Monday, May 27, 2024

Choo Choo Charlie

Suddenly and without any proximal sensory trigger, I want some Good & Plenty candy. It turns out I can have a five-pound sack delivered right to my door for less than 25 dollars. This is, of course, from Amazon and probably five pounds is more than I need. But here’s the thing: Amazon offers me a discount if I subscribe to regular deliveries - they recommend every two months. That would be 30 pounds of Good & Plenty per annum which I’m pretty sure is more than an average person eats in an average lifetime, even assuming they like licorice.

Monday, May 20, 2024

"Let's get this over with."

It’s always the end of the world somewhere. The defenders of Masada were dead sure that their struggle would bring about the arrival of the Messiah. Jacob Bernoulli predicted a comet would destroy the Earth in 1719. (The guy they mention when explaining airplane wings was his nephew.) TV preacher Pat Robertson said the world would end in 1982. There still live among us dotards who recall that whole Y2K kerfuffle. Seeing that extinction is apt to entail a lot less work than survival, predicting the imminent end of all things may be seen as a kind of wishful thinking.

Monday, May 13, 2024

A pretty kettle of fish

“A newly opened can of surstr√∂mming has one of the most putrid food smells in the world.” I’ll explain. Surstr√∂mming is a traditional Swedish food that is prepared by marinating Baltic Sea herring in just enough salt to prevent it from rotting while it ferments in a can for up to a year. It is recommended that the can be opened out of doors, and that’s advice from people who like the stuff. Several international airlines have banned it. So it’s unsurprising that there are a lot of Italian restaurants in Sweden but not so many Swedish restaurants in Italy.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Cranky Codger Chronicals

There once was a library service called Ready Reference where you would dial a phone number and a person would look up facts in actual books and give you your answer. These were some of the finest people in the world. Now instead we have Wikipedia and YouTube, which is like going to a library where the reference section is curated by deranged bonobos. Still, on occasion you can pick up unexpected tidbits of arcane knowledge. I have learned, for instance, that using one of those chin-up bars that you install in a doorframe will lead immediately to coccyx-shattering hilarity.