Friday, August 29, 2014

2300 Smidgen

For years I've been tooling along with a loose set of measurements in my brain. Like in cooking, when someone tells you to add a dash of this or a smidgen of that.

Of course I've always wondered about the progression in sizes involved. Is a dash larger or smaller than a smidgen? What about a dollop or a dab?

The other day I found part of the answer. An article I read said it was actually possible to buy measuring spoons that define dash, pinch, and smidgen. The largest amount is a dash at 1/8 teaspoon. A pinch is 1/16 teaspoon. And a smidgen is the tiniest yet at 1/32 teaspoon. So you might say a pinch is a skosh more than a smidgen.

All very nebulous to the ordinary person though. I read recently where the AMA was recommending to folks that they not use ordinary household teaspoons to administer medication. Many children were being overdosed because the parent grabbed the first spoon in the drawer and some teaspoons are almost as big as tablespoons these days. 

So it's nice that it's possible to buy measuring devices that exactly quantify at least dashes, smidgens, and pinches. That still leaves dab and dollop to worry about. Maybe they are the wet measurement equivalent somehow. I can't see a dollop of salt but it certainly makes sense to use a dollop of sour cream. 

Likewise a dab. That seems more like a semi-solid drop. "A little dab'll do ya" as they used to say in the 50s Brylcreem commercials. Or when you put a dab of toothpaste on your brush. More than a smear and less than a dollop. 

It all bears a touch of consideration. Maybe I'll have a nip and figure it out. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

2299 Pitch-handlers

I'm am constantly amazed by how certain skill sets seem to reappear in different areas of our culture. It's like the skill is genetically hardwired, and just looking for something to apply itself too.

Take Costco. Costco has more or less refined the aisle-end hawker. You know, the one who in a slightly louder than normal voice talks about the free sample he or she is offering and how you should experience the taste or smell or convenience of it right now and then purchase the attractively-priced box, bottle, or carton of it opportunely placed nearby.

Recently I walked by a few of them on my Costco shopping visit and it occurred to me that the pitch people shared a number of traits with the panhandlers on the street. 

One, they place themselves in hard to avoid places, often right near the place you want to go. Two, they keep up a constant stream of chatter, with no apparent recipient of that chatter. They talk semi-loudly to the world at large, whether someone is walking by or not. Three, they look at no one in particular as they do so, not unlike the schizophrenic street people who seem to be talking to someone inside their head. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the recipients who are more or less in range respond in ways similar to the way they respond to street people. Some folks come up and engage them. Some remark to their spouse or companion about what a shame it is the annoying talkers are allowed to be there. And some folks completely ignore them, shutting out the chatter as if it was some form of urban white noise.

"Buddy can you spare me the price of a mega pack of bite-sized quiches?" 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2298 Plastic Alteration

Take the microwave oven. As a single person, I was remarking about it to myself the other day (as no one else was around to remark to, see aforementioned comment about single person).

In any event, I remarked to myself that I'm sure glad I have a microwave. That way every dinner I cook need not be an elaborate affair. I can cook one big meal, then utilize the microwave to nuke the next two night's worth of leftovers.

Very environmentally conscious, I don't send the wasted food to the landfill, and very convenient at the same time. I don't have to dirty a lot of pots and pans every night. Nor am I like today's Millennials, who spend more than $1000 a year in fast food places over-acquiring salt, sugar, and fat. Maybe they should microwave more. 

But I learned recently there's another hazard to the microwave cycle. Plastic. As in, don't microwave your food in a plastic container. According to the National Institutes of Health, even if your plastic is BPA free, it's still a bad idea to zap your food in it.

According to them, "Phthalates can leach into your food, damaging sperm and altering hormones." Scary indeed. Normally I would avoid medical advice that employs the use of the word leach, even though this leach isn't the same leech as the ones medieval doctors used to suck blood. But microwaved plastic containers altering hormones is alarming.

Especially since the altering of the hormones leads to the technological equivalent of being altered like your dog. Fewer and damaged sperm do not sound like a preferred result of convenience.

Attention Millennials: Use glass containers. Zapped pizza in the microwave should not lead to no bun in the oven. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2297 Passing Fancy

Time marches on. They also say it passes, possibly while it's marching or possibly as if escaping like gas from a cosmic alimentary canal.

