Entry 684: Share this Post or Else

My fellow Americans,

Lately I’ve been thinking that I should bomb the hell out of Comcast headquarters.

I’ve come to this conclusion not because of anything Comcast has done to me personally. I don’t even have Comcast as my terrible cable TV/Internet/phone service.  I use Cablevision to provide those services in a consistently horrible fashion.

However, I want to protect my fellow Americans from bad companies, and 55% of you have said you don’t like Comcast, which makes it one of the most hated companies in the land. So I’ll be bombing them for you, my countrymen. Oh, and countrywomen. And country transgenders. And so forth.

You may be wondering why I have decided to jump into action against Comcast. Well, frankly, it’s because my readership numbers are down, and, as any president can tell you, if your numbers are down, you need to blow something up.

Americans love that.

Don’t get me wrong; you don’t like going to war. Well, that’s not quite true. You don’t like being in a war. You don’t mind going to war as long as it’s over quickly, like the first Gulf War. That was a good one. Wham, bam, thank you Saddam.

It’s the sticking around part we don’t like. Go in, bomb some stuff, get out. That’s the kind of conflict Americans prefer. So, like I said, I figure I’ll bomb the hell out of Comcast headquarters, really shock and awe those cable devils, and watch my numbers soar. But I’m not going to make the mistake of hanging around afterward, getting Americans killed by insurgent communications industry executives planting improvised coaxial cables.

I get it, my fellow Americans. We like blowing stuff up safely. We’re risk-adverse. We don’t get the whole suicide bombing thing. We prefer to annihilate things from as far away as possible. With that in mind, you may want to know where Comcast headquarters is.  You know, just in case you don’t want to become collateral damage. Well, I don’t know where it is. If I cared where it was, I would have my son-in-law Alex look it up for me. Sons-in-law are great for that kind of thing. I tried to find Comcast on a map, but I don’t even know what part of the country to look at, or what colored state it’s in. Just like two thirds of Americans cannot locate North Korea on a map. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the map they used had the country names on it.

Now, it may be true that Comcast poses little or no threat to the island of Guam. But let’s get back to the real important issue here: my numbers. I figure if our president’s approval rating can shoot up six points just because he shook his fist at Kim Jong-un, I should get the same effect from threatening something Americans really hate: bad cable service.

In fact, getting all red-faced about North Korea worked so well for President Trump, he’s yelling about Venezuela now. And I’m watching closely. Because if I don’t see my numbers shooting up, I may have to aim my fury at another hated corporation, and Bank of America will be in real trouble.

See you soon.

P.S. Unlike our president, I do not actually have the wherewithal to increase my popularity by threatening to send in the military. But feel free to share this blog anyway.

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Entry 683: Trip Advisor-y

Well, it may be time to rethink your travel plans, folks.

Since the beginning of June, the State Department has issued travel alerts and warnings to no fewer than 16 nations, and not all of them are countries that immediately come to mind when you think of dangerous destinations. Actually, not all of them are countries that come to mind at all.  Like Burkina Faso.

Nine of the no-no zones are in Africa, but none of them are the countries with good safari resorts. There are also two in South America, including a travel warning for Colombia, which is disconcerting because a friend of ours will be getting married there soon, and we were somewhat seriously considering going. According to the State Department website, a warning sounds more dire than an alert, which really makes me nervous about Colombia’s warning, especially when you consider that North Korea only has an alert. And unfortunately, we don’t know anyone who’s getting married in North Korea.

“U.S. citizens should exercise caution,” the State Department tells us about Colombia, “as violence linked to domestic insurgency, narco-trafficking, crime, and kidnapping occur in some rural and urban areas.”

Doesn’t “some rural and urban areas” pretty much cover most of your major types of areas? I guess the suburbs are safe; as long as you’re near a Home Depot, you’re okay.

I’d be more concerned if I was about to leave for Venezuela. “The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Venezuela due to social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages.” I can tell you this: I don’t want to go anywhere with a food shortage, especially if it’s one of those all-inclusive resorts. The buffet lines in those places can be long enough under ideal conditions. What good is all I can eat if they don’t have all I can eat?

Seriously, though, if you need evidence that the world has become a scary place, you need look no further than the frequent travel warnings. Since June 6, all of the following places have been acknowledged for their various dangers to U.S. citizens: North Korea, Venezuela, Jordan, Republic of South Sudan, Egypt, Philippines, Mali, Ukraine, Somalia, Burundi, Algeria, Colombia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Chad and Missouri.

