Friday, April 17, 2015

And where would we be without listicles?

No matter how completely far-fetched, how completely absurd they are, no matter how arbitrarily and/or weirdly pulled together, I am a complete and utter sucker for any list.

It pretty much doesn’t matter what of.

Ten Best Donut Shops. Best Places to Retire. Snobbiest Cities in the US. (Go, Naperville!)  One Hundred Greatest Rock and Roll Songs of All Time. Fifty Experiences Everyone Should Have by the Time They’re Fifty. The Books You Need to Have Read if You Want to Consider Yourself Literate. Most Important New Words of the Last Decade.


Naturally, I prefer those list that reinforce any positive opinions I may hold of myself and the place where I live.

So I glommed right on to the silly Thrillest list: The 10 most Beautiful Neighborhoods in America, Ranked.

Now, having grown up in a neighborhood that would never have made anyone’s listicle  of most beautiful, I understand that some neighborhood faces are prettier than others.

But to pretend that there is actually a ranking of beautiful neighborhoods?

Even if, as it happens, my very neighborhood won the beauty contest.

Between the red brick sidewalks, the classic Georgian architecture, and the gaslights casting their amber glow down the narrow streets, this gorgeous colonial 'hood stands out from the rest of Beantown like a... well, like the most beautiful neighborhood in America. The row houses on Beacon Street overlook the fields of Boston Common (the oldest park in the country), and the whole neighborhood is equally beautiful in winter and summer. Hell, even the birdhouses are beautiful!

Beacon Hill's filled with little streets and avenues that lend the area a distinctly European atmosphere, and striding down the mossy cobblestones of Acorn Street feels like traveling back in time to the founding of the nation -- until you see someone taking as selfie with an iPad. And in that case, well, you can't totally hate; iPads are so convenient.

It is, of course, true that Beacon Hill is very pretty, very charming, very interesting in ways that, say, Main South Worcester just plain aren’t.

But is it the absolute most beautiful?

And “equally beautiful in winter and summer”????

Sure, if you’re gazing out at the Public Garden (winter or summer). But if you’re trying to walk down Charles Street when half the blocks are yellow-taped off to prevent you from getting hit in the head by a fifty-pound ice heave, and when the snow piles are black with exhaust and yellow with dog pee???

And I like that “striding down the mossy cobblestones of Acorn Street.”

Trust me: no one “strides” on Acorn Street.

Cobblestones just aren’t made for striding.

They’re made for creeping, mincing, crawling.

But never, ever striding. Unless you don’t mind cracking your skull on those cobblestones, and find yourself in the ER of Mass General Hospital (one of the the Best Hospitals in the World, by the way).

Anyway, however gratifying it is to live in the country’s most beautiful neighborhood, I do have the good sense to recognize that this designation is a total crock.

Beautiful? Without a doubt.

Most beautiful?  Really…

By the way, the first runner up – if Beacon Hill is unable to fulfill its duties for whatever reason, New York City’s Central Park West Historic District is first runner-up.

See the full list for yourself here.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Take me out to the Fitbit…

Yesterday was a pretty good day.

I began the day dropping my just-in-time completed tax forms off at the Post Office. I was going to just drop them in the mailbox, but was walking by the Government Center office, and decided to make sure they got in a real person’s hands before the witching hour.

Which turned out to be a good thing, as I had put the forms in a large envelope, without realizing that envelopes above and beyond standard business cost more. So if I’d gone the mailbox route, my forms would have been knocked back to me and not made it to the IRS or Mass DOR by the deadline.

After the nice PO guy hand-stamped my envelopes with a time well before midnight, I headed to the gym.

My gym (which is also Kennedy Brothers PT) runs a charity, Christmas in the City, which each December organizes a big Christmas party for homeless kids, and often has some sort of fundraising going on.

Someone had given them two tickets for yesterday’s Red Sox game. Usually, when they have tickets they go to the highest bidder, but these came in a bit late. There were no takers.

So, knowing that I’m a Sox fan, Jake of Kennedy Brothers fame, offered me the tickets for nada.

