Friday, October 31, 2014

2341 Hack Force 1.0

Another security breach, this time with a major bank. Hackers hacked into thousands of accounts. According to the bank in question, they didn't get anything serious, like your password, just your name and address and stuff. They are suggesting you change your password as quickly as possible though.

Sound familiar? Sure it does. The words "data security breach" are becoming as commonplace as "Where's the beef" once was. For anyone who does online banking, it's scary. Or even online purchases through anyone. Even scarier, the data security breaches seem to be coming from Russia, this last one perhaps in retaliation for anti-Putin sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The pain in Ukraine falls mainly in the rain -- of your secret data from the cloud. 

Certainly brings world politics home, when your Chase account gets compromised by a pudgy little wannabe Tsar, Putin on a snit.

Read about an interesting ray of hope. A security researcher uncovered hidden code in the new Facebook Messenger iPhone app that appears to allow friends to send money to one another. What was interesting hope-wise was they called this person a "security researcher." 

Because this "security researcher" uncovered hidden code. Didn't that word used to be "hacker"? He was delving into the secrets of another company's code for gosh sakes. That's hacking.

Let's hire him. Yep, it's time to recruit more American hackers. Empty out the World of Warcraft basements and get the geeks to do their patriotic duty creating God Code to foil the Russkies. Like a cyber dirty dozen in dirty cargo shorts.

Next time the FBI catches some precocious youngster hacking for fun and nuisance, offer him a bunch of money to do it for world peace. 

Or at least world peace of mind about our Amazon accounts.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2340 iKeurig

Big or small?  That is the question, whether it's better to have just a bit or more than a handful. Candy bars go from full-size to fun-size and back again. And iPhones get bigger while iPads get smaller.  Which would you like, an iPhone 6 Plus or an iPad Air 2. How about an I don't care anyhow?

Even Keurig has gotten into it. Yes Keurig, the pioneer of single serving coffee. Brewed a cup at a time in environmental havoc wreaking containers because, you know, it's a crime in these here United States of Coffee to have a stale cup putrefying in a carafe.

On the one hand, it's a vindication for us confirmed bachelors. Finally, a food item that isn't super-sized or only on sale at 2-for-the-price-of-1. On the other hand, it ignores the communal nature of sitting around drinking coffee with your friends or family. If you have to brew a single cup each for 6 people, by the time you're done with the 6th one, the first guy's ready for a refill. 

So Keurig has made the change. The new Keurig 2.0 can also brew a carafe. Holy Mr. Coffee Batman, Keurig can create a carafe?

Yes indeed, just in time for the holidays, you and your family can enjoy the convenience of a whole pot of coffee. Of course the Keurig isn't just like Mister Coffee. Instead of the annoying filter and coffee measuring inconvenience, you get the classic Keurig pod. It's just bigger. The "iPod 4 minus" I call it. Because it barely serves 4. 

I'll hold off before I adopt this one. Not sure the technology is totally debugged. Or debrewed. Maybe I'll wait until they come out with a 50s retro family economy size. 

The Keurig urn.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2339 Taking a Sit

I'm very grateful I've had the opportunity to live a relatively long life. Back in the days of the first paleo diet, paleo-people only lived to the advanced old age of 32. Not long enough to enjoy the debilitating effects of clogged arteries and incontinence.

So when I say I've had the pleasure of living in a time span that encompassed both Ozzie and Harriet and Ozzy Osbourne from Black Sabbath I mean it's pretty cool. Sure the gals in the audience that were throwing panties at rock stars are now throwing Depends but who cares. 

On that subject, I think they need to come up with another word than Depends. Something more secure sounding. You don't want to open up the possibility that reliable coverage and containment "depends." You want certainty. Like Pampers make you feel secure. So since so many grampas and grammas use them, let's call them Grampers.

They might even prolong life. How? Well, recent scientific research has shown that it's not heavy exercise that will increase your lifespan. It's light exercise and standing up. 

