Monday, December 27, 2021

Here goes nothing

I’m a big fan of tedium, although I do admit that sometimes some things can be interesting in a good way. Like when you smell bacon and go into the kitchen to see what’s up. But most things are at their best when they excite no particular interest at all. Like, for instance, the weather, or your internal organs, or a person’s central nervous system. They’re best when they’re boring. Humdrum. Unobtrusive. And when the things you’d wish would stay boring suddenly make themselves extremely interesting, that’s where you run into trouble. Here’s wishing us all an uneventful new year.

Monday, December 20, 2021

I can do this in my sleep.

We are a proud organization dedicated to leveraging a heritage of innovation to drive its vision for tomorrow, serving a diverse group of stakeholders with the bright promise of a cleaner, greener world where a culture of respect and collaboration facilitates an environment of mutual support that enables each of us to reach our fullest potential as we strive together in a culture that recognizes that our greatest strength lies in our differences as we work in unison for the common goals we all share while we seek to continuously improve our processes and provide our customers with unparalleled service.

Monday, December 13, 2021

I’m not white. I’m ecru.

Although they have been stereotypically overrepresented in popular media as muscular heroes in extremely tight outfits or the President of the United States, actually white men are a diverse population with the full human range of variations. You can’t just make blanket statements like, “White men like Snickers bars,” which, yeah, okay, most of them do. However, today’s white man is more likely to be a tow truck driver or chemical engineer than a singing cowboy or G-man. But big media companies manipulate the narrative and who is the poorer for it? We all are, my friends. We all are.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Taking stock

I don’t know what I was expecting, exactly. Certainly certain aspects of all this have been both more challenging and more gratifying than I could have anticipated. I have no complaints. But if when I was a younger person you had suggested to me that I would somehow reach my current advanced age without ever becoming a member of any fez-wearing fraternal organization I would have called you a danged fool but there you have it, for what is this life but a row of bright beads of missed opportunity strung together along a slender cord of humdrum quotidian routine?

Monday, November 29, 2021

Just Vegging Out

There’s more than one pathway for carbon-fixation.  C3 is the old-fashioned way;  about 95 percent of all the plants in the world do it. But C4, which didn’t really start catching on until 6 or 7 million years ago, lets plants grow bigger with less water. The C4 Rice Project wants to convince rice to switch over, so we’d have more food. But as long as we’re fiddling with genetics, why not convert the human species to C4? Then we would all be a pleasant green color and spend our days lying in puddles with our faces to the sun.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Set the Controls for the Day Before Yesterday

I’m probably remembering this wrong: Somebody once asked Theodore Sturgeon to define the Golden Age of Science Fiction and he said, “Twelve.” Which, yeah, that’s the age at which you feel simultaneously possessed of infinite potential and unbearably constricted by your immediate circumstances. And here were magazines with rocketships and women in chrome bikinis on the cover. Here were names like Asimov and Zelazny which in themselves sounded exotic and extraterrestrial. Nowadays, I don’t dream so much of space travel, and believe the best use for a reliable and accurate  time machine would be to allow me to procrastinate indefinitely.

Monday, November 15, 2021

A wikiholistic view

If history teaches us anything it’s that history teaches us nothing. No. Wait. It also teaches us that Lawrence, Kansas, was founded in 1854 and that England had a king named Æthelred the Unready not once but twice, the same guy both times. He took a few months off during the winter of 1013-1014 to go into exile in Normandy but came back when Sweyn Forkbeard, whose dad was Harald Bluetooth, after whom is named a wireless technology deployed with varying degrees of success in a broad range of consumer electronics, dropped over dead. So. History teaches us nothing useful.

Monday, November 1, 2021


Nearly 500 years ago, in 1522, Ferdinand Magellan’s crew completed the first circumnavigation of the globe. It took over a thousand days, more than 25,000 hours. In 1924 the United States Army Air Service made the trip in 175 days. That’s 4,200 hours. Right this minute there are folks up in the International Space Station making the trip every hour and a half. So 16,000 times faster in 500 years. Projecting that rate of improvement forward, by 2521 we’ll have cut the travel time to reach the first exoplanet in another galaxy (Messier 51) to a mere 65 million years.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 8

Pangloss sounds like a dishwashing liquid, but it’s the name of a guy in a book. His entire purpose is to say foolish things with which Voltaire disagrees. Kind of a cheap shot; it’s easy to win a debate when you write your opponent’s lines. "But wait," I hear you say, "You do that yourself." To which I reply, "No. No I don’t." The most famous Pangloss statement defines ours as the "best of all possible worlds," which is horrifying if true because it would mean not that we haven’t reached our full potential but that we already have.

