Reference: Wotalife Comics #4, cover date Oct-Nov 1946, Fox Feature Syndicate, publisher.
“You did just give us your account number. We ask again so people can’t cut in the phone queue. Just because something’s physically and logically impossible is no reason not to have a policy.”
“Put like that it almost makes sense. Can we say my number is ‘forty’?”
“It doesn’t look that old, but I’m game. For quality-control purposes this call may have been pre-recorded. What is a problem?”
“You know how there’s an Internet? Not for me.”
“The web site could be down.”
“I tried Google, YouTube, archive.org, The New York Times, and Comics Curmudgeon, and the browser kept pointing and laughing that I wasn’t on the Internet.”
“Someday all those sites will be down simultaneously and we’ll cackle smugly at everybody thinking we’re the problem.”
“You do need quality controlled. You wouldn’t want it running wild.”
“That didn’t sound submissive.”
“Thinking about quality control. Am I being pre-recorded?”
“We can’t tell. It’d ruin the control group’s self-esteem. If you’re in the control group it’d spoil a relationship starting so well.”
“That’s considerate, unless I’m in the other group.”
“We thought you’d agree. Could you give us your account number again?”
“This time I’ll say ninety-four.”
“Oh, you are a giddy prankster. What’s your cable modem model number?”
“Hold on, I have to get the cat off it … … hold on, I have to find bandages … … It’s a model 327W.”
“That’s not the model number.”
“It says that’s the model number on top.”
“Yes, and don’t think this hasn’t lead to fisticuffs. The model number is on the bottom where you can’t read it in your light.”
“Could I give my phone number again?”
“I was just fixing to ask. Would you like it to be ‘six’ now?”
“No, I feel like ‘four’. On the bottom the cable modem is a model 327-W.”
“That’s better. … I’ll have to transfer you to a guy named `Jeff’. He’s usually hanging around and probably works for us. We don’t get many fans, though if he is one that explains his applause.”
“I like chances to talk with people named `Jeff’.”
“For Jeff, you’ll have to describe the problem, and give your customer number, and your model number. You’ll still have the problem.”
“Does he give the numbers back after?”
“He should. It’s bad practice to hog numbers. We lost `fourteen’ for months to one sourpuss tired of having people to turn things off and on.”
“Does he control quality too? — Never mind, it’d hurt my feelings if one of us lied. Should we give him an encore?”
“Would you please re-say your account number?”
“It’s forty, in that case. How did he like it?”
“He says he’s `Paul’ and we have him confused for someone else. Security is escorting him out.”
“Are they confused?”
“They know the way. This is about the twelfth Paul this month.”
“Would it help mentioning my customer number is 101?”
“It makes me more secure after this shocking Paul incident. Have you got another computer we might try something on?”
“Then we’re can’t do anything without someone actually named ‘Jeff’.”
“In that case, I do. I just didn’t want to confuse this issue.”
“Could you plug it in to your cable modem?”
“Any particular connection?”
“Yes, one into the cable modem. And go to the site 192 dot 168 dot … ”
“Dot 1 dot 1?”
“You act suspiciously like someone named ‘Jeff’.”
“Should I mention my customer number is 327?”
“No, that’s your model number. Do you see under Network Settings anything for DCHP/IP?”
“Yeah, let’s act like that matters. Do you see any pull-down menus?”
“I do, but hoped to ignore them.”
“Have you rebooted things?”
“I considered rebooting the refrigerator, so I could eat the ice cream.”
“I recommend trying that and calling back. My customer number is twelve.”
“That’s my number too. I bet it’s why we get along so.”
“Your supposition satisfies me. Were there any other issues?”
“There, the Internet came back. Thank you. There’s nothing else, Jeff.”
“You’re welcome — wait, how did you know?”
What clue told the caller the operator was Jeff? Read tomorrow’s puzzle and check your solution!
Each day over 36 people use the Internet. And yet how many of them know what it is? How it works? Where it comes from? What it’s doing? How it’s redressed in-between scenes so that in the first act it’s a starving artist’s kitchen while in the second it’s the luxury suite at a hotel? Still, let’s see which of these questions we can answer.
The Internet is, as designed, a high-capacity method of transmitting outrage. Essential to getting anything anywhere is the IP address. IP is an acronym; it stands for IP, but — you may want to make a note of this — a different IP than what we mean when we write IP. It is still typed the same, though, except in the dative case.
