Archives for posts with tag: humor

If we want to stay healthy, exercising isn’t enough. We also have to watch what we eat and drink. No more diets full of Doritos, cheap beer and other essential nutrients.

We have to start eating foods that help us ward off cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, arthritis and memory … yes, right, lapses. There are foods that can boost our immune system, prevent cancer and help us deal with tennis elbow even if we’ve never played tennis and get our cardio exercise from Words With Friends.

These are called superfoods. We have given them this name because Doritos was already taken. Here’s the list of what they are and what they can do for you.

Blueberries: They are rich in antioxydants, which will help fight off any oxydants that try to robo call you at home after 9 p.m. Blueberries also boast flavonoids, which may help prevent heart attacks by scaring them off with such a scary word.

Dark chocolate: Consuming a small amount of dark chocolate — at least 70 percent or dark enough when it melts to ruin your new white shirt or blouse — can boost memory if you can remember where you’ve hidden the chocolate so your partner can’t find it.

Asparagus: This is a vegetable high in lycopene, which has been found to protect the spleen, pancreas and other weird internal organs against libel suits filed by jilted email correspondents. It also can help reduce the risk of seeing your life being made into a Lifetime TV movie of the week.

Apples: Full of soluble fiber, apples help reduce cholesterol. That’s the bad cholesterol, obviously. Probably. Or maybe they increase the good cholesterol. Or it’s possible they make the bad cholesterol into the good cholesterol by dissolving some of it in those little snack boxes of apple sauce.

Broccoli: Broccoli is high in vitamins such as A, C, B9, B52, C3PO and R2D2. That means your eyes, red blood cells, bones and tissues all benefit from this vegetable as long as they don’t have to eat it.

Butternut squash: This is a vegetable that brims with beta-carotene, which is important for crossword puzzle clues, as long as the missing word is more than seven letters and begins with a B. In addition, it also offers a healthy amount of potassium, which helps you find emory boards during those physically stressful moments when you have a hangnail.

Fava beans: Low in fat, low in sodium and low in flavor, these beans have plenty of manganese and iron, which is what probably makes them taste so awful. Their inability to be easily digested will help keep your weight down.

Coffee: This beverage is full of folate, thiamin and riboflavin, also known as the three stooges of nutrition. The National Institutes of Health has found that people who drink two cups a day of coffee were 32 percent more likely to need the restroom when the time came to split the check, thus greatly helping their financial health.

Red wine: A glass a day of red wine can help protect against those pompous chardonnay drinkers who want to talk to you about their recent river cruise down the Loire Valley.


Echo and Alexa, Siri and Cortana, the Vitamix and the Spiralizer. Bluetooth and Blu-ray. Fitbits and Kindles, Fire and Roku, Glipsies and Shmaltzers. (It’s possible I may have made those last two up, although, to be honest, I’m not quite sure.)

In recent years, obviously, there has been an avalanche of new technological devices and services, all of which apparently do things we didn’t know needed doing. I now have a watch, for instance, that tells me my heart rate, how many miles I’ve run, how many laps I’ve swum, how many steps I’ve taken, how many calories I’ve expended, how many hours I’m sleeping — or not sleeping — and whether I should be doing some laundry.

This is part of a worrisome trend. Devices never used to be multi-taskers. A scissors cut, it didn’t play music. A stapler stapled, it didn’t send messages. A refrigerator cooled things, it didn’t give you directions.

Devices, which were not called “devices” in the past, but, more accurately, “things,” used to be simple single-taskers. They knew how to focus on their task and not get distracted by frequently checking their phones.

And so you didn’t need 97-page online manuals to figure out how to use the scissors, unless, of course, you’re a lefty, like me, and it’s always a right-handed scissors.  (You righties, with your sense of innate, unexamined privilege, have no idea what it’s like to live in a world dominated by right-handed measuring cups.)

With old things, you didn’t need a series of unintelligible diagrams to decipher where in the refrigerator you should put the vegetables and where you should put the fruits, unless of course you were confused about the status of the tomato, which is truly a fruit parading around as a non-conforming vegetable.

