One Infuriating Day in the World of Mundane Technology

The Bluetooth keyboard won’t connect. The printer won’t print. As though in a conspiracy to infuriate me, they both rebel at the same time. So as to thwart them, I will deal with them just one at a time.

The pre-installed batteries that power the keyboard couldn’t possibly be bad. I know this because all the online reviews say that they last four years—essentially, the life of the iPad—and I have only had this thing for 6 months. Besides, when I ask the geek at the store whether it is the batteries, he says “no”—it is the keyboard itself. “You think so?” I ask. “I know so,” he says.

He must know what he is talking about. The online reviews tell me the same—the batteries are supposed to last 4 years, not 6 months. It must be the Slim Folio keyboard. I buy another—the are not too expensive. When I get it home, I discover (so I thought) what was wrong with the first one. There is a Bluetooth key on the upper row. When I hit it, it makes a connection. I didn’t know there was such a key. It must also have been preset. I must have switched it off by mistake.

I take the purchased keyboard back to the Best Buy. Do I have the receipt? No. The clerk with the tattoos hadn’t given me one, and I didn’t say anything because I know that they send receipts by email these days. They searched and couldn’t find it. Why not? Because they had on file the old Juno email account that I haven’t used since Jesus was born, and for whatever reason, can’t get into anymore. I think I changed the once-simple password to something more intricate and then forgot it. As I recall, retrieval proved near impossible due to an archaic interface and a since-replaced laptop that crashed if you looked at it wrong.* At last, the salesperson finds it and the return is made.

Back home, I find that my fix—the Bluetooth key—was just a red herring. Yes, I did get more life out of it for a few minutes, but it presently started to act up as before. It’s going to be embarrassing buying the keyboard again, and I am starting to think that maybe I should try batteries before I spring for a new board after all. They are the little coin-like batteries that I never use, and another reason that I just bought a new keyboard—now returned—is that I figured they probably cost as much as a Prius battery.

Amazon can get me the batteries I need, also the printer ink, but it will take two days. I want them both now. I want the keyboard battery so that I can type on my iPad, not on my laptop as though a caveman. My wife wants the printer to work so that she can print out a letter from an expert saying that another refurbishing job that she paid through the nose for is no good and that she should get her money back.

The Best Buy has those particular coin-type batteries, but only in a package of eight. They are not nearly as pricey as I thought—I found that out via Amazon—but I don’t need a 20 year supply of them. Wasn’t there a Steve Martin movie featuring him being hauled to the police station because, thinking that the world was out to get him, he had torn open either a hot dog package or a hot dog roll package so as to buy only the matching number of each that he wanted? And batteries are more expensive that hot dogs or hot dog rolls!

If Best Buy doesn’t have them, with all of the electronics that they sell, there is no way that Target will have them. But the Target is right next door—it is silly not to at least check. Target does have them, and in just the number (2) that I need. The battery display says $4.60, only a dollar more than Amazon, and I can get them right now, even though I may not need them and have no other use for them should that be the case. The self-service kiosk rings it up for $6.99. I must have picked up the wrong pack, I suppose, and I go fetch another one. No, I did not pick up the wrong pack. It, too, rings up for $6.99. I return to the display. It turns out that the battery is being re-introduced in a new package alongside the old and both are ringing up at the new price that only the new one is supposed to ring up at. I don’t want the new. I want the old, and the old price.

You wouldn’t think that one could get paralyzed over two dollars. But it is not two dollars paralyzing me—it is the thought of being played for a chump. “Forget it!” I mutter after a few trips back and forth to the register kiosk. I can get it through Amazon—why don’t I use them all the time, since aggravations like this so frequently happen?—and in the meantime I can make do with the laptop. I mean, for years and years I typed on the laptop, perfectly content. I can do it again for two days. Upon making this resolution, I leave to pick up some groceries at Aldies. The batteries might not solve the problem anyway—the geek told me they would not solve the problem—so if I am going to chance just throwing money away, it should be as little as possible, not the $6.99 Target wants just because they put them in a fancier package.

