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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hoyer Calls Connection To Schilling’s PED Accusations ‘Preposterous’

There’s a freakin’ pants load here…wheel in the Hoyer Lift!

Both Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and Hoyer were members of the Red Sox organization in 2008.

“The first I ever heard of that was this morning when I saw it, so clearly, no, it didn’t ring true to me at all,” Hoyer said Thursday on The McNeil & Spiegel Show on 670 The Score. “I can tell you it would be preposterous that Theo or I would be involved in that. So I can comment for the two of us. I obviously wasn’t there. I don’t know the story he’s talking about so I can’t comment on the rest of it. I can tell you certainly it wasn’t Theo or me.”

...Hoyer responded Thursday by saying he has never been involved in a direct conversation about a player using PEDs.

“In my position going from intern to baseball operations all the way to assistant GM and GM it’s never something I’ve ever been confronted with, no,” Hoyer said. “But it is something that is a constant discussion in baseball because whether it’s a guy tests positive or there’s suspicions, it’s something people talk about, but it’s never something I’ve ever been directly confronted with.”

Repoz Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:22 PM | 162 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, red sox

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4365205)
Hello?! Bloom Beacon?! This is Senator Bedfellow! What's with this *@#!! HEADLINE?
Headline?
Yes! There's no story … Just a headline!
Which headline?
THE BIG HEADLINE ON THE FRONT PAGE!
Read it to me, Senator.
"BEDFELLOW: THE SECRET LIFE OF A WIFE-SWAPPING ATHEIST."
Oh that's just a typo.
   2. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4365214)
Soon all the high-level former employees will deny it and the media will have to go back to Schilling with a blank look on their faces and ask: "Curt, who were you talking about? The janitor?"
   3. Moeball Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4365236)
Well, even the most die-hard Sox fans have started wondering just how tainted their championships were...
   4. attaboy Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4365242)
Well, even the most die-hard Sox fans have started wondering just how tainted their championships were...

As a mets fan, I have no skin in this game, no team of mine has won squat diddly in over two and a half decades but I doubt there is any team in the past twenty years who is taint free! The vast majority of players have at least tried, if not frequently used the stuff, to single out one organization over any other is silly...and BTW, losing orgs have the same number of players who use as the winning clubs do.
   5. philly Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4365276)
Didn't the Mitchell Report include anecdotes about the Sox front office discussing PED allegations around a releiver they were intending to acquire? It could have been Gagne or perhaps someone lower profile like Brendan Donnelly (a name that sticks out for some reason).

The Mitchell Report was 98% about players so that anecdote really stuck out to me (ie I think my hazy memory is true - beleive me!).

That's a long way from backing up Schilling's story, but it undermines Hoyer's too righteous indignation about ever being involved in a conversation about PEDs.
   6. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: February 07, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4365279)
Hello?! Bloom Beacon?! This is Senator Bedfellow! What's with this *@#!! HEADLINE?
Headline?
Yes! There's no story … Just a headline!
Which headline?
THE BIG HEADLINE ON THE FRONT PAGE!
Read it to me, Senator.
"BEDFELLOW: THE SECRET LIFE OF A WIFE-SWAPPING ATHEIST."
Oh that's just a typo.


Oh, man, I used to love Bloom County. I still have the "Billy and the Boingers" 45 which came in one of the books.
   7. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4365287)
We need a Bloom County thread. Now more than ever.
   8. smileyy Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:12 PM (#4365299)
Bloom County has not aged particularly well. Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

Though on second thought, maybe its more that Berke Breathed's recent attempts at anything Bloom County related hasn't aged at all, and falls flat.
   9. McCoy Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4365309)
Bloom County has not aged particularly well. Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

People say this about every decade and like clockwork 30 years later the decade becomes popular again.
   10. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4365317)
What exactly is the difference between talking about who is or might be suspected of roiding, and being "confronted with" or "directly confronted with" roiding?

Epstein considered whether a player was roiding in making a personnel decision about him -- it's in his own words in the Mitchell Report. Why wouldn't he have? He'd have been derelict in his duties if he hadn't.

Is this going to be one of those things that obviously should have came to "light" years ago that people are just now "noticing"?
   11. Dale Sams Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4365327)
Well, even the most die-hard Sox fans have started wondering just how tainted their championships were...


That's from 4 years ago...and #### Simmons.
   12. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4365331)
Bloom County has not aged particularly well. Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?


Wow, I couldn't disagree more vigorously. Bloom County is still very funny, it's everything Berke Breathed has done since then that's awful.
   13. AROM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4365332)
"Bloom County has not aged particularly well. Were the 80s a good time for _anything"

I don't want to know. Haven't looked at those books in many years. In my mind Bloom County was/is awesome. I better not ruin that by re-reading them.
   14. AROM Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4365333)
""BEDFELLOW: THE SECRET LIFE OF A WIFE-SWAPPING ATHEIST."

Matt Drudge turned the Bloom Beacon's methods into an empire. I respect parody that succeeds in predicting the future.
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4365335)
Bloom County has not aged particularly well. Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

Wow, I couldn't disagree more vigorously. Bloom County is still very funny, it's everything Berke Breathed has done since then that's awful.
100% agree with YR. Given how much of the humor was topical, it's particularly amazing it stands up so well.