Monday, October 11, 2021

October is National Diversity Awareness Month

It’s Columbus Day! I don’t know what plans you’ve made, but in my family we like to mark the occasion by traveling uninvited to a stranger’s house to exchange smallpox for syphilis. Plus, it’s also Indigenous Peoples’ Day – same day. To celebrate that, I’d dearly love to travel to Alberta for a visit to the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site Interpretive Centre. But what I’ll probably actually do is cook up a nice tomato sauce and serve it over polenta, a meal that syncretizes Cristoforo Colombo’s Genoese roots with Native American crops. Then I’ll play “Apache” on Spanish guitar.

Monday, October 4, 2021

This is not a toy

Open other end. No user serviceable parts inside. Close cover before striking. Insert flap here. Dry clean only. Keep out of reach of children. Keep hands clear of rollers. Keep frozen. Shake well before using. Watch overhead lines. Do not touch. Do not dispose of in fire. Do not use bleach. Do not insert in ear canal. Do not stand on or above. Do not eat silica gel. Do not drink contents. Do not breath vapors. Do not ingest. Do not stare into beam. Do not hold in hand – light fuse and get away. We are slaves to our stuff.

Monday, September 27, 2021

When your heart's on fire

I was absent-mindedly whistling “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” which is a pleasant melody, but if you listen to the words it becomes deeply troubling. The storyline is that the singer is in love but their friends think the affair will end badly and when it does, our protagonist is subjected to cruel torrents of jocular derision –  the lyric goes, “Now, laughing friends deride tears I cannot hide.” So the takeaway here is that the singer is the world’s worst judge of character. On an unrelated topic, I’m disappointed to learn that “bedridden” doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

Monday, September 20, 2021

But maybe not Neil Diamond

Sometimes you have an idea or perspective or  just get a vibe and you don’t know why but you’re pretty sure you’re right. For instance, for no good reason I’m predisposed to think that people from Michigan or Pennsylvania will be good-natured. It’s my impression that spending some time in Guam would be pleasant but I’m leery of Samoa. I’m more prepared to like electricians and violists than plumbers and oboists. Also, based on zero data I’m fairly sure that if you got the chance to meet him, you’d come away thinking, “That Neil Sedaka is a darn nice guy.”

Monday, September 13, 2021

The kind of guy I am.

Let me tell you the kind of guy I am. I have an eight hour drive ahead of me, and I haven’t even started packing. Plus, there was a cookout and the kids were feeding my dog all sorts of crap and he got the Dire Rear and I had to glove up and clip vile clumps from around his fundament. Some guys would say, screw it, who cares about the readers, I’ll just skip writing my 100 word rant this week. Not me. I care too much about every one of you. That’s the kind of guy I am.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Wallowing in bitter regret here

We’ve been traveling a bit recently, including one night in a motel on the outskirts of Wytheville, Virginia. As you are doubtless aware, that municipality is home to a notable Very Big Pencil, a yellow number two suspended over the entrance to an office supply store. But we were in kind of a hurry, and there were the dogs to worry about, and we just skipped it. Come to find out, we could have also seen the birthplace of the wife of Woodrow Wilson and eaten at Skeeter's World Famous Hotdogs. Once again, I’ve let Life’s Bright Promise slip away.

