Friday, December 28, 2012

1894 Fur-tile Phrases

If you’re familiar with these commentaries, you know I just like the way words sound sometimes. Or phrases.
Like recently I was at an economic development conference. There was a representative from Pacific County. She was talking about the revitalization of a small community there known as Tokeland. Naturally I thought she meant Washington State's new law and its implication for the budding coastal economy.
Maybe not.
Not long after that I was driving by the old FedEx Kinko's building and noticed it just said FedEx Office. What the heck? You got to be kidding, right? No more Kinko's? The most inappropriately named copying store in the market!
What, I always wondered, were they copying at Kinko's? I had these visions of nerdy guys getting wasted and sitting on copiers with their pants down.
Toner? I hardly know her...
I guess with cellphone sexting that sort of buffoonery got superseded by more modern technology. I remember when I saw a Kinko's store right next to a Lover's Package store.
Gotta love those strip malls.
Then there's the news story I read the other day. Seems the nerd world is all a-twitter for another reason. Hasbro is coming out with a new Furby. Already the internet is bursting with suggestions for hacking the computer inside.
That was the big thing last time around---hackers got into a Furby's innards and made it do all sorts of weird things. Like sitting on copiers and stuff. But what I like was the phrase they used in the article. They said computer geeks were looking forward to "hacking a Furby."
Why am I suddenly reminded of cats? Or nerd stoners. Hocking a loogie. Hacking a furball. Hacking a Furby.
Better send a shipment of fresh water to Tokeland.
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

1893 Toy Annoy

Around the holidays it's always interesting to see the gifts that experts recommend for kids. I'm not sure what they're experts in, but they certainly have odd recommendations.
Like this one who suggested the new Razor Pocket Mod Electric Scooter. Razor, as you may remember, are the folks who designed the skateboard with a handle you see kids bopping around the neighborhood with. Or as I like to call them, an involuntary tracheotomy on wheels. Yeah, I know, catchy.
Apparently, not content to cause bodily harm naturally, Razor has upped their game and invented a battery-powered child maiming device. The Razor Mod Scooter, as the reviewer says, "brings a vintage Italian flair to the cul-de-sac."
Great for pre-Vespians who actually live on a cul-de-sac. Those children who live on a through street can rely on the scooter's 15mph speed to save them from being crushed by a neighborhood giant SUV.
Yes, it goes at a limb-breaking road-rashing 15 mph.
And yes, I did say pre-Vespian. The Razor Scooter looks not unlike a Vespa, so your kiddies can develop sassy Italian courage early, as they learn to be ignored by other cars and trucks blindly running them over, thanks to American driver's total obliviousness of motorcycles sharing the road.
Another oddly recommended gift is the Techno Source Glow Crazy Doodle Dome. It's a black tent kids can sit inside in the dark while using a light wand to draw on the walls. When the art fades they can draw on it again.
Really, we want to teach our kids to do art on the walls? Doesn't that sound suspiciously like graffiti?
First we make them bikers of the cul-de-sac. Now writers on the walls in their own personal subway station.
Who says toys can't be educational?
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1892 Stone Old

As things age they cause different phases of understanding. Like who would have thought fifty years ago that the Rolling Stones would still be together? Or at least the vestiges of them.
But here's the interesting thing. Institutions that we used to hold as old and venerable are being eclipsed by this surprising run of rock and rolling longevity.
A recent fact: The four members of the Rolling Stones are now older, on average, than the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Stones average age is 69, the Supremes 67.
The median age of U.S. Senators is 63.
The Stones tour from '69 featured numerous cuts from the "Let it Bleed" album, which in turn features the iconic, "You can't always get what you want."
Unless of course, you want to be still touring when you're actually 69. No truth to the rumor they have a separate tour bus just for their wrinkles. These Rolling Stones may have gathered no moss, but there has been a tiny bit of erosion.
Still, I'm glad they've proven that age alone is no guarantor of judiciousness. Though I gotta say, I've love to have Mick on the High Court. Some moves like Jagger would be welcome.
Speaking of aging institutions, a funny thing happened in the Senate not long ago. Apparently Senator Mitch McConnell asked Harry Reid to bring a bill to a vote that he had earlier supported. Then he filibustered it.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, the dreaded self-filibuster.
I've never been sure who Phil is, and why he needs to be bustered, but I am pretty darn sure that committing an act of self filibuster is illegal in Kentucky.
As Supreme Mick might say, "We all need... someone... we can filibuster on...
America, ya gotta love it.

