Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Just what IS a fake Mermaid tail blanket?

A few weeks ago, a family featured on House Hunters International had decided to relocate from Idaho (or Montana or one of the Dakotas) to New Zealand. I can’t remember what the husband’s job was – something to do with machine repair? – but the wife’s big dream was to work as a professional mermaid.

I wasn’t aware of that job, but apparently it entails putting on a mermaid tail and swimming around in an aquarium, smiling at kids. And I do believe she found her dream job. She’s even got a website to prove it.

Most of us, of course, do not aspire to be professional mermaids. For one thing, professionally speaking, there’s just not that much demand for it. Last time I looked, the New England Aquarium had seals and penguins but, alas, no mermaids. So even if you’re really good at holding your breath, don’t hold your breath for a lot of job openings to appear.

But you can get your mermaid on with a mermaid blanket, thanks to Hattie Paze who:

…built a multimillion-dollar business hawking mermaid blankets. Yes, mermaid blankets. Launched in the fall of 2015, her company—Blankie Tails—sold about 136,000 of them in the run-up to its first Christmas. It was a fairy tail success story. (Source: Bloomberg)

Apparently, I need to get out more. Less watching professional mermaids move to New Zealand, more looking at consumer trends. I missed this one entirely.

Not that I would have Blankie Tailswanted one. It actually seems super uncomfortable to me to hang around in a sack that you can’t kick your feet out of. And no way would have spent that much for a Yankee Swap gift. We have our limits to observe!

But I just plain missed this one.

Although I missed it, Allstar Marketing Group – the outfit behind the Snuggie – recognized a good thing when they saw it, and came out with Snuggie Tails, “the fun blanket that brings imagination to life.” Whatever that means. (Silly me, I thought that imagination brought imagination to life. Where’ve I been all these years?) Snuggie Tails, as befitting the Snuggie brand, is cheesier and cheaper than Blankie Tails.

Anyway, with Snuggie out there, not to mention all those crafty copycats on Etsy, Blankie Tails:

has also been forced to wage intellectual-property battles against larger rivals like Allstar.

Silly me. I thought that intellectual property had something to do with intellectual property. Where’ve I been all these years?

“You can work your butt off and have a great idea,” Peze said, “but I don’t care how hard you work: Life isn’t always fair.”

So true…

And now Peze is having to work her butt off on multiple fronts, going after Allstar, which counterclaims that Snuggie is the operative part of their brand, not Tails. And going after Magic Tails, yet another tail vendor. And going after Amazon and Alibaba, for “products believed to be counterfeit.”

Then, although she estimates that her company was losing about $90K a day during prime wacky gift shopping season, Blankie Tails decided to drop their suit against Allstar. (There was a settlement, but both are still selling tails.)

Perhaps that’s because Peze didn’t come up with the original idea to being with. She saw a handmade one on FB and, when she couldn’t find one to buy, decided to get some made and bring them to market. Or, as it turns out, even if you think you may be losing $90K a day, it still costs a boatload to sue.

Looking to understand its chances of winning a jury trial, in-house lawyers for Blankie Tails sought the advice of intellectual-property law firms, which put its probability of winning outright at less than 40 percent, said a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss it. Not bad odds, but not great either. Soon after, settlement talks began, the person said.M

Meanwhile, Allstar is going after Amazon for allowing “fake” mermaid tails to be sold online.

What, pray tell, is a fake mermaid tail?

Even if there is one working at an aquarium in New Zealand, aren’t mermaids kinda sorta like unicorns?

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day, yet again

One good thing about having been a blogger for so long – ten years+, now  –  is that I have a vast store of “content” to draw on. And as every good marketer knows, repurposing “content’ is where it’s at.

And so, out of nearly sheer laziness – not to mention pre-inaugural Trump fatigue – I’m repurposing last year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day post, which you can find here.

Not much different from what I would write today, anyway. Mostly about growing up in a lily white world with next to zero interaction with African Americans. And about how racial issues continue to plague our country. Sigh…

Besides being somewhat observed as a no-school, no-mail day, MLK Day is somewhat observed as a national day of service, in which people take on some volunteer task or another. This is in response to Dr. King’s words that “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'“

I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the good doctor here. To me, the most persistent (if not exactly urgent) questions are: What’s the point of all this? Is there anything afterwards? And (increasingly) WTF???

