Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Ten Additives to Life

I paused today to reflect upon the top ten things that I think complimented and improved life since 1980....the beginning of the Reagan era.  My list will be a bit odd and different....but for the right reasons.

1.  The mute button.  I've come to use my TV remote minute-by-minute, and that mute button is used around 150 times a day.  To be honest, I just don't listen to commericals now at all.  There are fair chunks out of the news shows at night....when the topic isn't worth listening to, and I just mute the TV.  The Today Show?  I watch fifteen minutes of it, but eleven minutes are mostly muted while I'm looking at news over the internet.  In my mind, the mute button is absolute gold, and society has greatly benefited from it being on all remotes.

2.  Duc-tape. I just can't imagine how society survived for all those years...without the stuff.  Mankind needed it, and it's probably been one of the great things we've used to help survive in difficult times.

3.  Streaming video.  It killed off the video-tape era and the DVD era, and destroyed Blockbuster.  Frankly, we are all better off now....able to watch Danish cop shows, English drama, and instructional videos on how to install a septic tank via YouTube.

4.  GPS.  Frankly, a guy doesn't need a map atlas with him in the car, and can drive from Mississippi to some street in Nashville where some gal gave him her address to meet for a liaison ...even though he's never physically met her before.  Guys don't drive in circles no more.....trying to admit they know where they are (to the wife), but can't find the right street.

5.  Wal-Mart.  It was barely in existence in 1980, and over the last two decades....has become our essential stopping point after work.  Need bread?  Need shotgun shells?  Need a $9 white shirt for a funeral?  Need a $66 gift for your girlfriend?  Wal-Mart has added much to life.

6.  Computerized warning on cars.  Your car has the ability to tell you that it's got serious problems but can survive for 200 more miles.  You can pull into the mechanic's shop....six minutes later....he's describing the piece you need and how it'll be at his shop by noon tomorrow (from Iuka, Miss), and he'll have it back running in less than twenty-four hours.

7.  Cellphones.  It's amazing.  A guy can be half-way to work and the wife can call to say that Gunter (your dog) is all sick and needs emergency attention at the vet.  You stop in the middle of the road, and haul-ass back to save Gunter....telling your boss that your wife is the one sick and you will be in around noon.  You can track your kids, call your secret liaison gal, and ask the Baptist minister to pray for you because you flipped out and woke up in the cornfield.

8.  Listening Tapes.  An entire segment of society, has progressed to a highly educated state of mind....by using 60 minutes of tapes or CDs on the way to work.  These folks know fusion, the difference between light and dark meat, what triggered the Vietnam War, and why women faint so easily when you jab a fishhook into your arm.

9.  Five-hour Drinks.  To be kinda honest....at 2PM.....when you used to be low....these five-hour drinks are a miracle.  Course, I know they are loaded with caffeine and probably are not that good for you....but they have helped society manage a low-point in the afternoon.

10.  Seinfeld.  Frankly, you'd think a show about nothing would amount to nothing in life.  The truth is....we all came to view life in New York as a blessing, and just wish we could sit down with George and absorb some of his luck and manhood.  We'd also like to be neighbors with Kramer.  And that Elaine gal?  Well....she's a nine on the ten-scale.

"Yes" or "No"

Across the river from me....into Maryland....this election season....there's like eight or nine key measures that are "yes" or "no" on the ballot.  Some are worthless for most residents to answer....some are important.

In recent weeks....there's a barrage of ad's that run from 4AM to 7AM on the morning news.  You need to vote "yes" on measure seven, "no" on measure eight, or opposite.

The ad's have become so generic and so misleading....that you really have no idea what the measure is about....except at the end.....vote "yes" or "no".  This morning....some guy spent twenty seconds talking about West Virginia....before getting to the "yes" part of the vote deal, and you suddenly realized it was a Maryland measure.

I suddenly came to realize this morning....for the common man....there's no way of remembering these, and folks are now likely to vote "no" for all eight measures just because it's so damn confusing.

If you asked nine out of ten Maryland folks to describe in one sentence each measure....they'd respond that they just can't do it.  They know one measure has something to do with gay marriage, but I doubt if a majority can remember which is which.  And they know one measure has to deal with casino gambling, but they have no idea what the intent really is in the end.

Yeah, in a democracy....things can get kinda tangled up.  You'd like to be able to hire legislature folks to do the work....but they just don't want any trouble with voters....so they dump it back on those folks to mess with the tough business.   And they've tried to make this simple....."yes" or "no".  No maybes.

Its Just the Way It Is

I tried to make some sense out of this.  There's a special on the National Geographic Channel in ten days....two days before the election....on SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden.

It's supposed to be a docu-history piece, which naturally stars President Barack Obama as a major planner in the mission.

Well.....as the director got the documentary organized and developed.....he also had this brief moment where candidate Mitt Romney would have said he was against the raid.  Naturally, this has never been said, and it's more of a fictional moment....than a historical moment.

The CEO at the National Geographic Channel then stepped in and said he just wasn't going to have propaganda on his channel (shocking, I know).

So this brief one-minute piece over Mitt Romney got cut.

I paused and pondered over this.  There are dozens of documentaries produced for the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Channel....each year.  Sadly, most of them have a bogus or highly-interpreted piece to them.  The alien shows, the bigfoot shows, the fake moonshine shows, and even fake gold-mining shows in Alaska.....all have bogus pieces to them.

Heck, you could have thrown in sixty seconds of Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, and George Bush all sitting at a bar in Idaho and discussing the cancellation of the Ossama mission.  Then you could have run sixty seconds of Fidel Castro talking over raid with some retired guy from General Motors who happened to bump into Fidel at a Havana bar.  Then you could have had a moment where six illegal aliens are discussing the impact of the mission on immigration reform.

The truth is.....most Americans aren't going to watch the National Geographic Channel special.  We got Ossama....we don't need to know too many details, and we've got NCAA action or some John Wayne movie to watch instead.  If you had thrown an alien or UFO into the special....we might have watched it.