14. December 2019 · Comments Off on The last light bulb joke you may ever see · Categories: Olio

Here’s a light bulb joke for you. How many geophysicist/novelists with the name Rojstaczer does it take to change a light bulb? It better be no more than one because finding two geophyscist/novelists with the name Rojstaczer is, in fact, impossible. Hahaha.

I’ve been changing out light bulbs in my house because my eyesight is iffy and is especially bad under low light. Out with the curly fluorescent 23 watt and less light bulbs. In with 23 watt LEDs. The difference has been amazing. Our house is no longer a fuzzy cave for me in the evenings.

Changing them out has taken me about one minute per bulb. That’s no joke! But I’m not going to be able to tell another light bulb joke for a long time, maybe never again. The boxes that housed the new bulbs say they’ll last 22 years. 22 years! I may well be six feet under the next time a light bulb goes out in my house. How can you tell a light bulb joke when you never have to change a light bulb?

My plight is not personal. Over the next few years just about every fluorescent and incandescent bulb in the world will burn out. What will they be replaced with? LED bulbs, of course. When that happens, light bulb changing worldwide just might stop for 20 or so years. How many people worldwide will be needed to change a light bulb? Zero. How about the year following? Zero again. The light bulb joke will have to go on a two decade hiatus. It will be, temporarily, the dodo bird of jokes. It may well become the 22 year cicada of jokes. Ten years from now when you try to tell a light bulb joke to your kid/grandkid, you may get the same stare you receive when you mention Blockbuster or telephone booths.

We’ll need other jokes about incompetence to replace them. Here’s one. How many doctors would it take for Americans to obtain decent health insurance? One, a surgeon capable of implanting backbones into 218 slimy, slithery congressmen. Hahaha! I’m sure you can think of a bunch of “how many“ jokes on your own.

 

09. December 2019 · Comments Off on The Golden Stueys in books and movies · Categories: Olio

I read a fair number of books and watch a lot of movies. Here are my “award winners” for 2019. The awards used to be called The Stueys. But I’ve decided to add some glitter by renaming them The Golden Stueys. All results tabulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Golden Stueys for books:
Fiction
Homeland, Fernando
The Capital, Menasse
A Girl Returned, Di Pietrantonio
Fact
Growth, Smil
Gods of the Upper Air, King
Facing the Abyss, Hutchinson

The Golden Stueys for movies:
Picture: Parasite
Foreign: Becoming Astrid
Documentary: Apollo 11
Actor: Willem DaFoe
Actress: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Supporting Female: Jeong-eun Lee
Supporting Male: Joe Pesci
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Score: Dark Waters

02. December 2019 · Comments Off on They like me, they really like me · Categories: Olio

I’d never been someone who got asked for directions. Hardly anyone ever smiled at me as they passed me on a street. If I sat on a bus or a train, the seats next to mine would stay empty unless the bus or train filled up. Even then, some people seemed to prefer to stand. There was something on my face that said “not friendly” or “stranger danger.” I didn’t know what it was, but I could guess. I possessed a full head of crazy curly hair and my father’s intensity. Strangers stayed away from my father, too. They were scared he might slug them back in the day. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

I was used to this treatment by strangers. It didn’t bother me that much, although I did like all the oohs, ahs and friendly treatment I received whenever I had a pet, usually a cat, with me on a plane or at an airport. Pets apparently made me look approachable and turned me into just another human being. I often joked that if I were single, I’d get a dog, that it was the only way a woman might think I was relationship material.

But then I turned 60. My hair started thinning and then about half of it disappeared. My face wrinkled up. The intensity that defined me softened a bit. Somehow all of that aging caused a profound change in how strangers viewed me. Suddenly, people chose me as the first person to sit next to on a bus or train. They’d smile almost reflexively if they’d pass me on the street. Strangers asked me for directions in places everywhere, even in foreign countries. It was like I was a different person. Betore I evoked a stranger-danger response. Overnight people thought I was as cute as a 12 week old puppy. Does this look like a 12 week old puppy to you?

I’m happy that total strangers love me nowadays, but I don’t get why. I have a theory, though. It’s based on the fact that the friendliest of strangers are twenty to thirty year old women. They open doors for me. In Poland when I visited, they came out of nowhere to help carry my luggage and would laugh when I said I was fit enough to carry it myself. I’m grandpa material nowadays. I look as harmless and in need of attention as a 12 year old beagle. When I hiked in England this year, normally taciturn and stiff upper lip people somehow transformed into oversharing Californians in my presence. In Newcastle when this happened, I’d just nod and smile and pretend to understand their Jordy accent, which is impenetrable. In Belgium, it was the same, but I could understand them just fine.

Every time I take a walk in San Francisco and Palo Alto nowadays, people smile at me as they pass by. Next year, though, I’m going to put my newly found likability up to the most difficult and rigorous tests imaginable. I’ll be in New York City in January and Israel in September. These two places are chock full of the hardest of the hard edged people on this planet. I do note that as a kid I’d visit Jewish New York Queens, walk into stores, speak Yiddish and get all kinds of smiles (and sometimes free candy). But that was a long time ago and those store owners are long gone. It’ll be a different story now. Wish me luck!