Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mary Worth 329

Toby may be more aware of her financial dealings, but she's failed to notice that she's wandered into Santa Royale's Forbidden Jungle of Fear. Mary senses their danger and has gotten The Chills. However, they have wandered so deep, it is unlikely they will ever find their way out. Especially after they are devoured by the Ferocious Blunt Tail Jungle Squirrel preparing to pounce.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mary Worth 328

Oh. My. Gosh. Mary didn't just ask what I think she did, did she? Does Karen Moy really think that by telling us everything twice, we will better remember the obvious?? If Toby dares utter one single word that Terry Bryson taught her, don't bother reading this blog because I'm going to be reading Marmaduke instead.

Besides, if anyone really needs to review Terry's advice, just click here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mary Worth 327

Too little too late, perhaps, but I still find these words worth cheering about.

What scares me most is that somewhere during the long consultation, Toby changed into her blue elastic-waist stretch pants.

I take it back, what scares me most is that Toby hasn't taken a single note. No, wait, it's that she plans to go back online! Save me!

Was that in "Mary Worth time" or real life time, because six years ago in Mary Worth time, computers required a mimeograph stencil.

Today's full strip.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mary Worth 326

Clearly, Karen Moy didn't read my post yesterday when I specifically announced that this story was over. However, the good news is that Terry Bryson is either packing up her concrete suitcase to leave, or to hit Toby over the head. Either would be equally satisfying.

Today's Full Strip

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mary Worth 325

The End.

Well this has been great. And I'm sure we've all learned something. Tomorrow a new story begins and hopefully our friends at Charterstone will be wiser for their troubles. For now, I'm going to go find some new songs for the Charterstone Jukebox, and why don't you sign up to become a Citizen of Santa Royale by following this blog!

Today's full strip.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mary Worth 324

They can also happen in PERSON. Someone could pose as a security officer from a Starfleet vessel, offer a few boring tips of advice, and while you aren't looking, poach your silverware and several of your giant, gray answering machines.

I thought that yesterday, when Toby promised Terry she'd be more careful in the future, that it was the end of this conversation. But, yippee! There's more! Now we're going to have a few weeks about possible telephone scams, followed by a discussion on postal fraud. It might never end. This is fantastic! Time has always moved slowly in this strip, but we are quickly approaching a complete stop. Soon, we'll actually witness the first ever attempt by a comic strip to reverse time. Keep your fingers crossed and somebody call Stephen Hawking.

Today's Full Strip.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mary Worth 323

Ironically, reading this story has robbed me of my identity.

It has also sent shock waves through the worldwide financial markets as millions of Mary Worth readers have refused to participate in e-commerce, sending the global marketplace tumbling to the brink of disaster! Mary Worth we need you now more than ever! Tell us what to do!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My apologies...

I'm sorry. I just can't do it. I write this blog to sustain some sort of public interest in Mary Worth. At times, I have been absolutely delighted by the author's ability to actually tell a story two panels a day, even though it makes the dialog stilted and disjointed. I'm amazed that Joe Giella, who recently turned 80, is drawing this every single day. I love the retro style and inane inconsistencies.

There is almost always something satisfying about this strip.

But every morning for the last five weeks I've woken up and wanted to pound a nail into my brain. For some reason, Karen Moy has decided that the best way to warn people about identity theft and online fraud is to use her comic strip, which appears in newspapers and on the Internet where (if I'm not mistaken) there tends to be ::gasp:: information about identity theft and online fraud.

I can just see Granny McGillicutty opening to the style section and thinking to herself, "Oh, I hope Terry Bryson can tell me more about protecting myself from identity thieves today. I don't know where else I can learn about that mysterious $1.09 charge to Pretty Purposes that appeared on my credit card this month."

For those of you without a nail gun, here's today's strip.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mary Worth 322

Why did "I gave out all my personal information in reply to a phishing email," only get a "Don't feel bad, it can happen to anyone," from Terry, while "I may have overlooked a one dollar charge on my credit card statement," gets a, "YOU DID WHAT!?"

