Author Topic: A CycleChat scrapbook


A CycleChat scrapbook
« on: June 29, 2015 »
This little guy pickets most posts in new member introductions



Friendly and fun
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2015 »
Today was a big day for me: I conquered my fear of bullies. Thanks CycleChat.

The bully in question often posted in threads I started, favouring me with a dig here, a goadypost there. I'm not quite sure how I got so far up this guy's nose in the first place –

it's not like I booked an adventure holiday.

It wasn't until he tried it on in my avatar thread that I decided to push back.

I knew he was someone who has to have the last word, typically punctuated with a smiley of false good cheer. I kept responding with my own real good cheer to see where it all led.

It's said to be notoriously difficult to gauge people on the internet. Smileys don't help; nor likes, as some hedge their bets by scattering them like confetti. Nevertheless you do get a sense pretty quickly who's against you, or at least not with you.

As we continued to interact it became more and more clear that he really didn't have much use for me. Finally he posted something a tad too desperately insulting, and it all clicked. The story,* as they say, wrote itself.

A wise man once told me that people tell you who they are. As one of his parting shots the Bully In Question offered that he'd had to "dig deep" to find his nasty streak. OK, so what you're telling me is that deep inside you're nasty. Got it.

* That missing video was a drumroll sound effect, like so. Way to a ruin a multimedia presentation, YouTube.


SC&P: Let's get meta
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2015 »
Posted on the Society Culture & Politics board

I think SC&P deserves its own meta thread. That is, a thread in which it can examine itself. Preferably a monster thread which will go on long after I'm pixel dust.*

Call it a waste of time, call it navel-gazing (but not naval-gazing unless you're a shipspotter), call it Been there, done that,

T-shirts not yet on sale

call it anything you like: the fact that some people come to this board to post, while others might like to but would rather not** because it has a certain reputation, is worthy of study. If you agree, let's have a fresh look at this sunken terrain. If not, feel free to join in despite yourself to blast away in the best tradition of SC&P as you understand it. Or ignore. You know how to ignore, don't you?

The plan is to examine posting styles to see what they do to the atmosphere; to review posts for signs of empathy and entropy; and as always, to keep an eye on the funny.

Castigat ridendo mores

Is Greece going to be in or out of the Euro in ten days?:

Quote from: zimzum42, post: 3783837, member: 157
GaryA can't see the wood for the wood he got over seeing someone 'take on' the EU...
Quote from: GilesM, post: 3783859, member: 1246
He's got a full set of Yanis Varoufakis speeches to watch tonight.
Quote from: Regulator, post: 3783863, member: 231
Whereas you'll be spaffing one out over a piccie of Angela Merkel...
The political leanings of those quoted don't matter. The question is, do they give good wit?
• zimzum42: Yes. The woodplay works.
• GilesM: Also yes, mostly because understanding his comment requires knowing who Yanis Varoufakis is, which granted, anyone reading this far into the thread should by now, but you never know. (I didn't know. The Peloponnesian War is still breaking news to me.) Increasing the knowledge base of your readers lifts all boats.
• Regulator: No. While crudity can be hilarious (some people are still chuckling over Cameron Diaz's hair gel in There's Something About Mary; not I, but some), there is no wit here, merely an attempt at a humourous riff mis-shot into the face of the German Chancellor.

zimum42 again: "Looks like Gary's opened a new box of Kleenex and a Max Kaiser DVD box set."
The law of diminishing returns has kicked in now thanks to the influence of the previous quote. Should've stopped at the woods.

I will also be starting a glossary.

To begin this new thread, I would like to examine the phenomonon of TMNing. While this is hardly exclusive to SC&P, this is a good place to set up a forensics lab. Any expert witnesses care to shed light on the practice?

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam
"I will either find a way or make one."

a work in progress

Fark. The forum software prefers this to Frak, which is a sadness for fans of BSG.

Ignore, put someone on. Blocking another user's posts. Can theoretically be done quietly, but a bug in the software often necessitates an announcement before it can take effect. "Why Should I waste my beautiful mind?"

Emoticon. Used in place of words, to augment them, or popularly as a way to avoid giving offence. Or as Wikipedia puts it, a "pictorial representation of a facial expression that, in the absence of body language and prosody, serves to draw a receiver's attention to the tenor or temper of a sender's nominal non-verbal communication, changing and improving its interpretation." As with every other form of communication except perhaps flag semaphore, can not only be used in a straight-forward fashion ( = lots of things, none of them bad; = sad), but also ambiguously ( = whatever mood you're in when you see it), or even passive aggressively (take your pick).

Like. At its most straightforward, this is used to show your agreement with a post, approval of a poster, or as a gesture of goodwill. May also be deployed as a joke, in a scattershot approach to win friends and confuse enemies, as a subtle method of contributing to a discussion without posting, and other ways; there is doubtless a vast scattered literature on the subject.

