CSotD: Humor, from the personal to the global

I’ll have a couple of dissents in a moment, so we’ll start with a compliment: Check out the final panel in today’s Crabgrass (AMS). The gag is okay, nothing to cut out and frame, but a decent gag, possibly the start of a new story arc.

But note that Kevin’s mom is amused, rather than frustrated or annoyed by, his preference for junk food. Could this be a sign of a new trend in comic strips? Crabgrass and Wallace the Brave both feature parents who — hold onto your hats — actually seem to like their children.

Interesting that such an attitude would stand out, but it does.

Now a mild dissent on this Buckets (AMS), mild because he only hints at, does not truly confirm, the widespread notion that our phones are eavesdropping on us.

There’s probably a good academic name for this perceptual error, but anyone who has ever been pregnant — either themself or by marital connection — knows that, when you become pregnant, you see pregnant people everywhere. It doesn’t signal a sudden outbreak of fecundity; it just means you notice it because it’s on your mind.

Similarly, while you are bombarded with all kinds of spam, you may take particular notice of ads for something you were just talking about.

Obviously, if you looked it up on-line, that’s diffo. Nothing you do on-line is private and you’re a fool to think it might be.

But there’s enough to be paranoid about without unnecessarily adding to the list.

Reply All (Counterpoint) opens discussion of a misperception about channel bundling and how TV gets to you.

The bundles offered by cable systems and streaming services often contain a few things you really want and a lot of things you don’t care about or watch. Think of it as those Halloween candy packages that have a couple of good kinds of candy, some mediocre stuff you eat when the good stuff is gone and a bunch of crap that nobody wants.

The truly desirable channels cost providers a lot, the middle less and the crappy channels are free, so dropping the lousy channels wouldn’t change the cost of your package because they’re just there as filler to make it look like you’re getting a lot.

The real villain is ESPN, which is highly desirable and very expensive, so, if you don’t like sports, it’s adding a lot to the cost of your bundle for something you don’t want or use.

But it looks like the sports channels are — like ESPN+ — leaning towards going independent or joining premium streamers like Hulu and Paramount, so that people who like that stuff can decide to shell out for it.

I’d predict that more a la carte streaming will lower the price of bundlers like Fubo and Sling, but I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.

Juxtaposition of Canine Dissent

Red and Rover — AMS

The Other Coast — Creators

The first one is easy: Timmy never fell down a well. Neither did Jeff, and if you don’t know who Jeff is, get his dog’s name outta yo mouth. You probably don’t know Rusty, either, and at least his dog was real.

My best guess is that there’s a stand-up comedian somewhere who deserves a kabillion dollars in royalties for an off-handed joke that spawned a trope.

My sister liked Lassie. I liked Rinty. You have no idea the family divisions sprouted by these two dogs.

My dissent with The Other Coast is more substantive, because “shock collars” have an undeserved reputation for brutality when the real villain is stupidity.

Competent dog owners call them “e-collars,” because they have two buttons, one that produces a tone and one that, yes, produces a shock, and you might use the shock button a couple of times in training and then maybe once or twice a year, on a low setting.

The purpose is to get the dog’s attention, not to punish it. Some dogs — notably hounds — seem to have a mercury switch in their heads, such that, when their nose goes down, their brain shuts off. Others — notably bird dogs — get so wrapped up in their quartering that they lose track of their owners.

All you need to do with the e-collar is to activate the buzzer, which reminds the dog that it is supposed to be paying attention. The shocker (go ahead and try it on your arm) should be set mid-low and is the equivalent of tossing one of the dog’s tennis balls and hitting it in the butt. It just gets its attention when it is particularly obsessed.

If you have to use that button more than once or twice a year, you need something else, because either the collar doesn’t work with this particular dog or you haven’t properly trained it.

If you have to crank the shocker up, you need to throw the collar out.

That’s why they sell tracking leads.

The Whole World Was Watching

There was so much yak-yak at this end of the world about when to watch the northern lights and how far south they were going to reach that those of us sitting on top of the world may have forgotten that the Earth’s a bright blue marble.

The Sun shineth alike upon the North and South, and a number of Antipodal cartoonists looked up — it still is “up” even down under — and noticed not the aurora borealis but the aurora australis, while the media discussed how far north it went.

For some bizarre reason First Dog persists in thinking of the Earth as an entire planet.

First Dog on the Moon — Tasmania, Australia

Jeff Bell — Aotearoa, New Zealand

Guy Body — New Zealand Herald

To return to what we on the upper end of the globe think of as the upper end of the globe, Finnish cartoonist Samuli Lintula (Samson) reminded me with today’s Dark Side of the Horse (AMS) of when I stopped going to the Catholic Church where I was forgiven for being divorced and began attending Episcopal services where I was embraced for who I was.

What I still needed to be forgiven for was not reading the composer credits on my records, which resulted in quite a surprise when the congregation at my new church arose as one and sang a Cat Stevens song.

15 thoughts on “CSotD: Humor, from the personal to the global

  1. Well I wasn’t certain if I could post a link in a comment, so it is now my “Website”… I believe in my heart that I saw Robin Williams do the “What’s that girl? Timmy fell down the well?” bit in an ad lib on Johnny Carson (?) but it is unbelievably challenging to find a single line from Robin in those appearances…but aside from that specific iteration, it is a trope that goes back half a century…

  2. I once bought a non-shock collar for my dog — my girlfriend insisted he had to learn not to bark. The idea was when the collar detected a bark it emitted a high pitch tone that gets the dog’s attention. And it did.

    In practice what happened is my dog would be happily moseying along and happen to bark. The collar would emit its tone, my dog would notice it, briefly stop barking to ponder what it was, then decide it must be something worth barking about. Once initiated, whether by my dog’s bark or that of another, the process repeated and resulted in an endless stream of barking.

    1. If our dog is on a leash or in the house he will bark at other dogs or people. If he were free to just go outside or run up to them I don’t think he’d ever bark…he just wants to greet everyone. He is entirely submissive and would never hurt a fly (he just sniffs at them…maybe he’s a budddhist), but it doesn’t sound that way. And since our son works from home, it is imperative to keep him as quiet as possible. (I work from nowhere anymore, whenever possible.)

  3. “What I still needed to be forgiven for was not reading the composer credits on my records, which resulted in quite a surprise when the congregation at my new church arose as one and sang a Cat Stevens song.”

    At least it wasn’t ‘In the Garden of Eden’ by I. Ron Butterfly

  4. Thanks, AJ, that was great. My dog used to sing along with ‘In the Garden of Eden’ by I. Ron Butterfly and also with ‘Mild Thing’ by The Dogs.

  5. “There’s probably a good academic name for this perceptual error, but anyone who has ever been pregnant — either themself or by marital connection — knows that, when you become pregnant, you see pregnant people everywhere. It doesn’t signal a sudden outbreak of fecundity; it just means you notice it because it’s on your mind.”

    I think you are looking for the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon”, AKA the “Frequency Illusion”.

    1. But I would assume it would be on the credits of “Tea for the Tillerman” and certainly in a hymnal using her work. I didn’t notice it on the album, did in church. Giving creative people credit for their work matters, n’est ce pas?

      1. It’s so credited in /Singing the Living Tradition/, the 1993 Unitarian Universalist hymnal – but not on “Tea for the Tillerman,: probably because it appears not on that album but on the later “Teaser and the Firecat.”

      2. I thought it would; thanks for checking. I was never one for pondering album covers except, of course, for the first pressings of “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” which didn’t count as reading.

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