Friday, February 28, 2014

2173 Crick Crack

I wonder about the word "crick."

The other day I woke up from what I thought was a restful repose only to find out that I had a pain in my neck. No, not some sort of annoying busybody that kept bugging me, an actual pain in my actual non-metaphorical neck. 

I had a crick.

That's right, the proverbial crick in the neck. Which, by the way, some people identify as a crink in the neck. Not sure if that's a regional or accidental variation.

But it does make one wonder what it all means. Crick. An old word. One that implies so much. Oldness, bendiness, non-flexibility, and rivers.

Does crick come from creaky? I'm so old my bones are creaking. And now one of those old bones got jammed in my neck somehow. Like a locked knee in my creaky old leg joint, but in my upper spine.

Or does crick come from crook? Not the criminal kind of crook, the crook in a hook sort of crook. Like when some ancient biblical prophet is depicted with a crook in his staff. Which, I know, sounds like an administrative embezzler, but I mean like the hook they use to pull bad talent off the stage. The bendy type of crook. Because your neck is bent funny when you have a crick in it. Or you can't bend it back to normal without pain.

Or is it crick as in creek as in river? I catched me some catfish down by the crick. And man, that crick had more bends than a backbone. Makes some sense. Cricks do bend around necks of land.

Or is it because the cure for a crick in your neck is to crack it?

Or is everything I said just a crock? 

America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2172 Crossed Words

I get hung up on the crossed meanings of words sometimes. To the extent I even have weird dreams about them.

Case in point, I was driving down the road the other day and saw one of those dance studios. It had a big sign saying they offered Pole Dancing. Pretty risqué, I thought as I drove by. But I guess on some subconscious level I was really curious about what they actually did in there. Sultry music? Low lighting? The clink of cocktail glasses? A recording of raucous men roaring their approval?

That same night I had a dream that I had gone in. Much to my surprise Pole Dancing was actually women in dirndls hopping around to accordion music conducted by a zombie Lawrence Welk tapping out a polka.

I got to stop eating kielbasa before I go to bed.

Crossed meanings caught me up another time when I heard a news story on the radio. The reporter was saying that a nearly 10,000 year old mammoth tusk had been found around here. The reporter then called it a fossil. 

Though I know we sometimes call old folks like Lawrence Welk fossils, I believe the exact meaning is only for once protoplasmic things whose tissues are now replaced by minerals and turned to stone. Just being really old and found in the ground doesn't count. Or I could be dreaming.

The last crossed word that caught me up was actually a short phrase used by a gentleman who spoke at an event I attended. At one point he said he was a "former veteran." 

Does that mean he rejoined the military? I'm guessing that's like a retired guy saying he's going on a vacation. But I'm not sure. 

Maybe I should take a poll.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2171 Hearsion

Recently I was trying to convey something to somebody about how something might sound. And I found myself as confused as a resident of Washington or Colorado who'd recently partaken of a legal substance.

The problem. I wanted to convey that the person needed to visualize something or share my vision about something, but I wanted them to do it with their ears. I wanted them to imagine how something would sound.

But I couldn't come up with a word specifically for sound visualization. "Visualization" really doesn't fit since it brings up that whole vision thing. Which is, let's face it, a word for sight. If you see it in your mind, does that include hearing it in your mind? Does your inner vision come with speakers?

So if I'm imagining how something will sound is it an auralization? That works pretty good as a hearing equivalent for visualization, but what about the term vision. Listen-ion? Hearsion? 

All I get is confusion.

Speaking of which, I had a different vision, a real one, of a hazard certain folks may not have visualized the predictive way. I was approaching a roundabout and the individual driving the car in front of me slowed more than he was already cruising. Right before he entered the roundabout he came to a complete stop, though there were no cars coming. He then proceeded slowly through the roundabout, driving on the center line that separated the two lanes. He then came to a complete stop at the exit of the roundabout before he moved forward and slowly drove off. 

Perhaps his vision was an hallucination. My insight was this. Was it a good idea to legalize cannabis in a state that has so many roundabouts?

