Archive for July, 2009:
I know I give myself away as being old when I reminisce about the old days when the strangest candy out there was ‘Runts’. These were fruit shapes. People eat fruit. This made an odd kind of sense.
I remember bone shaped candies. But at least mammals eat bone shaped treats . . . okay, that’s stretching it, and so is the old fabled ‘ring-pop’. At least in my mind, these aren’t as far out there, or as gross and disgusting as the candies on the market today.
It all began when my kids asked ‘How do you blow a bubble in bubble gum?’
No problem, I can blow a bubble that when it pops will require me to cut hanks of hair! I thought surely I could teach two kids to blow a bubble. But there was a problem: you can’t find bubble gum on the shelves today. Okay, there are a few out there. Extra makes a pink bubble gum in a stick. But this alone took three drug stores and a WalMart before I found it. Where is the packet of soft, chewy cubes in grape and watermelon and the occasional mint? These make the best bubbles because they were designed for it! They don’t hurt your jaw. They have a scent that you will radiate for the next three hours.
We’re all familiar with this three word phrase, but is it really good? As instructions go, it’s rather unclear. Lather what? Where? Whom? Yes, technically, it says what you do, but it still leaves much to be desired. Maybe this is why even this familiar phrase is often dumped in favor of picture panel instructions.
You’re familiar with these: the series of squares with little stick figure people depicting what you are supposed to do, because ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ has gotten beyond us. In some places, the panel series is handy. Last week, when I put a ceiling fan together, the pictures were far more helpful than the little labels and ‘bolt A, nut B’ written directions. A picture can say a thousand words and it’s worth it when the ceiling fan in question has so many parts that they gave up on standard notation and went straight for hexadecimal.
But in other cases, I’m not so sure. The Axe deodorant company is everyone’s favorite maker of cheesey ads, and I want to say that no one I know has ever touched the stuff. But . . . well, I can’t say that. It seems fitting that these purveyors of all things overdone have ditched the standard ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ is favor of the picture panel. There are only two pictures on the back of the body wash. The first depicts the outline of a man with a washcloth and a lot of lather. It appears he is rubbing the lather on himself.
Some of us are turtles in life. We go down the highway without a need to arrive anywhere in any great hurry. Some of us are speed demons – there is no where that can’t be gotten to faster. I personally think that being faster is an evolutionary advantage. Some of us may have mutated out of it, but most of us still act like there’s a saber-toothed cat chasing us down the freeway at seventy miles per hour.
Like most of us, I feel the need for speed but wind up falling somewhere in the middle. I admit to having days where the sky is beautiful and I am just out running errands on no real time frame . . . and I’m pissing off other drivers who do have a place to be. And other days those lollygaggers had best just get the heck out of my way.
Like most others, I am not committed to the speed limit for the sake of the law and I don’t fully understand the speed limits. That 55mph that still exists on most freeways was installed to help stem the fuel crisis of the Seventies. Hello? Seventies over. Fuel crisis no longer the same issue.
Now some claims say that it’s far better to go slow, that you can save up to 33% of your fuel bill by simply driving the speed limit. Part of that is true – if you drive 60 miles in one hour then turn around and drive back the same 60 miles in two hours you will use less gas on the return trip. But if you want to shave a full 33% off your gas charges you’d better have been going 90mph the vast majority of the time and then you need to slow it down to 30mph. Keep in mind, too, that anything you save on your fuel bill is likely to be offset by the medical bills from that heart attack you’re going to get.
I know I’m not the only one who has these feelings about emergency service vehicles. I am not alone, even though many days on the road it feels like I am the only one who seems to care if the ambulance can get to the place it’s going.
I confess, there is a mean, mean part of me that hopes the ambulance is headed to the house of that truck driver that’s refusing to move over and let the big, loud, flashing cube pass by. Unfortunately, I am forced to acknowledge that my fantasy scenario hurts some poor soul who is already suffering by having to live with that schmuck rather than really punishing the driver.
The rules are simple: when any flashing vehicle comes near, you pull to the side and stop. No, they aren’t supposed to have to go around you and no, it doesn’t matter that the other side of the road is clear. Don’t people understand that if you do anything other than come to a stop, the ambulance driver can’t tell what you’re doing? This means he has to slow down and wait for your ass. While someone is dying! Or can’t breathe, or has a kid with two broken legs . . . Really, think about where they are going and then think about the people who are waiting and bring your butt to a complete stop.
For many of us Spam is the bane of our existence. Ten years ago we didn’t even know of Spam as anything other than a canned meat, now a generation has come along that will be surprised to find that ‘spam’ is something you can buy at the supermarket and consume.
Blocking computer spam is a huge business unto itself and a priority in many large companies who fear lost productivity as well as law-suits from offended employees. But it seems even the best filter is no match for a tech savvy slacker with a few free hours. Because it’s so much fun to send people a message from their own email addresses. It’s better when you title it “Jason Strand you have such an ugly face!” Because the better the subject line, the more likely it is the unsuspecting fool will read it.
We all know to just delete some emails without even looking. No, I don’t want male enhancement, thank you. I don’t need a mate, I’ve had one for ten years now – so I’m not really looking, even though several websites seem to think I should be. But I have to admit, this one almost got me: “Chris died”. Ah! Brilliant! Who doesn’t know someone named Chris? I wanted to open it just as an homage to the person who thunk that up.
I once read that one in five Americans has at some point in life worked for McDonalds. While this made me want to barf up my Big Mac Supersize-Me-style, I managed to hold the yak at bay with some facts.
I was sitting in a dorm room at the time surrounded by other collegians and a hazy cloud of . . . well, it was hazy. After I shared that tidbit another (perhaps more alert?) friend took a poll around the room. Blowing my intel all to hell, the impromptu survey revealed that five of ten of us had worked for the clown. And there’s the added issue that these numbers were from a decade ago and don’t include anyone who might have turned to Ronald for a paycheck to lean on in recent lean times.
While two of the five of us had made it into Ronald’s management team, my record was in the other direction. I have worked for McDs for a grand total of . . . . wait for it . . . four hours. Okay, multiply minimum wage by four and subtract out that stupid little hat and a plastic name tag (yes, those came out of our first – only? – paycheck) and my one check was no longer worth the paper it was printed on.
It’s true that whatever will be, will be – even when I don’t understand how some things continue to be.
Since long before those old ads had surprised people exclaiming “Hey, you got your peanut butter in my chocolate!” we’ve all had that innate love for two great things that go great together. The problem comes when the things don’t really go together so well.
Unless you are pregnant, I don’t think you’re going to jump up and down for pickles and chocolate. (Excuse my while I retch for a moment.) But I have to say humanity isn’t producing too many Pickles-n-chocolate stores. So why don’t others have that flash of clarity? That “Hey, maybe this isn’t such a good idea” moment?
Some things, just fall into the middle, like the suntan and movie rental stores that I’ve seen. I don’t get this. What is it about tanning that makes you want to see a rental flick that night? Or is it that when you see all those Hollywood-types on film, you suddenly see the need for a tan? I’m at a loss. Apparently though, the owner of the store isn’t – there’s a whole chain of these rental/darkening stations around.