Friday, June 28, 2013

2018 Porking Regulations

     Not long ago I was drinking from one of those new insulated hard plastic cups. The ones that are made from a couple of different layers of plastic in such a way that they don't sweat. The cup that is, not the makers of the cup. On the bottom of the cup I noticed the words, "Contains no BPA. Made in China."
     So, you know, I completely trusted that it contained no BPA. BTW, can something contain something when it's 100% something? If I'm all water do I contain water? Or do I have to be something else to contain something inside me?
     Such philosophical conundrums aside, the trust factor was what got me. Too much news about imported toys containing lead and baby formula containing melamine, not to mention lamb meat containing rat, led me to conclude I had no ironclad guarantee there wasn't BPA or some toxic heavy metal laced in the molecules of the cup components.
     So it was with great trepidation that I read that our nation's largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, was being bought out by a large Chinese firm. And they aren't just buying a piece, like many Chinese companies have done with many American companies, with Smithfield they're going whole hog.
     Why do I think the additives in bacon just became even more problematic? Pork products generally require secret processing methods we've chosen to ignore since the jungley days of Upton Sinclair. Does the Chinese track record in this regard inspire confidence in your new Smithfield sausage?
     If melamine affects the taste of your bacon, it's bad. If lead'll be adding heft to your holiday crystal, and your holiday ham, it's worse.
     And if you're suspicious of the scent of your sausage, and you indeed smell a rat?
     That's wurst.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

2017 Mile Age

     I was reading a European based book recently and the characters were using, very naturally, some metric measurements. And it occurred to me, not for the first time, how much our language is tied up with how we measure things, both literally and metaphorically.
     It was a real milestone in my thinking.
     So if we were metric, how would the previous sentence read? “It was a real kilometer stone in my thinking”? “It was a real kilometer marker in my thinking”? Soldiers call kilometers "klicks." So “a real klick-stone in my thinking”?
     What do metric folks talk about when they get good fuel economy on their automobiles? They certainly can't say they get good mileage. Do they get good kilometerage?
     When they talk about someone taking too much, is the saying, "Give them a centimeter and they'll take a meter"?
     Do they walk a kilometer in someone else's shoes to understand them better? Would Sherlock Holmes tell Watson that the game is a-ten centimeters?
     If someone's slow or cautious and they're just inching along, will they just be centimetering along?
     Likewise at a birthday party, do you give someone a pinch to grow a centimeter? Doesn't have quite the same poetic flair does it?
     Or how about "It scared me within an inch of my life"? Somehow saying, "It scared me within a centimeter of my life" takes all the emotionality out of it. Like a scientist is there actually measuring the precise length of life left.
     Heaven forbid anyone would want to go the whole nine yards anymore. How noble sounding is it to say you need to go the whole nine meters?
     Or what about when someone wants to foot the bill? Talk about confusing.
     I wouldn't touch that with a 3 meter pole.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2016 Student Moan

     Prices keep going up. You gotta hate it when it still seems like depression city but the price of stuff continues to soar. If only they'd raise wages so we could pay for the goods we're making for them at the highest rate of employee productivity ever that makes them record profits.
     It's not just big business and the megabanks. Even the government is making huge profits. A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office says the Department of Education is expected to make a record $51 billion profit from student loans this year.
     Yes, the government is in the direct lending business. And I think I heard something somewhere about congress thinking of doubling rates too.
     Wow. That $51 billion, by the way, is more than the profits of Exxon or Apple. It's also roughly equal to the combined net income of the four largest US banks.
     Bet they'd like a piece of the Department of Education's action. Oh, that's right, they got out of the student loan business because it was "too unprofitable."
     I guess the kids are used to high prices though. At least if the commercial I saw the other day is any indication. It was for the Chase Sapphire card, and it showed a father and his two little kids going out for a meal. They had burgers, fries, and malts. Three of each. Must have been gourmet burgers. There was a glimpse of the bill the dad was paying at the end when he laid his Chase Sapphire card on it. It was $65.65.
     I don't know where this family lives but I don't want to go there. And call me cheap, but for kids under eight, gourmet burgers are a waste.
     Save that money for their student loan.
     America, ya gotta love it.