But I guess as a reframing of my first question, “What are you doing for others?” ain’t bad.

In truth, I won’t be doing much of anything for others.

The HVAC folks are coming for the semi-annual checkup. Once they leave, I’ll head out for a physical therapy session for my no-big-deal tendonitis. I have something due to a client. That’s about it.

On Thursday, I am doing some volunteering at St. Francis House, which this year I’ve vowed to get better at. (So far, I’ve put in a couple of shifts in the kitchen; on Thursday, I’m learning the ropes in the clothing room.) But it has nothing to do with MLK Day.

And yet, since something will have to do with MLK Day, I’ll make it this:

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously  - certainly more famously than the “What are you doing for others?”, which I’d never heard until I started googling about volunteering on MLK day - said:

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

These words are hopeful, and they’re trenchant. Certainly more trenchant than the words of Theodore Parker, Unitarian abolitionist – words that King so concisely summed up. In a mid-19th century sermon, “Of Justice and The Conscience”, Parker wrote:

Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right.* I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.

Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Jefferson trembled when he thought of slavery and remembered that God is just. Ere long all America will tremble.**

Well, I can’t calculate the curve, either. But I like the point that “things refused to be mismanaged long.” For those at whose expense they’re being mismanaged, I’m sure it’s plenty long enough. But I like to think that it can’t go on forever. With slavery, Jefferson had plenty to tremble about. And, as Parker predicted, the Civil War was soon going to be making the country tremble big time.

I don’t think that’s what we’re looking at in the here and now, but we’re sure not in a good spot.

So I’m going to hang on to the thought of the arc of justice bending toward justice. And that “things refuse to be mismanaged long.”

Both pithy sayings, by the way. Ones that can easily fit into a 140 character tweet. Would that we had someone in a high place twittering with grace, intellect, heart, decency, and good will.

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*No, not that right. Right as in “right thing to do,” not right as in alt right.

**Thanks to the Quote Investigator for this one.

Friday, January 13, 2017

"The high priest of fraud..."

It’s Friday the 13th, and that should be unlucky, no?

But, as it turns out, anyone who’s a fan of old Westerns has a treat in store for them. Not to mention anyone who likes weird little eerie foreshadowings. Not to to mention anyone who likes making fun of a certain president elect. ("What are you selling, mister, snakeoil?")



I don't trust that this embed is going to work, so here's the direct link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs6UcgiDwg0&t=97s


Whether you direct link or cut and paste, this is well worth it. (And Snopes has checked it out and it seems as if it's legit.)

Where's Robert Culp when we need him?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Home away from home office

One of the downsides of working from home is that you’re alone in there: no colleagues to grab lunch with, no buddies to chat with over the water cooler. No water cooler, in fact. But, of course, being alone is also one of the upsides of working from home. And having done it for well over a decade now, I pretty much get the upsides and the downsides.

As a loner you likes to socialize – or is it a social animal who, like Greta Garbo, just vants to be alone – I recognize the necessity of having some social interaction. When my husband was alive, that social interaction was built in. But these days, I have to make sure that I never go more than a day without speaking with someone. For me, the gym takes care of three days, and I’m not exactly a friend- and family-less hermit. I go out a fair amount. And even on no-speak days, I always have plenty of email exchanges (work and social) and texting sprees (social). But no-speak days are, frankly, weird to me, and I mostly make sure I get out to run an errand so that at least I have a hiya-howaya exchange with a clerk.  Or I just pick up the phone and grace a sib, cousin, or friend with the mellifluous sound of my voice. (I refuse – or at least I hope I refuse – to become one of those garrulous old bags that everyone dreads seeing coming. Duck and cover, she’s here!)

Long-winded way – I am admittedly garrulous in writing – of saying that I understand the loneliness of the long distance worker.

Still, I’m not wild about the Hoffice movement, which I read about recently on BBC. (I’ll have to go by the BBC article, as Kaspersky kept blocking the link to the Hoffice site, and I didn’t want to press my luck.) Hoffice:

…invites workers — freelancers, entrepreneurs, or full-time employees who can do their jobs remotely — to work at each other’s homes to boost productivity and tackle social isolation.

