: who are you going to believe? :

April 1, 2015 § 3 Comments

thinkingToday? No one. Not if you plan to retain a residue of self-respect. You’ll need to be on your toes, sharp as a tack. You’ll need a discerning eye and a big dose of skepticism, too.

It’s April Fool’s Day, my friends, pranks and humiliation await. Need a few words of advice? Don’t believe anything you see or hear or read. Not today. Today is all about deception and feeling foolish. With luck and a miracle, you’ll escape with minimal damage to your pride. You’d better practice and I’ve come to help.

Below are a number of statements, some fact and some fiction. The trick is to tell one from the other. Test yourself, how good are you at spotting deceit? Submit your answers in a comment; I’ll grade them and tell you exactly how well you did. Tomorrow. Ready?

Go!

Two Choices, True or False:

[1]   It was 76ºF in Antarctica earlier this week. 

[2]   If you’re murdered in the U.S., there’s a one in two chance your killer will never be identified. So many of them hide.

[3]   I, Lisa at publikworks, accepted a position as staff writer at The Onion in Chicago.

[4]  A Cleveland woman stabbed her boyfriend (twice) for eating all the salsa. Police charged her with felonious assault. What felonious? He ate all the salsa.

[5]  Apple Computers is in secret talks to acquire Applebee’s International. They plan to introduce iPads featuring iRoma, technology that enables diners to enjoy the savory aroma of select dishes while viewing the entrée in astonishing 3D.

Good luck, kids. Now I’m off to Florida for a week of well-deserved, long overdue vacation.*

beach umbrella

Copyright © 2015 Publikworks

* Wait, you fell for that? Oy, you’re in for a long day, kiddo. I’m headed to Starbucks and a wi-fi connection.

: lipstick on a pig :

March 29, 2015 § 10 Comments

pigDress it up, dab eau de cologne behind its ears, stick on false eyelashes, too. It’s still a pig.

The same holds true for junk food, even if the newly created artisanal packaging is brilliant. Dan Meth at Buzzfeed came up with these and they’re awesome. Notice how the elegantly boxed Slim Jim has been renamed ‘Slim James.’ Nice touch, very subtle, but I bet they still taste like a tire. Cap’n Crunch is now Captain Crunch, but he should be an Admiral. He’s that good.

slim jimscapn crunchtwinkies

Ah, it’s nice to turn on my cellular data again. I made it safely to the end of the billing cycle without being charged for additional data, but it was a long, dull slog. I’m happy to be back roaming the internet and stumbling across its many treasures. At least until the next message announcing I’ve used 90% of my 3GB. Oy, I hate those alerts.

Data overages are just one more thing to worry about. Like the nagging fear of a significant other finding out exactly where you’ve been on the internet. Yikes-o-rama, eh? Scratch that one off your list, bucko, with a medic alert-type bracelet from @NursingMemes. It looks official and medical and could, quite literally, save your neck. Think about it.

bracelet

Thanks for stopping, boys and girls. Tune in again next week, same time, same place. I’ll bring the Twinkies and Slim James :o)

Copyright © 2015 Publikworks

: slender yellow fruit syndrome :

March 26, 2015 § 2 Comments

Last week it was pickles. This week, bananas. Which begs the question, is this a rut or a theme developing?

bananaProbably neither. Unless two is a rut. Such a small number is surely more of a coincidence, right? And I’m too lazy to establish a theme. Those take work or a deep and abiding love for a particular subject. Weighty issues, as you can see, aren’t my strong suit. Socks, nose whistling, road salt, doorknobs, that’s where I shine. As a maker of mountains from molehills.

But I do one post and, giddy-up, I’m ready to move on. Pondering and examination don’t appeal to me. Plus, I like diversity; repetition is nothing short of punishment. Although I seem to dwell on winter and its various horrors as a top– See? This is why I don’t do themes. I wander off into left field and wonder what I’m doing there.

Okay, reel me in, back to the Slender Yellow Fruit Syndrome.

Isn’t that a great name? Editors sometimes use it to describe our peculiar addiction to word variation. It’s a peccadillo writers have. We don’t like repeating words and go to great lengths to avoid it. Often at the expense of our writing. We need to stop that.

According to the experts, it’s better to repeat a word than to use an awkward, ill-fitting substitute. Here’s the example I found: “Freddie was offered an apple and a banana, and he chose the slender yellow fruit.” Banana would have been the better choice, smoother. Slender yellow fruit is a clinker, a clumsy, highfalutin clinker.

The moral of the story: spit it out. Call a spade a spade, not a long-handled digging tool.

