Monday, April 28, 2008

Mary Worth 183

Holy-moley. Is Dr. Feel Good checking the blood pressure of a corpse? Is that standard procedure?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mary Worth 182

Mary Worth's very presence instills remorse and guilt in the souls of all those who encounter her.

I was best man at a wedding once where the bride's father was the most intimidating person I'd ever met. A tremendously successful lawyer, all he had to do was look at you and you'd want to confess everything. So I can understand the massive turn-around Ron has experienced, transforming from President of the local Fight Club to Rage-aholics Anonymous 12-stepper.

Sadly, he may be too late to make amends.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mary Worth 181

This little cafe scene leaves me uncertain and confused. What is this? Is it a date? Is it not a date? Let's talk about "Us." I need clarity because if we're going to keep seeing each other, I need to understand your intentions.

I think The Weepies (Wanders' new favorite band) said it best:

I admit, I was just looking for an excuse to embed The Weepies onto my blog.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mary Worth 180

No doubt about it, Donna and Rupert Amalfi have raised a couple of idiots. But there are worse parents, which you can read about here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mary Worth 179

Ah, yes. Nothing like a little whomping on your siblings to help you forget your troubles (shout out to Dave).

It reminds me of one of my favorite Depression-era songs:

Grab your coat and get your hat,
Leave your worries on the doorstep.
Life can be the best -
Hit your brother in the chest.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mary Worth 178

Way to go, Ron. Your mom is dying in the next room and you're hitting on the volunteer care giver. I love the subliminal message in this panel: The red arrow pointing left, the way to an exciting new romance with Mr. Red Shirt; on the right, the sign leading to the doctors' lounge and same-ol' same-ol' with Dr. Jeff.

By the way, the arrow-through-the-head gag is officially not funny anymore.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mary Worth 177

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa... now hold on here. What the heck?? Did I miss something? One moment, Mary's breaking up a bar room brawl at Mountview Hospital, then suddenly, she's all glammed out poolside busily espousing her virtuous efforts to save the planet. I feel like this isn't really Mary Worth, but rather the actress who plays Mary Worth chatting on her RAZR and answering fan mail. We've jumped to some sort of commercial interruption, and next up is Bono urging us to give generously.

Because if it is Mary Worth, she's a liar. She certainly didn't spend any time planting a tree in the park. She was too busy meddling in Donna Amalfi's life... or death. Same thing.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mary Worth 176

Well, I'm not exactly sure how Mary managed to stop the fight. I'm feeling a little ripped off because that would have been the best panel in the series so far.

But clearly, Ron is the good son. A little too good if subliminal messages are to be believed, which they are. Especially when you compare the first aid kit in panel two to Mike Huckabee's book shelf.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mary Worth 175

Thank you Karen Moy, for listening to your readers. During the Mary Worth flashback storyline, how many times did we hear your fans scream out, "Show! Don't tell!" Now, we've completely abandoned logical narrative and dialog for action, action, action. Well done!

However, I do worry that Mary Worth fans will be negatively influenced by today's installment, much as my children are influenced by the violence we let them watch on television. Keep your eyes on your local nursing home for an increase in violent episodes. I'd hate for one negative incident to jeopardize Mary Worth's wholesome, boring reputation.

For those who are wondering if violence is something new to this comic strip, I'm reposting "Kung Fu Fighting" for a more thorough examination of violence in Mary Worth.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mary Worth 174

This is one of those family squabbles that's going to go on for a while. I can just see these two at the funeral:

Ron: If you'd just taken a day off work, Mom would be alive right now!
Richie: My case load has been too heavy, tough guy. It ain't easy being a family therapist, you know!
Ron: I'm surprised to see you took a day off to attend the funeral!
Richie: All right, smart guy, you and me, in the parking lot. Right now!
Ron: I've got to deliver a eulogy!
Richie: Mom always did like you better!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mary Worth 173

Comedy's Rule of Three: If the arrow through the head gag was funny once, three days in a row is down right hilarious! However, if it happens tomorrow, the joke is over. Over. That would violate Comedy's Rule of Three. Now go out there, and be three times as funny!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mary Worth 172

One of the most hilarious Mary Worth strips ever. Ever.

