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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Entry 678: Atomic Bond

Hello again, boys and girls. It’s Mr. Sciencemoron, and I’m back with more news from the Large Hadron Collider!

Almost exactly two years ago, I told you about the amazing pentaquark. It was a sub-atomic particle the large hadron scientists had discovered. Somewhat disconcertingly, they had no idea what it did or what it was for, but they made a nice artist’s rendering of it so they could put up framed copies in the hall.

But now they’ve got their collider running on all cylinders (or whatever the hell it runs on), and they’ve been banging their hadrons together at a frantic pace. And they’re finding new sub-atomic particles all the time! In fact, earlier this year they found five in one day!

Now, kiddies, you may be wondering just how many sub-atomic particles there can possibly be, considering how small atoms are in the first place. Well let me try to explain it to you.

In the center of an atom you’ve got your nucleus, and inside of that are neutrons and protons. Inside of those, you’ve got Up and Down quarks, which can be distinguished by small arrows that light up green or red. And then there are heavier versions of Up and Down quarks called “Charm” and “Strange.” Seriously. I don’t know how they name these things but, in the future, they may want to put it up for a vote among non-nerds.

As you might expect, children, all these particles are teeny tiny. Imagine you’ve got a snow
globe of, say, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. You shake it up and the grains of sand (because it’s Florida) start swirling around in the liquid, eventually landing on the little people with their walkers and their pastel jogging suits. Now imagine that the entire snow globe is one atom, and it’s the size of just one of those grains of sand, and that everything inside the snow globe has been shrunk accordingly to fit into that one grain of sand. That will give you an idea of how many old people there are in Ft. Lauderdale.

Where was I?

Right–new particles. So the five particles they found in one day are even heavier than the Charm and Strange quarks. They’re called Omega-C. I think I took one of those with my other vitamins this morning.

According to one of the collider scientists, this was “… a striking discovery that will shed light on how quarks bind together. It may have implications not only to better understand protons and neutrons, but also more exotic multi-quark states, such as pentaquarks and tetraquarks.”

It had been previously thought that quarks bound together with a mysterious “glue,” possibly Elmer’s. But I’ll tell you this: with all these directional quarks and charmed quarks and exotic quarks and multi-quarks, I sure hope these folks have all their quarks in a row. Because if they’re not bound tightly enough, they could get loose, and then who knows what could happen?

Things could really get quarked up.

Anyway, here is a chart with all the parts of the atom. (continued below)

Unfortunately, the chart above is already obsolete, because now they’ve found still another particle! Scientists have announced “The first unambiguous sighting of the ‘doubled charmed Xi.’” There had been previous sightings, but some people thought it was just a dust mote.

The new particle is composed of two heavy Charm quarks and one Up quark. Charm quarks love Up quarks, so these two are very fortunate. If you’re the type of person, like Mr. Sciencemoron, who will go far out of his way for a pun, you might even say they were lucky Charms.

You may be wondering how the discovery of the double charmed Xi affects you, you self-centered little creatures. Well I’ll let Prof. Marek Karliner of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Tel Aviv University tell you:

”The existence of the six quarks and the understanding of the strong forces acting between them are very relevant to understanding the history of the universe, to the understanding of the relative frequency of the various chemical elements, to understanding the stability of atoms and the solution to the question of why the universe contains so much matter and so little anti-matter.”

He adds, “The importance of the discovery does not affect our day-to-day life.”

Oh, well never mind.

See you soon.

P.S. One more thing, boys and girls: you’ll be well-advised to completely ignore this post when working on your paper for AP Physics.

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Entry 677: Facebook Follies

You have to hand it to Mark Zuckerberg. Perhaps nobody in human history has ever invented a bigger waste of time.

Just one day’s worth of examples…

You can submit your photo to sites that promise to tell you what celebrity or nationality your face resembles. Evidently I know three different people who supposedly resemble Elizabeth Taylor, none of whom even faintly resembles Elizabeth Taylor until their faces are subjected to some sort of algorithm that could probably make me resemble Elizabeth Taylor.

You can also find out critical facts about yourself, like who badly wants a relationship with you, what tattoo you should get, and how much of an asshole you really are. It’s like an online version of the old coin-operated scales that dispensed a piece of paper with your fortune. Except then, you weren’t giving your public profile, friend list, email address, birthday, photos and likes to sites like MeowShare, whatever the hell that is.  I understand that these kinds of things can be entertaining, but are people really so bored that they don’t mind random businesses getting all that information about them?

And, by the way, I can tell you without assistance that the celebrity I most resemble is Rob Reiner. Also, I can guarantee you that I am not French. Not even a little bit. I don’t even like French food.

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Facebook has all these hypothetical questions to answer. For instance: “You have $10 million dollars but can only use it to buy things that start with the first letter of your name. What would you buy?” I mean, how is Zack supposed to answer that?  How many zeppelins can you really use?

