CSotD: Apolitical Ranting

I promised Suzi I wouldn’t get into any political rants on her birthday.

Though I’m not sure she’d hear any stronger language than if I were Edison Lee (KFS)‘s dad and had just spent an entire story arc building a shed just to find this.

But I’m blaming the lawn mower, since doors are more or less a set width and you’d expect lawn mower makers to know that.

Fact is, careening the mower up on two wheels is how you get through a doorway. At least that’s how I’ve always done it.

I’ll leave it to someone else to calculate how much longer it would take to mow the lawn if the mower were made to fit through a standard doorway.

Math was never my strong suit, but I learned it back in the days when you were simply expected to memorize, not understand. My boys did much better a generation later when explanations were part of the teaching method.

As this Real Life Adventures (AMS) suggests, they’ve invented a whole new bunch of graphs in the interim. Or they had them before but they didn’t unveil them for amateurs.

We had Venn diagrams, but we didn’t use them for anything. Mostly, we had line graphs, bar graphs and pie charts. None of those things where you draw a cross and then stick dots on the empty parts.

We weren’t supposed to understand them. Just answer the questions the way you memorized them.

And if the teacher draws a line graph showing the time between historic events, do not, do not, do not, point out to her that there was no Year Zero. She will not congratulate you for your insight.

Anyway, it’s summer and we don’t need to know anything.

Big Nate (AMS) is in love for the first time, or, that is, for the first time with some reciprocity and he’s just run into a bump. I can identify with it, though I was the one who was sent away for eight weeks.

I only had one summer at Camp Lord O’ The Flies where I had an actual, verifiable hometown honey, and I was on staff by then, so I was able to deal with it somewhat intelligently. Love is much more amusing when you’re Nate’s age and have no idea what’s expected of you or what you have a right to expect.

Yes, I know there’s a whole bunch of guys who are fully grown and still have no idea how any of this works and seem to take loud and lofty pride in their incapacities, but I promised the dog not to get into politics today.

Anyway, my best summer was when I was 14 and a female friend was writing me regularly and perfuming the letters just to mess with my cabinmates’ heads. I was careful not to let them read her letters which contained nothing even faintly romantic.

She was also my date for my graduation party, but only because (A) we were pals, (B) she’d broken up with her boyfriend and (C) my mother insisted I go with a driver who wasn’t going to be drinking.

I ran into her about 25 years later and she was still a cutie-patootie, but still just a pal.

So it goes, Nate. So it goes.

I like Arctic Circle (KFS), but I think this battle has been lost. Maybe it’s different in the UK or the Antipodes, where Alex Hallatt hangs out, but, here, even finding safety pins is a challenge today, never mind cloth diapers.

I don’t find that a good thing. We used cloth with Son #1 and that was when we bought our first washer, which sounds like a major expense, but we weren’t spending money on disposables, so it more or less evened out.

I would note, BTW, that it helps to start with a newborn, because they make little puddings so that, by the time the “fresh nightmare” phase comes along, you’re desensitized.

I’d also point out that kids save the massive “blown out the leg holes” explosions for restaurants and the homes of childless friends. No matter what you’ve encased them in.

Son #2 had skin sensitivities that required double-washing diapers to remove all traces of detergent, which made the anti-laundering propaganda of the disposable diaper people more credible and we switched over.

But I tossed out the last cloth diaper, long in service as a cleaning rag, when I moved East, some 15 years after I’d bought it.

More personal economic choices from Speed Bump (Creators). Living on Social Security doesn’t give me a lot of spare cash to donate to good causes, but I can certainly afford to round up at the co-op.

However, I probably wipe out any resulting good karma by watching the person in front of me to see how much they spent and whether they round up.

It genuinely makes me think of tumbrils and guillotines when someone loads up on $250 worth of mostly specialty treats and won’t toss 14 cents to the starving orphans.

That’s not as destructive to the soul as the people who conveniently believe stores can write off the charitable donations of their customers (they can’t), and who use that self-serving error as an excuse not to help the local food bank or homeless shelter.