1891 Kilter

Every now and then I encounter something off kilter. This even though I'm not entirely certain what kilter is. Making the determination of off or on kilter somewhat intuitive.
Like this observation. I was reading a King Arthur story. The King was having a discussion with Merlin the Wizard, and Merlin was working up quite a cloud of smoke with his pipe as he made dire warnings.
And it occurred to me. What was Merlin smoking? The Arthurian cycle was supposed to take place when Arthur, King of Britain, was fighting off the Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.
Tobacco wasn't brought over from the new world until the 15th century at the earliest. Merlin must have been a wizard indeed.
Second observation. I was up in University Place, which folks in University Place abbreviate UP by the way, and saw one of those changing red-lighted signs outside a Bartell Drug store. The sign first read: "Kindle Fire HD on sale now." Then it changed and said: "Diamond Walnuts $5.99.
And I just thought that was so amazing. A store that can carry an incredibly complex piece of modern electronics. And walnuts. Just ask our helpful clerks for advice. One stop shopping, ya gotta love it.
Finally, this year I'm going to gird myself to stay up late and try it. Every year all the big places offer it. And it only seems to be available at midnight New Years Eve. It sounds delicious or why would they be offering it.
The traditional champagne toast.
I don't know if they bake the champagne right in or if it's some sort of champagne butter they spread on it. Either way, I'm setting my alarm.
I hope my clock doesn't go off kilter.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

1890 Out Source

I read a disturbing article in an online news source recently. Wow. I just noticed how natural that was to say. I used to say, I read an interesting article in the newspaper recently. But I never do that anymore. At least read them on paper. It's always an online news source these days. Or electronic anyhow, whether it's from the web, or a mobile device, or radio.
The times they have a-changed. That's what got me about this story. Change. Seems Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of a generic brand of Lipitor, have had to recall some tablets. Because they contained bits of glass.
Great slogan though. "Generic Lipitor, now with added glass."
In one way it might be good, those little bits of glass floating around slicing cholesterol build-up off your arteries. But probably not.
The article I read tried to clarify the dimensions of the glass particles and said they were about the same size as grains of sand. Wait a minute. Aren't grains of sand silica? And isn't that what they use to make glass?
So isn't it possible that instead of adding chalk or other inactive mineral to inertly mold them into pills, they added sand instead? Sounds like some non-thought out, unregulated, third world substitution. Like adding melamine to baby formula in China.
But that wouldn't happen to a U.S. drug, right?
Well, actually, the generic Lipitor was made in India. Home of political corruption, bribed safety inspectors, and offshore computer tech support.
We all know how well that's worked out.
So what if some enemy decided to add LSD instead of glass? I'm thinking outsourcing our drugs is not a good national security move.
Then again, that may be because the imported generic drugs I take for my paranoia aren't working right.
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

1889 Bud Out

If you're sick of all the hullabaloo about the new marijuana law in Washington State feel free to tune out now. How did that old phrase go? Turn on, Tune In, Drop Out. It's the dropping part you might consider.
But the new law is part of our culture now, and very much a part of our media. As it's my job to remark on current culture I have to wade into the cloud of common commentary too.
Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, Fallon, Stewart, Colbert, they've all taken their hits, not to mention just about every straight news anchor.
Locally we've had an interesting thing roll out. Seems the guy who owns a place called Frankie's, a tried and true libertarian from way back, who won a lawsuit to open a private club upstairs at his establishment to smoke cigarettes, is now offering said clubhouse for the quiet and comfortable imbibing of cannabis.
The only stricture to the new law is that consumption not be in public. And since Frank had the court rule his place is legally "private" --- as he charges a fee to be part of the club---said use should be perfectly legal. He can tell the authorities to bud out.
Coincidently he has a restaurant downstairs. And I'm hoping delicious-sounding and inviting menus upstairs. "Hey tokers, come on down for a big breakfast when you're done."
Gives whole new meaning to hash browns.
Then there was the guy my friend Rick heard. Who was extolling the benefits of the new law for state revenues and quite unconsciously said the state will be able to use the money to fix pot-holes.
And the Feds are signaling they will only be lightly involved in acting against the law.
Apparently they are only offering toke-n resistance...
America, ya gotta love it.

