Doctor’s appointment first thing. You arrive precisely at 8 a.m., you are seen right away. Didn’t even have the opportunity to get settled in the waiting room. Or in the examination room. Everything was … unsettled, then.
No. The doctor is a fine fellow, the very personification of sincerity. Firm hand, assuring tone, appropriate levels of sincere concern. We were in and out in no time. All things are proceeding accordingly, nothing to be concerned or alarmed about. All blue skies from here, as they say.
So the lesson is be the first appointment of the day, or you’re waiting for 90 minutes.
A grocery store run for provisions. This, too, is the time of day to be there. I found the crackers. Do you know how many varieties of Ritz crackers there are available to you today? I’ll document this on the next visit, as I was in a bit of a rush today, but there are more non-Ritz flavored Ritz crackers than there are Ritz crackers now. I just want a few sleeves of Ritz-flavored Ritz crackers.
That’s a problem of the 21st century, if ever there was one.
So while that was bemusing, the bread choices were underwhelming. We are a two-brand household. If it is on sale we get the Arnold bread, but it was not on the shelves and the buy-one-get-one signs were not on display. So I turned to the Nature’s Own, which has that comforting title and those marvelous symbols of Midwestern enterprise: wheat and a sugar jar. One loaf of that, one box of crackers, one box of Ibuprofen and (success!) I found English Teatime. Which means I should back up.
In the last half of the summer I cut way back on my tea intake. It turns out I can drink a lot of tea. So we’ve made exactly one large pitcher in the house since July. However, we’re enjoying more and more hot teas. We have an entire shelf in a cabinet stuff with packets we’ve purchased or picked up or been given over time. So there is a lot of sampling going on. Lately I’ve settled on three favorites (because I drink a lot of tea). The problem being I ran out of the preferred variety. I’d visited the giant box store with no luck, but now, at Publix, where shopping is a pleasure, I found the English Teatime again. So I bought a box today.
I’m trying to arrange the part of the day I would drink these in: English Breakfast, Mint and English Teatime. The mint is obviously an after-dinner treat. The Teatime varieties that I’ve had have, thus far, seemed strong than the Breakfast stuff. Though there are people who disagree. All of those reviews came from 1,367 reviews of the Bigelow brand on Amazon. Of those, 15 mentioned Teatime. If there’s one thing we’ve come to love, it is sharing our sometimes-insightful opinions with others. Here are a few more reviews. The downside, of course, being you don’t know what is going on with these folks, and how do you address the reviews that diametrically oppose one another? Of course the lay review is sometimes better than a professional effort, which can seem officious for tea.
Even better are the reviews on Steepster. There are some people in that community who are very casual with their reflections, and others who are trying a bit too hard. (Simply put, did you like it? Was it strong or weak? What was the flavor like? Let’s move on.) Some of them, however, offer incredible bits of biography into the things they write. Seule771, who has commented there 587 times, and presumably mostly about tea, writes:
This tea belongs to my mother-in-law yet, I help myself to a cup of this tea every now and again, as she takes notice of the tea bags missing. I take one tea bag and put it in my cup adding the boiled water to it. Tea colors right away to a pinkish dew, not dark red but more like mahogany; rose-wood red and smells very robust as fine black teas tend to. When sipping of the tea it is malty with creamy texture. This is a fine cup of tea and I don’t need to add a thing to it.
In all, this tea has a lovely color and aroma of a freshly brewed cup of tea; robust in texture and body with an invigorating aroma to waken or refresh one’s mid-day drawling of sobering thoughts. This is an ideal cup of tea for all occasions.
Makes you wonder what the mother-in-law thinks of the tea, and tea theft in general.
Steepster invites you to “dive into the universe of tea.” But they still don’t offer a simple chart that has “Ease into a restive night” on one end, “Tea for brunches sanguine or sublime” in the middle and “Pulls your taste buds through your eyelids with a domineering efficacy that will remind you of countries lax on human rights policies” on the other end.
This is a tea chart we could all use.
But I digress. Purchasing crackers, bread, Ibuprofen and tea I wondered what the cashier thinks when you checkout by the handful. No one ever gives a consideration to the idea that he or she is judging you when you have a great big cart full of groceries. “Restocking the shelves at home. Big weekend ahead, no doubt,” is about all that the unimaginative cashier could have for that. But when you bring up four items, you get judged, pal. “This guy is having cracker sandwiches. Guess he never heard of Atkins.” And from there that imagination really kicks in.
The great mystery of the day was also found at Publix, where the staff is under strict order to be conversant with everyone that it could be said made plausible eye contact. I guess they have meetings after hours and watch the camera footage. “Jenkins, you ignored two ladies on the canned veggies aisle. One more of those and you’re gone!”
An assistant manager, I saw him just enough to catch that part of his tag, did the standard hello and how are you today. He was walking one way and I was walking the other. By the time I’d given the expected reply he was already ticking off inventory on the cake aisle. Hard to see the point.
Class today featured profile features and editing and the great question “How do I find out about a person’s warts?” One student searched and searched and finally pronounced that Josh Groban, in fact, has no warts. He is, it was revealed, perfect in every way. So there you have it: Jesus and Josh Groban.
She did find a Groban wart — which sounds like an unfortunate looking thing that can be removed in an easy outpatient procedure — but then later conveniently discarded it. The previous narrative was better.
