The last Shell gas station of its kind is in Winston Salem, NC.
What happens when you leave your smartwatch at home and strap on a mechanical analog timepiece? Joy.
Here’s what I didn’t notice as I fell into the habit of wearing an Apple Watch: The convenience of having easy access to data, right there on my wrist, turned into a never-ending series of micro obligations. Forget summoning info when I needed it. Even with alerts toned down to what I thought was a manageable level, the watched constantly nagged me. Look. At. Me. it said.
As I was packing for a weekend trip I was about to grab my Watch charger and thought, screw that. One more thing to plug into the wall? No thanks.
I grabbed my Seiko instead. It’s not a precious watch, or valuable. It’s a tool, albeit one with a nice-enough mechanical movement that keeps decent time. It’s not subtle either, because it’s got some heft and a bright orange dial. The name of this model, Monster, suits it.
An hour after putting it on, I noticed something. My watch wasn’t talking to me or giving me inaudible but intrusive feedback. It sat there on my wrist, ticking and waiting to tell me the time, when I wanted it. Joy.
I wore it after I returned from my trip. I’m wearing it today. I’ll probably wear it tomorrow, too.
Next week I’m starting a new chapter in my professional life. After 15 years as a solo consultant and orchestrator of what I call a “creative collaborative,” I’m joining Reuben Rink Marketing & Advertising as their director of digital services. I’ve known the folks at Reuben Rink as long as they’ve existed, and we’ve worked together on projects for more than a decade. They’re a great group of people and when I started thinking about rejoining the agency world, they were top of mind. So, on to ’21 and new colleagues and challenges. The last 15 years have been a great journey, but the future looks even better.
Everybody has their best-of lists, so let me be humility-free and offer Pandemic Journal for consideration. It compresses the ridiculousness of 2020 into an hour of reading/guilty pleasure that generated laughter, outrage and a small amount of misguided anger among readers.
If you haven’t yet, check it out.
Grifters often have a blind spot when it comes to detecting one of their own kind, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see the latest chapter of the Wisconsin-Foxconn saga leave the state’s citizens holding an empty bag while the politicos who summoned ruin look for a side door.
A company whose employees use threats of mass suicide as a bargaining tactic might not seem like an ideal partner for the wholesome Dairy State, but a few years ago they simply had to mention “high tech” and “13,000 employees” to get then-governor Walker, a man whose notions about economics arrive in a fat envelope from the Heritage Foundation, to strap on his kneepads and do whatever had to be done.
Even the Carnival Barker in Chief got in on the act, because there was credit to be claimed without actually doing any work besides shaking a hand and grimacing at a camera. And so it came to pass that Wisconsin ponied up $2.85 billion in tax credits in exchange for Foxconn’s promise to hire 13K workers who would make next-generation LCD screens. A wise man would question why a manufacturer of electronic commodities would choose to plop down a new factory in Wisconsin, the state’s sudden love of cheap labor notwithstanding, but no one has ever accused Scott Walker of being a wise man.
Similarly, history buffs might have spoken up about past examples of Foxconn playing bait and switch with rubes around the globe, but I guess the economic cheerleaders in the state don’t believe there’s anything to be learned from the past.
The train wreck that will forever be known as Fox-Con has happened in exquisite slow motion. An empty “innovation center” distracted curious eyes from the lack of actual manufacturing, while “someday soon” became less of a promise and more of a doomed dream.
Yet, some hold on to that dream and boldly believe, against all reason, that manufacturing activity will crank up and Foxconn will add the 12,719 additional employees needed to meet their commitment. But grifters know never to hang around one town too long. To paraphrase a famous movie about swindlers, I guess Foxconn will move on and won’t be getting a straight job anytime soon.
Citizens, pundits and fellow scientists have watched in horror as President Trump returned to the campaign trail, unmasked and in close proximity to aides, supporters and Secret Service agents. How can he do this? I’m asked, and while at first I shared many American’s alarm at this apparently reckless behavior, I now understand the threat is overstated.
In a nifty bit of lateral thinking, I put aside science and turned to thirty years of tabloid history. What I learned caused a zen-like calm to descend over me as I realized that the man who I thought was a super-spreader of SARS-CoV-2 is, in fact, incapable of hosting the virus. There is a simple reason, demonstrated multiple times and documented in the pages of The National Enquirer, other supermarket weeklies and TMZ.com.
Everything Trump touches dies, including:
- The USFL.
- Food and beverage brands.
- Jeffrey Epstein.
- Real estate deals.
- A search engine.
- An airline.
- Countless scams big and small.
- And yes, SARS-CoV-2.
In the same way that an unstoppable money-printing enterprise like a casino can hemorrhage red ink and die after close contact with Mr. Trump, so has SARS-CoV-2 been brought to its metaphorical knees.
I have directed my subordinates to immediately start research into processing his unique qualities into a serum that can be administered to the entire population, I must warn Americans that this wonder cure will not be available immediately, as we must first put safeguards in place to insure that this essence of Trump doesn’t inadvertently kill the entire pharmaceutical industry.
Columbus Day finds the Pandemic Journal staff gathering in the lunchroom to raise a toast to a few hundred years of unfettered genocide. As is our custom, staff members are invited to share their favorite recipes. These range from elaborate dishes to fare you might find in “Microwave Dinners for One.” I would say we don’t judge, but we do, with the advertising team assigning scores on a ten-point scale to each dish. And now it’s my pleasure to share with you, dear reader, a few time-tested favorites.
Publisher’s Punch (from yours truly)
Pour a fifth of pure grain alcohol in a Swarovski Crystal bowl. Add a splash of bottled, processed lemon juice. Stick a curly straw in the punch and drink until the sweet relief of unconsciousness overcomes you.
Cabbage, Just Cabbage (from Frank in Accounting)
Take the only vegetable your wife left you in the divorce. Season with tears. Stab it with a sharp knife. Eat it. Or not. Who’s hungry, anyway?
Crab Cakes a la Sue (from Sue in Research)
Lump crab masks the taste of drain cleaner, so add plenty of both along with bread crumbs, Old Bay Seasoning, and two egg yolks. Mix well, form into patties, bake and serve to those jackasses in HR while quietly reminding yourself that you make 30% less than your co-worker Dale, who is an idiot.
Hot Pockets and More! (from Chuck in the Motor Pool)
Inject Ghost Pepper concentrate into frozen Hot Pockets. Microwave per Jim Gaffigan’s instructions (frozen on the outside, molten in the middle). Pop popcorn and watch the fun.
Let Them Eat Cake (that’s right, another one from me!)
My lifelong pursuit of privatizing gains and socializing risk means that sometimes the axe has to fall on a career. And if it happens during our company lunch the bad news comes complete with a luscious chocolate cake. Who says a life-upsetting event can’t be sweet!?