Information Wants to Be Free

We’re awaiting word from friends who were scheduled to drop by tomorrow but have been delayed. The visit may slip a day or two, possibly longer.

Our wedding anniversary is Saturday. Funny how December 2nd always sneaks up on us. This anniversary has a high number (not high enough to merit an article in the paper, but close). We plan to go out to dinner, and my mission today is to determine where and make, if possible, a reservation.

Speaking of eating out, on the last full day of our son and daughter-in-law’s Thanksgiving visit we lunched at Tucson’s (Arizona’s?) oldest Mexican restaurant, El Charro, in the old Presidio district downtown. It’s been around since 1922, and its specialty is carne seca — marinated beef dried in the sun, which they prepare in triangular cages above the roof (oh, and by the way they also invented the chimichanga). You can see the drying process at work in the photo below.

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In the second photo, our son Greg is using a smartphone app (downloaded by scanning the barcode on the sign) to pay the parking meter with a debit card — a process, I’m happy to note, as bafflingly complex to Generation X as it is to Boomers.

The kids drove away Saturday morning with a cooler full of Thanksgiving leftovers, arriving safely home that afternoon. On Sunday, Greg and I made chili with our respective shares of smoked brisket, me here, him in Las Vegas. He has his chili recipe and I have mine. Too bad we’re not close enough for a cook-off. Which my recipe will easily win!

I managed, with our son and daughter’s help, to get the stereo rewired and working properly again, and over the past two days have mostly straightened out our collection of CDs. Damn, we have a lot of them, not to mention a stack of vinyl LPs as well, though the turntable disappeared decades ago. Donna wants a new one, but with the reflooring project our Christmas budget is exhausted and it’ll have to wait until her birthday in May.

Time for a short rant.

I resent the hell out of paying Amazon for ad-free streaming TV and having to endure ads in order to watch Bosch Legacy. As with the unpaid legions who come out of the woodwork to defend pit bulls whenever a child is shredded, there’s a volunteer army of corporate apologists who can’t get enough advertising. They will tell anyone who complains that Bosch Legacy is actually on FreeVee, which is ad-supported, but as far as I can tell FreeVee is owned by Amazon, which aired the original seasons of Bosch ad-free. They get you hooked on a show and then switch it over to FreeVee, or even worse, an Amazon subsidiary channel like BritBox which requires a separate subscription fee, as Amazon has done with popular shows like Unforgotten and Shetland.

Speaking of corporate apologists, someone on Mastodon’s been posting rants denouncing those of us who use ad-blocking software. Look, I have lines. I willingly pay for ad-free streaming TV. I don’t download pirated music, movies, or television shows. But I’ll ad-block every bit of spam I possibly can. Yesterday, trying to figure out how long Donna and I have been married (guys, math is hard), I opened what I thought was the calculator on my iPad. Turns out it was a calculator app I must have downloaded at some point, because it wanted me to watch an ad before showing me the numerical keypad. Fuck that. I deleted the app immediately and counted years on my fingers instead.

Remember when internet pioneers said naive things like “information wants to be free”? That’s how naive I am. I’m a believer. There aren’t any ads on this blog. What you read and see here, information or opinion or just plain rambling, is free and always will be.

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