CSotD: A Mostly Merry Monday

Most schools are out by now, though Big Nate (AMS) had me searching my memory for how the year’s end went in middle school.

In high school, the last week or so was finals and you only showed up if you had one, most of which were NYS Regents exams and were scheduled by Albany.

Those days were divided between three hour tests and anything goes, and I won’t retell the latter stories but I guess we saved up all our good sense for test days, because we sure didn’t expend any on our free time.

We didn’t have “middle school” back then, however, and, up until 7th grade, which was called “junior high,” we were in self-contained classrooms where I guess we all stuck around until the end.

Back when I was doing media literacy presentations, I used to tell teachers I would come to their classrooms any time that worked for them except the last day before a major vacation. They’d laugh and admit it was a wise policy on my part.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Mr. Boffo

Pearls Before Swine — AMS

We do seem to be in a race to the bottom, and I suppose the joke in Mr. Boffo is that people don’t even know how to use Google, based on the comments I see on-line.

Which observation fits with the gag in Pearls because I seem to remember a time when people were at least embarrassed, if not ashamed, to be ignorant.

What makes me commiserate with Goat is that people will ask “What is this about?” on-line when, if they had any sense of pride, they would quietly Google it and avoid revealing that they had been so ignorant of something everyone else clearly knows all about.

Though now that Google is using AI, it’s becoming as unreliable as Bing, since both models are based more on what everyone thinks instead of on what is true.

The result is that one of my favorite SNL skits has become an emerging reality, at which point it’s not nearly so funny anymore:

And as long as I’m venting about things that probably only bother me, here’s a cartoon from Paul Pinderksi.

Emoticons served a need at first, back when they were simple graphic indications of sarcasm, surprise or despair. There was no need to expand them into obscure reactions, nor was there ever a need to turn them into little yellow thingies.

But then it got worse, and when I become emperor, one of my first decrees will be a fatwa against anyone responding on-line using an animated GIF.

These things fall under the category of “wretched excess” and add nothing to a conversation.

They remind me of a girl I knew in college who brought a tambourine to the coffeehouse and “accompanied” the guitar players until one of them stopped in the middle of a song and explained proper storage of the instrument.

I feel that way about animated GIFs.

And wotthehell, let’s keep going, because today’s Bizarro (KFS) brings up a Britishism that I suspect is pretentious over there and is truly so on this shore.

I’m not entirely against Britishisms. It’s okay with me if someone waits on line to take a lift to their flat, as long as they don’t affect a posh accent as well. But aside from the clumsiness of “bespoke,” it’s quickly been twisted from meaning “custom made” to meaning “overpriced.”

It’s literally become as meaningless as “literally.”

Charging $60 for a shirt does not make it “bespoke.” If you must be pretentious, call the thing “prêt-à-porter.” You’ll be safe as long as it costs twice what it’s worth.

BTW, I did laugh at the cartoon, and all the harder because of the hot air holding up that ghost.

Now we go for the reversal, in which I admit to laughing over an absolutely silly Argyle Sweater (AMS).

I once thought it clever to posit a friar selling french fries in England and call him a “chip monk,” but Scott Hilburn has taken things to a higher dimension.

This younger generation has the advantage of the existence of air fryers, which are a recent innovation, and modernity leads us more or less logically to this Father’s Day observation:

Tom the Dancing Bug makes a worthy point: It seems that our generation took that whole Peter Pan “I won’t grow up” thing too seriously.

In fact, about 40 years ago, a fellow named Dan Kiley wrote a best-seller called The Peter Pan Syndrome about men who refuse to grow up, and then, by golly, followed up with The Wendy Dilemma about women who enable them.

Which, as you can readily tell, solved the problem completely.

Kiley was writing about emotional immaturity, but I’m not sure you can separate that from what Bolling is talking about. What I am fairly certain about is that if Star Wars had remained a nostalgic memory, fathers and sons would behave as they did with the nickelodeons and westerns, each in their proper demographics.

By turning it into an ongoing franchise, Hollywood capitalized on the urge to never grow up never grow up never grow up, not me!

