Dork-cation extra: Litter grabbing boat on the Bosphorous

One of the things that impressed me most about Istanbul is how tidy it is. I mean, don’t get me wrong, any city of nearly 15 million people is going to display some soot, grime and wear. And the İstanbullular as individuals don’t seem any more fastidious than, say, New Yorkers. You see people flicking cigarette butts in the streets everywhere, and a fair amount of casual littering. Plus, we were told by our vacation rental rep that when we needed to discard of our household trash, we were to find a place on the street where others had dumped their trash. But under no circumstances were we to let a policeman see us doing it, because it’s illegal.

So why don’t you see cigarette butts and litter and piles of trash on the streets? Because Istanbul is constantly cleaning itself up. Those illegal trash piles? They never get very big and they are gone—all of them—by sunrise, every day. Mechanical street sweepers are omnipresent, as are human street sweepers with brooms and dustpans. Relentlessly, they go after every cigarette butt and gum wrapper in sight. 

And along Istanbul’s extensive waterfront teeming with tourists? You’d expect to see quite a bit of floating debris in the water, wouldn’t you? Well, you may see a little here and there, but not for long. The Rube Goldbergian boat in the video above sees to that. Dork that I am, I could’ve watched it all day. 

Selling Obsolescence: The Jitterbug Cellphone

Click for large print version you can see without your readers

I love these ads for the Jitterbug, like this one from the back cover of the NYT Book Review. They are pitched at aging boomers who find modern cellphones too complicated, hard to see and confusing to use.

Though it’s difficult to make out in the photo, the Jitterbug is nothing more than a Samsung flip phone. It’s the kind of phone that wireless carriers used to give you for free when you signed a two-year contract—like, about 10 years ago.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any product whose main selling point is that it is LESS capable than the competition. 

I love the headline—who are all these poor older folks tethered to phones they hate?

Also great are the potential objections used as bullet points in the copy: “I tried my sister’s cellphone… I couldn’t hear it.”

You can just hear the naggy, whiny tone of voice in these statements: “I had to get my son to program it.” “I’ll be paying for minutes I’ll never use!”

Not that these aren’t valid concerns for anyone to have, but reading the fine print, you could certainly argue that Jitterbug customers are paying more for less.

Fascinating business model.

Clay Cooley badly wants me to visit his Nissan showroom

The mailman brought me the latest direct mail come-on from Clay Cooley Nissan, and it’s a doozy!

It’s another “match the number in our showroom and you win a prize” sweepstakes. And look, it came with a secret Combination Box™, a little plastic box booger-glued to the side. I bet the mailman hates Clay Cooley days.

Back to the Box™ in a minute. First, let’s see what I have to do to qualify for a prize:

Oh, man! What are the odds the number under the scratch-off patch AND the number in the Combination Box™ are going to match 83329? Let’s see. First the scratch-off:

Dude! I’m almost there. But what about the Combination Box™?

Lookin’ good so far. It could be, it might be…

It is! Another match! Wow, how lucky can I get? Who’d a thunk? But wait, the real mystery is not what appears on the front of the Combination Box™. The real mystery is what appears on the back of the Combination Box™:

The Combination Box™ is a “digital electronic device?” WTF?!

I guess I’ll just have to visit Clay Cooley Nissan to see if somehow, someway the three identical numbers on my mailer match one of the numbers on Clay’s prize board. And also to ask about the electronic capabilities of the Combination Box™ that I am apparently missing. 

Be seein’ ya soon, Clay!

 

Obsession: exposed edges of concrete footings

Bear with me here, because this may make no sense whatsoever.

It’s a challenge to find new things to blog about, mostly because I am so boring, and the boundaries of my fascinations and interests so seldom extend outside the mundanities of my own mind. A blog is supposed to be, in part, an expression of what makes the blogger unique. And one of the things that makes someone unique is his or her unique intrerests, the things he or she pays attention to that few others do. 

