Showing posts with label criminals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label criminals. Show all posts

26 September 2022

Crime Scene Comix Case 2022-09-018, Sunken Treasure


Once again we highlight our criminally favorite cartoon lab, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Yikes! In this episode, Shifty almost becomes legitimately rich… if we overlook that part about a stolen boat.

That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

12 July 2022

Crime Scene Comix Case 2022-07-017, Monkeying Around


Once again we highlight our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Yikes! In this episode, Shifty meets his primate ancestors.

That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

13 June 2022

Crime Scene Comix Case 2022-06-016, Wishing Pond


Once again we highlight our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Uh-oh. In this episode, Shifty takes a soaking.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

26 May 2022

Crime Scene Comix Case 2022-05-015, Cleanup


Let’s watch another cartoon from the Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check them out.

In this episode, Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes, gets taken to the cleaners and you can bank on it.

That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit the Future Thought channel on YouTube.

18 April 2022

Crime Scene Comix Case 2022-04-013, Up and Away


Let’s enjoy another cartoon from the Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check them out.

In this episode, Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes, takes flight… and fright. Poor Shifty meets the truly cold-blooded.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit the Future Thought channel on YouTube.

14 April 2022

Crime Scene Comix Case 2022-04-014, Getaway


We haven’t watched Shifty in a couple of years, that comical crook from the Future Thought channel of YouTube, Here comes a new one– new to us.

You remember Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. He almost always loses, but this time he does it right… or wrong, depending how you look at it.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought channel on YouTube.

15 January 2021

Crime Scene Comix Case 2021-01-012, Shock Therapy


A new year, and perhaps the world is righting itself. Let’s try a chuckle from Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check it out.

Once again, we visit Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. This time poor Shifty finds himself on the hot seat.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit the Future Thought channel on YouTube.

04 December 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-11-011, Paint Job


After rummaging through the dust bin of the Future Thought channel of YouTube, I found this little gem. Check it out.

Reintroducing Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. This time poor Shifty finds himself doubly humiliated. The poor felon can’t win.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought channel on YouTube.

08 August 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-08-010, Invisibility


Shifty, sly miscreant as he is, has a clear conscience… of sorts. Let’s visit Shift on the job.

We show another clip from our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check it out.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

06 March 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-03-009, Underground Comics


Our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, doesn't disappoint. We love their sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Our non-too-bright criminal breaks out of prison. It's Groundhog Day of a different sort.

𝄞 ♪♫ Not much wood a woodchuck chucks… ♬♩𝄇


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

14 February 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-02-008, Not-so-Healthful Spa


Once again we highlight our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Did I say sausage shaped? Without clothes, our little villain doesn't have much shape at all. On the run, our none-too-bright criminal drops into a health spa. Uh-oh. What could go wrong?


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

03 February 2020

Crime Scene Comix Case 2020-01-007, Shifty Railroaded


Thus far this year, we haven’t visited our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Not merely sausage-like, this villain is a shape-shifter of sorts. Our non-too-bright criminal robs a bank. He conceives of an ingenious escape plan. Brilliant, except for the unforeseen…


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

01 November 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-11-006, Shifty in Love


We welcome our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, back to SleuthSayers. They produce more than one animated comic, but our favorite is Shifty.
It was bound to happen– Shifty falls in love. Naturally when our boy courts a girl, courting means something entirely different. Don’t pierce thine heart on the prick of roses.


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

12 October 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-10-005, Meep-Meep


We welcome our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, back to SleuthSayers. They produce more than one animated comic, but our favorite is Shifty.
Usually Shifty, our none-too-bright crook, the one who looks like a Minion in prison stripes, finds himself hoisted on his own pétard. Once in a rare while he manages to escape the law. Here our acme of antics channels the Roadrunner. meep-meep


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

09 September 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-09-004, Baby Napping


Our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube, is developing a following among SleuthSayers. They produce more than one animated comic, but our favorite is Shifty.
Remember him, the none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in prison stripes? Baby napping… It’s not what you might think when Shifty comes skulking. Ah, the self-defeating little guy.


