Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Next Big Thing

NOT my profile picture on Facebook

Normally, you might say that I'm behind the curve...on a lot of things. Heck, I just got rid of my rotary phone for one that has buttons where the numbers are located! My shirts still have huge collars and/or epaulets, and I think polyester is the fabric that's going to remake the world of fashion. But this, time...this time I'm on the cusp of the next hot trend in men's fashion, at least that's according to Nickelson Wooster, the fashion director for Neiman Marcus. he assures me that I'm getting in on the ground floor with personalities like Jimmy Kimmel, Rob Lowe and Steve Carell.
By now, of course, you are rapt with attention, wondering a) what this thing is and b) how come I suddenly know so much about men's fashion. That"thing" is produced by Spanx as well as Equmen and Sculprters and can be found at Bloomingdale's, Saks 5th Avenue and Nordstrom as well as the aforementioned Neiman-Marcus (so you just KNOW this is swanky!). The next big thing is, at its core, "the equivalent of a pushup bra for men."
Yes, the male fashion world is going ga-ga, ladies over shapewear...seriously!This product is "...about problem-solveing and another way of feeling secure and prepared for life." Really? I thought that only applied to Just For Men! But this kind of faux confidence does not come cheap: Equmen's tank top retails for $89 while it's T-Shirt model goes for $109. dollars!
Spanx brand is cheap in comparison since the tank costs a mere $55 and the T-shirt can be had for $58. Cheap confidence, I say...and you can be right on the leading edge, though there iIS one caveat, according to an anonymous Tweet: "yougasin 45 pounds when you get naked." Thus, like the "gay deceivers women tend to use, it all comes out (so to speak) as the lights go down. Be warned!
BTW...if you;re too self-conscious to be seen fingering this stuff at the department store, you can go to freshpair. com and order online. Presumably, the shapewear will come wrapped innocuously in brown paper.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Going, Going...Gone

Your Last Viewing

I've never been to Madagascar, and really don't have the desire to go. It's not on my list of things to do and places to go before I die (unlike every American outlet of Krispy Kreme...despite the spelling snafu). I know there was a cute, animated movie from either Disney or Pixar by that name, and I also know that it is something of a last remaining bastion for certain species of wildlife. Well, you can count the Alaotra grebe out of that picture. It has been officially declared extinct by the IUCN Red List which maintains scrupulous records concerning endangered and threatened bird life.
So, what is there to know about a bird we will never, ever see again?
It was medium-sixed but had small wings which made it probably incapable of any kind of long flight as well as undesirable fare at Hooters of Madagascar. It lived almost exclusively on Lake Alaotra where it subsisted on fish. The last confirmed sighting was in 1985, and it is posited that poaching, predatory fish and use of gill nets by fishermen all contributed to the death knell of this bird.
In case you are wondering (and I know you are), there have been approximately 10,000 species of birds identified, and roughly 190 of them have become extinct...while no math genius, I guess this number amounts to about 2% of all the worldwide species. Many would say it's no big deal since a) they'd never seen one anyway and b) they had no plans to visit Madagascar which would be ruined by the loss of this creature.
Still...that moves us humans up one on the list to be eradicated...probably by our own selfish (or stupid) actions.
Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sign of the Times...or Apocalyptic Hint?

