CSotD: Ephemeral Phunnies

Zits (KFS) reminds me that I’m old enough to remember when Frosted Flakes, Sugar Smacks and Sugar Corn Pops seemed to be about the extent of morning junk food. The first fruit-flavored cereal, Trix, appeared in 1954, the year I started kindergarten.

But let’s not pretend to be pure: We poured plenty of sugar onto Wheaties and Rice Krispies.

I also ate Sugar Corn Pops because they were a sponsor of The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock, and I was an avid fan of Linus the Lion Hearted, which was a 30 minute commercial for Post cereals, though not all of them were pre-sweetened.

With openly promotional programs like Linus, and, later, Power Rangers, banned, and Saturday Morning Cartoons a distant memory, I’m not sure how the cereal companies stuff their products down the throats of American children.

Cereal companies have taken “sugar” off names of their cereal, selling “Golden Smacks” and “Corn Pops,” but they sure haven’t taken it out of the cereal itself. A trip down the cereal aisle isn’t much different from a trip down the candy aisle, except that candy hawkers don’t make disingenuous claims about nutrition.

A grocery store I shopped at had a little sign sticking out in the middle of the cereal aisle and said, “Adult flavors.” I knew what it meant, but I laughed anyway.

A bowl of cereal makes a dandy midnight snack.


A newer bit of nostalgia has been preying on my mind, thanks to the current arc on Brewster Rockit (Tribune), which has me trying to remember the name of that on-line world of the 90s in which we were all supposed to take on avatars and homes and jobs and then … well, people kept explaining it to me but I never quite understood why we would do that on a computer when it was what we all did in our own lives.

The Sims offered actual urban-planning challenges. This, however, was mostly just a place to hang out. If I could remember the name, I’d look it up, but I suspect it’s a virtual ghost town, with virtual tumbleweeds blowing down the virtual streets.

But I knew people who managed to get other people to join in and then had actual meetings. Well, here we are again and, as Brewster says, it’s like being bored in person!

I still don’t get it, but, fortunately, when I was googling around trying to find that old game, I found this article from Wired, Virtual Reality Is The Rich White Kid of Technology, which lets me off the hook on the grounds that Virtual Reality is a fad in constant search of followers.

It even cites the universal “meh” expressed by the guys in Brewster Rockit:


If you want reality, however, you’re in luck: Things have just become a whole lot more real for Gene and Mary Lou over in Arlo and Janis (AMS), and not only are the kids going to have to find new ways to get by but Arlo and Janis are going to have to puzzle out how to be supportive without being intrusive, a parenting puzzler that never goes away.

The kids will be fine. As mentioned the other day, both my father and I changed careers for the better at 50, and they’ve got more road ahead of them than we did.

As Gene apparently realizes, his folks will likely have a harder time dealing with it than he and Mary Lou will.


Maybe they can sell the restaurant and move to some untouched rural paradise and ruin it, as seen in the Barn (Creators).

There are legitimate issues in providing access to that which you are also trying to preserve, and it’s worth repeating the distinction between preservation, which is keeping things just as is — John Muir — and conservation, which is making the best use of natural resources — Theodore Roosevelt.

But there is plenty of common ground, and one of the things that motivated Roosevelt to start declaring monuments and pushing national parks through Congress was a plan for building a rail line into Yellowstone so tourists could readily visit.

It may sound elitist to make it hard to get there, but TR recognized that a train would destroy the solitude that made being there worthwhile. He also objected to hotels and mining on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Those are examples of him advocating the best use of natural resources without cutting down trees or damming rivers.  TR had a lot to learn on the topic, but he was an eager student and we’ve all benefited from it.

I saw a video online yesterday that showed a mountain lion jumping over someone’s gate, and the description included the word “terrifying.”

Terrifying for who?  He’s where he’s supposed to be. You’re the intruder.


Mrs. Olson, the somewhat burned-out teacher in Frazz (AMS), continues to be a conundrum, because she’s only somewhat burned-out and her crusty exterior often reveals a little humanity.

