Em ơi! #345: Bumper stickers: A brief style guide

Then I saw all of these in the grocery store parking lot.

So now that I am sure that I have passed all of my classes, I can relax. At least until June 13th, when summer classes start. I have already learned the first seven letters of the Thai alphabet though (and I can pronounce five of them!).

I wanted to write a bit about the experience of running the two 50ks I did (last week and last month) but I find that I don’t have much to say about them that other people haven’t already said. It’s worth noting that terrain makes a big difference, and probably accounts for the one hour difference between my times (the first, a relatively flat 50k was run on roads and I finished in about 4:57:something. The second, an extremely hilly 50k run on trails, I finished in a painful 5:58:something). Another note is that running an ultramarathon alone is a lot less nice than running it with someone else, and I’m quite lucky to have found a couple of very nice women (experienced runners, too) who happened to be going my way at my pace who let me run with them.

Anyway, I should note that this comic is not intended to make fun of people who run races of any length, whether half marathon or Ironman.  I personally don’t see the point of putting a sticker on your car that says 13.1, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proud of your achievement.  (I’ve not seen any 50k or 50 mile stickers, or indeed anything for road races longer than a marathon.  I have a hunch that is because when you run farther than 26.2 miles, people tend to look at you as though you are crazy–much crazier than they suspect the average marathoner is.  I have, indeed, stopped telling people how far my races are for this very reason.  People ask, “What are you doing this weekend?”  “Oh, I’m running a race.”  And I leave it at that.)

I am, however, fairly serious about the idea that people should get their damn abortion bumper stickers off their cars.  It’s a complicated issue, and the quality of public debate on it is not improved by the sense that anyone’s position can be reduced to one or two sentences.  I should point out that the little figure on this sticker is a straw man (philosophical-speak for purposefully misconstruing your opponent’s position to make yours look reasonable and correct in comparison).

Also, a big congratulations to my brother Daniel, who graduated from his MBA program at the University of Maryland-College Park this past weekend, and to my sister-in-law Claire, who is graduating from her MFA program at Johns Hopkins later this week! I am sad I couldn’t be there in person, so I will send you some large and obnoxious gift later this week in compensation (okay, maybe just something nice).

This comic is filed under NC1400 .L86 2011, for:

Drawing.  Design.  Illustration–Caricature.  Pictorial humor and satire–History–Special regions or countries–America.

If you’re interested in cataloging, the story of how I got this number might interest you.

So it seems there is no particular category in the LCC for bumper stickers,  or, indeed, for bumpers.  In order to circumvent having to dwell on this all night, I looked up a book about bumper stickers (in this case, Bumper sticker wisdom: America’s pulpit above the tailpipe by Carol W. Gardner).  I took the ISBN number from Amazon and stuck it into WorldCat.org to get a list of all the libraries which have the book.  One (the south central library system here in WI, actually) had cataloged the book under 827 .G22.  Now that is a Dewey number and I use LCC.  Luckily, ClassificationWeb, which is the tool I (somewhat legally) use to get my LCC numbers, has a DDC to LCC converter.  This number was actually associated with several LCC numbers (827 is the rather broad category “English humor and satire”), so I then selected the most appropriate one.  I’m a bit annoyed about “history” sticking in there, but I guess today’s politics is essentially tomorrow’s history, so I’ll let it ride.

Wow, I’m wordy tonight.  (651 words, to be precise, at least as of the beginning of this parenthetical notation.)  Hopefully I’ll have another (less extensively commented?) comic sometime this week or early next.

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