He is a conspicuous and gluttonous consumer who lacks the introspection to see that his possessions are a form of compensation for the many inferiority complexes that roil beneath his fragile psyche. It is self-evident to everyone in the world that his behemoth of an SUV massages his insecure ego, but this fact for him remains an impenetrable mystery as unrecognizable as a film by Jean-Luc Godard.
His SUV is an extension of his loud, obnoxious personality and suggests a penchant for eating while driving with his mouth open and discarding bright fast-food packaging from his rolled-down window all over our country’s interstate highways.
His is fond of the knowledge that in the event of a car crash—which is highly likely since he tends to multi-task rather dangerously while “driving”—that he is at an advantage since the superior height of his SUV is in position to decapitate the poor sedan driver he crashes into.
He is exceedingly lazy and believes, erroneously, that his SUV’s rear video display, GPS, anti-lock-brakes, and other safety features will compensate for his inept driving skills.
He is fond of wearing a safari vest, a titanium military watch and other “outdoor” gear to make him look ready for an “adventure” though his biggest trek is taking his SUV to the dog groomer to pick up his coiffed and perfumed Shih-Tzu.
He is fond of multi-tasking in his SUV, which has become, de facto, his “office away from the home.” As such, his SUV is equipped with Bluetooth headphones, DVD player, a laptop, a fax machine, a copier, a printer, a microwave, and other gadgets that make him feel like he can always enjoy the comforts of home. Of course, his multi-tasking diminishes his already crappy driving skills and makes him more of a danger to others than ever.
He is happily oblivious of the fact that his ugly SUV blocks the sight of the driver behind him, emits ten times more pollutants than ordinary cars, and gulps three times the gas. He happily accepts these “small disadvantages” so that he can live a life of vain self-absorption and proclaim that driving an SUV is the expression of patriotism as he screams “USA is number one!.”
He is happily ignorant of the fact that his addiction to gas likens him to a crack-cocaine addict whose dependence on SUVs and other forms of mindless energy waste reinforce our government’s dependence on foreign oil, which comes from countries who long for our destruction.
The SUV driver is ignorant of the fact that market researchers in charge of boosting SUV sales have studied the psyche of the SUV driver and that his psychological profile is not a pretty one: He is vain, desires to dominate and bully others, and was teased by all his classmates during elementary and high school. He secretly desires to have a road confrontation with one of his former classmates and let them know that he hasn’t forgotten.
The SUV drivers is unaware that his appetites for large gas-hogging vehicles carry over into the realm of his eating, so that he is often triple-chinned and overcome by breathlessness after “climbing” into his SUV.
The Hipster Mini Cooper Driver
He is proud of his sleek, diminutive car and the conspicuous way its tiny dimensions alert others to the fact that the Mini Cooper driver is making an anti-SUV statement.
He is fond of eating sushi and sipping Perrier while driving past SUV drivers who are snorting down triple-decker cheese burgers and super-sized milk shakes.
He is fond of doing yoga and other exercises that maintain his lithe physique while driving past SUV drivers whose bloated stature needs a behemoth vehicle to accommodate their ever-expanding corpulence.
He is prone to going to foreign and independent films while his SUV-driving brethren frequent “blockbusters” that feature muscle-bound action heroes, scar-faced, eye-patched villains, and gratuitous explosions.
He is fond of his car’s horn sound, which mimicking the loveable cartoon Roadrunner, suggests a sly cleverness, but is never rude. The Mini Cooper driver also takes note of the way his cheerful sounding horn contrasts with the typical SUV horn, which, sounding like the bellicose cursing from a luxury cruise ship, scares the living shit out of nearby drivers.
He is tolerant of aggressive drivers who cut him off and instead of succumbing to road rage and instead of playing “gotcha” and trying to get back at those who disrespect him on the road he focuses on the Miles Davis or other iconographic jazz playlist that is playing from his iPod.
He is proud of the way he dresses himself like a hipster in order to maximize the “Mini driving experience.” He wears the latest “understated, tasteful, all-cotton gear,” which contrasts sharply with the clothes SUV drivers wear—nylon sweat suits, loud prints, and other sartorial grotesqueries.
He is proud of the way he keeps his Mini bare and clean as he finds clutter adversarial to his “Mini Cooper lifestyle.” At most, one might find a worn copy of Flaubert’s Madam Bovary, most likely in the original French, lying in the back. In contrast, his SUV-driving brethren keep their vehicles littered with fast-food rubbish, strewn clothes, loose Amy Grant CDs, and other paraphernalia which reflect the chaos and disorder of their lives.
