Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mary Worth 215

Oh, come on, kids. Can't you see you're meant for each other? Please tell me that Ron Amalfi is going to teach Mary Worth a lesson about appreciating the ones you love while you have them, and Mary, remembering how Jeff nearly died in Vietnam, is going to swallow her pride and "apologize." Oh, that'll be the day.

This is an awesome break up story. It seems like only yesterday when we had to stomach this image:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mary Worth 214

Wow. Mary Worth is definitely making herself available for Ron Amalfi. Her schedule is cleared!

Let this be a lesson to those who dare to dislike anything Mary might do or say. Even her most intimate friendships are instantly severed. Or, rather, excommunicated from Our Lady of Perpetual Interference. Sister Mary Mary does not approve of disapproval, especially from her Charterstone parishioners.

"Leave me here, Jeff, with my throw pillows and my paintings of lettuce. Who cares that we've been together 137 years. You suggest I take one day off from meddling? Puh-leez! I need to breathe."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Birdie's Aldo Cartoon

Birdie left a comment this morning regarding the Aldo picture I posted. It's something she put together when it first ran in Mary Worth, but the URL in her comment was a bit hard to see, so I'm posting the image here. Very nice job, Birdie.

Mary Worth 213

Hmmm... this is starting to remind me of something... Oh, yes, that's right:

Mary Worth rejected Aldo Kelrast because of her feelings for Jeff, but now that Jeff's disapproval of Mary's meddling has come out in the open, she's giving him the same treatment. Watch out, Jeff, or Mary might call on Dr. Chin Beard to instigate an intervention that will ultimately result in your drunken, fiery death.

Personally, I think Mary understated it when she called her need to help others a "compulsion." It's a flat-out addiction. When you place your drug above your relationship, that's a sure sign you have issues.

Mary, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Like that'll ever happen.

(Speaking of Dr. Chin Beard, it's been over a year since we've seen Professor Ian Cameron, if you don't count a brief background cameo at the last pool party. Bring back Chin Beard! Bring back Chin Beard!)

And now for something completely different: I love reader feedback, and since only a few of our many readers actually leave comments, I thought I'd give you a simple way to respond to each post. I've set up a star rating system using Outbrain. You can rate posts using the stars below. Have a favorite post from the past? You can go back and rate any past post as well. Just don't let the new stars replace any comment you'd like to leave! Thanks for being a loyal reader of Mary Worth and Me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mary Worth 212

Uh-oh. Mary Worth played the "Saved Your Life" card. I just have to say that this is the lamest argument I've ever heard. People who communicate like this really don't deserve a relationship, nor are they truly capable of maintaining one. What happened to the love? (And if you haven't seen the second panel yet, don't miss it!) Is that a slap fight?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mary Worth 211

When the average price of a gallon of gas is $3.94 in the greater Santa Royale metro region, with many stations exceeding $4.00, not to mention the mysterious 9/10 of a cent extra that no one is talking about, this kind of stress is to be expected. Even Dr. Jeff, who is used to his doctor's salary (remember?), and Mary Worth, who has lived comfortably ever since widowing into wealth, are not immune. But get used to it folks; we're expected to hit $5.00 before the end of summer. Fortunately, Mary's been through hard times, so she knows how to run her life.

Why do I think Mary's about to get herself into a little bit of hot water with Ron Amalfi? Jeff's warnings feel like some kind of ominous foreshadowing. Could it be that Mary Worth is actually about to pay the price for her compulsive meddling? Hee-hee, that would be AWESOME!

I want to take just a moment to say, "Rest in Peace, Sidney Pollack," who died yesterday from cancer at the age of 73. Pollack was the director of my favorite movie, "The Electric Horseman." I know, I know... but I still enjoy it. He was a great director/producer/actor and I'll miss his movies. It's been over ten years, but I remember writing a letter to him about the VHS release of Electric Horseman (they'd omitted the opening Willy Nelson theme song and replaced it with a cheesy synthesized piece). He actually replied via email to say that he'd never seen the VHS because he couldn't stand the "pan and scan" cropping of the film's glorious (my word) wide-screen cinematography, and he was surprised to learn the song was omitted. I was really impressed that he'd take time to send me a personal email like that, and laughed that his presumably felicitous email address began "OverBudget@..." I knew he had to be happy with "The Electric Horseman's" DVD release a few years later, which restored the wide screen and included the omitted song. Now that I can watch the film on my plasma television, all seems right with the world, except that Mr. Pollack has gone on and won't be making any more wonderful films.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mary Worth 210