Researchers in Sweden took a group of sedentary overweight men and women, all 68 years old, and told them to sit less and move more. Another were told to do what they always do. The participants’ telomeres, caps on the end of DNA strands, shortened with the go-on-as-normal group. The stand-up-more group had theirs grow longer. Meaning their cells had actually become physiologically younger. Another group that exercised heavily got shorter telomeres just like the very lazy folks. 

The conclusion of the head researcher was that sitting and sedentary behavior may be the most important new health hazard of our time.  

More reason to use grampers. Sitting less. You live longer when you stand up and move.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2338 Pet Peeves

I love pets, as long as they're mine. I dislike the pets of others.

Take the other day. A dog walker was out with his three charges on their daily delivery of pooch poo. There's a grassy area at my place of work which the poo purveyors find attractive for their depository needs. The pet walker is very conscientious and has a separate little blue bag with which to gather the fruits of each pooch’s intestinal labors. 

The other day the dogs interacted, badly, with the neighborhood cat. The cat also uses areas of our landscaping to do her business. The cat however, although she presumably has an owner, does not have an owner who is conscientious about the environmental havoc wreaked by pet poo to our environs. Nor does anyone expect him to.

Another example of cat chauvinism in our culture. Cats are allowed to roam free, digging up flowerbeds and depositing feline surprises, while poor dog owners are admonished to follow their pets around and endure the indignity of extricating their excrement. 

Then again, when was the last time I was awakened at three in the morning by the neighbor's cat barking at an imaginary gopher? I guess these things balance out. Other people's pets are annoying period. Or maybe it's just the pet's people. 

Like this example. The pet power bar. For those dog/sport people who want Rover to be just like them. Purina now has power bars for your pet. They look just like yours! So after you've taken your retriever for a run you can unwrap and chow down on similar-looking energy bars together to recharge those vital nutrients.

Fortunately, Rover, and you, will appreciate the firming effects of the fiber -- further down the road...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

2337 Spago

I like it when I find out new words. Or the unexpected meanings of words I've taken for granted for years. Two of them that came up lately were spago and e-juice.

E-juice first. I encountered it recently on a sign at one of the new e-cigarette or vape places. They were introducing new flavors for fall and encouraging folks to come in and sample their new "e-juices."

Eeyew is more like it. 

For some reason or another I'm only comfortable with the word "juice" when it refers to something fruity. Other juices smack of noxiousness. Like tobacco juice. Or bodily juices. E-juice just sounds e-yucky.  

Then there's spago. I was at a wine tasting event not long ago and the demonstrator guy was introducing a fizzy wine he said was called spago. Or at least it had spago in the name, I wasn't paying really close attention as I was examining the spit bucket and wondering if it had anything to do with the wines I saw on the shelves of the place called red blends.

He said the spago wine was a frizzante wine as opposed to a bubbly wine so it needed less pressure on the cork to hold it in. It didn't require one of those cage things that look like you're giving your wine bottle advanced orthodontia. 

It only required string. "Spago," the wine guy said, "is an Italian word for string. Which is cool, but now I'll never look at that Wolfgang Puck guy with the fancy restaurants the same again. Imagine if we all instantaneously made that translation and realized he was actually naming his restaurants not Spago, but String. 

Maybe he thinks it's funny and has been stringing us along all along.

He's known for his puckish humor.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

2336 Addressing Questions

I was listening to a news story on the radio about something in Washington D.C. The "other Washington" as we west-coasters like to call it. Washington State, by the way, when it submitted its application for statehood, wanted to be called Columbia. Congress thought it would be confused with the District of Columbia so they changed the name to Washington. Because, you know, everyone says District of Columbia.

Congress was just as smart back then.

Anyhow, the news story mentioned the White House and said its address was 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It occurred to me that Washington, District of Columbia, was the first fully-planned from the architectural plans up city in the US of A. 

So why wouldn't they make the address of the White House more special? Like Number 1, United States of America Avenue? Why the number 1600? And why the street name of one single state?

How about 1776 Independence Avenue? Or Freedom Street? Or Inalienable Rights Cul-de-Sac? What the heck does 1600 have to do with anything?