But today, as we are awash in this new generation of technology, many of us from a previous generation — by that I mean me — are floundering, still unable to figure out how to create a PDF or even what those letters stand for (Private Dance Floor maybe? Precious Diamond Factory?).

We had been sold a bill of goods and told that all this new technology was designed, among other things, to help us communicate better. Which is why we frequently hear from a robotic voice that our call is important to somebody, although it’s not nearly as important to them as it is to us because, frankly, they’re a machine and have all the time in the world and don’t have to go to the bathroom and we do.

We had been told the technology was designed to streamline our existence, and I guess it does, as long as we don’t have to set it up, install it, connect it, upgrade it, post to it, link to it or understand it. But we do.

And to do all that, we do need my watch’s 97-page online manual. Unfortunately, the only words I actually understood in the manual are the heading on the first page: “Getting Started.” That’s where I stopped.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town

not a hashtag was liked, even Twitter was down.

The stockings were hung for the retina display

in hopes no ‘net trolls would take them away.

The children were nestled, all snug and secure,

while Big Data strip-mined their free FICO score.


Alexa kept all our new devices humming

while Amazon’s Echo said, of course, it’s coming.

The USB ports were all fully employed

as we began charging our Motorola Droid.

Our old search engine was completely optimized

even though we’ve no idea what that signified.


Our Fitbit was running and Netflix were streaming,

young children everywhere were pleasantly dreaming

of toys and gifts that would become a new meme,

of toys and gifts that’d be the crème de la cream.


Sure, we should have been using an iPhone X,

but paying a whole grand? For those fancy specs?

We weren’t concerned about an Equifax breach —

we had our proxy firewall within easy reach.


We livestreamed and crowdsourced to Kickstart our night

and logged on to Squarespace to set up our site.

We ran Kaspersky and cleaned the plasma screen,

we signed on to Skype to transmit the whole scene.

We downloaded a number of total killer apps —

our mobile devices never suffered a lapse.

We chatted on whatsapp to find out what’s up;

with our VPN firewall, no need for backup.


We scanned news on Reddit and opened Spotify.

We didn’t even log off when the server went awry.

We still had Google Plus and even Google Chrome.

And of course there was Foursquare we could call home.

Our Instagram pix were almost all ready

while our 4G LTE was amazingly steady.

We took 50 selfies and saved them to Pinterest.

We uploaded to Dropbox the ones that were the best.

We checked our Facebook page and scanned the Huff Post,

we raised our Tumblrs and made a hearty toast.

We pinged and snapchatted all through the long night

to make sure our terminology was exactly right.


Then on the back deck, beside the satellite dish,

there came a loud sound and we knew something was amiss.

Was it a drone or a sneaky photobomb

or an IPO launch by a unicorn dotcom?

So I went to my Roku to check out the clatter,

to see if something was wrong with my data.

When what to my pixel-ated eyes should appear,

but a mixed-media sleigh and eight remote-controlled reindeer.

I knew in an instant after checking my OS,

that Santa was here, and in some distress.

And then in a twinkling I saw from my futon,

that poor old St. Nick didn’t have his red suit on.


His eyes were all watery, his emoji a frown.

He said, with a grimace, his WiFi was down.

There will be no gifts tonight, he added apace —

“I have no spreadsheets, nor my database!”


Santa couldn’t do it? There would be such a lack.

Were we the victims of the latest Russian hack?


Could we find a way through this terrible mess?

Could we find a way without our GPS?

We thought of creating a new avatar

or getting FedEx from a self-driving car

— or maybe just getting a drink at the bar.

The whole scene had become incredibly eerie,

at this point we couldn’t even count on our Siri.


Then we heard from someone who used to read Wired,

from someone who was no longer high-tech inspired.

Santa, we were told, could do it by hand.

He wasn’t a slave of a high-frequency band.

He didn’t need the Cloud or to send a new text.

He didn’t need high-def or whatever comes next.

All he’d need was a big sack and a big hearty laugh.

He wouldn’t need 10 megagigs — not even half.


His eyes, how they twinkled, his smile gleamed so brightly!

His bandwidth was solid, his GIFs were quite sprightly.

