Monday, March 31, 2014

2194 Brain Backup

A couple of body observations today. They both have to do with areas above the waist. Why is it, by the way, that observations about good things, as in more thoughtful, are above the waist and bad things, either risqué or unfair, are below the belt?

Anyhow, first thing. I had an advertising agency call recently wanting to place an order on the radio. The agent who called also asked me if any stations in the area played Rush Limbaugh. I asked why. She said she was representing a chiropractor who wanted to place the ads. And that her agency experience was that generally, being an advertiser on the Rush Limbaugh program was a good buy for chiropractors. I asked why again and she had no clue. It just was. 

Hmm. Maybe because he gets people's back up? Or bent out of shape against things they dislike? Or some people think he's a pain in the neck? 

The second above the waist observation is 3-D printing. The newest computer marvel. 3-D printers can make everything from custom machine parts to plastic pistols. Recently someone actually made Oreo cookies. 

It's all about programming in a precise three-dimensional image of a thing, then loading the right raw materials into your special printer. Voila, Star Trek Replicator object. 

So. I was thinking. It's kind of like what a CAT scan does when it makes an image of your brain. Little microscopic slices of pictures they reconstruct into a 3-D representation. Can they reverse that and use the precise 3-D image to construct an exact facsimile of your brain?

Cool! Talk about backing up your hard drive. The supreme offsite storage for sensitive data. A 3-D replica of your actual brain. 

Man. I think I just invented the ultimate selfie.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

2193 Two-n-One

The machines of today are great examples of how we like to live. Like the Keurig machine. Geared towards the cult of the individual. Just one cup of coffee please, and make it mine. Forget the whole pot growing stale in the warmer, I'll wait forever for each cup as long as I alone can enjoy it.

Which reminds me. I think my Keurig needs cleaning. It's starting to dribble like an old man with prostate issues. 

Then there's the Two-in-One. An example of how we like to have it all. I saw an ad for one (or two) recently. A computer laptop and/or tablet maker was proclaiming its virtues. It's a tablet. It's a laptop. All rolled into one. Or snapped. 

They call it a Two-in-One. I guess because the term "two-way" was taken. Though I'm not sure what that means. 

I was glad to see it. Tablet users had fun, but finally came to realize that you need more if you want to be serious about computing. More memory, more programs like Excel and Word, an actual keyboard, more substantiveness to get to work.

But it's still cool to be pinching and swiping and flamboyantly gesturing with a tablet. Touchscreens, videos, and picture taking satisfy the creative and fun side of folks. 

Solution? Get both. Get a Two-in-One. The grand compromise. And no heavier than an ordinary boring laptop. 

Snap together, unsnap them apart. It's like the McDLT. Keep the hot side hot and the cold side cold. Hot creativity and cold hard work. The keyboard side up front for business. The tablet snapped off the back for fun.

Wait a minute, it's not a two-in-one. It's not a McDLT. Business in the front, party in the back? 

It's a mullet. 

Living the dream...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

2192 Hair Razor

I learn a lot about our culture from watching commercials. Madison Avenue often has its fingers on the pulse of our collective arteries. In touch with our social skin as it were.

Which now appears to be going through a smooth phase.

At least if the commercial I saw recently reflects what I think. A hair-raising adventure into body baldness. Because we now have a new product for men, the Gillette Body Razor.

That's right, narcissism has led to lack of hirsute-issism. We apparently no longer like a naturally hairy male body. Which is kind of funny. Sean Connery, voted sexiest man of all time any number of times, was a hairy ball of manhood. When he took off his shirt in the first James Bond movies, women were swooning from the Caribbean to the Pole. "Doctor no," women said, "don't let me live without another look at that masculine hairy beast.”

His chest hair was a jungle of desire, reeking of testosterone and animal passion. Even the thought that he would ever take a razor to those chestral dreadlocks was a sin against nature. 

