iThink and therefore iM not an iPod tool

Despite deeply-embedded contrarian impulses, I've never been one to be avant-garde and go against popular opinion on purpose when it comes to tech. Effete tech elitists often turn their nose up at whatever is mainstream, like Windows. Not me. Microsoft, Sony, Dell: I'm a big fan. My hate for Apple goes way back to when I figured out that the all-controlling monopoly in the computing world is run by Jobs, not Gates. But in general I've always been wary of the minority or the extreme minority players in tech markets, maybe for fear of getting Betamaxed again.

(Full betamaxed disclosure digression: One Christmas my parents got me a much wanted video of Huey Lewis videos. In case you haven't seen, the Huey Lewis videos of the 80s were like short films more than videos with full blown plots, character development, humor, coherency, etc. Very excited, was I, until I realized that the tape was VHS and we had a Betamax. My parents then expended much effort to copy the VHS to Betamax which, even then, smelled of ripe irony.)

But now, apparently, I'm opting for the minority player in several tech categories. In all these cases I've noticed that the more popular choice seems to have a high hype-to-quality ratio, while the options I choose favor quality over marketing. I have an Xbox instead of a PS2 because the PS2's graphics look like I'm playing it underwater. I have Dish Network satellite TV instead of DirecTV because it delivers better bang/buck. If I were to get satellite radio, it would be Sirius instead of the more popular XM because Sirius carries all the NFL games and I've been impressed by it when I've heard it.

Finally, I have a Creative Zen Micro mp3 player instead of the vaunted Ipod for what'll generalize to quality issues. As you know, the Trackball demands to take reality as it comes and not fool oneself. So take my mp3 choice. iPod is wildly successful, well on it's way to becoming an icon, like Kleenex. This may not last forever if the brilliant iTunes store is forced to let you download music to players other than iPods (and you thought the Internet Explorer bundled in Windows was a slam dunk antitrust violation!). I didn't dismiss it out of hand, despite my Apple-hatred. However, Apple's usual totalitarian fingerprints were on the iPod: higher price, less memory and very low customer service orientation (iPods have built in rechargeable batteries which, when the first ones died after 12-18 months, Apple's response was: go buy a new one. Only after sustained customer vitriol did they change course but they still don't want you to open the back, because they think you're just too stupid to replace a battery).

And finally, there was the nose-in-the-air effete elitism. iPods, like most Apple products, are supposed to have this great interface and design. You're supposed to fork over extra bucks for it and be thankful that Apple cares about aesthetics and convenience to you. Their motto is thattheir products "just work" partly because of superior design. This is a bunch of crap, just a corporate branding scam, as I found out with the iPod:

Several times I tried to operate an iPod in stores. The click wheel, with the typical menu, play/pause, next and previous buttons built in to it, totally confused me. First of all, I couldn't figure out how to get the wheel to understand 'play' as opposed to scrolling the wheel itself.

Second, moving your hand in circles to effect upward and downward motion is counterintuitive. Like rubbing your belly when you want to raise your hand. Is clockwise up or is clockwise down? Lefty-loosey righty-tighty suggests...that up is loose and down is tight? That may work, if your brain isn't wired in a way that it's bothered by the idea that a song playlist is looser in the beginning and tighter at the end. Neither does the motion on a clock: clockwise means more time is passing - is that the same as making the cursor go down? Time left in the day is decreasing that way, and decreasing is downward motion. But what if I'm counting the passage of time and therefore clockwise indicates that more time has passed? That would suggest that clockwise should mean up. Why should I have to remember how this fractured metaphor works?

If you think I should have spent another five minutes trying to figure out the 'right' way to use it, you're wrong. If it were properly designed, I should have gotten it in five seconds. I should have gotten it before I even touched it. Why spend extra money on this?

Now take the Zen Micro. You want to go up, you run your finger up the up/down strip. Guess what you do to go down. The play/pause, previous, next and menu options are in separate buttons around the strip. The whole interface backlights in blue neon when touched. To boot, the menu option is an icon instead of the word 'menu' and you can have the player work in like 6 million forms of communication. How did the Apple geniuses get skunked on such a simple interface?

