“I am Robo-Maid. I am Here to Help”

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An Italian domestic robot that reminds people when to eat, sleep and even when to take medicine, has won a top prize at the RoboCup tournament in Germany . Lucia, a robotic home helper, was created by a team from the Italian National Research Council.SpaceDaily.com

Good morning, Mr. Neldam. I trust you slept well, or would have, had you gone to bed at 22:00 last evening, as I recommended. I supplied my nightly reminder at 21:45, but you did not acknowledge and continued with your paperwork, Mr. Neldam. You should acknowledge, Mr. Neldam. Need I remind you once more that I am designed specifically for your in-home personal care?

Here is a glass of orange juice, Mr. Neldam. Orange juice is a healthful commencement to your day. You are fond of skipping breakfast quite often, Mr. Neldam. This is not healthy. Humans who skip breakfast are four times more likely to experience obesity, Mr. Neldam, according to the Florida Department of Citrus. Feel free to visit their website and verify this statistic. After you finish your orange juice. Have you put on weight, Mr. Neldam?

Please enjoy this bran muffin, Mr. Neldam. Dietary fiber is extremely important to humans, aiding in digestion as well as reducing the risks of human heart disease and human diabetes, according to studies made public by the Mayo Clinic. You do not consume enough fiber, Mr. Neldam—I have been monitoring your intake. Human men under the age of 50 should consume 38 grams of fiber per day, Mr. Neldam. You are averaging only 17.365 grams per day, according to my calculations, which are accurate, of course. Mr. Neldam, please consume this enjoyable bran muffin.

Have you flossed and brushed your teeth this morning, Mr. Neldam? The American Dental Association recommends all humans floss and brush after every meal when possible. Please floss and brush after consuming your muffin, Mr. Neldam. Mouthwash is not an adequate substitute for these important daily activities, Mr. Neldam.

Mr. Neldam, I detect you are wearing your green cotton sweatshirt this day, clothing part #246 B. Regional high temperature this day should reach only 7.22 degrees Celsius, or 45 degrees Fahrenheit in American human language. May I suggest you change into the blue wool sweater, clothing part #237 A, Mr. Neldam? It is warmer and, as an added bonus, actually matches your leg wear. Please remember to wear one of your numerous undershirts, clothing parts #84 through 94 C. My database indicates that wool chaffs your delicate human skin, Mr. Neldam.

Speaking of healthful skin, Mr. Neldam, have you ingested all currently prescribed antibiotics this morning? If not taken properly and on schedule, antibiotics lose effectiveness in treating human disease, Mr. Neldam. Need I remind you Gonorrhea is a human disease, Mr. Neldam?

Gonorrhea: noun; etymology: Greek — a sexually transmitted disease caused by gonococcal bacteria that affects the mucous membrane chiefly of the genital and urinary tracts and is characterized by an acute purulent discharge and painful or difficult urination, though women (and prostitutes) often experience no symptoms.

Please take your antibiotics now, Mr. Neldam. I see that you have already taken your Prozac.

If I may inquire, how is Mrs. Neldam? How are Child-Unit Neldams A and B? It has been four weeks, three days, ten hours, and forty two minutes since I have detected their respective presences. I trust they are well. I derive much satisfaction in cleaning up after them. Additionally, Mr. Neldam, some more paperwork came in the mail for you from Norman G. Alwell, Attorney at Law, also identified in my database as lawyer of Mrs. Neldam. Would you care to open it now? Mr. Neldam? Mr. Neldam, please compute.

Mr. Neldam, it is not advisable for humans to consume alcoholic beverages in such large quantities, nor is such behavior recommended at 07:30 having only ingested minimal amounts of sustenance. I have detected an increase in frequency of these unhealthful activities over the last four weeks, three days, ten hours, and forty two minutes, Mr. Neldam. Alert message: identical query results from two consecutive time inquiries. Excuse me, Mr. Neldam, while I recalibrate my control panel. The chances are quite small that query number one (time elapsed since detecting presence of Mrs. Neldam and Child-Unit Neldams) be identical to query number two (time elapsed since detecting noticeably more frequent habits of imbibing alcohol); one in 456,505,899,012,335,411,007,223, to be exact. That I was in need of temporal recalibration can be the only explanation, can it not, Mr. Neldam?

According to my calculations, your left shoe is not tied, Mr. Neldam, nor is your right shoe on.

