With today’s new-run in For Better or For Worse
, we have once again entered into the realm of Lynn recycling a joke she has used before. The last time we saw Lynn Johnston do this joke with kids wanting up and down and the “Ups and Downs” wordplay was on 3/14/2004
. In that strip, it was Michael and Meredith. In comparing the two strips, it is interesting to notice the differences.
1. With today’s new-run Nizzie wants up in one panel and wants down in the next panel. However, in the 3/14/2004 strip
, the sequence was Meredith wants up in one panel, Meredith gets attention from Michael in the second panel, and Meredith wants down in the third panel. The 3/14/2004 strip
was on a Sunday and had more panels to spare. In today’s new-run, Lynn Johnston drops the middle panel of the sequence in order to fit everything in. The problem is that without the middle panel, the impression you get is that little Nizzie wants to be picked up and then immediately put down. With the 3/14/2004 strip
middle panels, you get the impression that Meredith is picked up and played with for awhile, before making her request to get down.
2. The other difference is the circumstances in which the request for being picked up occurs. In today’s new-run, Nizzie gets picked up while Elly is in the middle of folding laundry, and then when Elly is carrying laundry. Elly actually puts the laundry down in order to accommodate Nizzie’s request. In the 3/14/2004 strip
, Meredith’s requests do not seem to alter anything Michael was doing except at one point when he is typing on a computer. With this comparison, it appears that Michael understands the boundaries of accepting small children’s demands better than his mother did.
wanted me to comment on Lynn Johnston’s Travel Journal, for a trip she took to Oaxaca, Mexico while I was at Boy Scout camp. The two parts of it are listed here
. I will quote the part about which I am commenting before I comment on it.Lynn's Travel Journal: Oaxaca, MexicoJune 23, 2009
My friend Fran came to visit in January. She noticed that one of the carvings I bought in Mexico was without ears. She also discovered the carving was made in the village where her daughter, Alana is studying Mexican art and culture. Naturally, we decided we should go to Oaxaca, visit Alana and get some new ears. I had enough points to get us there so Kate and I met Fran in Toronto and the 3 of us headed south.
This part of the story hits on some of Lynn Johnston’s favourite themes. She mentions the points because it is important to her that we know that she didn’t actually spend any money on the trip. The reasons for the trip are to get some ears for a carving and to visit Fran’s daughter Alana. Once on the trip, we will find that Alana is barely visited and there is no talk of ears. Lynn wants to go to her favourite vacation country, Mexico, she does not want to go alone, and there is an implication that the daughter of Fran mades the local arrangements. The most interesting part of this to me is that Lynn is taking her daughter Kate on the trip, telling me that Kate and Lynn are spending more time with each other.
The Mexico City airport is large, light and attractive; a good thing since we have 4 hours to kill. We find our way to the “Click”counter where folks are lining up. There are a few other foreigners, easily spotted with their Tilley hats and practical footwear.
She changes planes in Mexico City, and is picked up in Oaxaca; but Lynn is not very clear about this. Lynn has used the phrase “Tilley hats and practical footwear” before when it comes to foreign travel. I would have to admit a Tilley hat would show someone off as a foreigner. I would also have to admit that on what few occasions I have traveled to Mexico, I have never worn or traveled with someone who has worn a Tilley hat. Of course, it should be mentioned that Mexicans often wear practical footwear, so I really don’t know what Lynn means by this.We are met on arrival by Alana, a pretty, blonde and slender woman (heck, we can’t call our daughters “girls”!) and her boyfriend, Eric. Eric is a local fellow ( muy guapo!) with a busy printing business. He doesn’t speak English and focuses on the drive to the B&B where we will be staying.
means “very handsome” or “very sexy”. Yes, Lynn is single. Eric is an interesting first name for a local, non-English-speaking fellow from Oaxaca.They have borrowed a truck from our hosts. It’s a black 4 door vehicle with a metal cage on the back, very useful for carrying whatever one needs to schlep.
Why in the world are they driving the truck owned by the Bed and Breakfast people? Wouldn’t the Bed and Breakfast people be driving it? That’s what is listed in their website. This is what tells me that Alana is the one who set up Lynn’s accommodation.Eric takes us around the center of town, as a recent strike ended in chaos, yesterday, with broken glass, burning tires and a barricade making it an unpleasant drive. Apparently the teachers are out of sorts and are making a political statement. Nothing like setting a good example!
