Was Ist Das?

Every morning, I rummage through my digital files and find an old cartoon that doesn’t embarrass me, and I show it to you. What I choose from is a written directory of file names, which usually gives me a clue as to the topic of an old comic strip if not a direct mental image of a specific strip. This morning, I ran across a file tag that included the word “komikern.” I thought, “What th’ heck is ‘komikern?’ That doesn’t sound familiar!” Well, it was this oldie from 2006. This is what I was talking about the other day: the speed with which technology moves on. A decade ago, I was doing jokes based on the menu presented at the beginning of video DVDs, which seemed quirky and vaguely threatening at the time. Of course, kids understood it all innately. Today? DVDs? Kids? Fuhgidaboudit! Of course, it doesn’t help that by the time I am conversant enough in something new that I can draw a cartoon about it, that “something new” is already out the door.

Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

43 responses to “Was Ist Das?

  1. We are really getting a lot of technologies intermixed. I know people who still use cassette players. Personally I miss the VCR. I liked recording events as they happened to hear the commentators of the day. Another fun thing is to watch the commercials at the time.

  2. What exactly would embarrass you about an old strip? An artistic experiment you decided wasn’t working? A joke that doesn’t work after 10 years? I think the people who come here enjoy seeing and learning about the process, and are happy to see the old strips; don’t worry about us.

    I don’t show you those! Believe me, they’re there. — JJ

  3. With today’s smart tv’s, could you hook up an external drive to use as you would have used a VCR?

    I wish I had bought one of those combination VCR/DVD recorders so I could have transferred all the things I had recorded off the air. When I moved I threw away 3 boxes of VHS tapes I could no longer watch because my VCR had died and I couldn’t find another one.

    We actually purchased a real DVD player this year for an unfortunate, backward, totally out of it relative. They’re down to about 30 bucks, but they exist. — JJ

  4. I once worked with a British company called Whizz Computing. Their slogan was: “If you’re where it’s at, we’ve already been there.”

    More relevant now than ever.

  5. Tried looking up a translation of Janis’ German dialogue. Turns out that Komikern actually means comedians and comic strip is … Comicstrip. See, we all know some German already.

  6. L’academie française is supposed to protect the sublime French language from such atrocities, but if you phone a French outfit, the receptionist is apt to say, ” ‘allo .” Paix,

  7. This may be your Anglo-centric ear hearing a cockney accent where there is not one. The telephone came into heavy use in English speaking populations, then exported to other cultures. The habitual form of greeting, spoken naturally by a Francophone would drop the initial aitch. But I defer to villagers more traveled than I.

    Allo! Oui, ici Jeanette, qui parle?

  8. ” ‘Allo” was standard French phone response in ’52, and later in ’85, probably not influenced by Cockney as much as by standard French elided “h”. Odd that they elide the h even when they retain “Le”, as in Le Havre. Rex Harrison: “The French don’t care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.”

  9. Bein venue!

    I have no idea, and think that is probably incorrect. It is how I hear a line from the musical Cabaret. The Jeanette line above was an introductory French textbook, a slim purple covered workbook from a Junior High course, well worn, may have been years old by the time it came to me. But for some reason that line has stuck with me.

    It was the first in a dialog to be performed by paired students, aloud for the class. Because many pairings did not progress very far, this was by far the most frequently heard line, as everyone started over from the top. Again. And again. Jut allors!

  10. My favorite quote regarding German came from Mark Twain:

    “Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, this is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.”

  11. bitte hören sie jezt gut, aber sprechen sie nicht noch

    This phrase sticks with me because it preceded every recorded lesson used in the two German classes I took in college. Meaning is simply, please listen well, but don’t say anything yet.

  12. jetzt, dropped a t. And German seems like a linguistic Lego set. When they need a word for something they just keep adding existing words together till they get what they were after.

    As Mark Twain put it: An average sentence, in a German newspaper, is a sublime and impressive curiosity; it occupies a quarter of a column; it contains all the ten parts of speech — not in regular order, but mixed; it is built mainly of compound words constructed by the writer on the spot, and not to be found in any dictionary — six or seven words compacted into one, without joint or seam — that is, without hyphens; it treats of fourteen or fifteen different subjects, each inclosed in a parenthesis of its own, with here and there extra parentheses which reinclose three or four of the minor parentheses, making pens within pens: finally, all the parentheses and reparentheses are massed together between a couple of king-parentheses, one of which is placed in the first line of the majestic sentence and the other in the middle of the last line of it — after which comes the VERB, and you find out for the first time what the man has been talking about; and after the verb — merely by way of ornament, as far as I can make out — the writer shovels in“haben sind gewesen gehabt haben geworden sein,” or words to that effect, and the monument is finished.

