Dad, read me the comics!

The disappearing news-paper.

Her last known photograph shows Queen Elizabeth v2.0 smiling but much aged at her beloved Balmoral castle, awaiting her last prime minister. Examine her hands. They are black and blue. Observed the same in my last two visits with an ailing friend here in the Madison WI area, shortly before his death.

Detecting the same tell tale signs of necrosis in Madison’s favorite (and only) morning daily newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal. How much longer does it have — at least, in print form? 

First it was Brewers games. A standing box on page 2 of the sports section told you they were to play the night before and directed fans to go on-line to find the result. Never expected results for games played on the West coast but now even night games in Milwaukee are delayed. (And the website doesn’t make them easy to find.)

Disappearing our comics isn’t funny!

The patient took another turn for the worse with today’s announcement that subscribers must go on-line for their favorite comics. Makes no sense! Comics are hardly deadline-driven. The indentured servants here at Stately Blaska Manor are especially enamored of Arlo & Janis and Frazz, which now can be found only on-line. But where is Dilbert? Crankshaft? Beetle Bailey, Rex Morgan? Disappearing (verb, transitive) Hagar the Horrible is horrible!

Someone said that no method of communication ever goes away — that somewhere, someone, upon occasion — is sending smoke signals. Maybe so. The advantage of print is that it lands on your lap, gets in your face. It’s why political candidates flood your mailboxes with the oversized campaign mailers. Candidate websites — hell, your favorite blogge — must be searched for.

Reading news and commentary on-line works for us but comic strips don’t seem to translate electronically.

Hard times for newspapers

A Capital Times colleague, the late Mike Miller, noted that with every electronic production advancement the deadline moved earlier rather than later. We put out three editions until around 1980 — the first for far-flung delivery to places like Baraboo and Monroe. The last for city distribution.

Speaking of which, The Capital Times was one of only about 550 afternoon papers remaining in the U.S. when it gave up daily print publication on April 26, 2008. Only two are said to survive today, both in Montana.  

Pew Research reports total weekday circulation — print and on-line — is down 40% since 2015. The decline in print-only is a more dramatic 55%. Advertising revenue is down 40% in just three years! Newsprint is also more expensive (inflation and supply chain). Finding delivery people is a headache, judging from the large number of openings the WI State Journal advertises. (Remember paper boys on bicycles?) 

Growing up in the 1950s, brother Mike-boy and I would station ourselves behind dad on the couch as he read us the comics in The Capital Times: Alley Oop (with Professor Wonmug), Priscilla’s Pop, Out Our Way, Snuffy Smith, the adventures of Steve Roper (and Mike Nomad), and Our Boarding House (with Major Hoople). 

Blaska’s Bottom Line: The proprietor of this newsstand credits/blames that experience for turning the boy into the superannuated scrivener he has become.

Are we being weaned off print?

About David Blaska

Madison WI
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17 Responses to Dad, read me the comics!

  1. tartanmarine says:

    I subscribe to dilbert. Every day in mt inbox

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One Eye says:

    Grew up on Milwaukee Journal’s Greensheet. Read the “Doonesbury” comic to feel grown up. Family Circus, Hagar, Mary something or other soap opera comic. They even had daily biorhythm charts in late 70s. Biorhythms. A high school gym teacher once did a presentation on them to student body. Idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kibitzer says:

    The black and blue hands is usually caused by Warfarin or some other blood thinner. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kibitzer says:

    The Green Sheet was great!

    I quit the Journal/Sentinal years ago because of it’s political bias.
    I now only subscribe to Epoch Times.

    I bought a Journal/Sentinal a few weeks ago and was shocked by the $3.50 price tag fora “paper thin” Monday morning newspaper!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bob says:

    Last Saturday I looked up prep football scores on the Wisconsin State Journal online sight and only found the major teams. I had to go to the TV stations web sights to find most of the scores. Pre pandemic I could watch a HS game on cable TV. No more. Since the news is old and the reporting is bad I will soon figure the money for the E edition isn’t worth it. It’s hard to find unbiased news that isn’t a repeat of someone’s talking points.


  6. AdamC says:

    The State Journal needs to just go away. They continue to find room to publish slanted propaganda and even demonstrably false rubbish designed to boost a failed president and a leftist thug party.

    It seems like even Rickert has been somewhat muzzled after the likes of exposing the fake race hoax by Jussea Smollstein 2 years ago.

    With the comics gone and sports scores hidden, and only pro-leftist propaganda remaining, time to bury the WSJ, I say.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. richard lesiak says:

    This is because the evil left has “infiltrated” every level of our society. Please “wrap yourself in the armor of God”, go forth and vanquish the evil left. For those who dare speak out against our Lord and Savior Donald Trump; we shall spread their ashes across their salted fields. “Pitchforks and torches” will rule the land. TO ARMS-TO ARMS.


  8. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    “Our Boarding House with Major Hoople” Best comic ever! The Major’s battered fez (or a replica thereof) belongs in the Smithsonian next to Archie Bunker’s battered armchair.


  9. Normwegian says:

    No more Wonderword puzzle in the print issue. First wife is not happy. When my special $40/3month deal expires, it’s back to using my neighbor’s subscription to read the e-edition.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Cornelius_Gotchberg says:

    Oter than the addition of Pickles, the new comics line-up SUCKS…a REAL disappointment!

    $#!tcanning the terminally unfunny/dead weight/phuque-witted Phil Hands would free up some space.

    And there’s been more full page ads than there’s ever been.

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

  11. richard lesiak says:

    Lindsey Graham wants to ban abortion nation wide. I agree. Let’s have a country wide referendum to ban abortion. Put it on the ballot in every state. Who’s with me ? Magamen unite and vote. Stop playing politics and vote for it now!


  12. Bill Cleary says:


    Read this 1906 article from the Cosmopolitan Magazine.

    Click to access Alfred-Henry-Lewis-9-Meals-Cosmopolitan-Magazine.pdf

    You had to think when you read this article! You were not told what to think, you had to think for yourself.

    Or when as a young man, I read the National Observer. Another publication with more than one great read in each issue.

    Today’s newspapers and magazines and especially T.V. shows, take it for granted that you cannot think.


    • David Blaska says:

      Subscribed to the National Observer once upon a time. Also: Saturday Review, Harper’s, Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, National Geographic, The Sporting News, Car & Driver … and more.


  13. Pingback: Giving the market what it wants! | Blaska Policy Werkes

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