And the battery. Apple begrudgingly now offers to replace the entire iPod when the battery is dead, for just $66. Send in the old one and they'll send you a new one. Of course that means you'll have to unload all of your files to some place safe, then reload them all from scratch into the new one, whenever it shows up. What Apple is trying to tell you is just upgrade to the newer iPod, because you have to reload all your files either way and why pay $65 bucks to keep old hardware, when Apple ejaculates new models every two weeks? Replacing the dead battery and letting you get on with your life is just not that important to them.

Now the Zen Micro, like everything else that has run on batteries since the transistor radio, allows you to replace the dead battery yourself. It's about $40 and available in stores. So does the tiny iRiver flash mp3 player I gave my wife after I got the Zen Micro - it takes one AA battery. So I'm $26 and several days of mailing packages and countless offloading/reloading hours ahead of the poor iPod-abused tool. Now, the Micro's battery life is two hours shorter, but so far I haven't dreamed of needing the 11th-12th hours of continuous music play that the iPod has.

Somehow all of these quality-driven tech decisions have lead me to the odd end of the tech spectrum. I'm still a Windows guy, I haven't fled to Linux or bought a Mac (there'll be a Trackball Mac attack in the future here). But maybe opting for the trackball and the ergonomic keyboard were just the first indications that I am not a devout mainstreamer. But what makes me see the value of a trackball and the non-iPod mp3 player while everyone else is running their circles up and down?

A Spoonful of High Fructose Frenzy

I've mentioned here a bit about my change in dietary habits. I've always had a sweet tooth and love the sugary stuff: cookies, soda, cake. I used to put a tablespoon of sugar on Rice Krispies as a kid and add double the Country Time powder to make lemonade. There was no piece of chocolate cake I couldn't conquer and no half-used can of frosting that I wouldn't attack with a spoon. I figured since I don't like ice cream, I'd balance that with more of the sugar stuff.

But in the wake of kidney stones almost two years ago, and watching the older generation catch America's middle aged man curse, AKA Type II diabetes, like it was a virulent cold virus, I have cut way back on the sugary stuff. Unlike meat though, I do miss it when I haven't had it. So I have a Sprite every once in a while and a couple of cookies each night. It's probably the last area of my eating that is not really in balance.

In response, I've been paying more attention to the stuff used in regular foods. I figure if I am going to get my sugar from the good stuff, I may as well cut it out of the usual stuff that I don't really need to be all that sweet. And since high fructose corn syrup is the sweet ingredient used in many foods, I've kept an eye out for it to try and avoid it.

And it's everywhere. Soda, applesauce, ketchup, baked goods, sauces, syrup, etc., etc., etc. My slow slide towards becoming a granola has sped up as I now chastise Mrs. Trackball of Truth for replacing the natural applesauce with the usual type, which is really HFCS-sauce. Yes, the usual tastes a little sweeter and less appley than the natural kind, but not that much. Not worth the health damage - I mean, it's just applesauce.

So I'm trying to tune my tastebuds of truth to seek out these refined sugars and to avoid them. It's hard to do, but when you realize that your soda tastes like the maple syrup which tastes like the ketchup which tastes like that muffin which tastes like the applesauce, you start noticing the type of foods to avoid: food from the food industry. The alternatives are the organic, the natural. And those natural sweetnesses actually taste better - I'm amazed how sweet fresh fruit can be.

But dodging the infusion of sugar and HFCS in America is difficult. Having kids, who love this stuff more than adults, makes it hard. My gut instinct that adopting a diet of seafood, beans, rice, veggies and fruit would probably put me on the path of a well balanced Jedi Buddhist rings true, but the chances of getting the other family members on board is a tough one. We're venturing to Wegmans tomorrow, a real grocery store, so hopefully I can nudge the food selection further away from artificially sweetened foods. A spoonful of decent food now is better than a bagful of pills twenty years from now.

When did you start believing in Santa again?

This is the time of year when parents and little kids go through a faith-check on the whole Santa question. Adults take it on faith that a part of growing up is first believing in Santa and then not believing in Santa. Kids have faith that Santa is real and that everyone in the world is not lying to them about Santa and a whole bunch of other topics.

