Safety.

I still can’t believe the American trend of politicizing COVID-19, and coping with this deadly disease. The politicization of the pandemic makes absolutely no sense to me, and when people refuse to mask up while screaming “freedom” I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief. What in the world does your political beliefs have to do with keeping you and the people around you safe from a deadly, airborne disease?

As expected, when I disembarked in Houston I immediately noticed a drastic decrease in the number of people wearing masks in the airport, in spite of current Federal regulations that require everyone to do so. It’s Texas, and Texas does what Texas does. I don’t know if it’s smart for folks in Texas to ignore the pandemic in the long run; eventually this practice is going to kill off a number of folks that would otherwise vote for that side of the aisle.

I guess I don’t understand why the GOP would want to kill off their constituents by raising a ruckus around the precautions of a preventable disease, but then again, I don’t get the United States in general these days.

I maintained my space, kept my mask in place, and made my way through Houston airport as safely possible. I’ll do the same thing on Sunday for my return trip.

Perhaps those that refuse to wear masks will be at church or something.

Skymall.

Up until a couple of years ago, whenever I jumped on a flight to a faraway destination, I would take delight in perusing through the Skymall catalog found in the seat pocket of every airline seat. It would usually be situated next to a barf bag and the safety instructions card. Occasionally the Skymall catalog was front and center.

The Skymall catalog contained all sorts of oddities, such as a bicycle helmet with laser lights to regrow hair on balding men or blow up neck pillows for those contortionists who felt they could get a good night’s sleep on their flight from Peoria to Lubbock or mirrors that let you try on a mustache like the one pictured above.

Quality, solid offerings for the discerning capitalistic society.

Last week I came to the realization that ads on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter are basically electronic versions of SkyMall. With just a few quick clicks of my mouse and solid records of my last bowel movement, and any other personal information the platform can glean out of my interaction, for a low $599 I can have an Android tablet that lets me take notes and nothing else.

I then further realized that “Shark Tank”, the once popular television show where innovators grovel for funding for their latest get-rich-quick scheme, is really just the king of SkyMall with some extra drama to give the whole experience an edge. For those struggling with the aforementioned bowel movements, the inventors of Squatty Potty groveled for millions of dollars of funding from the queen of QVC, so you can raise your legs to Jesus while taking a dump for only $69.95.

I bet you didn’t see that on your last airline flight.

Thank You For The Music?


Not my photo.

I have always been an ABBA fan. Even before their resurgence and the “Mamma Mia” productions and the like, I have always enjoyed the music of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anna-Frid (Frida). So one can understand that when it was announced back in 2018 that ABBA had gotten together and recorded a few new tracks, there were many folks that were excited to hear the new these new numbers.

It’s 2021 and they still haven’t been released. Apparently, ABBA wants to accompany these new songs with a road show involving a young ABBA (as we remember them) depicted by holograms in concert. The technology is a little wonky at the moment, then of course there was the worldwide pause for COVID-19, and as things start to resemble whatever normal is, still no word on when the tracks will be released.

Let’s hope it’s soon. The world needs to say Thank You for the Music. Soon.

Self Serve.

I decided we should probably check out the Wal*mart that’s just around the corner from our new home. From the outside it looks like a fairly new location. It’s not overly huge as it has only set of doors instead of two like found on the former “Supercenters”.

I’m not a huge fan of Wal*mart in general, but I am a fan of their use of technology. Anecdotes from employees indicate you can go an entire work shift at the store without ever talking to your supervisor or even another employee. The registers have been expanded to provide guidance on all aspects of the employment experience at Wal*mart and they are supplemented by apps on smartphones and the like. Plus, I’m pretty sure the chain runs on Linux.

Back to our local store. As expected, customer mask use is not as prevalent as seen in other stores in the Tucson area. I was not surprised by this and honestly I’m thankful to be fully vaccinated. The store is rather crowded and the selection of clothing in the Men’s Department was limited. Maybe I’m just the standard size of man in the Tucson population. I was able to find a couple of t-shirts for a decent price and my husband selected a couple of tank tops. We went to the front of the store to head through the checkouts.

This Wal*mart has a total of four checkout lanes. Four. The old Ames store in my hometown in Upstate New York had four registers for the first year of its existence when they realized the shopping population of the village of 2500 or so overwhelmed the number of registers in the store, so they added several more on the ends of the existing checkstands.

