Monday, April 04, 2016

Dear Ms. Undine does not tolerate April fools

Dear Ms. Undine,

Why do people like to play April Fool's Day pranks? Especially computer pranks, like Google's failed mic drop?

Signed, Pranked

Dear Pranked,

Ms. Undine has never quite understood this.  Mark Twain said (in Pudd'nhead Wilson) that on this day we're reminded of what we actually are during the other 364, but that's not a good enough reason.

Frankly, Ms. Undine thinks that the computer manufacturers play enough pranks on us every year, making us play hide and seek to find the features we depend on with each new iteration of software (looking at you, Microsoft Office) and with each new version of hardware (looking at you, Apple.  I have enough Mac dongles to make myself a hula skirt by stitching them together, and you just introduced a new connector?). If we had one "stable computer day" every April 1, now there would be a holiday to celebrate.

As for the other pranks: well, apparently human beings love humor better if it is crude and/or cruel, which is why we invented the internet after we made bear-baiting illegal.

Dear Ms. Undine,

I think you are a hypocrite.  After making fun of the awesome Cue Cat, you bought one recently. Why?

Inspector Gadget

Dear Gadget,

Because all the lovely commenters on that post said it would be good for LibraryThing, that's why.  I haven't tried it yet, but I have already rounded up little catnip toys for it to chase.  It's the only non-rectangular thing on my desk and is already a fine distraction. Go Go Gadget Paws!

Dear Ms. Undine,

You write about mid-century male writers sometimes.  What did you think of Gay Talese's recent comment that he couldn't think of any women writers that inspired him?

Surprised and Outraged

Dear Surprised and Outraged,

Figure 1. Supposedly Frank Sinatra, but maybe Gay Talese.
You should only be one of those (outraged), because how could you be surprised?

Ms. Undine admits that she had classed Gay Talese in her mental memory bank as a 1960s Esquire writer, sort of a ring-a-ding-ding generation Jonathan Franzen, who wrote something about wife-swapping way back in the day. He was brought up in a generation when it would have been a manly point of pride not to have read any women authors, and a look at his Google books just now suggests that that hasn't changed much.

In other words, Ms. Undine thinks this is a tempest in a gin bottle.  She recommends that women writers forget him right back and quit worrying about it since  there are bigger fish to fry, like this year's VIDA count. 


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

"Forget him right back." Yes. And then people say I'm living in a bubble, but you know, I'm quite comfortable in my bubble, and it has pretty rainbow patterns all around me.

For maximum distraction, I recommend live kitties and real catnip . . . electronics might actually help you get something done, and THEN where would you be? I can send Sabra and Basement Cat over if you don't have enough to do.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

undine said...

Dame Eleanor--I think that's me, too, and why I've largely gotten out of the outrage business in favor of a little humor now and then instead.

I do have Shelf Cat to keep me company most days. She chases all the other cats out of the study and then, depending on the time of day, either sits on a bookshelf looking out the window (daytime), sits on the shelf above my computer (evening), or lies at my feet (late at night when it's cold. But thank you for the offer!

undine said...

That link made me laugh out loud!