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        Donald Trump in a Restaurant

 

 WAITER:

Good evening, Mr. Trump. May I start you and Mrs. Trump off with a cocktail this evening?

 THE D:

Hell, no, I never drink. Drinking is for losers. For people who want to forget things they've done. Everything I've ever done is memorable. Don't want to forgot one moment of me. But bring the wife a martini. Women don't need to remember much. They can burn brain cells all day long. 

 WAITER:

Of course, sir. Would you care to hear this evening's specials?

 THE D:

Excuse, me? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard! I only want to hear the specials! Why the hell would I want to hear about food that isn't special. I'm special! People beg me to eat their food. I'm a great eater! How stupid are you! I'd be stunned if you're still working here by dessert! Now, get on with it.

 WAITER:

Yes, sir. This evening, chef has an excellent Caesar salad with...

 THE D:

Unbelievable! You hear that, Melania? A Caesar salad! Why would anyone eat a salad named after a loser! As emperors go, he was totally clueless! Clueless and a rapist. Such a bad leader, such a stupid politician, senators stabbed the guy to death! I like salads named after people who weren't stabbed to death by senators. Bring me a Brutus salad!

 WAITER:

...I don't think we have ...

 THE D:

Of course you don't think! That's what wrong with America! Every since that Kenyan became President no one thinks anymore! No one except me! That's why I'm a great looking billionaire and you're a non-descript order taker who's going to get stiffed on the tip! And that's saying a lot because I have to tell you, I'm a magnificent tipper! I know a lot of rich people and they say they tip well but they have no idea what a real tip is! They're all liars. Liars and rapists. No one tips like me!. You want a tip? Don't be an order taker. Be a handsome billionaire. It's better hours and you get an airplane. I have a beautiful airplane. So great, so fantastic, my beautiful wife posed naked in it, right honey? How many people can say that?

 WAITER: (aside)

...how many people would want to?  

 THE D:

I'll be the first President of the United States with a centerfold First Lady! Forget those cheesy Polaroid snaps Ronnie used to pop off of Nancy doing that dog collar thing. I'm talking full bore, staple through the belly centerfold!

So, is there anything good to eat in this place or do I have to pick up the phone, buy the restaurant across the street and have that chef come over here and cook something decent? Never mind, give me that menu... What! This is as bad as an Obama trade deal! New Zealand lamb! ... Chilean sea bass! ... Hungarian goulash! ... Peking duck! Damn China! These countries are laughing at our taste buds! Well, as President I'm deporting all their food! Especially fried rice, noodles and eggrolls!

 WAITER:

The chicken is local.

  THE D:

CHICKEN!!! You know who eats chicken? Everybody! You know why? Because they're weak! Defenseless pushovers! Lightweights with no military might to secure their place in the food chain! Obama has a pet chicken! That's right!

Water buffalo! Wild boar. Dragons! That's what real men and real estate developers eat... Wait a minute! ...Are you kidding me? Kobe beef from Colorado? Some rapist brought Japanese cows over here to have a birthright calf on our soil and call that 'anchor steak' American beef!!! We're getting killed! We've got to start eating nothing but grown 'here', American food! Go get the manager! This country needs to return to the red, white and blue groceries we ate growing up! Know what I mean, honey?

  MRS. T:

Not really. I was born in Sevnica, Slovenia.

  THE D:

What!? I thought that accent was from Beverly Hills?

 MANAGER: (rushing in)

Mr. Trump, is everything alright?

  THE D:

Not since the Reagan administration! This menu is stupid. All menus are stupid. The Obama administration came up with the idea of having menus and it doesn't work! Americans need to walk into restaurants and order whatever the hell they want any time they want it. Not be told what they have to eat! We've lost control and it's a damn socialist trick! Unconstitutional! Now, bring us two unicorn steaks medium rare.

  MANAGER:

But ... there are ... no unicorns.

  THE D:

Even better! I'll raise them myself, corner the market and charge $500 a pound. Man! I'm so smart it makes my head hurt!

  MANAGER:

If I may say, sir, without menus every restaurant would have to stock every imaginable food and retain a staff that knows how to prepare any possible dish.

   THE D:

I know, pretty great, right? I say what I say and I eat what I eat.

  MANAGER:

But it would cost hundreds of billion of dollars. Were are you going to get the money and the work force?

  THE D:

It's called management and only I know how to summon it forth and harness it's magical powers! I'll bring in great people that know how to do great kitchen things and America will be a great place to eat again! By the way, your busboys look a lot like gang members, illegal immigrants, criminals and rapists. As soon as they're done taking care of our table I'm having the whole damn bunch of them rounded up, arrested and sent back across the border.

  MANAGER:

They're actually none of those things including Mexican. They're from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

  The D:

No problem. I'll have them sent back across five borders! Now, tell that idiot chef of yours to get some fantastic food out here pronto! I gotta go work on a idea I just got for my next great book ... "The Art of the Meal."

                                                       

Ian Seeberg 9/2015

                                               ********************               

             The SBS

 Seeing the recent debates, reading the political coverage, listening to the pundits, watching MSNBC, CNN and Fox, I am now convinced the moment has come to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America and Puerto Rico. Although, I hear that island  may be going bankrupt so I reserve the right to change my mind about them. 

 With full disclosure, I hereby swear there has been zero interest in me running for office so I can state unequivocally, I am beholden to no one! And, proud as political punch to be running as the inaugural candidate of the SBS party ... Stop Being Stupid!

                            (wait for applause to die down)

 Thank you. The SBS agenda is straight forward. Every time a politician says something that flies in the face of scientific fact, exhibits a lack of ability to reason or, defies logic and basic common sense ... "global warming is non-existent and nothing more than a cheap political ploy!" ... my constituents and I will rise up as one and say, "Stop Being Stupid!"

 Should someone decry the same sex marriage act, arguing it will lead to people eloping with their pet schnauzer, we 'Stop BSers' will jump to our feet and yell, " Stop Being Stupid!"

 If politicos take the position semi-automatic weapons capable of firing half a million armor-piercing rounds a minute don't kill people, only crazy people with their finger on the trigger do.  And --  part two --  if they  stubbornly oppose regulations precluding said crazy people from acquiring said weapons, we will shout them down as one!

 "Stop Being Stupid!" 

 Unless you have a doctor's note saying you fell in the shower, hit your head and aren't responsible for anything you say, if you liken President Obama to Adolf Hitler, say a woman can't become pregnant if she's 'just not into it' or, accuse Planned Parenthood of activities rivaling one or more circles of Hell as described in Dante's Inferno... well ...you know.  

