Cidu Bill on Dec 19th 2012

What is it he’s saying he now kinda likes?

Filed in Alison Barrows, Bill Bickel, CIDU, Christmas trees, Preteena, comic strips, comics, humor | 48 responses so far

48 Responses to “Fake”

  1. Kit Dec 19th 2012 at 12:05 am 1

    He kinda likes the houseplants being decorated.

  2. Elyrest Dec 19th 2012 at 12:14 am 2

    Yep, Dad thinks that the plants look great all holidayed up. I’ve done this before myself and it can look great. I do have to admit that I have also been known to decorate a birdcage stand with twinkly lights too - no bird involved.

  3. Dr. Shrinker Dec 19th 2012 at 01:31 am 3

    But then what does “Take a hint” mean?

    I thought the whole thing was a thinly-veiled reference to breast enhancement. As in “I kinda like the fake ones.”

  4. furrykef Dec 19th 2012 at 02:01 am 4

    I think the “take a hint” means “Go get a real Christmas tree, you jackass.”

  5. Kamino Neko Dec 19th 2012 at 02:21 am 5

    Yeah, Jeri and Teena are trying to convince him to go get a real tree, by decorating the houseplants instead of the fake tree.

    It kind of backfires on them because he thinks the decorated houseplants look kind of cool.

  6. pepperjackcandy Dec 19th 2012 at 02:28 am 6

    Granted, I am a fake Christmas tree girl, myself. However, if someone passed a law outlawing fake trees, I would choose to decorate my houseplants (which live outdoors, since I have cats) over forcing an arboreal corpse to maintain the semblance of life for a few weeks.

  7. The Vicar Dec 19th 2012 at 04:31 am 7

    Better yet, if you’re a homeowner, plant a small evergreen in your front yard where it is visible from your windows, and put lights on it. All the cheer, none of the “I killed a tree for a couple of weeks of marginal gratificiation” guilt. (Or pet attacks. Or difficulty disposing of the corpse afterwards, or rush to do it on a civic-determined tree collection date.) You can get a living evergreen which will be large enough to decorate without looking silly in a couple of years for only a little more than the price of a good “live” tree, and over time you’ll save money. And if you surround it with a little area of wood chip mulch and some sort of border, you have that much less lawn to mow.

  8. Morris Keesan Dec 19th 2012 at 10:00 am 8

    Goyim do the strangest things.

  9. Rainey Dec 19th 2012 at 11:28 am 9

    Most of the skeletons people hang up during Halloween are also fake.

  10. Elyrest Dec 19th 2012 at 11:54 am 10

    I like that “most” part, Rainey. My Dad’s a doctor so naturally many of his friends/acquaintances were also. I remember, as a kid, going over to one doctor friend’s house at Halloween. This man was “ancient” - he went to medical school just after WWI - and he had a real skeleton. He brought it out front and center every year just so we kids could be properly “frightened”.

  11. James Pollock Dec 19th 2012 at 11:55 am 11

    You people have no holiday spirit. Now go kill a tree for Jesus!

  12. Cidu Bill Dec 19th 2012 at 11:59 am 12

    I wonder whether a Chanukah tree would miraculously last for eight seasons.

  13. John in Tronna Dec 19th 2012 at 12:59 pm 13

    Especially if you lit it on fire each night like a candle. Now that’s a miracle.

  14. Morris Keesan Dec 19th 2012 at 01:06 pm 14

    “Chanukah tree”? When I was young, I knew a some people with Christmas envy who had a “Chanukah bush”, but I never saw anyone go as far as decorating a tree.

    Of course, if you were going to light the bush on fire, I would worry about people hearing voices from inside it.

  15. Nitric Acid Dec 19th 2012 at 01:19 pm 15

    Rainey- the skeletons used at Hallowe’en aren’t harvested, displayed, and thrown away every year. You generally keep them and display them again next year.

    Especially if they’re real.

  16. Cidu Bill Dec 19th 2012 at 01:46 pm 16

    I meant “Chanukah tree” hypothetically of course, Morris. As to Chanukah bushes, I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never personally known anybody whose Christmas envy was severe enough to require one.

  17. Cidu Bill Dec 19th 2012 at 01:47 pm 17

    Never had a Christmas tree myself… but frankly, I’m quite creeped out by the thought of having a tree in my living room with a soul.

  18. Lost in A**2 Dec 19th 2012 at 02:01 pm 18

    I’d be afraid to have a living room with a soul, too.

  19. Morris Keesan Dec 19th 2012 at 02:07 pm 19

    If the room weren’t living, it wouldn’t have a soul.

