Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Animals Behaving Badly

I’m convinced animals are out to get us humans. The tipping point for me was the recent story about a hiker in Washington State being killed by a goat, potentially the first fatal attack on a human by a goat ever recorded. How does a goat kill someone? Officials aren’t exactly sure. One theory is the man was bent over smelling flowers when the goat head butted him. Witnesses say the goat stared down people trying to help. Hollywood’s  negotiating for the movie rights.

What more proof do we need that animals are indeed behaving badly, or in this case, behaving very baaadly. What’s next, killer guinea pigs!
Petting zoos should be put on high alert. Goats in petting zoos should be asked nicely to wear padded helmets and moms need to warn the kids not to turn their backs and bend over near the goats.
Animal behaviorists theorize that some animals may resent human’s haughty attitude at being at the top of the evolutionary food chain. They point to the fact that we openly eat animals as part of our diet and that some humans wear animal furs or skins.  They say animals might see this as taunting them. The rumor that the hiker had a lucky rabbit’s foot in his pocket has yet to be confirmed.

Animals killing people is not new of course. In Africa, lions and tigers have been killing and eating people for years. Research reveals these lions and tigers associate humans with the taste of chickens. That’s right; they think we taste like chicken.

Here in the US, animals kill people all the time. Bears, mountain lions, bobcats, alligators, snakes and sharks kill people regularly. I haven’t been in the ocean in years.

I believe that animals are conspiring against us. Even my own dog and cat look at me like they want to kill me if I don’t get them a treat or clean the litter box. It’s common for deer to jump in front of moving cars in suicide attacks against humans. And that airplane that had to land on the Hudson River in New York-- if you think its two engines were snuffed out at the exact same time by two geese was an accident, you’re just in denial.
I mean when bees become killers, the writing’s on the wall people. It’s only a matter of time now fire ants will go from swarming and stinging us to swarming and killing us.
Right now,  packs of bunnies and squirrels are in my yard smoking cigarettes and flashing gangs signs as they eye me menacingly, gesturing how they’re going to take me down with a high/low move—squirrels drop on my neck while bunnies grab me by my pant cuffs.
I’m never going outside again.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Disconnected in a Connected World

No one talks to me anymore. It’s not that I’m not a good conversationalist. I just never get the chance to show that off. If I’m in a public place, no one strikes up a conversation---they’re too busy looking at their device, their I-Phones or Blackberries. Why would anyone want to just talk about the weather when they can get the weather forecast for anywhere in the world, with video if they want, right in the palm of their hand?
“Hey some weather we’re having, huh?”
Stranger does a quick search with his device.
“Not really, the weather is far more weird in Micronesia right now. Here, take a look.”
I once started talking to a guy at a gas station only to realize after a few minutes that he was wearing one of those ear pieces and was on the phone and not listening to a word I said. Who needs to be that connected? Why not just get that thing surgically implanted so you won’t have to go around wearing one on your ear like some kind of alien!
Living in the digital age has made people more connected with each other than at any other time in history. But in the process, some have turned into digital zombies, walking around transfixed, mesmerized and captivated by the screens in their hands or on their desks.
People’s screens seem to hold more fascination that people themselves. And who can blame them, what’s in that I-Phone is far more interesting and endless than what’s in the average person.
And in the rare times when you’re actually talking with someone, you know your end of the conversation isn’t going well when they start stealing furtive glances at their screens while you’re talking. You want to yell, “Hey, look at me, I’m talking here!”
Thanks to Facebook, I know the minutest details of the daily lives of people I hardly know. I know more things about everybody than anyone would ever talk about in person. We post the goings-on of our daily lives as if it’s breaking news. Pat is cleaning the house; Brandon’s having do-nuts for breakfast; and Ken wants you to keep Zsa Zsa Gabor in your prayers as she tries to recover from hip surgery and possible stroke. Zsa Zsa’s still alive? Now that’s news.
Thanks to Facebook, the social site that keeps us constantly connected with everyone, I feel like the most boring human in cyber space. Going there just reminds me of how unexciting a life I really lead. Everyone’s life seems more interesting than mine on Facebook. Jay’s in Warsaw on business. Wendy’s coming back from France. Chris is hiking in the mountains of Idaho. Paul is home doing nothing except living vicariously through his Facebook connections.  
And wherever I go, I hear beeps, chimes, rings, buzzes, and musical notes that come from people’s devices like a ladies pocketbook or a guy’s pants pocket. What’s the proper etiquette here? Stop the major point you were making about world peace so he can answer his phone?
“Want to get that,” I ask politely.
“No, it’s just a text message. I’ll look at it later in the middle of our conversation.”
Another bell goes off.
“Want to get that,” I ask politely.
“No, it’s an e-mail that I’ll respond to when I lose interest in what you’re saying.”
Some people have assigned musical notes, clips from songs, noises, and sound effects to individual callers like members of their family. I was with a friend when his phone started barking like a dog.
“What’s that,” I asked laughing.
“I got to get this, it’s my wife calling.”
I guess there might be some benefits to living in this digital age after all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chrome Domes