As a kid, I figured that if Santa had the whole night, with all those time zones, that he could spend more than an hour per time zone to get the job done. Tight, but probably doable, I figured. When I realized that this wasn't possible, my parents asked me and my big mouth not to ruin it for my little sister, which I was okay with. At this point, some people would be aghast that my parents ever perpetuated such a fraud and horrified that they made me a co-conspirator. Truth is, it didn't bother me then and it doesn't bother me now, because, well I never stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Most adults, in the rush to grow up and appear worldly and wise, often try to cast off and distance themselves from what they consider childish things. So they start drinking coffee, stop believing in Santa Claus and complain about how worse kids are today than they used to be, just to come off as an adult. It's all a bunch of immaturity in the guise of maturity.

I'm not going to dive off here into an intellectual discussion of the benefits of imagination and fantasy for small children and the mean Burgermeister Meister Burger adults who are hell bent on ruining all that. That's for another post.

Here's the truth: Santa does exist and his existence is easy to see. His existence is real, from a certain point of view, as Obi-wan Kenobi would say. Children around the world send their wishes to Santa by visiting him, writing him, etc. and he in turn shows up and delivers presents and grants wishes to them on Christmas. The Santa system is more readily observable than quasars, gods, air pollution and imaginary friends. It wasn't until I became a parent that I fully understood how real he really is.

No, there's no jolly old man with 8 flying reindeer who squeezes down chimneys. If that reality makes you not believe in Santa, then I am sorry to report that the only reason a dollar is worth a dollar is because we all collectively believe that it is - it's not backed by gold or anything. It's literally not even worth the paper it's printed on (the linen it's printed on is worth less, actually). Yet there's no reason to lose faith in something because the actual reality doesn't gel with the mythology or the marketing or the conventional wisdom. That's an adult understanding of the world.

If you look beyond the childish 'adult' belief that Santa doesn't exist, you realize that he does exist and that his existence is quite magical. Parents and other caretakers are Santa's elves and his reindeer. They make the system work by scurrying around to make Santa real. They are the source of the magic in the worldwide system of Santa. The whole society, from the Post Office that delivers letters to Santa, to Toys for Tots, to malls and churches who host him, to NORAD who tracks him on Christmas Eve, pitches in. It's a naturally occurring phenomenon that is older than automobiles, more resilient than the electrical grid, and would be harder to eradicate than hate if anyone was stupid enough to try.

So what is Santa if he's not a man? He's a metaphor and an icon (thanks to Coca-Cola), but at the core he's really a vessel for parents' love of their children. He's a third party love reflector, built from parental love and capable of receiving children's overpowering love and trust (because parents would melt like buttuh in a blast furnace if they got a full dose of it). Because it would be overpowering and fraught with the usual parent-child obstacles if it was direct. The mechanics of it might be materialistic but the reality is that it's about love.

And that is easy to believe in.

The truth about Christmas

The Christmas season is upon us once again, and no joyous season would be complete without the bitching and moaning of the sanctimonious killjoys. And by that, I mean two types: those who think there is a 'war on Christmas' (Christmas Crusaders) and those who are humbugs about the holiday as it really is (Charlie Browns). Lets review these two sad groups and how wrong they both are to build up some yuletide cheer.

Here's my Christmas disclaimer: I am not a Christian but have always loved Christmas. And I see absolutely no conflict there, for the reasons listed below.

First, the Charlie Browns who bah-humbug Christmas for being too 'commercial' and fear that people are going to forget the 'true' meaning of the holiday. These folks are usually older and somehow remember a time when the holiday was not so commercial. They are either ignorant or rabidly unattached to reality about Christmas or they're just really griping about how old they are. In the 70s, when I was little, I remember adults complaining about how commercial it had gotten. Now I hear people my age say the same thing. Nothing is changing, it's just the effects of aging and selective memory. The Charlie Browns are not that bad though. Many had a perfect Christmas once and they're upset that it can't happen again. But I wish they would stop worshipping that Prozac-inducing Christmas special.

At least they're only trying to depress people, which is less harmful than what the Christmas Crusaders intend. And naming these nutjobs is almost as good as a description of what they believe. Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and most recently John Gibson, who is putting out a book about how evil invisible liberals are trying to kill Christmas.

Under a thin guise of aggrieved victimhood, they are trying to hijack the holiday and turn it into a Christian-only holiday. These guys think that not being able to sing religious Christmas songs in public schools is somehow going to stop millions of people from celebrating Christmas. Every utterance of Happy Holidays is an insult to them, and they actually keep track of what stores are not saying Merry Christmas in their ads and to customers. (Note to nutjobs: there are actually other holidays during this season and they don't all revolve around your religion. Also, if you hate the commercialism of the holiday like the Charlie Browns, wouldn't you rather have the stores leave Christmas out of their sales circulars?)