But now the reverse is true. The Gillette commercial I saw had hunky young men with six-pack abs and tatted torsos whisking away unsightly body hair with a swipe of the Body Razor. Baby-like skin is the new ideal for the manly man. 

Which is fine. Different strokes for different times. But what I didn't see were the models using their body razors to scrape anything other than their chest and tummies. Which is a problem. Because even in Sean Connery's day the body hair least liked was, um, on the back and shoulders. 

I hope the body razor comes with an extension. Cause I'm guessing most gals would like you to razor your blades. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

2191 GP Ass

I'm a little worried about how our society is going. Technological advances seem to be taking us down the road to dependency. Lack of acceptance of our true selves and the desire to improve.

Take GPS. I recently talked to a guy who wanted to visit my office. I started to describe how to get there and he interrupted me and said, "Just give me the street address, I have GPS."

It worried me. Wayfinding is, or should be, a basic biological trait. Geese, whales and butterflies find their way on amazingly long migrations. Dogs align themselves to the earth's magnetic field to orient their pooping. Humans should retain the basic skills to get around. 

The ability to give, receive and follow directions keeps us off that road to technological dependency. Worse, with your head down following your smartphone or dashboard display you drive badly, swerve, and cut off people in traffic. Turn into what I call a GP-Ass. 

Plus, you don't see the beauty of the world around you. You don't even really know where you live. Many's the time I've accidentally taken the scenic route and learned more about my community. 

The other techno-advance I read about recently has me even more concerned. Beard transplants. That's right, one of the biggest trends in modern cosmetic surgery is filling in the patchiness on some guy's beards. Some paying up to $7000 for a full reconstruction.

Is this the end of our civilization? People with too much time and even more vanity laying down good money to plug hair in their bald faces? 

Sounds to me like they're dumb. So dumb they need GPS to find their rear end. They won't lose their head though. It'll be lodged inside.

You have arrived at your destination. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2190 Bella Dolce

I get curious about words. Sometimes words I've heard before and only now start wondering about. Sometimes new words that get me curious right away.

Take the word dulcet. Someone recently said she had heard the dulcet tones of an announcer's voice on the radio. I've heard that phrase for most of my life and always kind of assumed it meant bell-like. Early on I must have heard someone refer to the dulcet tones of a bell. 

Well, it was the descriptor not the object. Dulcet comes from the Middle English doucet, and eventually goes back to the root Latin word for sweet. Like the Italian word for sweets or desserts, dolce.

The dictionary says, "Sweet or pleasing to the taste or ear. Something agreeable generally." Perhaps like the next word I encountered just recently, muffuletta. 

On the face of it, muffuletta sounds like another of those musical terms, like fortissimo or andante. Perhaps an indication on the score that you are supposed to play the next musical passage muffled and subdued. 

Or maybe a muffuletta is like an Italian scarf or muffler. But smaller and more stylish of course. "What a beautiful muffuletta you're wearing." 

Then there's the obvious thing you think of when anything has the word muff in it. It has to do with muffin. So perhaps it's like an English muffin, but a French or Italian muffin, and smaller of course because of the diminutive suffix "-etta." 

Which, actually, is closer to the truth. A muffuletta, as I'm sure you already know, is an Italian submarine sandwich, but made on round bread rather than the long oval hoagie shape. It's been described as beautiful to look at and pleasing and agreeable generally.

What a tasty muffuletta. A dulcet sandwich. Bella dolce.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

2189 Pussy Cat Riot

Two horrendous stories about cats in the news recently make me think we may want to rethink our relationship with them.

The first was the story out of Portland, Oregon. A vicious, or possibly just cranky, 22-pound cat attacked a 7-month-old baby and then, when the parents objected, (actually the dad kicked the cat) the feline went on a rampage, hissing, snarling, and chasing the family, forcing them to barricade themselves in a bedroom.

Fortunately, they were able to call 911 and request emergency help from the police. The father's conversation with the dispatcher was filled with sheepishness and self-awareness about the absurdity of the situation. 

