Life is a series of mistakes. The wise person learns from them, the fool repeats them.
Author Archives: alibifolio
THIS HAS TO BE SAID
Okay, SOMEBODY’s got to talk about the elephant in the room, so it may as well be me. The elephant to which I refer is, of course, SHOELACES! There! It had to be said, and I said it – and I’m glad I did, because if somebody doesn’t do something about it, they’re going to take over the world!
It began, insidiously, several years ago when I bought a pair of sneakers and, when I tied them up, had enough lace left over to make a fair-sized hammock. ‘Okay’ I thought. ‘Somebody made a mistake at the shoelace factory. Possibly the cutting machine operator ran out of aglets and, when he went to find some, forgot to turn the machine off. Or perhaps he bent over to tie his shoes.’ Who knows? I wasn’t there. But such were the possibilities I entertained at the time.
Then, later in the same year, I bought a pair of boots suitable for inclement weather – specifically mud and snow, these elements representing two of the predominant seasons here in Moldova as they do in my native Maine. When I tried them on in the store, however, deja vu – but in brown rather than white! There was sufficient surplus lace to truss a small cadre of miscreants until their bulging eyes were all that could be seen, hence preventing them from executing their malevolent plans.
As there were no miscreants about, however, all I could do was look down upon the small mountain of excess lace – equivalent in quantity and distribution to leftovers of Italian night at the local bowl-a-rama – sure that I must be on Candid Camera.
Alan Funt was not, to my surprise, forthcoming from behind a nearby aspedistra – probably for the best, since he’d been dead for some years by that time, still…
All of which begs the question: “Huh?”
I mean, people all over the planet are dragging surfeit miles of laces in their train, imperiling themselves and passers-by with braided strings containing enough cotton to clothe the children of several third-world nations!
Why are you laughing?
So: what to do with it? Double-bow? Triple-bow? Quad and Quintuple bow? Tim Tebow?
I’ve tried ’em all (well, not the Tim Tebow…yet), and there’s still enough left over so the residual pile doesn’t begin to unravel until I’ve gone twice ’round the block!
I know I’ve opened a can of worms, but if the general population isn’t allowed to vent on this critical issue, the pressure to do so will become explosive.
Progress is fine, but only to the edge of the canyon; beyond that, it’s disaster.
I spoke with an individual – who shall for the sake of his reputation remain nameless – who labors under the misapprehension that cricket is a sport. I offer the following in evidence that it is not:
1. Participants wear white sweaters (cardigans), neckties, and little white beanies.
2. At certain intervals the ‘players’ break for tea and crumpets.
3. There is no possibility of human contact or any real physical exertion.
4. Chess players sweat more profusely than cricketers. (See #3)
5. The ‘game’ involves knocking a stick off some other sticks – a feat often accomplished by a passing breeze.
6. The bowler (or pitcher) throws the ball at the ground – which is very easy to hit and which makes…
7. The ball very easy to hit.
8. The ball may be hit anywhere, the only foul being when it lands in the teacup of an opposing player.
9. The rules of Cricket cannot be explained to sentient human beings, nor are the most ardent cricketers, cricket supporters, or referees sure of them in the first place. Because of this . . .
10. a game of cricket can, depending on the amount of tea available, last for DAYS.
11. Cricket is named after the insect, the sound of which is the only thing to be heard during most of the ‘game’.
12. Cricket was heavily promoted by the Scots in order to make golf seem exciting.
13. The preceding make it highly likely that Cricket was invented by Horatio Twinings, founder of Twinings Tea, (1706), for the purpose of creating a market for surplus product. Horatio, it must be noted, was eccentric in the extreme in that his two favorite (favourite) pass-times were turtle racing and watching ice melt, and both of these passions are reflected in the game he devised.
There will, of course, be those who contest my appraisal, but the bulk of these misguided individuals attended public schools (which, in the U.K., means private – another fact that goes a long way in explaining the existence of Cricket), and were indoctrinated at an early age so allowances must be made and grace extended.
The world has been observed by many to be going insane. I agree. It cannot be ignored, based upon the preceding, that Cricket is – in whole or in part – culpable for the present state of affairs. We hold this truth to be self-evident.
I thought this response to a comment made by my good friend, Joan – relative to chewing gum losing its flavor on the bedpost overnight – bears repeating. So here it is, and let it be a lesson to you.
A friend of mine took her two-year old to the movies, and, after a while, became aware that the child was happily masticating some sticky substance.
“What are you chewing?” asked mom.
“Gum, I think,” said the child.
“Where did you get it!?” asked mom – I think she may have used multiple exclamation points, but I wasn’t there, so I can’t say for sure.
“Under the seat!” said the child proudly.
I don’t think the issue of how long it had been there arose in the ensuing exchange. Therefore whether and for how long it had retained its flavor – assuming it WAS gum – remained moot.
It is because overly-fastidious mothers intervene in experiments like this that American students have fallen behind in science.
