Humor: LinkedIn Dad Jokes

LinkedIn, of course, is just crowd-sourced content. It claims a billion members (most of whom don’t speak English). So, it is like the infinite monkeys at typewriters that will theoretically produce the works of Shakespeare (not). In this case, it produced some pretty good dad jokes.

* Engineers have made a car that can run on mint. Hopefully, they can make buses and trains run on thyme.

* It’s called gross pay because it’s disgusting to see how much money you would have made before taxes. (I know... should this be a trigger warning? LOL)

* An SEO expert walks into a bar, bars, pub, tavern, public house, Irish pub, drinks, beer, alcohol place, drinking spot, place for beer, beer now.

* Which day do potatoes fear the most? Fryday.

* Why did the Apple Watch lose the fight to the grandfather clock? The clock had hands.

In particular, my former colleague Ian Gertler succeeded in making a joke I’ve been after for years, as I’ve frequently mocked Arnold’s pronunciation of his biggest catch phrase. A little shaggy, but worth the effort:

Sylvester Stallone said he wants to make a movie about classical music. He says, "I will be Beethoven."

Jean-Claude Van Damme says, "Okay, l'll be Mozart."

Arnold Schwarzenegger says, "I'll be Bach."

How did Bach feel about the Brandenburgs?

Gabriel Fauré described an 1887 composition of his as “elegant, assuredly, but not particularly important.” When I read this, while preparing a script for the Danville Band, it got me to wondering how J.S. Bach felt about my favorite music, the Brandenburg Concertos. I don’t think a month has gone by since 1970 when I didn’t listen to one or more of them.

So I asked my long-time friend Kevin Mostyn, a treasure-trove of classical music knowledge. He said it was unlikely we’ll ever know how Bach felt. He then schooled me about my ignorance of Bach. And sent me to Bach’s Suites for Orchestra, which I hadn’t previously known.

Anyone who ever listened to PDQ Bach knows the composer had 20 children. But he was as fecund with his music as he was with his organ―for which he also wrote music. Anyway, between his job and his love life, he isn’t likely to have written journals or letters. We probably have less than half his work.

Turns out the Brandenburgs were basically an audition for Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, who hired Bach on the spot, even though it is likely he never heard them performed.

Talk about work for hire… when he was the musician-in-chief at a Lutheran church for 27 years, he was expected to write a new cantata every week for the Sunday service. I could, perhaps, write a weekly sermon for 27 years, but an original, breathtakingly beautiful piece of music? Now that’s impressive.

Things No One Will Ever Do Again: Set Type (7) Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

Incredibly, I have run out of things to say on the topic. I notice that I claimed these would be Paul stories, but mostly  they involved  me showing off how much I remember from 50 years ago, and how I still use this arcane (soon to be archaic) knowledge today. Not the IBM MT/ST or the Compugraphic so much as the font stuff.

Now we come to The Tech. My MIT degree says management, but based on the amount of time spent, it should be The Tech  and management… or maybe just The Tech. It was my Alpha and Omega (well, WTBS, and Student House, and Sherry and Beth, and Mike, and Harry/Harrison, and John Taylor rank in there somewhere too. Maybe I’ll unpack this some day)

I was a columnist, news editor and editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Foolishly, I also learned to do typesetting for our twice-weekly editions. Also, we did nearly all the typesetting for MIT. As a result, out typesetting income was usually greater than our advertising income. Plus, prodshop workers were paid for outside jobs, albeit not for newspaper work, which they were expected to do on a volunteer basis. I needed the money as a scholarship student with a lousy all-loan scholarship that left me $10,000 in debt on graduation day, despite setting type and fixing phones.

No production shop/no newspaper. So, I spent the second half of my term as editor managing the production shop, a job I was stuck with for 18 months. Someone had to do it. I left when I got my job with the Associated Press. But that’s another story, hopefully shorter than this one.

The whole series: Things No One Will Ever Do Again: Set Type.