 That said, my fellow Americans -- No, no, wait! I hate that phrase! It's worn out, tired and totally insincere. As personal as saying 'my fellow homo sapiens'. The SBS is fresh, new! The party of now! The party representing the real people of today!  So...

 My fellow dudes ... the SBS is bi-partisan. Regardless of party affiliation, acting like a political numb nuts will unleash upon you the wrath of our shaming slogan. Claim that cavemen children rode on the backs of dinosaurs? The sun revolves around the earth? You have to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before going back into the water?

 All together now..."Stop Being Stupid!"   

 As the SBS candidate, I stand in stark contrast to others running for the office. First, I will not be pandering for votes by slapping on that ubiquitous American flag pin. I carry love of country in my heart and don't feel the need to advertise nor confirm that fact by sticking a patriotic tchotchke on my lapel. Plus, it makes holes in the fabric.  

 Also, in a stunning display of non-conformity, I intend to address direct questions with direct answers.  Quite unlike my opponents who, when confronted, do more waffling than an IHOP during the breakfast rush.

 And believe me when I say we are a great deal more than a compelling, Greek chorus of synchronized shouters. Several rivals espouse policies that were hot stuff in the 15th Century, another noisily trumpets a well defined platform of ... 'when I'm President I'll do really good things' ... while the SBS is a real political party with real strategic positions to solve real problems.  (Ooooh! T-shirt alert!)

 In keeping with our bi-partisan initiatives, we have liberal leanings as well as being open to compromise on conservative points of views. If you believe that at the moment of conception a zygote is a person and must be granted all the rights accorded to every citizen of the United States, we're absolutely okay with that.  All that zygote has to do - just like every gerrymandered poor, elderly or black voter being denied the right to vote - is produce three forms of identification, including a recent photograph and, no, ultrasound doesn't count. 

 The Economy?  As Commander in Chief - which, by the way I'm changing to Commander in Chef ... upping my chances for a Food Network gig after I'm out of office... Anyway, as to economics, naysayers may disparage our prospects for the future but we say, "Stop Being Stupid! The glass IS half full. Two part time jobs IS a fulltime job."

 The Future? I'll lead America into the Golden Age of Mergers creating greater profit for all! Marijuana growers and munchie snack manufacturers allying to get the stock market higher than it's ever been! Car washes located behind dry cleaners, harnessing the hot air blowing out the back to dry off cars! The United Prostitutes Union and Motel 6 forming Motel 6-ex!

 Sustainability? Free Viagra.

 National Security? I will vigilantly safeguard American from foreign powers seeking to attack our country with toxic materials! So, I'm banning the importation of bloodwurst, marmite, kimchi,  menudo, head cheese and kishka. These WMDs [Weapons of  Massive Digestion] lead only to tremendous internal conflict!

 Speaking of food, by executive order, every Chinese person in America will be required to eat in a delicatessen once a month. For decades, Jews have kept thousands of Chinese restaurants in business by eating in them every  Sunday.  night. Never once have I seen a Chinese family in a deli having a nosh! Change has come, my fellow dudes! Reciprocity is at hand!

 Lastly, once in the Oval Office - which I'm switching to an isosceles triangle - I'll forever change how presidents are elected. Forget two years and billions of wasted advertising dollars, campaigns will last two months with candidates presenting their views in one hour, twice a week on "America Has Politicians." Or maybe "Dancing Around the Issues", not sure. 

 Cajoled to "Stop Being Stupid" by a panel of political experts - Sarah Palin, Pee Wee Herman, Bobby, a  fifth grade, class President from Grover Cleveland Elementary and the ghost of Ronald Reagan, your call-in votes will determine the next leader of the free world!   

 And during that process, should anyone running for President become so rude, so boorish, so narcissistic that 'stupid' doesn't begin to describe their behavior, our charter allows us to become the WTF party and start yelling that!   

 

                                                            

       Ian Seeberg 8/2015   

                                               **********************

   Body Art

 Unless you're in a heavy metal band with album sales over a million, a Maori warrior from New Zealand or Japanese gangster, you shouldn't have a tattoo. Theirs serve a purpose; bad boy personae sells records, ancient tribal customs define an ethos, visual loyalty to a mob boss keeps you alive. That smiley panda bear on your ankle? Means nothing. The barbed wire encircling your not so manly bicep? Unless you're a barbed wire manufacturer, means nothing. The naughty, pink, Playboy bunny on your hip? You're thirty pounds overweight, work inside the cigarette cage at Wal-Mart. You're not a Playboy bunny. Means nothing.

 Yes, kings and tsars often had family crest tattoos as body adornments and, no, you're not one of them either. Rockers, Maoris and koi covered assassins aside, getting tattooed serves no purpose, has no functionality and facilitates no significant changes in one's life.

 In other words, don't do it!

 In the last two decades, tattoos have become so mainstream, circuses no longer hire tattooed ladies. Why would anyone pay for something they can see by looking at the cashiers in Whole Foods?

 Time to listen up soccer mom, middle-aged dentist, real estate agent, entertainment attorney, department store clerk, lonely video game nerd! Don't let eye-catching colors and impressive draftsmanship lead you down the path of so many longshoreman before you! The outside of a human body comes straight from the factory with very slick, very sexy styling and no tattoo or piercing makes it look slicker or sexier. Getting one may be trendy but unlike the bouffant, a mullet or moustache, when you realize what a horrible mistake you've made, you can't just cut it off.

 As fashion statements go, these don't!

 I might better understand spending the money and enduring the pain of having something inked on or drilled through an unsuspecting body part if it gained you something. Anything. But, it doesn't. Strap on a watch, you get some prestige. It shows the world you can afford a watch and, assumes you can tell time. Jewelry gives you a certain cachet. 'Look at me and my disposable income.' Drill a hole in your head and it only confirms what people were already saying about you. Get a tattoo and it says...well... you've got a tattoo.

 Means nothing!

 If you're determined to brand yourself for life through self-inflicted skin trauma, at least aim for something original, unique. Megan Fox has a tattoo of Marilyn Monroe. BOR-ING!! She and how many millions of others! Think how much more inventive and well-informed she'd look with Wolf Blitzer on her arm.

 And, if nothing else, give it a purpose!

 A man and woman go to bed together for the first time. He has 'SHORTY'S tattooed on his manhood and she asks if that isn't more than a little embarrassing. "No," the man replies, "because in a minute it's going to read 'SHORTY'S BAR AND GRILL ... OPEN SUNDAYS ... WE DELIVER.'

 Now there's a tattoo with purpose! Guaranteed conversation starter! Advertising taken to new lengths! And, if you can add a street address and phone number, anatomically terrifying!

