Thursday, June 30, 2011

1525 Custom Wiener

I was at a big festival the other day and naturally, they had a lot of interesting food booths. This one place had a big sign that said "Custom Sausage." And as they were even then serving up said "custom" sausages, I kind of wondered if they knew what the word "custom" meant.
My idea of custom is like custom houses, where you, the end user, have a say in how the builder customizes the house. He makes it just for you. Custom built as it were.
When you customize a car, you make it different from its factory churned-out appearance. Though they seem similar, "hand-crafted" and "custom" are not necessarily synonyms.
So, I wondered, how does one customize a sausage?
"Oh yeah, I'd like the basic model, but with a few recipe changes, if I might. First, I'd like extra cumin and just a touch of tarragon. Oh, and could you make it lamb only? Wait a minute, never mind. I like older sheep. How about a mutton sausage?
"And then, for Aunt Maybelle, I'd like something special. Do you think you could make it with chicken feet? She loves chickens. And throw in an extra set of cow lips and turkey sphincters. She likes sausage chewy.
"And for her granddaughter I'd like something special. She loves pets. Do you make different shapes? Cool! How about a cat-shaped sausage. No? How about a dog-shaped one? You can? Hot diggety. Make it a wiener dog of course.
"And I wonder about casings. Is it possible to customize those too? Good. I'll have the venison bowel. I hear wild ungulate intestines are the best texture.
"And I've always wanted a free range wiener."
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

1524 Thai'd Up

The American food industry isn't afraid to try new combinations. Ever since the success of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, culinary creators have lived up to the melting pot ideal.
People forget that when peanut butter was first introduced, no one was sure what to do with it. It was obviously a salty treat, so attempts were made to package it as a dinner alternative. Sort of an early tofu.
Instead of being packaged in jars, it was sold in chubs or rolls. Not unlike liverwurst sausage. Early versions even included peanut butter chubs laced with bacon bits. To those accustomed to PB&Js and the combo of sweet and salty that implies, bacon bits sounds a little too savory. But it's good.
Likewise the donut shops now purveying maple bars with bacon bits on them. Also unheard of not long ago. But think about its inspiration. Pancakes with maple syrup, bacon on the same plate catching the mapleiferous drippage...
So I expect the new pizza I just saw in an ad from Papa Murphy's will be as good. They don't come up with a bad combination. But I confess, at this point it seems like a taste clash. On the order of green olives and chocolate milk.
The delicacy in question is the new Thai Chicken deLITE Pizza. Sounds weird somehow. Thai Pizza. Like two food categories not completely compatible. Like chipotle lime lasagna or salsa-slathered Boston Baked Bean burritos.
You expect some food categories to establish certain territorial borders. Pizzas kind of Italian, Thai food kind of Thai. You wouldn't imagine, say, a borscht enchilada.
Still, Papa Murphy's has no doubt hit another one out of the park. And why not bring countries together through their cuisine? Culinary fusion...
And pizza for peace.
America, ya gotta love it.

1523 Risk Tricks

Read an interesting article the other day on how we perceive risk. Turns out we're hard-wired to be afraid of things that really aren't that threatening in a statistical sense. You know—sharks, lightning, fire—the things you hear about in the news that really don't happen all that often.
Whereas the other things that really do kill us more frequently, like heart disease and obesity, are pretty much ignored. This is because we give far more weight to fears experienced subjectively and emotionally than we do with objective and rational assessments of risk.
It's part of our evolution. Must be why I'm more afraid of a splinter than I am of a paper cut. The article's author said, "A risk perception apparatus permanently tuned to avoiding mountain lions makes it unlikely we'll ever run screaming from a plate of fatty mac n' cheese."
Likewise spiders, snakes, and mysterious slimy green stuff on the mac n' cheese.
Fears are increased with recent exposure to information. You're more afraid of death by fire if you've been watching stories of wildfires on the news rather than floating in a swimming pool. If it's cold and snowy out, you're not too concerned about global warming.
And this can be deadly. There are on average 48 airline crash deaths every year. And 30,000 automobile fatalities. That means the death toll from 9/11 was actually much greater than reported. After the images of two jetliners crashing into the Twin Towers seared itself into our collective consciousness, millions of Americans opted out of air travel during the following year.
All those cars on the road increased traffic fatalities by 1600.
I'm afraid emotions aren't very reasonable.
As one great man once put it, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

