“Update” is Not a Calendar Joke but Sounds Like it Should Be


And in what is going to be my very last calendar update until the next one I would just like to say …

Triumph.

The Peanuts 2018 page-a-day calendar, sitting atop my boxes of the 2017 and 2016 calendars too.
This is not where I actually keep my calendars when they’re in service because I also rely on their bulk to keep a couple of mathematics books that I never use standing up.

So what happened is after Amazon cancelled my order on the grounds they didn’t know how to get me the calendar they ordered, I followed the link they provided to the page on Amazon for ordering calendars. And that, through I think the company that sets up those kiosks in the malls from like October through the 26th of December selling calendars, got me this inside a week. Not clear why Amazon couldn’t think of that. But then my understanding is that in the earliest days of the English East India Company, each successive voyage to India was organized as its own venture, and because of the travel times there’d be overlapping periods when one year’s ship hadn’t yet left and the next year’s ship had arrived, and they’d be rivals for trade prospects, sometimes getting so heated that rival trading crews would open fire on one another despite theoretically all working for the same company. I assume Amazon is like this still, and the “ordering calendars” division and the “delivering calendars” division are particularly fierce rivals and routinely launching raids on one another, taking hostages, and holding them for ransom, and between that and the miasma, scurvy, and the Horse Latitudes there’s nobody left who can actually do anything calendar-related.

So anyway I’m glad to have this and to have everything back in order and not have to worry about …

Calendar with Charlie Brown in school talking to Linus: 'My stomach hurts. I think I worry about too many things. The more I worry, the more my stomach hurts ... the more my stomach hurts, the more I worry ... my stomach hates me!'
If they just want the comic to be larger so it’s easier to read, why don’t they just stack the comic strip, which was always four identically-sized panels back then, in two rows of two comics each? And maybe print the stock art of the characters in the lower right corner smaller so there’s still space if someone wants to make a note?

You know, there’s no way the aspect ratio on that comic is right. I know the classic four-panel era of Peanuts and those panels look wrong. But if they cropped the panels then the word balloons wouldn’t fit. Unless they completely rejiggered the word balloons, cutting and pasting text around so that … what, they could make the panels a little bit taller but also completely wrong? But who would do that?

Same comic strip as before, but the panels aren't so tall and narrow, and Charlie Brown's balloons in the second through fourth panels are rearranged to fit in a taller, narrower space.
Charles Schulz’s Peanuts for the 27th of February, 1968, and the 27th of February was the last Tuesday of the month, so why are they printing that as the comic for the last Friday of the month in 2018? February 1968 had the same days of the week through to Leap Day; why are they changing this too? They haven’t had to avoid any Ash Wednesday or Leap Day jokes in Peanuts that year, and the only Easter joke is the one that actually ran on Easter 1968.

Hm.

This is the most baffling comics-related bit of reworking stuff since earlier this week in the Bud Sagendorf Popeye rerun.

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What Amazon Thinks I’ll Buy


Yes, it’s annoying that big corporations insist on knowing everything about us. And insist on tying everything into big identity profiles ready to be swiped by hackers or sold to marketers. But at least they repay us by being uproariously bad at guessing what we might want to buy. From a recent Amazon list of suggested things I might give them money for:

Amazon's first four guesses about what I might want: earphones, cocktail food, a power cable, and a clarinet.
Deeper in the e-mail, Amazon guessed that I might want a cabin air filter or an omelette pan. They are right so far as I want omelettes, but not so much as to actually do anything myself about them.

OK. Headphones, I can’t really argue with. I’ve got consumer electronics, I’ve got ears. We have a plausible match here.