Looking at the information on the internet, I don’t see anything about this strike happening in particular in 2009. The Oaxaca teacher’s strike that captured the world news occurred in 2006. I suppose what Lynn is viewing was something done in honor of the 3rd anniversary of that strike
. Clearly she does not understand the issue and has not consulted her hosts to find out anything about the strike. However, condemning something she does not understand is perfectly in keeping with Lynn Johnston.Rumbling over the many “topes”(speed bumps) we come to a steep and challenging hill at the top of which is a classy row of houses and Casa Machaya.
are speed bumps, which are more extreme than speed bumps in the US. Lynn does not mention this.Alvin and Arlene Starkman greet us at the door. They lead Kate and I to a suite on the second floor and we settle in. Alvin and Arlene are Canadians who have given up the grind for their dream of owning a little place in paradise.
Naturally, Lynn is staying with Canadians.Our space in the Starkman house is perfect. There’s a large bed-sitting room and an attached alcove with double bunks. Kate takes the bunks and I spread out on the bed. Fran has their daughter, Sarah’s room and we are set.
This part is a little confusing. If you click on the Casa Machaya website, you will see a picture of a bedroom and optional guest bedroom with a bunk bed. Apparently each person traveling has to have their own room in this deal, so Sarah is out of her room for a bit. Why Fran wouldn’t be staying with her daughter, we don’t know.The walls are green and orange. Matching handmade bedspread and drapes make you aware you’re in a country that reveres color and artistry.
Actually, according to the Casa Machaya website:Your Canadian hosts spent four years building their home using a Oaxacan architect so you’re assured of classic Mexican flare, color and design, yet with all the conveniences of home without any cultural surprises:
What Lynn is seeing is a Canadian’s version of Mexican in the colour scheme to appeal to tourists. If you don’t believe me, look at those pictures. The strangest part of the pictures is that we do not see Kate or Lynn in the pictures. She shot a picture of her luggage on the bed instead.A door leads onto a covered porch which is also our kitchen and dining room. There’s grub in the fridge, fresh fruit on the counter and we declare ourselves at home. Upstairs, Arlene has put out spicy nuts, wine and a variety of local tequilas. We sit and enjoy each other’s company. A great finale to day one.
They get there and they get drunk. Great day!Tuesday
The sun is up around 6, heralded by several roosters- one of which has a serious throat ailment making his crow more of a croak, but it’s effective. The neighbours are already up, doing chores and puttering about.
Oaxaca slam #1.
The place is so rustic, roosters are the alarm clock.We overlook about 5 small houses, one of which is undergoing construction. (Probably for years.)
Oaxaca slam #2.
The place is so poor, home construction takes years.A loud mooing comes from somewhere and I go out onto the porch to look for a cow. The mooing is followed by a garbled announcement from one of those cartop bullhorns: “ MOOOOOOOO!!!! ……. blabarabbablabba OAXACA!” Turns out it’s the propane guys selling gas.
Possibly “Propano…Gas de Oaxaca” Maybe “propanoooooo” sounds like “MOOOOOOOO!!!!”Good local advertising at 6 AM …..and appropriately, it’s about gas!
I don’t get this joke.I put on the coffee, help myself to eggs and fresh mango and read some articles on the area.
As we will find out later, “articles on the area” means “places to eat.”The variety of flowering shrubs around our outdoor kitchen are almost too pretty to be real and I find it hard to concentrate. Ivy and cactus decorate the walk. Blue, pink and white blossoms tumble over the wall separating us from the house next door. We are asked to keep the water we run before getting into the shower and pour it onto the plants. Even in the rainy season, there’s never enough water, and yet these plants bloom with joy.
An interesting bed and breakfast with this request. Speaking from recent Boy Scout experience, I can tell you that water is heavy.The biff is a long tiled room with an open shower in the middle. A curtain separates the flusher from the douche which is next to the sink. An interesting and functional configuration which Kate and I find easy to share. It’s so dry here that everything evaporates fast. A wet floor is dry in minutes and laundry is ready to wear almost before it’s on the line. While Kate gets ready, I take out a bucket of agua and dump it on the grateful plants outside.