Maybe they should have a hearing on that.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2170 Expectashuns

We have expectations of certain people. Especially if those people are media icons, folks who've assumed certain roles in their life or displayed certain character types.

This goes way back. Like the story of Noah. If you're like me and were raised in the protestant-American heritage, you probably remember Noah portrayed as an old and cranky cuss. The original curmudgeon, about the age of a young Methuselah, according to the Bible around 600 years old at the time of the flood. A fairly serious do-no-evil sort of guy.

In other words, not your basic gladiator. And certainly not someone I would cast with Russell Crowe. But that's who the movie world has come up with for the recent feature movie of Noah.

Maybe it's no different than Charlton Heston being cast as Moses in his day but I don't think so. Moses kind of got Chuck going, and his character in subsequent histrionic roles led right to his eventual cold-dead-hand intonations for the NRA.

Russell was a gladiator first. Frustrated boatmaker and endangered species actor seems a stretch.

Likewise Bob Dylan's new ad for Chrysler. Bob Dylan, though he's flipped like a rolling stone when it's come to personas over the years, has always at least maintained a constant rebel air about him. One that argues against ever appearing as a commercial spokesman. 

So when in a recent Chrysler advertisement airing during the Superbowl he said, "Let Germany brew your beer. Let Switzerland make your watch. Let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car," it was a little odd. Especially since the tagline was, "Chrysler, America's import." 

And especially since Chrysler had just finished being bought out by Fiat.

Chrysler, America's import, owned by Dutch guys, run by an Italian.

Reminding us to manage our expectations.  

America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2169 Auto Manic

It's nice that we live in a time of constant human invention. The need to grow and change is a uniquely human trait. We don't just adapt to the environment, we create it.

Of course, sometimes we go awry. For every successful invention there are ten bonehead mistakes. Sometimes it's just inventions in fashion. Remember the days of parachute pants? Roughly contiguous with the days of auto-bras? 

Auto-bras faded fairly fast. So much so that when I mentioned them to a colleague recently he thought I was talking about some sort of automatic mammary restraining device. Something requiring an app perhaps.

No, auto-bras were those things folks fastened to the front of their cars to ward off dings and chips on the hood. And, as it turned out, create a tan line in their auto's paint job. So, no more auto-bras. Except for those who still wear white Reebok hightops and sport mullets. 

Then there's the auto-toilet. Another piece of technology that's about to go down the drain. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 360,000 "Flushmate" toilet flushing systems, warning that the product can cause toilets to explode. They also warned quite fussily that such explosion would pose "impact and laceration hazards to consumers..." 

Well yeah. A shard of porcelain up your rear would in fact be a laceration hazard. 

The Flushmate uses water pressure to compress air in a canister, which explosively releases when you flush, driving anything in the toilet down the pipe. Or, apparently, across the bathroom and/or embedded in your nether regions. 

Then again, who knows how many people were hurt by plungers or snakes while removing clogs before the Flushmate. 

Still, sitting on a toilet that may explode is not my idea of a world automatically made better by invention. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

2168 Siren Siri

I confess. I've been slow to adopt the smartphone. I have reasons for this, although to many they don't seem compelling. One is that I fear invasions of my privacy. Well, not actually fear. It's more accurate to say I resent them.

This may be an artifact of my hippie-ish youth, when many of the places I lived, dorm rooms, crash pads, etcetera, involved people rummaging around in my stuff at odd times. Nothing was ever taken, no crime committed, but having your life an open book should always be a matter of you first voluntarily handing someone that book.

Secondly, I fear myself. When I look at those who have fallen under the smartphone spell, they seem as if they're so enthralled by its doodadery that they must spend every waking moment with it. Enamored by its charms. Seduced by the Siren song of Siri.

I fear my personal OCD tendencies. I know that if I were to have at my fingertips the ability to constantly check my email and search the web for any little random question; about origins, or etymology, or the spelling of an obscure one-hit-wonder rock group's name, I would. Instant access would be total excess obsess.

