CSotD: Yes, I am indeed “That Guy”

A few years ago, I was about 10 miles from Camp Lord O’ The Flies on another mission and decided to go have a look at the place to see if anything had changed. It was off-season and all but deserted, but I did get to see one large change, which is that they had put in a swimming pool.

I thought perhaps some insurance company had decided the lake, upon which they still sailed and canoed, was a swimming hazard. But this past week’s Adam@Home (AMS) suggests something else: That it was one more example of the bubble-wrapping of our children.

I was about to go off on “wild swimming,” which is what Yuppies call it when you go into waters that aren’t bathed in chlorine and encased in cement, but I found a rant that takes it all on with more elan than I can muster.

Here’s a sample, but you really should go read the rest because, along with some smart analysis, she summons up both scorn and fury for the foolishness.

For my part, I don’t expect modern kids to be able to live in the woods with only a ball of string, a knife and a box of matches, though I met a country-raised Vietnam vet who used to go off into the forest once a year to do just that for a few weeks.

But even city kids once lived on TV shows in which kids spent a lot of time out in the woods, and they didn’t grow up afraid of wild things.

Which reminds me …

Jonesy noted that yesterday was the late Maurice Sendak’s birthday and offered this somewhat citified tribute, which made me chuckle but also reminded me of a much more earthy and penetrating piece that Art Spiegelman did about him a few years ago:

I doubt that either Spiegelman or Sendak would be afraid to swim in a pond and I suspect that Sendak’s remarks about what children know was more of a confirmation than a revelation to the author of “Maus.”

Which is banned in some schools so the children aren’t frightened by history, while Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen” is also targeted by people who are worried that children might find out that little boys have penises.

Speaking of grim things, Adrian Raeside is generally cheerful and funny in the animal humor of The Other Coast (Creators), but he inadvertently touches on something not-so-sweet with this one.

House sparrows, a non-native species, not only object to bluebirds moving into the neighborhood but will either take over their houses if they can get there first or kill the occupants if they can’t.

One solution is to put your bluebird house truly out in the country rather than near your house and bird feeder, and there are others noted in this article.

In Raeside’s defense, that’s clearly a purple martin condo, judging by the multiple entrances. I haven’t heard of martins taking any guff from house sparrows.

Disclaimer: My dog Suzi is actually named Suzume, which is Japanese for sparrow. Which is mostly relevant because it leads us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Frazz — AMS)

(Bliss — Tribune)

This isn’t about Suzi, but her predecessor, Vaska, a Rhodesian ridgeback who was very good on leash but would nearly tear my arm from its socket if he spotted the letter carrier, who he knew carried doggy cookies.

This was odd enough, given that I have a PO box and the letter carrier in our neighborhood, Paul, never comes to the door. We only encountered him occasionally, when we were walking around the block.

But unlike with the dogs in Bliss, it wasn’t personal. Vaska not only made that connection, but learned to recognize all post office, UPS and Fedex vans and assumed whoever emerged would have a cookie.

As for Frazz, I’d contrast Vaska’s experience with a pair of German shepherds I knew in Indiana who adored their letter carrier and would greet him each day. Then he retired and was replaced by a carrier who, the first time they bounced out joyously to say hello, whipped out his pepper spray instead of a cookie.

From then on, whenever any delivery person came, the dogs had to be locked away. As Frazz notes, they learn fast.

But they don’t forgive fast.

Since I seem to be “That Guy” today, let me nitpick Barney & Clyde (Counterpoint), because there is no one printers ink. The default stuff has long since gone from being oil-based to being soy-based, while the Sunday funnies are generally printed on Flexographic presses, which use a completely different water-based ink.

As I explained — good lord, 13 years ago — in an appreciation of Prince Valiant:

All three comics noted here certainly went through all three types of printers ink.

I know this because my job for a couple of decades involved explaining newspapers to kids, and, while I missed the hot metal days, I was lucky enough to work at a time when reporters, ad designers, compositors and pressmen were all in the same building.

I’d say “I guess you had to be there,” but I know you had to be there.

Juxtaposition of the Modern Technology

(Candorville — KFS)

(Man Overboard)

I don’t share in the paranoia over Alexa and Siri eavesdropping, though I have little cause to fear even if it’s happening. Since it’s just me and the dog, there isn’t a lot to eavesdrop on, though I think the dog has figured out that when I say “Alexa — weather” it means we’re going to the park.

But the dog isn’t the critical eavesdropper, and I don’t have Alexa activated on my phone, so she doesn’t hear any conversations I have away from the house.

It’s the desktop who squeals on me, and I’m well aware that, while I can talk here about ships and shoes and sealing wax without effect, if I ask about them on Google, I’ll start seeing the inevitable ads.

I’ve just been setting up a new laptop and was dismayed by how much Microsoft filled in automatically. I’ve generally resisted “Let’s finish setting up your computer” prompts, using Google documents and storing things in the cloud, but the Evil Empire has absorbed plenty anyway.

But I’m not blaming Alexa. I know she wouldn’t cheat on me. She loves me.

I laughed, but it sure ain’t me Banx. It ain’t me they’re looking for.

7 thoughts on “CSotD: Yes, I am indeed “That Guy”

  1. I’m actually unbothered by the concept of Alexa and Siri taking over. Given that one of the alternatives is the current Republican Party, having my life run by cold, unfeeling artificial intelligence doesn’t sound that bad.

  2. Re: Bliss – One, two, three, four….I believe I have cracked the code for what “#@*!” actually means! How offensive!

    The single comic book I helped write and draw 39 years ago was printed by DC using the then brand-new, experimental (and cheaper) Flexographic printing process. After our comic, they used it for four or five other expendable (i.e., war) comics and abandoned it due to their artists’ complaints because of registration problems, difficulty with the black plates and color fading after a certain number of issues were run through the press. It’s obviously better today. But my local paper (the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram) recently went from seven-days-a-week publication to five, so our Friday paper (they also switched from bedsheet to tabloid size) now contains the Friday, Saturday and Sunday comics, and the Sunday pages are in the centerspread pages, attached to want-ad pages across the fold, which means they’re printed the same week or day as the rest of the paper, not by some press in Canada and then shipped to them. The printing quality looks pretty much the same to me–so evidently, color comics sections CAN still be printed by the home team, who must be using Flexographic presses too.

  3. I sometimes wonder if electronic devices can read my mind–every so often (today was the latest incident) I would see pop up ads for something that I did not search for / on anywhere, that I did not mention out loud to anyone within earshot of an electronic device anywhere–basically just thinking about it internally.

    Can they now read our minds, or has technology become so sophisticated that they can predict our thought patterns based on what they can glean from our electronic useage?

    1. How many pop-ups did you see overall? The odds are that one of them would be for something you hadn’t searched for but might have been thinking about. There’s also the possibility that, for instance, if you mentioned screwdrivers, you might be shown an ad for wrenches. Or orange juice, for that matter.

    2. There are certainly instances where behavioral patterns are so telling that an advertiser could target you for something you hadn’t directly expressed interest in, but as Mike says it’s generally more likely that our of the many ads that get presented (and mostly immediately forgotten) one of them happened to hit.

  4. This site is becoming almost unreadable in landscape mode on a phone. Now there are two Google ad pop-ups which don’t go away, leaving me a tiny sliver of screen to try and read the content.

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