Is There Anyone Less Interested Than Me?

About what, you ask?  Oh, you know, the Kardashians/Jenners/entourage/etc?  I’m guessing there isn’t anyone LESS interested, but I will allow that I most likely have a lot of company down here at subzero.

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That Settles That

I watched the Royal Wedding.  Sort of.  No, I didn’t get up at 2 am to see it live – I just found the tape on YouTube and then skimmed through the slow parts (like 90 minutes of crowd scenes and another 40 minutes of a carriage ride).  I’m happy if they’re happy.

However, viewing this did cement a determination I made long ago:  if I marry, elopement is the way to go.  Not that any marriage of mine would even vaguely resemble the royal spectacle, but with elopement, you get much less fuss, bother and expense.

Yep, I’m all in for that.

Family Fun

I can’t understand why Meghan Markle wouldn’t want the vast majority of her extended family at her wedding.  After all, they seem like such warm, caring, selfless people, only interested in seeing her happy.

PSA: Answering Machines Explained

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…  No, wait, that’s a different story.

Ahem, let’s start over.  There seem to be a LOT of people out there who do not grasp the idea of answering machines.  Considering that voicemail is not appreciably different, I’m not sure what the problem is, but there is a problem.  So, in the interest of enlightening those poor, unfortunate souls, here’s the big secret that no one ever shared with them/you.

Answering machines came into being in the annals of history – well, the past 50 years, anyway.  They are pretty simple devices.  You attach them to a landline phone (that’s a phone that you can’t put in your pocket and carry around with you wherever you go).  Their purpose is to keep you from missing calls.  If someone calls you, and you are not at home, or are in the shower, or just stepped out to put the trash cans at the curb, you can come back to a blinking light letting you know someone called you.  Then you play a voice recording of their message to know who it was and what they wanted.  See?  Just like voicemail.

(Though, just like voice mail, they can be used to screen calls, in case there are people you don’t want to talk to, but that’s another subject altogether.)

So, when you call a friend’s cell phone and they don’t answer, a recording tells you to leave a message and then hang up.  Their phone lights up to tell them that they missed a call, and that a voice message was left.  Answering machines work exactly the same way.

NOTE:  And this is very important for you to understand – you are NOT talking to a person.  You are talking to a machine.  So saying, “Hi!  How are you today?” will avail you nothing.  Then following that up with, “Hello?  Hello?” still will avail you nothing.  Then hanging up and calling back probably won’t improve things.  Unless the person came home or decided to answer the phone on your second call, you are STILL going to be talking to a machine.  And unlike the robots in the movies, the machine is not going to talk back and have an intelligent conversation with you.

So, what have we learned?

When you call someone, and hear something along the lines of “Please leave a message after the beep/prompt/tone”, then you should leave a message and hang up.  Or hang up without leaving a message if talking to a machine that doesn’t respond scares you.

See?  Easy peasy!

Now stop calling my answering machine and trying to get it to respond to you.  It’s not C3PO or K-2SO.  You’re wasting your time expecting an answer.  These machines answer the phone; they do not give answers.  Though, come to think of it, having K-2SO answer my phone might liven things up…

Seriously, people?

I’ve mentioned that I’m not keen on swearing, particularly when it involves the use of a certain word beginning with F.  I find it objectionable and offensive.  And since swearing is usually used for emphasis or to express extreme anger, over-frequent use renders these words irrelevant to any purpose.

That said, how is it that adults, including government officials who were elected to serve the people, can do nothing but focus on idiotic details like that and completely ignore the larger message.

Frankly, every adult in America is being put to shame by these kids fighting for stronger gun control.  They’re KIDS.  They’re in school.  They shouldn’t have to be doing this because it is our responsibility as adults to be doing it.  Instead, a significant portion of the population of the U.S., including its ‘President’ do nothing but hem, haw, sit on their hands and criticize these kids for every little thing.

It isn’t kids posting photoshopped images to discredit these gun control advocates, it’s adults.  Adults with a vested interest in changing nothing and reaping the monetary benefit thereof.

I’ve long been patriotic.  I’ve long supported our military.  I have no problem with responsible gun ownership.  I’ve even long been a Republican.  But now I am embarrassed, even ashamed, to call myself an American when I see what we have become.

No, it isn’t all adults failing to act, it isn’t all gun owners who are willing to protect gun rights above everything else, and it isn’t all Republicans or politicians who are blind and deaf to an epidemic issue in our country.  This isn’t just happening in schools, folks.  It happens in workplaces, malls, movie theatres or even just on the street.  If you’re sitting there thinking that this problem belongs to the kids, you’re wrong.  It may be you while you attend a concert in Las Vegas.  It may be you while you are driving your car down the road.  Do nothing, and it may very well be you the next time.  And there WILL be a next time again and again unless we do something.

Choosing to attack the messenger because you have no valid argument against the message itself only reflects poorly on you.

It’s That Time of Year Again

No, not spring – that’s still a little ways off, and spring cleaning with it.  I’m not referring to the Winter Olympics either.  No, I’m looking at you Valentine’s Day.

Sadly, as with many other holidays, this has become a commercial nightmare, but I get the impression that in this case most people are willing to buy into it.  I see ads for things that are probably on her ‘list’, and there are numerous jokes about what happens should some hapless guy NOT get a gift that is big enough or expensive enough to suit the girl’s expectations.  Now, there might be instances of role reversal where the girl falls short of the guy’s expectations, but really retail America is all about the guy delivering and delivering handsomely to ‘show’ his love.