1522 Fishgate

I was in a buffet line the other day, and glancing ahead, remarked that the meat dish being served was most likely MOMO. "MOMO?" said the person next to me in line, "What's that?"
"Meat Of Mysterious Origin," I replied.
And indeed, the cutlet is question could easily have been chicken, pork, or veal. Just part of the nationwide dilemma faced by carnivores. With today's expert Photoshop-like culinary skills, it's tough to tell from whence a meat originates.
We've always had that problem with sausage. As I mentioned in an earlier essay, today's pepperoni contains not one, but three animal parts, chicken, beef, and pork—four if you count an occasional clumsy rat.
The truth is you can never be sure what you're getting when you ask for a wiener. Sausages they say, like laws in congress, are not pleasant to watch in the making. As recent news confirms, congress and wieners have a long history of appalling the public.
Now it's even worse. Because lately there's been a rash of fish imitations as well. We all know breaded fishsticks are made of indeterminate bottom fish. Gordon of Gloucester cast a wider and more inclusive net than the Democratic Party.
Although, come to think of it, he never pulled in any Weiners.
DNA tests on raw fish at U.S. Supermarkets revealed that 25% of regular fish and up to 70% of desirable species like red snapper, Atlantic cod, and wild salmon are not what they are labeled as. Counterfeit red snapper, what's wrong with people? The study showed that cheaper cuts like thresher shark and Vietnamese catfish were routinely passed off as more expensive fillets.
Such is the brave new world of the 21st Century. Weiners and acts of congress. And catfish posing as red snapper.
Suddenly everything smells fishy.
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

1521 Convestments

An interesting factoid was published recently. Turns out our congresspeople, those we often blame for screwing up the economy, are pretty darn good investors. The stock portfolios of members of the U.S. House of Representatives outperformed the market by an average of 6% annually from 1985 to 2001. Senators did even better, "…significantly outperforming even hedge fund managers."
Isn't that odd? Here are the folks who are supposed to be regulating the financial markets, and they're making a killing off them. The folks Wall Street tells us shouldn't regulate them because they know nothing about the complexities of trading and they're out-trading the tried and true traders.
There are a number of possible explanations: "Dumb luck" floats to the top of the cesspool. Or Congressional people can afford to hire better investment counselors. Still, even the best investment counselor is only as good as his or her knowledge of factors in the market.
Hmmm. If you were a congressperson you'd have some inkling of market factors before anyone else. A big trade deal coming up for a vote maybe, or a treaty that could affect political stability in some part of the world. Maybe just whether the next big corn subsidy is likely to pass. In short, insider knowledge. Hey, you work hard for your country, what's a little insider trading spiff gonna hurt? You can make laws, why shouldn't you break them?
Then again, you have a leg (or should I say lege as in legislator) up on even insider traders. You can be an insider manipulator, actually shape world events, affect the market directly with a well-timed vote. Which could help explain the willy-nilly voting records we sometimes see on both sides of the aisles.
And out of those many factors, profit.
E Pluribus Portfolio.
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

1520 Crime-inentally

"Criminentally," my dad used to say, and I'm not entirely sure what he meant, or where the phrase came from. It was probably some less blasphemous version of "Christ Almighty" but every time he yelled it, I thought it had something to do with a crime I had most likely committed as I went about the business of being a five-year-old mischief-maker.
Then again, maybe it was some carryover from the Great Depression, when incidentally, crime was supposedly rampant because the economy was so poor. But actually, if you take out bootlegging gang wars, it wasn't.
And it isn’t this time either. Defying certain long held theories of what causes the conditions for crime, the violent crime rate has dropped to its lowest level in more than 40 years.
Despite things like a cratered economy and high unemployment rates, actual robberies fell by 9.5 percent last year and violent crimes dropped by 5.5 percent.
Which could mean many things; People are so broken and listless they don't even have the energy to commit crime. Or the bulging prisons, filled with three-strikes-you're-outers, are actually keeping robbers and violent criminals off the streets.
Or there are two other possibilities—debit cards and fellow poor people.
Debit cards are the fail-safe answer to violent armed robbery. No cash, no crime. With personal identification numbers, passwords, and bankcard fraud protections, robbing people of cash has gone the route of paying by check—another artifact of the cyberless 20th Century.
Oh, people still get robbed, but it's not a violent crime. It's white collar theft. Worse, they rob your whole identity.
Which leads right to the poor possibility. Rich guys don't carry cash. So most poor people rob from other poor people. And they're tapped.
When you ain't got nothing you got nothing to lose.
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

