I Will Say The Bus Looks Neat Though


I’m running late on stuff this week. I always am, which raises questions about the use of “late” as a concept. Never mind. For this week I blame that I got to reading an article about the 70s Disaster Movie genre. And that lead me to the 1976 spoof of the 70s Disaster Movie genre, The Big Bus. There’s many shocking things about this, starting with the idea that 70s Disaster Movies were somehow not already their parodies. The difference between The Towering Inferno and SCTV’s spoof of The Towering Inferno is mostly that the SCTV version opens with fewer scenes of the violently 1970s lobby of the doomed building. I mean, the Towering Inferno lobby looks great in a 1974 way. It’s only hard to watch because of thinking how it would look if it were a real building. I can’t see it without imaginaing what soul-destroying monstrosity it would have decayed by 1988, before its mid-90s renovation into something too lacking in personality even to be ugly.

Also startling: I remember nothing of this movie (The Big Bus) even though it seems like it should have been filling space whenever channels needed to have a movie throughout the early 80s. Yes, yes, Airplane! seems to have been as much spoof as the whole 70s Disaster Movie genre ever needed, in case we were taking it seriously, but between Airplane! and Airplane II! that’s only like four hours of programming. Even the rudimentary cable channels of the 80s needed as much as six hours before going over to “weird foreign cartoons” and “public domain Three Stooges shorts”.

Wikipedia describes the movie in fascinating detail. The plot summary makes it sound like the movie was trying about three times too hard and on all the wrong subjects. It comes out sounding whimsical in the way a gigantic iron woolly mammoth in a potato sack race across a field strewn with creme pies is: my metaphor is trying way too hard to cram in funny-flavored stuff.

Also, per Wikipedia: look at that movie poster. That’s your classic style, the kind of poster they don’t make anymore. Back then, movies were still mysterious things and we audiences just wouldn’t go to it if we didn’t have some proof that there were actors in the movie, as demonstrated by passport photos or, better, caricatured illustrations of the principal actors. Today movie poster style has moved on to showing abstract patterns of shadow and light, possibly featuring ruins where the villain blew up the plot. And that’s fine and stylish as far as it goes, but then you get surprises like last year where Star Trek Beyond turned out to be 105 minutes of kaleidoscope patterns and then a four-minute scene of Spock and McCoy trash-talking each other. Not saying it wasn’t good. I’m saying, back in the day, we’d get a big old grid of Actor Face staring out at us.

Then where I get permanently hung up by the Wikipedia article is in the sections about the movie’s production. Specifically this:

According to articles in 1976 issues of both Motor Trend magazine and the now defunct Bus World magazine

I’m sorry, I can’t finish that sentence or anything else, really. I’m assuming that Bus World was a trade publication for the large-person-road-transport industry. But it would be only eight percent stranger if it weren’t. What if it was a fan magazine? Don’t tell me there aren’t bus fans. There are fans of everything, including fandoms. What kind of journal was Bus World, though?

The difference between a trade journal and a fan magazine is in how they spin the articles. The point of a fan magazine is to follow up every bit of news with the question, “Will the industry ever manage to be more awesome than this?” The answer is, “No way, but we’re looking forward to them trying”. The point of a trade journal is to follow up every bit of news with the question, “Will the industry be able to recover from this?”. The answer is, “Conceivably, but likely not”. I don’t know that there are fan magazines for trade journals, but I hope there are. Also I hope there are trade journals for the fan magazine business, because the politics involved in everything would be awesome.

What do I hope the reality of the now-defunct Bus World was? I don’t know, and I’m too busy pondering that.

In short: Bus World.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped another five points today which we’re willing to blame on that Access World/London Metals Exchange/zinc warehousing scandal. It’s probably good for another couple of points off the Another Blog, Meanwhile index. Just you wait and see.

116

Rather Than Asking Funky Winkerbean What The HECK Is Wrong With You


I mean, I want to. Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean is somehow in the second week of a story in which Funky Winkerbean tries to renew an expired driver’s license. And if that seems like not much of a storyline consider that Batiuk has decided to see just how big a jerk Funky can possibly be during it. Or possibly how big an idiot. Anyway it’s left me seething with rage and so I’m going to turn to more productive stuff like the mathematically-themed comics on my other blog and, oh, I don’t know. Here’s a screen grab from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Heart of Glory”, known as “that one from the first season where we started thinking maybe the show could be good after all”.

Worf and two guest Klingons of the week standing in sickbay over the body of a dead guest Klingon of the week. All but the dead one are howling at the boom mike.
Boy, I feel bad for the extra caught in this shot leaning against the water cooler. Awkward!

o/` Be-el-ze-bub has a devil put aside!
For me …
For Meeee …
FOR MEEEEEEEEEE! o/`

If you want to put in your own different caption here, please, go ahead.

Thanks, all. Boy am I angry at Funky Winkerbean.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose one point in trading described as “partly cloudy” and with “smatterings of applause”. We have no explanation for what this should mean.