Chrome Domes
By Paul Greeley

Whoever is responsible for making the turnaround that bald is beautiful should get the Public Relations of the Year Award. I’m sure it must have been a bald guy. I suspect this must be a right wing conspiracy because let’s face it, most right wingers are bald guys.
Talk about turning a negative into a positive! I mean for years, bald guys were disparaged and looked down upon. Less hairy translated into less virile, less sexy, more old.
But now everybody’s going bald--- ball players, actors, no matter the age. The thinking seems to be better to shave it all off before it’s all gone than hang on to the what’s left. I can’t ever see a bald James Bond though.
Hair, especially long hair, used to be revered. Remember the play, Hair? “Flowing, showing, long as I can grow it, my hair”! Back in the Age of Aquarius, when I was in college, hair meant something, it identified you politically, it was a sign of where you stood, what you stood for. If you had long hair, you were into sex, drugs, and rock and roll music played real loud. If you had long hair, you probably threw a Frisbee.
If you kept your hair short, you were probably into lifting weights, NASCAR, the Vietnam War, and voted for Nixon. There were the freaks who wore their hair long and then there were the straights who cut their hair short. The line was drawn as it were, by the length of your hair. The guys with short hair resented the guys with long hair, and made cracks like, “you look like a girl” or “get a hair-cut”.  I once feel asleep in the barber’s chair only to wake up and find the bald barber had taken liberties and given me a really short hair cut. That was the last time I ever used a barber to cut my hair.
I wanted to grow my hair long like the Beatles. I yearned to be able to toss my long hair back with a jerk of my head. But I had curly hair. Instead of it growing down and long, it grew up and out. My mother’s friends would always say, “Oh Bette, I wish my hair was curly like Paul’s.” I wore hats to bed and used chemicals to try and straighten my hair. The chemicals made my hair sizzle and fry when I applied it. Afterwards, my hair had a slightly burnt smell. But it was straighter!
I admit here publicly that I have an ‘area’ in the back of my head where the hair is especially thinning and in the right light, it appears to be, how do I say it, balding. There’s hair there but not enough to cover the skin sufficiently so that you don’t see what appears to be a bald spot. Thankfully, it’s in a location where I can’t see it when I look into a mirror. When I look in the mirror, I see a nice tuft of hair there in the front and on top and plenty on the sides.  And maybe some slight comb-over towards the back.
These days, hair or lack of it doesn’t say anything about you politically. You can’t tell if the bald guy next to you is the most left-wing, tree-hugging liberal there is or if he’s just folliclely-challenged. Or maybe he just wants to shave his head. Be natural. I’m bald and I’m proud! There’s even a web site for bald guys called Bald R Us. I’m not kidding; I did the research. Their motto is ‘say no to rugs, drugs and plugs & comb-overs’.  No Rogaine sold here. No pictures of Donald Trump. They have tributes to Bald Man of the Month and Bald Man of the Year. They honor bald men like the actors Ving Rhames and Vin Diesel and other bald guys whose names begins with V. 
Who’s going to tell big, bad, bald guys like Ving Rhames or Vin Diesel that their baldness isn’t beautiful? Not me, you can tell by my hair that I’m a pacifist when it comes to violence.

