, and I never refused any of them. Most people did not bother.
Note also these were done in Word Perfect. To this day I think my old version of Word Perfect 6.0 is superior to even the latest Windows Word. Intuitive interface, fast, and I don’t ever recall having problems figuring out how to do stuff without resorting to sacrificing part of my sanity in the process. No hidden codes, no surprises when I moved something, no problem integrating graphics, text, tables, and what-not.
Eventually we had to move to Windows Word as that was the official editor for The Big Three, and we had to have compatibility. Damn shame. I still use Word because that is what we use, and curse, at work.
Mother Goose ‘n Grimm is a comic I still read. It can have flashes of wonderful quirkiness that appeals to my own skewed way of looking at things.
By the way, the Scottish Proverb is something I would suggest to everyone.
The second and third Willy ‘n Ethel are hi-larious to me, but many do not find them funny. I don’t know if this is due to me being a bit off, or because peoples’ sense of humor is fundamentally broken.
Humor, in my opinion, works best when presenting a surprise. It works fantastically when the surprise is so far from what one might expect that their brain has no choice but to jump with joy at the discovery.
I don’t know how much of my sense of humor is innate and how much is learned. I suspect it’s mostly innate, but I am forever grateful to my mother for nurturing not only my sense of humor, but that of my brother and two sisters.
Just this week I was involved in a discussion regarding individual rights versus those of society as a whole. There is tremendous disappointment in me because the overwhelming attitude I come across these days is that for the benefit of society we should reconsider the Bill of Rights.
The Right attacks the First Amendment, while The Left attacks The Second Amendment. The rest are trampled when convenient by both The Left and The Right.
It is at times such as these that I need to go back and read Jefferson, Lincoln, and other historical figures who helped shape and helped solidify the underlying principles of this, my adopted country. It is a comfort to me knowing such men existed for it means there is the chance that as the wheel turns they will appear again.
No, not here, and not now. The quality of our so-called-leaders is appalling, and it pains me to watch my fellow humans settle for the least of two evils when they should be demanding so much more.
We live at a time where personal honor, responsibility, common sense, pride, and dignity are all under assault by men and women short in vision and long in ambition, by people who see nothing wrong in compromising their freedom for security, by opportunistic bastards who are only concerned with ensuring the largest slice of the pie even if many go without.
In my opinion these are not indicators of a healthy society, and I fear it is too late for all of us. I don’t know; maybe I am wrong.
But one thing is for certain . . . for those who give it a chance, humor will help them bear the adversities of life, and make the good times that much better. It sure does me.
A toast to laughter!