Posts Tagged ‘rants’

This image was copied from the Astonomy Picture of the Day on NASA’s site, published October 1, 2006.  Click on the image for the full impact.See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.

Credit: C. Mayhew & R. Simmon (NASA/GSFC), NOAA/NGDCDMSP Digital Archive

With all the talk about global climate change, I wonder why no one has suggested that possibly it might be a good idea to cut back on some of the night lighting that we throw around all over the place.   I realize that illuminating landmarks and architecture such as the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, various and sundry cathedrals all over Europe creates wonderful night time vistas of great beauty.

But I wonder if we really can afford to burn so much fossil fuel?   Especially since the vast majority of people are actually sleeping at night.   Perhaps if we wanted to see the illumination, we should have to put our credit cards through the slot to pay for it.   Then we might have some sort of concept about how much it costs.

Anyway, Our Fair City here in Lebanon has a giant flag pole with a giant flag that was recently installed out by the interstate, and I’m darn sure that illuminating it all night is not adding to the beauty of the night.  Yes, yes, flag display protocol dictates that it be illuminated, but when the winds have torn the flag apart and the pole stands empty, the searchlights shine on regardless.  And what about  all those ridiculous rotating search lights that the McDonald’s corporation has mandated be installed on the top of their stupid fast food joint franchises (I REFUSE to call them restaurants). They shine all night to give the lost and lonely travelers upon the Interstate Highway system hope that their desperate quest for french fries and fried pies can be satisfied at the next available exit.

Our species is so stupid sometimes.

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A word….

We interrupt this broadcast for a few words. . .

So, I have been wondering why it is that our city has spent umpteen millions of dollars to provide a left turn lane in the middle of the main drag through town.  This item is supposed to expedite traffic by allowing people a place to turn into, crossing one pair of lanes of traffic. Once ensconced there, they can then wait safely for a break in the traffic coming the other way and merge with it.   This allows them to get out of the way of people behind them.

But no, the idiots driving in this town still persist in believing that they must wait for a break in both directions so they can pull across TWO lanes of traffic coming from their left AND the left turn lane INTO the traffic coming from their right.   Needless to say, having to wait for a break in at least three lanes of traffic really slows them down.   I barely managed to keep my temper and not ram the person in front of me that was wasting time in such a dithery manner yesterday.

I’m pretty sure my blood pressure went up, though, and I did find myself shouting epithets in their direction, which of course they were as oblivious to as they were the traffic laws.

I’m pretty sure most of the drivers in this area have actually passed the drivers test, and I am also pretty sure that the information on how to deal with a center turn lane is on the test.   Similarly, the way to negotiate a roundabout is also on that exam, and yet I still see people approaching our sole roundabout with trepidation and uncertainty.  I have even seen them going the wrong way on it because they just can’t comprehend the concept of circular vehicular circulation.

It makes me froth at the mouth.

So did this:

These are the tags that were stapled to the end of every single piece of lumber my dear husband purchased the other day for the refurbishment of the arbor in the vegetable garden.

I remember a time when you would go into your lumber/hardware store and approach the counter where a nice clerk would take your order for building materials, they would write your order up, and you would pay for it.  Then you would take your receipt out to the yard where another very nice person would help you load your lumber into your vehicle.  Two people with jobs, and a customer with an assistant to get the heavy stuff loaded — this is all good.

Nowadays you go to a store and pick out your own lumber, conveniently located in an air conditioned environment.   You load this stuff onto a giant cart and push the whole mess through the store to a clerk, who then uses a scanner to enter the price code in the computer.   You pay the clerk, and then you schlep your stuff out to your vehicle and load it yourself.

One person is now out of a job — the yard man.   Additionally, the store has to provide the giant carts, lots of space for the air conditioned storage of large piles of lumber, and an expensive scanner.  The lumber producer has to buy thousands of those little plastic tags (not recyclable, by the way) which are then stapled to the end of each and every one of the pieces of lumber they produce.

I find it fascinating that every piece of lumber my husband buys now has a tag that includes a limitation of liability statement in fine print on the back.  All hail the attorneys of the world and the litigious society they represent!!!

The little plastic tags that are affixed to every piece of fruit and every vegetable also bug me.   The process of affixing these tags bruises the apples and tomatoes.  Apparently it is necessary to slap a tag that says “RIPE” on certain avocadoes, the mystical process of determining ripeness of an avocado is apparently beyond the comprehension of the modern shopper.  Additionally, the little piece of plastic is apparently impervious to every degradation process short of burnning, for if they are not removed from the peel before it goes into the compost pile, they emerge from the composting process completely unchanged.  I fine these little items in my garden mulch all the time — as bright and snappy as the day they were manufactured.

What was wrong with the clerk at the store knowing what kind of apple that was and the code for it?   They still have to enter the code, they just don’t have to remember it any more.  Does this actually save any time or money?