106

How Dry I Am


I know how I got to thinking about antiperspirants for a big weekly piece and it isn’t because I got to 5 pm Thursday and realized, “Oh! I have a big weekly piece due!” and grabbed at the first thing that I saw. And, I guess, was in the bathroom or maybe taking stuff out of the supermarket bag. Or was in the supermarket, in which case I’m glad I wasn’t lost in the pet care aisle. I don’t know that I could do 250 words about aquarium gravel, never mind 700.

It took me time to get to using antiperspirants. I didn’t use them when I was a kid because kids are supposed to smell like that. I think it’s how parents track where we are when we aren’t screaming or crying or knocking something over. Anyway people don’t object to that, or they figure it’s hard enough getting us to wash any part of the body so why add to the pile of things we should be doing but aren’t?

As a teenager I started to realize I should wear something because by then I was a teenaged boy. That’s a fun time full of insecurity and defective judgements. One of the less defective judgements does come from an insecurity, though, wondering if everyone else thinks you smell like obsessively rewatching The Wrath Of Khan on VHS, cheap pizza flooded with enough garlic powder to soak up all the grease, and masturbation. It encourages one to try doing something to have less of an odor, although not necessarily showering every day because who wants to get up early enough for that? And who wants to shower at night when The Wrath Of Khan isn’t going to rewatch itself? I suppose technology might have changed that some, since there’s probably, like, Twitter feeds entirely built of Wrath of Khan characters watching movies at each other. But they’re definitely not watching the pan-and-scan version.

When I reached this point I was intrigued by Mitchum, because their commercials promised it was so effective you could skip a day. I’m up for doing anything that allows me to skip a day. I got really good at skipping a day. I also liked the part where they sold a little jar full of cream to slather on my body, instead of just a roll-on or stick or spray. There aren’t many scent-altering creams people get to put on and I suppose there’s probably reasons for that. I don’t want to know, though.

For a long time I looked for deodorants instead of antiperspirants because I was a science-oriented kid and so kind of stupid. My reasoning was that what is really objectionable about sweat is the scent, not the mere fact of sweating. And besides sweating serves some purpose; it’s not something the body does just to be impish and annoying. I was young and didn’t yet realize how much stuff the body does exclusively to be annoying, especially with joint pain. Anyway, this is the kind of thinking you get when you let kids grow up to be physics majors. Be more responsible!

That attitude changed when I got a job in Singapore. It’s a fine country, but it has the climate of the interior of a boiling tea kettle. I learned whenever I stepped outside for any reason to bring along a bottle of water or soda or tea or anything, replenishing my fluids as fast as they poured out my whole epidermis. I suppose I smelled all right, for all that I looked as if I’d been used to mop up a food court. Finally I came to admit that while the body might sweat in order to maintain its cool, it’s not actually good at that, and we have air conditioning now, and I switched over to antiperspirants maybe two years after I left Singapore.

I don’t notice Mitchum on the shelves anymore, nor any kind of cream in a jar as antiperspirant. Maybe we’re not trusted with creams like that anymore for which I don’t blame anyone. I instead buy whatever antiperspirant catches my eye and is probably on sale. This has worked very well except that time some careless shopper abandoned a tube of Parmesan cheese next to the Arm and Hammer. It was the same week I picked up a misplaced bottle of spaghetti sauce from the shampoo aisle, so everything worked out as well as it possibly could. What more does anyone ever want?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index fell a point today as investors watched Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown for the first time in decades easily and noticed (1) it’s really bad, (2) yet was somehow nominated for an Emmy for some reason?, and (3) that Charlie Brown says “honey shot” way too many times for anyone to be the slighted bit comfortable with all this. Really, we’re impressed they got this much done, considering.

98

Caption This: Finally We Understand What’s In Cargo Bay 6


So, I had some fresh mathematics comics to write about and wrote about them over on the other blog. No pictures, but then, no calculus either. I’m hoping for better things next week, but who isn’t?

So, on to something I noticed while looking at pictures of the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Vox Sola”, and don’t go asking why I’m looking at screen grabs from Star Trek: Enterprise episodes.

Look, I just need to do things like that, because if I didn’t, how would I find pictures like this? Exactly. I’d have to wait for someone else to find the pictures for me and that’s just inefficient. Let me have this. And by letting me have this, I mean letting you have this from me. So here it is:

Archer lying in a pool of gooey white mucus-y stuff because that's what Star Trek: Enerprise was doing its first season.
This. This is exactly what Dr Noonian Soong was hoping that Data could achieve when he developed the sneezing routine.

“And that, Captain, is why we have a regulation against leaving ship without the giant box of Kleenex.”

Have a better thought for this? I’m not surprised, and please, take some space here to fill it in:

Thank you! Yes, I see the risque jokes too.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose seven points today but nobody was able to feel good about it. You know why? They started thinking about the other timeline, you know, the good one. You know what’s going on there? Over there leading Republicans are already calling her “King Hitlery” and demanding Clinton and Obama be impeached. And you know why? It’s because of this refugee Libyan orphan who sang at Clinton’s inauguration ball and did this rendition of “America The Beautiful” so haunting that the whole world was reduced to this blubbering mass of joy. Like, for a week-plus the whole Internet was happier than it’s been since Pokemon Go came out and everybody felt so good about that. It broke V-E day’s record for strangers hugging each other in public. And now there’s a bunch of unfounded — and, a 20-month investigation will concede, after the midterm elections, utterly false — allegations that the singer got preferential admission just so that she could sing at the inaugural ball. And it’s the start of taking this wonderful transcendant moment and dragging it into mud. And they’re dealing with that over in the good timeline and can’t believe how they can’t have nice things, and look where we are now, and when you look at that what does trading volume on the Another Blog, Meanwhile index even matter?

