Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2040 Hot Flash

I'm sort of tuned in to advertisements. When you're a child of modern times, it's hard not to be. Who am I kidding "modern"? Ads have been around since the first time a hawker hawked the "Muffin man down on dreary lane." And been encouraging folks to scratch their heads too.
Like this ad I heard recently. It was from a medical care facility. They were telling how they specialize in women's care. And part of their specializing was a "personal, caring" approach. Because they knew that you, as a woman, appreciated a personal caring approach.
So they could better treat you for women's issues like hot flashes and bladder control and offer: "Minimally invasive robotically assisted hysterectomies."
Because, you know, there's nothing more personal than a robot.
I don't how many times I've been on a date and thought, "Boy, I'd really be able to be more personal and caring and intimate with this lovely woman if only I'd brought along a robot."
Another ad I saw had this slogan. "July is Customer Appreciation Month." Isn't that nice. Does that mean the other eleven months of the year they don't appreciate us? That August through June they're just enduring our occasional visits to their store? That if only they had their druthers, they'd ruther not have anything to do with us?
Like Mothers Day and Valentines Day, Customer Appreciation Day seems like one of those things where if you have to remind someone to love someone else it's not really worth it.
I much prefer the obviousness of another sign I saw: "Inventory Reduction Sale." Well certainly. When you stop to think about, in retail, isn't every sale you make an inventory reduction sale?
I'd figure that could be understood even by a robot.  
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2039 Horrid Scope

Like most people, I like having something to believe in. But of all the religious options, one I'm not entirely comfortable with is astrology. The notion that the position of the stars and planets somehow affects your fate here on Earth seems a little farfetched.
Like fetched far from the furthest star.
Because when you think about it, as most religions actually encourage you not to do, the constellations that astrology depend on to impart your traits are actually just groups of stars that appear to be associated by our point of view, and really have no relation to each other at all, other than in a connect-the-dots etch-a-sketchy sort of way.
The stars that make up most constellations are very far from each other, sometimes millions of light years or more, and not just sideways but into the depths of space. Which means some of the stars that are apparently aligned are so far and so old they may already be dead, and we're just seeing their light as it finally arrives from its long journey to us.
Let's hope one of the Gemini stars doesn't blink out.
If I needed any further proof, a quick look at birthdays recently would confirm it. Not long ago, July 12th, it was the birthday of Richard Simmons. Easy-going, frenetic, sweating to the oldies Richard. That same birthday, July 12th, is also the traditional historical birthday of Julius Caesar. World Conqueror, Emperor, that sort of thing.
Except that Richard promotes health through exercise and Julius indirectly promotes health through the salad people eat in his name, not a lot of astrological similarities.
Still not convinced? John Tesh was born on July 9th.
So was Courtney Love. There's a couple of stars that don't align.
Me. I'm a Virgo. So I'm skeptical of all that astrology stuff.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

2038 Watersheds

Modern technology-- we've reached some watersheds. First in size. Like the new "world's largest building." An amazing piece of human technology. There was a veritable Babel of responses to it in the worldwide media. How it could it not be newsworthy? It was big.
How big?
Well, it's only 18 stories tall but it has 1.2 million square feet of floor space. One article, sensitive to your different possible cultural bases for comparison, said it could house three Pentagons, four Vatican cities or twenty Sydney opera houses. Retail space is equivalent to 329 football fields.
It's so big, in one area it has an indoor beach. Complete with  a massive wave pool. But that's not enough. It also includes a gentle breeze, is illuminated 24-hours a day by an artificial sun, and features an 164-yard long giant LED screen that shows an artificial sunset on it's simulated horizon. Talk about watershed.
The building just happens to be in Chengdu China so you know what that means. They've finally solved their outdoor air pollution problem. Use coal to fire a big power plant, and move everyone indoors. Hey, with a 164-yard LED screen showing clear blue skies, who needs smog?
The other techno-watershed I saw recently involved the Panamanian president. The Panama police stopped a North Korean ship going through the canal that was apparently loaded with nuclear missiles hidden in brown sugar.
At least it’s healthier than white sugar.
What got me techno-wise was the President, who went to look and then decided to send a picture proving it to the whole world. By tweeting it. Yep, the President of Panama, proving North Korean nuke smuggling, a grave and serious international offence, tweeted it. 
I wonder if Twitter ever wishes they had a more serious sounding name.
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