I try to be a positive, optimistic kind of guy – but, however I try to put a positive spin on them – there are words that immediately raise my blood pressure: “Welcome to the NEW INTERFACE we’ve created. Now, we’re better, and more intuitive than ever!” What they fail to mention is that the individual for whom they are ‘more intuitive’ is Rube Goldberg (look it up, I don’t have time to explain…)
I have spent, literally, 90 minutes trying to find a way to do with my ‘convenient new interface’ what I’ve been doing for the last 7 years on the old, apparently inconvenient interface, which had a big button that said: “Click here to post a new banner, stupid!” or words to that effect. So, deducing that the command was directed at me, I’d push the button and ‘BINGO’ it did what I wanted!
Now, there is no “Click this button, Stupid’ button. There’s no button at all. And there are no convenient little balloons that wake up when you hover over them and tell you what to do next. And – there’s no human being on the ‘Support’ page. There’s a list of FAQs (for the uninitiated, that means Frustrating Abstract Qomments) from people who don’t have the same problem you have, and will actually take the time to tell you they don’t have an answer to your problem, and you need to submit a ticket.
This is a convenient 47-step process designed to:
A. Take so long that you: i. forget about it. ii. die B. Take so long for anyone to respond to that your computer will be outdated so they can say, “Oh, our MS (Magnificent Software) doesn’t work on that old system anymore. (Chortle), You need to update your OS – which means Ossified and Superannuated Contraption. (The ‘C’ is silent). C. Drive you completely insane.
Nine years ago, I had a heart attack. By this time, I’m about to have another one. On the bright side, I’ll probably die of old age first.
I scroll to the bottom of the page and there – in print about the size of a Qubit (not Q-Tip, nor a cubit, which are entirely different things. Look ‘it up), is a word that, I think, says Contact. Contact what, exactly, it didn’t say. I remember a movie Jodie Foster was in that was called ‘Contact’, or something like that. It turns out what she was contacting was an alien civilization.
Despite my fear that that’s exactly what would happen if I clicked the button, I clicked it. Jodie Foster would have felt right at home on the resulting screen which – though clearly captioned ‘Contact Us’ in 36-point letters at the top of the page – had nothing on it suggestive of the answer to the question: How?
A block of text said that my “question had already probably been answered, Stupid” (or words to that effect) on their helpful FAQ (Fatuous And Querulous) page, to which they provided a link. I wished to respond that I had already spent the greater part of my allotted three-score and ten there – along with some other observations of which the preceding is but a passing whiff – but there was nowhere to make such a comment.
On the Contact Us page.
I was just about to . . . Hey. Wait a minute! Did you see the movie where the guy was abandoned on Mars? I think I see him over there on the next dune. . . gotta go!
It’s been scientifically proven that there are two elemental forces through which the universe came into being, and without which it could not exist. The first is gravity. The second, of course, chocolate. It is with the first of these properties this monograph has to do (can something be a monograph, if it has more than one paragraph?).
That gravity is a feminine force cannot be contested, in evidence of which I present its capriciousness. To whit (or two wits): It stalks me, as women of the fair sex are wont to do. I’m serious. High concentrations of this substance follow me wherever I go: the bathroom scale, for example. The moment I step on the thing – Zip! – gravity attacks me en masse, and clings to me until I step off. I try subterfuge – stepping gingerly onto the scale quickly and without warning while humming If She Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate nonchalantly – but it’s useless. Gravity is prescient. It is fast. It is crafty. It is invidious, insidious, invisible, and malicious.
It also clusters around me at the dining table, surrounding my chair – at the conclusion of a meal including anything susceptible to its influence – food, for instance – with a sphere of refuse not unlike the 480 million copper needles surrounding the planet courtesy of the great scientific minds that gave us Project West Ford (worth looking up, that), and the dishwasher when I’m handling especially delicate glassware – of which only one remains from a set of six.
Gravity’s permanent residence is places like sidewalk grates or bodies of water into which it siphons precious objects, and keeps them there, in plain sight, but exactly 1/128th of an inch out of reach of any device you have at your disposal that might be applied to its extraction.
I am currently working on special glasses that will enable the wearer to identify these calamitous vortices of gravity and sidestep them. Avoidance may, however, be impossible since, as I have said, gravity is Very Fast. Given that, I am also developing – and this is Top Secret, so don’t tell Mr. Snowdon or Mr. Wikileaks, or Mr. Anonymous, or any major news outlet – a pill or capsule, to be marketed under the name TAKE A LOAD OFF, the chemicals in which, when swallowed, combine with those resident in the stomach to create an explosion of helium, which, briefly, minimizes gravity’s influence. A perfect time to take one of these (NOT with a carbonated beverage!) is when you are told “The doctor will see you now”, which is usually followed by the nurse’s ‘request’ that you step on the scale. I anticipate that TAKE A LOAD OFF will counter the effects of gravity and produce a more accurate reading at least 20 pounds less than that produced when the subject is infested by one of these traveling gravidical nodes (GN).
Test results on laboratory rats and my neighbor’s Pekinese, has been pronounced. I am conducting further experiments, and will keep you apprised. Let me close by saying that TAKE A LOAD OFF is available for pre-order FOR only $649 dollars for a full month’s supply! Order NOW and you get a second month’s supply for EXACTLY THE SAME PRICE! So relax, have a big Swiss-sized chunk of chocolate, and TAKE A LOAD OFF! That’s all.
Here, kitty, kitty…