After grocery shopping, I return to Target. In the greater overall scheme of life, two dollars is not the end of the world, and it is worth two dollars to use my iPad today and not my laptop because, long ago, I ripped the laptop cord from the laptop one too many times while removing it from my lap, and it will now only stay connected if I firmly tape the cord in place with duct tape. The repair will cost over $200! Forget it. Taping the way I now do is enough to power it, but not enough to keep its battery (another battery!) recharged, so I have acquiesced to the laptop being no more portable than a desktop, because if I even look at the thing wrong, the cord connection breaks even with the duct tape and, having no battery, the machine crashes and I lose anything I have not saved—the only benefit being that I have learned to save after virtually every sentence. So I want to use my iPad, which is portable, and I will pay two extra dollars to do that.

Still, I grumble at the self-service line over the two dollars. “Do you want me to look it up for you?” the attendant who oversees four of these kiosks asks. I tell her no—it is just a price change, that I know this sort of thing happens—it is irritating but it is not her fault—why make trouble for her? Still, she can look it up if she likes, I tell her, mostly just so that she will get out of my hair and let me get on with shelling out the $6.99 that heaven has decreed I must before I change my mind again.

She DOES look it up. She scans my package with her phone. She has software (I think) that permits her to see the display, and she sees the original price. Nah—that can’t be—still, she somehow figures the original price. She changes it for me right there at the kiosk, punching in some codes—using her powers. Finally! A hero in a world of villains! When she is busy doing something else, I double back to tell her that she truly made my day, that she didn’t have to do it at all, that I never expected her to, and that she would never know how much such a gesture of service meant unless I told her, which is why I did.

At home, I put in the new batteries and the old keyboard works good as new. Even though the geek had said he KNEW that batteries were not the problem! Even though the online reviews said it, too, with batteries supposedly lasting the life of the iPad! (To be sure, I use it a lot.)

One problem down—only one more to go: the printer that won’t print. I know it is not out of ink because it has an icon that keeps track of ink, discoverable in several different ways, albeit with effort, and each of those ways returns the same result—there is still 3/8 of a tank left. So I spend three years pouring over online documentation as to how to fix the sullen thing. Cleaning the heads does nothing. The store geek who does not know a dead battery from a keyboard is not going to try his hand at my printer—I refuse to even think of taking it there—even if he will do it for less than a million dollars. As a last ditch attempt before escalation, even though gauges say that there is no way that is it out of ink, I buy some more ink. Of course, I buy the wrong package, a package number that came up when I searched the printer model on Amazon.

Why has not someone taken a stand on the biggest scam of all time—printer ink? Why are there dozens and dozens of printers, each one of which will take only a single specific pricey cartridge out of the dozens and dozens available? It is as though every single can of Campbells soup is unique and you will die if you eat any other than one out of 100. The politician that runs his platform on blowing the lid off this scam wins, as far as I am concerned.

Funny, the printer model itself is not on the cartridge package that Amazon says should work, I note at the Best Buy, though every other model on the planet is. “Ah, well, if it is not the right one, I can always take it back,” I say, and indeed I do take it back the next day. I pop the new cartridge into the machine that insisted it did not need one, and it immediately prints like the New York Times running down Trump.

Total price in money? Twenty six dollars

Total price in time? Twenty six years

Total price in aggravation? Twenty six thousand grey hairs.

Total number of heroes? One—the kiosk monitor at Target.

(Best Buy emerges from this post with a mild black eye, so I should point out that I have nothing against them. Their sales associates are polite, not pushy, and invariably will answer whatever you ask them. The point I am making instead is that tech is complicated and nobody knows everything. It was even a Best Buy sales associate who answered to my satisfaction why Microsoft gives me so much trouble (I have had updates that take hours) whereas Apple does not (I don’t think I have ever had an update lasting more that a minute or three). Microsoft is much more ambitious in the scope of what they offer, she told me, plus they have low price points that Apple does not. That satisfied me. 

