Told You So

Bar Code Menus

People, I implore you, resist bar code menus. You are paying money to get served. Don’t put up with this crap. In my town, the barcode menu experiment lasted a couple of weeks but customers simply refused to use them and restaurants had to give in. We don’t have to agree to this crap. There’s no reason for it, it’s inconvenient, ugly, and stupid. Nobody is obligated to possess a smartphone. Let’s stand in solidarity with the people who don’t use them.

Book Recommendations

Does anybody have recommendations for Audible books for a 5-year-old with a 9-year-old’s vocabulary? We are looking for longer books (250 pages or so). Ideally, they should be narrated in a standard US accent. A milder British accent is OK but nothing too hardcore.

If you are not into books on tapes, think about regular books. What did you enjoy reading at 8 or 9? We prefer girl protagonists.

We’ve done all of the Disney princess books already. Many, many times. She liked JK Rowling’s The Christmas Pig, even if I didn’t. Done some Kipling and the myths of Ancient Greece. Now she plays Zeus and Hephaestus with her Dad all the time.

I heard there’s a book called “Green Gables.” Is that any good? Or is it too early? She has a 9-year-old vocabulary but a 5-year-old mind. So no unseemly realities of life for now. For instance, I think she might just be able to do some Dickens vocabulary-wise but she won’t enjoy the stories.

Soviet Colors

In 1988 – already perestroika but still USSR – I’d go to the underpass and buy a packet of bubble gum for a rouble. Just so you understand what a rouble was, my father made 110 roubles a month before taxes. It wasn’t easy for a kid to come across a whole rouble to spend on illegal underpass purchases.

I don’t like gum, so that isn’t why I bought it. The gum packets had inserts with pictures of Disney characters. But I didn’t know them, so this wasn’t the reason either.

I bought the gum because of the colors. The inserts were very bright, and I’d never seen such colors before. Looking at them was an escape from the drab Soviet reality to a world of color. I stored the inserts in a matchbox and spent hours contemplating them.

A couple of years later we were finally allowed to have “private cooperatives” (tiny proto-businesses), and they flooded the city with neon green and orange blouses and skirts. We all looked like road repair crews but we we were desperate not to look grey any more.

Women were also finally allowed to feel like women and not industrial cogs, and it all resulted in everybody dressing like neon-bright streetwalkers for a few years because we didn’t know how else to manifest our newfound womanness.

The private cooperatives started making shoelaces which had been impossible to find in the USSR. They colored the shoelaces in the same neon orange and green, and we wore them as hair ties, necklaces, and bracelets. It was as if suddenly the whole world had exploded in color.