Department Of Teasers I Can’t Resist
Dateline: Monday, doing a 7:45 am warm-up on my elliptical thingy before my streaming yoga class begins. I tune in to the Curiosity Daily podcast, which begins (as always) with a brief preview of the day’s topics:
“Today we’ll learn about why introverts fared better than extroverts
during the pandemic;
that time people were afraid that astronaut farts were a fire hazard…”
Wait – “that time?” What time was that? Please oh please oh please tell me that there was that time, because I really want to find a way to revisit it.
* * *
Department Of Everything Has Its Price
Dateline: last weekend. The man from the Home Maintenance Business  stood in our entryway, chatting with MH as I began to write out a check. This company provided us with a service which required several visits. I asked him to confirm that the price for the day’s visit was $158. He did, then said that if I would go online and give his company a five-star review, which he would very as coming from us, he’d knock it down to $150.
“I knew there was a reason I didn’t trust those reviews!”
Although my tone was humorous, I made no attempt to hide the are-you-fucking-kidding-me? indignation in my eyes, which met his above our respective face masks. He immediately (and defensively) added that, what with all the competition out there, reviews were essential to small businesses like his, and….
Yes, I imagine they are, I thought. And shouldn’t something essential be, essentially, honest?
I let him babble on as I continued to write the check for the original amount.
Had he merely asked me to review the company online, I probably would have done so. But he went further, in a way that flummoxed me, the more I thought about it. He offered me a laughably paltry discount contingent upon the kind of review I would write – AND, which he would “verify,” whatever that meant. Seeing as how he was prepared to take the check I wrote at that moment, how would he later enforce such a verification? If he went online, read my review, and discovered it wasn’t five stars, what was he going to do – return to our house, rifle through our petty cash drawer, and take eight bucks? 
The review I might have given would have been a positive review, but not five stars. As a matter of principle, I generally do not give five stars (or eighteen thumbs up, or whatever the highest rating is, depending on the system). Moiself be suspicious of anything reviewed – from movies and books to restaurants and services – which has all top-rated/glowing reviews. Such hyperbole makes me think that the maker of the product being reviewed guilted and/or blackmailed convinced family and friends to rave about it. And then, there is the “everyone gets a trophy for participating” phenomena. If every rating is five stars, then a five-star rating is nothing special.
Perhaps, for him, it was business as usual. Thus, it’s possible that he didn’t think of his request in the same way MH and I did. As in, Dude, do you realize that you tried buy our integrity for $8?
Now, if it had been $50….
* * *
Department Of Return To Normalcy (?)
Dateline: Tuesday, 1:20p, a Cinemark theater. I saw “Those Who Wish Me Dead.” My first movie in a movie theater in well over a year (since mid-March of 2020).
Daughter Belle, when I proudly texted her re my outing, pointed out that I could have watched the same movie via Netflix (as she did). Yep, and duh. But I didn’t want to, and was glad I didn’t. It was the kind of movie whose cinematic presentation demanded…well…a cinematic presentation. Montana; wilderness; wildfires – big screen stuff.
There were about fifteen of us intrepid cinephiles scattered about the theatre. We all made ISN’T THIS GREAT ?!?!?!?! eye contact with one another as we entered the theater and found our respective (reserved online; generous spacing) seats. One older gent seated near the entrance greeted everyone with a lifting of his popcorn bag in a toasting gesture; no words were necessary to convey his meaning.
* * *
Department Of They Only Want What’s Best For America
Dateline: May 14 (last Friday). I posted the following on Facebook:
Department of irrefutable evidence:
I thought I was doing fine after my second COVID vaccination yesterday – just a sore arm; no other reactions. But later that evening, I allowed Amazon to charge me $3.99 to watch “Gidget Goes Hawaiian.”
Should I report this to the CDC?
Apparently, my inclusion of the words “vaccination,” “reaction,” and “CDC” triggered Facebook’s Vigilant Guardians of Factual Information Monitors. ® MH alerted me to the fact that, within minutes of posting my post, Facebook had added a comment/post to my post, which read:
COVID-19 vaccines go through many tests for safety and effectiveness and are then monitored closely.
Source: World Health Organization.
The comment included a blue-highlighted “Get vaccine Information” link.
This amused me to no end. I had to comment further:
Isn’t it funny, that, because my post mentions the COVID vaccine, it got flagged for a warning? In case all my moron friends think that a desire to watch dreadful movies is a side-effect and decide to remain unvaccinated.
They couldn’t protect us from Russian hackers stealing our elections, but my golly, FB monitors are gonna protect y’all from Gidget!
* * *
Department Of The Reaction I’m Not Reporting To Social Media
Dateline Friday afternoon, lounging on the sofa, languishing with my post second vaccine 100.6° temperature.  Following the CDC guidelines for recovery from illness, I fall asleep while watching TV. I doze off to a 2019 surfing championship program and awake 45 minutes later to see the cheery visage of the host of a “raw vegan” cooking show.
Moiself watches with fever-influenced interest as the host/chef works her way through several recipes, some of which look delicious, and others…not so. The show ends with a picture of the final recipe, accompanied by a voice-over listing the recipe’s ingredients, and three lines of text listing why you should make this recipe yourself. As in, this recipe is
* Promotes Digestion
Wait a minute. Even with a fever, I recognize the gobbledy-gook nonsense of that line #3.
That last line is one of those claims which, at first glance, can seem desirous (digestion is good, right?) but which in fact conveys…well, nothing.
Be specific. Do you mean to say that the casserole you’ll concoct by following this recipe is guaranteed to give you astronaut-worthy flatulence? Do you mean to convey, “People who suffer from intestinal blockages will be thrilled to know that this recipe contains ten times the amount of fiber found in a Douglas Fir floor joist, which is enough to clean out the colon of a constipated bull elephant….”
The recipe *promotes digestion.* Well, sure, it does. That’s what all foods do, when you ingest them. Even non-food items will do the same, when swallowed.
Digestion is your digestive system’s raison d’etre –
Digestion is your digestive system’s raison d’etre – that’s what it does. You don’t need to “promote” it.
Anything that manages to wriggle down your esophagus and into your stomach – whether it’s a lima bean, a raw vegan energy bar, or a piece of cardboard  – activates that organ’s digestive processes. Holy baloney on rye. 
* * *
Punz For The Day
Promoting Digestion Edition
A surgeon told me that he once dropped a tool into a patient’s stomach.
It was a gut-wrenching story.
I had some Greek food that upset my stomach.
Now I falafel.
My mother, a doctor, told me that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach.
I’m guessing that’s why she failed her cardiac surgery internship.
* * *
May you experience the bliss of promotion-free digestion;
May you be wary of five-star reviews;
May your social media post be sprinkled with trigger words;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 The company’s name I will keep private, for obvious reasons.
 We don’t have a petty cash drawer. And although I have many petty pleasures in life, cash isn’t one of them.
 Last week’s blog had a bajillion footnotes. I’m behind pace; it’s time for another one.
 Previews are helpful in weeding out what I do not want to see: nothing featuring a scowling Bruce Willis or his macho-actor-saves-the-world equivalent, nor lots of explosions, nor grunting hordes of The Undead…and enough with the Superheroes, please.
 Which returned to normal less than 24 hours later.
 A kid who sat across from me in the second grade had this thing about eating paper. Sadly, that was his most memorable quality.
 Which sounds indigestible, to moiself.