33 Comments

  1. A bad thing. (She is a kid, after all.) It might not be 4 or so months of sea sickness, but it’s still hours in a car, allowing minimal movement, and having to listen to NPR.

  2. No, Singapore Bill: Mrs. Olson thinks turkeys can fly, Caulfield will mock her for it, and Frazz will encourage his behavior by making an obscure reference nobody else will understand

  3. Kamino Neko has it @1. NPR is wonderful to listen to for an adult, but kids are more likely to want to listen to music or story CDs. When we get in the car for a long trip, I always check the Berlin NPR station (104.1 FM), just to see whether something interesting or funny is running (such as “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me“), before I let the kids pick something else. They always win in the long run, because that FM station doesn’t reach very far outside of the Berlin “beltway”.

  4. “In today’s terms”? Two months then are two months now… aren’t they?

    I was expecting something more overtly topical, like, “in today’s terms, the Pilgrims were a caravan of illegals slowly making their way towards Plymouth Rock.”

  5. Certainly a bad thing for a kid… or me, even. NPR offers a wealth of good information and discussion, but it is for the most part just so dryly and uninterestingly presented. Doubly-so for a child, I expect.

    I get “stuck” listening to NPR quite often as I carpool with a couple of fellow employees on frequent work trips and I tire of it quickly. I appreciate that it serves its audience well, but I just do not think I’m ever going to ever be a part of it.

  6. NPR bad/Captain not forcing it good…

    It’s clear.

    The kid is describing the Mayflower crossing as long, Frazz adds the hellish nature of seasickness, the girl compares it to the drive to grandmas house which, is not so bad. Frazz points out with an “although” in favor of the Mayflower crossing (purely for the sake of argument).

  7. I remember trips to my grandma’s where the long car ride was made even longer by father’s selection of radio station. I doubt the average third grader appreciates “Fresh Air.” However, most third graders today would have some sort of device and a pair of earbuds to drown it out.

    Given their location in a small town in rural western Michigan, I’m sure that Frazz, Mrs. Olsen, Caulfield and the rest are all quite aware that turkeys– the wild kind– CAN fly. We even see them from time to time in the outer suburbs of Detroit.

  8. I agree that today (and a generation ago) headphones are available to keep ones listening to oneself. However, generally speaking, the driver oughtn’t be using them. And a difference between “kids these days” and their parents is that these days, if you’re giving kids headphones for a car trip, you have (if you’re lucky) gotten them kids’ headphones, and forbidden them from overriding the volume limit. So if someone is listening to the radio, the kids are listening to it too. (Yes, we all got told not to put our headphones too loud, but I know that some of my hearing damage can be traced back to “only barely loud enough to drown other stuff out can’t possibly be too loud” when I was a kid)

  9. Woozy, it’s a reference to the WKRP Thanksgiving show where Les Nessman, near the end, says, “[…] I thought turkeys could fly.”

  10. When I was a kid, we listened to the AM radio in the car. Dad usually let us pick the station.
    When Dad was a kid, most cars didn’t have radios.
    When Grandpa was a kid, most people didn’t have cars.
    When Great-Grandpa was a kid, “Over the river and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow.”

  11. “I think people got the reference, but it’s not clear the relevance.”

    Okay, …. I just figured it out.

    Bill said “A God is my witness ….” which is the lead in to “I thought Turkeys could fly” and that’s why Singapore Bill brought it up. I guess Bill was referencing it on purpose.

    Without that connection this discussion made about as much sense as asking whether Frazz put an envelope under a half pile of garbage or if Frazz knows how to cook anything other than toast, popcorn and espresso.

  12. I’m with larK on expecting something different from the time-line and “in today’s terms”. You know those descriptions of, say, the history of the universe as a single year? And the Earth solidified in August or whatever, and human recorded history is since December 15th, etc etc.? So something like that — but maybe a different base line.

  13. I think she meant that the pilgrims began when we started school but minus 398 years and they arrived two weeks ago but minus 398 years.

    Actually when I first read it a thought she was going to go with the pilgrims were intolerant religious extremists whose radicalization couldn’t allow them to coexist in modern Europe.

