information loop

So some guys from work are going to see Steely Dan in concert tonight. This is fine, a cool thing to do and I’m happy for them. They are happy for them.

But the mention of Steely Dan inevitably brings up the origin of the name. Is there always the one guy that has to bring up thing that everyone knows, a fact that was vaguely interesting the first time it was learned and immediately tedious after absorbing?

I would like to reference the esteemed BOFH at this point, who puts it so well:

I’m really bored. You know how bored you get when work’s going on and on and on, and nothing interesting is happening, and you’re listening to a radio that picks up ONE station on FM, and it’s always the station with the least records in the city, about 5, and one of them is “You’re so Vain” which wasn’t too bad a song until you hear it about 3 times a day for a year, and *EVERY* time it plays, the announcer tells you it’s about Warren Beaty and who he’s currently poking, someone you’ll never sniff the toe-jam of, let alone meet, let alone get amourous with. And EVERY time someone mentions Warren Beaty, someone says that he used to go out with Madonna too, and have you seen “In Bed With..”

AND THEN, someone ELSE will say “It wasn’t really about Warren Beaty, it was James Taylor” and the first person will say “What, `In bed with Madonna?'”, and they laugh and everyone else laughs, and I slip out the Magnum from under the desk where I keep it in case someone laughs at a joke that’s so dry it’s got a built in water-fountain, and blow the lot of them away as a community Service. I figure that I’ll get time off my sentence if I ever kill someone by accident who’s got a life.

Just in case you are confused, I’m talking about the seemingly required discussion surrounding the “You’re so vain” song’s intended referent.

It’s a trigger for inane conversation. A tired joke/titillation that was maybe funny once. Maybe half funny once.

I reference the Heinlein “Funny Once” theory of Humor. In the excellent book “Moon is a Harsh Mistress” a large computer comes to life, and the hero of the story has to explain that some jokes are “funny once”, but should not be repeated.

That was one smart computer.

I wish that sort of smart could spread.

And NO, i’m not going to tell you what Steely Dan is named after. Look it up, if you really don’t know. Or don’t because it’s barely Worth knowing.