Every day, merely in the act of remaining alive, your body sheds billions of skin cells, nomadic mites, bacteria, and personal information. Market researchers can harvest the latter to help relieve you of your money. That is why ads for things you actually want keep popping up on your computer, and that is why newspapers no longer publish news. Newspapers now publish features and filler, because they have done market research, and they know that’s what you like.

I didn’t think I liked it, which is why I gave up my Oregonian subscription and got the New York Times instead. I was thrilled! There were long serious articles all over the place. I set aside the Style section, and also the Style II and Style III sections, and the Sports, and most of the Arts & Entertainment, and then after a while I set aside a lot of the front section to read later.

Articles about Syria, for instance. I didn’t pay attention at first because I was hoping the whole thing would blow over. When it didn’t, I was too far behind to understand it. I set all the World News sections aside and stacked them on my Tower of Remorse.

Shadows lengthened from the Tower of Remorse and finally I realized I didn’t really want to read the news anymore. Which the Oregonian already knew, well before I did. So I got the Oregonian again, and now all I read is the Local Dead People and the features. Features like Personal Style, Homes & Gardens, and Pets.

Personal Style: yes! This week I learned that a really good footwear choice for short women is pointy flats, because they make your leg look longer. Sure they do! I plan to double down with false fingernails and a dunce cap and hit the runway.

Homes & Gardens: yes! The essential guide to proper gift wrapping. I’m a horrible gift wrapper. I always made all my presents, any of which might have taken me sixty hours, and by the time I had them done I didn’t give one shit about wrapping them nicely. I shook them in a bag with old wrapping paper and tape like I was flouring chicken and hoped for the best.

But here were instructions on making your own felt bows and adding fun, funky ornaments. Or non-poisonous greenery from your garden. Unless that was from the Pets feature on hamsters. “Try wrapping one or two gifts each evening instead of all at once,” the author recommended. Clearly, this was going to take some stamina. But it’s easier, said she, if you collect little ornaments and funky doodads all year long and keep them in a closet with your wrapping paper and ribbon. Suddenly I realized I was reading advice from a person who had a doodad closet. I do not have a doodad closet. Just the tiny drawer in which I keep the shit I don’t give one of. I turned the page.

Yes! How to create a cozy guest bedroom!

Keep it simple: that’s the key. To keep it simple, it is suggested you use only one kind of fresh flower for the simple but elegant floral arrangement you will place on the nightstand with the chocolates and an assortment of current magazines and classic books. Also, you should provide a simple personal coffeepot in the room along with a tray of hot chocolate, tea, sugar packets, mugs, airplane booze, pudding, your wireless code with a link to an escort service, and a selection of charcuterie.  Also, a fruit bowl, personal ointments, a stocked freezer and a pizza oven. Also, water and adequate lighting. Unless that was the hamster advice.

Bed should be of sufficient size and sturdiness to withstand several strata of pillows. Seed the pillow pile with fun things for your guests to find when they’re excavating down to the mattress: think Legos, small tins of Oxycodone, or a rented kitten. (Check your doodad closet.)

Make sure there is easy access to your ventilation system in case your guests want to do some fun midnight exploring! Wait, that was the hamster advice.

Blackout curtains are recommended in case your guests want to sleep in. Walling up the windows altogether is an even nicer touch. Just be sure there is an exit to the outside. If the number for the taxi service is prominently displayed, you’ll never have to see your guests at all.

And that’s a wrap. News at eleven. I’ll be asleep.