    But I’m cynical…

  14. It isn’t Les Nessman who says the line– it is the “big guy” (Arthur Carlson). Les provides most of the set up, though.

  15. But there are different types of NPR stations. One Boston affiliate, run by University of Massachusetts, Boston, plays almost all music. The music is a great variety of songs that are generally don’t fit Top-40 Pop or Country commercial radio formats: folk, blues, Americana, etc., with some ’70s-’80s rock thrown in.

    A couple of things I enjoy regarding the other NPR stations that do play “Fresh Air” and the news discussion segments, etc., are the weekend quiz shows and “This American Life”. Those are fun.

  16. It’s ‘in today’s terms’ because it’s something she can grasp. Merely ‘months’ is abstract. ‘From when you started school to 10 school days ago’ is perfectly in a kid’s ability to process the passage of time. It’s like measuring the length random objects in football fields.

  17. Woozy, et al: Hubby often says my conversations go from A to Z, and he can’t follow my train of thought . . . and I think the ‘As god is my witness, . . . ‘ is an example of that. Think fast!

  18. Several months ago, we had a ‘gang’ of wild turkeys walk right up to our front door (we live in a nature conservancy, surrounded by a golf course, so you never know WHAT you’ll see); all of them put together (maybe 20) wouldn’t make for one good meal. And I didn’t know they could fly, either; this ‘gang’ was walking through the neighborhood; no idea what they were looking for.


    (the flamingos are fake ‘-))

  19. Mitch4: I know you meant it as a throw-away example, but my brain is just too pedantic: if the age of the Universe is a year, then our recorded civilization starts December 31, 24:00 (it’s not even a rounding error…). The Earth coalescing I don’t have a feel for… about 4 billion years, so if the Universe is 13 Billion, August would be about right, but actually, how old is the Universe? Hey, look at that: 13.8 billion!

    And again, I’m sorry, I know how you meant it.

  20. @woozy

    Yes, it was a reference to the WKRP thing sparked by CIDUBill’s use of the “As God is my witness…” lead in. Around this Usonion Thanksgiving CIDUBill usually posts that video clip. I expect it will be tomorrow. I wanted to hint it was coming and I, for one, was anticipating it.

  21. You’re right, larK, I was just after reminding people who have seen this sort of timeline, and even while typing realized my quantities were not going to hold water. I think typically one of these would be presented with a graphic, which would EITHER be on a logarithmic scale OR would be a series of segments each on its own scale, and expanding as it gets toward today.

    In any event, the comparison in the comic wouldn’t work like that at all. The length of the voyage is being compared to the length of the school year so far, as equal. No scaling! Just shifted. The only thing resembling scaling is the comparison to the trip to Grandma’s, and that isn’t really about a scale factor, it’s a simple inequality.

  22. woozy says: “ I think she meant that the pilgrims began when we started school but minus 398 years and they arrived two weeks ago but minus 398 years.

    Yes, and that’s what I meant by “shifted but not scaled”. It’s the same length of time.

  23. Grawlix, I generally assume when people say “listening to NPR,” they’re referring to the NPR network shows (TAL, etc) rather than the Cincinnati affiliate’s farm reports program.

  24. When I drive home from Manhattan it can take me 2 hours or more for the trip. I found the local NPR stations (AM works better to the Queens/Nassau line, then in Nassau the FM works better and they are the same broadcast). It is a god send. The other two news stations repeat every 20 minutes. The same things repeated at least 6 times in that short a period can make one scream – and mostly it is weather and incorrect traffic reports (or it would take me only 45 minutes to drive home).

  25. “Maybe the turkeys had the wrong date for trick or treat?”

    We thought the same.

    The next day, we had a buck and two does at the door, eating a low-hanging wreath.

    The wildlife (animal version) is fascinating here; coyotes, alligators, armadillos, wood storks, herons and cranes . . .

  26. @Meryl A – I was on workterm in Toronto when the transit union staged a wildcat strike. The office radio was turned to the CBC that day, and because the strike was a big enough deal to make national news, they played essentially the same clip every half hour (local and national news) all day long. I probably could have tolerated it (maybe enjoyed seeing the small changes that happened?) if it wasn’t such a PITA to be in the middle of.

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