2037 Bug Beer

Not long ago I wrote a commentary about eating bugs. The United Nations committee on something or another had come out with a recommendation that resources be applied to develop a robust bug eating industry. Raise 'em, harvest 'em, and gobble them down.
Not as creepy as it sounds. Or creepy-crawly. There are already plenty of countries where bug eating is normal. It's mostly in the West that we turn our proboscis up at a fine bug casserole.
We shouldn't. I've had deep-fried crickets before, and with all the spices and the frying, they tasted not unlike an extra crunchy version of Cheetos. A bug version could be called Beetos.
Yeah yeah yeah.
And really, anyone who has ever consumed shrimp or lobster is just eating the aquatic version of grasshoppers or cockroaches. "Crickets of the Sea" I call them. If you've ever ordered a whole shrimp at an ethnic restaurant you know what I mean. They have antennae and bug faces and hard bug legs. They certainly couldn't pass for pulled pork.
As I suggested in the commentary, just rendering bugs into protein bits to use in sausage would be a natural. You could add any flavor you like and it wouldn't bug anyone.
So imagine my surprise when I read an article recently that confirmed this is already inadvertently taking place. Scientific American reports that the average American eats almost two pounds of dead insects or insect parts a year, in foods like pasta, spinach, broccoli, cereal, and rice.
And beer.
Yep, not just a fly in your milk. A bug in your beer. Sort of. In the FDA's limits for insects in your food is this allowable allotment: 2500 aphids for each 10 grams of hops.
I’m guessing they just hop in.
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2036 Bone of Contention

I have a bone to pick. And I have said bone to pick with Kentucky Fried Chicken. AKA KFC.
It's about their new advertising campaign, in which they seek to promote the fact that they now serve boneless chicken. It's called, "I ate the bones."
Putting aside for the moment that it's new level of cruelty to raise boneless chickens, who'd have even worse mobility ability than the factory farm ones we hear about, I'm not sure it's a good idea to even suggest someone may have eaten the bones in a bucket of chicken.
Because some brainless idiot will try. Remember that legal disclaimer? Don't try this at home?
Plus, if I or any of my friends had eaten the bone, they'd be seeking aid from their physician. Or at least hacking a lot from the discomfort.
Chicken bones are notoriously dangerous. I remember our veterinarian insisting we not feed chicken bones to our dog. They splinter too easily, piercing internal digestive organs. "Leave the chicken bones to cats," my vet said.
(He wasn't a cat lover.)
In any event, the whole "I ate the bones" thing sounds a little weird. As if the eater was so oblivious to the process of chicken eating that he or she gobbled right through the bone in question. Like munching the corn right past the cob.
So don't encourage bone eating KFC, even if it's legal in Kentucky. The first time one of your not-so-bright customers hurts his throat on a bone you'll be in a class action suit up to your gizzard.
Which makes the recent ad I saw even scarier. They were offering a 10-piece mixed bucket for $14.99.  By "mixed" they meant 6 boned and 4 boneless.
Or as the lawyers will call it, choking roulette.
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2035 FOMO

