Thursday, February 1, 2018

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                My birthday is tomorrow—the big 8-0—and I still have more questions than answers. Here are some of them:

--When did so much packaging become impenetrable? How do people without well-equipped workshops, including power tools, get some packages open?

               --Why does cold or snowy winter weather in the North regularly rate featured treatment on national newscasts?

                --Do those who favor abolishing EPA-enforced protections have private sources of water to drink or air to breathe?

                --Does anyone claim he reads the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition for the stories?

                --Why is “automatic renewal” permitted by law?  It makes you stand on your head to prevent being charged for things you no longer want.

                 --When did men’s hairstyles get sillier than women’s?

                --Why do many motorcyclists eschew helmets? In any contest between their skulls and the pavement the pavement is sure to win.

                --If Major League baseball really wants to streamline its games why does it permit all those committee meetings on the mounds, or playing catch between outs?

                --Relatedly, why does it persist in chalking first- and -third-base coaches’ boxes? The next time a coach steps in one will be the first.

                --Will anyone be using Facebook a year from now if every third entry still is an ad? And when did Google become primarily an ad vehicle instead of a search engine? I now mostly use Yahoo for that.

                --Is there any reason to be polite to unwanted sales callers? Cursing out those pests is therapeutic.

                --In yearning for the “good old days,” does anyone wish to trade today’s cars for the ones we had then?

                --Has Lincoln’s line about fooling some of the people all of the time ever applied better than to Trump and his “base”?

                --How many hundreds of times do I have to X out the box to install Internet Explorer 11 before it goes away for good?

                --Are you pleased when a phone query to an American company is answered by a call center in the Philippines? At least you can learn how the weather is in Manila.

                --Haven’t you had it with all those gunky corporate names on ball parks and arenas? The Chicago White Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Park takes the cake.

                --As an older person, aren’t you offended by those TV ads for such oldster-aimed dodges as reverse mortgages or investments in gold baubles? Henry Winkler and Tom Selleck should be ashamed of themselves for appearing in them.  

                --Why is it that when you have a 20-minute doctor’s appointment the doctor spends 15 minutes looking at his computer and five minutes looking at you?         

                --When did “less” become the all-purpose word for reduction? Does anyone still know the difference between “less” and “fewer”?

                --Is it possible to open one of those foil butter packets in a restaurant without getting the butter all over your fingers?

                --Why can you instantly e-message anyone overseas but international mail has only about a 50% chance of arriving intact 10 days later? I’m talking about Europe here, not Timbuktu.

                --Doesn’t it seem like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox play each other about 30 times a season and every one of the games is on ESPN?

                --Is there a dumber TV cliché than broadcasters sending their reporters out into the tempest to show the ferocity of a storm? Sticking their cameras out the window would convey the same info with much less risk.

                --Don’t those “save the date” cards for coming events make you a bit uneasy? Doesn’t it seem like you might not make the cut to get an actual invitation?

 --Have you noticed that American college-football fans have taken to wearing team scarves, just like the supporters of British football (i.e., soccer) teams?  Is there any better evidence of the impact that Premier League telecasts are having on these shores?

-- How many people have to die before our legislatures decide that allowing just about anybody to purchase the equivalent of machine guns is a bad thing? What “right” is involved in permitting individuals to have personal arsenals that could supply an infantry company?  

                --Is any industry in America more hated than cable-TV providers? In my last phone call for technical assistance it took 40 minutes and four “technicians” to find a cure that involved punching single button on my remote. FYI, my provider is Cox.

                --Why do people bother watching the scores of NBA games? They should be regarded as performance art, like ballet or Cirque du Soleil.

                Just askin’.


3 comments:

Dan Gruber said...

And "amen".

Happy birthday, Fred. We still use 19-38 as the channel code on our radios.

Len marcisz said...

What?! 80?! I swear I just attended your 70th a few months ago. In any event here's wishing you Many Happy Returns of the Day!

(As for your adventures with Cox, I ditched them years ago -- probably before you were 70. I felt they played their customers for suckers, and I didn't like the implication of being a Cox sucker.)

Enjoy the three score and twenty candles on the birthday cake and for your diminutive spouse's sake please ensure it is MSG free.......

Anonymous said...


As usual an insightful and thought provoking column. You may be 80 in physical years but yours is a youthful mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!