Sunday Stealing: interrobang

Rob and Laura Petrie

This week’s Sunday Stealing doesn’t have a title. But it does feature the interrobang.

1. If you could have a remote control that could pause time, what would you do with it?

There are two contrasting responses to this question. I wish I had said X, didn’t say Y, or didn’t do Z. Those moments, some from years or decades ago, and at least one from the past week, I wish I could take back.

On the other hand, many of those moments led to something else, much of which I’m very grateful for. On balance, I’m leaning towards Que Sera Sera.

2. What’s the silliest thing you believed as a child that you wish were true now?

I had a series of dreams as recently as a year or two ago that I could fly maybe 10 meters above the ground. I could get from place to place much faster. Silly isn’t how I would describe it, though.

3. If your life had a theme song that played every time you entered a room, what song would it be?

Roger Ramjet cartoon theme because when I was kid, some kids would sing it to me. I might as well lean into it.

4. If you were a vegetable, and someone accidentally ate you, what would you want them to say after the first bite?

“You taste terrible!”

Strawberry Letter 23

5. If you were a flavor of ice cream, which one would you be, and why?

Strawberry because I like strawberry ice cream. The local milk company Stewart’s doesn’t sell half gallons of strawberry ice cream alone; it only sells it as part of a Neapolitan package. There may be a vanilla and strawberry combo, and strawberry pints are available. So, I am countering against strawberry ice cream discrimination.

6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever googled or searched for on the internet?

This is difficult because I search for many things that someone else might think are weird. As a librarian, I often looked for things I didn’t even understand; I found articles to explain the concept so I could fulfill the research request. There was a question in the 1990s with some sexual, albeit legal, component – I no longer recall the specifics – and one librarian was uncomfortable working on the query. I wasn’t bothered by it.

7. If your pet could suddenly talk, what do you think it would say to you first?

This presupposes my cats cannot talk. When breakfast is a few minutes late, Midnight caterwauls, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”

8. If you were a character in a video game, what would be your special move?

The power to disappear, a function I sometimes wish I had IRL.


9. What’s the most bizarre item you’ve ever bought online?

Bizarre is not the word I would use. But I have purchased books for very small pieces of information. For instance, in mid-2023, I purchased the book African-Americans in the Wyoming Valley, 1778-1990 by  Emerson and Moss because it had three brief references to Samuel J. Patterson, one of my great-great-grandfathers who fought in the American Civil War. Now I’m glad I did because the tome I purchased for $30 now goes for $200. 

10. If you could replace the sound of one everyday activity with your own voice, which activity would you choose?

I don’t want to hear the sound of my own voice.

Question mark? Exclamation point!

11. If you were a punctuation mark, which one would you be, and how would you punctuate people’s sentences?

What you’ve been waiting for – the interrobang, (‽), which “is a blend of Latin interrogātiō (examination, inquiry, interrogation, questioning) +‎ bang (exclamation mark, exclamation point), coined in a 1962 article in the journal TYPEtalks by American advertising executive Martin K. Speckter (1915–1988), who invented the symbol.” It’s generally used in response to those WTH moments in life.

From here: “The interrobang is great for rhetorical questions. You know, those questions that are asked to make a point, and an answer is not needed or even required. ‘What business is it of yours75px-Interrobang.svg‘– Statement, not a question – do not answer, back away!

12. If you could have any celebrity be your personal assistant for a day, who would it be, and what tasks would you assign them?

I could use an assistant to type, clean, and cook. I understand Julia Roberts can cook. I’d love for her to tell me about how ML and Coretta Scott King paid the hospital bill for her birth.

Bob and Ray

13. What would be the worst “buy one, get one free” sale item ever?

A Komodo dragon.

14. If you could trade places with any fictional character from a book or movie, who would it be, and what would you do differently in their story?

As I’m disinclined to change the plot of my own life, I am equally not interested in doing that for a fictional character. Besides, with the multiverse, that alternate version probably exists anyway.

15. If you had to live inside a TV show for a month, which show would you pick, and why?

The Dick Van Dyke Show. I watched it religiously as a kid and wanted to be friends with young Ritchie because I thought his parents, Rob and Laura, were cool.

Autumnal start, drinking, poetry, Internety stuff

It’s usually white wine, or occasionally something with Jack Daniels, Kahuala, vodka, or rum.

Elizabeth asked, in response to Ask Roger Anything (and YOU still can):

Why do they call the Autumnal Equinox the beginning of Fall when it is already Fall? Likewise, the Winter Solstice isn’t the beginning of winter but well along into winter?

