Quick Fixes, Global Province Letter, 17 April 2014

Chaos Is Strutting His Stuff.  The most profound commentators we encounter these days openly admit they just don’t understand what is going on in this world. Ray DeVoe, the best writer in Wall Street and a clear intelligence, simply says he does not understand today’s financial markets.  The brilliant ad man Jock Elliot, the second chairman of Ogilvy and Mather, confessed before his untimely death that he did not understand 21st century advertising, finding it to be full of mood music but empty of clear language as to why we should buy a product or service. And so it goes in our chaotic incomprehensible world.

But what we do know about this mysterious, elusive, neo-Platonic world is that it does not work.  Modern technology poorly implemented gives us cars that break down and are hugely costly to repair, an Internet where lawless big companies and lowlife hackers steal our money and our privacy, hollow stocks and badly styled clothing that are grossly overpriced,  and food that is full  of substances that eat away at our health and happiness.

That has made commonsense people who do not buy into kooky theories look for simple, you-can-do-it patches that will make life easier and make us a bit more fleet footed in a world that wants to tie us up in knots. Even if we are confused, we still have to navigate.

Fitbit.  Fitbit is a wonderful poorly designed gadget.  Put on your wrist, it will count your steps to make sure you are moving around enough each day, the best guarantee of your health and your best hope for losing weight. Its software is fine, and its price is right.  As we remember the key founder James Park came out of Harvard.  We all know that Harvard guys do not do practical and that is why Boston does not work very well, with poor housing, only a handful of great restaurants, and traffic clogged arteries.  He is a techie to boot and techies such as him have a hard time coming up with customer friendly devices.  We think everyone should have one of his “bits,” as long as you have enough rubber bands.

Its two big flaws are that it recharges badly and its fastener does not work.  As with many things in the current day, the complexity is awesome, but the obvious is done poorly. The Fitbit Force, which sadly has been discontinued, had a better charging device and the charge lasted longer. We have nothing to offer you to overcome this deficiency.  The poor fastener means that it can come off your wrist at the drop of a hat. We have lost three of the darn things.  But Eureka!  We now put a rubber band around it and have held on to our new pink Flex quite a while.  The rubber bands are free at the grocery store.

Uber.  Uber is some software you stick in your smartphone that allows you to quickly get a cab or a black car sedan in our major cities, both in the United States and other parts of the world.  It works great though you should know (a) you have to have a smartphone, (b) when cars are in short supply,  it gouges you a bit on pricing, and (c) it is not available everywhere.  But in Boston at night it is heaven.  You used to come out of a restaurant on Washington and wait for a cab in the cold for as much as twenty minutes. Now that is a thing of the past.

Our black car service in New York used to have 600 cars.  Now it has 50.  All the drivers are switching over to Uber.  You get better service and the drivers have doubled their monthly income. 

A & D Ointment. The drug stores and the docs have all sorts of complex and expensive anti-bacterial salves for our sores and rashes and such.  But learn from the nursemaids who diaper your babies.  They use A & D ointment which prevents the rash in the first place or gets rid of a host of skin hurts when they occur. It has been around forever but only a handful of people have it on the shelf.  Out in the hinterlands drug stores try to sell you small tubes at very high profit.  Make sure you get the big jar (1 lb.) which is available from online sources.

Jack and the Beanstalk.  Are you finding the world a bit too much?  Overwhelming. Your fellow man is stuck in the same quicksand, right up to his neck.  When things are the most difficult, always look for the simplest most mundane cure.  Remember Jack and the Beanstalk.  We conquer giants with pebbles, or scissors, or band aids, not the complex schemes offered by the titans of industry or the oracles atop our governments.

P.S.  We will be offering more fixes in future letters.  Please send your simple cures along to us so we can tell all our readers about them.


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