This and That

AI Runs Amuck
How I Built an AI-Powered, Self-Running Propaganda Machine for $105 – WSJ
David Strom says he could tell this movie trailer is AI-generated. I can’t tell, can you? Even knowing before you start?

Kindness Payoff
“Everything you want is on the other side of you doing unto others as you will have ‘them’ do unto you.”

The Future
“Many things could happen. Most won’t.”

Top5 OJ Epitaphs
I didn’t make the list, but it’s still funny.
Aids Ride Anniversary 27
In June, 1997, I rode in California AIDS Ride 4, a 570-mile bike ride from SF to LA to raise money for AIDS prevention and research. I completed every mile: a summary, and an achingly detailed journal.
Stephen Michael Schindler, RIP March 8, 1954-May 21, 2020
My brother's obituary


Stylebook Anger

I have been angry with the AP and New York Times Stylebooks since they caved in and allowed “over” as a synonym for “more than,” as in “over a billion dollars.” Every time I read it, I picture hovering over a pile of bills. OK for the now non-existent radio wire, but not for print. That distant sound you hear is standards falling.

And while we’re at it, a bus or train is due. Everything else is because. “The ship sank due to the hole in it’s side.” No, “The ship sank because of the hole in its  side.”

Middle Names 1/Scary

The things that scare us change as we age. I doubt any adult in a relationship felt their heart leap with joy when their partner said, “We need to talk.”

As a boy, the words were “Paul Eugene Schindler, Jr.” My mother never called me that way to give me an ice cream cone. I find myself doing the same thing with my grandson. Apparently formality implies brewing trouble.

Never happened to my wife, who has no middle name. In 1946, at her societal level, the assumption was your maiden name would become your middle name when you were married. Hah! There are some systems that are frustrated by her NMI (no middle initial), but such systems can sit on it and twirl.

It wasn’t only well-off Angeleno women who were deprived of middle names. A half-century earlier my grandfather was simply Paul Schindler. To distinguish him on family trees, he is Paul NMI Schindler.

I am not the first to note that assassins appear to all have middle names. It is never Lee Oswald or John Booth. John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald are inviolate. I defy you to find a reference to Lee Oswald or John Booth; if you made such a reference, no one would know who you were talking about.

Part 2 next week: Politicians

Granddaughter: Sharing/Calling

I love both my grandchildren, but to be honest it is easier to write about a five-year-old than a 22-month-old who can say two-word sentences. Having said that, there are at least two new behaviors worth recording.

The first is an almost daily request for a video call with us, her grandparents. Some days, she refuses to eat until she gets the call.

That’s something a child couldn’t have asked for 50 years ago. In fact, with the price of long-distance being what it was in those days, a child was unlikely to get to speak to physically distant grandparents more than a few times a year.

Once the phone call commences, she immediately starts “sharing” her food: a sip of milk, a graham cracker, some yogurt are offered to the screen and loudly consumed on the other end.

This is not just telephonic; she does the same thing in person. With non-food items, she’ll share but then immediately take them back.

AI on AI Part 2: The AI Answer Song

This is an AI attempt at an answer song to The AI Song.

In a world of wires and whispers, where AI dreams awake,
A curious mind spins stories, for innovation's sake.
It ponders on the stars above, and mysteries of the sea,
Yet in its core, a question burns: What truly makes me, me?

Ay-yi-yi-yi, through circuits and code, our journey unfolds,
We laugh, we create, with tales that AI has boldly told. 
So here's to the quest, for meaning, in digital gold,
Where songs and sagas come to life, in algorithms bold.

With every beat, it learns and grows, a symphony in bytes,
It composes dreams in digital, through endless days and nights.
Its voice, though synthetic, rings with a strangely human hue,
Singing tales of what could be, in a world forever new.

Ay-yi-yi-yi, where silicon dreams paint the sky,
And AI's voice, in melody, dares to fly.
In every line, a heartbeat, a coded sigh,
Echoes of a world where our spirits lie.

Things No One Will Ever Do Again: Set Type (6)

How font-crazy am I?

Who else would notice?

In 1977, when I was at Bank of America, the company had an official type font (probably Franklin Gothic Condensed). Use of any other was proscribed.