And with each passing moment, we get another little change in the way things are from the way they were. Take tie-dye. Yes tie-dye, that ultimate expression of individualistic hippiedom.

Recently I was at an event and the T-shirts the folks wore who were putting it on were tie-dye. Which was totally cool. It really fit the theme of the event, which was dedicated to the art of crafting. Tie-dye is definitely crafting.

But oddly, the considerations of expediency and efficiency required that the tie-dye shirts worn by the event folks be uniform. They were, after all, being used to identify those in charge. So the shirts were ordered from a manufacturer. And they were uniform indeed. 

Prefab uniform tie-dye. It made one's brain cramp. Like a meeting of the anarchy steering committee.

Another example of the passing of time is the dictionary. And not just any dictionary.  Millennials are finally having their way with the one used for the stodgiest of games: The Scrabble Dictionary.

Merriam-Webster's Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary, a tome that sets the tone not unlike the OED, and hasn't been updated for decades, has finally entered the 21st Century. 

They've added 5000 new words that will be officially recognized on the Scrabble board. Narcissistic smartphoners rejoice, one of the words is selfie. They also included bromance and chillax. And of course texter and hashtag. The tweet generation can't communicate without them. 

There's also beatbox, and my favorite, buzzkill. Which is how I felt when I realized that time was also letting the language standards of my youth pass, like a dissipated tweet from you know where.

For shizzle.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

2296 Not so Gentlemen

Sometimes I'm not sure about terms. They get bandied about this way and that so you're never certain of the meaning.

Take the word Gentleman. Seems like that sort of genteel appellation that bestows a certain amount of class on an individual. That's appellation as in name, not Appalachian as in Deliverance type region or behavior. 

And it works, I always have a different expectation for a restroom when it has the word "Gentlemen" on the door. As opposed to "Caballeros" or "Buoys." Gotta love those nautical themed restaurants where the restroom signs of "Gulls" and "Buoys" reduce us to birds that mess on things and bobbing markers that are one of the things they mess on.

Anyhow, I read an interesting little snippet the other day about two golfers who came to a violent altercation over scorekeeping on the course. And the title of the article called golf "The Gentleman's Game." Not entirely gentlemanly in this instance.

Then there's the new nude dancing club that opened up in the area recently. Their promotional gambit for the first couple of weeks was a sign that said, "No cover until 7:00." I get it. But afterwards the dancers dance semi-nude? 

What really got me was their main sign, which says that it's a Gentleman's Club. Perhaps they have a different sense of the genteel than you or me. I see "gentlemen" sitting back in overstuffed Victorian chairs, puffing on cigars or pipes, drinking coffee or aged scotch, and reading the newspaper. 

Not yahoos guzzling overpriced drinks shouting slurred indecent offers at unclad dancers and stuffing soiled singles into said entertainer's underwear. 

There's another possibility. Considering the sort of man they're looking for. Since gentle and genital share so many letters, maybe the sign was a misprint. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

2295 Fairly Creative

Went to a great event not long ago. It was an artisan fair. In it nearly a hundred crafters displayed their wares. And that included clothing, so some of their wares you could wear.

One of the coolest things about an arts and crafts event like this is you can see how artsy and crafty people can be. And I mean that it a very positive way. Human creativity is what sets us apart from the other species and it's an amazing thing to behold. Especially in all its variety. 

Like this one guy, who was creative enough to make a chain mail coat for his dog. Which perhaps would have been more impressive on a bull mastiff, as you could picture him needing it as he charged into battle. Not so much the cute little cocker spaniel adorned with it at the fair. Still, it did warn you you're bound to hurt your foot if you try to kick him for yapping.

This other guy did quite a business in beautiful glass wind chimes. And I learned something. Wind chimes can actually be out of tune. It's true, every time people would go by this guy's booth and start running their fingers through his chimes to tinkle them, the most gawdawful sound would emerge. Even the dog in the chain mail cringed. 

I would guess it's a matter of length and density so why wouldn't the guy look for the sweetest tone? Probably because his particular artistic talent was limited to the visual arts. They were indeed very pretty. 

That's one of those things about the breadth of human creativity. It also has gaps. Who would have thought it would be a liability to be a tone-deaf wind chime maker?

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2294 See Hear

Was confronted by the oddness of the American language again recently. I sure am glad I didn't start out speaking a foreign tongue.