1888 Micro Topic

I like the way people sometimes describe large ideas in the smallest possible number of words. Like recently I was reading some of the comments in an online news outlet about some political thing or another and one commenter referred to the other negative commenters as "keyboard warriors."
Quite an apt expression. Sort of invoked the scorn of the term "Sunday morning quarterback" or "backseat driver." That sense that these folks have never really made it out of their mom's basement but feel qualified somehow to comment on the real world in the most violent and intolerant manner.
God forbid they should ever walk a mile in another's shoes.
They'd have to, like, you know, walk.
Another term like that is for the most intolerant. The Troll Taliban. Those folks who feed one another's prejudices over the internet. The ones who cling tenaciously to the bigoted social mores of the 19th and early 20th century.
Pick your enlightenment; interracial marriage, un-segregated drinking fountains, women's equal rights. These people will always be on the wrong side of history.
On a lighter note, there's the euphemistic explanation I heard about a power outage in Mason County. The official statement said the power had gone out because a raccoon "came in contact with a substation."
Sounds so gentle doesn't it? "Came in contact." Like the poor thing brushed against an outlet and caused a small static spark. Like touching your key to a doorknob after shuffling across a nylon carpet.
Probably not so gentle and mild. I'm guessing the contact with the substation involved some critter incineration. Mammal Flambé. Barbecued Raccoon.
Then there's my all time favorite short descriptor. Not a euphemism so much as an anti-euphemism. The triumph of mass marketing over Freudian fears.
Preferred brand of keyboard warriors...
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1887 Tracking Dates

Every December it's time to think about a very important thing. Buying a new calendar. Depressing. Not the fact that time is marching on, but that you are so unpopular you actually have to buy a calendar. With any number of charitable and business organizations wanting to remind you to think of them in the upcoming year, you'd figure you'd get at least one calendar for free.
But no, I'm talking about a 22x17 desk blotter calendar. I bought one at Office Depot recently. And it made me worry about our official state of affairs in this country. At least vis-à-vis office work.
In an effort, I suppose, to not have to shrink-wrap the whole thing and still preserve the pristine page of the month of January, the calendar had a front page that was not actually a page you could use. Coincidentally, that meant it was a 13-page calendar in the year 2013. Helping right there to officially launch the year of the phobia.
They decided to make that first page, on which they could have printed anything---like, say, a map of the Office Depot store, where the heck do they have envelopes?---into a sample calendar page. Yep, a sample. Like a demo. Complete with memos scrawled in on various dates.
"Lunch with mom at 12:30," said one on the 15th. And, "Meeting with Jen at 5pm." On the 24th it said, "practice at 8pm," and on the 7th, "take car in for 30k mile service at 7:30 am." This guy apparently has a mechanic that also takes cars in at 7:30 at night.
Still, it's sad to see a demo page. I'm worried. Maybe the new generation is so caught up in smarty-pants phones and apps, they've forgotten how to work a calendar.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1886 The Habit