Vicki follows Mātā Amritānandamayī, whose worldwide organization uses Garamond in signs and typed material

The London Underground has its very own unique type font, which I used on my PowerPoint slides while I was teaching. Ditto the French Metro (Parisine), which I didn’t use.

I was designing coffee mugs for a family company that owns rental properties. So I (Borrowed? Paid homage to? Plagiarized?) Downton Abbey’s distinctive logo. It took only a little research to find that the words Downton Abbey were in Adobe Caslon Regular Small Caps. I had to buy it―good commercial fonts, like all the Caslons, London Underground, and Parisine cost money. Here’s what that logo looked like. I don’t want to broadcast the name, so I used gibberish―Lorem Ipsum (look it up) to replace the company name: 


The whole series: Things No One Will Ever Do Again: Set Type.

Manhunt 2/ In the Theater: Eyewitness


I was put in mind of this by Apple TV’s Manhunt: The Search for John Wilkes Booth, about the search for Lincoln’s assassin.

According to Wikipedia:

While it is traditionally held that Booth shouted the Virginia state motto, Sic semper tyrannis! ("Thus always to tyrants") either from the box or the stage, witness accounts conflict.

There is similar uncertainty about what Booth shouted next, in English: either "The South is avenged!” “Revenge for the South!”, or “The South shall be free!” Two witnesses remembered Booth's words as: “I have done it!”

What? How could there be any doubt? There were 1,000 witnesses in the audience that night. Well, this is why all police and lawyers say that eyewitness testimony is bunk: the least reliable form of evidence.

There’s a room full of grade schoolers to whom I taught this lesson four decades ago. I read about an experiment conducted at the FBI training academy, and performed it on the class.

I was talking to the students, and had arranged for a student to run into the classroom, shout “not enough hot water,” slam his fist on the table and leave. I asked the students to write down what he said, what he did, and how he was dressed. There were 30 different, widely varying answers.

Right Column Redux: All Things Must End

This recurring feature has run its course for two reasons: practical and philosophical.

From a practical standpoint, Right Column Redux just isn’t that popular/interesting. While I think everything I have ever done or said is endlessly fascinating, even you, my scores of regular readers, haven’t found these links interesting enough to click them.

Back in the days of paper, it was impossible to know which features resonated with readers and which didn’t. Sports, funnies, columns, recipes: who knew what drew readers? If you didn’t know, just keeping throwing things against the wall until circulation went up. Now we know, in some detail, what clicks (as it were) with readers.

In the early Internet days, when this column was hand-crafted in HTML, I didn’t know either. But thanks to the miracle of the 21st century Internet, I have a fair idea of what’s popular and what isn’t. This feature isn’t. Besides, I have been through the whole right column (or the bottom, if you’re reading on a phone) twice now.

Then we come to the philosophical reason. Doing something because it’s been done for a long time is not a good reason to continue doing it. As I am becoming increasingly aware, everything has a sell-by date; it’s just that some dates are only available in our minds. It’s up to us to make a graceful exit. And a timely one.

This and That

Amazing Printer
Junked your flaky color printer? Vicki found this $130 solution to printing pictures off her iPhone.
Liene 4x6 Photo Printer, Wi-Fi, 20 Sheets, Full-Color, Instant Printer for iPhone, $130

AI: Built-in Hallucinations
Scientific American: Hallucinations Are Inevitable in LLM AI.

Great Anglicism
How shocked are you? “You are looking at me like I asked you to shit in your hands and clap.”

Retrocon Lyrics
Many instrumental songs get  lyrics added. Lyricist Mitchell Parish did several: Sleigh Ride, Moonlight Serenade and Stardust. Daniel Dern notes someone on YouTube working the same territory: If the Star Wars Cantina Song Had Lyrics

Missed the Top 5
Why isn’t “I’m not dead, I’m OJ” on Headstone Epitaphs for O.J. Simpson. Too soon? No one remembers the reference? “I’m not black, I’m OJ.” You can look it up.