Why do “they” say anything? Why do they still use foot/pound? From Wikipedia: “Some cultures regard the autumnal equinox as mid-autumn, others with a longer lag treat it as the start of autumn. Meteorologists (and most of the temperate countries in the southern hemisphere) use a definition based on months, with autumn being September, October, and November in the northern hemisphere, and March, April, and May in the southern hemisphere.

“In North America, autumn is usually considered to start with the September equinox. In traditional East Asian solar term, autumn starts on or around 8 August and ends on about 7 November.”

The answer, therefore, is American exceptionalism. That said, I never liked the fact that holidays commemorating dead soldiers and workers essentially frame summer.

New York Erratic must actually be from New Jersey because there are a lot of questions:

When you drink, is it beer, cider, wine, or mixed drinks?

When I first started drinking, which was when I was 18 – it was legal then – I did a lot of trial and error. I started with mixed drinks, mostly the sweet ones like a Tom Collins, eventually discovering rum and Coke, and 7 (7-Up) and 7 (Seagram’s Seven). Also white wine, but red gave me raging headaches.

But I could never drink beer. I would go out with folks and they’d share a pitcher or two, while I was drinking something else, which was both isolating and more expensive.

Now, it’s usually white wine, or occasionally something with Jack Daniels, Kaluha, vodka, or rum. NOT beer, not vermouth, and not gin.

What are your favorite flavor and favorite smell?

Strawberry (my favorite ice cream, yogurt), and bread baking, respectively.

Do you remember something better when you hear it out loud or when you read it?

Definitely NOT hearing it, unless it’s learning music. Preferably both, such as hearing someone’s name while reading the nametag. People giving me instructions for a computer orally is almost useless; I may not get it visually, but at least I can read it again.

So what do you think is up with the whole “dual personality” of the Internet age? How many people do you think have alternate personas – or multiple personas – online? And what do you think that is doing for the culture?

I found out only recently that someone who has a pseudonym on the Times Union site, and comments on several blogs, is someone who apparently has known me for a long time. He’s much more a jerk than he was in real life; this COULD mean he’s turned into a jerk, OR it could mean that being behind the shield of anonymity has allowed him to become a jerk.

I essentially reposted an article about a Tulsa, OK website disallowing anonymous comments, and it generated a lot of comments, mostly negative. Fear of harassing and threatening e-mail, for instance. Conversely, one guy “decided some time ago to post comments on the TU as me. I’ll admit that it keeps any snark I might be tempted to exhibit under control. It keeps one more civil than one might be posting anonymously…a good thing IMO.”

How many people post anonymously? I have no idea. But, I’ve discovered it’s a long-standing virtue; see this article from 1995. There are about 2.7 billion people on the Internet. Some don’t care who knows what about them, and another group has concluded that the NSA already knows.

Is it why people seem ruder? Possible, but there are so many variables, it’s difficult to isolate. Maybe it’s the fault of twerking.

Is there an optimum level of technology?

No. That’s because whatever technology is created, someone can build upon it. That’s why, not incidentally, I oppose these expanded copyright laws that protect the copyright holder for life plus 75 years. The reason the Constitution says “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. (Article 1, Section Eight) was to allow for innovation, not to reward copyright holders for long periods.

Do you ever (or have you ever) written fiction or poetry?

Never fiction, although I did have, in my mind some years ago, a roman a clef about my previous church choir experience.

My girlfriend in the late 1970s/early 1980s was a poet. She went to poetry workshops, and I went with her sometimes, so eventually, I tried writing. I never found “my voice,” or whatever; I never “got” it.

The Lydster, Part 99: Her Father’s Daughter

We’ve been singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” together.

For years, part of the running shtick between my wife and me has been this: I ask her a question. She responds to the question. Then I ask the question again, because, while I have some information, I often don’t have the ANSWER. I must say that, early on, it used to drive me crazy. Now, I just recognize it as just the way it is.

Here’s an example from a couple of months ago. I had seen some fresh strawberries in the refrigerator earlier, so I asked her where they had gone. She replied, “Well, I was going to make strawberry shortcake, but that fell by the wayside.” Puzzled, I was about to say, “Oh..kay, honey…but where are the strawberries?” which was my actual question. But instead, Lydia said, “But mommy, where are the strawberries?” I had a VERY difficult time not breaking into uncontrollable laughter. Lydia reacted the same as I did. And worse, she knew it.

We also do a lot of singing together. She has a CD of cover versions of a wide variety of songs, from pop tunes to patriotic songs. We’ve been singing “Build Me Up, Buttercup” together. But “Take Me Home, Country Road” is usually her solo performance.

Of course, there are things that Lydia gravitates towards my wife’s interests, such as watching/participating in figure skating or sharing conversations about clothing and jewelry. Still, I’m happy about when she and I connect.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial