Saturday, December 26, 2015

Feature This

Every day, merely in the act of remaining alive, your body sheds billions of skin cells, nomadic mites, bacteria, and personal information. Market researchers can harvest the latter to help relieve you of your money. That is why ads for things you actually want keep popping up on your computer, and that is why newspapers no longer publish news. Newspapers now publish features and filler, because they have done market research, and they know that's what you like.

I didn't think I liked it, which is why I gave up my Oregonian subscription and got the New York Times instead. I was thrilled! There were long serious articles all over the place. I set aside the Style section, and also the Style II and Style III sections, and the Sports, and most of the Arts & Entertainment, and then after a while I set aside a lot of the front section to read later.

Articles about Syria, for instance. I didn't pay attention at first because I was hoping the whole thing would blow over. When it didn't, I was too far behind to understand it. I set all the World News sections aside and stacked them on my Tower of Remorse.

Shadows lengthened from the Tower of Remorse and finally I realized I didn't really want to read the news anymore. Which the Oregonian already knew, well before I did. So I got the Oregonian again, and now all I read is the Local Dead People and the features. Features like Personal Style, Homes & Gardens, and Pets.

Personal Style: yes! This week I learned that a really good footwear choice for short women is pointy flats, because they make your leg look longer. Sure they do! I plan to double down with false fingernails and a dunce cap and hit the runway.

Homes & Gardens: yes! The essential guide to proper gift wrapping. I'm a horrible gift wrapper. I always made all my presents, any of which might have taken me sixty hours, and by the time I had them done I didn't give one shit about wrapping them nicely. I shook them in a bag with old wrapping paper and tape like I was flouring chicken and hoped for the best.

But here were instructions on making your own felt bows and adding fun, funky ornaments. Or non-poisonous greenery from your garden. Unless that was from the Pets feature on hamsters. "Try wrapping one or two gifts each evening instead of all at once," the author recommended. Clearly, this was going to take some stamina. But it's easier, said she, if you collect little ornaments and funky doodads all year long and keep them in a closet with your wrapping paper and ribbon. Suddenly I realized I was reading advice from a person who had a doodad closet. I do not have a doodad closet. Just the tiny drawer in which I keep the shit I don't give one of. I turned the page.

Yes! How to create a cozy guest bedroom!

Keep it simple: that's the key. To keep it simple, it is suggested you use only one kind of fresh flower for the simple but elegant floral arrangement you will place on the nightstand with the chocolates and an assortment of current magazines and classic books. Also, you should provide a simple personal coffeepot in the room along with a tray of hot chocolate, tea, sugar packets, mugs, airplane booze, pudding, your wireless code with a link to an escort service, and a selection of charcuterie.  Also, a fruit bowl, personal ointments, a stocked freezer and a pizza oven. Also, water and adequate lighting. Unless that was the hamster advice.

Bed should be of sufficient size and sturdiness to withstand several strata of pillows. Seed the pillow pile with fun things for your guests to find when they're excavating down to the mattress: think Legos, small tins of Oxycodone, or a rented kitten. (Check your doodad closet.)

Make sure there is easy access to your ventilation system in case your guests want to do some fun midnight exploring! Wait, that was the hamster advice.

Blackout curtains are recommended in case your guests want to sleep in. Walling up the windows altogether is an even nicer touch. Just be sure there is an exit to the outside. If the number for the taxi service is prominently displayed, you'll never have to see your guests at all.

And that's a wrap. News at eleven. I'll be asleep.

35 comments:

  1. I confess that I read less and less "serious" news because of depression and anxiety. My husband, however, is a news junkie, so if there is anything I need to know, I get it through him. The "fluff pieces" and adverts are seldom relevant to my life, so after glomming them, I move on to the comics. The only use for printed "news" in our household is as a cheap source of parrot cage liner. If I ever discover a cheaper source, though, the News Journal is history.

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    1. We use it to start the fire in the wood stove, but we're replacing that with a snap-on snap-off gas number in a couple weeks. Then we'll have to get a parakeet.

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  2. Everything has gotten so complicated. No wonder people need to be told how everything is to be done. Trying to live a simple life is like swimming upstream in a river of garbage and sewage. And me without my water wings.

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    1. I think what we've got going on here is what happens when writers decide they need to make a living. Then they produce Content.

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  3. Oh, thanks. I always wondered why my guests never wanted to stay a second night.

    And of course you are right, as usual, about the newspaper crap.

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    1. We get people to keep staying for Dave's breakfasts. Then they have to sleep it off; then they want another; etc.

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  4. Yup this is the perfect Boxing Day post!!
    Guests have left. News aren't worthy of my little time left on this complicated planet where the weather reports are the wildest news ever.
    And who cares about fancy wrapping anyway. All seem conditioned to care about contents of gift packages.
    I thought pointy shoes were worn by witches according to Roal Dahl's book that Pooh may have enjoyed, "WITCHES". It even became a movie in 1990.
    Sadly shedding skin really has an impact in our home with Buddy's psoriasis. His volume is way above the norm.

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    1. I read once that all the dust in a house is shed skin cells. And that if nobody ever lived in the house it wouldn't be dusty. I don't know if that's true but I just visualized a dust storm at your place. That's got to be tough.