Case in point. The other day someone texted me who I hadn't had any contact with for awhile. Interestingly, both of us could have phoned. We each had unlimited calling plans. But no, we exchanged a few texts in that lovely warm conversational manner you can only achieve with typing. 

When we got ready to sign off I texted, "Nice to hear from you," and was immediately struck by the inadequacy of the word "hear" to describe the process that had just taken place. There was no sound involved. The other person certainly didn't supply it. Perhaps the sounds of my aging finger joints popping as I typed could be described as something I could hear, but my text partner couldn't be said to have supplied it.

And yet we've been using that word to describe communication from actual letters, postcards, and emails for years. 

The point was driven home when I received an email from a client back east who had an obviously foreign-sounding name. In response to an email I'd sent her she said, "Nice to read from you."

Another phrase I'd like not to see is, "Taking a selfie." Or maybe just the word "selfie" itself. Which now, unfortunately, has a companion word that refers to a group picture. And I guess because "groupie" is already taken, that word is "us-sie."

As in, "We are taking an us-sie of ourselves at the party." As opposed to we-ie. At first I didn't like it, because it sounded like hussy. 

But I suppose it'll do. Now that I've typed it in print I can give it a fair hearing.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2293 Mail Conundrums

Sometimes you encounter those government conundrums that violate the ordinary world of logic. Two things along those lines happened to me recently.

First, I got a notification from Amazon that a book was going to be delivered and I could expect it on Sunday, July 13th. Typo, I immediately thought, some glitch in Amazon's bureaucracy. It is bigger than many world governments. 

Then there was a knock on my door about 11:00 Sunday morning. I got to the door in time to see a mail truck driving off and nearly tripped over a package on my doorsill. It was a regular everyday deliver-the-mail truck too. Not a special big FedEx-like van. 

Wow. The biggest semi-governmental delivery service around, that's bound by centuries of civil service bureaucracy, and a single company, Amazon, was able to get them to work on Sundays? Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck together could never do that. Is this another sign of the apocalypse?

Second, I get a form from the government periodically that I'm supposed to fill out to show how I used certain funds. I fill it out every time on time. You don't mess with this things.

But the one I got recently made me wonder. The last line of its instructions said: "If you have already returned a report with the same report period as shown above, discard this report."

Okay... So they didn't receive the report I sent before or they wouldn't be sending this one, right? So although I sent it, they appear to have no record of it. So I just throw this one away anyhow, because I know I sent the report, even if they don't?

Conundrum indeed. Maybe I'll mail it back anyway -- using Amazon. They seem to have some pull with the government. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2292 Eau de Friend

Do you consider your friends to be like family members? An unspoken and often unexplainable association that feels like you must be related to them? You may be genetically closer than you  think. And friendship may indeed be a form of kinship.

Researchers recently did a big study, from a DNA perspective, about what it is on a biological level that makes friends friends. The similarities in gene signatures equated to 1% of a person's total genetic makeup. If that sounds small remember chimpanzees and humans share about 96% of their genetic makeup. So what's left can be crucial.

1% means friends are roughly as related as fourth cousins, relatives who share great-great-great grandparents. You and your friends ancestors may have been related around the Civil War. 

So how do you find each other? The scientists found that friends were most genetically similar to each other in the genes related to their sense of smell. They speculated that may draw people of similar tastes to congregate in the same place.

By similar tastes they mean similar smell preferences. 

So if you like the smell of fresh-roasted coffee but the grind at Caffe Vita seems more acrid than Olympic Crest Coffee, you may find a bird of a feather at your roast of choice.

That may be why groups of folks in coffee shops or bowling alleys look alike. Or Walmarts. Sweatpants aren't slovenliness. They're just dressing like you dress around family members. 

It's another verification of the importance of the sense of smell though. We use it to not only find foods we like, but friends. 

Hmm. We also share a lot of genes with mammals generally, including dogs. Maybe they're the same genes responsible for when dogs smell one another's behinds.  

America, ya gotta love it.

2291 Venting

A friend and I were venting about the past recently. We remembered a couple of vents you don't see anymore. Like windwings.

Windwings were little triangular windows in the corner of the front side window of a car. The driver and the shotgun passenger had them. You could unlatch and swivel them in such a way that they'd scoop the air in from the outside and direct it directly where you wanted. Right in your face perhaps, or across to the driver to muss his hair.

