The Furbo unit in the living room is working nicely. When I am away from the house I will call it up on my phone and toss the dog a treat, if he’s not asleep. Right now, as I write this, he is on the living room rug, snoozing. If I get an alert that he’s barking, I know he’s up, and I can toss him a treat from the app.

The other day I heard a strangled voice downstairs:


Followed by the tweet and click of the Furbo tossing a snack. This would be daughter, in Boston, using the Furbo as intended except for the frightening voice. So I texted her and told her to change the default sound, please, that’s terrifying.

She said she would not, as she had all the power here, and there was nothing I could do, unless I sent her a video of the Furbo playing this unnerving sound. This I did. Then I sent via Apple Pay one dollar, meant to be sarcastic.

Really: because this is the modern world, and it’s an interesting place, you can use your phone to send someone a dollar in order to express your underwhelming emotion about something.

FF to last Saturday; I’ve been up watching TV, but now it’s time or bed. Two AM. Before I head up I go to check the mailbox, I hear a snippet of the Soviet National Anthem from the Furbo, followed by the treat.


  And so followed, at 2:09 AM, the following exchange, brought to you by the Interesting Modern World.


Note: for a while I had the "bark alert" notification turned on, which was a mistake, because it notified me when Birch was barking. It also sent "activity" notifications: "Your dog is getting active!" Okay. I got six of these in an hour, and thought "you're on your own, pal," and turned them off.





I dialed my expectations back to ought-plus-one when Patrick Stewart noted in an interview that the new Trek series would reflect the hellscape of Trump and Brexit et al. I had that weary ache you get when you realize that nothing can be allowed to exist outside of the narrow parameters of a specific set of intellectual mandates.

Having seen the first ep, I can see where one could infer contemporary parallels, but A) that’s always been the case with Star Trek, and B) it’s complicated. The show leans heavily on Stewart’s gravitas and accumulated backstory, and doesn’t have the spin-off challenge of establishing a new framework.

“Bafflingly bad,” said one review. Huh: I thought it was remarkably good.

First eps are hard. This one might be the best.

In the New Nerd World, it is important to hate, because hate makes you right. It is also important to fervently love what others do not, because that makes you smart. If the new Picard show is actually good, but has elements that contradict anything about the new Trek the smart fans are supposed to love, then the Picard show must be trashed. It is slow! It is not Our Federation! (Dudes.) It is . . . it doesn’t have any ships or pew pew in the first ep! I don’t think anyone tried to make that last point, but they would if you’d kept the mike open and said “go on.”

The quantity of Hate was small, and it looked pathetic. It showed the idiocy of fan culture. There’s absolutely no way any Star Trek fan of long-standing could watch “Picard” and not see something quite remarkable: a grown-up show that rejected all the over-caffeinated NuTrek retconned stuff Discovery pumped out. It was careful and measured and self-confident. What’s remarkable is that people hated it in advance before they’d seen it, because SJW.

It was reassuring to believe it stunk, because it confirmed that they wanted to believe: everything new is bad.




It’s 1941, and we’re in Canada.

Well, boys, it was one thing to build the world’s first caramel-based truck; now I’m going to want you to dip it in chocolate.

But only up to the window!
Small families, rejoice! It’s Centre Slice Season!
Centre, you say? It’s always odd to American eyes to see spellings like that in ads that look so, well, American.

"The meat industry is finally listening to us barren couples!”
You have pain in your back ‘cause your bowels are wack:
WAKES UP LAZY EXCRETORY ORGANS. Still available, although it seems mostly popular in New Zealand. The rest of Western Civ has moved beyond salts.
The bunny is your guarantee of . . . rabbit-pure sleep, I guess.
Do not let undersized sheets disturb your sleep.
Apparently, his breath was so bad people could smell it over the phone:

The Green Hornet! Great old radio show. Did you know who the Green Hornet’s grand-uncle was supposed to be?

I'd give the answer here, but there's no fun in that.

Well, I guess Christmas comes early in Product this year. My mistake. Who cares. Have a GANONNNNNNNGG

The GB stands for Ganong Brothers. They go back to 1873, and one of their earliest candies was - seriously - “Chicken Bones,” “spicy cinnamon flavoured candy filled with bitter-sweet chocolate.”

I love the history website; it’s like an alternative world, Canada. For Americans, I mean. The Pal-O-Mine candy bar! Loved by millions! We never heard of it down here.

Christie? See what I mean about the alternative world?

Nabisco bought Christies in 1928, used the brand for its own lines, kept the regional name.

And now you know a little bit more about Canada than you did before. You’re welcome!

It's Tuesday, the worst day of the week! Carry on as best you can, and we'll see you here tomorrow.



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