Sadly... I have found recently, that whenever I pull out my flipphone to answer a call, I'm the object of scorn. "Get with the 21st Century, Funny Guy." "What's that, Mister Star Trek?" "Worried about the NSA? Where are you hiding your foil hat?" And etc. This, my friends, is techno-chauvinism. Or worse, techno-arrogance.

Would those same people openly criticize my pre-millennial car? I think not.  And that's how I know they are true addicts. They want me to validate them by sharing their secret suffering.

Comfort requires that everyone in the nudist colony be naked.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2167 Random Excess

Some random excess thoughts today. Excess because I have lots of half-baked ideas that never make it to full essay status, so little scraps of paper end up in piles on my desk. Time to clear the clutter.

Like is a half-baked idea an idea that isn't fully formed or an idea you have when you're half-baked?

Or... The news recently about Governor Chris Christie and his bridge scandal. There are so many natural disasters that screw up traffic it's quite annoying someone would actually set out to do it on purpose. The non-bridge to the 21st century.

Hearing Chris Christie's name so much put me in mind of other Chris's. Like the singer Christopher Cross or singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferrson.  Or the rap duo Kris Kross. Or even Kris Kringle. What is it about the parents of kids with last names starting with the K sound that makes them name their kids Kris?

Or... I saw an ad for Fruity Pebbles during the Superbowl. It asked Americans which was their favorite fruit in Fruity Pebbles. They still make Fruity Pebbles? Wasn't that a cereal created during the yabba-dabba-doo days of the Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera's cartoon knock-off of Jackie Gleason's Honeymooners?

I always thought it was cool Hanna-Barbera created yabba-dabba-doo.  

Anyhow, are Fruity Pebbles relevant any more? Do today's kids even know about The Flintstones? Shouldn't they rebrand them as Fruity Teletubbies or something? 

Lastly, I was thinking of the NSA and all the techniques they're using to spy on us feckless Americans. Including funding a quantum computer to break encryption codes and stuff.  Maybe we should call Edward Snowden's stories, "Tales from the Encrypt."

Or maybe I should have left that idea on a scrap of paper.

Thankfully, now it's just a random excess memory.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2166 Words of Fancy

Foreign words is weird. But they can sure fancy things up. Case in point. During the reign of joy after the Seahawks Superbowl Victory, a polite riot emerged on the streets of Seattle. By polite I mean wild revelers roaming the streets actually waited for a crosswalk sign to turn green so they could cross an intersection.

Unfortunately, some damage did occur. To a special pergola in downtown. Oh the humanity, a spoiled pergola.

But it got me thinking. When I think pergola, I also think gazebo. And when I think gazebo, I often think kiosk. They all conjure up the same sort of structure in my mind.

And it's odd, because these structures are often structures that are in civic parks. And often used for public entertainment. And hung with patriotic bunting. So my question: Kiosk, pergola, gazebo---Why do we only have foreign-sounding names for those structures?

Because the American word for them is shed.

And that ain't fancy.

Foreign-sounding names also infiltrate our candy. And it's nuts. As in nut type candy. Take your good old American peanut brittle. Always a holiday hit. Right up there with mom's apple pie. I've even had chocolate-covered peanut brittle.

So why is it when we use almonds we change the name to Almond Roca? Why roca? I'm guessing it's because it's a foreign name for rock. 
Then there's Ferrero Rocher. It's made of hazelnuts. Rocher is French for rock. The point is, brittle is fine in English, but when you start referring to your nut treats as rocks it's better to employ a foreign language. 

It just makes things sound fancier. As rocher is to rock, gazebo is to shed. 

So let's go watch an American band roca and rolla in the pergola. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2165 Reign of Rip-offs

Sometimes it seems there's been a fundamental shift in our morals. Rip-offs are everywhere. But maybe not. Even in the bible there's the story of God wiping out the world with a great flood, because it was so dirty. So I guess crookedness has been around for a while. Wonder when the almighty will see fit to douche the world again.