Like Opus the Rhyming Bird
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4365337)
I don't want to know. Haven't looked at those books in many years. In my mind Bloom County was/is awesome. I better not ruin that by re-reading them.
Seriously, you won't. Still brilliant. Go back and enjoy.
   17. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: February 07, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4365338)
Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?
YES
   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4365342)
Epstein considered whether a player was roiding in making a personnel decision about him -- it's in his own words in the Mitchell Report. Why wouldn't he have? He'd have been derelict in his duties if he hadn't.


Yes. So so what? Epstein was deciding whether to acquire Gagne and noted that the Dodgers thought Gagne was on steroids and so asked his staff if they had any further information. I'm at a loss as to what your point is, SugarBear.

   19. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4365347)
Like Opus the Rhyming Bird


That's still one of my favorites.

A few years ago I was working late in a project with a couple of Big Pharma scientists and we were chatting about married life. Me and one of the guys had both gotten married young, the other guy waited until he was 33.

"Geez, I can't even imagine living alone and unmarried when I was 30," I said.

"Yeah," the guy replied, "I was pretty much Steve Dallas."

And we all laughed, because we got it. Goofy bachelorism, squalid living conditions, lots of booze - the whole picture painted in two words,
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4365348)
Apropos of the '80s, did this song really happen? The "doggone" girl is mine? Complete with the speaking banter that Jackson and McCartney engaged in at the end?

[Chorus]
Because She's Mine
The Doggone Girl Is Mine
Don't Waste Your Time
Because The Doggone Girl Is Mine

...

[Paul]
Michael, We're Not Going To Fight About This, Okay

[Michael]
Paul, I Think I Told You, I'm A Lover Not A Fighter

[Paul]
I've Heard It All Before, Michael
She Told Me That I'm Her Forever Lover, You Know, Don't You Remember

[Michael]
Well, After Loving Me, She Said She Couldn't Love Another

[Paul]
Is That What She Said

[Michael]
Yes, She Said It, You Keep Dreaming

[Paul]
I Don't Believe It

[Michael & Paul]
The Girl Is Mine (Mine, Mine, Mine)

   21. toratoratora Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4365355)
Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

Calvin and Hobbes all sorts of rocked (Came out in 85)
   22. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4365356)
Yes. So so what? Epstein was deciding whether to acquire Gagne and noted that the Dodgers thought Gagne was on steroids and so asked his staff if they had any further information. I'm at a loss as to what your point is, SugarBear.

That Hoyer has had "direct" conversations about players using PEDs and been "confronted" with the subject of players using PEDs.(*)

He denied both things.

His attempted distinguishing of discussions about roiders and being "confronted" with roiders is silly and untenable, but that's a secondary point.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with such converstations, and wonder why Hoyer is running away from them so quickly.

(*) As has Epstein, obviously. See Mitchell Report, not that it's necessary. Anyone who doesn't think GMs tried to keep track of who was roiding during the Steroid Era is positively cookoo. One couldn't have engaged in serious talent evaluation without trying.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:23 PM (#4365357)
Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?
The development of indie rock, hip-hop, and electronic music, three of the most vital current musical genres.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4365362)
In my mind Bloom County was/is awesome. I better not ruin that by re-reading them.


Seriously, you won't. Still brilliant. Go back and enjoy.

Seconded. It started out looking like a plagiaristic ripoff of Doonesbury because of the similar artwork, but after a while I started to appreciate its sheer anarchistic vision. It's not a work of near-genius like Ruben Bolling's Tom The Dancing Bug, or some of the older strips like Pogo, Krazy Kat or Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, but it's still right up there with just about any of the others. Breathed was probably smart to quit while he was ahead, but when you consider the terminal lameness of about 80% of today's comics, I wish he'd thought about his readers before his understandable personal interests.
   25. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4365373)
"Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts." - I laughed for 15 minutes straight, probably more.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4365375)
I'm at a loss as to what your point is, SugarBear.

I'd imagine SugarBear's point is among the following:

a) Hoyer seemed to just say that Theo would never engage in the sort of discussion Schilling recalls. The Gagne discussion is rather different but is about whether a player is using and can he be effective without them.

b) are people really so naive to think management wasn't involved in PED conversations and possibly PED encouragement or even PED decisions?

c) if Theo was interested in the PED use of Gagne prior to acquiring him, do we believe that was a one-time thing or was he also interested in the PED use of other players he acquired and his own players (especially prior to contract extensions)?

d) if Theo was informed that a player he wanted to acquire was on steroids, how did the rest of the conversation go? Did Theo wash his hands of the player (he acquired Gagne)? Was the probability of the player being caught discussed?

e) Did Theo Epstein knowingly employ players who were in violation of baseball's new PED rules while GM of the Boston Red Sox?

I find it hard to believe that Theo (and every other GM) wasn't having these conversations about players other than Gagne. As SBB notes, especially post-testing it would be part of due diligence to assess the chances that a guy was going to get suspended for 50 games.

Are you really not interested in the question of to what extent MLB management, pre- and post-testing, encouraged/tolerated PED use? I have no interest in expanding the witch hunt to include Theo and others -- alas, the most likely outcome of somebody starting to poke into that question -- but I'd certainly be interested to know how widespread this is and I think concrete proof of management acceptance/abetting/encouragement of PED use would further strengthen the case that pre-testing usage was not "cheating" even in terms of the "spirit of the game" or whatever.

d) If Theo believed that Gagne's performance was substantially due to PED use, did he ever give in to the temptation to suggest PEDs to a player?

