December 29, 2012

Last Post

of 2012.

Ulysses S Grant died of a severe case of throat cancer no doubt brought on by his incessant cigar smoking. He lit a cigar the moment he woke up and kept going through the day until he put the last one out before going to bed at night. Then he woke up and lit up again. That's how you die of a severe case of throat cancer. Duh. But the thing is I understand the urge only too well.

If I didn't have to have people over to the house from time to time, and if it was okay to do in public (which, thank God, it isn't), and if there weren't any rules about it at all I'd probably have a good maduro stuck in my mug from morning to night too.

I recognize that maybe 99% of the folks reading this are now making fake retching noises and sticking their tongue out and hacking and shit (what is it about people who want to tell you they don't like something? Why do they have to go through all these enactments? Why can't they just say "I don't like that" instead of making all these goofy sounds?), and I'd be fighting an uphill battle trying to explain the glories of a good, rich, black cigar. So I won't attempt that. But I'm telling you, if society allowed it (and I could afford it) I'd go like Ulysses and have fun doing it. But oh well, not to be. Guess I'll stay alive longer after all. Damn it.

---------

So what is it with all these ridiculous reminders being shot at us here and there across the internet? Trying to set up my iPad to coincide with this computer so that I can - I guess - be disconnected from the people in the room anywhere I go, I tried very valiantly to plug in all the sites I visit and everywhere I go I get these screens that are reminding me to do this and that and asking if I want to go here or there, and all I want to do is put in my web sites. Let me do what I want to do and leave me alone, for God's sake. Stop reminding me of shit I don't want to do with shit I don't need.

It all goes back to just how automated do we want things to be. I hate to keep harping on it but I have this feeling of impending doom. If ever somebody gets a hold of the whole maze of connections and exchanges going on we are - basically - fucked. For example I don't have one "app" for anything. I am the last man on Earth, I suppose, who does not have even one "app" for anything. That I know of. Even on my phone (which I've lost - am waiting for a replacement for - and don't miss at all) I didn't have one "app." I don't even know why I'm supposed to have them. They have "apps' where you can drive up to Dunkin Donuts and they hand you your coffee and you hand them your phone and that moves money from somewhere to somewhere. And this is supposed to be convenient. What's the difference - you're still handing them something? Only in this case people you never heard of are taking your money from a place you didn't know you had it. What is it about this that reminds me of the old credit card internet trap where you end up paying for months for something you didn't know you were paying for?

I'm not trying to be one of these boorish "anti-tech and I'm proud" jerks. I can't stand folks like that. I'm not talking about being anti-technology, I'm talking about proceeding with some caution about what we agree to, on the fly, without considering any consequences, and just going along like a fucking sheep in a herd. Can we at least talk about it? I'm all over the internet, and have been involved with it since it came up. Hell I had one of those useless $800 computers from Radio Shack or whatever the hell it was, that did nothing, took forever to program one function, and came with 47 books explaining how to write code... in the 80s! So I'm not, like, a pure troglodyte. I simply look at this blizzard of options and little do-dads and trick outs and go "why am I needing this again?"

I don't think that qualifies me as a true trog.

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So, I go along. I like cigars. I like to read books. I like to go into stores and banks and talk to people. I like when they know my name. And I don't like the impersonal aspects of this structured, accepted  avoidance of people on a regular basis.

Because in a world like that it is much easier to pull out a semi-automatic weapon and kill 26 people than it would be if you had daily exchanges with folks, face to face, and got to view them as human beings instead of having it be okay to stay isolated and imagine that other people are nothing more than icons on a smooth, clean screen. Maybe.

10 comments:

savannah said...

i don't smoke anymore, but i do love the scent of a good cigar! i still have my dumb phone (a 7yr old razr), so you aren't the only one without "apps." i just spent some cash on books to bring home, even though i could have bought them at the bookstore in my little town, but they just called out to me, take me home with you! anyway, i've asked that only photos be taken at my birthday party and if could people wait until they leave to do social media updating and just enjoy the party and each other, i'd really appreciate it! we'll see...xoxo and happy new year, sugar!

RW said...

