Indignity Vol. 2, No. 57: Cold feet.


Indignity Vol. 2, No. 57: Cold feet.


LAST WEEK, I wrote up a statement on behalf of the Internet Archive, which is being sued by publishers who object to its practice of purchasing a book, scanning the book that it has purchased, and allowing one user at a time to read the scanned version. Our friends at Popula have published it as an article. Important update for concerned readers: In the piece I described discovering a whole batch of my writing was no longer accessible online, due to an expired certificate. The writing in question was the archived contents of Hmm Daily, which have now been duly re-certified and are once again available in their original location, in addition to being findable through the Internet Archive.

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled INDIGNITY!

Photo: Meena Kadri via Wikipedia

Recently Missing in America

NEARLY 800 GALLONS of red-dyed farm diesel fuel (from a farmer's fuel barrels in Eyota, Minnesota)

An unoccupied U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet jet fighter (from the deck of the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman in the Mediterranean Sea, after being blown overboard)

A kayak (from Myre-Big Island State Park in Albert Lea, Minnesota)

A lawn mower, leaf blower, and other yard tools (from a utility building at a church in Mooresburg, Tennessee)

A 2,000-pound wood chipper (from the home of an arborist in Montville, Maine)

An assortment of replica household items including pots, pans, and a foot warmer (from the Daniel Webster Birthplace Historic Site in Franklin, New Hampshire)

Eight to 10 guns worth an estimated $10,000 (from a Guns and Leather store in Greenbriar, Tennessee, after a truck crashed through the front door at 4 a.m.)

Recently Found in America

An American alligator (in the waters of Long Lake, in Osceola, Wisconsin)

A Quercus tardifolia oak tree, previously considered extinct (in "poor condition" in Big Bend National Park, Texas)

Timbers from the Spanish galleon Santo Cristo de Burgos, shipwrecked in 1693 with a cargo including beeswax (in sea caves near Manzanita, Oregon)

Two tractor-trailers' worth of oriented strand board, totalling 1,030 sheets of the chip-based plywood alternative (in El Paso County, Colorado, after police followed a tracking device on a trailer stolen from Colorado Springs)

A stack of 80 fake $100 bills, each printed with "FOR MOTION PICTURE USE ONLY" (in Norwood, New York)

An empty casket (by the side of Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, California)

More than 23,000 gallons of gasoline (spilled in and around a Colonial Pipeline facility in Loudon County, Tennessee)

“Photo Illustration.” BMW: Vauxford via Wikipedia. SPIRIT airplane: Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK via Wikipedia.

BMW Is Spirit Airlines Now

YOU DON’T HAVE to feel sorry for people who buy BMWs to be concerned about their situation. This month, journalists who cover automobiles and other technology noticed that the company has begun charging customers in various countries a monthly fee to operate the heated seats in its cars. One could say "in their cars" but the possessive pronoun is at the bottom—the potentially unwarmed bottom—of the problem, here. Who owns the cars, really, if the manufacturer maintains control over whether or not the people in the car can heat up the car seats?

It might seem like a nice little problem to have, paying an $18 monthly bill—less than three gallons of gas, at current prices in South Korea, where the subscription offer was first spotted—to keep one's luxury automobile supplied with a particularly cozy luxury. But what's the point of buying a luxury automobile if the car company claims the right to keep nickel-and-diming you even after you take the title? If you can't even operate the controls as you see fit?

As the coverage has noted, the heated seats don't represent any ongoing investment of money or effort from the company. The seat heaters are built into the car at the factory, and it takes an active overlay of software and communication technology to prevent the owners from using them.

The BMW drivers are not alone in this. All sorts of things that people used to own free and clear—books, movies, word-processing software—are now only available with the ongoing permission of their sellers, or of the underlying license-holders. What used to be basic components of a deal, like being able to bring luggage with you on an airplane trip, are now add-ons.

The message BMW is sending to the non-BMW-driving public is this: there is no amount of money that can buy a person's way out of this system, no level of luxury consumption that won't seek to consume you in return. The BMW dealership isn't selling the freedom of the open road anymore. It's selling a little dose of serfdom. Between the driver and the heated upholstery is the wallet.


WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of a select sandwich from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

1 lb. figs
1/2 pint ( 1 cup) seeded raisins
1/2 pint (1 cup) stoned dates
1/2 pint (1 cup) hot water
3 ozs. (3/4 cup) chopped nut meats
1/2 lemon
1 teaspoonful almond extract
Whipped cream
Angelica and candied violets
Sweet wafers

Chop the figs, raisins, and dates, put them into a saucepan with the water, and cook slowly until thick. Take from the fire, add the nuts, the strained lemon- juice, and the almond extract. Cool and spread between wafers and decorate the top with whipped cream, candied violets, and strips of angelica.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy this sandwich, kindly send a picture to us at

INDIGNITY is a general-interest publication for a discerning and self-selected audience. It could be YOU.