131

Statistics Saturday: Problems Occupying Me


How to better my writing; how to get my career advancing again; how to fix the basement steps; (mostly) how to pluralize 'tv series'; and how to get the car clean enough I feel comfortable taking it in for service.
Not included: how to work up the resolution that I should fix the basement steps now and not at some more convenient time like after we’ve moved into a different house with pre-fixed basement steps.

Well, how do you talk about the Rick Berman-affiliated era of Star Trek shows during the many times you have a pressing need to?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index dropped four points as it became clear that the new George Foreman grill would not, in fact, make everything all right with the world.

96

The First Of 2017


I want people not to think I’m starting the year lazy or timid. Not so much as, say, I want people not to think I’m running one of those mail-order scams where you send in some money every week for a year and then finally I send an associate over to spit in your nostrils. Just the idea of that makes me woozy. But starting the year lazy or timid is on the list of things I want people not to think about me. I also don’t want them starting the year trying to copy-edit that sentence. I want it to be a better sentence too, but there’s no doing it. All that even the best copy editor could do with that sentence is drag it across a mile of pavement and shoot it. I’ve tried. You can see where it left a trail of abraded participles down past the Blimpie’s and everything.

It’s a problem I have every new year. A new year offers the best chance for a new start that you can hope for without abandoning your identity completely and setting up shop under a new name in a new city in a new state in possibly a different time zone and using a transparently fake accent. That’s too much work for anybody, especially when they don’t want to lose their whole DVR queue. But you can at least start off the year doing things a little bit different and see if that delays how imminent the doom feels.

Like there’s this thing where it’s good luck to say “rabbit, rabbit” first thing the first day of the month. Probably that’s extra good to say first thing the first day of the year. I guess after waking up the next morning. If you aren’t going to say that then you want to say something that’s going to set the year on a positive tone. For me that ended up “what the heck are the people in the next room doing?” Because they had some low-level rattling noise going from about 8 am and you don’t want to hear someone practicing their small drum in the hotel. If we discount that on the grounds I fell right back asleep then my first words would be something like “the hotel Internet still isn’t working,” which didn’t get the year off on any better footing. It’s enough to make me wonder if I’d be better off starting the year with my mouth taped shut until I’m quite sure I have something worthwhile to say.

It would not, because I’d need lunch. And where to have the first lunch of the New Year? Home? Where’s the fun in that? The bagel place while reading the alt-weekly to see how its crossword puzzle has gone wrong this week? Great except the place is apparently closed for the holiday? Maybe I could wait until later in the week to eat? How about to the Obviously Used To Be An Arthur Treacher’s Fish And Chips That’s Carrying On Without The Arthur Treacher’s Name And Still Looks Like It’s 1989 Inside? That’s tempting but who can be sure they’re open on a holiday, or any other day? The sign out front might be rotating, but we’re pretty sure that’s just because it’s a breezy day. There’s the Kewpie Doll restaurant but we’re pretty sure that’s always closed. Once again, paralysis.

Or there’s just being online. Someone could start the year off right by saying just the right thing in the right social hangout. Here’s a thread arguing how on Star Trek: Voyager it’s just absurdly implausible that a Vulcan could have black skin instead of dark green skin. I check the calendar. No, it does say it’s 2017. Possibly everybody is confused on the point. I would understand, since 2016 gave us all the experience of living in a year whose every book about will be subtitled Twelve Months That Changed The World. But we do have to be going on to 2017. The alternative is taking a gap year between 2016 and 2018. I admit there’s some appeal to that. But it’ll leave us with something like twelve months of our feet dangling loose and we can’t do that either for some reason. Probably having to do with parliamentary procedure. Well, this could be just the right flame war to kick off the 2017 Pointless Online Arguments Season. Oh, the thread’s locked.

So there’s my paralysis. Get the new year off to any decent start? I can’t figure a way to do it. If you have any please write, care of some department. Use the right typeface! Meanwhile I’ll be in here, not doing anything because there’s no starting. Send help, if you can even.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index dropped two points and fears it’ll never get out of the Philadelphia airport. It would like to, and it’s been following signs to the exit, but somehow the signs always end, no longer pointing to anything, without giving any hint how to get out of anything. It’s kind of eerie and suggests that traders are caught in some fairy tale about the futility of trying or something like that.

109

Statistics Saturday: What I Spent December Doing


Working; Writing; Watching Rankin/Bass Specials; Analyzing Rankin/Bass Specials; Playing Mini Metro; Arguing on TrekBBS There Must Be a Starship Carolina Even Though Nobody Ever Talks About It
Not pictured: eating, sleeping, all the stuff in which I experience any real human emotion.