After the catastrophe, and the police had tricked the cat into a dog catcher’s crate, the family refused to let it be carted off to the pound for disposal, but instead said they would keep the cat and seek therapy for it. 

The baby suffered only minor scratches and bite marks. "Heh, heh, no problem, we'll just get the cat to therapy. He only attacked our baby!! 

Two observations. Is this a place for Child Protective Services to intervene? I think even most cat lovers draw the line at baby mauling. And two, this could only happen in Portland. Where all creatures should have the benefits of psychotherapy.

The second semi-cataclysm is a whale of a story. Literally. The cat fecal bacteria toxoplasmosis has been found in beluga whales. Seems the Inuit people on the shores of the arctic have adopted cats as one of the trappings of modernization. And the cat feces is washing into the sea. Toxoplasmosis has been scientifically shown to alter mood, and make infected people feel more favorable to cats. 

Now whales. 

Next selection in the cat-alogue: world domination.

Here human human, here human human... 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

2188 Mythstakes

I've mentioned before how our bad understanding of classic legends causes us to make some pretty dramatic mistakes sometimes. Or should I say mythstakes? Like calling a car an Odyssey. If you read the book, the Odyssey was the original bad trip.

Likewise a childcare center that closed recently. It was a great place. I was sorry to see it go. But it did have a problematic name. Piper's Playground. I hope they were talking piper as in a bird or plane or something. Because if they were hoping to reference the Pied Piper of Hamlin it probably wasn't a good idea.

The legend of the Pied Piper has him leading away all the village's children after the not-so-smart villagers refused to pay him for his musical rat eradication program. Leading away as in forever kidnapping them. 

Maybe they hooked up in Never Never Land with the Lost Boys.

I saw another corporate misnomer recently when I read about how Albertson's was taking over, or gobbling up, Safeway. Actually it was Albertson's parent company Cerberus Capital Management. 

Wait a minute, I thought, isn't Cerberus the hound of hell? I did some wikipedianation and yep, my classic mythology knowledge was right on. Cerberus, was a three-headed vicious dog guarding the gates of hell from good living people coming in and saving their mistakenly deceased relatives. Not the sort of image you'd think a first-rate branding and marketing person would assign to an up and coming company. 

"Let's see, Capital Management... Acquisitions and mergers? Any leveraged buy-outs or unfriendly takeovers? Okay, which would you prefer, Medusa, the snake-haired Gorgon who turns people to dead stone or Cerberus, the rabid hound of hell? 

"Hop in my Odyssey and let's go to that fishy-legged mermaid coffee place and talk about it."

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2187 Newshound

Cities and states have to be very vigilant about how the news services treat them. Because they aren't always right, or they put the wrong spin on things.

Like the story I read a while ago about The Boeing Company inventing a new super-secure "blackphone" cellphone. In reporting the story the news service called Boeing, "...a Chicago based aerospace company."

Really? Chicago based? I know they moved their corporate offices a while back to bend over another state for tax breaks, but hey; Boeing was conceived and founded here in Washington. If that's not a base I don't know what is.

The press has always been a little shaky when it comes to Washington. The big Nisqually earthquake in 2001 was always referred to as “the Seattle quake” or "near Seattle." For some reason being the state capital didn't get Olympia on the news radar earthquake-nearness wise. 

Then there's Arizona. A lot of bad news for them recently. Of course they're used to it. Always going their own way. The only state in the continental US not to go on Daylight Saving Time. Seceding from the union of time. Hope they enjoy manually reprogramming the automatic setting on their computers. Maybe Windows makes a special version for Arizona. No rainbows in its Paint color palate either.

The latest bad news is extremely terrifying. Authorities in Phoenix have received more than 6000 calls from people who've been harassed by packs of feral Chihuahuas. Yapping mercilessly and biting at their ankles. 

