Q1 – What was I thinking?: What is your most regretted impulse purchase of all time?
A1 – Boy, this is a tough question because I usually don’t buy anything on impulse.
I would say the closest I’ve come recently was the purchase of Valgon rings for my flute. Supposedly, they serve as “an additional source of resonance.”
I’ve only used them a couple of times . . . I will probably use them this Saturday when the Lodi Community Band performs at the Lodi Grape Festival because we will be playing in the Grape Pavilion and will not be mic’d.
But I’ve done blind tests with my teacher, other flutists . . . nobody seems to be able to tell the difference between my playing with them on my flute or off. I suspect that is because I play a professional model “heavy walled” flute — that means the silver wall (tube) of the flute is .18″ thick rather than the standard .16″. It makes the flute heavier to hold, but also projects more sound. In addition, I have a platinum riser in my head joint. Different types of metal produce different sound qualities. I like platinum because it produces a deep, rich sound. So between the heavy wall and the platinum, I am already projecting a great deal of sound.
The other problem is that they are attached to the foot and head joints of the flute. I have to be careful with them because the spring mechanism has a tendency to scratch the flute’s surface.
They actually make rings for piccolos! You can be sure I won’t be buying and using them — that thing produces sounds that can wake the dead. No need to amplify those noises!
Q2 – Staying ahead of the curve: DNA mapping has advanced to the point where it now offers strong clues as to the medical conditions you may develop later in life. Given your current age, would you want to know what the DNA map has in store for you? If you have young children, would you want to know what a DNA test reveals about their future health?
A2 – At this point in my life, no. When I was younger, I probably would have wanted to know what I might be facing. But now? Fuhgetaboutit. It is what it is, ya know? I’ll deal with it if I have to.
As for my kids . . . I would not want to know as a parent because I think knowing about a genetic predisposition to something horrible would only accomplish two things: 1) Make me incredibly sad and angry; and 2) Instill hyper-vigilance. I would be constantly checking for signs the problem was developing. Fortunately, my boys are old enough (20 and almost 16) to make their own decisions about this type of thing.
Q3 – Pricing: As a consumer, which item that you purchase and use on a regular basis–aside from gasoline–do you find to be the most ridiculously overpriced?
A3 – We used to turn on the faucet, let the water run into a glass and then drink it, remember? Now we buy it bottled — by the case — and stash it everywhere. I have a bottle in my purse and briefcase at all times. I have a case in the trunk of my car and another one in my office so that I can keep my little refrigerator stocked. I have a bottle on my nightstand and frequently find a couple that I’ve left sitting around the house or office.
Excuse me for a moment while I go to the frig for a bottle . . . 🙄
Of course, I buy identical quantities of Crystal Light packets because I can’t drink plain water. I make it into lemonade.
Sometimes I wonder what my parents would say if they saw me buying water. After all, they grew up on the Prairie where they had to go outside, pump the water and carry it into the house. And it was the coldest, best tasting water in the world. I used to love spending time in South Dakota in the summer. I’d go with my father down to the church near my grandmother’s house because they still had a pump in the yard and the water tasted much better than the tap water in town. So we’d pump some and keep a pitcher in the refrigerator.
Q4 – Hourly wages: On this day in 1966, the U.S. federal government raised the minimum wage to $1.40 an hour. Today, the federal minimum wage is $5,85 an hour, with the state of Washington registering the highest minimum wage rate for any of the 50 states ($7.93 an hour). Do you think the current federal minimum wage is too low, just right, or too high? If you think it is too low or high, how much do you think it should it be?
A4 – California’s minimum wage is $7.50 per hour. That’s not a “livable” wage. Consider the cost of gasoline, food, clothing, rent . . . It seems to me that the minimum needs to be at least $10.00 per hour, but I know the outcry from the business community would be deafening due to the corresponding costs of, for example, workers compensation insurance.