I learned a new acronym yesterday. FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. It's an identification of the same condition I've been doing commentaries about lately. The obsession with one's smartphones in the pursuit of being constantly in touch.
And the fear of not being in touch. AKA the "Don't love the one you're with" syndrome. Friends at concerts holding phones out to record, young people on dates texting to others, couples sitting at restaurants, each staring raptly into their own phones. Ignoring each other so they can stay in touch with distant friends. Sometimes very distant, almost anonymous, as people post or pinterest to the virtual strangers on their likes list.
FOMO is a real thing for social media users. A new survey revealed 56% of social media users are afraid of missing out on events, news, and important status updates if they are away from social networks. 72% said they are within 5 feet of their phones at all times.
How far will folks take their obsessive/compulsive addictive object of affection? 35% to a movie theater. 33% during a dinner date. At a child's or school function, 32%. In church or a place of worship, 19%. And in the shower, yes, I said in the shower, an amazing 12%.
What about…you know? You wonder. That's okay, you can come out and say it. Or just text me if you feel more comfortable. Okay. What about sex?
The survey asked that too. The answer is, nearly 10% of people leave their phones on and close by during the "private" act.
That led me to come up with not just a new acronym but a new word. For people who suffer FOMO so much they leave their phones on during sex.
You guessed it, they're Fomosexuals.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2034 Phone Drone

Recently I commented on how folks miss out on real experiences because they spend all their time recording their experiences so they can "post" them for others. As if they're an advance cadre of ants sent out to do reconnaissance on new places to forage for food, get materials for the nest, or build a colony.
Oh that's right. They call that Yelp.
That notion of memory-deprived mindless recorders put me in mind of drones. All kinds of camera eyes pointing into all kinds of niches recording who knows what.
Sometimes this is good. Like when the guy caught footage of the plane crashing in San Francisco. CNN loved having the exclusive video. But they didn't edit the audio. In the background you can clearly hear the guy's wife or girlfriend gushing cluelessly, "Oh... you're filming it. Oh... you're filming it..."
Very creepy.
Even creepier, there's now an app you can get for your smartphone that does "auto-logging." It keeps track of your every movement from here to there---home to car, car to office, office to bathroom. And then posts updates to your friends or whomever, automatically. It's upgrade also uses the barometer, camera, and microphone in a device, along with its location sensors, to figure out what someone is up to and where.
At this point, it's a voluntary app. But what's to stop NSA-inspired cellphone manufacturers from installing it in secret? And sending that info to a nosy government, or business trying to sell you cushier toilet paper. 
In a novel I read recently, one character points out that if the government had forced us to wear a device that monitors where we are every second, we would have resisted it with our last breath.
Instead, we were offered iPhones.
And now we're all iDrones...
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

2033 Electronic Living

I was listening to the radio the other day. I often do so, finding it a pleasant way to fill my head with music when I'm doing something else. Plus, I like hearing the announcements about local events and such that you can't get from other media.
I'm guessing your iPod doesn't tell you about the next local charity fundraiser coming up this weekend.
As I was listening, I heard a new song. In it, the singer, Gavin Degraw, had a line that mentioned flying drones, a neighborhood of clones, and looking at the crowd and they're staring at their phones. And it occurred to me. That's exactly what you see at concerts these days. Folks holding up their phones, badly recording the event.
The evidence of their bad bootleg recordings is glutting the YouTube universe. And it’s very clear evidence that smartphones are not very good recording devices. The video ain't terrible if you can stand the ordinary tremors of a concertgoer being jostled around. But the audio absolutely sucks.
You can't use a variable volume pickup device at a concert. One split second it's recording the song, the next it's reaching with all its electronic sound-seeking might to pick up the snorts and hoots of the reveler down the row.
And worse, it's a bad recording of what ultimately was an non-fully appreciated experience. So I ask. Where were you, the recorder in all this? Were you enjoying the concert? Or holding up your phone in front of your face, obscuring your own view and diminishing your real memory?
All so you can twitter or Facebook your not fully experienced experience to someone not there at that moment and then post the horrible results later for the whole world to ignore on YouTube.
Like you too ignored living.
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

