Blowback_toon

Blowback

A clean, well-lit place to vent

Please feel free to contribute to this frequently-updated forum, which posts selected commentary on our favorite comic strip. If you’d like your critique to be posted, please note that civility, if not approbation, counts. Click here to submit a comment.

LICKED
Chris Saulnier | Gray, MAINE | August 07, 2011

Us Mainahs have this problem licked. It's called snow!

PAINTING ROOFS
Glenn Arnold | Poughkeepsie, NY | August 07, 2011

Re. today's strip about painting roofs white: Black roofs absorb heat from the sun in the daytime, but they radiate heat away into space at night. The black roof will lose more heat at night than it receives during the day during the winter. Painting a roof white is like adding insulation, except that it only works for radiative heat transfer. There are times when insulation works against you also, but on balance, it's better to have it than not. Of course, if Bernie can develop a roof that changes color between day and night, you'd have a winner.

TWO STEPS
Alan Harrison | New York, NY | August 07, 2011

Today's strip perfectly captured the two steps of an inventive process, and a key reason why it is sometimes so hard to convince non-inventors that a genius invention is "non-obvious." Given the progress of the America Invents / Patent Reform Act of 2011, this strip is quietly timely.

WHAT IT WAS LIKE
F.R. Pamp | Colorado Springs, CO | August 06, 2011

The Flashback strips from years ago often take me back -- they provide a flavor and texture, well known at the time but long since forgotten. The recently-featured 30-year-old conversation among Mark (as radio host), a guest who counsels vets, and a Vietnam War vet caller reminds me so strongly of what it was like back then. Americans didn't realize how badly many of them treated us, and PTSD didn't even have a name yet. Long time gone.

REALITY CHECK
Brenda Kleinfelder | Eugene, OREGON | August 05, 2011

I see where you're going with Jeff's Mom considering reentering the job market after a long break from her career. I'm in the same spot. Here is the reality check. No matter how much experience or ego one may have, step out of line, good luck gettin' back in! That's the up-shot of my experience at the age of 53 returning to the job market. There are no spaces open. Stay true to that American nightmare and I'll stay true to reading you everyday. Deal?

JOB MARKET
Dean C. | Atlanta, GA | August 05, 2011

Re. MY GENERATION. Everyone keeps saying it, but this is not the worst job market since the Great Depression. The job market of the 1970s and early 1980s (when most of the Baby Boomers enetered the workforce) was much worse than today.

TEXTING
Lance M. | San Jose, CA | August 04, 2011

I really enjoyed the shot at texting. Thank you! Here's a great short TED talk by Julian Treasure, called Five Ways to Listen Better.

OUR KIDS
Angie Shiraishi | Northern VA | August 04, 2011

Wow! It's awfully hard to criticize our kids when they are just taking their cues from their parents. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." When Jeff realizes that his mom is fantasizing about a job that doesn't exist they suddenly have a lot more in common than either would previously like to have admitted. But when it comes down to it the most successful people in this world are the ones who were willing to dream, fantasize, and then create the job that best defines them. I suspect this is something that earlier generations have realized on a more conscious level than does the current one, and the real challenge in parenting today lies in helping our kids connect with this process of making one's future for oneself.

Jeff's parents need to realize that he is, indeed, taking his cues from them; he is just stuck between the fantasizing and the leap of faith required to make that dream into a reality. Perhaps this epiphany will finally lead Jeff to find a way to live his dream job, and help his parents to realize that they do have an impact on his life course even at this later stage.

PHOOEY!
Fiona | Melbourne, AUSTRALIA | August 04, 2011

Re. ABOUT TEXTING. I'd sit down with Maryjane for a chat over coffee any day. Texting? Phooey! Genuine warm-blooded communicating -- real conversation in real time -- is being displaced. Add to that the fact that so many are constantly plugged into overly loud music piped from their MP3 players through ear buds. What's it mean? It means we're heading toward a time when huge swathes of the population will be so hearing impaired that they won't have any choices left. Texting will be their only option.