But very legitimate financial and legal advocates are responding quite enthusiastically to this exciting story. Like this guy who refers to it in his blog. He gets the fraud victim wrong; Mary Worth would NEVER fall for a phishing scam. Still, that's no reason not to trust everything else that he blogs about.

Today's Full Strip

Aldo Kelrast/Oceanic Flight 815 Day

I've been very sick the last few days, as may be evidenced by my pathetic writing attempts. But, hey, at least I made an effort. However, in my delirium I nearly missed Aldo Kelrast/Oceanic Flight 815 Day.

That's right, today's the day we take a moment to commemorate two momentous events in pop culture history: Aldo Kelrast driving to his death in a drunken stupor off the edge of a cliff, and the mysterious disappearance of Oceanic Flight 815.

Perhaps Aldo is only as dead as the Oceanic Six and will return to us shrouded in mystery and subterfuge. Or, maybe Toby will file her income taxes. Both would be really awesome plots.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mary Worth 321

Sheesh... the paper is completely blank! If you're going to write a three-month-long public service announcement, don't leave out the most critical piece of information. As I said, sheesh. Well, as my own little act of public service, I'll pick up where Mary Worth has dropped the ball. Click here to report phishing.

Oh, and by the way, Toby's gotten at least one credit card statement since she was scammed, so if Enormoushop hasn't figured it out yet, they aren't worth doing business with. Always use a reputable online company to process your transactions. That's why I like PayPal; they act swiftly to put an end to this sort of thing. If only they could act swiftly to put an end to this story! Maybe if you make a donation to this blog using PayPal, it would help.

Today's Full Strip

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Blog I Love:

Thou must be readin this: Japes for owre tymes.

Mary Worth 319

"Oh, my dear, dear computer. How I love you. How I cherish the feel of your thin film transistor liquid crystal display. How I love to hold your wireless mouse and rub it all over your wired mouse pad. You have always treated me kindly. You would never let evil phishing Canadians take advantage of me. Would you?"

Today's Full Strip

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mary Worth 318

"I'm sorry, did you say phishing or fishing? I think I know what fishing is, with the worms and fish and junk, but it sounded like you said phishing. And I don't know what that is at all. It sounds technical and dangerous!"

Today's Full Strip

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mary Worth 317

Not excessively? Not excessively. Well, that's the problem. Maybe if you spent a little more time online, you wouldn't have been so quickly duped by the Canadian phishers. I recommend spending less time with Mary, and a lot more time on the computer. Maybe start a blog.

Oh, I also recommend just stopping this story now. Today. Don't worry about finding a resolution. You've written yourself into a deep, dark hole. Even by Mary Worth standards, this is the most boring "story" I've ever read. Still, I feel strangely compelled to order a credit report, so mission accomplished.

Today's Full Strip.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mary Worth 316

Yesterday, I posted a link to a blog article about the CEO of Lifelock (if you live in the U.S., you've heard the ads) who had his identity stolen after posting his Social Security Number on his website. He is so confident in Lifelock's identity theft insurance, that he is always telling people his Social Security Number in his advertisements. I saw him on television once and he came across to me like a huckster. I wouldn't trust him with my personal information for half a second. Allegedly, his co-founder stole his own father's identity to apply for credit - it just seems like a shady operation to me.

Well, the same blog wrote up an article on all the free things you can do for yourself, that Lifelock charges to do for you. Today, Ensign Terry Bryson of the Starship Enterprise has suggested that Toby do one of those things. "No, go ahead, Toby. Contact the credit bureaus before we do anything else. I'll wait here and play Backgammon. See you in a few hours. Do you have any snacks?"

If you'd like a preview of the next few weeks of Mary Worth read the article, and let's see how many of the things Terry covers.

