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If you have been a very privileged and lucky individual living as a hermit on a desert island you have missed garden variety as well as calamitous misfortunes. Congratulations on having had it so good; live a little longer and prosper! For the rest of us: It has been a great adventure and one can hope for more events, whatever their nature? Have an interesting New Year in 2018!

When I was a kid we used to sing for the lights to come on again all over the world.  There are a lot more of them now than there were in late1939 and thereafter.  Throughout World War II,  I lived in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada and had easy access to Calais, Maine, United States of America, immediately south of the International Bridge. Special entertainment in those dark days was the Saturday afternoon motion pictures at the Queen Theatre in my home town or at the State Theatre, ova' the border.  Everything in the City of Calais was more posh and that was true for their Art Deco "picture hall", which is no more.

That was nearly eight decades ago.  The State Theatre did not look quite this grand from the outside.

But the ticket booth, food area and foyer looked pretty much like. The auditorium was on two levels and the grand staircase led to a balcony.  All tickets for the afternoon performance were 10, found earlier in the day by scavenging beer bottles and selling them at 2 each. No problem back then with armed forces visiting town on the weekend. They were in "waste receptacles" of local "restrooms" on the Canadian side, and on the American side when they finally entered the war.

Both places of entertainment originally had stages for live performances, although neither was as baroque as this. Motion picture screens were at stage level most of the time, but were rolled up over the top as needed. This interior in a standing theatre is more Nouveau than Deco, the latter being more sparse with wall sconce lighting and a more techy look.

The world has been around for a long time and was delivered, before man was even a forethought, with inbuilt catastrophic defects The story follows reveals some of the trouble spots.

With the house lights dimmed, children could depend upon and orderly showing, but coloured "flicks" were rare until late in the war.  They came to the "State" before the "Queen".  In the latter theatre Mr. Casey provided the piano music accompanying black-and-white, silent Disney cartoons, such as "Steamboat Willie," featuring Mickey Mouse. These short laugh fests were presented first to loosen up the crowd and wear them out so that "ushers" had less trouble during the "main feature".  That's Calvin speaking above. In some instances "readers" were present to create sound for those silent films. In those days kids could be as unruly as Watterson's boy, but their malefactions were often buried, like those of adults.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
- George Bernard Shaw

"Scientists are skeptics. It's unfortunate that the word 'skeptic' has taken on other connotations in the culture involving nihilism and cynicism. Really, in its pure and original meaning, it's just thoughtful inquiry." 
- Michael Shermer

After the United States went full out against Germany in 1942, Walt Disney's people used some heavy-handed cartoons following the hypothesis that, "All is fair in love and war." We were propagandized in a very effective manner creating unfortunate racial stereotypes.

The main features were invariably a puffy romance, or slightly better, a war movie,  followed by a hellbent WESTERN.  All were at least slightly propagandized. As war commenced in September 1939 kids were tuned in to the radio epic entitled "The Shadow".

It opened with these ominous words, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows, heh, heh. heh!" That was one of the first serial motion pictures I saw in 1940.  Serial movies usually took 12  episodes of "cliff-hangers" before resolution, and most were considered less than violent in that more conservative world.


In general, American action heroes were more widely regarded than Canadian role-models, who were confined to the pages of black and white "comic books." There was never any blood and gore way back then.

Compare that with Calvin's twentieth century difficulties. If this happened in this century, you can be quite sure tat North Korea would be blamed for that massive hole in the ground and nuclear war would be a reality.

This appears to be Donald Trump's philosophy.

This has remained a continuing complaint since Bill Watterson abandoned Calvin & Hobbes in 1995 when he was in his 40s. "Can somethin' be done about it? A corpse, a corpse!"

Dunbar was a Scot. I am a mongrelized Canadian with a small bit of Russ. I am all for mirth!

Haven't been there since I was a teenager, but what a swirl? I leave off beer for weeks at a time these days, resorting to it when daylight is short. The last three years have seen us short-changed but hopeful. That really is crazy?

Some will know what we mean and some not. Blow your nose in sympathy.

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