Posts Tagged ‘expense

30
Dec
15

The Grinch That Stole the Other Empires

*****

A long, not too long time–somewhere between a year and the whole Y2K fad–ago…
In a home theater near you…

*****

lukesfather-vader-reveal-spoof_starwars_ap3J

Darth Vader: Luke! I…am your father!

Luke: No. Nooo. It’s not possible!

Darth Vader: Search your heart! You know it to be true!

Luke: No. You’re not telling me something. What is it? Why does this story start at chapter four?

[Taking off his helmet, Vader reveals creator George Lucas.]

George Lucas: Yes, son. Uh, I believe I could explain that. But, unfortunately, as I am too old now to relate to the increasingly younger target audience for just about everything, I’ve already sold you to another man-child.

[George removes his face, a rubber mask, to reveal J. J. Abrams, creator of LOST and the Star Trek movie “reboot.”]

J. J. Abrams: Hi, Luke. I’ll be speaking for George, now. Unfortunately, I cannot say too much without risking my life. You see. I took his baby under my wing while selling my soul to another company at the same time.

Luke: J. J. Abrams?! I lost five years of my life because of you! Bring George back!

J. J. Abrams: I would love to do that, uh, Luke. But, I am so afraid of making the slightest mistake to further upset the fans who nearly torched their collections after the “prequels” did so poorly. I am so afraid that I copied ninety percent of the original trilogy into the first film of my own in the series. So, I will have to turn my commentary over to the real boss of all this.

[J. J. removes his face, another rubber mask, to reveal Mickey Mouse, the iconic face of the Disney Empire which swallowed Lucas’ work and J. J. whole along with Jim Henson and Stan Lee (and their respective empires).]

Luke: No… No. Not you. You’re the worst of them all!!!

Mickey Mouse: Tough luck, kid. You’re mine now, b!t@h! Huh-huh!

[Luke chops off his own head in hopes of never being turned into a Goofy parody.]

[Jar Jar Binks pops into the scene only to annoy Mickey who doesn’t realize the similarity between one orange clutz and his long-time co-star, Goofy.]

Jar Jar Binks: Meesa taking over the physical comedy roles, now. Uck-yuck!

Mickey Mouse: Not if I have anything to say abou– Wait. Did you just say “Uck-yuck?”

THE END?

<<ALTERNATE ENDING>>

[Jar Jar Binks walks onto the scene in his usual clumsy fashion, greeting his boss, Mickey Mouse, aka Midas Minos.]

Jar Jar Binks: Meesa back, boss.

Mickey Mouse: Uuh…Huh-huh! Aren’t you forgetting something?

Jar Jar Binks: Oh. Meesa sorry. Ehem…Uck-yuck!

Mickey Mouse: That’s better!

[Mickey pulls a black cloak out of his sleeve and fits it over his head.]

Mickey Mouse: Welcome back, my beautiful spy. You’ve done well.
Of course, it was my brilliant design, naming you after the future director of a cash cow I have long sought to hold in the palm my rubber glove, giving you the subtle likeness of my pathetic half-brother, Goofy. How I hated when that Lucas project stole thunder from my theme parks, not to mention my movies. Now, it is all mine.

Where are the other horsemen of the monoplocalypse, your partners in crime? Where are Jeronimo Piventas, Ryander Reynosold and Sethos Rogenda?

[Mickey/Midas refers to other bounty hunters under his leadership who pose as actors you may know by other names: Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen. These four “horsemen” have a reputation for destroying films.]

Jar Jar Binks: Meesa last saw them at Starbucks, passing along your plans for changing the name to Mickey’s Star Wars Coffee House.

Mickey Mouse: Excellent. Phase two of my plan is about to begin…three years from now in a theater near everyone! Uuh…Huh-huh! Uuh…Huh-huh-huh!

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11
Aug
14

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Have you ever heard someone say that about some machine, toy, phone, “doodad” or gizmo? You know…the title of this piece. It’s something I haven’t heard myself in a while. But, that’s just because I am no longer a kid surrounded by elderly folks. Those who said it to me have passed on, already. But, the message still rings true now and then.

There was a time not too long ago when adults of the ’60s looked at the toys and technology of the ’80s–particularly television sets–and said, “They sure don’t make them like they used to.” This was shortly after Americans took a break from bitching about the “China-men” making inferior products. But, even today, if you listen to some of these millionaire business types, where would they be if they didn’t have their production lines overseas? Not too long ago, there was a big stink being raised about lead paint on toys. Lead paint; something I haven’t heard about since childhood when there was considerable concern about kids eating paint chips from older houses. [But, if you get me started on lead paint and the Chinese labor force working for the U.S.A., we’ll be here all week.]

The point I am slowly trying to make is…

If you look at modern technology–everything from lawn equipment to household appliances to your “newfangled” flat TVs and razor-thin-ready-to-snap-at-any-moment computers–you don’t see many–if any–lifetime warranties. You’re lucky if you get a five-year warranty. What amazes me is how some manufacturers will avoid a fuss and let you have a replacement (sometimes at an additional expense even if it’s considerably smaller).