Two stories I read recently suggest such cleansing is just around the bend. One was that wearable gadgets like Google Glass and Samsung's Gear smartwatch are probably not going to catch on. And the predictor they used to come up with this conclusion? Pirates don't want them. 

No, not shiver-me-timbers pirates, counterfeiting pirates, those legions of evildoers in China and elsewhere that knock off every popular item ad infinitum. They aren't jumping on the donable-device boat at all. That rip-off rebuff bodes ill for wearable tech. Yarr.

The other story talked about the development of a new super secure smartphone. Not because of the bad guys but because of the good guys doing bad things. NSA-holes plumbing our privacy. A joint venture in Switzerland is about to unveil a "blackphone."

It's a phone designed to "enable secure, encrypted communications, private browsing, and secure file-sharing" and built on a "security oriented" version of Android. About time. Still, a little unsettling we have to invent something to protect our privacy from the good guys.

I'm guessing it won't make much difference. The average consumer is less threatened by pirates and NSA-busers than the countless rip-offs of privacy that come every day from the makers of the free apps they eagerly lap up for their smartphones and such. 

The flood of nefarious devices used against their devices in the piracy of their privacy.

Do I feel rain?

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

2164 Sushi Q

I was emceeing a great multi-cultural event the other day and was really impressed with how the many different cultures that make up this great melting pot of ours that we call America really gave the place a lot of energy. There were Native American dancers and Nordic bands. East Indians and Scottish Bagpipes. There were even hippie drum groups. All come together to have some fun and play some music.

As I am a melting-potted mutt myself I found the whole thing exhilarating. And was particularly impressed by the way the Native American groups extended their hands in welcome to all the other ethnicities that had invaded their land. Especially those Nordic-come-latelies. An important reminder that at some time we all were immigrants.

One of the things the festival had was workshops on cooking and stuff. One of which was on the making of sushi. When I announced that it was starting, I made some remark like "if you knew sushi like I knew sushi" and got a cross-cultural groan.

Nothing like a bad pun to bring people together. 

The ultimate melting pot Americanization of sushi would be to have it at a county fair like other fair foods. Deep-fried sushi. Yum. Like Gorton's fishsticks with rice and seaweed.

Speaking of sushi, did you know where the Winter Olympics were being held this year? I admit, I was oblivious. When I heard it was in Sochi I thought, Wow, didn't they just have the Olympics in Japan?

Nope, though it doesn't sound like it, Sochi is in Russia. And the way it looks now, with all the graft and corruption problems on construction of the roads and stuff, the blogosphere may just end up calling it the Sucky Olympics. 

If they serve sushi at Sochi, with all the other long lines there they could call it a Sushi-Q.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

2163 The Tar

Sometimes our language makes me go head over heels. Or topsy-turvy. There's a great phrase: topsy-turvy. I'm guessing it's like head over heels but derives from tops over turf.

Either one doesn't make sense. They supposedly mean being flipped upside down but if you think about it, they really mean status quo. Stasis. Staying the same. Head over heels is where you are normally. I'm head over heels in love with her. So I'm standing up? Topsy-turvy the same way. My top part is over the turf. Yep. Firmly grounded and ready to plant myself like a tree.

Then there are the phrases that creep into our language because somewhere along the way we stopped paying attention. Like the street right here in Olympia that my brother-in-law and sister once pointed out. They saw it with fresh eyes. I was so used to it, it never occurred to me. The street name? "Boulevard Road." Wonder if it's close to Cul-de-sac Loop?

Maybe it crept in because one of the words is foreign and so doesn't resonate with full significance. Boulevard is so Frenchy. Or like the phrase "La Brea tar pits." You've heard it. It's a place in LA where a pool of tar has accumulated over the eons. 

The petroleum in tar functions as a great preservative. So scientists have been able to discover mastodons and sabertooth cats and other extinct ancient clumsy beasts that stumbled in. Perhaps a clue to their extinction. 

