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There must be a catch

I just received a letter from the Scarborough Research Corporation apologizing for their recent survey telephone call, reminding me that I’m one of only a small percentage of America privileged to participate, and hoping that I would be more inclined to hear them out the next time they call (presuming they did call, as I honestly don’t remember). I would reprint the letter here, but it’s frankly not that interesting. What is interesting is the enclosed two dollars in cash. Two small for nothing! The letter indicates that my household is one of 200,000 households whose opinions matter. This means that if they sent bribes to everyone before actually calling, which I think is probably what’s going on here, they’ve dropped 400 large to conduct this survey. Them’s some serious money.

I examined the bills, thinking they might be like those Publishers’ Clearing House checks you can’t cash unless your banker is an idiot, but they’re legit. Usually mail means I owe someone something, but not this time. I hope this “money in the mail for nothing” trend continues.

In other news, the transformation of my living room continues with a new sofa and TV. With the former, I’ve become the owner of a Real Possession, an Adult Thing, and with the latter entered the confusing and often disappointing world of high definition, or it might actually be High Definition and trademarked. Roark helped me pick out the couch in a store in Ballard, and my coworkers essentially told me which TV to buy. So far I rate the couch a 9 and the TV an 8. The TV would get a higher rating, except that this whole “HD Era” thing is kind of an elaborate hoax. You buy this futuristic box with dozens of inputs in the back, a sleek, shiny idol to consumer lust, and it promises you a level of fidelity to awe even the most discerning television enthusiast. Then you realize that the only things broadcast in HD are the evening news and professional sports. And you remember that besides Jeopardy, you don’t watch TV (and believe me, you should be glad that you can’t see Jeopardy contestants in HD). HD DVD players exist, but they cost around $900 and have about 6 titles. Then there’s Sony’s rival BluRay format, equally expensive and sparse. The entire industry is stalled waiting for the hammer to fall and a format to be declared the winner. The upshot of all this is that while DVD movies look amazing on my TV, I know in my heart of hearts, where I’m an engineer if nothing else, that my television is capable of displaying pictures a little, barely noticeable amount better than it is. And it hurts, a little.

Also, I would like to point out that in the film credits of Raising Arizona, there is a person with the title of “baby wrangler.”

Posted in Musings.

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