1519 Waste Management

When you hear the term waste management you usually think of vast mountains of garbage at a landfill, acres of broken-down appliances and giant trucks moving large deposits of refuse.
So when I read of this new appliance the other day I thought a new level of weirdness had come to the waste stream.
BTW. Sorry. This piece is about toilet humor. Or toilet tragedy. It's about a new device from Kohler, the most ultimately deluxe toilet on the planet.
Someone has way too much time to sit and think on their hands.
Let me describe the toilet's assets. It senses you approaching, raising it's lid in greeting. It can even welcome you with the sound of piano music.
Cool, my own excremental jingle.
Maybe it'll play George Thorogood's "Move it on over," or a little grunge tune like "Smells like teen spirit."
Speaking of which, the super toilet has a charcoal filtering device for sensitive nostril odor elimination. It also calculates the amount of water for the flush based on the time you expend sitting.
Great…interesting books mean higher water bills.
It also has a foot-warming heater, an iPod dock and an oscillating bidet with integrated air dryercertainly one way to go green with the whole toilet paper usage thing. But an oscillating bidet with integrated air dryer? Gotta be an environmental price for excess water and power usage.
The cost for this commodious commode? A mere $6400. But hey, what price comfort?
Waste stream management or western culture going down the decadent toilet? What will future anthropologists studying the rise and fall of the American empire say when they dig up one in a then ancient landfill?
Man. They certainly came a long way from squatting over a ditch.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1518 Beng Spenk

Ya gotta wonder about the English language sometimes—so many words that could have been but aren't. Take the word applause. I heard someone at a meeting the other day say, "Let's give the man an applause." I always thought applause was one of those plural words. Give the man some applause. Does that mean somewhere along the way we lost the singular of it. An applau?
The sound of one hand clapping...
Or think about the words we never got. We have the word "bank." We have the word "bonk." We even have the word "bunk." That was bunk that he was so bonked when he went to the bank.
Admittedly, "bonk" is one of those cartoon words comic book writers put in balloons when their characters hit someone.
But what about the other two vowels? Why don't we have the word benk b-e-n-k- ? Instead of having a bank you put money in and a bank of a river, why didn't we make a different word to avoid confusion? I went to the riverbenk.
Or even bink. We sort of use it in the nickname for a pacifier, the binky. But instead of banking the fire, one could be binking the fire. That way foreigners wouldn't think you have to take your fire to the bank when you want it to smolder.
Similarly, the words spank and spunk are the only variations of the s-p- n-k- family. There is no spenk, spink or sponk. And really, they would make perfectly serviceable words. Spanking a child shouldn't be confused with a spanking new product. How about a sponking new car? Or a spinking clean countertop?
I won't even get into the waste of the think thenk thonk thunk group.
I'm sure you'll thank me.
America, ya gotta love it.

1517 Comic Fulfillment

Using increasingly refined techniques, astronomers are turning up ever-smaller planets. They recently discovered one in what they call the Goldilocks Zone. It actually made me think of a different mythical character.
The Goldilocks Zone is, as you might expect, the zone that is "just right." Not too hot, not too cold, and presumably with the ingredients for edible porridge.
Actually, it's at the temperature where water can exist in a liquid state. The planet they found is called Gliese 581d, and it orbits a red dwarf star about 20 light years away from us.
Relatively close if we were able to go the speed of light. But at the speed of today's spacecraft, the trip would take about 300,000 years. Bring some comic books.
The discoverers warn us not to get too excited though, Gliese 581d would be a pretty strange place to live. It has a lot of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so you'd have to have super-developed lungs, and it would be pretty dark with its murky red light, so you'd need very acute vision. Not only that, the planet is seven times the mass of earth so you'd have to be pretty strong to even stand up. Creatures living there would most likely have pretty thick skins.
So if someone does live there, and the red dwarf implodes and they have to venture to earth, those traits would confer a little advantage.
Yep. They could jump higher, see better, and be more resistant to impacts of projectiles. Why, they'd be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap buildings in single bound...
Great Scot! Scientists have just made all my comic book dreams come true. This planet's not Gliese 581d.
It's Krypton!
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

