And you follow ’til your sense of which direction completely disappears

It’s no secret that I love newspaper and online comic strips — especially the traditional ones. Now, I don’t know if you follow the “Heathcliff” cartoon — you probably don’t — but, friends and neighbors, believe me when I tell you: It’s gone completely bonkers.

“Heathcliff,” a single-panel daily cartoon about an orange-striped cat, is perpetually upstaged by that other daily cartoon about an orange-striped cat, “Garfield.” But “Heathcliff,” which debuted 50 years ago this September, actually pre-dates the better-known strip by five years. “Heathcliff” hasn’t been featured in a movie (yet) but the comic strip has inspired at least two animated TV cartoon shows — one in 1980, one in 1984.

And there are some distinctive differences between the two orange tabby cartoon cats. Garfield is extremely lazy, gluttonous and sarcastic, offering snide comments about the world and people around him. Heathcliff is sneaky, but industrious, and he never talks, even in the form of word balloons — he pantomimes or simply “meows.”

And whereas Garfield more or less behaves as a furry human, Heathcliff’s behavior has always been more in line with that of a real tomcat — albeit one with human levels of intelligence.

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At least the set looks nice

(NBC photo)

I watched the rebooted “Night Court.” I chuckled a few times. I had one actual laugh. Otherwise, I fear it’s destined for the same fate as the “Murphy Brown” reboot and “The New WKRP in Cincinnati.”

I realize this is nitpicking, but I’m not sure I buy the premise — Abby Stone (Melissa Rauch) has been appointed to the seat formerly held by her father, Judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson in the original “Night Court”). When she finds herself in need of a public defender, she brings back Dan Fielding (John Larroquette), who was an assistant district attorney on the original show.

If you’re going to bring back Fielding, by now he would logically be the judge — and without Harry Anderson, Markie Post, Charles Robinson, Marsha Warfield and Richard Moll, I’m a little “meh” on the idea anyway.

(Trivia question: What two veterans of old-time radio played the woman bailiff on “Night Court” before Marsha Warfield? Hint: Both of them had ties to “Duffy’s Tavern” and both died, sadly, of lung cancer after years of chain-smoking. Answer at the end.)

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Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?

If you heard Saturday’s show (repeated Sunday afternoon) you heard a bunch of soundbites from Bert and Ernie of “Sesame Street.” (As opposed to Bert and Ernie of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”)

I don’t mean to disillusion you, but they weren’t in the studio with me — the magic of radio! theater of the mind! — and they also weren’t exclusive to me. Not hardly. They were part of a video series that Elle Magazine has created called “Song Association,” in which celebrities are given a vocabulary word, and then have 10 seconds to think of a song that includes the word.

You can view Bert and Ernie’s entire appearance on YouTube (it’s actually a load of fun — they also sang “If I Had $1,000,000” by Barenaked Ladies, as well as “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman) and check out the other celebrity videos at the hashtag #SongAssociation. Billie Eilish, Adam Lambert, Olivia Rodrigo and Meghan Trainor have all participated in the long-running series.

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Brand A or Brand B?

I’m experimenting with two of the social media apps that have been touted as replacements for Elon’s House o’ Nazis & TERF Emporium — Post and Mastodon.

Honestly, I expected to like Post better. There is a waiting period — apparently there’s a huge backlog of people trying to sign up — but once you’re approved, setting up an account is very simple.

Mastodon has a much shorter waiting period. But it’s a little more confusing. Unlike Twitter or Facebook (for instance), or Post, where all of the technological infrastructure is owned by the company, Mastodon is a series of servers — basically, privately-run networks. You have to pick which server (I’m going to call them networks) you want to join.

Think of it like signing up for a cell phone plan. Your Verizon phone can talk to my T-Mobile phone, and both of us can call someone with an AT&T phone.

Most of the Mastodon servers (networks) seem to talk to the other networks, so people from one Mastodon network can talk to the people from the other networks. But unlike Twitter or Facebook, when you sign into your account, you’re not signing into your account on the service; you’re signing into your account on your particular network.

Like I said, it’s a little confusing and clunky, which is why from the beginning, I expected to like Post better. I’m https://post.news/jaythurbershow on that app.

And guess what? I think, so far, I like Mastodon better.

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