Briefly noted

Cluttered items from an empty mind

Seen elsewhere: “Republicans are making age an issue in the presidential race. They point out that Joe Biden can barely stay incoherent for 15 minutes at a time, while Donald Trump can talk incoherently for hours.”

Seen on Facebook: “Aaron Rodgers made it to four plays. That’s three more than Lincoln.”

Gino Vanelli is coming to the Carnegie Library music hall in Homestead. The commercial says he’s known for such “hits as ‘I Just Wanna Stop.'”

OK, no offense, but now name another one.

(At least in the U.S. He was bigger in Canada.)

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Not so funny any more

2007 cartoon that I posted for a small audience on a Usenet group

(Today’s trivia question: I’ll award one solid brass figlagee with bronze oak leaf palm to the first person who can tell me the significance of the names on the tombstone. Answer at the end of this post.)

We moved recently and I’ve been cleaning out some old files. I found this cartoon that I did in 2007 and thought I’d share it.

I used to spend a lot of time on Usenet, the pre-social media all-text message board service. Before there was Facebook, Twitter or Reddit, before even LiveJournal, Usenet was an international network of message boards. In the 1990s, it was mostly open only to corporations, colleges and universities. Somewhere in the late 1990s, America OnLine, Delphi and other Internet service providers enabled their users to access Usenet — the so-called “endless September” or “eternal September” — and the volume of traffic soon increased. So did spam, trolls, abusive conversations and everything else that has come to define our current social-media climate.

That’s right, kiddos, every time someone says “there was no way to predict that lack of moderation on social media would lead to an increase in Nazis and white supremacists,” I’m here to say that everyone on Usenet saw in, like, 2000 that unfettered Internet access to public opinion led directly to an increase in abuse, including a rise in hate groups and con artists, and eventually made Usenet almost unusable. (“Marge, my friend, I haven’t learned a thing.”)

Usenet, in other words, was an early victim of what Cory Doctorow calls “enshittification.”

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Try this one weird old tip

We’ve all seen the viral Facebook post that guides you to copy and paste a paragraph to trick Facebook’s algorithm to see more of your Facebook friends and remove Facebook ads. There is a similar Facebook post going viral now that is not a hoax, and it does work. By copying, pasting, and posting this update, you’ll bypass Facebook’s algorithm that shows updates from only 25 friends if you leave a comment.

Here’s how to bypass the system Facebook now has in place that limits posts on your news feed. You take the San Diego Freeway to the Ventura Freeway, you drive to the Slauson Cutoff, get out of your car, cut off your Slauson, get back in your car, then you drive six miles till you see the Giant Neon Vice-Squad Cop. And now, back to our feature film, Mark Zuckerberg, Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Gertrude Berg and Tippy the Talking Moose in “Smokey & The Bandit Meet The Mummy.”

Plagiarism is the Sincerest Form of Flattery Dep’t.

And now for something completely different (and stupid)

(All of Mr. Musk’s dialogue is more or less verbatim from his Twitter … er, X … account)

(Interior, pet shop, San Francisco)

Customer: Hello, I wish to make a complaint.

Elon (chuckling): Lil X just asked if there are police cats, since there are police dogs.

Customer: Never mind that, my lad! I wish to complain about this Twitter I installed not a half-hour ago from the app store.

Elon: Soon we shall bid adieu to the Twitter brand and, gradually, all the birds.

Customer: You’re bidding adieu to all your bleedin’ advertisers and users, is what you’re doing.

Elon: If X is closest in style to anything, it should, of course, be Art Deco.

Customer: Art … Deco? It’s not art anything! It’s bleedin’ dead?

Elon: Frankly, I love the negative feedback on this platform. Vastly preferable to some sniffy censorship bureau!

Customer: Oh, you do, do you? Well, you’re going to bleedin’ love this. (Yelling and hitting the cage.) HELLO, TWITTER! HELLO, TWITTER! TESTING, TESTING, TESTING. (Takes Twitter out of cage and thumps it on the counter.) Now that’s what I call a dead platform.

Elon (holds up picture of poop emoji): Concerning.

Customer: Now look, mate. I’ve definitely had enough of this. This app is definitely deceased. When I logged in not a half an hour ago, you assured me that all of the problems were a result of bots that were scraping your content. I took the liberty of examining it when I got home and found out that the only reason it’s upright are Nazis and the Saudi royal family.

Elon: Sorry our pixels are so imperfect. Hopefully less so over time. Should we change the default platform color to black?

Customer: It has nothing to do with the bleedin’ platform color! This app is bleeding demised! It is an X-Twitter! X is a stiff! Bereft of life, X rests in peace! X’s metabolic processes are now history! X’s off the twig! X has kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined Friendster and MySpace in the bleedin’ choir invisible!

Elon: Would you like to do a Spaces discussion with me next week?

Customer: Well it’s hardly a bleedin’ replacement, is it?

Elon: Many accounts on this platform can earn thousands of dollars per month in advertising revenue sharing if they become verified subscribers! Takes two minutes to become a verified subscriber for $7 a month.

Customer: Well. (Pause.) Yeah, all right, sure.

(Dead cow falls on shop. Fade to black.)

No wonder I’m never voted the “best local radio personality”

Sarcastic? Moi?