Or maybe they couldn't read the Spanish warning signs. La Brea means "the tar." So that means when we say "La Brea Tar Pits" we're actually saying "the tar tar pits." 

They serve a delicious mastodon tartare. It'll make you go head over heels.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2162 Bear Bull

Sometimes I look at Wall Street and say this is what's wrong with America today. Sometimes I say this is what is great. That whole bull and bear thing.

It's the bull shtick that worries me.

A couple of news stories to explain: First, all the concern about the government bailing out General Motors seems to have been misplaced. My spin on the whole deal was that it was no different than local, state, or federal governments kicking in tax incentives for companies to build giant football arenas. Or Boeing to build airplanes.

Sometimes big business needs some even bigger pockets to bum a grubstake off to see them through.

Thanks to record highs on Wall Street, when the U.S. sells its remaining stock in General Motors it will make a net profit of $10 billion on the $421.6 billion bailout of the financial and auto industries. Plus, the auto industry added 300,000 jobs. Not only did they help business, in this case the government actually made some money, so how cool is that?

Then there's the weirder side of Wall Street. Recently, Google posted a 17% profit for the last quarter and Amazon reported a 20% increase in revenue. But, get this, they were both being, as the news articles put it, "punished by Wall Street."

Their stocks were actually going down after posting astonishing profits. Why? Because they were "below expectations." Their stock price had nothing to do with their actual great performance. For Google to make 17% profits in such a moribund economy is incredible. And a 20% revenue jump? Amazon is amazing. 

But passive-aggressive Wall Street is like, no... you're not living up to my ridiculously high expectations so nyah, I'm going to pout.

Does a bear shtick in the woods?

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2161 Appnonymous

Our appetite for apps will be our own undoing. It seems like every time you turn around some internet inventor has come up with an inane application. Inventions used to take time, thought and engineering. Now they just take a presumed solution to an imagined problem.

Take Lulu. Please. 

Lulu is a new "female friendly" dating app. Kind of like Yelp, but specifically for women in the singles scene. For fretful females who'd like a little advanced notice about the qualities of the person they're about to date. 

The underlying principle is the "anonymous review." Supposedly, allowing folks to review things anonymously allows them to be more truthful. The theory is you can have more candor if you don't fear retribution. Suspending, for reviewees, that constitutional right to face your accuser.

Although the idea may have once sounded good in theory, the reality of the anonymous internet has proven otherwise for years. Just ask the trolls in their mothers' basements.

Newspapers across the land have had to cut down incendiary comments sections by making people own up to their own identities. Trolls flaming innocents are commonplace. Young folks subjected to anonymous cyber-mob bullying have been hurt and badgered into suicide.

Go to any small-town internet forum that allows anonymous posting and you'll see the truth. Not about who is being posted against, but about the mean-spirited and vile personalities doing the posting who hide behind the cowardly cloak of secrecy.

Also, sadly, we humans are much more likely to bitch about something than compliment it. Especially when it comes to going to the trouble to write it down. 

So good luck Lulu. Your intent is pure. The dating scene is scary. But anonymous commenters are even scarier. I'd call this invention a misapplication. 

And it's a lulu.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2160 Life Socks

I guess it pays to be careful. But sometimes you wonder if people do stuff just because they can. You know, mid-level functionaries in unrewarding positions that insist on the letter of the law even when it makes no sense.

Take the TSA. It was nice to see recently when they loosened up some of their requirements in the list of items allowed on airplanes. Except then they changed their mind and banned them again. So it's still not appropriate to bring lacrosse sticks or wiffle ball bats. God forbid you bean a stewardess but wiffle ball bat.

Then again, if someone threatened me with a wiffle ball bat, I really would think he was crazy. And that would be scary.

But the news story I read recently is absurd. A TSA agent confiscated a tiny toy gun belonging to a sock monkey. I know, what was a sock monkey doing going through the security line? Turns out it was included in a carry-on bag of a woman who makes custom sock monkeys for a living. It was part of her props and displays.

