Existential Dale

If you’re around my age looking at this and thinking this has a very familiar feel, like maybe you’ve seen something like this somewhere before. You’re probably right. Three panel comic strips in the newspaper were an early influence on me. My sense of humor, how I construct a joke, even my style of drawing contains elements drawn from the hours and hours I spent pouring over the funny pages. One of my favorites, and still something I revisit was Bloom County by Berke Breathed. One of the characters, Binkley, had an anxiety monster who hid in his closet. This strip with Dale is a nod to that character. If you’re not reading, or have not read Berke Breathed’s work, go check it out. He brought Bloom County back in 2016, and it’s great.

What really inspired “Existential Dale,” though, was the very real sense of dread that I think all of us felt in the runaway shitshow that was 2020. Most of last year was spent feeling like I was constantly on the bubble. Would the pandemic’s effects on the global economy hurt my employer enough that my job was threatened? What happens if my wife gets sick, or me, or (and the thought of this makes a small part of me start screaming uncontrollably) both? Is there going to be war in this country? What do I do if there is?

The list just goes on and on. There are a lot of things that happened this year that I was angry about. A lot of things about which I have things I would like to say. In many cases I think they are being said by excellent cartoonists like Berke Breathed. Rather than direct my energies into those comics, I made this one, and gave my existential crisis a name. I think they look like a “Dale” don’t you?

Yes, Dale prefers non-gender specific pronouns. They are, after all, an anthropomorphized personification of my mental state.

The Old Guard

My wife and I don’t get to say this very often, we sat down in our front room and watched a movie together. It is especially tough to watch very adult-oriented movies like this with the kids in the house. Somehow we managed it, and oh-my-giddy-aunt (a nod to Paul Bettany) am I glad that we did.

Mildly Sensational had seen the movie when it came out. If there’s a good show on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or PBS, she has probably watched it. My list of shows she’s recommended is nearly as high as the stack of books on her side of the bed. Since she had already watched it and tole me a few things about it, I already had an idea that it would be something I like.

I was wrong. I didn’t like. I was amazed by it. It is poetry written in high impact action. The Old Guard is an action movie like only a few others I have ever seen. The story is solid enough. A group of old immortals trying to make a difference are betrayed by a contact. Before they can begin tracking that person down they become aware of a new immortal and have to trace them down, make contact, and help them come to grips with their new existence, all while having to evade capture.

Everyone in the cast turns in a stellar performance, but Charleze Theron still manages to stand out. Theron handles acting and action with equal levels of excellence and is just endlessly watchable. That said, there really are great performances from everyone in the cast, and everyone gets their moment in the spotlight, which is another thing this movie does very well.

If it’s not already very obvious, I can’t recommend The Old Guard highly enough.