2032 Expectacle

So, just living life sometimes leads us to expect certain things. Or not expect things. Or expect things to not be.
Like if you read Lee Childs' books, where the main character Jack Reacher is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, you wouldn't expect him to be played in a movie by Tom Cruise. Yet that's what happened. They should have expected people to stay away in droves. And they did. It was like having Terminator played by Prince.
Likewise recently I was driving along and saw a giant inflated dinosaur. My first, and justified, expectation was, "Oh, looks like a car dealer is having an offsite sale." As I got closer, I noticed something else. One of those wiggly noodle guys. You know the ones. The air blowing in from the bottom makes the huge tubular figure wiggle, bend and shake like Gumby on meth withdrawal.
The second I saw the noodle guy I thought, "Wow, not only are they having a car sale, they're doing oil changes too!"
Imagine my surprise when I found how my expectations had led me astray. Expectations are pre-meditated resentments, a friend of mine once said, perhaps to manage my expectations about where our friendship may be going.
True enough, because I resented there wasn't going to be a car sale that gave oil changes. Turns out the inflated dinosaur and noodle man had nothing to do with those things this time. They were there to promote fireworks. It was almost Independence Day.
That holiday where the various cities expect folks to follow the law and not explode fireworks in city limits or after legal hours.
Cause you know, folks that would blow tons of money on fireworks can be expected to be responsible with unenforceable rules.
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2031 Cherry Nitpicking

I read an interesting article. It pointed out how we humans tend to cherry pick ideas we like and spit the pits out from those we don't.
Between cherry picking and sour grapes it's a fruity world. Fruity as in the traditional "nutty as a fruitcake" meaning.
The article was by a guy named Michael Lind, and he asked the question, "Why are there no libertarian countries?" You know, I'd never thought about that before. As he said, there are all kinds of political philosophies represented in the world's 193 countries. There's communism, socialism, and various dictatorships on the right and the left. Fascism gets tried every now and then. There are social democrats, representative democracies, and republicanism as in republics like our own.
But there don't seem to be any libertarian governments. Full on libertarianism being self-defined as very limited government, an unfettered free market economy, decriminalized drugs, and no welfare or public education system.
Since no such government exists, libertarians often cheery pick what they like from the low hanging fruit of other countries. They cite the economic liberty of Singapore, where you can make a lot of money on Singapore sling cocktails, yet fail to mention it's also an extremely oppressive police state. You can also make a bunch selling whipping canes.
They also cite Mauritius, a place with economic freedom to be sure, but one which also has twice the infant mortality rate and three times the maternal mortality rate of the US.
Maybe some safety nets are okay. As are common roads, infrastructure and, sadly, the government and bureaucracy to maintain them. And yes, that means being free also means free to pay taxes.
Life is a bowl of cherries.  But someone's gotta pay for the reliable, dishwasher-safe, crumble-resistant, safety-tested, toxin-in-the-glaze-prohibited bowl.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2030 Safewaste

Recently I was driving blithely along, expelling my share of planet-warming carbon remnants into the atmosphere, and I noticed a new sign at my friendly neighborhood mega-corporation fossil fuel dispensary that was about to shorten my few pleasurable moments left on this earth.
This the dispensary, which in an act of friendliness, recently not only raised prices generally, citing middle-eastern concerns having to do with some wholly predictable conflict, but also specifically raised prices if I chose to use my formerly same-as-cash debit card.
Like I say, friendly.
They had a new friendly offer. I could get a certain number of cents off any gallon of gas by using my Safeway club card rewards. How thoughtful. Now if I shopped for my groceries at one giant non-local mega-corporation chain I could save money buying fuel from another non-local mega-corporation chain. I suddenly felt way less gouged and violated.
Or was that more?
Because, of course, the Safeway trade-off means I can only use their club card to save myself from being gouged at their store if I turn over my privacy by having them register my personal buying history at the register. Now Safeway will know where and when I get my gas too.
Funny thing though. What kind of deal with the devil did Chevron make? They have a mini-mart right there. They're essentially saying shop at our grocery competitor and we'll make less money on the gas we sell you too.
I got gas there since. Probably for the last time. Because now I'm even more inconvenienced. Yep. When I swipe my debit card, I have to first press an extra button to start the transaction.
It tells them I don't have a Safeway rewards card.
Another second of my rapidly shortening life wasted.
Or should I say safewasted…
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2029 Snitch in Time

