The shop is still closed to customers, but that doesn’t mean we’re not working! We’re doing curbside pick-ups, free local deliveries for orders over $15, and shipping all over the country! AND, our friend Jason Wiser is offering another set of COMIX CREATION CLASSES FOR KIDS! The next Level 1 course begins this coming Monday, 15 June 2020, from 4-5pm daily. Classes will be recorded if you miss a day! (The class will run again from July 20-24 and August 10-14 2020; the next Level 2 class will be August 17-21, 2020, time TBD.)
These classes run 5-days a week, 1 hour a day through a Zoom link provided by the teacher. Students can participate through an Internet-connected laptop or tablet, and materials are typically paper, pencil, and pen. All work is optional, but kindness is mandatory!
To register, please send the $50 course fee (per household, so 1 kid or 5 kids, it’s the same price) to the Million Year Picnic comic book store via PayPal.
IN THE PAYPAL “NOTE” FIELD, PLEASE PROVIDE: (1). The Course Name & Date (e.g., “Comix 1” or “Comix 2” plus “Week of June 15” or “Week of July 20” or “Week of August 10”) (2). Your Child’s Name and Age (3). An email address (to send you the daily Zoom link).
If you have problems with PayPal or need to use a different payment method, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-492-6763.
Note that this is a fundraiser for the shop as Jason let’s us keep the bulk of the fees! You’re helping us stay in business!
ABOUT THE TEACHER: Jason Wiser is a Harvard Instructor of Comics, Animation, and Game Development. His comics work has been published in the Boston Globe, his animation has appeared on the Disney TV show “Greek” and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his published games include the award-winning cooperative card game for kids “Monsters in the Elevator” (www.YayaPlay.com/MITE?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss).
Welcome to the 7th Marble Race of the Marbula One! (formula 1 for marbles). IMPORTANT: Marbula One season 2020 WILL CONTINUE despite the COVID-19 situation! Everyone at JMR is safe and we were able to record race 8 already. Please enjoy, leave a LIKE and SHARE this race with our fellow sports fans who sadly have almost nothing to watch at the moment!
NOTES: - The name "Marbula One" is copyright protected, we reached out to the F1 trademark department and they were nice enough to assure there will not be any problems with us using the name. We are NOT associated to Formula 1 or its teams in any way. - And for those who are wondering about the Oceanics and other teams which aren't in the Marbula One: These teams will participate in the proposed Marbula 2 which will start in autumn 2020 (under subject to changes). - CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19): Please check community tab on our channel! Please do NOT post comments according coronavirus. There will be no disruptions expected. We recorded race 7 and 8 already.
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"At its worst, it's a waste of precious space, an annoyance, a solution to a problem that doesn't exist any more," complains Daniel Colin James, a writer, developer, product manager. In a recent Medium essay, he called the Caps Lops key "an unnecessary holdover from a time when typewriters were the bleeding edge of consumer technology" -- and even contacted the man who invented the Caps Lock key (Doug Kerr, who had been a Bell Labs telephone engineer in the 1960s):
I reached out to Doug about his invention, and he responded that while he still uses Caps Lock regularly, "we don't often today have a reason to type addresses in all caps, which was the context in which the need for the key first manifested itself to me."
I would go a step further, and say that most of us don't often have a reason to type anything in all caps today... [A] toggle with the same functionality could easily be activated in a number of different ways for those who really want to write things in all capital letters. (Say, for example, double tapping the Shift key, like how it already works on your phone.) Caps Lock is one of the largest keys on a modern keyboard, and it's in one of the best spots -- right next to the home row. It's taking up prime real estate, and it's not paying its rent any more.
Have you ever been in the middle of typing something, and then you get the uneasy feeling thaT YOU FLEW TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN AND NOW YOU HAVE TO REWRITE YOUR WORDS? You're not alone. Accidentally activating Caps Lock is such a relatable mistake that it's the introductory example for a research paper about accessibility issues with modern computer interfaces. Caps Lock is so frequently engaged unintentionally that password fields in software have to include a "Caps Lock is on" warning.
I've heard of people re-mapping their keyboards so the Caps Lock key becomes "Esc" or "Ctrl." But maybe it comes down to consumers. If you were shopping for a computer and were told that it shipped without a Caps Lock key -- would you be more or less likely to buy it?
Share your own thoughts in the comments. Is it time to get rid of the Caps Lock key?
I like it for compose (I like to be able to type the áçcentêd characters on my otherwise standard US layout), and of course so many emacs users like it as a place for ctrl. On my newest laptop, where I haven't bothered remapping it yet, I keep hitting the thing at random and ending up stuck in caps-world, ugh.