Those attending pop-up Hoffice events advertised on Facebook are typically asked to work silently in 45 minute blocks, before being encouraged to take short breaks together to exercise, meditate or simply chat over a coffee.

Maybe this works better in Sweden, where the movement was founded in 2014, but I can’t exactly see welcoming a stranger into my home, unvetted. One thing to get in a strange car with an Uber driver. Quite another to show that fellow home worker the bathroom and kitchen, only to find out he’s Ted Bundy or someone who’s got her eyes on your salt-and-pepper shaker collection.

Hoffice is free, but in some other countries, services similar to Airbnb are popping up. In London, it’s Spacehop; in France, it’s OfficeRiders.

Both companies give homeowners an insurance policy that covers theft and damage and gives users the chance to rate their temporary workspaces.

Well, that takes care of the salt-and-pepper shaker problem, but doesn’t do much for the Ted Bundys of the world. And one of them just has to show up with his laptop once to make this a bad idea.

Of course, while I’ve done the vacation-rental-by-owner thing many times, I’ve yet to use Airbnb. I’ve rented through services that more or less vet the apartments, and for the most part it’s worked out. In the early days, my husband and I rented a dud or two – nothing unsafe, just lacking - but that was pre- the take off of social media, and the places we rented in NYC, Paris, and Galway have been great. In May, I’m going back to the same place in Galway for the third time, in fact.

But I would absolutely NOT rent space in a place where I’d be sharing occupancy with some stranger. Nor would I rent my own home out like that. Yuck, yuck, a thousand times yuck. 

While there’s a difference between overnight space rental, and eyes wide open work hours sharing, I really don’t like the Hoffice idea at all. Maybe if I were 25 and Swedish, it would be all well and good. But it’s just not for ancient, non-Swedish me. I’d be worried about security. And also worried that perfectly safe but completely weirdo weirdos would show up. I’d fret that the oddball guy who walked around staring into people’s offices would be on my doorstep, ready to office share. Or the mean-girl colleague I had who was always trying to stir up enmity where there was none. Or the cleanliness-challenged techie…

Guess I’ll just stick with my me-myself-and-I home office – and make sure that I get out at least once a day for a tube of toothpaste or a cupcake.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Survivor: team building as a near-death experience

Second only to the company holiday party, there’s nothing I more dreaded during my days in corporate than the off-site team building exercise. Why, Pink Slip was ranting on the team building topic just a couple of months back. Sure, some of these exercsies were moderately enjoyable. But, other than the time I fell over backwards and conked my head playing volleyball, I can’t recall a single one that was a near-death experience, unless you consider boredom, embarrassment, and annoyance near death.

In any case, I was pretty appalled to read about a team building exercise involving almost drowning in a simulated plane crash.

This sort of training, of course, makes sense if you’re in a line of work where you might need to know something about aquatic survival. Which is how Survival Systems Inc. started out.

The company has instructed employees of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the National Guard, the New York Police Department, the F.B.I., the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Army, among others. (Source: NY Times)

All folks I’d want to know not just how to survive, aquatically speaking, but how to help us choking, gasping, flailing, panicking civilians survive as well.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, Survival Systems noticed that among the training side effects were better morale and self esteem. So they thought, what the hell, why not offer survival training as a team building exercise for the corporate world. They’re still in beta mode, trying it out on volunteers who don’t have to pay for the training. But it will soon be available for $950/person for those who want their employees to get more than achieve mere jollier morale and buffed up self esteem – the kinds of things you’re supposed to get automatically when you’re set with the task of building an helicopter with Tinker Toys. (This happened at one of the many team-building exercises I participated in. I wonder whether the folks at Sikorsky ever got to do this one. Or were they too busy learning how to survive the crash of the real-life helicopters they built themselves?)

The building’s crown jewel is a Modular Egress Training Simulator, a plastic and metal craft that can be arranged to resemble the cockpit of almost any helicopter or small plane on the market. A purpose­ built crane lifts it up and lowers it into the pool. Other equipment in the cavernous space can replicate the downwash from rescue helicopters, and generate rain, darkness, 120­ mile­ per­ hour winds, smoke and fire.

