Thursday, September 29, 2016

Yoga Fred.

I've done some stretches in my time--poorly--but I don't think yoga is for me. First of all, it seems to require a level of flexibility that my people simply do not have, that level being "any." If I tried, say, the Pendant Pose, I would definitely be putting the LOL in Lolasana.

Second, there's the whole cultural appropriation stuff, and as I would naturally wish to do yoga while wearing a sombrero and cooking pho, it just seems like inviting trouble.

Nonetheless, I'm amazed by the wide variety of impossible poses, postures, and whatnot available to the yoga devota, and their incredible mouth-bending names. Like:

Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Agnistambhasana
Anjaneyasana
Chakravakasana
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Hanumanasana
Natarajasana
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
Salamba Sarvangasana
Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana

I think a Venn diagram would show that many of the people who know what these are would be the same as the people who tell you never to eat something you can't pronounce. But it's okay to do something you can't pronounce? I call shenanigans!

There are a handful of poses I think I might be able to do, as follows:

Bananaramasana
Three point stance while holding your Venus


Roninsana
Pick up phone firmly in one hand; call broker

Roseanne Rosannadannasana
Frequent hand gestures required
Alabamaslammasana
Seated position, elbow bent

Downward Facing Sickasa Dog
Follows Alabamaslammasana

Advilo Mukha Vrksasana
What people like me would need after trying yoga

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Autumn arrives, autumn leaves.

Well, folks, I'm having to wear a jacket now when I take out the dogs in the morning and when I take them back out at night. So it must really be autumn now. Let's have a look at the homestead:



The apples and pumpkins sure are looking fine. Been meaning to get some of that ivy off the house. Maybe in the spring. Little Johnny's getting pretty fat, I'm afraid. Loves to eat them apples. Farts like a carthorse.

Now that it's officially the fall, it is safe for Dunkin' Donuts to do that pumpkin spice crap. Sure, and everyone else too. I would have preferred they waited until October, but this is close enough. You'll have no more fight from me, people. But no peppermint until after Thanksgiving or there'll be trouble.

The sun is running away like a terrified rabbit now, and it's darker now at night than it was in the spring when the day was exactly the same length. Or so it seems to my eyes. The preponderance of daylight in the summer makes its absence in the fall that much greater.

All these thoughts get me thinking about the things I have not done in the years since I left the city to be a prince of suburbia: no corn mazes, apple picking, pumpkin picking; no apple festivals, harvest festivals; no bobbing for apples, hayrides, special leaf-peeking trips. Not that these things don't happen; I just haven't had the huge need to get around to them. On the other hand, I haven't found it necessary to rake, either. Since I don't have a lot of trees I can just mulch the ones that fall with my lawn mower. And I eat Halloween candy. So there's that.

I love autumn, even though I don't do anything special for it. Autumn is like a great old friend who comes to visit, to cheer you up if you miss summer, and you're so happy to see him, and you kind of feel like you've been freed from the heat of summer as if it had been an onerous responsibility. By the time Autumn leaves, the place is a wreck and all the food is gone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Shaving with broken glass.

A friend of mine told me to enjoy the debates yesterday. I told him I would rather shave with broken glass, and I meant it. I still would.

It's not like the candidates are mysterious creatures we don't know. Unless you've been shirking your civic duty, you know these two knuckleheads all too well. You may have had trouble a few months ago figuring out which is more corrupt, but we have a pretty good idea now.

I suppose people watch these things to see if someone lands a good one-liner like Reagan's famous youth and inexperience gag. But really, politicians are a mostly creepy bunch, and tuning into these things just encourages them. Does anyone expect to get a solid explanation of policy proposals, or even a graspable statement of principles? No, they're hoping for zingers, maybe fistfights. Maybe a dodgeball game will break out. Maybe someone will have a massive stroke. Wouldn't that be fun?

This is insanity.

Mister, we could use a man like William McKinley again.

His famous "front porch campaign" of 1896 was brilliant. He wasn't the first to run such a presidential campaign, but he was probably the best at it. Wikipedia notes that "McKinley spoke to more than 700,000 supporters in front of his house in Canton." It brought huge publicity, it made him look presidential, and it was easy on him. He was a big guy.


You can't see that face engaged in shenanigans, can you?

Do I wish modern presidential campaigns were run this way? Hell yeah. Do I think it would work? No. Do I care? No. The modern campaign is all about messaging, but the message they generally have is "My opponent has the heart of Satan and a massive turd where his/her brain should be."

At least if they stayed home to campaign we could ignore it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fred's diet tips.

Everyone knows that Fred is in awesome shape, if you like round. And I'm not one to hoard all this good health to myself. I'm pleased, therefore, to share with you my diet tips for healthy Fredlike living. 

