CSotD: Necessary Explanations

Since I’m trying to get out of town for the AAEC Convention in San Francisco, I intended to feature funny stuff this morning rather than getting bogged down in details.

However, everything seemed to require explanations, so we’ll start with today’s Betty (AMS).

I think of this topic as the place on the Venn diagram where metaphysics and science fiction overlap. There may be a kabillion universes out there, and I remember, in college, wondering if our solar system was simply an atom on a coin in somebody’s pocket, which came, IIRC, right after “Did you ever, like, really look at your hands?”

Not a slam on science fiction, mind you. My response to metaphysics was simple: When the professor held out his chalk and asked, if he let it go, would it fall to the floor, my (mental, unspoken) response was “Wait, let’s put some money on it.”

Anyway, as I understand it, if the whole theory is true, there probably is a wisecracking racoon in one of the infinite boxes in one of the infinite universes.

But you’ve got to prove it if you want to collect on the bet.

This one is easier, as Dave Whamond trots out an old wheeze in Day by Dave (AMS).

Solve the equation where X is the amount of flour you must use if the recipe makes eight servings but you only want to make six servings.

Or solve the equation where X is the amount you must budget for gasoline if gasoline costs $3.54 per gallon, your car averages 34 mpg and you will be driving 420 miles.

I’m willing to assume that you will never actually be faced with a water tank being filled by one hose and emptied by another.

But before asking your teacher this question, you should solve the equation where X is your final grade in the course if 25% of that grade is based on classroom participation.

Cynthia asks a thorny question in Barney & Clyde (Counterpoint), although the point of the cartoon is not why unrepentant traitors honor figures of the Lost Cause but why teachers are not permitted to examine history honestly.

Wirz was seen as unjustly convicted because he was just following orders in an impossible situation where the failing Confederacy could barely feed its own soldiers, much less provide food, shelter and medical attention for POWs.

There’s also a whatabout argument that goes with it, since Union POW camps also had a large death count, though actual comparisons make Andersonville far worse. For instance, Elmira had poor housing; Andersonville had none. And guards shot 300 prisoners at Andersonville, none were shot in Elmira.

And, whether Wirz deserved hanging or not, nobody in charge of Elmira was praised for how things were handled there.

But Cynthia’s teacher is correct: If you want to see injustice, try teaching about Henry Wirz in a modern classroom.

And speaking of monuments to war criminals, Marty Two Bulls recalls a disturbance in New Mexico when peaceful protesters clashed with counter-protesters at a demonstration demanding removal of a statue of a notorious conquistador.

According to the files of the Albuquerque Journal, the shooter was not wearing a MAGA hat (there are photos). But that hardly matters: He was not alone, either, though not a member of the heavily armed militia thugs who also turned out to intimidate the protesters.

City authorities were horrified at the unnecessary confrontation.

The statue was removed, the shooting victim recovered, his assailant pled guilty.

Maybe the shooter needed a better lawyer: Two months later, Kyle Rittenhouse was exonerated in a similar shooting and was invited to the White House.

(But see comments. I missed Marty’s shift from 2020 to 2023. Can’t tell the crazed assassins without a scorecard AND a calendar.)

Trunkated Juxtaposition of the Day

Kirk Walters — KFS

Mike Luckovich

Bill Bramhall

Great minds think alike and apparently in Freudian terms. The interesting thing about the McCarthy firing is that a general revulsion is the first bipartisan anything we’ve seen from this Congress.

Not that there aren’t gradations. Walters, the conservative in this Juxtaposition, blames the loonies in the GOP, while Luckovich and Bramhall lump those loonies in with the rest of the GOP and mock them for blaming the Democrats.

Whatever happens next will be interesting, since it should indicate which take is correct: Whether the lunatics are tolerated outliers or genuinely represent the GOP mainstream.

Jeff Jackson (D-NC) has a substack in which he gives insider peeks at how the sausage is made. Yesterday, he shared the experience of watching the removal, ending with this observation:

John Deering (Creators) isn’t the only cartoonist to invoke the Headless Horseman in all this.

It’s particularly appropriate since, in Irving’s tale, the Horseman is only a local legend, and, when it does make an appearance, it’s the work of a loutish, jealous bully to drive out a harmless school teacher.

Whatever your spot on the political spectrum, you can move that around to make it fit.

Seems like a good time to insert this Jake Thompson New Yorker cartoon, since part of the issue at hand is that these political outliers are praised as independent rebels by some and as obnoxious pains-in-the-tuchus by others.

As he says, it’s more flattering to think of having no friends as a conscious choice.

To end on a light note, Anne Morse Hambrock has turned her semi-philosophical ruminations into a free email-based subscription, and her most recent one hit home.

Her pieces vary from whimsy to actual philosophy, but they invariably carry a little kick. In this case, I did find six bucks in a fall coat I dug out recently, but I’ve got masks in my glove compartment and stashed in drawers, if not shoved into pockets.

The need is mostly over, thank goodness, but I did just stick a couple in my computer bag on the off-chance that I’ll want one on the plane tomorrow.

Which reminds me that I should stop by the bank and get some cash in case I need to tip somebody on the trip.

Anne’s right: I’m far more likely these days to stumble over masks than over money.

Which reminds me to pass along this tip: That little pocket in your jeans? It’s for poop bags. They’ll even survive the wash in there.

16 thoughts on “CSotD: Necessary Explanations

  1. By the time I got around to studying sine waves in electronics engineering, I had forgotten all of Mrs. Burn’s pointless trigonometry.

    1. I was impressed with how my boys were taught math, which was not to parrot the approved method but to find the answer, to which their teacher might say, “That’s right, but here’s why doing it that way will get you in trouble later on …” and explain why the preferred method is preferred.

      Sure wasn’t how we were raised, dadgummit.

  2. Your summary of the New Mexico statue incident is slightly off the mark – the shooting, recovery, and guilty plea you found “in the files” of the Albuquerque Journal were from an incident at a 2020 rally to REMOVE the statue. Marty Two Bulls is relating a shooting from a week ago at a second rally, this time against RETURNING the statue. The most recent word on the current victim was “stable condition” and the shooter remains jailed.

    The shooter is fully MAGA – hat (visible in several pics), internet posts, etc – and apparently was investigated by the FBI a few years back for threatening the Federal Reserve on twitter.

  3. I remember seeing a movie on Andersonville in school. To think we may be headed in that direction yet again…

    I’m still not sure how to feel about McCarthy being ousted. While I’m not at all sorry for him, it does mean that the crazies are indeed in charge of the asylum. Then again, they’ve pretty much been in charge all along. It’s just a question of for how long.

  4. Mathematics is philosophy; philosophy is speculation; parallel universes with aliens that mime is speculation. Without evidence, parallel universes, alien beings, and the rest are mere musings. Of course, musing is great fun and sometimes leads to evidence. Then you have a start.

  5. What if not everyone has seen :Guardians of the Galaxy” (or “Over the Hedge” ) to get the “wiseccracking raccoon” reference ?

  6. If you weren’t aware of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (or “over the Hedge”) the “wisecracking raccoon ” would require an explanation too.

  7. I think Anne & God is a brilliant feature and highly recommend signing up for it. I always look forward to seeing it in my mailbox, and you just might, too.

  8. Ah yes, republicans, the “Party of Personal Responsibility,” once again blaming the Democrats for the republicans’ own failure to govern.

  9. So the three GOP cartoons are examples of the Republicans cut off their nose to spite their face?

  10. That question mark was supposed to be an emoji – I guess the comments don’t support emojis. Which is OK because apparently using them identifies me as a geezer and I should stop using them anyway.

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