Instinct Is a Potential Friar’s Best Friend

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What is a friar? you ask. Friar is a Hebrew term used mostly by Israelis to indicate a person who is easily taken advantage of.  IMHO, friar is a pejorative term. The friar is characterized as a weak individual. When I arrived in Israel 40 years ago, I was sized up pretty quickly as a friar. “Don’t be a friar,” … Read More

Magic Words That Create Peace

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Mr. Ebsen

How often has somebody said something to you that rubs you the wrong way? What have you done about it? I’ll tell you what my wife and I do about it. And it works for us. Maybe it can work for you, too. Here is a scenario: Wife: “How about we work on the house today?” Husband: [Thinking: “Oh, my … Read More

Time to Play Games with Alexa

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I’m having a lot of fun creating three games for my Alexa.  I estimate that I am only days away from completing the first game, and publishing it on the Alexa Skills platform (https://developer.amazon.com). Each of the three games I am making has dynamic content. That means, even after the game is published, I can make modifications to the program … Read More

Did We Lose Connection?

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Ten dollars plus a lucky find in the garage is all it took to have an excellent wi-fi signal throughout my house. Duh. For years, we have struggled with the wi-fi connection in the bedroom and the TV room.  The only room in the house with good wi-fi connection was the computer room, where my Airport Express sat. It turns … Read More

Cutting Cords Brings Positive Changes

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Robert Ebsen
Robert Ebsen

I just cut the first cord. After three days with my new YouTube TV, I called my cable company, DirecTV, and told them to cancel my subscription. I access YouTube TV by means of Apple TV. And Apple TV comes with a fantastic remote. With that remote I can turn the television on and off, and I can fast forward … Read More

Hey, Son-in-Law, What Is Next?

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Thanks go to my son-in-law for good ideas on saving money.  Last weekend he alerted me to the new YouTube TV. The main reason I chose my current TV provider, DirecTV, is that I can record four shows at once.  The service costs me $87 per month. I am now trying a free month of internet-based YouTube TV.  I like … Read More

Modern Game That Can Be Baffling

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Mr. Ebsen

I thought maybe I could do it. I tried hard. I watched many YouTube videos and read many online articles. But today, one week after my Amazon Dot arrived, I decided enough. I am talking about programming my Alexa, using JavaScript to make original games from scratch. Yes, there are a few game templates available online such as facts, quizzes … Read More

Alexa, Please Read (and Enjoy) My Essay

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Siri has competition in my house.  Alexa is the new star. For $40, Amazon delivered the wonderful Echo Dot, which now sits next to my computer. Me: Alexa, tell me a joke.  (As you can see, I love this feature. Here are two jokes I just heard: Alexa: I took the shell off my racing snail to make him faster. … Read More

You Should Read This Sitting Down

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Twenty years ago I purchased a porta-potty from Sears. A month ago I asked Siri to add a reminder that I need to practice the portable toilet.  Today I learned to use it. Having a portable toilet at my disposal (pardon the pun) is second on my earthquake preparedness list, just below gallons of water. I was curious about how … Read More

A Role Where Lying (Down) Is Required

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Our star essayist is holding an invisible Do Not Disturb sign

Haven’t you dreamed of lying on a hammock with your shoes off, and a drink nearby? Well, my hammock dream has come true. The Sunnydaze hammock from Amazon ($110) set up so easily I couldn’t believe it. No tools necessary, it said. Right. The hammock frame snapped together in 5 minutes. Time to hang the hammock on the frame: 1 … Read More