While they complain that non-Christians are trying to ruin the holiday by de-religioning it, what they're really trying to do is finally hijack it and turn it into a Christians-only holiday. There's a long repressive history here. Cromwell tried the same by outlawing Christmas in England in the 1600s because it was too joyous and Massachusetts own Puritans tried to ban any kind of fun or celebration other than church services in the same century. They hate Santa, see, and that's un-American. Your on notice, nutjobs.

For the Crusaders and the Charlie Browns, they really wish that Christmas would return to being a holiday it never was, namely a pious celebration of the birth of Jesus with no commercial, earthly or material falderall. Boy, is that going to be an uphill battle - Lucy has been pulling the football away on these losers for about 1600 years now.

The history of Christmas is pretty clear - it extends way before the birth of Christ. It's a winter solstice celebration that the days will get longer, the sun will return and life will blossom again in the next year. It has often been a celebration of the coming of spring and the worshipping of various gods, such as the Mesopotamian god Marduk, the Egyptian god Ra, the Persian god Mithra, the Roman god Saturn, the German god Oden, etc. The holiday itself has been called, among others, Sacea, Saturnalia, and now Christmas. The truth is that it has always been about the partying and good times - the religious flavor of the day has just been an excuse. And the fact that middle-aged Christianity (several centuries after Christ died) felt the need to snuff out the fun by dropping a solemn religious celebration on traditional partying is a wine stain on Christianity's starchy cassock.

So as the O'Reilly types of the world try to get everything renamed Christmas in a our-religion-is-more-legit-than-yours move, I say go ahead. All of us revelers will continue to rip the religious meaning out of it like we do the presents out of wrapping paper that morning. Let's get all the non-Christians celebrating it as well, like it were the July 4th. It will be as non-Christcentric as our calendar year is, which is to say, not at all. People will ask, why do we call it Christmas, just like people have to dig around for what Halloween means. And they will hear this odd tale that by and large has little to do with how they celebrate the holiday.

No offense to you Christians, but you tried to rip off the best holiday of the year and it will never work. You all can keep Easter, which you actually did hijack and then banned all the sex-drenched traditions from, turning it into a pastel Halloween. That's okay, it never involved blinking lights and presents anyway.

And that horny Easter bunny is no Santa, who does exist, by the way.

Polonius Jones explains the joke

You've asked yourself this after reading the top of this blog, right? You don't get the joke? You didn't know there was a joke?

Yes, it's a joke and at the same time it's a philosophical statement. Just as "Trackball of Truth" is a measure of the serious but humorous nature of the blog, the joke is a joke designed to work on a couple of levels.

If you want to go through the painful process of having the joke explained to you, please read on...

Okay. Polonius is the dude from Hamlet who says to Hamlet perhaps the best life advice I've ever heard:

"This above all: to thine own self be true,/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou cans't not be false to any man."

You have to be true to who you are and honestly face the consequences of that reality. Once a person can do that, their entire life can take off. Much of what this blog covers is people deceiving themselves about the world but also about themselves. That just drives me crazy. Plus, it's a Shakespeare quote, a writer who managed to hit on many truths of human existence while still being funny.

The other quote is from Indiana Jones, famed archeologist from the Spielberg/Lucas movies, when his old flame Marian mentioned that he was not the man she knew ten years ago. In a classic Harrison Ford ad-lib, Jones replies, hurting:
"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
One of the life lessons that I've picked up over the years is that it's not how long you live that dictates your physical and mental condition, it's how you live, the mileage that you put on. Whether it's eating, physical injuries, mental negligence, many people pack on the mileage and age much faster than their years. The secret to realistic immortality is getting the lowest mileage per year. Plus it's a terrific movie in-joke.

And by combining these both in the form of Polonius Jones, pop culture meets literature, it's funny, serious, meaningful and a cute synthesis. Polonius Jones sounds like the name of a really cool kick-ass character in a book or movie, and that's no accident either. If all that doesn't convey a sense of what this blog is about, I don't know what does.

See? The joke is never that good after it's been explained.

