CSotD: Getting What You Paid For

This Batch Rejection (AMS) is decidedly relevant, given the amount of theft and piracy in our virtual world.

I differentiate between the two because piracy is purposeful while theft is still theft but somehow can maintain a level of petty innocence.

Which is to say that, while everyone knows pocketing an apple from the display inside the store is stealing, there seem to be a number of people who seem to think, or at least pretend to think, that, if the display is on the sidewalk outside the store, the apples are intended as free samples despite the price posted on the crate.

Which is not the same as an apple tree, wherein it is theft if you have to step onto the lawn to take an apple, but, if a branch hangs out over the sidewalk, it’s acknowledged to be available to passersby.

Actively working to acquire a book without paying for it is piracy, just as purchasing bootleg music is piracy, whereas downloading the downloadable may only be petty theft, though ignorance isn’t an excuse. A tangled sentence, but a tangled concept.

Authors, cartoonists and artists of all stripe deserve compensation for their work, though they have some means of protection.

There is a genuine value in handing out free samples, for instance, while, if the branch hangs over the sidewalk, it’s probably more productive to trim it than to waste your energy complaining about people picking the apples.

Specific to books, I like reading on a Kindle though I realize others prefer three-dimensional texts.

But, either way, authors deserve to be paid and books on Project Gutenberg are the apples that hang over the sidewalk, though an occasional donation to the project is only fair.

Even there, you get what you pay for, and I say that having peddled the Great Books of the Western World, a collection of expensively bound books in cheesy public-domain translation.

I’m currently reading Mansfield Park, and I don’t think Jane Austen, having died in 1817, cares much about royalties.

On the other hand, I recently read Dr. Zhivago, and, while Pasternak is recent enough to have some living family who may deserve compensation, there’s a more self-serving interest not to go too cheap on the download: I paid a minimal amount and got an absolutely wretched translation.

It’s like plucking that apple from the o’er-hanging limb and discovering half a worm in it.

Continuing the topic of people who want it all for as little inconvenience as possible, I got a laugh out of this Anne Fizzard cartoon.

I’m far enough out in the sticks that I can never remember which one is Whole Foods and which one is Trader Joe’s, though I see by the googles that there is one of each about 75 miles from here, which I guess means I could find out the difference if I really cared.

But perhaps there’s some arcane logic in that we’re willing to buy our groceries at Price Chopper or Shaw’s and we’re not eager to pay $755,000 for a house.

Though, if we did, we’d sure expect it to be fireproof, floodproof and windproof.

Back to that thing about getting what you paid for.

We may not have shi-shi grocery stores out here, but we’re up-to-date enough that, like this bar and grill in Pardon My Planet (KFS), we have access to secret meat, which is like regular meat only it costs more.

Though perhaps he means “mystery meat,” which was a mainstay at the dininghall on campus, at least until the evening they served a tainted batch during finals week, which resulted in everyone pulling an all-nighter that had nothing to do with studying.

This, O Best Beloved, was several decades before colleges invited franchises to set up on campus. Both tuition and food were significantly less expensive in those days, but, in the latter case, as with cheap translations of Pasternak, you pretty much got what you paid for.

Wallace the Brave (AMS) also takes me back to my rural roots, and I hadn’t thought about this particular element of driving in the snow because, like Wallace’s father, it isn’t an experience I seek out. But, unlike Wallace’s father, I’m retired, so that, if it snows, I just don’t go anywhere. Problem solved!

I suppose my Dad encountered it often enough on his way home from work at night, given that nature has dictated that snow storms come at the time of year when the sun sets in mid-afternoon and, yes, I realize that these two things are not coincidental.

I mostly associate it with coming home from piano lessons, because that happened at a house so far up in the woods that we were lucky the roads were passable.

Fortunately, keeping it on low beams was enough to avoid going into the ditch, though it tended to ruin the free lightshow.

Man Overboard generally deals with religious/ethical themes, which made this punchline even more effective.

God actually did turn this car around once, sparing only Noah and his immediate family, though in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah he also made a pretty significant display of having had just about enough.

There’s something in the Bible about not putting the Lord to the test, but it seems to be one of the more futile commandments in the book, because, as the cartoon suggests, life is mostly nothing but.

Mr. Boffo plows new ground, given that, while standing at the altar is a common theme in cartoons, most depict a more one-sided view of things.

Joe Martin, in both Mr. Boffo and Willie n’ Ethel, tends to come down much harder on the men than the women, but this is even-handed and makes me wonder how many people have a sense of “Well, too late now” as they approach the moment?

Hard question to answer, because nobody would admit it, though the very existence of pre-nups lays matters on the table, because, obviously, at least some of us recognize the potential for coming up short on that “until death do us part” thingie.

Though we still exchange the traditional vows, and the appropriate answer remains “I do,” rather than “I’ll give it a shot.”

Regardless of what the parties may, in fact, be thinking.

And, by the way, it didn’t, but since I know how many fans they have here …

10 thoughts on “CSotD: Getting What You Paid For

  1. I had such a crush on Tennille in the mid-70s. But even then I thought “Muskrat Love” was embarrassingly silly, and then when they sang it for QEII in the Bicentennial state dinner with President Ford!

    1. In the (very funny) movie “My Fellow Americans” one of the embarrassingly silly incidents demonstrating that the incumbent Vice President is a buffoon involves his quoting “Muskrat Love” lyrics when giving the eulogy at a funeral.

  2. Great Books? “University of Chicago “?

    I went door-to-door peddling those in 1960. Quit after three months; didn’t sell one set. I’m not a salesman and I felt like I was doing something somewhat immoral.

  3. I initially read the last word in the Man Overboard strip to be GOP. I was disappointed to see it was actually God.

    It makes more sense my way, especially with the new Congress.

  4. How odd. Quite by accident, our house is all of those things (well, Whole Foods, not Trader Joe’s), but I’m satisfied with either Publix or WalMart Neighborhood for groceries. “Some live to eat, some eat to live” . . . we’re of the latter persuasion. Frankly, down here in FL, I’d rather the house is fire-, flood- and wind-proof than located near a chi-chi grocery store, whose products we’d have no idea what to do with [pardon the dangling participle], and don’t care to learn.

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