I'm always amazed by how technology interfaces with our regular human habits. Modern times can have their challenges, but habits find a way.
Habits undermined me the other day. First you need to understand this quirk about me. I like to be as efficient as possible. No wasted steps, no wasted motions. Kind of a skinflint for time. Cram as much activity into a day by wasting as little time as possible. Making the right choice paralyzes me sometimes. I'm sure there's a psychological designation for it. OC-lock or something, or AD-AMPM.
In any event, many years ago Casey Lytle, a fellow local comedian, did this bit on his local access show about his kid. The kid had said, "Dad, listen to me count backwards from a hundred." Then she went, "100, 59, 58, 57..."
She'd learned by watching the timer on the microwave.
Fast forward to 2012. I'm standing at my microwave reheating pizza. I press in 1-0-0- to get a minute, as I've always habitually done. Then it finally dawned on me, 24 years after I heard the bit, I could have been pressing in 6-0- with the same result. All those wasted seconds pressing in one extra digit.
Aargh. Life's too short...
Speaking of bad habits and technology, I was watching a guy across the street find a way to stay productive. He was shivering outside, using his company's smoking area---and still doing his job. Remotely, on his smartypants phone.
Is that not cool or what? You can now stay connected to your web or office, even if society no longer wants to connect with you because of your smoking habit.
America, we always get to productivity despite ourselves. Habits find a way.
Banished to the smoking area?
There's an app for that.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

1885 They're Coming

Always interesting to me how news stories group together sometimes, in such a way that a common thread emerges. I understand how some conspiracy theories take root. Maybe I'm just a little paranoid about the whole thing.
In this case I'd call the paranoia Paul Revere-iosis.
Because the British are coming. The British are coming.
Here's why. A lot of the financial meltdown that decimated our 401ks took place because of crooked bankers and such like. So examine this example. A rogue UBS trader who lost $2.5 billion last year on risky trades was convicted for "Britain's biggest banking fraud."
Or this: The British oil company BP last week accepted criminal responsibility for the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. They are pleading guilty to 11 felony counts and one count of obstructing congress by giving them false information about how much was coming out of the hole. No apparent felony charge for thoroughly disrupting the economy of the area.
Their fine? $4.5 billion.
Which sounds like a lot until you consider the next story. HP has had to take a $8.8 billion write-down on their books because the British software firm Autonomy, which HP purchased in good faith, was guilty of "serious accounting improprieties, disclosure failure, and outright misrepresentations."
BTW---Kind of puts that measly $4.5 billion fine in perspective doesn't it?
But taken together it's pretty obvious the British are sticking it to us, sticky wicket and all. Bad trades that affected our retirement nest eggs. A befouled coastline and poisoned water in our Gulf. Gulf economy ruined. And now worst of all---we're going to have to pay even more money for already obscenely high HP Printer cartridges.
Wait a minute. It's the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
America, ya gotta love it.

1884 @men

Is nothing sacred? The answer is, no. Nothing is. At least to some. The nature of our diverse world is that no matter what you say, or how sensitive you try to be, you're going to be the butcher to someone's sacred cow.
That doesn't mean you should make your life a walking abattoir, but it also means you shouldn't crucify yourself for every possible transgression. Sometimes the owners of sacred cows need to keep them out of your garden.
So, I was interested recently when the Pope announced he was jumping into the twitterverse. Yep, The Pope is going to tweet. If that doesn't sound sacrilegious I don't know what does. Tweets from the Pope. How solemn.
So, can you tweet in Latin?
The Pope's twitter "handle" is @pontifex, in case you want to "follow" him. Handle. Isn't it cool that twitterers adopted words from ancient CB technology? "We don't have a twittermob, we got us a convoy!"
The cool thing about @pontifex is if you're a devout catholic, what the Pope says is direct from God, so that means God is tweeting too. I guess since they often depict the Holy Spirit as a dove, tweeting isn't out of the question, although cooing would be more accurate.
Speaking of accuracy. The Pope himself had some bad news for Christmas Warriors. He said in his new book that there were no oxen, donkeys or other animals at Jesus' birth and the entire Christian calendar was a 6th century monk's miscalculation.
That's good news for government entities sued by atheists. Nativity scenes are no longer officially religious. Just a bunch of animals and people hanging out near a manger at the wrong time of year.
And hey, no sacred cows there either.
There's something worth tweeting...
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