1516 Cent Link

What's in a name? Those who do business branding think of that question a lot. A name can make all the difference between celebrity and oblivion. What if Madonna had been named Edna?
So business signs and names can be all important. Oh sure, location is important too. Which means where you locate your sign can be a factor as well. If you were a pizza parlor, I recommend you don't locate next to a midwife clinic. The possible profits of pregnant woman food binges would be more than offset by the confusion engendered by your "We Deliver" sign.
So I got wondering the other day about Safeco and Qwest Fields. We are so used to the names. But when Safeco merged with Liberty Mutual did they change? Nope. Smart move. It seemed strange way back when they tore down the Kingdome and we had to start calling the place Safeco Field. But we got used to it. It's now even affectionately known as "The Safe."
Still...Liberty Field could have worked out. But Mutual Field? Sounds too non-competitive...
So now that Century Link has merged with Qwest, will we get Century Link Field? Qwest Field, funny spelling and all, had a ring to it. Century Link sounds more harsh somehow. Invoking chain link fences and prisons. Or a very long string of sausages.
And it doesn't shorten well. Safeco became "The Safe." Will Century Link become "The Century"? No, still too long.
How about "The Cent"? Not bad, except people will think “scent” with an S. Never invoke the sense of smell when there are large sweating players, raving unwashed fans, and garlic fries. Thank god for open roofs.
I know, how about "The Link"?
Maybe not. Sounds like an extremely small golf course.
America, ya gotta love it.

1515 Muffin Downer

Not long ago I had the pleasure of sponsoring a hole at a local golf tournament. As the event began rather early in the morning, the sponsors offered up snacks for breakfast. I had to hurry to my hole so I just grabbed a cup of coffee and a conveniently-packaged muffin.
I could have grabbed a conveniently-packaged cinnamon roll, but grabbed the muffin out of some atavistic sense that muffins are healthier than cinnamon rolls. Like bagels are healthier than donuts, or gorgonzola encrusted pasta is healthier than mac-and-cheese.
I confess, part of the reason I took the muffin was its name. Otis Spunkmeyer. And I'm not sure why. There doesn't seem to be anything that sounds less appetizing in the way of a breakfast treat than Otis Spunkmeyer. Otis is Latin for things of the ear, and spunk is often associated with energy, but also sounds like gunk, that gooey stuff in the ear. And Meyer, well, when it comes to food, Meyer always conjures up images of Oscar Meyer wieners.
Let's all have a hot dog muffin with earwax on it.
I should have listened to my instinct. Because there was another reason I shouldn't eat the muffin. It was practically all sugar. It was the first ingredient on the package nutrition list. Sorry, baked goods should have flour first, not sugar. That's candy..
I quickly looked at the calories. Not bad—only 220. About right for the size of the muffin, 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. Wrong. Is was 220 per serving. And the tiny muffin was, guess what, 2 servings.
Do you know the muffin man? He's moved from England's Drury Lane. He now lives on America's Obesity Highway. And he's found the recipe for success.
Sugar makes you spunky!
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

1514 Biz Err

Businesses are no different than the regular population. There are bound to be mistakes. Heck, not a day goes by I don't screw up something.
But you expect larger corporations to be a little smarter in the PR department. If only because they can actually hire a PR department. One would expect they'd be more conscientious about catching errors. Bizarre biz errors.
So I wasn't too surprised the other day when I saw a new business had closed. They were called Benchmark Mortgage. On the face of it, a good name. Benchmark is one of those appellations that set the tone for a higher standard. Or at least an exacting one. If one meets or exceeds a benchmark, that's a good thing.
It also makes one imagine the word bench, which is a good place to sit.
Unfortunately, the general public has the tendency to shorten things to initials. Especially when the company itself does the same thing in its logo. So coupling the word benchmark with the word mortgage was a problem. The giant initials BM call forth a different sitting image.
On a separate biz err note, I got a letter from a Mike Maxwell the other day. Mike, according to his letterhead, is the Vice President and General Manager for AT&T of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
What got me was the first line of his letter:
"Dear Jerry, As Vice President and General Manager of the Pacific Northwest, I'd like to thank you for..."
Really...Doesn't he mean, "AT&T's Vice President and General Manager of the Pacific Northwest...?" Because I'm pretty sure we have just one Vice President. And he's for the whole country.
AT&T was once known for dropping calls, they shouldn't drop their words.
Maybe Mr. Maxwell's setting a new Benchmark for AT&T.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