  20. Elyrest Dec 19th 2012 at 03:16 pm 20

    Now I’ve an image in my head of Bill’s living room breathing and pulsing with life - a little bit Edgar Allan Poe-ish.

  21. Keera Dec 19th 2012 at 04:26 pm 21

    The advantage to a plastic tree is that it doesn’t house some 10,000 hibernating teeny critters that wake up in the warmth of a living room (gotta love the newspaper headlines this time of year). Which gives a whole new meaning to “living room”. Hah!

  22. Todd Dec 19th 2012 at 06:09 pm 22

    I prefer fake trees, but Keera’s insect issue is invalid. Your fake tree is stored for at least 11 months, in the shed or in the attic. You don’t think critters are getting in there?

  23. James Pollock Dec 19th 2012 at 06:44 pm 23

    The real bad news for Keera is that the critters are actually in the house year-round. I hope nobody says anything…

  24. Ted in Fort Lauderdale Dec 19th 2012 at 06:57 pm 24

    Don’t do the Chanukah bush or tree, but once - many years ago - my wife (non-MOT) was here rather than going up north to visit family and missing her Christmas tree, insisted we have one. We had also recently adopted an (adult) dog. The dog thought that this was the greatest thing he had ever seen - a tree _inside_ - and did what dogs tend to do with trees. On the tree, the presents, and various other bits of the living room. Since then, even on those rare occasions that my wife has been here, we haven’t had another tree…

    BTW - here when people decorate live trees outside, they tend to be palm trees…

  25. The Vicar Dec 19th 2012 at 08:11 pm 25

    BTW - here when people decorate live trees outside, they tend to be palm trees…

    Ah, well, then you clearly aren’t a Real American. Real Americans only live in rural or semi-rural areas where there is heavy snow at Christmastime. If your house doesn’t look like a cross between the paintings of Normal Rockwell and Thomas Kinkaide at Christmastime, then you are not a Real American and should keep silent, weeping with gratitude that the Christmas Chrap Chreated in China Chompanies are willing to sully themselves by selling you a lot of tacky plastic statuary, grotesque inflatable lawn figures, and flashing lights.

    If Charles Dickens — who basically started the fad for Christmas as a big sentimental watershed holiday — could see modern America, he would weep. And if the Puritans — who spurned Christmas as an irreligious distraction from real piety — could see modern America, they would be trying to kill us all. (Heck, the house across the street from me would be enough for either purpose. It has flashing lights along the eaves, flashing lights in a different color and flash rate on the handrails up to the front door, and a larger-than-life-size plastic Santa head on the door which lights up from within with — of course — a flashing light at yet another rate, and which plays little tinny versions of Christmas music at sufficient volume to be heard from the end of the block. Obviously the people in that house are insane, but I have to wonder whether they were insane before they turned on the Santa head, or whether that was what drove them insane.

  26. Cidu Bill Dec 19th 2012 at 08:43 pm 26

    I’m not sure about the Dickens part, Vicar: he was apparently a big fan of money, and I think the fact that thousands of theatres perform his Christmas Carol each year would please him greatly.

  27. The Vicar Dec 19th 2012 at 09:36 pm 27

    @Cidu Bill:

    Well, (1) the story is now long out of copyright, so he wouldn’t get any royalties, (2) Black Friday (and other shopping horror stories) would horrify him (seriously, go and actually read the original story of A Christmas Carol — it’s pretty short — and tell me what Dickens would have thought of our shopping habits) and (3) the aesthetics would make him gag.

    Have you driven through the average suburban residential district at Christmastime in this last decade? It’s like someone let Lady Gaga build Christmas-themed stuff out of leftovers from Las Vegas, and then had Donald Trump arrange it. Garish, shoddy, mismatched… if you did to your house what millions of Americans do at Christmastime at any other time and for any other reason, your neighbors would call it an eyesore and start calling the city to complain.

  28. Cidu Bill Dec 19th 2012 at 09:55 pm 28

    If we can accept Dickens still being alive at age 200, I think we can accept the the copyright still being in effect.

  29. The Vicar Dec 20th 2012 at 12:16 am 29

    Nope; the copyrights on his existing work expired before the laws were changed to associate copyright expiration with the death of the author. (Of course, if he had survived until now he could have written things after the laws were changed.)

    In fact, not only Dickens but anyone whose work was published in the U.S. before 1923 no longer has copyright, whether they’re still alive (90 years later — highly unlikely though not technically impossible) or not. It’s all public domain. And anything not published whose author died before 1942, or which was (A) not published, (B) has no definitely known author (or the author’s death date is unknown), and (C) was definitely created before 1892 is also public domain. Anything else gets messy, but there’s a good chart describing all the possible conditions at http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm.