I’m sure the time spent arguing about the USS Carolina will be the most productive part of my December.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The trading floor was closed all day when it turned out the security person thought the holiday was New Year’s Eve and went on vacation with the only set of keys.

UNCH

Picture This: And Some Mathematics Comics


Well, this is embarrassing. Normally I coax people into reading my mathematics comics on Monday by giving them a Caption This! picture and a caption and some space to riff on their own. But I don’t have anything right now. I’ve been out of the TrekBBS loop so haven’t got anything from their selection of Star Trek characters with mouths awkwardly open. And I haven’t had time to look through my pictures to find something good. So what can I do?

Well, here. Let me give you some space and a caption and if you find a picture that the caption is funny for we can work out a deal. That’s fair, isn’t it? Here goes.

[ Picture goes here, maybe yours. ]

“Mark? Mark, you know you are completely visible, right? Yeah, we can totally see you there. Everything you’re doing, too. Yeah. Completely, utterly visible. No, really. I promise.”

I feel like something’s missing yet. Maybe I’ll have a picture for next time. We’ll see.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index dropped eight points in cold-affected trading following the discovery that all the hot chocolate from last year had coagulated into a fist-sized lump of brownish, slightly dusty concrete. Analysts don’t know how this happened or who to blame for it but they will take nominations and mini-marshmallows in care of this station.

93

Statistics Tuesday Eventually: October 2016 For My Humor Blog


Now finally I can get to considering what October meant around here, readership-wide. I’m sorry for the delay but I have good reason for not getting to it sooner: I didn’t get to it sooner.

It was a busy month, though! WordPress reports that I had some 1,507 page views from 974 distinct visitors over the course of October. That’s much more than in September (1,130 views, 697 visitors) or August (1,416 views, 779 visitors). It’s the largest number for either since last November and the Apartment 3-Gocalypse. There haven’t been any other major comic strip collapses since then and I’m glad for that. A couple of strips have ended but none that went out in any bizarre ways that needed updating and gawking.

But it’s probably not just people reading my witticisms around here and being thrilled that got my readership numbers so high. The most-read post of the month was from July, Does Mary Worth Look Different?. The answer’s simple; they have a new artist. Joe Giella retired after a career of drawing comics and comic books to roll around on the piles of money he surely made doing that. June Brigman and Roy Richardson have taken over the art, daily and Sunday.

I don’t know why this question got to be particularly urgent this month. I’d imagined it might have been a spurt of interest in the strip after last Friday, when longstanding amiable sandwich-eater Wilbur Weston announced he was taking a year off to finally wed mayonnaise.

Wilbur says, 'Mary, I hate to ask ... can you continue doing 'Ask Wendy' for another year?' 'Another year? I'd be happy to do it, Wilbur. I enjoy advising your readers. But why can't you do it?' 'I have news ... '
Karen Moy, June Brigman, and Roy Richardson’s Mary Worth for the 28th of October, 2016. While it’s polite of Mary to wait for Wilbur to offer her the advice column, I have questions. Like, Mary Worth is definitely collecting the addresses of people who write for advice so she knows where to go to meddle people into having severely heteronormative relationships, right? Also she has a list of over four hundred reasons she can’t give the column back anytime this lifetime?

Not so, though. The most intense interest seems to have come the weeks of the 10th and 17th, when nothing very much was happening. I suspect some popular blogger mentioned me without my knowing it.

Readership engagement figures were way down, as will happen. I have no idea how to keep them steady. The number of ‘likes’ was at 160, down from September’s 190 and August’s 187. The number of comments was 32, way down from September’s 69, but up from August’s 24. I need more Caption This! contests.

So what was popular over the past month? … None of my long-form pieces, which, all right, I can take that. My bit about not knowing what to dress as for Halloween made the top ten, which is doing pretty well for a piece that only had three days to gather readers. What did make the top five:

My most popular day of the week, with 16 percent of page views, was Monday. Mondays got the plurality, 16 percent of page views, in September too. Midnight was the most popular hour, with 10 percent of page views. That must be Universal Time. And that was up from 8 percent of page views so clearly WordPress isn’t just making these numbers up.

November starts with my blog having 42,091 page views from 22,156 distinct visitors. WordPress figures I have 698 followers on WordPress plus over a hundred via Twitter. That’s up from 687 at the start of October. You can follow this blog by using the “Follow Another Blog, Meanwhile” button. You can follow me on Twitter over as @Nebusj, where I post not too many times per day. I promise.

And now for the truly popular thing: the roster of what countries sent how many readers.