The purpose of an IP address was to be a unique way to identify the recipient of any particular Internet outrage. In the earliest days of computers this was done by identifying the person using the computer. But this was impractical, since back then, everyone used the names of the same minor Star Trek characters. Today, only three people know there even was a “Commander DeSalle” who was in more episodes than, like, Pavel Chekov somehow. The next step was trying to identify the computer using the person. But too many computers looked the same, especially back in the 90s when the computer makers got a really good deal on plastic the color of sweetened condensed milk you accidentally left open on the counter all month. We’ve since moved on to trying to identify the person and the computer together. This is done by timing how long it takes you to refuse web sites permission to send you notifications.
The IP address is how the Internet knows what to send to you. Consider this typical behavior. You put an OtterBox for your phone on your Amazon wish list, because the wrist strap broke off your old one. You’d just buy it yourself, but not having a wrist strap is a smaller hassle than your parents asking you to put at least one single thing on your wish list so they know what they won’t buy you for your birthday. Three weeks later, Amazon sends you an e-mail declaring they’ve found it would be a great idea if you bought an OtterBox. Sure, you think of the geniusnessocity of the mind that could create such a perfect needs-anticipation system. “Clearly,” you say, out loud, “the person behind this system deserves 130 billion dollars. Indeed, the person who could create that digital intelligence deserves all the billions of dollars.”
But this only works because it knows which of all the people on computers to send the e-mail to. Imagine if you got the suggestion to buy an OtterBox intended for somebody else who also wanted an OtterBox. Or what if the shopping suggestions were completely wrong? “We have a great deal for you: what if you bought a radial tire and the issue of Starlog about DeForest Kelly being on the War of the Worlds tv series from the 80s? Plus 1250 boxes of macaroni and cheese?” There would be no possible answer to give to that question. You would be stuck at home, all day, trying to find out, wait, there was a War of the Worlds series in the 80s? And it got kinda bonkers? But if there’s no way to get the information about this to you, then, where are you? Right back at home.
So how do you and your computer get this IP address? Eh, a lot of back-and-forth. Your computer goes asking others around it, “Do I look like a 12.440.522.214.171.1245 to you?” And then the other computers go, “Oh, you’re underrating yourself. You’re easily a 56.337.404044.12.390 or maybe even more!” And then your computer answers, “Aw, golly. You’ll make me digitally blush, there’s no way I’m not a 8.266.712.8.775!” “Honey, stop with the false modesty. 18.9.2012.24.2007.48304 and if you don’t agree I’ll fight you.” Eventually they compromise on something. Of course, this is done at computer speeds, which is why it’s either instant or your computer just freezes up for three hours and eighteen minutes. And I’m translating what they say into colloquial terms. They would actually say “digi-blush”.
This all seems like a lot, and it is, which is why even brief exposure to the Internet leaves you so exhausted.
When you do make your brand-new web browser? You should definitely include an option where it only connects to the good Internet. The good Internet is the one where every web site is some slightly dotty fellow explaining the difference between Mergenthaler Linotypes and Ludlow Typographs. The author occasionally goes off on weirdly long, passionate rants, but they’re all about ligatures. And there are urgent updates, but they’re about the author having encountered some obscure Intertype experimental setup that was used by the New York Daily Mirror for like four months in 1924 and how this adjusts their rankings of All Typesetting Machines Ever, Best To Worst. Also the only images that move without your specific permission are animated gifs showing this web site under construction. This is demonstrated by a silhouetted featureless figure digging, I suppose for markup. Trust me, it’s the best way.
Procrastination is a way to turn things we need to do into things we feel lousy about not doing. Procrastination surrounds us and envelops us. Logic tells us there has to have been a time people just knew their cars had back seats, for example. They wouldn’t have felt like they should Do Something about them.
Everyone procrastinates, to some degree. Oh, you encounter people who insist they never do. They’ll give you advice on how to not procrastinate, too. “If you know something will take less than two minutes to do, just stop and do it right then,” they’ll say. These are miserable people. They’re trapped behind their reputation for efficiency and accomplishment. They’re hoping for release. By release they mean “get stuffed into a plastic bin in a storage locker someone means to organize someday”. Nobody will ever get around to doing them this mercy. You know if you die at e-mail inbox zero you don’t get to hang around as a ghost. You’re just gone.
