50/50

I had my annual physical last week. The doctor said everything looked pretty good. The only thing he was concerned about was my BMI score. BMI for those of you who don’t know stands for Body Mass Index. It’s what you should weigh based on your height. Mine was 31, and the doctor said he’d like to see it come down to something more normal like 22-23.

That didn’t sound too bad. So I asked him what I should do, and he said, “Based on my height, I should lose about 50 pounds.”

“Holy shit! What else have you got?”

He said, “Well, if we look at your weight, you could grow 13 inches.”

I’m not sure which path to take. I just know when I’m done, I’ll have to get new clothes anyhow.

My wife asked how did things go at my physical. When I told her what the doctor said, she was genuinely surprised and said, “Wow, but you don’t look that fat.” With a tear in my eye, I hugged her and said, “You noticed.”

She showed me an article that Rob Gronkowski lost 50 pounds in 6 months and he feels great. He doesn’t have the body aches, or heart burn anymore. It’s because he’s mostly eating a plant-based diet and drinking less. She figured, if Gronk can do it, why can’t you?

So I set a goal for myself of 50 by 50, and that’s what I’ll be doing for the next 6 months.

Since my physical, I’ve become something of a health nut and people are starting to notice. A woman I work with asked if I’ve been juicing. I thought she meant steroids, so I said, “I’m flattered, but this is all natural.” Then I flexed a little.

She said, “No, I meant doing a juice cleanse.”

“Yeah, why?”

She said, “We noticed you’ve been something of an insufferable prick lately.”

Yeah, that’s one of the side effects. They really ought to put some kind of warning label on the side of my Vitamix. Warning, use of this product will make others want to tell you to shut the hell up.

Not What I Needed

I was lurking on Twitter this morning and saw the names Ric Ocasek and Tony Bennett trending and thought uh-oh. Turns out there’s some college basketball coach named Tony Bennett who turned down a raise because he wanted more for his staff. But who cares, college coaches are obscenely overpaid and that seems like the least he could do.

Unfortunately, Ric Ocasek was trending for the very last time. He died after having an unspecified surgery. My first thought was I never saw him live, only once in concert with The Cars. If you ever saw them, you’d know what I mean.

I saw them in 1984 in Indianapolis at Market Square Arena. Lionel Richie cracked the ceiling of that stadium earlier that year. He wasn’t dancing on it either, he played too loud apparently.

They opened with “Hello Again” and just played one song after the other. There was no banter or connection with the audience. In hindsight, it was kind of dull, but I remember thinking it was a pretty good at the time. I’d only been to one other concert before, and that was Rick Springfield, in Springfield, Illinois.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of bands live, and The Cars have sunk way down the list in terms of performers. At least they weren’t as bad as Ray LaMontagne.

He was more than a great songwriter, musician, and producer. He made it socially acceptable for people like Julia Roberts and Katy Perry to marry ugly, and yet stay together.

All joking aside, I loved The Cars, they were my favorite band for a while. My brother gave me “Shake it Up” for my birthday and I played it to death. Before that, the only album I owned was “Spirits Having Flown” by the Bee Gees. I only bought it for the first two tracks on side one; “Tragedy” and “Too Much Heaven.” I never even flipped it over to side two. By the time I was 11, I was sooo over disco anyhow.

“Shake it Up” was the first album I could listen to from beginning to end. I didn’t care that every track wasn’t on the radio. I’ll always remember the way “Since Your Gone” opened up with the heal clicks, guitar strum and then the bass and drum.

A couple years later, we were in Winnipeg, Manitoba – of all places – where I bought The Cars first three albums. It was like discovering a new band for me. They were all solid, but it took me a little while to warm up to “Panorama” because it didn’t have any songs I recognized.

The Cars were always pegged as New Wave, probably because of the ham-fisted keyboards. But they were the only band in that genre who weren’t afraid to have great guitar riffs and solos. Which is why they still hold up better than a lot of other acts from that era.

As a young hipster wannabe living in cultural wastelands like rural North Dakota and Central Illinois (long story, boring story), The Cars were a great gateway band. They were popular and accessible, yet weird enough, that I could still call them my favorite band and maintain some street cred.

Falsestart

The only thing I hate more than a Kickstarter project promo video is seeing a product on Instagram and finding out, it’s not real, and just a Kickstarter project. You see something useful and go hmmmm. Click. Then…ah shit.

On another note, this has got to be one of the funniest Kickstarter images I’ve seen in a long time. They’re so sad in their lack of self-awareness, but this one takes the cake.

Get me The President of the United States of America on the phone. I have something very important to tell him.

I guess this is what happens when an entrepreneur art directs their own product.

Maybe I wasn’t so far off

I did this parody of Dilbert about 15 years ago after reading a couple interviews with Scott Adams. I figured he was just some cube-dwelling geek who loved making the same 3 observations about office life over and over again. Turns out, he’s something of a nihilistic prick whose disdain for pretty much everyone less cynical than him has no bounds.

I personally don’t find office shootings funny. I just envision Scott Adams as the kind of guy who’d make light of them, and tell everyone they should lighten up and stop being so sensitive. I also imagine, he’s incredibly thin-skinned and would most likely threaten to sue me for creating this strip.

What I learned the week of July 15, 2019

Elon Musk is coming up with more wearable technologies to make us look like geriatric nerds from outer space.


