sometimes ordinary things just suddenly seem weird
Hey there, ye who can’t keep your eyes open:
Three things I realized I’ve been overlooking for years without processing them as weird:
Spectrum alerts: You know those drug ads that started out on late-night TV, but now permeate all streaming services? (I hate them and believe they are indicators of a collapsing society, but that’s not the point.) Here’s the point. The main actor generally starts the ad while jogging or walking the dog or eating at a lovely restaurant then turns to the camera and says: “I have mild to severe asthma.” (insert the medical condition of your choice in place of asthma. These days it can be anything from irritable bowel syndrome to the very new, very fatal VEXAS) — but I usually spend these ads reading the preposterous fine print or laughing at the way the actor must minimize the side effects, many of which are debilitating or fatal. This week though, I noticed that the introduction is nearly always “mild to severe” — no one talks like this.
Redundancy that is repeated over and over: I’ve been in many airports recently and have frequently heard this announcement. “People flying to (destination) this will be your last and final call to board the plane. Your last and final call. Again. People flying to (destination on flight XXX), this will be your last and final call to board this flight.” Listen for it when you’re next in an airport.
Missing A&B: while refilling the remote control, I noted AA and AAA size batteries as well as some very ancient C and D batteries (I do not even own the “jam box” or the cassette player that these used to power. The batteries probably don’t even work…which made me recall the weird electric flavor when you licked the end of a little rectangular 9-volt battery to see if it was still good (probably unhealthy, don’t try this). Once, there used to be a lot of 9 volts, C’s and D’s in my electronics. But I have never seen or even heard of an A or B battery. Of course I went looking and the internet had an answer.
Keep your eyes open for an essay that began as a book review that is forthcoming in Mutha Magazine in March.
Catch up on my Medium posts in the meantime.
I did have a lovely interview with my undergrad college, Notre Dame University of Maryland. I don’t know what they will do with the recorded footage. They asked about classes that particularly influenced me and I remembered The Science of Science Fiction, taught by Dr. Joseph DiRienzi - who subsequently was a consultant at NASA (and maybe even back then, the guy is too modest!) - I loved that class: loved talking about how the story was improved or lessened based on how well the science was incorporated into the narrative. I think this class was what first heightened my sense of verisimilitude in literature—it still bothers me when there is no internal consistency in a work of fiction. It should at the very least be true unto itself.
Some scientists used science to prove that scientific sources are more trusted than spiritual sources. Here’s the scientific study. (official nickname: The Einstein Effect).
Why do I suspect that there is a religious tract out there in the libraries of dogma that uses faith to indicate that the opposite is also true? (If you like crazy studies like this, check out the cool/weird newsletter, Corgi-Class Starship, there are multiple links to strange articles and stories every week.)
That’s it for this week - I have one kid staying in Prague and visiting Berlin, and one visiting Paris. Me, I’m holding down the fort.