That’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

05 April 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-04-003, Slot Plot


After rummaging through the dust bin of Future Thought channel of YouTube, I bet you’ll enjoy this little gem. Check it out.
Reintroducing Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. This time he tries his hand at gambling. As W.C. Fields might say, “A game of chance? Not the way I play it.”


That’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought channel on YouTube.

22 February 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-02-002, Subway Robbery


We visit the Future Thought channel of YouTube. Check it out. Meanwhile, take a two-minute bite out of crime.

Remember Shifty, the none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes? He returns, trying his hand at purse-snatching. As before, Shifty’s half-a-quart low and a stripped cog from success.


That’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show.

01 February 2019

Crime Scene Comix Case 2019-01-001, SleepWalker


Sometimes crime turns funny, especially when dumb criminals are involved. Sometimes creative minds view crime in skewed ways. Today, experience two minutes of mad mayhem.

Meet Shifty, a none-too-bright crook who looks like a Minion in zebra stripes. Although he always wears a mask and prisoner jersey, no member of the public pays him the least attention.

Shifty can be found in the Future Thought channel of YouTube– please visit. Here's an example of Shifty in action.


How's that for crime cinema? Hope you enjoyed the show.

12 March 2015

Riders of the Purple Wage


Lately, a number of very famous people have been getting their knickers in a twist over Artificial Intelligence, or AI:
black and white photo of Hawking in a chair, in an office."The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race."  Stephen Hawking
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like – yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out."  Elon Musk
Now I can sort of understand why.  The general premise for decades has been that some day the computers/robots will take over, and run us, with only two possible scenarios:
  • Great - Robots and computers will do everything for us, and we will live a life of luxury (according to the late great Frederick Pohl, too much so), comfort and security thanks to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics that protect mankind from the revolt of the machines.  
  • Bad - Everything by Philip K. Dick, and, of course, "The Matrix".  
Which it will be depends upon the mood of the times.  Currently, we're not a particularly optimistic species, so the common response is, "We're doomed! We're doomed!"  (Unless you're Sheldon Cooper, and then it cannot happen soon enough.)
Maybe.  Maybe not.  But what concerns me about the takeover of the machines isn't that they use my stasis body as a heat source while providing my mind innumerable alternative reality jaunts to keep me a content and unquestioning host organism.  Or even AIs killing us all (for one thing, logically, they'd do it quickly - only humans are sadists.  And cats.).  What concerns me is the simple matter of a paycheck.  Eating.  Rent.  Utilities.

Look, the main reason we have computers and robots is to do our work for us.  Anything boring, repetitive, heavy, dangerous, etc. - eventually, we'll make a machine to do it.  Calculators mean I don't have to add up the columns of figures for which they used to hire Nicholas Nickleby.  Payloaders mean we don't need an army of physical laborers hoisting earth. Tractors, etc., mean that today's Pa Ingalls doesn't need to muscle his way through the sod with horse and plow.  Computers mean I don't have to write everything out long-hand, or type it over and over again until it's perfect.  It's great.

hamburger robotOn the other hand, modern technology has eliminated and is eliminating a whole ton of jobs. Typesetters; typists; clerks; gas station attendants; innumerable factory workers; graphic designers; paralegals; low-level tax preparers; most farm hands; most farmers; bank tellers; airline check-in agents; retail clerks; accountants; actuaries; travel agents; most reporters, etc.  Soon there will be far fewer surgeons, teachers, and other high-level jobs as robots take over.  And in the fast food industry, the robots are coming to flip those burgers and make those fries.

The point is that, as we use technology to do 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90% of the work, we will also unemploy a significant number of people.  There will still be jobs, at all levels - just infinitely less of them.  Perhaps only a handful, here and there.  Which leaves the elephant in the room:  what do you do about the people?

