CSotD: Right, wrong and whatever

I have long thought — realized — that the Internet is a sanctuary for a number of people out on the edge of the autistic spectrum, and Pat Byrnes boils it down to a cartoon.

It’s an observation, not an accusation. As noted before, for several years I ran a high school Quiz Bowl with 24 teams, so I’ve met a lot of Aspies and I like them quite a lot. But, then, the ones who went out for — and excelled at — Quiz Bowl knew they had Asperger’s and made some attempts to correct for their lack of social skills, which could be quite endearing.

There’s a much larger population of people with the same issue or worse and absolutely no awareness, and while they are isolated in the three-dimensional world, they flourish on social media where they don’t face the guardrails that would otherwise stifle their blind self-assurance.

Byrnes suggests it’s intentional, which, of course, is the joke, but he adds the concerned wife who, in real life and less extreme cases, sits next to her husband so she can put a hand on his knee under the table to silently let him know that he’s doing it again.

An observation, not an accusation, and I think it’s important to recognize, when you encounter these folks on-line, that they’re not doing it on purpose. Which doesn’t make them any more pleasant to encounter but might help you deal with your own reactions.

It’s also helpful to bear in mind that it’s called a “spectrum” because we’ve all got a spot on it somewhere and you should probably not be too quick to judge lest you come face to face with your own standing.

That doesn’t mean you can’t block obliviously obnoxious people on social media.

I only know what Elon Musk is up to because others retweet him.

F Minus (AMS) suggests the sense of involvement that keeps us tuning in, and I’m guilty of doing a quick run-through before taking the dog for a walk, because god knows the Internet would simply fall apart if I neglected it for an hour and a half.

And think how everyone on it would miss me!

Juxtaposition of the Day

(The Barn — Creators)

(Brewster Rockit — Tribune)

I would think that, on a Monday morning, any old coffee would do, but evidently this is Exotic Coffee Morning.

I’ll admit I had to look up Ethiopian Chelbesa, which, I discovered, is “a stunning stonefruit-forward coffee,” which explains why these folks are charging $33 for a 10 oz bag of beans. Not only do I not know how a stonefruit forward coffee differs from a stonefruit backward coffee, but I’m also not clear on why anyone would want coffee to be stunning rather than invigorating.

But, as I said back in 2018, Dean Cycon has not only been selling some mighty fine fair-trade coffee, but has been tracking down kopi luwak, and reported from Sumatra with delightful skepticism on the stuff:

However, he did discover the real thing on a trip to Ethiopia, and, while I wouldn’t pay for the privilege, he does make me wish I could have joined him in one of those little sampling cups:

Still on the topic of spending more than you might have wanted to, I’m going to disagree with Dustin (KFS)‘s dad on this one. My Honda is finally out of its warranty, which means I have no further need to go to the dealer.

I took it in to a local shop last month for an oil change, tire rotation and new sticker, and the mechanic came out front to almost apologetically suggest some new filters. It still wasn’t free, but I got out with my car and wallet both in good condition.

There was a time when the introduction of computerized parts left shade-tree mechanics scratching their heads, but both car makers and mechanics have gotten past that glitch in things.

No? Watch for an open house at your local Voc-Tech and see what high school kids are learning.

As it happens, I remember a time I heard that a local dealer was looking for a bodyworker and suggested they try the voc-tech.

I was told the problem with hiring from there was was that those kids wanted to do everything right and the dealership just wanted it done fast.

Speaking of perfectionism, the editor in me wishes he’d had a look at this La Cucaracha (AMS) before it ran, because — as written — this isn’t a strong selling point for tacos.

Of course, the editor in me is also wondering if you should say “this La Cucaracha” or just “this Cucaracha.”

As for understanding mechanical things, I’m on board with the father in the Real Life Adventures (AMS), not because I necessarily think he’s right but because I’m on a 5G connection and I haven’t heard a better explanation for why — based on the ads they show me — the Internet can’t decide if I live in Connecticut, in Rhode Island or in Boston. (None of the above)

Apparently, however, it is indeed their circus and so it must surely be their monkeys.

While, on a related mechanical/location matter, there’s no need to spin the anemometer here, as xkcd suggests, because our weather station confuses the computers all on its own.

The likeliest explanation is not rhesus monkeys — though I’d accept that — but rather that it’s at the airport, which is on a hilltop and so gets more wind and more exposure than anyone who actually lives here.

The result being that, if you ask Alexa for the weather, you’ll dress for a day that isn’t happening anywhere else in town.

And our exploration of error isn’t over: In looking for a musical closing, I learned that Google thinks “Stormy Weather” was written by Etta James or Joni Mitchell or Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday or Lena Horne.

I’m sure it will be easier to find out the truth once they’ve switched their search engine to AI and turned it all over to the rhesus monkeys.

For the record, and digging a little deeper, it turns out that Ethel Waters cut the original recording of what would become a Harold Arlen classic, though Lena Horne performed the definitive cover ten years later, in an absolutely must-see musical:

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Right, wrong and whatever

  1. I read Pat Byrnes’s cartoon differently. I don’t see any spectrum angle, just a regular guy who realizes that the nastier he gets the more rewards he gets, and is having an uncomfortable glimpse in the mirror. My father-in-law was a little like that: a kind and moderate man in life but a fire-breathing monster online. I knew him well enough to know that wasn’t the “real him” (I’m pretty sure), but his buddies ate that stuff up so he just kept feeding them more while his children all blocked him.

    When my sister and I were in elementary school, we loved jumping on those long rubber tubes that the public works department lays across streets to determine if there’s enough traffic to put in a stop sign. We’d jump and jump and jump, watch the numbers on the counter go up and up and up, and laugh and laugh and laugh. There are probably still totally unnecessary stop signs in our old hometown that are due entirely to our efforts.

    Thanks for the Lena Horne video. Made my morning. She was somethin’.

    1. When I was tiny and still lived in the city, they put one of those counters down to see if we should get a stop light on our street. My mother and all the other moms drove around the block repeatedly. They should have just hired you and your sister.

  2. Interesting spectrum comments, though I hadn’t read the comic as such. I agree with you on car dealers and was recently shocked speaking to a “mechanic” friend of my daughter who said most repairs were done by computer now (which sent me on a google trip verification). Lol on the Real Life Adventures.

  3. In our neighborhood we all jumped on the strip and found to our chagrin we had reset it to zero.

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