 The argument could be made that career related tattoos have certain relevance. Chefs with knives and spoons on their arms. Firefighters with hook and ladders or crossed axes. Not a bandwagon I expect plumbers to be jumping on with tats of toilet plungers and roto rooters.

 Sean Connery has "Scotland" tattooed on his forearm. I suppose there's some justification for having a tattoo of your native land. That way, when they find you drunk, penniless and passed out in a bar, they'll know where to ship you back to.

 Tattooing has been around since Neolithic times but meaningful cultural and tribal symbols have long been replaced by butterflies, grinning skulls, flames and Chinese kanji that more likely says, 'BEEF AND BROCCOLI" then "SERENITY".

 Even commonplace phrases become off putting double entendres when etched onto a body;   AMPLE PARKING IN REAR ... SLIPPERY WHEN WET.

 If I can't talk you out of turning yourself into a billboard, humor me and heed some sound advice;

 Don't put tattoos on your waist or stomach. It may look fine now but, by the time you get to be 35 or 40, that portrait of Selma Hayek on your side will be mistaken for a basset hound.  

 Don't put a tattoo on your face. You may think it's a personal statement but the statement is; if you come too close I will eat you.

 Don't specify the object of your affections with a heart tattoo. Inside the heart put, "I Love your name here "

 Don't get photo realistic illustrations of a timber wolf, moose or elk unless you want to look like a tourism brochure hyping South Dakota.

 Don't get trompe l'oeil tattoos revealing bones, sinews and muscles like a high school anatomy chart. Life will turn you into a skeleton soon enough without the sneak preview.

 Don't scatter unrelated tattoos all over yourself; dolphins leaping out of your shorts, spider webs on your elbows, Betty Boop sitting on a Harley smoking a joint, the devil holding four aces, "Boogie til you puke!", a glowering portrait of Geronimo across your back. You will not have turned yourself into someone cool, you've turned yourself into a bulletin board. A walking graffiti wall. A neighborhood reclamation project.

 Since 2012 more women than man have gotten tattoos in America so it is to you ladies that I say; do not get that ubiquitous 'tramp stamp' on your lower back, if for no other reason than you will be the only person in the entire world who can't see it!

 And piercings? Unimaginable! Rings through the nose! ... Spikes through the tongue! ... Genital mutilation! ... Unless you're seriously running out of room on your key ring, do not stretch big holes in your earlobes!

 Think practicality. A tattoo with a purpose. Something like ... "YOU ARE HERE" ... At least then, you'll never be lost.

               

                                                                                          

                                                             

   Ian Seeberg 8/2015

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    The Gene                          

   Is it me or the gene?

   I have to ask because buried inside each of us is the 'hey, you kids get off my lawn' gene. It was overlooked in the human genome study because it has a uniquely individual  time release mechanism. What happens is, unconsciously, we each reach a certain saturation point in life. The gene triggers automatically and at that moment, we suddenly realize we've had enough.  Clinically speaking, the brain has become seriously impacted with a lifetime's accumulation of aggravation, indignation, confrontation, provocation and bullshit.  

    While the time frame differs from person to person, the onset is the same and sufferers are easily recognized by their general crankiness, air of frustration, propensity for being outspoken and chronic impatience. These symptoms can be brought about by any number of catalysts: Phone calls at dinner time from telemarketers ... Interminably long stories of fun things other people did ... Volume levels -- too much in restaurants, not enough on a TV ...  Many checkout aisles, few  checkers ... Reality shows that bring celebrity to people with questionable links to the human species ... Anyone who says 'what'?' after every response rather than getting hearing aids ... Anything and everything to do with politics ... And, of course, kids actually playing on your lawn.

    In my case, that last one will soon be remedied because I'm taking out my lawn. We're doing that in Los Angeles in response to the drought. Saving water for agriculture so local farmers can use a gallon to grow one almond or, up to five gallons to produce one walnut. I know, that may seem wasteful but we do need something salty and crunchy to accompany our martinis and we'll all become better neighbors by never yelling," hey, you kids, get off my nuts." 

     That sounds snarky, right? Well, that's my point. Recently my gene kicked in and now a lot of things annoy me. God help the next waiter or waitress who says "no problem" when I thank them for  something like replenishing my iced tea. What the hell ever happened to "you're welcome" or "my pleasure." Oh course, it's no problem! If you had to go to Sri Lanka, pick the tea, dry the leaves, get it through customs and steep it, that would be a problem. Picking up the pitcher and pouring some into a glass? Not a problem. In fact, it's expected of you, it's your job, you know, the thing you get tips for doing.  

    That's what I'm talking about. All of a sudden I'm ranting! I'm a ranter! Filled with strong opinions about everything under the sun. Including the sun! What's with all the mind numbing heat in the summer months and then MIA in the winter when we could really use it, huh?

    Since 'the change', I've been driven out of my comfortable lethargy. Forced to abandon my cozy, apathetic ways. Like Godzilla, my 'screw you' gene has been awakened by a society that systematically invaded my personal space with all manner of idiocy, misguided notions,  dishonesty and an overall, shocking lack of common civility.

    Stupidity positioned as good ideas. Ignorance worn as a badge of honor.  

    I really have no choice here. My gene is compelling me to vent about these things. Something of a 'hey, you people, get off my intellect!'

    So now I'm going to voice my opinions about a lot of things; people being bilked out of their homes by  nefarious scams, out of their money by dethroned Nigerian princes ... Emails congratulating me for winning free coupons that aren't free...  Junk mail made to look like ominous official documents from the Government of the United States ...  Pop-up warnings my computer has been attacked by space invaders and if I don't buy someone's anti-alien software services in the next three minutes my laptop will implode ...  Weekly sex scandal revelations. How's this? Let's just assume everyone is banging everyone else and  move on. On that subject, all you sanctimonious public figure types out there, don't you dare stand up and preach morality at me if  a week from now TMZ is going to leak the news you delivered that sermon wearing a garter belt under your pinstriped suit.

    Media, the arts, entertainment  - or the current lack of it. And don't get me started on things like those cloying, ass-kissing, 'helpful Honda' commercials. How misguided can an ad campaign possibly be?! A company so desperate to get consumers to purchase cars they'd follow you into a music store and buy you a guitar as a bribe? What the hell does that have to do with anything automotive? "We just wanted to do something nice for you --- by the way did I mention we sell cars?" The guy can't afford a couple hundred dollars for a guitar, how's he going to buy a car? 

    They pay off student loans, buy a bridal gown so... what ...the bride and groom will be so overcome by the generosity they'll ride away from the church in a Civic?