Oh the humanity! Or is that inanity? Feral Chihuahuas? Look out for the ratdogs! There must be a reality show in all this. Yipping stewing dogs nipping neighbors. Beware the chilling pack of chittering Chihuahuas. Scarier than zombies driving and texting.

I can see the news headline now: Chihuahuapocalypse! 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2186 Thought Please

Random thoughts occur to me. Sometimes stimulated by external events. Sometimes bubbling up from within. Sometimes they're actually humorous. Mental illness can be fun.

Like the thing I saw recently. It was a pickup truck. In the back was a childseat bungeed to the pickup bed. And I thought, Man, I don't think this guy gets the point.

At least it was under a cargo net.

When I was three, I was all the rage at my local church. They celebrated me for a misunderstanding. We were poor so I was hungry pretty often and I prayed to the lord to give us some food. My babysitter saw me and told the church. They didn't realize I was only asking the almighty for lentils and enlarged corn kernels. Maybe my three-year-old voice made it sound like something else. 

"Dear Lord, could you please give us peas and hominy?"

Later in life, I thought I had a chance of being a championship oboe player. But life brings changes. Unfortunately, I was never able to achieve my formerly perfect tone after they removed my orthodontic headgear.

There's a theory out there that no one has ever actually tasted a Hot Pockets. That's why the maker designed them to come volcanically hot out of the microwave. The thought is you sear your tastebuds before ever finding out how hideous they are.

Living in the flood prone saturated Northwest I wonder why we have firemen for fires but no watermen for flood damage. If my roof was on fire they'd send a truck right away. Why not if it's caving in with leaks?

Lastly, I love science and cosmological physics, but to me the most frightening thing about the concept of parallel universes is the thought of the parking.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2185 Staphoscope

Here's another thing to fear about going to the doctor. Getting even sicker. And not just in the way you think.

We've known for years that one of the biggest vectors of disease distribution is doctors offices and hospitals. Other patients that were sick spreading what they were sick of to various surfaces. From there patient and persistent viruses and bacteria wait to be picked up by the next patch of skin resting on it or brushing against it. 

Or the technician that comes in, gloves up, then proceeds to tap out something on a computer keyboard before she or he pops a tongue depressor or naked thermometer into your infection susceptible moist tissues.

Sometimes I get the feeling health workers, like food handlers, think the latex gloves actually kill bacteria and viruses, or just block them from getting sick. Screw the patient.

Anyhow, the newest device to be afraid of is in the hands of your actual doctor. While most of the instruments he wields have plastic covers or have been through a powerful sterilizing device known as an autoclave, his most ancient instrument has been ignored.

The thing he wears around his neck like a symbol of his medieval profession. The Stethoscope. 

Yep, researchers found that the diaphragm of the stethoscope, that round cold disk your doctor presses to your chest and back, can become filthy with antibiotic-resistant bacteria like the deadly MRSA. 

So when you talk to your physician about that next batch of drugs you saw on TV you think you should try, you might ask if he or she's cleaned that icky stethoscope before it touches your skin.

"You look healthy young fella, now breath deep while I apply some bacteria and a couple of viruses to your chest..." 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

2184 Sniff Test

Another breakthrough from science. This one from researchers at the University of Bordeaux. That's Bordeaux France in case you're wondering. I suppose their breakthrough makes sense. The French are always depicted as sniffing superciliously at other people and things. And this research has a lot to do with sniffing.

Even though they're from Bordeaux, it's not the scent of wine like you might think. Or the “nose” as I believe they call it. It's about the science of munchies. The Bordeauxians concluded that the reason folks get food cravings after ingesting cannabis is because it causes them to have a heightened sense of smell. 

THC, aka TetraHydroCannabinol, marijuana's active ingredient, affects the brain in more ways than ordinary visual hallucinations and feelings of false euphoria. It also activates the brain's cannabinoid receptors, resulting in a sharpened sense of smell. 