Country Page Views
United States 1219
Canada 47
India 39
United Kingdom 30
Germany 29
Australia 20
New Zealand 18
France 16
Philippines 9
Sweden 8
Mexico 6
Norway 4
Brazil 3
Finland 3
Greece 3
Ireland 3
Japan 3
Kenya 3
Netherlands 3
South Africa 3
Ukraine 3
Argentina 2
Colombia 2
European Union 2
Italy 2
Spain 2
Bahrain 1
Belgium 1
Ecuador 1
Israel 1
Malaysia 1
Morocco 1
Nigeria 1
Northern Mariana Islands 1
Pakistan 1
Poland 1 (*)
Qatar 1
Singapore 1
Switzerland 1
Turkey 1
United Arab Emirates 1
Uruguay 1

Poland’s the only country to have been a single-read country last month. Nobody’s on a two-month streak. The European Union rose from one last month. Yes, I’m hurt that Singapore was a single-read country. There were 42 countries listed as sending me any readers at all, if you pretend the European Union’s a country and I still don’t know what the designation’s supposed to mean.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Maybe it’s not that the Another Blog, Meanwhile index is getting stuck. Maybe it’s the whole rest of the universe that’s got stuck and the index is just reflecting that fact. General relativity implies that if you had a spinning bucket full of water it’d be impossible to know whether the bucket or the water was spinning unless there was other stuff in the universe, so why not this with the index? Ever consider that? Why or why not?

97

On Not Having Any Idea What To Dress As For Halloween


I stand in the midst of the Halloween store, trapped.

It’s one of those temporary stores, of course. What strip mall, however luxurious, could support having a Halloween store all the year round? With the collapse in the costume rental industry after that time in 2011 someone spread a rumor Netflix was opening a line of costume distribution by mail, anyway? OK, there was that spot in Worthington, Ohio, that had one going in May. But that was probably a fluke. They weren’t there the next year. Maybe they were just having too much fun selling fangs to stop that one time.

But what to buy? What to wear? What to go as for Halloween?

Halloween should be a great Halloween for me. There’s all kinds of things it’d be more fun to be than me. Someone who knows what to dress as for Halloween, for example. Or someone really confident wearing costumes for the sort of stuff I might be doing on a Monday, like going to the bagel place for lunch and reading the alt-weekly there.

My unsureness about what to dress as for Halloween goes way back. I think it does. I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t remember a lot of the costumes I wore for Halloween as a kid. I don’t think we made very many of them ourselves, because there were four kids in the household and my parents had a limit to how much time they were willing to spend collecting parts and sewing stuff so that we could dress up as something called an “Artoo” for three hours. Even if they got pictures.

I should explain this was the late 70s and early 80s, when photographs were something that took effort. You had to find that weird little camera that looked like a harmonica, and find where that flash bulb plug-in was, and find that it was totally spent. Then you had to wait to get to the store and buy a replacement. That would give you four or maybe eight flashes, good for up to six pictures. And then you could get the photos developed by driving around until you saw a teeny tiny little bitty house sitting in the middle of a parking lot. Then Mom drives up next to it, gives a roll of film, and then sometime later gets back dark, blurry pictures out of focus that clearly show some figures in the state’s fourth-place finalist, Most 1974 Kitchen Ever Contest. The one wearing the worst imaginable outfit in the picture? That’s me. And then we lose the photos in a minor basement flood. So it’s hard to tell what I was wearing back then.

At least a couple years we went to the Toys R Us and bought those licensed figure packages. You know the ones. You get a plastic face mask with eyes that don’t line up for some figure like The Incredible Hulk and then a T-shirt showing The Incredible Hulk going off and lacking credibility. It’s a surprisingly old model of costume, going back to the ancient Greeks and the year everyone went as Narcissus. People loved that outfit, especially Narcissus. But the costume industry learned the wrong lesson from that and figured we wanted to go as people who were fans of themselves. That breaks down when you’re someone like me who isn’t sure he can even be a fan of someone with enough self-esteem to be a fan of themselves. What you’d get is maybe me going out as The Incredible Hulk I Guess, if he wanted people to think he was always thinking about The Incredible Hulk while being confused and faintly disappointed in what I’m doing. I’m confused and faintly disappointed in what I’m doing all year anyway, so the costume always felt a bit hollow.

One year we got a new washing machine, and I seized on my rights as the eldest to claim it for myself. And I also grabbed as much aluminum foil as I felt like I could get away with. So I know one year I went as the ever-popular Kid In A New Washing Machine’s Box Wrapped In Aluminum Foil. I think it technically qualified as a robot costume. It taught me many things, like how I should have cut arm holes, and that absolutely nobody in the neighborhood would get that they would “input” candy to the big slot labelled “input candy”.

Then we moved, to a new neighborhood where they didn’t much like kids, and even if they did the neighbors didn’t much like us. And then I got into high school and even if I were invited to costume parties it was very important I spend every night watching The Wrath of Khan on videotape. In college it was more important I write incredibly detailed reports of what the student government was up to for the unread leftist weekly paper. It’s only the last few years I’ve tried getting into costumes again.

I grab a $4 raccoon mask and hope things will work out all right.

Me, wearing a raccoon mask, standing in front of our Tri-Zone pinball machine.
The weird part is that my natural beard hair looks like the mask’s grey fur. It’s a little unsettling.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Index traders would like to ask just how you know that bigger numbers for it are better? What if a lower number is better and then being down below 90 would be way better than being up above 140? Golf works like that, so why can’t the Another Blog, Meanwhile index? Huh? Is your mind blown yet?