Zero of the four registers at this Wal*mart were populated by a store employee. All customers had to checkout through a self-checkout area, which was this large corral of self-service cash register being managed by two employees. Because this full service Wal*mart has groceries in addition to typical discount department store fare, there were carts everywhere, people using motorized buggies trying to navigate through this corral of relatively tightly packed shoppers trying to get through the self checkout process.

I am thankful for my vaccinated state.

Now, I’m torn when it comes to self-serve checkouts. On one hand, I like not having to interact with a cashier and being able to do things myself. On the other hand, I’m not paid by the corporation to do the work, I don’t see a drop in prices or an applied discount for doing the work myself, and I really don’t like the idea of taking a job away from someone trying to make ends meet by working at Wal*mart. I’m fine with self-serve checkouts when there’s a choice. It seems that Wal*mart is taking away the choice. I’m not a fan of that.

Overall I’m pleased that we experienced the Wal*mart closest to our home but I don’t feel the need to go back there again. If we’re in the mood for a Wal*mart experience there’s a Wal*mart Neighborhood Market down the way where we can buy snack food or something.

The Safe Way.

My husband and I will be officially fully vaccinated at the beginning of next week. The entire family in our Desert Compound will be fully vaccinated effective the 19th of this month. I am happy that we’re all getting our shots. It was not an easy feat to accomplish in Chicago; it was easy to accomplish here in Tucson. Apparently we got here at just the right time. There are people here in the city that we look forward to meeting in person.

We stopped at the supermarket after dinner this evening to pick up a few things for meals scheduled for the rest of this week. The Safeway wasn’t particularly busy, but most everyone was wearing a mask, whether they were a shopper or an employee. There was one man flinging packages of hot dogs around the display case that wasn’t wearing a mask. To be honest, he didn’t look too happy to be rearranging packages of hot dogs. I can only assume he leads a miserable life (judging by his expression) and isn’t really concerned about his longevity, therefore no mask. I wouldn’t expect him to have any regard for his neighbors or other people in the stores.

It’s not that hard to wear a mask. I mean, it’s a piece of cloth across your mouth and nose anchored to your face by straps around your ears or head. At no time do I feel deprived of my life, liberty, or my pursuit of happiness. I can still recite the Pledge of Allegiance through the cloth that is providing some protection for those around me. I can still sing “Yankee Doodle Dandy” if I so desire.

With so many people opting to not get vaccinated or wear a mask in public the burden of common sense falls onto the folks that care about the society, themselves, and the longevity of the species. Like the folks that completed the group project on time while everyone else in the group goofed off and made fun of the smart people, we’re left with the chore of dragging the idiots through their miserable lives.

I sound cranky about this. I’m frustrated but not cranky. I just figure I’ll out live them and will ultimately have the last laugh.

Right?

There are many things I will never understand about Illinois. This No Right Turn is one of them.

Technology.

I am all for advancing technology. I’m excited about the technological future and I want to do any and everything I can to help bring our technological musings into fruition. Our new home in Tucson will probably have a lot of gadgets that seem futuristic, so when I see something out in the world that appears to be advancing technology, I get excited.

This touchscreen fuel pump does not excite me.

You know the drill. You put your credit or debit card in the slot (or tap your smart device against the reader that has a 10% chance of actually being there), type in your zip code, and select your octane.

First of all, what are we accomplishing by converting from buttons to a touchscreen? I’m sure many tests were done, but do we think a touchscreen in the middle of a Chicago winter will be super responsive to user inputs? And let’s talk about that. I could barely get the touchscreen to work on a surprisingly mild March day, I can’t imagine how it would be with gloves on a sub-zero January morning.

Aesthetically, the physical device is pleasing. The interface is a little too modern and simplified for my tastes and I could do without the ads, but it’s not awful.

I just don’t get why we needed it.

Final Leap.

So the month of March would not be complete without a blog entry about my discontent with the United States’ practice of “Daylight Saving Time”. In just a few short hours, we are suppose to move the clocks ahead one hour so folks that are easily duped think they have an “extra” hour of sunlight each day. The reality is we’re just playing mind tricks with those that are easily fooled, and the rest of us suffer.

Noon is traditionally defined as when the sun is nearest its zenith for the day, but we can’t do that because people won’t shift their alarm clocks in the morning and instead want the clock to order them to enjoy more sunlight in the evening.

The really cool thing about 2021, at least for our family, is that this is the last time we will need to go through this barbaric ritual. In ten days we move to Tucson, Arizona, and Arizona doesn’t participate in this outdated practice. The majority of the state of Arizona stays on Mountain Standard Time all year long .

We will choose to enjoy recreation time in the coolness of the evening instead of shoving the sun to a different part of the sky for no reason at all.