He sprang to his sleigh, the reindeer came near.

He blasted Sirius XM while still in first gear.

I heard him exclaim as he cruised out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good byte.”

You are concerned, understandably, about the recent massive data breach at Equifax and at other sites where your personal information, including your locker number at the gym, may have been exposed. What should you do?

Check your credit report. Does it say that you’ve requested a mortgage to buy a condo on the beach in Kiev? Ha! There is no beach in Kiev. It’s inland. Instead, try for a small, rustic but tasteful dacha in the Kiev suburbs.

Does your credit report also say you have opened accounts at several Swiss banks and purchased the nation of Liechtenstein? This probably means your personal data is being used in ways that are not in your interest. Given your druthers, you would have purchased Luxembourg.

Set up fraud alerts. If your personal data and thus identity has been stolen, it would be nice to get a ping on your phone every time some hacker is making believe he is you and is getting invited to better cocktail parties.

Consider a credit freeze. This is easy to do. Take all your credit cards and hide them in the freezer of your fridge, just under the boneless chicken breasts and the organic whole grain frozen waffles. That way, no one will be able to find them and if they do, you still have the chicken breasts.

Change your passwords. This would first require remembering all your passwords or at least finding that torn sheet of paper where you wrote them all down last December, during the last massive data breach. Then, you would have to remember your user name before you could access your account before you could change your password.

Even more embarrassing, you may have to click on both the “Forgot your password?” button and the “Forgot your user name?” button. IT people hiding in the ether will roll their eyes and snigger at you. All in all, it might be better to let the hackers just have your social security number.

Consider two-factor authentication. Some web sites offer additional security features, like putting their hands in your pockets to check for wrappers of old Peppermint Patties and determining if they were yours or someone else’s.

They also require two-factor authentication for you to access your accounts. That means when you enter your password, you will receive a message (usually a text, but sometimes a kiss on the cheek) with a one-time code that you must enter within 90 seconds of receiving it before you can log in.

The 90 seconds goes by pretty quickly, so there is a lot of pressure here, and this is also so complicated that most everyone gives up before authenticating the second factor, thus preserving the integrity of your account, mainly from you.

Change your hairstyle. If your identifying data has been stolen, you’re going to need a disguise. Instead of parting what remains of your hair on the left, consider growing bangs.

Change your identity. Become a hacker. Apparently it’s a growth industry.

Thank you for your purchase. Please complete the following survey and be entered for a chance to win another survey.

How often do you make a purchase like this?

a) Once a week.

b) Once a month.

c) Never on Sundays.

 d) When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie.


What was the main factor in your purchase?

a) Cost.

b) Quality.

c) Flavor.

d) Absence of cat dander.

Was the availability of convenient parking important to your purchase?

a) Very much.

b) Very little.

c) Not so much.

d) Not so little.

Please rate your overall satisfaction with your purchase.

a) Highly satisfied.

b) Moderately satisfied.

c) Would prefer to have bought an outdated package of cocktail weenies imported from Ukraine.

d) I hope you rot in hell.

How were you treated by our sales representative?

a) I was greeted warmly and offered a glass of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick.

b) I waited hours for my cinnamon stick, which turned out not to be cinnamon but star anise.

c) I was ignored from the time I walked in until the time I found my own cinnamon stick.

d) We immediately saw eye-to-eye and decided right there on the spot to vacation together in Aruba. Nuptials are planned for April 25: Save the date.

Please rate your satisfaction with the service you encountered.

a) Highly satisfied.

b) Satisfied.

c) Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

d) Neither conscious nor unconscious, mostly just in a cinnamon-induced coma for the duration.

How often do you use the product?

a) Very often

b) Often.

c) Mainly during transcontinental solar eclipses.

d) Only when held up at gunpoint.

If you could change one thing about your purchase experience, what would it be?

a) I would have stayed home and watched reruns of “Friends,” except for the episode where Ross and Rachel get drunk in Las Vegas.

b) Instead of the F-150 extended cab diesel hybrid, I would have bought a new food processor.

c) I wouldn’t have tried to pay in nickels.

d) Although Aruba is quite nice, I think we should have chosen the Cayman Islands for the snorkeling.