So, for me, we already know one of those things is full dog poo bags that obnoxious people leave lying around

And another thing is the edges of concrete footings that have been exposed by soil erosion. 

Why does this capture my attention? I don’t know. I wish I did. 

If I had to put it into words, I guess I’d say that it’s a simple, omnipresent illustration of our hubris in our belief that we can control nature in even the smallest ways.  

We want to place things in the ground permanently. We want them to appear to be rooted in and flush with the soil, so they appear to be a permanent part of our “natural” surroundings. So we dig holes, we make forms, we pour in huge blobs of concrete, we remove the forms and backfill the soil, and voila! We have created “permanent” infrastructure; smooth, flush with the surface, and, seemingly, eternal. 

But we can’t keep soil where we want it. And when it washes away, it puts the lie to our ability to make anything that lasts forever. It forces us to confront the fact that much of what we see as our “natural” surroundings was, in fact, put there by us to being with. And nature will have its way. It will wash the soil away until our concrete is not rooted in the earth, but teetering on top of it. 

I can’t help it. I don’t understand it. But this captures my attention. 

Here you can see where the concrete spilled out under its original form. This would’ve all been covered by compacted earth when this sidewalk was new.


Thanks to Cabinas Los Cocos for another great beach vacation in Playa Zancudo, Costa Rica

Look close and you can see me keeping the hammock from flying away.My dedicated readers—and I mean both of y’all—know that the preceding “live blogging” beach vacation posts were facetious. They were my not-so-subtle way of parodying a certain kind of privileged, spoiled brat attitude we see so often online, and I had fun with it. 

Because the fact is, you’d have to be pretty damn jaded to go to Playa Zancudo, Costa Rica, where those photos were taken, and not be humbled by its beauty, solitude and tranquility. I’ve gone there almost half a dozen times, and every time I’m leaving to return home, my overriding thought is, When can I get back here? It takes a little effort to get there, but it’s so totally worth it. 

We usually rent a little beach front cabina (pictured above) from our friends Susan and Andrew, who for over 30 years have owned and operated Cabinas Los Cocos, a Zancudo landmark. They are really dedicated to helping people access and enjoy this little out-of-the-way slice of paradise, and they do an excellent, excellent job of it.

Here’s a video Andrew made. It will give you some idea of why Playa Zancudo is one of the best ways to experience the easy-going allure of Costa Rica, best expressed in the phrase, “pura vida.” 

What does the One Direction perfume smell like, anyway?

Smells like teen spurt! Click to purchase!

Well might you ask! After all, other celebrity perfumes, like Lady Gaga’s for instance, are inspired by other women, and so presumably smell at least somewhat familiarly like perfume. So it is certainly understandable that any woman interested in wearing a scent inspired by five hard working, hard playing young men would be given pause to wonder what it smells like. Well, wonder no more! That is what Oblogatory is here for. So, sit back, relax, and let the following description lead your olfactory imagination on a magical journey.

First off, the One Direction perfume has a base of eau d’Harry. Why Harry? Well, Harry is the schvitziest member of One Direction, and thus gave the celebrity scentologists more to “work with,” one might say. So in your nose’s imagination, fix a base layer of Harry. And not early morning Harry, but rode hard and put up wet end-of-day Harry. Got that?

Moving on, add some musky undercurrents of Louis, particularly the sweatband of Louis’s favorite backward-worn baseball cap, along with some twinges of Louis’s prescription acne cream for spice.

Now imagine top notes of Zayn’s bike shorts subtly commingling with the flaky skin that Liam can’t seem to prevent from forming on the bottom of his feet.

And finally, add to the growing image in your nose some strong lingering afternotes of Niall, specifically Niall’s lucky undershirt—the one he hasn’t removed for nearly 18 months now, the undershirt that has seen him through the end of puberty and the beginnings of fame and fortune. And also, the particular way Niall’s hair smells after he’s put too much product on it and then blow dried it at high heat.  

