07 May 2018
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Popular and Inspiring

Shark Tank

I watched Shark Tank on the teevee the other day. I had heard of the program but this was my first viewing experience. I liked Lori, she seemed sympathetic. Mark Cuban seemed a lot less boyish than I pictured him. The other "sharks" I hardly remember, since I saw the show only once. Being a bit of an entrepreneur myself, I was interested to see the presentations of the people hoping for funding. One touted a bicycle lock, and the "sharks" nailed its problem right away. One had something to do with tea. A third one was this guy propounding a booth that would, in return for some unclear amount of money, spray you with suntan* lotion. He argued that the booth would do a better job of applying it than the usual method. He began his presentation, and in true Dave Barry fashion, I swear I'm not making this up:

"What is the most popular form of cancer?"

He claimed that it is skin cancer. Strictly speaking that is probably true, since, with exceptions, it's easily curable. Nonetheless, I think he might have picked a better opening line.


Whenever I print something from the computer, admittedly infrequently, a large warning appears on the screen advising me that my printer is low on toner. In fact, thanks to modern software, this notice appears on all the networked computers, even if they didn't commit any printing themselves. Presumably this notice is intended to be an exhortation to go out and buy more toner.

I am not easily exhorted, and I'm not a fan of the ink and toner racket. I'm perfectly content to continue using the printer until the paper begins to show a less than robust image. At that point I look at the daily (or more frequent) Staples ad and try to buy a new printer with a "starter" cartridge for, usually, far less than the price of a new toner cartridge alone.

I mention this personal quirk of frugality only because I just realized that I have been seeing this "low toner" message for almost two years. It was much longer ago when I bought a simple Brother laser printer with what appears to be an inexhaustible "starter" cartridge. Perhaps this is due to some Van Vogtian Can of Paint phenomenon, overfilling at the factory, or my other quirk of frugality which is to eschew unnecessary printing.

Whatever the cause, thank you the Brother Printer Company for an inspiring product. And since I have printers momentarily on my alleged mind, I remind all here that I will never consider buying an Epson product out of irritation at one of their printers about eight years ago. I hold few grudges, which makes those I do more memorable.

* I had trouble deciding whether it's "sun tan lotion" or "suntan lotion." I think both are acceptable, but I finally went with "suntan" which looked better to me and didn't sound like a Chinese name.

Richard Factor

"No Quarter"
Led Zeppelin



Of course I have a T-shirt commemorating the centennial of the Panama Canal. Don't you? Doesn't everyone?

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