Have you visited or contacted us before?

a) Yes.

b) No.

c) Was on hold for 32 minutes trying to leave a voicemail. Does that count?

d) Yes, but used another identity since mine had been stolen on the Internet because, despite warnings, I use the same password for all my accounts.

Would you recommend us to friends and acquaintances?

a) What makes you think I have friends?

b) How much would be in it for me?

c) If I did, could I get the senior discount next time?

d) No, but I would recommend you to that creep who rear-ended me in the Whole Foods parking lot and then just drove off.

I used to have a watch that told me the time. I now have a watch that tells me my heart rate, how many miles I’ve run, how many laps I’ve swum, how many steps I’ve taken, how many calories I’ve expended, how many hours I’m sleeping — or not sleeping — and whether I should be doing some laundry.

This is part of a worrisome trend. Devices never used to be multi-taskers. A scissors cut, it didn’t play music. A stapler stapled, it didn’t send messages. A refrigerator cooled things, it didn’t give you directions.

Devices used to be simple single-taskers. And consequently you didn’t need 97-page online manuals to figure out how to use the scissors, unless, of course, you’re a lefty, like me, and it’s a right-handed scissors.  You didn’t need a series of diagrams to decipher where in the refrigerator to put the vegetables and where to put the fruits, unless you were confused about the status of the tomato, which is truly a fruit parading around as a non-conforming vegetable.

Whatever device they are explaining, the 97-page online manuals all have something in common: they are, of course, incomprehensible. Take the one for my new watch, for instance.

When you use the watch, the manual begins, you start from the clock screen, which is the screen with numbers that tell you what time it is. The larger number is the hour, while the smaller number is the minutes, unless you are in reverse mode, which means you are wearing the watch on the wrong wrist.

The very small number, in the right corner just above the call letters for your nearest FM radio station, is the number for the seconds.

The hour number, you will notice, is shown slightly dimmed and the minutes are shown brighter while the seconds are show in Sanskrit, so you can see the precise time more clearly and not think this is the middle of the night in New Delhi and you should be sleeping. The clock screen also shows the date and the month, so you don’t think you are sleeping in December, when it gets dark early.

You can use the buttons alongside the clock screen to go to other screens on your watch. To open the tracking screen, press down, which opens the settings menu, then press right, which opens the activities menu, then press left, which opens the luncheon menu. If you would just prefer to have a salad, press up.

While wearing the watch, remember that the GPS receiver should always face upwards. To find which direction is upwards, press down. Wait until the compass icon is visible, then stop looking down at your watch because you’re about to get dizzy and may develop a headache.

Whatever option you choose, remember that your watch will remember what you highlighted. Which is more than we can say for you.

Welcome to campus, new college students! And please put down your phones and stop snapchatting for just a moment and try to pay attention.

In this Move-In Guide, we have all the answers to all your questions as you begin this important new chapter in your lives and begin to worry about how you will ever pay off your student loans. So let’s take a look at some of those questions you might have.

Why is my dorm room on the other side of the interstate from the main campus, seven stories up on the top floor, at the end of the last corridor and 2.3 miles away from the suite bathroom?

Congratulations on winning the dorm lottery! And by the way, considering everything, we don’t recommend your scheduling any 8 a.m. classes.

            Can I change my assigned roommate?

Yes, if it turns out your assigned roommate really spends all day watching reruns of The Bachelorette and buffing his AK-47, you can request a new roommate by filling out the “I want to change my roommate Form RQ47.” Be aware, though, you may end up replacing the roommate who always called you “Dude” with a roommate who now always calls you “Bro.”

What do I need for my dorm room?

You should first bring sheets that will fit an irregularly shaped bed that is actually four feet longer than it is wide and is perfect for your new roommate, Gumby. Also, do not forget to bring a shower tote bucket, where you can carefully place all your toiletries and cover them with soap scum.

To make the dorm room feel more like home, consider decorating it in ratty old T-shirts left on the floor and multi-colored sticky notes stuck to the T-shirts.

Are there items I shouldn’t bring to my dorm room?

