Nov 12, 2010

Is this run noticeable?

Planned obsolescence is the practice of designing products to break down at a predictable rate in order to force consumers to replace them. Like pantyhose. Odds are slim that you'll ever wear a pair of pantyhose more than three times without getting a run in them. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, hitting the lottery or running across a one-legged accordian player doing a polka. The average pair of pantyhose costs about $6. You can pay more, and I have, but my empirical research shows no correlation between cost and durability. At $6 a pair I am dropping about $240 a year. My annual cost would skyrocket if I were the type of woman that frets over her appearance. I don't mind wearing a pair with a run in them if it's not terribly obvious. A hole in the toe though is unbearable. Nothing makes me madder than getting a hole in the toe on the first day you wear a new pair. Into the trash they go.

I refuse to believe that science is incapable of inventing a fabric that is both sheer and tough. This consistent product failure has to be intentional. The hosiery industry has no motivation to increase the useful life of their product. We just keep buying them. Why can't they follow the lightbulb's lead? Some of the bulbs they make these days last for years and consumers gladly pay more for them to reduce bulb changing. I'd pay a pretty penny for a pair of hose I could wear long enough to have to wash them one or two times.

I once suspected that blow dryers were also designed to fail. It always seemed they lasted at most a year or two before burning out. My opinion changed when I bought my latest blow dryer. It's been going strong for 10 years. Well not exactly strong. Currently the folding handle won't lock in position anymore, making the dryer droop unless you prop it as you are using it. But it's workable. The innovation in hair dryer technology that made this possible was the addition of a hatch over the air intake part of the dryer. I can clean it out regularly which keeps the dryer from overheating. I'm shooting for 20 years of usage of my current dryer. It's a trooper.

The most durable car I've ever seen was a work bucket Dodge my Dad drove back in the 80's. It was an old,  ugly, aqua green monstrosity with fins, chrome and a push button transmission. That thing was solid as a rock. What finally did her in was rusted door hinges. Hell, if my Dad had been willing to ride around Jeep-style I bet that thing would still be driveable. The worst car I've ever had was a Mercury Monarch my Dad bought for my sister and me. It was only 4 or 5 years old I think. But the body was literally rusting off the frame. Sis and I were mortified to have to drive it in front of our friends. But my Dad, bargain hunter that he is, couldn't see spending more to spare us the humility of driving the Rust Bucket. Stupid car only had AM radio too.  I suspect this was also planned obsolescence.  You can only listen to country and news talk radio for so long. 

Nov 2, 2010

Crazy Train

I was in DC this past weekend attending the Rally to Restore Sanity. The media is struggling to explain what happened there. Some of them are dismissing it as "entertainment", just comedy and music with no serious message. Others are calling it a bold move from the liberal left.   This need to sum everything up into an easy to understand, usually sensational, message is just more evidence of the problem.

Some things are beyond categorization and summation. Each rallyer had their own reason for being there, their own interpretation of the "message", their own feelings about the day. In a group of over 200,000 people you're going to find differing opinions. I think that was the point.

The minute the rally was announced I knew I was going. Every day it's becoming increasingly difficult to recognize this country. The hate and fear spewing from our TV's would lead you to believe that sensationalism is the only thing that matters anymore. Attending the rally felt like something positive I could do -add one more person to the throng I hoped would show up. My message was "You people are crazy." Who are "you people"? I'm talking about the loud mouthed, obnoxious media celebs that offer up their hate and bias and call it news. What have they created in the pursuit of ratings (profit)? People who actually think that nut jobs like Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, Paul Rand, Meg Whitman, and Sharon Angle are viable candidates for anything except a ride on Ozzy's Crazy Train.

So, I went to the rally, along with a lot of other people. In the middle of that massive crowd in our nation's capital, it felt good to be an American with a constitutional right to peaceably assemble, for whatever I wanted to assemble for. My voice counts, my opinion matters and my beliefs don't make me less American. No matter what Fox News says.

I believe that those blessed with more financial resources should pay more taxes. I believe that two people should have the right to be married, regardless of their genders. I believe that hard working illegal aliens should have a path to US citizenship. I believe that the way to stop illegal immigration is to punish those who create the jobs that attract illegals to this country and then pay them sub poverty wages to do back breaking work. I believe that health care reform didn't go far enough. As long as insurance companies run the show profit will continue to be the driving factor in health care. I believe in a single payer system... if it's an option it's not really single is it?  I believe that business, left to its own, unregulated devices will do anything to add to the bottom line, no matter the cost to human suffering. 

It's so laughable when politicians spout off about "What the American people want" is blah blah blah. As if we are one person. I think being an American is a little like being married. You don't agree with everything your fellow Americans (spouse) want to do, and you surely disagree with some of their beliefs, but you work through it - compromise, acceptance, tolerance and respect. There might be some yelling along the way but in the end you have to reach a workable solution that maintains the peace. What good is winning the battle if your marriage is destroyed in the process?

Nov 1, 2010

One little word.

I quickly glanced over my Google iPage and read that it's "Cook Your Pet Day".  Say what?  I opened the article and found that I'd skipped over the word "for".  Today is "Cook FOR Your Pet Day".