I read an article the other day that reminded me of how unfair the real world is.
The article was about the difficult time Edward Snowden is having finding a place to claim political asylum. Like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, no country wants to appear to condone an individual who leaks country's secrets.
Yet every country wants to hear that another country's secrets have been leaked.
It's what I call the tattletale syndrome, or a snitch in time saves mine. Everybody hates a tattletale. But everybody wants the wrongdoer who's being tattled on to suffer before he wrongdoes them.
The article was actually about German Chancellor Angela Merkel complaining loudly about how the USA and the NSA were spying on them by monitoring their emails and phone calls. She was outraged. She took umbrage. She was in a veritable fahrvergnugen of a high snititude.
But strangely, neither she nor other spied-upon European leaders rewarded Edward Snowden for the great service he had done for them by offering him asylum. They wanted the USA to know they were mad but they didn't want the US to get too mad at them in return.
And they sure as heck didn't trust Edward Snowden. He was a whistleblower, which is an attempt to put a nice word on the act, but not much.
Look how our language really tells what we think about whistleblowers. Synonyms include: snitch, tattletale, stool pigeon, stoolie, informer, betrayer, scandalmonger, narc, squealer, rat, fink, and ratfink.
So Snowden ratted on the NSA for spying on our citizens. And the only place who'll give him asylum is Russia. They never spy on theirs...
The real world? My mom used to spank my brother when I told her he'd hit me. Then she'd spank me for being a tattletale. 
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

2028 Seal of Support

            I'm not sure companies always say what they mean when they do marketing. I'm pretty sure that "truth in advertising" standard doesn't include just not thinking.
Like the Sealy company. I mentioned in a recent essay how they have a new bed that they call a "Hybrid." Which could mean they want it to sound like an exotic cross-pollinated flower. Or they want it to sound like a Prius. Not sure which I'd rather sleep in.
Because this time of year my problem is I'm allergic to some flower pollen. Then again, I'm not so sure cuddling next to a bedload of lithium ion batteries is good for the human reproductive cycle. Although at this time of my life I'm likely to be more of an uncle than a dad.
I don't have that many nephews... that I know of...
Anyhow, Sealy also has a new tag line that I saw in their Hybrid commercial. A branding statement, if you will. And it's a little odd. "Whatever you do in bed, Sealy supports it."
Hmmm. In some ways you could read that as a warm sentiment supporting gay marriage. Unfortunately, you could also read it as a license to bring out the sundry chains and leather goods. Make sure all your sheets and pillowcases, and bedclothes generally, are in shades of gray. It could be worse, people smoke in bed, or gorge on junkfood till they grow grotesquely obese and can't get out.
Or eat crackers.
Not to mention kids jumping on the bed and breaking the box springs and nearby furniture loaded with grandma's knickknacks.
So maybe it would be safer for Sealy to say, "Whatever you do in bed, between consenting adults, and that's generally healthy and responsible, Sealy supports it. Some restrictions apply."
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2027 Rewound

            It's interesting how words grow in popularity. You know something has arrived when the term for it starts getting borrowed for other things. Like the term HD. It started with television and video and worked its way to audio and then even paint.
Or take the word rewind. As in, "Be kind, please rewind." "Rewind" achieved vast popularity during the VCR videotape revolution of the 80s. Of course it worked for audiotapes too, but you could flip them over, it was the single-direction videotapes that really put the word on the map.
What I hated about it was the past tense. Rewound. It was spelled like you were wounding someone again.
Interestingly, I read a book recently that was set in the present day, and one character asked another to "rewind" a digital file. And I suppose we all do that. Like we dial a phone without a rotary dial, we say “rewind” when we mean “return” or “go back.” We also say things like, "Rewind that to the beginning of the tape." Even when there's no tape anymore, it's all digital data on a disc or hard drive, and certainly no rewinding of the tape.
So we find ourselves rewinding our Blu-ray HD DVD.
Another word being bandied about indiscriminately is "hybrid." Which always sounds like High Bred to me. As if it comes from some royal genetic provenance.
The new "hybrid" I saw recently came from Sealy-Posturepedic. Their new bed is part steel springs and part memory foam. Like a Tempur-Pedic with a backbone, I guess. Anyhow, they call it a hybrid. Like it's the Sealy Prius or something.
Sleep more, drive less, use less gas.
Me, I won't be able to unwind and sleep well 'till they bring out the HD version.
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2026 Data Pickup