WQED-TV posted a photo of Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh from the 1970s on Facebook, which prompted a viewer named Cindy to lament that was “Back when the city was safe (and) good.”

Yes, Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh was well-known for being safe in the 1970s. Why, hardly anyone ever bothered the prostitutes or drug dealers that worked there.

It brings to mind a joke from Jack Bogut: “One night on Liberty Avenue, someone tried to sell me some pornography, but I told them I didn’t have a pornograph to play it on.”

As most native Pittsburghers know — as long as you’re over the age of 45, but don’t yet have Fox News brain-rot — Liberty Avenue was the city’s notorious red-light district in the 1970s. If there was something illegal in the 1970s, you could probably find it on Liberty Avenue. Once the original David L. Lawrence Convention Center opened in 1979, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, the convention and visitors’ bureau and the city broke their backs to clean up Liberty Avenue, and have been more or less successful.

Anyway, remember back in the 1970s, when Liberty Avenue was safe? Those were the days. Mister, we could use a man like Dante “Tex” Gill again.

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About some useless information supposed to fire my imagination

We interrupt this advertising to bring you a brief programming announcement

If you’re a Gen-Xer, you probably remember growing up, watching broadcast TV that was constantly being interrupted by commercials.

There you were, sitting cross-legged in front of the Magnavox on the orange shag carpeting, drinking an RC Cola. And as soon as the show came to an exciting moment — the Cardassians were about to attack Riker and Worf, or Diane had made a particularly cutting remark right before she slammed the door on Sam — suddenly the screen would go black and the network would run a commercial.

It was so annoying!

Well, now that we live in the modern digital age, that’s a thing of the past.

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Unearned unhappiness? That’s all right, I guess

Are you ready for some football?

News item: “A ticket to the USFL Championship Game is on the line as the Pittsburgh Maulers battle the Michigan Panthers in Canton, Ohio, this Saturday. How will this war between two 4-6 teams shake out?”

Las Vegas odds-makers say “Nobody Gives a Crap” is the favorite, but “Who Could Care Less” could surprise us.

Also, this:

If you’re looking to bet on the USFL North Division title game between two 4-6 teams, trust me: You have a gambling problem. Call now, operators are standing by.

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If tin-whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?

More cluttered items from my empty mind

SCAM ALERT: I just got an electronic message that was like 10 minutes of repetitive guitar riffs and drum solos.

Yeah. It was another Phishing email.

Garth Brooks talking to Billboard Magazine. I think that’s Crow, Servo and Mike Nelson in the front row. (YouTube)

Garth Brooks is opening a bar in Nashville and says he will not join a conservative boycott of Bud Light.

In a Q&A with Melinda Newman of Billboard magazine, Brooks said his new bar, called Friends in Low Places, will be “a place you feel safe in. I want it to be a place that you feel like there are manners and people love one another … And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are.”

That’s a reference to an ongoing boycott by morons conservatives, who are angry that Bud Light produced a special one-off commemorative can featuring TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender.

Kid Rock, a vocal moron conservative, posted a video of himself shooting cases of Bud Light with an automatic rifle, and some bars that cater to bigots and rednecks Republicans have either stopped selling Bud Light, or held promotions where they’ve poured the beer down the drain.

To be clear, however, it’s still OK if you’re not buying Bud Light simply because it’s really crummy beer. As the Pythons said, “it’s like making love in a canoe.”

Continue reading “If tin-whistles are made of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?”

If elected, I will not serve

I get the impression these people really want to win an Emmy

This week, writer and Hollywood historian Mark Evanier drew attention to a video posted by the “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that practically begs for an Emmy Award.

“I don’t take awards that seriously but when they’re meaningful, it’s when the voting public actually decides you deserve some honoring, not when you mount a successful ad campaign,” Evanier said. “It used to just be the shows taking ads out in the trade papers. Then it was fancy advertising mailers to all the voters. Then they started buying billboards all over Los Angeles asking for Emmy and Oscar votes.”

Evanier says “this seems like another step too far.”

It does seem a little desperate. But it also reminded me that voting has now begun for Pittsburgh City Paper‘s annual “Best of Pittsburgh” awards.

Those of you who have been around for a while know that I’ve been on the radio for 22 years in Pittsburgh, and during that time, I’ve had a perfect record: I have never once been nominated for anything.

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Dispatches from Dayton

Sunset over the Dayton Amateur Radio Association in Huber Heights. Isn’t it romantic?

On Saturday, I learned that something in Southwestern Ohio hates me (besides Trump voters, hey-yo!).

Dayton Hamvention is held at the Greene County Fair Grounds in Xenia, Ohio, and a windstorm came up Saturday afternoon. Suddenly my nose started running and I couldn’t stop sneezing. It’s been like that for about 48 hours, although over-the-counter antihistamines are helping. (I did test for COVID-19, just in case, but I’m negative.)

What else happened during the big weekend besides sneezing and wheezing? My big purchase was an Internet radio — meaning a radio set up specifically to easily tune in Internet streams.

I’ve been skeptical of stand-alone Internet radios. For one thing, I doubted they were easy to use. For another, I doubted they really had access to a wide range of stations. And finally, as someone who really loves AM and FM radio, it seemed like cheating.

It seems odd for me to have those prejudices, considering I help run an Internet radio station, but my feeling was, it was easy to tune in Internet radio on a phone or laptop — who needs a special device?

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