Put them all together, and you’ve got the scent of One Direction’s new perfume.

Please smell responsibly.

 

Exclamations, imperatives and interrogatives from The Home Mag

This ad circular came in the mail today.

All puncuation and capitalization sic. 

Page 2:
Want Beautiful Countertops?

Upgrade Your Shower Doors!

Take Back Your Yard!

Page 4:
The Heat Is On! We’ve Got Shade!

Why Replace When You Can Renew?

Looking for More Customers? …Need Real Results? Our Readers are Looking for You! 

Page 6:
Beat the Heat…Build Your POOL Now!

Page 7:
Find Even More Great Ideas!

Page 8:
TOTALLY TEXAN!

Fastest Delivery- Often HALF the time of the competition!

Page 9:
Glass Doors That Stay Clean!

Page 10:
Why Buy a Sun Freedom America Solar Water Heater?

Summer Special! Installation Included!

Page 12:
We do custom designs!

NOTHING ELSE COMPARES TO CARVESTONE™!

Page 13:
Looks and feels like stone! No Tear-Out needed!

Page 14:
You enjoy it!

We guarantee… You’ll be delighted you worked with us!

Page 15:
Our Pools Have Never Been More Affordable!

A Proud Texas Company!

Page 16:
go frameless! 100% lifetime warranty!

All OFFERS on this ad can be COMBINED!

Page 17:
Can’t find a thing? Call The Garage King!

STOP Paying for an Offsite Storage Unit! Our RACKS pay for themselves in less than a year!

It Is Hot…Save Now On Shutters Save Later On Energy Bills!

Celebrating Our 40th Year Of Business!

Page 18:
What Are You Waiting For?

Page 20:
Bathroom Remodeling is ALL WE DO!

Page 21:
Take advantage of great rebates & tax incentives while you can!

Page 22:
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

Fashion in Motion Sales Event!

Page 23:
SUMMER IS HERE! LET US GET YOU ORGANIZED!

END YOUR BOUT WITH DIRTY GROUT!

Back cover:
Got UGLY Concrete?

“Finally…an Overlay that looks like REAL STONE!” 

Win a buttload at video poker, go to jail

Wild story on Wired about two guys (oh, and maybe some accomplices) who exploited a bug in certain video poker machines and won something like $500,000 by simply playing the machines a certain way. The key defendant’s lawyer says his client discovered the vulnerability while playing $12 million worth of video poker (and losing $1 million of it) in a year.

Yeah, I’d want to exploit me some vulnerabilities. 

Unethical? Yeah, sure. But they weren’t doing anything the machines weren’t allowing them to do. And now they are facing federal charges for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Was it a crime? I dunno. 

Seen on Daring Fireball! Full credit to Daring Fireball!

How TV directors call the shots at live events

WARNING: THIS POST IS FOR NERDZ ONLY!

I’ve always been kinda fascinated by how live TV broadcasts get put together. We’ve all seen depictions of the process, either fictionalized in movies, or in brief behind-the-scenes glimpses: there are people in a small dark control room, or a production trailer, staring at a bunch of TV monitors. One person, the director, calls out the numbers of the cameras whose shots he wants at particular moments. And that’s what we see on our single TV screen at home. 

This video of a marching band’s routine, from the Drum Corp International YouTube channel, of all places, includes two headset feeds from that control room. On the left channel is the voice of the director, calling the shots. On the right channel is the voice of an assistant, who is following the script of the marching band and telling the camera operators what to shoot, in anticipation of the shots the director will soon want. 

I don’t know if this was shot for broadcast on a cable network, or was perhaps commissioned by the promoters of the competition for a promo DVD. Either way, it doesn’t seem like a big production compared to, say, the broadcast of an NFL game, where there are probably three times as many cameras, plus instant replay and on-screen graphics to weave into the picture. Still, it seems plenty sophisticated, and for a nerd like me, it’s fascinating to listen to these pros as they work. 

via wimp.com

 

Inventor of barcode dies, leaving legacy of ugly tattoos

N. Joseph Woodland, according to his NY Times obituary, drew four lines in the sand and a merchandising revolution was born. 

