Cat Street

My neighbor to the north of me has a kitten. You’ll never guess where it likes to hide.

In trees.

I’m not so sure it’s all cat. It might just be part squirrel.

*Professor squirrel.

To the south, my neighbor there has a cat, fully grown. It likes to climb. When it can’t jump high enough to get to something, this cat uses alternate means. Smart cat.

Then there’s my cat. He has a potty mouth. He thinks he has Tourette’s, so he takes medication. The meds make him sleepy. At least, that’s the story he tells us. Regardless of whether it’s a truth or an embellishment, we let him sleep. The house is much more peaceful that way.

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*That has nothing to do with my neighbor’s kitten. It’s just that every time I see the word squirrel, I think of a similar fictional character’s name.

Finding Your Bike

The Apple Airtag is a security device Apple has created to operate with an application on your cellphone. The Airtag is a stand-alone device with functions of the MyTracker app which Apple has used to help people find their phones. The MyTracker application uses the network of all connected Apple products nearest whatever device is the object of the search.

As the Apple Airtag finds its way in the collective consciousness, it gets abused, and finds usefulness.

Airtags have been misused as tracking devices for the purpose of stalking. So not cool, man. So not what Airtags should be used for.

Use one on your keys, your kids’ shoes, your dog, or your wallet—whatever you’re prone to lose—an Airtag can help you find it.

Airtags have even been put in inconspicuous places on bicycles, so if your bike gets “misplaced” or even stolen, you can find where it went. That right there is a great use for an Airtag.

The problem of finding a stolen bicycle has long been without a good solution. Bikes are so often stolen by people who want a free ride. They don’t even have to go very far before the bike is impossible to find.

Airtag could be a cyclist’s new best friend.

Combination Words

photo by Zhang Kelly

You know how people want to ridiculously and unnecessarily combine words? You know how they end up making mostly useless words like this: a dream catcher is a “datcher”, a beneficial organism is a “borganism”, and a significant other is a “so”? These didn’t end up sounding the way the person intended. I mean, a “borganism”? That sounds way less than beneficial.

It’s not too bad, of course. The practice has some practical application. For instance, if a person was alternately running and resting, that person could combine the two words and tell people, “I’m resting,” by which the people would know about the running/resting, only with fewer words.

It’s good to conserve your breath when you have an active lifestyle.

Have you heard of the “gelectric” car? No? Probably because it makes more sense to call it a hybrid. Gas/electric would have been fine too. Do you think it saved them anything (time, money) to try combining the two words?

One of the most infamous combinations is “chillax” which was supposed to be chill and relax all smashed together. It just ends up looking and sounding like some kind of pharmaceutical name. And yes, big pharma is the worst perpetrator of ugly word combinations. They’re so bad at it, we should just start calling them what they really are: “smaller than they say they are” pharma. Or, if we smashed it: “smarma”.

Golden Age

“Back in my day” is the beginning of a sentence which will likely end with an opinion of how that time was better than this one.

Even though some parts of our opinions hold truths, the rest is often due to selective memory.

Otherwise known as bias, selective memory is a great way to beautify the past. “Back when men were men and every man had a mustache…”

The news outlets may contribute to our opinions by making the present seem like a bleak dystopian Apocalypse, encouraging us to view the past as a wonderland, but the fact is that our memories lie as much as the sensationalist newscasters do. We put a shine on events from long ago, forgetting the harsh realities.

The fabulous thing here is: once you know this about the way the human mind works, you can catch your uncle Leonard doing it. You don’t have to tell him you know. You can let him tell you how great it was back in the “golden age” and nod at appropriate times. Let him embellish his story. Let him compare then and now with his selective memory.

Possibly, you can catch yourself too, then make today better by growing a mustache.

Misunderstood

It ain’t easy being…a rock and roll legend. There’s so much pressure to be on top of your game all the time. You have to be your own boss while everyone around you is trying to undercut you and steal your creative babies.

Plus there are all the sides to the crazy diamond…the performing, the touring, and the writing…Heaven help us…the WRITING.

What’s worse is once you’ve written something, people can misunderstand what meaning you intended to convey with your musical genius. How can the audience get it so wrong?

Or did they?

Some songs may be misunderstood by the listeners, and others…well, the others are clearly misunderstood by the songwriter.

Take the song “The One I Love” by R.E.M. The band claims they wrote a song about stalking. The listener is supposed to catch on to the feeling of stalking by the line, “Fire.” The repeated line about “the one I love” is supposed to be taken as ambiguous. Hmmm, yeah, obviously. We all should have made that assumption. The band R.E.M. should’ve waited a few years for the Toadies to write “Possum Kingdom.” No question about that song. It’s creepy enough to not be misunderstood.

Another song about stalking is “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. Like “The One I Love” it sounds so pleasant it really is a love song. If the writer wanted it to be creepy they should have put in some creepy tones, offbeat moments or something to clue us all in, because otherwise it was the writer who misunderstood.

Now that I have you thinking of “Creep” by Radiohead, you probably already knew it’s a song about not fitting in anywhere. The writer thought he was writing a stalker song. And now you’re probably wondering why there are so many stalker songs. Fortunately, not all songs are about unwanted advances and spying.

Semisonic wrote a song they say is about birth. They called it “Closing Time” and though some of the lyrics support the idea of new life, they certainly bring to mind a bar or pub closing also. It works either way.

Third Eye Blind wrote a song which is upbeat and playful called “Semi-Charmed Life” which they claim is regarding meth use and addiction. We’ll have to take their word.

As far as misunderstandings go, the title “Psycho Killer” is one which could mean a killer of psychos or a psycho who kills. I challenge anyone to make sense of the lyrics either way. The Talking Heads may not know the meaning. How can you?

Lastly, because it may be the most original parody of all time, “Song 2” by Blur, was meant to be a parody of grunge. Really? Regardless of whether it has any of the elements of grunge, or not, the boys of Blur made an incredible song. Nothing changed after they told us what they meant for it to be.

Keep shredding, rockers. And leave the definitions for those of us with ears.