MY GENERATION
Rob E. | Somerville, MA | August 04, 2011

Some people in my generation are getting a little tired of baby boomers telling us that we're lazy or immature for not having good jobs and houses, when we've come of age in the worst job market since the Great Depression. Jeff is Jeff, but I'd like to see a more realistic example, like smart, accomplished Alex struggling for months to find a reasonable job.

ELIZABETH WARREN
Michael Kniat | New York, NY | August 03, 2011

I'm lovin' the Elizabeth Warren narrative already, GBT. Now that's the way to keep it timely and topical -- just like the good ol' days. You go, man!

HIS MUM
Andronico | London, UK | August 03, 2011

I like that Jeff obviously cares enough about his mum to pretend to be interested in her thoughts about her going back to work. Although obviously his doing so also is a great worry.

ADVERTISEMENT
Ken M. | CALIFORNIA | August 03, 2011

I wonder how much Ms. Warren paid for that advertisement. It was enough to get it printed, that's for sure.

THE BEST
Mary Cooney-Glazer | Marblehead, MA | August 03, 2011

The Elizabeth Warren storyline is the best since B.D.'s Veteran's Center rehab! Please stay with Warren for Senate. Massachusetts is desperate for her kind of common sense.

PLEASE
Brian Corby | New York, NY | August 02, 2011

Please please please let Joanie be talking about Elizabeth Warren. And please, Ms. Warren, run!

ABOUT TEXTING
Maryjane Mazzarella | Winchester, MA | August 02, 2011

I have enjoyed your sense of humor and commentary for many years, but Sunday's strip about texting really did not hit on all cylinders for me. I am a grandmother as well as a mother of two adult children. I do not text. I find that having a cell phone on 24/7 and texting 24/7 is rather rude. Our daughter lives with us, so that means that at 5:30 A.M when she wakes up, on goes her phone, and maybe two minutes later that phone is beeping with messages coming from co-workers already at work, or her boyfriend who is on his way to work, or her brother complaining about his life. I am not kidding when I say that her phone goes off at least 50 times before she leaves the house at 7:30.

When we go out to lunch or dinner with our daughter, our son and his wife, or our eight-year-old granddaughter, everyone is texting. We have complained but are told "Get up with the times, this is important." Well I hope that it is important, because when they get to my age, 68, our granddaughter will be telling them that they should get up with the times. Of course she will probably tell them by text and not in person. My granddaughter texts her mother from her bedroom asking what to wear that day for school, Mom is in the next room texting her friends.

Years ago I remember hearing Paul Harvey say, "This generation coming up was afraid of being alone; they will be known as the phone generation." Well he was right. Thank you for letting me blow off steam. I'm the grandmother of one, the mother of two, and I'm tired of rude people texting and being on the phone.

AMAZED
Benjamin Watson | Storrs, CT | July 31, 2011

I am amazed that Zonker remains a nanny. He ignored Baby Alex while signing "I'm Bad," let toddler Alex watch nine hours of TV a day, offered to give baby Sam to a fan who asked "May I have your baby?", asked a stranger who had said that Sam was cute to watch her, and drives without a license. Telling little Howie about a gentle freak named Douglas was something that college Zonk would do, but it seems that his commitment to responsibility has not changed since he "changed his mind" about a vote that he had promised Mark in the early 70s.

ROOFTOPS
William Fuchs | Arlington, VA | July 31, 2011

Really. "Across the rooftops of Arlington." Now I know this is Jeff's inspired fiction.

FAILING
Lisa Plante | CALIFORNIA | July 31, 2011

Thank you for today's Sunday strip that tells phone and text addicted parents that they are failing their children. I hope it causes some of those parents to rethink where their attention is most needed.

THUMP ON THE HEAD
Bunny Thompson | Sisters, OREGON | July 31, 2011

Today's strip with Zonker chastising parents about choosing electronic devices over quality family time is more than spot-on. It's a thump on the head that is greatly needed to wake parents up. Time and family are what is precious -- not the latest text or phone call.