Now, granted, the majority of Americans wouldn’t know if Burkina Faso was a country or a kind of Muslim headwear, and sane people wouldn’t want to go to most of these places anyway. But the sanity of Americans is very much in question considering the results of the last election, and the winner of that contest would likely fail a test that consisted of pointing to these places on a map, and…

Wait! Did I say Missouri???!!!!!

Yes, indeed I did. (If you doubt me, go back two paragraphs.) There is, in fact, a traveladvisory for The Show Me State. But don’t worry. There’s no reason to cancel your vacation to Branson…unless you’re black.

You see, the Missouri travel warning wasn’t from the State Department; it was from the NAACP, and it’s the first one the organization has ever issued against a state.

“You have violations of civil rights that are happening to people,” said Rod Chapel, president of the Missouri NAACP. “They’re being pulled over because of their skin color, they’re being beaten up or killed. We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”

I’ll bet this advisory is really killing Missouri’s tourism industry. After all, if you want to get beaten up and/or killed while on vacation, you’d be better off going to Colombia, where at least you can get some good drugs.

But the violence and profiling isn’t the only reason why the NAACP thinks African-Americans should consider seeing the St. Louis Cardinals play away games. Evidently, the state just passed a law called SB43 (slogan: “Even better than SB42!”) which, according to the NAACP…

“…harkens back to the Jim Crow-era. The Bill legalizes individual discrimination and harassment within the State of Missouri and would prevent individuals from protecting themselves from discrimination, harassment and retaliation in Missouri.”

In other words, not only can you be pulled over, arrested and killed, you can’t even sue anybody afterwards!

And, by the way, if you happen to be Idaho’s black person, and you’re thinking of driving through Texas to bypass Missouri on your way to Mississippi, you should know that in May, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a travel advisory for the Lone Star State, warning the public of “possible violation of their constitutional rights when stopped by law enforcement.”

So, to make a long story short, with all these travel advisories in effect, you’re better off just staying where you are. Unless you’re in Burkina Faso.

See you soon.

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Entry 682: Blind Justice

It’s possible that some readers are going to think I hate blind people.

Not too long ago, I wrote about “descriptive videos” for the visually-impaired that include audio descriptions of what’s happening on the screen. I noted at the time a few reasons why the concept didn’t really work, especially when used for pornography.

And now I hear about a recent Florida court ruling against Winn-Dixie supermarkets in which a federal judge ruled that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, any “brick and mortar retailer” who operates a web store has to make the same “public accommodation” on their website. The plaintiffs in the case argued that items on the website such as specials and coupons were not accessible to them because they couldn’t see them.

The ruling effectively means that websites must be compatible with screen-reading software that converts the written word into voice. That can cost a business $37,000 or more, which could be problematic for Larry of Larry’s Lizards, who has a small storefront in one of the seedier sections of Miami but gets most of his revenue from his SnakeShack.com website.*

While it remains to be seen how much visually-impaired folks will benefit from this ruling, it has already been quite profitable for the morally-impaired.

Lawyers.

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed. One attorney–Jeffrey Gottlieb–has filed at least 26 cases on behalf of two clients, Steven Matzura and Lawrence Young, against such companies as Warby Parker, Stu Leonards (a local supermarket chain), Sephora, Mac Cosmetics and others.

I don’t want to imply that the plaintiffs in these cases are just in it for the cash. After all, why shouldn’t two men have full access to websites that sell cosmetics even though they can’t see how the eye shadow looks on them? But according to an article entitled “Avoiding the Website Accessibility Shakedown:”

“…a growing number of plaintiffs’ firms have been sending demand letters to various companies, including banks, alleging that people with disabilities are denied access to online goods and services in violation of ADA. The letters seek an out-of-court settlement, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees and costs.”

I can’t find any information on the average settlement that blind people are getting in these cases, but the lawyers are getting legal fees of up to $25,000 or more per case, which is a nice haul for simply sending off a letter.

