Sunday’s Bizarro (KFS) provoked both a laugh and a sigh. My dad, who died 30 years ago last week, did indeed get a label maker at one point — the old school plastic-strip type — which became a brief but intense obsession.
The “brief” part is likely what kept our mother from clonking him in the head with a carefully labeled pan.
For an engineer, the temptation to categorize and systematize was irresistible, including things that made sense, like putting little labels on the rotor box for the TV antenna with the channels we could get by turning it to this or that point, though a little knowledge of geography would tell you where to point the antenna to get Syracuse or Watertown or Kingston or Ottawa or Montreal or Plattsburgh.
As an amateur cartoonist — this is our 1953 Christmas card — he was into self-deprecating humor and would have gotten a kick out of Piraro’s gag, particularly the exhausted, exasperated expression on the wife’s face.
So a laugh, and a sigh. Hardly the first thing I’ve wished I could share with him over the past 30 years, but a darned good one.
F-Minus (AMS) sparked a laugh without a sigh, and, in fact, one with a guffaw.
In 1970, “computer dating” was at just about this stage. You’d fill out a questionnaire and send it in, they’d convert it to punch cards and your dream date would be revealed.
Or the closest they could come, given the small pool.
One of my roommates was a biker who was known as Beachball because he was about 5’4″ both vertically and horizontally. He was muscular, long-haired and covered with tattoos in an era when only outlaws sported ink.
When he told us he’d sent in to a dating service, we laughed, but he said, “I told them I was looking for a good-looking girl willing to have sex on a first date,” which made sense, at least in a Beachball sort of way.
I don’t know how many people were in their system, but I suspect not many, because they fixed him up with a nice Jewish girl who still lived at home, and, while it seemed an unlikely match, they went out for a couple of weeks.
I mention her religion because, when her parents finally got a look at Beachball, with his Harley, his Fu Manchu mustache, his tats, his conchos and engineer boots and biker colors, they immediately shipped her off to a kibbutz in Israel, and that was the end of that.
Though they might have suspected that the brick through their picture window was somehow connected.
Computers have come a long way since, and the latest shock to the system in cartooning world is artificial intelligence that can produce what computer programmers seem to think is art, to the outrage of people who create the real thing.
Sage Stossel, however, points out that we’ve been transitioning into a world of artificial intelligence for the past several years and yet it has somewhat snuck up on us. This is only a brief snippet of her worth-the-click reflection on the bowl of virtual pottage for which we have traded our birthright, and I strongly suggest you go have a look.
But do come back and read the rest of this before you unplug.
(That’s a joke. You won’t unplug.)
As this Carpe Diem (KFS) indicates, it’s too late. The machines are becoming sentient and, perhaps, self-conscious.
Perhaps he means the counters of diners, but I took it otherwise.
In fact, I would suggest the real Turing Test is whether machines recognize that it is improper to make small talk while standing at the recharging station and doubly improper to glance at anyone else’s plug.
I’m not buying Frazz (AMS)‘s “nineteen-something” wisecrack, though I’ll admit to some confusion over how long ago dates in that millennium occurred and that 20 or 23 years should be long enough to adjust.
But the obsolescence of paper checks is a rant worth taking on, because I’m a lot older than that little girl and I’m unclear on the concept, too.
I write one check a month to the landlord, and I’ll probably write another this month to renew my car’s license, unless I go over to City Hall and do it in person, in which case I’ll swipe a card.
I doubt I wrote more than a half-dozen checks in 2022, beyond those 12 rent checks.
My debit and credit cards keep far better track of my spending than I ever did. If I stop for groceries, the transaction is on my banking website by the time I get home, while someone of my approximate age is still holding up the line back at the store, balancing a checkbook.
And, as long as I’m ranting, stores could save a lot of money by asking if you want a receipt rather than printing it out automatically. Even in the rare instances where a purchase is tax-deductible, the receipt, if it isn’t lost, has faded to blankness by tax time.
And most stores will take returns without a receipt, though you could print out the proof from your banking site if they get finicky.
To which I would add “Dagnabbit,” only this isn’t an age thing.
Except for my eagerness to rant about it.
But I will add a “Dagnabbit” to this Rabbits Against Magic (AMS) strip, because however old Eightball the Rabbit is, Jonathan Lemon is old enough to have a better sense of historical flatulence than this.
Though, granted, Wikipedia tells us that, while Joseph Pujol, known as “Le Petomane,” may have been called a flatulist, fartist, or professional farter, his gift was somewhat different:
Rather, he was allegedly able to “inhale” or move air into his rectum and
then control the release of that air with his anal sphincter muscles.
This seems a fine point; I knew a fellow at Camp Lord O’ The Flies who could belch the entire alphabet in one take, but it wasn’t spontaneous: He first swallowed air. We still considered it burping.
He may be pulling our legs.
Or our thumbs.