    (Remember, if you’re a creator of any kind of intellectual property, to put the disposition of those rights in your will. Particularly if you want your work to go into the public domain, because otherwise people will have to wait at least 70 years after you die.)

  30. James Pollock Dec 20th 2012 at 01:11 am 30

    Note to the Vicar…
    All well and good, except that it’s now established that Congress may extend copyright terms retroactively and could even retroactively remove works from the public domain. So if Mr. Dickens hires a good lobbyist, all bets may be off.

  31. Arthur Dec 20th 2012 at 01:26 am 31

    Vicar, you’re forgetting the Mr. Dickens was English. So, while his published works are
    public domain, an newly-discovered, unpublished work would be copyright:
    “Works that were unpublished at the author’s death and remained so
    until 1 August 1989 are protected by copyright in the U.K. for 50
    years from 1 January 1990, or until 31 December 2039, after which they
    will enter the U.K. public domain.”

    This came up in a newsgroup where they were talking about the fact that a manuscript from 500
    years ago was recently discovered. It was never published, and, since it was discovered in
    England, is considered to be under copyright.

  32. The Vicar Dec 20th 2012 at 02:38 am 32

    @James Pollack:

    No, as far as I know — it’s been nearly a decade, but I had to do a bunch of research on the subject of copyright expirations at one point — Congress has never reinstated copyright protection for any significant body of works which had already passed into public domain, although IIRC they have allowed themselves once to sort of preemptively warn that they were going to extend copyright soon so some expirations were invalidated. What they have mostly done — most notably with the copyright extension in the 1970s and the DMCA — is to take works which were about to expire, or which would under existing law have had fixed-term expiration, and changed the rules to extend the protection of those works to the longer term and more lenient rules granted to new works. (Notably that of a certain cartoon rodent with implausibly circular ears, who would ordinarily have passed into the public domain several decades ago.) So there’s no worry that, say, Sherlock Holmes will stop being public domain. Although with the essentially corporate-controlled nature of Congress these days, and the rightish, corporation-friendly Supreme Court to oversee things, well, there’s always a first time.


    Interesting. Although I am talking about U.S. copyright, where a bare reading would suggest that that’s irrelevant (an unpublished work that old is automatically public domain here, and I don’t see any exceptions made for the nationality of the creator — remember, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to own copyrights in the U.S.), IIRC the IP treaties to which both the U.S. and the U.K. are signatories as of 2000 require that copyright be enforceable across jurisdictions of signatories, so the point you raise must necessarily be valid, and there has to be a possible legal threat against publication.

    The question is: how, exactly, would it play out? What would the crime actually be, given that the publication would not be a copyright violation by domestic law? Would the publisher be found guilty of enabling a treaty violation somehow, or is there some kind of highly specific law on international copyright in the U.S. of which I’m simply not aware, to enable international enforcement? (And then there are the complications: copyright violation is strictly a civil crime, so it has to be prosecuted privately — the government won’t do it for you, and in order for there to be damages you have to show that you lost money or reputation via the publication. So if someone published a print copy and did not allow direct export, would they be seriously liable? Or maybe would the judge hand down a “guilty but no damages” ruling as they did for the infringement suit Oracle brought against Google over Java? And how much restriction would they have to provide? The mind boggles.)

    (But still, we’re ultimately talking about A Christmas Carol, which was published during Dickens’ lifetime both in England and the U.S., so although I find the whole question fascinating, it’s still not relevant to whether Dickens would find modern American Christmas festivities revolting.)

  33. Morris Keesan Dec 20th 2012 at 11:30 am 33

    So SMBC Theater appears to be safe from prosecution.

  34. Mark in Boston Dec 20th 2012 at 11:03 pm 34

    “Congress has never reinstated copyright protection for any significant body of works which had already passed into public domain.”

    Well, sort of. Prior to 1973 the Soviet Union did not recognize international copyright treaties, and the United States reciprocated, so all music and other works that were copyrighted only in the Soviet Union were in the public domain in the United States. This included Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps”. Leopold Stokowsky made a lot of changes in it for Disney’s “Fantasia”, and Stravinsky was upset but could not do anything about it. The U.S. still did not recognize copyright for Soviet works before 1973, but this changed in 1996 and now those pre-1973 works that were in the public domain are under copyright protection.

  35. Mark in Boston Dec 20th 2012 at 11:08 pm 35

    Dickens did come to America, twice. The first time he found the entire country pretty revolting. You can read all about it in “American Notes” and a few chapters of “Martin Chuzzlewit”.

    The second time, all was forgiven on both sides and a good time was had by all.