It is annoying, though, that when you grouse about Microsoft online, thieves immediately show up insisting that they are them and ask for all sorts of access so that they can help you, and when they follow up with a phone call later, their English is indecipherable. One would think that Microsoft would shut them down, since it tarnishes their reputation. Later, I read that Microsoft did shut them down—it was an operation out of India—but later I saw that they had resurfaced—it is probably next to impossible to eliminate. Some less scrupulous companies have been known to kneecap scoundrels who tarnish their good name, but Microsoft is apparently too ethical to do that.)

—————-

*The old laptop: Modified from my book: “No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash”—the most autobiographical of them all:

 

The stupid thing is always pestering me that is nearly out of disk space. How can that be? It’s new—and I haven’t used it for anything other than writing this book! [Tom Irregardless and Me] The suggested tool to handle the error message launches into a circus into undiscovered galaxies! It’s like that Black Friday netbook I bought last year - another scoundrel! It harangued me forever about loading Windows 10. Finally, I said ‘All right all right’ - load the stupid thing!’ It wheeled and cranked and whirred like Dr. Who’s spaceship, only to declare at last: ‘You don’t have enough disk space!’ and then launched a tool which took me to Alpha Centauri!

***~~~***

“Just puttering along editing my document. Save a tweak and I get the message: ‘A file error has occurred.’ So? There’s no clue what to do about it. Or the consequences. Will a bomb detonate with the next keystroke? Or is just some tiny worthless snippet of software somewhere that feels it has to speak up from time to time so as to justify its existence? Aha! Close the document. Then re-open. I have saved every tweak up to that point, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. But when I reopen it, the changes I have saved have not been saved! No wonder people go mad! Before closing, it says a temporary file will be available! Where? On Jupiter? Open Word from scratch – it’s nowhere to be found! I have to re-treat the whole chapter!

***~~~***

“Okay, it doesn’t exist. That reassuring fix they were cooing about last night? That ‘solve-all’ dialogue box? It doesn’t exist! Or rather, it probably does, but only inside the 3rd module of the 15th lobe of the program designers brain. It’s impossible to find! Sure, I could find it in three days, possibly, but I don’t want to do that! I could have fixed the chapter by now by just writing it again! And I knew that’s what I should have done, I knew it! But, noooo – here’s some fine instructions – let’s follow them! See where it gets me!

***~~~***

“I have one book to write on my new laptop. Just one book! So I didn’t buy the $14,000 model. I bought the basic model, the cheap one. I’m not gaming with it. I’m not putting movies on it, or music, or photos, or even tweets! Just one book! One! And that’s not even on the hard drive, it’s in the cloud, and on thumb drive updates every two seconds, because you can’t trust this ‘Save’ feature as far as you can Spit! So why does it tell me every two seconds my hard drive is getting full? It just wants to make me mad! It didn’t say ‘Sucker Model’ at the store. It didn’t say ‘Gotcha’ Model. I asked the clerk if there were electronics inside the case, and he said there were! ‘Are you sure it’s not just gerbil cage shavings inside?’ I asked. He said he was sure! What a liar!”

 

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Atop Wolf Mountain - Smyrna NY

Your first impression of Wolf Mountain is that it really is a mountain. This may not be obvious at first—my friend and I arrived 20 minutes before opening time, and the only thing that was obvious was that we were in the middle of nowhere, a few miles outside of Smyrna, NY. When opening time came, the keeper did not drive up from outside as I has supposed she would, but she descended from within, leaving one to suppose that she had slept with the wolves.

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Follow her through the gate, up into the compound and notice the sign advising you to drive slowly up the dirt road. Unless you have 4-wheel drive (we did not), you cannot drive any other way.

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After taking in that you are really up there, the second thing that you notice is that these people are truly serious about their wolves. Were a visitor to fall into an enclosure, it might not be as it was with Harambe, the Cincinnati gorilla—the sharpshooter might take you out instead, sparing the wolf. A sign at the entrance demands attention—if you annoy the wolves in any way, you will be asked to leave. If you refuse, staff will call the police.