Monday, August 30, 2021

this really happened

We were sitting on the back porch watching the dogs sniff the ground and each other’s butts. The old dog was looking really good after her bath, all fluffy and golden. It’s a tough process because lifting her into the tub requires some uncomfortable bending on my part. Kate said, “Wow, she looks great. We should shampoo her more often.” I said, “Yeah, but it’s hard.” She understood, she said, “Your back is important.” I agreed. I said, “Yes. It separates my sphincter from my cerebrum.” And without a pause she responded, “With mixed results.” My wife is a genius.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Back to the back of the envelope

Okay, these are just rough calculations, but I figure the total irregularity in our planet’s surface, measured as the sum of the height of the highest mountain and the depth of the deepest trench, to be about 20 kilometers against a diameter of around 12,750 kilometers, a ratio of roughly 638 to 1. Roughly is the wrong word though, because it’s pretty darn smooth. If the Earth was the size of a billiard ball the textural variation would be something like 0.1mm. Mount Everest and the Challenger Deep would be equally indiscernible when you rubbed your thumb across the world.

Monday, August 16, 2021


Here’s a sentence I never dreamed I’d find myself writing: The Stigmatomma pluto is a species of ant in the subfamily Amblyoponinae, endemic to the unburned savannas of central Ivory Coast, which feeds solely on geophilomorph centipedes. Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Geophilomorphs are sluggish burrowing centipedes. They are not those incredibly fast-moving hairy-looking things that you see them on a basement wall out the corner of your eye and you go “Eew!” and drop the flashlight and bump your head on a joist. I bet nobody eats those.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Prime suspect

Does it really take all kinds? At the top of the heap we got this creepy bald-headed guy who figured a way to get so obscenely rich peddling the products of Asian slave labor at prices low enough to put the final nails in small town Main Street that he could build his own space rocket, a conveyance so priapic in appearance I’m not sure we ought to let the kids see it, while meanwhile down here we got people who can’t afford their blood thinner prescriptions cracking open those black plastic rat traps for a lick of free warfarin.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Notes from under the underground

I hear there’s a new band that plays a nano-genre so narrow that their only single has no flip side and is so obscure you literally can’t find it anywhere. There is not one single human hip enough to be their fan. Anybody who tells you they are is lying. They don’t even have a name, and the members know neither one other nor that they are in the group. For all they know, their tour is coming to your town soon. For all you know, you’ll be attending. This is absolutely brilliant marketing; it’s all about creating a buzz.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Possibly on Planet X

Here’s a real good way to come up with a bad idea. First, decide what you want to be true. Then look for evidence that supports your belief. If nothing shows up, invent an invisible undetectable undisprovable factor that makes you right. This is nothing new; it’s how religion and politics work now and have always worked. But science is supposed to be different. Are there any cosmologists reading this? Because I think I know where all the dark matter might be. I think you should look again real hard wherever it is you keep the phlogiston and the aether.

Monday, July 19, 2021

but not kayaks

There are some things everybody, or pretty much everybody, agrees are cool. A ’65 Mustang or Thelonious Monk, for instance. Then there are things some people think are cool but others disagree, sometimes strongly, like Billy Joel or chukka boots. There are things like toaster ovens, little cigars with the white plastic mouth thingy, water skiing, Louis L’Amour books, that even the people who enjoy them have to admit are not actually cool. Then there are things so wildly uncool that they sort of lap themselves and achieve backdoor hipness. I’m thinking specifically of shoe trees, coleslaw, and pontoon boats.

Monday, July 12, 2021

"Untitled" is a title, right?

Imagine waking up and knowing exactly what you needed to achieve that day. I don’t mean like “I need to clean up this desk.” I mean your limbic system screaming like a bunny in a vise, insisting that you do what it wants or it will drive you into a babbling state of drooling lunacy. Opioids will do that for you. I’m not trying to encourage drug addiction. I’m not suggesting it’s a good thing. I’m just pointing out that, like war, it has the capacity to give life meaning and purpose. In that sense, it really does solve everything.

Monday, July 5, 2021

The Frontiers of Research

Fernando Colchero of the University of Southern Denmark (Havarti grits, y’all!) and Susan Alberts of Duke University in North Carolina are the leads on a new study that compares death statistics from around the world. What they found is that as life expectancy in a population increases, so does lifespan equality. So basically, when you improve nutrition, sanitation, and healthcare, more people get to live to the maximum possible age, which remains the invariant. I’m in favor of science. I want these nice folks to get tenure. But who didn’t know we were all going to get old and die?