Woodland is credited with inventing the Universal Product Code, more commonly known as the barcode. You pretty much can’t sell anything today without it. 

His masterstroke was to translate the idea of morse code—that each alpha-numeric symbol could have an equvialent composed of dots and dashes—to print, reasoning that it would be easier to teach machines to read symbols representing alpha-numeric characters rather than the characters themselves. And he realized those symbols could be nothing more than lines of varying widths. (In Woodland’s imagining, the lines were circular, not vertical—that development came later.)

Woodland and the partner who helped him develop the idea earned $15,000 by selling the patent. But as the image above shows, he more than left his mark. 

NYT: If It’s for Sale, His Lines Sort It

They called him Speedo

Earl “Speedo” Carroll, the lead singer of the influential doo-wop group the Cadillacs, passed away. The group’s biggest hit was “Speedo.” It was one of those songs that was such an enticing mystery to me as a kid. What the hell did it mean? This explanation, from his obit in the Times, shows just how evanescent and ephemeral creative inspirations can be. An off-handed remark led to a song we’re still listening to 60 years later:

“Mr. Carroll’s nickname and the song it engendered were born in the same breath. One day in 1955, he later recounted, the Cadillacs were performing at an armory in Massachusetts. As they were leaving, Mr. Phillips (another member of the group—rm) caught sight of a torpedo on display there.

“Hey, Speedo, there’s your torpedo!” he told Mr. Carroll, who had a somewhat pointy head.

“My name is Earl,” Mr. Carroll responded tersely.

During the ride home, the nickname, and Mr. Carroll’s testy rejoinder, flew around the car. By the time the group reached New York, some evocative lines and a jaunty tune had emerged.”

And here it is:

NYT: Earl “Speedo” Carroll, Lead Singer of the Cadillacs, Dies at 75

Why my dog posed with Bigfoot Garden Yeti from SkyMall

One afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I was walking my dog, Lupita, over the Pfluger pedestrian bridge on Lady Bird Lake. Normally, you’ll just see other walkers, joggers, bikers and hanger-outers on the bridge, but from time-to-time you’ll see plenty of the weird that made Austin famous, too.

That’s why it wasn’t totally out of the question to see, as I glanced to my right, what I immediately recognized as a Bigfoot Garden Yeti sculpture from the dreck-fabulous SkyMall catalog.

The Yeti was tied up in rope and wearing what looked to be red and white checked spats on his feet (these turned out to be, of course, Spongebob Squarepants socks with the toes cut out of them). It seemed to be in the custody of a man about my age sitting on a bench nearby. The Bigfoot Garden Yeti being one of the many, many items in SkyMall that I could never, ever imagine anyone buying, I did a double-take, then a triple-take, then a quadruple-take, all while continuing to walk on by.

Lupita and I walked a few more feet. We stopped. I turned. Could I really walk by without finding out WTF? On the other hand, did I really want to risk an entanglement with a likely crazy person? The Yeti keeper was watching me, clearly eager for me to retrace my steps. “Come on,” his bright eyes seemed to say, “ask me!”

“I just have to ask,” I began, turning back and fully surrendering to my curiosity as he nodded eagerly, “why do you have the Yeti sculpture from SkyMall on the pedestrian bridge?”

His satisfaction was obvious. He looked at his watch. “Only nine and a half minutes,” he crowed.

“You were timing to see how long it would take before someone asked you about the Yeti sculpture from SkyMall?” I asked. This was already interesting.

“Yup,” he said, fairly glowing. “And it sure didn’t take long.”

“OK, so what’s the deal?” I asked.

“Do you know who Flat Stanley is?” he replied.

