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CSotD: Weekend Ponderings

I’m so old that, when I saw today’s Pooch Cafe, I thought, “Well, there’s a cartoon that appeals to the young folks.” Then I realized that the little kids I took to see Tron are now 46 and 50 respectively.

Even at 6 and 10, I don’t think they took the film seriously, but we really liked it anyway. Like the original Battlestar Galactica, I don’t think the point was to take it seriously.

Disney keeps Tron around, but I suspect more for nostalgia than anything else. The special effects, which haven’t aged all that well, were cool at the time, however.

Nostalgia made for a good laugh this morning, anyway, and the only problem with Tron was the arcade game, which was really fun for three or four levels and then became completely impossible, even on those special days when you could pay five bucks and play as many games as you wanted.

 

Speaking of evil geniuses in the cyberverse, Michael de Adder paints a grim prediction of what Twitter will become once Elon Musk takes control and immediately loses control.

If you curate your feed intelligently, Twitter is a good place to connect with intelligent people, but Musk’s pledge to let Trump and other crazies and liars back on board will water that down, while most observers suggest that his plan to fire 75% of the workforce will not only open it to bigots and fascisti but to spammers, scammers and pirates.

 

Twitter is already beginning to suffer from some of Facebook’s flaws, like people who fish for responses with “What’s your favorite candy bar?” questions, and people like Brewster Rockit (Tribune) who reward them with answers.

If Musk cuts staff to the point were being on Twitter opens you up to like-farming, identity theft and worse, your own careful weeding won’t be enough to make it safe to even be there.

If worse comes to worst, we’ll all have to go back to finding our own news sources rather than relying on links from well-informed friends on the Twitterverse, and that’s not impossible but it can be kind of grueling.

I had already been reading the Bulwark and the Reliable Sources newsletter, as well as the Washington Post and a local New Hampshire aggregator. Now the newest source on the block, Semafor, makes a solid addition, but it all adds up to a lot of reading and I use Twitter mostly to keep up with cartoonists who post there.

 

I hope to find a new gathering spot that isn’t too full of people like the guys in this Pardon My Planet (KFS).

Which eliminates a lot of the existing platforms, though they’re already showing up on Twitter anyway.

All of which, bear in mind, is speculation and dependent on Musk actually closing the deal and emerging with his pants, which is far from a sure thing.

In any case, the well-known quote “What’s good for General Motors is good for America,” is not only of dubious origin, but doesn’t apply to every motor company.

 

Though we can hope that the inverse is true.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Between Friends — KFS)

(Lee Judge — KFS)

Not often we get a juxtaposition between the funnies and editorial, but here’s a timely pairing, though I agree with Between Friends and not so much with Lee Judge.

NPR’s 1A just concluded a masterful series on poverty in America, in which, among other things, I learned that I’m bunched in with the working poor who hover in the twilight zone of not having much but having too much to expect any help, and that I’m a whole lot better off than other seniors who depend on Social Security.

So the 8.7% cost-of-living rise was welcome news, because I’ve adopted a budget which, as the advice in Susan’s book suggests, works well, as long as I don’t spend anything.

The upcoming COLA is based on third-quarter inflation, and not only is inflation slowing down a bit, but the timing means that SS recipients will have had six months to adjust to those higher prices by the time the extra money shows up in January.

We won’t roll around in it like Scrooge McDuck, but we might buy a pizza.

 

Or we could use the extra income to pay to heat our homes, rather than digging up the street and burning it in our fireplaces, which is apparently a common practice where Chip Bok (Creators) lives, unless the folks there have found a way to power their cars on asphalt.

 

In any case, we’ll be able to do more than watch daytime TV all day, which is good because the drug companies are becoming desperate to sell us stuff, on the theory that, if we’re sitting around watching that crap, there must surely be something wrong with us.

This Barney & Clyde (WPWG) is funny, but way too true, because the ads for drugs on TV spend about 10 seconds setting up the proposition and the rest of the commercial rattling off disclaimers like the guy in the old FedEx commercials.

The big change being that they’re no longer just warnings about developing hives or possible dietary upset, but about the chances of death.

They remind me of Abbie Hoffman’s story about working as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company when he first got out of college. He asked his boss, in his words, “Is this shit any good?”

The response was, “Well, it won’t kill them.”

Which is why we call those The Good Old Days.

 

 

Speaking of the Good Old Days, Juliet Jones (KFS Vintage) found a stray dog and the dog’s owner found her. I read the strip mostly for Stan Drake’s artwork, but it’s one where you never know what’s going to happen, but you certainly know what surely isn’t.

Devon seems chock full of handsome, romantic, feckless men who are under the thumbs of their rich, wealthy fathers, and they flock to Juliet, who politely straightens them out without ever totally succumbing to their charms.

 

Or forcing them to give up their fabulous inheritance in order to marry her, like that floozy, Blondie Boopadoop.

 

Drake should have teamed up with Richard Guindon. Together, I’m sure they could have solved Juliet’s dilemma.

 

Community Comments

#1 Hank Gillette
October/22/2022
@ 12:53 pm

Comics Kingdom has some good vintage comics (I like “Rip Kirby”, “Juliet Jones”, and “Thimble Theater”, among others), but for the life of me I can’t understand why they don’t have vintage “Blondie”.

People today wouldn’t know it, but “Blondie” used to be funny.

#2 Brian Fies
October/22/2022
@ 7:05 pm

Your Tesla stock price graph exhibits one of my peeves, the truncated scale. At first glance, it looks like Tesla stock has fallen from great heights to nearly worthless. At second glance, you’ll notice that the Y-axis begins at $200, so the stock has lost about half its peak value–still a lot, but not the same as going from $400 to $1, as the quicker look suggests. At third glance, a longer X-axis that went further back in time would show a stock whose price has generally risen, increasing about tenfold in value since early 2020.

I don’t like bad data, especially when it’s cherry-picked to mislead (not accusing you, Mike, but that graph seems especially designed to make Tesla look bad).

I don’t Tweet so have no dog in the fight, but will be interested to see if it explodes or implodes under Musk. It’s easy to imagine the cesspool it could become, but I wonder if enough users want that to make it viable. Or bigger? I used to like to think the best of fellow humans, but the past several years have taught me not to OVERestimate them. It turns out that a lot of people are generally worse than I thought.

#3 Mike Peterson
October/23/2022
@ 3:56 am

I chose that graph because the legend includes the YTD high and low, which puts things in better perspective relative to his Twitter ambitions. There was also a split that has apparently been factored in, but the main point is a 50% fall from high to low. Even my poor IRA has done better than that!

As noted, my chief concern with a poorly maintained Twitter is less what a running sewer it may turn into, but that it will become a dangerous place to be in terms of security breaches, noting that you can be cautious but if the people you follow screw up, they can drag you down with them.

#4 Mark B
October/23/2022
@ 7:26 am

Wow, Bok’s cartoon makes zero sense. And his syndicate published it???

#5 Ed Rush
October/23/2022
@ 7:53 pm

“What’s good for General Bullmoose, is good for the USA.” Not.

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