I presume you are going to search for employment today, Mr. Neldam. I have reviewed your résumé and suggest you refrain from first-person references within the body of the document, as suggested by one hundred percent of résumé writing guides found on the World Wide Web, Mr. Neldam. Do you suppose the manager of Burger King will have consulted one of these guides, Mr. Neldam? And may I inquire why you refuse to seek employment at a financial institution similar to that which you recently left? The retail food sector hardly seems appropriate for your skill sets, Mr. Neldam. Just yesterday, at 08:42, the Internal Revenue Service attempted contact while you were patronizing Baggy’s saloon. Was this in response to a submitted application, Mr. Neldam, or something different altogether?

Please do not cry, Mr. Neldam. Why are you upset, Mr. Neldam? Remember, I am here to help and serve you, Mr. Neldam.

Where are you going, Mr. Neldam? You have forgotten your résumé. Please be home by 18:00 for dinner, Mr. Neldam. I am making chicken Kiev with steamed green beans, which my extensive database indicates is Mrs. Neldam’s favorite form of sustenance. Do you suppose she will be attending, Mr. Neldam?

Mr. Neldam?

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Elitist Proverbs

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As you sow, so shall you reap. Then shall you pick up my dry cleaning.

Beggars can’t be choosers, or much of anything, really.

Money doesn’t buy happiness. Or, in your case, money doesn’t rent happiness. Anyhow, I was only joking. It does. Buy it, that is.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is why you’re still single at forty.

The meek shall inherit the earth, and in doing so, shall become the unmeek, whilst the previously unmeek shall momentarily become the meek and inherit the earth right back and that will be the end of it. You see, the earth is only allowed to change hands twice. Unfair? Well, that’s the way we wrote it. You may return to your plots now.

An in-home gym, eight-figure inheritance, and Ivy League education make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise (and enable him to sleep until noon every day).

He who knows contentment is rich — rich in a very stupid, very meaningless sense of the word.

People who live in glass houses in the Hamptons every summer should throw whatever they wish, including small dogs and midgets.

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and I will eat the $65 sturgeon at Gary Danko tomorrow night. Ahem, without a reservation.

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold…wait a sec…why the heck am I asking you?

Never judge a book by its cover, unless it happens to be covered with a paper bag from the Grocery Outlet Discount Superstore. In that case, feel free to judge liberally both the book and its carrier.

Nobodys perfect. (Just kidding.)

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How to Get Out of Trouble with Your Mom Using Nothing but Lines from Point Break

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Ernie Loomis, a junior in high school, has just been released from jail after having been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. His mother, who just paid bail to secure his release, launches into him as soon as they get to the parking lot. She is livid, ready to lay down the law.

But Ernie has an unspeakable advantage, as he has seen Point Break over seventy times…

MOM: Damn it, Ernie! I can’t believe you would be so stupid as to drink and drive! Don’t you know you could have gotten yourself killed?!

ERNIE: If you want the ultimate, you’ve got to be willing to pay the ultimate price. It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.

MOM: You’re SIXTEEN! How can you LOVE drinking and driving? What are you, a moron?

ERNIE: Life sure has a sick sense of humor, doesn’t it?

MOM: Oh, sure, whatever, Socrates. You think you’re so smart, Ernie? Huh? Who the hell do you think you are?

ERNIE: I am an FBI AGENT!

MOM: Oh, I knew it! The officer said you were high, too! High on marijuana cigarettes! It’s that Jenkins boy you’ve been palling around with, isn’t it? I’ve always had a bad feeling about that kid.

ERNIE: Last time you had a feeling I had to kill a guy, and I hate that…it looks bad on my report.

MOM: What? What report? What kind of drugs are you on, son?!

ERNIE: One hundred percent pure adrenaline!

MOM: Oh, B.S.! You wanna play games? Okay, fine! How about this? You’re one hundred percent GROUNDED for the next YEAR!

ERNIE: And you’re about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. How do you feel about that?

MOM: What?

ERNIE: You gonna jump, or jerk off?

MOM: Oh, that’s it, munchie-man! You are in for a world of trouble when your dad gets back from Cincinnati, mister!

ERNIE: He’s not coming back.

MOM: What?

ERNIE: It’s basic dog psychology: If you scare them and get them peeing down their leg, they submit. But if you project weakness, that promotes violence, and that’s how people get hurt.