2015 EPT CYA

     The other day I was cleaning out may email box and having to do the difficult job of deciding what to delete and what to save. Although I'm somewhat heartened by the fact that Google, Facebook, and the government are all tracking my electronic footprints, I'm nonetheless fairly certain they won't be able to help me find a particular email exchange or transaction.
     My EPT.
     No, not early pregnancy test. My Electronic Paper Trial.
     Yes, I said electronic paper trail. I know it sounds oxymoronic but that is in fact what it is. In the old days, the regular paper trail was your basic defensive position to CYA --- Cover Your Assets.
     There are many times, particularly in business, where it's important to be able to prove who said what to whom where and when. And a paper trail was a good way to do it. A memo exchange perhaps. Certified Letters. Or a cancelled check from your bank when the bankcard company complained you didn't make a payment.
     Electronic paper trails are more difficult. With more and more people paying for stuff online and even with gas station receipt printers malfunctioning, it's easy to get dinged for stuff you didn't know about or have to defend something you did that you now have no permanent record of. Not to mention that whole electronic identity theft thing.
     So that's why I save nearly every email. And a huge amount of my hard drive is dedicated to the hard task of EPT CYA.
     Plus, saving my email helps me retrieve attached files that got destroyed or lost somewhere else on my computer. Like when I overwrote something important because I pushed "save" rather than "save as."
     My Electronic Paper Trail has saved my "saved as" too.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

2014 Bi-confused

     Recently I was confronted by that dread conundrum we all face from time to time, setting a schedule that was to occur every other week. And what to call it. Was it biweekly or semiweekly? Does biweekly mean every two weeks or twice a week?
     That's easy, you say, it's semimonthly. Are you sure? Semimonthly is twice a month, isn't it? Twice a month, if it's equal, is approximately once every 15 days---slightly more than every other week.
     Maybe we should revive the word "fortnight." It would be more forthright. A fortnight is every two weeks, plain and simple. Of course, it gets difficult to visualize in the future. "I'll see you four fortnights from now." Or way way into the future. "Look for me fourscore fortnights from now. Or three-fourths of a leap year cycle."
     I'm guessing just saying every two weeks is the way to cover it. Or if you want to do it twice a month say, "See you on the 1st and the 15th."
     But that doesn't help me figure out the bi thing generally. So I'm bi-curious---is it biennial or biannual? Is biannual twice a year and biennial every two years? Or is biennial just the anniversary of the first two years of an organization, like centennial is its first 100 years?
     Let's check the dictionary and solve it once and for all.
     It says biennial means occurring every two years or an event lasting two years.
     Biannual means an event occurring twice a year.
     Bimonthly means an event occurring every two months or one that occurs twice a month. Semimonthly is twice a month only.
     And according to the dictionary, biweekly can mean every two weeks or twice a week. Dang. Looks like we solved it twice and for all.
     Bye-bye till next time
     America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Private Number

     I've written before about your cellphone and your privacy. And my concern that with every free app you use you're giving away a little of your freedom. Freedom from Big Brother, whether it be Big Business or Big Government, watching you.
     Plenty of folks have no problem with that. A survey taken in the wake of the NSA phone records collection revelations, said that more than 57% were comfortable with authorities randomly monitoring private phones without so much as a subpoena.
     Those same people would object to random searches of their houses but are less concerned about their phones. Which is surprising when you see how much of one's identity people put on their smartphones and how much time they spend with them compared to how much they spend in their home.
     Speaking of spying, I was reading about recent progress in biometrics. Biometrics is using your biologically unique things to identify you. Like fingerprints. Or something called iris scans. The colored part of your eye has a pattern unique to you. So all some organization has to do, if they want to check you against a data base, is scan your eye.
     They don't even have to have you come up and ask anymore. New technology allows them to scan a crowd and every eye in it. From a distance. So make sure you pay your parking tickets.
     Another method is to measure your unique gait. Everybody walks differently too. So they can hack into those cool motion sensors in your smartphone, the ones that let it orient its images and stuff, and they can measure your gait as you walk with it in your pocket.
     By the way, I saw a new app. To save you the hassle of typing in your password, your smartphone will scan your eye.
     And the app is free!
     America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