I admit, I have no significant other.  Should I blame the fact that I just don’t see how big, expensive gifts ‘prove’ anything, other than the willingness to spend money which you may or may not have?  I’m afraid if that’s the case, I will continue to be single and ‘unpaired’.  I can think of many ways for a guy or anyone else to show their love for me, but throwing money around isn’t on the list.  Sure, gifts are nice, but being able to buy something expensive just isn’t a major sign of love in my book.  How many wildly wealthy people do we see every day who are incapable of sustaining a lasting relationship?  The money and ‘big expensive presents’ didn’t salvage those.

So, what’s the point of this blog post?  I don’t know, maybe just to encourage lovers to re-evaluate what constitutes showing love.  Stop expecting, even demanding, a lot of money be spent every Feb. 14 or the relationship suffers.  Look for more worthwhile things:  thoughtful gestures/actions, a single flower in the middle of July for no particular reason other than they were thinking of you, treating you with respect, honesty, concern for your well-being.

And it goes both ways.  The burden shouldn’t be entirely on the male to ‘show’ their love; women should be doing it also.  If you can’t think of anything at all to give him, then maybe you seriously need to get to know him better.  There are bound to be things he would appreciate your doing without his having to ask.  If he really loves to watch football games on tv, then maybe prepare a lot of goodies, let him invite his friends over and stay out of the way while they enjoy their guy stuff.  Maybe even have him prepare a shopping list and buy his groceries for him while the game is on, just because you know he hates going to the store.

Yes, romance, flowers and even sex might be included in your Valentine’s Day celebration, but if that is the only thing you can think of as a way to show your love, maybe it isn’t love.  Maybe it’s just lust.  True love involves a great deal more than time in bed.  And true love adds beauty to everything else.  I may not have it, but I recognize it.

Lesson for Today

Guess what!  There is more than one word in the dictionary that begins with F.  Sadly, most of humanity only seems to know that one word, and uses it when expressing anything and everything.

It’s time people learn to use some of those other words in sentences.

Everything New Is Old

My grandfather was born in 1893, and served in World War I in France.  He carried a small pocket diary with him, though notations in it were scant on detail.  However, one thing that stood out was a comment he made about the work he was doing.  He was part of the Ambulance service, and thus drove an ambulance in the field, carrying wounded away from the fighting line to the medical facilities.

He remarked how the men were being taught to drive the cars because most of them did not know how to do so.

Sep 10, 1917              –        Had some more excellent training for ambulance driving – worked as a stevedor unloading ammunition – as yet I have learned about everything except the handling of a Ford car.

 Sep 22, 1917              –        After months of waiting our cars are at last definitely assigned to us.  Now for making drivers of our men.

 Oct 7, 1917                –        Cars run fine except that hobnails left by many soldiers in the road have caused many punctures – largely because the tires are not heavy enough to stand the work.

 Oct 13, 1917              –      … This sector in the Argonne woods is known as a sector of rest.  Thank heavens for us as we are expected to drive Fiats which most of us never handled before.

It makes you wonder how much of what we take for granted today will be unknown in the future.  And, even more, what do we not even imagine today that will be commonplace in years ahead?  Most of us, at least in the United States, give little thought to driving a car.  When you are old enough, you get a license and training, and then spend much of your life behind the wheel of a vehicle.

But even in that, we are already starting to see a change.  Traffic has become so bad in so many places, that more and more people are looking to mass transit options like commuter trains.  While owning a car has been a much desired goal for many years, more and more people are content not to deal with the expense and just use ride services or public transit.  What will tomorrow bring?  Will having a pilot’s license become as commonplace as driver’s licenses currently are?

In the 1960s, when the original Star Trek aired on television, phones were wired into the wall.  They were big and clunky.  So to see people in the future using small, handheld devices to communicate over long distances was “science fiction”.  Only, in 2017, it’s not.  Though largely replaced by smart phones, remember that one common iteration of the cell phone was the flip-phone.  You flipped it open to make your calls – just like they did with their communicators on Star Trek.

Driving, indoor plumbing, refrigeration – many generations passed without those things, and gave little thought to it.  What in our lives will be gone in 20 years, replaced by something “better”?

It does give you pause.  My grandfather went from horse and buggy days to the space age in his lifetime.  What will we see over the course of ours?

Why Bother?

I pass a billboard every morning on the way to work advertising a tv show called The Resident.  It has the tag line “Can one doctor save a broken system?”.  In the picture, we have:

1)  Latin male

2)  white female

3)  black female

4)  older white guy

5)  young handsome white guy

So, let’s guess which of them is the doctor that is trying to save the broken system!  Well, when they don’t have enough room, some of the ad pictures omit the black female, so I guess we can rule her out.  But the others…oooooo, who could it be?????

Give up?

It’s…ta da, the young handsome white guy!

Wow, didn’t see that coming, did you!  (Yes, dear hearts, that is sarcasm.  Lots and lots of sarcasm.)

And this is why we need more writers who are creative and diverse.  I look at that and have no reason to think I should watch, as there is unlikely to be anything said or done that I haven’t seen (frequently) before.  Why would I bother?  What reason have you given me to think you have brought anything new to the table when you are so clearly writing cliché?

I have nothing against young, handsome, white guys – I rather like them.  Even so, they aren’t the only ‘heroes’ in the world.  Others can just as seamlessly carry a story.  Witness recent movies like Rogue One (female, latino, muslim, asian all in one package), The Last Jedi gives us Finn (black, among others – haven’t seen it yet) and in a very nice touch, a movie of several years ago that I’ve mentioned before called Penelope (which had Peter Dinklage as a reporter and his size was completely irrelevant to the story).

If everyone in your story is all one color, you must live in a very colorless world.  People will go to great lengths to create aliens that look and sound different, but will not write people like that.

Let’s get more creative!