Class dismissed.student

Copyright © 2015 Publikworks

: I feel bullied :

March 22, 2015 § 15 Comments

By predictive text. I mean it, composing a simple email is nothing short of a wresting match thanks to that know-it-all twit.

fistAs soon as I start typing, suggestions and corrections pop up, completely derailing my train of thought. If I ignore them, I’m doomed. It interprets inaction as approval and changes everything. Typical and wrong. Try to cancel the suggestion and it gets downright insistent, refusing to let it go and move on. Next thing I know I’m in a loud argument with input technology — complete with name calling and aggressive body language.

It’s not a proud moment.

Am I wrong or wasn’t predictive text supposed to make typing easier on mobile devices? I don’t find that to be the case. It makes more work, if you ask me. I have to go back and correct what technology decided to change. I don’t need such high-handed tactics, especially from a mobile phone. I want to send a text and my phone wants to pick a fight.

It’s stubborn, uncooperative, and a bully. Speaking of uncooperative, did you know the early Apple version of predictive text insisted on changing the word ‘cooperative’ to Cupertino? As you may know, Cupertino is the home of Apple’s headquarters. Forever after, mistaken predictive text input was called the Cupertino effect.

I call it annoying and frustrating and a miserable piece of crap. To its face. Then I drop the phone and run.

Copyright © 2015 Publikworks

: in a pickle?

March 18, 2015 § 14 Comments

pickle

Have you ever noticed how predicaments are usually described in food-related terms?

Well, they are. When you’ve screwed up, you’re said to be in a pickle or a stew, in a jam or a very sticky situation. Maybe because they sound non-threatening. Maybe because they’re considered messy. Except pickle, a pickle isn’t messy. A pickle is perfectly designed for its purpose — eating and enjoying. It’s not greasy or gooey. It doesn’t fall apart when you pick it up. It doesn’t end up on your tie. All right, it drips a little juice, big deal. Pickles are still a delight and shouldn’t be lumped in with ne’er do-wells like jams and stews.

So let’s stop using pickle in the pejorative sense.  They’ve done nothing to deserve the label of ‘mess.’ Steaming pile, I propose we use that instead. Thank you —  on behalf of the Pickle Defense League and gherkins everywhere.

running pickleCopyright © 2015 Publikworks

: please, I can explain :

March 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

oh no

Okay, here’s the thing: AT&T keeps adding GBs of data to my account and charging me $10 or $20 or $30. Like clockwork. They start with a text message announcing 75% of my 3 GBs has been used. Next thing you know, my phone bill’s bloated beyond recognition.

Now, I don’t use mountains of data. I’m not a big downloader and I don’t spend tons of time on the Internet. When I complain, they say I have an older iPhone (a 4s) — they’re the problem. I should just add more GBs to my plan, that’s all. Uh? No. I turned off cellular data, instead. And you know what? It’s liberating. I recommend it.

The big surprise? Those constant, unrelenting prompts for my iTunes password have stopped. That alone is worth being untethered from the Internet and email and twitter and everything else. Maybe you can explain: why should I sign in to iTunes? I don’t use iTunes. I don’t buy on iTunes. I don’t browse iTunes. Pestering me won’t change that.

Anyway, I’m getting by very nicely with wi-fi, thank you. I can check email and do everything else with minor inconvenience. AT&T should’ve recommended the cellular data strategy months ago, but more data and a higher bill was the best they could offer. I like my idea better; it’s free and saves money. Win-win.

The downside? No internet finds this week. D’oh!

Forgive me.

Supplication

Copyright © 2015 Publikworks

: don’t rush me, I’m thinking :

March 10, 2015 § 18 Comments

Let’s see, time on the rack? Ducking stool? Flogging? Or look for a job? Tough call.

rack

The rack seems the more humane choice. Shoot myself in the head would be first, but I don’t have a gun. I’d even go the flogging route if it meant I didn’t have to apply for jobs. Send me to prison or a hospital or an asylum, a bomb factory, just no more job applications.

Could they be more pointless? I applied for another menial, minimum wage gig about a week ago. Eleven freaking pages. Online. It took more than an hour. They wanted everything, including my driver’s license number — even though the job involves no driving whatsoever. I’m desperate, not stoopid. Why not just send out invitations to identity thieves, same thing.

asylumI didn’t give it to them.

And I haven’t heard a word in response. You would think if someone took the time to complete an eleven page application (mostly) for a crappy job with a third-rate company, the employer could summon the energy to respond with a one line email? No. What happened to initiative?

floggerCopyright © 2015 Publikworks