A program note to our regular readers: The cartoon "Mad City" does not appear this week and will not for an indefinite time. The author/artist of "Mad City," Brian Strassburg, is attending to a family medical emergency and has put other matters aside for the time being.
The conceit of "Mad City" is that it presents offbeat advice for coping with Madison and Wisconsin's eccentricities of culture and weather. Of course, one of those eccentricities is Brian Strassburg, making him the perfect source for such advice as how to style your hair for the Wisconsin winter (think hat hair carried to its illogical conclusion) or State Street Halloween rules to remember. Any conversation with him is an invitation to join in his altered perception of the world, which is sort of droll in an unpretentious kind of way.
But life is not always a laughing matter. Last week Brian's wife, Lois Strassburg, was felled by a stroke, leaving her in an uncommunicative state. The worst was feared. She was transferred from the hospital to hospice, and family and friends gathered.
Earlier this week, Lois achieved what was termed "an amazing turnaround," becoming aware of her surroundings. Work has started on her recovery, and she is expected to leave hospice and return to the hospital in a few days for evaluation and treatment. She is still in precarious condition, but at least for now, the indicators are pointing up instead of down, and Brian has reason to be optimistic.
But there will be no cartoons coming our way, at least for a while. That's fine with us. Our great concern is that Lois make a full recovery. We can make jokes later on.