Well, I couldn’t take them for less than face value, but, as I had been thinking of heading out to Fenway to see if I could get a walk-in ticket, I was happy to have the much better grandstand seats.

Unfortunately, it was pretty last-minute to find a companion for ticket number two, so I ended up going by myself.

As did the guy sitting next to me, a doctor my age who, like me, is a Red Sox lifer, and who ended up being a great ballgame companion.

The weather was gorgeous, and the only lousy thing about the game was that the Sox got thumped big time.

Oh, well, there’s always next game.

One of the great urban experiences is walking to and from the ballgame, which I did, stopping on the way back at the Trident, the only indie bookstore anywhere near where I live.  And bought four books, included the latest from Stewart O’Nan, one of my favorite writers. Plus ordered another book that I’d just seen reviewed in The Economist.  Sure, I could have ordered it on Amazon or downloaded it onto my Kindle, but I want the Trident to live long and prosper.

Also on the way back from the park, I walked down Boylston Street, checking out the little memorials that had sprung up in observation of the second anniversary of the Marathon Bombing.

Life goes on…

And so does this lead-up to what the Dodgers are doing to “engage” their fans.

Anyway, those who don’t pay any attention to customer retention and/or corporate education may not be aware that “engagement” is all the rage.

And it’s no surprise that baseball would be concerned about engaging fans.

Baseball fandom is aging. I heard recently that the average age of baseball fans is 50, and on the rise. (Once again, I find myself above average. Yea, me!)

So what are the Dodgers going to do about it? Other than going on a spending spree that’s brought them to their whopping, MLB-topping 2015 payroll of $277M, $60M more than the Yankees are shelling out, and more than a $100M more than the Red Sox are payrolling this season. (The Sox are in 5th place on the hey, big spender list for 2015.)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to work later this summer with startups focused on sports technology, in hopes of finding new ways of engaging fans with the team. The program will seek to foster emerging companies working in fitness and sports training, among other areas.

Tucker Kain, chief financial officer of the Dodgers, says the team hopes to join with companies that can develop fitness-tracking technology for players that could eventually be rolled out to the public.

“We want to track health and diagnostics of the team to keep them healthy, but also we want to make sure there’s an ability to scale and bring that data to fans,” he said.

The Dodgers on Tuesday began accepting applications for the program, which will be operated in conjunction with advertising agency R/GA and will host 10 companies in Los Angeles from mid-August until November. Aside from fitness tracking, the team is interested in joining with mostly late-stage startups that can develop technology for fan engagement, “smart” sports stadiums, big data and analytics, and sponsor integration.(Source: WSJ)

Forget the wisdom (or not) of a sports team getting into it with late stage startups. Might that might be a bit distracting? I mean, get that eye back on the ball.

I’m focusing on that “bringing that data” – i.e., the fitness info of the players – “to the fans.”


I realize that there are sports junkies out there who want to know everything, but do we really need to know how many push-ups Mookie Betts can do?

Obviously, the Dodgers, even with their crazy roster spend, have too much time and money on their hands.

I know that fan “engagement” is important, and I want those younger fans to be engaged enough to keep this most wonderful of sports going for as long as I’m still around. Still….sharing the in-the-moment fitness data with the fans? Oh, it’s a bit more upbeat than the end-of-life way that MLB engages with fans with official coffins and ash urns. Still…

I really don’t want to be taken out to anyone else’s Fitbit.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Details, details. (Or, Peggy Olson’s passport.)

I’m in a writers’ group, and the other day we work-shopped a story in which one of the characters was out in his driveway working on a 1950’s Mustang.

No, no, a thousand times no!

I didn’t make the point during the session, not when we were focused on big picture issues like voice and structure. But I mentioned it to the author while we were on the way out the door. (The author is an very old and very good friend, so I was able to make a joke of it by mentioning the name of a classmate of ours who actually drove one of the early Mustangs back in the day. Does it go without saying that the Mustang driver was one of the “funeral parlor daughters”, who made up a good chunk of the elites in our class?)

But this is just the sort of crap I pick up on and that drives me batty.

