The specter of summer travel renews my determination to go nowhere – not to the airports that have become shopping malls, not on the freeways where traffic speeds ahead like caterpillars, not to the wilds where I’m surrounded by RVs. I try not to go anywhere that I can’t walk. My destination of choice is Anthony Bourdain on Sunday nights on CNN.
Where is traffic the most impassible? I encourage readers to submit their top worst bottlenecks on local highways. My nominees are 1) The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge at 5pm where East Bay commuters from the City doing anything to avoid the Bay Bridge so head north to San Quentin where they all come together on a two-lane road and 2) Highway 29 leaving Napa seemingly at any time of day where what should take 12 minutes takes an hour.
Speaking of automotive news, I noticed in Washington D.C. you can not only pay for street parking with your credit card, but an app on your phone can be notified when your meter has expired and allow you to add additional payments. How come we don’t have that convenience here in the land of tech pioneering?
One of the puzzling things about advertising these days are the millions being spent on obscure medications. Have you seen the spots for Hetlioz, the drug for blind people with insomnia? Is the audience for it watching TV? Hetlioz’s ad budget is $29 million. Did you know the average viewer watches 9 Big Pharma ads a day? The list of remedies being promoted is jaw-droppingly arcane including Axion, a testosterone enhancer the you apply like a roll-on deodorant. And who is making up these wacko names –Warfarin, Xylometazoline? Nothing can stop this tsunami of pharmaceuticals even the requirement that they announce side effects like causing “fungal infections, suicidal thoughts and potential fatalities”.
Recently neighbors whose computers were hacked started me panicking then investigating how to protect my devices. It seems to come down to passwords. We are seriously advised to change then every 6 months and instead of using our cat’s name they recommend combinations like “W7qt444Br_?”. Or signing up (and paying for) a Password Managing Service. Seriously? The myth that tech communications make our lives simpler has long ago been debunked.
There are still pleasures to be had watching corrupt governments in action. I submit in evidence this season of “House of Cards”. Whereas excellent long-running shows like “The Americans” are losing steam in the end, Kevin Space and Robin Wright and whoever the writers are on “Cards”, have managed to keep me on the edge of my sofa. I tried to get excited about the much-applauded “Leftovers”, but when a character in it informed the police chief that “wild dogs have morphed into humans and are taking over the government”, I switched channels.
Curious how easy it is to adjust to constant changes. A few years ago if we saw a BART car full of people with their heads down we might have guessed they were depressed or praying. Now, of course, they’re texting. Gay marriage, once unimaginable, hardly gets a second glance. There are billboards for medical marijuana. I tried a cannabis cream for some leg pains and damn, it worked.
For the 6% of folks over 55 who use dating sites I have helpful advice: get a dog. It doesn’t even have to be a cute one. I’ve found that walking my fairly conventional pooch triggers all kinds of sidewalk conversations, many tending towards the flirtatious. (not that I’m in the market, sweetheart.)
Summer reading? You won’t be surprised that I’m recommending my new novel, ”Good Luck with That” available on your Kindle from Amazon.