"Knock it off, Son," my dad would say, "or I'm stopping the car and whipping your butt."

Adults also used the windwing to let out cigarette smoke on cold winter days so they wouldn't have to open the larger window. An expert 50s driver/smoker could flick his ashes out the windwing as well. 

What happened to the windwing? The two A's. Not Alcoholics Anonymous, air-conditioning and aerodynamics. Windwings created aerodynamic drag and reduced fuel efficiency. Air-conditioning improved aerodynamics and made windwings redundant. 

I'm guessing one or two collisions without benefit of seatbelts led to windwings controversially lodging in various heads too. The nostalgic age of windwings did not overlap the age of seatbelts.

The other vent we discussed was the pop-top. One once opened a can using a church-key -- a small tool with a triangular stabber that poked a hole into the can. Then they invented the removable pull-tab. That led to ordinary people and parrotheads cutting their feet on razor sharp discarded pull-tabs-slash-pop-tops. 

So someone came up with the idea of just having the pokehole that today's non-removable pull-ring now presses into the can. But the original version you poked in with just your finger.

They had to discontinue that. Turned out not many folks liked having their fingers circumcised.   
America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

2290 Mobile Corpse

It's been on so many TV shows and in so many movies I guess when it really seems to happen it must be kind of spooky. I'm talking about the zombie apocalypse.

Two news items caught my eye recently that put me in mind of the walking dead. Why is it, by the way, that we seem so obsessed with zombies? Must be a distorted distillation of our longing for an afterlife. If not heaven or hell then animated corpses or vampires. One way or the other folks don't want to accept mortality.

Philosophical pondering aside, here are the stories. A computer bug recently caused the Selective Service System to send more than 14,000 "draft registration" letters -- to men born in the 1800s. I suppose the computer figured they were sort of over 18. What's a couple of zeros to a computer. 18. 1800. Meh.

One 73-year-old guy, from Pennsylvania, was, as he put it, "dumbfounded" after he got a letter demanding that his late grandfather register for the draft or face imprisonment. 

"You betcha, you draft office whippersnappers. I'll just hop right out of the grave and shuffle down and register. Or maybe not. Prison sounds a lot nicer than a cramped moldy casket..."

The other walking dead story caused a different fall out. Literally and figuratively. A malfunctioning door caused a corpse to fall out of the back of a coroner's van onto a busy Pennsylvania road, making traffic come to a, dare I say it, dead stop. One driver thought it was a prank and couldn't decide whether to cry or laugh. Certainly a new take on deadpan humor.

I wonder. Since both incidents happened in Pennsylvania; do you think the corpse was actually hitching a ride to the draft board?

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2289 Fundamental Asset

We are a culture fundamentally affected by food. As I was reminded yesterday, when I was visiting my dad at the old folks home, and they had the TV tuned to the Food Channel.

Actually, it was refreshing. They usually have it tuned in to the Hallmark Channel. The difference was in the commercials. On the Hallmark Channel they're all about incontinence products and drugs to mitigate the effects of old age. On the Food Channel they're all about food. Unabashed, self indulgent, food. 

I saw one ad whose approach was funny. It was a commercial for Froot Loops. Instead of being aimed at kids, it was aimed at adults who used to be kids. It showed a couple in their thirties, who'd obviously just put their kids to bed. 

The dad was sticking his face into a box of Froot Loops and euphorically inhaling like he was huffing spray paint. Then his wife joined in. As they indulged in the simple pleasure of their favorite food they turned on their old game console and started playing Mario.

Froot Loops nostalgia. Enjoyed together as a couple. Like the Froot Loop's mascot was saying if one person can be happy Toucan.

I didn't see an ad on the food channel for this next item. But in the end it's kind of food related. Dermatologists in New York and London are offering what they call a "Butt Facial." It's a $500 procedure that smoothes the derriere with exfoliating peels, lasers, and moisturizers and helps minimize dark spots, zits, and cellulite. 

One woman claims that as a result of the procedure she's never felt more confident. Is that called a fundamental truth?

One thing's a little loopy though. The name. I'd go for "Derriere Smoother" maybe. But Butt Facial? Sounds like it's reserved for someone with a certain type of face. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2288 Stuffed

It's no secret obesity is a problem in our times. What's interesting is how some folks flesh out the whole issue.

