Monday, April 14, 2014
They’re selling custom-made rubber mats to protect the carpet in your vehicle. Which, correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t carpeting a special option not so long ago and rubber mats the default state? I’m going to make a mint selling expensive aftermarket manual window cranks. It’s like how the cheapest bread is the whitest bread, but then you have to pony up for the bran supplement. I know who’s buying those mats though- a generation ago they’d have put clear plastic over their cloth upholstered sofas. So much classier than just buying a plastic sofa in the first place.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Here's some disappointing news: You're never going to get an Asimov-style humanoid robot. They were only ever invented (by Karel Capek) as a way to talk about an awakening laboring class. There's no way anybody is going to ever build a truly autonomous C3PO type robot, because what could you possibly use it for that would justify the massive R&D investment? Maybe it could hand out brochures at tradeshows. More bad news. No time machines. Not ever. Because, look, no matter how far in the future it happened, if they were ever to be invented we'd have always had them.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Don't you wish you'd saved your old comic books? They'd be worth a fortune now. And that idea for a computerized map in the dashboard- why didn't you get on the stick and patent that sucker? Easy Street is where you'd be navigating now, pal. The fallacies here are multiple. For one thing, there's no way of knowing what to save ahead of time (National Geographic?) and your vague ideas aren't inventions (Flying Belt?). Still, in hindsight, now that all us boomers are turning into geezers, I'll bet GM wishes it had held onto the Oldsmobile badge a little longer.
Monday, March 24, 2014
I think we can all agree that the only important function of a Sunday newspaper is to convey color funny pages into the home. There are also sections where people with perfect houses sit proudly in rooms containing absolutely none of the normal detritus of human life. We see no midden heaps awaiting excavation. They do not have last week's Sunday paper scattered across every horizontal surface like I do. Which means these people won't suddenly have their attention transfixed in passing by a colorful insert announcing something called a “Furniture Event.” Maybe their lives are one long Furniture Event.
Monday, March 17, 2014
When someone suggested to Paul Desmond that he get contact lenses, he said no because he liked to “take off my glasses and enjoy the haze.” It's kind of like Superman. For 12 cents, printed on crumbly yellowing pulp, Superman is pretty enjoyable. Blow the story up onto the big screen and you suddenly focus on why the heck an immensely powerful flying space orphan would put on a suit and spend his days typing. He liked to take off his glasses, too, but that's not what I'm getting at here. It's that some stuff is better left lo-res.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Somebody just did a study of chickens by strapping tiny video cameras on them to watch them when they thought no one was looking. Non-dominant males were observed surreptitiously making gestures to hens, proffering choice bits of food, but without the accompanying squawk that might lead to the dominant cock noticing and handing out a chicken-style ass whooping. Eating them suddenly seems cannibalistic. Because, sure, chickens don't look much like us, and if their big cousins were still around they'd have no compunction about serving us up with a side of slaw. But they're sneaky. What's more human than that?
Monday, March 3, 2014
We think we're so cool, what with our ample free parking and choice of toppings. But look, really the only valid way to determine a species' dominance is to measure its biomass. How much would everyone weigh if we were mushed together and put on an extremely large bathroom scale? Sadly, we have to be content with informed estimates. Together, humans weigh in at about 350 million metric tons. Krill, termites, and cattle all have us beat. And cyanobacteria, those little dudes who triggered the greatest extinction event ever, outweigh us by a factor of three. We're not even contenders.