Monday, June 23, 2008

Military Industrial Complex Silliness

Missile Defense....
$10+ billion a year for last 10+ years.....and we can't shoot down anything....

Some have called it a "faith based" program and noted the ideological fervor of proponents. Some think it's a giveaway to the military-industrial complex. I say this is the ultimate, gold-plated "thing we don't need for a problem we don't have!"

One version of NMD

Some critiques of missile defense

The wonderful Fred Kaplan on missile defense

I posit that the mere $10b a year we spend on 164 embassies around the world and the paltry number of Americans working in diplomacy (7000) and development (2000) are a better buy and more effective.

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If it's "Nostalgia" Is it More Useful?

Have you ever perused the catalog Vermont Country Store? It defines the word "random." But some of the old-fashioned items they sell truly outperform modern variants. We still have aluminum ice trays at the beach house - 50 years on.

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Kitchen Laziness and Single Purpose Items

So many postings to be done on this topic. I am not a fan of anything that has only one purpose. Takes up space, has to be FOUND when you need it, can't do anything else - no versatility.

Now, lemon juice is great from a lemon. Who knew it was so hard for people!? This first one I saw at Williams Sonoma and could not believe it. Who has trouble with that one lemon slice? Do you have to buy one per person at your party or do you have to reload it and walk around table dispensing lemon juice?

Here's another one.

Someone else has found even stupider version....

What America's Test Kitchen has to say about squeezers....(hint, a fork works pretty well!)

And another place an already-owned item (slotted spoon) works well if you're not capable of separating an egg by pouring it back and forth between the egg shell halves. Or you can spend money on this and then loose it in the back of the drawer.

I am baffled by this too. Either you put stuff in the garbage can or disposal or maybe a sac to take to compost. If you want to put in a bowl, why do you need a SPECIAL BOWL?

"Made of durable melamine, garbage bowl comes in handy when you're cooking up your favorite dishes. Just throw skins, pits and what-not right in the bowl to keep your countertop clean."

Apparently even garbage has to be handled gingerly.
"This multipurpose scoop and stopper comes in very handy in the kitchen. Made of high-quality thermoplastic elastomer, Clean 'n Stuff is made to be rigid enough to force waste through the disposal splash guard, but at the same time is soft enough to protect your sink and cookware from scratches. It has a secure and comfortable grip so you can easily gather and stuff sink waste into the garbage disposal without touching the waste itself."

I didn't know that a bowl and a measuring spoon were so inadequate for making pancakes!

I didn't know making hamburger patties was so difficult that you needed a special gizmo. I think you also get little plastic tubs like that all the time when you buy stuff at the store. Why buy something when you're already getting it for free?

I love that this variant is "hand wash". Great.

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Is Everything Too Hard to Do on Your Own?

I am amazed at my restroom at work. You don't touch anything. The flush, the papertowel, the water, and the soap are all controlled by sensors that require you to get your hand in exactly the right spot at exactly the right distance. It's pretty funny to watch people waving at the paper towel dispenser. Someone even sought a word for these funny movements

Now, I understand this concept in the service of public health and general cleanliness is well-used facilities, but apparently, someone decided, hey, let's do this at the house! Today I post the photo of the stupidest sensor-based item for your home: your very own paper towel dispenser.

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One Woman's Fight Against Wasteful Buying and Tossing

Jeanne Marie Laskas is wonderful.

"When the shoelace on my left boot snapped (it had been weakened in an incident last winter with a cat), an observant college student in one of the classes I teach said with a smile, "Looks like it's time for some new boots." I looked down. There was nothing wrong with the boot itself. "It's a shoelace," I said."

The column

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The Beginnings of Rantings

Sky Mall magazine. It sets me off. It was the start of a my mini-obsession with the ridiculous things that have only one purpose and otherwise are useless or which solve a problem no one actually has. Solutions and Frontgate catalogs also abound with these items though occasionally have something mildly useful.

Sky Mall became part of my Christmas gift traditions. Every year, I give a donation to a charity that my recipient supports. I include in the card an item cut out of Sky Mall with a note: "What you're NOT getting this year." No one has yet said, "Oh but I wanted that!"

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