While I completely agree with Jeff in substance, I've got to deduct 10 points for style. This is "persuasion?" "Do us both a favor and do exactly what I want." Huh? This must be where Drew got the idiot gene. While Jeff's rhetorical skills have much to be desired, he certainly has revealed his cards to Mary Worth. After all these years of feigning admiration for Mary's meddling, Jeff is probably going to find himself at a Bum Boat table for one. How convenient it will be when Mary, after spending the night in a tearful, resentful rage, runs to the arms of Ron Amalfi and goes on a Twista tirade about Jeff's lack of compassion and general narcissism.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mary Worth 209

Just how much support does Ron Amalfi need? He's leaned on Mary Worth since his mother died? In what way? Jeff and Mary had planned to go sailing all day and have dinner at the Bum Boat. But what have Ron and Mary actually planned? Eleven hours of sympathetic conversation? ("Your mother was a wonderful woman, Ron." "Thanks Mary. Say it again.") Or is Mary mowing his lawn and then painting his den? Jeff, just be glad they aren't horseback riding.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mary Worth 208

I love it when Jeff stands up to Mary Worth. It's so cute. So pathetically cute. After all these years, he still doesn't know whom he's up against. But he keeps on trying. Allowing Drew to make up his own mind about whether or not to go to Vietnam... Chester the Dog... Now, Ron Amalfi - and that's just this past year. It's adorable.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mary Worth 207

Now that Ron Amalfi has reconciled with his brother Richie, I can just see the two of them teaming up to beat the snosberries out of Dr. Jeff Corey, who is apparently just as big a dweeb as they are. Why are the men in this strip all such losers? Two days ago, Jeff Corey was all, "I'm sure you're doing a great job counseling him, as always!" Maybe he was just being bitterly sarcastic, because he's now all, "Wah wah wah! My feelings are hurt. Just because his mother died, you won't go with me to the Bum Boat?" Get out of Mary Worth's face, chump monkey.

Every day, I'm more and more convinced that Mary will end up adopting Ron.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It has happened...

I invited you, Dear Readers, to submit your dramatic intpretations of Mary Worth's monologue, "My Compulsion to Help Others." The challenge has been met, and I'm thrilled to share this remarkable artistic achievement with you. Congratulations, Ben, on such a stupifying accomplishment!

Mary Worth 206

Boy, if you thought Jeff was jealous of Chester the Dog, you ain't seen nothing yet. But don't worry, Jeff; she doesn't want to date Ron Amalfi. She just wants to adopt him.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mary Worth 205

"No, Jeff, you don't understand. This isn't a child I'm speaking of. He's a man. A strong, handsome man, with an amazing manicure. We talk. Just talk. But I'm beginning to feel like I can meddle in his life in a way that I can never meddle in yours..."

Could this be the beginning of the end for Jeff and Mary?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mary Worth 204

This might be a good opportunity to remind everyone that this is a family-friendly blog. I love comments; I think they have become the best part of this blog. But please don't make me moderate them. I know what you're thinking, but please, control yourself.

I admit, though, that Ron is making me uncomfortable. It's just weird that the only person he has spoken with throughout the entire wake, funeral and potluck, has been Mary - a woman with whom he's had a grand total of two prior conversations. He's totally snubbed all his real friends. He wants something - probably a new mommy. Within three weeks, he'll have convinced Mary to adopt him and keep him supplied with casseroles, coffee and pies.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mary Worth 203

"Who's always at their best?" Is that a rhetorical question, or are you really looking for praise. You, Mary. You are always at your best. Is that what you were looking for?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mary Worth 203

Mary, stop shouting. It's still a funeral.Yes, and because she's dead. That also may be why she seems at peace.

In response to Mary Worth's observation, made about twelve times, that Donna Amalfi was a remarkable woman, Ron Amalfi gives the performance of a lifetime. If they gave Acadamy Awards to comic strip characters (that would be AWESOME), Ron would walk away with Best Guest Artist Ever. We've seen his rage. We've seen his contrition. And now we've seen his manly tears of remorse - made all the more powerful by his smug cuticle check.

Yes, the Amalfi story has been a great one, and for those who have been following my real life adventure, the Amalfi Hotel has been equally great!

Mrs. Wanders and I came to Chicago to find solace for our loss (Well, my loss. Mrs. Wanders is a good sport when it comes to my blog. Especially if she gets a trip to Chicago out of it).

Second City helped a little on Day 1, but I woke up on Day 2, back in a funk. Even the Puppet Bike couldn't cheer me up.

We spent the entire day at the Art Institute of Chicago, which was a particularly rare treat since we didn't have kids slowing us down... or rather, speeding us up.

We didn't like the classical traditions, such as Manet ("Show me the Manet!"), but we loved the impressionists, like Monet ("Show me the Monet!"). However, something happened at the museum which was truly cathartic. We entered a gallery, and discovered several paintings by my second-favorite artist of all time, Marc Chagall (He used to be my first favorite, but Joe Giella knocked him down when I started to read Mary Worth). This painting, entitled "Birth" transformed my heart and mood.