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There are also all sorts of inspirational messages for me to ignore. Like the one at right. I am positive. I’m positive that I hate posts like this.

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My daughter had been in Vermont, and posted this video on Facebook. Believe it or not, the still frames at left are from three different points in the video. You can click this link if you want to see it, but the still frames still won’t move.

Soon after, my wife Barbara came into my office.  “Did you see the video Casey posted?” she asked.

“You mean the moose?”

“Is that what it is? I thought it was a bull. Or a bear.”

So, of course, Barbara texted Casey. And then reported back with the answer: “It’s a rock.”

“A rock?”

“She liked the way the light was hitting it.”

Who the hell takes video of a rock?

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Speaking of my lovely wife, she recently posted: “Coming to Yonkers! A great addition.” That was the entire post.

“What’s coming to Yonkers?” I yelled, because I knew she was somewhere in the house. She came into my office and looked at my screen. “Oh, there’s no link?” she said, and marched out again, while I went on to more productive pursuits, like seeing if my president had sent out any more of his entertaining tweets.

When she passed by my office moments later, I asked, “So what’s coming to Yonkers?”

“I just posted the link.”

“You’re standing right here! Can’t you just tell me?”

It was just some pizza place. Very anticlimactic.
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Speaking of food, I wish people would stop posting pictures of everything they eat in restaurants.  You’re there for dinner, not a photo shoot.

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When I open Facebook, there are a lot of posts from people I don’t know. They don’t look remotely familiar, their names don’t ring a bell, and I have no clue why I’m hearing about their thrilling lives. Take Glenn, for instance. Evidently, he would make an excellent actor. Or chemist. Or judge. I can’t think of many traits that would be assets in all three of those professions, but it certainly makes me curious to find out what Glenn actually does do for a living. And won’t he be depressed if he’s, like, an architect and just found out he missed his calling? The guy had three freakin’ choices and instead he’s designing buildings. And he’s probably horrible at it because, while there aren’t many characteristics that are common to all three of the professions he is cut out for, an eye for design isn’t necessary for any of them.

Poor Glenn. Whoever the hell he is.
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What’s up with the polls?  “Click if you think puppies shouldn’t be stacked on top of one another.”  “Share if you think God voted for Trump.”  “Like if you remember Fluffernutters.” I’ve got one: “Hang yourself if you think you spend too much time responding to stupid polls on Facebook.”

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Speaking of which, the junior senator from New York, Kristin Gillebrand, recently posted this:

URGENT: The Senate is racing toward a vote on Trumpcare. Health care for millions of Americans is at risk. I need to hear from 3,472 more people before the vote, and I still haven’t seen your response: Do you approve of President Trump?

I actually like Sen. Gillebrand although I live in Connecticut. But can she tell me how my opinion of President Trump will affect the health care vote? And what will happen differently if only 3,471 more people don’t approve of the president? These kinds of things only serve to make even the most sensible politicians look foolish, and while your vote of yes or no will do nothing to influence health care, I bet it will result in you receiving lots of political spam and fundraising emails.

Just to be safe, though, could you tell Kristin how much you hate Trump?

Thanks, and see you soon.

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Entry 676: Quickies V

Often, I come across stories about which I have a few snide comments, but not enough for a full post. So every once in awhile, I collect them for a Quickies post. This time, as a bonus, I’ll be introducing each story in the annoying manner of The Daily Skimm, which is a morning news briefing in the style of the snarky millennial woman at your office.

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What to say when your broken car horn gets fixed…

“Beep repaired.” In case you thought young girls don’t spend enough time online, there are now Girl Scout merit badges for cyber security. I guess they’ll learn how to prevent identity theft, protect systems from hacking, and crack down on computer fraud. So you better watch out, Mr. Putin. We’re sending our Brownies after you, and they ain’t bringing cookies.

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What to say when your husband says he visited Pornhub for research…

“LIAR!” The New York Times devoted an entire page recently to publishing lies told by Donald Trump. This is a perfect example of fake, biased news. It was fake news because many of the lies had been told months ago, so they weren’t news. And it was biased because it looked like more lies than there actually were, since the list included multiple mentions of the same lie (for instance, blaming airport chaos in the wake of the initial travel ban on a Delta Airline computer malfunction) if Trump told it more than once.

I think if you tell the same lie often enough, it becomes an alternate fact, not another lie.

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What to say when you’re missing an ingredient for cold sesame noodles…

“Now where did I put those seeds?” Hidden approximately 400 feet deep inside a mountain on a remote island between mainland Norway and the North Pole is something called the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Inside are seeds from all of the world’s food crops, kept naturally at a temperature that will preserve them for later planting.

The idea is that, in case of apocalypse like nuclear war, climate change or alien invasion, we could revive life on Earth with this storehouse of seeds, providing that anyone is left alive to plant them, and there is a place left on the planet where they will grow.