            I saw an interesting new thing in a commercial. It was the Verizon Jet Pack. The commercial started with a pleasant looking young lady apparently having problems connecting her laptop to WiFi at an outdoor cafe. She acted out a few frustrating attempts and then a waitress dropped off a napkin with a note that said, "Need WiFi?"
Suddenly her computer picked up a signal that said, "maroon sweater." She looked around, saw a nice-looking nerdy maroon-sweatered guy and he gave her the thumbs up. Seconds later she had a high speed internet connection.
Seconds after that the guy sits down at her table and they smile at each other. It's love at first megabyte in the internet age.
A lovely modern fable. Fortunately the guy wasn't some creepy ex-NSA employee looking to plunder her unsecured identify info. Or plant a Trojan in her vulnerable hard drive.
The voiceover went on to say you can get a Verizon Jet Pack free. You can use it as a hotspot just about anywhere and connect up to ten devices to their 4G network.
Which is all well and good if you have friends or quick pick-ups you can trust. But not so good if one of your connectees decides to download bootleg feature length HD movies while you're chatting her up.
Because the jetpack might be free. But it's only WiFi to the hotspot. The hotspot connects to the 4G network. And your 4G data plan. Which I'm guessing is no longer unlimited.
The equivalent, in the old days, of letting a stranger make a long distance call... to Hong Kong. Nice, to be sure, but maybe you should get farther in that storybook first date first.
At least till you see how she uses her first data.
America, ya gotta love it.

2025 Spy vs Spy

            Sometimes I get the idea people don't think the whole thing through. Like me. I have always been suspicious of Facebook's data spying so I've never joined. It was creepy how they kept changing their privacy policies and exposing personal information. Imagine my surprise when I heard about their recent breach, which exposed 6 million people's private information.
Not long afterwards they sent notices telling folks they were compromised. Except some of those who got notified were like me, they'd never been on Facebook. But Facebook had their info. How? They got it from folks who had joined Facebook and opened up their address books to Facebook's data plundering.
Like someone was talking to a friend in a locker room shower and decided to take a look around while he was there.
The bad thing is, I thought the whole privacy thing through and I still got exposed. No one expects to have to wear a swimsuit in the shower.
The other item I heard about had to do with NSA whistleblower and/or traitorous spy Edward Snowden. He found himself in a Catch 22. On the one hand he was chastised by the NSA for spying and ratting on their spying. Takes one to know one I guess.
On the other hand, it was ironic. He proclaimed he was adamantly opposed to the government using its broad powers to monitor citizens. When he was in China hiding, he said: "I don't want to live in a society that does these sorts of things."
Dude. You're in China! When was the last time the NSA shot a dissident they spied on and sold his organs on the black market?
Think it through. Wouldn't it be better to make those statements from Sweden?
Or post it on your Facebook...
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

2024 Hair Apparent

“Hair today, gone tomorrow” is the complaint of many of my male contemporaries. Especially the macho guys who really put a premium on manly hirsutitude.
But there's some men in some countries who find too much hair apparent hair repellent. Of course it a matter of context. They don't find hair repellent on their heads. They find it repellent on the legs of young women.
This is a story of ingénue ingenuity. Or what's a girl to do?
The problem: Women on public transit in China have been and are being subjected to rude and intolerable groping from older men. Apparently it's no big deal, from the groping rude men's point of view, to fondle the legs of any female they encounter on a bus or subway.
In many respects, like, um, respect, China lags behind the western world in matters of propriety. But like any problem, there's someone willing to come up with a home-grown solution. Or one you can pull on like a pair of tights. In this case, a pair of leg-colored nylons embedded with actual hair.
And they are rendered quite well. Not like fake fur at all. The tights make a girl’s legs look like the curling bodily hairiness of a Romanian weightlifter. Think Albanian back hair applied to formerly lovely limbs.
The result? A fashion that got legs in a hurry. A forbidden city taken to a lower extremity. Women now free from leering lecherous looks and liberated from libertine licentiousness. And fondling too. Chinese men find them disgusting. And they leave the lasses alone.
Of course, this sort of just glosses the whole thing over. Women are still objects in the oblivious men's minds, they're now just hairy objects.
It doesn't really get to the root of the problem.
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, July 05, 2013

