Saturday, June 08, 2013

Appliance of Satan

More often than I would like, I get fascinated by some new technology that takes up a lot of my time and attention and might even affect my relationships. When that happens, I think of this story from the November 1976 "Archie's Girls: Betty and Veronica," which I read when I was a kid. I found a copy on eBay, with a big assist from the excellent pop culture blogger Jaime Weinman. He knows a lot about Archie comics and was really helpful when I queried him about this on Twitter.

The story has stayed with me all these years. I also think of it whenever I install a window air conditioner.

Dept. of hiking adventures

Here's my Mountain Press feature about Gatlinburg's John LaFevre, who with his wife Kat recently released a new version of their book "Scavenger Hike Adventures." It makes a game of walking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "It’s a sturdy, wire-bound book that should travel well along the park’s beautiful trails."

Olde Englande

We're finally catching up with "Upstairs Downstairs," season two, which aired on PBS last fall. With its quick scene changes and opulent English settings, it reminds me of "Downton Abbey." Except it might actually be better than "Downton Abbey." Less silly.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The bias is real

"Do you think there’s an element of bias against Southerners or Christians at work here?"

The bias is real, and for this Southern Episcopalian who recently returned home after half a lifetime away, it's frustrating.

I'm not defending the guy who stole people's comedy tweets. That's shameful.

Dept. of child stars

Now I did not know that Fergie was on "Kids Incorporated."

Good word

"It'd be hard to imagine greater talents than Pryor and Jackson, just as it'd be hard to imagine icons who did more to squander their almost inconceivable gifts."

-- Nathan Rabin, "My Year Of Flops Case File #8: The Wiz"

Circles within circles

Spirograph website. There goes my weekend

Robots in disguise

My Roomba 620 pretended to be a Roomba 630.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Today's top story

Donor Still Writing 2012 on Giant Ceremonial Checks

Dept. of neologisms

I avoid all trendy slang except "23 skidoo."

Mon semblable

My email doppelgänger in Texas buys shoes and applies for nursing jobs.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Health tip

It's not snacking if you eat all your snacks with your meals.

Little-known fact

The working title of "Brave New World" was "Dude, Where's My Soma?"

Collector's item

My Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum pencil set is still in the original packaging. Bet it's worth a fortune, like a Star Wars toy.

Jitterbugging to lose

Here's the thing about dance-a-thons. Whenever you see a dance-a-thon in a movie or TV show, it starts out with people dancing gleefully, with great abandon, arms and legs flying everywhere. Now is it just me, or is this not spectacularly bad dance-a-thon strategy? I say slow dance every number, including "Sing, Sing, Sing."

Technical support

Yesterday I had a web chat with a Comcast representative about my flaky Internet service. I got nervous when the rep opened the conversation with this: "I understand the importance of internet in our daily lives at our own convenience."

But things went reasonably well after that.

Endless games

"Games among 'amateur' players often extend far longer for a variety of reasons."

I'm surprised this Slate piece doesn't mention a really important reason Monopoly games go on forever: unofficial house rules that replenish cash supplies, like the Free Parking windfall. The goal is to BANKRUPT YOUR OPPONENTS, people. Atlantic City wasn't developed by hippies.

Monday, June 03, 2013

All I miss is the unrelenting negativity

And the anger. Here's the Mountain Press column I wrote about my Facebook-free summer. "I’m not interested in politics as an all-consuming leisure activity."

Sunday, June 02, 2013

No way

You mean Paul McCartney was in a band before he was in a Beatles tribute band?