It would be interesting to know why we procrastinate. It seems counterproductive. Without procrastination, we’d just have, say, coffee tables. With it, we turn those coffee tables into balls of explosive guilt. “I have to get some sleep before that big presentation at work location tomorrow! I only have four hours! Why am I thinking about how the coffee table still has the wristbands from the county fair and that three-month-old free weekly newspaper on it in untidy piles?” This is all right. You haven’t started writing that presentation anyway. It’ll definitely help if you lie awake two and a half more hours cursing yourself for not Doing Something about the coffee table. In this way we have a cluttered table, a lousy night’s sleep, and a work presentation so bad they tell you that you never have to present anything again, ever. So it’s not all bad. You at least become legend. They talk for years about how the quarterly presentation slide went. But we can’t expect such good results every time.
I guess the trouble is that to get something done, we have to do it. And that would be great. There’s few things in the world that feel better than having a thing done. Having a barber shave the back of your neck with a straight razor, that’s about the only better thing. But getting a thing done just means that you get something else to do. Nobody knows where these things come from. The universe just slots some new task right in front of you, just as you’re enjoying being done and how that hot shaving lotion feels. So what if you never do that thing? Then you have the same outcome: you’ve still got a thing to do in front of you. And you’ve saved the effort of having to do it. And all you lose is the feeling of joy that you’ve accomplished a thing. It just costs you turning everything in your life into something that makes you feel bad. I should probably make a better guess. This won’t work.
To procrastinate is easy and you can do it most anytime. You will need:
1. A thing to do.
2. Absolutely anything else in the universe to exist.
To procrastinate, remind yourself that there is this thing to do. Then let anything else exist, right in front of you. Then just do what comes naturally. This will be any other thing. Some readers may think this sounds a lot like Robert Benchley’s Principle, “anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment”. This was explained in his classic essay “How To Get Things Done”. You should definitely read it, by which I mean, you should mean to get around to reading it. You can find it on the Internet.
The Internet is a great way to remind you that things exist. Also that most of them are terrible. This gets you a head start on feeling guilty about this all. You shouldn’t go out looking for things to feel terrible about, because that could crash the whole scheme of procrastination. We’d have to replace this weirdly miserable, faintly self-destructive habit with something else. And whatever we come up with would be worse. You’ve met people. You know that’s true.
If you do need to get something done, without losing the guilt and shame attached to procrastinating, there are compromises. You could, for example, get something mostly done, but quit doing it while there’s some small but noticeable piece undone. This way you never have to
For the second update in a row I am not upset with Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth. If you are upset with it, you’re probably reading this essay sometime after early July 2019. Around late September or early October 2019 I should have a more up-to-date plot recap at this link, so you may know just what to be angry about.
On my other blog, I describe comic strips with mathematical themes, none of which should make anyone angry this week.
13 April – 7 July 2019.
Artheur Zerro is the new love in Charterstone cat-owner Estelle’s life. He’s charming. He loves cats. He’s retiring soon from his construction-engineering job in Malaysia. He wants to see the world, ideally with Estelle. If there is one flaw in Zerro’s existence it’s that he’s a complete fraud who’s already scammed Estelle for ten thousand bucks and is coming at her for more. Mary Worth, with the help of Toby, puts together the evidence. Artheur Zerro’s profile picture is actually that of a South African model. He’s not in any professional societies as best Toby can find. He spelled his own name wrong, for crying out loud.
Estelle can answer all Mary Worth’s concerns, noting, “shut up” and “is not” and “no”. Mary Worth retreats to Toby for reassurance that she is right about this and everything. Estelle’s confidence is not shaken. Artheur’s going to be arriving for a real live in-person visit for the first time in a couple days and she has to get ready. Then Artheur calls with bad news. His client’s having problems. He doesn’t have the cash to fly home. But, you know, if she could send him five thousand dollars he could make it.
So now Estelle has big enough doubts. She turns to Mary Worth. Mary Worth asks, if you love the Internet so much, why don’t you marry … this article about online romance scams. Estelle isn’t having that. But she does accept Mary Worth’s observation that there isn’t actually a rush. If Artheur loves her, he’ll love her three weeks from now too. “Love is patient … and rejoices with the truth,” she says, although her quote for that Sunday was from Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and seems to be more about how to play basketball well. But, waiting for Artheur’s client who totally exists? That’s something Estelle’s willing to try. Artheur begs for money again and she says no. Theirs is an enduring love which can wait for — oh, Artheur’s not having it.