Admittedly, though, I know little about the law, other than that the world could get along very nicely with a whole lot fewer lawyers. So I do have some questions about this:

  1. If a brick and mortar retailer has to make the same “public accommodation” on their website, I’m assuming we’re not only talking about accommodating people with visual impairments. So how does a restaurant that is wheelchair accessible install ramps on its website?
  2. I don’t frequent supermarkets a lot, but when I have, I haven’t noticed many accommodations for the visually-impaired, unless the bumps on lychees are actually Braille. So if they’re required to make the “same accommodations” on the website, shouldn’t that be nothing?  I guess a lawyer could say that the accommodation at the store is that there are people to ask about coupons and such, but, by that token, couldn’t the blind person call the store and ask?
  3. What type of website accommodation could one of the defendants, Warby Parker, a purveyor of eyewear, possibly make? Even if it was compatible with screen-reading software, how would that help? Wouldn’t a blind person still need someone else to be present to say, “Oh, those would look good on you”?
  4. Why is this ruling only being applied to websites? Shouldn’t, say, the Eddie Bauer catalog be required to publish a Braille edition? Shouldn’t billboards for injury lawyers be required to shout their messages to everyone who drives by? (“Hey, you! If you get in an accident, possibly because you’re a blind person driving a car, call me: 1-800-SHYSTER.”)

Some companies are fighting these suits on various grounds, including the argument that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t apply to websites. That’s kind of weak in my opinion, since the ADA was enacted in 1990, a year before the very first website (pictured at left) went live. It would be like passing a law in 2005 banning presidents from using Twitter. Some things you just can’t anticipate.

And the ADA actually covers stuff that didn’t exist when it was passed…sort of.  Under Title III, “all new construction (construction, modification or alterations) after the effective date of the ADA (approximately July 1992) must be fully compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines.” In other words, these lawsuits are basically saying that a website is “new construction.” I hope all these businesses are making sure their websites meet local fire codes.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that I really don’t hate blind people, or anyone else with a physical impairment. But I do think there should be a reasonable limit to how far businesses have to go to accommodate every single type of person in the world.

And also–and I really can’t emphasize this enough–there are way too many lawyers.

See you soon.

*There is a provision in the ADA that balances the cost of compliance vs. the financial wherewithal of the business in question, so it’s possible that Larry would be exempt.
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Entry 681: Shit, Piss …and the Other Five

THIS POST CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE.

I broke the barrier in the 440th post of this blog.

It was April 5, 2015, and the post was about non-humans overrunning various parts of Japan. I was describing the fishing port of Namerikawa which is home to millions of Firefly Squid, and I wrote that they “… light up the whole bay at night so that natives and tourists alike can gape at the spectacle and say, ‘That is one shitload of squid.’”

It was the first time I ever used the word “shit.”

I should hasten to add that it was not the first time I used the word “shit” in my life. You’d have to go way before 2015 to find that instance, perhaps to the time I saw my personal second grade bully, Marc Kravitz, blocking my way home. No, it was just the first time I used “shit” in this blog. It took four years and a helluva lot of squid to get me to type it into a post.

I’m not sure why. Maybe I remembered the old George Carlin routine from the early 70’s about the seven words you couldn’t say on television. I apologize in advance for some of these, but the seven words were: Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. (If you want to see the routine, click here. It was quite groundbreaking at the time.)

Two and a half years before the squid-based profanity, I had even done a post exclusively about my dog’s pooping habits, and managed to get through the entire thing without saying “shit.”

But there was something about all those glowing squid that made me do it.

And it’s not like that opened the floodgates. I didn’t use “shit” again for almost four months, until I was writing about some farmers who had died after falling into a manure pit, and couldn’t help but use the inevitable line, “…he was quickly overcome by fumes consisting of hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide. He probably also realized that he was in some deep shit.”

Recently, though, I have to admit that a lot more crap has seeped into these posts.  I would like to blame the new and former White House Communications Director, whose profanity-packed pronouncements probably caused every 1950’s-era mother in America to unholster her bar of soap. Unfortunately, my defecationary declarations predate Mr. Scaramucci’s appointment and swift demise.

So instead, I’ll blame basic cable TV.

While pay cable has always been potty-mouthed, basic cable channels like AMC and USA have slowly been venturing into previously uncharted cussing. I believe we can think of “ass” as being the Jackie Robinson of TV foulmouthedness. Once that was assimilated into polite society (not to mention sitcoms), we moved quickly into George Carlin’s taboos. I think “piss” made it onto basic cable, ironically, around the time Carlin died, in 2008. Now they even say that on broadcast networks. By the time I began this blog in 2011, “piss” was fair game. I was “pissed off” about something or other way back in Entry 26.

“Tits” came next. They started saying it on late-night TV and Comedy Central.  I frankly have a problem with “tits.”  Not the items themselves, but the word.  I’m not sure why. Maybe I prefer “boob” because I am one.