Of course BALCO was in 2003. It
   27. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4365376)
And I can still sing some of the throwaway asides from the closing of "The Girl is Mine".

"I love you mooooore than he..."

"I love you endlessly...."

Oh yes, the decade happened.
   28. vagab0nd (no longer an outl13r) Posted: February 07, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4365377)
Bloom County has not aged particularly well. Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

People say this about every decade and like clockwork 30 years later the decade becomes popular again.


But, the 80's WERE 30 years ago.
   29. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4365394)
It started out looking like a plagiaristic ripoff of Doonesbury because of the similar artwork

It wasn't just the artwork. Breathed used the same balloon-less word balloons, namechecked the same news figures and topics, and even paced the panels and the dialogue with the same cadences that Trudeau had been using for a decade. I still remember a review which said that giving Breathed full credit for "Bloom County"s style would be like "complimenting a shoplifter for being a snappy dresser."

The example linked above shows why Bloom County was always a lesser light. Where Garry Trudeau would have come up with a punchline or a sequence that actually addressed Caspar Weinberger in a tangible way, Breathed merely uses his name as a funny-sounding Mad Lib fill-in. That's something he did all the time. Beyond the whimsy, there's very little there there. The Simpsons' takedown of Mark Russell for playing toothless "satiric" songs like "The Deficit Rag" could just as easily be directed at Berke Breathed. The strip was cute, but let's not pretend that random drop-ins of Jerry Falwell or Ivana Trump or Margaret Thatcher chronicled the zeitgeist of a decade. "Bloom County" was like a "Doonesbury" entirely populated by Zonkers. I don't think how the strip is perceived to have aged is the issue; I felt it was overrated at the time.
   30. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4365395)
I read the headline and wondered how the hell House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer was linked to Curt Schilling and PEDs.
   31. Good cripple hitter Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4365403)
The Simpsons' takedown of Mark Russell for playing toothless "satiric" songs like "The Deficit Rag"


Phil Hartman on an episode of Newsradio was fantastic at this.
   32. Curse of the Andino Posted: February 07, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4365405)
But, the 80's WERE 30 years ago.


Being able to do Pretty in Pink, I Melt With You or Don't You Forget About Me well generally leads to hookups in karaoke bars these days. YMMV.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 07, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4365420)
"Bloom County" was like a "Doonesbury" entirely populated by Zonkers.
It seems like your problem with Bloom County is that it wasn't Doonesbury. Which it wasn't!

The strip was much more about the meadow community, people and animals bouncing little bits of thoughts and feelings off each other. The tone was often light and the focus local. It was a "hang out" strip. The strip linked above was of course not a piece of satire, and critiquing it for lacking satirical bite is like complaining that your croissant wasn't spicy.

For the most part, Breathed didn't satirize the Congress, he didn't seek to skewer, he had a lighter touch and focused on the media and celebrity culture. I don't think this is necessarily a lower form of comedy. The stories of Bill the Cat running for president and being famous focus mostly on jokes about how the media covers campaigns and celebrities. You can perhaps wish that Bloom County had run more strips where the panel is a repeated shot of the outside of the White House and see words coming out, but that wasn't the angle it took. (Bloom County could do real political satire at times. The "penguin lust" storyline as a critique of public gaybashing was quite brilliant. But that was rare, for the most part.)
   34. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4365424)
Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

OH JA
   35. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:05 PM (#4365425)
agree with gonfalon's 29, but more so.

it was a pretty lame strip, brethed is vastly overrated.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4365427)
It was funny.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:12 PM (#4365430)
Where Garry Trudeau would have come up with a punchline or a sequence that actually addressed Caspar Weinberger in a tangible way, Breathed merely uses his name as a funny-sounding Mad Lib fill-in. That's something he did all the time. Beyond the whimsy, there's very little there there.
I mean, seriously. You read the Caspar Weinberger strip, and you realized that the joke had failed to critique Weinberger's role in runaway defense spending? Indeed. Further, the joke also wasn't about the persecution of the Cathars or contemporary Japanese gender roles.

The joke is about the characters, sweet confused Opus and his weird little interactions with the world around him. And it's about the fact that Caspar Weinberger is a funny name.

I'm guessing perhaps the big thing you're missing is the character-based humor, the way this joke wouldn't work at all with Bloom or Binkley or Portnoy performing the poem. It's about Opus.
   38. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:16 PM (#4365431)
Whereas in terms of comedy it's hard to go against Gonfalon, I will here. Bloom County was simply far more consistently whimsical than Doonesbury was. It was a different animal.

And phredbird, if you're going to be all "it weren't all that, sheeit", what exactly in the period of 1980-1989 are you judging above it, daily-strip-wise? If you think it's overrated, that's fine, but unless you read the dailies, I'm going to have a hard time taking "lame" empirically.
   39. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:17 PM (#4365432)
"Bloom County" was like a "Doonesbury" entirely populated by Zonkers.
It seems like your problem with Bloom County is that it wasn't Doonesbury. Which it wasn't!


the criticism is warranted. brethed was trying too hard to do another doonesbury and it showed. when he realized he'd never be able to match trudeau's ability to develop stories and characters he relied on silliness and lots of exclamation points. and really. come on. dallas was duke with a thatch of hair drawn on. embarassing, truly. every device he came up with to distance himself from trudeau accomplished nothing more than to put in relief how trite the strip was.

this is strictly a critique of bloom county, by the way. i have my own issues with doonesbury too, but nevermind.

a chacun a son gout.
   40. Don Malcolm Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4365435)
The development of indie rock, hip-hop, and electronic music, three of the most vital current musical genres.