A few years ago it was some TV show, a dystopic saga that took place in Boston. Except when they showed folks gathering on the town green, the monument to the WWII veterans read “1939-1945”, indicating that the show was actually filmed in Canada.

Before that, it was a novel in which a character coped with the nylons shortage of WWII by drawing a seam up the back of her bare legs to mimic the look of sheer seamed stockings. The character in the book used a Magic Marker, which, of course, wasn’t invented until the 1950’s. Not only did I know that there were no Magic Markers during the war, I also knew – thanks to my mother – what women did use to draw on their fake seams. They used eyebrow pencils.(Probably a Maybelline.)

And then there is the matter of Peggy Olson’s passport.

I’m not an obsessive, but I am a fan of Mad Men.

And while she’s not my favorite character – that would be Sally Draper – Peggy, the scrappy up from the secretarial ranks copy chief, is certainly the one that I most identify with. (Oddly, when I took one of those which-Mad-Men-character are you, I came out as Don Draper’s first wife, the bitchy and vacuous Betty. If I couldn’t be Peggy,  could I not at least have been Joan, the voluptuous knockout?)

Anyway, I enjoyed the fact that so much of the first episode of the final season was devoted to Peggy.

Part of the episode focused on Peggy’s looking for her passport.

I was only half paying attention when Peggy finally found her passport, but unless I’m hallucinating, I did notice something funny about it.

As in it was blue.

Wait just a darn New York minute, I said to myself.

Didn’t we just see Richard Nixon on TV? So wouldn’t that make it the late 1960’s or early 1970’s?

Which would mean that passports weren’t that sharpfirst-3-passports-covers navy. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, passports were actually Wehrmacht grey-green. That’s it on the right.

So what was Peggy doing with a passport that didn’t exist until 1976, when blue passports were introduced as part of the bicentennial celebration.

With all the obsessive attention that Mad Men pays to period detail, how did they miss this one?

Perhaps they should have someone who actually lived during the 1950’s and 1960’s on staff who can make the “wait just a darned New York minute” calls.

I still have my original passport (issue date 1973) around here somewhere, along with one my husband had of the same vintage. (Cool ‘stache, hon.) Which is why I knew that Peggy’s passport would be green, not blue.

Of course, I wasn’t paying all that much attention, so maybe Peggy’s passport really was grey-green. But I could have sworn it was blue. And it shouldn’t have been.

Anyway, a mind is a terrible thing to waste on trivial little details, and I guess I’m exhibit number one on that account.

Why is it that I find these little detail errors so annoying?


And why, when there’s so much else to blog about on April 15th, did I head in this direction?

What could I have focused my Pink Slippian energies on instead?

Well, today is tax day and, wildly, I didn’t actually finish my taxes and send them off until yesterday. (Wildly, because I’ve generally been a February filer.)

I think I stalled because this is the last return I’ll do as married, filing jointly. I think I didn’t want to write “deceased” on the line that should have held Jim’s signature. Sometimes life is just hard…

In any case, I could have used today’s Pink Slip to focus on filing taxes, including the stupendous complexity involved in even the plain vanilla returns I file. I actually enjoy – in an odd way – doing my taxes. But I don’t enjoy reading the instructions. So, after a quick check to make sure nothing’s changed, I just go by what I did last year.

If I wasn’t going to do taxes, I could have done death.

It is, after all, the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Here’s a couple of bombing-related pieces wrote about the bombings at the time.: What Was Up Until 2:50 p.m. a Glorious DayThat Was the Week That Was, and Opening Day.

Of course, looking back, even up until 2:50 p.m., April 15, 2013 wasn’t all that glorious a day.

My husband’s cancer had recurred, and we’d spent the morning at MGH for a chemo session. We were guardedly optimistic that Jim would get some lease on life, but that was not to be.

As for the Opening Day piece about the first game I saw during the 2013 season, I went to that game with my very old and very dear friend Marie. A year later, nearly to the day of that ballgame, Marie was gone, too.

No wonder I didn’t want to write about the anniversary of the bombings.

Or I could have chosen to observe the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln.

They sure don’t make ‘em like they used...

But, no.

Instead I am focused on the color of Peggy Olson’s passport.