And I thought writing and performing a company cheer was a hellscape!

Only it gets worse.

The simulation starts with AC/DC “Thunderstruck” blasting, and a disco ball spinning. Think hellscape squared!

They don’t start folks out with the near death. They warmed up by jumping into a cold pool and, to the strains of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” (that’s a lot better than AC/DC…), figuring out how to:

…stay warm while floating. It turned out to be: Assume a  carpet formation, arms linked, legs under the arms of the two people across from you.

For the board the life raft task, they played “Singin’ in the Rain.” Which would have improved my mood, except for the fact that you don’t get to wear a yellow slicker and dance around with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds in a kind and gentle rain shower.  In this situation, as you try to get on the life raft, the conditions are set to “squall.

The next piece – the near-death experience – was definitely a near-death experience. And probably would have been a death-death experience if I’d had to go through it:

Finally, each person was strapped into the simulator, submerged and flipped. In this exercise there are three rounds. First: You reach for the window frame, undo your seatbelt, pull yourself out and swim to the surface. Second: Add a closed window to the puzzle. (You’d do the same in a submerged car, only you might need to break the window.) Third: Pretend your window is stuck and, by holding onto the seats and the console, cross to the adjacent window. An instructor is poised behind the participants the entire time, ready to whisk them to the surface if anything goes wrong.

No one has drowned – yet.

There’s no mention of heart attack or stroke death, however.

Hmmmmm…..

All I can say is, include me out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Garage, Sweet Garage. (Coming soon to HGTV.)

A few weeks ago, I saw an article in the NY Times on “The Final Frontier in Home Renovation.” That final frontier is, of course, the garage. After all, with empathic cars on the horizon, folks will want to start treating their cars like one in the family. And if they’re spending $120K for a new Tesla, they’re not going to squawk about $22K to spiff up their garage, which is what the lead-off, Exhibit A in the article did. With a growing number of folks redoing their garages, there are, of course, a growing number of design/construction firms specializing in garage renovation.

Not that carless me will ever be in the market for a garage reno, but it’s still an interesting idea. And it’s just a matter of time before there’s a new show on HGTV devoted to garage do-overs. Garage, Sweet Garage. I can see it now.

As the show starts, we’re introduced to a couple who are gung-ho about a garage reno. They both agree on open concept. After all, we’re talking about a garage. But she wants Craftsman Style or Victorian, and he’s looking for Mid-Century Modern. He wins the argument by pointing out that there weren’t any cars in the Victorian era, and damned few during the height of the Craftsman movement. He underscores his point by noting that Mid-Century was really all about the American love affair with the automobile. She concedes, but only when he agrees to put in an island, because they plan on doing a lot of entertaining.

The Property Brothers show up, and twin brother Drew stands around in his suit looking cute while twin brother Jonathan, also looking cute but in jeans and a flannel shirt, lets the couple know that he can get the reno of their dreams done in six weeks, for a budget of $87,500.

Jonathan’s design, which he worked on with Hillary, quite naturally features granite counter tops, dual vanities, and dark hardwoods throughout. (No laminates for these cars!) At the last minute, the husband decides that he wants crown molding, plus they need to get rid of the popcorn ceiling, and, of course, they want a combo home-office/mudroom - so there goes the contingency budget.

At this point, the wife notices that the walls in the garage are grey, and tells the Property Brothers and Hillary that this could be a deal-breaker. Drew then pops in to demonstrate his value by telling the wife that the color the walls is purely cosmetic, and that a can of paint will do the trick. He then takes off with David to scour the neighborhood looking for the perfect garage, just in case the couple decides to list it rather than love it.

Chip and Joanna are now on the scene, Chip announcing that it’s Demo Day. He starts swinging his sledge hammer, while Joanna declares the couple and the garage “sweet.” Chip knocks a hole in the popcorn ceiling and discovers that – wonder of wonders – what’s underneath the popcorn is shiplap. Joanna notes they can use the shiplap for the feature wall. Sweet!