Oh, geez, I thought. As I feared, this wasn’t going to be easy. “No, I’m afraid I don’t. A cartoon character, maybe?”

“Ah, you don’t have kids, then,” the man said, as the conversation suddenly seemed headed straight down the rathole I worried it might.

“Nope, no kids.”

Flat Stanley,” he said, “is a character from a kid’s book. And kids like to draw Stanleys and take pictures of them in all kinds of places and send them to their friends.”

“Aha!” I said, finally getting it, sort of. Long story short (Oops—too late!), the man had stolen his friend’s Bigfoot Garden Yeti—which it now occurs to me could just as logically be called Bigfoot Garden Bigfoot, or Yeti Garden Yeti—and planned on doing all sorts of rude things to the statue and sending his friend the photographic evidence. And he crowdsourced me to assist him with this phase of his prank.

Hence the rope tied around the Yeti. The man—who, it must be said, was absolutely delighted throughout this whole encounter—asked me to hang the Yeti by the rope over the bridge railing as if I were going to drop it into the deep, while he took pictures, being careful, he assured me (though I didn’t ask him), not to show my face in the shot. Then he asked me if he could photograph Lupita with the Yeti. That’s when I realized that I had better take a picture, too, because, you know, hey, blog post.

We chatted for a few minutes about the tacky ridiculousness of the Bigfoot Garden Yeti sculpture, and speculated as to why anyone would ever buy it (his friend received it as a gag gift).

Since the man mentioned that his friend lived out of town and didn’t know which one of several geographically scattered friends might have taken it, I advised him to strip the location information out of his photos. He hadn’t thought about that, and thanked me for the tip.

And then Lupita and I were again on our way.

I still love this town. 

More highlights from the neighborhood listserv

ONE OF MY CHILDREN MISSING!!!!
HAS ANYONE SEEN A LITLE TOW-HEADED BOY??!!! HE WAS HERE!!! BUT NOW I CANT FIND HIM?!!!! HELP!! PLEASE!!!—BERTHA ON HOLMES AV

PS: DOES ANYONE KNOW THE NUMBER TO 911?!!!!!

STEERING COMMITTEE OFFICERS ELECTION TONIGHT
Hello, neighbors. I wanted to invite one and all to the meetingof the Festive Occasion Committee (formerly known as the Hol iday Decorating Committee, formerly known as the Christmas Committee)which will be electing officer s for this year’s committee’s Steering Committee. The Steering Committee isavery important working group of the F.O.C., which p roposes agenda items for the F.O.C.’s coming term. These age nda items are the only items thatmay be voted on by the F.O.C.’s RulesComm ittee, which actually sets the F.O.C.’s agenda. So, as you can see, these Steering Committee officer elections are veryimportant. So,come on down to Granger and Susie’s front yard tonight at6pm! See democracy inaction!—Granger &Susie on Plum St.

NEVER MIND ABOUT THE KID!!!!
THAT WAS ONE OF MY LITTLE BOYS’S’S FRIEND’S. HES NOT ONE OF THE ONES THAT LIVES HERE. ONLY SOMETIME DURING THE DAY?!?! ALL MY KIDS I HAVE COUNTED FOR!!!!—BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION, I MOVED AWAY FROM MARIPOSA HEIGHTS TO GET AWAY FROM THE NAZIS
For your information, I moved away from Mariposa Heights to get away from the Nazis. Last time I checked, this neighborhood was still a free country. You know who you are, you know what I mean, and you know what I’m talking about.—Trey on Solstice Ln.

ANYONE GOT A PAELLA PAN?
And some saffron threads? Hit me if so.—Shelly on Oakleaf Pl.