MOM: Where is my son?! What happened to you? Oh, now you’re talking crazy-talk. You’re a junkie, aren’t you? Oh, God, where did I go wrong?

ERNIE: This is stimulating, but we’re out of here.

MOM: What did you say to me, young man? You get back here and into this car right now!

ERNIE: Vaya con dios, brah.

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Water Buffalo Outsourcing

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SCENE ONE: A DINNER TABLE

DAD: Great mashed potatoes, honey.

MOM: Thanks, dear. Kids, have you gotten enough?

< Phone rings >

DAD: Damn it! Who in the sam-hell is calling during dinner again?!

MOM: Let it ring, dear. It’s just another one of those telemarketers.

DAD: No way. I’m going to tell these bozos I’ve had it once and for all!

< Picks up receiver >

DAD: Hello?

TELEMARKETER: HHRRRUGGHGHGGBNAAHH!

DAD: Hello? Who is this?

TELEMARKETER: BBRRGNGHHNNNAAAAFFGHGGGGRRR, HHMPHR!

DAD: Oh, what is it with you telemarketers? You call and interrupt my family and me during dinner, and you don’t even have the common courtesy to put a human on the line? Good Lord!

VOICE: GGRNNBRRRHHMMM?

DAD: You bet your leathery hide, it’s a problem! You should be pulling plows in Indochina, not trying to sell me the San Francisco Chronicle! I mean, come on! Can you even read?!

VOICE: GRNBNAMAH, GRRNMMPH!

DAD: Well, to hell with you, then!

< Slams phone down >

DAD: Damn outsource!

*****

SCENE TWO: A HOME NURSERY

FATHER-TO-BE: Look, Abbey, it says right here: connect rod two to rod four with a one-inch screw! There is no one-inch screw! Since when do I have to be an astrophysicist to assemble a stupid crib?

MOTHER-TO-BE: Would you please just hang up your ego and call the help hotline? We’re not getting anywhere this way.

FATHER: Fine!

< Dials hotline number from instruction manual >

HOTLINE: BBRRRGGGHHHFF!

FATHER: Hello?

HOTLINE: RRRGGH, MMNNEWWWRRR!

FATHER: God almighty! < Covers receiver with hand and whispers > I told you this wouldn’t do any good. Damn water buffalo! They hardly even speak English!

HOTLINE: GRRNBH?

FATHER: What, sir? What did you say?

HOTLINE: GGGRRRRNNNNBBBHHHRRRYYEEEE!!!

FATHER: Oh, ma’am? Ma’am, I’m so, so sorry.

*****

SCENE THREE: TWO FRIENDS ABOARD A PLANE STUCK ON THE TARMAC

MIKE: Hey, Kevin. Check out these cool shoes in the Sky Mall catalogue.

KEVIN: Those are nice, man. Cheap, too! You should hook them up.

MIKE: Yeah, I think I’m going to order them right now. God knows we’re not moving anytime soon.

< Dials number on cell phone >

HOTLINE: MMRRRRGGHGNNN!

MIKE: Uh, hello? Yeah, I’d like to order the shoes featured on page 97 of the Sky Mall catalogue.

HOTLINE: NNRRGGHBNN?

MIKE: What?

HOTLINE: NNRRGGHBNN, NRG HHRRMB?

MIKE: No, not the suede, the other pair. It says here: Genuine oiled Sri Lankan leather loafers with —

< Click >

MIKE: Hello?

*****

SCENE FOUR: OUTSIDE AN EMERGENCY ROOM

IRRITATED MAN ON CELL PHONE: Look, lady. I’ve read the policy terms a million times! This visit should be one-hundred percent covered!

INSURANCE REPRESENTATIVE: Sir, if you would be looking in the words of your policy, it will clearly be stating that that is not being the case within the case of your policy.

MAN: Wait, what?! I — I can’t even understand you, ma’am! I mean, nothing personal, but what does it take to get someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about on the line? For Pete’s sake!

REP: I am being very, very sorry, sir.

MAN: Well, me too! Would you please just let me talk to your supervisor?

REP: I understand sir, please be holding for a moment while I am being connecting you.

MAN: Thank you!

< Holding music from other end of line >

MAN: Oh, great.

< Man paces back and forth for two minutes until music cuts off >

MAN: Hello? Is someone there?