2012 Self Impression

     Sometimes I'm not who I think. Or at least I say things that indicate I am other than I mean.
     Like recently I was at a party and I mentioned something that had happened in the fifties, bobby sox or Bobby Darin or something. When I saw the look of incomprehension on the faces of the Gen X-ers present, I sheepishly said, "Oh I'm sorry. I'm dating myself."
     That led to further uncomprehending looks, to which I replied, "Dating yourself is now legal, even in Kentucky." A smattering of laughter relieved the awkwardness of the situation.
     Then someone asked if I was dating anyone other than myself and I confessed I was between girlfriends right now. "Which isn't as fun as it sounds," I added.
     It's all about my identity I guess. I'm not sure who I am. The other day I was emceeing a parade and afterwards this family came up to congratulate me. The younger daughter said I looked exactly like the guy in Hunger Games. "Which one?" I asked.
     "The evil one," she replied, "except he has a huge mustache and his hair is black and he's shorter."
     "So exactly like him except where I'm different?"
     "Right," she said.
     I get that a lot. I have some sort of generic face. Nowadays I try to use that for good. Help out folks who have a member that didn't show up for a group photo. I'm their photoshop stand-in. Later on they can digitally wipe me out and replace me with the real guy's head. Adobe identity theft.
     Probably no wonder. I used to pose for wallet photos when I was a child. You remember. Those photos that came in the little plastic sleeves when you bought a wallet?
     There I go dating myself again...
     America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2011 Not Whole

     Occasionally I'll run across a word that's in common parlance and see it for the first time from a different perspective.
     Take the word "knothole." It's something on a tree or on a piece of wood. It appears to be from where a branch was but is no longer. But there's nothing knotty about it. As in a tangle of some sort. That's how it's spelled.
     But since English is such a flexible language in the way it sounds, "knot" the tangle also sounds like "not" the lack of anything. It's not a knot, it's a bump. Or a hole. So if it's not hole, what is it?
     Especially since knotholes in paneling aren't always holes. So they are not holes. They are filled-in places. But if it's a not hole how can you fill it in.
     Maybe they mean it's just not whole. As in partial or incomplete. The piece of wood is not whole where you can see the break in the grain where a branch used to be.
     This tangled knot of reasoning is not reasonable at all.
     The other weird word I rethought is Parcheesi. Parcheesi was a game I never played in my youth. But I saw it all the time because it was on the back of my Chinese Checkers board.
     Parcheesi originally came from India, so the Chinese Checkers/Parcheesi board was one of the first Asian encroachments into the American home. That and ketchup.
     Of course today, the word cheesy implies something less than elegant. Leading one to think that par-cheesy has something to do with a shoddy game of golf. Maybe a temporary course. One where they use non-wood and rusty iron clubs and don't actually fully dig out the cups.
     So they're just indentations --- not holes.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2010 Model H-1B