  13. A German word that I ran across while inserting appropriate artwork into a set of manuals being translated by a local company:


    In English that would be X-Ray Cart. The German manual was thickest, then came the Italian and French, followed by the English and, thinnest of all, the Spanish.

    BTW, it’s not particularly cold here at 27F, but with the wind gusting up to 35 mph, it’s a three-dog night.

  14. Back in grad school, we had an expression indicating displeasure with something or other – as innocuous as losing a card game or as serious as having one’s research “scooped” via an article in a current journal. “Ich habe gehabt geworden sein!” Supposedly, it meant ‘I have been had!”, but doesn’t really mean anything. It served mainly to impress those who didn’t know German.

  15. Good morning Villagers….

    Going to be in the 50’s here today….(dang kitteh won’t stay of my keyboard)..then it’s all down hill. No snow though, just cold.

    GR, how’s Jackie?

    This kitteh just doesn’t get it that I need to hands to type.

    be back later…..

  16. Jackie has laryngitis, strained vocal chords from whooping cough. My plastic surgeon said he was emergency room and put me on antibiotics and cough syrup. Sent me home to bed.

    If it gets worse I will go get chest xray I had one last Thursday in emergency room and if was clear tben, my lungs and heart too, did EKG and CT scan.

    Cancer is serious s#$× isn’t it?

  17. Always optimistic I just ordered a sleigh load of garden seeds on the $1 a packet sale.

    Lots of heirloom tomato seeds. Only Mark and Lora live owe enough to share plants. I love starting seeds and always give myself seeds for Christmas

  18. That’s the problem with chemo. It is basically killing you, with the hope of killing the cancer faster. With good preventative care and quick intervention on problems (which you seem to be getting, Jackie) it usually does get the cancer without getting the patient. Keep on Truckin’!

  19. Yes, the chemo killed my late husband. They just stopped it totally,, sent him home to die weighing about 120 pounds. He would not admit truth and convinced himself he was cured. He rehabilitated himself and told everyone he had beat cancer.

    It spread of course and was terminal when he went back ninty days later.

    My goal is to not get behind on chemo. I have one more of the really bad ones on January 2. Then three weeks later I begin weekly chemo.

  20. Sideburns: 51F can feel either balmy or cold depending on the wind speed and where you’ve just been. Coming out of a walk-in freezer it’d be wonderful. Climbing into a rig sitting at a truck stop in Phoenix during August, with the AC on high, it’d be frigid.

  21. My sister is a bc survivor, albeit after a mastectomy ca. 2000. She has suffered through 3 “bad diagnoses” and a few more scares. The latest was just a scare. She just today received confirmation that the suspicious area was totally OK, as was the rest of her chest area. That’s a nice Christmas present to receive. Thanks be to God.

    I wish you similar good news in your future, JM.

  22. Question for eMb, inspired by a current tv commercial:

    When a cervid decides it needs to attack/defend with its feet, does it use the front of the hoof or the bottom of the hoof – or both? If I were to make the parallel to humans, is the cervid kicking as a human would kick a football extra point or as a human might step on unwanted bugs?

    Does it vary with the type of cervid?

  23. Jackie is plodding if not leaping along . I drank my Apple juice and forgot the antibiotics! More fluids please!

    Just wrapped the gifts to our help and put big bows. It took Ghosts help on big ones. He hid some out in Bullet and should have hid all. Misti kept finding them where he’d put them and think they were .mine.

    Today he said “Look at the color Misti, turquoise. They Re yours.”

    I do use turquoise and aqua as an accent color but we are trying to inspire her to brighten her life and surrounding with color and joy. She loves peachy pinks and turquoise aqua shades, a big jump from grays, blacks and dull browns
    Always told audiences that color comes for free with the product so why not use it?

  24. People? Must be out buying last minute presents. Just learned, via:


    that the most [in]famous member of the Cornell class of ’51, Clifford Irving, has died of pancreatic ca. at 87. I’ve outlived him by a yr or so, but have had only 1 wife; his surviving widow is #5. I’m also less noted, but more honest, probably more reverent, and I think maybe happier. He may have been the better writer; have never read any of his stuff, and it’s not on my short list. I’m probably a stricter Strunkian. He grew up on the Upper West Side, I in the Village. Small world.


  25. Jimmy, I know what Arlo means. Some statements always come in multiple parts. And at 6’5″, I’ve been called on a lot to reach things in high places.

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