long fiction and short articles

Shrödinger’s Dog

During dinner with his wife, Professor Schrödinger is very excited. He’s come up with a new way to poke fun at his colleagues. Annemarie can see he has something to say, and he’s dying to say it. “So what is it this time?” she asks him, keen to get this over with quickly. Schrödinger is delighted to be given the opportunity,…

Cars

Were old cars designed to look old, or what? There’s nothing so dated as an old car, is there? It’s clear when a car was designed and built just a few years back. The lines, the materials, the interior. Wheels. Lights. It just says “old”. But why? My other appliances look fine for years. My fridge is good. My washer….

Alexa

Most of us would swat Jiminy Cricket the first time he opened his bony little mouth to patronize us. Shoulder insects that point out things we ought to know might be useful in some circumstances (welcome to the house, Senator — here’s your shoulder insect) but these days they’d be a tough sell for everyday use. Which makes Alexa, the spirit in Amazon’s…

Customer Service

It all began with “Have a nice day.” On the face of it a harmless enough wish, encouragement, or expression of good will. But in fact “Have a nice day” is a directive, much like “Keep off the grass” or “Stand and deliver”. A reasonable response might be, “Or else?” “Have a nice day” is a customer service fundamental, just…

Hobbies

Hobbies are basically jobs that you don’t interview for and where you don’t have a boss. As a hobbyist, you chose the job and it’s yours. The downside is that hobbies don’t come with benefits such as health insurance. Not much of a problem if your chosen hobby is cake decorating or cat juggling, but more so if you chose…

Cacti

There are places in the world so antagonistic toward all forms of life that little if anything lives there, plant or animal. Often located in deserts, we give these places names like Death Valley, Needles, and Parumph. Deserts. Deserted by all forms of life. Too hot or too cold. Too dry. Too bright or too dark. So what do we…

Sitcoms

If you’re looking for the American dream, you might find it’s retreated  to sitcoms. It’s taken a pounding lately, and sitcoms offer it, and us, a little oasis of comfort. Maybe the dream has become more a mirage. If so, it’s a very attractive one. Sitcoms feature comfortable lives with manageable problems. They are brightly lit, vividly colored. Their houses…

Marketing

Like most people, I used to be wary of marketers. They sell useless stuff to people that don’t need it. A marketing colleague pointed out to me that you can’t sell someone something they don’t want. But that was my point; marketers make people want stuff that they happen to have right there ready to sell to them. Granted, it’s a…

Classic Rock

The term ‘classic’ in reference to deodorant means something completely different compared to its use when talking about cars or iPods*. And when it comes to rock music, at first the term seems uniquely inconsistent. Popular music from the seventies of the sort found on LP records is termed classic. But then, so is music from the 90’s, particularly if…

Athletic clothing

I sometimes walk to the coffee shop, when the weather is not too wet, or too warm, or when I don’t need to carry anything too heavy and so on. Sometimes, I will ride my bike. Walking or riding, I find I’m often chastised for not wearing the exercise-appropriate clothing. Certainly,  I see people arrive for a flat white latte…