Yes, everyone talks about retraining.  See a typical chirpy article on "The Future of Work" .  BUT, I've always had two basic questions:

(1) There is a significant number of people who can't be retrained.  Some will be too old, some will be too set, and some - frankly - whose mental ability to learn complex problem-solving skills is extremely limited.  I run into some of them at the pen.  (In case you don't know it, prisons are the modern housing facility for many of the mentally disabled, as well as the mentally ill.)  These are the people who are never considered in future planning talks, the ones that are ignored by all economists and pundits, but shouldn't be.  As I once said about a former student who was caught stealing, "Well, how else is he going to make a living?"

(2) If you have 250 people in a town, and there are only 100 actual jobs, it doesn't matter how much retraining you do.  There are still 150 people without work because there are no jobs.  Urbanize that.  Nationalize that.  Globalize that.

In Philip Jose Farmer's "Riders of the Purple Wage", he posited a society in which they coped with the problem of almost complete unemployment by giving everyone a salary just for being born.  It's enough to keep them housed and fed and hooked up to the Fido, a combination cable TV/videophone, along with a little wet-ware called a fornixator (you translate it).  To get anything else, you have to prove your exceptionality, but most people are happily occupied without it.  For those who aren't, well, there are wildlife reserves where they can go off and be weird - but they have to give up the purple wage.

Soylent green.jpgIt's a successful society, in its own way - and perhaps the only logical one. Because the truth is, sooner or later, in a society where technology is doing 90% of the work, there will have to be a "purple wage".
That, or
(1) society comes up with innumerable "make work" jobs, like picking oakum in the workhouse.  (Personally, I foresee a lot of crime.)
      That, or
(2) the unemployed masses (a la "Soylent Green" or "Zardoz", etc.) will be pounding at the armored enclaves of the fabulously wealthy.  (As I said, I foresee a lot of crime.)
      That, or
(3) a whole lot of people are going to have to die, leaving just enough to run the machines, and do the few jobs that still cannot be done by machines, and the fabulously wealthy (there is always a group of fabulously wealthy) to enjoy unending leisure.  Wall-E, call home!
      That, or
(4) The Matrix.

Anyway, here's the question:  As we pursue technological advancements, can we let go of the Protestant Work Ethic?  Let go of the idea that we are what we do?  Must people work or starve, even if there's plenty of everything except jobs?  Can we tolerate, support, even design a society where the norm for everyone (instead of just the wealthy) is "the leisured class"?

Now, you may think the last question is nonsense.  For one thing, we've been promised endless leisure for a century now, and most people are still working their butts off.  On the other hand, we do have more leisure than almost any other society in history.  This began with the industrial revolution, and one of the most interesting things about reading "Consuming Passions" by Judith Flanders is watching the development of ways for the working classes to spend their new-found leisure.  (Hey - they had all of Saturday afternoon and Sundays off!)  Thanks to advertising, sports, vacations, theater, and literature were turned into major industries.  (Drinking had always been a favorite activity.)  And, instantly, the pundits, poets, philosophers, and religious thinkers started decrying the horrible waste of human time and energy on trivia.  And talking about the nobility of hard work, piety, thrift, self-denial and sobriety:  for the lower classes only, of course.

File:Victorian cricket team 1859.jpg
Victorian cricket team

We have pretty much the same discussion going on today:  in certain circles, if you don't have a paying job, you're worthless.  (Unless you're wealthy enough not to.)  And the idea that someone who's unemployed has a television, a cell phone, and computer games for the kids - well, they're obviously spending too much money on all the wrong stuff.  Not to mention, if they have such things, they can't be "really" poor.

NOTE 1:  In Florida they give cell phones to the homeless, for a variety of reasons.  (Contact from parole officers, call-backs on jobs, etc.)
NOTE 2:  I'm always amazed at the people who check out other people's grocery carts and then post, outraged, if someone who's on food stamps buys candy or other luxury items.  (See this article for the alternative view:  People on Food Stamps Make Better Grocery Choices.)  God forbid the poor eat something other than gruel...

Basically, I'm leisured, you're lazy, and they're useless.