2023 Word Filet

     It's the interplay of words and ideas that I find continually fascinating. Of course, that's the foundation upon which comedy is built. Mash two disparate ideas together surprisingly and suddenly and the "aha" moment becomes the "haha" moment.
     That happened recently when a guy came up to me and asked me if I knew how to make a hormone. Sure, I said, and proceeded to tell him that first you needed a well-equipped lab. Then you should get some fairly specific organic chemicals, and then... and then he walked off muttering.
     Not sure why he asked me if he didn't want to know the answer.
     I was talking to another guy and he was going on and on quite boringly about the drawbacks of cannibalism. Like you can get the human version of mad cow disease and other sicknesses because body biomes are so similar. "Not to mention the whole dilemma of wine pairing," I interjected.
     He went off muttering too.
     Speaking of which, some other fellow was touting his new mushroom wine. "A very earthy palate," he intoned...
     "With top notes of animal feces," I chimed in. His acid stare had a bit of a tannic quality.
     I'm not the only one who takes concepts in weird directions. I was on the Jack in the Box website recently researching their new Big Stack burger special. They said it had "2 beef patties, topped with American cheese, onion rings, and pickle filets."
     Pickle filets. What a fresh, new, hoity-toity Madison Avenue appellation to redefine an old, well-pickled concept.
     Ah yes, the pickle filet. The tenderest part of a pickle.
     I think it comes from the pickle loin.
     Do you know how to make a pickle filet? First make sure "A" has a very small stomach...
     America, ya gotta love it.

2022 BOGO

     If you ask me the biggest cause of obesity in America is BOGO. No, not Bobo, as in the clown. Or Bonobo as in cousin of the chimpanzee. BOGO. An acronym that means Buy One Get One Free. I know, I know, that's spelled BOGOF, but that's not how they bandy it about in the advertising industry.
     Buy One Get One free appeals to a couple of venial sins. First, the sin of gluttony; who doesn't want to eat two of something when one will do? And two, the sin of parsimony. Skinflintism. Cheapskateism. Penny-pinching, value grabbing, coupon waving, moneysaving, tightwadding, scrimping skimping frugaling penurious butt-squeaking stinginess.
     We like a deal.
     So if we can both overfill and underpay who can resist?
     Both Madison avenue and the fast food business know this. That's why they inundate us with pleas to buy something new by tempting us with Buy One Get One free.
     All well and good if you have someone to take along to eat the free one. Someone equally adventurous. Or possibly someone who doesn't look down her nose at the prospect of being a calorie reducing cheap date. What a drag...he's using me to get his new burger and save his calories at the same time. A cheap date with a cheapskate.
     But what other choice does a slimness aspiring super saving single person have? You want to take advantage of the deal. But without help you're forced to acquire a second Big Stack burger, Chipotle Chicken, Doritos Locos taco, or Habenero Ranch Bacon topped Quarter Pounder.
     It's just another example of how singles are discriminated against in our society. Couples can share the calories. Singles have to take advantage of specials and BOGO alone.
     BOGO. Buy Offer Get Obese.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