Monday, June 28, 2021

And cobalt is goblin metal

For no good reason, I was reading about different kinds of metal, and I came up with this: Since bronze is copper and tin while brass is copper and zinc, a useful mnemonic to keep in your head is that each of these alloys gets exactly one Z. I’m so pleased with myself. I think this belongs right up there with Roy G. Biv or my very excellent mother just served us nachos. And what do you know; it happened again. See, I keep meaning to procrastinate but something interesting always diverts my attention and I end up being productive.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Double Dutch

Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch artist who, while not as famous today as his friend and fellow Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, also made paintings that featured strong black horizontal and vertical lines defining rectangles of primary pigment. They agreed that this was the best way to make art. Then Doesburg suggested that diagonal lines might be cool too, and Mondrian said nope just horizontal and vertical, and they stopped talking to each other for five years. Which might seem silly at first but the more I think about it the more I wish I cared about anything that much.

Monday, June 14, 2021

There's your trouble.

When I was a boy we drank water when we got thirsty. Okay, sometimes birch beer in frosted mugs from Royal Castle, but mostly water. And there was plenty of snow every year. But now there’s not enough snow and the Southwest could be looking at another dreadful fire season because they count on the melting snow to refill their reservoirs. And look, all this time ya’ll are enjoying these naturally essenced unsweetened fizzy beverages which (hello?) the bubbles in those cans are little balls of carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas and we’re burping our way to extinction.

Monday, June 7, 2021

In which bears ruin everything.

Looking over the score of a Chopin Etude, he was fascinated by the areas of paper that did not have ink on them. Thoroughly unmusical, knowing only that the black marks were instructions for manipulating the keyboard of a piano, he theorized that the white spaces could be interpreted as directions for what to do with the mute cracks between the keys. He was thinking of exploring this idea further. Unfortunately,  his investigations were brought to a sudden and tragic end when, while on a nature walk near his summer home, he was waylaid and fatally eaten by some bears.

Monday, May 31, 2021

capsule review

Everyone involved in this production can be justly proud. The dialog is clearly enunciated and for the most part entirely intelligible, for which both the onscreen performers and the sound department should be given a hearty bravo. The cinematography is also exemplary, with more than adequate attention paid to focus and exposure; you can really see what’s going on! And given the healthy vigorous appearance of the cast, we assume that the foodstuffs provided by the craft services crew were tasty and nutritious – no skimping on the rations here. All in all, this is a triumph of the cinematic art.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Surprisingly unsurprising

Why am I even watching this? Nowadays dark and quirky is a genre unto itself, so the people responsible for generating dark and quirky media content are as constricted by the form as Ford Beebe ever was by second feature oaters. You could probably make good money renting out a standing-set dark and quirky movie ranch with all the requisite dark and quirky locales in one place. Or maybe they already have and it’s Ashtabula. I’ve said this before: First it’s art, then it’s craft, then it’s shtick. (I’ll probably end up saying it again as well. It’s that good.)

Monday, May 17, 2021

Yo estoy embarazada

Constipado doesn’t mean what I thought it meant. It’s the Spanish word for head cold. Libreria means bookstore; you have say biblioteca if you mean library. Gift is the German word for poison, which could lead to some confusion. In Italian, preservativo means condom, which of course most foods contain none of, why bother putting it on the label? Maybe best of all, in Russian and a bunch of other Slavic languages, bog means god. But I said all that to say this: I have a neologism to offer. I feel like the best synonym for palindrome would be wordrow.

Monday, May 10, 2021

educational film

A flesh wound hurts less than a stubbed toe and once wrapped in a strip of petticoat offers no impediment to subsequent exertions. Bad guys know how to bonk you on the head with a pistol butt so as to render you unconscious for a time – when you wake up, just rub the sore spot a little and you’ll be okay. Tough guys never look back at explosions. Cabbies know every apartment building in town by name. You’ll need between 70 and 120 minutes to solve the one big challenge in your life. After that, everything will be just fine.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Thumbs up!

Since you’re reading this, the odds are we’re members of the same species. Walk proud, fellow human. Weak and whiny and easily damaged though we may be, our mighty brains can invent ways around our physical deficiencies with innovative technologies that confer the functional equivalents of attributes like flight, sharp pointy teeth, and in the case of some cool-ass sneakers, bioluminescence. Sure, primitive tool use has been observed in cephalopods, primates, and corvids, but it is nowhere near as sophisticated as our own. They will, for instance, often use visegrips or channelocks where a socket wrench would be more appropriate.