The Capitol Building, by the way, where Congress sits and hurls brickbats at one another in one constant ideological and illogical streetfight, has no numbered street address. That address is East Capitol St NE and First Street SE. 

But someone laid both the civil engineering and psychological groundwork for the Supreme Court to be really supreme.  Their address is Number 1 First Street. Maybe someone trying to get across that we are a nation of laws first and foremost. 

Then again, there's another meaning for the term Number 1. Perhaps the planners anticipated some folks being Number-1'ed off because the Supreme Court often shows we're less a nation of law than a nation of interpretation.

That's what they say on the street anyhow...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2335 Legal Posting

Heard an interesting news story recently. It spoke to how hard it is these days for the legal system to keep up with technology. And I'm not talking about complex issues like Net Neutrality. I'm talking about talking on your cellphone and driving.

A while back our learned lawmakers, and even some of those who weren't so learned, decided the "talking on your cellphone and driving" thing was killing people in sufficient quantities it was time to do something about it. Just about the time they finally got around to outlawing it and requiring handsfree talking, people started texting and driving too.

The lawmakers were able to roll that in and we now have the "no talking or texting on your cellphone while you're driving" law. 

But you can post to Facebook.


Yep, back when the law was drafted, smartphones were in their infancy. No one realized that talking would soon become passé. Who wants to wear one of those dickey little handsfree things people put in their ears anyway? Driving's uncomfortable enough without sticking a piece of metal and plastic in your ear, not to mention that you look like you escaped from working a fast food drive-thru.

Anyhow, it's currently legal to Tweet or post to Facebook or Instagram while you're driving. So some stupid people do. Because, you know, if it's not safe to text, it must be safe to post a picture, right?

Yeah, right. Certain smartphone owners, as we've established, can use the extra smartness of their phones because they have so little actual smarts themselves. Facebooking on your anti-social media just because it's technically legal is like laying a disconnected fake seatbelt across your chest. It still can get you killed.

They used to say speed kills. Stupidity kills worse. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2334 Swipemark

I like to go through life convincing myself that things aren't as dirty as they really are. By convincing myself I don't mean an active ongoing persuasion campaign to fight against some OCD paranoia that everything is icky. I just mean maintaining an ignorant bliss about that whole filthy slice of reality.

So when I read articles about thousands of mites living under my bed furiously engorging themselves on the skin and hair bits I industrious and unconsciously shed every moment, I tend to not follow that up with a Google search to delve into it further.

Nor do I care to dwell overmuch on the parts-per-million of fecal matter wafting through the air of any public facility. Whether it's precipitating off the rear ends of dogs, cats, or the guy that just came out of the fast food establishment's bathroom, I'd rather not know too much about it.

So I've always been fairly conscientious about eliminating the little reminders of that sort of thing. Like streaks on my microwave or smudges on my glasses. Those small intrusions on my Pollyanna protective shell of imagined cleanliness remind me of all that other not-so-nice stuff.

So it was with sadness that I noticed an ongoing issue that needs a tissue. Swipe marks on my smartphone. You know what I mean. That greasy streak that no matter how often you clean your hands somehow appears on the screen of your device. 

Like some oily reminder of the piglike being you really are. Churning, boiling, and roiling through the organic mess of life. You have an inherent amount of grease just oozing from your thumb or fingertip. Ready to smear its ickyness on the pristine plate of your smartphone. 

Smudging your portal into the beautiful immaculate cleanliness of the techno-digital cyberworld.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2333 Cheat Code

Recently a colleague and I were talking about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is the new buzzword, or possibly buzz-acronym, amongst certain advertising types as the next holy grail of marketing.

Marketing holy grails are supposedly magical, mystical, be-all end-alls to the main advertising dilemma: "Am I getting the word out to whom I want to get it to."

SEO attempts to make the web search engines display your name at the top whenever someone types in your product category. It does this by tricking the web's spiderbots into thinking your product is the most searched for. Because of the purported quantity of searches for your product, your name should bubble to the top. That's the idea anyhow.

