The general store

From the January 26th New Yorker, a cartoon by Liana Finck:


A store that deals with things from highly general categories: it sells items, for which it takes money.

(Thanks to Andy Sleeper for calling my attention to this cartoon.)

New Yorker cartoonist Finck has a quirky sense of humor; here’s a cartoon from 2/25/13 exploiting the characteristics of the Slinky and the habits of the salmon:


In case you aren’t familiar with the Slinky, here’s the brief low-down from Wikipedia:

Slinky is a toy, a precompressed helical spring invented by Richard James in the early 1940s. It can perform a number of tricks, including travelling down a flight of steps end-over-end as it stretches and re-forms itself with the aid of gravity and its own momentum

And on the salmon, again from Wikipedia:

Salmon can make amazing journeys, sometimes moving hundreds of miles upstream against strong currents and rapids to reproduce. Chinook and sockeye salmon from central Idaho, for example, travel over 900 miles (1,400 km) and climb nearly 7,000 feet (2,100 m) from the Pacific Ocean as they return to spawn.

(Two things you need to know to understand the cartoon.)

And then on the cartoonist. More cartoons are viewable on her website. And she’s a graphic novelist; from a 2014 NYT review, “Dear Mr. Editor: Oy, the Tsoris I’ve Seen: ‘A Bintel Brief’ Is Liana Finck’s Graphic Book of Letters” by David Kipen:

“A Bintel Brief” owes more than its name to a beloved feature in one of New York’s old Yiddish newspapers, The Jewish Daily Forward, a.k.a. The Forverts. The title translates as “A Bundle of Letters,” and “A Bintel Brief” was an advice column in The Forverts for Jews fresh off the boat, a feature regarded by many as the prototype for “Dear Abby.” It was started in 1906 and written by the paper’s hugely gifted editor Abraham Cahan, who also wrote the classic immigrant novel “The Rise of David Levinsky” (1917). Some of Cahan’s advice columns appeared in a namesake 1971 collection that Ms. Finck asserts, with mildly endearing enthusiasm, “is worth reading 5,000 times.”

Ms. Finck sets the storybook tone in her whimsical prologue, in which Cahan comes to life from Ms. Finck’s grandmother’s scrapbook of old Forverts clippings, his homburg jauntily aloft, like a lover in a Chagall painting.

Between this introduction and a wan, inconclusive epilogue, the book has 11 brief chapters of three sections apiece: always a faithfully condensed and edited vintage letter from The Forverts (the earliest is dated 1906), then Ms. Finck’s hand-lettered version of Cahan’s response, and, finally, a scene between Ms. Finck and Cahan, schmoozing from the Beyond. After that, another letter starts the cycle anew.

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