Department Of You Want Me To Pay Extra So You Can Kick My What?
‘Tis a sheltered life I have led. Until now.
Dateline: Monday, 4pm, in a local Regal Theater Cinema complex, seeing the movie “Free Guy,” in the “ButtKicker recliner seating” theater. Although that cinema complex has had one theater designated ButtKicker for several years, moiself had never seen a movie in the BK theater. I’d always assumed that the BK label meant that it was a theater equipped with a particularly loud sound system…which I don’t care about. The reason I chose that theater (and paid the extra ticket charge) was because it was my only choice, for the particular time slot I had that day, to see a movie.
It turns out that the BK experience was not just loud, but… juddering.  The ButtKicker Recliners ® are not, as I initially thought, a Regal Theater marketing gimmick, as moiself discovered when I got home and did a little web snooping. It’s an actual Thing ®. As in, a thing you can purchase and install for your own home movie theater. 
“Get ready for the most fun you’ve ever had watching a movie at home. Feel all the action and excitement – just like being at a 4D special effects theater. ButtKicker® 4D brings family movie-time to life. Using patented technology, ButtKicker products connect to your couch or chairs and send the FEELING of special effects, explosions, rocket launches, racing engines, music and much more right through it and the viewers. It’s a new, immersive dimension in home entertainment.”
( “Bring Your Theater to the Next Level,” Buttkicker Home Theater )
Because, who *wouldn’t* want to send “…the FEELING of…rocket launches …right through it.” As in, through your chairs or couch, and thus, your butt.
* * *
Department Of Do These People Know How To Party, Or What?
Fun stuff this week in our household! Including:
*taking 14 year old Nova to her veterinary appointment, for a well-kitty exam plus getting her up-to-date on her rabies, Feline Leukemia and FVRCP vaccinations;
* a visit from the Varmint Control Guy, to do roof repairs to fix the damage a squirrel invasion ( previously histrionically kvetched written about in this space ) had done to our roof and eaves;
* MH’s first COVID-19 test…
*…which he had to do before starting the oh-so-circumspectly named Bowel Prep Kit…
*… to clear the landing field, so to speak, in preparation for his routine colonoscopy, which was scheduled the day before his birthday.
* * *
Department Of Post-Procedural Updates
Background info: MH has never been able to roll his rs, which is the main reason, he told me many years ago, that he took German as a foreign language in high school. He’d thought Spanish would be more useful/practical, but he simply could not roll his rs as is required for the correct pronunciation of many Spanish words, and he was somewhat intimidated/embarrassed by his lack of being able to perform that particular linguistic feat. And it’s true: over the years, I’ve tried to get him to do it (or trick him into it), and he simple cannot roll his rs.
Dateline: Thursday, 10:50 am. MH is back home after his colonoscopy. He thinks he’s fine, but it’s obvious to moiself that the effects of the Versed (the sedative used during the procedure) are still reigning.  He’s…goofy.
He stands at the kitchen counter, looking at the color printout he was given at the hospital, which includes a map of the lower intestines. He begins reading off the “map sites” to me:
MH (in a voice much higher than his usual range):
What?!?!?! Holy crap; did you hear yourself?! You rolled your rs!
MH (in miffed toddler mode):
“No I didn’t.”
“Oh yes you did!”
He proceeds to say “rectum’ over and over, drawing out the r sound without rolling it. But for one glorious, Versed-induced moment, them rs were rolling like a river.
* * *
Department Of My New Slogan
Which is…well, it’s not exactly a t-shirt or bumper stucker worthy maxim, or a…
Don’t Drop The H.
This random thought, brought to you by moiself , was sparked by my listening to a podcast in which the guest was consistently *not* pronouncing the first letter in certain words which began with h. For example, he spoke of doing experiments on umans instead of on humans.
Really, y’all: what’s with the dropping-the-h thing, moiself has long wondered? It’s a perfectly respectable letter and I assume it’s there for a reason.
We’ve all either noticed this pronunciation peculiarity or are ourselves the perpetrators of it. Although I have not studied this phenomenon scientifically, my anecdotal recollection is that “h-dropping” (and it is a thing – it has its own Wikipedia page!), by those who do so, occurs most often when the word beginning with h is followed by the vowel, u. Favorite example: I once heard someone complain that his date did not appreciate his “uge sense of umor.”
All right now, class:
I am a human being, not a uman being.
I cook with herbs, not erbs.
I live in a house, not in a ouse…
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
* * *
Department Of As Seen On TV As Mentioned Last Week:
Driverless Cars Ruminations
As in, moiself ruminating on driverless cars, and not the other way around. 
My Subaru Outback has Eyesight Driver Assist Technology ®, which consists of a variety of features, including
* Pre-Collision Braking
* Pre-collision throttle management
* Lane keep assist and sway warning
* Rear/backup cameras
* Side view cameras (“blind spot” monitoring)
* Adaptive cruise control
Thus, in a (very) small way, moiself has become at least marginally acquainted with the technologies which will be more fully employed in what we refer to as driverless cars and/or self-driving vehicles…. Although, the latter term seems somewhat problematic to moiself , as it makes me ruminate on the sentience of automotive vehicles… 
Yet again, I digress.
So, yeah: contemplating the technologies needed for driverless cars is neither foreign nor unimaginable to me, even though, as per my experience with what is state-of-the-market, some of these technologies have a way to go in terms of fine-tuning. For example, my car’s brakes have automatically engaged – a tad too vigorously for my nervous system – when I’ve been backing into my driveway and my car’s sensor system thinks that the neighbor’s tree branches dangling harmlessly over the fence are a dangerous obstacle and my car must be brought to a complete stop RIGHT NOW.
