We have a new microwave, but it doesn’t have this setting.
I’ve been doing it for 35 years and I can tell you it’s not difficult to keep a personal computer up and running smoothly. For Windows, you just follow three simple steps:
- Install a top-rated anti-virus and anti-malware suite before you do anything else, and never click on anything you can’t personally vouch for.
- Backup your brains out. All drives — hard drives, solid-state drives, thumb drives — will fail; keep two if not three copies of everything valuable.
- Wipe and reinstall everything to give your PC a fresh start every six months.
I broke Rule #2 — ironically, all the files from my PC were backed up on my USB flash drive, my inch-long life, my everything, but not all the files on the flash drive existed on the PC. So when my magic key started throwing errors and “Windows cannot repair the drive” messages last night, there was nothing for me to do but wail.
Now I have to do Step #3, which sometimes I find a pleasant, tidying pastime in a Martha Stewart way, but I can’t spare the day it takes to do it. Back in the days of floppy disks and Disk Operating Systems (pronounced “doss”), I used to sing about it:
The light came on and the disk spun
I fought the DOS and the DOS won
I looked for my files and found none
I fought the DOS and the DOS won
The New England Patriots’ late comeback and overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons made Super Bowl LI a roller coaster of emotions … a stream of memorable experiences … a series of Precious Moments
Only four payments of $24.99. I didn’t know Tom and Gisele had a dog.
Despite having only three-quarters the usual allotment of claws, black cat Delta is shredding the hell out of my two black leather chairs, one in the living room and one in the office. She likes to leap and hurtle through the air before skidding to a stop on furniture, then dig in for traction and either launch herself or tumble clumsily from the top or arm of a chair, leaving punctures and lengthy claw marks.
Yes, this is going to be one of those blogs that occasionally shows a cat. Back in the early ’00s when we used a platform called Radio instead of WordPress and I had one of the top 50 blogs (i.e., when there were only 60 blogs in the world), I wrote and more famous and generous blogger Jonathon Delacour immortalized as a little plaque or meme We’re here, we blog, we post cat pictures, get used to it.
Feckless Leader’s inauguration speech was — in another observation that Google tells me somebody made ahead of me — nasty, brutish, and short. Then he sent press lackey Sean Spicer out to spout a flat-out lie about the size of the inaugural crowd. NBC’s “Meet the Press” host asked the she-serpent about it and got a hissed threat for his pains:
CHUCK TODD: … Then explain, you did not answer the question, why did the president send out his press secretary, who’s not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump. He could be — he also serves as the spokesperson for all of America at times. He speaks for all of the country at times. Why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood? It’s a small thing. But the first time he confronts the public it’s a falsehood?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, I mean, if we’re going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.
CONWAY: … Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What — You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains —
TODD: Wait a minute. Alternative facts? … Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehoods.
CONWAY: Chuck. It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.
Her boss said it best: Such a nasty woman.
Things looked better on Saturday, when I joined 175,000 friends and neighbors — about one-fifth the population of Boston — for a march and rally for the resistance. I heard inspiring words from Senator Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Marty Walsh, slightly less inspiring words from Native American, Muslim, and union activists, and uninspiring words from approximately 180 shelter pet adopters, crossing guards, and anyone slightly left of center given time at the podium while impatient would-be marchers threatened to trample me. I saw two Wonder Woman costumes (one on a male), every conceivable variation of the noun, verb, and adjective “pussy,” and (my favorite) I Know Signs, I Make the Best Signs, Everyone Agrees, They’re Fantastic, Just Great.
Disappointed in the “Sherlock” season four (and probable series) finale — giving Sherlock and Mycroft a sister, and having Sherrinford be a place instead of the third brother, was clever, but having the sister be the girl from The Ring with mind control powers who keeps popping in and out of her maximum-security prison was odd — we went out for brunch at Boston’s new City Tap. I saw on the menu and couldn’t resist trying a beermosa, which is exactly what you fear it is: wheat beer and orange juice (plus a dash of champagne). The first sip leaves you aghast, but it grows on one.
Oh boy, my first comment! Oops — it was spam. The Marines are the few, the proud, but my readers are the fewest, the lost, the mistaken, the mom.
My life changed one day in the ’80s at a family gathering at Mom and Dad’s in Sunapee, New Hampshire. My nieces Liddy and Sarah Mary were still in single digits then and had brought along their latest VHS tape, the 1983 production of The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings. They watched it avidly, while I sat bored with the icky lessons about making friends and sharing your feelings. But suddenly I was as enraptured as they:
The Care Bears are such a bunch of smarmy charms you naturally root for the villain, and theirs blows away other cartoon bad guys like Gargamel and Murky Dismal (okay, Skeletor comes close). It’s no wonder I’d found my anthem. Everyone goes gaga for those meteorological puppets the Heat Miser and Snow Miser, but they can’t hold a c – c – candle to Professor Coldheart.
The minute I heard the lyric —
I’m on the case, can’t be fooled
Any objection is overruled
Oh, I’m the Arbiter and I know best
— then the backup singers —
He’s impartial, don’t push him, he’s unimpressed
— I knew I’d found my theme song.
“Chess,” by ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus and legendary lyricist Tim Rice, is a musical with a (groan) checkered history, arguably more successful as a 1984 concept album than it’s ever been on stage. (“One Night in Bangkok” was a #3 hit single for Murray Head in 1985 and the 1986 London production ran for almost three years, but the ham-handedly revised Broadway show lasted only two months in 1988.)
I’m part of its small but diehard group of fans because it’s smart, with themes intricately appearing and reappearing in different songs; it’s cynical, with a more bitter than sweet view of life and relationships; and it rocks. Ladies and gentlemen, from one of the cult-favorite “Chess in Concert” productions, the Arbiter’s song:
(Yes, I know YouTube also has the music video by the original album Arbiter Bjorn Skifs, but it’s so, so ’80s. And don’t get me started on some of the recent mangled stagings; “Pity the Child” is the American’s song exclusively and having Florence sing any part of it is abominably wrong.)
But why is this only number two in my countdown of personal anthems? Well, my nieces outvote me two to one, so their pick will appear presently.
Everyone has a favorite piece of music, but only some of us have theme songs. A theme song embodies your image and epitomizes who you are, like Calvin’s in a 1990 “Calvin and Hobbes” strip:
Amazing, great Ca-a-alvin!
Oh, he’s the one that you’d like to meet!
He’s the one who just can’t be beat!
He’s Ca-a-alvin! La da ta da daaaaa!
Or my fave superhero, Marvel’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, who makes her Issue #1 debut joyfully singing a song with a suspiciously familiar melody:
Squirrel Girl, Squirrel Girl!
She’s a human and also squirrel!
Can she climb up a tree?
Yes, she can, easily.
That’s why her name is Squirrel Girl!
At the top of trees
Is where she spends her time
Like a human squirrel
She enjoys fighting crime!
Etc. As her squirrel pal Tippy-Toe says, “Now if we could just get anyone else to sing that song, we’d be set.”
As for me, many people — especially the women in my life — stereotype or associate me with a well-known pop culture character. Modesty forbids me to make the comparison, which frankly is only the third most accurate musical portrayal of your correspondent. But if you insist (and don’t mind clicking the X to spike the annoying YouTube pop-up ad), I’ll give you this golden oldie from Goldentusk, who provides lyrics to Monty Norman’s famed instrumental:
Coming up: the runner-up and winning theme songs for someone seeking to summarize the Stakerson experience.