They also call it "gaming the system." Which I think is funny because it's not playing the game by the rules at all. "Gaming the system" and "Search Engine Optimization" are really just two clumsy euphemisms for, um, cheating. 

But you know, all's fair in love, war, and commerce. Reminds me of my kids in the early days of video games, reaching a tough spot and asking their friends for the cheat code to get past it. Or some of today's games allowing you to use the "god mode" for the same purpose, if you pay for it. 

Odd. Somehow I don't remember ever being able to start a Monopoly board game with both Boardwalk and Park Place and all the utilities already in hand. Or a Jenga game with Velcro linings on both sides of the little pieces of wood. 

Makes you wonder. At what point is cheating a crime? "It's not bait and switch, your honor. I didn't misrepresent and overstate the implicit value of my product. I just search engine optimized it."

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

2332 Panting Question

The biggest problem with getting older, other than hating change because you've already endured so much of it, is finding yourself asking, "When did that become normal?"

Take pants. The other day I was standing outside waiting for someone and I couldn't help but notice a couple of folks across the street. They were standing and talking and basically just carrying on their normal existence.

That existence was punctuated by two repetitive gestures. One was the obligatory looking down and checking their smartphones. Said gesture was accompanied by various sub-gestures that included thumbing and swiping. 

The other repetitive gesture was pulling up their pants. Seriously, in the course of my watching , which was on and off for about 4 minutes, each of the individuals must have adjusted his and/or her pants about 15 times. Hitching, hiking, tugging, it was like a baseball pitcher winding into his pre-windup. 

But here's the odd thing. They were adjusting for different reasons. The male of the twosome was adjusting because his pants were so baggy they kept falling down. And this while he was standing still. God forbid that he would actually need to run and hold up his pants and hold on to his cellphone at the same time. 

The female, however, was adjusting her pants because they were too tight. She had a figure that made "down" the direction of least resistance, and pants that were so yoga pants tight that the second law of elasto-dynamics automatically peeled her like a molting snake. 

So here's my dumb, age-engendered, things sure aren't the way the used to be, when did that become normal, question. Too loose or too tight, they don't keep you covered. 

When did they start designing pants to not do what pants are designed to do?

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

2331 Forced Perspective

Perspective. It's what we put things in. It's also the view we have on things. And it helps to hold on to a healthy version of it as we go through the world. Then it's okay to take note of the shifts in it.

Such as when I heard a sportscaster on the radio talking about one team prevailing over another in a sports contest. Namely soccer. He said one team had trounced the other 4 to 1.

4 to 1 is a "trouncing"? So I assumed, from my other-sports-skewed perspective. Only 4 points against only 1 point. Only in soccer would that be considered a trouncing. Then I reflected on my perspective and it made perfect sense. In football years that would be 28 to 7, if we count as the basic scoring increment the touchdown and almost obligatory extra point. Or 24 to 6 if you're a gridiron TD purist.

The fact that soccer only gives one point to a goal doesn't mean it's any less hard to get it. Not does football arbitrarily assigning 6 points make it any more hard. Still, it sure seems to make it more exciting. 

Another perspective observation I made was when I was at Starbucks recently. They had some items on display in their food case. One of them was a sausage, cheese, and egg muffin sandwich. It was $3.25. Compared to McDonald’s, it seemed a little high. Until I looked at another item. It was a 6-inch by 3-inch concoction known as a Marshmallow Dream Bar. It was $2.25. Suddenly my perspective changed. All that egg, cheese, and sausage protein looked like a very good value. 

Because $2.25… for a Rice Krispie Treat? 

Who does Starbucks think they are? A professional sports stadium? It's all perspective.

America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2330 How Doo

"How do you do?" Or, "How are you?" Interesting questions. Are they just different ways to say the same thing depending on where you were raised?

Some folks, whether through upbringing or later adaptation, say, "How do you do?" Whereas others don't really seem to care what or how you do it. They just want to know how you are.

There's certainly a subtle distinction. One like I used to teach my kids. Like when someone is criticizing your writing. They’re just criticizing the job you are doing, not you personally. So maybe that's the difference. I don't want to know how you are, I may end up with way too much personal information. Just give me a short overview of how you're doing whatever it is you're doing.