2021 I'll Ick

     My previous commentary, numbered and titled, "2020 Vision" was about the involuntary problems to my vision brought on by old age. Problems I have no choice about. For the most part that's true about things related to vision, unlike hearing problems.
     Many hearing professionals attribute various degrees of deafness to external causes. One spent too much time next to a jackhammer perhaps, or one's callow youth moshing at eardrum-splitting rock concerts.
     One usually doesn't lose one's vision from such external environmental causes. "Oh, he's turning blind because he spent too much time in a bright room." Sure, one can stare at the sun after popping LSD at one of those rock concert things and lose both his sight and his hearing but such instances are rarer than a texter with thumb-related carpal tunnel.
     Well, forget about rock concerts, youthful faddism has a new dangerous trend: Eyeball licking. Yep, apparently it's all the rage in Japan. It started there in a middle school and videos of it have since been posted on YouTube, so, you know, it's now all the rage.
     The kids call it "worming." I guess because it feels like a worm in your eye. Scientists call it oculolinctus, because "eye licking" sounds so gross.
     Here's the really bad news. It can cause blindness. Which, unfortunately, adults have always told kids, to stop their bad habits.
     "Don't do that, you'll go blind."
     Even more unfortunately, in this case it's true. Pink eye, chlamydia, and who knows what from all sorts of  bad bacteria on your friend's tongue.
     I trace it to all the other I-fads. The "80s" was the "me" decade. The "Teens" is the "I" decade. iPads, iPods, iPhones, and now Eye Licking.
     A certain company's no longer the apple of my eye.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2020 Vision

     I had an insight the other day. And it was about my outsight. Perhaps the biggest reason I've avoided the whole smartypants phone thing is because the writing on them is too small.
     Yesterday someone held up her little phone to show me an image of what she was posting on her Facebook. "Notice the caption," she said. I not only couldn't read the caption she was pointing out, I couldn't see the caption.
     So like the audio frequencies young people can hear that adults can't, there are video frequencies I can't appreciate in their world of Twitter, Facebook and just writing on tiny phones generally.
     My optometrist is not comforting about the whole issue. He tells me my lenses are getting less flexible, so can't adjust as readily to long versus short vision. "Your lenses are getting hard," he says.
     "About the only parts on my old body that are," I mutter.
     Interestingly, my vision prescription recently improved a tad. "That's typical," my optometrist said. "People who originally are nearsighted usually go through a slight improvement at your age."
     A phrase I've learned to detest by the way. Two of them actually. "At your age" and "Considering your age."
     In any event, my eye guy explained that it was a double-edged sword. My vision would improve for a while, but the plain fact was it was an artifact of the beginnings of cataracts.
     The initial stages of cataract formation change the refraction of your eye lenses in such a way that your vision gets better. Right before it gets cloudier than the froth from a waterfall.
     I guess I could get one of those phones that talks texts to me. But the reception is so poor in my area it's already like having cataracts in my ears.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, July 01, 2013

2019 Character Flaw

     I like how words play tricks sometimes. Sometimes it's how you place them. Sometimes it's how they sound.
     Like recently I drove by this restaurant that had been closed down. And there was a rather elaborate "No Trespassers" sign on it. The sign was all in one font with a straightforward black text on white background presentation. It said, "Bank Owned Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law."
     The text thing may have been part of the problem. Because like some texts, the makers of the sign didn't use any punctuation at all. So it was impossible to tell where one sentence ended and another began. My mind read it this way: "Bank-owned-trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
     And I wondered what it was like to be a bank-owned trespasser. Is that like indentured servitude of some sort? The bank owns your ass-ets because you got into debt from a lawsuit fining you major bucks for trespassing? Bad. Especially if you're now going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
     (Does anyone ever threaten to prosecute to a moderate extent of the law?)
     A simple period would have made all the difference. One little punctuation character. Like texters generally, the sign suffered from a character deficiency.
     Another way words can be tricky is how they sound. In my imaginary world I saw an ad the other day for a new music tour involving Enya and the remaining members of Rod Stewart's and Ronnie Wood's old band, The Faces.
     It's apparently a new angry punk-like sound. They're calling it the Enya Faces tour.
     Not as funny if there was a dash between Enya and Faces. Seems my tendency to joke is enhanced by character deficiency too.
     America, ya gotta love it.