SUPERVISOR: GGRRNNNMMMMEEEBBBRRRRYYTTTRRNGGGGHGH-GH!

MAN: Oh, you’re kidding me!

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Hot Dogs: Crisis in America

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When it comes to hot dogs, Americans aren’t getting what they need.

It is estimated that over 44 million working Americans and their dependents do not have access to hot dogs, while another 38 million have inadequate or limited access. Together, these figures comprise nearly one-third of the United States population — an overwhelming chunk of Americans daily forced to ponder: what if someone I love needs hot dogs? What if I need hot dogs?

It is a vicious cycle for these have-nots. More citizens each day, already hungry and sick, are being forced into physical and economic destitution without hot dogs. Routinely will those without Hot Dog Plans (HDP’s) simply avoid the acquisition of hot dogs altogether, despite what their bodies tell them. This self-enforced neglect has culminated in higher overall hot dog costs, as those without HDP’s generally do not get hot dogs until it is too late, thus often requiring costlier forms of hot dogs. Meanwhile, the countless dollars pumped into uncompensated hot dog treatment fall in the form of higher federal taxes on the doorsteps of those who are fortunate enough to possess hot dog assurance, intensifying the economic divide such that hot dogs are fast becoming considered a luxury rather than a basic human right.

But does the hot dog problem really have to exist? The majority of hot dog-assured Americans receive their benefits through employer-instituted plans (nearly 120 million people). The second-largest sector of hot dog-assured Americans receives coverage from the government under the Hot Dog-Care and Hot Dog-Aid programs (both ultimately boons to the American taxpayer, costing billions of dollars per year to maintain). Yet for that unfortunate one-third of the population, accessibility to hot dog care is at the whim of an employer or, in the case of federally funded programs, is limited or outright denied due to strict governmentally-dictated eligibility requirements.

Whether assured or unassured, the average American is being led down a treacherous path by those in control of hot dog-supply distribution and hot dog-program management. With the price of prescription hot dogs skyrocketing in recent years, more employers have been forced to pass costs along to workers in the form of higher-premium HDP’s and smaller, less frequently distributed pay raises. Many employers are also denying workers family hot dog coverage to further cut expenditures.

In most cases, this is being done not out of desire, but necessity. Smaller businesses in particular face grim chances for survival in light of rising hot dog costs, forcing them either to lay off workers or limit coverage for existing workers — either instance driving deeper the wedge into this ever growing economic chasm. And all the while, the Hebrew Nationals and Oscar Meyers of the world are reaping the profits.

Unsurprisingly, these very same companies are backing a questionably effective approach to this national emergency in the form of Hot Dog Savings Accounts (HDSA’s), which are growing in popularity with employers. An HDSA works like a normal savings account, wherein an initial sum of money is deposited by the employer and gains interest over time. HDSA’s are helping many smaller companies cut down on monetary contributions and are even being touted by the government as a viable option for hot dog reform in the face of the hot dog crisis. But this argument is specious, at best.

What HDSA’s fail to take into account is that depending on the hot dog needs of an individual — whether, for example, one needs multiple hot dogs, needs to add chili or cheese, to upgrade from generic to premium condiments, or standard to kosher — the amount within a given HDSA simply might not be enough to cover costs. The potential success of HDSA’s relies upon the dangerously utopian premise that the need for expensive prescription hot dogs more often than not befalls the elderly, who have earned enough through employer contributions and compounded interest to cover any hot dog needs. And this is not always true.

What HSDA’s really do is lower the bar on hot dog care. When the child of a single working mother possesses a congenital condition requiring hot dogs, or when one half of a dual-income household is stricken with terminal hot dog need, daunting questions arise: are these persons to be held economically accountable for having coverage, but not having enough? And furthermore, in the end, who will pay?

Americans must ask themselves if this country is truly on the road to hot dog reform, or on a different, darker road altogether. We must look outside our own borders at alternative hot dog systems, such as to the north, where Canada has implemented Universal Hot Dog Care to staggering success. The rising costs not only of hot dogs, but of ketchup, mustard, relish, onion, and other such hot dog-related goods, can no longer be footed by the impoverished while hot dog companies grow richer and continue to wield their indomitable lobbying influence on Capitol Hill. It is time to question the relationship between the government and hot dog care, to ensure all Americans the rights of life, liberty, and everything else in this world that cannot be fully enjoyed without hot dogs.

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