She’s right to be on the fence over the venerable “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” assignment.

It’s not a bad way to get to know your new class, but I’m not sure the kids you most need to learn about have much to tell you, if they sat around an apartment all day because, even if their parents could afford to take a week off, the pandemic narrowed the choices of what to do.

You should know that about them, of course — one of the issues with 9/11 was that, by then, teachers had barely met their kids — but the practice of having the kids stand up and read their essays aloud absolutely has to go.

That kid stuck alone in the apartment doesn’t need to hear about anybody’s safari in Kenya.

And don’t get me started on doing family trees as an activity.


Leroy Lockhorn (KFS)‘ has it right: There is no correct way to load the dishwasher, or to hang toilet paper.

Arguing over such trivia avoids facing the actual problem, which will also not be resolved by finding one person right and one person wrong.

Though couples also quarrel over finding a counselor who will do just that (and get it right).



18 thoughts on “CSotD: Ephemeral Phunnies

  1. Our rule is that the final say over how the dishwasher is to be loaded goes to the person who hits “start.”

  2. Second Life?

    From its Wikipedia article: “Second Life users, also called residents, create virtual representations of themselves, called avatars, and are able to interact with places, objects and other avatars. They can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in both individual and group activities, build, create, shop, and trade virtual property and services with one another.”

  3. The Metaverse? As described in Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash”?
    It’s much cooler than Second Life, but not, er, real.

    Interesting story about the current VR headset technology–about 25% of women using them experience nausea. You would think that a tech product that produced nausea in 25% of users would need more work before being released, but oh, guess who most of the testers and developers were?

  4. No right way to hang toilet paper? Humph! It’s “over the falls” style says every woman I know. Lessens the chance of the paper reaching the floor.

  5. I was firmly in the overhand camp, and still choose it when loading the holder, but some say they do it the other way so the cats don’t unroll it, so I’m trying to keep an open mind.

    It hurts.

  6. I note with pleasure that Arlo and Janis so know the correct personal pronoun used with a gerund. I am normally a silent grammarian, but sometimes must applaud.

  7. Avid VR user here. It is super cool, and something that everyone should experience. There’s really nothing like it. I can’t imagine having a meeting in it, though. Something about putting that headset on makes me dumber than a box of rocks. Maybe the low FOV and limited framerate slows my brain down. As for the motion sickness — it’s awful, and it serves as a huge hurdle for the widespread use of VR, but I don’t know how you’d get rid of it. I think it’s more of an issue with the way our brains interpret visual stimulus than the headset itself. There are things that you can do to minimize it, and it is possible to get your sea legs with it, so to speak.

  8. George & Kip : The cats can unroll it no matter how you hang it, trust me on this. A latchable cabinet within reach is your best bet.

  9. My fave memory of Second Life (I checked it out but didn’t dive in) was when they did a short clip of Jim from The Office sprouting wings and flying as a avatar there.

    Also: I find I know the ‘Pop’ verse from the Rice Krispies jingle, but I had to go to YouTube for the whole thing.

  10. Ah, Sugar Crisp and Sugar Corn Pops. Two of the basic building blocks of the boomer food pyramid. Was it ever Sugar Frosted Flakes? I don’t think so. But they were the only one too sugary to eat

  11. According to Wikipedia, they were called “Sugar Frosted Flakes” from their introduction in 1952 until 1983.

    I’d like to know who the people are who are fooled by the removal of “sugar” from the name of the cereals.

  12. “Over the falls” on toilet paper only works if you don’t have cats. If you have cats and insist on doing it that “correct” way, you’re begging for bathroom messes and wasted toilet paper.

  13. The Rice Krispies jingle is one I’ve played for years, as it is in a book of commercial tunes. In the oldest ads, they used to sing each verse and then do all three together. I keep hoping I can interest my fellow trio members in each taking a part of it.

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