Also, in the class I discovered a book on the Three Little Pigs. This edition was a bit more detailed than I remembered.
It seemed the momma pig pushed them out. The first two got by on begging and convincing naive farmers to gimme gimme. Alas, the most jubilantly drawn wolf possible blew down their homes of straw and sticks. The pigs disappeared just in time, never to be seen again. (One had a racquetball tournament, the other a drinking problem.) The third pig won some bricks in a radio station contest — or stuck up a brick mason, I forget — and built Fortress Porcine. It could not be defeated without air superiority, of which the wolf had none.
So the wolf went the other direction, guile. There are turnips nearby, let’s go get them together. This pig, smart enough to take out a loan from Freddie Mac to obtain bricks and mortar, went early and enjoyed the turnips. So tomorrow, the wolf said, let’s try this apple orchard. The wolf, wise to the pig’s game yesterday, also arrived early, but not earlier enough. An hour earlier still, because this pig has insomnia, the pig was up a tree. Never mind how that pig got there. He escaped by the ancient art of distraction and Canidae ADHD.
So the wolf later said, hey, I know this fair, only we have to go there at 3 a.m. The pig, desperate to watch another installment of Adam Levine on a late night Proactive infomercial, reluctantly agreed. But, again he went early. And, again, the wolf almost caught him, but the pig, remembering his ancient Greek — remember, this is the big that baked his own bricks and watches television and scales trees — hid in a butter churn and rolled home right past the antagonist. Porcum ex machina, if you will.
These are the geekiest jokes I’ve made in some time, no?
Recruiting calls into the evening. You leave a lot of messages, you slow down to say your phone number so it can be written down. You always are a little concerned that you might have transposed a few digits.
Occasionally they call you back. Every so often you catch a student at home and they are very excited about the prospect of talking to you. You get to tell this young person all of the cool things that are going on in your department. You mention the neat places students intern and the awesome jobs they get one day.
You forget entirely that, for some reason, there was a Three Little Pigs book in the classroom today.
Then a bite to eat and reading and writing this and doing other things that I couldn’t make into a silly play on words. It is a fine life.
Things to read …
This story has the best quote about a silly adventure imaginable. People wobbled but the record didn’t go down:
“Everything that could go wrong went wrong between rehearsal and execution,” she said at halftime. “We had some folks to come late, we had microphone problems, we had sound and speaker problems, we had some timing problems. But it does not mean we’re going to give up.”
Not to worry, Gene Hallman, president of the Alabama Sports Foundation, tells us: “The Mayor will make sure the PA works properly next year.”
This is a great relief to everyone, except people holding the current Wobble record, one assumes. I’m uncertain what that number is, or if Guinness recognizes it. None of the stories I’ve read so far have addressed that angle.
Here’s one of those obvious stories that only clicks when it is actually written, and it has given rise to a terrific expression. The Information-Gathering Paradox:
The Internet industry, having nudged consumers to share heaps of information about themselves, has built a trove of personal data for government agencies to mine — erecting, perhaps unintentionally, what Alessandro Acquisti, a Carnegie Mellon University behavioral economist, calls “the de facto infrastructure of surveillance.”
This is interesting. There was an unfortunate bomb threat at Central York (Penn.) High School recently, but … Central York High School journalists tweeted live updates about the bomb threat:
Students turn to social media when something happens, and Fuhrman and Kristen Shipley, editor-in-chief of On the Prowl, the school’s entertainment magazine, began tweeting the news through @CYHSProwler.
They reported as the students moved from the football stadium to the baseball field and finally to the soccer field. They reminded everyone to remain calm. They informed students about when they could return to the school building to retrieve their belongings.
The student journalists also tweeted pictures from the scene and interacted with those on Twitter. They responded to questions, saying they would seek answers if they didn’t know.
Sounds like they handled it like pros.
Meanwhile, Old Meets New: Newspapers Take to Instagram:
Newspapers haven’t flocked to Instagram the way they have to Facebook and Twitter. Which makes sense. Instagram, unlike the other platforms, can’t drive people back to the site because the photo-sharing platform doesn’t embed live links. Also, they can forget about monetizing.
Still, some papers that do real journalism (and are looking to attract real readers) are on the photo sharing site, if only to have another venue to showcase their occasionally stellar photography – or, at the very least, remind the digital kids that they still exist.
What about that other shoe? Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out:
Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.
“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”
Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.
“She said, ‘I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,’” Kehaly said.
The Los Angeles Times goes on to note that some of those who will actually benefit will do so because “the federal government picks up much of the tab” to demonstrate they couldn’t connect a straight line with a ruler and a dotted path.
Census Bureau: Means-Tested Gov’t Benefit Recipients Outnumber Full-Time Year-Round Workers
America’s New Lost Generation, in One Map
Army Fleet Service at Fort Rucker to lay off 300 workers by year’s end
Hundreds attend vigil for shot Mobile bicyclist Joe O’Brien
Toddler battling leukemia crowned homecoming queen
Owing to the wise decisions of the good people at News 4 San Antonio I could not embed the video from that last story. That’s a beautiful little girl though. Here’s her homepage. That’s two leukemia stories I’ve seen in six days. Here’s the National Marrow Donor Program site, which explains the donation process and lists all of the drives going on around you.
More on Tumblr and plenty more on Twitter.