Can’t Put Your Phone Down During Dinner? Try Picking Up The Check.

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Can't put down your smartphone during dinner? Try picking up the check.

Many people, young and old, complain about how technology is doing this or that to their lives. Writers bemoan the loss of real connections, or whatever they think people did before phones/the Internet/computers ruined everything.

Last weekend, for example, the New York Times ran three separate articles on getting away from the plague of always-on communications, as Atlantic contributor Nathan Jurgenson noted.

“In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time,” Pico Iyer wrote. “The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.”

no mobile phone signFor the past couple of days, a great example of this kind of thinking has been making its way around the Tumblr ecosystem. A San Francisco dancer named Brian ‘Lil B’ Perez and his friends came up with a game to constrain their cellphone use when they’re out having dinner.

Here are the simple rules:


Don’t Be A Di*k During Meals With Friends

The first person to crack and look at their phone picks up the check. Our (initial) purpose of the game was to get everyone off the phones free from Twitter/Facebook/texting and to encourage conversations.

Rules of the Game:

  1. The game starts after everyone has ordered.
  2. Everybody places their phone on the table face down.
  3. The first person to flip over their phone loses the game.
  4. Loser of the game pays for the bill.
  5. If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

 


That seems like about the right level of social conditioning necessary to make people think about their technology use. Not soulful wailing, but collective ribbing.
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Consumers now paying ‘per-swipe’ fee on debit card purchases

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man with empty wallet


First they charge up to $5.00 per transaction at the ATM machine..
. Now we can look forward to both monthly charges AND per swipe fees for the privilege of using a bank debit card while shopping.

It’s time to start carrying cash again, consumers.

Read the infuriating article in the New York Times


Half of Wealthy Americans Agree with Buffett, Would Pay Higher Taxes

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Business guru and famous super-rich person Warren Buffett made waves last month with an op-ed in The New York Times, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” calling for higher taxes for him and other obscenely wealthy Americans. He argued that the nation’s very well-off are not sacrificing enough in these hard times and enjoying a tax rate much lower than what’s it has been set for the rich in previous decades. There have been a variety of responses to Buffett’s piece, some supportive, some not. But today we have a response from the wealthy themselves, and nearly half agree with Buffett’s sentiment. 48 percent of those with several million dollars in assets are willing to pay more taxes for the common good, according to a recently released survey (see the PDF report):


Read the full article at the Atlantic Monthly Online…

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2011/09/half-wealthy-americans-agree-buffett-would-pay-higher-taxes/42145/ 

Six Things You Should Never Say to a Friend (or Relative) Who’s Sick

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MY friend sat down and ordered a stiff drink. I didn’t think of her as the stiff-drink kind. An hour later, after our spouses drifted off into conversation, she leaned over the table. “I need your help,” she said. “My sister has a brain tumor. I don’t know what to do.”

Three years ago this month, I learned that I had a seven-inch osteosarcoma in my left femur. Put more directly: I had bone cancer. That diagnosis led me down a dark year that included nine months of chemotherapy and a 15-hour surgery to reconstruct my left leg.

At the time, my wife, Linda, and I were the parents of 3-year-old identical twin girls, and we were often overwhelmed with the everyday challenges of having a sick dad, a working mom and two preschoolers. We survived with help from many people. Our siblings organized an online casserole club, so friends could buy us dinner through a meal service. Grandparents rotated in and out of our basement. My high school classmates made a video at our reunion.

But as my friend’s query suggested, some gestures were more helpful than others, and a few were downright annoying. So at the risk of offending some well-meaning people, here are Six Things You Should Never Say to a Friend (or Relative or Colleague) Who’s Sick. And Four Things You Can Always Say.

First, the Nevers.

1. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? Most patients I know grow to hate this ubiquitous, if heartfelt question because it puts the burden back on them. As Doug Ulman, the chief executive of Livestrong and a three-time cancer survivor, explained: “The patient is never going to tell you. They don’t want to feel vulnerable.” Instead, just do something for the patient. And the more mundane the better, because those are the tasks that add up. Want to be really helpful? Clean out my fridge, replace my light bulbs, unpot my dead plants, change my oil.

2. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. In my experience, some people think about you, which is nice. Others pray for you, which is equally comforting. But the majority of people who say they’re sending “thoughts and prayers” are just falling back on a mindless cliché. It’s time to retire this hackneyed expression to the final resting place of platitudes, alongside “I’m stepping down to spend more time with my family,” or “It’s not you, it’s me.”

3. DID YOU TRY THAT MANGO COLONIC I RECOMMENDED? I was stunned by the number of friends and strangers alike who inundated me with tips for miracle tonics, Chinese herbs or Swedish visualization exercises. At times, my in-box was like a Grand Ole Opry lineup of 1940s Appalachian black-magic potions. “If you put tumeric under your fingernails, and pepper on your neck, and take a grapefruit shower, you’ll feel better. It cured my Uncle Louie.”

Even worse, the recommenders follow up! Jennifer Goodman Linn, a former marketing executive who’s survived seven recurrences of a sarcoma and is compiling a book, “I Know You Mean Well, but …,” was approached recently at a store.

“You don’t know me, but you’re friends with my wife,” the man said, before asking Ms. Linn why she wasn’t wearing the kabbalah bracelet they bought her in Israel.

Read the full article at the New York Times

Harold Camping Rapture Prophecy causes problems

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The Haddad children of Middletown, Md., have a lot on their minds: school projects, SATs, weekend parties. And parents who believe the earth will begin to self-destruct on Saturday.

The three teenagers have been struggling to make sense of their shifting world, which started changing nearly two years ago when their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, left her job as a nurse to “sound the trumpet” on mission trips with her husband, Robert, handing out tracts. They stopped working on their house and saving for college.

Read the full article in the New York Times