    BTW has anyone here visited Niagara Falls? Dickens reported that there was apparently a tradition of writing filthy jokes in the guest register. This was just one of the things that revolted his Victorian sensibilities.

  36. Morris Keesan Dec 20th 2012 at 11:44 pm 36

    I’ve been to Niagara Falls twice, 30 years apart, but I don’t remember seeing a “guest register”.

    Le Sacre du Printemps was premiered in France, not Russia, and in 1913, a few years before there was a Soviet Union, so the suggestion that that it was copyrighted only in the Soviet Union seems suspect. Furthermore, Stravinsky was living in the US when Fantasia was produced, and according to the New York Times, Disney acquired the rights from Stravinsky to use the music in the film.

    I remember being told by a music teacher, in the late 1960s or early ’70s, that Stravinsky had written new arrangements of some of his most famous works, late in his life after their copyrights had expired, so that he could continue to receive some royalty income, from orchestras that wanted to perform the most up-to-date approved-by-Stravinsky versions.

  37. The Vicar Dec 21st 2012 at 12:15 am 37

    @Mark in Boston:

    You’ll notice that I said that Congress has never reinstated rights. Russian works didn’t expire, they just were not initially accorded rights.

    As for Dickens in America, yes, yes, we know. Dickens spent a lot of words denouncing American slavery and slick commercialism and made the Brits feel all smug, which didn’t prevent them from overwhelmingly (mostly non-materially) supporting the Confederacy in the American Civil War, or basing a huge chunk of their economy on the output of slavery in the U.S. and elsewhere. (Cotton, sugar, and rum — all those picturesque old mercantile seaside towns and the whole “spinning jenny” industrial revolution thing? Based on slavery abroad. And Dickens used trading houses as a respectable profession for a fair number of characters, too, even though slavery was only a portion of the vileness of British overseas trade — they deliberately got as many Chinese people addicted to opium as they could, in order to have something to offset their trade deficit when they were importing lots of expensive stuff from China. And then they got all surprised when their various trading partners and colonies gave them the boot. Very similar to the U.S. with the C.I.A., actually — “What do you mean, you want to kill us all? All we did was overthrow your democratically elected government and prop up a brutal dictatorship, randomly bomb your civilian population and declare that everyone who we killed must have been a terrorist, and fill your country with organized criminals carrying out drug smuggling operations. If anything you ought to be grateful.” But I digress.)

    But it’s irrelevant to a discussion of how he would react to a modern American Christmas. Which I did specify. Twice, in fact.

  38. James Pollock Dec 21st 2012 at 02:16 am 38

    “Congress has never reinstated copyright protection for any significant body of works which had already passed into public domain”
    No, but they could.

    “the IP treaties to which both the U.S. and the U.K. are signatories as of 2000 ” One of the major differences is that the EU did retroactively pull works out of public domain, while the U.S. did not. So how does the difference play out?
    A work that is public domain in the U.S. but still protected by copyright in, say, the U.K. is quite possible, although the goal of the copyright treaties is to make copyright the same in all signatory nations. So, if you have a case where it’s public domain in the U.S. but not the U.K., the work may be freely used in the U.S., but copies or derivative works may not be exported to the U.K. Movie studios have whole staffs of people who check copyrights for every part of everything used in a movie, down to the posters on the walls of the sets, any piece of music that is audible in the soundtrack, and so on.

    “copyright violation is strictly a civil crime, so it has to be prosecuted privately.”
    Um, no. Watch the first 30 seconds of, well, pretty much any DVD. The FBI investigates, and the U.S. Attorney prosecutes, criminal violations of copyright. See 17 U.S.C. section 506 & 18 U.S.C. section 2319.

  39. The Vicar Dec 21st 2012 at 03:13 am 39

    @James Pollock:

    No, but they could.

    And I said as much already. (Geez!)

    Um, no. Watch the first 30 seconds of, well, pretty much any DVD. The FBI investigates, and the U.S. Attorney prosecutes, criminal violations of copyright. See 17 U.S.C. section 506 & 18 U.S.C. section 2319.

    Okay, technically I was fudging. But for the most part the government won’t step in unless you were making money by deliberately ignoring someone else’s copyright. Otherwise, it’s your pigeon. In the words of the F.A.Q. page on the subject at the U.S. Copyright office’s website:

    A party may seek to protect his or her copyrights against unauthorized use by filing a civil lawsuit in federal district court. If you believe that your copyright has been infringed, consult an attorney. In cases of willful infringement for profit, the U.S. Attorney may initiate a criminal investigation.