...Or Maybe We'll Go With Inner Beauty

On The Simpsons tonight, Homer feels the Apocalypse upon Springfield and does his best to save everyone, not once but twice. Of course, the fact that I'm writing this should be ample evidence that it was only a television program (though 2012 has not yet passed). Homer mistook a blimp accident with Krusty the Clown and Kathy Griffin (among others) to be the warning of "stars falling from the sky" that was to preclude the Day of Judgement. Blood falling from the sky onto his windshield emanated from a harpooned whale being carried overhead out of his field of vision. Thus, I guessed all along that he was wrong. However, something else I noticed today might well be a sign of impending societal doom (though not covered anywhere in the Bible that I could find).
"My Beautiful Mommy" would seem, at the outset, to be a book for youngsters which helped them to understand the value of women in society as it displayed situations in which a mother was admired for her selfless work ethic, her tireless giving and her otherwise feminine pulchritude. That's what I guessed at first, given the times of welcoming and valuing the gifts of diversity. Uh, not Homer, I was wrong.
This book by Michael Alexander Salzhauer is a primer for young children that guides them through the "exciting and stressful" time when Mom undergoes plastic surgery in order to become more beautiful (apparently, from a Hefner perspective).
"Using vivid illustrations and straightforward dialogue" the child and his or her mother can "Follow along as Mommy goes through her plastic surgery experience and learn how the entire family pitches in to help."
Weight reduction surgery I can understand...that eliminates a potential health risk; vision correction surgery I'm OK with because glasses and even contacts can be a real pain; I'm even onboard with breast reduction surgery because carrying that much weight topside has to be painful as well.
But this? I can't understand it. Let's just make a vivid point to our children that physical beauty is the most important thing for a woman to have, and that positive self-esteem can only be achieved for a woman if she tightens, lifts and augments her body artificially. That's not too shallow.
Of course, since I'm not actually female, maybe I've got the wrong take on this. I've had offers to straighten my teeth, color my graying hair and remove benign facial imperfections, and I've rejected all of them. Maybe it's me, or maybe it's a guy thing.
In case you're wondering, the book costs about $20 at, and the author is a plastic surgeon.
Go figure (not literally, ladies).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Is Nothing Sacred?


Seriously, can it get any more bizarre than this? What started out as something of a joke on has turned into the rope over which the immigration tug-of-war is being contested. Seriously.
Actually, the web site is really interesting: it offers the opportunity to Photoshop a variety of faces in the news and sponsors contests to see who can be the most creative. Definitely off-center, but all in good, clean least Debbie Groban of Sarasota, Florida, thought when she did the Dora thing last year. Now, both sides have begun to use the photo to fuel the vitriol that seems to be emanating every day.
Dora, of course, has never been outed as far as where she is from or where she lives, but the clues offered by the righteous on the right say consider these items: 1. Salsa music often plays during her adventures. 2. the topography where she lives has pyramids. 3. There are tropical elements like palm tress and various animal friends like a monkey and an iguana. So...if not Mexico, certainly somewhere south of El Paso...thus, she's illegal and should be deported. Seriously, people believe this and actually say it out loud!
Opponents of the immigration law point to the obviously abused little girl and moan sympathetically. After all, Dora has taught a great number of our children to not only understand Spanish but gain a bit of acceptance for diversity. This is bad?
The voice of Dora belongs to a young woman whose grandparents were Cuban. She is an American citizen but proud of her heritage. Originally, of course, the voice belonged to a woman from Peru. However, this was 'way back before we got so interested/paranoid about immigration.
It's a cartoon, people! While illegal immigration is a definite problem, I think the oil from the Gulf of Mexico which will destroy the Gulf fishing and ecology is a far more pressing issue now.
I'm just glad my grandparents got here from Europe before all of this hysteria got started.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

WAY Too Much Time On His Hands

I'm one of those people who could probably be happy on a secluded island with books, my iPod and my sweetie (although she would get antsy after being with me non-stop for three weeks). In other words, I don't have a great need to be surrounded by people all the time Let's see...does that make me a seal or a sea lion? A seal, I think...sea lions are much more social. Anyway, the idea of networking with all of my friends was never an idea that thrilled me all that much. Mind you, I HATE it when people send Christmas cards that a re merely signed and not personalized in any way, but knowing every little detail every day is simply not necessary. That's why I view Facebook as something of a double-edged sword. It's a pleasant surprise when someone from a galaxy long ago and far away sends a note, and I respond to just about everything I get, but I don't obsess about it.
I do not check my status unless somebody sends me a message...I do NOT join any causes...and I absolutely refuse to get involved in any simulation games. All of this is enough reason to make me a little creeped out by Mark Zuckerberg.'
Zuckerberg, the brains behind Facebook, claims that by noting three things: 1. who was looking at whose profile 2. who people are friends with and 3. who is newly-single that he can accurately predict 33% of the time who a person will be in a relationship within a week. This information comes from a book by David Kilpatrick entitled The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of a Company That Is Connecting the World. There are a couple of things wrong with this, as I see it.
First of all, getting it right a third of the time doesn't make this a sure thing unless one is hitting a baseball professionally. Determining relationship patterns has to be a most inexact science.
Additionally, since there are others like me, I'm sure, who seldom connect with others, it would have to be difficult to gauge any kind of pattern except isolationism.
Finally, does Zuckerberg actually sit around studying profiles and patterns of total strangers, or is this his way of meeting girls instead of EHarmony?
Farmville might be more fun.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Playing Fast & Loose With the English Language


