Thursday, March 24, 2011

Neuron Backfires

Many thanks to my friend who posted the last post for me while I was out of town. I shoulda warned him about all the cheat sheet tags I leave at the bottom of my "new post" window. He's the one who taught me how to use them anyway.

This one's not about Eris, the DOJ report on NOPD (still wading through it), or any other kind of serious topic. Every now and then there are stray thoughts that meander through a head. An article read that makes the reader say, "Huh?" A comment made by someone that sticks and bounces from neuron to neuron for a few days until it is replaced by another or gets spit out like gases through an exhaust pipe on a car. Here are a few for this week:

1. Phone calls: Earlier today someone passed me this article that discussed something I've been wondering about for a while. Now everyone knows I'm not anti-technology, not at all. I do, however, wonder if we're losing something when so much of our communication is in no context other than a screen. I can text with the best of them, but as I commented to the person who sent me the article above, the sound of laughter can't be typed/tweeted/texted and sorry, but LOL or even ROFL doesn't replace that sound. If a friend says, "Maybe I should just jump off a bridge" it sure as shootin' has a different context if they're laughing versus crying when they say it. I can't tell by looking at my screen. Years ago I ran chat rooms on AOL when it first started out. They were hosted chat rooms with a topic. The standard for training a new host was to "smile from the wrists down" as there is no context on a screen. Sarcasm can seem like cruelty scrolling across a screen with no voice or face to give it context. An article a few months ago showed by some kind of test that was done, that something like 88% of emails are misinterpreted. Why? No context. People couldn't tell if someone was being sarcastic, teasing them or being purposely vicious. If my sister says "screw you" while laughing hysterically and throwing a potato chip at me, that's an entirely different thing from "screw you" coming across a cell phone minus the potato chip. Oh yeah, and not everything can be communicated in 140 characters, abbreviations, or badly spelled text messages. But hey: "NP w txt u ltr or cu 2nite @ M's" will have to suffice in some instances I guess.

2. Dictionaries: In keeping with the above neuron backfire there's this. LOL and OMG are now, evidently, words as is the "heart" symbol. Gotta love it. Actually that one did make me laugh.

3. Nicotine: Before I left on my trip my eye caught an article somewhere on the cover of a gossip mag in the airport--a photo of some actress whose name escapes me. She was smoking an e-Cig. The caption read: "So and so has been using an e-Cig for over a year now, isn't it time she stopped?" Why? Nevermind the obvious who the hell cares aspect of this, why should she stop? If all the anti-smoking folks are so upset about the smoke and she's switched to the e-Cig for her nicotine fix, thus eliminating the smoke that gets those folks' panties all in a wad, then what's the problem? Is a nicotine addiction really all that different from a caffeine addiction? How is an e-Cig so much worse than a gallon of Starbucks with a turbo shot? I don't get it. Caffeine is standard, nicotine a moral failure? Huh?

Oh yeah, and some municipalities are now trying to ban fireplaces. Yup, fireplaces, the kind you hang your Christmas stocking on and dreamed of romantic evenings in front of. No more wood burning fires allowed. Other municipalities are trying to ban barbecues. Yup. Backyard barbecues could become a thing of the past, those glorious ribs and steaks a memory. The reasoning behind this is evidently that the burning meat's smoke is dangerous.

Next they'll tell you you're an irresponsible parent for taking your kid camping, building a campfire and letting them sit less than 1/2 a mile away, nevermind those burning marshmallows for the s'mores.

4. Toilet Paper: My grocery store is a locally owned rather peculiar place populated by silver painted people on Pegasus bicycles and piano lessons going on upstairs. During my trip I was in an actual grocery store about four times. I gotta wonder if we really need 40 different kinds of toilet paper. I wondered how much time Americans spend standing in that aisle, and others like it, trying to decide which one to buy and whether their decision is ultimately based on the cute cuddly bear family commercial they saw or the color of the packaging. The wine aisle was pretty amazing, but there at least folks are looking at categories like red vs. white, if red then what kind: a cabernet, merlot, shiraz? What country of origin, what vintage? I know for sure we're not looking for "vintage" tp so I'm really curious what makes a person buy this one over that one. And it's not just toilet paper, there are a zillion choices to be made for any number of items. I go to my store and Benny says, we're out of that, truck comes next Monday. I buy what they have.

No comments: