Friday, August 25, 2006

Revenge of the Killer Battery Packs

I've been making jokes for a week about the fire-prone Dell laptop batteries, which are still allowed on passenger airlines. They were made for Dell by Sony and are being recalled by the millions. Having made the switch from PC to Mac a year ago (Read my original confession) I'm a little smug when I see bad things happening to the losers still operating on the dark side. Well, my karma has once again elected to tie my shoelaces together. Yesterday Apple announced a recall of a couple million of its Sony-made batteries, and guess who owns one of them? Coming back from Chicago last week it could well have been my briefcase that exploded into flames over Cleveland and caused the plane to be escorted into Canadian airspace by three F-16's where we would all have been detained, interviewed and released but not before CNN got ahold of it and ruined my career with the headline, "Folksy Pitchman Leaves the Light on for Flight 1722, injuring three."
So anyway, I'm trading in this battery for a new one. You might want to check yours out too. And don't laugh until you do.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Orange Alert

On my way back from Chicago today after participating in another fun-packed edition of Wait, Wait - Don't Tell Me. Roy Blount Jr and Paula Poundstone were the other panelists. Paula won for her third time in over five years owing in large part to my participation and the fact that Roy was distracted from having his deodorant confiscated by airport security. I am at O'Hare airport as I write this. There are frequent announcements to remind us that we are at a Code Orange terror alert and to watch out. Code Orange means you walk around with your eyes kind of squinty or your arms elevated in a defensive posture, as if you are watching somebody about to light a firecracker. Otherwise there is nothing you can really do except give up your water bottles, gel deodorants (Yes, that means you, Roy), colognes and toothpaste. Perhaps we are safer. We are certainly earthier smelling.
Hardly anything makes sense about these security procedures, but one thing stands out head and shoulder above the rest in utter incomprehensibility: You know those Dell laptop batteries that are prone to burst into flames without warning? You can still bring those on the airplane.
Remember -- squinty eyes, squinty eyes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hot Topic

People who live in the northern latitudes are not happy unless we can complain about the weather. With the exception of the Red Sox and deer ticks it's the only thing we talk about. This explains our demeanors. Generously described as laconic, reserved, even flinty; Northerners, if you must know, are pissed off half of the time. And this humid heatwave now choking the life out of what's left of our good humor has us positively and joyfully enraged. Children cry, fans drone, dripping window units blow cool mildew into the few bedrooms lucky enough to have them. We slog around the steamy streets greeting one another with listless grunts. We glare across fly-buzzed dinner tables with the boiling urge, but not the energy, to fight one another to the death. But we survive because the weather is our common enemy -- like ticks -- like Manny's base-running. And we spend our wrath on these things, rather than on each other.

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