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    2. We bought one of the first Dyson vacuums available. It is purple, and was referred to in Dyson ads as the "for Pets" model. Everyone thought we purchased it to suck up all of our dog's/dogs' hair and dander (which it indeed does), but our dirty little secret is that we chose it to suck up *my* shed skin cells from my flakey winter skin.....

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    3. ...and about the dog's/dogs' usage -- some years we have multiple dogs, some years we have only one dog. OK?

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    4. So, you could theoretically create an entire new being from your dust bag. Just shake it like you're flouring a chicken and...

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    5. The risk there is that you would create a clone of Ed, covered with dog fur and possibly liking "Snausages".....

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  5. If I had to wrap gifts a few at a time I'd NEVER get it done. One blitz on Christmas Eve - empty table, scissors and tape and pen at hand, gift bags and tissue on the floor beside - boom, done.

    And by done, I mean I'm all finished by 3 a.m. But at least I'm done.

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    1. When I did make all my presents, I'd start somewhere around late September and always, always finish early Christmas morning.

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    2. Sounds like every term paper I ever wrote, finished at O-dark-hundred and turned in the next day. As a quilter with an obscene amount of fabric squirreled away, the very best wrapping paper is more fabric to enclose the gift and tied with fabric selveges or the side seams from a thrifted shirt I've cut up. My sewing friends are always thrilled with this get-up, and I'm slowly winnowing out the chaff.

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    3. Sometimes I just wad it all up in a grocery bag and say "here. I brung you sumpin'."

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  6. Oh dear. By sifting through the articles I refuse to read you have reminded me that I fail in more areas of life. Sigh. Gift wrapping? Style? No. Just no. I do the first. Sort of. A bit.
    News is difficult too. I make the attempt there though.

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    1. I at least make friends with informed people I trust and ask them periodically what's going on.

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    2. That's why your blog comes up in my "news feed."

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    3. Oh dear! Am I one of your "informed sources?"

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  7. About reading/not reading the news.......I immediately flashed on Simon & Garfunkle's line from "The Only Living Boy in New York": "I get all the news I need from the weather report" https://youtu.be/Ujm8IV9ZQPQ And at the time I was troubled by the idea, but now I'm coming around to it. I also flashed on Bette Midler's line in "Hello in There", a song about old people being isolated from the world: "All the news just repeats itself, like some forgotten dream that we've both seen". https://youtu.be/ny7AbQleGVI So while I'm coming around to the Simon & Garfunkle philosophy, heaven help any of us if we end up like Bette Midler is describing. Sorry to be so serious, but its Boxing Day, right?

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    1. Yes it is, and by the way, what IS that?

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    2. Boxing Day was started in Britain, when the aristocracy, on the day after Christmas, would "box up" the leftover Christmas food and what-not to give to the servants. Some Christmas bonus.

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    3. Good King Wenceslaus went out
      On the Feast of Stephen
      When the snow lay roundabout
      Deep and crisp and even
      Etc,...

      The Feast of Stephen is December 26th, so Boxing Day was yet another path to heaven for the rich fellows.

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    4. They need all the help they can get. Remember the camel and the eye of the needle?

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  8. Now that I can get the comics online, I see no need for a newspaper. The easiest way to a satisfactory (for me) guest room is a lock on the door!!

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    1. Hey, sounds like you don't even need to leave the house!

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  9. I was sure you were going to link the wrapping gifts and the newspaper by saying the only use for newspapers is to use them - the colored Sunday comics are the best - as wrapping paper. Which is what we do with our newspapers. That and start fires in the fireplace with them. I couldn't possibly cope with the New York Times - way too much paper. And news. The local rag is just fine for reading the obits and finding out about local fun events after we've already missed them.

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    1. Oo, yet another great feature of our daily paper, which is delivered only Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The funnies are in color EVERY DAY. Isn't that special? The answer is no, that is not special. That is the opposite of special. That is taking something that was infinitesimally special and making it dull and routine. Gaaah. It's tomatoes in January.

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  10. Doodad closet? I don't even have a linen closet!
    As for that "keep it simple" paragraph, actually the whole section, it would be simpler it seems, to just give them the key to your house and leave out instruction books for stove, dishwasher and washing machine!
    When I had a house, the only things I ever did was put fresh sheets on the bed, and stock any specialty foods they might require, such as soy milk for the lactose intolerant etc. Then I offered free run of the kitchen and that was that.
    I see the cute little Santa in the corner of your couch :)
    What is the name of the paint colour I see on the wall there? It's lovely.

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    1. Hmm. The dark green is actually a wallpaper, and the lighter color right behind me is something like "wheat snot" or some other very neutral tone. I wonder if I will ever repaint. I painted almost all of the house at once (13 rooms) and now, 20 years later, I'm still not motivated beyond "it would be nice if that color were different."

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  11. Filtered news! I like that idea. You fill out a form on what you want or need to know and that is all you will get. Start filtering, Murr! All I want is happy stuff, entertainment and activities information and fluff!

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    1. I think you can get that news service readily. As for me, I do occasionally put in more serious stuff, but not recently, because I'm either uninformed (and know it) or the stuff I'd lampoon already sounds like something I'd make up.

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