Yes, your brain has cannabinoid receptors. It's apparently hard-wired, ready to go, and primed to receive stimulation from cannabis. Those same receptors are active in starving mice, so it's logical to assume when one is so stimulated, one will naturally feel hungry. 

And easy prey for Jack-in-the-Box munchie meal and Taco Bell waffle taco fast food predators.

When tested on lab animals, THC stimulated mice kept sniffing banana and almond oils, while unstimulated control mice lost interest after awhile. The THC'd mice also ate more. 

Conclusion: The legalization movement may not be a good idea after all. Not in an America already troubled by record expansion of the obesity epidemic. I'm thinking we don't need a further reason to grab a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos with a Twinkie chaser. 

So thank you French researchers with your stoned mice sniffing eau de Funyons. It's no Statue of Liberty, but you've still done a good thing for America.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

2183 STEMporary

Recently I helped promote a STEM fair. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It's an attempt by the schools to encourage young people to get into the sciences. Have students dream about inventing the next cellphone, or a cure for the common cold, or other laudable goals.

Maybe even invent an indestructible pizza.

Yep. It's a recent miracle of science developed by a U.S. military lab. They've developed a pizza for soldiers that can stay on the shelf for up to three years and still be safe to eat. Not the frozen or chilled or hermetically-sealed shelves either. Just ordinary throw it in the shed shelves. 

One of the food scientists said, "It pretty much tastes like typical pan pizza." Hooray for science. We all know even ordinary pizza can sit around on the coffee table after the game for hours and still be munchable. Each pizza in various stages of decay develops its own unique piquancy. Like a fine wine or an aged cheese. And pizza being the preferred food for high-schoolers everywhere, how inspiring for our youth. I can hear the STEM students signing up now. 

Another advance that could be of interest is the encrypted blackphones like those Boeing has come out with that I mentioned in a recent essay. Who better to invent a privacy phone than the generation after the one that created the anti-privacy social media movement? My friend Rick pointed out that the aerospace giant may not be the best company for this however. Unless the young folks work out the Boeing battery curse.

Depending on where you carry your phone, you could have the front of your pants catching on fire like the cockpit of a 787.  

Speaking of which, someone should invent an indestructible Hot Pocket.   

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

2182 Pr#va$y

"England swings like a pendulum do" went the old song by Roger Miller. He might easily have included the whole of human culture. Of course by "swings" he meant fun festivities but still, the wider oscillations of human endeavor are just as wild.

Take the whole privacy thing. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of the invasive Facebook, famously proclaimed that privacy was dead. Millennials and then the rest of us rushed to the online exposathons to TMI ourselves to oblivion.

Then came the NSA. Suddenly the things we thought were private weren't private. Okay if we wanted to rail inappropriately about our boss to our circle of semi-close friendlings, but to have the NSA tap into our ravings. No way dude!

So the pendulum is now swinging back the other way. And with it the creation of a number of secure "Blackphones." Like the new one by Boeing. Yes Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer. They're also into all kinds of super-secret spy stuff they equip their planes with for the military. 

Who better to design a phone to keep the spies out? The Boeing Blackphone will self-destruct all data if you try to break into it physically. Unscrewing the rear panel wipes everything out. Most importantly, the phone encrypts everything you text or talk about before scramble-sending the little data bits they go out as over the web or airwaves. It also uses dual SIM cards to allow it to access multiple cell networks so you'll be harder to triangulate. 

Take that, NSA or Russian cyber-hackers. 

Now if the purchasers of Blackphones can only resist adding free apps and games loaded with spyware, the pendulum will have swung totally back. 

And, oh yeah, remember to be discrete.

Not sure how weird you'll look with a dual-encrypted selfie. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2181 News Feed

Food defines our culture. So it's often in the news feed. One good food news feed item recently was that obesity rates have shrunk in the last decade for children ages 2 to 5. A 43% loss as it turns out. A good sign that after a long hard battle the scales are literally tipping the other way.