Just a nit...electronic music first developed in the 70s, with especial emphasis on the Krautrock pioneers (Can, Kluster/Cluster, Kraftwerk, Faust, Neu!, Amon Duul, etc.). Sampling, which became easy to do in the 80s, then broke things wide open.
   41. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4365438)
I still have the "Billy and the Boingers" 45 which came in one of the books.


Have I mentioned this here? My childhood best friend became the bassist for the actual band who recorded that record.

This band (Mucky Pup) put one of the Billy and the Boingers songs on their own album and were immediately sued by Bloom County.
   42. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4365439)
if you're going to be all "it weren't all that, sheeit", what exactly in the period of 1980-1989 are you judging above it, daily-strip-wise?


seriously? calvin and hobbes started in the middle of that timeframe and ran circles around brethed.

schulz was in his decline phase and was still better than brethed.
   43. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:29 PM (#4365441)
Being able to do Pretty in Pink,

The original, or the remake?
   44. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4365443)
schulz was in his decline phase and was still better than brethed.

I'm in the process of buying the Complete Peanuts. He's an immortal. But no. Better? Not in those years he wasn't.


seriously? calvin and hobbes started in the middle of that timeframe and ran circles around breathed.

Oversell.

It's funny, when I was in college, I met a girl who was saying everything about Calvin and Hobbes you are saying about Bloom County. A kid. On sugar. Running around. With a stuffed tiger. A sad copy of Little Nemo.

I loved the strip, but reading some of the collection in the past few years, I do see that view.


   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4365444)
It seems like your problem with Bloom County is that it wasn't Doonesbury. Which it wasn't!

If Breathed didn't have political satire as a goal (or more likely, desired the Trudeau-like cachet for doing it), then he wouldn't have submitted examples of his strip for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. He wouldn't have pushed his strip as a suitable replacement for "Doonesbury" during the latter's sabbatical from the comics page. The unflattering comparison is entirely on Breathed. But his political satire, with a few exceptions, was of the "those clowns in Washington are at it again" variety.

My main problem with Bloom County's unmistakable Trudeau worship is that it came off like Rich Little: a B+ mimic with D+ material. "I lust after Jeane Kirkpatrick," zing! Breathed was better at doing the cutesy-poo stuff, which is really what the rabid fans have always been responding to the most.

"Bloom County" wasn't a bad strip by any means. But if you line up 1980s cartooning stars Garry Trudeau, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson and Berke Breathed, is there any doubt which one is Ringo?
   46. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4365447)
I mean, seriously. You read the Caspar Weinberger strip, and you realized that the joke had failed to critique Weinberger's role in runaway defense spending? Indeed. Further, the joke also wasn't about the persecution of the Cathars or contemporary Japanese gender roles.

I cited that strip (a) because it was posted on the thread; and (b) because it's absolutely emblematic of Breathed's overreliance on Mad Lib punchlines. But if you'd rather I criticize it as being too inspired by Charles Schulz's hilltop Sunday strips, or for its slavish Garry Trudeau timing, or even as a repeated shot of identical penguins with words coming out instead of White Houses, I could be persuaded!
   47. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:46 PM (#4365451)
As long as we're talking comic strips from the 80s, I'll drop a note here for Alison Bechdel and Dykes to Watch out For.
   48. Lassus Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4365453)
It is also a shame I forgot to mention G.R.O.S.S. in the Schilling thread, given the reaction to the He-Man Woman Haters club.
   49. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:52 PM (#4365454)
schulz was in his decline phase and was still better than brethed.

I'm in the process of buying the Complete Peanuts. He's an immortal. But no. Better? Not in those years he wasn't.


yes, he was. schulz on a bad day was still better than brethed at his best. that kind of defines immortal. you can still knock off the punks.

It's funny, when I was in college, I met a girl who was saying everything about Calvin and Hobbes you are saying about Bloom County. A kid. On sugar. Running around. With a stuffed tiger. A sad copy of Little Nemo.


watterson nailed a kid with a borderline condition and an overactive imagination. its perfectly encapsulated in its vision. brethed ... well ... gonfalon nails it in 45. brethed was a poser.
   50. Tschingsch Posted: February 07, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4365456)
This band (Mucky Pup) put one of the Billy and the Boingers songs on their own album and were immediately sued by Bloom County.


Hadn't heard about the lawsuit before... I'm guessing it wasn't successful given that years later, Mucky Pup sold t-shirts at their shows with Bill the Cat on them...
   51. puck Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4365457)
As long as we're talking comic strips from the 80s, I'll drop a note here for Alison Bechdel and Dykes to Watch out For.

Also, Life in Hell, The Far Side.
   52. McCoy Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4365458)
But, the 80's WERE 30 years ago.

And the 80's are popular again. Transformers, GI Joe, Miami Vice, and the music is popular again as well (see the Drive soundtrack and various artists that are taking a page from the 80's). Preppy fashion. so on and so on.
   53. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4365459)

watterson nailed a kid with a borderline condition and an overactive imagination.