Yes. No halogen lamps, candles, incense or squirrels.

Where can I do my laundry?

Laundry? You’re a college student — who does laundry?

How do I pick a meal plan?

We offer multiple kinds of meal plans, including the 42-pizzas-a-week plan, as well as meal plans that are non-gluten or, for the more adventurous, all-gluten. You also can choose from vegan, vegetarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian and pollovegetarian. If you have to ask what a pollovegetarian is, you’re not one.

Can I bring a bike to campus?

Of course you can. We encourage all students to use alternative transportation methods to get around campus because there are only seven parking spots on campus. Three of those belong to a professor emeritus. Note that when you are on your bike going down a hill at 35 miles an hour you should probably stop trying to watch the last episode of Game of Thrones on your iPad, particularly if a professor emeritus is in the crosswalk.

And remember, you can register your bike for free, so when it gets stolen next week during your first class, you’ll have a receipt that you will always have to remember it by.

OK, when can I move in?

Your move-in time is determined by the dorm you’ve been assigned, the first letter of your last name and your astrological sign. If you’re Taurus, you’re in big trouble.

Vacation season isn’t over yet. You still have time to pack for a trip. Remember, packing is an art, a skill, a challenge. The challenge, of course, is to arrive at your destination with underwear.

To meet that challenge, here are a number of packing tips developed by experienced travelers who have never been stuck in the middle seat between two crying 1-year-olds.

First, choose your suitcase carefully. (We assume here that you’d rather not check your bag since that would mean an increased possibility of it ending up in Beijing when you are going to Grand Rapids.)

Understand that the bigger your suitcase, the likelier you can’t get someone else to lift it for you into the overhead bins. Also, if it’s too large, you will feel required to fill up all the extra hidden pockets, thus bringing scuba diving equipment with you to the mountains.

The choice between hard-sided or soft-sided, wheelie or non-wheelie, is, of course, a deeply personal one, dependent on your religious background and whether you believe hard-sided, non-wheelie is truly the work of the devil.

Once you have chosen a suitcase, remember the goal is to fill every inch of available space. That means putting socks inside shoes, then putting toothpaste inside the socks. Jam that rain jacket into the sleeve of those pajamas. Fold your flip-flops and stuff them into your dental floss dispenser.

Limit what you pack. First, take everything out of the closet that you are considering taking with you and lay the items on the bed. If you can’t see the bed, you need to pare down a little. If you can’t see the floor, you need to re-schedule the trip.

Put heavy, bulky items in first, at the bottom of the suitcase. If you only have heavy, bulky items, you can ignore this tip, but why are you traveling with cannonballs?

Try rolling your items. This will maximize space and minimize wrinkles but can be difficult to do with the handmade Guatemalan pottery flower vase you are bringing as a birthday gift for Aunt Sophie.

If rolling doesn’t work, try the bundling technique. Carefully wrap each article of clothing around a central core, with underwear and T-shirts at the center, and large tailored items like blazers and dresses as the outer layer. While this technique is utterly useless, unraveling the bundle does make a fun getting-to-know-you game if you meet anybody interesting at the hotel.

You also could use packing cubes. These are smaller bags that you put inside larger bags that you put inside enormous bags that you try to fit into your suitcase, just as soon as you have taken out several of the cannonballs.

Then there’s my method: Take anything you want. Jam it all into the suitcase until it screams for mercy. Don’t worry about wrinkles because where you’re going, no one knows you. Sit on the bag until you can close it. Pull the zipper tight until you can lock it or it breaks.

Hope that the airline loses your bag.

Hello, my name is Neil and I’ll be your server this evening unless you want Bruce because he actually knows how to pronounce quinoa.

Although you’re still just trying to sit down and haven’t decided yet if you’re sitting boy-girl, boy-girl or some other more exotic configuration, would you like something to drink to begin the meal? Our drink menu includes a number of artisanal cocktails that combine ingredients you’ve never heard of in ways you can’t imagine. They also cost prices you won’t believe.