Anyway, today we've got smart phones, social media, computer games, Netflix, and innumerable other ways to waste what time we have (on the job or off) in the modern equivalent of Fidos and fornixators.  And it seems like the list is going to expand at algorithmic rate. Meanwhile, the list of available jobs is decreasing, at least geometrically, every time we turn around.  IF we get to where technology performs most of the work, and IF we get to where we have a regular unemployment of 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 percent, can we change our thinking from "unemployed" to "leisured"?  Can we develop a new idea of what people "should" do?  Of what people are "supposed" to do?

Without work, what are people for?
"Tompkins Square Park Central Knoll" by David Shankbone -
David Shankbone, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

29 January 2015

Is Time Money, or is Money Time?


James Wallman
You may or may not know that this last week has been wild, because on January 23rd, a gentleman named James Wallman had an article on the BBC Magazine based on his book, Stuffocation, and mentioned me. (I'm also cited in the book.) The citation was for one of my history lessons, "The $3,500 Shirt", which I gave regularly in my Western Civ and World History classes when it came time for the Industrial Revolution talk. I also shared it with several people, including Mr. Wallman, and here on SleuthSayers on June 6, 2013.

After the citation in BBC Magazine, the article got a few hits. (!!!) It also got a few comments. Some people simply could not (perhaps would not?) believe that clothing could be that expensive. Most of time their quarrel was with my multiplying the time spent making the shirt by current minimum wage, saying that didn't show how little people were paid back then, and so the shirt would be much cheaper. Which, in terms of cash paid out, is absolutely true. BUT not when it comes to the amount of time: time-wise, it was infinitely more expensive. Because for most of history, labor (time) was what counted, more than money:
Father took out a round, big silver half-dollar. He asked, "Almanzo, do you know what this is?" "Half a dollar," Almanzo answered. "Yes. But do you know what half a dollar is? It's work, son… You know how to raise potatoes, Almanzo?… Say you have a seed potato in the spring, what do you do with it?" "You cut it up. … Then you harrow - first you manure the field, and plow it. Then you harrow, and mark the ground. And plant the potatoes and plow them, and hoe them. You plow and hoe them twice… Then you dig them and put them down cellar." "Yes, and then you pick them over all winter, you throw out the little ones and the rotten ones. Come spring, you load them up and haul them here to Malone, and you sell them. And if you get a good price son, how much do you get to show for all that work? How much do you get for a bushel of potatoes?" "Half a dollar," Almanzo said. "Yes," said Father. "That's what's in this half-dollar, Almanzo. The work that raised half a bushel of potatoes is in it." Almanzo looked at the round piece of money that Father held up. It looked small, compared to all that work.
— Laura Ingalls Wilder, Farmer Boy, pp. 182-184.
Work is important. Work is time. How much a penny or a dollar is worth changes over time; but the number of hours in a day don't. And you don't get the whole 24 hours to do anything you want: you have to sleep, eat., etc. So if you subtract 8-10 hours a day for all those other things (sleep, eating, bathroom, washing, travel to and from work, etc.), what you have left is 14-16 hours a day to work, play, live. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, most of us (at least in the Western world) don't have to spend 12+ hours a day at hard physical labor, so we have a tendency to think in terms of money (how much did it cost?) rather than time (how long did it take?), but, as I say, that wasn't the way people used to think about things.

Here are a couple of ways to look at things:

First, the Shirt, and then I want to move on to such fun things as criminals and celebrities. First off, some weavers and spinners gave me some more exact figures (I under-figured for spinning; over-figured for weaving), so here goes:
Note how long the shirt is.

To make a shirt entirely by hand - and we're going to go with 25 gauge for a decent, but coarse shirt - we start with the spinning. 25 ÷ threads per inch × 36 inches wide × 8 yards (shirts were longer then) = 7200 warp yards, plus about the same for weft = 14,400 yards of thread; divided by 30 yards per hour = 480 hours. The weaving (which I admit I over-estimated in the original) requires about 20 hours including 10 hours minimum for set up – stretching the warp, setting up and threading the loom – and then another 8-10 for weaving. And the sewing, which I still say would take 7 hours, including finishing all the seams. So the new figures are:
Spinning - 480 hours
Weaving - 20 hours
Sewing - 8 hours
Total: 508 hours of labor to make a shirt.
This still doesn't include things like buttons, or the needle and thread to sew the shirt, nor the labor that went into raising/processing the linen, cotton, or wool.