    They are insinuating themselves into people's lives on such an inappropriately personal and  embarrassing financial level -- 'you may not have the money to buy nice things or pay off your debts but we do'.  This is marketing that goes way beyond pandering. It's just scummy. Oh, and did I mention the ad where a busload of Honda sales people show up to give blood? Give blood!! Open a vein to sell cars!  Let's hear it for random acts of smarminess.

    Change advertising agencies, Honda, before they turn your blue-shirted, boy scouts into sex surrogates.  And if you want to actually do something helpful for potential car buyers, stop the babysitting and bloodletting. Make better, safer more affordable cars.      

    My gene and I plan to bitch loudly and often. If your gene insists, you can agree, disagree or say nothing.  Do whatever the hell you want. Frankly,  I'm just cranky, frustrated, outspoken and impatient enough not to care. 

                                                              

     Ian Seeberg 5/2015   

 

                           ******************************************** 

 

 

 

   VORP                                                       

 

   Tired of paying taxes? Of course you are! But despair not, the days of digging deep into our middle-class pockets to feed the government are soon to be nothing but an unpleasant memory!

    At long last, I announce an economic plan that will eliminate taxes forever but still keep so much revenue pouring into the federal coffers, we won't know what to do with it all!   

    Forget those tired 'trickle down' or 'supply and demand' theories. Throw Keynesian and Malthusian thinking right out the window. It's all mumbo jumbo that works about as well as those weird, shrinking garden hoses that blow up in your face when you try to use them. 

    Warm up the Nobel Prize in Economics for a groundbreaking, happy days are here again, tax free blueprint for prosperity. A little thing I like to call....VORP.

   The Vanity of Rich People.

   An economic theory that states: Society will never be in short supply of two things; the super rich and, their super egos. Under the right economic conditions, those top one-percenters develop a form of narcissism, the Vanity of Rich People, characterized by the overpowering urge to buy naming rights.      

    Yes, naming rights shall set us free! According to VORP the rich and famous simply can't resist seeing their name on things; marquees, magazine covers, perfume bottles, billboards, the sides of buildings. It's vanity run amok and under VORP, every affluent egomaniac in the country will be able to exercise their inalienable right to spend insane amounts of money in the pursuit of showing off!

    Who says the American dream is dead! 

    The timing is perfect. Most ballparks, arenas and convention centers in the country already have corporate names and logos tacked onto them. Once we may have felt a bit reticent about engaging in such a form of advertising prostitution but no more! With VORP we'll stand tall, stop selling our dignity off piecemeal and let whoever has the bucks step right up and re-name the whole damn country! Short of The United States of Ameritrade, let anyone with enough dough stick their name on any big, American thing they want from sea to shining sea! 

    They'll get to look up at their name in brightly lit letters, we'll get to spend all their money on things that actually benefit mankind. Win win!

     Magnate, David Geffen ponies up $100 million dollars to fix up New York City's Avery Fisher Hall and name it after himself. Well done but it's only one building. When it comes to self aggrandizement, VORP postulates that bigger is better.

    Once VORP lifts all restrictions and nothing is sacred, so many landmarks and historical sites will be re-dubbed by the private sector, the torrents of megalomaniacal money flowing in will  enable us to create millions of jobs fixing neighborhoods, roadways and bridges all across this great land of ours.

    Mount Rushmore. Sell it.  Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Roosevelt have been dead for years, they won't know the difference.  Call Paul McCartney. See if JohnPaulRingoGeorge Mountain would work if the price was right. The Beatles - stoned on a mountain top. Has a familiar ring to it, no? 

    The Washington Monument? Say bye bye. Overnight that puppy becomes the Donald Trump Monument. Which is actually perfect because I think a stiff, upright shaft describes Trump to a tee.  Which makes me  wonder, any chance the LGBT would consider a fund raiser on Ellis Island to finance The Statue of Liberace?

    Dolly Parton's Silicon Valley ... yes, some things are just meant to be ... The Grand Clooney Dam ... Brad's Pittsburgh ... The Missississy-spacek River.

    Novelist Anne Rice is a sure bet for the Vampire State Building.  And with all their hit moves, the Coen brothers could probably come up with enough money to buy the naming rights to the Hollywood Bowl. How cool  to enjoy an idyllic summer night under the stars listening to James Taylor perform in the Big Lebowski Bowl.  

    I'm telling you, VORP is a no brainer! The money will be rolling in! The Golden Bill Gates Bridge ... Plymouth Chris Rock ... San Antonio Banderas ... Ariana Grande Canyon ... Oprahoma.

    You can't tell me  Minnesota won't attract more tourists when its  Minniedriver. And get ready Utah, here comes the Bryce Dallas Howard Canyon National Park!... Or, is that, get ready Texas for the Bryce Dallas Cowboy Howard Stadium? Whatever, someone contact Flor Rida. That one's  already a done deal.     

    The Griffith Observatory in LA. Are you listening, Kathy? Put her name over the door and after midnight they'll be aiming the telescope into the windows of apartment buildings in Hollywood.  On the subject of comedians, tell Gilbert if the price is right he can go to Tennessee and sit  front row center in his very own theater, the Grand Ol' Gottfried!   

    After the President is out of office, how about the great state of  Al-Obama? But before he leaves, hit up  Jay-Z  for the cash to re-name the White House something a little more hip hop like ..say...'Pres-zy's Place'. If a Republican gets in, Fox can pay to rename it The Right House.  

    In LA, people  sponsor the clean up of stretches of freeways. Small potatoes! With VORP in place we'll sell the names of every street, alley and highway in the whole damn state! Forget California 101. For a ton of money it could be the Kim Kardashian Freeway. And, who would argue The Olsen Twins Highway isn't a lot cuter sounding than the 405?  

    "Let's see...you wanna get from here to downtown Los Angelina? Hmmm.. well...you could take Beiber Boulevard over there, go right on Huckabee and take Travolta up the back way. When you get to the fork that's Mario Batali Roundabout.  There you have a choice; you can go straight or cross over to the Caitlyn Jenner transition road. If it was me, I'd jump right on the Olsen Twins, go down a ways and get off on Kim Kardashian." 

    What a world! Can't wait! And we'll owe it all to VORP!  

    I don't know about you but I'm taking the money I'm no longer paying out in taxes and heading off on a nice long vacation. I hear Joaquin Phoenix, Arizona is nice this time of year. 

                                                            

    Ian Seeberg 6/2015

  

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   On Cooking                                              

 

   Am I wrong? Don't people who prize fine cuisine also appreciate the gracious process of preparing a beautiful meal? Oohing and ahhing over the   ingredients? Intoxicated by flavors slowly combining, aromas rising up from pots and pans? Isn't that all part of the elegance of the gastronomic mystique? After all, sitting down to savor wonderful food is one of life's great pleasures, right?   