I'd like to just take the above out of context.
   54. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:17 PM (#4365461)
Apparently scientific progress isn't the only thing that goes "boink."
   55. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:17 PM (#4365463)
I'd like to just take the above out of context.


d'oh! ... no wonder he retired the strip so soon.
   56. phredbird Posted: February 07, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4365464)
But, the 80's WERE 30 years ago.

And the 80's are popular again.


speaking of which ... i think 'the americans' is great fun. unfortunately, its ratings have tumbled since the premier. i hope it builds an audience, i really like it so far.
   57. phatj Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:08 AM (#4365475)
I came of age in the early '90s and read the funny pages religiously. Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes were the only consistently funny comics I read. I certainly recognized the stylistic similarities between BC and Doonesbury but wasn't sure which was the progenitor and which the imitator, though I was sure which perfected the form: Bloom County. To this day I don't find Doonesbury amusing.
   58. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:12 AM (#4365477)
But if you'd rather I criticize it as being too inspired by Charles Schulz's hilltop Sunday strips, or for its slavish Garry Trudeau timing...
So, you find Bloom County unappealing and unoriginal because it seemed to mix the styles and sensibilities of Peanuts and Doonesbury? That's actually a not-bad description of why I love Bloom County.
   59. Dale Sams Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4365481)
Christ, if you guys are this merciless with "Bloom County"...I invited "Zits" and "Foxtrot" over. Was just going to introduce them around, but I'll tell em to stay in the dressing room.
   60. Lassus Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:26 AM (#4365484)
Zits was good (I recall the artist's political cartooning, to stay on point), Foxtrot is damned tremendous.
   61. Austin Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4365488)
Yeah, Zits was excellent for a long time, but it started to go south about three or four years ago. Foxtrot was even better for even longer, and I think I'd call it my second-favorite strip behind the immortal Calvin and Hobbes.

If this is going to become a cartoon thread, I want to give a shout-out to a single-panel comic that was fantastic for a few years: Bizarro. I don't know how many newspapers carried it, but the ones that didn't were missing out. The cartoonist had a slightly deranged genius that managed to produce excellence day in and day out... until, as is inevitable, he ran out of ideas a couple of years ago. But even if the career value isn't there, the peak value certainly is. For some reason, I haven't noticed very many good strips that have emerged recently to fill the void of all of these dead or dying ones. Retail was tremendous for a while, but it's fallen off as well.

Also, it may be heretical to say this, but... I was never very fond of Peanuts.
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4365491)
It's funny, when I was in college, I met a girl who was saying everything about Calvin and Hobbes you are saying about Bloom County. A kid. On sugar. Running around. With a stuffed tiger. A sad copy of Little Nemo

And then when Frazz came along, it was at first accused of being a ripoff of Calvin & Hobbes. Not to mention the countless number of bad imitations of Gary Larsen, which are too painful even to name.

I still think Tom The Dancing Bug is the best strip I've seen since Pogo was in its prime, both for the characters (GodMan, Hollingsworth Hound, etc.) he's created and his unbelievably perfect parodies of every political wingnut out there. Doonesbury's pretty good even if he gets too damn solemn sometimes, but Trudeau's just in a different category altogether and shouldn't be compared to anyone else. For non-political strips I'll go with Pearls Before Swine, Dilbert (whose dark view of humanity is often necessary) and a wordless strip called Lio, who lives in a world of monsters, aliens, and a clueless and unshaven Dad who wanders around the house in his boxers and undershirt. There's also a truly weird sensibility in a one-panel strip called Close To Home, which at its best is every bit as good as The Far Side.

And the absolute worst strips ever are "Mother Goose and Grimm" and "Barney and Clyde"---you can tell how lame they are just by their pathetic titles. Hopefully few readers outside of Washington have to suffer those two. They make the creators of Zits seem like Winsor McCay by comparison.
   63. Chris Fluit Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:49 AM (#4365493)
#17 missed the perfect opportunity for a Rickroll. I'm ashamed on your behalf.
   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 08, 2013 at 12:54 AM (#4365496)
Also, it may be heretical to say this, but... I was never very fond of Peanuts.

Peanuts and Pogo were the cult comic strips of their time when they first appeared in 1950. Pogo was more of a serious addiction (and was a LOT funnier at its best), and Peanuts started to get repetitious a bit too fast, but reading it in its WP reruns today it actually holds up pretty well. And in its beginnings it was quite original in its outlook.

Zits actually isn't the worst thing out there. I'd put it in the Comfort Food category along with For Better or For Worse (which Lio brutally parodied) and the later decades of Peanuts. Not bad, but not all that special. A great strip needs some real bite, and those three seldom deliver(ed) it.
   65. Austin Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:03 AM (#4365500)
Right. I certainly know how influential Peanuts was - the bleakness just never resonated with me.

I never did see the appeal of Lio, but I suppose I never made an earnest effort to really understand it. What about it do you find special?
   66. Dale Sams Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4365501)
Bizarro.


I went to high school with Piraro's sister.
   67. Mike A Posted: February 08, 2013 at 01:47 AM (#4365515)
Count me as another who finds Bloom County much more entertaining than Doonesbury. Bloom County had a lighter, funnier touch which IMO is more suited for the funny papers.

The First Triumverate of 80s comics was Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Bloom County. Aside from the occasional dated 80s Bloom County reference, they all hold up well.

