Death of The Payphone

Halfway to the grocery store I realized I'd left my cell phone on the kitchen counter.  Panicked, I looked for an easy place to turn around, but nothing was easy.  So, I made the bold decision to keep going.  Hey, I lived for years without a cell phone. Why do I need one now just to go to the grocery store? 
Pushing my cart through the aisles I was twitching. I needed that phone. What if something happens and I need to make a call?  I made it safely through the checkout without a heart attack or armed robbery, and headed back to my car... scanning for a payphone... just in case.     Nothing. 
Driving home,  I looked on every corner hoping to see my old friend, the Payphone.   I drove for blocks... looking up and down streets, in mini malls, and in gas stations until finally, outside a dilapidated liquor store, there it was.  A payphone.  
Beaten,  broken, and covered in grime, this was once the great equalizer.   Everyone, rich and poor, used this shared tool to communicate.  To call a loved one,  place a stock trade,  order more heroin.   Surely, this relic would soon be removed, and I worried that maybe we've been too quick to do away with public phones.   

I made it home safely,  cradled my phone lovingly, looked deep into its camera eye,  and swore I would never leave it behind again.

I was wrong about the paper

About a year ago I gave up newspapers.  Too bulky,  a waste of paper,  and I got all the news I could digest from the internet.   I love the way I can skim through articles on my smartphone. .. it's efficient and easy to access.  But on a recent getaway to a sunny spot in California,  I was reintroduced to The Paper.  And  it's better. .. lots better. 
In the wake of dwindling circulation,  the LA Times has retooled, with a narrower,  easy to handle format,  a clean layout,  and what's seems to be. .. fewer ads?   In other words,  it's fantastic.  And so I did something i swore I'd never do.   I resubscribed.   
Maybe,  just maybe... the tactile experience of the morning paper isn't dead.   Plus,  now if I ever need to wrap a fish,  I've got something to wrap it in.    

TV's most disgusting commercials

Television today is a minefield of disgusting commercials.   Not just annoying.  I'm talking about commercials that make you lurch for the "mute" button.  We've reached a new low in American television as we navigate around commercials for things like this:
1. CATHETERS-- Yes, we interrupt this program to tell you about the best catheters on the market today... they're easy to insert-- self-lubricated-- and they come in three designer colors.
2. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION-  This lovely woman has nothing to worry about.  Her beach vacation won't be ruined.   Why?  Because she's packed a little surprise for hubby.... the "travel size" Viagra.  
3. LUBRICATED TOILET PAPER-  These cartoon bears have a problem... when they poop and then wipe their butts... the toilet paper get stuck.   What's the answer?   Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper!   "Enjoy The Go!"
Seriously?  On broadcast television??... commercials that specifically reference excrement and toilet tissue dangling from a bear's butt?   Maybe I'm overreacting. 

It's just meat, people

Well, I think I've seen it....the first sign of the apocalypse.  The earth is truly spiraling toward the sun. I was in my local grocery store and saw something I could hardly believe. It was a piece of meat, steak I guess, one piece, and the price was $15.   I mean, it's just meat, people.   
They really should put these behind glass just to be safe.   They should require you to a consult a credit  consultant to be sure you're financially qualified to purchase meat.    Buy 4 or more and security will escort you to your car.   
I've decided.  I'm becoming a vegetarian. 

It's just paper, people.

Paper towels make me crazy.  They're expensive, so I try hard to find the best buy when shopping.   But how can you tell which one is best?   I swear it takes a math/science wizard to calculate the best choice.   The cheap ones don't soak up as much,  so you have to use more.   The fancy ones cost more, but I probably waste them anyway.   These days,  I just try to buy the brand that's on sale, with the biggest discount.   Or... I'll examine the "unit price per square foot" sticker and pick the lowest price.   Still, I feel like these towel manufacturers are trying to trick me.  Whatever brand I schlep home, I'm pretty sure... I just got scammed.

Boots and boobs??

I guess this someone's idea of great marketing.   I see this billboard every time I pass my local gas station, and each time,  I cringe.   It's intent, apparently, is to entice horny construction workers to buy work boots.   (She's showing how sturdy and durable they are.)  Do construction workers believe that when they go to the store to buy their boots, this girl will be there?    Or do they look at this billboard and think, "Wow, those boots look great on her.  Imagine how great they'll look on me!"    It's like waving a shiny object at a bird:  "Hey men, look over here.   I've got these boobs.   You want some shoes?"     Regardless, it's embarrassing to have it in my nice neighborhood, and it's embarrassing for the poor girl who lowered herself to pose for it.   Maybe someone told her it could be a stepping stone to something bigger... and maybe it will be.   Someday she could end up in the White House.