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Well, they wont get any trouble from my companion, who is pushing 90, and who—alas!—has declared that this is his last major excursion—he had to stop and rest a few times this time around. He is such a nut about wolves that his home congregation has named him “Wolfman.” His love of wolves extends to all canines. When making return visits, the way Jehovah’s Witnesses do, he forgets the names of the people but never their dog. “Let’s go pay a call on where Prince lives,” he will say—a partiality that generally gets him farther than if he had remembered the people.

It is on his account that I have made the trip. I came across the closed facility months ago and thought it was something that he might like. It turned out that he knew all about it, but had never been there. I thought that he might decimate the gift shop halfway through the tour, but he showed admirable restraint. So many people have given him stuffed wolf toys, wolf attire, and the like that he barely has room to move where he lives. He was mildly disappointed with the refuge, for he had watched many YouTube videos of snuggling with the wolves and had imagined himself doing the same.

Our guide was leading his first-time-ever group. He was a graduate of the nearby forestry school in Syracuse and his goal is to one day enter the National Park Service. For now, he is paying off some bills running a landscaping crew, and he volunteers here at Wolf Mountain. The wolves are getting acclimated to him—they notice right away anyone new, and they notice when anyone is on the grounds after hours, which are fairly limited.

E86255D5-A912-421F-9178-336410DACE18(Guide is in maroon shirt and backpack. Wolfman in blue shirt and gray hair)

Staff regards each wolf as family. There are placards introducing each individual, and upon leaving, one encounters a group goodbye from them.

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The owner, like Wolfman, is essentially a wolf nut, who devotes all his energy to his wolf sanctuary. It is privately funded—that is, mostly not at all, other than admission fees and donations of road kill for food. He ventures out to buy 500 pounds of chicken legs per month for the animals. He welcomes donations of chicken, ground deer meat, deer hearts and liver, buffalo, elk, and pork hearts. He does not want woodchuck, birds, innards from slaughtered animals, or wild game not legally obtained. He is also a Native American, and a side theme of the place is preserving Native American culture.

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Oddly, Wolfman, whose father died before he was born, believed and told one and all throughout his life that he was a Native American of the Mohawk tribe. His Inuit appearance easily gives that impression, so it was questioned by nobody. In his later years he took one of those ancestry DNA tests and discovered that he had not a drop of Indian blood in him!—he was mostly Swedish. The revelation came a little late to turn around a lifelong affinity for Native American ways, but even in his heyday he had not taken personally the atrocities done to “his” people—it was just one more example of man’s inhumanity to man, and there were hundreds of examples.

The American Zoo Association decrees that there should be a minimum of 5000 square feet for every two wild animals. Wolf Mountain easily exceeds that, said our guide. I didn’t know about such a rule, nor did the guide know when it had been implemented (which would not affect Wolf Mountain, anyway, since it is independent of that body) but it led to my remark, agreed to by all those of my age, that zoos used to be jails for animals and that now they are much less that way.

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Shocked at Any Time for No Reason at All

When the dog arrived at the house where it knows it can be shocked at any time for absolutely no reason at all, it rushed to see Jen, because it likes Jen. But then it decided it had seen Jen enough and went back into the car, atop it’s bed which had been brought along for the stay. I spilled it off the bed with difficulty when I pulled it from the car and it trotted down the driveway past the spot where it would have been shocked had its collar been on, thus indicating either it had learned nothing at all from the dog restraint system or that it was smarter than anybody might have figured, realizing that absent the collar, it is immune. It kept trotting down the road, as though it would trot all 30 miles home, but my sharp voice, made sharper at the approach of a car, made it pause, reconsider, and reluctantly return with tail shyly wagging.

This is not the usual dog restraint system, where you get too close to the buried wire and get zapped. This is one of the newer 'opposite' models, where you stray too far from the central transmitter and get zapped. Everyone feels bad that the dog is so scared of it and wonders how it happened. There is such as thing as properly acclimating a dog to the system, but it is very hard to believe that my friend would make any mistakes in that regard, because she never does. Maybe there is some quirk about the device itself.

At any rate, he acclimates. I am told he gets better and better. Picking up the dog, my wife and I always ask if it was any trouble. Our daughter’s friends invariably blow off the question as almost too stupid to ask. When I take the dog to the dog park, almost to the person people tell me how good natured he is.

 

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Picking up Women at the Dog Park

Given that we are all flabby and that excercise is the best thing for us and that it doesn't have to be hard excercise - walking will do - it is surprising that at the dogpark the only one I see doing laps is me.I do eight, having figured that each is a quarter of a mile. When I actually paced it off, I discovered that I had come pretty close. Eight laps comes to about two and a quarter miles.
 
I pick up turds when I'm walking, too. Why should I not? I don't pick them up with my bare hands, of course, and I think I would draw the line if someone asked me to. But no one does. The dog park provides nice little plastic bags that you can turn inside out, flip over in no time, and get the job done. There is an art to it and one improves with experience. Me - I just like a clean dog park. For whatever reason, quite a few do not pick up after their dogs. I don't make a big deal over this. I just do it myself. Not as though I am on a mission to get each one. No. I just take out more than my mutt brings in.
 
It is said that guys who are interested in women find great success in picking up some of them at the dog park. I have found this to be true, and I usually leave with four or five in my tow. They approach me tremulously, with awakening desire, and ask what interesting things I do. "I pick up turds," I tell them. "It's a great hobby!"
 
It leaves them speechless every time.
 
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Candidate Cat is Probably Lying Through His Furry Face

I think it is very important for voters to realize that when Candidate Cat advocates food control for dogs, he is being disingenuous at best, and lying through his furry face at worst. Food rights for dogs has long established that optimal results in satisfaction and productivity are achieved at two meals per day per dog, but Candidate Cat uses the data of dogs who binge-eat to skew the overall data. It is important to note that such data must be placed into the category of statistical outlier with no practical application. If fact, recent research points to the likelihood that two meals a day are actually insufficient, and that three or even more meals per day per dog would result in happier returns.

Candidate Cat, on the campaign trail, tends to speak figuratively, in ways that his advisors would no doubt like to reign him in on. He floats an off the cuff remark that one meal per day per dog is the policy he would like to pursue and his advisors quickly reassure the public that he is still committed to a two meal per day per dog policy. In reality, this tactic serves to distract the voter from his true agenda, which is patterned after his true desire – I am assured by insiders who do not wish to be identified - that there be no meals for dogs at all – per day, per dog, or per anything. He purrs a good game, but the public is catching on to him and I predict he will not succeed.

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A Legal Defeat for the Cat

'Cats only get fed once a day,' says Pop. He is recalling the barn cats back when he was a boy. They got unlimited cow's milk, but solid food just once a day. Let them get off their rear ends and catch some mice if they are yet hungry.

This statement thoroughly alarmed the cat, which immediately tried to mitigate the damage. 'Objection, your Honor,' it said. 'I demand that remark be stricken from the record! It is irrelevant, biased, and prejudicial! Cat lives matter!'

But his Honor was fed up with his own cat, which harasses him 24/7 for more food from the moment he walks in the door. He takes off his robe, hollers 'Honey, I'm home!' takes a step forward and falls headlong over his cat, which has positioned itself to call attention to its own hungry plight.

'Objection overruled!' he roared. 'Let the record stand as is! In fact, underline those words!' Image

 

Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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Police Dog Needed to Catch Old Crooks and Crooks Who Walk Funny

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 Whoa! I get a cool undercover police car!

 

 

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Here comes my new partner.

 

 


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Meet Officer Bittem 

 

 

 

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  Suspect identified. He's a nasty looking one!

 

 

 

 

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I've got him trapped, Officer Bittem! I'll cover the escape route. You go down there and cuff him!

 

Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash 

 

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A Joyous Pig Bucket Brigade

From the book: No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

They had a barn fire in Russia in the dead of winter – isn’t it always winter over there? – and firefighters saved 150 pigs.  Find it online. Watch the firefighers joyously tossing piglets to each other in a bucket pig brigade. See? They rescue piglets over there just like we would rescue them here. Focus on the people, not the governments.

