Category Archives: Conspicuous consumption

One Born Every Minute

Just today I realized that I really am a good person.  Nice.  Law-abiding.

It’s true. Because somehow today I did not live out my longest held fantasy.  One that I’ve wanted to enact since childhood.

I will admit that I was close to doing it.  Possibly closer than I have ever been to saying “What the Hell, I’m gonna do it! — Now!  Today!”

I will admit to seriously considering doing it just for the moment when I was struggling to get into the driver’s seat of my car today at lunch time.  The moments.  OK, it took half of my damn lunch hour.

You see, I had an important errand that I had to take care of.

But some asshole had parked so close to my car that I couldn’t even get my purse into the car from the driver’s side.

Did I deserve to be placed in this, ummm, position?  Did I park outside of the white line? No. I was parked just fine, thank you very much.  Parked within the designated parking spot.  Straight.  Did I mention that I was well within the white lines on both sides of my car?  Well I was.

I did not deserve to be treated in such a manner.

So when I realized that without liposuction, a detention in a concentration camp or a colonic, there was no way in hell I could get to the driver’s seat from the driver’s side.  I was annoyed, I stood there for minutes with my hands on my hips, glad there were no children milling about to increase their vocabulary.

But I had no choice; I had to go. So I walked to the passenger side of the car, to climb into the driver’s seat. I soon realized that the driver’s seat was as close to the steering wheel as vehicularly-possible.  I realized that I was also not supposed to exert myself following my surgery.

Did I mention that it was important that I go?

So I struggled to get my body into the driver’s seat without a cerebral hemorrhage.

Somehow, I managed.

The cerebral hemorrhage happened when I carefully backed out of my parking spot, and realized two things:

  1. There were 24.5 parking spots in that section of the parking lot alone, and five floors of empty parking spots on the floors above us; there was no reason for someone to park in such an assholic/inconsiderate manner.
  2. The car sported a special license plate.

Instantly, I started fantasizing. Within a heartbeat, I was transported back in time. Teleported to the very first movie I remember watching.

I was very young.  Young enough to be crabby that my brother, Bob, had control of the TV.  Annoyed that he was watching a movie instead of cartoons.  Annoyed enough to forget that as long as the TV was on I didn’t really care what was showing.  (I had, just that morning, been watching the test pattern.)

The movie was brilliant, and I have never watched the test pattern since.  It was called

If I Had A Million

 It was a compilation of a bunch of sequences where various characters were given a million dollars that they could spend however they chose.  It later became the TV series “The Millionnaire” where a wealthy man would give people $1 million as long as they didn’t tell where it came from.

Anyway, in the move If I Had A Million, WC Fields’ lady-friend Mary had just had her new car ruined by what we would today call an “asshole,” but who was then called a “Road Hog.” When WC Fields and Mary Boland  got their million, they knew just what to do:

They bought a bunch of old clunker cars, and whenever there was a road hog around, they would ram their clunker into him, causing the jerk to totally wreck his own car, along with theirs.  But that didn’t matter, because that was why WC and Mary had bought those old clunkers!

They did this repeatedly.  And it has been my fondest wish since I was about six years old, to be able to do that to the bad drivers, the folks who cut people off, who weave and edge and drive dangerously.

Revenge would be so sweet!

But in spite of being a wise ass, I am not an asshole. I did not smash the car that parked so inconsiderately. I did not accidentally-on-purpose run my keys along the $60,000 Audi Q7 SUV. I did not even spit in its general direction.

It was especially challenging because I realized that the owner is represents everything I hate. I realized that I’d seen him before, changing lanes discourteously.  He (and yes, it was a he) had an overpriced car that he drove like he owned the road.  And those specialty license plates?

Photo Credit:  VA DMV Website

The Asshole was A Tea Partier! Photo Credit: VA DMV Website

 

And I realized that I really needed to feel sorry for the dumb rich guy.  You see, this genius paid extra taxes to the Commonwealth of Virginia so that he could protest paying taxes.

Photo Credit:  izquotes.com

Photo Credit: izquotes.com

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Campaigning, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Driving, Elections, GOP, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Taking Care of Each Other, Taxes, Virginia, Wild Beasts

Siri-ously Monday

It was apparent pretty much from the start that today was Monday.

I got up late and everything that followed was just slightly off.

Traffic was awful.  I mean, this is DC – traffic is always awful.  But today I found myself stopped in places where I usually go.   I watched the clock tick past 9:00.  Past 9:15.

Luckily for me, though, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  When I arrive late, I stay late.  It all works out.  But still, I’d rather get there and not just hang out, stopped in traffic.

I thought I should call the office and let them know I was on my way.  Naturally, I had an ulterior motive.

Because I planned to call Yenny.

Yenny is my friend and colleague at the office.  But she has magical powers.  Because when I’m stuck in traffic and I call Yenny, traffic begins to move. It was important that I talk to Yenny or I knew I’d never make it to work.

I was at a dead stop.  My cell phone was in my pants pocket, but I put my earpiece in place and clicked that bluetooth on.  Siri, the magical creature in my iPhone sang a note to let me know that she was listening.  That she was ready to help.

