Absolutely Useless Thoughts: 6

Might as well number them. Because I think I’m going to be doing them on a regular basis. So the first officially regular collection of Useless Thoughts, is AUT: 6. Makes about as much sense as anything else in the world right now.

1. Do we ever regret what technology does? Are we so enthralled that we kind of forgive the errors we make in our headlong rush to “the future”? I’m asking because it just seems we’re at a point where we are going to give up a lot of our freedom for the sake of convenience. Sure, Google is convenient, and Facebook allows you to keep tabs on your second cousin’s new puppy, but I get the sense we ain’t seen nothing yet. And the company that’s going to really lead the charge toward a real future, and I say real in the sense of the future = flying jetpacks, is…Amazon. And more specifically, Alexa. We’re going to talk to our things now. And sometimes the things will get what we say wrong (because we’ve forgotten to switch off the defaults and the results will be hilarious). But they will do it with cute faces so we’ll forgive them. More and more, the most prescient movie ever feels like Wall-E.

2. I am a Gen Xer and have never felt anger toward Millennials. I tend to shy away from any headline with the term “millennial” in it because it’s a lazy catch all phrase meant to disparage “the young” and tends to be a flag for articles that overgeneralize and oversimplify complex ideas, meaning they were probably written by Boomers, who as a group do that kind of thing and are to blame for almost everything.

3. Speaking of oversimplifying, and of our headlong drive toward dystopia, and speaking of driving, look what Uber is doing. (Honestly, Uber just fills voids, like any good business. You don’t have to like that they fill voids, but if it works it must be filling in need).

4. I’m big on the health of the oceans. Of water in general. And as a corollary, I’m not a fan of plastic and its ubiquity. Sure, plastic filled a need, and it did it so well that chances are the fish you eat has plastic in it. So it makes perfect sense that in the future, the ugly Australian fish you order at the local restaurant may well come from…Iowa. Because that’s the kind of world we live in.

5. And speaking of health, shopping malls are in bad health and struggling with ways to fill up all the empty space that come with store closures. Before you blame the internet (and you can) in general and Amazon specifically (you can do this, too), perhaps blame…the malls themselves. And you, because you’re responsible for everything. We all are. But I, for one, am never going skiing in a mall. Probably.

6. The Chinese take a long term view of everything, which is why the government doesn’t care what you think and never has (unless you’re talking about Taiwan and then they get pretty prickly), and why this story makes a certain amount of sense: The Chinese are “easing” a 2,000 year old monopoly on salt. And you thought water was important.

7. I don’t know about you, but I’m still evolving. Not in the holistic sense, but in the sense that I’m a human and we’re still evolving in a very real sense. Not only that, we’re still discovering organs inside of us. (I honestly thought we only had 5 or 6 organs, tops, not 70).

8. Pluto’s unceremonious demotion from planetary status was harsh and I’m still not over it. So perhaps it’s a feel good story that Pluto shares some unique features with Earth, which is still a planet, and would definitely be a feel good story if planets had feelings, which they don’t, but Pluto’s not a planet, right? So who knows?

9. I still don’t know what to think of President-elect Whack-A-Mole other than that I am more convinced then ever that we must learn to ignore his tweets and just focus, people, focus on what is happening, because our concept of “authoritarianism” is false, the facts are much more boring and the banality of it is why its so potentially insidious.

10. My agent, who is wonderful and talented, etc etc has my new manuscript out with publishers in two countries (UK and Canada so far) and nothing, no word, and being a writer you start to wonder whether or not what you’ve written is any good. Because this thought is in the back of every writer’s mind, it’s the thing that keeps you honest and that keeps you going. So you think it, and you pause. Until you get back to your next manuscript and keep on keeping on, because as I’ve said before, writing is a sickness and I don’t think we’ve found a cure for it yet. (And to the editors in the UK and Canada that have the manuscript, what are you waiting for? I’m not getting any younger here.)

11. This is my favorite new thing maybe:

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