Also, I was damned proud to serve in the Canadian National Moose Mounties.
   68. OCF Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:22 AM (#4365524)
I was at the University of Texas in the early 80's, which was a few years after Berke Breathed had left. Of course, Breathed got his start drawing comics for the UT campus newspaper. But while I was there, the Daily Texan had a excellent resident cartoonist, Sam Hurt, who drew Eyebeam. While I was there, Hank the Hallucination won the election for student body president. The central character was a law student; Hank sprang forth one day when said central character was trying to study - I suppose the lawyer contingent here might appreciate that. Hurt never had much of a cartooning career beyond the Daily Texan, but what he did in those years was wonderful. One snippet: "Eyebeam" (the law student central character - I don't think he ever officially had a name) and his girlfriend Sally drive to the home of one set of parents, a three hour drive. They happen to get away early and arrive two hours earlier than expected - horrifying the mother, because that meant they were on the road two hours before she had started worrying about their safety.

Of course the comic strip of my own high school days was Pogo.

The L.A. Times carries a pretty large assortment of assortment of comics, some good, some inane. The "gotta have something conservative to balance out Doonesbury" slot, currently held by Prickly City, can be just thuddingly awful. But one strip that has caught my attention is 9 Chickweed Lane. It's quite uneven, but there's a gift in there for occasionally making long-form narrative work in a daily strip.
   69. rr Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:27 AM (#4365525)
The Far Side rules.
   70. phredbird Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:43 AM (#4365526)
I invited "Zits" and "Foxtrot" over. Was just going to introduce them around, but I'll tell em to stay in the dressing room.


zits is quite good, but has reached an awkward stage. its hard to keep a strip fresh when the characters are the same age, and the rebellious/normal teen thing is losing steam. he had an older brother in the early days, i think it would be interesting to bring him back to play off jeremy instead of the same old conflicts he's having with his mother. she is dangerously close to becoming too nutty. there was a time when jeremy was exactly like my son, so i have a lot of warm feelings for the strip. i suspect that might have a lot to do with its popularity.

foxtrot is excellent. amend has set up a cast that he keeps drawing interesting material from, i don't know how he does it because they haven't really changed in years.

I certainly recognized the stylistic similarities between BC and Doonesbury but wasn't sure which was the progenitor and which the imitator, though I was sure which perfected the form: Bloom County.


oh dear.

Also, it may be heretical to say this, but... I was never very fond of Peanuts.


i can see someone not being into it depending on when it was discovered ... i sometimes felt like i was following it out of habit for a while in the 90s, then it became apparent schulz was just getting sick. but his body of work is impossible to ignore for its brilliance.

I still think Tom The Dancing Bug is the best strip I've seen since Pogo was in its prime


i'm sorry, but there's no comparison. kelly was a master artist, calligrapher, and writer. a true master, old school.

pearls before swine is all kinds of awesome. i can't believe how dark it can be at times and still be hilarious. pastis is from santa rosa, still lives there i think ... i wish i had run into pastis when i lived there. for those not familiar with comic strips, santa rosa is where schulz lived for the last 40 yrs of his life, the peanuts museum is great. the skating rink he built is still there too.

i like lio! that is a strip with real whimsy.


   71. esseff Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:48 AM (#4365527)
The Far Side rules.


The Far Side exhibit that was mounted at the California Academy of Sciences in the '80s was one of the more bizarre museum exhibits I've attended. In every gallery, there were bursts of laughter popping out intermittently all around the room. Before you even reached a panel, you had a pretty good idea of whether it was going to be a "good one," based on how much laughter you were hearing from that location.

   72. phredbird Posted: February 08, 2013 at 02:54 AM (#4365528)
The L.A. Times carries a pretty large assortment of assortment of comics, some good, some inane.


agree. when i first moved here, the sunday comics were in two sections, now they've shrunk everything down and dumped a couple. a real bummer. the first thing i do on sunday morning after starting the coffee and making breakfast is to read the comics.

chickweed lane is beautifully rendered, and some of its humor is pretty nifty -- i think that's just the word mceldowney would like to hear, the strip is a modern version of a 30s screwball comedy. but i don't understand why the LA times doesn't run the sunday strip.

i used to really like funky winkerbean back in the day, but now it sucks unbelievably bad. tom batiuk has turned that strip into a complete train wreck of phony characterizations, trite plot lines and lame attempts at humor. its the one strip i can think of that started really well and just turned to sh-t. the main focus of the strip, les moore, has turned into an insufferable dweeb. i also fault batiuk for taking the character of cara, who started out as a black woman with pronounced african american features, an afro and then dreadlocks, and gradually started drawing her more and more as a white woman with dark skin. this coincided with her becoming les' love interest. i find it really unbearable as a development.

one of my favorites these days is sally forth. the family at the center of the strip is seriously dysfunctional, yet marculiano manages to make them endearing most of the time, though the father is really kind of a moron. even his brothers think so (check out the christmas visit to his old neighborhood arc.)
   73. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 08, 2013 at 04:24 AM (#4365535)
Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?


Yuppie scum did all right, if I recall correctly.

It was a weird time. America's poisoned soul, its fast buck, shit in the well, fuck anything id was in full, freakish flower. We thought we'd scraped Nixon, the original zombie pol, off the bottom of our collective shoe and rid ourselves of his verminous ilk, but here was Ronnie Reagan, the shambling, grinning monster from California, daddy to all the vicious, soulless hucksters now selling out the country from the halls of Congress. In 1989, too senile to impeach, Reagan left us a steaming turd of deregulation on the Oval Office carpet--his legacy--fertilizing the political soil for capitalism's permanent gangster class.