TMN. CC member and verb: to TMN someone is to more or less repeat what they've said without attribution. See post #11, which links to a post with other coinages not currently in common usage. There's a mild example of TMNing here / here.

Once upon a time an entire forum was TMN'd.

Wibble. Time-honoured funtime word for insanity, like cuckoo. Shorthand for "mad as a box of frogs." Standard character assassination, with (ironically) no reasoning behind this diagnosis necessary. Can also be mere thread derailing filler. Often posted in the form of a graphic device easily plucked from the web, which is replete with images to suit every occasion. Acceptable in playful banter between familiars provided you don't really mean it and assuming you really are familiars. Less commonly a form of self-deprecation – "my little brain can't handle [whatever you're saying]"; context is key. True mental instability is only acceptable in royalty and relatives.

*Which I became, in a way: I was banned from SC&P.

**Standard advice before wading into a board is to see how the Romans do it, and follow suit. That way robs many CC citizens of an opportunity of debate wherever it may start, even while it drains SC&P of new blood before it even gets here.


Reader's Digest
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015 »

In the thread Does the left suffer from a lack of belief in the ability to change things?, Flying Monkey wrote:

"I once accidently glanced at an issue of Reader's Digest and felt a sudden inexplicable urge to destroy Western Civilization."

My first reading of this is that it's pretty good. But can it be improved?

Growing up in the American Midwest I was offered a steady diet of the Reader's Digest. Laughter, the Best Medicine. Humour in Uniform. I Am Joe's Body That Won't Shut Up. Drama in Real Life – as if Humour in Uniform wasn't enough.

napalm smells funny

Standard entertainment for the john or the beach, though its condensed books, handsomely bound in Corinthian leather, could also be found on many an otherwise empty shelf.

The genius of the Digest is that it has never pretended to be the Utne Reader: it's an Everyman's Library aimed low enough to scoop up pretty much everybody but with decent enough quality control to ensure the jokes are actually funny most of the time (it always helps to pay people) and its articles soft cusions to fall into. That it is also a joke to those who gag on its condensed mother's milk is part of its charm.

Since its inception, "America in your pocket" has always been unabashedly conservative on political and social issues (sez Wikipedia - I haven't made a close enough study of it to defend that particular thesis). Needless to say Ronald Reagan was a lifetime reader (sez Jordan Michael Smith, who seems to have). It's been a long time since I've picked up a copy, but I can't imagine, given the Overton window, that it's drifted far left enough to warrant more than casual surveillance by the NSA.

Flying_Monkey's joke was in reply to a comment by a user called Hitchington (sig: "Life's too important to be taken seriously") claiming to have learnt his leftist ways by reading a copy in his dentist's waiting room. Solidly middle class tooth botherers are highly unlikely to stock the antechamber of pain with distressing reading material; hence, this is the joke that begat the joke. Which is, again:

"I once accidently glanced at an issue of Reader's Digest and felt a sudden inexplicable urge to destroy Western Civilization."

Given that the US sets itself at the pinnacle of Western Civilisation, it stands to reason that the Reader's Digest, as American as apple pie and hot dogs, is an entirely appropriate, even irresistible button to push in service of an Allenesque chuckle.

The economy of language is admirable, the word choice impeccable, the sentiment family friendly by virtue of the size of its absurdity.

Grade: A. Cannot be improved. That's one small mark against my thesis, one giant leap of faith that my persistance will eventually move it forward again.


Green eggs & sam
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015 »

Rapples Loves Apples
I had thought to write in verse
a dissertation could be worse!
but would I have the 'spline to stick
to rhyme schemes that once picked stay picked
not like a donkey, tire and kick?
Prolly not! What's more, so wot?
I'd tackle this whatever way
I'd got out what I had to say!

Rapples, you are new to me,
so I don't know how jerks the knee.
What if you are
ewww to me
Does it matter in SC&P?

(Unless you are not new at all!
A diff'rent name but same old gall!
Can a slate be truly clean?
Should a his'try be forgot?
What a tangled web we weave
when this web we cannot leave).

Onward, ho! To questions new:
Is your giftie food for thesis
or a word that almost rhymes with thesis;
Is it funny, meant in jest?
Can I use it for my test?
Well, why not? It's heaven sent
It landed here outside my tent

with note attached:
What's good for geese is good for ganders
eggs & ham goes good with slanders
good at any rate with salamanders –

here's a picture of a fish; I googled that ↑, was handed pish

You give? You'll get, with my regards
and smiley'd bow to wrap the shards
of that platter when it tumbles
if the fingertip, it fumbles –
Sam you am, it's ham, not spam!
your post inveigled, from my reading
as our hero does his pleading
ends up eggs and ham succeeding.
(Truth in fiction I'm not needing.)

But Wait! Ulterior motive was there?
Bubblegum that's in the hair?
Was this insult, was this pox
upon my house and golden locks?

I could not tell! I could not suss!
But did it really matter thus?
Ain't the best transaction that
which leaves both parties feeling phat?