Sarcasm/irony...innuendo...double entendre...outright lies. There are many ways we tend to abuse the language for our own benefit. Most of the time, this sleight-of-tongue is harmless as in the case of little white lies or ironic jokes between friends, but sometimes, misusing the language on purpose is downright abhorrent. Here are some examples of what I mean which were bandied about carelessly in the dentist's office today.

"Really, having a tooth extracted is no big deal. It will be over before you know it." This was, of course, before all the crunching, cracking and fragmentation of my tooth as it proved far more difficult than expected. Digging it out in pieces was NOT what I was promised.

"You'll feel a little pinch" Really? I'm going to buy that as you come at me with a six-inch long needle, aiming to skewer the inside of my mouth four or five times? I've also heard this maneuver described as a "poke," as well. I know from Facebook that a poke doesn't hurt, and this definitely DID hurt. Of course, I'm somewhat of a sissy with regard to face pain.

"You'll feel a lot of pressure" which translated into, "If I break your lower jaw off, I'll try to put it back together after I take my knee off your chest because, gosh, that tooth is really in there."

"You're doing great," really means "Stop shaking and crying like a little baby, you sissy. Try to man up a bit here, will you? All this quivering is making it likely that I'll pull the wrong tooth. Here, bite on this bullet."

"You'll feel a little sore for the next couple of days." This was merely a blind for "Yes, I've just dug all the way to your kneecaps, and that scraping sound was me moving this scalpel across your jawbone. Fortunately, you won't feel anything for three hours until the painkiller wears off; then, it'll hurt like hell for a week."

Fortunately, I am used to various machinations involving language so I was able to interpret these statements correctly.

"Would you like to make an appointment to discuss an implant?" was merely doublespeak for "Let me get the big drill out so I can do this again in a month or so."

Can't fool me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Sound of Screaming

My sweetie had a role in The Sound of Music in high school. While it wasn't playing Maria's character, I always pretend it was. Every year, the Julie Andrews version gets replayed on TV about a million times, and the air agian becomes alive with the sound of music. Most of the things mentioned in My Favorite Things are just too cutesy for me to stomach...and speaking of things hard to stomach, I have compiled a list of my top five LEAST favorite things, in order from not-too-terrible to I'd-rather-clean-the-bathroom-with-my-tongue:

5. Thinking about making a dentist appointment and working up the courage to make the call.
4.Sitting in the waiting room at the dentist's office watching people as terrified as I am and realizing that the real pain will only come later after the dentist is nowhere to be found.
3. Having the dental hygienist call me back to sit in a painfully uncomfortable position while jabbing me with various pointed objects before saying, "The doctor will have to look at this one" like my mouth has just sprouted a pustular growth the size of her hand.
2. Having a dentist (or oral-maxillary specialist) tell me that a tooth has to be taken out since it's fractured in so many places that it will probably splinter off and slice my jaw open (at least that's what I heard)and feeling the immediate panic and drenching sweat that sets in.
1. Having a gaping hole in my face where a tooth used to be as the medical practitioner takes his foot off my chest and laughs maniacally while holding the bloody remains of what used to be my tooth...knowing I probably won't live another 24 hours.