He is someone who exclusively uses an Apple computer. SUV drivers in contrast use PCs. Since computer hackers program viruses for PCs, and not Apples, we can safely assume that it is the world’s SUV drivers who irresponsibly open e-mail attachments that result in infecting millions of computers throughout the world with worms and viruses.
He is someone who travels throughout the world, making sure to avoid the tourist spots. His Mini Cooper may even have decals with various international flags. SUV drivers in contrast rarely travel at all and when they do they make sure to go to all the tacky tourist attractions.
The category I belong to
is common all over the world. It has to do with those people who are considered
excessively committed to their dogs. We dote on our dogs, we obsess over them,
we plan our entire lives around our dogs in order that we may accommodate them.
We are always moved by our dogs’ unconditional love for us. It never ceases to
melt our hearts when we walk into a room and see our dogs look into our eyes
and wag their tails. Or sometimes we’re watching TV and we will look at our
dogs and at the same time (because they can read our minds) they will look at
us and they will open their mouths slightly and seem to smile at us. Or while
we’re reclined on the couch or floor watching TV, they will use part of our leg
as a head rest and they will have this blissful expression with their eyes
almost completely shut that says, “This is where I belong more than any place
in the world.”
Our sense of importance in
the world is constantly affirmed the way our dogs follow us everywhere we go in
the house and will plop down beside us when we’re typing at our computer or
watching TV. We notice their expressions become melancholy when we give them
cues that we will soon be leaving the house: putting on our “outdoor clothes”
or packing our suitcases. We’re flattered when people tell us that we and our
dogs make the same facial expressions, have similar demeanors, and even walk
with a similar stride. These similarities give us joy because they bear
witness to the intense bonding that has occurred between us and our dogs.
This love and affection
our dogs have for us never ceases to be a moving, compelling experience, such a
huge part of our lives that the connection we feel between our dogs has a
spiritual dimension. I daresay the love we have for our dogs is religious in
nature. It is a spiritual love that takes over our entire being. To illustrate
this spiritual dimension, our neighbors, a family with two daughters, lost
their black lab Riley to bone cancer at the young age of six. The mother told
me that her four-year-old daughter once said to her, “Mommy, I wish I could die
so I could be with Riley in heaven.” Indeed, the love we have with dogs becomes
a way of losing ourselves in something that is greater than the sum of our
To affirm this great love
affair, some Dog People spend money on their dogs in excessive and sometimes
absurd ways. Some buy artisan dog treats made exclusively of organic
ingredients. Others only serve their dogs the choicest of freshly cooked meats
made from grass-fed livestock, spending more money on their dog’s diets than
their own. Others take their dogs to yoga classes. Others take their canines to
dog gymnastics. Some dog lovers take their dogs to special recreation parks
complete with elaborate obstacle courses. At Christmas, some will have their
dog sit on Santa Claus’ lap and have photos taken, which will be the Christmas
card that all their friends and relatives receive. Others will buy their dogs
tiaras or crowns and festoon their dogs with ribbons and bells. Others will fit
their dogs with vests, sweaters, galoshes, booties, Italian sunglasses, and
While I have never
subjected my dog to these commercial enterprises, the fact remains I am a Dog
Person. My dog’s health and happiness is the number one priority in my
life.It is my life mission to
make sure my dog Gretchen, rescued from Rover Rescue animal shelter almost
eight years ago, never again taste the loneliness, the rejection, the fear, the
trauma, and the hunger she suffered when she was picked up as a stray by Dodger
Stadium. She was found shaking with fear, starving, and maimed: The top part of
her right ear was missing, presumably bitten off by another dog.
The rescue agency
told me Gretchen would not eat for several weeks after being taken from the
streets. Desperate, they hired a dog psychic (something I would never do) who
told them that Gretchen was depressed because she believed she was unloved and
that she simply wanted to die. For six months, no one would adopt her because
when approached she would cower and tremble. When I took her for a test walk at
the animal hospital that housed her, she became frightened in the lobby from
the other barking dogs and she extended her paws on my leg as if she wanted me
to protect her. Right there I knew I was going to take her home.
Since adopting her over
seven years ago, my biggest priority is that Gretchen feel safe and wanted and
loved. I won’t leave her for more than five hours. I won’t leave her in a
kennel on vacations but rather hire a house-sitter, someone I trust who will
keep Gretchen on her daily routine that makes her feel safe and comfortable.
But truth be told, I don’t
like to leave the house or vacation much because I don’t like to be away from
Gretchen. One of my dog-sitters said that while my wife and I were gone for a
week, Gretchen would look up at the sitter every couple of hours with this sad
face that seemed to ask, “When is my family coming back?” The idea of my dog
feeling so depressed in my absence is unbearable. It would be safe to say that
both Gretchen and I suffer from separation anxieties.