Security Check List so far:
  • Request Fraud Alert from all three credit Bureaus (repeat every 90 days).

Today's Full Strip

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mary Worth 315

It's okay, Toby. Everybody's doing it. You have no reason to feel ashamed. I, myself, lose my identity at least three times a week. In fact, I enjoy it. A lot.

Today's Full Strip

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Getting Out of My Cage

The Cage has been discussing the comic strip afterlife.

Oh, The Cage. You've been very, very good.

Mary Worth 314

Aha! Let the detective work commence forthwith and posthaste. Nothing will be more thrilling than watching Mary Worth, Toby Cameron and Terry Bryson review paperwork for several months while they solve a mystery that we already know the answer to. Fortunately, the story will be interspersed with Ian raging on and on about online safety while he excoriates and emotionally abuses Toby, rendering her incapable of ever using a computer again. So that will jazz things up.

There's that word again. I wonder how you spell it?

Any guesses how Toby puts the pieces together?

Today's Full Strip.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mary Worth 313

Oh, oh, oh how I wish they'd written "At Mary's irging..." Then we would have come full circle. For now, I keep wanting to ask, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

However, we're about to meet a new character, which is always exciting. She is clearly a security expert; she knows that when you answer the phone, you must demand to know who is calling you, because people never identify themselves when they call.

Today's Full Strip

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mary Worth 312

There are some things that I don't know about, too. Like how a cupboard suddenly materializes on a kitchen wall. I plan to educate myself right away. If I could install cupboards this easily, my kitchen would be remodeled in a week. Including new tile on the floor.

I've never been particularly fond of the character Toby; however, I've never disliked her to the extent I've disliked other characters like Ian, or Mary, or any other character in this strip...so by process of elimination, she may be my favorite. At some level, I have found her to be remarkably tolerant to spend as much time as she does listening to Mary drone on and on. I know at times, I've wanted to jump off a bridge when Mary opens her mouth, but Toby will ask questions encouraging Mary to continue. Yet, I've never thought of Toby as especially stupid until this storyline. There are a couple of reasons I've felt this way: First of all, Toby has been especially stupid. Secondly, and panel two is an excellent example of this, she's starting to look dumber and dumber as well. It's wonderful when we get to watch a character evolve, even if there is no logical explanation for the evolution.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mary Worth 311

Recreating the Big Bang in the Large Hadron Collider is one way to end the world. However, for anyone who doubts the signs of the times, Mary Worth just referred Toby to someone else for help! Stock up on duct tape and water bottles, before it's too late.

But it's still not too late for you to become a citizen of Santa Royale!

Today's Full Strip

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apply for Santa Royale Citizenship!

Today I launched a new widget on the east side of this blog that lists any of you who want to become a Santa Royale Citizen. All you have to do is click the "Follow This Blog" link and register with your Google Account. (No, Toby, no credit card is necessary to register!)

Be sure to upload a picture of your beautiful face as well. Beautiful people aren't automatically citizens of Santa Royale, but citizens of Santa Royale are automatically beautiful!

Mary Worth and Me 310

Mary, as always, has some really good advice. Marriage IS a partnership, and when you give out your credit card number to Canadians so they can wrack up $18,000 in beer, bacon, and beaver tails, you should probably tell the joint owner of your condo no matter how stupid his friends make you feel.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mary Worth 309

I know that there are lots and lots of things that could be said about panel 1 today, but I want to focus my energy on panel 2:

Shortest professional conference ever!

This morning, Toby drove Ian to the Santa Royale International Airport; then Toby went home and heard her answering machine declare, "Fraud Alert!"; Toby called the bank and spoke with customer service for five minutes; Ian, who must have taken a very fast plane to Chicago, has now called Toby to tell her all about some dull lecture with which he was enthralled, and how sad he is to see it all come to an end.

At first, I thought perhaps I'd messed up my time line. Rather than a really short "Teacher's Conference," perhaps it had just been a very long telephone conversation with the bank. But, no, I realized Toby hadn't tiled her kitchen floor yet, so, yes, it was just a very short conference.

