Sunday, March 29, 2015

To tweet or not to tweet...that's not really a question

I have a Twitter account which nobody reads. (Me and every other American.) 

You have a Twitter account too, I know, and although all your friends "followed" you when you first announced it, they have not checked it since. They are pretty sure they have heard all your stories, and they are right.

A picture was, and still is, worth a thousand words, and that is why none of you has read my tweets, but you have seen the contours of the Kardashian hindquarters. It's an unfair fight. The average tweet is 15 words long, and even that brevity cannot compete with Photoshopped shankflesh.

There are a lot of George Waterses in the world, but I am the real one, best I can tell, so my Twitter name is "TheGeorgeWaters." I do not mention this to gain followers. That won't happen, unless I suddenly score access to famous hindquarters of some kind. 


This is unlikely. A 50/50 chance, at best. 

No, I mention my Twitter name here because if I don't, the world will little note nor long remember it. 

Some people tweet every day, and I call these people "professional comedians" and "politicians." They have this need to provide humor to the world. They will tell you that you need to produce Twitter content every day to build followers, but this implies that 15 words are just loitering around in my brain, poised to be collected, and not already in use decoding today's Wordy Gurdy.

If I clip the hedge, I see the benefit immediately, but with a tweet, my hedge remains a shaggy eyesore. You can see my dilemma. In springtime, gardening waits for no man, which is just the kind I am. 

Sure, I would love to have a million followers, because then I would know that my life had meaning. But what would my lawn look like? Think of my neighbors. 

A million followers must be hard to please unless you are famous for baring all or marrying someone who does. I could see the value if I had a brand of salsa to sell, or an abs-building apparatus. 

I am told by reputable teenagers that Twitter is already "over," anyway, and it's time to move on and to start ignoring the infinite possibilities of whatever the next great platform offers me.  
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Did you know March is National Umbrella Month?

March is International Listening Awareness Month, a fact most men did not hear about, and will not remember if told. Not listening is a trait peculiar to almost every man, as any woman would be glad to tell him, though he would not hear. This is the month to be aware of listening, men. 

Of course, it's two-thirds over already, because I did not hear about it. 

March is also International Ideas Month. The organization sponsoring it proclaims "our programs...help you capture and clarify what's in your head..." This sounds good, in theory, until you consider that that is one slippery slope.

It is International Mirth Month, as well, which promotes the use of humor as a way of dealing with the travails of modern life. I wish that last sentence were funnier. Clearly, I have managed to fail at International Ideas Month.

March is Mad For Plaid Month, which exists to "celebrate the history and allure of plaid." There are many occasions where "allure" is too strong a word for something, and this is one. Another is when used in a sentence with the word "paisley." Or "bass fishing."

Did you know it is National Caffeine Awareness Month? Not International. Just National. I guess they have given up the French as a lost cause. The creators hope to "reduce dependency through education." This would totally work, if only dependency weren't so fun, and education didn't require a jolt of java to sit through.

March is also National Umbrella Month, "dedicated to the purchase of, use of and conversation about umbrellas." I think it would be hard to have a good conversation about umbrellas, but perhaps International Ideas Month is working better for you than for me.

It is Credit Education Month, Employee Spirit Month, National Craft Month, National Peanut Month (Slogan: "Hooray for national peanuts!"), Optimism Month, National Craft Month ("Because your closet is only 9/10ths full of yarn!"), National Nutrition Month, and Play-the-Recorder Month.

It is also National Frozen Food Month. They tried to take it International, but the Trans-European Heated Food lobby was too strong.

I do not know how a single month can contain so many Months, but it was probably explained at some point and I wasn't listening. Typical.

This is also Root Canal Awareness Week, but keep it down, people, all right? Some of us have to work.

. . .





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hipster Beards: Inside Joke Or Real Trend?

In the last few years, I have noticed a lot of young men with short hair but long beards, as if "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" had actually come true, and replaced a certain number of our population with Civil War Reenactors.

Then it occurred to me that this might just be the first time that lumberjacks have slipped a practical joke into the culture successfully. 

Or perhaps too many well-meaning parents, 25 years ago, allowed their toddlers to watch Ken Burns' "Civil War," and the trauma is only now working itself out via the medium of skinny jeans.

Other elements of the "look" include thick-framed Clark Kent glasses and a floppy stocking cap, which, it seems, is required to loll off the back of your head like a deflated birthday balloon.

I am not criticizing, only documenting. My glass house is a pair of two-inch platform shoes in the back of my closet somewhere. When I was 15, if you had looked only at my feet, you would have found them indistinguishable from the feet of "Earth, Wind and Fire."

It is a bit odd, though, this facial callback to Lincoln's time, as if the slings and arrows buffeting our Constitution in recent years have caused some sort of genetic reaction. As if only by looking like the Great Emancipator can certain young men express the better angels of their nature, and get chicks. Something must be working in that arena, or this look would have died already.

I still cannot explain the glasses and the knit cap. I suspect it was some sort of inside joke gone accidentally viral.

There is a fine line between a trend and a parody of a trend. Often, the only way to tell the difference is to ask a teenager. I did. Turns out a trend is something on Tumblr; a parody is something on YouTube. Don't even get them started about what a "meme" is. It sounds like something that will cost me money.

Facial hair is fashion in the same way hot pants are fashion, except pleasing to fewer people. Still, a long beard is a statement, a non-conformist proclamation which says "Hey, world, I am not a clean-shaven office monkey. I am a manly iconoclast, and I don't own socks."

I only hope the next hot hair trend involves balding. For once I might be considered "in."

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - How the Thin Blue Line makes its green


 The Fashion Police have quietly moved into merch.






Sunday, March 1, 2015

Superiority Complex Thrives in Middle Age

One of the benefits of living half a century is being superior to young people. The hard part is convincing a young person that Iron Butterfly was the name of an actual band.

I look forward to the day, although I will not live to see it myself, when these pups are themselves half a century old, and some kid asks them this sweet, delicious question: "Kanye who?"

It is hard to have respect for anyone who doesn't know what Billy Beer was. I know there are people who still have cans of it in their garage, and I salute them, both as a fan of history, and as a noted pack rat.

Somebody will need to show the people of the future how dumb we once were, not to help them avoid our mistakes; really, just for bragging rights. A pinnacle of ludicrousness is still a pinnacle.

Mine is the generation which disco-danced unironically. I wore bell bottoms whose bells could have easily concealed a large Tom cat wrapped around each ankle. History will not give the proper due to bell bottoms, or their importance in the sadly under-reported arena of ankle-ventilation. Tales of awesomeness at this high a level must be handed down orally.

I do not expect teenagers to know who the Byrds were, or their singular observations about tambourine men. These teens were born too late to benefit from insights dealing with "jingle jangle" mornings. They must make do with the observations of Taylor Swift, who, let's face it, would never come up with a lyric involving "a trip on a magic swirlin' ship."

One cannot help but feel a certain generational pity.

Teenagers of my era, when they were too chicken to ask a girl out face to face, would call her on a rotary-dial phone, which mercifully provided ample time, several seconds per digit, to chicken out from a distance. Texting has removed this buffer, and, worse, creates a written record of once-private conversations. These will be hilarious in 20 years, read at open-mic nights in bars, but at what cost?

I do have pity. I am not a monster.

My parents were "the greatest generation," and I am a "Boomer." One can only wonder queasily at what tag today's youngsters might end up with. The "Tumblrs"?

Well, I wish them the best, just as long as they keep paying into Social Security.

. . .