.
   74. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:10 AM (#4365536)
Aliens, Batman, Back to the Future, Baron Munchausen, Beetlejuice, Blade Runner, Brazil, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, Predator, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Robocop, The Shining, Star Trek II, Time Bandits, The Terminator . . .

An iconic decade for genre moviemaking, love it or hate it.
   75. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 08, 2013 at 05:14 AM (#4365537)
A great deal of affection for both 'Bloom County' and 'Doonesbury', though for different reasons. Did anyone else read 'James'? Very clearly a mix of 'Peanuts' and 'Calvin & Hobbes', but I really enjoyed it for the few years it was running.
   76. Greg K Posted: February 08, 2013 at 07:50 AM (#4365540)
As a kid I loved "Sherman's Lagoon". I have no idea if that was because it was good or because I was 10.
   77. Eugene Freedman Posted: February 08, 2013 at 07:52 AM (#4365541)
Aliens, Batman, Back to the Future, Baron Munchausen, Beetlejuice, Blade Runner, Brazil, The Empire Strikes Back, Ghostbusters, Predator, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Robocop, The Shining, Star Trek II, Time Bandits, The Terminator . . .

An iconic decade for genre moviemaking, love it or hate it.


Very nice use of Terry Gilliam.
   78. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 08, 2013 at 08:20 AM (#4365543)
And the 80's are popular again. Transformers, GI Joe, Miami Vice, and the music is popular again as well (see the Drive soundtrack and various artists that are taking a page from the 80's). Preppy fashion. so on and so on.

Transformers was mildly popular, although seemingly more so by 30-somethings trying to recapture their childhood, than actual kids. GI Joe and Miami Vice were studio driven productions, that massively flopped. Not seeing much 80s in the current fashion, and the next mullet I see on somebody under 40 will be the first.
   79. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 08, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4365548)
I never did see the appeal of Lio, but I suppose I never made an earnest effort to really understand it. What about it do you find special?

His ever-maniacal cackle; his endearing and clueless old man; his occasional parodies of other strips; and his child's imagination in general. It's not the greatest strip out there, but it's in the top 10%.

-----------------------------------------

I still think Tom The Dancing Bug is the best strip I've seen since Pogo was in its prime

i'm sorry, but there's no comparison. kelly was a master artist, calligrapher, and writer. a true master, old school.


I dunno. Quiet as it's kept, Pogo wasn't nearly as good in his later years as he was in his first decade. You can especially see this if you compare his first and last collections, but after about 1960 or so there's a perceptible decline. At its best there's never been a better strip, but in today's context, Tom the Dancing Bug can't be topped for originality and pure bite. I've never seen another artist/writer who can be as savage as Bolling is, while at the same time maintaining the high level of wit. Unlike Doonesbury, you'll never see any overly earnest speechifying in Tom the Dancing Bug. He's a mix of serious commentary with anarchism, surrealism, and The Onion thrown in. It's as fresh today as it ever was, which is something only the tiniest handful of comic strips can ever say.
   80. Lassus Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4365549)
As a kid I loved "Sherman's Lagoon". I have no idea if that was because it was good or because I was 10.

I liked it as an adult. But then again, I liked Bloom County, so there's that. I thought the writing in Sherman's Lagoon was quite good. It may still be, I haven't caught in a long while.

As far as Pearls Before Swine, I'll have to give it another look due to the consistent accolades here but whenever I've read it in the past it was clever animal insulting dumb animal and I just never saw the charm.
   81. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4365551)
A sad copy of Little Nemo


That's kind of dirty pool, complaining that a daily strip isn't able to match a weekly. You think Wattterson might have been able to up his game a bit if he'd had six more days to work on every comic? Not to mention that by the '80s, nobody had the same sort of freedom with panel sizes that McKay enjoyed.

Of course, among McKay's stuff, I prefer Rarebit Fiend to Little Nemo, so what do I know?
   82. Lassus Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4365553)
OH! The (I believe sadly still defunct) Perry Bible Fellowship was HOF material. Koufax-level peak.
   83. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:16 AM (#4365554)
Bloom County certainly wasn't a bad strip, but the whimsy always felt somewhat forced to me, and when commenting on politics it wasn't nearly as smart or sharp or insightful as Doonesbury. It was a solid effort, and worth reading, but not an inner circle strip for the decade, IMO.
   84. zonk Posted: February 08, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4365556)
Put me in the Bloom County was and still is awesome camp... I'll take it over Doonesbury any day of the week.

Breathed was taking potshots at Donald Trump before anyone in the nation knew that doing so was the real reason Trump existed.

Vote Meadow.
   85. Publius Publicola Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4365563)
I'm astonished to find a thread about awesome eighties comics doesn't include a discussion of Life in Hell.
   86. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4365566)
My favorite comic strip these days is "Brewster Rockit: Space Guy".
   87. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4365573)
I liked Bloom County, and I think it mostly holds up, but I agree that it's not an inner circle comic.

I don't get the comparison of C&H to Little Nemo. Sure, there are similarities, but that's like saying that Kershaw is the new Glavine because they're both left handed pitchers.
   88. Lassus Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4365579)
First off, I want to make it clear it wasn't MY comparison. I have the full-size Nemo reproduction books (and the Rarebit Fiend) and there is nobody in McCay's class.

