Marco McClean's Liked Comments

Maybe it's addressed in the BBC video that for some reason won't play for me right now but, if it takes the gloves --or condoms, or rubber bands, or whatever-- only two weeks to melt into a puddle of nutritious liquid, what keeps them intact in the warehouse, during shipping and on the shelf for weeks or months or years while they're waiting to be used?
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Speaking of rackets, I have a battery-powered high-voltage electric fly-swatting badminton racket that uses somewhat the same principle to cure AIDS, autism /and/ COVID-19 by electrifying seventeen molecules of water vapor in the air into hydrogen peroxide. $1.99 in Chinatown in 2008, before there even /was/ any COVID-19. And you can hit a (very slow) fly with it, and also knock over potted plants or a lamp, dang. And play badminton and shock the shuttlecock at the same time, so /it/ can fly away across the net and cure autism and warts by remote, way over there.
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If I were to become picky: If the G stands for graphics, then shouldn't it be the hard guh sound as in graphics? Insisting that the only right way is the inventor's preference is like people who insist you say VEE-gun; when the V in stands for vegetables, it's VEJ-un, and a VEE-gun Vegan would be a person from the star Vega (pronounced VEE-guh), and a fan of the Chevy Vega would be a VAY-gun. And if people want to say a thing their own stupid way --vegetable VEE-gun-- that's fine, too as long as we're all just playing, or just eating, or just flying one of the crappiest cars ever into interstellar space. (Their aluminum engine blocks tended to crack.) (Or al-yoo-MIN-yum in the UK.)
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When I was in third grade I had to do a report on a country and include a map. I never had a problem writing, but writing about a specific real thing has never been my forte. I did nothing on the project until the night before it was due, then panicked. My mother said, "What country?" I said, "/I/ don't know." She opened a box of old books --there were always boxes because we were always moving-- she pulled out a book about Asia, opened it, said, "How about Burma?", tore out a few brightly-colored maps and said, "There." I said, "You-- you can't-- That's-- You tore a /book/! [sputter, so on]." She said, "It's /our/ book. We can do what we want with it," in the same tone of voice as when I was horrified about going up into the choir loft to sit with the choir because all the pews were full in church and she pulled me by the hand and said for everyone to hear, "We're just as good as they are and we'll sit where we please." And in ten minutes I'd pasted the maps to big sheets of brown paper and made up a bunch of nonsense about Burma around them. Done. And later when the teacher said, "You were supposed to draw the map yourself," I said, "Oh. But did you ever say that? You just said it had to have a map," and I pointed and said, "Map." And she said, "I want to talk to your mother." Fine. My mother ate teachers and officials for breakfast, as did my grandmother, who two years before that had got a judge fired for sting-closing her restaurant because of a bogus liquor license offense. (A detective had sent his date, a slightly under-age girl, to pick up their drinks.)
If it's a magazine or a newspaper I tear out what I want or take a picture of it. With a borrowed book I'm careful how I even hold it; I say the page number aloud and shut the book and so just remember the number. If it's my book and it's complicated, with a lot of stories or places I want to remember later, to use on the radio, or if it's a play script, I scribble notes all over it in pen and tear the corners of pages and twist them sticking out in special directions to indicate the use order. And I enjoy defiling it, and enjoy seeing it later and remembering all the fun work. It was a book but it's also art now, and personal history.
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Whenever someone uses forms of the word /gift/ instead of forms of the word /give/ my fingers tend to tense into a claw shape. Paul /gifted/ Erma a punch in the nose. /Gift/ me one a' dem Polish-dogs. Etc. "What you should /gift/" is all wrong. But you go ahead and live the way you like and say what you say. I know there are other people in the world besides myself, and nobody died and made me king.
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When I was in college in Iowa in the late-middle 1970s, the library had chairs that were a vertical white fiberglass egg with the front cut off and a regular soft chair-shape inside. You sit in it with your legs sticking out. It's quiet; you're alone. You can read or sleep. Best chairs ever.
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My thoughts? Since they're all face-down, it might be a cool project to roll everywhere with some sort of deep-seeing device --sonar, maybe; radio; I dunno; doesn't the military have something that blurrily sees through a few inches of stone?-- and map it all and let a computer reassemble the bits into a gallery of the original complete stones, sharpen the edges, apply appropriate mineral texture.

