Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - What The Animals would be singing about today

 This has not been the ruin of many a poor girl.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Infidelity dating site is hacked; slow news week is unaffected

By now you have heard about the Ashley Madison hack, or at least your lawyer has. If you do not know what an "Ashley Madison" is, look in the dictionary under "End Times--Harbingers of."

To keep it simple, it is a Web site where married people can search for people with whom to have affairs. Back in my day, we called this "community theater."

The pastime has gone tech since then, though. Now it's like shopping online, but without waiting for shipping.

"Ashley Madison" combines two of the most popular girls' baby names from 25 years ago, which is just about the right fantasy age target, I'm guessing, for men who sign up. Madison is still in the top 10 for babies, though, which is a little icky, frankly.

But the name is incidental. Guys being guys, they would jump on board if the site were called "Tugboat Repairs." Nobody knows the exact ratio of men to women on the site, but I would bet 100 to 1 would not be far off.

This week hackers purportedly acquired the names, addresses, fantasies and photos of Ashley Madison's 37 million members, threatening to release them if the site was not shut down. The site was not shut down. As of this writing, the members' info has not been released.

Well, they supposedly outed a guy in Massachusetts and a guy in Canada, just as a sample. Imagine, your odds are 37 million to 1 and you still get picked. I would get on a plane to Vegas. I'll bet my wife would pack my bags.

Ashley M labels itself the "most famous name in infidelity," but I think that governor, Mark Sanford, who "hiked the Appalachian Trail" is up there. Tiger Woods. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It is the only one I just named which charges a fee, however. It even charges a fee to erase all traces of you from its site, so they get you coming and going, which is certainly fitting.

I'll bet you when this blows over, A.M.'s membership numbers will get a nice bump. I am sure there are people who had not even heard you could sign up for affairs as easily as ordering CDs from Amazon.

Despite the slick marketing, infidelity seems like a lot of work to me. Plus, when you're done, you probably feel like ordering a pizza. I say why not just cut to the chase?

. . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Moments in bad marketing brainstorming

 Gives a whole new meaning to "Let it go, let it go..."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

College orientation turns out to be blast for parents

My wife and I attended our daughter's college orientation last week even though, together, we don't even constitute one rotor of a helicopter parent. But since we had to drop her off anyway, parent orientation sounded fun. I thought we might learn some insider parent songs, at least. Maybe a secret nose-wiggle that would get us past the guard at the building with the gargoyles. Nope.

We were met by an army of student orientation ninjas, though, each spaced about 10 feet apart for a quarter mile, directing us to the student union for the presentation, What It Means To Be A Bulldog. (Actual college mascot altered for privacy, plus, let's face it, "bulldog" is the height of mascotry.)

What does it mean to be a bulldog? You should have pride! (I totally called it.)

The students went their way and we stayed behind so we could watch a video about how safe the campus is. Also how doctors are standing by to treat our precious kids whenever necessary, as long as we pay the mandatory annual medical fee. "But our kid is already covered by our insurance," several parents said. "What part of 'mandatory' do you not understand?" the admin asked (in so many words), the subtext being that college is as good a place as any for a kid to learn that bureaucracy is not just a word.

We were escorted out to the quad and into tents with nice box lunches for which we had prepaid, and, blatantly catering to our particular demographic, they played songs from our youth like "Night Fever" and "Girls Just Want To Have Fun."

An enthusiastic student then toured us around the school, pointing out the place where, in the fall, the science geeks launch pumpkins with catapults, and the medical building where there is a robot mannequin which gives birth 10 times a day for onlookers. Impressive, yes, until you find out there is a Starbucks right in the library.

The dorms were spanking new, and were just a few steps from the spanking new student cafeteria. There is also a little cafe if you are hungry after hours. In my day, car-less, we had to walk a mile to a Naugles for succor. Times have changed.

Even freshmen have it good. They have this thing now you can rent called a microwave-fridge combo. In my day—toaster ovens. I tell you, I was born too soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Moments in misguided gardening

 "Put them every 10 feet or that gravel will never sprout," the foreman said.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - Company naming is crucial to success

 A focus group helped this company choose a name, after its original choice, "Blow It All," brought in few customers.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Anniversary getaway brings oxygen deprivation, good burgers

The wife and I spent a couple of days this week in Idyllwild, a small mountain town whose name in Cahuilla Indian means "Scented candles half off with your purchase of wind chimes." 

It is a touristy little hamlet in the forest where, apparently, some city ordinance requires every store to have a carved wooden bear out front holding a sign. I guess it's so if you are a bear, you will know you are welcome to come in and freely buy the incense/dream catcher/shave ice/buffalo jerky which is on offer.

It was our 20th anniversary, and the traditional gift for the 20th is china, but in earthquake country that is like tempting fate with bacon and a red velvet cupcake. So we decided a couple of days in the fresh piney air away from the kids was a better call. 

I am writing this from the balcony of a foresty cabin overlooking a creek. Birds are twittering back and forth, as if to say "Yeah, for these prices I think the wi-fi ought to be stronger too."

A place like this can't just give you ordinary soap. No. The shampoo was made from coffee extract, and came from the dispenser like some kind of punch line to a motor oil joke. I have to say, though, it smelled great, and my hair never felt more ready to take the SAT.

Towns like this always have great food. There is something about the lack of oxygen which, ironically, really allows a chipotle-pineapple burger to breathe. 

In the mornings, they delivered a basket of still-warm scones to our cabin door. I have seen every season of "Downton Abbey," but I would still not call myself a "scone person." Until now. Random related thought: currants are so lucky to have even this one job.

We spent some time hiking peaceful nature trails and taking in the view from scenic outlooks. We poked around the shops, and it quickly became clear that, like the wooden bears, each store was required to play ethereal new age music and sell massage oils (hemp seed is a favorite), watermelon soap, tie-dye dresses or funny kitchen slogan signs. We held fast and were not seduced by these worldly temptations.

Anyway, happy 20 years, honey. Without you, I might have gone to my grave never knowing just how many types of probiotic tea they sell.

. . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday Wa Pic - But maybe not the best advertising agency

 If you have to put "best" in quotes, it kinda raises a question...