     Read an interesting news snippet recently. It was a confirmation of one of those things you've seen but didn't make a big deal of. Because you kind of expected it on some level. Seems that people actually do judge books by their covers.
     The snippet? Fashion models are twice as likely to get their H-1B visas approved than computer programmers. And I don't mean visas like Visas and MasterCards. Although it certainly doesn't hurt their credit any.
     In 2010, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services said yes to more than half of the visas applied for by fashion models and okayed only 28% of H-1Bs requested for computer-related occupations.
     H-1B visas allow foreign workers to work and make money in this country. They're the ones big tech companies like Apple and Google have been lobbying congress to increase. Nowadays a bright kid from another country can come over here on a student visa and learn all kinds of stuff, then he or she gets deported before we can make our money back off 'em.
     But apparently, if you're a fashion model, we'd love to keep you hanging around. And also apparently, looks are everything. Not that fashion doesn't pump a lot of dollars into our economy. More people wear shoes than own iPads. And it's a lot safer to wear shoes while driving than to goggle something on your smartphones.
     But still. Whatever happened to the paradigm shift we supposedly had with "Revenge of the Nerds?" Aren't techies supposed to be golden?
     By the way, H-1B Visas are only issued for jobs in a "specialty occupation." The regulations define a "specialty occupation" as "requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor."
     Like, you know, simultaneously walking and pouting.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2009 True or False

     I get ideas from time to time, and I put them in my stack of notes awaiting development into essays. Unfortunately, these days the world is so crazy, when I go back to my notes I'm not sure what's true and what I made up as a semi-true sounding joke. I decided to sort through the stack and see what you think. A little test. True or false?
     Just revealed: Justin Bieber and Amanda Bynes use the same publicity firm as Charlie Sheen. False.
     Definition of an optimist: A Western Washington resident who grows tomatoes. True.
     Major announcement: In order to save real estate costs and increase overall investment returns, Edward Jones and Starbucks are now merging locations. False.
     Dunkin' Donuts launches new product: Fried egg and bacon wedged between two full donuts as a breakfast sandwich. True.
     Another definition of an optimist: A banana slug crossing the freeway. True.
     Bill O'Reilly speaks positively of Gay Marriage. Says it's the compelling argument. True.
     Anthony Weiner announces he never uses condiments. False.
     The Right Wing Media machine, out to capture the Hispanic Vote, launches Fox News Latino. True.
     Original name for Fox News Latino: Zorro News. False
     Rush Limbaugh says universal gay marriage inevitable. Glenn Beck says the principle is right. True.
     Oxytocin, the contentment hormone released in relationships, is also released in cat owners. True.
     In response to divorces, break ups, and pet deaths, people often lose weight. Conclusion, Oxytocin causes weight gain. Science pending.
     In an attempt to gain even more votes for Republicans, Fox News launches Fox News Rainbow Pride. Not yet.
     Perception of time seems to pass more quickly as people age. For a 60 year old, a 2 year relationship is like a one night stand. True.
     This test was D. All of the above.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, June 14, 2013

2008 Donut Kill You?

     The eat-out sandwich is making restaurants a lot of bread. A recent study by the market research firm Technomic, called "The Sandwich Consumer Trend Report" (I love self-important titles about sandwiches) tells us that 43% of consumers eat at least four sandwiches a week, up from 39% in 2010. More importantly perhaps, consumers say 49% of the sandwiches they ate came pre-prepared from restaurant or food service locations, up from 44% in 2010.
     More sandwiches purchased away from home. I'm afraid the homemade PBJ is on its way out faster than the newspaper we used to wrap it in when we put it in our lunch bucket.
     Technomic says the increase is partly due to the improvement in the economy, but also partly due to the increase in popularity of breakfast sandwiches. Most notably in what they call LSRs, or limited service restaurants. Which includes places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.
     Especially with new offerings like Dunkin' Donuts Breakfast Sandwich. I wrote not long ago about the fair food that would fairly kill you, the Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger. Dunkin's offering is sure to take the plaque for adding arterial plaque in the morning.
     A bottom donut, then a fried egg and bacon, then a top donut. Voila, breakfast Code Blue. Dunkin’ officials play down the infarctive qualities of their new offering, saying it's only 360 calories compared to the 300 of McD's Egg McMuffin.
     But of course, calories and cholesterol are not synonymous, so I'm guessing two fried donuts sandwiching your not particularly benign fried egg and fried bacon may be a caloric approach not necessarily guaranteed to keep you out of the ER.
     But hey, what more convenient place than a donut shop to find a cop to rush you to the hospital?
     America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2007 Ironic 3-D