     Right! So, of course we turned all that leisurely charm of a kitchen into a gladiatorial arena! Transformed the genteel artistry of cooking into a track and field event! Made it a stressed out, heart pounding, nerve racking battlefield of ticking clocks, foot races and forbidding judges!  

    "Only five minutes left on the clock, chefs!!"

    Yes, as the most competitive nation on the planet, our culture can always be counted on to never know when enough is enough. Not happy unless there's some limit to test, some envelope to push. Only Americans could have come up with Extreme Sports just to have new and entertaining ways to kill ourselves. If we can pioneer games that aren't about crossing a finish line first but staying alive, it comes as no surprise we'll soft boil a 6 minute egg in 5 minutes or die trying!

    A food competition used to mean housewives from peaceful places like Indianapolis and Wichita Falls mailed in tuna noodle casserole recipes in hopes of winning a commemorative apron.  A good old fashioned food fight meant smacking each other in the face with a pie. Today it's cuisine as confrontation! A blitzkrieg of macho swagger and aggression! Whisks at dawn!   

    "Gutsy move, churning his own butter!! But, he better hurry!! ..Hurry!!" 

    We've taken food glorious food and managed to make it damn near violent. Television shows bill culinary challenges as 'impossible', a 'revolution', 'throwdown', 'takedown', 'nightmare', 'rescue', 'confidential'. This isn't the next James Bond movie it's quiche, for crissake!  Outside of the occasional knife slip, cooking was never supposed to be a blood sport! 

    But it is now! The mise en place is a battle station where bistro chefs, short order cooks and bakers are re-imagined as vanquishing Knights of the Ground Round Table. Up in each other's faces, eyeballs locked and loaded. Strafed by dramatic lighting, surrounded by a battle cry of thunderous music. Homeric combatants taking up the ladle in a 'soup and sorcery' fantasy!

    "Down to two minutes! And...oh no!!.. she hasn't started start plating yet!!!"

    Companies like Pillsbury used to sponsor homey, little bake-off contests. Well, kiss that flour-y piece of Americana bye bye! It's time for "Cake Wars"! Cake, no less! The epitome of nice. Monument to meringue and buttercream! The star of every birthday party ever, is a war!

    "Man verses Food"? At odds with our own sustenance, are we? 

    "Cutthroat Kitchen". If a name that conjures images of pirates filleting fish with cutlasses isn't enough, descend to the one circle of purgatory Dante forget to mention and feast on the vein-bulging anger of "Hell's Kitchen." Although, great casting; Gordon Ramsey really comes off as the spawn of the devil.

    ...eight!...seven!...six!...she's not going to make it!!! ...four!... three!..."

    "Beat Bobby Flay". What can you say about an audience of rabid hecklers and snarky celebrity chefs hurling taunts and trash talking one of the most skillful chefs around... "We're taking you down, Bobby!" ... "I'm coming for you, Bobby!" And that's the toned down version.  The first title for the show was "Flay Bobby Flay!", before that, "Fork You, Flay!".

    Then there's that popular re-enactment of the Spanish inquisition where the most minuscule gaffe turns a nit picking panel of glowering judges positively apoplectic. I've seen friendlier parole boards. They order the offending dish beheaded and send the wrongdoer on  a walk of shame..."Chef Donna ... you've been chopped!"  

    How long before "American Ninja Breakfast" has contestants vying to make the perfect omelet while dodging razor sharp spatulas? Or, that show's inevitable spin off ..."Will Chef Luis make his pancake batter or will he be battered instead! Find out tonight on "Mixmaster Martial Arts!"

    Okay, truce! How about we stop making meals under martial law, put down the cleaver, step away from the cutting board and revisit those halcyon days of kindly, culinary figures? Bring back avuncular Chef Boyardee and his lousy spaghetti sauce that should have been marketed as ketchup. Or, benevolent, Uncle Ben, the smiling, white-haired gentleman on the box who warmly beckons us to pull up a chair, sit down and share stories over a comforting bowl of white on rice. I like to think he eloped with oh so sweet Aunt Jemima and they're living the life down in Turks and Caicos.

    Today's chefs are inventive with extraordinary skills and a wealth of cooking technique to draw on.  But putting them through silly, overly dramatic games flies in the face of everything that food is about. The point of making a beautiful risotto is to make a beautiful risotto not set a new land speed record. If doing things at a breakneck pace made them appreciably better, "Celebrity Speed Sex" would be a hit show. 

    "While you did a clever job of making Beef Wellington encroute out of cornflakes, Velveeta, rutabagas, Tang and wintergreen Chiclets, it really could have used eleven more grains of kosher salt. So, for that reason...  

    Japan's "Iron Chef'" was terrific. Original. And bowing to your opponent even made it somewhat honorable. Not so for all the American imitators that have followed. Time to go back to something retro like...oh... 'cooking'! I guarantee lasagna will come out even better if you're not required to prepare it, standing on a trampoline, wearing swim fins and using a Venus razor as a paring knife.

    And let's not wait until someone figures out how to turn an oven and six burners into an X Game. That's the time when saying a dish is 'to die for' might not just be an expression.  

                                                               

    

     Ian Seeberg  7/2015

 

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    A Bless-ed Day                     

      If you and I are going to get along, do not tell me to "have a bless-ed day". I check the 'spiritual but not religious' box and prefer that throw away pleasantries be of the  non-sectarian, un-evangelical variety, free of  religious overtones.

   Have a 'good' day? Thank you, I will. A profitable one? I wouldn't say no.  Happy, healthy, fun-filled? Sure, why not. There was a cop show on TV years ago where the  sergeant would release the officers going on patrol with," be careful out there." That's a nice non-denominational  sentiment.  I quite like "have a good one", a benign enough thought that refers to pretty much anything; the day at the office, lunch, school reunion, bowel movement.

    For me, 'have a 'bless-ed' day is an expression that comes with strings attached. It turns a meaningless secular remark into a cause. It tells me something about a person I don't really want to know. It's a bit clan-ish. A faint form of being asked to drink the Kool-Aid. It induces the same defensive feeling I get when someone with a clipboard approaches me on the street to sign something. Not to mention sounding like a campaign slogan if God was running for office.  "HAVE A BLESS-ED DAY" VOTE GOD 2016"

    It also presupposes days can actually be bless-ed which then begs the question; blessed-ed by who? Or, it is whom?  I never get that right.    