HOLY SHIT!
Did y’all hear that?—Marvin on Maple

OK!! LOOK FOR KID! AGAIN!!
HIS OWNMOTHER IS INTERESTED. IN FINDING HIM!!! BUT SHE DOESNT LIVE IN!!!! THIS NEIHGBOORHOOD!!! WHAT IS THE NUMBER FOR 911 WHER E SHE LIVES????!!!????—BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

NEED A BABYSITTER?
Hello, neighbors. After much discussion among the family and also with Devandra, my life coach, David and I have empowered our daughter, Freedom Flower, to reach her own conclusions about whether she would like to earn extra income (on top of her weekly family profit sharing) by babysitting kids in the neighborhood. We are so proud to announce that after weeks of careful consideration, she has indeed chosen to take her first tentative steps down this path. If you are interested, we have created a website for her, www.freedomflowersits.com, where you can book babysitting appointments. Or, friends who have our home number can simply press 2 to access her touchtone response scheduling system. Please note that Freedom Flower is a sensitive child, so she can only work in television-, artificial coloring-, and sucrose-free households. And to ensure that she rests long enough to enter into the deep, regenerative sleep states all 19-year-olds need, she must be home by 11:30pm.—Sylvia on Birch

DAMN! WTF?
There it is again.—Marvin on Maple

Monk, 1998-2012: an appreciation, sort of

Good ol’ Monk is gone. We put our 14-year-old cat to sleep yesterday morning. Although he was feeling fine, he’d been losing a lot of weight, and a blood test showed his kidneys were failing. So rather than wait until he started feeling bad, we made the decision to end it for him. He got to say goodbye to some old friends who loved him, and he was his usual affectionate, happy, bossy, obnoxious self right up until the end.

He was an AMAZING cat. By that I don’t mean that he accomplished much, or helped earn his keep, or showed gratitude for the years of care, feeding and shelter we provided, or that he was nice to the other animals, or was particularly intelligent, or gave a shit about what anyone else did, thought or felt. Still, he was an AMAZING cat.

I got Monk when his original caretakers, good friends, asked if I would adopt him. They were afraid he would pounce on their new baby, and he well might have. Monk was then a big, strong 2-year-old, and well into middle age he was like a coiled spring with incredibly sharp claws on the end. When they saw him leap off a piece of furniture and land claws first in the baby’s bassinet, they reluctantly decided to let him go. (No, luckily the baby wasn’t in the bassinet.)

I brought him home and that night my friends, concerned about the kitty they hated to give away, called to see how he was adjusting. What I had already figured out was that we, the people and pets already living there, were the ones who’d be doing the adjusting. He lumbered out of the cat carrier and looked around with an expression that said, “What’s to eat?”

Monk immediately established a hierarchy. It looked something like this:

MONK


Humans






other pets

He was always really friendly, extroverted even (to people), but until he was 6 or 7-years-old, he would not sit still to be petted. He was always on the move, rubbing up against one person and then the next, his bent tail always whipping back and forth. With many cats, you can tell they are getting restless when they start flipping their tail. Monk was always flipping his tail, even when he was sitting.

And the claws, oh my God. Naturally, he was playful, but I quickly learned to warn people NOT to play with him. When most cats start playing, they have their claws retracted. After a minute or two, they may start scratching a bit to let you know they’ve had enough. Only if you persist in messing with them will they really try to scratch.

MonkturedBut not Monk. His claws were unbelievably sharp and always deployed. He either couldn’t or wouldn’t retract them. Someone playing kootchie-koo with him might well be hemorrhaging after the very first swipe.

Once, not long after he moved in, I startled him. As I walked past him, he leapt straight into the air, then ran to another part of the house. A few seconds later I looked down and noticed a not-insignificant rivulet of arterial blood coursing down my calf. He’d grazed me with a claw and it was so sharp, I didn’t feel it. At first. I’d been Monktured.

Sometimes he got his claws stuck in your skin like fishhooks. It happened to the dog a LOT when she was still a puppy. (And it’s a wonder she didn’t have her eyes scratched out.) But more than once we heard Monk’s claws tearing the flesh on her muzzle. Amazingly, the dog never bled or seemed hurt. Dogs’ gots tough skin.

