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September 28, 2007

Can You Feel It?

Filed under: Bill Bickel, Braille, CIDU, comic strips, comics, humor, libraries, library, Unshelved — Cidu Bill @ 12:02 am


There was a time I could actually read that: The summer I was 12, I learned to sight-read Braille, the Russian alphabet, and IBM punchcards (and if you’re under 40, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about).

In any case I haven’t a clue what this says, but I hope I shouldn’t have put this on the Arlo Page.

(This is from the comic strip Unshelved)


  1. Here’s what I got using Wikipedia and


    WILL ;
    ON OUR


    (The question marks are characters I couldn’t find.)

    It’s tricky because a lot of the contractions/abbreviations are also letters. I suspect it’s supposed to read:

    “Soon the full text of every overdue comic strip will be available on our website so that everyone can enjoy them.”

    Comment by Powers — September 28, 2007 @ 7:10 am

  2. Thanks Powers — I was going to do the same thing, but you beat me to it.

    Comment by Nicole — September 28, 2007 @ 7:48 am

  3. I’m under 40 and know what punch cards are! At the engineering college they handed out our passwords printed on punch cards so we could use the VAX cluster to write our FORTRAN programs. Waste not… and all. (Yeah, I know clearly I’m not MUCH under 40… Hee hee…)

    Comment by BF — September 28, 2007 @ 11:09 pm

  4. BF, that doesn’t date you as much as you might think. I know people who still program in Fortran.

    Comment by Autumn Harvest — September 28, 2007 @ 11:45 pm

  5. Fortran is still the only language I can program in.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — September 28, 2007 @ 11:58 pm

  6. I can program in fortran, too. Now I’m trying to avoid having to ever program in COBOL, which a lot of our mainframe programs still use.

    Comment by meep — September 29, 2007 @ 4:40 am

  7. Hey, I’m only 30 and know what punchcards are. Never used one though.

    But back to the comic, since I did all that work to translate it: What does the punchline have to do with anything?

    Comment by Powers — September 29, 2007 @ 9:35 am

  8. I swear: every time I tell someone who went to college in the 70’s that I’m a Comp Sci major they say, “Ooooh, I remember when I was in college we had to program on punch cards and go down in the middle of the night to the room-sized computer and give the guy our huge stack of cards and wait several hours for the program to run and then I’d realize I made one tiny mistake and have to do it all over…”

    Comment by trex — September 29, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  9. I suspect the joke is that reading a braille comic script by running your fingers across the computer screen won’t get you very far.

    Comment by Winman — October 1, 2007 @ 4:25 pm

  10. “Hey, I’m only 30 and know what punchcards are. Never used one though.

    But back to the comic, since I did all that work to translate it: What does the punchline have to do with anything?”

    There was a Stargate SG-1 episode where a monster from space landed in a Russian submarine. Two sailors found it, and they’re talking in Russian.

    They said (no subtitles): “What was that noise?”

    “Maybe it’s the monster from the end of the last episode.”

    The joke here is that there is no joke. It’s self-referential, which can be funny… especially when you do it in such an obscure way that nobody gets it.

    Yes, I’ll bet the cartoonist snickered himself to sleep that night…

    Comment by Steve — October 9, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

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