Nov 262014

Paula Poundstone had a great bit about naps. Basically she said they were an indicator of adulthood. When you wanted one instead of resented one, you were a grown-up.

I’ll buy that.

I remember my mandated naps from childhood. I went to sleep maybe once every fifteen or twenty naps. Most of the time I read and watched the clock. I can remember thinking that an hour measured from half-past to half-past—like from 1:30 to 2:30—felt shorter than one measured from on-the-hour to on-the-hour. Don’t ask me why.

I’ve always said that if there were ever a BoCo, we’d have a designated paid nap time—like 1 to 2. You’d have a mat for your cube/office floor. You wouldn’t have to sleep, but you couldn’t schedule meetings, and you couldn’t make any noise beyond mousing and keyboarding. We’d rotate who answered the phone, and that person would be able to nap 12 to 1 or 2 to 3 if s/he wished. I just have a hunch that would be good company money spent.

 Posted by at 10:11 pm
Nov 262014

For years and years, Black Friday was enough. Not too long ago, Thanksgiving night stuck its nose under the tent. And tomorrow, several retailers will be open regular hours, or nearly so. We seem to be on the way to Thanksgiving Day being the first day of the Christmas shopping season.

And there is outrage.

We’re losing all of our most important heritage! What has become of traditional American values? Must this relentless commercialization invade even the day itself?

I sympathize. Thanksgiving is perhaps the most family-focused holiday we have, and there’s a strong case for the decay of the family driving many of our worst problems as a society. That decay doesn’t need a further nudge.

I don’t consider it the heinous affront that many seem to, however. It used to be axiomatic that one of the very most American values was minding one’s own business. We can certainly vote with our wallets, but that ought to be the extent of it. It’s not our concern when a merchant chooses to open. It’s not our concern whether said merchant’s employees choose to remain there.

If the merchant’s behavior is profitable, then so be it. Free market forces are practically demonized anymore, but this remains a relatively pure example of how well they work.

I haven’t been out on Black Friday in years, and I certainly won’t shop on Thanksgiving Day. You want to? Go for it.

 Posted by at 10:40 am
Nov 252014

It’s complete. I heard it on a radio commercial this morning.

I got a little cranky a couple of years ago over a TV commercial that came on during IndyCar races that used the phrase “kicking some ass,” but I don’t even mind that as much as saying something “sucks.” It’s just cruder than I think we ought to be as a matter of course in everyday conversation. (It doesn’t refer to sucking lemons, you know.)

The boys don’t understand how something they hear everywhere can be a word they’re not allowed to say. And this, as with linguistic bastardizations like “melty” and “ginormous,” has gotten here by brute force, which means it won’t be vanquished in my lifetime.

I shall remain locked in battle with it, however lonely that is.

 Posted by at 9:05 am
Nov 232014

cosbyIt is very hard for me to believe that Bill Cosby is a serial sexual predator.

It is also very hard for me to believe that so many women are fabricating stories of him assaulting them.

(Opportunistic liars tend to come in onesies and twosies, not dozens.)

There are the parts of the public record that aren’t so helpful, such as Cosby’s affair and the 2006 confidential out-of-court settlement. There is the fact that Cosby and Cosby’s representatives have continued to be steadfastly dismissive of these allegations, even as they have mounted. (Again, that’s an easier sell when you don’t have 20+ accusers.)

What happened? God knows. A couple dozen women know. Bill Cosby knows. You and I don’t.

But I think that an unflattering image of Bill Cosby has become easier for me to swallow than a more positive alternative. That really makes me sad.

It’s easy to forget that we consume carefully crafted images of celebrities. It’s especially jarring to remember that when the image has been one of a responsible parent, educator, and amusing philosopher.

I think Nancy French has written the most comforting and poignant piece on the issue that I’ve yet read. She reminds us that there was only one perfect man who ever walked the earth, and it’s not Bill Cosby. The depth of our disappointment in Cosby is our own fault. No mortal man can carry everything to which we ascribed him.

 Posted by at 4:00 pm is using WP-Gravatar