Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Groupon recently sent me a discount offer for bikini wax. That made me wonder why would anyone need or even want a shiny bikini?

Has anyone ever been arrested for touching a child appropriately? Of course not! I’m not making fun of a problem, I’m making fun of the way we describe a problem. Sex abuse and especially child sex abuse is very serious, so serious that I think euphemisms like “inappropriate touching” are really out of place.

Why are there so many different ends on USB cables?

Onions and garlic are in the same botanical family, right? So, how come onions don’t have any effect on vampires?

Things I Know

In his May 12th blog, my Internet friend Dick Summer tells a story he’s told before about how his wife bought him a new pair of swim trunks because she didn’t want to be seen in public with him anymore when he wore the Speedo he has had most of his life. It reminded me that I got a Speedo when I was 17. It was navy blue when I got it. It was kind of sun-faded brown when it disappeared from the pool locker room when I was 34. Did my wife, Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) take matters into her own hands at the pool on that awful day that my Speedo disappeared?

We’ve only met once, but I consider Dick a kindred spirit because each of us has an off-beat sense of humor, each of us is very well aware that we’ve married above our station in life, and each of us is unabashedly in love with his wife.

I recommend that right-handed people buy sleeping bags with the zipper on the left and vice versa. I’m right handed and it’s easier for me to zip a bag whose zipper is on the left. I own four bags, not because I lose them but because I use them for different purposes. This past weekend, I used the only one I have with its zipper on the right and was reminded again of how much better I’d like it if I remembered my recommendation when I bought it.

Among life’s frustrations, I’ve never used the Blockbuster Video app on my Android phone, I can’t delete it, and now it’s bugging me every day because it needs an update.

Speaking of which, if you buy a new computer, and it comes loaded with bloatware, you can delete it. With an Android phone, it’s not a question of “if.” Android phones do come loaded with bloatware,  a lot of which you cannot delete. Bad. For the uninitiated, bloatware is software you don’t want, and didn’t order that comes loaded on your new computer from the factory. It’s there because the software publishers pay the computer manufacturers to put it there as a form of advertising.

I don’t know or care whether the actor John Travolta is gay. Having said that, a lot of the reporting surrounding a lawsuit claiming damages because Travolta allegedly harassed men sexually while they provided massage services is deeply disturbing for its ignorance of proper English usage. Attention copy editors everywhere (professional writers too): There’s no such thing as a male masseuse and the phrase “male masseur” is redundant. By definition, a masseuse is female, a masseur is male. Plus, in either case, I believe the preferred phrase these days is massage therapist.

I don’t think President Obama’s position on gay marriage has evolved over his presidency. He favored it as a State Senator. When he ran for President four years ago I believe he held off on saying so because he didn’t want to alienate those people against gay marriage who would otherwise vote for him. I also believe that his recent announcement that he now favors gay marriage is a deliberate distraction from what should be the main issue. Let’s face it: The 2012 presidential election should hinge on the same issue the 1992 presidential election did: “It”s the economy stupid,” or maybe that should be, it’s the stupid economy.

Just for the record, I think all governments should stay out of everyone’s bedroom as long as what’s going on in there is consensual. If two gay people want to get married, it doesn’t bother me in the least.

Sometimes I just don’t understand’s search function. I am considering purchasing a new laptop computer because a couple of keys on the one I have now have become unreliable.  Even if I fix the keyboard, my current laptop’s hard drive is nearly full, and it only has 1 GB of RAM. I searched Amazon’s category “computers & accessories” for the word “laptop.” When sorted for average customer review, the first laptop computer was listed on page seven of the search results.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan got married over the weekend. They’ve been together a long time, but last week, she became a doctor, and he became a multi-billionaire, so I guess they waited to get married until they were sure they could afford it.

Things I Want (Or Need) To Know

Even if you use Facebook, and I do, why would you buy the stock when it’s trading at THAT MANY times earnings? I’m not saying the stock won’t be successful, just that it strikes me as extremely overpriced. If it’s going to be worth that stock price, they’ll have to operate a lot more aggressively to increase their earnings enough to justify it.

Did you read about how a CIA drone was used to attack and kill Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso, an Al Qaeda leader on the FBI most wanted list who was reported planning a new and improved underwear bombing attack? Honestly, I don’t understand underwear bombing. How are the 72 virgins who’ll greet you in Paradise going to do you any good if you’ve blown off your private parts?

If Google succeeds in its current effort to develop a driverless car, will someone riding in the car still have to have a driver’s license?

Why is it that soda, or pop, or soft drinks, or whatever they call it where you live is sold in two-litre bottles while milk and orange juice are sold by the half gallon? And with ice cream and a lot of other goods being sold in smaller packages at no reduction in price, do the bottlers of soda realize that switching to a half gallon bottle would effectively raise the price?

Things I Know

There’s an old science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke called “Childhood’s End.” It’s about the human race evolving to another state, not about you and me reaching adulthood. Then, there’s the news today that Maurice Sendak has died. Talk about the end of childhood.

One of the biggest problems with politics and government in America today is that people accept and excuse certain unacceptable or inexcusable behaviors depending on whether those behaviors come from a politician they agree with. If any office holder does something another office holder of a different political party also did while in office, one can’t be wrong and the other right. In the same circumstances, they should both be judged the same way.

