If you’re like me, you’ve been consumed by the news recently, and especially politics. It’s become something of an out-of-control sporting event, and I think we’re all kind of feeling it as the mid-term elections approach. Combine politics with Iraq, House E-mail scandals, North Koreans with nuclear weapons, and that mile-wide chunk of rock hurtling toward Topeka (OK, I made that last one up), and you’ve got a good case of information overload.
Or, maybe you’re just overloading on the wrong information. Either way, you need a break. We all need a break, and to get away from the hard news. So I’m here to help you purge. To serve as a kind of mental Liquid Plumber for cleansing the mind. You have to get out all that gunk and sticky stuff crammed up there, and the only way to combat serious news is with the exact opposite — ridiculous, outlandish and totally absurd news.
Are you up for my simple program? It’ll help! Nothing makes you put it all in perspective better than the grand realization that while the world is full of madness, at least you never crashed your car because the electronic navigation system told you to.
Feel better already?
This is actually true. Reuters reported that in Germany a motorist was following directions from the global positioning satellite system in the car when it demanded, “Turn right now!” So the driver did … even though there wasn’t a street to turn onto. The car crashed into a “small toilet hut,” which makes you wonder if the navigation system was nearsighted, or just had a terrific sense of humor.
Navigation systems, in case you don’t know, are those devices people have in their cars to add just one more ridiculous distraction alongside cell phones, Taco Bell in the lap and kids in the back screaming, “When the hell are we going to get there?”
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I read the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal everyday just to be dazzled by the riches — both liberal and conservative — that I will never know.
News? Who cares about the news? Not when there are $350 bottles of French wine to drink (only not by me) and $2.2 million mini-jets to be flown. (I stare at the pictures and say, “Cool!”)
Politics? Who cares? It’s all about money and I have none. These two papers prove it every single day, and it gives me great pleasure to read about it so I can be envious and drool.
In the Times’ style section last week they had a feature on cardigan sweaters. I don’t personally like cardigan sweaters. In fact, I pretty aggressively hate them. But that was before I saw one for $500 in the newsprint. Now I want a cardigan.
In the Journal, I saw a house in the West Indies on a cliff overlooking the sea that is starting at $10 million. It had a home theater, observatory with retractable dome, grotto with waterfall (I don’t know what a grotto is, but I bet you could put a tiki bar in it) and a dance studio. I ran to the computer to crunch a few numbers, just to see if there was some way I could squeak it out (maybe by cutting out red meat or gas for the cars.) But even if I could get a 30-year loan with a .001 percent rate, I still don’t think I could cover the $27,700 monthly payments. Not even close!
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You what?” asked my mother, as if my brother’s fiance had just announced she was funding terrorists, or worse, had called her yard nothing but weeds. She was visibly agitated and I think her hand was trembling.
“We used to paint faces on our pumpkins as kids back in Indiana,” said Holly, a bit sheepishly. “We never carved them!”
To make it worse, my Long Island-born wife chimed in: “We painted ours, too. Carving was too dangerous and the squirrels would just eat them.”
The squirrels would just eat them! What kind of nonsense. Continue Reading »