So, if you never hear from me again, I will have perished at the hands of the latest Orin Scrivello.
But I won't give up any secrets.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Whew! For A Minute There...

As the "real" school year ends, and my load of textbooks to read drops precipitously, I turn, generally, to my pleasure reading for the summer months. Having almost finished a couple of historical fiction series concerning ancient Rome, I perused the aper today to see what others were reading in hopes of gaining some inspiration. My tack is usually to find something, then go to the public library website and put a hold on it for later pickup. Today, I started with some romance fiction.
Lest you arch an eyebrow quizzically, those titles were for my sweetie and not for me. I noted a couple of authors I had noticed lying about and thought to reserve copies of their latest efforts...but being number 65 in queue? Holy crap! That many people read romance? I was stunned, to say the least. Granted these were new releases, but there were 45 people in line for the LARGE PRINT copies! I won't even begin to surmise what the popularity of fictitious romance means. I doubt I'd really want to know!
A bit of non-fiction concerning the Little Big Horn battle caught my eye since Custer is one of the few real people that I find fascinating...imagine my surprise when, standing in the house at Appomattox Courthouse where the truce between the North and South was signed to see a painting commemorating the event...and finding George Custer immortalized thereon! Who knew? Not me, but I have followed his career closely since then. But that find was of minimal importance when I thought I saw my entire life and crimes flash before my eyes shortly thereafter. For a split second, I thought he'd done what I had urged him to do for years: write a book.
One of my sons is the most literate person I have ever known. He is a world traveller and insatiable reader and discoverer, but one who has been loathe to actually sit down and write a book. He tells me there is no real money in being a published author: the real money rolls in when someone makes a screenplay of the written word and turns it into a movie. He is a book critic for Bookgasm, an online book review site. he's even had articles reprinted in published books, but he's never taken that next step. And yet, today, I was fearful that he had. There is was: #9 on the non-fiction bestseller list published by the Associated Press. Sh t My Dad Says struck me with real horror, thinking he'd finally written a book that would lay bare all he'd endured from me for years (according to him, and just in time for Father's Day). Of course, I cannot remember everything I've ever said to the man, but, as I said, he's gifted, and he remembers it all.
As my heart began thrusting blood to my brain so I didn't pass out, it occurred to me to check the was not my was someone named Justin Halpern who was ratting out HIS father...Just in time for Father's Day. And, just to make sure that he was not writing under some fancy nom de plume, I included that in my list of books on reserve at the library...and I'm first in line to get it.
Go figure.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Smarter Than I Thought They Were

I've grumbled before about the furlough system imposed arbitrarily on state workers here in the Badger State...we are forced to take eight days off without pay to help balance the budget deficit (which I had no hand in creating, by the way). I chronicled how my boss told me that instead of taking the time off without pay, they would simply deduct 3% from my check...but I was encouraged to come to work anyway.I have lambasted the system that punishes guiltless while looking the other way at corporate megagreed. I've reached near apoplexy at the state of things, but now it's time to admit that it's simply water over the dam. Time to have that magpie pastry. It seems the state knew better all along!
According to a study published recently in the European Heart Journal, people who work overtime are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
The study of 6,000 civil servants in Britain found that workers who regularly worked 10-hour or 11-hour days increased their risk of serious heart ailments by two-thirds...even when outside influences like smoking were counted. Frankly, I was shocked, but as I began to think about it, the study only made sense.
People who work that much have less time to exercise, unwind or otherwise relax. BHy the time they get home, they are too exhausted to eat a decent meal, I would guess so something quick and filling (beer and chips, for instance) might suffice. I would imagine that it's so much worse for working women who then have to come home and complete all the domestic chores as well.
And, of course, those individuals who put in that kind of time are generally not slackers but Type A personalities who refuse to give up. They also are the type of worker who goes to work when feeling unwell.
So, who's laughing now? The State of Wisconsin has done all its civil servants a favor by forcing them to take some time off to regenerate. Of course, there's no way to regenerate the lost income but by getting a second job (he said, scanning the want ads).
Good thing I came home early today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Enough, Already!

