*"Pledge to the readers;" http://thegreatcartoonoflife.blogspot.com/2010/09/due-to-technical-difficulties.html
Is it the New Year? Martin Luther King Day (I miss that guy?) Watching the Republican debates? I know that, as a humble quasi-eleoendoprenic-godless-atheist-humanist-Buddhist monk, nothing is ever supposed to get under my skin or bother me. Ever. Maybe having stopped taking of all my prescription anti-depressant drugs cold turkey a few months ago has something to do with it (though I don't really think so.) Maybe January is just a tough month no matter where you live, even LA-topia. The burden of the whole myth of all the old stuff ending and so much great, "fresh" new stuff supposedly beginning can be a lot to bear.
Of course, the best way to pass through any extreme difficulty (according to both Joseph Campbell and Captain James T. Kirk) is to dive into it, attack it, own it, wrestle it as though your life depended on it (because it does,) get it in a serious headlock and just hang on so tight that when the monster turns around to sink its fangs into you to finally kill you, you still just don't let go. In fact, that's when you laugh in or spit in its face. Fear and death are just illusion (as is life for that matter.) The purpose of the well designed and properly functioning roller coaster is to create the impression that you're about to die. But, of course, if you keep your cool until the end of the ride, the car comes to a stop, all becomes once more calm, and you step off safely having just gained an enormous thrill. You then walk down the wooden gangplank back to solid pavement where Mommy and Daddy are smiling proudly, waiting for you. You take their hands. They say, "Wow! You're brave! How was it?!" And together you all walk off to get a hotdog, away from the scary thing, feeling stronger, happier. Then years pass. If you're lucky, you and Mom and Dad are still holding hands, and smiling. Then, as you're about to go get onto something else, something that looks like another much quieter, much "safer," little kiddie ride, you suddenly go "What?!" as you realize you're still on the giant roller coaster. Well, I'll be damned. Now that's a brilliantly designed ride! You never got off. And that's it. That's how it works. The car's now approaching the top of the highest peak you've been to yet, the really scary, really big drop. So hold on tight. Happy New Year! You're back.
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