Back when, replacements didn’t come so easily. You didn’t trade in a $100+ phone made from nuclear waste that does everything from flash a light under your bed to manage your banking/spending every two years. You bought a phone that plugged into the wall and was glad it was still working when the power went out. Now, you drop your “phone” (and I use the term lightly) in a puddle or on the sidewalk (because you have to have it with you at all times), and you’re lucky if you aren’t forking over another $200+ for a replacement.

[You see how the price shot up in just a few years? There was a time when you expected a fairly standard price for a phone. The technology didn’t change in two years, and what you had worked just fine if you didn’t take it outside and throw/drop it everywhere, you klutzes. AND, your hand didn’t vibrate or glow in the dark after holding your phone for a few hours. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating about the hand glowing in the dark.]

There was a time when you bought something with little fear of it not working in as many as ten years or more. You trusted a name that built a reputation for itself. You trusted the materials with which the item was made.

There was a time not so long ago when cash was so scarce, they called it the Great Depression, and countless lives were in financial jeopardy. Back then, they didn’t have “smart phone plans” to worry about. They didn’t even have video entertainment. How in the world did they live?!…you kids might ask. Well, I am fairly sure there was probably the same business scheming going on then as it is today. It just came under a different label as it drove people broke. But, whatever it was, I am sure it lasted the people a few more years than a computer telling its user, “It’s been two years. Replace me.”

You know what piece of technology hasn’t changed much since the dawn of time? Mankind. We may have lost some hair and body mass (ha). We may have learned to stand up straighter and use different words now and then. We may have changed the way we eat our food, dress and clean ourselves. We probably earned a longer life expectancy from working less and sitting on those asses people have been pointing and shaking their heads at, lately. But, we can be just as dumb as our ancestors.

How dumb are we? Well, we’re so dumb that we will slap anything on our skin or trust another human being to make us look young, “pretty” or “handsome.” We’re so dumb that we take pills as directed by other humans only to suffer side-effects we should have seen coming (but we didn’t…because we’re so dumb). We’re so dumb that we will burn a plant in our mouths or wash one down our throats to fight stress only to risk the lives of others around us and put that stress on our bodily organs, anyway. We’re so dumb that we move just like cattle as we chase the latest things because the ones someone stopped making last summer are now obsolete.

Can you replace your grandparents or siblings so easily? I think not. No matter what insurance policy you buy, pill you take or defense system you install, you don’t have a lifetime warranty or even a two-year warranty. Your number could be up tomorrow. [That’s another fairly old piece of lingo, by the way. Your number being up. For those of you born after the cellphone, it means “you could die.”]

So, the next time you think about buying some new gadget, trinket or Macintablet or reach for a fresh (or freshly charged) battery pack, remember what ol’ Writingbolt just told you. You can either drain your bank account (which was filled with your life force applied to that thing called work…of whatever kind you employ) every few years chasing stupidity. Or, you can wise up and rethink the way this world appears to be going. Buy something more reliable. And, invest in those around you who are worth more than any self-destructing wireless “life-distactor.”

Maybe it’s time we all slowed down to think instead of trying to be the one who throws him or herself into a wall the fastest. Yeah. That sounds dumb. Just give it time. I’m sure it’s out there on YouBoobTube, already. And, it’s getting a billion hits.

There was a time when hits were something your older brother…

28
Jul
13

There Was A Time…

I was working at my computer recently when all of a sudden the screen froze. In the middle of highlighting a phrase on an important (to me) writing project, everything froze. And, I couldn’t push a button or a combination of buttons or enter a command to save a life. All I could do was cut the power. And, it scared me. It made me mad.

Then I got to thinking…

Here I am worried one more time about losing access/use of a computer. I’ve already met with my share (which may be smaller than your share and lower than your tolerance level for technological “oopsie daisies” which either send you to a technician or the store for a new model) of technological scares. I’ve already lost my cool, stressed myself out and forked over more money than I probably should have ever paid to save this thing that essentially became an addiction which robbed me of my perfect eyesight from over-exposure. I’ve faced chat room bugs, registry meltdowns, potential blue death screens and any number of other freezes. I used to get upset when my video game system, game or controller stopped working. And, frankly, I am sick of it all.

Some people worry about getting enough coffee every day to keep them “perky” as they go about their business. Oh, you don’t want to mess with them if they don’t get that coffee. I suppose that’s like any other drug addict needing their smokes or fixes. Isn’t it?

Where am I going with all of this you may ask. Well…

 

 

The Good Old Days

I had a dream today that brought back semi-fond memories of a time when I was consumed with interest in cartoon characters the adults around me would consider juvenile wastes of time and resources. But, to me, they were inspirational. And, when my family could or would not afford me pieces of those wonders, I had to use my imagination and thankfully had some pencil and paper handy to create my own little wonders…if they were wonders to anyone, at all.

