CSotD: Monday Round-up

Flo’s Diner in Non Sequitur (AMS) had a new customer this past week, one who could rival Captain Eddie in the slinging of entertaining baloney. The arc concluded Saturday with, as Eddie said, a chilling bit of reality.

It’s no secret that the Orwellian-named “Freedom Caucus” has control of the House, but it helps to have it repeatedly pointed out. Assuming, that is, that the people who need to hear it will see through even a thin veneer of symbolism and sarcasm, which has not been my experience.

Wiley is back this morning, and if you look at the total number of indictments, pleas and convictions around Jan 6, it’s correct. But the feds haven’t begun extruding instant indictments for any big fish yet, and, while Jack Smith appears to be narrowing things down, we don’t know that it will ever be a large number.

Even Georgia and New York are only hinting so far, so that Dear Ex-Leader is alone in declaring that an indictment and arrest are coming tomorrow. And who would trust his word?

The fraud-promoters on the Internet are already using AI to create phony-but-convincing photos of Trump being led off in cuffs. We’ve all met the neighborhood gossip who invents toxic lies to gain a perverted sense of status, but these days we don’t know if the bogus things on the Internet are coming from there or from a troll factory in Petrograd.

Joy of Tech envisions a world in which we’re all using artificial intelligence and accepting its default reality as no better or worse than the real thing.

It’s a funny strip, but not a funny possibility, and the whole issue has been reminding me of a column I wrote — good lord — nearly 30 years ago, when Forrest Gump was winning hearts, though not mine.

A snippet:

My fears were not entirely accurate: Newspapers have, for the most part, tightened their ethics in terms of faking photographs and promoting attractive fictions. But they’ve also surrendered much of their authority to other media and, as we’ve seen, there’s little hesitancy on TV, radio or the Internet to indulge in alternative facts if that’s going to attract and hold an audience.

In that column, I recommended media literacy classes for kids, which wasn’t surprising, since I was traveling around the North Country doing free media literacy presentations for classrooms.

But it was like bailing water with a pitchfork: An hour in the fifth grade, no matter how enchanting, was not going to compete successfully with years of inundation.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

No, we can’t, because Wumo (AMS) is making jokes about the crap world we’ve created for our children, though, if it’s any comfort, this seems to be reality throughout the developed world.

You can, indeed, find affordable places, but it helps if you don’t need an income: Most of those idyllic little corners are unspoiled because they have no jobs to offer anyone, while many of them are also unspoiled by rapid, dependable Internet access, in case you were hoping to telecommute from heaven.

Have we cheered you up yet?

Wallace the Brave (AMS) will be fine, because he’ll always manage to stay above it all, and, besides, he’s got the family lobstering business to fall back on, so long as climate change doesn’t ruin that.

The real question is whether he’ll be able to rescue Rose from her own expectations. She may drive herself to success: One thing a career of interviewing the famous and powerful has taught me is that they are obsessively driven, that nobody gets to the top without extraordinary effort.

At least Rose knows she’s stressed and, as I’ve observed before, hanging around with Wallace and Spud offers her a look into a more relaxed reality, though I expect Spud to be the one who surprises everyone at their 20th reunion by having harnessed some of his odd sensibilities into an enviable career.

Maybe Rose will surprise them, too, by, instead of being in the Fortune 500, running a gift shop. But it would be the best, and best organized, gift shop in Snug Harbor.

I hope that’s her outcome. I’ve met too many people for whom retirement is their only tangible goal, with everything else a way station.

Juxtaposition of the Day

It’s the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, though we haven’t yet gotten to the mudluscious, puddle-wonderful part here.

We ducked the worst of last weekend’s Nor’easter, but we’ve still got snow on the ground and are, like Lizzie, loathe to tempt fate. In fact, someone suggested the other day that, since winter was so late arriving, maybe it’s just been shifted up a few months and we won’t see spring until July.

Maria Scrivan is more optimistic, and envisions a spring in which a spring jacket is just right, as opposed to the kind of early spring in which whatever you put on at eight AM is totally wrong by 11, and you have to throw an extra hoodie in the car just in case.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

I’d like to see an analysis of whether putting those automatic ordering kiosks into fast food places has increased traffic at the drive-thru where you still talk to a human.

Maybe I’m the only one who hesitates to go inside and confront Uniblab just to get a damn burger, and Edison Lee gives me hope in that direction.

I know I’m not the only person who gets fed up with automatic call systems, because not only is it featured in a comic — my measure of such things — but it was the focus of an entertaining and right-on opinion piece in a big fat important national newspaper.

All of which makes me suspect that burger flippers and call-center people don’t have as good a union as grocery checkers, or we’d be seeing outraged astroturf memes telling us how horrible automation is in their job areas, too.

“Drive Through and Save Jobs!”

Finally, and relevantly, Arctic Circle (KFS) reminded me of this old chestnut, which, even if you’ve seen it, you won’t mind watching again:

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Monday Round-up

  1. Even if it’s been part of the message for three years, nobody ever goes back into the automated answering system to remove the bit about “our menu has changed.”

    1. The problem is that whenever they remove the “our menu has changed” message because nothing has changed for the required duration, it is automatically replaced because its removal was a change to the menu.

      Maybe I’m joking. I don’t know.

    2. I have long suspected that “Our menu has changed” is a deliberate lie. Impatient people might incorrectly THINK they remember, from earlier calls, which number they want. Claiming that the menu has changed will stop them from hastily poking their wrong choice. So, the lie isn’t so much for your benefit as it is a way for the company to slow you down, make you listen and think, and thus reduce the number of misdirected calls they have to deal with, even with a menu that hasn’t changed in a decade.

      1. I think you’re exactly right. Also, I think the message is usually “Our menu MAY HAVE changed,” not “our menu has changed.”

  2. I wrote on GoComics for the Wallace the Brave strip featured here that giving Rose this type of personality is a good springboard artistically for Mr. Henry. He can bounce off Spud and Wallace with Rose easier seeing that she has these stressful thoughts so early in her young life. Creatively, it’s a winner and makes her more rounded and important. I was hoping my state paper, (The Newark Star-Ledger) would have used Wallace the Brave as the replacement for Dilbert, but they chose Crabgrass, a good comic strip, but I’m partial to Wallace.

  3. What I’ve learned about the computer kiosks inside fast-food places is that if you walk past them up to the counter and ask, “Can I just order here?” the answer has been “Sure!” 100 percent of the time. That may change when they feel I’ve had a fair opportunity to be retrained.

  4. Tech Support video – superb! Began programming in ’57, left computer biz in ’98 – this video encompassed most vendor/user miscommunications.
    Please keep up the great work.

  5. “Customer service”, contracted out to foreign nationals who think they can speak English, but sadly can’t, typically using “speak fast and they won’t notice the poor diction ” technique.

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