    People may mean well by saying "have a bless-ed day" but I find injecting faith into conversational conventions more than a little off-putting. Like telling a friend with a cold to "feel better" but slipping in a little holy spirit and bending it to "feel cleansed." Or, taking the essentially  meaningless "how do you do" and theologically co-opting it into, "how do you believe." Leading eventually to what?... "Hey, how's it goin' - considering that in the eyes of the Lord you'll have to answer for everything at the gates of Heaven?"    Which, once again, relies upon a number of dodgy, unsubstantiated  assumptions; there is a Lord, He has eyes, there's a place called Heaven, you're going to get there and, it has gates rather than something more architecturally stylish like French doors.  

    "Have a bless-ed day."  

    I know saying 'thank you' would be the easy thing to do - just go along to get along -  but this isn't like saying 'god bless you' when someone sneezes. That old folk superstition has about as much religious connotation as knocking on wood for good luck or tossing spilled salt over your shoulder.

   No, a 'blessed day' is a faith-based idea and I'm not comfortable validating things I don't have faith in. Blessings bestowed unto me courtesy of someone's deity, statue or animal spirit guide of choice simply hold no personal meaning. Water off an agnostic duck's back. If I was picking imaginary entities to put my faith in, I'd be more likely to lean towards the  Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. At least there you get something tangible ...a little chocolate... a few bucks.

    When it comes to religion, my sense of organized belief systems parallels my take on rap music; If others are really into it, fine. I can put up with hearing it playing quietly in the background. Just keep the lyrics to yourself and don't expect me to jump up and start dancing to them any time soon. 

    All religions seem to be a collection of self-imposed constraints that usurp a lot of fun time from one's life, extract a lot of money from one's pocket and, instill a fair amount of shame while stifling the spirit and depleting self-reliance. So, yeah, I don't see the attraction. Although I wouldn't for one moment say religions can't be counted on for many positive things.  Historically, they've proven to positively start wars, jihads, pogroms and other atrocities of a similar nature.   

    I know I'm in the minority, many millions view religion as a really big deal but I can't help thinking it's little more than an odd form of show business. Name one religion whose ceremonies don't have an audience, people on stage in costumes, a dramatic stage set, props, lighting, music, singing and a script. How is that not a show?  It's just like Broadway only the leading man is invisible.

    Okay, so maybe not 'show business' as much as 'show me the way' business.

    In any case, we all have specific views about what or who (whom?) to believe in. Look at all the people in this country who swear pro wrestling is real and the moon landing was faked...Sorry, sorry! I didn't mean to blurt that out without a spoiler alert.

    Or, the vast number who say the United States is a Christian nation.  Where does it say that I wonder? It's not in the Constitution -- our governmental  Book of Hoyle. We do have 'In God We Trust" on some of our currency. It doesn't specify which or whose God, but then, everyone believes in money so, who cares?  And really, isn't  America more of a Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Baha'i, Mormon, Islamic, Agnostic, Lutheran, Protestant, Atheistic, Voodoo, Rastafarian, Shinto, Wiccan, Zoroastrian, Satanic, unfortunately Dianetic, maybe Druid, possibly Cargo Cult and who knows what else, country?

    So, go ahead, believe whatever the hell you want, just keep it to yourself. I've been playing guitar all my life so I probably believe in that. But, I promise I won't go around imposing my musical dogma on people  by ending conversations with "stay tuned, brother." 

                                                               

     Ian Seeberg 6/2015                                 

 

 

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     The Spirit of the Law

 

    When it come to legal matters I'm all about the 'spirit of the law'. It focuses on obeying a law's intent which, to me, is a sensible and humane approach to jurisprudence. Especially when compared to its evil twin, the 'letter of the law', with its dogged adherence to the literal wording of a law regardless of circumstance or even common sense. 

     Take Brazil for instance. You come up to a red light, look both ways, make an informed judgment that it's safe and drive through it. I found that out when my cab driver seemingly took the law into his own hands and ran a signal. "Of course we do that," he said with surprise. "What idiot would sit for minutes waiting for a light to change if there were no other car's around"?

     Well.. an American idiot that's who. 'Letter of the law' idiots. They also openly smoke pot on the beaches which isn't legal in Brazil. "They catch you smoking behind the wheel of a car, you're going down," the toker on the next blanket explained to me. "But lying on a beach, catching some rays...No one cares if you're high." 

     Smoking weed and operating machinery - bad. Smoking weed and eyeballing Bahia ladies in string bikinis - good. Yay, Brazil! That's just the kind of common sense, 'spirit of the law' we need right here in the good old USA

    Well, good luck! When it comes to motor vehicles that's not how we roll.

    Back in college I borrow a friend's car. A policeman stops me and says the car has an expired tag and is uninsured. Okay, but its not my car. But you're driving it. Yes, but I'm an insured driver and this is not my car.  You may be insured but the car isn't and you're driving it and that crime carries a sentence of up to a year and half in jail and you're going to court.  No, not me, you mean the guy who owns the car! The flagrant scofflaw who didn't insure it! Arrest him, I'll point out his dorm room!

    If I thought the spirit of the law  was on life support way back then, it's dead as hell today. Strangled to death by cities that have so manipulated parking ordinances and motor vehicle laws that violations have little to do with deterring illegalities and everything to do with creating revenue streams.  Parking enforcement officers just laying in wait for meters to blink red so they can slap a ticket on a car. A second late? A minute? Doesn't matter. Can you even remember the last time you heard the words 'grace period'?

    The intent of parking meters - the 'spirit of the law' - was to use that money exclusively for maintaining and cleaning the streets. Not any more, baby! It's a blatant rip off! A civic cash cow for anything and everything! It's how cities make a living.  Some fifty million dollars a year in LA and that's peanuts compared to what they nail us for in nitpicky violations. 

    Blacked-out taillights? KA CHING!  Windows tinted a little too dark? KA CHING! 

    Alright, alright! I'll click my seatbelt, I'll only talk hands free on my cell phone but dammit, I'll pay a fine a week before I slap a front license plate onto the gloriously, flowing schnozzola of my Corvette! 

    The insidious part is, economically, cities want and need us to break these laws. Why else put one hour meters in front of popular restaurants where it can take up to 20 minutes to even be seated? Who the hell wants to jump up in the middle of a nice meal, run up the street and feed a meter? Anyone who doesn't want to turn a $40 lunch into a $150 dollar lunch, that's who.

   There is a profoundly confusing intersection - two Left Turn Only lanes next to an optional Left Turn /Straight Ahead lane next to a Straight Ahead Only lane with corresponding Straight and Right Turn lanes. Befuddled drivers, myself included, make so many wrong turns, two police cars are parked there every day of the week to hand out $250 tickets.  Re-think the lanes? Add better lane signage?  Hell no! That would only keep people from breaking the law and where's the profit in that! Ka Ching!!