Estelle hangs up on him, and cries. Artheur doesn’t call, or respond to calls, or e-mails, or anything. Mary Worth visits, bringing a tuna casserole, and Estelle falls into her arms, sobbing. “Finally!”, our hero thinks.
Estelle confesses how much a fool she feels. And, worse, that she’s still waiting for Artheur to apologize. Which, yeah, may sound dumb to people who’ve never fallen for a scam, or fallen for an emotionally abusive partner. Don’t be smug. All of us have some line of patter we’d fall for, and we’d resent the people who try to save us from it. Anyway, Estelle thinks she sees things better now. And she agrees to talk with Terry Bryson who I’m informed by Mary Worth lives at Charterstone and knows stuff that’s useful to do in these situations.
Terry finds out when Estelle will be available to talk about this in full view of the newspaper readers. Terry talks about how romance scams aren’t just filler episodes for old-time-radio cop shows anymore. She lays out how pretty much every step of Artheur’s wooing of Estelle was following the scam playbook. And, yeah, while Estelle can call the cops on Artheur, she’s never going to see her ten thousand bucks again. She spends a long night eating chocolate ice cream, feeling lousy, and talking to her cat, which is about the right thing to do.
And she gets right back on that seniors dating site. In barely any time she’s telling Mary of her new beau. He’s local. He doesn’t have pets, but he’s cool with the idea. He likes singing; she likes playing music. They both like travel. Oh, and he has southern California’s sixth-largest collection of boutique mayonnaises.
Yes, Wilbur Weston is her new dating partner. It’s a relationship I didn’t see coming, but, eh, they seem to like it. Mary Worth and Toby take the news as a chance to spend a couple weeks telling each other how great love is. And how great it is that Wilbur and Estelle can both bond over having been bilked for money by putative romantic partners. (I am curious whether Wilbur’s shared his experience with Estelle already.) She’s so excited about this she even goes for a boat ride and dinner with Dr Jeff, to talk about how great it is other people have a relationship. And how great it is to try new things. I can’t swear that she isn’t dumping Dr Jeff so smoothly he doesn’t even realize it’s happening.
And that settles the saga of Estelle and her online dating thing. With the 1st of July it appears a new story’s started. Dawn Weston, Wilbur’s daughter, is back from gallivanting about Europe. This in time for Wilbur to go off to Mozambique. He’s interviewing cyclone survivors for his column about people who find they’re not dead, and definitely not avoiding Estelle. Mary’s filling in for him as the Ask Wendy advice columnist. And Dawn is … being pretty cagey about what the plot this summer is. No hints so far. Still, I like this scheme where the Mary Worth plot starts in time for a new What’s Going On In post. It’s tidy.
Dubiously Sourced Quotes of Mary Worth Sunday Panels!
I’m still not happy with the Comics Kingdom redesign. But it does seem to have settled on showing the proper half-page format for most of the Sunday strips. This includes the full first row of the story comics, which is of course where we get those quotes that may or may not come from anything. I’m hoping things don’t screw up again. Although even when they were screwed up the Washington Post’s comics page seemed to carry the half-page format. Maybe they’ll keep doing that if the need returns.
- “Love is blind.” — William Shakespeare, 14 April 2019.
- “A good decision is based on knowledge, not on numbers.” — Plato, 21 April 2019.
- “Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.” — Earl Monroe, 28 April 2019.
- “Although I know it’s unfair, I reveal myself one mask at a time.” — Stephen Dunn, 5 May 2019.
- “Why must this be so mortifying? Oh, that’s right. Because it’s my life.” — Tessa Dare, 12 May 2019.
- “Truth is everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” — Bob Marley, 19 May 2019
- “We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 26 May 2019
- “No one is ever a victim, although your conquerers would have you believe in your own victimhood. How else could they conquer you?” — Barbara Marciniak, 2 June 2019.
- “The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it.” — Nicholas Sparks, 9 June 2019.
- “Birds sing after a storm: why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?” — Rose Kennedy, 16 June 2019.
- “Love is friendship that has caught fire.” — Ann Landers, 23 June 2019.