Did I already say Grrrrrrr…..?


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Do you want to see regional English survive? So don’t I.

If there’s one thing that drove my Midwest mother crazy, it was the way New Englanders used expressions like “so don’t I” and “so aren’t I” to express agreement.

As in, your friend would say “I like ice cream,” and your answer would be “so don’t I,” rather than the grammatically proper “so do I,” or the more common/less formal “me, too.”

As in, your sister would say “I’m really hot,” and your answer would be “so aren’t I,” rather than that grammatically proper “so am I,” or the more common/less formal “me, too.”

My mother would argue that our usage made no sense.

To which our response was: so what?

It was just how we New Englanders rolled.

Just like we said “tonic” when others would say “soda” (or, as my Midwestern cousins would have it, “pop” – pronounced pahp). Alas, “tonic” has fallen out of New England favor, and even us old timers never use it anymore.


I don’t think people call rubber bands “elastics” anymore, either.

(Another sigh is heaved.)

And I suspect there aren’t many New Englanders under the age of 50 who know that a “bubbler” here is a “water fountain” anywhere else. Not that, thanks to bottled water, there are many “bubblers” around anymore. The only ones I can think of are a couple of old-timey stone ones in the Public Garden. No doubt these will be removed at some point, likely when some tourist’s kid, who doesn’t know enough not to put his mouth on the spout, will sue the City of Boston because of a canker sore.

I truly miss “bubbler”, which factors in a story in which I was the tourist.

The first time I traveled to San Francisco, in the early 1970’s, I was on Fishermen’s Wharf and asked someone whether there was a bubbler nearby.

She thought I was from England and that I was looking for a mailbox.

I’m all for being able to communicate clearly, but I really don’t want to see all regional differences go away.

(Don’t get me going on Macy’s replacing all the local department stores. Why couldn’t we just keep Jordan Marsh, and its fabulous blueberry muffins? Somewhere in Chicago, someone is lamenting that there’s no more Marshall Fields…)

Blame it on our national mobility, blame it on the chains (retail, dining, hotel), blame it on the media, blame it on the march of time, but all the little nuances that let us wake up in the morning knowing that we’re in Boston, or Tuscaloosa, or Fargo are dying out.

Oh, sure, they’re not gone yet.

There’ll always be NASCAR.

But even NASCAR has a toe-hold in New England.

So it’s interesting that while some regional differences seem to be getting stronger – gun ownership, church membership, etc. – the ones that actually make life interesting and not each others throats are withering away.

The good news is some folks out there has been keeping tabs on who says “so don’t I” an who calls a bubbler a bubbler.

Those folks are the University of Wisconsin, and – for the past 50 years – have been working on the Dictionary of American Regional English.

Between 1965 and 1970, English professor Frederic Cassidy sent field workers armed with a 1,600-question survey to interview and record people in more than a thousand far-flung communities. What were the local words for weather, household items, trees, courtship? Who called a “june bug” a “zoony bug” (answer: Georgians and Alabamans) or said “so don’t I” to mean “me too”? (Mostly New Englanders.) (Source: Boston Globe)

DARE knows that? So don’t I!

The good news is that their work been published:

Staffers compiled the information, along with quotations gleaned from printed materials, into what became six huge dictionary volumes, replete with maps and colorful quotations. Harvard University Press published the final volume, along with a complete multimedia digital edition, in 2013.

The not so good news is that the DARE folks are running out of funding, and still have a lot more things that they’re working on:

…the closure would halt other active projects — for starters, finding out how Americans speak now compared to in the 1960s. “The language changes, and we want to keep up with it,” Hall said. The team recently carried out a pilot project to duplicate Cassidy’s work in present-day Wisconsin. (They found online language surveys, while cheap, “didn’t get much participation;” old-fashioned face-to-face techniques still worked best.)

I know one thing that’s changed: people may have dropped their regionalisms, but they’re lobbing more f-bombs.

Another project they’re working on is developing ways to use the research, including creating the ability of others to use their data in their own apps.

