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From The Archives: A Collection Of Stupid Parodies
I'm one of those people who has been
blessed with an ornery sense of humor. If I think I can get away with
making a smarty-pants commentary about something, I probably will. Most
all of these were created when I was in school or at work -- both
places where ample opportunities for boredom existed. To break up the
monotony, I dreamed up some rather more "truthful" advertisements or
created products that solved particularly "difficult" problems.
Please don't take copies of these and
try to pass them off as your own work. Not only will I probably find
out, but you'll probably hotlink them when you post them elsewhere.
Naturally, it will not take my ornery sense of humor any time at all to
dream up something "amusing" as a replacement.
Some of the inspiration for these came from Dumbentia.
Please accept my apologies in advance
for the low quality nature of these. This is not a deliberate attempt
to prevent people ripping these off and trying to pass them off as
their own work. Rather, these were the only copies I still had in my
possession. Such is life when a basement flood wipes out almost all of
one's computer systems and his backup tapes.
My first "real" job involved
operating an NCR 7780 sorter/bank proof machine. I guess it's obsolete
now having been replaced by much smaller and more limited devices from
companies such as Panini. After loading this machine with various
instruments, it moved down them down a powered track. Along the way,
they were photographed from both sides by two high resolution document
cameras, endorsed, given a run number and ultimately placed into
different pockets based upon various criteria.
One of many things I hated were
people showing up with massive, error filled deposits just before
closing time. And so, a solution was born...
The NCR 7780 and I weren't done yet.
It only seemed logical that after dealing with troublesome workloads,
that the customers responsible would come around asking questions about
where their documents had gone and why. Around the time this was
dreamed up, the department's copier was outfitted with a device known
as a saddle stitch module. That sounded like a potentially entertaining
thing to employ in the process of dealing with troublesome customers.
So, why not?
My experiences with various pieces of
office equipment didn't stop there. Some of these items were much more
reliable than others. One of the least reliable pieces of office
equipment I used was a Savin copier. When it worked, it was a truly
amazing piece of equipment, capable of folding, sorting, stapling and
who all knows what else. I'm pretty sure I only saw it working a
handful of times. It also caught on fire once. In an irony that did not
go unnoticed, a much older Savin copier without all the bells and
whistles was situated on the other side of the room, where it worked
without fail despite having done well over a million copy runs.
Savin had the audacity to run an
advertisement in the early 2000s that originally read "WHAT SAVIN IS
DOING TO THE COMPETITION" along with a crumped up piece of paper having
the Xerox logo on it. I think I saw it in Time magazine. They were TOTALLY asking for it. Who
better than me to give it to them? And so I did! In fact, the crumpled
up piece of paper and copier image were scanned from their original ad!
This one dates from my late high
school days (around 2000). When I couldn't find a job for the "job
shadowing" program, I ended up running copies for all the teachers. It
was more than enough to keep me busy for the few hours that were
required. Much more than that, I was usually totally by myself in the
copy room, and I loved it! Out of all the parodies I've ever created, I
consider this one my finest work.
I tried to find the original version of this ad as it was printed back then, and outside of the usual, um, whimsical results brought to us by the magic of the Internet, I came up empty. In the words of Dave Barry: I am not making this up.
Ricoh either bought out or had a
significant investment in Savin from the start. Maybe they even owned
them from the beginning. In any case, the Savin name ultimately faded from view. Ricoh was definitely the original equipment manufacturer for Savin's copier products.
Finally, what would any worthwhile parody gallery be without a word or two about computers?
Back in the dark ages of 2003 or so,
when Mac OS X had yet to take the world by storm and the creaky old Mac
OS 9 was a fact of life for a lot of Macintosh users, this
oft-frustrated sysadmin took matters into his own hands. This is a
send-up of a "free trial" "Mac Administration" newsletter I received
one day from Element K Journals. It was actually a pretty good
publication, but their prices for a subscription were totally out to
lunch. Element K seemingly merged with a company known as Skillsoft.
don't flame me about this one. I don't hate the Macintosh or Apple
products. Quite the opposite is true! The Classic Mac OS certainly had
its charm and in some ways it was better than what has come since. By
the time of Mac OS 9, though, it was anything but a pillar of
stability. Its design was also thoroughly obsolete in an age of
pre-emptively tasked systems. This was doubly true in the world of
networked printers. Who knows, maybe it was as much the printer maker's
fault as it was anything that caused such grief. Sharp Electronics
almost earned a parody of their own with regard to the craptacular
PostScript interpreter that they shipped in the AR-PK1 add-on. At the
time, my computer was a Windows NT 4.0 Workstation box and it was the
most reliable computer in the building.)
I never really got past the first
page of this one, even though I had plans for fleshing the finished
product out with everything that was mentioned on the front cover. It's
also the first one of these so far that I still have in its original
form. Look closely and you can see at least one imperfection. I'm still quite proud of this one as well.
Hey, you remember how I said "don't
flame me about this"? Someone who hated the Macintosh certainly
wouldn't have rescued a forgotten SE/30 from the store room at his
previous place of work, find that it would only emit sad noises when
powered up, and spend a LOT of time resoldering the analog board until
it could power up again.
Hopefully that makes my point.
The "Mac Defenestration" newsletter
above was one of the last parodies I ever did. I guess you could say
that my desire to produce commentary in the form of elaborate parodies
has gone dormant. Still, a few others managed to come together. One,
based on a template in an old version of Apple's Pages software,
lampooned the unreliability of British cars. It was a newsletter from
an alleged British car club that offered tips on how to operate such a
car safely. I still have the original version of this and might post it
Another parody that took form based
on templates in Apple's Pages software came together upon my finding a
template featuring a fictional entity known as "Green Grocery".
Naturally, I had to find some pictures of rather seriously green (as in
moldy or spoiled) groceries. What I put together was nothing less than
a disgusting masterpiece. Sadly, I think this one perished in an
accident involving overzealous deletion of files. There's a chance it
may have made it to an optical disc. If it did, I'll certainly see
about retrieving it.
And that's that.
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