And now there’s shit all over the place. So I guess I figured if they can say it on The Walking Dead, I can say it in this blog.

I can tell you which of Carlin’s words will be the next to go: “Fuck.” On the USA Network show Suits, which recently aired a prolonged scene in which the word “dickhead” was prominently displayed, characters say “Fck.” The word isn’t bleeped exactly; there’s just a kind of hiccup in there, as if viewers might think they’re really saying “fick.” “What the fick is going on?” Yeah, that’s what he’s saying. The closed captioning, which I always have on because I have trouble discerning dialog (particularly on BBC shows because they refuse to speak English), says “FU–.” That’s kind of interesting. Not “F–K,” but “FU–.” I’m pretty sure I can hear a “k” in there somewhere, though.

Anyway, in the near future when the fucking hiccups are cured, there will only be three of George Carlin’s words left. As he himself once said, perhaps motherfucker shouldn’t have been there in the first place, because it was a form of “fuck.” “Cocksucker” will eventually get through the censors because it’s just two ambiguous words stuck together; neither is necessarily dirty on its own. It’s just a chicken with a lollipop. (Or, if you believe Mr. Scaramucci, Steve Bannon alone with some extra time on his hands.)

And that leaves the “c” word, which will be the last to go (if it ever does), not because it is dirty but because it is offensive.

In 1952, Lucille Ball had to be a verbal contortionist in order to avoid uttering the word “pregnant” on I Love Lucy.* We’ve come a long way, baby.

In conclusion, I promise I’ll be back to just “shit” and “piss” after this post, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as my post a couple of years ago about a 14th century criminal named Roger Fuckebythenavel.

See you soon.

*The name of the episode in which she announced that she was “with child” was “Lucy Is Enceinte.” Evidently, it was okay with the CBS censors to say “pregnant,” as long as it was in a foreign language. This may be where the phrase “pardon my French” comes from.

P.S. If you enjoy “The Upsizers,” please share on social media.  More readers, please!

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Bonus Post: The End of Our Democracy

The last weekend of July may have been the last weekend of our democracy.

That’s when President Donald Trump launched Trump TV.

Now, to be fair, he started on a small scale: one “real news” show hosted by his daughter-in-law that ran for just 2 1/2 minutes on Trump’s Facebook page. I guess there was only two and half minutes of real news to tell us about. Everything else that happened anywhere in the world was fake.

So there was Eric Trump’s wife Lara, seated at a desk in front of a backdrop festooned with Donald Trump’s name in various forms and typefaces. “There’s so much fake news out there,” she begins, “we wanted to give you a glimpse into his week.”

Of course, I expected to then see video of Trump golfing, but instead, Lara has decided that the most important thing about Trump’s week was his salary. She doesn’t tell us what that is ($400,000), only that he has donated it to the Parks Department and the Department of Education, both of which he has done his best to decimate. (Lara leaves out that last part.)

“Again,” Lara says, “this is a president who is putting America before himself.” And then she adds in a totally unbiased, news anchor sort of way, “I’m so proud of that.”  It’s as if she’s talking about a little boy who came in 4th in a spelling bee.

We are then told that the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2001 (not sure what Trump has to do with that) and that the Dow has hit an all-time high. “The stock market is up, the economy is BOOMING ladies and gentlemen,” Lara says, as if she’s introducing the next act in a talent show, and with the implication that even the most poverty-stricken, health insurance-less members of the population should be happy about this.

Later in the Facebook-cast, Lara tells us that, “Every day in this country, we look to honor our American heroes. These are men and women who put their lives on the line every single day to make sure that we are safe. The president went out of his way this week to give a special honor to some very special people. The Medal of Valor was given at the White House…”

Just stop right there, Ms. Trump. “Went out of his way?” Giving out medals is part of his friggin’ job!  So sorry if he had to take his thumbs off his smartphone long enough to drape a ribbon around our heroes’ necks.

Anyway, the best thing I can say about this show is that it was only two and half minutes long. And it was all just Lara on screen, except for a couple of cuts like you get when you watch a show on Hulu with the commercials removed. (Were they intending to sell ad time?) They didn’t even cut away to video of Trump actually doing anything, like accepting resignations from his staff.

This was, perhaps, the most frightening thing I’ve seen on TV this year although, admittedly, I haven’t watched “The Gong Show.”