“The one that is highest on my list is a medical app that would have thousands of regional and folk and archaic names for ailments and diseases.” An article in Harvard Medicine last fall cited a doctor in North Carolina who was initially flummoxed by a patient who said he’d “lost his nature.” It turned out to be localese for erectile dysfunction.

Must have been the only person in America who hasn’t seen the ads for ED medicine, and thus, if unwilling to utter the words “erectile dysfunction,” could have just uttered “ED”. Anyway, losing your nature must be even worse than a natural occurrence that lasts for more than four hours…

Just sayin’ (in my regional accent).

Meanwhile, the folks at DARE have mounted a GoFundMe campaign that’s limping along.

I threw them a few bucks.*

After all, what they’re doing is wicked pissah.

You know it, and so don’t I.


*Correction: I tried to make a donation. The page must not like Chrome. If I think of it, I’ll try again later.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Retiring minds want to know

If and when I retire, it will probably be to downtown Boston.

Maybe I’ll move to a new-fangled building with things like insulation and elevators. Or maybe I’ll just stay put.

So what if there are winters when you can’t step toe out half the time?

I live in a place where pretty much everything I need – including doctors, dentist, a pretty darned good hospital (Mass General) and a wonderful independent drug store – is within walking distance.

So, as I segue into geezerhood, I hope to become one of those little old ladies who trucks over to the library every other week for another armload of books. (In fact, I’m already on my way.) One of those little old ladies who putters around the neighborhood indie hardware store, which is actually more general store than Home Depot. (Hey, I’m there already.) And one of those little old ladies out on the corner with her ice chopper, cleaning out the corner ice dams and clearing the storm drain so that little old ladies don’t half to step on a Little Eva ice floe when they go out for a winter’s walk. (Hey, that’s me in the blue parka and the black beret, chopping away.)

Anyway, as long as I can make an occasional escape to a place where you don’t need to wear snow pants and sleep in heavy wool socks, I’ll be good.

Nonetheless, I like reading about what might be someone else’s idea of the best and worst places to retire.

And, according to Bankrate, the besties are Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota , Iowa, Arizona, Virginia, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and  Wyoming (the number one state, by the way).

All I can say is, it looks like weather doesn’t factor that heavily into their calculation if places like South Dakota and Iowa make it on there. Having anything to do must not be high on the list, either. There are only so many times that you can gaze at Mt. Rushmore.

As for Iowa, I’m sure my cousin Ellen, whose father-in-law is happily retired in the metropolis of Atlantic, Iowa, will be interested to see that Iowa is a great place to retire. (Aside to Ellen and Mike: just because you’re in Florida half the year now, there’s no reason not to retire to Iowa for the other half.  Atlantic awaits!)

Whether they have crappy weather or not, these states rise to the top of the retirement heap thanks to good health care, a low crime rate, something called ‘personal well being’, and a moderate cost of living.

Back on the weather front, Arizona, weirdly, is the only warm—weather state on the list. What up Florida? What up South Carolina?

Interesting that my brother Tom and his wife, after living for years in Flagstaff, Arizona, have chosen to retire to the Pacific Northwest. They’re in the area in Washington that’s considered Portland, Oregon’s version of Cape Cod, and are, in fact, looking to augment their beach home with a place in Portland so that they actually have access to things like, say, doctors and hospitals.

Interesting especially because Oregon is on the list of the ten worst states to retire to – largely because of costs. (Other than the hipsters and the rain, I would think it would be a great place to live. But, of course, I automatically gravitate toward the hippy-dippy while simultaneously ruling out open carry and creationism states.)

As for the ten worst states for us geezers, here’s the list, which I find exceedingly odd, mainly because I could actually see living in New York, Oregon, or even Hawaii, which make it on the sorry-arse bad state list because of costs (and, certainly in NY, weather).

Here’s the full ixnay for etireees-ray states: Arkansas, Missouri, Oregon, Kentucky, Hawaii, Louisiana, Alaska, New Jersey, West Virginia, New York.

New York? Okay, lets take New York.

Other than the cost and the weather – which, given that I live in Boston actually matters not – I would think New York, or at least the New York City part of it, would be an excellent place to retire.