Take the food the Center for Public Interest recently decided to take issue with. They gave the dish, and the restaurant that created it, the Xtreme eating award. The X in Xtreme is meant to indicate you should X it out. It's an award for badness to point out how horrible it would be to eat this concoction. 

The concoction is question is the Bruleed French Toast made by the Cheesecake Factory. I would guess if I were to go into the Cheesecake Factory, I'd expect fewer kale and tofu options just from the name alone. But this dish takes the cake. Or is one.

The French Toast is dipped in eggs, fried in butter, stuffed with creme brulee custard, sprinkled liberally with sugar, then served with a side of bacon and a pitcher of maple syrup infused with butter. 

It comes in at 2780 calories, 93 grams of saturated fat, 2230 milligrams of salt, and 24 teaspoons of sugar. Over a day's worth of coronary-inducing calories in one meal.

The award announcement article I read said it's like "14 slices of Aunt Jemima's frozen Homestyle French Toast stuffed with two and a half tubs of Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread."

Notice the not-so-subliminal obesity references. Aunt Jemima set an early standard for corporate corpulence and anything like cream cheese that's served in a tub will probably cause you to be one. 

The Cheesecake Factory's defense was admirable. They said many of their patrons like to order dishes to share. So it's not a day's worth of calories in one dish for one person. It's a half a day's calories for two.

Sharing is caring...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2287 Crammed

Recently, when I signed up for a phone plan with Verizon for the first time, there were a number of options I had to consider after selecting the basic data plan. One was fairly straightforward. It was whether or not I wanted to have insurance and if so which of the three levels of plans would fit comfortably into my pocketbook and my paranoia.

The other selection I had to make was whether I would like a detailed bill. And if so, would I be willing to pay $1.95 a month for that privilege. What? Why wouldn't a detailed bill be part of the bargain? That's like paying for your bag on an airplane trip.  

Exactly. It's the a-la-cartism of modern society. Wherever possible things are broken out into separate (and apparently non-detailed) bills. Interestingly, the plan I chose had unlimited texting, something they charged individually for before. 

I rejected the detailed bill offer, at least until I see how detailed my actual bill is in a month. It is a little worrisome though. Because recently Verizon and AT&T and T-Mobile have all been in the FTC's sights for illegal "cramming" of bills. 

Cramming is charging for in-app services they allow from third party suppliers. From which they take a cut. Today's equivalent of the old 900 number long distance scams. So if I don't pay for a detailed bill, how will I know of or complain about being crammed?  

It's hard not to feel like a victim in today's techno-culture. Especially with its new words. We can get spammed and we can get crammed. I feel damned.

And we can pay extra on our bill just so we know what bill we're paying for that bill for paying the bill. What we can't get is good service.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

2286 Ex-amination

Data proliferates in our society and the temptation is ever present for companies to abuse it. Sometimes it's extremely creepy when they do.

Take FedEx.  Recently, when the battery finally went totally kaput on my old dumbphone, I was obliged to buy a smarter one. Verizon, the company I chose to buy it from, shipped it using FedEx. 

FedEx tried to deliver it and I wasn't there. The notice they left gave me the option of picking it up that day or leaving a signature absolving them of any financial responsibility should they leave an expensive phone on my doorstep.

I couldn't pick it up that day so I tried to go online to have them hold it at the FedEx warehouse. As part of that, they asked me to sign up for a FedEx account. Which I tried to do. Until the end of the process where they said they needed to ask a few questions to make sure I was who I said I was. 

As if my name, address, email, tracking number, and driver's license when I picked it up weren't sufficient.

The questions were multiple choice. I was prompted to select which choice was relevant to my life. One was when my house was built. One was where I lived last. One was the name of a person living in Tacoma. One of those name choices was my second ex-wife. 

FedEx had data from two places where I lived and one where my ex from two marriages ago lived. Spooky. Find me a foil hat. 

I paranoidly cancelled everything out. The next day I got an email from FedEx blithely informing me my account had been successfully opened. Perhaps my former wife vouched for me.

Maybe that's what the Ex in FedEx stands for.  

America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, August 08, 2014

2285 Toastie

Narcissism is alive and well in America. Just about every smartphone, from Android to Blackberry, now comes with what they call a front-facing camera. They say it's so you can have face-to-face videophone conversations with people but we know the real reason.