In the months that I’ve had my iPhone 5C, I’ve come to rely on Siri for just these situations.  She’s great.  The Siri who lived in my iPhone 4?  An absolute idiot.  We were not friends.  We had words.   Those words rarely had more than four letters.  Siri4S would respond “what did I do to deserve that?”  Trust me.  She deserved it.

But Siri 5C?  She is a star.  She doesn’t let me down.  She helps me.  I love Siri5C.

“Call Yenny,” I instructed her politely.  I never swear at Siri5C.  In fact, she often comments on how polite I am with a casual “don’t mention it,” when I thank her.

Now this morning when I asked her to call Yenny, I realize that I didn’t say “please.”  That is because last week when I was in precisely this situation, and I said “Please call Yenny.”

“Should I call the Police?” Siri asked.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  She may have been having a rough start to her day.  Still, I decided not to say “please” to Siri.  I always say “thank you,” though.

What did Siri say to today’s request  to “Call Yenny?”

“I don’t see that,” she said.  “Did you mean ‘conference call number’?  Or would you like to call Gastroenterology Fellow on call.”  She only heard the “call” and went from there.  This wasn’t an auspicious beginning.

“No,”  I said.  Clearly, Siri was having a rough start to the day, too.  I clicked my Bluetooth off, and clicked it on again immediately.

“Call Yenny … ” I gave Siri Yenny’s last name.  On a bad day, Siri will cooperate the second time I ask her to do something.  Much like my son.

“Do you want local businesses beginning with “call”

“No, Siri.” I said. I hung up.

Then I had an idea.  I figured I’d have Siri call my number at the office – and presto — I’d be connected!  So I clicked on again and said “Call Me-“

But I immediately remembered that “Me-Office” goes to my direct line, not the main company line.  So I’d be able to leave myself a message that I’d be late — which I already knew.  Because, well, you know.

So I interrupted myself.  Figured I’d stop before I said something stupid to Siri.  But it was too late.

Because what Siri heard was “Siri, call me … never mind.”

”OK,” Siri responded.  “From now on, I’ll call you ‘Never Mind.”

Sadly, this may be an improvement.   Before he went back to college, Jacob instructed Siri to call me “Queen,”  I couldn’t figure out how to change it.

Now I have.

Is it Friday yet?

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Conspicuous consumption, Driving, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health, Stupidity, Technology, Wild Beasts

The Stars Have It

Just the other day, I got an early birthday gift from a bloggin’ buddy.  Benze from Benzeknees directed me to what is billed as “A very ACCURATE HOROSCOPE”  — just when I was trying to figure out what to say about my birthday.  January 18.  I actually hate my birthday.  I’d much rather celebrate someone else’s.  But celebrating this milestone is traditional.  And I am nothing if not traditional.

So thanks, Benze, you made life much easier!

CAPRICORN – The Passionate Lover (December 22 to January 19)
Love to bust. Nice. Sassy. Intelligent. Sexy. Grouchy at times and annoying to some. Lazy and love to take it easy, but when they find a job or something they like to do they put their all into it. Proud, understanding and sweet. Irresistible. Loves being in long relationships. Great talker. Always gets what he or she wants. Cool. Loves to win against other signs in sports, especially Gemini’s. Likes to cook but would rather go out to eat at good restaurants. Extremely fun. Loves to joke. Smart.

24 years of bad luck if you do not share this post.

There’s a bit of truth in it, even though I will admit to having no clue as to what “Love to bust” means.  Grouchy?  Ummm, yeah.  Intelligent and Sassy?  OK, often.  “Great talker” — well, I’ll never get a job as a mime.  “Always gets what he or she wants”?  I’m working on it.  Unfortunately it doesn’t say how long it takes … (I need a dog….)

The description  that is closest to the mark is that I’m lazy.  It’s true.  And it makes it so that I don’t have to do any more work on this post.

Yes, I’m going to post what I put up last year.  And the year before.  It’s true. I am going to post the song that sums up my life these days as a new 57-year old:

But you know what?  It beats the alternative.

I’ll go with People My Age …

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Birthday, Conspicuous consumption, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Mental Health

Sharing the Boss

Some things are just too good to keep to myself:

 

 

I found this at Dailykos.com, and it made my morning– enjoy!

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Filed under Campaigning, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Daily Kos, Disgustology, Driving, Elections, GOP, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity, Traffic

Freedom Industries! and why I ♥ Regulations

It’s the mantra that makes me want to grab the TV remote, smack the person who held it, and change the channel ASAP away from FOX News.

THERE’S TOO MUCH REGULATION!

Me?  I  Regulations.  I dote on them.  I support them.

I understand them and why they are there.  I even lecture about them (and not just here on Word Press – people actually pay me money to do so).*  Regulations, I always tell folks, are the IKEA instructions that accompany the bookcase.  They are the “how-tos.”

