CSotD: Taking things personally

Might as well start the day in puzzled mode, since I don’t have a particular hobby horse to ride.

Specifically, I’m puzzled by “The trouble with instant coffee,” in today’s Pardon My Planet (KFS) because it suggests that there’s something that isn’t troubling about instant coffee. Which is to say that, while I agree the crystals themselves aren’t tasty, I don’t think they’re much improved by hot water.

Maybe it’s me. I’m also puzzled by BJ Thomas’s theory that a little bit of bad love is better than no love, because I’ve had both and no love is vastly better. So I guess there are people who think a cup of instant coffee is better than no coffee at all, but I’m not one of them.

They do still make the stuff, so somebody’s buying it. But I’d note that they still make canned vegetables, only that portion of the aisle is down to about 12 feet and instant coffee doesn’t even take up that much space in the coffee/tea aisle.


Further on the “taking the comics personally” theme, the current storyline in On the Fastrack (KFS) has me smiling because I spent the last 10 years of my active career working from home as a 1099 independent contractor.

I was responsible for my own hardware, but I came into the gig owning QuarkXpress while my client was laying out pages with InDesign. After a few months of my sending them pages in PDF format, they surrendered and sent me a CS3 disk that included both InDesign and the then-current version of Photoshop.

CS3 is well out of date today, but (A) that old disk had no restrictions on how often you could load it, so I’ve had it on a selection of computers over those 10 years, while (B) I’m not doing anything so magical that I need the new bells and whistles people are forced to rent from the Almighty Adobe Cloud.

I figure I’ve saved enough money for several good cups of coffee, plus I only showed up at the office about a dozen and a half times in all those years.

We should all be so fortunate.


Rising to a point of personal privilege

First, a bit of public service for artists and other creative types: There has been much talk about Winnie the Pooh passing into public domain this year, but that’s only for A.A. Milne’s initial books and for Edward Bear himself, properly identified in this 2007 Lio (AMS) strip as “Classic Pooh.”

As explained on Twitter:

The phony in the red shirt remains under not only copyright but under everlasting trademark protection, and you should be aware that Disneyland is full of attorneys eager to leap upon those who dare to violate their legal rights to other people’s creations.

Now, to switch to the personal, I cannot tell you how much I despise what Disney did to Milne’s wonderful old bear.

Oh, wait: Yes I can.

Here’s what I said about it back in 1998, when I began to see the damage wrought:


Read to your kids.

And, if you adapt their stories, do it with respect not just for the source materials, but for the kids themselves.


8 thoughts on “CSotD: Taking things personally

  1. Something’s in the air. In recent months, musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and Neil Young have sold their catalogs for multi-millions. I figure what we’re seeing are artists getting older who would rather pass onto their heirs a giant dumptruck full of money than the hassle that goes with owning, managing, and defending their intellectual property. If it feels like a bit of a sell-out to fans, who cringe at the idea of Dylan and Young songs selling pickups and beer, well, that’s their decision to make, isn’t it? (On that point, Springsteen evidently included conditions in the sale so that “Born in the USA” and “Born to Run” can’t be used for evil purposes.)

    I’m seeing more information and misinformation about public domain than usual, sparked by the 2022 freeing of Classic Pooh and the near-future liberation of Steamboat Willie. Between the kids who think that something is public domain if you found it on the Internet, and the many people confused by the difference between copyright and trademark (that’s not a criticism, it’s genuinely confusing), the best advice is something I learned at a newspaper decades ago: “Never F With Disney.” (Or the Olympics, or my personal nemesis, the manufacturer of Whamo-O Flying Discs that you dare not refer to by their other name….)

    I wish I still had my CD-ROM copies of CS2 and Photoshop 5, alas lost in a disaster. They worked fine and did everything I needed, but now I’m tethered to a subscription to a product that gets updated and improved just often enough to piss me off. I don’t like Adobe’s business model but they’re clever: charge just enough that it doesn’t hurt enough to make me give it up.

  2. An issue I’ve had for a long time are software developers who offer no backward compatibility or ability to continue to use older versions of their product.

    I am of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of spending money. When the device I bought still performs tasks for which I purchased it I see no reason to upgrade… Until an unannounced “update” suddenly breaks an application functionality.

    Sonos in my opinion is one of the biggest abusers of this business philosophy. I dropped considerable a sum of money on wireless speakers which we really enjoyed and performed well until first their “update” removed any desktop functionality. I guess they figured everybody would run out and buy a smart phone simply because their software required it- Then not long after if you didn’t update that smart phone soon it wouldn’t work.

    So I’m here to tell you now if you’re thinking about buying a Sonos product step back and don’t do it Because you’re enter an endless maze of software requiring hard or updates in order to keep working.

  3. @Neal Skrenes: I agree with everything he said, mainly ’cause he bought it for me for my birthday in 2014 and has had to find all sorts of workarounds to keep it functioning.

    Far as I know, however, it’s the only product on the market. As we were once told by Wisconsin Electric when I made a complaint, if you don’t like it, go to another power company.

  4. Hans Christian Andersen was a warped personality. Raised in poverty, only his grandmother loved him. He was a shoemaker’s son who often went unshod even in the winter. And he not only disliked writing children’s stories, he disliked children themselves. I learned all this from my Danish professor, who was a jolly soul.

  5. I had similar feelings about the Disneyfication of Pooh at first. Then I read a biography of Milne. He had adapted “Wind in the Willows” for the stage and got reams of criticism for his job, but knew that the limitations of what he was adapting it to couldn’t be helped. So I felt he would’ve undertood the Disneyfication. But that was a decade ago. I don’t know about it by now. It annoys me when I encounter encouraging quotes from Winne-the-Pooh that I know darn well he never said.
    But Lincoln and Twain never said a lot of what gets attributed to them, as you often point out.

  6. I was more or less happily upgrading every other version of Photoshop until they changed it so that I have to rent the software rather than owning it.

    It could be worse; they have a photography package that includes Photoshop for $9.99 a month and I get updates periodically rather than every year or two.

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