The news from the study was mixed however, in that other age groups stayed the same or enlarged, but it looks like a step in the right direction. At least for individuals who have little or no choice in what they eat. Mommy may be overly plump but at least little Susie isn't being stuffed too.

Then again, what's not funny is that the study may not have taken another factor into account. Maybe the bad economy in the last decade means there's more poor kids living with hunger. Maybe it's not a lifestyle choice but a lifestyle reality. 

Then there's the recent pizza news. Another survey found that one in four American males ages 6 to 19 years old consumes pizza on any given day. Well yeah. Everyone knows pizza is the perfect food. 

Think about it. It's got all the major food groups. The crust contains grains. The toppings on a good combo have vegetables. Cheese satisfies the milk group. Pepperoni has any number of different animals and animal parts in the meat category. What's left?

Oh right, fruit. Well pizza's got that covered too. Since, technically, tomato is a fruit, you got lots of it right there in the tomato sauce on the pie. For the same reason that if tomato is a fruit then ketchup is a smoothie, pizza sauce is really nothing more than fruit jam spread. 

So spread it to the news feed. Every triangular pizza wedge is like it's own little food pyramid.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2180 Smelltone

People in the media are always trying to sniff out the hottest new apps coming around the corner. "App" is of course short for application, which is just another word for computer program.

Like "cloud" is another word for data storage servers someplace other than your own computer. It supposedly being safer to store sensitive data at a place far away where a hacker can get to it all at once and not have to plumb every individual desktop. 

Anyhow, a new app is attracting the tech world and coming up smelling like roses. Literally. It's an app to give your smartphone smell. 

App is inaccurate. It's actually a peripheral. It plugs into the headphone jack of your smartphone or device. The article I read on it called it a "smell dongle." Which for some reason sounds like an olfactory bulb or a nasal polyp.

Olfactory bulb is a pretty good description since it's indeed a golf ball-sized doohickey. It sells for $35 and contains a scent cartridge containing enough liquid for 100 sprays. Not what they usually mean when they say a plug-in for your computer. More like a Glade Plug-in for your wall.

It is not, unfortunately, a means to smell things in your online books or stories. Not like an added dimension of perception in your media consumption. It just spritzes out a warning that you've got a call, text, or email. 

No more interrupting meetings when your phone blares an annoying ringtone of a song no one listens to anymore. Or vibrates loudly on a tabletop like an adult toy gone berserk. The Scentee smell dongle will silently waft out a warning. 

Choose your alarm scent well. One person's kim-chee is another person's testosterone-taking weightlifter's ripe armpit.

"What stinks?"

"Sorry, I've got male."  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

2179 Waffle Mess

You'll be happy to know that Taco Bell is taking on the breakfast side of the menu. That's right, Taco Bell, pioneer of the fourth meal, venturer into that late late night territory of merry youngsters with the munchies, has now decided to claim a stake in the eggs and bacon biz.

They expect to make millions of dollars nationwide. Their signature new dish is the Waffle Taco. It's described as a "warm waffle wrapped around a hearty sausage patty or flavorful bacon, with fluffy scrambled eggs and cheese, served with a side of sweet syrup."


Yum is correct, since Taco Bell is owned by Kentucky-based Yum Foods, who also owns Pizza Hut. I want a waffle pizza. 

The syrup on the side thing is a good idea, as the pictures I've seen of the Waffle Taco look a little drippy and gooey. Think hands glistening with stickitude like a two-year-old with his first Eggo.

A waffle mess.

Eggo is what the whole thing reminds me of. For the Waffle Taco is no feat of fantastic fast food engineering. They simply put a sausage patty and a mess of scrambled eggs on top of an Eggo and... wait for it... folded it. 

Wow.... Dude.... 

Looks like Taco Bell's culinary department hired the Jack-in-the-Box midnight munchies meals consultant. Straight from the land of cannabis-induced epiphanies. 

And let's take a waffle, man... and fold it...