In the security agent's defense, it wasn't that tiny. It was a two-inch toy gun. Large enough for the sock monkey to hold up and threaten a really really gullible flight attendant. And that's all a fanatical-looking sock monkey terrorist would need. The threat, if not the actual way to carry out the threat. 

Which is, of course, the reality lurking behind TSA security theater. A sufficiently dedicated terrorist could use a chokehold or any weapon, even paper cuts from the inflight magazine, to take a flight attendant hostage and from there the whole plane.

But until mid-level functionaries lose their power, pack your sock monkey out of reach, and in your checked baggage.  

America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, February 10, 2014

2159 Med Files

I enjoy reading little factoids about stuff. Tiny appetizers of news filed with the big news outlets.  Well, maybe not appetizers, since they rarely make you hungry for more, and often make you sick.

Especially when the factoids filed are about the health industry. Med Files as it were.

Case in point. A recent survey in the Journal of Patient Safety concluded that about 440,000 people die as a result of preventable error in U.S. hospitals every year. 

If you don't like to do voluntary math, that means that one out of six deaths in the whole nation can be attributed to mistakes in hospitals. That makes them the third leading cause of death. 


Still, how many of those people would have died if they didn't go to the hospital in the first place? Surgery is always risky and, you  know, mistakes are made. Scalpels are sharp and arteries slippery and  tiny. Even the finest chefs nick off a thumb tip every now and then.

Which is where the insurance industry comes in. They realize there are laws of averages to be played and money to be made. And they are pumped about the new Affordable Care Act, thanks to the insurance exchanges, where people can shop for coverage and they can cut some deals.

Another factoid reported health insurers expect to spend over $500 million on advertising in 2014, more than double what they spent last year. The article said that one company alone, Wellpoint, expects to spend $100 million. 

Healthcare, good or bad, seems to be good for business. And it looks like the people that are going to end up the healthiest are the folks in the business of advertising. 

The Affordable Care Act ---ACA--- AKA backdoor stimulus. File that.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

2158 Goateem

A good invention is one that after a few years you ask yourself, how did we even get along without it? Better yet, you don't even notice how much you've come to depend on it and really couldn't get along very well without it.

A bad invention is something that's flashy, catchy and forgotten in a couple of months. They're just gadgets. Gimmicks. One hit wonders of the techno-world.

I'm not sure where to place the item I read about recently. It's for people who would like the perfectly symmetrical goatee. I would say there's a need for such a thing. Who hasn't seen an ugly irregular hairball splayed on someone's chin?

Goatees have become ubiquitous. In the facial hair adornment department, almost as popular as the mustache. And as the manufacturers of this new product, the GoateeSaver put it, "to expect an individual to shave a perfect goatee every morning is unrealistic." I notice a little misplaced political correction in the afore-quoted marketing pitch. The use of the word "individual" instead of "man" is perhaps a little overzealous.

Anyway, males or females who prefer a perfect goatee need only buy the GoateeSaver. It's a plastic shaving template one holds in one's mouth while shaving around it. Yes, holds in one's mouth. You place inserts in your mouth and then bite down on them to hold the square-shaped template in place over your chin. It's got sides that are adjustable for the width of your beard, of course.

Invention? Gadget?  Tough call. 

GoateeSaver promises "a clean-lined and symmetrical goatee every time, no matter how unsteady your hand is because of last nights revelry," apparently targeting clubcrawlers and tailgaters as it's demographic. 

No word whether it also helps remove clotted beer and chili-dog clumps from your existing goat. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

2157 Huh Hunt

I'm always interested in the bends our cultural river takes. Like what researchers spend money on. As in weird words around the world.

Huh? You say. And I say that's exactly right. Huh.

The word "huh" has recently been researched by a crack team of Dutch linguists. I guess research money in Holland is available for odd things too. The researchers concluded after laborious scientific inquiry that the word "huh" is universally understood across five, count 'em five, continents. 

In 10 languages, including Dutch, Mandarin, the Ghanaian language Siwu, and even an Australian aboriginal language, "huh" is used as a request for clarification.

