Yearly Archives: 2015

The iJobs OneI have old friends who work at Apple.  I also know local hipsters who enjoy craft beers brewed with apples.  One evening, after several such craft beers had been consumed, some of these apple-insiders took your faithful correspondent into their confidence and revealed to me, as I now reveal to you, the amazing new features of the next iPhone.

• First, this device will not be called iPhone 7.  Apple CEO Tim Cook has decided to name it iJobs One — to pay tribute to the obsessive design ethic of Steve Jobs, and to cash in one last time on his zen-legacy before the next unflattering Jobs biography threatens the brand.

• The build will be fantastic.  My apple-infused friends tell me that the iJobs One will be available in four exotic materials:

∗ The polished case of the Game of Thrones model will be forged from the finest Valyrian steel.  Drop it and you will dent your floor, not your phone.

∗ The touch surface of the Star Trek model will be a translucent sheet of fused dilithium crystals.  To engage Warp Factor 9, you inform the device that such speeds are beyond its capability, then you take a swig of Scotch and swipe your finger as steadily as possible from bottom-left to top-right.

∗ The touch-sensitive edge of the Fair Trade model will be manufactured from recycled coffee-bean hulls woven into a carbon-fiber matrix sourced from authentic Colombian ponchos.  Your social responsibility score is displayed on-screen after every tap.

∗ Finally, for neo-conservatives who use iPhones, there is the George W. Bush model, featuring a red metallic case made from the WMDs discovered in Iraq in the months following the 2003 US invasion — I am told it will be a very rare edition!

• The iJobs One is more attuned to the rhythms of your body than ever before.  Its ultrasonic sensor monitors the peristalsis of your stomach and gut, and its new iGo app automatically reserves time in your daily calendar for you to answer nature’s call.  Never again will you have to say in the middle of a developer meeting, “Sorry, I have to step out for a minute to consult with John.”

• There is a revolutionary new charging paradigm for the iJobs One: it recharges when you stare at it.  Apple has not revealed how this works, but I attest that it does.  To prove it, I borrowed four of my neighbor’s cats, herded them into my kitchen, then powered up a pre-production model of the iJobs One with a background image of a mouse.  Kid you not: the phone was 24% charged before and 63% a half-hour later.  If you like cats, you will love the iJobs One.  If you don’t like cats, well, keep looking.

• The most controversial feature of the iJobs One will no doubt be its LieBrate setting.  The phone has sensors to measure heart rate and pupil dilation, and its speech analysis software can detect changes in vocal pitch associated with stress and uncertainty.  If you activate the phone’s LieBrate setting and then put the device in your pocket or purse, it will vibrate whenever it detects patterns that match known lies.

I forgot that I had the pre-production model of the iJobs One in my pocket while watching the Republican Debate last month, and it vibrated so much that I almost had an orgasm.  Very confusing.  I won’t make that mistake again.

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I have the same problem with my reading list as I do with my New Year’s Resolutions: other interests and priorities eventually have their say.  Of the six titles on my 2015 reading list, I managed to read only two, having substituted three other books that were not on the list.  Arguably, Dice World, and Pieces of Eight were more compelling to me (and easier to read) than Sleepwalkers, the much-heralded backstory of World War I that I had pledged to finish this year.

I did not even tiptoe past the frontispieces of Racisms by Francisco Bethencourt or The People, Yes by Carl Sandburg, both of which were on my 2015 list.  And Octavia Butler’s 746-page Lilith’s Brood remains in little danger of being polished off any time soon, as I got bogged down a quarter-of-the-way through and have not yet been inspired to mount an offensive to conquer the rest.

2016 Reading ListWhat books will I finish in 2016?  Arguably by Hitchens will be the first.  I’m also interested in Piketty’s treatise on wealth inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First CenturyI have been waiting for it to appear in a more-affordable paperback edition.  After those, I will either return to the unread titles on my end-table or pursue whatever new writings inspire me.  (Who knows, your suggestion may be my inspiration.)

For better or worse, mine is a one-person book club.  Its rules are pretty loose and I don’t get blowback from other members about my picks.  It’s just like Oprah, give or take three billion dollars and sixty million fans.

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• Religion is the cologne many killers wear to mask their hate.

• I would like to know what segment of the viewing public was able to watch David Caruso play tough-guy roles, while suspending disbelief.

• It would be nice to have richer interactions with others than this blog affords.  In spite of the occasional appreciative comments, I seldom know who is reading and whether their reaction is positive or otherwise.  Stage actors can bask in the visible warmth of their audiences, but writers must be blind and impassive, like fishermen.  When fishing, you cast your fly, and maybe there is a fish down there and maybe not, but if there is a fish there, it may be hungry or maybe not, but if it is hungry, maybe it is in the mood for a worm and not a fly, or maybe it is the time of year it eats gnats, or maybe your fly just smells funny or swims by too fast.  So you pull in the line and most often you find nothing.  And you think, maybe what you need is a different lure or a new line or a cooler day, but you really have no idea.

• Making and keeping friends is something I have never been good at.  As a result, I don’t have many.  I envy those who do — they will outlive me, in days and in minds.

• On a more melancholy note (!) I must also confess that the older I get, the more I tend to procrastinate.  I see this as perfectly rational — I would rather have my obituary read, “He died while working on his final composition” than “He died while cleaning the garage.”

• With respect to cleaning, I don’t see small specks of dirt and crumbs on the floor as well as I used to.  And the ones I do see, I’m less inclined to pick up right then and there… I will vac them up eventually.  A tentative co-existence with imperfection is settling in.

• From the American Irony Board:  When my son and his wife visited for Thanksgiving, they brought along a book to give to my daughter: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.”  After the holiday, as my daughter was packing up to leave, I saw she had neglected to pack the book.  I asked her, didn’t she want to take the book with her, and she replied, no, she probably wouldn’t read it.  So now I get to figure out what to do with this book about clutter that is sitting on my desk.

• Donald Trump, with alphabetic economy, has made a not-so-surprising transition from “You’re Fired!” to “You’re Afraid!”

• I really don’t want my blog to be bleak.  I do love life.  It’s just that so much shit — man-made, man-preventable or man-remediable — makes life not so much fun for millions of others on this planet.  My cognitive dissonance stares me in the face every day that I watch The Price is Right — and I stare it right back down as I try to outguess the contestants on the prices of designer leather goods, wine coolers and karaoke systems.

I close with an observation by writer Anna Holmes, with a bracketed insertion of my own:  “I believe that self-loathing is a reasonable response to the unfairness and arbitrariness of the profession [humanity] with which we’ve chosen to align ourselves.”

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