All the government wants is to maintain public order, and there are different ideas about how to do that. While they’re at it they preserve their own interest.  But people do that everywhere. The Bible used the metaphor of the heavens to represent ancient governments. The heavens would drench you with rain, scorch you will sun, freeze you will sleet, and there wasn’t a thing you could do about. It is not so different today.

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San Diego

Just north of San Diego, they built a children's beach. It was for the children. The kids needed a beach, don't you see. They didn't get one, though. They were evicted. By sea lions!

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Now, I can think of scores of examples where animals are displaced by people, but how often is it the other way around? It's sort of refreshing, isn't it? The children and seals competed for a time, but the cove's protected nature....rocky cliffs on one side of the beach, manmade seawall on the other....well, word just spread among sea lions...you know how they are....and they came in such numbers so as to drive the children away.  When they started to mate and give birth on the beach, practicing unprotected seal sex, it was time to clear the children out 2011 3 27 san diego 066 once and for all! There must have been 120 seals lounging about the day we visited.  See how happy this guy is?

Odd birds keep gliding by as you're strolling the sea wall. Line after line of pelicans on patrol, single file, more or less, each line   undulating up and down with the waves. Graceful from a distance, but as they pass close by, you're struck with their appearance. Heads eerily too big for their body, no neck, extended beak....flying gnomes, seeming to eye you closely, though not turning their heads, as if relaying your position to headquarters.

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Now, you mustn't feel too sorry for the displaced children, here. Or, at least, if you do, don't feel it from the standpoint of physical well-being. This is LaJolla (Spanish for “the Jewel), California. It's among the wealthiest locales in the US. It's beautifully hilly terrain. It's picture perfect weather. Relaxed, seemingly stress-free people. The PGA just finished up the Farmers Insurance Open at the community's Torrey Pines golf course, and Bubba Watson walked off with a million dollar check. Witnessing is a challenge here, I'm told, since folks have their own bit of paradise right here and now, living in their multi-million dollar homes clinging to the hillsides.  I was glad I was visiting with my wife, Mrs Sheepandgoats, and not Tom Pearlsandswine, who would doubtless glower over the scene, just like he did at the Ithaca Earth Museum dinosaur exhibit, grumbling about the “wiles of Satan.”  Here, his brow would darken...I've seen it before....he'd mutter to himself awhile, and finally blurt out something like: “I don't know how it happened! The have pigs escaped from the barn, and they're in the farmer's house!”2011 3 27 san diego 042 
 

Trouble is, I'm not sure I don't agree with him, except for perhaps that unkind remark about 'pigs.' Is it really appropriate to dwell in untouchable luxury when much of the world lives in unspeakable squalor? Isn't one at risk of losing touch that way, not only with less luminary humans, but even with God? From the freewheeling Message translation:

Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.
If I'm too full, I might get independent, saying, 'God? Who needs him?'  (Prov 30:7-9)

Ah well, that's kind of heady and philosophical, isn't it? It's just too warm and pleasant here to care much. Maybe if I had the dough, I'd be right here with them. Besides, one can always dash off a check for how-many thousands to whatever charitable cause strikes one's fancy.

We drive along Torrey Pines Rd, gawking at the sights, just as out-of-towners do, water on seemingly all sides,  towering hills to the left, mounted by a huge gleaming white cross, and continue to......wait...a huge gleaming white cross? Here in LaJolla? Here?! Where you substitute shopping for church, and Consumer Reports for the Bible? Rio de Janeiro, okay, you'd expect to find a cross there....but La Jolla? How come the atheists haven't pulled it down? Better go up and check. So we turn up one of the side roads, snaking up the mountain, half-expecting to be ordered off by million dollar residents. Not that they're not nice and all. But like all outsiders on unfamiliar winding roads full of splendid vistas, we creep along slowly. You don't want to run over anyone's child. The guidebook says “some of the most expensive real estate in the world”....yeah, it sort of looked that way. Residents familiar with every turn and hairpin twist keep roaring up behind us in Mercedes or Lexus automobiles, obliging us to pull over and let them pass. But we finally reach our destination.

