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Welcome to Mike Redmond's home on the Weird Wide Web!

Greetings, Earth People. I'm Mike Redmond. Not the baseball player. Instead of making you guess the rest, I'll just go ahead and tell you who I am and what I do.

  • I'm a newspaper columnist -- formerly the feature columnist for The Indianapolis Star (back when you could call it a newspaper). I bailed out of the place about two years after Gannett bought it, and I still count that as the best decision I ever made. My creditors don't always agree.
  • Now I write for papers around Central Indiana, a magazine or two, and this site. I'm also a public speaker, a teacher, an historical (as opposed to hysterical) interpreter, a farm tour guide, and occasionally, when I can be talked into it, an author. They're all my favorite jobs.
  • This is where you'll find my online column, posted every Wednesday, unless I get ambitious and post it Tuesday. But don't count on it.
  • This is also where to look for news about speaking engagements, new jobs, friends, and stuff that strikes me as interesting. I'll probably throw in a few recipes, too. I get wild like that sometimes.
  • Take a look around. Let's have some fun.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One Person's Figure Flaw Is Another's Shopping Cart

I'm sure we all saw the story about the two Oklahoma women who were caught shoplifting by stashing the (allegedly) stolen goods in their skin folds.

And I'm sure I speak for many of us when I say:


Just ... eeeeuw.

Here's part of the wire service account:

"Ailene Brown, 28, and Shmeco Thomas, 37, (were arrested) on suspicion of shoplifting after the pair allegedly stuffed $2,600 worth of footwear, denim and accessories under rolls of fat on their stomachs and beneath their breasts.

"These two individuals were actually concealing them in areas of their body where excess skin was, underneath their chest area and up around their armpits," Edmond Police Officer James Hamm told"

Once again, all together now: Eeeeuw.

Here's what really got me: Part of the haul included boots. Boots. Four pair.

How deep does a body crevice have to be to hold one pair of boots, let alone multiples?

Don't answer. I don't want to know.

Now, I don't want you thinking I am picking on Ms. Brown and Ms. Thomas. Well, I am, but not for being ... um, how to put this politely? I know. Ginormous. Heck, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 34 percent of US adults were considered obese in 2007-2008.

(In Indiana, the level is estimated at 29.5 percent of the population. Oklahoma, where the alleged Plus-Size Perpetrators were caught by the long, skinny arm of the law, weighed in at 31.4 percent. The Big Kahuna, as it were, is Mississippi,which led the charge at a full-figured 34 percent.)

Now that is statistical obesity, often quoted by doctors and insurance companies. I'm sure you've seen the height/weight charts at your doctor's office. They usually post them right next to the scales. They're real comedians, those doctors. Especially since the charts show that any adult human who weighs more than 135 pounds is Fat Albert.

Actually, my former primary care comedian, Dr. Shecky, used to tell me that I wasn't overweight at all. In fact, I was the perfect weight. The problem was my height. I was 4 feet undertall.

But back to Oklahoma. As I said, I'm not making fun of these women for being large. I'm making fun of them for being stupid. And, let's be honest, kind of gross. Boots and denim? You can't exactly fold a pair of jeans down into a small, concealable package. Well, maybe baby overalls or something. But logic says if they were buying for themselves they would have some pretty deep skin folds, all right.

Of course, the plus side would be that the shoplifting possibilities are endless: Bicycles, furniture, Smart Cars ...

Oh, well. Time for justice to run its course. The women have been charged with felony shoplifting for their alleged crime.

(Newspaper rules require the use of the word alleged, you know, and rightfully so, although it can get a little out of hand sometimes. I mean, one of these days some overzealous newsie is going to write that the sun allegedly rose in the east this morning.)

But in the case of the Bodyfat Bandits, alleged is correct. This could be a big mistake and  they might well have been planning to pay for their selections. Although I do not want to know where they were keeping the money.


© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.

Tue, December 14, 2010 | link 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TV Or Not TV? That Is The Question


Having determined that my extended presence on the naughty list precludes delivery via the usual North Pole service, I recently went shopping for a new television.

Can you say "confused?"

Actually, confused is an understatement. Before I went out I spent two days researching televisions. By the time the sales guys got through with me, I felt like I had been held upside down and shaken until everything I knew rolled right out of my head. Including my own name and address

For one thing, it seems you can't just buy a television anymore. No way. You are, as one salesman told me, buying the video component centerpiece of your integrated home entertainment system. I don't know how I feel about that. It seems a pretty lofty description for something that's just going to show you reruns of "Green Acres."

Wait. The nomenclature just gets sillier. The only thing modern electronics geeks like better than long names ("video component centerpiece") are short ones, preferably abbreviations, and in the modern television world you have a bunch of them. Depending on the need, a consumer must choose between sets described as Plasma, Platelets, Corpuscles, LED, LED-LCD, PQQ, SBD and of course IOU.

Now that I think about it, IOU is going to apply no matter what kind of TV I get.

Anyway, once you've figured out which combination of letters is right for you, you have to choose what size to get. Screen sizes range from big, to bigger, to ginormous, to drive-in movie, to visible from space.

Ginormous is what you find in the average living room these days. Drive-in movie is what you'll find in your basic man cave, where men gather to drink beer, make a variety of rude body noises, and watch sports on televisions with definition so high you can tell which players have dandruff problems.

And you can listen through ... cheap little speakers. This is where they get you. You see, all those mondo-humongo TV sets come with the same lousy speakers they've always used for TV. Well, you can't have high-definition video and low-definition sound, can you? Oh, no. So now you have to buy a home theater system to go with your Plasma-Platelet-LED-LCD-IOU screen.

Time for more jargon. What kind of surround sound do you want -- 2.1? 5.1? 7.1? 3.14159? Do you want Blu Ray with capability for DVD, CD, CD-ROM, JPEG, Shoepeg and your uncle's 8mm home movies? And then there's connectivity. What about WiFi, HiFi, LoFi, NoFi, and FeeFi(FoFum)?

It's a lot to consider, is what I'm saying. And while you're considering it, it's quite likely that your eyes will glaze over and you'll get that facial expression your dog gets when you show it a card trick.

This, of course, is right where they want you. It means your brain is disengaged and therefore less likely to hear your wallet crying "No! No! Don't do it! Look at the price tags, you moron! You'll be paying on this thing for the next three presidential administrations!"

Luckily, I didn't get quite that far. I shook off the Too Much Information stupor and went home - no easy trick when you can't remember your own address - to reconsider my options. And I think I found one. I figured out what to do about television.

I rejoined Book-of-the-Month club.

© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.

Wed, December 8, 2010 | link 

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By the way -- everything on this site is Copyright 2009 by Mike Redmond. If you copy it without my permission, I will hunt you down with either my dog or my lawyer. I'll probably go with the dog. She's smarter.

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