My main point in bringing up the comparison was that it sounded familiar to me listening to people rag on Bloom County, and in retrospect I could grap the outline of the point. I found Calvin and Hobbes as awesome as anyone and was stunned to hear this girl speaking so poorly of it, but in retrospect years later I found some of the Sunday strip comparisons and fantasy element familiarity criticisms worthy of note.

I have enough self-realization to accept that I was a little defensive in bringing it up as well.

As a final aside, I found Calvin's father to be my favorite character in that strip, and way funnier than Calvin.

   89. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4365580)
Bloom County holds up brilliantly. One of the holy trinity of '80s comics, along with The Far Side and Calvin & Hobbes. Hasn't aged at all.

It was so much better than the awful, self-impressed Doonesbury that a comparison insults the achievement of Bloom County.
   90. Lassus Posted: February 08, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4365582)
It was so much better than the awful, self-impressed Doonesbury that a comparison insults the achievement of Bloom County.

I'm glad Esoteric and I can still disagree. :-)
   91. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4365585)
I loved Calvin's father. Some of the best strips were the father messing with Calvin.

Doonesbury is an amazing achievement. Right up there with Peanuts, Pogo, Krazy Kat, Little Nemo, and Calvin and Hobbes. It works because it has a great cast of characters with real depth, and isn't just a political cartoon.
   92. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4365586)
OH! The (I believe sadly still defunct) Perry Bible Fellowship was HOF material. Koufax-level peak.


He still turns out a strip every couple of months. Sometimes on his site, and sometimes on a different one. Usually announces them on the PBF Facebook page.

New one came out last night, in fact.
   93. jmurph Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4365589)
I loved Calvin's father. Some of the best strips were the father messing with Calvin.


And Calvin talking through his dad's poll numbers.

I'm actually reading through the entire series now- just received the boxed set as a gift. It really holds up; in fact I'd say it's much better as an adult than as a kid. I'll agree with Lassus a little in that the Sunday Spaceman Spiff stuff doesn't do it for me, but I'm not sure I ever liked those as a kid, either.
   94. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4365590)
Tom the Dancing Bug, Life in Hell, and xkcd are also brilliant, of course.
   95. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4365593)
Any of you guys read Oglaf?

Very funny, but super, super NSFW, so caveat emptor.
   96. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4365594)
As far as Pearls Before Swine, I'll have to give it another look due to the consistent accolades here but whenever I've read it in the past it was clever animal insulting dumb animal and I just never saw the charm.

Two of the many things I love about Pearls Before Swine.

---Pastis is the ONLY comic strip artist/writer I've ever seen who uses puns on a regular basis with any degree of wit. Puns in the hands of hacks like Gene Weingarten or Mike Peters are like machine guns in the hands of a spastic maniac, but Pastis actually does the work to set them up, which the hacks are always too lazy to do.

---He's also the only artist I can recall who inserts himself into the strip to good comic effect.

As a final aside, I found Calvin's father to be my favorite character in that strip, and way funnier than Calvin.

Of course he was, and that's because his deadpan commentary was used sparingly, rather than in rote fashion. Contrast that to the godawful Barney and Clyde, where every character puns and / or deadpans in practically every panel, and then just sits around admiring themselves for their perceived wit.

-----------------------------------------------

Of course, among McKay's stuff, I prefer Rarebit Fiend to Little Nemo, so what do I know?

I've always thought that Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend at its best (which isn't always) is right up there on the all-time list with Krazy Kat and Pogo. Little Nemo has the more elaborate artwork, but not quite the far out humor. One problem with DOTRF is that unless you want to spring for the fancy Ulrich Merkl edition (which is worth the price, but isn't cheap), it's hard to find in collected form, whereas Little Nemo has been reprinted many times over the past 40 years.

And to echo what many people have noted, the biggest problem with strips these days is the lack of space that newspapers give to them.** Anyone who's ever seen the full-sized reproduction books published by Sunday Press will know what I mean by this.

**Strips whose humor relies on lots of words are totally destroyed by this. Before the W-Post dropped it a few years ago, you'd need a magnifying glass to read Tank McNamara.
   97. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4365599)
Other great webcomics right now: Dinosaur Comics, Saturday Morning Breakfast Comics, Scenes from a Multiverse, Subnormality, and, at times, Penny Arcade. Kate Beaton seems to have moved on to real-world work, which is great for her, I guess.
   98. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4365602)
Doonesbury and Bloom County are probably my two favorite comic strips ever. I'd take Doonesbury over Bloom County but both are absolute inner circle in my book.
   99. bachslunch Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4365605)
Were the 80s a good time for _anything_?

Yes. Agreed with Matt about indie rock -- R.E.M., The Replacements, Husker Du, The Smiths, X, They Might Be Giants, Robyn Hitchcock, Katrina and the Waves, XTC, and The Cramps (among others) released some of their best work during this decade.

And the absolute worst strips ever are "Mother Goose and Grimm" and "Barney and Clyde"

Er, no -- that would be "Mallard Fillmore."
   100. Dale Sams Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4365606)
He's also the only artist I can recall who inserts himself into the strip to good comic effect.


I had to look the strip up, cause I wasn't sure which one it was.

Heh. Yup, that's funny.
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