As if it didn’t already sound like the name of a 70s TV drama, The Squad could have easily been called The White Shadow.


The Donald had eyebrows on fleek all the way back in 1992.


Nobody knows how to throw an anniversary like New York.


James Bond fans will believe everything except that 007 can be a black woman.

Quake

Up until yesterday, I have experienced only 2 earthquakes in my life. Both were in Illinois, and I have lived in California over 12 years.

The first quake was in 1987. Technically, I didn’t feel it. I was in my grandma’s front yard talking to a friend. When I came inside she asked, “what in the hell was I doing out there?” Because the house had shook a little. I joked, it was probably an earthquake. Sure enough on the news that night we had maybe a 2.0 or something.

The second was in the early 2000s. I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of the chain on a table lamp jiggling. Again, another minor quake.

Yesterday, I was in a meeting and felt two quick bounces. I thought maybe someone had dropped a really large box in the room above us. Then we all agreed, it was definitely a quake. It lasted maybe 1 second and was over. There wasn’t any time to get under a desk let alone get scared. We all had a good laugh and consulted our phones.

Within minutes it was reported. We had a 4.3 earthquake and we were about 10 miles from the epicenter.

There’s a pretty active fault line near the area we were at. Last year there were about 200-300 quakes in that region. When you go to the USGS website, you’ll see earthquakes are happening all the time. Good or bad, I’m not sure. I’m glad to have the first Cali Quake out of the way.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

We have 4 Cooper’s hawks that were born in our neighborhood some time ago. They’re adolescent birds now, so they’re spending a lot of time hunting and squawking at each other.

Typically, only 1 or or 2 make it to this age from what I’ve heard from our tree guy. So to have four is a big deal.

Last night I came home and 3 of them were in the same tree when the fourth arrived with something in his talon. The others figured it must be dinner time and rushed over. They all picked at it until finally the one dropped it. Turned out to be a pine cone. Wah wah.

I did a little research on these birds and they are one of the most common type of hawk. They’re a medium sized bird and mostly hunt other, smaller birds and critters. We have a ton of hummingbirds around us too, and surprisingly, they make a a lot of noise too.

Another thing I learned about these hawks. They evidently shit white paint, all over my car.

These hawks remind me of a funny-ish story from about 10 years ago. It was in our old neighborhood in Chicago.

I was out walking my dog and noticed my neighbor Margaret looking at something. It was a small hawk on the ground. It was about the age of the ones around me now. It was old enough to be out on it’s own, but not full-sized and it was being stalked by a cat. Margaret was worried for both animals and said she thought the hawk might have an injured wing and wanted to help it out.

So I went back to my house and grabbed our dog’s metal crate. I came back with the crate and a pair of yard gloves. The hawk hopped around Margaret’s yard a little bit, but wasn’t hard to catch. I gently wrapped both hands around it like I was Jim Fowler taking it to the “Tonight Show.”

I held the surprisingly subdued raptor and admired its sharp talons as inserted it into the dog crate. That was all it took to bring the bird back to life. It went berserk and flapped it’s wings and shrieked. Worried it might hurt itself more in the cage, I yanked it out and let it go and it flew up onto another neighbor’s roof. Apparently the wings were working.

I took the crate home, and grabbed the dog to finish the walk we had started earlier. When I came back around the block, the hawk was back on the ground hopping around again. So I took the dog home, got the yard gloves and brought the hawk to our backyard where I thought it would be safer.

The poor bastard I should have left well enough alone.

Then I started Googling trying to figure out who to call to come get the bird, and possibly hand me some kind of honorific for being such a great steward of wildlife. Instead, I learned that I had broken several laws and could be sentenced to 2 years in prison and subject to a minimum of $10,000 in fines for violating the migratory bird act.

I eventually got a hold of someone at a bird sanctuary about 2 hours from Chicago. I lied and told him the bird just happened to be in the backyard and appeared injured. He told me I could bring it out to them and they could nurse it back to health. Since it was just a Cooper’s hawk, and not rare at all, they probably wouldn’t bother.

It was a little bit of a downer to find out I wasn’t saving an endangered species. At least I could get on with my day of not doing anything useful for the environment.

I went to check on the hawk, and he had keeled over and died. I felt terrible, and yes, I probably accelerated his inevitable death by a day or two.

So I put the gloves back on, and wrapped my hands around his rigid body. Figuring such a majestic bird deserved something better than a garbage can funeral, I tossed him in the creek behind our house for the closest thing to a burial at sea.

So, if those 4 hawks in my neighborhood are reading this, just know that if something happens to you here, you’re on your own.

Fabletics

I was at the mall to drop off something at the Apple Store and noticed they were finally putting something new in where the Gap used to be. There was a huge sign with the words “Fabletics coming soon” covering the space.

Later, I started seeing Fabletic ads with Kate Hudson on my phone, my iPad, and my laptop. And not just general ads, but all of them featuring her in yoga pants. Before that day, I had no idea this brand even existed, let alone seen one of their ads. It was like…magic.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not stupid. I know brands use geo and spatial location through public wifi and other means to retarget ads. What I still don’t know is how did they finally figure out how to show me something I actually gave a shit about?

Same Clothes

I have heard that Mark Zuckerberg wears essentially the same thing everyday. Supposedly he got the idea from Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. They did it to avoid wasting brainpower on deciding what to wear everyday.

I’m the opposite. Deciding what to wear feels like the only win I can get on any given day.