Unfortunately, extreme temperatures in the Arctic this past winter — combined with heavy rain instead of snow — led to melting permafrost that gushed into the tunnel leading into the vault, and also caused a power outage that prevented pumps from expelling the water. While it turns out the seeds were not damaged, they could have been, because, in creating a vault intended to preserve seeds to keep us alive in the event of cataclysmic climate change, the crack scientists forgot to account for climate change. This leads me to think that perhaps we should not be relying on scientists to solve global warming for us.
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What to say when your husband calls down to you while you’re in the basement…

“Be right up.” I’d like to visit Australia someday, but it just takes too long to get there. A direct flight is like 22 hours, which makes it totally inappropriate for a long weekend. So I’ve been waiting for teleportation to be invented so I can go to Australia, but it turns out that may not be necessary, because Australia may eventually come to me. Apparently, the whole continent is drifting north at a rate of about 2.75 inches a year due to tectonic plate activity or some such thing. So all I have to do is fly to San Diego and wait a few hundred thousand years for Australia to show up.

Unless it ends up in Japan.

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What to say if you’re a druggie and someone asks you what your favorite Monopoly property is…

“Borderwalk.”  While I’m in San Diego waiting for down under to come up over, perhaps I’ll take a stroll along the Mexico border in the hope of getting hit in the head by a bag full of marijuana.  My president seems to think this is a common occurrence.
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What to say in the 7th inning of a scoreless Mets-Phillies game…

“I can’t think of anything more boring.” A computer scientist named William Tunstall-Pedoe has developed a search engine called True Knowledge, which he programmed to analyze 300 million historical facts in order to come to the conclusion that April 11, 1954 was the most boring day of the 20th Century. According to Tunstall-Pedoe, “Nobody famous died, no noteworthy events took place, and the only person who might claim a notable birth was Turkish academic Abdullah Atalar.”

I find this analysis to be a tad upsetting because April 11, 1954 is only 55 days from the day I was born. What if nothing much had happened on that day, either? So I looked up the front page of the New York Times for my birth date, and the biggest story was President Eisenhower going on vacation, which, given the frequency of our current leader’s golf outings, would be even less of a story today. But since True Knowledge didn’t call February 15, 1954 the most boring day, that can only mean that it ranks my birth higher than Abdullah Atalar’s.

It’s one of the nicest things anybody has ever not quite said about me.

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What to say to the guy at the bar wearing a day-glo t-shirt…

“You light up my life.” A new app allows individual citizens to control the spire lights on two Manhattan skyscrapers. So far, one of the primary uses has been for guys to impress women they’re trying to pick up. So, in other words, they are attempting to attract women by illuminating what are essentially giant penises.  The app is limited to 10,000 users, and you have to be invited by another user to get the download, meaning that the app is being passed from one asshole to the next.

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What to say when your plane crashes and everyone dies except you…

“It could have been worse.” A man peeing into a lagoon was bitten by a crocodile. On the arm.

See you soon.

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Entry 675: Life Before Netflix

Once upon a time, before TVs were smart and presidents were dumb, when the words “stream” and “cloud” had something to do with water, just about every neighborhood in America had something called a “video store.”

Even the smallest towns had one. You could drive across America and pass through Main Streets that were one block long, and it would be gas station, bar, coffee shop, bar, video store, tavern, gas station. And maybe a pub or two.  Oh, and a saloon.

If you wanted to watch a movie, you would have to leave your house and go to this store, where you were a “member.” Maybe you even had a card. And this store had all the movies in the world, except the one you wanted to see, because it was “out,” which meant that someone else had it and, believe it or not, only one person in the neighborhood could watch that movie at the same time, unless your video store had a second copy.

If you were born after, say, 1995, you may be thinking, “But why would you have to leave your home to get a movie?” Well, first, you are an idiot millennial with no sense of history. And second, this was long before everybody had high-speed Internet and broadband and smart phones and wi-fi. We had the Internet, but only through dial-up modems that were measured in a unit called a “baud” because of how you felt while you were waiting for screens to load. If you had tried to stream a movie back then, you would have been able to make popcorn between each individual frame.

So, yes, you had to go to a store where all the movies were on shelves. “New releases” were in one area, and everything else was by genre: science fiction, horror, comedy, action, etc., but you could never find what you were looking for, because the people who worked in video stores had to swear that they did not know what “alphabetical order” meant, or that The Day the Earth Stood Still should not be filed under “t.”

There was also a special room where only adults could go, but, ahem, I never did find out what was in there.

So, anyway, you and your spouse or your children would confer about which movie you wanted to see, and you’d have to select a first choice, second choice, etc., and then you’d go to the video store and, after an hour, finally find the seventh choice, Beverly Hills Cop, in the action section, even though it was clearly a comedy.