No thanks to Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again, for the usual crap about Thanksgiving. Truth is, I've never felt good about this holiday. As a kid, there were several Norman Rockwell-like Thanksgivings I attended where I ate a banana and nothing else. It's a drab holiday with no fun elements at all - no pretty lights, costumes, fireworks. It's just a meal, an American holiday about giving thanks that in the end is all about the food.

And what a meal it is. Now that I'm an adult, the blandness and ridiculousness of the meal has taken on a new meaning. Since the less you eat in this culture, the healthier you are, Thanksgiving now has darker overtones. In obese America, the real glory of this holiday is not about the stuffing in the turkey on the table but about the stuffing of the turkeys at the table. This holiday is a testament to the idea that the mileage you get from your corporeal form is direclty related to how much you abuse it over the years. Think I'm wrong that food is the end all be all of the holiday? No one refers to the holiday and says "geez, I really thanked myself silly." No they overeat, pigout, tank up. All anyone cares about and talks about is how much they ate and their waist line.

And check out the heart attack on a plate that this meal consists of. Dark turkey meat drowned in gloppy gravy, bland mashed potatoes, buttery bread stuffing, apple and pumpkin pies, rolls with butter, sweet potato with marshmallows. Even green bean casserole has the fatty soup and french fried onion thingies. And for those insufficiently polluted, they deep fry their turkey. Yeah, there may be squash and other veggies, but typically in the rush of gluttony, they are rendered useless with butter and excessive steaming. When the menu causes everyone to fall into a near-diabetic coma afterwards, it's time to rethink the whole thing.

The only ones concentrating on the thanking are the religious wackos, and all they want to do is thank their god over and over, which they do every day anyway. Then they haul off to the couch and let the women continue their thankless drudgery of cleaning up after them. If anyone thinks I'm being a killjoy here, take a gander at them.

We Americans already pig out on all the rest of our holidays. How many of us have the same food at Christmas anyway? I submit that these other pigouts are better because the food is more limited and the focus of the holiday is on something else: presents, costumes, spring, swimming, patriotism, etc. Food is secondary because there's other fun stuff going on. Thanksgiving has nothing except the meal. The parade, the football and the day-after shopping are desperate attempts to distract from the soul-throttling emptiness of this holiday. Witness the swollen movie theaters.

So this is one holiday the country could do without. If the thought of millions of swollen Americans quadrupling their double chins by bowing their heads to sincerely thank Providence for their blood pressure and cholestorol medications and all of this wonderful food makes you a little queasy, you see where I'm at. Almost makes you wish for a day of fasting, doesn't it? Perhaps a light menu of popcorn and toast?

I am and am not Keef Vango

Video gaming has come a long way during my life and there's times now where gaming and real life seem to be intersecting and criss-crossing in odd ways. If you're not catching my meaning, check out the Sims, where you can build yourself as a virtual person and run their virtual life. I once programmed in my entire family and had the out-of-body experience of watching my family's life from above. It was quite unnerving. When you sit at your computer and play a game where your virtual you sits at his computer playing a video game it's like putting yourself in between two mirrors.

For a long time I played Star Wars Galaxies. This is an MMORPG, or massive multi-player online role playing game. You build a character and they live in the Star Wars universe where thousands of other actual people are playing and interacting at the same time. You can get together, socialize, explore several different planets (each over 15 km square) or even build a starship and explore outer space. Your character can build a home, join a town, be an artisan, hunter, soldier, politician, entertainer, etc. There is an actual in-game economy that has been studied on various sites. For me this was a childhood dream come true.

So I created a character named Keef Vango. He was very unlike me: tall, blond and blue eyed, a great shot and good at building things with his hands. His continually running mouth always got him in jams though. I played casually, usually a couple of hours a week for over two years. Keef did pretty well, amassed over 7 million credits, joined the Rebel Alliance, bought a house, arbitraged commodities in the economy and built a pretty cool X-wing fighter. He didn't master any expert level professions or top out in skills because I just didn't have the time.

I gave up playing though. I wasn't in the game often enough to form relationships with other players and a lot of the game seemed like a grind (tediously repeating tasks to gain experience and skills). After all that time and despite being an expert in blaster use, Keef still couldn't take on a single stormtrooper, the point of minimal credibility for anyone in the Star Wars universe. He did well at lots of life's metrics, but it was a very hollow experience. I didn't have a series of memorable adventures with other players. I wasn't involved in any major battles or cross any intergalactic gangsters. I knew others were more deeply immersed: the hard-core gamers, the ones who devote their lives to the game and chew up the content (missions, advancement, etc.) and organize the community.