Like so many other kids of my cohort (yes, we've been studying sociology!), the Beatles changed my life though not for the better, according to my dad and Alan Sherman ("Pop Hates the Beatles" probably on YouTube or Yamelo). Anyway, imgine my disappointment when, a few years later, I finally realized that the "new" sound from Liverpool on their first album was mostly covers of R&B songs from American groups that I had never discovered in the record store of my hometown. Imitation? Cover songs? I was completely befuddled. Of course, by the time the third album came along, the Beatles were writing all of their own stuff, and imitation was left mainly to all those British bands (except the Rolling Stones) who followed the Beatles to America, unleashing what would become an almost vomit-inducing bevy of imitative segments of the entertainment business. And it's come to this:
I will not even give credence to the spawn of "reality" programs on television, all following a formula initiated, no doubt, by a british program. Even the biggest show on TV is but a copy of a program which originated far east of New York. smelling money, producers continue to churn out carbon copies...heck even MTV dropped the words "music television" from its official logo as it rushed headlong into exciting reality programs featuring the trials of teenage mothers and Snooki and her pals. And don't even mention the name Kardashian to me. That's our problem: we cannot be original to save our souls. And now, one of the entertainment icons has fallen prey to the copycat syndrome...and Betty White started it all.
Of course, it wasn't her fault that she starred in an hilarious commercial featured on the Super Bowl or that some guy figured she should host Saturday Night Live and through Facebook got the necessary groundswell of public opinion that NBC acquiesced. Original, funny, topical. :Like millions of others (read:millions of advertising dollars), I watched at least part of it and applauded the whole idea. But now?
It seems that now there's a movement afoot for Carol Burnett to be a host for SNL. Ok, I get it: she's witty, funny and old. She'd be great...but not original. Soon, we'll have an Old-Person-Being-Hip Network, or every network will tap into this new source of entertainment (read: advertising dollars).
Give it up. Do something original.
At least bring back Monty Python.
I'll stick with Hulu for the time being.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Real Life"? Not For Me

Non-fiction is difficult and frustrating...and I am not at this particular point discussing literature. I'm talking about life here, and it's unceasing capacity to pound people into sniveling submission while offering tempting glimpses (in the form of the rich and famous/infamous) of just what we are missing while we worry about dozens of "real-world" problems which threaten to overwhelm us at any given time. Those insulated from real struggles, for example, a BP executive lamenting how much the oil spill is costing his spite of the more than $300 million dollars it has made this year leave the rest of us humbler sorts merely slack-jawed at their arrogance.
So...I seldom read non-fiction. My life is non-fiction, and many times it's more of a Tess of the D'Urbervilles type of non-fiction than it is a The Blind Side type of non-fiction. I prefer to lose myself in a world that mimics reality in a general sort of way though I don't always require a happy-ever-after ending. I just need to get away from reading textbooks and living an all-too-humbling real life, replete with worries about money, kids, aging, relationships and health. Since I never take a bath, the "Calgon, take me away" thing won't work so I leave it to fiction: pulp fiction, detective fiction and historical fiction of which my most recent forays have involved two fictional history series concerning ancient Rome: one by Conn Iggulden and one by Steven Saylor. Imagining being a part of life more than a thousand years ago with real live historical figures is great escapism. Every now and then, though, I get sucked back into real life as I did recently.
Like everyone else in the country, I read Three Cups of Tea months ago and was struck by how little I was actually doing to represent all that's good about our country...not like Greg Mortensen. Then, on Saturday while I was waiting for my sweetie to check out at the library, I happened to notice a book entitled Dining with Al-Kaeda, the recollections of a British correspondent for The Wall Street Journal who had spent thirty years covering the MidEast as a journalist. Intrigued by the title, I began perusing it and managed about 20 pages before it was time to go...but I couldn't let it go. I added it to my stash of reading material and spent the next three days reading with amazement Hugh Pope's accounts of what that region was and is really like...and I must say that it provided a perspective that I was somewhat unprepared to experience.
Read it for yourself. I'm going back to "whodunit" fiction for the remainder of the evening and for the near future.
Reality bites.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Modern "Greasy Kid's Stuff"

