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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

From Clocks to Recipes

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Besides root canals (which Iíve never had) the two times of the year that really hack me are the times when you have to change your clocks to adjust everything for daylight savings time. I canít remember if the one we do in the fall is to put us into daylight savings or to take us out of it.

I just know itís a big pain in my rear. When I was growing up, I think we had one alarm clock and then another one over the stove or oven or whatever you call it. Today we have a clock everywhere. The television has one. The thermostats have one, the microwave has one, the stereo has one, the oven and alarm systems have one. The cameras have one, the DVD has one Öand on and on. And then we have the ones in the cars. You used to be able to just turn a knob to reset the ones in the car, but now you have to have a degree from M.I.T. or get a kid to show you how to push four buttons at the same time to adjust the time.

I tried keeping count of the clocks I had changed and finally gave up when I started getting mad and disgusted at the time I was spending on this activity. And just think I wonít have to do it again for almost six months or so. Tell me these are labor saving.

This got me to thinking about all of the so called new inventions that are supposed to make our lives easier, but in fact actually make it more difficult. Take for instance the tape that provides the security for a cd. By the time you get the sticky stuff off the top of the plastic case and your fingers youíve lost the mood to play the thing for any reason. The tape sticks to you like a small piece of plastic that holds on your fingers by static electricity. You just canít shake it off. You see people going down the highway shaking their fingersÖ..itís that plastic. You could buy illegal cdísÖ.one good thing about those is that they donít have all of that sticky stuff to contend with. Of course there can be major issues with buying those as well, such as having a blank disc with zero music on it. Canít takeíem back for a refund can you? You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Another great pieces of modern day technology are those plastic cases surrounding just about anything I want to buy. Need a printer cartridge? Inside of one of those hard plastic shells. Need a software program for your computer? Inside of one of those hard plastic shells. Need some pens or pencils? Guess what? Get that pair of shears out so you can open the package and use whatever it is that youíve bought. Iíd bet the packaging costs more than the product in a lot of these things. Iíve got garden shears that wonít cut these boxes open. You have to almost use a blow torch or something equally as drastic to get your stuff out. I bet the landfills are full of brand new things because someone got disgusted and gave up and just threw the thing away. More trouble than itís worth. I can relate to this. You probably can as well.

My last point for this week concerns recipes. Iím not sure how I made the move from daylight savings time to recipes, but it happened anyway. I love to cook and get a lot of the things I cook from the internet. No problem unless they call for some ingredient that youíve never heard of or can buy in our part of the world. Examples of these are: Ads iswid? Daikon, Zafrig. These sound more like exotic diseases rather than food items.

Even worse than this would be the instructions for cooking something you canít find down at the local supermarketÖ.try this one on for sizeÖ. Cut the flippers off from the oogruk. Put the flippers in fresh blubber. Let them stay there for about two weeks. Take the loose fur off the flipper.

Then what? Iíll pass on cooking this one up. Donít expect to see it at my house. One more thingÖis it just me or why is there such a shortage of shredded Swiss cheese? Is it against the law to shred this stuff or what? Ten or fifteen kinds of every other cheeses but not but one of Swiss. Whatís with that?

Iím done for this week, found another couple of clocks that need changing.


© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - November 12, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers

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