Nick Anderson's take on net neutrality is both accurate in its assessment and its prescription.
"Explaining it" will quickly put things into the category of "this book told me more than I wanted to know about penguins."
It's like trying to explain a timing belt to the average driver. It doesn't matter what the timing belt does, particularly to someone whose knowledge of how cars work is limited to where the gas goes in and how to check the oil (maybe).
You can go on all you like about how people should know these things, but the bottom line is, they don't. Just tell them that, if they don't change their timing belt at around 70,000 miles, it will break and their engine will blow up.
Even though you are aware that, these days, engines just shut down with a clunk when the timing belt breaks.
Yes, I'm old enough to remember all that talking about packets and handshakes and if you understand it, well, good.
There was also a time when automobile owners cranked their engines and adjusted their carburetors and patched their tires by the roadside and cursed those newbies Sunday drivers who didn't know all that stuff.
Times change and both computers and cars are now engineered for people to just ... use them.
Futility isn't the worst of it, either. I don't care if you waste your time, but the more confusion you pile on, the more they will seek a savior.
That makes them vulnerable to the "Eeek! More Gummint Reggilation!" people already springing up to simplify things for them by putting it all in the hands of private industry, the professionals who understand those difficult, technical parts.
And Scott Stantis makes his point with eloquent simplicity.
Rather than get all technical -- though the slowing down of kitty vids is persuasive -- he makes an easier political point: You are delivering your Internet into the hands of those people who can't seem to show up on time and who, when they do, don't solve the problem and who keep switching channels without telling you and who continually raise rates.
He's going to catch flak on this both from the True Believers who trust Big Business to operate in their interests and from the inflexible nerds who will point out the flaws in his simple explanation.
But here's the thing: Oatmeal has a long, detailed and funny-in-its-passion explanation of how this all works. It's wonderful and it won't make a damned bit of difference because he's preaching to the choir.
Anderson and Stantis have the message that could preserve Net Neutrality:
Comcast want to control your cat videos.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Norm Feuti and Darrin Bell have some grave thoughts today.
"He died before his time" is silly, though it's not as vacuously stupid as "The good die young," a supposedly comforting statement that I don't find flattering, given that I'm eight years older than Hitler was when he died, and which, in turn, makes my 90-year-old mother some kind of super villain.
But, yes, if you believe people have a "time" then it stands to reason that they can't die before it. And if you don't believe that, then you should probably stop saying it.
Meanwhile, citing Zeno's paradox ties into a conversation I had the other day about Dunbar, Yossarian's buddy in Catch-22 who seeks out boredom in order to make his life at least seem longer, given that he has no control over how soon he will die.
As the pieces of your life grow shorter, you have to make sure you aren't enjoying them, so they will seem longer. “Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it”
Actually, Catch-22 covers most of the bases and what better time of year is there to cite Yossarian's thoughts upon the overall topic?
I remember editing an obit once for a fellow who was 89 years old and died "unexpectedly" and thinking, man, he was one optimistic sonofabitch.
Meanwhile, over in Stone Soup, they're looking not quite so far into the future, in an arc that I think is mostly about meddling, as Val's mention of the empty nest she'll face one day has been met with a barrage of pressure to marry her long-time boyfriend, Phil.
As someone who has been empty-nested for the better part of 20 years, I can say that the only part of this that makes sense to me is that Phil is a cop and probably has a good pension (if some hotshot politician doesn't decide the city should renege on its promises).
Otherwise, the result will just be two old broke people and, while I've occasionally thought how nice it would be to have twice the Social Security in a few years, it's always been hard for me to contemplate love -- or much of anything else -- in fiduciary terms.
What I actually ponder from time to time is this: Am I happy living alone because I so value my independence, or have I simply drifted into absurd eccentricity for lack of anyone around to say, "What the hell are you doing now?"
In any case, it's too late to ask that question now because, whatever the hell it is, I'm pretty much used to doing it.
I'm a bit like the old Irish farmer who'd been walking out with Eileen every evening, and one night they're standing on the bridge in the twilight as they do each evening and she says, "D'ye know it's 20 years we've been walking out together?"
And he thinks a bit and says, "You're right. It is that."
"We're neither of us getting any younger," says she.
And he thinks a bit and says, "You're right. We're not."
"Well," she offers, "don't you think it's time we thought about getting married?"
And he thinks a bit longer and sighs. "Aye, girl, but, sure, who'd have us now?"
An' now, boy jazuz, here's yer moment o'zen