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Friday, October 20, 2017

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It's hard to pick my favorite part of flying today. I say flying, but when I travel by air today I spend most of my travel time riding: in cars going to and from airports on roads clogged to near-gridlock (but that's only during rush hour, which now begins at 5 AM and usually is over by 3 AM); on buses to and from airport parking lots, which these days are often located in nearby, not-necessarily-adjoining states (for example Dulles Airport, near Washington D.C., has its economy parking in Nebraska); on people movers, multi-million-dollar wonders of technology that whisk you around an airport... Read More

Recently, I needed to fly to Tucson Arizona with a friend. The cheapest we could find was a 3-legged flight with a transit at Phoenix. But after we booked, we changed our minds and decided to rent a car and drive the last leg from Phoenix to Tucson, so we called the airline to cancel the last leg:

Me: I would like to cancel the last leg of our flight, and get off at Phoenix

Airline rep: No problem Sir. It'll cost you $400 a ticket.

Me: I am not sure I explained myself well, all I want is to not take the last flight. Surely not flying can’t cost more than taking the flight.... Read More

Just when I thought that the banking system in certain countries left a little to be desired, I ran into some odd people at the local branch of my bank in Malta. The problem was that since my ATM card has just expired I had to go in and speak to someone.

I waited patiently and browsed a 3-week old edition of the “Financial Times” while I was at it. This did not bother me much – I planned to spend time at the bank and I figured that whoever keeps their reception area up to date would not be the brightest bulb in the drawer, if you know what I mean.

Once a “Customer Service Official”... Read More

A few weeks ago, I took on the bevy of men's magazines that seem to offer up the same needless and ill-considered advice month after month - and while I had previously believed that we were the only gender so easily duped by glossy pages, catchy prose and the promise of the company of the uber-attractive, it turns out I was wrong. Women's magazines seem to have been in abundant supply for much, much longer than their male counterparts. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire and more seem to have been on the newsstands as long as there have been newsstands. But, as it turns out, the... Read More

Scientists at Florida State University believe they've found a gene that predicts a person's likelihood of becoming a gang member. The discovery of the ‘gangster gene’ is hailed by human right activists, who vow to challenge our socially unjust legal system, and reverse cases where gang members were sentenced for crimes committed by their genes.

Scientist are still perplexed by the origin of the gene that together with its cousin, the Obesity Gene (discovered in the UK in 2007), seem to have materialized in the US and the rest of the western world out of nowhere – in contradiction to... Read More

I had no idea how widespread this problem really was until I casually posted on Facebook about my frustration with a day of receiving particularly bad grammar. This innocuous action touched off a firestorm of commiserating comments from friends with dozens of examples that were much more egregious than the ones I had cited. In this era of real-time spell checking and centuries of grammar expertise literally at our fingertips, writing like a poorly educated first grader seems more inexcusable than ever. I'm the first to espouse the virtues of forgiveness, but at some point, enough is enough.Like... Read More

This morning I felt a rare creative burst and, wanting to corral it before it sprinted away, I started typing like a man possessed. If my next book sells, you'll be able to ensconce yourself in another of my many delightful takes on human excrement. Just try to contain your excitement.While I was tapping away, Patty and our daughter Kelly left for school. Kelly returned briefly to let me know that we'd forgotten to take the garbage out the night before, so I'd have to take care of it. I mumbled, "Mmmph", which is Canadian for "Okay," or, "That sucks." And then I forgot all about it for the... Read More

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