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Posts Tagged ‘imaginative fiction’

It’s a good day for a chokehold.  –  “Officer” Reuben Carver

Dr. John, the legendary New Orleans musician, died this week.  Actually, “institution” would be a more apt term; in many Crescent City circles, saying you didn’t like his music would be fighting words.  Those of you who never lived there will probably recognize this song (suggested by Jesse Walker), which was his biggest hit.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Furrygirl, Christian Britschgi, Mirriam Seddiq, Cathy Reisenwitz, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives

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In the Gilligan’s Island TV show, Dr. Roy Hinkley was originally stated to be a high-school science teacher with a degree in botany.  But like all TV “scientists” his store of knowledge and his technical abilities grew as required by lazy writers; he soon became a university professor rather than a high-school teacher and his expertise grew to include chemistry, entomology, psychology, engineering and several obscure Polynesian languages (and that’s just what I recall from childhood).  Whatever intellectual ability or STEM-type skill was required by the plot, the Professor was sure to have already or be able to rapidly acquire by consulting one of the many books he inexplicably brought along on a “three-hour tour”; that he not be skilled in boat repair was also required by the plot, so we’ll just leave that one alone for now.  The important thing is that in episodic fiction (whether that be television, comic books, pulp novels or whatever) “scientist” or “sage” type characters are generally assumed to have vast and encyclopedic knowledge and to be nigh-omnicompetent (Spock in Star Trek wasn’t quite as bad until the third season, when he suddenly acquired previously-unmentioned competencies such as comparative linguistics and art history, again as required by lazy writers).  Such formidable intellectual prowess rarely exists outside of fantasy, and yet you’d be amazed how often people in real life seem to expect unusually intelligent and erudite people to display similarly-superhuman intellectual abilities.  It happens to me on a regular basis; people seem to expect me to know basically everything, and while I certainly do have an exceptional memory, an excellent education, an uncannily-large store of mostly-useless trivia and an above-average learning rate, there are still vast gaps in my abilities and whole intellectual realms I know no more about than the average person (or even less than average if it has anything to do with popular culture from about 1995 to the present).  One of those gaps is computer stuff; in 1989 I actually had above-average practical computer skills (though I had flunked programming half a decade before), but I never really kept up and I’m still not entirely sure how a microprocessor actually works (THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO ATTEMPT AN EXPLANATION IN THE COMMENTS).  Add to that a general aversion to change, a neurological & emotional inability to deal with formal systems, and the fact that my brain was already fully canalized several years before I had home access to the internet, and I think you’ll be able to understand why I’m really not good with computer and internet stuff.  And because I am good at so many things, I tend to be very uncomfortable with and anxious about the things I’m not good at.  I tend to deal with obstacles in my path by figuring them out, charming them, intimidating them, or crying, and none of those work on a computer which is doing something I neither desire nor comprehend.  So if you want to interview me or have me on your podcast or whatever, you are really really really going to have to take care of “the technical details of anything more complicated than ‘click here’, ‘please look into the camera’ or ‘answer the phone’.”  I’m sorry if that reduces me in your estimation; perhaps it would restore your faith if you think of computer stuff being for me as boatbuilding must have been for The Professor.

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The war on guns, like the war on drugs, is primarily waged on poor people.  –  Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg

Doris Day, who passed away this week at the ripe old age of 97, was probably my mother’s favorite singer; I remember her singing “Que Sera, Sera” so often when I was a child that I knew the lyrics by heart before I started school (and it’s one of the few popular songs entirely within my rather-limited vocal range).  So it only seems appropriate to feature a recording of that song as this week’s video; the link above it were provided by SWOP Behind Bars, Tim Cushing, C.J. Ciaramella, Elizabeth N. Brown, Radley Balko, and Tim Cushing again (in that order).

From the Archives

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I can’t breathe.  –  Derek Williams

I’ve shared a lot of Sesame Street shorts in this space over the years, but for some reason I had completely forgotten about this one, which was one of my favorites as a child.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, Zuri Davis, Charles Hill, Eric Sprankle, and Wendy Lyon, in that order.

From the Archives

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I thought they was going to shoot me, and my brother, and everybody else.  –  Samari Boswell

Last week Emma Evans tweeted an article about breakfast cereal marketing of the ’80s, which in turn reminded me of one of my favorite breakfast cereals of the previous decades; here is a collection of all the commercials (starting in 1974).  I had all of the magnets, too.  The links above the video were provided by Scott Greenfield, Walter Olson, Scott Greenfield again, Kevin Wilson, Peter Roman, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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I can’t breathe.  –  Lamekia Dockery

The gentleman I call Daedalus shared this video with me last week, and besides being extremely funny it is absolutely brilliant.  The links above it were provided by Lucy Steigerwald, Joe Setyon, Kevin Wilson, Jesse Walker, Nun Ya, and Tushy Galore, in that order.

From the Archives

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He was being very aggressive.  –  Juan Lopez-Razo, of a man having a seizure

Last weekend Franklin Harris shared this video of a camera test from The Muppet Movie (1979); the improvisation between Jim Henson and Frank Oz is both brilliant and hilarious.  The links above it were provided by Radley BalkoJesse Walker (x2), Tim Cushing (x2), and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

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