Huh, who'd have guessed it. Dutch scientists are currently analyzing the universality of the term "dude."

In another cultural bend, are you getting sick of announcements for movies that are a couple of years out? I read one the other day about Ant-Man. The news story, quoting from a movie company press release, said that the movie Ant-Man will now be released on July 17th 2015. As a result the Superman Batman combo movie would be released May 6th of 2016.


Do I really need to know when these movies are coming out when they're that far away? I mean, at my age, there's a question whether I'll even live that long. 

"Better cut back on the bacon, Funny Guy, you don't want to die and miss the release of Superman/Batman."

"Right you are, gonna shape up my diet and exercise right now. I think I may make it as is but you can't be too careful."

Or some poor duffer already on his deathbed. "Oh Grandpa. I'm so sorry. We've done so much together. My only regret is you're not going to live to see Ant-Man..."


America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

2156 E-Hack Sack

One of the biggest problems with the electronic world in which we live is the vulnerability of electronic things to damage or mischief.

The move in technology these days is to create an "Internet of Everything." That means all of our devices, computers, and appliances will be able to communicate with each other seamlessly. Your thermostat on the wall will be able to tap into the internet, call your smartphone and communicate with its GPS about where you are on your way home so it can start up your ultra-efficient heater. Your smart-refrigerator can check for quantities of milk or eggs to pick up. 

All sounds so George Jetson-y doesn't it? What could go wrong?

Something already has. Hackers. A recent news story told how someone had hacked into people's computer-chipped appliances and used them to access the internet and send out spam. They hacked regular computers and routers of course, but an amazing 25% of the machines hacked were home appliances. 

Wow. Someone's refrigerator sent me spam. Well, at least it was safely chilled. 

Which brings me to e-cigarettes. I noticed recently that one e-cigarette display was also offering mini-USB chargers for them. If e-cigs have tiny batteries it won't be long before they have tiny computers to help people regulate nicotine consumption better. The one downfall of NicoStix, or Nix as I like to call them, is they don't tell you when you've consumed enough nicotine. They need a mini-computer and an app for that.

Unfortunately, one that can then be hacked. If you can spam a refrigerator, why can't you hack a cigarette? 

Wow. Then the NSA could check the inside of your mouth for dangerous cavities. Everyone knows terrorists have poor oral hygiene.

I read it on the internet.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

2155 Nix It

E-Cigarettes are catching on pretty fast. So fast that when I was in a regular old coffee shop recently I noticed they had a significant amount of counter space devoted to an E-Cigarette display.

Cig-nificant indeed. 

Not only that, the display also offered a mini-USB charger for your E-Cig device. Which conjured up an interesting image in my mind. A wired twenty-something, espresso with a soda back nearby, sucking on an E-Cig plugged into his laptop. An E-oral fixation worthy of Freud.

E-Cigs are still new enough that a common name has yet to emerge on what to call them and the whole vapor ingesting process. Cigarettes themselves have had similar name variety. From cigs, to butts, to the ever-popular coffin nails. 

A couple of name contenders are Vapes and E-Vapes. Trying to lose the negative cigarette baggage and create a whole new non-Marlboro Brand. Therefore you see places called Vapor Cafes, to highlight the fact that it isn't tobacco smoke, it's nicotined water vapor.

The types of E-Vapes these folks suck look a little more like slimmed down pipes than cigarettes. More like tiny oboes than tiny clarinets. One problem I see with the name E-Vape is it seems short for evaporation, a passive process, which E-sucking isn't.

Then there's the folks who are okay with the cigarette approach. Their E-Cigs are more cigarette looking, with slimmer cylindrical bodies and artificially glowing tips. I've heard them called Cigaletrics. 

My suggestion is not to focus on the delivery method but what's actually delivered. The drug package, not the water vapor carrier. Nicotine. 

Plus, I'm getting sick of E-things. So let's call them NicoStix. Or since they help you quit, or nix, smoking, how about just Nix? 

Dude, could I bum a drag off your Nix?

America, ya gotta love it.