CSotD: A Few Timely Passages

Kal Kallaugher could run this anytime, but it’s particularly relevant at the moment, as we face the twin factors of emerging technologies that make forgery and fraud easier, and political operatives who are willing to lie in your face.

There have always been kooks in the world, but in addition to the gullible who believe anything, and the sick people who start gossip for no discernible reason, we now hear that the Petrograd Troll Farm is getting competition from Beijing.

Even if you try to avoid it, bullshit filters in, and the only positive aspect is to hope that truth also seeps in for people who otherwise subsist on Fox and Newsmax.

To add perspective to their surveys of political opinions, pollsters should ask a few preliminary apolitical questions like “On what continent would you find Portugal?” or “Did Neil Armstrong really land on the Moon in 1969?”

Then they could write, “Of those who oppose XXX policy, YYY% believe the Sun goes around the Earth,” and we’d know how to evaluate it. Maybe add a few Venn diagrams.

Anyone who’s been involved in politics knows there are people with a feeble grip on reality everywhere. When they volunteer, you put them in the back to stuff envelopes so potential voters won’t encounter them.

At least, that used to be the way. Now you put them out front and hope their boundless enthusiasm and loyalty will help create a bandwagon effect.

After all, the votes of the silly, and even those of the very silly, count the same as anyone else’s.

I don’t know if xkcd randomly came up with this or is reacting to a pub trivia cheating scandal, a horror so stupid that it was a question on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. That pub trivia article explores, but doesn’t answer, the question of why anyone would cheat at something as, well, trivial as pub trivia.

The fact that I more or less majored in the Trivium does not explain my trivia skills, which are more based on my being ADHD and perhaps somewhere on the Scale. I’m not joking about that: I ran a high school quiz bowl for several years and you couldn’t win without having an Aspie on your team and two would be better.

Asperger’s doesn’t officially exist anymore, but that level of odd rapid random recall is what makes trivia fun, or at least should.

I used to enjoy it. There’s a pub with a weekly triv contest down the street from me, and I drive past it daily, but never stop in. I’m too old to play, not because my mind is slowing down but because most of the questions would be about things that mattered to my kids and their kids, not me.

Knowing that South Street is the hippest street in Philadelphia won’t help anymore.

Buckets (AMS) demonstrates the kind of trivia I could be good at, where you sit around trying to remember who that lady was I saw you with last night.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a 1950s advertising jingle stuck in my head and, while it was kind of annoying, I was impressed that I could remember the whole thing this many years later.

I’d share it, but I can’t remember what the hell jingle it was.

Trivial Juxtaposition of the Day

Lola — AMS

Flying McCoys — AMS

If you have what we call a “straight job,” this Juxtaposition may be over your head, but for those of us with odd hours working remotely, it’s clear evidence that Todd Clark and Gary McCoy are watching too much daytime television.

Daytime TV seems to consist of about 20 minutes of actual programming per hour, squeezed in between ads for plaque psoriasis cures and capsules full of vegetable dust. Or at least that’s what I remember, though I haven’t sucked down my jellyfish extract today.

However, I plan to cash in my life insurance and my structured settlement, then get a reverse mortgage, though I can’t decide whether to give the money to Danny Thomas or Sarah McLachlan.

It depends on whether I want an adorable blanket or an adorable T-shirt.

But in my own defense, my workday ends at 9 am. I have no idea what their excuses are for knowing about this stuff.

You Be The Editor

Fiona Katauskas

Garth German

Ed Hall

Juxtapositions are a regular feature here, but they don’t always flow in logical order the way these do.

Katauskas offers the most plain, detailed opinion piece, in which she cites the trial in 12 Angry Men, in which Henry Fonda fought to free an innocent man, in contrast to Trump’s trial where the defendant is guilty but the jury might not think so.

German then picks up the 12 Angry Men theme, using the title to illustrate Trump’s already established lack of self control.

And Hall goes for absurdity, swapping the bottle of ketchup in German’s cartoon for the huge vats of the stuff that Trump may end up flinging if the trials go as seems likely.