91

Caption This: Another Question Raised By Star Trek: Voyager


Barclay sitting with his arms folded and it just happens his eyes closed while Troi watches and his cat licks a bowl of what looks like peach ice cream to me.
Deep into the sixth season, Star Trek: Voyager seeks to tap the share of the TV-watching public that just can’t get enough of the powerhouse combo of Marina Sirtis and The Guy Who Played The Guy Who Used Holodecks For Actual Fun And Power Fantasies The Way Humans Would. Guests of Star Trek: Voyager stay in the lovely Pavel Chekov Microtel convenient to the heart of the old Desilu filming lot and with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge from every single window, including the fridge door one into the freezer and the windows Barclay’s sometimes-opened eyes would show into his soul.

It’s the 24th century. Why are people having meetings in the lobby of a Cracker Barrel?

If you know or have a better thought what to do with this picture, please, use the space here. I’m mostly including a picture like this to pad out pointing over to my mathematics blog, which had some more comic strips to talk about the other day, which was yesterday. Suggested topic: why is Barclay’s cat eating a heaping dish of Brain Ice Cream? Is that really healthy for a creature made of live Photoshop “dry brush” pen strokes?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose a nice four points, or more than 2.8 percent, on trading that most described as “kippy” or even “disembogue” because those were the vocabulary words on the word-a-day calendar the last couple days. “Kippy” can kind of be made to fit but “disembogue” is something about rivers so they’re just showing off at this point. Also they like expressing stuff in percent because it has all those decimals and those look nice and scientific.

145

The Usual Sort Of Monday-ish Stuff


Background, Quark the bartender looking all huffy. Foreground, Harry Kim and Tom Paris all sure that they're going to be on the good series.
As one of the leading bars on the far edge of explored space it’s important that Quark stock his shelves with those sanitizing liquids barbershops keep their combs and scissors in.

Tom Paris, the one holding his fingers together: “And if we combine the supporting casts of Star Trek: Voyager and Deep Space Nine we’ll form this mighty pop cultural armada so powerful that within five years people will ask `William Shatner who?’ … are you ready to join us?”

Quark, the bartender rocking the Rhoda outfit: “Yeah, you’re cut off.”

And here’s some space for your own captions, if you’ve got a better one.

And finally my mathematics blog talked about comic strips yesterday. All goes well it’ll talk about them tomorrow too.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index drifted down four points owing to traders being distracted by all the decorative gourds they have at the stores these days. Last year we found one that looked just like a perfect goose, with the stem even making a perfect beak. We’ve had some good results this year including one that makes a respectable crane (the bird kind) but man, nothing is ever going to top that goose gourd. Ah, well, such things can’t last forever; if they could, would we appreciate them while they lasted? Yes, of course we would.

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From The September 2016 Scraps File


The month may have got started later than usual, but that’s no reason not to empty out the scraps bin. Here’s stuff I couldn’t use in September and if you’re able to, please, go wild. All I ask is a simple acknowledgement that you couldn’t have done your work without me. I need it to pad my CV.

Connoisseur. Cut from several pieces when I realize that even with spell check and entering it into DuckDuckGo I can’t come close to spelling it right. I don’t know. It shouldn’t be this hard and it’s not like I wasn’t able to get the hang of ‘kigurumi’ eventually. So this goes into the special bin for “words that have appeared in Peanuts that I somehow can’t get straight”.

Really I never understood what problem the Federation was solving in dividing the galaxy into just four quadrants, especially when two of them were off on the far side where they’d only interact following freak events like the Bajor wormhole or whatever crazy pipeline sends everything from Earth, including dinosaurs and Amelia Earhart, into the Delta Quadrant. Cut from a post on TrekBBS about why the aliens on Star Trek: Voyager say they’re in the Delta Quadrant when that’s a human designation and surely can’t match any local description of space. Because you know, the part of TrekBBS I like best is how many people are sincerely worried that Benjamin Sisko might never come to reconcile with Jean-Luc Picard, even though they could go through the rest of their lives never seeing or thinking about the other. The part I like least is people starting threads straightplaining why Star Trek is at its best on issues of gender and sexual orientation when it mostly shows men worrying over their womenfolk. In any case the other people there aren’t living long enough for me to argue about how Delta Quadrant species make large-scale divisions of the Milky Way.

Cybernarc. Title of a novel by William H Keith, Jr, and cut from a piece where I was going to try to list the Most 90s Science Fiction Novel Titles ever. And it’s a good idea but it’s just so hard to try finding a bunch of 90s Science Fiction Novels, since they don’t sell novels from after 1991 back to used book stores anymore. And while that’s great if you’re looking for a 70s novel about the extremely sex-partner-ready inhabitants of a great domed city that get pushed outside it doesn’t help you scan the shelves and see what titles really jump out of the 90s and make you giggle. Oh, I guess there’s also Robert Thurston’s Bloodname: Legend of the Jade Phoenix II but you could probably make that a Most Science Fiction Novel Title Of Today too.

I like to think of this as a place where I occasionally buy queen-size bedsheets. Cut from the start of a new tumblr that I cancelled when I realized I couldn’t think what a third post on it would be. Also that I don’t understand tumblr because you respond to stuff by posting it from somewhere else and people looking at the original don’t see it and I don’t know. There are people who can explain this to me but they give up in disgust when they see my cell phone.

