Thought for The Day
"Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it until it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh."
-- Henry David Thoreau
We were in a local diner the other night. It is a place that markets itself to a younger transient market, looking for fast food. My wife and I did seem a little out of place. Perhaps that is why we sat near the back, away from the door. Anyway, the point is that the restaurant was playing the radio as its background music, and the music was classic pop and rock from the 1960s. I knew every tune, and the lyrics to most. The music was ours -- and forty years old or more!
I tried to imagine sitting in a coffee bar in London in the mid 1960s and listening to recordings of tea-dance music from the twenties. It never happened and never could have happened. In those days, we were still obliged to listen to the occasional Frank Sinatra or Perry Como tune; but they were from the 50s, just a decade before. Some of us reached back and appreciated the big bands of the 40s. But even that was twenty years or less before our time. Listening to 40-year old music would have been unthinkable. But today it is standard.
This reverie was triggered by a story in today's Boston Globe: "Some like it hot: how boomers' failing taste buds are shaping the future of American food." The article describes the increasing use of increasingly hot spices. Then asks the question:
"Why is hot so hot? The conventional explanation is that the nation has an increasingly adventurous palate. Immigration and prosperity have made Americans more sophisticated eaters, pushing wasabi peas into the mainstream, along with chili-Thai lime cashews, cayenne chocolate bars, and other high-octane combinations.
But some food scientists and market researchers think there is a more surprising reason for the broad nationwide shift toward bolder flavors: The baby boomers, that huge, youth-chasing, all-important demographic, are getting old."
You bet we are!
"Increased spiciness is just one of many ways the wealthiest, most influential demographic group in US history is changing how we eat. Market research shows boomers have helped drive consumer demand for organic foods, grab-and-go foods, nutritionally enhanced products, and fresh local produce.As boomers continue to age, they will almost certainly keep reshaping the American foodscape, ushering in the same kinds of changes they have brought to sectors of the economy as disparate as music and mutual funds. And as restaurants and food manufacturers come to terms with the surprising new preferences of older palates, their influence will affect what we see in stores and on menus for years to come."
It is an irony -- one that should have been forerseen by anyone with a single working neuron, but an irony nonetheless -- that the generation that made a fetish of youth and of distrusting age have become the dictatorial arbiters of taste; and a taste built entirely of their own nostalgia and failing bodies.
We should all have been shot on our thirtieth birthdays.
Soon silence will have passed into legend.
"Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. Tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding and trilling bolster his ego." -- Jean Arp
I haven't ever tried any of those "power" drinks, like Red Bull. The marketing has never appealed to me and I am certainly outside their target demographic. To be honest, I haven't given them much thought.
However, at a bus stop yesterday, I found this four-pack container for a drink called Wild Thing. It contains, it says, "horny goat weed". That, and the logo of the two energizing bunnies, certainly makes it clear what kind of market these guys are after!
Straightforward honest marketing -- who could ask for more!
Talk To A Human
Here is a web site that offers a fabulous and genuinely useful service: how to get hold of a real human being when telephoning major US companies and organizations.
The GetHuman database lists the keys to press (or other actions) to circumvent those dreadful interactive voice response systems we get routed to in so many situations these days.
This is what makes the internet great!
As we all are probably aware, it is sex that drives the development of the Internet. All of the non-sex sites merely bob on the waves of the all-powerful ocean of sex movies and images that dominate the net. But even I was surprised when I was checking my user logs this morning.
I get quite a few hits based on google (and other) searches. My logging program allows me to see what search terms were used to find me. Of the last 100 search-based hits (covering a day and half), a full 25% were sex-based, including 15 for "shrek porn" and another 2 for "disney porn". (Three years ago I wrote a piece about Shrek as a capitalist tool; I guess the searches are feeding off that reference).
What the heck is Shrek porn anyway?
It's A Stretch
It is hard to imagine any fiction writer getting away with this: The world's tallest man -- a Chinese herder at 7' 9" -- helps veterinarians by using his very long arms to reach inside dolphins and remove bits of plastic the animals have swallowed when chewing the edges of their pool.
"Attempts to use surgical instruments to remove the plastic failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted in response to the instruments, the China Daily newspaper reported. Veterinarians then decided to ask for help from Bao Xishun, a 7-feet-9 herdsman from Inner Mongolia with 41.7-inch arms, state media said ... Chen Lujun, the manager of the Royal Jidi Ocean World aquarium, told The Associated Press that the shape of the dolphins' stomachs made it difficult to push an instrument very far in without hurting the animals ... 'When we failed to get the objects out we sought the help of Bao Xishun from Inner Mongolia and he did it successfully yesterday,' Chen said. 'The two dolphins are in very good condition now'."
Life is forever interesting.