Saturday, June 24, 2017

The "You Oughta" Club

June 14, 2017

I’m thinking of starting a new club. Every time I get together with friends or family, somebody says to somebody else, “You oughta…”

Even when the advice is good, though, people rarely take it. We say, “I just needed to vent.”  

I think we should start a “You Oughta” Club. Every week or month we can check in and see if anybody has taken that first step. (Like, “I looked up that career online, and there’s nothing that disqualifies me from doing it.”) Then we could encourage that person, or get encouragement ourselves, to take our “You Oughtas” a step further. Who knows how far we could get?

Yep. I oughta start a club.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Let's Work on that Hypocrisy

June 23, 2017

St. Louis passed a law raising the minimum wage for the city; the Missouri legislature immediately passed a bill banning local minimum wages, so that they could overturn it.

Funny how the people who think that one parent should stay home with the children instead of working make it very difficult for that to happen.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Show Me the Birthday Cake

June 22, 2017

The city of Meridian, Idaho was mulling a new city ordinance regulating home-based businesses. One provision that got people’s attention concerned limiting the number of attendees at parties for selling products like Scentsy or jewelry, to avoid disrupting traffic in the neighborhoods.

That raised a number of questions: How would they enforce it? Would neighbors call in with complaints? Would a city official come by to hand out a summons? Suppose someone were actually having a baby shower or a birthday party or a Superbowl party? Would they have to have a cake and party streamers, or Superbowl snacks, to prove their innocence?

Then I started thinking about how the people who actually were selling products could have specially designed cabinets to thwart the inspectors: One minute the wares are on display, the next minute they’re completely hidden. A cake would be prominently displayed and, if you were feeling particularly bold, you could hand the inspector a cupcake with a tiny baby bottle on it. (It would help this subterfuge if you had an obviously pregnant woman at the party.)

The ordinance may need some work…

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Long Trail

June 19, 2017

On an episode of “The Golden Girls” a character remarked that she hadn’t seen the comic strip “Apartment 3-G” in 28 years. Sophia replied, “I’ll catch you up. It’s later that same day…”

Well, I’ve been reading “Mark Trail”. Mark is being held hostage by a bank robber while doing one of his nature research gigs. He got on the plane on April 5th. Today, June 19, police contact his wife who says—and I am not making this up—“He flew out this morning…”

So for real—it’s later that same day…

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Twitter-verse? Try the Morse-verse

May 29, 2017

If you blame Twitter for putting lots of useless trivia into the world (I don’t. Before there was Twitter, there was Yahoo!), think again.

According to an article the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telegraph operators way back in the 1800s could pretty much do the same thing, using Morse code. They had their own shorthand for talking to each other, just like we have for texting and Twitter—they would type “GM” for “Good Morning”, “SFD” for “Stop for dinner”, etc.

When a message was transmitted, everybody along the line could hear it, and could join in the conversation—like a chat room. Operators played chess and checkers using Morse code, and often became long-distance friends, without ever meeting. And the 1891 issue of Atlantic Monthly griped about the trivialities being shared and inflicted upon society.

Who knew?