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A Father’s Day Letter to a Child I Never Had

 

These are the olden days
These are the golden days
These are the days that we get
For time is a con
Yesterday’s gone
And tomorrow is simply a bet

 

Why is life such a leadfoot?

We speed the plows of our world until the only thing we are maintaining is velocity. The momentum of Things eclipses the meaning of them. We mock Sisyfus in the great boulder shoulder. 

We know to watch for this, of course. We know the lines by heart, the part by rote drumbeat: Smell the roses, live the moment, be thankful for receiving more todays than yesterdays. Or tomorrows.

Yet we press the gas. And blur the background. And grind in the gnash.

How do we stop it? Maybe the first step is recognizing it.

Ask yourself this: What was the highlight of today? Every day has one, if only that it gave us another.

But the question, when asked honestly, can be tricky. And if it’s tough coming up with an answer you believe, you may want to check your speed.

When that question is no longer difficult, you’ll know you’re maintaining a healthy distance.

Which is this:

On the bumper and in the mirror, where today is closer than it appears.

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Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon

Dear Mr. or Ms. Amazon,

First off, this is not a complaint letter. I imagine you get a lot of those. No, this is more a question and a couple suggestions. And don’t worry, I’m not a kook. I’m an Amazon Prime Member!

Anyhoo, I recently purchased an Amazon Tap, the digital home assistant that goes by the name Alexa.

She’s great! Much better than my Google Home that I also purchased (I have a gadget problem). I like that Google Home can tell me what a whale sounds like and has the correct definition for the word “irony” (the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect). But the base unit HAS TO BE PLUGGED IN!! Why not also require that you connect through a rotary telephone? Am I right or what?!

Back to Alexa. As the Tap is portable, I often bring it to my backyard spa to enjoy the dusk sunset. Have you ever though of teaching Alexa bird calls? Just an idea.

The day hadn’t been going great, so I wasn’t in the most groovy mood. In fact, I was pissed. So I wasn’t in the mood to hear John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road (Not Alexa’s fault. That was just the last playlist on Pandora.).

Anyhoo, I asked Alexa to play to play one of the baddest-assed songs I know, Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. (Side note, I interviewed Nugent once on gun control. The Motor City Madman nicknamed me Scottily Wottily.).

In the spa, I told Alexa simply: “Play Stranglehold.” I’ve done it so often, I know that’s all the instruction she needs.

Except this time, as I made the request, a plane buzzed nearby overhead. (I live near the Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation hubs in the world, handling 217,000 plane movements in 2015.

The plane and my words must have co-mingled, because Alexa heard something that made her reply: “That’s kind of you to say. Thank you.”

So now I’m wondering: ‘What did she hear?’ Worse: “Was that just a polite thank you, an uncomfortable response to a creepy come-on?” When I told her “Sorry,” she said “No worries.” But, honestly, it sounded a little rote, like she was saying it just because she had to.

So, two-part question: Have you considered programming Alexa to answer this question: “Alexa, what do you think I just asked you.”

I’m dying of curiosity. I’ve tried to replicate the incident. Even tried to come up with a similar phrase that might evoke another electronic blush. The closest I could come to “Play Stranglehold” was “Stay dangle gold.” But she didn’t know what that meant.

So, part II: Would be to please have your tech people let Alexa know I really am sorry? I may have been naked when I said it. Do I have to register with some sort of electronic predator list?

Anyhoo, that’s it. Keep up the good work. I hear you’re making Alexa sweep now. One  tip: Do NOT let her watch those Terminator movies.

Spank my behind…er, Thanks for your time. (Siri can be a real smartass).

Sincerely,

Scott Bowles

p.s. Ever notice your logo (especially for your Amazon Video service) looks like an erect penis approaching the vaaginal ‘O?’ Was that on purpose, or the work of a disgruntled graphic designer?

 

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U.S. to Mother Nature: Drop Dead

     That Donald Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris global warming accord was as inevitable as the rising sea.
     What is surprising is the rationale that punctuated the withdrawal — and that we in the press let it pass for logic.
     We would expect the right to applaud it. Republicans increasingly find themselves on the wrong side of science, from evolution to stem cell research, that will eventually leave it the party of ancient texts. Now the GOP can claim a new acronym: Get Our Planet.
     But what was stunning was the pass afforded the administration. We in the media (and that’s all of us, social media strollers) permitted Trumpeteers to applaud the decision as Trump keeping an election promise.  CNN and MSNBC both featured Trump supporters like talking pimple whitehead Jeffrey Lord, hailing the move as canny American scrimping, which it may indeed be.
     Not once, however, could I find an analyst to ask this question: Did the promise itself have merit? We have reached a political strata where simply keeping your word suffices for integrity. But what if the pledge itself is a crackpot one?
     Say, for instance, that Trump promised to make America great again by returning us to slavery. And, thanks to the bible-thumping populace of the American South, he won — largely on that campaign plank. Would we have “the other side” of a political debate? The one that argues that, sure, Trump may have repealed the 13th Amendment, but at least he kept his word?
     Of course not. We would apply a larger question to the issue. Not ‘Is it legal?’ But ‘Is it right?’
     Yet I continue to look for a reporter who will ask this simple question of a single supporter: America makes up 4% of the world’s population. Yet we account for 32% of the world’s carbon emissions. Whatever your thoughts on the economic unfairness of the accord, doesn’t that mean we owe 8 times the amount on the dinner bill? Judge Judy likes to say “You ate the steak, now you have to pay for it.”
     Didn’t we eat eight steaks?
Now, on to other non-alternative facts, bitches:
  • An elephant’s skin can be up to 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) thick but is so sensitive it can feel a fly landing on it.
  • In Nepal, Mount Everest is known as Chomolungma, meaning “Goddess Mother of Mountains.”
  • In 2005, a psychologist and an economist taught a group of monkeys the concept of money. Soon, the monkeys engaged in prostitution.
  • Today’s average American woman weighs as much as the average 1960s man.
  • The U.S. joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations that aren’t part of the Paris agreement to limit carbon emissions.
  • If you deprive a fruit fly or a fish of sleep, it will try to catch up the next day.
  • Butterflies have 4 eyes, bees have 5 eyes, most spiders have 8 eyes and Caterpillars have 12 eyes.

 

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