     Every now and then you come across something and it makes you say, "What were they thinking?" Like I got this "personalized" email from a local haircutting outfit. I say "personalized" in quote marks because it wasn't really. I'm not sure how I got on their mailing list at all since I've never shopped there but the letter I got was supposed to make me feel like an old friend---sort of.
      It was one of those fancy new Constant Contact type emails with embedded pictures and spyware and stuff that my cautious computer refuses to open all the way. The salutation said, "Dear Jerry" so I know it was meant just for me.
     Then the first sentence said, "Hello everyone!" Oops. I was no longer a personal person to whom the message was personally directed. I was "everyone." All that trouble to put together an impressive not impersonal email and they blew it with one greeting. What were they thinking?
     Another example is the story I read recently about a theater manager in Missouri. By the way, I should say I had just read an article in the same magazine about Aurora Colorado movie mass shooter James Holmes.
     The Missouri theater owner, apparently oblivious and having the shortest memory of tragedy on record, in order to create publicity, hired an actor to dress up in full tactical gear -- including a fake rifle -- and storm a screening of Iron Man 3. Terrified movie goers called 911. The owner, Bob Wilkins, said he wanted to whip up excitement for the movie and added, "My job is to entertain people."
     I kinda figured he wasn't a sensitivity trainer. What was he thinking?
     "Hi Everyone, I've got a assault rifle. Let me personally welcome you to Ironic Man 3-D."
     America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2006 Retweeting Skills

     Little bits of culture today, snippets of observations from our tumultuous technically advanced society. Or is it retreating? Which, by the way, is what the term retweeting always sounds like to me. Not a technological advance, but a technological retweet.
     As in retweeting skills, like this driver I saw recently. I was heading down the freeway and spied a car coming up rather quickly in the left lane. She was easily doing 70 in a 60mph zone. And she had her head pointed towards her lap. A "bobblehead" as the new Washington Traffic Safety Commission commercial calls them. Texting or tweeting while driving but keeping your phone in your lap to hide it. Like it isn't incredibly obvious what you're doing with your head nodding that way.
     Miss Bobblehead was weaving just a bit, otherwise had her car pointed straight ahead, but definitely was not watching the road. She was going 70 miles an hour, with less than seven car lengths between her and the car she was following.
     If you've ever had to stomp on the brakes because someone in front of you decides to save a suicidal squirrel you know how dangerous this is.
     Too bad folks can understand how to use advanced pieces of technology like smartphones and have no idea about the math of that split-second that will kill when they can't react in time to avoid someone braking in front of them.
     Saw another bobblehead just yesterday. He was driving through a roundabout. Definitely a place where full driving awareness is important. How sad we're having this confluence of historical and technological forces where texting, driving, and roundabouts mix.
     At least it gives us more opportunities to make our car horns tweet.
     America, ya gotta love it.

2005 Bugserroni

     There's no doubt we're inefficient in how we produce our food. Vegetarians have been pointing out for years about the extra energy wasted when we employ cows and pigs as middlemen on the caloric way from plant to human. Not to mention water and global warming fuel usage.
     But we love our protein. And there's certainly science to indicate that being a vegetarian doesn't provide all our essential protein and amino acid needs.
     So what's an omnivore to do?
     That same problem has been bugging the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and they have the answer. Bugs.
     Yep, bugs. As they said in a recent press release, "Insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fiber, and mineral content." Not only that, cultivating bugs requires far fewer resources than cattle, chickens, or fish. They're 12 times more efficient at converting nutrients into meat than cows are.
     Some 1900 species are already consumed in countries other than the west. Beetles, caterpillars, ants. Full adult bugs, and their nymphs and larvae. Hey, maybe that's a fine solution to the cicada problem on the east coast. It's the 17 year feast!
     The trick, of course, is getting past the icky factor. And the taste thing. It's no surprise when emerging third world countries westernize, that folks flock to McDonalds, and leave their bugs back at the hovel. And there ain't a Cricket McNugget on the menu, or a Quarter Pounder with Fleas.
     But that's where modern food science and processing techniques can make a difference. And the place to start is sausage. Already loaded with artificial flavors. The first thing you do is dig up a bunch of buggy stuff from the soil. Grind up a few grubworms, process, and voila! A fine smoked larvae sausage.
     Hot diggety dog!
     America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

2004 Tissue Issue

     Read an interesting story recently. In the news media of all places. Which, as we've been reminded to believe, is always suspect.
     Ripped from the head lines, this story comes from Venezuela, where they're apparently suffering an acute toilet paper shortage. Because of this "urgent crisis" said Ollie John in, the government has been forced "to order 50 million rolls to appease desperate shoppers."
     Putting aside for the moment that some news editor thought it would be funny to assign a toilet paper story to a reporter named Ollie John, I think we should issue this notice to the Venezuelan government: You know things are going in the toilet when shoppers start hoarding toilet paper.
     The government, in turn, is trying to wipe out any responsibility for the crisis. Such as unreal price controls introduced by now deceased Hugo Chavez, or being in arrears on international payments. As a result, the nation's scarcity index shows 21 of 100 basic staples are not available in stores. Toilet paper became a staple not long after corn cobs fell out of favor for sensitive reasons.
     Current Venezuelan leaders have blamed "anti-government forces" for the TP shortage, and swiped at the media, calling them issuers of a tissue of lies, and perpetrators of panic "creating excessive demand in order to disrupt the country."
     Funny how an extremely left wing country blamed the media for its ills. Isn't the media supposedly left wing?
     So...if I were a newspaper publisher in Venezuela couldn't this whole campaign backfire? If people once used old Sears catalogues for their wipage needs, wouldn't newspapers work even better? I'm surprised the Venezuelan government propaganda machine hasn't suggested it.
     And when they say the media is creating excessive demand for toilet paper, do they really mean the media is full of…well, you know.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

2003 Optimists of Time

     I guess you can say I'm an optimist. At least I'm the sort who tries to put a positive spin on things most of the time. Or at least a mildly humorous one.
     My standard definition of an optimist is a Western Washington resident who plants tomatoes. Or a banana slug about to cross the freeway. You got to have those high hopes.
     So it is in Western Washington with outdoor festivals. We keep having them. And we keep getting rained out. Oh well. As I saw at the Lacey Spring Fun Fair not long ago, the rain didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits. Except for the kids holding cotton candy.
     Another definition of an optimist, thinking fair food won't stick. Like a deep-fried stick of butter isn't destined for your tummy or haunches. The willfully delusional notion that all the walking around you do at the fair somehow counteracts the massive calories you're cramming in.
     Speaking of fair food, what's with cotton candy in a bag? Remember when we used to have it spun around a paper cone? So you could dip your wetted lips right into it and take a bite. Sometimes you'd catch a few pink strands in your hair. That was funny-looking. That was before people actually dyed their hair cotton candy pink on purpose.
     Maybe Goths were affected oddly by carnivals as kids.
     I know I was. Carnivals always seemed like places where accidents could happen. Large complicated pieces of badly painted machinery, smelling of diesel and grease, and madly spinning at high speeds. Assembled by scary looking people. Just one loose nut away from exploding in a rain of shrapnel and screaming former riders hurtling in centrifugal directions.
     There's the ultimate definition of an optimist---someone who gets on a carnival ride.
     America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