1883 Got Fuel?

Every now and then you see the sign, "Got Milk?" It's been a great advertising campaign. So much so that everybody has adopted it for their "gots." Got Corgis?" "Got Honor Students?" I even saw some entrepreneur on the street corner with a cardboard sign the other day that said, "Got Food?"
I think it would be a good Beano lead in. "Got Gas?"
Maybe that's why this article I read recently got me thinking. Apparently a brigade of protestors manned by thousands of European dairy farmers mobbed Brussels not long ago to protest the drop of price supports on milk.
They even had a firehose, with which they blasted milk at riot police, coating their shields and helmets with creamy white fluid. Why? Because it costs $1.96 a gallon to produce milk and you can only sell it for $1.28 wholesale.
Really, I thought? It's only $1.96 a gallon to produce milk wholesale? I thought this because I had just filled my tank with gas for $3.49 a gallon.
The solution is obvious. Someone needs to invent a car that runs on milk. There must be a way. It's loaded with organic stuff, fat from which we could render carbon. Or milk sugars from which we could get alcohol.
What seems more promising as a renewable fuel supply, milk butter or corn? And modern dairies churn the stuff out. I see giant milk trucks on the highways just like gas trucks.
You could have the catalytic cottage cheese conversion unit right in your hybrid GM Cadillactose. Just pull right up to the dairy. "Fill 'er up with 1%, Darrell." Like the drive-thru dairies of old.
Maybe even hook directly to the cow, like those automatic milker machines.
That would be udderly amazing.
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

1882 Grapefruits of Wrath

Interesting news from the medical community. Grapefruit juice can kill.
This comes as great news to me, since I've never really liked grapefruit juice. My tongue has too many bitter-oriented tastebuds and so certain foods like grapefruits, Brussels sprouts and coffee beans really overwhelm me. Still, I periodically try them, thinking of their health benefits and hoping I may have finally developed a taste for them.
It was difficult growing up when I had a cold, as my grandmother was a big grapefruit advocate. Squeezing the giant orbs mercilessly before she produced a rendered glass for me to imbibe for my coughs and snuffles.
Turns out grapefruits contain chemicals called furanocoumarins that interfere with how your body breaks down drugs before they enter the bloodstream. By preventing this normal breakdown of a drug, these chemicals effectively cause a drug overdose and more severe side-effects.
The article I read in ABC News said that doctors of the Canadian Medical Association recommend expanding the grapefruit interaction warning to 85 drugs. One of those is Lovastatin, used to lower cholesterol and prevent a heart attack. Side effects include confusion and constipation. Not the kind of overdose old people who take the drug need.
Another of the drugs on the list is dextromethorphan. Yep, that dextromethorphan. The one you take when you have a cough from a cold.
Interestingly, when I went to the ABC News website to read the story, a commercial video started playing that was obviously planted by a computer algorithm because it related to the topic. The commercial was for Robitussin. With Dextromethorphan!
Something I just took for a cold I had. At least the ad wasn't for fresh grapefruit juice. Granny might be rolling over in her grave.
And I might have been joining her.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

1881 Factory Raised Salt

I'm all for epicurean variety. I'd be the first to say that the diet I grew up on in the fifties and sixties was a little bland. We only had one kind of apple; Washington, delicious, mushy. And one kind of orange; no navel, filled with seeds.
For vegetables my mother rotated us through non-fresh, industrially-canned green beans, peas and corn. The corn was further broken down into the subcategories of regular and creamed.
Industrially-canned cream corn. Yum...
So I've been happy, for the most part, with the selection of food we encounter today, with specialized niches for this and that. Cool that we have blends of coffee from different carefully roasted beans from Nicaragua to Ethiopia.
And cool too, that we've been exposed to a multitude of grape varietals and vintages, learning words like terroir to describe the underlying flavor tones imparted by soil and climate.
But I saw something the other day I'm really not ready for. Someone sent me fancy candies. They were salted caramels. I love salted caramels. Right up there with kettle korn and bacon-encrusted maple bars for that salty/sweet tongue rush.
But these weren't just salted. They were---well let me just repeat the descriptions on the label. The dark chocolate-dipped caramel was "sprinkled with gray salt harvested off the coast of Brittany." The milk chocolate caramel was "sprinkled with smoked salt harvested of the coast of Wales."
Oh criminy. It's salt, dang it! "Smoked salt harvested off the coast of Wales." Give me a break. First off, you don't harvest it unless it grows. If it's a mineral you gather it.
And if it's salt, and it tastes smoky, there's something else in it. Brought downwind from smokestack-belching Birmingham perhaps.
I should sprinkle it on my industrially-canned creamed corn.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

1880 Techno Tidbits

As the march of technology continues apace it's fun to examine the little techno-tidbits people step in.