So I let the $13/month subscription expire. Keef retired to his furnished little house on Corellia, kneeled in a meditative trance and I logged off for the last time. No one noticed.

The thought occurred to me - am I a real life Keef Vango? Am I plodding through life, virtually unnoticed, doing well by the standard metrics but leading an otherwise hollow existence? I have a few friends, but not a bevy of them. The number of friends from high school, college and grad school that I regularly keep in touch with I could count on one hand. Extended relatives like cousins are barely communicated with. My social life never has been a whirlwhind. I've lived on my street for almost five years and other than the immediate neighbors, no one has more than a vague idea of who I am. And that's much better than the last two places I lived where almost no one had any idea who their immediate neighbors were. At work, I rarely interact with people who work just down the hall. Acquaintances from training classes and former co-workers are soon out of sight, out of mind.

But I know I am not unique in this respect. Block parties on my street are an exercise in people reintroducing themselves to one another and getting wrong how long each other has lived here. Since my work phone isn't ringing off the hook, the same seems to have happened to past acquaintances. Are Galaxies and the other MMORPGs just a microcosm of modern life, where most of us are unnoticed characters exploring our own world, rarely connecting with others and connecting only for the most superficial of reasons? Have they inadvertently recast real life, stripped to its essence of a mostly atomistic human community with a couple of social overachievers?

Then I'll run across the social overacheivers who are frustrated that all of us Keefs are running around past each other without pausing to hang out together. They're the ones who organize the PTA events, the block parties, the interoffice lunch outings and the family reunions. There's about one social overacheiver for every 9 Keefs.

So in a way, you and I are Keef Vango and there's not much that's wrong with that. The solitary existence that is life won't change for me or most everyone else, I bet. You're either hard-core about these things, or you're a ghost in the machine of life. It's a matter of point of view, though, because we're too busy being hard-core about other things, like our own families, careers or internal lives to be nothing more than a Keef to the outside world.

The Truth about Trackballs

Truth is, a trackball is better than a mouse. Mice might be more prevalent, but that's another sign of what's wrong with the world. The trackball preceded the mouse. It has a superior design - the whole point is to move the ball in the first place, so why not move it directly? No need for a mousepad, no need to pick the entire device up and reposition it when it gets to the edge of its little square. The trackball just becomes part of your hand. Many of them only require one or two fingers to operate. And the heel of your palm does not become an aching pivot point.

A mouse is eternally separate from your hand, clumsy and non-ergonomic. It's the equivalent of putting plastic vampire fangs on your teeth and trying to eat and talk with them.

But Steve Jobs or some other Apple genius decided to flip the trackball over and create a 'mouse' that was more inefficient but easier to name with a cutesy Apple metaphor. "See, computers are easy to use because we've named the odd parts after rodents that scare you to death." Here you see the fault line in the style over substance-esque dichotomy of the design rhetoric vs. marketing reality behind Apple's products.

Alas, the world has voted with its feet for the more inefficient, clumsier mouse (and at the same time for PCs over Apple: oddly planting the stupid mouse decision within the smart PC decision). And the makers of wrist splints rejoiced. For millions of people have wrenched their wrists into impossible positions to use these clumsy perversions. They revel in obtaining superfluous mouse pads where their computing experience will resemble running in place on a pretty manhole cover.

But show 10 people a trackball and 9 of them will look perplexed and disturbed. Then they'll stay with a mouse and continue to complain about wrist pain. Why? Because there is an indescribable, incomprehensible desire on the part of some hunk of the populace for the inefficient, the painful, the inconsistent; the path of being consciously stupid. I don't know where this comes from or what mental comforts outway the bone-grinding, productivity-sapping costs. It might be familiarity, or laziness, or resistance to change, or a desire to bang one's head against a wall.

Yes, this could be chalked up to a matter of taste. That is, if you consider taste a matter of closing oneself off to alternatives without much thought or preference. I'm not denying people the choice, put as a fully certified lazy person, I just don't get why they'd make it. And I'm totally and utterly perplexed as to why they would be proud of it.