Thursday, July 30, 2020

“Smart” appliances, meet the smart aleck

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DUCK, N.C. – This oven has convinced me that the Luddites were on to something.

To review that historical reference you can’t look up because your cell phone is down to 3 percent,

Calling someone a Luddite today is a put down. It means the person is opposed to technology and, in general, change and progress. That’s not me. I’ve never longed for the days of manual typewriters or using paper road maps. But while I’m not old-fashioned, I do abhor technology that makes me want to drown in Old Fashioneds because it is unnecessarily complex. Or just simply unnecessary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Commence Reacting, Coronavirus Class of 2020

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Thank you for that warm introduction, Dr. Principalperson. And thank you for your bravery. Some would consider it pretentious of non-medical professionals such as yourself to still want to be addressed as “doctor” during these pandemic times.

What did you say, Dr. P? Huh?

Oh, seems I’ve muted everyone’s microphones for my portion of the Zoom graduation ceremony.

See that, my dearest beleaguered faculty, our hardest-working custodial staff, and most of all, you -- The Coronavirus Class of 2020. The ability to click a button and shut up your alleged superiors is just one feature of COVID-19 life that’s not too shabby.

Now let us ponder that phrase: “alleged superiors.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Pandemic Thrills in the Produce Aisle

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person passed out in grocery cart

Mere weeks before I first met my wife, she had survived a tandem skydive. That’s jumping out of an airplane with another person strapped to your back and only some polyester sheets to prevent the two of you from becoming a human short stack.

I, meanwhile, was still living with my parents. Living on the edge to me meant swigging their 1 percent straight out of the carton without first giving it a good, long sniff.

Nearly 30 years later, I am now the risk taker. The thrill seeker. The adrenaline junkie. The one who goes out for supplies during The Pandemic.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Bitcoin Bomb Scam Explodes on Homefront

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bitcoin scam email

Staying home isn’t even safe for my family anymore during the COVID-19 pandemic because apparently we have an “explosive device” in our house even more lethal than the homemade eight-bean chili in the freezer.

We learned this through an email my wife received last week. It instructed her to transfer $10,000 into a Bitcoin account lest a hidden device be detonated by a hitman “keeping the area under control.” I immediately recognized this as a hoax because, seriously — a bomb, an extortionist AND a hitman? So excessive for the suburbs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Strangers Among Us

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The Woman in the Yellow Hat first appeared on a Saturday morning in the early days of The Great Sequester.

I spotted her from our dining room window, striding purposefully around the cul-de-sac. After lunch I ran some errands and drove by her, arms pumping briskly as she ascended a hill about a mile from our house. I passed her along a different street on my return an hour later. As the sun descended behind the tree tops, she appeared again cruising around the cul-de-sac without any apparent loss of stride.

I see The Woman in the Yellow Hat regularly now, though never as frequently on a single day. Usually she’s walking, once in a while jogging. At all times, she’s wearing that ballcap — a glowing lemon beacon -- and not a trace of the exhaustion I feel just thinking about her seemingly perpetual motion.

She’s part of the new cast of characters in my life. COVID-19 may be keeping people home and out of their cars but not in the house or off the roads off my neck of the burbs. Where in the past my dog and I, on our twice daily rambles, would only fleetingly see folks as they whizzed by at some rate well above the posted limit, now we are having to cross the street to safely and politely avoid the increase in casual strollers and side-street athletes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Office Space: Coronavirus Home Edition

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Office Space: Coronavirus Home Edition Milton Stephen Root

Back in those halcyon days of, oh, four weeks ago, a friend shared a jokey tweet from Sam Adams, a senior editor with Slate. Adams wrote that the most frightening aspect of a pandemic that forced people to stay in their homes for 90 days would be that “the only ones to survive will be freelance writers.”

It’s now Day Numbersomethingorother of The Big Sequester, folks. It’s the end of the world as you know it, but I feel fine.

This “new normal” the coronavirus created is generally not much different than any ol’ normal day I’ve had for the past 16 years as a work-at-home writer, a socially distant profession well before it became de rigueur. The commute to my office remains congestion-free, provided the dog doesn’t cut me off in his haste to attend to his own business outside. My three-martini lunches still consist of a seltzer and leftovers with Jim Rockford, P.I. I’m always home in time for dinner because I’m always home and someone needs to cook.

Except now those nighttime meals are no longer made for me and my family. They’re for me and my three new full-time office mates.


My Uncool Past