Nice to hear from you savannah. How's that Earl palooka doing these days?

SK Waller said...

I like men who smoke cigars and pipes, and I'm probably the last woman on earth that thinks some men look sexy as hell smoking a cigarette--and I don't smoke.

As for phones, mine has 1 app. One. And that one came with the phone. And it's not an iPhone, a SmartPhone, or any of those. Just a pay as I go Net10 Blackberry clone. I use it to call people and to receive calls. Period.

Man, I sound like a snob...

RW said...

Yes I smoke a pipe as well. Just not terribly often. But I have one of those long-stem "Bing Crosby" styles and two swooping French style pipes. I look rather stately. Need patches on my elbows though. That would make it perfect.

And a dog. Like a sheepdog or a collie. Plus slippers. I don't have any slippers.

Kyra said...

I like the smell of pipe tobacco, but that's mostly a childhood memory sort of thing from my grandfather. However, I don't find smoking sexy or appealing on any level.

As for apps, I admit that I have a few. Not a ton, but some. I have a GPS one because I get lost in a paper bag, much less out on the roads. Most of my apps are for working out though. My very favorite is Zombies, run! LOVE it! But I also have runkeeper, runmeter, fitbit, etc. I have a couple of games, and that's about it on my phone. On my iPad, I have video apps like Netflix, and a couple of art apps (shocker, I know - I even have a nifty paint-brush that works on the ipad) and ones that let me video chat with folks - working on art dates at the moment. Oh, and a portfolio app for my art portfolio that I use in business meetings.

I'm not sure what other people do with their apps, but that's the entirety of my activity. If I don't have a real use for it, I don't have it. So I guess I'm a picky app-user!

RW said...

Well I'm 60 this year so sexy isn't a consideration. Ha.

I'm too much of a paranoid to even activate the "locate me" thing on my phone or whatever the hell that is.

So I'm old, not sexy, and suspicious. Kinda sad ain't it?

B.E. Earl said...

Posting some lyrics for Loudon Wainwright III's "Last Man on Earth" for ya. Happy New Year!

In the year 2000
My age was 53
Born in the first half
Of the last century
I always was post-modern
But that's ancient history
Now I'm the last man on Earth
That's what the matter is with me

I guess I'm old fashioned
Retro to a degree
You could say I'm a throw-back
Anachronistically
Air conditioning is here to stay
And that makes me unhappy
Cause I'm the last man on Earth
That's what the matter is with me

I don't have a portfolio
I gotta pleed guilty
The best things are the worthless now
That's just because they're free
And if your not a millionaire yet
Boy, you better be
Now, I'm the last man on Earth
That's what the matter is with me

I should be optimistic
And go buy some bonds and stocks
They'll find a cure for Cancer soon
We may get trigger-locks
Existence is no picnic
As statistics all have shown
We learn to live together
And then we die alone

Everybody's got a website
But that's all Greek to me
I don't own a computer
I hate that letter "e"
I don't pack a cell phone
Or drive an SUV
Yes, I'm the last man on Earth
That's what the matter is with me

I'm the last man standing
Save the last dance for me
I've taken the last train to Clarksville
I'm the fifth monkey
Nice guys always finish last
No one's nicer than me
Yeah, I'm the last man on Earth
That's what the matter is with me

Kid's used to say their prayers at night
Before they went to bed
St. John told us that God is love
Nietzsche said he was dead
This thing we call existence
Who knows what it all means?
Time and Life and People
Are just glossy magazines

I sat and watched those guys
Debate each other on TV
Politicians, wrestlers
They're all the same to me
Hey, I don't give a damn
Which idiot runs this country
Since I'm the last man on Earth
It don't matter to me

In the year 2000
My age was 53
I know that I'm grumpy
Middle-aged crazy
But if you are a woman
You might have to sleep with me
Since I'm the last man on Earth
And I can guarantee
I'm the last man on Earth
And there ain't nothing wrong with me

RW said...

Thanks Earl. I think...

sybil law said...

I don't have a single "app", either.
You know what's cooler than that?! I'm writing from the future!

RW said...

Yes and it's the future that scares me...