Friday, July 20, 2012

If leaves had value

If leaves had value
By Paul Greeley

Somewhere, we hope teams of experts are working on solutions to problems that will  benefit mankind-an end to cancer, a cure for the common cold, and why cars seem to fall apart the day after the warranty expires.
I’d like to add one more item to that list—find a way to make leaves valuable.
Think of how that would change the world!
More tress will get planted not so much for shade or beauty, but for the revenue source they’ve become.
Instead of blowing your leaves onto your neighbor’s yard when he’s not looking, you’ll be secretly sucking his over to your yard.
People will chase leaves blowing in the wind with the same fervor they might chase dollar bills down the street.
They’ll be more room in land fills for worthy trash like outdated cell phones, record players, election signs, film cameras, encyclopedias, cassette players, bell bottoms, and landline phones. 
People will find secret ways to make their trees produce more leaves like insider traders on Wall Street. 
Busloads of tourists would trek to New England to see piles of leaves with the same fascination as people now go to Ft Knox or the US Mint to see mounds of money.
Lighting your cigar with a big leaf will replace lighting cigars with hundred bills as the ultimate expression of wealth.
If you’re falling behind in your bills, you’ll tell the bill collector that it’s almost fall and you’re expecting a bumper crop of leaves this year.
Nobody will burn leaves any more. That aroma associated with fall will disappear into folklore—remember when people burned leaves?
People will hold signs that say, ‘will work for leaves’.
Banks will look to take advantage---deposit your leaves and get a new toaster.
People will give trees names like cash-cow, money-maker, or bark o’ bucks.
When people mow leaves with mulching mowers, they’ll think of it as changing leaves into smaller denominations. 
And if leaves had value, when your kids ask you for money and you say, ‘you think money grows on trees’, they’ll say, ‘well yeah, dad’. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Deciphering advertising mumbo jumbo

Deciphering advertising mumbo jumbo
By Paul Greeley

I wish advertisements were more plainly written.
Instead, ads often resort to techno mumbo jumbo in the hopes of getting us to buy. Like the more technical information they can throw at us, the more confused we’ll become until we just give up and fork over the money. And sometimes the ad copy gets so complex, it’s hard to know what the product is.
Can you guess what this is selling: Split technology allows for stability and alignment while providing the best shock absorption. The latest Italian roadster? Or a new Mercedes sedan? Try men’s dress shoes.
Or this one: Developed to exceed all ISO and Ansi Z87-1 high impact test standards and exceed the 622 Ballistics test. Body armor, right, or some sort of bullet-proof vest? Try sunglasses. Good to know if someone goes to shoot you while you’re wearing these, you can yell, “Hey shoot me in the eyes, my sunglasses passed the 622 Ballistics test!”
Close your eyes and imagine what this is describing: Medium to full in body and strength with deep spicy undertones, rich complexity and balance from beginning to end. A fine California sauvignon perhaps? Or an exotic dish of some kind? Try a cigar. Yeah, that’s exactly what a woman would think when a guy fires up a big stogie.  Not gonna happen. More like, “Put that thing out, it stinks.” Or, ”You ain’t kissing me after smoking that!” And this cigar is supposedly so good, it advertises that it’s the result of a collaborative effort between a master blender, a master grower, a master of tobacco, and the cigar composer! A cigar composer? Really! What do you do, lead an orchestra using a cigar!
What do think this product does?  Complex of patented PHA bionics and NeoGlucosamine, Retinal, Peptides, alpha hydroxy acids, and high-potency antioxidants. Is it something you eat, smear on, inject, or the ingredients for a suppository? I’m not telling.
Some ads aimed at women vie to be politically correct. A deodorant promises prescription strength wetness protection. If a woman sweats that much, maybe a deodorant is the least of her problems.
Ads for watches really have to get creative since the time is not exactly a secret. We can all pretty much go through life knowing what time it is every minute of the day without needing a watch.  
One well-known watch company ad boasts its patented chronograph mechanism and bezel with tachometric scale allows race-car drivers to perfectly measure elapsed circuit time and calculate average speed.
Yeah, when was the last time you saw a Formula 1 driver use his watch to gauge his speed? When you’re going 200 miles per hour, the last thing you need to be doing is fiddling with your watch. At 200 miles per hour, I would imagine times moves pretty fast. And when was the last time you saw a race-car driver roaring around the track yell to another, “Hey man, what time you got?”
Another ad for the same watch company bragged that its diver's watch is capable of withstanding depths to 1000 feet.
Wow, it’s nice to know that at 1000 feet your watch will still be ticking, even if you won't be. But hey, at least as you're being crushed by the weight a 1000 feet of water can put on you, you’ll know what time it is.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Got a problem? There’s an e-mail for that.