As Monk got older and mellowed, he did like to be petted—A LOT. And he wasn’t particularly concerned whether or not it might be a convenient time for you. For years I’d get a 3am wake-up call from Monk, who would be standing on my pillow dancing on my head and purring LOUDLY, screaming/meowing every once in a while for good measure. The only way to make it stop was to distract him by carrying him over to his food bowl. This was known as “concierge service.”



Oh, yeah. I guess up until now I haven’t mentioned that Monk was a LARGE cat. Not fat, just big-boned. Well, OK, and fat, too. He topped out at 17lbs. Now that may not sound all that big, but imagine when those 17lbs. are doing a dosey-doe on your chest, with some sharp claws thrown in. It could make some activities, like, say, breathing, a little difficult.

Sometimes adding to the 3am love encounters was the fact that Monk would be soaking wet. Purring loudly, it was like he was saying, “Dude! I love you so much! And guess what? It’s pouring outside!”


This is what my mom would’ve called…… chutzpah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, Monk. He was a big bully to the other cats. And sometimes the dogs. He ate a lot of groceries. He shed like a wooly mammoth. He had terrible, terrible breath. And, yeah, after several years the 3am head dancing kinda lost its novelty. 

We’re gonna miss him.

NICKNAMES:

Monk-a-doo
Monkey man
Monkey butt
Fatty-fatty-two-by-four
Fatman
Fatman Crothers
Fatmandu
Stephan Fatsis
Twinkle toes
Mike Tyson (because of his effeminate voice)
Wide load
Tiny (head) dancer

Monk’s original adoptive mom just sent me this (thanks, Sara!). Could you not just plotz? But I can’t help noticing the scratches on the arms.

More entries from my neighborhood listserv

HOLLOWEEN IS COMMING!!!!!
HI NEIGBORS!!!!! REMEMEMBER HOLLOWEEN IS COMMING! MAKE SURE YOU”RE “KIDS” ARE SAFF! DONOT LET THEM EAT THE CNADY THEY GET FROM POOR OLD MR SCHMIZT ON THE CORNER OF MY STREET!!!!! HE FORGOTS THAT HIS BRIAN MEDICATIONS ARE NOT CNADY!!!!! PLEASE REMEMEMBER!!!!!—BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

NEW TO THE HOOD, NEED SOME INFO
Hi, we just moved here because we absolutely JUST LOVE the funky, rustic, authentic character of the neighborhood. That said, now that we’re here, we’re wondering who we should call to complain about some of the less charming funk and rusticity in our immediate area. Or can we just build a 10’ wall around our property? Any info would be much appreciated—Stanton and Midge on Daisy Dr.

VERY FUNNY
I’m on to you, wise guy. Ever heard of security cameras? That’s right, dipshit, I got it all on video. Who’s laughing now, turdbrain?—Trey on Solstice Ln.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
It’s time for our annual neighborhood volunteer drive. We urgently need people to volunteer to help make those who don’t volunteer feel like worthless lazy scum. Actual duties, if any, TBD. Those wishing to volunteer please respond by hitting “reply all.” Thank you.—Mary on Myrtle Cir.

HOLLOWEEEN UPDATE!!!!!
HI NEIGBHORS!!! IVE JUST BEEN INFORMEDED THAT POOR OLD MR SCHIMZT MOVED AWAY SEVERL YEARS AGO! THE MAN WHO LIVES THEIR NOW SAYS HE WONT” GIVE YOU’RE KIDS’ HIS BRIAN CNADY, AS HE ONLY HAS BAD KNEES!!!!! SO GOOD NEWS’S!!!—BERTHA ON HOLMES AVE.

BODY DISPOSAL?

Could anyone who has experience with this please contact me off-list? Thanks.—Frank on Renwood St.

CORRECTION
Sorry, hit “send” too soon. My last message about body disposal was supposed to be posted anonymously. Thanks.—Anonymous on Renwood St.   