Ah…but it’s looking out for me, how sweet.
I haven’t seen any 2021 reports on the subject, but have read studies from the past couple of years which show that the majority of Americans fear the idea of riding in autonomous driving vehicles. It seems to moiself that the more complete technology of “driver assist” sensors et al is bound to happen, and I am okay with, or as least accepting of, the inevitability of a driverless car future. And, realizing that moiself holds this attitude surprises moiself, as I am someone who has *never* used the cruise control feature of a vehicle I am driving. 
It would be easier for me to fully accept driverless cars if everyone has them (for some reason, the idea of half the people on the road being in “driverless” cars and half doing it the old way…it creeps me out).
And I often wonder what will the greater “We” will accept, in terms of mistakes, from this particular technology? Of course, there will be accidents involving and/or caused by autonomous driving cars. I have a feeling most of them will be similar to the kinds we already have, from the minor fender benders, backing into a trash can… Then again, some will be horrific and will involve loss of life: driving off of a cliff, running a stop sign and t-boning another vehicle….
Just like the kind of accidents we fully/allegedly sentient human drivers have been getting into, for over 100 years.
Another consideration: a driverless vehicle will never have the excuse of
* driving drunk and blowing through a stop sign;
* passing out and running off the road and hitting and killing a child,
due to the driver experiencing a diabetic coma or other medical emergency;
* being distracted by kids bickering in the back seat;
* being Bubba Redneck, who purposefully tail-gates the car in front of him and causes the driver (whose Greenpeace sticker inexplicably irritates Bubba)
to become intimidated and lose control of his vehicle;
* falling asleep at the wheel;
* trying to compensate for a small penis impress the ladies and/or his homies by engaging in illegal street racing;
* running a red light while texting;
* simply overestimating its own ability to negotiate this turn/these streets under these conditions/at these speeds….
A prime example of the Dunning-Kruger effect is how drivers rate their own competence. It’s the human thing to do, apparently, to think that we are better driver than we are. Study after study shows that the overwhelming majority of American drivers rate themselves as cautious and safety-conscious and “above average” as drivers. Yet, despite this…
“…there are approximately 10 million car crashes every year in the US alone. That’s about 27,000 per day, or about 19 crashes every single minute of the day, every single day. Yikes. In these, about 35,000 people are killed every year. That’s just under a hundred people a day, killed in car crashes. Another 6,500 people are seriously injured in crashes each day.
So, if the overwhelming majority of road users are better than average, why are so many crashes still happening?
Part of the answer is likely due to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is a cognitive theory which hypothesizes that incompetent people lack the self-awareness to identify their own incompetence.”
( Driving and the Dunning_Kruger Effect, moderndriver.org )
It’s easy to ignore the reality that we are, in so many ways, at the mercy of the skills of the other drivers around us…and that we tacitly accept that risk every time we back out of our driveway, whether we are embarking on a 1000-mile road trip or a half-mile errand to Home Depot. We may be doing fine; we may be alert and paying attention and obeying all the rules of the road…and along comes the naive and cocky, speeding teenage driver, or the “been-driving-for-60-years-and-never-had-an-accident” grandpa who confuses his car’s brake pedal with its accelerator, or the average Joe or Jane in his or her prime (read: you or me) who, for whatever reason, is momentarily distracted…and we’re lucky if all we get out of the encounter is a fender-bender.
The idea of being in a self-driving car, as a passenger, can fill me with dread, anticipating situations over which I have no control. The idea of working my crossword or KenKen puzzle, then looking up and seeing my self-driving car veer off the road onto a sidewalk, or not decelerating for the pedestrian in the walkway – that gives me the willies. However, I’ve already experienced that situation…or at least, I have a comparison. And so do you. Perhaps we just need to reframe our references?
We’ve all, already, had our driverless car situations, but didn’t frame them as such. Sitting in a car’s front passenger or backseat (as in, we are a passenger in the car, and not the driver), we have had to watch as the driver does, or is about to do, something frightening or dangerous, and we are not at the controls and all we can do is white-knuckle our armrest and yell, “Look out!” or “Stop!” Or, in the case of teaching your own teenaged offspring to drive, you hear yourself screech, “WHAT the fuck are you doing are you trying to kill us all?!?!?!”) calmly yet urgently advising, “You’re going to need to drastically slow down to negotiate this hairpin curve ahead….”
* * *
Punz For The Day
I accidentally drove my Outback into the river. Now it’s a Scubaru.
Two French cheese trucks were in a head-on collision –
there’s da brie all over the road!
What do you get when dinosaurs crash their cars?
My Norwegian cousin works as a prostitute.
You might say she’s a Fjord Escort.
Jimi Hendrix broke his guitar in a car crash.
Yep, the accident was a Fender-bender.
* * *
May you, at least once in your life, have a juddering cinematic experience;
May you come to terms with a “driverless” future;
May you always pronounce the damn h;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Which is a good word that deserves to be used more often than it is.
 Should you have a few thousand dollars you need to get rid of.
 I suggested he go upstairs and sit or lie down, as he was rather wobbly standing. He wanted to go up the stairs by himself; I insisted he hold on to the handrail, which he did, while vaulting up the stairs two at a time. When I snapped at him to slow down he said, “It feels better this way!”
 Who cares what driverless cars think about *me*?
 As in, do they know they exist? If a car is self-driving, does it have a sense of “self”?
 For a variety of reasons, including reading studies that show that cruise control actually raises crash risks, and reading about several accidents caused when cars’ cruise control mechanism “stuck,” including this horrific one… and also, I think it keeps me more awake and engaged by having to keep my foot on the throttle, and brake.