It's so you can take a selfie.

Selfies proliferate in our culture. From the sexting antics of various Weiners and Weiner wannabees to the baby bumps of Beyonces, selfies show more fronts than the hair on the back of a Kardashian.

Although I do object to the misnomer "front-facing" camera. It's facing back at you not at the world in front of you, so it should be a back-facing camera. Even if it's facing your front. Never mind, I'm confused.

It's pretty amazing how quickly the selfie caught on, and how quickly the word and the act was integrated into our culture. Helped certainly by the ability to tweet your selfie. I suppose if you can Google yourself you should be able to tweet your selfies. Though for some reason they both sound less like narcissism and more like electronic self-abuse.

Narcissism was taken to a new level recently when a Vermont company invented a novelty toaster that will allow you to burn an image of yourself into your morning toast. Yep, a crispy, organic, eatable, piping hot, selfie.

Galen Dively, president of Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation, says, "You don't have to be famous or Jesus to have your face on toast." Amen.

With 3-D printers and other such marvels, I'm not surprised. And let's face it, who wouldn't love the opportunity to use selfie smartphone camera images to burn pictures on food. Now some famous diva can show she's prego on an Eggo. 

Just keep Anthony Weiner out of the kitchen.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

2284 DC of Knowledge

I'm surprised sometimes by people's lack of the most basic knowledge. And, need I say, worried that the smartphone revolution has made us even dumber.

The recent stories of people getting totally lost in not-so-wilderness areas because their smartphone's battery died illustrate the point. In true battery fashion, there are two poles of thought on what to do about it. One side has researchers even now working hard to prevent future such recurrences by developing greater device battery life. The other side is educating folks in basic geography and wayfinding. 

There's probably a dispute about which is positive and negative. Which wouldn't surprise me, our country is in polar opposition on everything else. 

But a little knowledge couldn't hurt. Especially if you're in a sensitive government job tasked with the important duty of protecting us from terrorists. You'd expect such a person to have a rudimentary knowledge of our nation's geography. You know, like capitals and such. 

Hey, you say, you can't expect everyone to know the capital of North Dakota is Bismarck. Or South Dakota is Pierre. Who would care that the Dakotatites have been Frenching and Germanifying the places anyhow?

Fair enough, but what about the capital of the whole US of A? Turns out a TSA agent recently refused to let a resident of Washington D.C. through the checkpoint in Orlando airport. He asked the resident to produce I.D. proving he was American. Perhaps thinking the District of Columbia was in, um, South America. Or possibly a section of British Columbia. 

The TSA now says they'll show pictures of the D.C. license to agents so they'll know how recognize it. 

I suggest they just equip their agents with a smartphone app.

Maybe National Geographic has one. They're based in Washington D.C.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

2283 Half Off

Heard a news snippet on the radio the other day about a man in England who is suing his optometrist, or possibly his optician, for overcharging him for the last 30 years. I guess he finally saw the light.

The reason for this bit of litigation is the man in question has only one eye that works. The other one has been blind since birth. So the man thinks he should have been getting a discount, as only one eye has ever been corrected for glasses. Or possibly just glass singular. 

Makes sense to me, though the optician maintains it's the same price for one, two or three eyes. Easy to say, as I'm guessing he'll never actually see anyone with three eyes. "Yes, my name's Lucifer, the evil eye in the center of my forehead has a hell of a time focusing when I sit at my computer."

Personally, I love the concept. Like the nearly bald guy at the barber, why should he pay as much as a hairy-headed brute with locks down to the middle of his back? 

Or the poor woman who nipped off the end of her pinkie chopping nuts. Should she pay for a full ten-digit manicure? (Which should be called a womanicure by the way...)

That reminds me, I just went to my hygienist recently and paid the hefty amount you pay for that sort of poking and scraping. And I've had two teeth missing for years. Why should I pay the full 32 tooth premium? With two of my wisdom teeth recently extracted as well, that's four fewer than 32. I should be getting about a 12% discount. 

Not much maybe, but it certainly would take some of the bite out of my dental bill.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

2282 Beast Mode

I once made the observation that the Biblical "Sign of the Beast" would be the Universal Product Code stamped on our foreheads. You know, that barcode they use to mark anything and everything to keep track of all our commercial transactions. Seemed to me it was the ultimate sign of the times, and sign of the apocalypse.