2002 Crud

I wrote recently about the Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger and how it was just one extreme example of food you can find at carnivals and fairs. Not food exactly, Coronary Reaction Activating Product is more like it. CRAP. But that's too harsh a word. Back when I was growing up, instead of pronouncing the word the initials CRAP spell out, we used the euphemism "crud."
So I'm thinking, maybe we should encourage healthy food eating but calling all healthy food simply "food" and all unhealthy food "crud."
If we did so that Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger I saw at the Lacey Spring Fun Fair would qualify as super-crud.
"Junkfood" isn't harsh enough. It still includes the word food and that implies it's edible and by some stretch of the imagination good for you. If we just call it "crud" such implication disappears.
Likewise, if we only label healthy food "food" we'll eliminate the prissiness from the "healthy" food appellation. Putting health in a word or phrase makes it sound like it's approved by a sniffing set of schoolmarms nannyfying your steamed vegetables.
It's all about the psychology. When you go to the dentist, he doesn't say you're going to feel a prick or a little pain when he sticks the needle in your gums. He says you'll feel a little "pinch." At least he used to, now he says you'll feel a little "pressure." When my kid was born, he made my wife feel a lot of "pressure."
So to get healthy let's get rid of the "healthy" in food. Just call the two categories two different things. Food and crud. If you marry the two you can describe accordingly, and maybe eat better.
Because a chocolate-covered strawberry would be---
A strawberry covered with crud.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

2001 Donut Burger

It's fair season and that means one thing---lots of exotic food. Ever since the first World Fair, they’ve celebrated our ingenuity and the products of our hard work. And they've also celebrated our culinary achievements---pies, sausages, canned asparagus.
I saw an item at the Lacey Spring Fun Fair that captured that cultural inventiveness. I first saw it when a friend of mine, let's call him Graeme, showed me. Sort of. He was in the process of cramming it into his mouth. "I took one for the team," he said. "Someone had to make the sacrifice." And sacrifice it was, as he held the equivalent of a coronary in his fist.
He had a Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger.
Here's the deal, we had seen the banner on the front of their booth all day and were joking about how they didn't put a space between the words and it made it look like instead of Krispy Kreme Donuts and Bacon Cheeseburger separately it was Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger.
And it was!!
You start with a whole Krispy Kreme donut as the bottom half of your bun. Add two beef patties, three pieces of bacon, two slices of cheese, lettuce and tomato, (for health) and condiments. Then put another Krispy Kreme donut on as the top half of the bun. The only thing it needs is an automatic 911 beacon that engages when it detects you going suddenly supine.
I talked to Graeme the next morning. He'd survived to enjoy another day at the fair. As I said, fairs have always celebrated our hard work and ingenuity. That's certainly the case here. We are an inventive culture. We can put a man on the moon, create a heated barcolounger with cupholders.
And a Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, June 03, 2013

2000 FGOTP

This is my two-thousandth essay. Hard to believe. Way back in 2005, when I started this series, I wasn't entirely sure there'd be enough material to keep it up day after day after day.
I shouldn't have worried. When your material is the changing culture around you, there will always be something to comment about. Back then, a local morning radio DJ scoffed at the idea of a daily commentary featuring the foibles of our fine way of life. He is no longer employed by the medium, and America Ya Gotta Love It continues to grow like a fungus, offering flaccid insights and mildly bland humor.
Like this fungal observation: I was driving down the road yesterday and passed a guy selling mushrooms. "Fresh Picked" said one sign. "Morel" said another. A little concerning. The "Morel" part of the sign was obviously slapdashedly covering over some other name.
And it was a very old and broken-down dirty truck. A truck that looked like it would be hard to trace should something go wrong. It was parked in a pretty scrabbly weed-overgrown lot. The kind of lot that doesn't even have an address.
So---I'm all for entrepreneurship---but is this a good idea? Buy mushrooms from a fly-by-night road vendor? It's not like Rainier Cherries or Walla-Walla onions. Fresh-picked mushrooms require some degree of expertise in the picking part. Morels particularly have been confused with False Morels. Notice the fact that they even have a False Morel. It's a toxic mushroom known to cause diarrhea, nausea, and um, death.
Which gives you two problems when it comes to complaining about buying a bad product. You can't find the guy who sold it to you.
And you're dead.
Two very good reasons not to buy your fungi on the prowl.
America, ya gotta love it.