But that's only because of the ol' arrow-through-the-head gag. That never fails to amuse me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mary Worth 171

It looks like I called, "...and scene," too soon yesterday. I thought for sure Mary wasn't going to be able to withhold her meddling for another day, but she's managed. If this goes on, I may have to have another dinner & drama party with John Lithgow and Dustin Hoffman.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mary Worth 170

Karen Moy, one of the great dramatists of our day, seems to be embarking on a new theatrical endeavour, following up on her vastly popular "My Compulsion to Help Others" monologue. This new scene may prove perfect in a drama class for middle-aged men, such as myself, who yearn to return to the stage. Early dialogue seems promising:

Richie: If you took better care of her, she wouldn't
be here!
Ron: If I took better care of her!? How
can you of all people say that? You have some nerve
saying that!
Richie: I'll say what I want! If you took better care of her,
she wouldn't be here!
Ron: I took very good care of Mom!
Richie: She's dying! You didn't do her any good!
Ron (pointing a finger in Richie's face): I did better than you, Rich! She hardly saw you this past year!

The scene is full of deep character subtext. Why does Richie struggle to accept his mother's natural death? Why is Ron such a mamma's boy? Alas, I fear the author may cut the dialogue short, but doesn't it have tremendous potential?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mary Worth 169

I'm with Mary Worth on this one: "?" Ron and Richie are a female nurse? This is getting weirder and weirder. I don't have all the answers, but I suspect it has something to do with the Dharma Initiative.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mary Worth 168

Well, here comes trouble. How old are these boys, carrying on like nine year olds in the ICU wing of Mountview? Part of me is still hoping Ron and Richie are really just one person, raised with a split personality by Donna because of the conjoined still-born twin she refused to have removed from the back of her son's shoulder.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Mary Worth 167

Don't be deceived by Mary's apparent disinterest. When she says, "Don't worry, Donna," Mary doesn't mean Donna's wasting her extremely precious time worrying about something that she really has no control over. What she means is, "The next time you see me, I'll be accompanied by two very reconciled young men who have completely surrendered their animosity, individuality and personal integrity to the will of my all-powerful meddling."

I can't wait to meet Ron & Richie. Those poor, unsuspecting fools.

Boojum, your request for Lawrence Welk has been approved by the Condo Board and added to the Charterstone Jukebox. Sadly, your first request, "One Toke Over the Line," that modern spiritual, was unavailable. But because it is such a stellar rendition, and truly deserves to be seen, not just heard, I'm posting the video link you shared below. Thanks! What I want to know is why the accordion player is coughing?

Need more Lawrence Welk? Visit this wonderful and sincere blog: The Welk Musical Family.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mary Worth 166

I think it's weird that these boys are named Ron (Howard?) and Richie (Cunningham?). I was a huge Happy Days fan. Maybe she only has one son and he's doing sort of the Gollum/split-personality thing. I'm hoping Mary will team up with the Fonz to go kick some serious sense into this psychopath.

We have a winner in yesterday's Not-A-Real-Contest! Thanks everyone for your great guesses, but what are Ron and Richie arguing about? "Less Filling! Tastes Great!" Congratulations Boojum. You get to recommend the next song added to the Charterstone Jukebox (find the jukebox in the right hand column of the blog). Now there's just the one caveat: the Condo Board is kind of particular about what songs can go into the jukebox so you're going to need to give this some thought if you want you're song approved. I suggest listening to the songs that are already in there if you need some ideas.