Back when I was a bit younger ( in the 20th century, to be exact) nobody called it "product" "It" was that stuff that men put in their hair to make it manageable. There were three varieties of which I was aware: Butch wax, Brylcreme and "greasy kid's stuff, what ever that was. Butch wax was cool because there was this neat little bristled brush you could use with it. Unfortunately, it had the consistency of weeks-old library paste which did one's hair no good at all. Brylcreme was advertised as the cure for the greasy kid's stuff with the motto "a little dab will do you." Maybe it did, I never progressed to that level because the Beatles exploded on the scene, and hair "product" was unnecessary. Still, it's nice to know that there's still a connection between hair and the greasy stuff.
It seems that Cuts By Us, a styling salon in Harvest, Alabama, has reunited the grease and hair in hopes of solving a national dilemma: the gargantuan BP oil slick fouling the Gulf waters. In what stylists are referring to as a "save the shrimp" campaign, every clump of hair removed from patrons' heads is being sent to Matter of Trust, a San Francisco company that weaves salon-floor hair into mats which can be used effectively to soak up oil. In fact, each pound of woven hair can soak up a quart of oil. Each mat can them be washed and reused...without styling, I would suppose. Another method for soaking up oil involves cramming the hair inside pantyhose to make a "boom" which will also absorb greasy kid's stuff.
This kind of entrepreneurship should be lauded with a trip to the salon for all of us.
I wonder if gray heair works as well as younger hair>

Friday, May 07, 2010

I Have To Meet This Person

As I perused my usual; five or six news outlets today, I encountered a person who, according to the Los Angeles Times:
1. Was a generous spirit
2. Had a strong sense of place in the world
3. Has lived a wonderfully rich and varied life
4. Has inspiring levels of enthusiasm and passion for everything he does
5. Is intellectually curious and well-read

Wow! This person sounds almost too good to be true. It is not the star of Iron Man 2 which opens this weekend. It is not some Hollywood or sports person, or even Taylor Swift who recently donated $500,000 to aid in the cleanup of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Nope, none of these.
Not at was I, much to my surprise.
The Times has a personality quiz in today's edition that allows it to focus on the kind of news an individual might find interesting. The quiz asks fewer than 10 easy preference-type questions then responds with a personality type and new specific to those interests.
I don't suppose there is any way it might come out that the respondent is a totally worthless dirtbag loser...face it, such a person wouldn't be reading any paper, let alone a West Coast paper.
Give it a shot to see if you are as wonderful a person as I found out that I am.
Now, if only I could convince the people that really know me!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Who would defy superheroes?

One of the stops I made this weekend while visiting in Chicago was a comic book store where I purchased two trade paperbacks featuring my boyhood idol: Doc Savage. It also happened to be "Free Comic Book Day" so I scooped up a handful of issues to present to my grandson who is a voracious reader at age 9 because I don't want him to narrow his perspective to sports books and the Magic Tree House and Boxcar Kids series. The proprietor of the store was somewhat attired to resemble The Flash, and the person running the cash register appeared to be a Jedi knight, though there was no humming audible and no light sabre in view, and he spoke complete sentences with the words in the correct order. All in all, it was a pleasant experience, totally lacking the kind of excitement to be found in Australia, it appears.
I guess it was also "International Free Comic Book Day" as well, because I can think of no other reason for what happened there. Someone must have been confused at the concept because he slipped a very expensive (97 pounds--British money, not weight) X-Men Omnibus into a bag and tried to slip out the door.
Not so fast! Spiderman to the rescue...well, OK, it was Michael Baulderstone, the store owner dressed as the superhero. Aided by Jedi knights who blocked the door and The Flash who stood by ready to assist, Spidey apprehended the would-be thief (probably enveloping the guy in webs for good measure) and held him for the police who arrived to find 30 comic book characters hanging onto an overmatched individual, threatening all sorts of superhero vigilante justice.
Wow! And my day was so tame.
Maybe there will be excitement next month when I hear "Free Comic Book Day" will be repeated.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hopelessly Falling Further Behind