1513 Pro-Coffee

More good prostate news. Or at least I think so. Turns out there's a recently discovered benefit from drinking coffee. It lowers the risk of prostate cancer.
But before you go out and celebrate with an extra large chocolah’tay mocha latte, there's some potential downside as well. Turns out in order to have a measurable prostate effect, you need to drink the equivalent of 8 cups of coffee a day.
And that might lead to other health issues. Or maybe road safety issues, as it's bound to make you very fidgety when you're driving.
Scientists aren't entirely sure why gulping mega-mugs of joe may help but there are a couple of theories. And no, one isn't that frequent urination cleans the pipes. Though I do worry about caffeine-induced kidney collapse.
But there is the theory that the antioxidants in the coffee bean itself may have a positive effect. You don't think of coffee and antioxidants, but it actually has a lot. It is a fruit after all, and fruits are good for that sort of thing.
Another theory perking through the press attributes coffee's prostate healthifying to the suppression of testosterone. Caffeine takes testosterone out of the blood by increasing the action of SHBG, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. Upshot is, the more coffee you drink, the less testosterone you have floating around causing damage to your prostate and other stuff, like making your hair fall out.
The only price you pay is reduced sex drive. But hey, who needs to worry about that? With all that caffeine, you're staying up all night alone anyhow and there are lots of online video games to channel all that energy.
And virtual life girlfriends don't care about your prostate either way. My virtual girl’s name is Vente…
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1512 P*ssw*rds

A security firm did a study recently to determine the most used passwords. They figured out that lots of people don't understand the principle of security. It was as if most people thought "passwords" meant you wanted people to pass.
Maybe they should rename them no-passwords.
The top eight most common passwords do tell us a little bit about our society. Number one of the list is a number. Or six of them. "123456." A great choice, and easy for a 2-year-old too.
You'd think the next one would be "abcdef" but no. It's the actual word "password." Which is kind of cool. It shows our culture breeds a lot of folk with wry senses of humor. Or a keen sense of the obvious.
The third and fourth choices are 12345678 and 1234. Again with the numbers theme.
The fifth choice is a two-word combo that amounts to seven letters. It is a profane statement that ends with "you." Hmm. Looks like there's some serious anger and despair boiling below the surface of cyberworld.
Number six on the list is 12345. If it's starting to seem as if we as a people are lacking in imagination, remember these are just the most common ones. Creative ones would by definition be farther and fewer between.
Maybe even in a fantasy world, because seventh on the list is "dragon." As there is no "cowboy" on the list, or "romance", it looks like the dungeons and dragons sub-culture is more computer friendly. Add that to the anger shown in number five and we can guess where trolls come from.
Number eight at least is not a number. It's "qwerty." On the keyboard that’s right below, um, 12345.
Despair anyone?
And the password is...forget-you
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

1511 Hair Raising

You could say he got away by a hair. Except he got away with the hair. And he apparently has a way with hair as well.
An odd burglary. A sophisticated thief stole $150,000 dollars worth of human hair from a salon in Houston, Texas. What would you expect? A big hair theft in none other than Houston Texas, where they made big hair famous.
The police are combing the area for hot tips.
The salon in question specializes in expensive wigs and extensions, for which they use something called Remy hair, which is the most durable and silkiest kind. Remy hair comes from the heads of Indian women and is particularly prized and expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars for an elaborate piece.
We're not talking pigtails here.
This particular not so particularly hair-brained thief was shown on security cameras bypassing the cash register and synthetic wigs and going straight for the good stuff. And loading up two big duffel bags full.
Duffel bags, huh? He may not have been the bad guy authorities think. Maybe he was going to sop up some oil on the Gulf Coast.
Probably not. Human hair is a hot commodity on the black market, and possibly the brunette and the blonde market too. Recently thieves lifted $10,000 worth from a San Diego salon, parted a place in Missouri City, Texas from $85,000 worth, and removed a volume valued at $60,000 from an extension outlet in San Leandro, California.
Leaving their short-haired customers stranded.
Needless to say, extension extending hair purveyors are pulling their hair out in dismay, not to mention getting completely wigged out.
The thieves, meanwhile, are charging two to three times as much as the original retailers.
Yep, they're not just hair thieves, they're scalpers.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