And, finally, Mary Worth and Me was mentioned in Michigan's online news source, It's a real honor for this humble blog. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the article and you'll see it. I only take exception to the idea that I'm making fun of Mary Worth... I prefer "Having fun with Mary Worth." I'm just not snarky enough to enjoy making fun of this hilarious comic strip. I leave that to the brilliant Comics Curmudgeon.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mary Worth 165

I don't mean to pry, but...

Here we go. I am trembling with anticipation. What could the disagreement be? And what special skills will Mary Worth bring to restore familial equanimity and grant a dying woman's last wish?

I think it is time for another Not-a-Real-Contest contest. Submit your guesses as to what Ron and Richie (or whatever their names are) find so important as to agitate their mother on her hospital death bed. The best answer as ruled by the Condo Board will have the high honor of selecting a new song for the Charterstone Jukebox.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mary Worth 164

Mary, uh, back out slowly before you get yourself killed. Clearly Donna Amalfi is the "Godmother" of the infamous Amalfi crime family. They've pretty much owned Santa Royale since 1974. When Donna Amalfi dies from her "condition" - small doses of dioxin judging by her face - the feud will no doubt turn into a blood bath.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mary Worth 163

Today's quiz: How many points of irony can you spot in the drawing above?

For the answer, hold your monitor up to a mirror:

eb dluow ti taht tnih etarepsed s’annoD etipseD (1
sah dna gniyd si ehs hguoht neve ,skoob owt daer ot reh rof retsaf
gniog s’yraM ,melborp reh evlos ot yraM wolla ot naht ,stcaratac
.yawyna elddem ot

Also acceptable:

ehs teY ".naf odlA na m'I" rof margana na si "iflamA annoD" 2)
.sesuac larutan fo gniyd eb ot sraeppa

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mary Worth 162

Family counseling and bereavement? Forget the book cart! This sounds like a job for Superman!

Mibbitmaker at Comics Curmudgeon ran Donna Amalfi through the anagram machine and made a startling discovery. If the link doesn't land you on the right comment, it is #57.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mary's Monologue Audio

If you'd like to hear a dramatic interpretation of Mary's monologue click play below:

Edited to add a photo of Stephen Hawking at Charterstone, thanks to your reader comment.

Mary Worth 161

Ladies and gentlemen. Here it is in its entirety, with very few alterations made only to add clarity in this monologue form.

Your assignment is to use this monologue to create a video presentation that we can post on the blog. Be as creative as you like. Post it to YouTube and email the link to

