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CSotD: I don’t get it

There are a lot of things I don’t understand, but this Non Sequitur (AMS) brings up the most fascinating, at least at the moment.

I kind of understand that, since we went off the gold standard, we’ve moved into an element of currency in which we all have to agree upon the value of a $20 bill, but, then, we all had to agree on the value of gold, too.

Which required accepting authority, whether it was the king or the World Bank or whoever. The twist this time around is that the value of cryptocoins appears to be set by anarchists, and that seems like a contradiction.

The De Beers cartel could manipulate the value of diamonds, which are a lovely, hard, somewhat unremarkable gemstone, and a large part of their scheme involved advertising to create demand for the stones, while being in a position to artificially suppress supply. If all the diamond deposits in the world were suddenly independent of the diamond cartel, diamonds would be just another pretty rock.

There’s discussion of how cryptocurrency is made and how much energy it takes and the impact on the environment, and now Elon Musk has declared that this kind of cryptocurrency is okay because it’s more environmentally friendly, and it all sounds like a De Beers-level con job to me.

I don’t own any diamonds, and I don’t plan to own any cryptocurrency. I’m too conservative for that.

Though my modest retirement fund is stashed away in mutual funds, which are worth exactly what somebody or other says they’re worth.

 

There are all sorts of things I don’t understand, and this Lockhorns (KFS) brings up another, which is that, when I was a kid, those things were called “contour sheets” because they followed the contours of the mattress, more or less.

 

Here: Peanuts, Oct 31, 1953. “Contour sheet.” And we all know what a stickler for language and grammar Charles Schulz was.

I’m okay with contour sheets that follow the contours of the mattress more or less, but I think that, if you make something called “fitted sheets,” you are making a promise that I don’t think you can keep.

At least, you haven’t kept it in my experience, or in Leroy’s.

If they were bespoke sheets, perhaps, but I can’t afford anything bespoke.

 

Also on the subject of fabrics, Betty (AMS) brings up a topic I heard some time ago but that hasn’t seemed to raise much consciousness.

Back in the days when Charlie Brown was tripping over his contour sheet, there was still a rag man in my neighborhood, who would come down the street in a horse-drawn wagon, which I thought was awfully interesting, and I’ll admit I focused on the horse and not what he was collecting. He might have been a junkman.

Ragpickers were never thought of as “recyclers” but, of course, that’s what they were doing, and there were all sorts of uses for old rags. In fact, people who wish we’d stop cutting down trees to make paper should be all in for recycling old clothes for that purpose.

Except that, back in the days of the rag man, clothes were made from cotton or linen or wool, and now they’re made of cotton and plastic or linen and plastic or wool and plastic, and most “recycling” of blends means turning them into cleaning rags (which you could have done) or regifting them as Third World hand-me-downs.

And good luck finding natural-fiber, non-bespoke clothing. Back before the Civil War, a group of abolitionist Quakers tried selling clothes that were not made from slave-produced cotton, but good intentions cost more and the business failed.

Old growth forests don’t stand a chance.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Barney & Clyde – WPWG)

(xkcd)

I don’t often turn the TV on much before four o’clock in the afternoon, but that’s early enough that I still get a heapin’ helpin’ of pharmaceutical ads with, as Barney & Clyde suggests, more disclaimers than claims. I saw one the other day that, among its possible side effects, appeared to be listing the thing it was supposed to cure.

 

The real barrier Pillsbury Pharmaceuticals faces is that TV spots today are only 30 seconds long, not 60 like when Fed Ex set the standard with this 1981 classic. (Even then, 60s were the exception.)

Better to go the Hippie Placebo route with mostly harmless nostrums that make vague claims the FDA won’t force you to back up. I’m not sure there’s much difference between the benefits of all those probiotic whatevers and the magical spring water Peter Popoff is eager to send you, except that nobody claims drinking kombucha will make big checks appear in your mailbox.

Yet.

 

Dark Side of the Horse (AMS) taps into my inner misanthrope, who, I’ll admit, isn’t all that inner.

But if you thought getting rid of Dear Leader was going to make Facebook a more pleasant place to hang out, you’d better be fond of whining and drivel, because the elimination of a Big Source of Controversy has resulted in so many tiresome, petty complaints and fatuous falsehoods that I need those headphones.

Now that Trump is gone, Snopes can go back to revealing that such-and-such famous person never, as a child, had such-and-such an inspiring encounter, and PicPedant can rail against doctored photos of amazing things that never happened.

While the rest of us simply marvel at the germaphobes for whom the pandemic has provided an excuse to rail against handshakes and the blowing out of candles on birthday cakes.

Someone should tell them about the antiseptic powers of magic spring water.

 

Returning to Barney & Clyde (WPWG), it’s nice to see a question raised for which I have an answer.

The funniest movie ever made was about a newspaper editor who ran an incorrect article about a rich girl that drew a lawsuit that would put the paper out of business unless they got an unscrupulous reporter to woo the victim and turn libel into truth, only he had to marry the editor’s fiancee …

Never mind. Here’s the trailer.

(Note to editorial cartoonists: It got a Best Picture nomination
but didn’t win a damn thing. That’s how good it is!)

Community Comments

#1 Brad Walker
June/16/2021
@ 11:28 am

Thirty seconds? You’ve got to get your message across in five seconds before “Skip Ads” pops up.

I remember a Halloween greeting card from years agone. A(n almost pre-)teenage girl is posing behind one of those dressing screens that were such popular teases in old movies. The text was, “Baby, when you go out to trick or treat…” (Overleaf) “Be sure and wear your contour sheet!” I’ll leave the picture to your imagination.

As for cryptocurrency… I don’t play any game where I don’t understand the rules.

#2 Fred King
June/16/2021
@ 12:35 pm

From the “not all that amazing coincidence” department: as soon as I saw the headline for today’s CSOTD, I immediately went into my rant that there are some things that people my age (60, and how did that happen?) don’t understand and aren’t supposed to understand–mostly everything that The Kids These Days (TM) understand perfectly and can absorb without any apparent difficulty. First on the list: cryptocurrency.

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