It’s a matter of personal taste

kia telluride

kia telluride ad - modifiedThe 2020 Kia Telluride is ugly.

But you may like it.

I know it’s rugged looking. I know it carries visual themes from the Hummer and Jeep Wrangler. I know it can perform mild off-road tasks. And I know that Telluride is a beautiful town in my home state, Colorado.

But the design just does not appeal to me.

I realize that I’m hopelessly old-school, but I find the sedan and its wagon variant attractive. They are lower to the ground, corner better and have enough room for most daily uses.

For the same money, one could buy a really nice used Audi A4 wagon with all-weather capability but no off-road ground clearance.


The photo is courtesy of Kia USA.

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Design for humans.

skin creme container protective cover

Product designers forget their end users.

This tube of creme had a security seal that would only come off using a pair of vice grips. The manufacturer never tested that seal with human hands.

Poor design surrounds us.

Bathroom hand dryers… the popular Xlerator makes so much noise that hearing damage may result. Dyson’s Airblade dB pushes your hands toward the sides – thus negating some of the hygienic effects of touchless air drying.

And the list goes on.

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Body dyslexia

dance neon sign

My body works backwards.

During some winter months, Heather and I join a cross-fit exercise class at our local rec center. Most of the exercises are challenging because, well, if they weren’t, why would we want to do them?

But some of the exercises are challenging to me and not most of the other participants. When we’re supposed to take our right hands and touch our left feet, I typically take my right hand and touch my right foot. And similar things happen with other exercises.

I call it body dyslexia.

“Disabled” is not a good word, because it’s a label. A person living with a disability is a better way to describe those of us who are challenged in one or more areas because that’s only a part of who we are – not the whole.

I’m living with body dyslexia.


And dancing? Impossible for me.


The “DANCE” photo is courtesy of Georgia de Lotz via Unsplash. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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We love a happy ending

the movie Roma on Netflix

…but not TOO happy.

I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more I enjoy movies with realistic endings.

When I was a kid, I loved simple “happily ever after” endings.

Now I appreciate endings that have partial resolution with a glimmer of hope.

Maybe this is because I’ve experienced more and realize that “happily ever after” endings are rare in real life. Thus, they are just not believable. Suspension of Disbelief just doesn’t cut it for me like it used to.

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Preying on older adults

provocative junk mail

There’s a whole swath of companies that sell “health products” and quasi-political organizations that spend a lot of money making more money by targeting older adults in the USA.

I know this because my 87-year-old father-in-law gets approximately a pound of mail from these groups every day.

With few exceptions, his junk mail has these characteristics:

  • Most of the text is all caps.
  • The graphic design is poor or nonexistent.
  • The copywriting is done by someone who hasn’t quite finished high school.
  • The political organizations strongly emphasize the urgency of their cause – over and over and over within each piece.
  • The political organizations fan the flames on any fear that may be lurking in the back of the recipients’ minds.
  • The political organizations ask for money.
  • The health products are not scientifically proven.
  • The health products are not approved by the FDA.
  • Most of the health products promise to reverse the effects of aging.

The worst part of this is that many older adults living on their own do not have the discrimination to identify a scam. So they give – or buy.

The best tip I can provide to combat this scourge is that when there’s a post-paid envelope in their mailing, return the part of the mailing with the addressee’s info on it in the post-paid envelope with this message: “TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST.” That way, they will pay double to not get any business. (And they only understand text that’s in all caps.)

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The main band is usually the best

Mimi Parker of the band Low

I’ve seen a lot of live music over the years.  My favorite shows are always in small venues. I love to see musicians up close. Their interaction with the crowd is often more personal. And it’s fun to think that we could shake hands during the show if we wanted to.

Small venues like to feature local musicians as the opening acts. It’s great for smaller bands to grab a little of the spotlight often reserved for national acts. Sometimes that propels them to fame.

But often the contrast is huge. Professionalism, musicianship, and overall quality of the performances are often massively better for the national acts.

Occasionally, opening bands are better. Sometimes I’ve seen shows where I went for the main band and ended up being introduced to an opening act that became a favorite band. That’s a refreshing surprise.

I always like to give each band a chance. I may not like their style or attitude, but I try to listen with an open mind and open ears.


The photo is Mimi Parker of the band Low. I saw her and the rest of the band on Friday night, March 8, 2019.

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Matches are Lucifers

Dutch matches package

If you are in Belgium or the Netherlands and need something to start your fire, you reach for … a lucifer.

Yes, “lucifer” is one of the Dutch (or Flemish) words for matches.

English is confusing enough – did you mean match, as in “tennis,” as in “they were made for each other,” or as in, “fire starter?”

Language is important. Even if we speak the same language, we need to strive to be understood. Tuning in to the person or people we’re speaking with, a tactic that some consider to be a basic survival skill, is far more than that – it’s a way to enjoy life by seeking understanding.

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Recycling fears

I’ve never visited a recycling plant. That would make a great school field trip, but at my age, I’d have to take time off of work to enjoy such an outing.

Anyhow, I fear that sometimes stuff I’ve put into the recycling bin ends up in landfills. That’s not just a fear on my part – it’s reality: here’s the link to a related story. In America, a lot of the difficulty comes from political gyrations on the part of our current government.

Another problem comes into play – how manufacturers create their products – many times, materials are mixed, so it’s impossible to properly recycle the package or product. If you look at the plastic bottle above that contained some cold brew coffee, you’ll see that the manufacturer of the coffee was kind enough to point that out.

But how many people would take the time to peel off the label? Maybe 2%, if we’re lucky!

I would love it if manufacturers would employ creative resources (and funds) to come up with easier-to-recycle packages and products. I know that some car manufacturers are moving in that direction (related story), but the rest of the product world has a long way to go.

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Sent from my iPhone

Did you know that you can change the signature at the bottom of emails that you send from your smartphone? It’s easy.

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Select mail.
  3. Scroll down to Signature.
  4. Type in whatever you like. My signature is, “Sent from my modern smartphone”. Be creative: “Sent by a tribe of small elves” or “Sent while multi-tasking”.

These instructions work for an iPhone, but steps for an Android phone are similar.

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