thinkingThis week’s prize for most ridiculous tech advance is Genworth R70, the 100-pound full-body “aging suit” that simulates decrepitude including restrictive fabric that mimics arthritis and heavy boots that recreate muscle loss plus a helmet that stifles vision and hearing. The intent is to make our grown kids more sympathetic to our ailments. An occasional phone call might be more effective.

What’s all this sudden preoccupation in schools and HR departments with ‘mindfulness’. Since this activity appears to involve emptying rather than filling one’s mind shouldn’t a better name be “mindlessness”?

Gov. Brown, as evidenced by his recent listless inaugural address, succeeds despite his feeble oratorical skills. Who cares about his colorless presentation when at long last Sacramento under his leadership is finally functioning? Locally, crews funded by state taxes are jackhammering away and repairing local sewer and water lines and repaving our potholed streets. It’s music to my ears. I also applaud the Gov for slapping down the Regents’ heinous plan to up UC tuition by 28%. And every time I’m tooling around Oakland and noting the residential resurgence downtown, I give ex-mayor Jerry another round of applause plus a crisp salute for daring to encourage a bullet train for California.

Geezers here appear to be as data obsessed as the rest of the population, constantly consulting fitbits, those newish gizmos you wear on your wrists. I can understand the consolation in using them to measure heart rates, even calorie burn, but do we really need to know how many steps we’ve taken between the grocery store and the parking lot? It’s becoming as much of addiction as constantly checking emails.

Were you as embarrassed as I was by the panicked reaction of public officials to last month’s blessed downpours? At the same time the good residents of upstate New York were surviving eight feet of snow we were closing schools fearing 6 inches of rain. The Geezer is actually a big fan of our winters. I love a big pot of beef bourguignonne simmering on the stove when I come back from a walk in the cold, silvery fog with the whole world turning grey and fantasies of East Berlin in my mind with counterspies lurking at the Muni stops.

The Geezer broke down and got a replacement for his late, beloved wheaten terrier. Getting a new pet at our age should be well thought through beforehand. What I did not want was a puppy whose antics and training would exhaust me, or a doodle whose adorableness would stop traffic wherever we went. I followed my own advice and got an obscure, smallish boar hunter, a one year and a half old rescue dog, who seems quite happy despite the absence of wild boars in our neighborhood. Now if I could only get my sweet pet to ride in the car without foaming like a recently poured lager.

My favorite new phrase of the week is one that describes the semi hysterical attitudes of digital “news” sites like Buzzfeed. The phrase is “manufactured urgency”.





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