    Can you spell 'entrapment'?    

    The city of Calabasas (kal-a-bass-es ) has a gated community, The Oaks, where  the only Canadian I have ever spoken out against, Justin Beiber, bought a house. Overnight, Calabasas acquired a Calabas-hole and the residents were not happy. 

    The kid had a slew of  sports cars which he raced through the quiet streets of The Oaks hitting triple digits. Again, the residents were not happy. In order to bring this schmuck of a Canuck to justice, the LAPD was contacted and they concealed a motorcycle cop on the grounds. Waiting for 'the Beibs' to go screaming by, the cop sees residents exceeding the community's 25 miles an hour speed limit and starts giving them tickets! 

    Of course they're exceeding the 25 miles an hour speed limit because it's a goddamn 25 miles an hour! Cars idle faster than 25 miles an hour! To drive a car at 25 miles an hour you put your foot on the brake not the gas pedal! Not to mention this is private property where a speed limit is a suggestion, good advice, a recommendation, not a strictly enforced edict for crying out loud!

    Beiber moved out, un-ticketed, and the motorcycle cop is still there. At $300 a pop for moving violations the LAPD is never going to leave. Did I mention the residents are not happy?


   And my court case?  I retained a law firm and bought a pinstriped suit. The junior lawyer they assigned to my case had never been in court on his own. The guy was such a bumbling, pitiful sight, the judge thought I was the attorney! So, I start explaining what happened. Thirty seconds into my story, the judge throws up his hands, says 'the car isn't yours, what the hell are you doing here', launches into a tirade about wasting the court's time and tosses the case out. 

    So... aside from me not going to jail, why is any of this important?  Because intentionally disregarding the spirit of the law for the letter of the law creates a devious playground for anyone looking to exploit ambiguous language, technicalities and loopholes for their own illicit gains.

    Not that anyone here would ever do something like that...

                                                                                 

     Ian Seeberg 6/2015                     

 

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   Language

 

I'm writing as quickly as I can because any minute now using words to communicate may no longer be possible! The world of linguistics is crashing down around us as we discard our written language, substituting pictures for prose, visuals over verbal!

 A nightmare scenario that might be somewhat bearable if this grievous loss was the result of positive evolution; our underachieving brains deciding to finally get in the game, function above ten percent and link us all up telepathically. But no! We're still dumb and proving it by  making a conscious effort to abandon language all together! There have been visible signs of this for a....  .....There! .. Did you see that! That's what I'm talking about!                                 

Like the dreaded European metric system inevitably grinding our good old American inch under its metric boot heel, the written word is inexorably falling prey to those desecrators of discourse, slayers of semantics, conquerors of communication, the global warming of all language ... the dreaded emoji!  

 Yes, emojis! Strange visitors from a cyber planet, who, disguised as mild-mannered icons, fight a never-ending battle for illiteracy, mindless computer-speak and the further dumbing down of the American way!  Don't be worrying about Sharia law taking over, worry about the spread of emoji-ism! 

 These insidious squiggles were once known as Emoticons. The name however, proved too taxing for us to articulate in it's entirety so we abbreviated it. Not unlike cartoons becoming 'toons', tattoos 'tats' and mushrooms 'shrooms'.  Apparently, we're weaning ourselves off words one syllable at a time.

 For those of us who truly appreciate the wonder of words, seeing these idiotic doodles embraced like a great leap forward in the advancement of our species makes the future look pretty grim. Although, most people haven't a clue how to express themselves so, on the plus side, eliminating words will mean a lot less undecipherable gibberish. With emoji as our native tongue - PicTalk as I like to think of it - discourse will be as simple as sitting down for a friendly chat  with the Frankenstein monster, "Fire...bad."

 Sorry, I meant        

 We'll be saying goodbye to sentences and syntax, giving up lyricism and tone. But hey! We don't need no stinkin' adjectives when we have a plethora of oh so funny pictorial gestures, googly-eyed expressions and moon-faced emotions to convey our innermost thoughts. And, best of all, emojis are yellow!  Outside of the word yellow, let's see words do that!    

 I can't pretend to be surprised. Our language has been on life support for a long time.  Correct spelling is a thing of the past, as out of fashion as using the turn signals in your car.  Any distinction between there, they're, and their and your and you're has long been lost, buried under the sands of illiteracy. I see loose and lose written interchangeably. And while my back was turned, an excellent word like ver'-bi-age mysteriously morphed into ver-bage. Yes, we've officially become too damned lethargic to even pronounce the letter 'i'. 

 And don't bother with it's and its, they're (no, not their or there) seemingly as cryptic as ancient hieroglyphics which - in a brilliant example of everything old being new again - are exactly what emojis are! Three dimensional hieroglyphics. Twenty-first Century cave drawings.  Stunningly stupid symbolism we relocated from pre-historic stone walls to computer screens where we transformed pharaohs into Smiley Faces! Ha ha!  Replaced celestial images with grinning, digital Monkey Heads. What a hoot! And swapped out bird-headed gods for an hilarious Middle Finger emoji that flips us the bird! Stop! You're (no, not your) killing me!

 Pictograms were popular in the era of the buggy whip. A silly game to wile away the hours and amuse children. Like the classic 'beer for a year' rebus...

                                                

So great! But, hell, why leave it as a dumb game when we can turn it into an ever dumber language! Genius! 

 And, forget the yellow emoji thing. That was only the first wave of the PicTalk invasion.  Today's cutting edge emojis are not only as colorful as $300 Nike high tops, they allow us to converse with a dazzling array of highly specialized offerings:  Smiling Pile of Poop emojis now come in a variety of colors should you need to discuss the effects  of your dietary habits. Feeling queasy? Sinus issues? Bodily function emojis have you covered with Green Vomit Face and Nose Picker Face.

Want to make a good old, visual racist remark? No problemo! Ethnic emojis are as diverse as a Six Flags  commercial with tons of racially profiled choices;  'Man in Turban with black skin tone' ... 'Bride with Blonde Hair and veil with cream white skin tone.'

And the incursion continues unabated! Storming our ramparts of speech! Unrelenting as the water carrying brooms in "Fantasia", emojis keep coming and coming and coming!  Burrito emoji ... Prayer Bead emoji ... Cheese Wedge ...  Unicorn Face ...Cricket Bat and Ball ... Lion Face ... Scorpion ...  Zipper-mouth Face.  Essential parts of speech for PicTalk - particularly if the need ever arises to say, 'Hey, Lion Face man in Turban with black skin tone, get out your prayer beads, you cheese wedge because the zipper-mouth face scorpion hit my burrito with a cricket bat and ball."  