It was scary because what actually premiered on Facebook last weekend was a state-run news agency.

It’s almost exactly the kind of thing I imagine you see when you turn on the TV in North Korea: look how great we are, look how great Kim Jong Un is. Combine that with Trump’s attacks on the actual media, the backing of lawsuits against the media by conservative billionaires like Peter Thiel, and the purchase of media (the Las Vegas Review-Journal) by unabashed GOP supporters like Sheldon Adelson…not to mention the employment of our supreme leader’s family throughout the government…and we’ve got the beginnings of the end of democracy.

On the plus side, as Trump’s dictatorship strengthens, perhaps they’ll put a little more production value into Lara’s little show.  And you never know: maybe he’ll eventually be overthrown by a transgender military coup.

See you soon.

P.S. This is important; please share.

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Entry 680: City of the Dead

Let me begin today by pointing out the name of this post, “City of the Dead,” and telling you it’s about Farmingdale, Long Island. It’s not that Farmingdale has a higher than usual mortality rate; it just has a higher than usual percentage of deceased people.

Allow me to explain.

We recently had a death in the family, dear Uncle Joe, and he was buried in the family plot in the Wellwood Cemetery in Farmingdale, which appears to be a subsidiary of the Beth Moses Cemetery next door (they share an office). However, it does not seem to beaffiliated with other neighbors such as the New Montefiore Cemetery, Mount Arawat Cemetery or Breslau Cemetery. Neither is it an offshoot of the conveniently-located Trinity Cemetery, North Babylon Cemetery or Amityville Cemetery which, if it hasn’t already, should at some point be the site of yet another sequel to The Amityville Horror.

I’m not kidding about the cemeteries. The Farmingdale area must have more cemeteries per square mile than anywhere else in the country.* I mean, look at the Google satellite image above. There are 11 cemeteries packed into an area that’s only a bit larger than Six Flags Great Adventure. Not as much fun, probably, but the lines are shorter.

My wife Barbara and I left Connecticut at 7am for a 9:30 graveside service and arrived about 40 minutes early due to a surprising lack of the traffic for which Long Island is famous. So we drove around looking for a diner or a Dunkin’ Donuts or something, and we just kept passing one cemetery after another. The only things that broke up the wall-to-wall cemeteries were businesses selling monuments and flowers to go into the cemeteries.

I’ve heard of Miracle Miles full of car dealers, but this was a Mile de la Muerte.

This cemetery saturation has to make Farmingdale one of the creepiest places in America, especially when you consider that the breathing population of the town is under 9,000. Who would live in a place that probably has more dead residents than live ones?

What must a Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce meeting be like? A bunch of morticians in black suits trying to come up with ways to promote tourism? It’s not like they can have a parade…it would look like scenes from the “Thriller” video. And what kind of event could local businesses put together…a sidewalk sale of headstones? “Yes, ma’am, we’re overstocked on obelisks, and I can let you have this one at half price. Would you like to put it on our layaway plan? How long do you think you’ll have to pay it off?”

Speaking of which, how many monument stores does a town need? Farmingdale has about 13 (see map at left). Do people comparison shop in their hours of grief? Read the Yelp ratings? (“★They spelled my mother’s name wrong.”) Most of the places in Farmingdale are well-rated. I guess you’d have to be with so much competition.

So, anyway, Barbara and I kept driving that morning, in our quest for coffee. We even passed the Long Island National Cemetery, where brave servicemen and women, who went to war rather than remain in Nassau County, are buried. There were row upon row of identical headstones, lined up like soldiers ready to march into battle. Which is probably the point.

Meanwhile, Barb was incredulous about the lack of caffeine. “How could there not be a diner or something with all these cemeteries?” she wanted to know. When I professed to not recognize the connection between those two types of enterprises, she elaborated: “You go to a service, you bury someone, you visit a grave, then you go to a diner.”

I did not know of this post-interment tradition. But then I remembered a morning some 50 years ago when I went to the cemetery with my father to visit his mother’s grave. He said a prayer in Hebrew and then, although this was decades before I even knew Barbara, we went to a diner for breakfast and sat at the counter eating our bacon and eggs. After awhile, my father leaned over and whispered, “Are people looking at me?”

And indeed they were. They were likely thinking that his menu selection was not compatible with the yarmulke he had forgotten to remove when we left the cemetery. What can I say? We did not get many gold Stars of David for our Jewishness.