The cosmic challenge being that JC was lecturing rich folks in (Luke 21:1-4).

But if you adopt the widow’s perspective, the passage gives rise to a sin of pride and you go to Hell.

Plus if you promised not to talk politics, you should be a little cautious about talking morality and religion and suchlike. Speaking of Venn diagrams.

Anyway, Suzi isn’t getting a birthday cake but she’ll get something or other. It won’t be shoo fly pie, either, which despite the implication in this Lio (AMS) is not made of flies but I guess requires that you shoo them, since it’s mostly sugar and molasses.

I was born in Pennsylvania Dutch country but didn’t stick around long enough to learn all the food. I keep confusing shoo fly pie with black bottom pie, which isn’t Pennsylvania Dutch but is similarly made mostly of sweeteners. Good stuff!

I associate shoo fly pie with apple pan dowdy, but I blame my mother for that, since she not only lived there longer but sang around the house.

13 thoughts on “CSotD: Apolitical Ranting

  1. In my early grades (1960s) they didn’t even trust us to know they were Venn diagrams–we learned unions and intersections of sets. A few years ago I was giving a doctor (resident) a quick lesson in medical literature searching because her medical school didn’t even hint at such a thing* and I compared Boolean and, or, not to Venn diagrams. The light went on and she said “why didn’t anyone explain it to me like that before?”

    *That’s a rant for another day.

  2. We did cloth diapers almost exclusively with our now-3 1/2 year old. That was with a failing septic system, ultra hard water (requiring special detergent and multiple washes), and a global pandemic. The septic system and water chemistry problems are solved now, but we slogged through the whole thing. The diaper shortages during the pandemic (never mind the cost) were nice bonuses to encourage our life choices. Only time she wore disposables was the few times we were able to go anywhere or leave her with anyone “safe” (hence, the “almost”). Due to the pandemic, we still don’t know many parents of young children, so I can’t speak to the prevalence of cloth diapers these days. My sister did it briefly, and I have a friend whose sister did it briefly, but that’s all I can account for personally. As for the safety pins, we used the clawed silicone things with three ends. No poking, and much quicker/easier to install one handed.

  3. I’ve still got one Cleaning Rag Formerly Known As Diaper in my stash — and my youngest is 33.

  4. Mike,

    Doors meant for lawnmowers are generally wider than ordinary doors. Lawnmowers are usually kept I either in the garage, and even the door for a single-car garage is much wider than a typical lawnmower; even a riding mower, or in a outdoor shed of some sort. Again most such sheds have double wide doors. So the fault really lies with Edison’s father who constructed his outdoor shed using a standard bedroom door width instead of noting the actual width of most tool shed doors.

    1. Had a garage with a car door and a people door divided by a five-foot basketweave fence. It was easier to tilt the mower through the people door than to go around. Yes, he could have put in a doublewide door, but then there wouldn’t be a cartoon about it.

      1. Mike,

        My point was that it wasn’t fair for you to blame the lawnmower or it’s manufacturer, when Edison’s dad made the mistake of not putting in a standard double-wide door on a tool shed.

  5. Jason : a true hat-tip to you and your SO on the use of cloth diapers in the modern world (I have hard water and a failing septic system too but no kids) YOU are granted permission to hassle me about my use of K-Cup coffee pods because they clutter up the landfills.

  6. Ironically enough I was just watching the ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ episode where he gets a girlfriend for the first time, and totally obsesses over her to the point of starting fights with anyone who looks at her for more than a couple seconds.
    Love is a battlefield.

  7. Nate did have a girlfriend a long time ago. She even dressed up as a cheese doodle for Halloween for him. But, alas, it went wrong (I forget how, but it was Nate’s fault).

  8. I very much enjoyed this cloth diaper thread. I avoided it all because of having dogs instead of children (and I pick up their poop with folded newspaper: you can do that with a Jack Russell), but I admire those who persevere in this world of convenience.

  9. Unfortunately, you have to be careful with the quote from the New Testament–or at least check how it’s being used. People like Pat Robertson and Jim Bakker got a lot of service out of things like that. Shamelessly.

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