Like the scandal with General Petraeus. Turns out one reason it was uncovered was because of emails between he and his paramour. The email technique they used was to compose drafts on the same email account and then each go to that account and read them. A high school I'm-so-cool-I'm-acting-like-a-spy trick known by trolls from here to Mom's basement in Peoria.
Or, yes, Virginia, Langley.
By the way. His career is ruined. She'll get another book deal.
Be that as it may, I always wonder about how Google and their spybots that suggest ads in your gmails may have viewed the whole thing. You know---the ads their algorithms enable when they peruse the content of your emails?
Hot steamy spy affair---I wanna see those pop-ups.
Secondly, remember how we used to say that kids would be just fine if we left them to their own devices? That was back when "devices" meant just actions. Now devices actually do mean devices. iPhones, iPods, videogame consoles, tablets, gmail accounts. All connected to the crazy predators on the World Wide Web.
May we shouldn't leave them to their own devices anymore.
Finally, there's the accidents that happen when you mix technology, our modern society, and its multi-lingual entrepreneurs. I called a phone number I saw on one of those sidebar ads on a webpage and tried to order a wax treatment for my floors not long ago. I thought I was hiring a Hispanic firm to do the job, what with the language barrier and all. Turns out they were Brazilian. Not the wax job I had in mind.
My hardwood floor looks really funny.
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

1879 Macro Mini

We are a conflicted culture. Driven to the innovation of miniaturization and then un-maximizing that micro-potential by re-maximizing it again.
Remember the mini-skirt? Then they came out with the micro-mini. But not long after that they came out with the macro-mini.
It's the same with cars. You have a perfectly good Honda CVCC. A tiny little car that was great on mileage and price. But over the years it starts growing and growing and eventually it becomes an Accord.
Or the Mini Cooper. Seen one of those lately? It's getting bigger. A Macro Cooper is around the bend.
One could even say the standard Chevy eventually became the Cadillac for just that reason. More room, more internal real estate. Till one day you have the Cadillac Escalade. Like driving around an estate.
Electronics the same way. Computers miniaturized to desktops from room size monstrosities. Then we made it down to laptops. Then we got a wide screen laptop. Bigger, more unwieldy, but hey, big screen.
Kindle the same way. A nice little portable reader. Now there's the Kindle Fire HD. Not too tiny anymore. Push, pull. Push, pull. My smaller is better. Oh yeah? My smaller is bigger than your smaller.
And how about TV's? The fight is between watching TV on your smartphone and watching it on a 70-inch HD big screen. 70 inches! That won't fit in some New York apartments. So how do you cram an HD 70-inch signal into a smartphone? Wouldn't the data be so compressed it would be black?
Speaking of smartphones. Samsung is coming out with a bigger one. You can watch movies better on it. Coincidentally brighter. Another maxi-miniature fashion phase. Between a phone and a tablet.
They're calling it a phablet.
I'm calling it a Phadillac.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

1878 Criminal Bedfellows

Sad news recently when the scandal came down about former General and now recent CIA Chief Petraeus. Not good when the nation's top secret master can't keep his own affairs secret.
I was wondering what would happen to him in the future. Then a little piece of mail gave me a clue. I'm guessing there'll be a place for him---somewhere in the media.
The piece of mail that gave me the clue was from someone who didn't just have an affair, but actually committed a full-on felony. Yep, a crime that at one time would have prevented him from ever exercising his right to vote. Yet now he exercises the power of media to influence votes across the nation.
Pretty bad too; he was indicted on 16 felony counts and convicted of three, including "accepting a bribe" and "obstructing justice"---in this case a congressional inquiry.
But here's the deal. Those convictions were vacated, thanks to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. Yes that ACLU, bastion of liberalism much scorned by the right wing elements in our country, right up there with Planned Parenthood and Big Bird.
So anyhow, I got some mail from this guy the other day sent by him and the Freedom Alliance, a very strong and vocal right wing organization. Yep, right wing. You know, anti-ACLU.
The guy I'm talking about? According to the return address on the envelope: LtCol Oliver L. North USMC (Ret.)
The "Retired," being abbreviated R-e-t-, may actually mean Rehabilitated.
Anyhow, if a charismatic guy like “Ollie Ollie ex-con free” can rehab into a media personality, I'm sure Petraeus will have no trouble. And bonus, media whores can have all the affairs they want. Credibility isn't an issue.
Just ask Donald Trump.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, December 03, 2012