The reno begins in earnest, until Jonathan discovers, halfway through laying the floor, that the subflooring won’t support two cars. They’re going to have to excavate, put in rebar, pour a new concrete subfloor.,,Meanwhile, everyone at home watching is thinking, ‘Holey, moley. This is going to cost – what – $10K? $20K?’ Then Hillary’s general contractor – it’s Eddy this time – shows up and announces that the new floor will cost $1,200. And Hillary says that, since the contingency fund already went for the crown molding and the can of paint to replace the cement-gray with a pop of color, they’ll have to give up on the island.

The $1,200 for the excavation, etc. of the floor gives us a clue that we must be in Waco, where Chip – because The Wall has not yet gone up – can find Mexican laborers who will do the work for $.75 an hour.

But even though that $1,200 overage sounds like chump change to those of us who thought this fix would cost $20K, and even though – what the hell – $1,200 over on an all-in budget of $87.5K isn’t that big a deal, the wife has a fit. The island must stay!

She has, at it turns out, gone behind Jonathan’s back and found the perfect island – it used to be a drugstore soda fountain - which she’s shoved in the back of her mini-van and delivered to the work site. Jonathan is annoyed. Is this perfect island – which costs 5x more than the one he was going to custom build – coming out of his budget? But the wife is cute, and she’s kinda-sorta been flirting with Jonathan, and she manages to convince him not to rat her out to her husband about spending all that much on the perfect island. Our little secret. Tee-hee.

All the while, Hillary is stalking around muttering garage, garage, garage, under her breath, with her clipped Brit accent. So it comes out GAR – as in Garanimal – ahge.

Minus the combo mudroom/home office – something had to give -  the reno is complete, and Christina and Tariq swing by to help with the staging. They may not be a couple any longer, but they did find some comparables in the neighborhood, and they’re pretty sure they can improve the value of the property by staging the garage with a Bentley and a Tesla. Joanna joins them, as she has a lot to contribute to the staging. She’s baked cookies, but she’s had her kiddoes pick out some really sweet vintage prints of flivvers, which will look perfect up against the shiplap.

Anyway, when husband and wife see their reno’d garage, they’re beyond delighted. The husband, in fact, is in tears, and doesn’t even mind when Jonathan and the wife – tee-hee – reveal that she went overboard on the perfect island. After all, that drug store soda fountain was authentic Mid-Century Modern, so the husband is actually thrilled.

While they love it – you can tell, because they both said, “Oh, my gosh!” -  they’ve also seen a pretty darned nice garage – which, like theirs, has a house attached – just around the corner.

Now they have to decide whether to stay or go. Or, in HGTV parlance, whether to love it or list it.

But before they decide, David has one more thing to show them: the post-reno value of their home, now that the garage is swanked up.

They show the arithmetic on the screen. The pre-reno value of their home was $600K. They spend $88.7K on the reno, and their home is now worth $690K. While those of us at home are sitting there going, okay, swell, their house is now worth $2.3K more when you net out the costs of the improvement, the announcer is announcing that the post-reno value of their home is now $690K – and increase of $90K – and David tells the couple they now have $90K more than they thought they had to put towards the purchase of an entirely new house and garage. We are, thus, encouraged to ignore the obvious fact that they really now have $2.3K more, not $90K (and that’s only if we ignore that the wife blew the budget on a more expensive perfect island).

Anyway, the garage avec house around the corner costs $700K and it’s just perfect – it includes the mudroom/home office – and, what with the old home now worth a mythic $90K more – they really can afford to move to new digs.

It’s a tough decision, but the couple decides to love it – if Tariq and Christina throw in the cars that were used for the staging. Chip and Joanna invite Christina and Tariq to their church for marriage counseling. David, Hillary, and the Property Brothers go out for a drink. Property Brother Drew pays for the round. After all, he hasn’t done a darned thing but stand around pointing out the paint color is just a small cosmetic change.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Now, to go with the empathic gas pump, the empathic car

A couple of months ago, it was BP’s new interactive gas pump, Miles – get it? Miles? – that was going to buddy up with you. Because, heaven forbid, you should have a moment to yourself when you’ve got your finger on the gas pumping trigger, a moment when you can entertain both high-falutin (what’s the meaning of life) and low brow (wonder what Gigi Hadid is really like?) thoughts, a moment when you can just stop and smell the gas fumes.

