Just In Time For Christmas

We interrupt this blog to bring you an important breaking story!

In a surprise marketing move, at least 3 gigantic electronics companies have introduced the same new consumer product — just in time for Christmas.  The Incredibly Useless Thing was introduced simultaneously at retail outlets around the world today.  The product sold out within hours.  Immediately dubbed the iThing by every unimaginative journalist in the universe, the device has sent computer geeks everywhere scurrying back to their mothers’ basements to try it out.  According to industry spokesperson, Dakota Nebraska, the iThing comes with twice as many mega-pixels and enough speed and memory to launch the Mars Rover from your kitchen.

“We’re calling the iThing the next generation of useless electronic device,” Nebraska said. “The iThing is totally wireless, you can recharge it with the steam off your pee and battery life, with continuous use, is approximately 12 minutes.”  Nebraska Dakota went on to say, “There are already 8 million Apps available for the iThing– everything from “Which Potato Are You?” to a “Proton Torpedo Simulator,” plus the iThing comes pre-programmed with some awesome coloured lights that go on and off and a variety of unusual sounds.”

The iThing uses the new Inutile Operating System, which is no different from all the other operating systems on the planet except it’s not compatible with any of the electronic crap you already own — including your toaster.  Its Interactive Help Menu connects you with a chat line where you can join other iThing users who don’t know any more than you do.  But for a real techno-frustrating experience, all three gigantic electronic companies are offering 24/7 tech support which is exclusively accessible only from the iThing itself.  In other words, say your prayers, cuz the coyote’s got a better chance of catching the road runner than you have of finding someone to help you figure this thing out!

In a candid, off the record, interview, one techno-drone said, “We’ve changed all the names and placement of every function on the menu — just to screw with ya.  We’ve added a Tool Bar that is completely unnecessary, and if you accidently press “Back Slash, Gallery” Facebook automatically places all your friends on Tinder.  And we’ve done a bunch of other stuff, too, but why should I tell you?  You thought you were so cool in high school — with your cars and your cheerleaders.  Well, who’s laughin’ now, Braaadley?  Who’s laughin’ now?”

Initially, the iThing will be offered in two models: the cheap one you see advertised (which is woefully under-powered) and the outrageously expensive one (which the pirates who made the device know you are going to have to buy eventually, anyway.)  However, some electronic companies are taking a bold, new retail approach.  “We don’t care about the iThing itself,” they say. “It’s free.  We’ll give you the damn thing for nothing, as long as you sign a 5-year contract of penal servitude so we can charge you for every nanosecond it operates — from the minute you turn it on.”

There have already been protests about the predatory pricing of the iThing.  A fake YouTube commercial, showing the iThing exploding, has been viewed 100 million times and #iThing Sucks on Twitter has gone viral – twice!  Retailers have responded to the criticism by saying, “Big deal! A bunch of kids and old people have clicked an “angry face” emoji.  So what?  We’re sold out anyway.”

Dakota Nebraska, spokesperson for the three gigantic electronic companies, also responded by saying, “There has been some criticism, but the retail numbers speak for themselves.  This is not a manufactured shortage.  Our customers are saying they want the iThing.  Look at the unholy prices people are willing to pay!  But we’re all about families here at Big Electronics, and we want parents and grandparents to have something for their loved ones during the Holidays, so we’re offering an opportunity to pre-purchase the next shipment of iThings.  Your purchase comes with a numbered gift card which you can use to track your iThing through the entire manufacturing and distribution process.”  However, Nebraska Dakota also admitted that there was already a new and improved model, the iThing 2.0, in production — with tons more memory, better resolution, and a cheaper price tag — which should be in retail outlets in time for April Fool’s Day 2021.

We now return you to WD’s regular blog

Previous published – gently edited.

Everybody’s Talking …

English is a wonderful language.  It can be as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel or as broad as a two-handed claymore.  It can describe anything or leave everything to your imagination.  In fact, English is so kickass we can say things without ever actually even saying them!  For example, when your wife/girlfriend says, “Are you going to wear that?” you know she’s really saying, “There is no way in Hell you’re leaving this house dressed like that.”  It’s a beautiful bit of linguistic gymnastics that people use all the time.  Here are a few more examples.  (With translations.)

“Sorry I’m late.”
Translation — I hate these morning meeting, I hate this job and I hate you.  The only reason I even dragged my sorry ass out of bed is I’ve got a car payment and a massive student loan hanging over my head.

“I know I’m only going to be gone for a couple of days, but I’m really going to miss you.”
Translation — Any chance of having sex before I leave?

“No offence …”
Translation — I’m going to offend you.

“… no offence.”
Translation — I’m covering my ass just in case I’ve already offended you.

“I’m vegan.”
Translation — I want to talk about me.

“I don’t judge.”
Translation — What you just told me is totally weird, and it caught me completely off guard.  So, rather than saying something unfortunate and sounding like an insensitive jerk, I’m going to shut up now and hope you change the subject.

