Last week I didn’t mention all the useful Christmas gifts I received from ol’
Santa. He gave me: a live animal trap so I can rid Damphewmore Acres of all the
irritating skunks and possums around the premises; a new pair of binoculars so I
can watch the wild birds at our feeder, the geese and ducks on the pond, the deer
crossing the place, and the occasional coyote; two books (both entertaining and not
particularly useful); a customized new cribbage board; a T-shirt emblazoned with
the mascot of my favorite university (Bea Wilder U.), a decorative metal bear “beer
holder,” and two boxes of 410 shotgun shells.
Plus, I guess you could say that half of the new informal dining room
furniture Santa brought to the family is mine.
Ol’ Santa brought Nevah a new treadmill, but the rascal didn’t put it
together. It wuz a good end to the year when Nevah and I got it assembled without
the “Big D” word ever mentioned.
There is one big irritation that happened at the end of 2014 that I want to
give as much negative publicity to as I can. We get our television programming via
Dish Net. And, the only news shows that I like to watch are the Fox News and Fox
Well, wouldn’t you know? Those two corporate behemoths got into a head-
knocker over distribution fees. Dish wouldn’t pay the much higher distribution fees
Fox wanted to charge for all its sports programming channels, so in retribution, Fox
pulled its popular news and business channels from the Dish Net lineup.
Now, from my point of view, the only folks being forgotten by both corporate
giants are the folks like me — their all-important customers. I suppose Fox thinks
I’m gonna switch to another provider just to get its news and business shows. Well,
think again, Fox, I ain’t switching providers just so you can bring in more moola to
pay for the stupidly-high priced contracts you got yourself into with professional
and college sports entities.
So, I’m left with only one source of retribution to Fox — give it all the negative
publicity that this column can generate. As much as I like sports, news is more
important. As much as I despise big, out-of-control, dehumanized big government,
it’s a fact that huge, out-of-control, dehumanized corporations are almost as bad.
My old Mt. Vernon, Mo., friend, Manny Tallents, sent me an e-mail that
pretty much describes how big corporations ease their way into your wallet in many
imperceptive ways. Here’s Manny’s story:
“In 1994 I bought a brand new 2500 diesel Dodge Ram long-bed pickup truck
and put a camper on it. Recently, I took the camper off and in cleaning out all the
little cubby holes, I found a roll of toilet paper that had been stashed away since
1994. It was a brand new roll, so I brought it in the house, took it to the bathroom
and compared it to one of the current rolls of TP. Guess what? The 1994 roll was a
1/2-inch wider than the new roll, same brand. I don’t know when the company
started downsizing the width a half inch. I just don’t notice things like that. Then, I
looked at the paper holder in our bathroom, which is 55 years old, and it is 3/4-inch
wider than the new rolls are. I guess that paper company has been short-sheeting
me for years and I just now discovered the shortage.”
The electronic age can surely inadvertently get a person in trouble. Here’s an
A middle-aged farmer received this text message from his younger neighbor:
“I’m riddled with guilt and have to confess my transgression to you. I have been
hooking up with your wife, day and night, when you’re not around. The connection
was simple, but that’s no excuse. I can no longer live with the guilt and I hope you
will accept my sincerest apology with my promise that it will never happen again.”
The farmer wuz enraged, grabbed his pistol out of his pickup truck, and
rushed into his home with the intention of killing his unfaithful wife.
But, just as he prepared to pull the trigger, a second text rang through from
the offending neighbor. It read, “Stupid autocorrect. The word I intended to use was
WiFi, not wife.”
On the same texting subject. A farm wife texts her hubby on a cold winter
day. The text read: “Windows frozen. Won’t open.”
Hubby’s return text: “Gently pour some lukewarm water over it. Then try to
Wife’s return text in 15 minutes: “Computer completely screwed up now!”
I’ll end this column that disparages the computer age with a few wise words
of wisdom about computers. Elayne Boosler said, “I am thankful that most
important key in history was invented. It’s not the key to your house, your car, your
boat, your safety deposit box, your bike lock or the key to your private community.
It’s the key to order, sanity, and peace of mind. The key is ‘Delete.’”
And, physicist Steven Hawking said, “I think computer viruses should count
as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we’re
created so far is purely destructive. We’re created life in our own image.”
Ponder those thought as you text and email your way into the New Year
2015. And, have a good ‘un.