Okay, so to change from frothing at the mouth to drooling, I will submit the following image.

That, my dears, is a Tarte tatin, which involved apples caramelized in a skillet with a shortbread crust on top, which is then baked and inverted after baking.   This one was made with Pink Lady apples.  Jim tested this recipe while I was in Costa Rica, and when I arrived at the airport hotel after being in transit all day, it was waiting my attention.  It is probably one of the better things I have had in my mouth lately, and is what we are going to be taking to the sauna this evening.

Jim’s reputation as a fine chef is bound to be enhanced by this offering.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming. . .

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Life is always an adventure.  I went on an entire odyssey just to mail a few packages, and came back moved to rant just a small rant.

It isn’t very far across our little town, a matter of 3 or 4  miles.  If I lived in Amsterdam I would take my stuff to the post office on my bike, but if I lived there my bike would probably be equipped with a basket and there would probably be bike lanes.   So I took the truck, which is what I get to use for errands while Jim uses the Prius to commute the 35 miles to his job.

I was nearly rear-ended at a stop light by a little blonde in an SUV who was involved in looking at her email on her phone.   In the next half kilometer I was also almost sideswiped by a gentleman in a very old boat car who was sailing it out of a parking lot while engaged in a lively discussion with his BluTooth.   At the stop light I watched the lady next to me unconsciously creep forward as her foot left the brake pedal while she was laughing and gesturing with her cigarette while talking on her cell phone, which she had cradled in her ear.   She regained consciousness of her surroundings about a second before her bumper kissed the rear end of the truck in front of her at the red light, and was able to arrest her progress.   Good thing the light changed before her foot lifted again.

This cell phone stuff is getting ridiculous.

I know it is terribly convenient to be able to do absolutely everything on one small piece of electronics.   And I have to admit that I am enjoying the photos my niece is posting of Europe while she is still there via the beauty of the internet.   But what I am witnessing as a cell phone non-user is that suddenly I have become an inhabitant of a world where people voluntarily isolate themselves.   They may be sitting at the same table with the ostensible purpose of eating breakfast together, but they might as well be in separate houses for the amount of communicating they are doing with each other and any other person in the room.

I see people who have absolutely no qualms about driving around while they are talking on their telephones.   Some people have learned that holding a phone to your ear is dangerous, in fact even illegal in many places.  “I have a hands free device,” they cheerfully inform me, as if this makes up for the inherent snag in telephonic communication.   It doesn’t matter whether your phone is wired to the wall or imbedded in your cerebral cortex (which seems to be the next logical step in the miniaturization of telephones), if you are talking on the phone to another person, you project your “self” to where they are.   That self is no longer present in the place where your body is, your mind is taking you to the other person’s room and presence.   It is probably even envisioning them, the room they are in.   It takes a huge act of will to take your consciousness from that conversation and focus it on the traffic around you if you happen to be driving.   I’m sorry to tell you that the hands free device does not cure this ill.  Your mind still wanders.

Lets not even talk about how rude it is to be having a lunch date with someone and have them answer their phone.   I almost walked out of lunch with my girlfriend when she did that to me.   I could not believe it, I thought we were trying to get caught up with our lives.   And what was I supposed to do while she chatted with the other party?   Oh, I suppose I could have posted a status on Facebook or tweeted —  if I had had my cell phone with me, which I did not.  Besides, adding my own rudeness to the situation was going to make it any less rude, was it?

Your mind wanders if you are talking to a person in the car with you too.  That is the genesis of the laws forbidding young teenage drivers to have more than one passenger in the car with them.   I’ll just add that if you are looking at the radio trying to pick a station, you are not looking at the road, nor are you if you are applying makeup or reading the newspaper.   Sorry, peripheral vision doesn’t cut it.

The post office was an adventure too.   I was mailing a foreign package and I didn’t know which customs declarations form I was going to need for the item I was sending, so I filled them both out.   The Post Office employee found that amusing.   I had lots of time in line to fill them both out.   I am not the only person who missed the Christmas rush to mail packages by waiting until after the New Year.   Apparently there are quite a number of us.

While I was doing that I started thinking about how amazing it is that I can go to one building and give the guy my package with an address from the other side of an ocean on it and some money, and it will be there sometime next week.   Probably it will reach its destination before the other packages that I sent parcel post because they were so darned heavy, which are not leaving the continental United States.

I mean, just a few generations ago you would have had to contract with a private party travelling across the country to get your package to the coast, and then trust that person to make arrangements with a ship that was travelling across the ocean where perhaps another person might deign to take your package to the person you addressed it to.   I mean, Post Office, UPS, FedEX — all those guys.   It is totally amazing.

And cell phones are amazing too.   I just think maybe people should hang them up once in a while and look around at the world and see what has happened while you were gazing into your little box, flicking icons by, reading emails and newsfeeds, typg cht msgs tu ur bffs, and talking to them too, of course.

It might surprise you.


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