Secret Insurance (I bet you have it too)

On Father’s Day 2006 I finally got the “green light.” The Nazarian house would be making the leap from standard to high-definition TV. I did my homework, took my measurements and scoured the inter-webs looking for the very best deal.

Plasma, or LCD? Will 46” be big enough, or should I try and cram a 50” into that space above the fireplace? What brand has the lowest repair rate and should I bother with the extended warranty? It was a lot to process, but I wanted to get to a conclusion quickly. […]

The Perc Test

While shopping for my first house in 1995 I learned about something called a “Perc Test.” I was considering building a new house on a piece of raw property without access to sewers, and before you can even consider such a thing you need a Perc Test. “Perc” is short for percolation and it has to do with how quickly water will drain through your soil.

If you intend to build a house with a septic system, the perc test will quickly tell you if that is even possible. If your soil does not sufficiently perc, your septic system will never work right and you will live a life of smelly, backed-up plumbing. Banks and real estate agents learned a long time ago that it is difficult to sell a house with a bad septic system, so before they even let you make an offer on a piece of property you must perform a perc test. […]

Dual Air Bags

 

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, cars did not come standard with 28+ air bags like they do now. Federal regulations required that all cars manufactured in the 1983 model year and later have a “passive restraint” system for the driver. Sometimes this was an airbag and sometimes this was one of those “mad mouse” seatbelts that automatically came up the side of the window and over the driver’s shoulder. The federal regs however had no love for the passenger, so when a car manufacturer was feeling generous, they would advertise that their car had “Dual Airbags.”

This expression became part of the American lexicon for a good 15 years. During the Clinton presidency, there was a bumper sticker with a picture of Bill and Hillary annotated with the “Dual Airbags” label. Regardless of your political ideology, it was a funny sticker. […]

Circle

You know, for kids!

In 1994 the Cohen brothers released a film called The Hudsucker Proxy. It was a both a financial and critical flop, though I have to say I liked it. It was quirky, and for the first third of the film it really kept the audience guessing about the simplest question… what the heck did Norville Barnes (played by Tim Robbins) mean when he kept showing people a circle saying “you know, for kids!” […]