Anyway, Uncle Joe was buried during a torrential rain storm, and the rabbi was torturously verbose given the conditions, and Barb and I were still quite damp two hours later when we returned to Connecticut.

Fortunately, there’s a diner right off Exit 6 of the New England Thruway.

See you soon, but not in Farmingdale, I hope.

*I looked it up, and that distinction actually goes to Colma, California. However, it should be noted that Colma was founded as a necropolis^, whereas Farmingdale must have just been naturally attractive to dead people.
^Home of Dead Superman.
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Entry 679: But What Address Should They Deliver It To?

At various times in the six years I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve covered new kinds of housing, such as a home that measures less than 11 square feet, a 10 story building that went up in just 48 hours, and a residence that is entirely under water.

All of these living arrangements had obvious drawbacks, such as, respectively, no room for your big-screen TV; nagging thoughts about how long it would take the building to come down; and sharks on the patio.

Now there’s a British company called Ten Fold Engineering that promises to deliver a building that can erect itself in just 10 minutes, and that looks as though you may actually want to live in it.

Here’s how it works: A truck rolls up with this huge box on it, and then the box starts sprouting accordion-like extensions that turn into rooms, stairs, windows and so forth, just like an architectural Transformers robot, except without Michael Bay to blow everything up afterwards. It also develops legs so that the truck can simply roll out from underneath it, leaving you with a new home, or beach cottage, or warehouse, or office building. Also, they can give a whole new meaning to the term “pop-up store.”

And you can fold the thing back up and move it whenever you want, for instance when the owner of the land you built it on comes along.

Check out the video on Ten Fold’s website. It demonstrates exactly how fast and easy it is to assemble your house, as long as your millennial children don’t try to take selfies in front of their new home while it‘s unfolding. (“Mom, Jessica’s stuck in the bathroom floor! Can I Instagram it?”)

According to Ten Fold, “the interchangeable pod system allows you to incorporate almost any combination of folding partitions and equipment to suit any purpose.” So, for example, if you wanted to open an instant media production studio, it could unfold complete with satellite array, electronics and a full staff of unpaid interns.

It’s unclear whether the dwellings come fully furnished, but I doubt it, since the starting price is only about $128,000. So you’ll have to go to Walmart and get some furniture. I’m thinking folding chairs would be appropriate. Oh, and a Murphy bed.

But just think of it: you pick out a nice location and then go to Ten Fold’s website to order your new home. You select the structure you want, put it in your shopping cart and, because you’re a member of Ten Fold Prime, you choose free two-day delivery. Ten Fold will then show you what other people who purchased your unit bought to go with it, but you figure you can always add Hello Kitty switchplates later. Two days later, you and your spouse sit comfortably on your folding chairs with a couple of beers as the huge truck rolls up, and your new home unfolds before your eyes in 10 minutes. And then your wife says, “Can you move it to the left about 15 inches.” Then you settle back into your chairs to wait for the cable guy, and, three weeks later, you’re ready to move in.*

Ha ha, just kidding. In fact, Ten Fold can rig your home with solar panels and satellite dishes so you can live off the grid, provided you don’t have any great need for plumbing.

But, seriously, some of these structures are quite impressive, and you can even stack them on top of each other, assuming you don’t choose one of the designs with a gable roof. They hold great promise as emergency housing in the case of natural disasters, or for refugees fleeing unstable regimes. They can be remote medical centers or instant military barracks. It won’t be long, I’m sure, before somebody turns one into an emergency Starbucks. (“There’s no Starbucks for eight blocks; quick, unfold one here.”)

Until now, a mobile home meant living in a double-wide at Happy Trail Acres in Arkansas. But those rarely got moved, unless a tornado came along. Now you can reside in a cool abode and, when your neighborhood starts going downhill, you can easily collapse your house, plop it down somewhere else, and wonder why that neighborhood suddenly starts going downhill. By the third or fourth move to a soon-to-be-plummeting neighborhood, you’ll realize that folding houses don’t do much for property values in the area.

A word of advice, though: when you relocate, be sure to remove all your stuff before you fold up your home. And make sure grandma’s out, too. She has enough wrinkles already.

See you soon.

*You can’t actually place an order on Ten Fold’s website; you have to contact them to find out “more about our global product development, manufacturing and licensing opportunities.” You can probably get a discount if you don’t mind having the exterior of your home plastered with, say, Verizon logos.

P.S. If you enjoy “The Upsizers,” please share on social media.  More readers, please!

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