Laws are enacted in response to our understanding that a problem exists, and we need to change what we do as a country to prevent it from happening again.  At the same time, we hopefully have enough vision to see some of the related problems that might occur and try to prevent them from occurring.  A few examples:

Our current Food and Drug laws, the Food and Drug Act of 1936 and the Food and Drug Act Amendments (commonly known as the Kefauver-Harris Amendments).  The FDCA was first enacted after a manufacturer added antifreeze (without testing its effects on people, animals or using their brains very much at all) to a cough remedy to make it more palatable to the kiddies.  The then-current law didn’t actually say that they couldn’t add antifreeze.  Guess what happened!  105 people died.

Another disaster involving a drug that was tested and tried, thalidomide, was found to cause serious birth defects in the babies born to pregnant women.  It wasn’t ever approved in the US thanks to Dr. Frances Kelsey

Dr. Frances Kelsey.   (Photo from Wikipedia article you should have already linked to and read.)

Dr. Frances Kelsey.
(Photo from Wikipedia article you should have already linked to and read.  What are you waiting for?)

Laws designed to safeguard our waters and land came about mostly in the 1970s after two hundred years of treating our country’s land and water like a sewer.  Diseases were springing up in neighborhoods where chemical companies had dumped chemicals.

Love Canal, where Hooker Chemical buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste! (Google Image)

Love Canal, where Hooker Chemical buried 21,000 tons of toxic waste!
(Google Image)

Our rivers were polluted.  If you fell into the Potomac River when I first moved here in 1979, you had to get a typhoid shot.  The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland burned.

Cuyahoga River Burns (June 22, 1969) (Google Image)

Cuyahoga River Burns (June 22, 1969)
(Google Image)

And so our then-FUNCTIONAL Congress (made up of folks who understood why they were elected and who believed in compromise and who believed in the need for government) passed laws to protect us and our land and our water and our air.  Now, our hazardous materials and hazardous waste are to be carefully monitored under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.  Under the Clean Water Act.  The Clean Air Act.  And a bunch of others designed to keep you and me safe and keep industry behaving itself.

But laws only say:

 We’re Gonna Fix This Problem

Regulations give us step by step instructions on

How to Fix This Problem

Regulations are very specific.  In order to comply, you must do A,B and C, according to specific instructions.  When regulations are promulgated the agency asks the regulated industry to comment on them, how to make them more manageable, workable, less expensive to follow.  But the regulations cover testing, manufacturing techniques, storage, monitoring, record-keeping, transportation, the works.  Regulations have the force of law.  If a company doesn’t follow them, they are liable for penalties and/or imprisonment.

Regulations

Regulations protect me.  They protect you.  They protect the United States of America from bad manufacturers.  They penalize the bad ones so that they don’t get away with messing up our planet.  They must be strong enough so that manufacturers fear them and therefore follow them.  Slaps on the wrist are ignored when there is money to be made by ignoring regulations. They must be strong.  (Because remember, there are idiots who would add antifreeze to cough syrup for a buck.)

Regulations are the rules that society agrees to adhere to often in spite of the fact that they are a serious pain in the ass.

Regulations, I say to those still awake in my lectures, are like the IKEA instructions.  The furniture is no good without them.  But they need to be followed.

Take this week’s Freedom Industries leak of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol, or Crude MCHM, a heavy-duty chemical used in processing coal.  Current estimates are that this leak — from a facility brilliantly located upriver from a water purification plant — contaminated the drinking water of more than 100,000 residents of West Virginia.

Thirsty? (Photo from CNN)

Thirsty?
(Photo from CNN)

Freedom Industries has said don’t know when the spill started.  They don’t know how much spilled.  They don’t know whether the stuff that has made the entire area smell like licorice is, in fact, terribly toxic to people or if so, how toxic it is to human health.

They are supposed to know or they didn’t comply with the regulations.

They are supposed to measure the amount in the tanks.  Frequently.

They are supposed to record the amount they add or remove from the tanks.  Every single time they do this.

They are supposed to test.  Frequently.

They are supposed to monitor for leaks.  Frequently.

They are supposed to comply with the regulations.  It seems as if they did not.

They are supposed to make sure that they don’t fucking contaminate the fucking water for a hundred thousand people and possibly, probably more.

And if they didn’t they should go to jail.

I’m betting that they didn’t — that they didn’t follow the regulations.  Time will tell.

Freedom Industries  (Washington Post Image)

Freedom Industries
(Washington Post Image)

Just imagine what the rest of our country, our land, our rivers, our air, would be like if there were no regulations.  And you know, don’t you, that the Republican party is oh-so-determined to cut regulations.  To protect industry.  Not you.  Not me.  Industry.  Like Freedom Industries.

Do me a favor.  Think of Freedom Industries whenever you hear someone bitch about the loss of freedom from regulations.

Think of what we’d lose without regulation.

*   *   *

* From 1980-1989, I analyzed environmental regulations and drafted memos to folks on the steps they needed to comply with the regulations that are designed to keep our land, water and air cleaner.

For the past 10 years, I’ve examined a zillion company documents that show how they comply with their IKEA instructions.

*     *     *

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn’t be around much.  But sometimes I just can’t shut up.

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Filed under Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Elections, GOP, Health and Medicine, History, Huh?, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Science, Stupidity, Technology, Voting