Monday, April 26, 2021


You find yourself zippered into a snug rubber suit. There’s a rubber head over your own actual head and you can hardly see a thing. Everything sounds muffled and strange. And you’re so uncomfortable – the suit is so tight the sweat can’t even get out of your pores and there are all these hot lights pointed directly at you and a man is yelling at you to pick up the young woman in the nightgown but you can barely move or breath and why would you want to carry her around anyway? Do you feel a swell of murderous rage?

Monday, April 19, 2021

mph X 4.7

Our initiative to get the world’s speedometers converted to angstroms per nanosecond is moving along at a snail’s pace. Actually, expressing a snail’s pace in Å/ns yields a number smaller than one, which is inelegant. So, what’s shorter that an angstrom? Well, the Planck length. It would take 6.25E+24 of those little buggers to add up to one angstrom. Wikipedia says that if a 0.1 mm dot was magnified to the size of the observable universe, one Planck length would be about 0.1 mm. So, quite small. Does thinking about that make you slightly queasy? I know it does me.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Europe Between The Oceans

According to this one book I’m reading, when the first humans got to Crete about 10,000 years ago, their first order of business was to kill and eat the indigenous dwarf hippopotamuses, which they did with such persistence and enthusiasm that to this very day the complete absence of dwarf hippopotamuses is one of the notable features of the island. An inquisitive visitor might ask, “Have you any dwarf hippopotamuses?” to which a local guide might reply, “No, we killed and ate them long ago.” “What?” (Eyebrows shoot up in disbelief) “All of them?” Then, shamefaced: “Yes. Every last one.”

Monday, March 29, 2021


Finally, the Cleveland baseball team is going to be renamed. Some of us still remember how back in the early ‘70s Russell Means suggested that maybe “Indians” wasn’t such a great name. The thought experiment he presented was to imagine the club was called the “Cleveland Negroes,” a comparison that was apt, fair, and funny. And look! A scant five decades later, results! So there’s hope for those of us who want to advance social justice. (And get rid of the designated hitter. Because the pitcher’s at-bat is an excellent time to go to the john or buy a hotdog. )

Monday, March 22, 2021

Brain Kibble

If you give a man a fish, you have fed him for a day. If you give him a poison fish, you have fed him for a lifetime. Just a few hours devoted to trial and error can save literally minutes of reading the instructions. There are two kinds of people in the world, those who agree that there are two kinds of people in the world and those who do not. Despite what cartoonists would have you believe, there’s nothing particularly funny about being stranded on a desert island. It’s hard to get people to talk about their aphasia.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Word to the wise

Come to find out, “palabra” means “word” in Spanish. So I thought, “Ah ha! Bet that’s why they  call a conversation a palaver in old cowboy movies.” But Wikipedia says palaver comes from Portuguese, and is also the name of a place in the Antarctic, Palaver Point. Then Wikipedia goes on to say there’s a food called palaver sauce, which Wikipedia says might be because “… when the stew was first made, with long, ropey greens, people would start quarrels by slapping each other with the greens from their stew.” Then I said to myself, “That’s enough Wikipedia for today.”

Monday, March 8, 2021

False false-flag

If I was running a vast global conspiracy to brutally subjugate the entire human species under the repressive yoke of my iron will (not that I am - just hypothetically) I would make sure to create a fictive theory that contained some crucial elements of my actual plot inextricably embroidered with absurd and obviously untrue details. I would recruit a clueless team of unreliable and unappealing goons to promote these preposterous ideas so that they would be widely derided and thoroughly debunked. Then anyone who attempted to reveal my insidious scheme would be instantly dismissed as just another witless clown.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Yup. I'm a quitter.

I was walking the dogs (walking the dogs is basically all I do anymore) and I saw that one of my neighbors was having some work done and that the contractor had put up some promotional signage. It said, “I’ll never have to clean my gutters again!” And I thought to myself, “That’s what I want on my tombstone.” Because, for me, the cessation of an obligation or irritant is actually life’s greatest pleasure. With a mindset like mine, even a devastating global pandemic has its upside. A guy with a mask on doesn’t need to trim his nose hairs.