1510 Rap Sure

The Rapture did not or did happen on May 21st.
Yes I said did.
But, as no giant exodus to heaven appeared to happen, many of the folks still here are trying to figure it out. Many followers said the delay was a further test from God to persevere in their faith.
"It's still May 21 and God's going to bring it," said special projects coordinator Michael Garcia of Harold Camping's Family Radio, who spent Saturday morning praying and drinking two last cups of coffee with his wife at home in Alameda. "When you say something and it doesn't happen, your pride is what's hurt. But who needs pride? God said he resists the proud and gives grace to the humble."
Nice spin. Or is that the persistence of belief? They had been saying for months the day was the day. The rapture was May 21st. They were confident. You could even say they were rap sure.
But it didn't come, so now it’s a “further test from God.”
That's one interpretation.
The other is, it did come and they weren't taken. I imagine that pride's even harder to swallow. And scouring the news, it does appear that at least 3 people were missing without a clue.
The Rapture is supposed to signal the end days. Which means if it did happen we'll see the roll out of Revelation and the Apocalypse. Giant Destructive Tornados. Floods. Earthquakes and Volcanoes. War in the Middle East. Thank God none of that happened in the days following the 21st.
Wait a minute.
There's an even better interpretation. Or possibly even more unsettling. The Rapture actually did happen and we were taken. Which means you should turn to your neighbor and hold his or her hand.
We're now in heaven.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 06, 2011

1509 Tattoodlin

I wrote recently about the advent of textual tattoos. And I ventured the suggestion that shorten versions could be called tat-tweets. That got me thinking. Since, as I also reported, 33% of adults under the age of 40 have tattoos, maybe there's a whole new vocabulary we're neglecting.
Like if you were a ballet person, would you wear a tat-tutu? Perhaps.
Or if you were to sit down and write a mammoth classic novel about revolutionary times in the development of skin art and your name was Charles Prickens, would it be called "A Tale of Tattoo Cities."
When you were finally written off this mortal coil. Dead, Your last vestige of art fading from your pallid skin. Would you be buried in a tat-tomb?
What if the wound that sent you to your death was from a contaminated needle? Your tattoo artist's autoclave malfunctioning and spreading infection. The inflamed site on your skin from whence the toxins spread, the swollen part, would that be called a tat-tumescence?
When said artist was training, where did he and those like him go? Is there a tattoo school? Where one can get some tat-tutelage?
Perhaps not. Most artists train as apprentices. Learning the art with hands-on experience. Occasionally requiring the gentle guidance of a tat-tutor.
And how about when you go to a sushi place, do you get some sashimi made out of tat-tuna?
Or maybe you favor more traditional fare. A totally tattin' Thanksgiving feast featuring tat-turkey and tat-turnips on the side. With a big ole plate of oven tat-toasted tat-tater tots. Or is that tater tat-tots? Or just tater-tats.
No those are the things tattoo artists practice on.
Save room for dessert. Ice cream. There's only one for the tattoo table. You guessed it...
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

1508 Tattoot

A recent statistic reported in the news media said that one out of three adults under the age of 40 has a tattoo. That probably comes as no surprise. I'd be willing to guess one out of one if their profession is barista.
Physicians are worried. The ink used in tattoos is unregulated by the FDA, including a new ink called "glow in the dark". The inks may contain harmful chemicals that cause skin and immune system damage.
Great. Wearing the wrong tattoo used to cause fights. Now it can cause skin cancer. And what about how tattoos react to light or other waves on the electro-magnetic spectrum? Could the wrong chemical cause an immune system flare-up when activated on a tanning bed? Or a whole body scanner at the airport?
Some inks contain metal flakes. What about an MRI?
Hello instantly enlarged pores…
You gotta admit though, tattoos have upped the personal expression factor. No longer confined to license plates and bumper stickers, expressing your opinions about things from a distance has never been more silently effective. The controversial opinion on your skin can get under someone else's skin from across the room.
Of course, now people have another reason to judge a book by its cover. Especially if it's a hand-tooled cover, rich with ornate text. And a tattoo of a panda invokes a whole different reaction than a tattoo of an anchor.
As text tattoos have become quite popular too, injecting something into the conversation has never been easier. Kind of a tweet version of mime. A ta-tweet.
Which reminds me, what do you call it when people tattoo on a cartoon or a piece of music? They could both be called a tattoon. Although they'd be spelled different.
Unless it's definitely trumpet music. Then it would be a tattoot.
America, ya gotta love it.

