• If you want to insult someone who has done a lousy job, give them an attoboy. Note the subtle difference between this and an attaboy. An attaboy indicates approval, but attoboy is formed from the metric prefix atto, which means 10-18 (one-quintillionth) of an attaboy. The smallest of small praise.
• Well, perhaps not the very smallest. Unbeknownst to most of us this past November, the “powers” that be (specifically, the 27th General Conference on Weights and Measures) adopted four new metric system prefixes to describe the most perversely large and small. You can now award someone a quectoboy, 10-30 of an attaboy, one-trillionth of an attoboy. After giving you the scowly-eyes, the recipient of your quectoboy at the drive-thru is sure to appreciate your metric awareness by spitting in your liter of Diet Coke.
• Ban-Lon proved to be a waist of time.
• A recent New York Times article discussed an infamously low bridge in Cambridgeshire, England, which was struck by vehicles over 30 times last year. The bridge (the underpass on the left in the image below) has less than 7 feet of clearance:
The authorities seem clueless how to keep taller vehicles from crashing into this bridge. The damages and delays have cost the government-owned rail system millions of pounds. Might I suggest a couple of fixes? First, install a 15 mph speed hump in the side road, followed by a plastic “limbo stick” warning barrier, the kind you often see at the entrances of car washes and parking garages. If that’s not enough to get people’s attention, then put an electric eye at the top of the ramp, mounted at the same height as the underpass, and have it trigger flashing red lights on the bridge. This has got to cost less than repeatedly fixing stupid.
• The older I get, the less interested I have been and the less energy I have spent judging how other people live. In the end, we all get by. Just be kind.
• I was mildly pleased, when I bought a car in 2021, that the first three letters on my new license plate were JBK, for Just Be Kind. The numbers, however, didn’t mean squat.
• In their self-interested defense of unfettered U.S. capitalism, CEO’s have often claimed that “billionaires create jobs.” But do they? In December 2022, our unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent, thanks to gains in leisure/hospitality, health care, construction, and social assistance. Meanwhile, Facebook has decided to lay off 11,ooo of its workers, while Amazon is about to lay off 6% (18,000) of its workforce. Billionaires, you be you.
• I have a “Shark Tank” idea. I call it ACU-TENDER™. My product consists of a set of acupuncture needles along with recipes and instructions on how to acupuncture the pack of ingredients I send you each month, so you can ACU-TENDERIZE them. Let’s say you want to cook chicken breasts tonight. You lay out the chicken breasts on your bamboo (important!) cutting board, and then you twist/spin your ACU-TENDER™ needles int0 the chicken breast to give it that magical flavor and mouth-watering texture that Western cooking methods cannot replicate. Sharks, aren’t you sold already?
• A wise man once said… nothing at all.
• I don’t believe I have mentioned this, but if I did, please excuse. I finally found a local eyecare/eyeware outfit (here!) that does not try to upsell you on useless (but profitable) coatings and lens treatments. The add-on that most optometrists try to push nowadays are blue-blocking lenses for outdoors and/or electronics. One optometrist even had me watch, ironically enough, a video on the dangers of blue light before doing my eye exam. But Harvard Medical School insists there is NO EVIDENCE to support this, and that there are far better ways to care for your eyes. So, before you make your next eye appointment, mention blue light to the staff and see if they trot out the scare tactics. If so, remember what you read here.
• I assume we all have personal calming sounds. Mine include seagulls and ocean waves. I had never heard this soundscape in person until my late-30s, but when I did, it was as if the waves reached inside me somewhere and unlocked a lock. It seems that this particular outerscape magically and gently allows stress in my innerscape to escape.
Your calming sounds are no doubt different. They may be the whirs of a sewing machine; the cadence of chatter in a family-member’s home; the echo of footsteps and whispers in a stone-walled cathedral; the lone honks of late-night taxis; the songbirds welcoming dawn.