    (So, for example, the government isn’t checking to make sure that your quotations in Internet forums are genuinely fair use, because you aren’t making a profit and probably aren’t aware if you’ve overstepped the bounds. But if you start selling ad space on a free download site with bootleg video, they care about that.)

  40. David S. Dec 22nd 2012 at 11:57 pm 40

    Copyright lengths world-wide are not synchronized, and the Berne Convention is not self-enacting, at least in the US. There are many works that are PD in the US and not in UK and vice-versa. As was said above, anything published before 1923 is PD in the US, and anything not-recently published by an author who died more than 70 years ago is PD in the UK, so there’s a lot of stuff that’s copyrighted in one but not the other.

    In the case of Dickens, prior to 1909, US copyright was only for American works, which he was greatly miffed about. Even if he had lived to 200, he still wouldn’t have seen a cent of money from American printings of his work.

    ( http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/pva/pva75.html has some discussion about Dickens and copyright, especially American.)

  41. The Vicar Dec 23rd 2012 at 01:13 am 41

    @David S.:

    What’s interesting (-ish) about that is that while all works published before 1923 are public domain in the U.S., there are a lot of works created before 1923 which are still in copyright. In fact, probably the majority of things written in 1900 to 1923 which would be copyrighted if created now are still not public domain.

    To establish public-domain-ness, you have to prove that (a) the item was published before 1923, or (b) the author is known, and can be proved to have died before 1941. So: all the works created but not registered for copyright by people who died in or after World War II are still in copyright. That all by itself is almost certainly a larger body of work than the total of all published items published between 1900 and 1923, given how many people write and how few registered copyright. But also anything unpublished between 1900 and 1941 of which we don’t know the authorship is also not public domain, and also anything where we know the authorship by name but can’t establish the author’s death. (This actually extends all the way back to 1892, not just 1900!)

    Although as I said before: casual infringement is unlikely to get you in trouble. Works written before 1923 which were not published at the time and are sufficiently well-read that someone would even recognized them if you published them, and yet which managed to escape publication, are presumably fairly rare.

    (Oh, and once again: Dickens would only have missed out on royalties on the works which he actually wrote in his lifetime as it actually happened. If he had lived to 200, then his later — and unfortunately not extant in our reality — works Nazi German Notes, The Uncommercial Jet Airplane Passenger, and the unbearably jocose international bestseller The Pickwick E-mails would all be valid copyright submissions in the U.S. and he would get his nickels.)

  42. Lost in A**2 Dec 23rd 2012 at 05:57 am 42

    Ace rather famously published “The Lord of the Rings” in paperback when Houghton-Mifflin imported too many unbound copies and thus invalidated the US copyright.

  43. Kilby Dec 23rd 2012 at 09:17 am 43

    @ Lost in A**2 (42) - Only on the first edition, of course. That’s exactly why Tolkien was offered the opportunity by his publisher to correct a whole series of miniscule errors (many pointed out by alert readers). The second edition that resulted (with its infamous request for “courtesy to living authors” on the back cover of the paperback version) thus qualified as a new work, and could therefore be copyrighted anew.

  44. Morris Keesan Dec 23rd 2012 at 11:12 am 44

    Kilby, there’s a minuscule misspelling in your last comment.

  45. Elyrest Dec 23rd 2012 at 12:10 pm 45

    Morris Keesan - Is there really a spelling error, or misspelling, or are you just pulling Kilby’s leg? I can’t find one.

  46. Kilby Dec 23rd 2012 at 12:26 pm 46

    @ Elyrest (45) - Morris was referring (@44) to my “miniscule”, which should have been spelled “minuscule”. I didn’t see it either at first, and went frantically hunting for a nasty double entendre, which wasn’t there, of course.

  47. Elyrest Dec 23rd 2012 at 12:39 pm 47

    Thanks, Kilby. I should’ve picked that up, but aren’t both spellings correct? Or rather isn’t miniscule a variant of minuscule?

  48. Morris Keesan Dec 23rd 2012 at 01:04 pm 48

    Miniscule is a common misspelling of minuscule. Whether you consider it correct may depend on your position in the prescriptivist/descriptivist debates about English, and whether you think the misspelling is common enough, and has been in use long enough, to be accepted as a variant, rather than as an error.

    The dictionary.com entry for minuscule doesn’t give any alternate spellings, nor does my hardcopy 1971 edition of the OED, which says that the word is derived from the Latin minuscula or minusculus, diminutives of minor or minus.

    When describing letters used in printing or calligraphy, “minuscule” is the opposite of “majuscule”.

    Since Tolkien was a philologist, I suspect that he would have noticed the difference in spelling, and if it hadn’t been in a statement about Tolkien and errors, I probably wouldn’t have bothered pointing out the spelling.

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