1507 Cigarbage

I'm all about choice. Maybe it would be a good idea to allow bars that have smoking and bars that don't have smoking. Employees could choose to work in either. Patrons could choose to patronize either. Now that non-smoking places have found they do just fine without smoking it might be a fairer market-based alternative.
Especially since so many establishments have erected nearly enclosed outside spaces where patrons and employees imbibe secondhand smoke anyhow. Not to mention innocent bystanders walking by outside.
So it was with interest I read of a bill the legislature's considering about allowing "cigar room" smoking. (I'm sure it isn't related to the state also eliminating the presidential primary. Smoked-filled cigar rooms and caucuses separated long ago.)
The cigar room bill allows the state to garner—or possibly ci-garner—some licensing revenue from entrepreneurs and tobacconists that choose to erect an area "physically separated from any other and fully enclosed by walls or windows with a self-closing door." I hope a separate air-conditioning and heating system as well.
But here's the kicker. You can only smoke cigars there. Cigarette laws and rules still apply. Which, to a person who has smelled both, seems odd. Cigar smoke is far more penetrating and far more stick-to-your-clothes stinky. And since it isn't inhaled, far more dense in its secondhand manifestation.
So what about Cigarillos—Crooks, Winchesters, and Tiparillos? What about pipes?
I think it sounds discriminatory. The connoisseur factor. Cigarette people are smokers, Fancy-schmancy cigar people are aficionados. Like saying it's okay to have merlot and brie at the wine and cheese bistro. But no Mad Dog and Velveeta.
So if a fancy coffee person is a barista and a fancy wine server is a sommelier, what's a fancy cigar server?
A ci-garçon?
America, ya gotta love it.

1506 Ad-aptable

Two things are proven to drive the adaptation of new technologies—porn and advertising. Whether it's use of the internet, mobile apps, or just plain in-your-faceness, both of them maximize new technologies faster than bad similes.
Sometimes they even invent technologieslike billboards on trucks. So it was funny recently, when the legislature considered a new revenue source. Or old one. Billboards everywhere. For the most part, billboards were wiped out during Lady Bird Johnson's government Highway Beautification Act back in the 60s.
Now the government, strapped for funds, is ready to toss the beauty you saw looking out your window, out the window.
Because really, does it matter? Out on the highway, haven't we reached the age where every passing truck is a billboard?
Speaking of advertising and porn. The other day one of those trucks was stopping traffic. Or at least slowing it. It was a huge semi filled with and promoting Kim Kardashian perfume.
And it had a giant provocative half-nude picture of Kim Kardashian on it. And I do mean giant. Evel Kneivel could have jumped a motorcycle across that cleavage.
So if we allow this sort of thing threading through traffic, why not a permanent fixture?
Speaking of new technology, I saw this other truck. It had its advertising panels on rollers. The back panel and each side panel of the truck scrolled ad posters. He wasn't even in traffic. He just parked his truck at a local supermarket with major road frontage. With gas prices so high, he probably needed to maximize revenue too.
Seemed wrong somehow though. I wonder if he paid the supermarket for his space. Probably not, why should he pay property taxes on his drive-by business?
Next advertising opportunity? Rent out the sides of taco busses.
America, ya gotta love it.

1505 Fish Fry Day

It was one of those good news bad news sorts of things. Or maybe bad news good news. Turns out if you want to help your heart you could be screwing up your prostate, and vice versa.
It all comes down to fat. Good fat bad fat. Or maybe bad fat good fat. The maybe good fat, Omega-3s, that are supposed to promote heart health with their good fatty acids, do in fact do so. Omega-3s from salmon and other fish provide significant heart benefits.
But , uh-oh, those men who have high omega-3 blood levels were recently shown to be more than twice as likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer.
And here's the amazing thing. Men who ate bad fat, in trans-fatty French fries and other processed foods, reduced their risk by 50%.
Which actually makes a kind of sense. High testosterone levels have been known to cause prostate issues. And certain fats are precursors to testosterone production.
Easy fix: for every fish we need a French fry. Fish and chips will save us all.
Either that, or the salmon industry will be reeling. First overfishing, then fears of mercury poisoning, and now aggressive prostate cancer. What's a self-respecting Chinook hooker to do?
Talk about the horns of a dilemma. Having to choose between your heart health and your sex health with every bite you take? That's got to screw up the dating process. Not to mention dining alone.
Will you be having the kidney pie or the fish sir?
Well let's see. Is it Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Monday, Wednesday, Friday?
That's another solution, hedge your bets. And if you work it out so it ends up you have fish on Friday it’s like placing a spiritual bet too.
Just in case you're wrong...
America, ya gotta love it.