Back then–as they say–times were simpler. Back then I would wake up most mornings without an air conditioner or microwave oven and simply be grateful I had a mother who liked to cook and bake. I took a simple yellow metal bus to school without a GPS or fancy, talking radio-phone-remote control-thermostat-heart rate checker-face maker-recommend-everything-for-me box. Back then, my alarm clock was the latest technology and cost me plenty.

My biggest concern was getting up for school on time and hoping no one picked on me that day. If my folders were knocked to the floor by some bully or careless passerby, I didn’t cry over a cracked screen no longer letting me see them. I couldn’t say the computer ate my homework. I simply collected the scattered papers and hoped they were still good enough to give my teachers.

If anyone needed help with anything, you looked it up in a phone book, went to a neighbor or–as a horrible last resort–sent word to the local newspaper to print an ad asking for assistance. You couldn’t throw a coin in the Google fountain and expect a miracle. Telephones were tied to the walls and kept people out of harm’s way when they used them. If you had something important to discuss, you waited until you came home, used a payphone on the street or grabbed a phone at the office/school. You learned something about patience and the value of a call.

 

 

The Not-So-Hot New Days

Nowadays, just about everything has a computer in it. And, the tech companies keep pitching newer and newer models every year with some minor improvement that is just going to knock your cyber socks off your artificial feet (which have replaced your fleshy ones after rotting from poor use or damage from distraction). I worry that it won’t be long before they start putting them inside us. [And, no, I am not talking about pacemakers or those little submarine pills that swim through your body.] It’s bad enough we’ve been cattle prodded into the digital age which is swiftly pushing 35 mm film and so many formats of so many things down a dusty trail of space debris while still struggling with the addictions of fossil fuels and monetary greed.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And, yet, what hasn’t stayed the same is the basic calm and comfort of not relying upon unreliable technology for so many things. This is the bi-product of haste and carelessness. In an effort to make things easier, faster and cheaper, we burn our brains out, clog our vital organs and fry our skin cells at the cost of billions of lives.

We used to throw more members of other species “under the bus” to test things. That’s cruel. But, not any more or less cruel than testing them on each other!

Part of me thinks there is this very select group of people high on the wealth mountain who are somehow watching all of this happen under their noses. They say, “Let’s see what happens if we do this to that group or try this product on those people over there.” And, in doing this, they learn what works or doesn’t work for their benefit. People are no more valuable than cattle or crickets to them. So, a few hundred or thousand die from some illness or malfunction caused by the latest model of some silly product they tested. So a few insurance bills and lawsuits get together and do a tango. No big deal. But, if these people high on the mountain are forced to breathe the same air or immerse themselves in the very products they are testing at any time, are they not at some measure of the same eventual risk? All because they wanted life to be easier, faster or more profitable? [Hi, could you put King Midas on the line? I think he might have a message for these people.]

How helpless we feel if our do-everything-for-us-but-breathe-sleep-and-eat “phones” or household communication and entertainment devices (better known as PCs or Macs if you prefer) stop working. For some, it’s no bother to trot over to some store and pick up a replacement. For the rest, it can be a miserable, unsettling and who knows how long period of unrest and accelerating discomfort which could explode into panic at any time! [And, breathe.]

So, while we seem to be slowly moving our way up to the times of George and Jane Jetson, living in sky-high houses with flying cars and capsules for everything, let’s remember what we are losing in the process. That sense of calm and appreciation for what the universe gave us. Mother Nature.

Now, I get why certain literary figures–like Adam and Eve, Cain and Prometheus–were punished. They rushed to get something they didn’t really need. At what cost? Adam and Eve lost their innocence and the Garden of Eden/paradise. Cain lost his brother in a fit of violence over senseless envy. Prometheus left Mount Olympus to share the latest technology of the times (fire) with mortals. It cost him his liver and trapped him for an eternity under the torment of a vulture. If each of these figures would have patiently appreciated what they had and worked with others in harmony, progress might be better for all.

But, if you think you can live without that tree outside your door or real green grass producing free clean air to breathe…if you can spend your days sleeping in an electric beehive chamber and risk radiation poisoning…if you would rather worry about pixels and bit rates entertaining you every waking minute than how to interact with people outside your door…if you never need to experience the wonders of the world first hand and within reach…then go ahead and ignore the crumbling environment around you and sit in your hovel with that little glowing screen until the last one ceases to work and you’ve traded your soul for another minute of internet usage. I hope your last “tweet” is a good one.

I say all of this…and, still, I am fretting over my PC screen freezing…

Let’s bring back civilization before it’s too late.

 

~A. P. Writingbolt, 7-28-2013

P.S. Of course, I couldn’t bring this word to as many of you as quickly/easily without a computer and internet service. But, you might already know all of this or someone with similar ideas. Those of you who can say you don’t rely upon coffee/drugs or electric devices every day deserve a salute. As do those who may not even be able to see these words because they are living just fine without knowing how to work a computer (provided they aren’t involved in some other crooked business).




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