It is, in fact, where my husband wanted to retire to. (I kept having to explain to him that people tended to retire to places that cost less, not more, than where they were currently living.)

But I had to give him that, as far as places for old geezers go, it’s hard to beat NYC.

No need for a car, excellent medical services, plenty of free stuff, plenty of interesting stuff, and a great walking town

So, other than the cost and weather, what’s not to like? Oh, yeah, the Yankees. Other than that…

As for the other states on the worst list, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Missouri would all be on my top ten must avoid states to live in, dead or alive.

But I can imagine there are plenty of folks who’d be perfectly happy to retire to, say, Branson, Missouri or the like.

Personally, I could live without being near the cast of the latter-day Lawrence Welk Show, but that’s not to say that others wouldn’t want to play out their golden years around the Lovely Lennon Sisters.

When it comes right down to it, it seems to me that the best place to retire is going to be the place where you feel comfortable, that you can afford, and where you have family and friends around.

One retiree’s Wyoming is another retiree’s Arkansas…



Friday, April 10, 2015

Where do we get headlines like these…

Trolling around the business news sites – and, I’ll admit, the Daily Mail – looking for today’s Pink Slip topic, what to my wondering eyes did appear but this headline on Bloomberg:

The Beauty and Logic of the Million-Dollar Car

Well, how could I resist?

And if this isn’t an invitation to stroll down memory lane.

Not that I can go all that far down it, given how few cars I’ve actually owned.

There was the used ‘81 Honda Civic with the rusted out body I bought for $2K. Then there was the little Mercury Tracer hatchback I got when the Civic wheezed what little horsepower it had into the glue factory. That glue factory – actually a Lincoln-Mercury dealership on the Lynnway (one of Boston’s major car strips) - gave me $100, sight-unseen, for the Civic. When I got it into the lot, where it promptly coughed and died, they told me that if they’d actually seen the car, they wouldn’t have given me anything for it. The cost for my brand-spanking new dark-red Tracer? About $8K, as I recall.

After a couple of years chugging around in my little Tracer, I was blessedly able to go car free for a decade or so.

When I needed to get another car, in 1998, the New VW Beetle was just out.

Be still my heart.

I was so delighted to have one, I ordered one without even knowing what the color was. Did I pay $17K? $18K? Probably $18K. I did spring for the heated seats. (The color was a very nice blue.)

So someone who’s car ownership outlay, in its entirety, amounted to a whopping total of $28K  really should have nothing to say about luxury cars.

And yet here I am…

I know that people are entitled to spend their money on whatever they want to spend their money on, but seriously:

Wouldn’t you have to be seriously out of your f-ing mind to spend $1M on a car?

Let alone $3.4M for the Lykan HyperSport.

Of course, a car that can hit 240 m.p.h. is not going to be used for grocery runs or to lug the dog to the vet. And not that it’s actually on the lot of a dealership near you. But it was, apparently, the eye-popper of a ve-hic-le that started in the latest Fast and Furious movie. 

Over the past decade we’ve seen almost every automaker (that calls itself a true “luxury” brand, at least) produce a contraption with a seven-digit price tag. Sometimes they get there only by making a one-off with diamond-rimmed headlights and titanium bones, but they get there.

The brands make these cars because people buy them. The past few years have seen an explosion of royals and tycoons around the globe who buy entire fleets of Aston Martins and Lamborghinis to support their proclivities. Bloomberg has discovered more than three dozen new billionaires in the world since January alone, and more than 300 since 2012. They buy the cars in Los Angeles, in Doha, in Moscow and São Paulo and Shanghai. Some, like hotel tycoon Steve Wynn, buy them to bolster their business interests just as much as their personal life.

“The fact of the matter is there are a lot of rich people around the world, and I mean super rich—hundreds of millions of dollars to billions of dollars of net worth,” says Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “When you’re talking about these types of people, a million-dollar car isn’t really much of a stretch at all.”(Source: Bloomberg)

Okay. I get it. You can afford it.

But before you fork over, say, $8M for a Maybach Exelero, wouldn’t you start to think about what else you could do if you didn’t need a bejeweled automobile?

Maybe if you have billions, the question never crosses your mind.