The Golden Rule is not for tools
that mum of mine she raised no fools.
Grist it all is for the mill
to you Herr Rapples, t' will's not ill.

(That doesn't mean my guard is down
nor did my mother raise a clown.
I raised myself in that respect
to turn my own frowns upside-down.)

And so: what proves this, in the end?
Your jokey post, how does it score?
Top marks for hitting target true
regardless of the target drew.

And yet: the grade that I must give
must represent the sweat you swivved –
in honesty, not all that much
more accident than industry
the Dr wrote, you gave to me
the book a link; too easy, see?
What could have been an A goes south
I'll stick a B* upon that mouth.

Footnotes for Seuss: a first?
I will not self flatter lest humble pie fly from that formerly eggs-n-ham platter.

- The title rhymes. That's all. Probably.
- That's disci-pline. In case it wasn't clear.
- Didn't he draw any salamanders? They're so blatantly Seussian.
- Not spam either, but four rhymes in one line is too hard to resist.
- Actually I think there's a lot of truth in fiction. Take it where you can find it.
- Golden locks is poetic licence. It has better rhyme-mates than brunette.
- Spotted that folio in a gallery in Austin, Texas some years ago. If wealthy I were, bought it I would've.

* Or a C. Haven't decided if I'm grading on a curve.


Mad as a box of frogs
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015 »

I'm not an alumnus of the 'If you build it they will come' school of optimism, but occasionally, they do. Smeggers II wrote:

Fox  Socks  Box  Knox
Knox in box.  Fox in socks.
Knox on fox in socks in box.
Socks on Knox and Knox in box.
Fox in socks on box on Knox

sam is a box of frogs.....

The origins of "Mad as a box of frogs" cannot be pinned down with any certainty. "Mad as a hatter" is easier to source, its descriptive intent not a million miles away, so let's go with that.

According to my copy of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, this appeared in Thackeray's Pendennis in 1850, and even earlier in America. The usual, quite believable story is that it has to do with the fumes of mercurous nitrate used in the making of felt hats.

It has also been suggested that the original "mad hatter" was Robert Crab, a 17th-century eccentric living at Chesham, who gave all his goods to the poor and lived on dock leaves and grass.

And of course Lewis Carroll popularised it in Alice in Wonderland.

To whom should this description apply, besides excessive herbivores living in Buckinghamshire? All eccentrics? (Note that everyone loves an eccentric – until they actually meet one.) Just those with whom one feels very little kinship? Anybody who strays too far outside your usual frames of reference?

US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said "I know it when I see it" when mulling over what constitutes hard-core pornography. Unless you help write the DSM, I think we're all entitled to decide what is perverse, and who is mad. That being said, it doesn't make us good judges.

Saying that I'm mad because I spent an hour or so writing a whimsical poem to entertain myself and possibly others shows, I think, a lack of imagination; at least of tolerance for those who fully exercise theirs. Assuming I have to be high or drunk or crazy to express myself the way I do, then throwing frogs into the equation, is lazy. (I don't mean this as quite the slur it implies: having elevated laziness to an art form, it takes one to know one.) It is a broadside having none of the finesse of matching a surrealist classic such as Green Eggs and Ham to a particular cast of characters and narrative.

I had thought to grade higher than I'm going to based on a sympathetic reading of "Fox Socks Box Knox" etc., which does throw logicians a bone by pleasingly closing a causal loop as well as offering a coherent, if somewhat Dadaist, narrative, but given Smeggers II's over-reliance on the suggestion of altered states of mind, I feel his brand of humour, at least in this vein, is unworthy of anything higher than a C. To soften the blow I'm throwing in a book, over on the companion volume to this thread.

Trying to avoid a plague of frogs with umbrella? That just makes sense.


« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015 »
For it is only by seeing how others see us can we see how others see us.

Credits: To Whom it May Concern
Criticism I expect: "What a load of w*nk. And the writing in the pictures is so small I can hardly read it."
Left out do to size constraints: Photoflopper.
Like pics? I got pics.

This was supposed to be a Bash-o-matic. A Bashometer was easier.
–Whoooosh Airlines. Flying over heads daily.
–Note that the bee is near 'yourself'. Be yourself.
–Note also how the dapper avatar almost appears to have a sophisticated monocle. I sweat the details.
–The Simpsons group therapy illustrates control, as well as the shock treatment favoured by so many. That Babs Bush is the only one unaffected is due to her beautiful mind. If truth is beauty, a mind in the pursuit of it is indeed beautiful.
–No frogs were harmed in the making of this infographic. That is definitely a toad. I reckon it was shaken, and its little toad heart sure beat a mile a minute when I plucked him out of one kind of obscurity and into another, but when I set him loose he didn't madly hop off to escape; rather, he sat on the stoop for a few minutes, as if in contemplation of his place in this vast strange cosmos.

The dangers of being yourself...

on edit much later:
Lots of posts MIA. (I check links from time to time. It's an auxiliary hobby.) Oh well.