As Jeff Stahler points out, it’s not just men who cling to their adolescent years, and the Stones make good money by having turned a gritty blues/rock band into an ongoing musical franchise. I seem to recall an interview Back in the Day in which Mick Jagger said he didn’t want to still be singing “Satisfaction” when he was in his sixties.

You’ve overshot that goal, pal.

A reunion concert would be awesome, but to have one, you first need to break up and go do some other things for awhile.

Reunions would be hard for the Beatles or Byrds to pull off now because not all of their members are still alive, but, then again, that hasn’t stopped the Stones.

Zits (KFS) reminds me of getting out of a concert in Chicago (Linda Ronstadt, Tim Buckley, Dr. John) and missing the last train, which increased the cost of my date by the price of a hotel room.

Which sounds like fun except we already had apartments if we could have gotten home.

Ah well. A train isn’t the worst thing you could miss.

14 thoughts on “CSotD: A Mostly Merry Monday

  1. My middle schooler has his last class tomorrow. He has already turned in his computer so I asked him what will happen today. He said they would just play games. Ah middle school.

  2. A while back, my kids told me that I should see the Who on tour as it would probably be my last chance to see them. I told them even though although I enjoy their music, there was something sad about a bunch of 70 year old men singing to a crowd of 50 year old people about the angst of a 20 year old.

    1. A friend went to see John Fogarty a couple of years ago.
      I asked him about it.
      He said: “he’s 70. Looks like he’s 40. Sings like he’s 20.”

  3. This is the reason why the Rolling Stones are still writing new songs: so there are convenient times for the audience to go to the bathroom before the end of the show.

    I saw the Stones during the 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour, which oddly is now the midpoint of their career.

  4. I’m a 38 year old man.
    I still play Nintendo video games.
    My apartment is wall-to-wall Mario/Zelda/Kirby/etc merchandise.
    I own and wear a large number of video game graphic T-shirts.

    And I have also made the decision to not allow anyone to attempt to shame me for still finding joy in “kiddie” things.

    As you noted, “growing up” is really much more about emotional maturity than it is still finding joy in the things that you enjoyed as a child.

    1. Though I can understand the younger generations not being so enthused over ‘Star Wars’ seeing as they grew up with the crappy Prequel and Sequel trilogies…

      1. You meant “enthusiastic,” not “enthused.” “Enthused” is the past tense of the verb, “enthuse.” The adjective is “enthusiastic.”

        I’m trying to be helpful and I’m sorry if it sounds snotty.

  5. Middle school? Still trying to get used to that one. In my day (Westmont Hilltop School District, Johnstown, PA, 1955-68) grade school was first thru sixth grade at one of three elementary schools, junior high was seventh and eighth, and high school was tenth thru twelfth grade.

    Except the ninth graders (freshmen) were still in the junior high school building, which was the molding old high school (1961 and before). You didn’t get to the fresh, new high school building until sophomore year. But all the football games were played at the junior high which still had the good sports field. As were track and field. Basketball was at the new high school (thank God, as the gym was on the third floor of the old high school directly over the auditorium).

  6. “How can you come back if you never went away ?” – Michael Stanley – “Let’s Get the Show on the Road Babe.”

  7. I agree with about animated GIFs. I used to try delete them, but now I won’t even give them that level of effort.

  8. What I don’t understand is the anger toward the term “middle school.”
    My school district thought that having all 6th graders bussed to a single school was a good idea, so we had elementary school, 6th grade, middle school (7th and 8th grades) and high school. They also bussed all 2nd graders to the same school, although that school was also the neighborhood school for kindergarten and 1st grade.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, the advantage of middle schools is not just getting kids used to changing classes at the bell but transitioning them into specialized instruction, so that they learn math from a more qualified math teacher, etc. It makes the move into high school an easier transition and fifth and sixth graders should be ready for more demanding schoolwork.

      Another issue specific to social studies is that elementary curricula teach history and geography as stories: Here’s little Jose and Maria in their Central American finca. It’s very pleasant but doesn’t teach kids how to process non-fiction writing and they can really fall off a cliff when their textbooks suddenly change modes, which used to happen when they went from self-contained sixth grade classrooms into junior high.

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