Archive for the ‘These modern times’ Category

Annals of community and conversation

August 22, 2014

On Slate on the 20th, a piece by David Auerbach, on “The First Gay Space on the Internet: It was called soc.motss, and it anticipated how we use social networks today”. Framing the piece:

Since the early 1980s, there have been many LGBTQ spaces on the Net: newsgroups, bulletin board systems, or BBSs, mailing lists, social networks, chat rooms, and websites. But the very first LGBTQ Internet space, as far as I’ve been able to find, was the soc.motss newsgroup. And it hosted conversations that had never been seen before online — and that arguably remain in too short supply even today.

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Party of five

May 10, 2014

Five cartoons from recent days. Not one of them seems to have anything to do with (US) Mothers Day (but maybe tomorrow, on the day itself, Mom will surface). A daydreaming Jeremy in Zits; a Calvin and Hobbes on following rules; a Rhymes With Orange with a groan-inducing (but learnèd) pun; and a Bizarro and a Zippy on different aspects of modern communication.

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For National Cartoonists Day

May 6, 2014

This morning I discovered that yesterday was not only Cinco de Mayo, but also National Cartoonists Day. In honor of the occasion, three cartoons for today. Then some account of Cartoonists Day, which leads to the early newspaper cartoon featuring the Yellow Kid.

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Three more for Friday

May 2, 2014

Three cartoons today, on diverse topics: Calvin and Hobbes on explanations, Zits on means of communication (again), Bizarro on word play turning on ambiguity.

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Shared culture

April 27, 2014

Frank Bruni in an op-ed piece in the NYT on April 8th, “The Water Cooler Runs Dry”, which began:

If you’re closing in on 50 but want to feel much, much older, teach a college course. I’m doing that now, at 49, and hardly a class goes by when I don’t make an allusion that prompts my students to stare at me as if I just dropped in from the Paleozoic era.

Last week I mentioned the movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Only one of the 16 students had heard of it. I summarized its significance, riffling through the Depression, with which they were familiar, and Jane Fonda’s career, with which they weren’t. “Barbarella” went sailing over their heads. I didn’t dare test my luck with talk of leg warmers and Ted Turner.

I once brought up Vanessa Redgrave. Blank stares. Greta Garbo. Ditto. We were a few minutes into a discussion of an essay that repeatedly invoked Proust’s madeleine when I realized that almost none of the students understood what the madeleine signified or, for that matter, who this Proust fellow was.

And these are young women and men bright and diligent enough to have gained admission to Princeton University, which is where our disconnect is playing out.

The bulk of that disconnect, obviously, is generational. Seemingly all of my students know who Gwyneth Paltrow is. And with another decade or two of reading and living and being subjected to fossils like me, they’ll assemble a richer inventory of knowledge and trivia, not all of it present-day.

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Annoying auto-correct

April 5, 2014

Dennis Lewis pleads on Facebook:

Dear God, is there any way to tell Android that I don’t need any help with spelling? I was texting my cousin … highlights of the Palace Kitchen’s Seattle Restaurant Week menu, and I just noticed that my little Kyocera 4G phone changed “arugula salad” to “Caligula salad” and the malted milk “chocolate panna cotta” to “chocolate panda cotta.”

Wonderful substitutes, but nevertheless very irritating.

(Dennis did get advice for turning off auto-correct on his particular cellphone.)

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Monday quartet

March 31, 2014

Four cartoons today: a Dilbert, a Bizarro, a Mother Goose and Grimm, and a Scenes from the Multiverse:

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Constraining communication

March 1, 2014

From a numer of sources on Facebook, this 2/11/13 New Yorker cartoon by Liam Francis Walsh:

Walsh’s website here. And here (on the New Yorker blog) he talks about how the cartoon (which has been very popular on the net) developed.

[Addendum: the device here is known as a dog cone, designed to keep dogs from biting or gnawing at themselves.]

Voicemail deadlock

October 27, 2013

Today’s Pearls Before Swine:

I’d suggest voicemail deadlock or voicemail standoff.

The written word

September 1, 2013

A Chuck and Beans webcomic from the 16th:

Texting is, of course, the written word. But then there are emoticons.


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