Walsh’s Wonderings — Arguing on social media

We’ve all seen it. No sooner does Aunt Martha post an Instagram picture of Bobby trying on Halloween costumes at Walmart than someone is posting about the working conditions or whether big box stores should sell guns to teenagers. Somehow, whether Bobby should go as Spider-Man or a rabbit has devolved into otherwise-rational adults arguing over constitutional amendments. Why does this always happen online? The artificial intimacy of social media, combined with the immediacy with which we can interact, creates an inflated sense of our own importance. Arguing is typically defined as the exchange of opposing views with the aim … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Planning for retirement

Wall Street Journal financial writer Jonathan Clements once wrote, “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” I’m at that age when the clammy hand of mortality rests uncomfortably on my shoulder, so perhaps it’s time to start thinking about my retirement before my boss does. According to the Social Security Administration, a man reaching age 65 today can expect to live until age 84 (a woman until 86). It goes on to say one of every four of us who … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — The importance of silly

In what was the most expensive act of littering in the history of our planet, Elon Musk launched his cherry red Tesla Roadster into space last week. Because ’Merica. The enduring image was of the mannequin in the spacesuit lounging behind the wheel of the open convertible while Earth looms in the background. The incongruity of a car in space captures both the audacity and absurdity of Mr. Musk’s latest effort to monetize the final frontier. It was at once silly and significant. As ridiculous and admittedly useless as firing a car into orbit around the sun is, the act … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Fingernail technology

In my ongoing effort to address all the world’s problems, I’ve finally come to fingernail clippers. You’re welcome. Clippers have never gotten respect. Even inventor David Gestetner’s heart was really in his other invention, an early handspun office copier for documents. As a result, the simple compound lever device we’ve used since the 1800s hasn’t changed much. Most come with that tiny hook to scrape the dirt underneath the nail and a file to smooth the edges of that dull blade you’ve been nursing for years. I used to get a zipped case every other Christmas or so with a … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — When trust goes bust

Nothing screams “first world problem” more than the whining about Apple’s recent announcement that they designed iPhones to throttle their own batteries as they aged. While the flagship tech company put out a tone-deaf press release to quell the storm (it didn’t), it did little to remove the impression that they’d just been caught making their phones artificially antiquated in order to get their customers to buy new ones. Things like this matter. Not because it’s Apple, and not because battery life is so important. Rather, it’s the idea that another institution in which we placed our trust has let … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — The rise of the North Star (Shower)

The holiday season hits me like a swing from a coal-filled stocking once CVS starts playing Christmas carols the day after Halloween; the pressure alone could turn that coal into a diamond. Many of us spend the next two weeks struggling to manage seasonal stress like underfed reindeer pulling a giant, gift-laden sleigh. Americans have spent decades trying to make the holidays more manageable. My siblings and I grew up circling pictures in the Sears catalog for Santa (How had he grown so lazy? And brand-loyal?) while buying pre-filled stockings for our dog. Soon enough, Christmas trees were coming out … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Becoming Dad

It sneaks up on us. One day we’re staying out past curfew, reading Jack Kerouac and picking out our first tattoo; the next we wake up to see our dad (or mom) staring back at us from the bathroom mirror. The quirks and mannerisms we found ourselves rebelling against as kids somehow seep into our DNA with each passing year. For me, it started with the nose. One could set a clock to it; every meal would end with my dad fishing around in his pocket and blowing a hearty Viking nose note into his handkerchief. It always embarrassed me … Read more

Walsh’s Wonderings — Unmasking candidates

Halloween’s over, but something even scarier is bound to appear in these remaining days before Tuesday’s elections. Allegations will arise, rumors will spread, and misinformation will pepper conversations about candidates and their positions on issues. Those garish costumes might get put away, but some of the masks will remain. Local elections are always infinitely more difficult than presidential or even state-level affairs. They involve difficult choices between neighbors and friends, and the ramifications of those choices can have a lasting impact while waiting in line at the grocery store or attending the high school football game. The national party affiliations … Read more

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