Dog People will identify
with everything I’ve just written and will feel a kinship and a sympathy for
me. However, the uninitiated, those who would never call themselves Dog People,
will dismiss me as a lonely, needy crackpot, a pathetic soul who craves the
unconditional love of an animal. An unfulfilled adult who without children is
circumventing his fatherly instincts on a lowly beast. A selfish dysfunctional
person who in treating his dog like a human being is afflicting his dog with
unnecessary neuroses. A hypocrite who makes a big fuss on his blog about Man
Points but then shows he's a hopeless softy when it comes to his dog.
My accusers may be
partly accurate. But as a Dog Person, while I don’t equate dogs with humans, I
do see them as possessing souls that are as infinitely deep and beautiful as
any human soul and as such they deserve as much respect and dignity. Dog
People believe as much. Now if only I could convert the rest of the world . .
I already own two Boston Acoustic Horizon Solos, which I bought on
Amazon for about $85. One is in the bedroom and the other is in the
workout room. But how does the Solo stack up against the two-speaker Horizon Duo, (its price keeps soaring; from $105, to $120, and now $147)? I bought my Duo for $115 and use it in the kitchen. I have a Solo in the nearby workout room. Here's a comparison:
Speaker Sound: The Duo wins. While I love the Solo's full
high-fidelity sound, the Duo speakers really fill the kitchen with
AM Reception: Like any radio, both the Solo and the Duo have to be rotated. It's easier to turn the Solo. With the Duo, you might want to buy one of those C.Crane Lazy Susans. AM is equal on both radios, good, but not great. Their ferrite antennas aren't as big as the Sangean PR-D5's so weaker AM stations may give you some trouble.
FM Reception: The Solo wins. Probably they get equal FM, but the
stereo speakers on the Duo highlight background static more easily.
This is only a problem once in a while when I listen to 89.3 KPCC. I'd
still give the Duo an A minus grade on FM.
Remote: The Duo has one and the Solo does not.
Ease of use: The remote on the Duo allows you to bypass the toggle
mode switch on the radio. Some people don't like changing the mode by
hand. But on the Solo you toggle your presets, whether they're AM or
FM, in the same preset mode, so you don't really miss the remote.
Conclusion: These are both great radios but the Duo, once a good deal, is getting too pricey for its own good. For
a bedside radio, I'd go with the Solo because it takes up less space
and you can rotate it easier to optimize AM reception. The Solo is loud
enough for big rooms as well and its speaker isn't as prone to static
as much as the Duo's. So on balance I think most people will be better
served getting the $85 Solo, which I give an A grade. The Duo gets
an A minus because of occasional FM static on weak stations. A highly rated radio that I haven't tried and that may give the Duo some serious competition is the $130 Philips Executive. This is a 30 watt speaker clock radio with iPod cradle, CD player and digital presets. The equivalent additions in the Horizon line will cost you $282 or more in the Horizon Trio.
a tip for tuning SSB on SW radios with coarse digital tuning steps and
a fine tuning BFO "clarifier." Tune to a WWV time signal on 5, 10, or
15 mHz. etc. whichever signal is strongest, then switch to SSB mode.
Fine tune the BFO (On an Eton E5 it's the "fine" knob on the right hand
edge.) to zero-beat the audio. As you adjust the BFO the audio changes
from a tone to a "thump, thump, thump" until the beat frequency is
zero, no tone, no "thump thump...". Then, while still in SSB mode and
without further adjusting the BFO, tune to the frequency of interest.
If that station is broadcasting right on the kHz. and not a fraction of
a kHz. the radio will be properly tuned. For inexpensive portables you
may have to repeat the above steps to fine tune the BFO until the tuner
stabilizes; things should settle down after about a half hour. A
"broadcast" station one might try in American Forces Network on 10320
kHz. evenings PST and 6350 kHz. around 3 a.m. PST. One last point,
radios which do not have separate lower sideband (LSB) and upper
sideband (USB) filters receive LSB and USB simultaneously. This is
usually not a problem as most broadcasters do not use the same
frequency for both LSB and USB. I have heard hams do this. It could
have been an experiment to test their receivers' filters, or it could
have been that two parties wanted to use the same frequency and neither
party would move.
The front protective cover, like a suitcase facade, is missing on this Sony CRF-5100 Orbiter. That's probably why this otherwise good condition radio is selling for half of what it usually goes for. If you don't mind the missing cover, this is a great deal. A tank for those who like the Large in Charge Sound.