Then there's the third alternative, "Howdy do," but that assumes a level of countrification that's not worth analysis. Not to mention the inevitable descent into the scary clown syndrome precipitated by "Howdy Doody."

Doody, by the way, has for quite some time been a cutesy euphemism for excrement. So how is it that it made it on a children's TV program? Especially since it was for children that the euphemism was invented. Didn't the producer of the show think kids would notice? Howdy Doody? Well, first you go into the bathroom...

Likewise, there's "whoops" and "oops." Which are you? Are you the kind that when confronted with a surprising accident, like spilling your coffee on your lap, says "Whoops"? Or is "oops" your preference. 

I do both. "Whoops" is usually what I use when I myself commit the error. "Oops" is what I use when I'm commenting on someone else's clumsiness.

I know. Not too exciting I guess. Definitely not worth a lot of whoopty doo. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2329 Long Balls

There must be a name for my mental disorder. I'm not sure other people go through life asking that proverbial phrase "What the heck?" as often as I do.

Like recently when I heard a sports story on the radio about baseball. The sportscaster said a certain individual had hit a grand slam homer. He went on to say that it was the first grand slam hit by a shortstop in post regular season game play ever.

What the heck?

I know baseball is statistics OCD but really? Someone has kept track of grand slams and shortstops in the entire history of major league baseball? One would assume they've kept track of the other 8 field positions and long balls as well. And there have been a lot of games. Where did they store all this data before computers? Every warehouse in Cooperstown? 

Another what-the-heck. I was driving by Jack-in-the-Box and they had a sign that said they were giving away free Seahawk antennae balls. Cool, I said to myself, I'm gonna get one. 

Then I looked at my car and realized I don't have an antennae. I looked at all the cars around me on the street and in the Jack-in-the-Box parking lot and none of them did either. What the heck?  

Sounds to me a like a promotion that won't cost Jack. Unless they've already ordered the balls. I suppose I could get one anyhow and just put it near my car radio. Maybe not. I wouldn't want it rolling around in the car. Loose balls can cause problems. In both cars and sports. I remember hearing about one basketball player who held the record for loose ball fouls. 

They said it was mostly a longevity thing. He didn't have a brief career.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2328 Span-X

People say to me that they think I spend a lot of time ruminating about words. And they're right, of course, our language is a fascinating thing, especially since it can come up with words like ruminate.

We are so versatile in how we put language to use too. Like the marketers that work on the product known as Spanx. Spanx, to the uninitiated, are garments meant to compress one's flabbiness into a semblance of firmness and smoothness. Essentially a girdle.

Girdles however, were just for your tummy and hips, whereas Spanx has been expanded to cover thighs, legs, and upper torsos as well. Sounds weird saying "Spanx has been expanded" but there you go. 

Spanx also bills itself as "shapewear," which I think is an elegant coining of a term. Like footwear for your feet and workout-wear for your smelly gym clothes, shapewear sounds so much better than girdle. Or anti-flabwear. 

But why Spanx? What does that mean? X-ing out the span of expansion? Or is it some Fifty Shades of Gray reference? Bring those fat globules under control with a little S&M swat. Or is it a reference to the concept of making you look brand spanking new?

Not sure where that phrase came from either. Brand spanking new. Some phraseologists attribute the brand part to the branding of cattle. It's the spanking part where they get uncertain. They posit the spanking part is a variation of the same span we see in spick and span. I've always assumed it has something to do with the practice of spanking newborn infants to get them breathing.

Much like the act of removing Spanx facilitates the process of breathing… after a long night of cruel sadomasochistic compression. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

2327 Political Odor

Sometimes you wonder when you hear of the things scientists try to figure out. They don't always seem relevant, but who knows. The space race, after all, led to the development of Tang and Squeeze Cheese.

So I was curious when I read of scientific research about your smell and your political beliefs. Both your sense of smell and your actual smell. It got either political side in a sweat. Literally.