The Beauty and Logic of the Million-Dollar Car

Oh, I’m sure that they’re things of beauty all right. A million dollars worth of hand-crafted lux is going to have some beauty to it, even if it’s more grotesque than beautiful.

So I can see the beauty.

I must be missing something when it comes to the logic.

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Thursday, April 09, 2015

A is for Apple, and A is for Ain’t

Apple has never been the apple of my eye.

Sure, I’ve long admired their marketing and design genius, but  - other than an iPod I bought, what?, 10 years ago – their marketing and design genius have just not been enough to get me in their camp.

For Macs, it’s always been pretty simple.

I’ve been an Intel-processor type of gal from the get-go. Most of my career has been spent in the Microsoft world, both from the standpoint of the applications and equipment I used and of the platforms that the products and services the companies where I worked offered. (Even this post is written using LiveWriter, a no- longer updated freebie MSFT product that’s better for blogging than anything else I’ve used.)

Microsoft-y bias aside, when it came to doing a laptop replacements, which tends to happen every couple of years, I always look at the Macs. But even after I was convinced that Office apps would work just fine on a Mac, I would always cheap out. It just didn’t seem worth the extra $$$ to be one of the cool kids.

I don’t need a tablet, so I haven’t been tempted by the iPad.

I need a real computer for work. And I’ve got a Kindle, which is an excellent device for readers who travel. Yes, if I also want to use the Internet for anything other than a book download, I do have to lug the laptop. So I am probably going to replace my rickety old Dell with a tablet, but it will be a combo taplet-laptop SurfacePro.

As for the iPhone, well, when I finally get around to replacing my Blackberry – I think I’ve been holding out for being the last person in America to use one – I’m leaning Android.

For whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to get an iPhone, even though  pretty much everyone I know has one, including my generally technologically retrograde brother.

So I guess it goes without saying that I won’t be standing in line for the Apple Watch.

Come to find out, no one else will be, either.

Apple is pushing those interested in the new Apple Watch - an item that, let’s face it, no one really needs – to order online. Or make an appointment to come in an decide whether you want the $349 basic or the $17K gold luxury version.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple Inc.’s sales chief, wants to scrap the company’s tradition of having customers wait in line, sometimes for days, to get their hands on the latest gadget. Apple has instructed its sales force to prod shoppers on the company’s website to purchase the new smartwatch, which can be pre-ordered Friday.

“The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers,” according to a memo to Apple sales staff. “This is a significant change in mindset.”(Source: Bloomberg via Boston Globe.)

There is some speculation that, fearing they have a Google Glass on their hands, Apple doesn’t want to end up with a no-line release, and have the world go into a spin about a mega, post-Jobs failure.

That would be something of a wormhole on the old Apple, wouldn’t it?

Me, I’m ‘meh’ on the Apple Watch – and not just because it comes from Apple.

I’m not that keen on the whole “wearable tech” thing.

And these smart watches seem to be trying to duplicate functionality that you already have on your smartphone. Which, since everyone always has their smartphone with them, doesn’t seem all that necessary. And the smartphone form factor is just so much better for actually getting things done.

I have a friend – a gadget-guy engineer – who has an early (non-Apple) smart watch. He says that the one thing it’s good for is to gently vibrate on his wrist when he’s in a phone-off meeting and gets a phone call. He can discreetly check his phone and see if the call is important.

Other than that, he’s not sold. (And he’s a gadget-guy engineer.)

It will be interesting to see how rapidly the Apple Watch is adopted. It has, from what I’ve seen, mostly gotten good reviews.

But I don’t see it turning into the next iPod/iPhone/iPad anytime soon.

And, of course, I a-is-for-ain’t going to be getting one soon, even if I don’t have to wait in line to get one.

I have to admit, however, that I’ll miss watching those lines on Boylston Street, slowly wending their way into the Apple Store. Me, walking by, taking it all in, shaking my head in disbelief that there are so many people who’d wait in line for a shiny new piece of technology, however genius the design and marketing behind it.

Sorry, Apple, not that it means a thing for you, but you’re just not the apple of my eye.

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