* A lot of people like the Paleo diet, where you eat like a caveman, but I think it's nuts. Have you seen the size of the brontosaurus ribs Fred Flintstone eats? No wonder he's fat. If you really want to lose weight, do the Ice Age diet. Eat lots of ice. 

* If you haven't seen your kneecaps since Britney Spears was a Mouseketeer, you may wish to leggo the Eggo once in a while. 

* Exercise outside and get fresh air and sunshine. Fresh air is full of pollen, though, and sunshine will give you melanoma. On second thought, forget it. 

* Vegetarians are people who eat lots of vegetables. Vegans are people who eat lots of vega. Since there's no such thing as vega, they are hungry and mad most of the time. Eat meat and save yourself the worries.

Fish is healthy, but frying it is bad. Try broiling it instead.
* Don't rely on crash diets to take down your weight. Teddy bears don't eat and they're all chubby.

* Organic food is supposed to be healthier, so you can eat twice as many calories if they're organic. Or something.

* If you were the kind of kid who would eat a bug for a dollar, remember that bugs are mostly protein. Look into restarting this as a home business. Not only are people paying for your meals, but you're turning a tidy profit, and you're ridding the word of icky bugs at the same time. But don't sell yourself short: set up a sliding scale based on how gross each bug is. Pro tip: Even if you get a good offer, don't eat boogers, yours or anyone else's.

* People say foods like Twinkies and Pop-Tarts are garbage, but it's clear that raccoons, seagulls, and crows live perfectly well on garbage. Go ahead and eat them.

* Beer-braised short ribs: good. Beer-braised corn flakes: less good.

* A lady I know has lost a significant amount of weight since her daughter and granddaughter moved in. She says it's from chasing the kid. This is a good plan, and if you have no grandchild handy, get two active dogs. I haven't sat down since July.

* If you do somehow gain possession of a puppy or a small child or something else that needs a lot of sleep, you will immediately discover that every pot, pan, plate, and cooking utensil in your house is, at the slightest touch, as loud as a brass band falling down a staircase. Screw it; order in.

* Actual tip: A former coworker, when needing to drop five pounds in a hurry, would go on the pizza diet. One unadorned slice for each meal for a week. No pepperoni, sausage, anything. Flat Neapolitan style, of course, not Sicilian. She claimed it worked fine, and I'd guess it stopped all pizza cravings for months afterward.

* Do not count on the dog to eat your kale for you. He's looking at your ice cream.

* Is your doctor fatter than you are? Then you must be okay.

* If not, you can join one of those programs where they bring you all the food you're allowed to eat, easily heated and consumed. I have known several guys who have followed these programs, with really dramatic results. And every single one of them without exception put it all back on and more as soon as they went off the diet.

* To hell with it. I'm going for a Philly cheesesteak and fries. Get in the car.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The romance writer at home.


{NB: For the record, while I've worked on romance novels G- to R-rated, I've never tried to write one. I just always imagined the authors looking like this. --FK}

Friday, September 23, 2016

The dish.

A first look at this sad gift for the garbagemen might make you think that DirecTV is heading for the ash heap of history.


Which was my first thought. If people are just heaving satellite dishes around, what can that mean for the company? The evidence is clear: DirecTV is doomed.

Then I looked up at the house and saw a big new dish where the old dish used to be.

Couldn't see if it was a DirecTV dish, but who else does them? But if it was DirecTV, why didn't they take the old dish with them, rather than let the logo be seen with the trash like a bum in the gutter?

In any event, even if this were to have been a discarded and despised dish of disgust, it would have been no evidence that the company that made it was going bust. One household switched to cable; so what? And yet we have the tendency to rely heavily on tiny doses of anecdotal evidence like that, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Joey down the block says marijuana never hurt him. My cousin thinks Disney World is reasonably priced and hassle-free. Alice at the office says Hillary Clinton is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being she's ever known in her life. 

It's not that these opinions aren't true, or have no basis in fact---well, maybe they don't, but that's beside the point. It's that Joey, your cousin, Alice at the office, me, and you, individually these opinions are statistically insignificant. We may tend to give them more weight because the person involved has earned it somehow, like when Oprah recommends a book ("Oooh! I love the same books she does!"), or because Joey got a lot of street cred because he can eat more Cheetos in one sitting than any other human being alive, or because Matt Damon.... You know what? There's no reason to pay attention to Matt Damon.

This is why we're supposed to use argument and reason to support our judgments, because feelings aren't facts. But there is so much noise, so much spin, so much cherry-picking of data, so much anecdotal evidence, that even things that look like arguments are no more than opinion, chatter, a salesman's pitch. Feelings have supplanted reason as we are told to trust our instincts, go with our gut. As if our guts are infallible lie detectors.

Was there ever a time when masses of people could be swayed by genuine logic? I don't think so. Evidence, maybe, but as we've seen, evidence itself can be misleading, subject to wishful thinking, statistically insignificant. One swallow does not a summer make.

But don't take my word for it.