Scott Stanford: Looking for a few good funnies

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Question: Where do cows go for a night out?

Answer: To the mooooo-vies.

That's it -- my best joke. You're welcome to use it.

(In truth, I have a Smokey the Bear joke that is funnier, but my city editor and news editor tell me I can't publish it).

Clearly, there are people who are funnier than me. That's why, when it comes to picking comic strips, I'm probably not the best judge.

During my brief time away from the Pilot & Today, I worked for the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. One of my jobs there was to proof every comic strip every day to ensure it met the newspaper's taste standards. Those standards were pretty conservative -- no images of a man and woman in bed. No bad words, not even symbolized bad words like "#@*%!" We once pulled a "Dilbert" strip when a female character asked whether she could mate with a male character.

It was a great lesson for me. I read lots and lots of comics. For better or worse, I got to know the characters and story lines in "For Better or Worse." I read "Cathy" every day. There's nothing like jokes about a woman's obsession with containers to brighten your day.

I got to read "Gil Thorpe," the sports comic strip that was just about the coolest thing on the comics page when I was growing up.

But overall, I haven't been a big comics fan since 1995. That's the year the comics died for many -- Gary Larson's The Far Side, Berke Breathed's Bloom County and Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes all ended. Watterson has moved on to other interests. Larson has retired. Breathed has dabbled with other strips, including "Opus," which he produces for many Sunday newspapers.

These days, I check in on just two strips regularly -- Doonesbury and Dilbert.

My children, on the other hand, love the comics. They routinely fight about who gets to read the comics page first. I don't get the allure of them -- in most cases, the jokes are aimed at adults. There's nothing in "Blondie" or "Beetle Bailey" that would make a 12-year-old giggle, much less a 7-year-old. Even "Family Circus" is more often aimed at parents than children.

At any rate, the point of all this is that I'm getting ready to choose new strips for our Sunday comics pages, and I don't know where to start. Our current lineup is Dilbert, Classic Peanuts, Grand Avenue, Monty, Overboard, Garfield, the Fusco Brothers, Cathy, Baby Blues, Close to Home, Real Life Adventures, Ziggy, Doonesbury and In the Bleachers.

We don't necessarily want to get rid of any comics, but we have room to add more. If there is something you're missing, call and let me know. If there is a strip you think we should dump, let me know that, too. I'll tally the requests and make a decision accordingly.

And if you want to hear the Smokey the Bear joke, you know where to find me.

From the Editor appears every Thurs--day in the Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at sstanford@steamboatpilot.com or call him at 871-4221.

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