Stay back. It's the phone company!

Okay,  I'm all about safety... but this is kind of silly.   Utility companies everywhere require their workers to place orange cones around their vehicles when parked.  That's great for those big repair trucks... but even workers in minivans and sedans are placing orange cones out in the street when they stop for lunch at Pizza Hut.  "Back off, buddy.  We're the phone company!"
Apparently,  the idea is to force service folks to walk around their vehicle before they drive off, but c'mon.   How about a little common sense?
Apparently there's nothing unlawful about placing cones around your car,  so I'm getting a pair for my Buick LeSabre.   Watch out, Walmart shoppers.  

I want some young blood

Okay, I know that sounds creepy, but hear me out.    There's a place in California where a doctor will pump you up with plasma from young donors... with the hope it that it will make you feel more vital, and slow the aging process.   No kidding.   Over the years, there have been a number of different studies--- mostly on mice-- which suggest that "young" blood introduced into the veins of an aging recipient could have restorative effects.   So this doctor in Monterey California is charging people $8000 for a bag of "young" plasma to drip into their veins.  And so far, no scientific proof that it works.    But what if it does?    Call me a bloodsucker, but if a bag or two of "young" blood that will make me young again... and I'll empty out the old savings account and head to Monterey.

I miss home movies

These days you can watch a home movie of your grandchild any time you want, right on your phone.   And that's kinda nice,  I guess.    But when I was a kid,  we documented much less of our lives... so home movies were a very big deal.   Once a year,  my dad would get out the movie projector and a box of little 8mm film reels.  My mom would make popcorn, and turn out the lights.   It was fun to sit in the dark and watch the shaky images of our family riding a bike or building a snowman.  We had endless films of family vacations,  posing in our swimsuits and splashing in the surf.    We laughed at the same strips of movie film we'd seen a hundred times... no sound, just the grinding of the projector,  and our running commentary.   It reminded us of where we'd been,  of who we were,  and it's one of my favorite childhood memories.

Don't be so pushy

Ever push an elevator button, only to have someone else walk up behind you and push it again?   I have trouble not taking this personally.  Yesterday, I said to a young man who followed my push with a few repeated jabs of his own, "Oh thank you, I wasn't quite sure how these new-fangled elevators work."   Is there something that makes us assume that the more you push the button, the faster it will come?  By the way, when the elevator arrived,  I stepped in and pushed a few extra buttons, and said... "Oh sorry.  Was that wrong?"

Right down the middle

What's the deal with motorcycles that zoom so fast between the lanes of parked cars?   They always approach loud and fast, and I'm like-- whoa buddy--- you're gonna whack somebody!   One big rear view mirror and we're all parked there for an hour while the EMTs pick him up off the road.   They call this "lane-splitting" when traffic is moving, and "filtering" when traffic is stopped.   It's totally legal in the U-S and some argue it keeps traffic flow moving and reduces rear end collisions.  

It's a clumsy way to pay

Is this a good idea?  They put electronic chips on our credit cards to prevent fraud.   Yeah that part's good, but dang-- it takes forever to check out.   In the good old days (last year) you could swipe, sign, and be out the door before the cashier could say, "have a nice...  "  But now you stick your card in the slot... and wait.   And wait some more.  "Please do not remove your card" the screen says.   Sure it's safe-- but I'm not getting any younger.   Think of all the life I'm losing waiting to pull my credit card out of the slot.

Hello? Hello? Hello?

It's 2017.  Why do we still struggle with telemarketers?   I get about 6 unsolicited calls per day, half of which don't even respond when I pick up the phone.   The other half say "hello?" ten seconds after I say hello.   (I always wait for them to say hello before I hang up-- so they can hear me slam the receiver down.)   This gripe is so old and tired that some people just give up and yank out their landlines.   C'mon America.  This mess should have been fixed long ago.   Even when registered with the government's "" list- we still get the calls.   And does any doofus ever actually BUY something from a telemarketer?  Apparently so.  If you're that dumb, you really do need federal protection for your own safety!

I'm still getting phonebooks

I used to love the phone book, I really did.  I'll even admit to looking myself up just to see my name in print.   The phone books used to be something that were delivered to my door... reverently... by the phone company.    I remember vowing to keep this one nice and clean...  no scribbling... no dog-eared pages-- but they were always abused.    We actually USED the phone book back then--daily.    But c'mon people.    It's 2017, and phone books have got to go.    Today they arrive on my porch like so much junk mail.   They are as welcome as a deposit from my neighbor's dog.   Today, phone books are... in a word... trash.    We have computers and smart phones now, so let's save the trees.  Am I right?