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One of Robbo’s tasks for this weekend is to head over to Home Despot® and pick up a new lawnmower, the previous one having given up the ghost just at the end of last season after about five good years or so.

Flipping around the devil’s website to get some ideas about makes and models, my eye fell on this little baby, the Friendly Robotics RL 1000 RoboMower. (Yours for the low, low price of only $2123!)

What will they think of next?

In fact, just the other day somebody had mentioned the existence of these yard-roombas to me, but I thought they were just pulling ol’ Robbo’s leg.   I see now that this is a reality and that I’m going to have to face up to it.

That said, I have two general areas of concern. 

First, not to get all Ralph Naderish, but as pleasant a thought as automated yard care might be, I nonetheless question the practicality of the the RoboMower.  It’s one thing to have a robotic crab scuttling around the living room, hoovering up dirt and debris, bouncing harmlessly off walls and furniture.  But their outdoor cousins presumably have teeth.  What happens if they roll over a stick.  Or a rock.  Or the neighboring kid’s toes?  Or a cute little bunny rabbit?  Probably nothing good.  (Well, okay, that last one isn’t so bad.)  As a matter of fact, among the related accessories available is the John Deere 101-Piece First Aid kit.  So either somebody at Amazon has a sense of humor, or else this possibility has been considered before.

It just seems to me that unless and until these things are rigged out with both a set of eyeballs and a sense of responsibility, it wouldn’t do to go leaving them unattended.  And if you’ve got to be out there anyway, you may as well get in some exercise by pushing a more conventional mower around yourself.  (Which I will be doing as soon as I get my new one home.)

Second, not to get all John Connorish, but it seems to me that the RoboMower represents yet one more link in the chain with which SkyNet is slowly but surely surrounding us.  Now when the machines rise up, the suburban yard will be just one more killing field in which Humanity will find itself on the brink of annihilation.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Yes, an oldie.  But still a goodie.  

I sat down to do the Port-Swiller taxes today. ( Not that I’ve been putting this off deliberately, but the last three and a half months seem to have gone by in a blaze.)

I’m about as old-school as you can get in the matter of helping Uncle to his pound of flesh.  I still do the math myself, sitting at the kitchen table with a file full of receipts, statements and other records, and working it all out with a pencil and a calculator.   And this year, as is so often the case, I nearly gave myself a heart attack by accidentally using the single filer rayther than the married-joint filer column when figuring out the tab, only noticing the mistake after a few minutes of “We can’t possibly owe this much money!!” arm-waving.

Also this year and also as is so often the case, I find myself grumbling that employer withholdings ought to be done away with.  Let people keep their full paychecks and write out one annual lump-sum payment to the guv’mint, so they’ll better appreciate just how much of a whallop they’re taking and whether what they’re receiving in turn is worth it. 

Also, let the general elections be moved to the first Tuesday after April 15 so people can better show such appreciation.  Or not.

UPDATE:  Ha! Mrs. Robbo just called up to nag me about when I was going to get the taxes done.  Shwing!


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April 2010