Imagine spending 480 hours to make enough thread to weave a shirt. No wonder Ellen Rollins said "The moaning of the big [spinning] wheel was the saddest sound of my childhood. It was like a low wail from out of the lengthened monotony of the spinner's life." (Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, p. 26) And that would be 480 hours "fitted in", because almost no woman (luckily!) could spend an entire working week (72 hours in pre-Industrial times) doing nothing but weaving. She had chores to do, like cooking, cleaning, dairying, weeding, minding children, etc. No matter what price she got for that yarn, she would undoubtedly have felt like Almanzo - a pretty small sum for that much work.

480 hours: that's 7 weeks' work in pre-Industrial times; 12 weeks' work in today's Western working world. What do you have around your house that costs that much? That costs three months' worth of your time, of your year? A shirt? How many shirts, at that rate, could you actually afford, considering you also have to pay for rent and food? And could get no credit?

Now you have some idea of what most people were up against before the Industrial Revolution. (And why the first thing the industrial revolution produced was cloth, and why the first inventions were spinning machines.)
St-aethelthryth.jpg NOTE: one thing about medieval objects, they were, for the most part extremely well-made. Things lasted. I have read of a hand woven linen sheet lasting 100 years. (Of course, well-cared for linen only gets better – more supple and soft – with successive washings and bleachings.) And they didn't waste anything. Everything was darned, mended, cut down, reused, repurposed, recycled, you name it. (Most of the Victorian poor bought or received their clothing second hand.) But there was cheap stuff, too: the ribbons and gee-gaws that were sold at the annual St. Audrey's Fair in medieval England got cheaper and cheaper until, by the 17th century, "tawdry" had become a synonym for "cheap, gaudy and showy".
Back to hours and time. Today we calculate almost everything in terms of money, how to get it, how to increase it, how to spend it, save it, bank on it… But money is only a symbolic representation of labor, of time. (There isn't any currency, at least in the Western world, that has any intrinsic value.) Perhaps our obsession with money is that it buys us time - or does it?

Not always. Exhibit 1: Criminals.

Quite simply, most criminals don't understand why people work. Why exchange all those hours of hard labor when you can get money so much easier by stealing, conning, forging, robbing, or even killing for it? Much less time, much less effort. Of course criminals ignore the endless mental planning and rehearsing - the obsession - that is their life. They ignore the fact that the $20,000,000 heist is literally one in 20,000,000, and is probably not going to be theirs. They ignore the immense effort and hardship that a life of crime requires. And they most definitely ignore the fact that, if caught (as so, so, so many are), they will give ALL their time for the crime, spending years, if not their entire life, on 24/7 watch with no privacy at all.

Of course no one reading this would give up all their time for something as stupid as crime. So I give you Exhibit 2: Celebrities.

Celebrities - including royalty, athletes, movie stars, rock stars, CEOs, and some politicians - live a lifestyle of fabulous wealth and almost unlimited access to anything the celebrity wants. But, they pay for that with ALL their time. A celebrity is never off-stage. Paparazzi are omnipresent. Phones are tapped. (Ask Rupert Murdoch.) National Enquirer has their hairdressers and stylists on speed-dial. So the exchange is everything for everything. What's left of the person underneath the celebrity? If everything is public, is there any private person there? People have been wondering for centuries if there was anyone under the mask of Louis XIV. What was under Norma Desmond's mask but the hunger for more?

The hunger for more: for more time, more money, more fame, more stuff, more, more, more… Well, we've got the machines, and we've got the stuff, but now everyone complains how they don't have enough time. So what are you willing to spend your time on? What can you afford to spend your time on? What is worth your time?