- “I’ve been very fortunate.” — Dolly Parton, 30 June 2019.
- “Just living is not enough … one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” — Hans Christian Andersen, 7 July 2019.
I’m sad to report the auto care place on the corner has not updated its inspirational-yet-despairing sign. It’s still on “You Can Make A Difference If you Try”. I will have updates as they occur.
Also, last time I did this, I wrote the bulk of the essay before the Mary Worth Sunday strip posted. So I made a placeholder for that day’s dubious quote, and guessed William Shakespeare as the author and guess what happened? This actually happened and I would provide evidence except that I don’t want to be known as the guy who proved he correctly guessed someone who might be quoted by a Mary Worth Sunday strip.
I check in again on The Ghost Who Walks. It’s Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel’s The Phantom, Sunday continuity. Any updates or news about any story strip should be at this link, meanwhile.
It is a refreshing change that I am not upset with Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth. I am still upset with Comics Kingdom, since the redesigned site is quite bad. But that won’t stop me recapping the plot of the last three months. If you’re reading this essay after about July 2019, I may have a more up-to-date plot recap here. Good luck finding what you need.
If what you need is mathematically themed comic strips, though? I’ve got them here. Please, enjoy. Some of last week’s comics should be at this link.
20 January – 12 April 2019
Last time you’ll recall, Toby thought her marriage to Ian was in danger. The danger was Jannie. She’s one of Ian’s students. She can stop talking about what an inspirational teacher Ian is only long enough to point out he’s brilliant too. Toby could not believe someone saying stuff like that about her Ian. Ian had no doubts that he is, truly, the greatest Local College instructor of all time. Jannie had no doubts that she had Ian wrapped around her fingers. Toby was sure they must be having an affair. Ian was unaware that this could be, or could even look like, an affair. It’s a specific sort of obliviousness that I believe in.
Jannie figures it’s time to slack off. And she commits to it, slacking off as much as she buttered up Ian in the first place. She skips turning in an assignment, giving Ian nothing but a wink instead. Ian gets so mopey about having to fail a student who didn’t turn in an assignment that it convinces Toby he’s having an affair. Mary Worth reminds her that “talking with your husband about things that distress you” is an option. Toby is unconvinced.
Jannie is angry that she failed. Ian tries to explain that she didn’t turn in the assignment. She unloads on what an old fool he is and demands to know, pretty much, why he isn’t dead or something. We don’t actually see her ask if she can get extra credit. Jannie goes back to wherever temporary Mary Worth characters go after their plots have ended. She tries to hook up with Michael, who’d been interested in her when she was flattering Ian. He’s got a girlfriend now. So, she can’t talk with him anymore. She’s got to smoke her collapsible blackboard pointer by herself.
Ian comes home, moping about what a fool he is. He tells Toby he needs to talk. This is lucky. Mary Worth has been trying, continuously, since the start of the year to get Toby to try talking with Ian about her anxieties. And it finally took! Ian laughs off the idea he was having an affair with one of his students. Or even that one of his students could find him attractive or inspirational. Fair enough that he doubts himself, in the situation. But it also means his answer to “I’m worried you’re having an affair with one of your students” is “Oh, no, that student was only using me for my gradebook”.
But that is, after all, a happy ending. Toby and Ian are extremely married. They’re happy that they are too. And they’ll even try this “communicating” thing, in case a problem ever comes up again, which it never will.
The new, and current, plot started the 18th of February. It began with a visit to Estelle, who I never figured on seeing again. She’s the widow who adopted Libby, the one-eyed cat that Mary picked up after pet-dating Saul Wynter. Estelle and Libby are having a great time. But Mary Worth is going to keep visiting until Estelle gets herself a very heterosexual relationship. So Estelle tries out a seniors dating web site. Mary is so happy with the prospect she doesn’t even have time to register disapproval of doing stuff on the Internet.
Estelle tries out a couple of dates, which all go hilariously wrong. One guy turns out to be old! Another is a male chauvinist. Another is polygamous. One is even a poor. It’s a fun week watching her have fantastically bad dates. Fun enough I don’t mind that they could have talked on the phone for ten minutes before the date. Or they could have gotten a coffee mid-afternoon instead. Estelle could have saved herself some awful evenings. I don’t care.