Looking at the picture
makes part of this clear, although I am still not sure about where the water goes from the open shower. The shower must somehow drain into a bucket, not visible in the picture.Around 9:00 Alana and Fran meet us upstairs and we head off for a look at the city of Oaxaca.
Translation here. It takes them 3 hours to get ready.Along the tree-lined streets, people sell cool drinks and fresh pastries. Candy made from coconut, tamarind and cactus are delicious and we stop to buy a sample of each one.
First stop in Oaxaca – food!Asphalt pavement gives way to cobblestone streets where carts are pulled, bicycles ridden and a social order is kept with cheerful greetings to all. We feel welcome and knowing enough of the language to have a conversation is a blessing. I think the language barrier is the one thing that keeps us all from getting along. Culture is part of it, religion, too…but if you know how to greet someone on the street and wish them a good day, eyes light up, smiles happen and you feel at altogether home.
Lynn knows how to say "Buenos dias." If only everyone could do that, then everyone would get along. World peace all thanks to Lynn Johnston.The ancient town square is ringed with restaurants and we choose one for a snack and a cervesa. This is where the annual radish festival takes place. Fran tells us in detail about the festivities surrounding the displays, the carving, the artistry, the fireworks and the competition involved. We contemplate the act of radish carving. Are they soaked first, how long do they last, are they eaten later, is there a national radish carving champion?? This is one more thing I want to see before I die.
Lynn could do that or just look at these pictures.
This festival does not occur until December 23
each year, so Lynn is getting awfully worked up over something she is only hearing about.After lunch, we continue up the street past a group of demonstrators. Hanging over an entranceway is a large cloth on which is printed the graphic image of a woman with her throat slit. It’s hard to understand just what the message is…but the picture is worth a few words. In a place so full of beauty and history it’s hard to understand how something so violent can be so casually displayed.
Lynn doesn’t know this, but I will let you know that the response to the teacher’s strike in 2006 resulted in over 12 people being killed and reports of people be tortured. Most likely the picture is in reference to that event. Lynn refers to the town’s beauty and history and yet, what we have so far, is an eating trip with a little dose of condemnation for the local politics for marring Lynn’s trip. Lynn is disappointed that the Casa Machaya website promise of no “cultural surprises” is not proving to be true.There is a large indoor market nearby and we go in. Stalls filled with spices and piled with peppers are separated by curtains and thin wooden frames from the meat sellers and cheese merchants and people selling flowers. Seated in rows alongside the stalls, ladies sell home made tortillas. They look delicious. Feeling like a local, now, I buy a bag full of carrots and some broccoli.
Huh? The tortillas look delicious, but she buys carrots and broccoli? Is that what locals do?
Suddenly remembering my camera, I take a photo of a huge pile of hot peppers and then a lady seated on the floor selling limes. OOPS I forgot to ask her permission. This is a real breach of etiquette and I sincerely apologize. I give her a 10 peso coin which she accepts, but it is evident that had I had the courtesy to ask first, she’d have been pleased to oblige.
In other words, Lynn wants you to know that she could have saved that money, continuing on in her frugal theme. 1 Mexican peso = 0.075523 dollars, so Lynn is giving her 75 cents.Outside, merchants sit behind displays of clothing, jewelry, dvd’s , cotton candy and all kinds of nuts. Roasted grasshoppers are also for sale and I’m tempted, but need a shot of tequila first.
Lynn needs to be drunk before she will eat a grasshopper.Babies sleep in baskets under the displays and a blind man plays the guitar so well, I want to stop and listen. His friend passes a hat and we’re glad to donate.
Lynn’s first stop that does not involve food.Back at the B&B, we go through our purchases as Al and Arlene bring out the wine. Fortified with local brew, I volunteer to make dinner. Cooking is easy when it’s done with whatever you can find in the kitchen.
In other words, Lynn may have bought those carrots and broccoli, but she is not going to eat them. She does acknowledge that she will only cook when she is drunk enough. I wonder how drunk you have to be to eat Lynn's cooking.Outside, the noises of the night begin; peeping toads, dogs barking, fireworks and mariachi music. We settle into our nest. It’s been a truly great day.
What an odd array of sounds. Once again, Lynn ends the day by drinking and declares the day to be good. All in all, this appears to be an eating vacation, which can be fun. The real question is whether or not Lynn Johnston will ever actually eat any Mexican food.