You’re putting together tomorrow’s editorial page, and there’s only a single slot for a political cartoon.

What’s your choice?

Frazz (AMS) today inspires a bit of parental/grandparental bragging, but, instead, think of it as a tip.

I tried to invest my kids with Stoicism, and to put it in concrete terms they could understand, Epicureanism, such that, if they got a balsa plane, I’d ask them what its nature was, the answer being “to break,” so they could have fun while it lasted but realize that it wouldn’t.

Fast-forward 25 years and my granddaughter, then not quite three, gets stung by a wasp. Her grandmother says, “Did that bad wasp sting you?” to which she replies, “Wasp not bad, Gramma. Wasps sting.”

My work here is done.

Another fading memory joke, this a Reality Check (AMS) indeed, because that’s pretty much my response.

We end up with them reading it off the computer (which they had the whole time) while I say “Yes, yes, um … what’s that one do? Oh, sure, yes.”

It’s a lot easier now for me to do that “Person, Man, Woman, Camera, TV” thing than it is to name all my ‘scripts.

but wotthehell there s a dance in the old dame yet.

12 thoughts on “CSotD: A Few Timely Passages

  1. I’ll take a stab at your cartoon conundrum: They’re all great, but the German cartoon is kind of obscure. You and I get the reference, but we’re old–I remember it from Mrs Floyd’s 9th grade English course and I don’t know if it’s still taught. The Katauskas is clearer in its reference without being condescending about it. But would the publisher allow “pissed off” in the paper? Mustn’t offend the readers. I really like the simplicity and colors of the Hall cartoon, but its charm would be diminished in a newspaper unless it was in color. If I couldn’t find room for all three by tossing the Theissen column I’d choose the one by Katauskas.

    But it would be a hard decision.

    1. Yes, the “12 Angry Men” reference might be obscure to some but was hard to resist. In the past I’ve been criticized for over explaining a joke, so figured I’d trust my audience to get it. And for those who don’t, the ketchup bottle was a late add. Which provides the bridge to Ed Hall’s cartoon for the Juxtaposition! Besides, angry Trump is just fun to draw.

      Thanks for including my cartoon, Mike!

      1. Thanks for the reply! I was trying to think like an editor; personally, I love obscure references that take a while to get. And the ketchup bottle is a wonderful touch.

      1. And a different range of acceptable language. My step-grandmother was Australian. She talked like a sailor. But then, my grandfather was career Navy, and I think he enhanced her linguistic abilities.

    1. A. Her point is to frighten them enough that she doesn’t have to sting.
      B. Wasp works biologically but bee allows the contradiction of him thinking she has beneficent motives when she doesn’t.
      C. It is within the bee’s nature to sting and die.

  2. lol, “Notflix”

    To be fair, wasps ARE bad. They sting just because they can, while bees only sting out of defense and usually die as a result.

    Also, bees make honey and are valuable pollinators. What the hell are wasps good for?
    (That can also apply to political WASPs btw…)

  3. Mike wrote: I’d share it, but I can’t remember what the hell jingle it was.
    I reply: you could sign up for a series of memory improvement courses like I did. But, then, I kept forgetting to go to them.

    And, I like Frazz. The only problem with that is you only get one stab with the stinger at someone who deserves it. And, there are waaaay too many to choose from. (he said pedantically)

    Also, the ads for the ‘complete fruit and veggie replacement capsules’ sound like something out of a naive 1950’s space movie. And, IMHO, they are probably less effective and more costly than just enjoying real fruit and veggies. Pop culture and those that would exploit it both suck!

  4. Re: Trivia:

    On a recent local TV quiz show, a question was posed asking to fill in the blank first name of _ _ _ _ Armstrong, the first man on the moon. The hapless young contestant pondered for a moment, then with a confident smile, hit his buzzer and answered, “Lance”.

    I’m still cracking up imagining Lance in lycra, frantically pedalling through space. “One small ball for a man…”

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