I will allow though, that if your public stance on any issue, when compared to your private behavior, makes you out to be a hypocrite, that makes whatever you’re doing worse, whether your private behavior is legal or not.

A guy test driving a white Ferrari California worth about $200,000 and considering buying it launched it into San Francisco Bay on Saturday afternoon. Even though I’m not a Scooby Doo fan, I’m strangely compelled to say, “Ruh oh!”

Every parent makes mistakes. It’s one of the things that keep psychiatrists and psychologists in business. Every child deserves to have two parents who never do anything they know in advance will be bad for their child: We don’t all get that. The reverse is true too, by the way. Parents deserve children, especially adult children, who don’t deliberately hurt them either. In any event, I hope your relationship with your mom is good enough that you can sincerely wish her a happy Mother’s Day on Sunday.

My wife, Saint Karen (she has to be a saint to put up with me) celebrates her birthday this week which means that there are times her birthday and Mother’s Day occur on the same date. I learned when her birthday is shortly after we started dating, but it didn’t occur to me that I’d have to buy two presents very close together or on the same day until our first child was born. It doesn’t matter though; she’s worth it to me. So, officially and for the record, happy birthday Saint Karen. I’ve said that on lots of occasions (all of them her birthday), but I’ll never be able to say it enough times to suit me.

BTW, I call my wife Saint Karen as a tribute to her patience with me. Calling her that got me curious as to whether there was a real Saint Karen. I’ve found several brief references saying there is a Saint Karen who is the patron saint of love and marriage. Although there’s almost no detail on her life and with no feast day listed, I find it appropriate that Saint Karen would be the patron saint of love and marriage since I love my wife and I’m married to her. I searched the website and didn’t find a Saint Karen listed. I know that the name Karen and the name Catherine or Katherine come from the same root and I know there’s at least one Saint Catherine so I’m not worried. And there’s a website called It’s related to a performance artist who goes by that name. That’s a different Saint Karen though.

Things I Know

In a currently running Allstate TV commercial, Dennis Haysbert, the announcer, says, “Emily’s just starting out, and on a budget. It’s like a ramen-noodle-every-night budget.” That’s a really strict budget! Ramen noodles every night I could understand, but only one?

Mercedes Benz is running commercials on radio and TV featuring young children saying that when they grow up they will take over their parents’ certified pre-owned (used, but with a warranty) Mercedes Benz. I guess Mercedes has data showing that owners keep the cars long enough to pass them to children, but it surprises me. I do keep cars until they die (one of my cars is 21 years old), but I would have guessed that someone who buys a used, late-model luxury car would be less likely than I am to keep that car until the bitter end.

I had to laugh at Speaker of the House John Boehner when he suggested President Obama was playing politics with a bill to keep interest on student loans low. He was right, because Republicans in the House and GOP presidential candidate Romney want to keep the loan interest low too. The difference is in how each party proposes to pay for it. The reason I had to laugh at Boehner’s remark is he proposed paying for it in a very political way himself; by taking the money away from the President’s health care program.

There’s a bill in Congress to allow people who borrowed money under student loan programs to get out of the loans if they declare bankruptcy. Students, don’t get your hopes up about that bill passing. However, if it does, you’re still stuck if your parents cosigned the loan. If you go bankrupt, the maker of the loan will just go after your parents.

I’m reading a book called “Dewdroppers, Waldos and Slackers” by Rosemarie Ostler. It’s about slang in the 20th century and it’s also about 10-years old. Someone familiar with my interest in language bought it for me as a gift. Part of it is like a dictionary and part of it is narrative. No book fewer than 250-pages long can be comprehensive. I’m not finished with it, but so far I have two complaints. It doesn’t give the definition of “Waldo” I expected to see, a machine to manipulate objects as described in Robert Heinlein’s novel, “Waldo.” I wouldn’t complain about that except the word is in the title. And while it does mention the word “Funk,” it doesn’t include its definition as a kind of music. George Clinton would be disappointed. Speaking of Mr. Clinton, he’s bringing Parliament Funkadelic to Huntington, New York’s Paramount stage this weekend. If you like the funk, perhaps you should check it out.

Based on the recommendations it offers me, seems intent on selling me music that’s 10-20 years newer than the things I like best.

The makers of SDHC memory cards appear to be obfuscating how quickly they’ll write data. First, they print the class information in very small type on the label or the package. Second, you can buy cards that claim to far exceed the spec. I bought a micro SDHC card that says it’s class 6. That means it can write 6 MB/second. The package says it can write up to 30 MB/sec. Granted there are two asterisks after that figure, but I can’t find the footnote they refer to. I know there isn’t any class 30, but there is a class 10. If I manufactured cards that were better than class 6, I’d call them something better than class 6 and charge more than a class 6 price for them.

There are lots of radios that offer docking and charging for Apple phones, and some that offer an external input jack so you can play your Android or Windows phone. There are even MP3 players and phones that will play external memory cards. I’d certainly pay for a radio that would also accept and play an SDHC card. I could load it with music I like instead of the music they now play on the radio.

I bought a Sansa Clip Zip which is a very small MP3 player. I like it except for two things: It’s so small I misplaced it within five days of buying it even though I got a red one; and you can’t play it while it’s recharging. So, I can’t plug it into my car radio and recharge it while I’m driving and listening to my tunes.