 Whoa!... Shakespearean PicTalk!

 Well, if this is our fate let's get real vocabulary!  Rid ourselves of nonsensical  Upside Down Robot Face type emojis and create images that allow us to comment on the true nature of our society. So...

Hello, Road Rage emoji! ... Over-Priced Gas Pump emoji!  ...Welcome Red Bull Addicted emoji and Video Gamer Pinwheel-eyes emoji !  We'll certainly need every man's favorite - Bacon emoji. Plus, every man's second favorite, Big Boob Implant Lady emoji. Paving the way for Frozen Botox Face emoji ,"Botched" Face Asymmetrical Picasso Eyeballs and Crooked Nose emoji and an assortment of Plastic Surgery Stretched Face, Too Wide Eye Lift, Trout-Pout Lipped Face emojis. Because, face it, you can't have a complimentary PicTalk conversation in Hollywood without a rhinoplasty emoji like Teensy Tiny Nose Job Face on hand.

 Emojis have taken us so far beyond the grammar police we need to call out the Grammar National Guard! Send in the Marine Grammar Corps! Deploy Seal Team Grammar!

 I don't know about you  but I'm not about to relinquish my handy gerunds, forsake my modifiers nor abandon my beloved dangling participle and let tasteless doodles do my talking for me!

 When it comes to emojis, I stand with Rhett Butler who so eloquently said....                               

             

  

    Ian Seeberg  7/15                                 

 

 

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   Obsolescense 

  The big excitement in outer space these days are photographs of the dwarf planet Pluto taken by the New Horizons spacecraft.  Even more than those remarkable images, consider the spunky little craft has been hurtling through the universe for 9 and a half years at 38,000 miles per hour, covering more than 360 million miles in order to snap the pictures.

 Given that we have science capable of creating things that sophisticated, that remarkably durable, that inter-galactically resilient, why can't my  over-priced, top of the line mattress - which doesn't have to move an inch  - last more than 5 years before collapsing into a pillow-top ladle? And that razor blade that costs as much as lox - the expensive belly cut . Why is it only good for a handful of shaves before it starts re-organizing my face? How about automatic openers on umbrellas that have less life expectancy than a coal mine canary? Motion sensors that turn nothing on but turn us into idiots doing the hand jive under a faucet? For a race that unlocked the mystery of making little half and half containers that never need refrigeration, is it truly beyond the reach of our technology to engineer a garden hose that lasts more than a month before kinking, bursting and become a dancing waters display on the lawn?

What's happened to us! Why are we so damned accepting of planned obsolescence?  Acquiescing to corporate greed that causes us buy the same product over and over! 

Since the 1960's more and more products have had failure purposefully designed into their DNA. Technical flaws and structural weaknesses  built in to insure their untimely demise. Heat sensitive parts mounted next to parts that just can't wait to heat up. Pre-meditated LCD screen murder!  Devices with batteries you can't replace. Dead machine walking! Chips in inkjet printers that stop printing after so many pages even though the ink cartridge is still half full! Flat out fraud! Even Apple was sued for making batteries that failed the same time their factory warranties expired. Nice...

And the icing on the cake? Repair costs surpass replacement prices so we no longer even fix things!

What are we thinking! We should have lit the torches, grabbed our pitchforks and gone after these Frankenstein monsters of manufacturing a long time ago!    

There's no question nothing remains fully functional forever. I'm reminded of that whenever I look into a mirror. But, this was never our way! We took enormous pride in making high quality products. 'Made in America'. 'Built to last'. Not built to last until Tuesday at 5:58pm.       

 There's a fire station in Livermore, California. Screwed into the ceiling is a Shelby Electric Company light bulb that was manufactured in 1901 - okay, I know you know where I'm going with this, just don't get ahead of me. I hate that!

 As of June 2015, 114 years and 1,000,000 hours later, it's still going strong.  The 'little bulb that could' has been recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe -it -or-Not. It has declarations from a President of the United States, Congress, the Senate and, by virtue of a web-cam aimed at it 24/7, it's own reality show. 

 If you'd taken your horse and buggy into town, gone down to the general store and purchased a Shelby, at this moment in time you're still very dead and the bulb isn't.  It's burning bright, you're a dim memory. You're a faded picture in the back of a scrapbook, Mr. Bulb is the closet light your great, great grandson uses to check out the magazines hidden under his skateboard. 

 Think about it. We had the craftsmanship to produce something that lasted a lifetime. General Electric sure thought about it. They recognized Shelby's exceptional quality, recognized the utter disaster it represented for a fledgling light bulb industry, bought them out in 1904 and light bulbs have been burning out like clockwork ever since.  

 A good refrigerator costs thousands of dollars. Buy one and  you'll be asked, "how about an extended 2 year warranty?" Excuse me? I'm laying out thousands of dollars and it might not make it two years? Twenty-four months is too much to hope for?!  

 Yes, it's an appliance lottery ticket! Betting the under and over on your shiny, door-in-door, stainless monolith falling apart within 730 days! ... Breaking down! ... Going south! ... Not if but when!

 Cars used to weigh tons. Armor-plated, chrome covered behemoths that you couldn't put a dent in with anything less than a direct hit from a howitzer.  Today, all their stress-bearing component parts are plastic which fail in half the time while fenders and bumpers have the tensile strength of mashed potatoes.

Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets were popular toys that lasted forever because they were made of materials we called wood and steel. Modern toys? Highly brittle and breakable polystyrene with a soupcon  of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.  No wonder we don't want kids putting toys in their mouths! Manufacturers could use polycarbonates - a half inch plate of that stops an armor piercing shell - but then toys would never break, be passed down from generation to generation and enjoyed forever. We certainly wouldn't want that! 

France, the world leader in cholesterol,  extramarital affairs and the manufacture of white surrender flags, has taken a bold stand against planned obsolescence. Their laws strictly forbid folks putting the kibosh on their own goods. Slip a  Mickey to your own product  and you're looking at severe fines and two years in le clink with nothing but wine in a box, unripened cheese and no more than one conjugal visit a day.  

 It took me years to accept Santa not being  for real but if it turns out the  Energizer bunny doesn't really keep going and going..! Is there nothing left to believe in! Time for us to get smart! When you buy something and it bites the dust prematurely, don't let customer service placate you with ' well it's time to replace it anyway'. Let them know you're not replacing it, you're replacing them and buy something better from another company. 

                                                           

  Ian Seeberg  8/2015