But, now, having an empathic gas pump is not quite enough. At least not for the folks at Toyota who, at last week’s CES tech gizmo show in Las Vegas, previewed an empathic car.

You’ve had a frustrating day at work; it plays soft music and lowers the temperature. You’re lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood; it offers to take over the driving. You start to nod off at the wheel; it taps you on the shoulder and starts up a conversation.

This unconventional interplay between the driver and automobile is central to concept cars that Honda and Toyota unveiled at the annual CES technology conference in Las Vegas this week. In the not-so-distant future, vehicles will not only be safer or more efficient. They will be our companion, watching our every move.

These cars, which only exist today as partially functional concepts, will use powerful artificial intelligence systems to memorize and store information about every passengers’ likes and dislikes, how they speak, and the places they frequent, all to make decisions the car feels are in the riders’ interest. (Source: Washington Post)

A car making decisions that it “feels are in the riders’ interest”?

First off, I really don’t feel that a car is, well, going to feel anything. But that may just be human-ist me having a robot-phobe semantic quibble with our not-quite-yet-human-but-any-day-now brethren. I mean, come on, just because their intelligence may be artificial, it doesn’t mean that they are.

And as for the “riders’ best interest”, would that be the riders’ best interest in terms of what the riders may want or think they want at the moment, or the riders’ absolute best interest in terms of health, wealth, and the pursuit of true happiness.

Just think.

You’re tootling down the pike, and your car detects that you’re hungry. Does it pull over at the next stop, even though what’s there is Arby’s and Cinnabon? (If you’ve ever driven the NY State Thruway, you know what I’m talkin’ about here…) Does it wait to stop at a place where something that’s at least modestly edible will be on order – like a Fresh City on the Mass Pike? Or does it make a decision in the best interest of the riders’ health and refuse to pull over until car, driver, and riders arrive home and can access a boneless, skinless chicken breast and a cuke?

The auto industry is, apparently, in hot-foot pursuit of making the time you spend in your car “a hyper-personal experience.”

They’re trying to figure it out because things are changing fast.

With more options out there – Zipcar, Uber – people are opting out of car ownership all together. So, if they can get the hearts and minds of car owners, and get car owners to befriend, and maybe even – gulp! – fall a bit head over wheels with their vehicles, the auto industry will be all for it.

Toyota’s Concept-i car is part of the brave new automotive world.

Drivers who approach Toyota’s Concept-i car will see “hello” projected on the car door, a greeting from Yui, an artificial intelligence bot that designers call “the person who rides shotgun with you.” Inside, the car will collect a trove of real-time data, such as pupil dilation, perspiration rate and vocal tone, to assess the driver’s emotional state and alter the car to better fit one’s mood. Once Yui learns preferences for music, temperature, seat position and other features, it will automatically adjust settings before the driver even climbs in.

Yui will also scroll through social media channels to create “serendipitous” moments, such as recognizing that friends have checked into a local restaurant and suggesting a stop there to grab a bite as well.

Hey, I like serendipitous moment as much as the next guy. Why just yesterday at the hardware store, I ran into some old friends that I haven’t had more than a run-into-on-the-street conversation with for quite a while. Since, once they’d purchased their sponges and I’d picked up my boot mat, we realized that none of us had anything better to do, they ended up coming over and hanging out for a while. And it all came without the help of smartphone, social media, or empathic car. How about that?

Honda has something similar to the Concept-i up their sleeve. It’s the NeuV.

“The whole philosophy behind it is to create a much more emotional, human connection,” said Nick Renner, the NeuV project leader.

I actually enjoy making emotional, human connections with humans. And with animals, too.

But I don’t really care to make an emotional, human connection with a car. This has never been my idea of the ideal. I mean, I liked my VW Beetle and all that, but it wasn’t exactly a Herbie the Love Bug sort of “relationship.” And don’t get me going on My Mother the Car.

Blessedly, the truly empathic concept cars won’t be available for another decade or so.

By that point, I’ll no doubt be equipped with sensors that can call in a drone when I need transporting from one spot to the next. I’ll take the option that doesn’t require me to make small talk and share back- stories with the drone… And I sure won’t want the empathic one who that can read my mind.