In his 40 years as Jacksonian Professor at Cambridge University James Dewar, pioneer of the study of heat flow, never fulfilled the requirement of the post that he find a cure for gout. Cut because while it is a wonder it doesn’t seem to be on-point to anything I’d be writing. I mean, I guess I admire James Dewar. Anyone who could get his name attached to Thermos bottles has to be doing something right. But why would it come up in September when I’m not even in school anymore and don’t need something to hit my siblings with? We’re adults now, we can just punch and gossip on social media.

You’re Steve Allen, aren’t you? Cut from an episode of Stan Freberg’s 1957 radio series where, even if it doesn’t look like much, it’s a pretty solid laugh. It’s in Daws Butler’s delivery unless it was someone else delivering it. I put the line back where I got it and I bet you’d like it there after all. It’s the show with the Grey Flannel Hat Full Of Teenaged Werewolves sketch and the advertising campaign for Food, so, you know, good stuff there.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Index was up a solid eight points and must admit it would be feeling invulnerable if it weren’t sure feeling invulnerable was the prelude to suddenly feeling very, very vulnerable. I mean, we’ve been through this before, we know what hubris is. And we’re not looking to see a demonstration of hubris brought against someone who claims to know perfectlyw ell what hubris is. That’s just not fair.

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Caption This: The Consultant’s Review


Picard and Dr Crusher awkwardly offering handshakes to the seated Vash.
Yes yes I know the woman is Vash and she’s Captain Picard’s slightly out-of-character lightly-romantic entanglement from that Indiana Jones ripoff episode that we all thought was pretty swell at the time but haven’t looked back on, and this still is from that Robin Hood ripoff episode that I certainly thought was one of the worst things they had done not featuring The Outrageous Okona but haven’t looked back on, even if I admit Worf had two good lines only one of which was ripped off from Animal House which I haven’t seen either and don’t judge me.

Woman: “All right, I’ve seen enough. Well. While this may look bad, I don’t think you have reason to worry. I have helped people with even more severe difficulties in high-fiving. And, as they say, the mere fact that you realize you need help indicates that you’re not too far gone.”


And I enjoy when people have their own ideas, so here’s some space for that:


As usual for Sundays I reviewed comic strips over on my other blog. Includes two comics to look at directly instead of just clicking links to read later on! Which for some reason I don’t do for every comic strip I talk about. I don’t know either.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose slightly when analysts remembered this Dave Barry crack about employment figures being eaten by a goat. In context it makes sense and you can see why analysts would be thinking about goats eating things.

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Caption This: The Man, Trapped


Spock writing on his Space Clipboard while Uhura looks on.
The High-Definition remastering from original film elements this episode got a couple years ago really makes the pile of yard sale Space Garbage in the background look alive.

Uhura: “Should you really be writing your fanfic on the bridge, Commander?”

Spock: “Should you really be peeking over my shoulder if you don’t want the jerkface aliens named for you, Lieutenant?”


Here’s some space for your own caption, if you prefer:


And, hey, more comic strips over on my mathematics blog. I mention the mysteries of three but fail to share Robert Benchley’s piece about the number. Too bad.

How I Spent Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary


While I didn’t actually watch any of the shows or movies or anything I did stop in on TrekBBS for the first time in like forever. And there I found: everybody complaining that their personal favorite show didn’t get referenced anywhere near enough in Star Trek Beyond. Ah, it’s all so sweet and charming. The Deep Space Nine folks have a point though. Also good heavens they’re still arguing whether the navigational deflectors would brush off the Death Star’s planet-explodey superlaser and I only just realized the Death Star is not a star and does not kill stars and this is going to bug me. Good grief, you’re a Star Trek fan, why are you spelling their names “Ryker” and “Troy”? Why? WHY?

Statistics Saturday: The Star Trek Movies Ordered By Length Of Their Wikipedia Talk Pages


Movie Length (in words)
Star Trek: First Contact 193
Star Trek Beyond 454
Star Trek Generations 1327
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier 1776
Star Trek Into Darkness 1927
Star Trek: The Motion Picture 1940
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan 2087
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country 2344
Star Trek (2013) 3137
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock 3904
Star Trek: Insurrection 5019
Star Trek: Nemesis 6256
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 8287

Based on their talk pages as of the 2nd of July, 2016, in case that matters. No, I have no idea what the deal is with First Contact having nothing considering how much there is to dispute about the movie.

From The June 2016 Scraps File: Unused Text For You


Text and other stuff, like spaces in-between text, that I didn’t make use of in June 2016. Please feel free to take what you can use if you know a better home for it. If you know a worse home, don’t tell me about that, it’s depressing and wasn’t June enough of a problem?

we all want to go viral while staying the unique special discovery of our readers — cut from my open letter to every social media ever. It’s a pretty snappy line and fits with so much of the flow of that. But I thought of it in the shower the morning I had that essay scheduled to post. I made sure to remember to add it in. I swore to myself I was going to add it in the moment I got on my computer. I next thought of it the Sunday afterward while driving to a competitive pinball event in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I do not blame Grand Rapids for this. Also I was right by where the alleged rather large piece of coal was yesterday and I didn’t think to go exploring.