Today's Full Strip

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mary Worth 308

Yesterday, Caroline pointed out that the the pattern on the Camerons' drapes at home had suddenly disappeared, but now we know where they went - they're so co-dependent on Ian's pomposity that they've followed him to Chicago courtesy of the Dharma Initiative.

Today's Full Strip

Thanks for all your comments!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mary Worth 307

She's done it again! This proves that our illustrious writer, Karen Moy, neither reads our blog, nor cares what we write.

But the last time she quoted Shakespeare, she used the quote to suit her own meaning, completely ignoring (or ignorant of) the quote's original context.

Today, Ms. Moy chooses to quote one of Shakespeare's greatest villains, Iago from "Othello." (As a side note, I saw Christopher Walken portray Iago in 1991 in Central Park. "Saturday Night Live" appearances aside, that boy can act!)

Today's quote is spoken by Iago as he feigns to resist smearing Cassio's good name by suggesting Cassio is having an affair with Othello's wife Desdemona. Iago's deliberate web of deceit ultimately leads Othello to murder Desdemona.

I love "Othello" so much that as a college freshman, I actually used one of Iago's speeches in my first audition. I won't say I was horrible, but I had learned the piece that day and I forgot my lines. I started improvising in iambic pentameter. It was truly embarrassing, but fortunately, the play they were casting was "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and after some pretty intense call backs, I was cast as a Mechanical - a member of the troupe of very bad actors who perform "Pyramus and Thisbe." I played Thisbe and had a blast.

Okay, I'm a little off topic, but my eyes are starting to burn from too much exposure to Toby and I don't know what else to say. However, I'm sure you can think of something. I love reading your comments - no need to be brilliant, just let us know what you think.

Today's Full Strip.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mary Worth 306

No, Toby, you're never careless with your credit card. Never ever. But you are a remarkable actress. It takes a deep talent to reel in shock for such a sustained period of time. Many developing artists have watched this performance in amazement. For them I have transcribed your entire telephone conversation. Acting with a telephone is more challenging than most people realize, so I offer the following to be used as an exercise in acting class:

TOBY (speaking on the telephone): This is Mrs. Toby Cameron. I received a message about a fraud alert on my account! It must be some kind of mistake!

TELEPHONE: We suspect it's not. Did you move to CANADA?

TOBY: Canada? No of course not! I'm at the same address as always!

TELEPHONE: Just as we thought. We noticed not only a change of address for you, but also unusually large purchases recently made on your card.

TOBY (reeling in shock): !!! Reassigned me a Canadian address? Unusually large purchases on my credit card? ... You've got to be kidding me!

TELEPHONE: I'm sorry Mrs. Cameron. It looks like someone gained access to your account and took advantage of that.

TOBY: I don't believe this! How bad is the damage?

TELEPHONE: In addition to the charges made on your credit card, there were several large ATM withdrawals made as well.

TOBY: But my credit card wasn't stolen! And I only shop at reputable stores!

TELEPHONE: I'm sorry. Your current credit card balance is $18,000.

TOBY: Oh, my! (Aside:) Ian's going to kill me!

TELEPHONE: We'll try to work with you to control the damage...

TOBY: I can't believe this is happening to me!

TELEPHONE: We've seen this occur before, Mrs. Cameron. It's unfortunate, but it seems you've become a victim of identity fraud.

TOBY: What's going to happen now?

TELEPHONE: We'll immediately close your account. This will stop further damage from happening.

TOBY: What about the damage that's already been done?

TELEPHONE: We'll reverse the credit card balance and reissue you a new card. Rest assured.

TOBY: Easy for YOU to say. You said someone changed my account address to a Canadian one?

TELEPHONE: Yes. With technology today, access to personal information crosses all borders. Financial crime occurs everywhere. Anyone can be a target.