1877 MunchaMates

The consternation inspired by the joint revelations of a possible Hostess Twinkie closing and the legalization of marijuana in Washington state has led to an amazing amount of verbiage in the blogosphere and regular media.
Not least because so many boomers fear the loss of comfort food they were just getting ready to renew a legal acquaintance with. Those foods we stopped eating long ago, ostensibly for health reasons, but also because our palates became more sophisticated. Sipping a complex red wine or a multi-flavor-noted cup of fine coffee makes it hard to appreciate the uniform saccharin quality of a Yodel.
But our clouded memories of the sixties promise that with a certain medicinal enhancement, all the joys of junkfood will not, in fact, go up in smoke.
A lot of those foods were actually invented in the late fifties but found their definitive success in the sixties. Sno-Balls, Hostess Cupcakes, Suzy Q's, Yodels, Zingers, HoHos, Ding Dongs, and of course, the ultimate true sixties invention---Screaming Yellow Zonkers.
So in a recent essay I proffered the notion that if Hostess goes under, their brands will most likely be bought up by Frito Lay. Then we can enjoy the marriage of those two product stables. Like the Nacho Cheese Dorito Taco Shell-wrapped Twinkie.
Maybe we'll encounter other items with similar creative melding. A Twinkie, perhaps, whose cream filling has been enhanced, and crispified, by stuffing in Cheetos.
Or how about Ranch Doritos rolled into a HoHo? Or a Frito-laced Ding Dong? I'm liking the crunchy savory/sweet thing. Hostess products always suffered from a cloying flaccidity and sweetness. Adding crunchy and salty would be an improvement. Like Kettle Korn.
Or bacon-topped maple bars.
Or Baken-et pork rinds stuffed into Raspberry Zingers.
Don't Bogart that spongecake dude.
America, ya gotta love it.

1876 Pass the Twinkie

The Twinkie Crisis. First the Bakers Union is winning. Then it's driving Twinkie to bankruptcy. Then both sides are negotiating again. It's a union battle that maybe can't be won. Hey, it's not like the bakers are multi-millionaire professional sports players. What kind of a pipsqueak union defends ordinary workers...?
Then the word goes out. Twinkie is closing its plant in Seattle. All the tongues start waggin'. Didn't Washington just make marijuana legal? And now they're closing Twinkie? How crazy are they in the northwest?
Next Twinkie's parent company, Hostess, is closing all its plants nationwide. Twinkie and Ho-Hos hoarders come out of their troll basements and mob the bakery outlets like Black Friday shoppers at Walmarts. Come to think of it, they look suspiciously familiar...
The price of Twinkies soars on eBay. Desperate pseudo-cream filling addicts bid for the remaining spongecake ingots, knowing full well that when the Mayan apocalypse comes in a few days Twinkies will be the only food with a shelf life of the next millennia.
Such are the travails of the quintessential American snackfood. Artificial coloring. Artificial flavoring. Mock cream filling rendered from who knows what sources, probably some unholy congress of carrageenan and cow hoof gelatin.
But fear not America, even with its current troubles the Twinkie brand is strong. It and its chocolaty pals, Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs, will survive these perilous times. They still bring in a cubic boatload of money, even if Hostess can't profit from it. Some big company will buy the brands.
My money's on Frito-Lay scooping them up. And I'm guessing they'll reopen the plant in Seattle too. That's where they'll have to be in December of 2013 when the first legal potshop opens.
And also when they'll unveil the ultimate Munchie.
The Nacho Cheese Doritos Taco Shell-wrapped Twinkie.
America, ya gotta love it.