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Lileks @ Lunch

James Lileks writes about everything - except sports and gardening

How Cecil hurt Yelp.

Headline: Yelp is in a 'death spiral,' industry expert says. Why? Cnet:

It started when Yelp became tangled in a bizarre case involving a Minnesota dentist who has come under fire for allegedly traveling to Zimbabwe and killing a beloved lion named Cecil. People who were incensed with the dentist spammed the Yelp page of his practice, River Bluff Dental, with scathing reviews. Yelp had to step in to delete some of them.

While this isn’t the cause of the Spiral of Death, apparently it’s symptomatic of the problems they face. Internet torch mobs will go anywhere to burn down a virtual house, and nasty Yelp reviews have become something of an art form, just like fake Amazon product evaluations. I don’t find them particularly interesting, aside from showing how miserable people can be, but then again I like reading bad motel reviews. To each his own.

DROP EVERYTHING It’s a sad comment on today’s society when stories like this are confined to the small backwaters of the internet. Attention must be paid! DangerousMinds:

No one is taking 69-year-old Robert Palmer—who claims to have found a caterpillar with a human-like face—seriously. According to reports, Toutle, Washington-based Palmer discovered the supposed human-faced caterpillar a few weeks ago on the side of a trough while giving his horse water. “My first thought was to crush it with my cane, then I thought, no, it looks so strange, I’m going to take a picture of it, ” said Palmer.

Go here for the picture. Looks like Poe’s older brother.

Because I couldn’t stop clicking on Dangerous Minds links, here’s another necessary story: that Human League song reduced to its essence.

UPDATE The reason Arlo and Janis turned into “Love Is” cartoon characters was the strip’s way of celebrating its 30th birthday. All is clear. Meanwhile, there’s still a lot of skink-related action going on.

Please Explain this Arlo and Janis

. . . you say, and I am happy to oblige as best as I can. 

Arlo and Janis are in their sixties, but you wouldn’t know it from the strip; they were frozen in their mid 40s for a while, and then unfrozen when their kid grew up all of a sudden. The names give them away: Arlo Guthrie, Janis Joplin, and Eugene McCarthy for their kid. The strip was about boomers who grow up and settle down.

None of that is relevant to this, but it explains why the strip suddenly went for a late-60s / early 70s callback. It does not explain what is going on here. The first two panels make no sense to me:

I wish the skink made it to the monkey grass? Janis - bent over with the weight of age and care - says something about lizards, and indeed a skink is a lizard. Did the skink escape yesterday? Are we supposed to remember that there was a skink around in yesterday’s panel? We move on:

So he’s going to pinch her, and his expression suggests lecherous malice. And then this:

Huh? you say. Well. It’s one of those “with apologies to” things comics do when they copy someone else’s style. In this case, it’s “Love Is…”, a saccharine little one-panel about two child-like people defining “love” in a series of simple gestures or actions. It has been running since the reign of Emperor Constantine. The “Kim” thanked at the bottom hasn’t drawn the strip since 1975, and what’s more, she died in 1997. As Wikipedia helpfully explains:

"The main characters are a man and woman depicted unclothed, with no primary or secondary sexual features shown other than depicting only the woman having nipples. It is clear which character is male and which is female due to tertiary features."

Also, here’s news you can use:

"The Turkish version of the strip (Aşk ...dır.) is sold in form of small pieces of comic strips wrapped around gum."

Why Arlo and Janis did this can be explained by the previous strip, wherein the cat is shown attempting to eat the aforementioned skink. "What did we tell you about eating lizards?" Arlo says, with Janis present. She looks away with guilt, and Arlo says "What did I tell you?" Okay. I suppose that explains the panels above, but  “letting her off the hook for not telling the cat to eat lizards” would suggest that a less-loving husband would hold his wife accountable for not instructing the cat to ignore millennia of hard-wired instincts, and that seems a little harsh.