You rented the movie you wanted on something called VHS tape, which were these big, black cartridges about the size of an iPad Mini but three times as thick, and you’d take it home and jam it into the slot of a player that was attached to your small, square TV, and sometimes it didn’t go in all the way because your kid had pushed his peanut butter sandwich into it.

Occasionally, the tape had not deteriorated to the point of being unwatchable, and you could enjoy the movie. Then you had to rewind the thing (we actually owned a separate rewinder), and remember to toss it into your car the next day so you could drop it off back at the store, and then you’d get home and realize the damn thing was still in your car, and you’d think “What the hell, the late fee is only a buck,” so you’d leave it in your car overnight, and it was hot and muggy, and that’s one of the reasons why your rentals had often deteriorated to the point of being unwatchable.

Sometimes, when your kid was sick or a blizzard was forecast, you’d go to the video store and rent six or seven movies, enough to get you through a whole day, but you’d only end up watching four of them (because binge-watching hadn’t been invented yet), and then you’d forget to return them, so you’d pay late fees on movies you never even watched.

The biggest video store in the world was called Blockbuster. At its height in 2004, it had over 9,000 stores worldwide and employed over 84,000 people, none of whom could alphabetize. But Blockbuster made a series of, shall we say, less than optimal business decisions, such as declining to buy Netflix for $50 million in 2000 (possibly because it didn’t like the color of the envelopes people would return Netflix rentals in*), and instead choosing another company with which to start a streaming video service. That other company was Enron.

If you’ve never heard of Enron, you might want to Google it. It’s a really funny story…

Anyway, the rest, as they say, is history. Soon almost all the Blockbusters had become auto parts stores, and all the independent video stores that had thrived in even the smallest towns had been turned into bars.

I bring all this up now because I noticed an article about one of the few remaining Blockbuster locations. It’s in Alaska, where the winters are long and the wi-fi is slow. So if you still have that VHS of Dirty Dancing that you rented in 1993, you can send it to Blockbuster Video, 11431 Business Blvd, Eagle River, AK 99577 along with your $8,745 in late fees. But hurry, the Eagle River Blockbuster is closing this month.

Oh, and don’t forget to rewind!

See you soon.

*By this time, videos came on DVDs. We were almost into the “modern era.”
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Entry 674: Just Wait Until They All Get on Your Subway Car

The lead of the NPR story read as follows:

The world’s population growth is slowing, according to a new United Nations report, but the number of people living on Earth will still approach 10 billion by the year 2050.

The actual number is 9.8 billion, which is 200 million short of 10 billion, so NPR is exaggerating quite a bit, just like when it tells you how much you’ll treasure your NPR tote bag.

But hyperbole aside, it’s still a lot of people, and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I’m happy that I’ll probably be dead by then, because I hate crowds. On the other hand, I might not be dead by then, because one of the reasons there will be so many people is that they’re keeping us alive so damned long.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “A lot of those folks are going to be Chinese, right?” Well, that’s a really stupid question, and as soon as we begin reducing the population by passing a law imposing a death sentence for the asking of stupid questions, you will be immediately executed. It’s true that 19% of the world’s population is Chinese now, but India is expected to surpass China in population in just seven years, which is horrible news for my wife, who cannot stand the smell of Indian food.

On the plus side, humans, on average, will be much better spellers.

According to the U.N. report, much of the population growth will come from developing countries, where there are 4.3 births per woman, as opposed to just 1.6 births per woman in Western nations.  Obviously, birth control should be promoted more in third world nations, possibly by distributing free condoms or maybe by just showing everyone that snapshot of Chris Christie lounging on the beach.

Of course, 9.8 billion is a lot of mouths to feed, especially since roughly 800 million people already go to bed hungry. The obvious solution to this problem is for people to eat a later dinner, but, even then, experts are questioning whether the planet’s resources will be able to keep up with its population.

Some folks think garbage may be the answer.

The report estimates that one-third of the world’s food is wasted every year. It says that if just a quarter of it could be recovered (preferably the stuff without tofu or quinoa), it would be enough to feed 870 million people.

In other words, by recovering wasted food, we could feed all 800 million hungry people and have enough left over to feed 70 million more, which we won’t need because we’ll have fed everyone who’s hungry, so we can throw the rest of it out, and then recover quarter of that and so on and so forth and–VOILA!–you’ve got an unlimited perpetual food supply*, constantly replenished with somewhat stale but still nourishing food, just like at your local Chinese/Japanese/Thai/ Mongolian/Vietnamese buffet restaurant.

Unfortunately, we’ll have all new people to feed by 2050, which means we should start wasting more food right now to build up the supply.

It will also help if we stop lengthening life spans with those pesky medical treatments. I’m proud to say that America is doing its part with the proposed new health care bill.

See you soon.

*Unless my logic is off somehow.
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