Scientists asked volunteers to rate sweat samples from 21 people whose political beliefs were either strongly liberal or strongly conservative. Apparently a double-blind single-nose test.

The researchers found that people much prefer the body odor of those who share a similar political ideology. In other words, if the volunteers were conservatives, they preferred the odor of conservatives. Liberals liked liberals. 

I assume this was after controlling for the odiferous effects of chewing tobacco or patchouli.

It certainly lends credence to the idea of birds of a feather flocking together. And the notion that people are attracted to each other by more than the sight of their beauty or the sound of their voice. Your potential mate has to smell good too. At least to you.

That's who could benefit from this research. Dating services. One of their deficiencies has always been that you can't send a smell online. So the chances of each date being successful ran the risk of being snuffed early by olfactory rejection. Now the potential datee need only fill out a standard political preference questionnaire and the smell factor will take care of itself. 

I guess I really am an independent. I can't conceive of liking the body odor of either Rush Limbaugh or Keith Olbermann. 

Funny though, how both their last names sound like types of stinky cheese. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

2326 Brand Hype

Words is funny. And people use them sometimes in ways that make me think they're not putting a lot of thought behind the process. Or too much.

Like the line I saw in a magazine article recently. The author of the piece was talking about the frenzy investors were working themselves up to around the IPO of the company Alibaba. He said, "But as is so often the case when internet companies go public, hype can quickly become hyperbole."

I know what he meant, I think, but hype and hyperbole are not progressively different terms like better and best. And they are not always entirely separate words with subtle distinctions of meaning. Hype, in this context, is just plain short for hyperbole. It's a slang shortening that over time evolved into a word in its own right. Like perk and perquisite. 

I guess I'd better write another letter to that magazine's editor. I've already told these people a million times not to exaggerate.

Another word gets used a lot in a peculiar fashion. At least according to a guy I know at work named Chris. The other day we were listening to a news story on the radio in the office and the newscaster said something about a criminal "brandishing" a gun.

Chris wondered aloud why it was that you could only seem to brandish a gun. I replied that I'd heard of someone brandishing a knife. We agreed it's only weapons that get brandished. The act of brandishing seems to imply a threat of some sort.

One can not, it appears, innocently brandish a cup of coffee. Or even a bottle of whiskey. Unless the brandisher wants to break that bottle over your head. 

Perhaps because he's hyped up on booze.   

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, October 09, 2014

2325 C-Change

The older I get, the more I resist change. It's not because of change itself, the only really constant in life, it's that you've had to change so many times by the time you reach a certain age, that you're just sick of it. Especially these days, when technology keeps altering faster than a chameleon on crack.

Even worse, to us oldsters, are online financial websites like, that force you to change your password every 90 days. Remembering passwords is hard enough, and 90 days goes by like two did in my youth. 

So the other day, when I went to Costco and couldn't find my favorite brand of orange juice, I got in a bit of a snit. More snit producing, it was where it should have been all along, they had just changed the packaging. Instead of extended cubular milk-like cartons, they had shifted to plastic bottles. 

I noticed another change. Where was the labeling extolling the benefits of Vitamin C? I looked all over the bottle and no mention of Vitamin C whatsoever except in the nutritional panel, where it discreetly mentioned a serving contained 120% of RDA.

What they did hype, however, was how much Vitamin D and calcium it had. As if they were going head to head with milk as the breakfast drink of choice. Sad. They say orange juice sales have fallen off but this is a bad move. Because, um, I'll never be able to put orange juice on my breakfast cereal. 

And though a lack of Vitamin D does cause Ricketts, it's hard to get that deficient in today's cheesy food culture. Vitamin C is different. We need our citrus and should change back now.  

When was the last time you saw someone with scurvy?

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

2324 Weak End

Occasionally I'll be going through life minding my own business and then see something that gives me a cause for pause.

I saw one of those things recently on a drive up to Everett. I went by the Cabelas up there and they had a big banner on their building that said, "NRA Weekend Sale." 

I thought it was interesting because no matter where you are on the whole gun thing it's odd that a quasi-political organization would be featured by a retailer with a weekend sale. 