And Estelle doesn’t give up. She’s going to keep online-dating until she finds the right scam to fall for. That would be Arthur Zerro, a “widower, construction engineering manager, music lover, and traveller”. He’s working in Malaysia. But he lives in Santa Royale, and is eager to get back home in a couple months. It looks like a great match. They both love travel. Estelle says she loves “multicultural cuisine”. We longtime Mary Worth snarkers take this to mean she likes those combined Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken/Pizza Hut places.
Arthur Z continues being too good to be real. He loves cats. He calls to read poetry to Estelle. He wants to devote his retirement to Estelle’s happiness. And she thinks that sounds great. He wants to have a nice exchange of questionnaires, the way real people will really do for real in reality. She offers answers. Her favorite food. Her hobbies. What kind of car she drives. What was her elementary school teacher’s pet’s maiden name. What’s her bank’s routing number. Still, the questionnaire part goes great. Arthur even has the same favorite band that she does! It’s the Beatles.
It’s not much of a story if nothing weird happens, though. In an e-mail Arthur misspells his name. I’d be snarkier about this except I know how many times autocorrect has fixed my ‘Jsoeph’ at the end of e-mails this past month. I think my keyboard has issues. Anyway, we also finally see Arth[e|u]r on-screen. He’s not the stunningly good-looking man of his profile picture. He’s more what you get when Louie DePalma didn’t realize that Oscar Madison was also in the transporter pod. So now we experienced readers know something must be up. Persons are only untidy because they’re using all their organizing energy running a confidence scheme.
Artheur falls silent. When he finally connects he has woes. There was an accident on the job site. He’s all right, but the job is going to take months, maybe a year longer now. At least, unless someone has ten thousand dollars that she could wire him. Just as a loan. You know, like someone whose credit score has fluttered between 785 and 813 for the past thirty-six months might be able to swing. Its a hard story, but Estelle decides she had best fall for it.
Estelle mentions Artheur’s problems to Mary Worth. Mary Worth underplays her concern. She just asks if it was a lot of money Artheur needed. How well Estelle knows Artheur. Whether Estelle does, in fact, have the common sense that God bestowed upon gravel. But, Mary hasn’t got actual evidence.
So what’s there to do but call on Toby? Who is an expert in this sort of thing. In a sequence that ran in the strip like 800 years ago she fell for a phishing e-mail and she had to get a whole credit card cancelled and replaced. So Toby has skills, and a need to prove them. She’ll wipe out the shame of falling for a “you’re account has exhalated” notice yet! It’s on to a series of panels of “people looking at a laptop”. Thanks to Google Image Search she finds Artheur Zerro’s picture is really that of a “South African male model named Ivan Inghem”. I’m disappointed that my own DuckDuckGo search indicates there’s no such person. I would have been so impressed had Mary Worth used some obscure-to-Americans attractive face.
Anyway, Artheur Zerro’s name is fake too. So now the problem is how to break this to Estelle. That should go great, though. What person do we love more than whoever makes it impossible to ignore how titanic our blunders were? Mary tries the direct approach: show her pictures of Ivan Inghem. Point out nobody in the construction industry knows the name “Artheur Zerro”. That he took ten thousand bucks off her. So this all looks like it’s going well.
I am delighted to have a whole Mary Worth plot recap that does not leave me furious with the story. It’s been a couple of stories of gentle emotional charge. Jannie, Ian, Toby, and Estelle have been acting like clods. But they mostly acted like clods in ways I can accept. Jannie assumed she had a level of trust she didn’t. Ian didn’t think his little problems worth discussing. Toby thought her problems too big to discuss. Estelle fell for a decent line from a scammer. They’re believable enough. And I’m pleasantly surprised that Mary Worth is going back and checking in on the cat she couldn’t adopt because Doctor Jeff was allergic. I’m curious what’s going to follow Estelle’s fall.
Dubiously Sourced Quotes of Mary Worth Sunday Panels!
- “I was a disinterested student.” — David Fincher, 20 January 2019.
- “Communication is something we all take for granted.” — Miriam Margolyes, 27 January 2019.
- “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 3 February 2019.
- “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” — William Shakespeare, 10 February 2019.
- “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” — Mignon McLaughlin, 17 February 2019.
- “As daddy said, life is 95 percent anticipation.” — Gloria Swanson, 24 February 2019.
