CSotD: Random Acts of Humor

Ralph Hagen comes up with a brilliant observation in this morning’s The Barn (Creators), though I guess if you enjoy texting instead of talking you might not think so. But it does seem we’ve come full circle, though there are apps that will let you talk and then convert it to text, which matters because nobody under 30 will answer their phones, or so it seems.

Click-click-clicking used to be a valuable job skill. Thomas Edison was reportedly very fast on a telegraph key, and young men looking for office jobs absolutely needed to know Morse Code. There was a play in the 1880’s, “Across the Continent,” in which a character playing the role of a telegrapher tapped out real code, inviting his fellow-telegraphers in the audience to respond by clicking the metal rim of the seat in front of them in unison, to the mystification of the rest of the audience.

It even opened up an intelligence issue in the 1890s, when the room where reporters gathered was next to the room where the White House telegrapher sent and received messages, revealing how many newspaper writers had started as office boys. The telegraph room was moved.

They still taught Morse Code to Boy Scouts in the early ’60s. I have no idea why.

The Barn had a good week, though this one probably only connected with me (but that’s the measure).

My car flunked inspection and while it was in surgery, I was given a new Jeep Wrangler as a loaner and it had a heated steering wheel.

Which also ties back into how things change over time, since I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet the guys driving Jeeps up the spine of Italy in WWII didn’t have heated steering wheels.

Juxtaposition of the Day

The Barn — Creators

The Other Coast — Creators

The Barn scores a very rare triple appearance this week, with a piece that pairs nicely with The Other Coast.

We had to stay alert to keep our eldest from sharing the dogs’ food when he was, like them, on all fours. We weren’t concerned that the kibble would harm him so much as we wanted to instill some sense of fairness in him, because the dogs would back off and look helpless, given their instinct to nurture and protect the little fellow.

As for labs eating anything, I appreciate the swat at people-food-for-dogs commercials, because I think the concept is silly. On the other hand, the fact that toddlers will chow down on kibble makes me wonder how much fussiness in children is inbred versus learned from parental reactions.

I know that when Sonny Boy was in the Navy years later, he’d head for a local restaurant in whatever port they landed, then ask the waiter, “Bring me what you would have.”

In fact, that was kind of why he joined the Navy.

I dunno whether his culinary adventurism was the result of trying the dog’s kibble, or if trying the dog’s kibble was just an early indicator.

But I doubt he’d have enjoyed sampling that people-food-for-dogs stuff as a lad, because when he was in the Gulf they were issued MREs and he wasn’t impressed.

Here’s a sign of the times I’m all in favor of. I’ve often said how much I identify with Arlo and Janis (AMS), though one big difference is that I’m single. But I’ve long been impressed by and attracted to the women in our generation who have gone gray, mostly because it shows a relaxed attitude towards self.

I like the notion that Janis feels, if she does look good in her natural color, that she wasted too many years fighting it off.

I know most women have a different, more holistic, attitude towards aesthetics than most men do, but gray hair is hot, as is self-acceptance.

Which brings us to today’s Between Friends (KFS) and the heretical thought that dwelling too much on affirmations might possibly have the opposite effect.

Not that they can’t help you through a crisis or guide you through a period of growth, but there comes a time when either this stuff becomes internalized or you realize it isn’t working and you should find something that does.

As long as I’m writing things that will probably get me in trouble, Buz Sawyer (Vintage KFS) is in Florida, ostensibly on a family vacation but really on a mission to sniff out spies around the Polaris submarine development.

I’m sick to death of stories in which either a cowboy hat or motorcycle helmet pops off to reveal a tough, gorgeous girl (who almost always still needs the hero to save her in the end). But I get a kick out of the intelligence officer assigned to help Buz, because, at least so far, she’s doing just fine on her own, and also because she’s just a regular person until she dolls up to fool the bad guy.

Not all women do that magical “coming down the stairs in your prom dress” transformation, but it has been my experience that attractiveness has more to do with self-image than cosmetics anyway.

To add some pop culture relevance to this October, 1960, adventure, Mattie knows when to don an itsy, bitsy, teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini (Jan 1960), but at heart, she’s a dungaree doll (1956).

And I’ll bet wherever she is today, she isn’t dying her gray hair.

Be Bop a Lula!

Mike Baldwin offers two gags on the topic of marital proposals in today’s Cornered (AMS).

I have never understood all this. I proposed to my wife in the parking lot at the Montreal airport, in the car, so not on one knee.

We had gold rings but there was never a diamond because we didn’t have the money. What we did have was too many grandmas to get married up on a mountain top, so we got hitched in town. She made her own dress, but I couldn’t sew and had to buy a suit.

As for diamond engagement rings, the tradition depends on whether you ask a journalist or a diamond merchant, but whether it’s a hundred years old or a thousand years old, there are better ways to get ripped off.

Which makes this ad such a delight. I think maybe that’s Mattie’s granddaughter.

5 thoughts on “CSotD: Random Acts of Humor

  1. The beauty of Morse code is it’s simplicity. Equipment is simple. It can be understood when noise makes voice unintelligible. In Arizona, the army communicated rapidly across hundreds of miles with mirrors located on mountain tops. POW’s can communicate – Jeremiah Denton blinked his eyes in Morse code. Long-long-short-long [Q] tells you a locomotive is approaching a crossing.

    1. Our alternative was to learn semaphore. I never understood the point of that, either. Just sort of assumed BSA knew what they were doing.

  2. A&J – The thing that struck me about this strip is well, if your hair turns out to be steel gray, why not rock the spaghetti straps and shades? The decision to throw on the dumpy t-shirt is less about the hair than how you feel about the hair. We know what Arlo’s hoping for by the time the arc concludes and he doesn’t care about which shade of gray it turns out to be.

  3. Not only are diamond engagement rings a ripoff that feeds into the DeBeers monopoly which has a lot of blood on its hands, but lab-grown “synthetic” gems are just as good and a hell of a lot cheaper.

    Don’t let anybody try to con you into thinking that lab-grown gems are “fake” or inferior to mined gems. They’re made using the exact same principle as natural gems, and are more often than lot a hell of a lot better-looking to boot.

    1. A $6,000 engagement ring brought back to the same jeweler after two months: $400+ for the gold, under $600 for the diamond. (Synthetic) (The offer was refused by the buyer.)

      None of them are a wise investment – or purchase for that matter.

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