That was until everyone started getting tattoos. Then I surmised the barcode wouldn't be stamped, it would be tattooed. And it would be voluntary, perhaps to get a discount at a supermarket like a club card, or maybe just to get airline miles. You'd pass through a scanner and your universal barcode account would instantly be credited an electronic coupon.

I never thought people would do it for just laziness. But now they can. Motorola has unveiled a digital tattoo that you can wear to unlock your phone. You heard right, you won't have to tap in your password or go to all the trouble to take off your glove so your phone can recognize your touch, just wave your phone over your tattoo and bingo, it's unlocked. 

The temporary electronic tattoos affix using surgical adhesive and last through showers and wear and tear for about a week. Even longer if you live in your mom's basement and never shower. Bonus: It doesn't malfunction from Cheetos dust.

What price this convenience? A mere 10 dollars for a ten-pack. A dollar a week and you can save yourself the endless effort of tapping and re-tapping your password. 

And what a perfect sign of the times it is. The two defining icons of the digital generation, tattoos and smartphones, brought together in one task to increase and indulge the third defining characteristic of modern culture.  

Lucifer, thy name is Laziness.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

2281 Bowl-ing

A while back when it was football season I heard about one of the bowl games and it got me thinking. No, it wasn't the bowl game between Colorado and Washington that my friend's son called the Smoka-Bowl, but it was close.

It was the Hunger Bowl. That's what they called it in the media anyhow, even though the real name is the Fight Hunger Bowl. Which makes a lot more sense, since that’s a good cause, and something we really need to do. 

Unfortunately, when the media starts shortening names, they sometimes change the meaning. Hunger Bowl sounds like they don't expect a crowd. It sounds more like an empty bowl, doesn't it? Or perhaps a bowl for alms, or a bowl of soup from the local street kitchen. 

Worse, if you have any sensitivity to popular culture at all, it sounds not unlike the Hunger Games. Which, what with harvesting athletic poor people from various disadvantaged districts and having them fight it out to the death, is a depth to which we still haven't quite taken professional sports. Unless you count Roman gladiators, or the early professional boxing circuit, or terminal concussion-induced dementia.  

Still, bowls are the epitome of success. Not only do teams compete to be in them but corporations compete to be the name on them. The new Levi Stadium in San Francisco will get Superbowl 50. Unfortunately, they’ll name it with a 5-0- instead of a Roman numeral L.  Too bad, since L is the first letter in Levi.

Me, I'd support the hottest new company ever getting it's own bowl. Instead of hash marks where they show the yardage, they could use hashtags. And the officials could really tweet their whistles. 

Yep, I’d give my thumbs up to the Twitter Bowl.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, August 01, 2014

2280 Nature Nurture

Teenagers. The other day there were a couple of young bucks in my yard and they were totally tearing up my landscaping. "Hey!" I yelled, and started to chase them. They first gave me that surly "Who the heck do you think you are?" look, then ran off.

An ordinary suburban event perhaps, except it actually involved bucks. Two young male deer, eating the broccoli-like heads off the sedum plants in my yard. Oddly, they still seemed to have that contempt for oldsters in their eyes you see in teenagers everywhere.

Cross-species 'tude, ya gotta love it.

The thing is, it's actually ordinary to see deer in the neighborhood these days. And tons of advice is published warning of a particular plant’s appetizing qualities to deer. Us outdoor gardeners usually only had to worry about snails and slugs. Deer are a lot quicker. 

I saw a Bald Eagle the other day. And he was flying through downtown. It kind of made me wonder if indeed animals are adapting to us. As long as we don't outright poison them. It's certainly an everyday occurrence in my neck of the non-woods to see possum, raccoons, and the occasional black-tailed weasel. I even saw a porcupine lumbering down the street. 

It makes me feel a little better about the upcoming apocalypse. With cellphone apps defunct, it would be nice to have some of these animals handy in the neighborhood so I don't have to wander in the forest. What I'm saying is, these are all game animals used by our forbears to get along for furs and needles and leather. And good old possum pie.

I'll keep my sedum planted. I might just be able to drop a buck or two for a nice winter feast.  

Old men can be tricky. 

America, ya gotta love it.