May 19, 2020
"Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood"
The Dear Abby Game
When I worked at WMJI there was a game that some of the staff would play now and then at lunch.
Someone would pick up the newspaper in the break room and turn to Dear Abby's advice column and start to read one of the letters.
"Dear Abby", they would read, "My husband likes to"... and then the reader would pause and allow the rest of us to guess what it was that the husband likes to do. After a few suggestions, the reader would continue, "Well, last night he forgot"... and then they would pause again and let us fill in our guesses.
At last the problem would have been laid out and the letter would be signed "Mixed up in Minnetonka" or something like that. Our reader would continue the game with Dear Abby's reply. "Dear Mixed up, Your husband is just" and then a pause while we suggested advice from Abby.
One of my favorite letters that Abby would get (or it could have been her sister Ann Landers) was something like this. It's not that I remember this particular letter but it was a recurring theme of letters they each received over the years.
Dear Abby, it would begin, I'm forty-five years old and my kids are grown and I've always wanted to go to college. I figure that with some of the hours I've earned already, I can go at night after I'm done working for the day and finish in about five years. But I'll be fifty in five years. What do you think? Signed Degree-less in Des Moines.
The details were different. It need not be a woman. They need not be forty-five. The reason for delaying college need not have been children. In fact, it might not be college. It might be learning an instrument, saving up for a trip, anything they've always wanted to do.
Abby's advice was always the same.
Dear Degree-less, In five years you will be fifty whether you go back to school or not.
Degree-less and many of the others weren't writing to Dear Abby for advice. Some were writing to see if they could get a made up situation in the paper, but others - like Degree-less - were writing for permission not advice.
And Dear Abby was saying, you're going to be fifty anyway. What do you want to be when you wake up in five years and what does it take to get there.
Think of things you may not be doing because you lack the permission. I'm not talking about risky or unhealthy things. Got one? Now grant yourself permission to do so.
Popeye and John Prine
Popeye's famous saying (Popeye the cartoon sailor not Popeye the Chicken chain) was "I yam what I yam."
We got to know who we yam.
The great and sadly late John Prine wrote a song called "Dear Abby" where he sang letter after letter to Dear Abby and have her answer.
In our case it would be...
Degree-less, Degree-less, "you have no complaint.
You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't.
So listen up buster and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood."
Link to the Podcast episode from May 19, 2023.
The weather's been nice enough that Annabelle and I have moved out to work in the backyard. She's listening while I explain the State Monad to her.
NSFW but very funny
Sandy Batchelor has posted this walk through video of his London apartment that is for rent. He posts that he's basically being forced out of the flat but has been asked to make this video.
The language is not safe for work but it made me laugh on a day when I needed a laugh.
The other night Maggie started sending me links to Disco songs.
I don't know why.
I looked up the Apple Music Disco playlist - I don't consider a lot of these songs Disco (EWF - September? No.) But it was a lot of fun to listen.
Anyway, here's her link to Maxine Nightingale Right back to where we started from.
Here's another pandemic performance piece. A Call to Unite - Alvin Ailey's 'Revelations'.
Other people's stuff
I've been experimenting with cartoons in my Functional Programming Kickstart book.
I can't draw at all - but I've always wanted to learn how.
Signed Clumsy in Cleveland
And then a friend steered me to Brad Colbow's classes for ProCreate. Really, he sent me there to watch Brad's style which is very effective for video teaching - but while I was there Brad said things like "if you can draw a stick figure you can learn to draw" so I thought - why not.
I'm midway through my second class and still have barely any discernible talent but I'm thinking of replacing my cartoons I've created from dragging shapes around to hand-drawn ones.