Monday, October 28, 2013

Kiss of the Cider Donut

(Apologies to Kander and Ebb.)

Sooner or later you’re going to eat
But you’re just craving something deliciously sweet.
It’s the one thing you need
In the middle of night …
A bite!

Sooner or later you’re bound to give in
To the granular sugar, and freshly ground cin-
namon on the top
Glist’ning in the light…
A bite!

And your mouth grows wider
As you start to drool,
For the taste of cider
When it’s served piping hot
And the weather is cool.

For the cider donut
Really hits the spot …
It’s so warm.
It’s so crisp.
It’s so sweet.
Get it while it’s hot.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Facebook vs. Everything Else

Facebook is trying to become the Internet itself, enticing users to send messages, post statuses, create photo albums, etc. These are all capabilities that are available freely or very cheaply elsewhere, and have been for years.

But now, thanks to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and company can check out everything you post. You can allow them to use your name and picture in their sponsors’ ads. And they can decide what your friends and followers will see according to their own secret rules.

So just in case you don't want to give Facebook the keys to your home, here are some other options.

Facebook Feature Alternative
like phone call
messages and inbox email
groups Yahoo! groups, Google groups, mailing lists
status post blog
photo album web page, Picasa, Flickr and many others
news feed RSS
wall email, text message, sticky note
timeline blog
notifications email, RSS
games Oh, please!
pages web page
friends um … real life?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Inner Old Guy

I know lots of people work at getting in touch with their inner children … their long-denied younger selves whose unsatisfied needs unconsciously shape adult behavior. People believe that discovering those unfulfilled longings can help free them from the traumas and anxieties that result from childhood frustrations.

But I’m doing the opposite. Since my prostate surgery, and 3 weeks of having an indwelling (meaning just what it sounds like) urinary catheter, followed by who knows how long of having trouble peeing (or, more accurately, not peeing) have put me in touch with my inner old guy. Wearing hospital gowns at home, being unable to bike and, sometimes, to walk, have taken their toll.

Luckily, that inner old guy makes his unfulfilled needs pretty plain. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The music’s too loud. The TV’s too soft. The vegetables are undercooked. The meat is overcooked. I don’t need any help. I can’t do this. After a while, it sounds like the opening of a Dickens novel.

The worst part about the inner old guy is that he’s inner. There’s no getting away from him. I’d be happy to make up the guest bed in the basement, but this guy won’t quit. Everywhere I go, there’s that not-so-little voice in my ear … “Are you going to finish that?”

Of course, I could try to take advantage of this, like Ebenezer Scrooge glimpsing his own future. I could turn over a new leaf. Shave off my gray whiskers. Take my anti-crotchety medication. Spend more time on Facebook and Tumblr. Buy that turkey for Tiny Tim’s family. That’s it. I’ll be the coolest, most uncomplaining old man ever.

But hey, you kids! Get off my lawn!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Close Call

Well, that was a close one. There were some tense moments as our nation was brought to the brink of disaster this week. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. When all the yelling and screaming were done, when the jeering and name calling had subsided, the outcome was apparent to both sides.

Unfortunately, such crises tend to afflict already hard-hit places like Detroit. Yet despite this, they managed to come back and win game 4 (and lose game 5.)

Of course, the Sox haven’t clinched the ALCS yet. There are still one or two games to go. But in this series, the Sox have always been ahead or tied. So far.

Oh yeah, there was also that government shutdown/debt ceiling thingie. We’ve staved off disaster there too, but, as baseball fans know well, there’s always next year.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ending the Shutdown

The Republican rhetoric about the government shutdown has been so emphatic that it would be impossible for them to back down now without losing face. They cannot allow the government to re-open or the debt ceiling to be raised without appearing to have completely caved, giving Obama and the Democrats a total victory.

