Friday, March 11, 2016

1615 Replacing Your Pet Rock

Remember the Pet Rock?

Sure you do.  But there are things you probably don’t remember about them.

Like… how yours wandered away one day never to be seen again?  Have you forgotten how you went around the neighborhood stapling “Missing Pet Rock” picture posters on phone polls?

How when you went to the rock pile looking for a replacement they told you that they no longer had any available?  How did THAT make you feel?

Do you remember when Pet Rocks were declared endangered and importing them from Mexico was prohibited? (Yes, Pet Rocks came from Mexico.)

Do you remember the outcry against Pet Rock testing in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries?

Do you remember when PETR, People for the Ethical Treatment of Rocks would splash red paint on your nice new stone countertops or the slate on your front walk?

How quickly we forget.

Well, now we have a whole new breed of inanimate pets.  So your long, Pet-Rock-Free nightmare is over.

The latest species discovered is called Echo, a cylinder that resembles an elongated oatmeal carton.  It was discovered by biologists from  And unlike the Pet Rock, this one does tricks.

It can turn on lights, it can play music. It can look up and tell you movie times.  All kinds of things your poor old Pet Rock couldn’t do.

Like the rock, this pet requires no care and feeding.  And unlike live pets, there are no visits to the vet, no food to buy and you don’t have to walk it or even let it out of the house.

You don’t have to worry that it will claw the furniture or bite the kids.

First we started trying to domesticate obsolete cell phones, record players, cassette machines.  We bought wrecked automobiles and put them up on cinderblocks in the front yard.  We went for plastic flamingos.  None of that worked out. Unlike the rock and Echo, they just refused to respond in companionable ways.

Echo is somewhere between a Pet Rock and domestic help (as opposed to a Pet Rock and a Pet Hard Place.) It won’t vacuum your rugs (unless you program it to run your pet Roomba.) But neither will it pee on them. And they come with an actual name.  They won’t respond unless you call them “Alexa” or go through a few hoops to change the name.

We’ve forgotten how to compromise in America.  Here’s a perfect path to returning to that. Echo is inanimate just like the rock.  But it will respond to you, like your ferret or dog, but only when it feels like it… like your cat.

There is, however, a price.  While Pet Rocks sold for only a few dollars, Echos cost $180. And while there’s no mess to clean up, no worry about feeding or housing it while you’re away on business or a vacation, when you speak, Jeff Bezos can hear every word you say.

NOTE: No rocks or Echos were hurt in the making of this blog post.

-If you have both Alexa and Siri active in your house, you’ll need a two state solution because the two don’t always get along.

-Some peace seeking people suggest introducing Cortina into the mix as a negotiator, but to do that you have to have Windows 10… so that’s a non-starter.


--Semi annual rant.  We spring forward with the time change Sunday. And -- for the eleventy-umphteenth time, there is only ONE “s” in Daylight “Saving” Time.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2016

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