 

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Aha! It's a war memorial. Try as you might, you can't mess with a cross at a war memorial. 2400 black granite plaques surround the cross, each with photos and stories of American servicemen and women. And my Lord! What a view of the surrounding area.

Plus, here's the sign from those frustrated atheists that I figured had to be here. They did try to take that cross down, I 2011 3 27 san diego 159mean, they must have, knowing them and knowing the times we live in, but the task looks impossible for now, so they had to content themselves with a disclaimer. It only remains to put up some stupid counter display of their own, like they did at that Illinois nativity scene.  

Back to real people the next day. We breakfasted in downtown San Diego, on Fifth Street. Cafe 21, a restaurant you must visit should you find yourself in the area. Normally, an omelet is an omelet.2011 3 27 san diego 307  Any orangutang can make one, and it makes no different where you have yours. But here, breakfast had personality. Everything's unique. The owners hail from Azerbaijan, a map thereof appears on the menu, and the husband stopped by to chat. The waitress stewed over some scheme of the local politician's to extend parking rates into the evenings, plus weekends. What's a working person to do? Already, she parks afar and scateboards the distance to work. She was just that right combination of friendliness, wit, and loopiness. Surely, a native San Diegan! Nope, she says, she comes from Ohio. Ohio! Right next door! We could be cousins. She and everyone else. I can't tell you how many people we met who've transplanted themselves from the northeast.

What am I doing in freezing my rear end off in upstate New York? Taking solace when March 1rst comes, imagining on that day that one can almost begin to perhaps see the foreglimmerings of the light at the end of the weather tunnel? When we returned on March 26, it was colder than when we left!

I know, I know, it's my theocratic assignment. That's how we come to think of it when we're stuck in some armpit of a location.  It will continue to be my assignment until I jump ship and go somewhere else. “Don't worry, Jehovah will provide. Besides, I'm outta here,” I'll say as I roar off. But I probably won't leave. Family is here, extended family, and friends, so that we're all locked here in a conspiracy of inertia. Not to mention that.....it's my assignment.

 
 There were other things we did in San Diego. Other beaches we visited, for example, like in Ocean City, where rows of pelicans cruised by to update our2011 3 27 san diego 093  position, oblivious to the changed socio-economic surroundings, And the zoo, which would take several days, I think, to take it all in. Now, I'm used to zoos in which the animals bunch up as far away from the visitors as possible, and just sit there like sullen union members, not doing squat. But San Diego is a Paul Simon type of  zoo...and the animals will love it if ya do, now.....these creatures interact. They're not shy at all.

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It was a nice vacation. We don't travel much, nor do we usually go far. I'd never been west of the Mississippi. A short stay in the Poconos is more our speed. But the kids are out of the house, now. Some bills are paid off. Maybe we'll do it again someday. Starting with this post, I believe I'll start a “Travelogue” category.

We even visited friends who had one of those GPS devices. And to think I've been pulling over in traffic like an old fogey, unwrinkling gigantic maps, painstakingly finding my place, plotting a course, and then driving a half mile and doing it all over again! Just like Pop. He's even older than I am! My first run-in, years ago, with a GPS device made me suspicious of them, but no more. Maybe Mrs. Sheepandgoats will buy me one as a present, and since we don't do Christmas, maybe I won't have to wait nine months.

They do make you an idiot, however. Like the person we met at the hotel swimming pool who told us of some sight to see in San Diego. Wow, we said, how do you get there? No idea, she said breezily. You know....GPS. It's sort of like the calculator wars playing out all over again. Thus, I once knew a CPA who would not use a calculator, and generally not even an adding machine. He was strictly pencil and paper! What a nutjob! Face it, we're all destined to become stupider and stupider for the duration of this system of things. Resistance is futile.

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Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)