A few months ago, I bought a combination smoke / carbon monoxide detector for the house. Last week, I finally got around to installing it in the bedroom. The unit is mounted approximately one foot from the southeast corner of the room. It’s out of the way of the ceiling fan, the window, and the cable box, so that circulated air and remote control signals won’t interfere with its operation. I followed the installation instructions to a T, and was awfully proud of myself until the unit started beeping uncontrollably. “Testing,” it announced before launching into a series of shrill noises. “The carbon monoxide level is zero.” These random outbursts continued throughout the week until I yanked the unit from the wall and set it down on the kitchen table, hoping it would cool out. “Testing,” indeed.
Archive for the ‘Free Range’ Category
A few years ago, my girlfriend’s mom became fond of referencing the Muffin Man in everyday conversation. She kept it up for a few months, and would always mention the character in threes, like in the nursery rhyme. My girlfriend got tired of this refrain rather quickly, but it always gave me a chuckle. I even got a chuckle remembering it today, after reading this strip.
As human beings, we all carry a proverbial mortality buzzer around with us from day to day. And just like the buzzers they hand out in restaurants to tell us when our table is ready, we have no idea when it’s going to go off. We can monitor the situation by asking for approximate wait times, but we can never be sure when those red flights will flash, accompanied by that dull, vibrating sound. I suppose the best we can do is to cherish our time on earth and to not twiddle our thumbs as if impatiently waiting for a dinner table.
Here it is, the essence of America’s Cold War policy of nuclear deterrence summed up in a single panel. Volumes of history would enrich one’s knowledge of the subject, but they couldn’t do a better job of teaching the basic concept. I guess it would be more accurate if the cavemen were examining an arsenal of 10,000 giant clubs, but the basic idea is still there.
I’ve never understood why some computers warn you against emptying your trash bin. I would assume that dragging a file to the trash would be a pretty good indication that you want to be rid of it. Then again, I’ve seen trash bins littered with hundreds, even thousands, of files. That’s the digital equivalent of garbage spilling onto the floor, and a good indication that it’s time to take out the trash. Hell, it doesn’t even require a trip to the alley.
Today’s Free Range takes its cues from that greatest of single-panel strips, The Far Side. Not only do we have an abundance of cows, but the joke is reminiscent of a Gary Larson classic in which a bovine is berated for grilling hamburgers. But what gets me is the cow delivering the eulogy. Maybe the cartoonist wanted to convey sadness, but that doesn’t look like a grieving cow to me. It looks more like a tired, drug-addled cow, which is even sadder.
I’m not a big fan of neckties. They’re tight, they require buttoning the top button of a shirt, and I always have to tie them two or three times to get the length just right. So the prospect of being born with one makes me uncomfortable. Aside from being a choking hazard, the tie seems to suggest that junior will be beholden to a life of financial pressures brought on by a service-dominated economy. Some day soon, he’ll be back down to three hairs just like papa.