As you can see, the painting depicts the moment after birth as only Chagall could portray it. As I gazed at the painting, I wept (and checked out my cuticles in a manly fashion), realizing that life is like a circle. We are born. We die. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life. I must take my place in the Circle of Life.

My spirits lifted, we headed over to Buddy Guys Legends, one of my favorite spots in Chicago, and the best blues club ever. We heard some great music. Chicago Blues Angels opened for Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials. We loved the Blues Angels - Brad Ber is the most amazing bass player I have seen (and Mrs. Wanders has a masters in bass (no joke), so I speak with at least a little perspective).

And then, Buddy Guy himself joined Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials for a song. The place rocked.

He even signed Mrs. Wanders' T-Shirt!

So thank you, Donna Amalfi for dying and bringing me here to Chicago. And thank you, dear reader, if you've read this massive blog entry. And our biggest thanks go to Ms. T & Ms. T for offering to watch our children "for the fun of it," which is what really inspired this entire trip. We have been blown away by your generosity! We return home tonight and things will be back to normal at Mary Worth and Me (more Mary, less me) tomorrow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mary Worth 202

O, Donna, we hardly knew thee. And O, Mary, ye hardly knew Ron, yet you've managed to completely monopolize his time at the funeral. All these other life-long friends and relations who are here, Ron, to show you moral support are simply ignored as you conform to the will of your Puppet Master. And what about Richie? Where is that chump?

As much as I am totally into grieving over Donna Amalfi, as the photos below will attest, I do have this uncomfortable feeling that it is now time for the eulogy, which could take weeks and weeks.

It's time for some serious grieving for Donna Amalfi at the Amalfi Hotel in Chicago.

Mrs. Wanders and I have lost our appetites in our grief. Here we are at Harry Caray's, where I was only able to manage a glass of ice water. Mrs. Wanders had a Pepsi.

After dinner, we saw a revue at Second City, etc. "Campaign Supernova: How Many Democrats Does it Take to Lose an Election?" I expected no amount of music, laughter and mayhem to assuage my grief. However, the show was so funny, and so clever, that yes, even in the midst of my sorrow for a fictional comic strip character, I began to find comfort. I am hopeful that soon this weight will lift.

Don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression.
Really I'm sad.
Oh, sadder than sad.
Well I'm hurt and I want you so bad
Like a clown I appear to be glad ooh yeah

Well there are some sad things known to man
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown when there's no one around
Oh yeah, baby baby, oh yeah baby baby

- Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mary Worth 201

Just one question: Whose hand is that? My guess, it belongs to Richie who is angry that he's practically been written out of the story and is trying to sneak his way back into the picture.

Notice that Mary doesn't do anything to alleviate Ron Amalfi's guilt. In fact, she won't rest until she can add to it.

Well, I've got a plane to catch. I'm on my way to Chicago to mourn Donna Amalfi at the Amalfi hotel. My wife tells me I better not spend very much time on the computer, so I've been trying to figure out a way to sneak posts onto my blog using my cell phone, but Blogger's mobile feature doesn't seem to be working (at the very least, I'll post a few times to Twitter). Whether I'm able to blog or not, this trip is about overcoming grief, which I totally expect to do!

Buddy Guy's Legends blues club, Second City and the Art Institute will all help.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mary Worth 200

Do Ron Amalfi and Mary Worth have the audacity to actually DANCE while Donna rests in "PEAC" in the next room?

I'm glad they have come to grips with their grief, but I continue to identify more with the woman whose head is buried in her handkerchief - or is that simply a ghost puppet that she's appropriately brought to the funeral?

Either way, I'm completely torn up inside... for the last two days I've tried to come to terms, but my attempts have been futile. However, I think I know the solution. Tomorrow I leave for Chicago to spend the weekend at the luxurious Amalfi Hotel. Hopefully, I'll find some small means of saying my farewells and finding closure to it all. I will certainly blog about the trip!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mary Worth 199

Donna Amalfi's death finally brings Ron and Richie the sense of peace they never knew whilst she lived. And Mary Worth, who identified so strongly with Donna's drive to interfere in the lives of others, is so empathic that she literally knows the thoughts of a brain-dead Donna. Now Richard, not one to break a pattern, immediately turns to the Grand Matriarch of Meddling in search of the smothering-mothering on which he's grown dependent. We've truly come full circle.