I wouldn't expect to see a Target having a "NEA Weekend" during back to school shopping season. Or REI having a "Sierra Club Weekend," but who knows? Maybe that's next. Retail's tough. You need to target market to your ideal demographic. 

Speaking of targeting, another thing that made me pause was when I opened up my Google account the other day and instead of going to the regular sign-in page there was first a landing page on which they asked for my mobile phone number.

"Help us keep your accounts safe," they entreated by way of explanation. 

Um, no. I'm already upset that you compromised my security by providing me with only one password for multiple accounts. One hackable password, I may add. Thanks for making it easy for them, despite all the anti-hacker literature saying multiple passwords are the best way to protect different silos of data. 

Now you want to have my mobile phone number tied to it so if and when some foreign or domestic troll decides to hack into my multiple accounts they can hack into my personal and business phone data too.

It's like you're getting a kickback from them through the back door or something. Maybe your Google store should have a "Hacker's Weekend."

America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

2323 Shift Happens

Words. They sure are shifty. Whether because the rules of speech make us expect something else or new changes in culture nudge our brains to move in different directions.

Like when a friend sent me a video she took at a recent event. What was different from the old video technology was she had taken it with her phone. When folks took photographs with a camera they were a photographer. When they took video they were a videographer. When you take it with your smartphone are you a phonographer? 

A problematic word. As it also suggests you made phonograph records. And it sounds uncomfortably close to pornographer. 

In another word shift I drove by a place near the airport called Spa Depot. Except in their big building sign they run the two words together into SpaDepot. And for the first time, I guess because of a combination of the font and a recent news story that put my mind in mind of the new marijuana law I read spadepot as spade pot. 

Oh yeah. Spade Pot, that new marijuana garden supply house.

Lastly I was confronted with a conundrum in a commercial I heard on the radio recently. It was for McDonalds and they were talking about groups of things. Like a Flock of Falcons and a Herd of Colts. And they also mentioned a Group of Saints. 

It made me wonder. "Group" sounds so un-special and un-saintly. Are you sure that isn't a Bevy of Saints? Or, since many folks think saints turn into angels and since angels have wings, a Flock of Saints might be more appropriate.  

Or maybe the word they use for bats. Since, like saints, bats are mammals with wings. How about a Cloud of Saints?

Doesn't sound shifty at all. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

2322 Ash Questions

Not long ago, I was at an event up north and one of the motivational speakers there named Tim Richardson told me about a banner he'd seen. It was at a place where deceased loved ones were turned into ashes. A crematorium.

Tim said the banner they had hanging on the front of the building seemed wrong somehow. Wrong in the first place because it just didn't seem dignified to hang a banner on the front of a institution that ushers the remains of folks to eternal rest. And even wronger because the banner said, "We do cremations right." 

Really? Have we reached the time in our national decline from all things mannerly and appropriate that we wax hyperbolic and competitive about the services we render in the funeral industry? 

We do cremations right? 

Has there been a spate of cremations done wrong that the ordinary cremation consumer has been subjected to? "Yeah, I took in my granny and boy oh boy did they mess her up. Not even close to complete incineration. And the urn had obviously been purchased on sale at K-Mart." 

I suppose it's possible. A crematorium I once visited had a fancy machine that automatically sifted the cremated ashes to take out lumps of bone and other bits like tooth fillings and such. It was called, of all things, a cremulator, which for some reason sounded like a machine I operated when I was a teenager working at Dairy Queen.

So it's possible some less than right crematorium didn't employ a cremulator and the one that does cremations right does. "We were so disappointed in what that inferior place did with Aunt Madge. The ashes were a little chunky... 

"So we took her into the place that does cremations right. And had her re-cremated."

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, October 03, 2014

2321 IS Will Be

It's interesting how the names of things change after repeated news cycles. It's as if a consensus amongst media folks needs to emerge according to the basic natural laws of physics. As in, things proceed to a state of lower energy. Entropy. Or just plain laziness.

Take the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. When the terrorist organization first started their head-lopping massacre across Iraq that brought them to our attention like an exceptionally bad episode in Game of Thrones, ISIL was the initial acronym to come out of the deal. 