Not yet! — cut from my response to the little girl from a couple houses down that just moved in the neighborhood. She’s nice and friendly and asked if I lived in the house I was always hanging around which is a fair enough question. And I mentioned I’d moved in just four years ago that Tuesday and she was awestruck and asked me if I was old. And I cut that from my answer because I didn’t think of it until like two days later. I suppose I could just tell people that’s what I answered and that would do for most anecdote purposes but then what if someone asked me how she answered? The lie would be exposed for what it was and I’d look terrible. But this is probably usable by someone who’s writing a wholly fictional anecdote could use this after all.

Ghostbusters became a thoroughly enjoyed icon of pop culture despite the warning that it was a years-in-development labor of love by Dan Aykroyd. — yeah, I pulled it back out of April’s scraps file because thought I could do something with it. And no, it’s not working. But I did get to digging around some old Starlog magazines from archive.org. I found some fascinating trivia about the making of Nothing But Trouble‘s production. Also I have to visit 1990 and punch some entitled nerds, mercifully none of them me.

and you betray what you spent ten years telling me were your most cherished ideals with your faithful re-creation of every bullying dynamic that made middle school a festering boil of agony and cruelty — yeah, so that reconciliation letter isn’t really getting any better. I don’t even know anymore. I’m sure there must be some value in writing it since otherwise I waste the four hours each night I spend staring at the dark ceiling composing fresh drafts, right?

but any reasonable person would agree the experience of the Majel Barrett “Number One” casting myth and the mutations in the famous Nichelle-Nicols/Martin-Luther-King-Junior story justify my asking how exactly we are supposed to know what the common lore tells us — cut from a TrekBBS forum thread arguing about whether the space shuttle Enterprise really had been slated to be named Constitution before the Trekkies put in a letter-writing campaign. I am confident the official story that the orbiter was to be named in honor of the US Constitution’s bicentennial is so obviously wrong that Bugs Meany wouldn’t try to pass it off. And furthermore I’m sure the preponderance of evidence is that NASA had no plans to name any orbiters before the Trimble/Hoagland campaign. But dear lord I am arguing when exactly NASA had the idea to name a space shuttle ‘Enterprise’ and complaining about the shortage of primary documentation on the subject in a Star Trek forum what is wrong with me?. Also I haven’t been back since. But I’ve been busy.

whatever happened to that book about competitive fox-hurtling — cut because I lost the name of it so now I just sound like I’m making up stuff by asking.

Caption This: Fixing The Screen


I did some more comic strip stuff over on my mathematics blog. Please, enjoy that, won’t you?

Meanwhile rather than work too hard, let me give you this to caption:

The starship Enterprise viewscreen, with a huge field of static on it. And Sulu looking back, the way he always did in the original show.
I always felt sad for the poor cadet on the right who doesn’t get a chair but does get the boss staring at his back all day, every day, no matter what. And doesn’t even get to see the main screen.

 

 

 

The correct caption?

Kirk: “I don’t know. Have you tried jiggling the cable?”

If not correct please discuss below.

Not Explaining The Convention We Didn’t Go To


My love and I were wondering last weekend when MediaWest*Con might be. This is a small but ancient science fiction/TV/movies/et cetera convention that’s been held in Lansing for the past Like 37 years [1]. We had no idea. We only found out about it last year because a friend was going to it and asked if we wanted to meet up for dinner during a slow stretch. It turned out the convention was being held just that weekend, right as we were wondering when it might be.

We couldn’t go. They only sell 700 attending memberships and were sold out. But we found this magnificent question and answer on their web site:

3. Why do you have Apocryphal memberships and allow pets?

We found some people were buying full memberships for their stuffed critters, so we started offering Apocryphal memberships for stuffed or live critters and for alternate identities so as not to take up already limited regular memberships.

As for pets, we had started bringing our dogs to the con so we didn’t have to board them, which cleared the way for others to bring their pets, as long as they get along with the other animals and members (which goes for the humans as well!). Some people miss their pets too much, and some pets don’t do well without their people.

This is my favorite sort of explanation. It’s clear, concise, and doesn’t explain a thing. That thing: wait, there were so many people buying memberships for their stuffed dolls that it was creating resentment in the standby list? How many people was that? Surely not one, because who’d notice that? Ten? Again, nobody would notice ten people not there because toys were instead. 680? That’s more plausible. It suggests there a time in Like 1994[2], when the convention was twenty people and hundreds upon hundreds of plush dolls dressed in Star Trek, Blake’s 7, and Bruce Campbell costumes. All staring at the people who couldn’t get in. And someone declared, “there must be something we can do! And I know what it is!” And that lone person was a stuffed Vulcan-eared teddy bear dressed up like George Francisco from Alien Nation, and was the voice of reason.

Also I like how pets are allowed because hey, pets.


[1] 35 or 38 years depending on how you count some stuff.

[2] For example 1993, 1995, or possibly 1994.