Things I learned this week…

Single pane windows suck. Mucho.

Starbucks is making a mint off single serving Horizon milk. Every kid who walks in that joint gets one.

Berkeley real estate is not climbing as fast as realtors say—they just list the price 30k below what it’s worth, and watch it sell for 50k over. May they all rot in a cell with Madoff and Abramoff. Anyone else now leery of all people suffixed -off?

The weeks where your little are brilliantly in sync with you, where life really is sunshine and blueberries through the rain and cold, are brilliant gifts.

There are far, far too many opportunities to be nasty and jaded during the holidays, when a gross number of people are blinded by selfishness and bitterness. Please go volunteer, and take a child to see the lights around town. You’ll be less likely to wrap yourself in your own world.

The USPS has a total racket going around the holidays, and three different post offices were useless to me in my quest to get seven large envelopes of Peanut artwork into the mail this weekend. Even their job-killing robot postal employees were out of patience and out of postage by Saturday morning. wtf?

Missing friends is hard. I don’t know how we did it before the Internet. (I do, really, because we wrote letters. And that was glorious. Must go do that.)

Even when CheeseBoard features mushrooms on their pizza, there’s none better.

One day off a week, where I go far away from PeanutWorld and into my own world is enormously restorative. Should’ve been doing this for the past 2 years.

It’s really, really, really nice to be home.

Happy Hannukah.

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Please, hire an editor or proofreader.

I cannot, can’t, will not, won’t go to a coffee chain whose napkins proclaim that their efforts will leave the world with “less napkins.” What, in the name of all that is holy, did David Foster Wallace not explain to us in his review of Bryan Garner’s A Dictionary of Modern American Usage but that structural linguistics, as descriptive yet still highly judgmental are a farce. Written and standard English need flexible but firm prescriptive rules. The descriptive tack is a ruse, allowing in errors in the name of colloquial usage, yet ignoring other, legitimate alternate usages based in judgment and priorities that hide nothing less than a political agenda.

In other words, just because some people say it incorrectly doesn’t make it correct. Or cute. Think differently.

Please, advertising companies, hire professional editors. You can’t say “less napkins” just because enough people don’t know the rule. It’s “fewer napkins.” You can count napkins. Therefore you can know just how many fewer napkins there are. Just because supermarkets get away with the egregious Ten Items or Less (sic) rather than opting for the correct Ten Items of Fewer; and just because advertising companies get away with the chalkboard-forkdragging of “Where Are You At?” rather than the simpler, more elegant, and freaking correct “Where Are You?” does not mean that you can claim frequent American usage and refuse to proofread your freaking napkins. Written language is standard as used by educated writers. And it’s fewer napkins. You can’t count sugar. So there you get to use “less sugar.” You can count cars. Fewer cars. You can’t count traffic. Less traffic. Fewer napkins, less sugar, fewer cars, less traffic. Less pollution, for that matter. And apparently, far, far fewer writers who actually know the language.

Sign of the apocalypse.

Facebook-Starbucks quandry

Some of my facebook friends are part of a group getting all in a dither about going to Starbucks on December 1, 2008 and ordering one of the company’s RED coffee drinks so that 5 cents goes to AIDS research, relief, and humanitarian aid.

Fine, good, and lovely. But am I the only one who thinks it’s a better idea to vow off expensive coffee for, say, a week, and send the proceeds, whole cloth, to AIDS research, relief, and humanitarian aid? Say, if I went out of my way to get overpriced coffee on December 1, 2008, and spent $4 on a chocolately espresso thing, they’d give 5 cents. Nice. If I sent that $4 to one of the charities at charitywatch.org, maybe most of that $4 would help. Five cents is a lot. Four dollars is eighty times more.

I think I’ll stay out of Starbucks on Monday. Not because I have taken to heart Ilene’s rejection of their business model (though I’ve always respected her view, and my frustration of their early assertion that the company was named after the firstmate in Moby Dick, whose alleged love of coffee is not supported by the text).

I’m not making a political statement here. I’m making a mathematical decision. And I’m sending at least $4 to AIDS relief on Monday, when I will be making coffee at home.