Conspiracies and Paranoia

I’m reading more and more from people who believe there are vast conspiracies preventing their success. The conspirators are usually the government, drug companies, the media, the United Nations, the wealthy, and so forth. (Any notion of a government which can’t keep the tiniest secret engaging in decades-long conspiracies is comical, but I digress.) A widespread believe in conspiracies is paranoid. Here’s the definition of paranoia: a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into …


2015 Enigmas

Amy Schumer is bold, off-color, risk-taking—and not very funny. After hearing so much about her, I watched her HBO special (directed by Chris Rock, no less, but how do you “direct” a standup comedy routine?). I laughed three times over the course of an hour. When will the other candidates realize that Trump grabs headlines because he’s refreshingly different in a process where everyone is vanilla and bland? Who on earth thinks that automated phone calls will convince someone to …


When I was young, my friends and I spent a lot of time trying to stay OUT of trouble. Our parents would yell from the windows if we played ball in the streets (we’d move around the block), or if we were in a fight, or if we were making too much noise, or whatever. Our teachers would scold us for talking in class, sending notes, not completing assignments, making fun of classmates, and so on. Store owners would warn …


Meta-Worry

Some people talk about talk, which can be healthy. A psychologist would call it “meta-talk,” examining the words and phrases you use to talk to a spouse, for example. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We can call that meta-fear. I find that many people are engaged in meta-worry. They worry about worrying. They become consumed by their worries: financial obligations, social responsibilities, job requirements, non-financial debts owed, child-rearing, and so on. They can …


The Walking Dread

Self-absorbed: Being overwhelmingly concerned only about yourself and your own well-being, no matter how trivial, irrespective of the impact on others. Example: The person who stands in the doorway of the theater to discuss the play, while others are trying to exit. The person who stops at the bottom of a moving escalator to chat. Any person who discusses anything during a theatrical performance. Recent sightings: • At an omelet station in a buffet, a woman directs the chef on …


Dumb Ass Stupid Management: CVS, Who’s Minding the Store?

In East Greenwich, RI, where I live, the CVS store on Main Street has had one of its drive-through pharmacy lanes out of action for about three months. The lines at the store register snake into the aisles until the cashier wakes up and calls for help. When I ask why she didn’t do it earlier, her surly reply was, “I just did.” I’m constantly told “There you go” and “No problem” instead of “Thank you,” as if spending money …


Faceoff

Facebook has become one of the largest organizations in the world largely because it doesn’t have an intelligence test to qualify members. This morning some moron posted that we have to become like Canada in the US: triple our union membership percentage, raise the minimum wage by 50%, and escalate taxes “on the rich.” By all means, let’s become a country one-tenth our present size and find a much larger country with which to share a long border that will …


Modern Times

Comedian Louis C.K. asks why we complain about airline service when we’re able to sit in a chair and ride in the sky. I’ve heard people complain that their cell phone call to London, while walking down a street in New York in the rain, has poor reception. I’m at the Jersey Shore, and there’s always traffic on the Garden State Parkway. Yet today we have air conditioning, zillions of music choices, iPads to occupy the kids, and GPS if …


The Frisbee Rule

Bentley and I try to get some Frisbee in every day. It’s easy for me, I stand in one spot at the top of the yard and he races downhill after the disk (for the analytic among you, in excess of 32 MPH), and then returns it to me. When I’m done exercising my wrist muscles, I call, “Bring it in,” and he heads for the back door and a biscuit (as does Buddy Beagle, knowing if Bentley gets a …


What?

I was hosting friends at The Square, one of my favorite London restaurants, but very French and very aloof. (I’m sorry, that was redundant.) They serve things such as noisette of fulmars over crepe de soire, a la Rouen. So you have to ask. I am not making this up. AW is me, and AC is the aloof captain. AW: How is this fish cooked? AC: Lovely, sir, quite nicely. AW: But how exactly is is prepared? AC: In a …