Monday, September 20, 2010


I want to take a few moments to recommend the comic strip PEARLS BEFORE SWINE to all of you. I guarantee you that every time you read this weird strip you will get a good chuckle, if not a belly full of laughs.
When I arrived in the United States in 1936, I could not speak one word of English. So, did I learn to speak English in school? Nope, I didn’t. I learned to speak English on the streets of New York and also by looking at comic strips in the New York Daily News.
I know I wasn’t the only kid, or adult for that matter, who valued the comics. In July 1945, during a newspaper deliverers' strike, Fiorello La Guardia, arguably the best mayor New York ever had, made sure everyone was able to keep up with the comics by reading the strips over the radio.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed comic strips ever since. Over the years Hagar the Horrible has become one of my favorite strips. I have several Hagar lithographs hanging on the walls in my room.
About eight years ago, I fell in love with Pearls Before Swine, a weird but hilarious new strip written and illustrated by a brilliant cartoonist, Stephan Pastis.
Characters appearing in the cartoon are a rat that abuses all the other characters, a stupid pig, a smart goat, and a zebra constantly sought after as a meal by a bunch of idiot crocodiles. Also appearing are a guard duck, an elephant cop, a slew of other animals and occasionally Stephan Pastis himself in caricature as a foil for rat.
What keeps me in stitches is when Larry, Bob, Floyd and other dumb crocs try and fail to lure their Zebra neighbor over to their house with some really stupid and obvious tricks, many of which backfire. Patty and Junior, Larry’s wife and son are the only intelligent crocs among the bunch.
Several years ago the capillaries in both of my eyes started leaking, thus making it impossible for me to see anything up close without the aid of a very strong magnifying glass. Even with the magnifying glass it's still really hard for me read the small print within the speech balloons. That's why the only comics I'm now reading are Hagar and Pearls Before Swine.
If you don’t have access to Pearls Before Swine, you are missing out on a real funny and entertaining comic strip. Pearls Before Swine alone is worth subscribing to a newspaper that carries this strip. I think you can also find some of Pearls Befor Swine on the internet.
Young or old, you'll enjoy Pearls Before Swine. I for one am truly indebted to Stephan Pastis for making me laugh every day. With everything falling apart in our old age, us octogenarians don’t get to laugh all that much anymore.

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