Monday, February 22, 2021

A Clarification

This is embarrassing, but let’s set the record straight. I was relating an anecdote and somehow attributed a bon mot to Allen Ludden when of course I meant Bill Cullen. Neither should be confused with Bud Collyer, the radio voice of Superman, nor with Buddy Holly although the latter sported horn-rimmed glasses of the type associated with Ludden (and Cullen as well) when actually it was the onscreen persona of Harold Lloyd that inspired the appearance of Superman’s mild-mannered alter-ego Clark Kent, specifically the spectacles, which, ironically, of the persons mentioned above, only Collyer did not wear a pair of.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Instant Life!

Harold von Braunhut was a New York Jew. He was the person who put those ads for Sea Monkeys in the comic books. (Also X-Ray Specs. Plus, he was a White Supremacist, a Klan supporter, and an Aryan Nations devotee. Really, this guy had it all.) Sea Monkeys are brine shrimp, which hatch from dried-out eggs called cysts. In no way do they resemble monkeys. More like swimming centipedes about the size of a grain of rice. Von Braunhut provided a valuable service to American children who needed, during a time of confidence and plenty, to be deceived and disappointed.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Evil or not, you still need to budget.

So you’re an up-and-coming villain and you’re thinking of putting in one of those rooms where the walls close in and crush your hapless victims. Here’s two things you should seriously consider before making the investment. First, those things never work. Think of all the times you’ve seen them deployed. Now ask yourself, “ Has it ever happened that the smashy smashy room has killed the hero?” The answer is no; there’s always some last-minute glitch. And then, be honest, how often will you actually use it? And don’t say “all the time.” You said that about the hot tub.

Monday, February 1, 2021

a maintenance tip

Today’s savvy motorist knows the dashboard of their typical modern auto can send fairly comprehensive messages about the general health of the vehicle through an internal sensor network that monitors every aspect of their car’s operation, including the diagnostic system itself. So, you may occasionally see an illuminated message advising you to “check check engine light.” “So, what, as a driver,” you may be wondering, “ am I to do when I observe the check check engine light light lit?” The good news is, there’s no need to check the engine itself. Just the check engine light. Get that checked.

Monday, January 25, 2021

cold comfort

I think I’m like a lot of people in that I talk about Tastee-Freez all the time without really knowing much about it. Join me as we find out more – Learning Can Be Fun! I checked Wikipedia and here’s the deal:  Founded in 1950 in Joliet, Illinois, Tastee-Freez had grown to almost 1,800 stores by 1957. There were only 48 states at that time, so that’s an average of 37.5 per state. (Those half stores are troubling until you realize that many locations must have straddled state lines.) Today they have eight locations. Eight. Dear God. What have we become?

Monday, January 18, 2021

I weep for our future

One of the tragedies of today’s plugged-in world and its many distractions is that our young people grow up without a solid grounding in the key touchpoints of our shared heritage and ignorant of the contributions of the great people who have gone before us. I am referring of course to Tarzan. He is largely forgotten now, his early accomplishments dimmed by a series of disastrous business decisions, shady underworld connections, and a final decade as an embittered Tastee-Freez proprietor. His portrayal in the media as a shirtless goon who habitually stabs lions to death has further tarnished his legacy.

Monday, January 11, 2021


Let me get this straight. You’re a loyal capo, a good soldier. You do whatever the boss says. He says hit ‘em, you hit ‘em. You break the legs, you collect the vig, you take your cut. You circle the wagons, you rally the troops. Drink the Kool-Aid? Hell, you help mix it. Then the last big job goes very bad and the whole rotten operation starts to fall apart. Obviously, you’re all busted. So now you say you’re quitting the gang? And that makes you a good guy? Forget it. When a big zit pops, the pus runs out.

Monday, January 4, 2021

copy that

There is no excuse for lamb and feta sliders. The whole beauty of White Castle is that a sack of their little burgers costs something like five bucks and they are exactly the thing they are. Trying to make them “classy” is condescending and dumb. And it misses the whole point, like a custom shop Telecaster going for $20,000 when Leo Fender’s original idea was to mass-produce a factory guitar. “A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.” Andy Warhol said that.