My problem with the situation is, I don't like when knowledge is destroyed. Library of Alexandria, pre-Colombian Central American cultures; Flowers for Algernon, that sort of thing. I don't care about the part where cemeteries eventually vanish, nor that cut materials are reused when they're essentially abandoned. The big offense was killing off and/or driving off all the people in the first place. Leave the stones doing the useful work they're doing now, retrieve the information to keep the full story available, and get on with life.
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Same principle as used when blue eye shadow makes off-blue eyes look true blue by association.
They do this in grocery stores with orange mesh bags for oranges. Oranges sold this way look ripe and sweet and good through the mesh, when they're not; they're dull and yellow and bitter, you wouldn't buy those otherwise. And you get used to it, so that one day you get a /real/ orange and you're stunned by how good it is.
That's not the only trick there. For example, next time you're in the produce section pick up anything of any color and watch it while you move it away from the bin; the color changes, becomes dull. They use special lighting to make fruit and vegetables look attractive. They can't afford to light the whole store with glamorous lights like that, but they don't have to; packages of things can be any color manufacturers choose.

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I have two laser printers. One is an HP Laserjet 5MP made in 1995 or 1996 (!) that I bought used for $75 in the early (middle?) 2000s. It prints maybe 200-300 5-to-10%-cover pages a month (wall-to-wall 10-or-11-point Helvetica text) so total refill-toner-cartridge and on-sale paper cost is around $50 a year. (I figured it out before and got a different number; but this is right.) It's a brick, it works great, zero maintenance.
The other is a relatively new Brother I got, also used, for $25 a couple of years ago. Its rollers are fresh; I use it to print on the blank side of stacks of used paper, so paper's free for that one. It jammed once, I remember. I had to walk to it, open it and take the paper out.
I suppose I could just use a monitor and never need paper at all, but I do about eight hours of reading aloud into a microphone per week, and I like printed paper spread out all around me for that.

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Science has finally discovered why we especially like to eat food that we like. It turns out to have as much to do with how much we like the food as with it being food in the first place. Also, we tend to eat more food that we like, because we like it so much. But that's not just double rewards, is it? It's /four/ times the reward. Ah, the allure of food. So mysterious. And there's also smell involved, not to mention hearing the can opener, and being fueled to stay alive to eat again another day, so /seven or eight/ rewards, then. /Thousands/ of them, if you live long enough. No wonder we are addicted to eating food and suffer so in withdrawal when deprived of it. There's no way off this nightmare treadmill except to not get on in the first place. But it's too late for that now, fellow food-bitches. Hopelessly hooked.
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I grew up in my grandparents' Italian restaurant. One of my earliest memories is helping my grandfather assemble the tree. It was made of wooden dowels painted white, and the branches were aluminum strips twisted in hard wires that jammed into holes in the dowels. All the branches were the same length, but the holes were at more and more vertical angles as you went up the dowels, to make the whole thing tree-shaped. The branches wouldn't go in unless you pointed them exactly the right direction, and that was somehow /great/. Every branch was like /yeah! that way!/ But the best part was a little spotlight that you put on the floor in the corner of the display window at the front of the restaurant and pointed at this space-age, shiny tree, and there was a four-color disk that turned on a rotisserie motor in front of the light, and I would sit there and stare at that light and watch the colors change, and listen to the motor grind and buzz, and I'd count the seconds it took to go all the way around to red again, because it sped up and slowed down seemingly at random. And I'd think about it and about what else you could point the light at, and wouldn't it be great if the light in the kitchen was like that? and the back porch light? and the car lights? That's Christmas.

A couple of weeks ago I was in a store with Juanita and they had laser things that you'd put on the lawn and point at the house to make tiny dim points of red and green light jump around everywhere, and for some reason it /didn't even remind me of the rotisserie light thing at all/. I didn't think about it until just now. It's like so much of the modern world: frantic and fast and tiny and dim and cold and easy to look away from. I don't know-- maybe I'd like it more if it had a noisy motor struggling in it, or if it got hot enough to burn your hand, or if it required some assembly.

I think you were right to wish for a shiny artificial tree that can be put away in a small box and taken out year after year forever. It's prettier. It's not wasteful. I mean, /Helicopter logging of Christmas tree farms?/
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Profile for Marco McClean

  • Member Since 2012/08/04



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