Not the MSM you're used to
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January 11th, 2005
Whenever new technology comes to the masses it seems to take two steps forward and one step back. Take, for instance, the self-checkout lanes now installed at a local Home Depot (my new favorite store, see end of yesterday's post) and Albertson's.
At first I praised God and shouted "woo-hoo!" when I saw these lanes at the store for the first time. I struggled a bit with the interface (a combination touch-screen, automated voice system, and bar-code scanner) was a bit cumbersome, but at least it would get faster, right?
Not if you have more than five items to purchase.
At first you start scanning, or at least try to. There are two glass surfaces in the scanning area, perpendicular to one another. You first try scanning the bar code across the horizontal surface, but after about six times you realize that the laser actually comes out of the vertical surface. Then you want to start scanning as fast as the regular cashiers. You can, but since the automated voice repeats the price of every item you soon find yourself waiting to see if you screwed up, so it takes just as long as if you scanned one item at a time. Of course this gives lie to the illusion that you are in the faster lanes. Somewhere some Big Shot Executive is laughing at your sense of independence.
At least it doesn't announce the name of the item. The females in the test group were probably the first to point out that it could be embarrassing if their Essential Personal Items were announced to everyone in the store.
Then it expects you to bag the item, and Heaven help you if you don't. The Stern Masculine Voice of Correction replaces the Soft Feminine Price Announcing Voice and declares there to be an "unexpected item in bagging area," demanding that you remove it. If you try and push the "Skip Bagging" button on the screen, you're screwed. Sometimes it accepts that you don't want to bag the 20 pound bag of cat litter, sometimes it doesn't. So back to the bagging area it goes. You can't take it away until the computer is satisfied that you are done with that item. This can take several seconds, which is maddening to the do-it-yourself guy like me.
Once you finally get through filling a bag you have to wait some more while the computer decides that its okay to take the full bag and put it in your cart. If you screw up here you're in Bagging Area Hell again. Of course, during this time you have no ability to scan or bag, which only causes the Big Shot Executive to laugh at you again.
Finally you get to the point where you pay with your debit card, at which point the computer directs you to a separate (but simple, thoroughly debugged, and familiar) keypad interface where you do the PIN pad dance and watch electronic dollars disappear from your electronic wallet, conveniently represented by that simple plastic card. I pity the people who have to pay with cash, as it is more than likely the machine does not recognize your "paper" money and spits it back out at you time and time again.
Its enough to make you go out and get a Hipster PDA.
How about a stamp every Tuesday, how does that sound? Well, I didn't hear any suggestions, so if you don't like it, tough.
This stamp is just a picture of the medal part of the Purple Heart. George Washington was the first to create such an award, which was originally called the Badge of Military Merit, awarded to soldiers who distinguished themselves meritoriously in some way. There are three known recipients of the award: Elijah Churchill, William Brown, and Daniel Bissell Jr., who all received the award in the summer of 1783.
The original award was a purple heart shaped badge, made of cloth or silk, edged in lace. The bearer was able to pass guards and sentries without being challenged, though how this was accomplished at night, without being able to see the badge, is still up in the air.
Beats a bayonet in the gut, though.
The crest at the top is the Washington family crest, flanked by wreaths and superior to the portrait of General Washington. The medal was created by Elizabeth Will and John R. Sinnick, respectively of the Quartermaster General Office and Philadelphia Mint. It was reintroduced in 1932 by General Douglas MacArthur and issuing soon began. Because of some ambiguous and exclusive language, the criteria have been changed over the years. It is now awarded to all military personnel (and civilians serving under military authority) who, since April 5th, 1917, have been wounded in combat or international terrorist acts.
There's even a Military Order of the Purple Heart, a group chartered by Congress, that represents recipients of the award (i.e. a lobbying organization, but that description doesn't quite fit). They have an award called the Military Order of the Purple Heart, awarded to ROTC cadets for doing good in their military studies and leadership assignments. Instead of the purple stripe flanked by two white stripes over the badge, its a simple purple ribbon hung from a gold bar with the MOPH crest suspended below. I received one my junior year in high school, when I was in Air Force Junior ROTC. Its pretty, but it doesn't do justice to the significance of the superior award.
I guess the refrain from the song about the guy whose car gets a flat, who has to wait in a honky-tonk bar while the truck comes and has a run-in with the local yokels is a bit out of date.
You know, the song with the line "long haired hippie type pinko fag, I bet he's even got a Commie flag tacked up on the wall inside a his garage."
You think I've lost it, don't you? Well, I haven't. The North Korean Government is now governing men's hairstyle. Never let it be said that Communism doesn't try to make things better - it only tries to improve the things that don't need improving.
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