Nutritional diet for cockatiels. I don’t have a cockatiel. I never have. I can’t get within four feet of a cockatiel without it eyeing me and opening its beak to figure out how it can eat as much of me as possible before I can react. I get enough of that from my friends, I don’t need it from my pets. My best guess: they worked out somehow that my sister had a cockatiel, back during the Reagan administration, and they’re hoping that she still has that bird, that it’s quite old, and that I want to give my sister pet supplies for Christmas. We don’t have that kind of relationship. She takes care of horses, so her wish list consists of incomprehensible pieces of horse gear that, based on the price, are made of high-grade americium lined with platinum, plus some e-books. I buy the e-books.

Lightning cable. Can’t argue that much. I did buy an iPod Touch over the summer, and of course it can’t use any of the estimated 28 USB cables we already had around. Well, the iPod Touch came with this cable, but I’ll lose that one eventually. They’re just premature here.

Mendini Clarinet. Just … no. Amazon, I hate to break this to you, but woodwinds? Me? I’ll have you know I played violin from third to like seventh grade. I can’t say I was the best violin player in the world, just the best one in my elementary school. I was able to always hit the notes you get by just running the bow across the strings, and I was often able to hit the notes you get by putting your fingers on the strings before running the bow. So if you need a scratchy, nearly-in-key rendition of Jingle Bells, the Theme to Masterpiece Theater‘s Non-Challenging Opening Bits, or the musical Cats’s Memory, well, find me a violin and give me some time to warm up again. But a clarinet? Rank foolishness, that’s all there is to it.

Though looking at it … this does seem like a pretty good deal on a clarinet, doesn’t it? Except according to this a three pound bag of cockatiel food normally retails for over one hundred twenty-five dollars and sixty-nine cents and they’re marking it down to ten bucks? Of all the things they think I might buy, they’re putting that alleged fact on the list?

You Might Also Like


I don’t buy a lot of stuff online, because apparently deep down I still believe it’s 1995 or something, but this offers the benefit that I get to enjoy the big marketing computers flailing around desperately in the attempt to figure out what else I might want to buy. So I get suggestions like this from Amazon:

You recently purchased Billy Bragg’s Greatest Reminders That You’re Voluntarily Collaborating With A Corrupt System and … uh … Leapfrog Explorer 3: Dora The Explorer Searches For Spock? The Heck? You might also like:

  • A History Of The United States Weather Bureau Through 1960, by Robert D Whitnah.
  • The Blu-Ray edition of forgotten 1980s sitcom Mama Malone for some reason.
  • A 14-foot-long mass of undifferentiated blue-green matter.
  • This one potato chip that looks like a significantly larger potato chip.
  • Two dollars off a purchase of auto parts maybe?
  • Staples, all sizes, all colors, some of them made of pearl.
  • Maybe a cohomology group of an unexpected order? I dunno, you’re the math major.

All this is quite silly, of course, because there’s only one thing that I really want. It’s the same thing everyone wants: to occasionally have a day turned into a great one by hearing somebody unexpectedly playing the theme to Shaft. Don’t tell Amazon.

Publicity Break


If I may have a moment from finding that every possible WordPress theme is almost but not quite satisfying to my eye — in fact, each just manages to have something that turns an otherwise decent-looking appearance into unpleasantness, like finding a tolerable-looking pair of shoes, only they’re an awful color, and there’s a pebble in them, and they’re made of antimatter so when you try setting them on there’s a terrible explosion, and the laces broke anyway — there’s a couple of links I ought to share in the interest of publicizing, er, me.

The most important are the links for Oh, Sandy: An Anthology Of Humor For A Serious Purpose, edited by Lynn Beighley, Peter Barlow, Andrea Donio, and A J Fader. This is a collection of short essays written after the need to do something useful after the Superstorm. I have an essay in there about my strange feelings from watching a catastrophe strike home and not being able to quite find out what was happening, or to do anything even if I did. It’s available also through CreateSpace.

Less portently, a Paper.li “newspaper” titled The Lighter Side Of Life Part 2 aggregated one of my daily short entries for its edition of the 31st of March. I’m flattered and mystified by how that one made the cut. They have a daily collection of things and there’s a fair chance that you’ll find something else there that’s amusing.