So why do I feel such tremendous loss? Why does Richard seem at peace, while I am weighed down with internal emptiness? What is this grief that can't be slaked in a simple day or two of platitude-polluted panels? Where shall I turn? Where is my "Mary Worth" to bring comfort, like a warm tuna casserole, to this aching heart?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mary Worth 198

"How's my mother? How's my mother? She's as dead as your comic strip in the Tacoma News Tribune!"

Editor David Zeeck: "We’re dropping Mary Worth, which appears in relatively few newspapers any more, to make room for the new strip [Zits]." Oh, sure, everybody's doing it. That excuse didn't hold up with your mother, young man, and it certainly won't hold up with Mary Worth! Time to write to another editor:, or just call him at: 253-597-8434. Be sure to mention "Mary Worth and Me."

Now what's up with that blood-stained book?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mary Worth 197

I did not expect this. It's a hard thing to wake up and find Donna Amalfi dead. Dying alone while her boys are out drinking coffee together. It is just so sad. Not being there when she left, I feel like I need to find some closure. But how? But how?

And why do I feel like singing Forever in Blue Jeans? I'm adding it to the Charterstone Jukebox right now!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mary Worth 196

Donna Amalfi is a big faker! This whole hospital visit was just an elaborate ruse to get her boys to stop fighting with each other. Mary Worth must bow to the earth in abject admiration of such manipulation. Donna's doctor even lied to them about the breathing tube - it's just an oxygen mask - permitting her to crack a wry grin as her sons ignorantly fall into line.

It takes quite a cartoonist to make sure his characters look the same from panel to panel. But this morning, Joe Giella nailed it! Here's a picture of Ron this morning:

And here's a picture of Ron on April 27th. I'd say it is pretty close. What skill!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mary Worth 195

Good heavens! They've removed Donna's body and the boys were once again so wrapped up in themselves that they didn't even notice.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day from the Amalfi Brothers!

The question remains... which one is Ron, and which one is Richie?

Mary Worth 194

There still seems to be a lot of confusion about which brother is Ron and which is Richie. Distinguishing the two rivals (who have despised each other for years, but who in literally three sentences have put all the venom and vitriol behind them) is particularly challenging for those who are still lucky enough to read Mary Worth on paper in black and white. But here's a tip that will help you: Richie has a buzz top, like Sgt. Carter, and Ron is an idiot, like Gomer Pyle.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mary Worth 193

Richie seems to be taking the initiative here. Did Mary get to him out in the parking lot?

Here's a wonderful 1947 photo that I snagged from cartoonist Mike Lynch's blog of early Mary Worth artist Ken Ernst sketching Ruth Schmitt whom he had selected to represent a new character in Mary Worth. Ms. Schmitt was one of eight "Badger Beauties" at the University of Wisconsin. I have no idea what a Badger Beauty is, or what character she posed for, but I'm dying to know both.

For more background on Ken Ernst and his history with Mary Worth, click here.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mary Worth 192

This should be interesting. Ron and Richie, never able to enter the same room for more than five seconds without going berserkers on each other, are now going to hug it out. If they can just keep it together until Mother's Day, when Donna revives long enough to see the boys embrace. She will pass in peace, and all because Mary Worth cared enough to meddle and observe, "You shouldn't fight so much. It makes your mother sad."

Mary Worth for Secretary of State! Think what she could accomplish in the Middle East with her tremendous powers of persuasion. Her foreign policy of meddling everywhere would come to be known as the "Worth Doctrine."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mary Worth 191

Ron carries a lot of weight on those shoulders. It is tough being the oldest son. I speak from experience. When you're the oldest son, like me and Ron, you really do feel responsible for everything. It's rough... My siblings have no idea how rough it is. They'll never understand what Ron and I go through.

But, you also learn at a very early age to make the kitten eyes. And that usually takes care of everything. Ron definitely understands how the kitten eyes work.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mary Worth 190

Oh, Mary, you old coot. I'm not sure how you've reached your diagnosis, but it couldn't be any less accurate than dead cats removing warts, so no harm done. Now, hurry down to room 47-G; there's a man with kidney stones who's wondering how to get rid of them (Hint: bring some pickle juice).

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mary Worth 189

Oh, Ron. It's over. You blew it. You let Mary Worth put her Puppetmaster touch on you. By simply placing her hand within inches of your spinal cord, she is able to transfer her will to your brain and overrule your self-determination. You are now merely her puppet.

It's already happening. From here on out, you'll agree to any suggestion Mary implants in your brain. Yes, they did love each other very much. Yes, my brother and I do fight a lot. Yes, we would like to come to dinner.

And with one final mesmerizing suggestion, Mary has completed the osmotic transfer of her own will over yours. Oh, Ron, at least you no longer need to waste time debating ancient philosophical questions such as, "Am I free to choose, or do I only think I am free to choose?" The answer now is, "Neither."