So, to help resolve this impasse, Obama might consider certain accommodations which, while not in any way capitulating to Republican demands, would still give Republicans trophies they can brandish to claim victory. Let’s make sure each member of Congress gets something. Some ideas:

  1. A weekend in the Lincoln Bedroom. 
  2. A free month of Netflix. 
  3. Starbucks gift cards. 
  4. Free trial memberships in Capitol Bikeshare. 
  5. Autographed copies of Atlas Shrugged. … Just kidding. It’s The Audacity of Hope. (Ha-ha. It’s Hunger Games.) 
  6. Zero percent financing and a 5 year/60,000 mile warranty on any new 2013 Ford. 
  7. A free month’s supply of Cialis. (Bad idea.) 
  8. iTunes or Google Play gift cards. 
  9. A three day, two night stay at the Walt Disney World Resort. 
  10. Obamacare will not … repeat NOT be repealed, delayed, unfunded, or in any other way constrained, but it will be renamed from The Affordable Care Act to Yet Another Democratic Entitlement We Told You So Neener Neener.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Badly Broken

When I wrote about ''Breaking Bad'', I had not properly reflected on the show’s similarities to my own life. The show’s main character, Walter White, was a high school chemistry teacher, and I had a high school chemistry teacher. Walt was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, and I with eminently operable prostate cancer. And most of all, he looks great in a van Dyke, and I … have such a beard.

So I’ve been thinking that I, too, should turn to a life of crime. After all, how else can you make over $10 million in only five seasons? Ok, investment banking, but doesn’t that sound boring?

Of course, I don’t have the know-how to make and sell meth the way Walt did. I looked for one of those For Dummies books, but Amazon had nothing.

Piracy seems promising. I could get my feet wet with software piracy. I do know something about software. Of course, that's nothing compared to the excitement that FBI warning at the beginning of DVDs always evokes. Unfortunately, I just can’t see how you can make tons of money giving stuff away free.

Armed robbery? I think that would be really bad for my blood pressure.

I’ve been over this and over it, and I can come up with just one practical path to the rewards and sense of accomplishment that only outright criminality can bring ... just one way to taste the thrill of aggressive, anti-social behavior that drove Walt White.

I’ll have to run for Congress.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Diseases of the Young

The main objection to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, seems to be the requirement that everyone … EVERYONE buy insurance. That way, insurance companies can collect premium payments from healthy people who aren’t likely to need lots of expensive healthcare. That’s how insurance companies make money. In theory, that allows insurance companies to offer lower rates to people more likely to need health care because, as you know, companies just love to pass savings on to their customers so they don’t have to keep accumulating profits.

Whether you support the law or not, you can probably see how forcing Americans to buy insurance goes against the grain in a country where the only thing people are required to buy is guns. So maybe there’s a better way to persuade young, healthy people to buy insurance.

One possibility is to encourage teen pregnancy. Pregnancy is always good for getting people to seek medical care. They need lots of tests, including expensive processes to get pre-birth pictures of the baby at the stage when it’s still indistinguishable from a spider in the equipment.

“Ah,” you say. “But pregnant teens actually need medical care, so their premiums don’t benefit the insurance companies.” True enough. We want people on the insurance rolls who will make no claims.

HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases don’t seem to be doing it. Again, these are conditions that would require actual medical treatment. Besides, people who won’t even spring for condoms are not likely to go for monthly insurance premiums.

So is there something that, like pregnancy or STDs, will scare young, healthy people into buying insurance, but won’t actually result in medical bills? This seems like a fertile area for medical research. If the National Institutes of Health ever re-open, maybe they could take this on.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Won't Grow Old

I won’t grow old.
I won’t grow old.
I don’t want to get all gray
I don’t want to get all gray
And to have to use the bathroom
And to have to use the bathroom
Roughly fifty times a day.
Roughly fifty times a day.
If growing old means there would be
A chance I’d need a prostatectomy
I’ll never grow old, never grow old, never grow o-old!
Not me.
Say what?
Not me!

I won’t grow old.
I won’t grow old.
I don’t want to wear a truss.
I don’t want to wear a truss.
Or to wear enormous glasses
Or to wear enormous glasses
Just to recognize my bus.
Just to recognize my bus.
And if it means I must prepare
A will to leave all to my worried heir
I’ll never grow old, never grow old, never grow o-old!
Not me!
Say what?
Not me!
Hot tea?

Never gonna be a fart,
I won’t!
Like to see somebody try
And make me.
Anyone who wants to try
And make me turn into a fart,
Um … give me a head start?

I won’t grow old.
I won’t grow old.
I won’t take a million pills
I won’t take a million pills
Or go fleeing to Miami
Or go fleeing to Miami
Every time I get the chills.
Every time I get the chills.
‘Cause being old’s no way to live
(Except compared to the alternative.)
I’ll never grow old, never grow old, never grow o-old!
Not me!
Scot free?
Not me!
Got pee?
Not me!