iPad Technology at 6 Months

A student and I were studying cohorts and period events today in preparation for a Sociology quiz, and it occurred to me that I was several generations behind her. As a Baby Boomer, I leave in my wake (the water kind, not the dead kind) Generation X and the Millennial (a.k.a. Gen Y) generations as I stumble inexorably through what used to be science fiction...remember Buck Rogers and the 21st Century? Maybe it was the 25th...I surely hope so. Anyway, Woodstock and Viet am were not even blips on this young lady's radar though the September 11th attacks she could recall quite clearly. Frankly, I don't think she even knew about the whole JFK thing, either, but then we got onto technology, and I was totally left behind. She didn't know anyone who didn't have a cell phone...ever! Rotary phone? Oh somebody she visited once had one but she was not sure how it worked.
Email? She almost never checks it! Anybody who wants to get in touch will text her. Amazing. Even the internet, so amazingly new technology, is old hat. She doesn't remember NOT having it.
I may have a cell phone, and this blog would be difficult without a keyboard and the internet, but I refuse to tweet on Twitter. I have a Facebook account but check it only when someone sends me a message. Farmville? Not on your life. Chatroulette? Now, there's a possibility.
It seems if one goes to, he or she can be randomly assigned a face to face connection with one of the literally millions of people who have nothing better to do than hook up in cyberspace with total, randomly-selected strangers. There's one individual who connects randomly then plays on the piano and sings about the person he sees on the screen. He's a YouTube sensation, and it is actually somewhat amazing how he manages to do it.
AS for me? When I watched my granddaughter "read" The Cat in the Hat on an iPad last weekend, I ealized that it will be no time at all before I am hopelessly anachronistic yet again.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Conspiculously Consumed

The real story is $$$$$

Not to channel the J. Geils Band or anything, but when I looked up while traipsing through the ground level floor of Macy's I was certain that I had gotten lost. However, I'd simply wandered into the American Girl section of the store, surrounded by a crush of pre-teens with their mothers in tow, grabbibng all the latest styles and accessories for their doll. But which one? There are, by my estimate, a dozen different dolls from which to choose, and each had her own little kiosk think to separate the worshippers by their denomination.
There was Addy, a little African-American doll from 1864, all dressed up in a frock and cute little bonnet. But why was she smiling? I doubt that many children of her race were all smiles back then. However, if you read the "biography," she and her mother were escaped slaves, heading off to a life of freedom and possibilities. OK, I guess I could smile at that, but the story goes on to say how they had to leave the baby behind because its crying might get them caught. Wow! This is a story bound to be popular.
There's also Kaya, a Nez Perce Indian, and Josefina, born in New Mexico and looking Hispanic. Of course, there are Anglo dollas as well, including Kit Kittredge who survived the Great Depression after her dad had lost everything...seriously...and, of course, the 2010 Doll of the Year Lanie.
And the accessories? Unlimited. One can even buy an ear-piercing kit and drill holes in the favorite doll's ears to accept jewelry. OOPS! Drill too much? The child can send her doll to the doll hospital (Really!) where the doll will be fixed as good as new and returned with a certificate of good health in approximately three weeks. Of course, it takes that long for a seven-year-old just to fill out the insurance form.
Don't forget to dress that cutie pie,too. A set of underwear will set Mom back $10, and outfits range, as nearly as I could figure, between $25 and $60 though by no means did I do an exhaustive search. Can you say sticker shock, Mom?
All in all, I'm glad my daughter has grown out of the doll stage and my granddaughter will more likely be using her iPad than cavorting with high-priced fictitious characters.
I could not afford it.