Monday, December 10, 2012

Of Bloodlines and Bathrooms

Once around the news cycle:

I leaned a couple of new words this week.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

No, it’s not the name of a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders.
Rather, it’s a fancy name for morning sickness, that peculiar malady
that represents the first (but by no means the last) discomfort we
inflict on our parents.

This condition became news this week when it was announced that Kate
Middleton, or the Duchess of Cambridge to you, was pregnant with
royal child. It seems she has been having a particularly rough time
of it, the result of a particularly acute form of morning sickness,
and had to be hospitalized for a short period of time. She reportedly
is feeling better.

Her illness notwithstanding, the impending blessed event unleashed an
avalanche of news coverage and gossip unseen since the last Lindsay
Lohan arrest.

After all, Kate and her husband Prince William, second in line to the
throne of Great Britain, are a handsome and likable couple, a
refreshing breeze in the perpetual storm that is the Royal Family.

In Britain, this is all very important dealing as it does with the
preservation of the Royal Bloodline. This despite the fact that the
Brits, who seem to be constantly crippled by austerity measures,
spent an estimated $57.8 million on the royal family last year.

No matter. When this child arrives, thousand will fill the streets
waving the Union Jack as their belief in the cult of Britishness is
reaffirmed. God Save the Queen and all that.

In the meantime, the gambling industry is offering up bets on the sex
of the child and even its hair color. Social media sites are
speculating on whether or not Kate is carrying twins and if so which
child gets royal succession priority and what name or names will be

The hysteria is not confined to England. Here in the good old U.S.A.,
viewers of Good Morning America were treated to lifestyle anchor Lara
Spencer who was whisked off to London to cover the story, an
assignment, according to the Los Angeles Times, that consisted of her
standing in front of Buckingham Palace while holding up British
newspapers and fighting for space with gawking tourists.

According to one published report, ABC also sent an 11-person
production crew to London to cover the royal pregnancy. Talk about
blanket coverage.

In a totally unrelated but no less important story, a number of
recent surveys have confirmed my belief that because smartphones have
become such an intricate part of our lives, we will soon have them
implanted in our foreheads.

For instance, one survey found that 75 percent of Americans admit to
using their smartphones while on the toilet.

Toilet texting is particularly popular among those 28 to
35-years-old, with a reported 91 percent of that age group admitting
to the habit.

Men and women are pretty much equal when it comes to general usage.
Approximately the same number of men (74%) and women (76%) have used
the phone in the bathroom.

Which means the next time a friend of business associate says,
“Excuse me, I have to go tweet” it could be interpreted in a number
of ways.

There is a downside to this, of course: Another survey found that 19
percent of people drop their smartphones down the toilet.

Finally, according to a survey commissioned by Lookout, a mobile
security company based in San Francisco, one in five Americans said
the first thing they did after sex was reach for their cellphones.
We used to reach for a cigarette. They were a lot easier to light.

And speaking of the good old days, when I was a lad we would take the
streetcar to downtown L.A. to visit my Dad who had an office in the
Pacific Electric Building at Sixth and Main. We’d lunch at Cole’s and
then once a year I’d be taken to Silverwoods for a new suit of

It was the golden age of public transportation in Los Angeles. Then
suddenly it was gone. The car was king and the freeway was its crown

Now, the streetcar is making a return to downtown L.A. Voters there
have approved a streetcar funding measure aimed at helping the city
get people out of their cars. In a special election, voters supported
creation of a tax-assessment district to raise as much as $85 million
of the $125 million needed to build a 4-mile trolley loop.

It would run mainly along Broadway, Hill and Figueroa streets.
Proponents believe it could see 10,000 riders a day.

Now, if they would just rebuild Gilmore Field and bring back the
Hollywood Stars baseball team, my life would have come full circle.

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