- “The single life is not one I willingly chose for myself.” — Jessica Savitch, 3 March 2019.
- “Falling in love as we know it is an addictive experience.” — Susan Cheever, 10 March 2019.
- “Falling in love and having a relationship are two different things.” — Keanu Reeves, 17 March 2019.
- “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” — Edgar Allan Poe, 24 March 2019.
- “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” — Henry David Thoreau, 31 March 2019.
- “It is by doubting that we come to investigate, and by investigating that we recognize the truth.” — Peter Abelard, 7 April 2019.
- “Love is blind.” — William Shakespeare, 14 April 2019.
The Rat is quite dead. But there is The Little Detective, and her work in finding animal smugglers Mark Trail was too busy to handle. Next week, barring emergencies, I’ll look at Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel’s The Phantom, Sunday continuity. And if you like seeing anything about any of the story strips, they’re gathered at this link. Thanks for sticking around.
So what’s coming to the Internet to make you sick of things being on the Internet this month? Here’s our exclusive sneak preview.
Baby Guinea Pigs. It’s two minutes and forty-five seconds of baby guinea pigs sneezing. It’s a cute video but isn’t there anything else to do the whole weekend of the 5th? It’s cute but … oh, awwwww, the long-haired one has like five inches of hair trailing behind her.
Fabio. Remember Fabio? Back in the 90s he was kind of a celebrity because he looked good on romance books. Romance books are a lot like regular books except that people read them. And this made him famous even for people who don’t read romance books, because they figure they would read better stuff than that if they had time. Anyway, he looked good and this made him famous for some reason and we never really understood it then. He didn’t seem to understand it either. He spent 1991 through 1996 looking into cameras with the smile that says, “I have no idea why I’m here but I’m happy to be invited”. You know, the way two-toed sloths always do.
We haven’t heard from him in a while. Has he started saying things that would make us sad? Will it spoil the memory of a fondly-for-some-reason remembered celebrity? Has he got himself into personal or financial crises that make us sad to hear about? We don’t know, so the Internet is figuring to spend about two weeks studying whether we do want to know. Maybe he’s been all right. I mean, Dolph Lundgren’s in good shape, as far as we know without looking. Anyway, you are going to be so sick of the “Should we check in on Fabio” question before the 14th.
Kiss-guises. You know that thing of people dressing up in outfits to sneak a kiss in public? Of course you don’t, because it’s not a thing. But starting this weekend a strong contingent of the Internet is going to try insisting this is a thing, so they can say what a stupid thing it is. It’s not a stupid thing. Kiss-guises aren’t even a thing at all. But we’re all going to get so sick of the attacks on kiss-guises that people are going to go out and start getting kiss-guises out of spite and to get kissed. Look for it the 17th through the 27th.
Podcasts. You know how to tell when your podcast edits out the little silence between when the hosts are all laughing at each other and when they start saying something else? “Wait,” you protest, “what do I care about the secrets of editing audio recording?” You don’t, unless you’re listening to professional sound-editor podcasts. But don’t worry, come the 20th through 25th the Internet is going to make sure you can’t avoid learning, and can’t stop hearing these edits on all your favorite podcasts. This will be followed by a search for the podcasts where they don’t edit. They’re 12 percent silence and “uh” by content. Not hearing your actual favorite podcasts is a small price to pay for not hearing the time when your favorite podcasts don’t have anything to hear.
Pens. You know the bad thing about being the person who’s always got a pen? It’s the time you happen not to have a pen on you. Your whole social media microclimate will not shut up about how you’ve decided you’re tired of being the person who always has a pen to lend them. And you’ve figured to enact this decision in the most passive-aggressive manner possible. It’s not, OK? You just left the pen on the dining table for no good reason, it just happened. This one’s rolling out at different times all over the Internet. For me it’s this past week. I just forgot the pen, is all, it’s not anything more than that.
From our best projections the Internet should be at its peak tetchiness over all this from the afternoon of the 19th through the morning of the 22nd. You’ll maybe want to instead just take in a movie 36 times in a row. Or maybe the guinea pig thing 1,568 times in a row which isn’t enough.
