Shopping In The Age Of Covid-19

Yesterday, I did our weekly grocery shopping. While standing in line at checkout, there was a gen-Zish, hipsterish couple (Assumptions based upon: Holding hands, neither was likely old enough to drink, both wore 1950’s glasses with plain glass in them, and the (presenting) male of the couple had a knit cap on that could easily have hidden a gallon jug of milk) in the line next to mine. I noticed them because they were carrying all their purchases in their overloaded arms and kept glancing over at me and my 2/3rds full cart and making disgusted-looking faces. Subtlety was clearly not their strong suit…

After a while (these were long lines), I began to really notice this, as it had gone past casual, and they were mumbling to each other every time they looked over. It seemed unlikely they were intending a physical altercation, given that I likely outweighed them both together, but it was making me anxious that something unpleasant was going to happen, so I decided to release some pressure before they boiled over.

“Is there something wrong?” I asked them, point blank.
“What? No. We don’t mumble, mumble, mumble.” Was their response.

A moment later, the one with the ridiculous hat (I presume purposely loud enough for me to hear) said to the other:

“Fucking Hoarder…”

I didn’t take the bait. It would have been easy. I could have verbally hammered them with all the reasons that was such a stupid thing to say, like “You try to feed a family of four for a week without a cart of groceries!” or “Were you dropped on your head as a child? I’m a hoarder who only filled his cart 2/3rds of the way?” or just gone on the attack, like “Will you be carrying your groceries home in that used elephant condom on your head?”, etc. but I didn’t. No, I was possibly the most mature I have ever been in my entire life and just looked at them briefly like they were insane.

And then, the “little old lady” behind them, whom I hadn’t even noticed before, and who I now presume was related to one of them, smacked hat-boy directly in the souffle with her hand-bag and yelled, “Boy, shut your stupid mouth!”

I thought he was going to cry…

Schadenfreude for the win!

Posted in For Facebook, Personal, Philosophical, Uncategorized, Whimsical | Leave a comment

The New Metlife User Experience

Metlife(in email): Log in to your account to learn all about our new, enhanced user interface, built with you in mind!

Me: Here are my username and password.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: Tell me my username. I’ve selected all the cars. Here’s my pet’s name, mother’s middle initial, and what I ate for lunch June 6th, 1998.

Metlife: we sent you an email to confirm your identity. Type in the code we sent you.

Me: Here’s the code. What’s my username?

Metlife: Enter your password or reset it.

Me: Here’s my password.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: No, I’m really sure that’s the password.

Metlife: You’ve been logged out.

Me: Here are my username and password, again.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: Tell me my username. I’ve selected all the traffic lights. Here’s my paternal grandfather’s service number, shoe size, and favorite Bond movie.

Metlife: we sent you an email to confirm your identity. Type in the code we sent you.

Me: Here’s the code.

Metlife: Enter your password or reset it.

Me: Reset password.

Metlife: I’m sorry, you cannot reuse your previous password.

Me: So that was the right password then? Here are my username and password, again.

Metlife: The data you’ve entered doesn’t match credentials on file.

Me: Reset password

Metlife: OK that’s a good one.

Me: What’s my username?

Metlife: The one you entered in the first place.

Metlife: Also, check out our new, enhanced user interface, built with you in mind!

Me: Well, I suppose you didn’t actually say it was with my convenience or sanity in mind…

Posted in For Facebook, General, Personal, Whimsical | Leave a comment

No More Plastic Shopping Bags: The environment is saved! (Except it isn’t)

As of March first, 2020, “single-use” shopping bags have been banned in New York State, a bold but profoundly stupid measure intended (as usual) to “protect the environment.” As far as I can tell, this is a deeply misguided and politically motivated initiative that is bound to produce far more harm to the environment than it presents.

To me, it looks like this whole mess is predicated on the bone-headed beliefs that a) only plastic shopping bags have environmental impact, and b) plastic shopping bags are discarded immediately upon completion of their first use. Both of those beliefs are false, and in fact badly so. To put it simply, research demonstrates that conventional plastic bags made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) have the smallest per-use environmental impact of all available options for lugging your shopping home.

  • Reusable cloth and plastic shopping bags have hundreds of times the carbon footprint of disposable plastic ones, but only last a few hundred uses, so they produce a generally greater negative impact on global warming in the long run.
  • Cloth bags are fraught with additional problems, like the fact that they are easily contaminated and have been shown to be a breeding ground for bacteria, so they require frequent laundering, producing even more carbon footprint and pollution. “Organically sourced” bags share these problems, plus have significantly higher environmental impact in production due to added inefficiencies in the production phase.
  • Paper shopping bags have a significantly higher per-unit carbon footprint than the plastic ones, rely on fast-growth tree farms which destroy fertile land through monoculture farming (and have decreased CO2 uptake and air quality improvement abilities compared to natural growth forests), and dump acids, chlorine, dioxins, and various organic contaminants into the environment.
  • As many as 77% of “single-use” plastic shopping bags get reused as garbage bags, so now we have to buy plastic garbage bags to replace them (most municipalities require garbage to be placed in plastic), and these truly single-use 4-gallon garbage bags contain (depending on brand) 2-3 times the exact-same material (HDPE) as the shopping bags we have to replace them with. Assuming we were completely naive as to the environmental impacts of the alternatives which must now be employed to transport groceries, in the best result, even if only 33% of plastic shopping bags were being reused in the first place, this measure results in a net wash for pollution and other impacts on the environment.

In other words, literally everything about this ban will result in worse outcomes for the environment, and its sole benefit was to make people feel good about having “done” something. It’s a political morality play intended to win votes while actually doing the opposite of what it claims.

Posted in For Facebook, Personal, Political, Rational | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Dealer

Me, leaving a medical procedure: Just a minor question, Doctor. Is a known side-effect of that new drug wild, intense, hallucinatory, almost entheogenic dreams?

Doctor: Why, yes. Have you had one?

Me (on the inside): No, I was just validating your medical degree!
Out Loud: Yes, several times a night, all weekend.

Doctor: Did you enjoy them?

Me (on the inside): What kind of doctor are you, again?
Out Loud: Well, they aren’t *bad* dreams, but they’re waking me up a lot in the night.

Doctor: Oh, that’s too bad.

Me: …..

Posted in Family, For Facebook, General, Personal, Whimsical | Leave a comment

Another Revolting Development at RPI

RPI – Top Twenty Worst School

My heart swelled with pride today, to see my beloved Alma Mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, finally recognized in a major top-twenty list


Magazine ‘Money Inc’, the creator of the prestigious list, ignored academics, cost, and quality of education entirely in their consideration of RPI’s ranking, seeing them as inconsequential compared to the student experience of the school, including “poorly written policies which have been used by the administration to quell free speech”, punishing students for speaking out in the media, and general incompetence at even explaining how what they were doing is legal (“the administration has gone so far as to claim “eminent domain” to prevent students from passing out buttons or flyers on campus sidewalks.”)

That’s right, we made it to the top-twenty worst schools *SPECIFICALLY* because of the administration’s heavy-handed, even ILLEGAL suppression of students’ rights to free speech.

How are the trustees not embarrassed to the point of resignation by the nightmare they have allowed to unfold at RPI? I’m embarrassed to be an alumnus, and it’s not even my friggin’ fault!

Posted in For Facebook, Geeky, General, Personal, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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