Nice to know that hungry stoners are getting rolling and waking up early enough for breakfast, so they can get on with the business of building American commerce. Then again, Taco Bell could just be going for those folks who managed to stay up around the clock. Not First Meal but Fifth Meal.

I'm guessing they'll make a fortune on coffee too.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

2178 Dingling Participle

I'm beginning to think a prerequisite for running for public office is to have a weird name. Maybe it's because folks with odd monikers get teased mercilessly in junior high school and that sharpens their wit and resolve, and desire for revenge and vindication. The old boy-named-Sue syndrome.

A couple of examples I ran across recently were John Dingell and John Hickenlooper. Dingell just retired after 59 years in congress. Hickenlooper is Governor of Colorado.

When I heard Dingell was retiring I was both amazed and alarmed. Really? We still have someone making laws who's been at it since 1955? Does he even know what "tweet" means. Should a guy like that have anything to say about net neutrality laws or the NSA hacking into fiber optic lines? Back in 1955 hacking was something you did to wood and tweet was what the birds did in the tree you were cutting down.

I appreciate historical perspective and all but the 1955 era of KKK lynch mobs and Red Scares and women-should-stay-in-the-home tirades is thankfully mostly departed. 

The most notable achievement from congressman Dingell was when he reached across the line to Arkansas' Congressman Robert Berry to reign in Star Trek fanatics who were causing alien hysteria like the earlier Orson Welles War of the Worlds. The historic Dingell- Berry law of 1967 forever banned false frightening news stories about Klingons circling Uranus. 

Then there's John Hickenlooper. Governor of Colorado. Legal state for cannabis. How unfortunate. Hickenlooper sounds not unlike a word for a joint. 

Kind of like how Starbucks has different names for the sizes of their drinks. Tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta. Marijuana cigarettes are called Doobies, Spliffs, Fatties and Hickenloopers.

Dude... Nothing like doing a hickenlooper and then digging into a piping hot dingleberry pie.  

America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

2177 Wrap Sheet

I get fascinated by commercials sometimes and sometimes alarmed. You've probably seen a bajillion commercials in your lifetime and know they employ various techniques to draw you in and persuade you.

One of the techniques is to be a little bit inspirational and challenging at the same time. Show pictures of people doing positive things and enlist your feelings of support or desire to do the same thing. Get you on the same side of the table. Once they do, you naturally want to enjoy the same products or services as them.


So when I saw this commercial for Hormel Rev Wraps recently I saw that's what they were doing. They started off showing a younger person. We all like to think we're young. And then showed that person with a look of determination on her face. We can identify with that too.

Then they talked about how when you're doing great things you naturally get hungry. At which time I felt a little hungry. Then they showed the positive, determined, and easy to identify with person unwrapping the wrapping on a Hormel Rev Wrap and eating it.

I wished I had one too. 

But here's the thing, they didn't spend a lot of time on the wrap itself. Which it turns out, is just a tortilla with meat and cheese and no lettuce, vegetables, or sauce. What they spent time on was the feelings behind the person consuming the wrap. 

Then, alarmingly, then showed her diving into a cold lake and swimming off into the distance. 

They totally blew it with former lifeguard me at that point. Because they didn't show her waiting a half hour before she went swimming. Let's hope no one identifies too exactly with the commercial.

Hormel will be taking the rap in a lawsuit. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

2176 Brain Baggage

I have fun gleaning little factoids from the news. I'm not sure sometimes whether I'm improving myself, or just cramming more nonsense in my noggin that will hasten the onset of Alzheimer's.

Which is one of the factoids that I gleaned. Recent research indicates that age-related dementia may not be entirely the result of tissue breakdown. It may also be because one's brain is full. Older people take longer to answer questions and retrieve memories because their brains are crammed full of data like an old computer. 

I think mine runs on Windows ME. 

We just run out of hard drive. Hmm. Maybe a little electroshock therapy could do some data wiping for us. A good brain drain. Or, if other theories are correct, and dreaming helps reorganize our brains, maybe that's why old folks are always napping. 
"Dad, you're nodding off."