I wanted to let people know all’s fine here in mid-Michigan despite the pile of weather we’re getting. The snow started early, and the National Weather Service added up to two more inches of total snowfall. I can take that. We got a new snow thrower this season, and I’m pretty sure it has gas in it, and I’m not going to check what exactly the difference is between a “snow blower” and a “snow thrower” because I’m sure it involves a lot of flame wars of staggering pettiness. Also there’s probably people making all kinds of immature jokes about snow blowing. You forget at times that the Internet is mostly a twelve-year-old boy, and not the good kind. But then you say any word at all, and it starts giggling, and you remember again.
Also added to the general warning are “Snowfall rates in excess of an inch per hour at times late this afternoon and evening”, and “Significant travel disruptions tonight through Thursday”. Not here, thank you. We’ve done all the travelling we mean to disrupt through Thursday and that was in getting stuff from the Mediterranean restaurant two blocks over. We’re not going out for anything short of an emergency, which is what I keep telling myself even though my toothbrush is getting a wee bit worn and probably could stand replacement. Well, it can probably hold out to Friday. I guess. I should’ve got snow tires put on something or other, maybe the car.
So my brother — not that one, the other brother — was explaining Swarm to me. Also that there’s a thing called Swarm, and that it’s what used to be Foursquare before Foursquare split itself into Foursquare and Swarm. Also, Foursquare split itself into Foursquare and Swarm. Foursquare I understood because my father would use it to check in almost daily at the Tip Tam Campground, a place he never set foot in, and I felt reassured knowing my father was pretending to be somewhere he wasn’t. But now apparently the one thing is two things, one for telling people you’re at the Tip Tam Campground when you’re not, and another for … I guess not telling people you were at the Tip Tam Campground. I don’t know. The more I hear about it, the more I’m looking to have myself declared legally cranky so I don’t have to have an opinion about it anymore.
Anyway, my point is, hi, Dad. Hope the Tip Tam Campground is OK, and I’ll call later to explain how to leave a comment here by clicking on the “Leave a Comment” link.
So the Internet of Things is supposed to be a thing, according to those who keep track of things. This thing will allow us to finally achieve the ancient dream of having our toasters send urgent text messages to our carbon monoxide detector until the toaster gets marked as a spam source and the carbon monoxide detector signs up for LinkedIn (“You have four degrees of connection to the breakfront in the dining room”). What I want to know is, if the Internet of Things finally becomes a thing, will that thing-ness of the Internet of Things itself get on the Internet? And if it does, who will it be sending urgent text messages to? We’re going to have to step up our game of ignoring messages on the Internet if we’re going to have not just Things, but also the Internet of Things, trying to communicate with us.
I’ve lost my point. There it is. If we have all these devices turning into computers and attacking the Internet without any need for interacting with us in particular, mightn’t some turn feral? Are we going to see groups of confused hardware desperately signalling one another, hoping to form their own little packs in the absence of a strong alpha release? At what point will the Internet be intolerably dangerous for human use because we’re crowded out by wild processes indifferent to human needs? I mean after 1999.
It’s not at all my intention to be up all night arguing on the Internet. I’m simply that I need to offer a useful corrective guide to people who haven’t got the faintest idea what they’re talking about, reading about, thinking about, and who are probably bad people anyway, and should go find a breakfast nook or something where they can stand, facing the little cubby-hole where a telephone was supposed to go back in the 1920s when people had these things and stop posting these silly things where people can see them. Thank you.
So had you noticed there’s these star ratings you can give my entries, in a little box just beside the “Leave a Comment” link? No, I didn’t think so, because nobody notices them and nobody bothers with them. But my Dearly Beloved pointed out, someone has noticed and gone and given a bunch of articles two and three star ratings. This puts out a good question: who’s taking the time to seek out and disapprove of something they don’t have to bother with? Based on this M O, my suspects right now are everybody on the entire Internet, ever.
This, now, this just made me smile. It’s “The Daily Extra” that’s on the back of my page-a-day Peanuts calendar, a feature they include so as to distract people from how they don’t have Sundays as separate days anymore even though the “page-a-day” calendar is implicitly one (1) page for one (1) day, of which Sundays (S) are one (1). Anyway, from the back of the 3/4th of August calendar for the year 2013:
Unique Gift Idea
Do you have a unique gift idea, but you can’t find the item locally? There’s a very good chance that you’ll be able to find it on the Internet. Have a friend help you search the Web if Internet shopping is outside your comfort zone.
That’s outstanding advice and I figure to put it into practice just as soon as I’m in 1998.