TOBY: Like me. I'm so upset I can hardly see straight.

TELEPHONE: Mrs. Cameron, we want to help you and we're willing to cooperate in any way we can. Nowadays public access to private information has become commonplace. It's unfortunate this happened to you.

TOBY: "Unfortunate" is not the word for it!

TELEPHONE: We'll process a claim for you. Identity fraud is a serious crime and we want to protect our customers.

TOBY: Thank you. I'm sorry for my outburst... I'm upset that this has happened. I appreciate your help.

TELEPHONE: You can call us if you have further questions.


Today's full strip.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mary Worth 305

Now that we've wrapped things up on the identity theft story, I have a few ideas for future plot lines:
  • Wilbur applies for a car loan.
  • Brian Good mows his lawn.
  • Dawn Weston studies science.
I think all of these would be even more thrilling than "Toby calls her bank."

Today's full strip (horizontal format).

Edited to add: Dear Reader John just placed odds at Hubdub.com on whether or not Mary would appear before next Friday. Click here to place your bet (play money only - Mary wouldn't approve of really gambling!).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mary Worth 304

Fortunately, Toby has taken the receiver away from her ear. Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily mean she'll hang up. Fortunately, the bank fraud specialist is being helpful. Unfortunately, Toby still doesn't have a clue what they're talking about. Fortunately, Ian is in Chicago so we won't have to listen to his pompous exhortations. Unfortunately, Toby is suddenly acting like Ian. Fortunately, this telephone conversation can't go on any longer. Unfortunately, that's what I thought last Friday.

This post is brought to you by my favorite Remy Charlip book. I hope I'm not the only one who remembers Fortunately, or this post really isn't very interesting.

Today's full strip.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mary Worth 303

I think it would be interesting to compare national suicide statistics with this story's plot progression. I for one wanted to be put out of my misery this morning. Of course you'd probably want to check worldwide statistics because, as you know, with technology today, Mary Worth crosses all borders. No wonder the U.S. is despised abroad.

Today's Full Strip.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Stop Hair Loss Now!

My wife, Mrs. Wanders, was just down at the local shopping center and passed this storefront window. She sent this to me on my cell phone. I'm not sure what she's trying to tell me, but both Wilbur Weston and I have some things to think about.

Mary Worth 302

Well, the torturous telephone conversation continues, and we still end today's strip with a close up on Toby's face. Except now she's staggering around her house as if she were in some sort of slasher film. Replace the telephone voice with these words: "Toby, we've traced the call. It's coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE!" and you have a much more interesting story.

Will someone please explain to me what "reverse the balance" means? I'm as confused as Toby by this one. I think it means the bank is going to send her $18,000 in Enormoushop.com gift cards where she can order Ireland narrated by Pierce Frosnan. Or Utah narrated by Robert Fredford. Or England by Sir Ian McFellan. But not all three; I don't think she'll have enough money for all three.

Today's Full Strip.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palm Beach Loves Some Mary Worth

Josh Furhlinger (Comics Curmudgeon), Karen Moy (Writer of Mary Worth) and I were all interviewed by the Palm Beach Post for this morning's story about Mary Worth. I thought you'd be interested.

Mary Worth 301

I will tell you why I'm so excited by today's strip: for over a month, everyone except Toby has known her identity was stolen. And so each day we've been treated to a strip where nothing has happened, or a faceless voice on the phone has explained to Toby what we already know. The lack of suspense has been killing me.

But today - Today! - Toby asks the big question: What's going to happen now!? A day hasn't gone by when we haven't known exactly what was going to happen (with the possible exception of Ian taking off his shirt - that was an unpleasant surprise). But today, it is a new dawn: What is going to happen now? Certainly, this telephone call must come to its merciless end; certainly, we can conclude a strip without an extreme close up on Toby's distraught face; certainly, SOMETHING can happen NOW! Or, er, tomorrow.

Today's full strip.