"My Compulsion to Help Others"
A Mary Worth Monologue

To quote a wise person, “Kindness is my true religion.” But when I look back on my past I know my compulsion to help others is more than that… You know, it’s fascinating how our experiences shape who we are in so many ways! Something happened in my past! Something I’ve never forgotten! I have a story to tell you! It’s really not out of the ordinary to look back sometimes! We’re all in the same boat, really! I’m not alone when I say that something happened in my childhood that shaped who I am today! I usually don’t speak about my past, because I like to live in the present! But you asked where I get my compulsion to help others, so I’ll tell you a story! You know, I wasn’t always as you see me today! Remember, things are not always what they seem! I went through a difficult time as a child, before my mother remarried and circumstances improved! My father was out of the picture early on! This forced my mother to look for work, and left me to fend for myself! I was a child of a broken home who had no one to properly take care of me! My mother did her best! Unfortunately, it often wasn’t enough! Who's to say why things happen the way they do? We grow in character because we struggle. We learn and overcome. I used to go to sleep without dinner. Hungry for food… for love… most of all, for a feeling of self worth! Later on, things improved! But not before I went to bed hungry for more nights than a child should have to bear! There were times in my childhood, when I felt unloved, and unworthy! It wasn’t only due to the lack of food or money, either! [My mother] wasn’t a consistent presence in those days! Still, I hoped things would change! It’s been said, “Suffering produces endurance… and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Luckily, I had my friend, Cathy. She didn’t care that my clothes were more than a little worn. We played as kids do. We used to talk and laugh and delight in the insignificant. Friendship isn’t a big thing. It’s a million little things. Sometimes we didn’t talk. Friendship needs no words. Despite having a friend, the feeling of being lowly and unworthy persisted. I tried to pretend I was the same as other kids, but at home I faced cold hard reality. There’s more to my story. As I said before, something happened that was a turning point for me. It raised me up. Made me feel differently about myself. As I was saying, when I was with my friend Cathy, she made me feel better as friends often do. With her I felt like a normal little girl, instead of a neglected child in a broken home. At my house it was a different story. Having her as a friend almost made the long days and nights more bearable. Almost. Sometimes I visited Cathy’s house. Her parents were kind people. One time, I was quiet and seated at their dinner table. When Cathy’s mother started to say grace, I was unsure, so I followed the others’ example. Then something happened that would change my life forever! Cathy’s mother concluded saying grace, “And let us give thanks for having Mary here… who is always welcome at our home for dinner.” As the child of a broken home, I took note of myself. And of a higher power in that one instance. Over the years, circumstances improved… especially after my mother remarried. But that one incident stands out in my mind because I felt something shift inside. One act of kindness made me feel differently about myself. It’s hard to explain it, Toby. Lao-Tse said, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profundity. Kindness in giving creates love.” Because of Cathy and because of what Cathy’s mother said, “And let us give thanks for having Mary here, who is always welcome at our house for dinner,” I am who I am today! I help others and I am able to care! That incident made me feel that I am worthy of receiving and ultimately… giving! It’s amazing how a simple act can be transforming. Harold Kushner said, “When you are kind to others, it not only changes you. It changes the world.” What seems unimportant today may take on greater meaning tomorrow. We affect each other in ways that are not always obvious. Children especially are sensitive to things said and done. The simplest word, the smallest deed can have an effect! It’s never too late to have an effect in someone’s life. I was profoundly affected by the kindness of strangers! Someone reached out to me when I needed it most! And now I reach out to others! It’s a privilege to help others as I’ve been helped!… In any way I can… whether it’s advising someone… or inviting a lonely soul to my place for dinner. I’ve gone through hardship, and instead of becoming bitter and angry about it, I’ve taken the high road. It’s called perspective. It comes with experience! Instead of ignoring my past, I look back at the things I truly am grateful for. Like my friend Cathy and her family. They were a Godsend. And they weren’t the only ones! But that’s a story for another day. Lyndon B. Johnson said, “We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.” Looking back makes me feel nostalgic. That’s why I try not to do it too often. I hope I answered your question about what compels me to help others.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mary Worth 160

A story for another day?? I can hardly wait!

It looks like I should start preparing Mary Worth's complete monologue. I'll try to have it up soon.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mary Worth 159

Ooooh, la-di-DA. So smug, Mary. Almost sarcastic. Yes, Toby, we all agree that Mary is so much better than all the other poor people who are so bitter and angry all the time.

Let's not forget that by "Experience," Mary means "Money," which came as soon as Mary's mother remarried and established for her young saint a firmly held and deeply rooted principle: The importance of marrying into wealth.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mary Worth 158

"Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Awesome. It's a Tennessee Williams potpourri. First we get Mary Worth thinking she's Blanche Dubois, and then an oblique reference to Laura Wingfield's blue roses - although, let's give credit where credit is due... the blue roses were purely the work of coloring artist, 5th grader Beatrice Chestnut.

I want to give additional praise to the Cosmic Bubbles blog that has run a couple of recent Mary Worth cartoons through the anagram machine: Here and here. Hilarious!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mary Worth 157

Children are especially magical. And when we say discouraging things to them like, "It can't be done," or "Impossible," or "Witches and Warlocks should be burned at the stake," they never fully develop their ability to levitate their toys.

Plus, Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation (Every point mass attracts every other point mass by a force pointing along the line intersecting both points. The force is proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the point masses) can discourage their magical ambitions as well.