“Do you need any help?”
Translation — Please, please, please, please, for the love of God, please– say no.

“Do these jeans make me look fat?”
Translation — I’ve spent all day dealing with perky salesgirls, women’s sizes are works of fiction, nobody has any decent colours and my bra is cutting me in half.  The least you could do is take 5 seconds and tell me I’m sexy.

“It’s really not that bad.”
Translation – Wow!  Are you ever screwed!

“That’s okay: I’m a good listener.”
Translation — This is the longest sob story in history.  Now I know how Mandela felt.

“My children are my whole life.”
Translation — Five minutes!  All I want is five minutes.  I haven’t even gone to the toilet in peace in 2 years.  Five minutes!  Is that too much to ask?

“I’ll remember that.”
Translation — I’m too busy/lazy to write this down, and I’m going to kick myself in a couple of days.

“We’ve put together a pretty solid financial plan that will get us out of debt in a couple of years.”
Translation — The grandparents haven’t died yet.

“Have you lost weight?”
Translation — Call me scum, but I’m so glad you’re fatter than I am.

“I’m a people person.”
Translation — I don’t have any marketable skills.

And finally one of the most common ones:

“We need to get together/do lunch/go for drinks, soon/more often/sometime in the vague future.”
Translation — We’re connected by circumstances and you seem like a nice person, so let’s play pretend for a few minutes — until we can go back to our real lives.

Scarier Than Covid

Humans are built to worry.  It’s in our DNA.  It’s why we became the dominant species on this planet — and not lunch.  When you’re the slowest, skinniest, weakest predator in the food chain, you need to develop some skills. One of the most important is anticipating danger.  It’s looking into the nice, warm cave and imagining the badass beastie who might be in there, just waiting for an unsuspecting Cro-Magnon Happy Meal to come along.  To be wary of the unknown is to be human.  So when an invisible little bug comes wheelin’ out of (dare I say it?) China and starts killing people, our natural tendency is to say “OMG!  Is it going to get me?”  Good question, but remember: as terrible as Covid is, it’s a temporary pain in the ass.  There are other things in this world that are a lot more permanent — and a lot scarier.  And if we don’t watch out, they WILL get us.  Here are just a few examples.

1 — Record Keeping – Back in the day, when anyone wanted to preserve knowledge, they carved it into a stone.  We literally have tons of examples that are thousands of years old: Hammurabi’s Code, the Rosetta Stone, the Pyramids.  They are all still there for anyone to see.  These days, however, when we want to keep important stuff safe, we rely on digital dots that head off into … I don’t know where.  However, I do know (wherever they go) some adolescent hacker with a grievance can go get them.  Not only that, but if he’s pissed off enough, he can do terrible things to them – with his telephone.  Personally, I’m scared stupid that my medical records, criminal records, bank history, driving history, Amazon account, credit cards, PIN number and library card are all at the mercy of a teenager with a grudge.  Swear at some kid on the subway and you could end up a bankrupt sex offender with a scheduled colonoscopy, outstanding warrants and overdue books.

2 — Lawyers – I can’t even write anything here because I’m scared some bloodsucking lawyer will take offence and sue the pants off me.  (Disclaimer: This is a general comment and not directed at any particular bloodsucking lawyer, living or dead.)

3 — Fraidy-cat Feminism – Nope, I’m not going to go there, either.

4 — The Cyber Mob – There’s a social media lynch mob out there just waiting for somebody – anybody — to step out of line, and there’s no law against them coming after me.

5 — University Students – Young people are supposed to be outrageous.  They’re supposed to say and do things that rankle the rest of us.  They’re supposed to talk about stuff that stodgy old buggers like me shy away from.  It’s their job because that’s where new ideas come from.  So, it scares the hell out of me when I hear undergrads demanding “trigger warnings” to alert them to the imminent danger of — words.  That’s right: we’ve raised an entire generation who are afraid of words.  “Careful, kids — or the nouns’ll get ya!”  It’s impossible to overestimate how dangerous this is.  University students should be on the frontline of our war against ignorance.  They’re supposed to take intellectual risks, not cower in a “safe space,” clutching their “anxiety puppies.”  These are the folks who are destined to deal with the problems of the 21st century.  How?  They can’t even hear the names without getting PTSD.  And BTW, calling them “snowflakes” is demeaning to the survival skills of snow.

And finally, the root of all anxiety in the world:

6 — Politically Correct – This new religion of the intellectually lazy has evangelized the entire world, and those who refused to convert have been slapped into silence. (See item #4.)  It has created so many sacred cows that our conversations are starving to death.  Think about it!  How many topics do you avoid just because it’s easier that way?  How many subjects are verboten?  How many times have you thought twice about expressing an opinion?  It’s getting to the point where we can’t even talk about the weather without some “woke warrior” lecturing us on the evils of climate change.  And the scariest thing about it is there’s never going to be a vaccine available to kill this viral stupidity.

 Now, that’s frightening!