We have a number of specials on our menu tonight and I will now recite them all to you so quickly that you will undoubtedly ask me to repeat them at least two or three times. Then you probably will still forget most of them as soon as I move away and begin ignoring your frantic waving. Please don’t stop me in the middle of the recitation of my list because then I’ll have to go back to the beginning and start again, and who wants that?

Our soup special is a gingered cream of traditional rice balls with sashes of nori — and, no, we don’t know what that means either — with a dollop of shiitake mushroom extract. Traditionally, we use two iis in shiitake but our mushroom chef is considering using three iiis tonight to add some extra umami.

By the way, our umami is locally sourced and humanely harvested.

Tonight’s salad has been grown by local farmers who have never used chemically enhanced hand sanitizers. It includes baby bok choy, several adult boks who are chaperoning, heirloom tomatoes grown from organic looms, and caramelized caramels that have been taken out of their boxes and left to naturally dry and shrivel in the sun.

The special entree tonight is free-range pork belly, which is a boneless cut of fatty meat which five years ago you wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole but now you can’t touch without a couple of $20 bills. The pork belly is fennel-glazed, whipped to a froth, frothed to a whip, steamed, braised, sautéed and roasted for weeks on end over at Pig Sty Farm just down the road. The farmers will bring it directly to your table, as soon as they change out of their overalls.

The road they will take, by the way, is cage-free. The pork belly then was charred by two firemen who have, without GMOs, contained three wildfires in remote places in the state of Utah. Their credentials are available.

The pork belly is served over a pilaf of farro, a grain that no one had heard of three months ago, and accompanied by a relish made from peach compote and day-caught sea bass intestines that have been mixed with salted peanuts that we harvested only after the seventh inning.

For dessert, our pastry chef has concocted a special panna cotta sorbet tiramisu dulce de leche because we’ve run out of English words on the menu.

Would you like to see the regular menu now or are you ready to order? Or would you like a moment to make reservations elsewhere?

I can understand all the trouble the Republicans in Washington had coming up with a new healthcare bill.

Health insurance is so complicated many of us look forward to the day we can get Medicare, the government health insurance plan for those so old, like me, they can’t figure out how to change the greeting on their voice mail. That’s because being able to enroll in Medicare is one of the major benefits of getting older, right after being eligible for the Early Bird Special.

But enrolling in Medicare, which has many moving parts, isn’t that easy.

Medicare Part A, which is free, is essentially hospital insurance, which means you are insuring the hospital you won’t go there very often. But if you do appear too frequently, you get to buy one operation and get the second one 50 percent off.

Medicare Part B costs money, with your premium set each year by a group of secretive garden gnomes who know the year you were born and if the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars. If you enroll in the plan outside that time, you pay a higher premium and are forced to listen to remixed a capella versions of The Carpenters’ greatest hits.

Medicare Part B covers certain doctors’ services, but generally not the ones you will need. It also covers some outpatient care, mostly when you are an in-patient, and a few medical supplies, but not the Band-Aids you called for when you cut your finger slicing a bagel.

Then there’s Medicare Plan C, which is almost never called Medicare Plan C because that would be too easy. Offered by private insurers, these plans are designed to make up the difference between what Medicare pays and what the federal budget deficit is. They provide Part A and Part B benefits, and a free toaster.

Also, usually, they offer Medicare Part D benefits, which is actually prescription drug coverage because it would have been too simple to call it Medicare Plan Rx benefits.

Many different insurance companies offer these plans. Each company says its plan is better than all the other plans. Each company says it will cover more, will cover better, will cover 20 percent of this, 100 percent of that (after the first 35 percent) and 60 percent of the second 25 percent, minus the 18-percent co-pay.

If you’re still with us, then there’s a Medicare Supplement Plan, which is different from an Advantage Plan because it does not include Plan D prescription coverage and doesn’t make you pay co-pays after you meet your deductible, on a date set up by e-Harmony.

Your premium for an advantage plan or a supplement plan will depend on where you live, how old you are, whether you can remember the Lucky Strike cigarette jingle and if you have any previous conditions, such as breathing.

If you get a supplement plan, you then will have to get a separate Part D prescription plan, but there may be none left because you have taken so much time figuring out all the parts of the first part.