It's still the way much of Europe refers to them. Mostly because they've called the Syrian area the Levant for centuries, whereas we western hemisphere newbees prefer Iraq and Syria.

That's what we started to call them. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Then came our acronym. ISIS. Which became problematic for a number of businesses through no fault of their own right away. Brand Suicide they call it. Remember what happened to Ayds diet candies? 

This one hit a lot of companies, because Isis is the name of the Egyptian goddess of love, marriage, and the underworld, so was nicely co-optable for marketing purposes. Funny how one goddess can be the symbol of both marriage and the underworld. Perceptive, those ancient Egyptians.

Anyhow, businesses started abandoning the name ISIS in droves. So the final name and acronym the lazy media has decided on has me worried. It's just Islamic State. And the initials IS. 

Yep, IS is going to be the way we talk about how IS is ravaging the western middle east. Isn't IS going to be fun? 

But hey. At least Clinton will be vindicated by this crisis. Bill, not Hillary.

We'll finally be able to say what IS is.

America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

2320 Greased Enlightening

I love how the medical advice seesaw keeps going helter-skelter. Take their tilt-a-whirl positions on sugar and fat. They keep yanking us around.

The big deal back when cholesterol was discovered was that a low-fat diet was the only way to lose fat. So processed food providers took all the fat out of food. Then found they couldn't sell it. Because it tasted like cardboard. So naturally (or unnaturally) they added sugar to replace the flavor.

America became the carbohydrate nation. And surprisingly to science, for all the fat we didn't consume, the obese nation as well. Along came Atkins and guess what? Science now says he was more or less right. A recent study done on ordinary people who could consume unlimited calories on either a no-fat or a low-carb diet proved indisputably that you lose weight with low-carbs. 

Meat eaters rejoice! The way to lower fat is to eat more fat. 

While we're on sugar and sweeteners, by the way, it's the type of sugar you consume too. Seems high-fructose corn syrup is enough in the negative spotlight that at least one major soft drink manufacturer is proclaiming a new drink they hype with the description "made with real sugar."

Not sure about the high-fructose thing, but get this recent conclusion of science: Artificial sweeteners actually cause obesity. New research has shown that artificial sweeteners affect the gut's microbiome and put it out of whack, so somehow any sugar you do eat goes right into fat storage mode. 

Science's zipper ride has gone topsy-turvy again. Today's lesson: Don't use artificial sweeteners and don't avoid fat. Sweet. Just in time for fair season. 

Batter-fried butter stick and Krispy Kreme bacon burger, here I come.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

2319 Stealers Deal

I was reading a magazine article about various items you could use to store stuff secretly while you're on vacation. They included a version of an old-fashioned money belt with flashing LEDs, so you could also wear it outside your clothing for a midnight jog. Just remember to turn off the LEDs when you tuck it back inside your white shirt at the business convention. Pickpockets love LEDs.

The problem with secret storage is that secret storage stealers read the same magazines us normal people do. So they're out there on the beach actually looking for these items. 

Take the Contigo Autoseal Kangaroo bottle. Looks like a water bottle but has a hidden compartment where you can store your cash, car key, or hotel room key. It's also spill-proof and waterproof and BPA free. Plus it's a really expensive looking top notch water bottle. In short, the sort of water bottle that looks like it would be a good thing to steal in its own right. 

Likewise Slotflop sandals. They have a Velcro-sealed compartment in the arch area, which is designed to hide cash and credit cards at the beach or pool. Since the lump of booty is under your arch, it still allows for comfortable walking. Especially if a barefoot thief just slips into them and walks away. Again, they look mighty worthy of stealing all by themselves.  A stealer's deal. 

That, of course, adds insult to injury. You pay good money for an item to store your valuables and someone steals not only your valuables but also the expensive item holding them. 

When I go to the beach, I use the icky factor. I put my stuff in a wet, gooey, plastic doggie-doo thing with a hidden compartment. 

Now that’s secreted.

America, ya gotta love it.