I began yesterday with an idle visit to a certain news website where an opinion writer quipped a comparison between some current item and Garfield Minus Garfield. And because I hadn’t commenced my day’s work yet, this meant that I could bend the entirety of my mental attention towards an unresolved mystery that has bothered me ever since that particular bit of comics-remix tomfoolery rode its own shooting star, a few years back.
I summed it up in a tweet, thus:
I *swear* that “Garfield Minus Garfield” was *preceded* by a funnier variant (by another person?) that left Garfield in but erased his thought balloons. So it wasn’t a man screaming at nothing, it was a man screaming at his cat, staring silently. Objectively funnier; unfindable.
Delightfully, this within minutes had caught a double-digit amount of reactions from both friends and strangers, all of whom agreed with me that, yes, they all remembered something matching my description, and yes, it was funnier than Garfield Minus Garfield. As Leon Arnott so excellently summed it up, this dimly recalled work was basically the Threes to the other’s 2048: something amazing and original that became almost immediately eclipsed by an inferior clone, which then through some fluke managed to capture all the world’s love and attention — and leaving the fist thing’s tiny cadre of fans forever bitter at the injustice.
Expanding this a little: Garfield Minus Garfield turns the strip into nonsense, deriving its humor mainly by playing on life-long familiarity (for anyone born after 1970) with Garfield characters. Read with no cultural context, it merely depicts Garfield’s owner Jon as a gibbering lunatic, shouting at the walls of his empty home. Its untitled predecessor — let’s call it Garfield Can’t Talk — does better than this: it transforms Garfield’s greeting-card pabulum into the chronicle of a pathetic man who talks to his cat all day, and the cat responds only by staring back, or wandering off, or glancing wearily at the reader. Sometimes these staring silences stretch across multiple panels.
I would not make the case that Garfield Can’t Talk is a good comic strip; I wouldn’t want to read it daily, no more than I would its source material. But it did present the world with such a wonderful example of a purpose-built but elegant remix-filter: just cut this little bit out, and watch this comic strip about a snarky cat and his silly owner turn into that comic strip about an indifferent cat and his pathetic owner. When considered in this light, Garfield Minus Garfield feels like the creation of one who liked this a lot too, and thought that cutting out twice as much would make the result twice as funny, and thus missed the point entirely.
Anyway, I posted that tweet. And then a beautiful thing happened: so many of the people that it unexpectedly jolted on a Wednesday morning felt compelled to scour the web for evidence as to the forgotten project’s existence. Collectively, they did some excellent detective work, some of which you can see for yourself in the replies to my first tweet.
If I may summarize their findings: As best as anyone can tell, what I call Garfield Can’t Talk first appeared on the forums of Something Awful, a pre-Reddit cultural trash compactor responsible for a great deal of the infectious remix-catchphrasing of the early web. (Remember “All Your Base”?) It may have started to vector into the wider world by way of a now-defunct website called “Truth and Beauty Bombs”; this 2006 article by Eric Burns-White describes the phenomenon from a point of view contemporary with the game’s discovery, and points to an apparently lost-to-time thread elsewhere.
From these origins, other websites joined in on the fun, including this LiveJournal community (hollow with age, but with a few strips still clinging to its rusting skeleton), and these comics by Tailsteak. We can see how quickly folks started their own twists to the game, such as redrawing the strips from scratch in their own style, but otherwise remaining faithful to the originals. And Garfield Minus Garfield seems to have begun in that spirit: well, what if we erased even more, ha ha? And then, because nothing in life needs to make sense, that became the permutation that caught the world’s favor for a while.
Interestingly, the subtler humor of Garfield Can’t Talk looks like it gets independently rediscovered and re-implemented every so often in our fallen, post Garfield Minus Garfield world. See, for example, Realfield, which finds another in-between spot for the gag, replacing every appearance of Garfield with a more realistically drawn (and therefore always blank-faced) orange cat. See also Silent Garfield, which apparently re-posts a pared down Garfield strip as soon as the original appears on its own website, with a mechanical fervor that cares little for the humor value of the result.
So, that’s my report to the internet on this topic. I wasn’t imagining this older, funnier Garfield permutation, and neither were you. Some, indeed, keep its candle lit, more than a dozen years later, standing in the long shadow of Garfield Minus Garfield. This BoingBoing article re-discovered the joy of the original joke in 2014, describing it as something new. I see this as emblematic as anything that for long as Garfield continues, people will continue to rediscover and re-share this mutation of it.
I shall conclude by noting how my pal Joe misread me as casting shade on the more popular work. I do not mean to disparage Garfield Minus Garfield, or suggest that it does not deserve the attention and financial reward that it caught. I merely claim its utter inferiority to that which came before. Indeed, I can only find it on-brand for a late-aughts web project to have taken the sloppy beauty of a many-handed effort spread across multiple domains, and create fame and fortune for one artist through a slickly packaged effort that all but snuffed out any cultural awareness for its predecessor.