Got a problem? There’s an e-mail for that.
By Paul Greeley

I’ve found the solution to nearly all of my life’s problems. Actually, the solutions mysteriously find me. Every day, my computer separates them from the regular junk e-mail I get from family and friends and conveniently collects them in an e-mail folder titled, SPAM, which I assume stands for, Stop Paul’s Anxiety Mail.  How does the computer know which is the good e-mail and which isn’t?
Anyway, I can choose which problem I want to solve merely by looking at what’s in the Subject line.
For example, if I need money, not only can I get it, but I have choices depending on how fast I need it. I can get Fast Cash in 60 Minutes, or 400 Bucks in your Checking Account in 1-2 Days, or get it snail-mailed by clicking on The Check’s in the Mail. Government Grant Money is also available if I need it. And with all this free money, I’ll never need to Get an Emergency Loan Fast.
But with these free services, who needs money?
I could get No Charge Cell Phones. But I won’t really need that once I Kiss Phone Bills Goodbye.
Watching TV will be better once I’ve got No More Cable Bills. I won’t hesitate to fix my car because I intend to Never Pay for Auto Repairs Again. And when solicitors knock on my door asking how my roof is doing, I tell them no thanks, because I know How to Get Home Repairs at No Cost.
I can Experience Costa Rica for Free while I enjoy A Cruise Vacation at No Cost.
And since no one cares what I think about anything, even though I offer it free, I’ll turn those into a revenue source when I Get Paid for Your Opinion.

All my horticultural needs are solved here. I can now Get 16,000 Blueberries from a Single Plant. I don’t know how many blueberries you eat, but I’m thinking one plant is all I need. And I can either Get Amazing 8 foot Tall Tomatoes Trees or Produce Up to 180 lbs of Super-Sized Tomatoes. I didn’t know tomatoes grew on trees!
I hate to mow my lawn anytime, so I probably won’t want to Get Beautiful Grass All Year Round.
And it should be so quiet and peaceful in the yard once I forward this to my neighbors, Stop Your Dog from Barking
Local Maids Want to Help Me—I wonder how they know my house needs cleaning.
And I love the invitations. I’ve been invited to join the Playboy Bunny Cyber Club and The Monthly Club for Shoe Lovers.
Since I’m curious about my time on earth, someday I’ll click on When will You Die? Take this Test to Find Out---even though I don’t do well on tests.
I was surprised to see that my Certificate of Achievement is Ready.
And I can get it sent to my house gratis once I click on I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Free Shipping!
And although I’ve been accused of having a PhD in BS, I still want to Become a Doctor of Anything.
And if you’ve got a problem with that, by all means, e-mail me.