"Sorry son, just need to defrag..."

Another factoid. The divorce rate among women plunged during the recession from 2.09% to 1.95%. Now that the economy appears to be improving, it's inched back up to 1.98%. So how cool is that financial analysts? Now, in addition to commodities and inventory orders, we have divorce as a leading economic indicator. 

I love romance.

Lastly. Worried about the struggling airline industry's legacy of bad funding decisions? Worry no more, because they aren't carrying around that baggage anymore. At least for free. They used fuel prices to really gouge us. Recent research showed that the typical bag causes carriers to expend about $2 worth of jet fuel. They charge $25 to check it. And made an additional $18 billion on baggage alone since 2008. 

Another fun factoid to cram into the overfilled baggage of my brain. I think I need some sleep. 

Brain crammed too full? There's a nap for that. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

2175 Hot Cherries

I was a little concerned by a couple of food items yesterday. The first was these chocolate-covered cherries I got in a gift basket. Their packaging made a pretty big deal about how natural they were. No preservatives, no sulfites, no trans fat, not even any gluten.

I didn't know cherries even had gluten. Or that some chocolate-covered cherry makers chose to include wheat products. I was also surprised sulfites were sometimes employed in chocolate cherry manufacture. And was glad the Chukar people chose to eschew them.

Yes, I said Chukar. That was what really concerned me about the product. Its name. It was called "Chukar Cherries." Which, for some reason, put me in mind of horse apples. Or rabbit raisins.

Of course, it could be something like prairie oysters. Judging by the hype on the packaging, I'm sure they'd be free range chukar cherries.

The other food concern was Hot Pockets. I know, Hot Pockets are always a concern. Roof of the mouth burning, volcanically hot out of the microwave, filled with preservatives, gluten, and trans fat, what could be non-concerning about them? 

Well, formerly only chocolate but now Hot Pockets maker Nestle thinks they may also be tainted. So they've recalled two batches because the meat could cause sickness. I know, how can they tell?

Nestle recalled the "Philly Steak and Cheese" and "Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese" because raw ingredients from supplier Rancho Feeding Corporation may have included "beef product" processed from "diseased and unsound animals." 

That's comforting. Words like "beef product" as opposed to "beef" always raise a red flag anyhow. Got to say though. For the same reason I probably wouldn't pick Chukar Cherries, it's the name "Hot Pockets" that concerns me most.

Sounds like a seventies Chippendale dancer.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, March 03, 2014

2174 Bag End

Recently local governing bodies voted to ban plastic bags. Not all plastic bags, just the lightweight ones with handles you get at the grocery stores.

That means you can still use the thin filmy bags you get in the produce department. The ones that feel like snot when they're wet. And you can still use the doggy doodoo bags you get in dispensers to dispense of your doo. But you won't have the cheap grocery bags to reuse and redo for your doo.

You'll also be able to receive the bags the local paper uses to wrap the weekly advertising doodoo they deposit in your driveway.  

The reasoning behind the ban is that most grocery stores use way too many of them to bag groceries. As a result, when folks throw them away, they escape the landfill and blow all around and end up being ingested by and killing various forms of wildlife. 

The answer is to use reusable cloth bags. Which you can usually find pretty easily if you go to a business trade show. They're offered for free by a lot of banks and chiropractors. 

You want to get a lot of them since the big problem associated with reusable cloth bags is sickness-inducing cross-contamination. Meat juices dripping onto and mixing with raw vegetables and such. 

I know a person who deals with that by having separate bags for separate items. Having a veggie bag and a dry goods bag and a meat bag. He admonished me to never ever put foreign items in my meat bag. Words to live by.

In the end, it all means I'll have to get my car washed more often. No more leaving tiny bits of rotten food in grocery bags and leaving them out for doodoo-dive bombing seagulls. 

America, ya gotta love it.