FREE TO ANY HOME
Hello, one and all. We are unable to keep our dog, Sasha, on account of we decided that caring for a dog is really not our thing. If you want her, she will be tied up to the mailbox at the curb. With all this rain, it’d probably be better if you came and got her sooner rather than later, as it is hard to hear the TV sometimes what with all the howling and all. Thanks.—Sandra on Sandalwood St.

Mind mah Tervis, Purvis!

 

This is a blog post about a plastic cup that I love. 

Behold the mighty Tervis. Have you heard of the Tervis? I hadn’t, until my sister gave me a pair as a (very) belated Christmas present. (She bought them before Christmas, we just hadn’t seen each other for a while.)

But the kids are down with Tervis. My Much Better Half mentioned our Tervis score to some of her high school students and they were all like, “Ooh, Tervis! I love my Tervis!”

With me and my Tervis it was love at first sip. That’s because, when accessorized with a matching snap-on lid and articulated large-bore permanent bendy straw, the Tervis is essentially a sippy cup for grown ups. (There’s your tagline right there!)

The Tervis is one of the finest examples of quality plastic manufacturing you are likely to see these days, AND IT’S MADE IN THE GOOD OL’ U.S. of A.! Take that, Formosa Plastics

The basic design is a cup within a cup with a vacuum-sealed space in between. This means hot drinks stay hot and cold drinks stay cold, and they don’t sweat all over everything—no need for a coaster! They call it the “world’s first smart cup.” I guess that would make my Diet Dr. Pepper a Tervis “app.”

But not everyone in our household esteems the Tervis with the fervis I do. This has caused me to get extremely territorial and proprietary about my Tervis, leading to frequent exhortations of, “Mind mah, Tervis!” For some reason, this is always spoken with a pronounced southern accent. 

All right, admittedly, my infatuation comes in no small part from the fact that the name sounds like it could be an intimate body part. But still, I love mah Tervis!

How’s y’all’s Tervis?  

Don't jack with the box! A photo essay of postal fortresses

Could there be anything an observer cares less about your house than your mailbox? It’s a box. For your mail. Our mail is 95% crap that gets tossed in the recycle bin. 

But some people want you to notice their mailboxes. Their mailboxes are sentinels of strength, daring unseen baseball bat-wielding juvenile delinquents to do their worst: “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT PUNK?! Ha! I’m still standing, ready to accept those Chase credit card applications and Val-Pak coupons!”

These fortress mailboxes have always fascinated and amused me. Herewith, a selection from my neighborhood:

This one is down the street from me. It’s a wood frame covered with lath and plaster, so it’s not as sturdy as some we’ll see. Still, c’est formidable, n’est ce pas?

See, now we’re getting into real masonry work. Looks very durable, though the sloppy mortaring around the edge of the mailbox is a little disappointing.Here’s a brand new number. Like many examples of the breed, its material and construction is vastly superior to the home it serves. Also, I drove by this house last night, and the bulbs in the lamps are bright enough to land aircraft by. Impressive. And hook ‘em Longhorns!

To me, this one says, “My cousin is a mason.”The iron giant protecting the mail for a newish McMansion. An advantage of this design is that it could be outfitted with an integral junk mail incinerator (note to self).Another model with underutilized dual planters. Looks like erosion has taken a toll. Bonus points for brick trim, though.From the Department of Redundancy Department. This is not a duplex. It’s a single family home with its own twin towers. God forbid something should happen to one mailbox…Note the coffin shape, a wordless warning. No add-on this. It’s contemporaneous with the house. In fact, it’s possible to believe the house was modeled after the mailbox rather than the other way around. It’s a duplex! With a shingle roof! And it’s every bit as attractive as the ticky-tacky condo units it serves.

It’s like a brick… HOWSE! Mighty mighty indeed. And—dare I say it—kinda charming compared to most others.