Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2122 Spud Dud

A friend came back from visiting Idaho recently. Before he left a group of us told him not to forget to bring us back some potatoes. I understand according to their prisoner metalworkers that Idaho is famous for them.

My friend instead brought back some souvenir candies called "Idaho Spud Bites." Unfortunately, about the only Idahoian thing about them was their name. 

The clear plastic package held a group of small, oblong, vaguely potato-shaped, chocolate-looking items. Sort of tiny potatoes but not quite tater tots. Tiny like if you ordered a baked potato in Munchkinland and then asked for it to be coated in chocolate and sprinkled with coconut flakes. Because, I guess, there are so many coconut trees in Idaho. 

After I got past the fact that they looked kind of like deer scat with a rime of leaf mold, I took a bite. And promptly spit it out again. My tongue telling me maybe, in fact, it was deer scat with a rime of leaf mold. 

I quickly looked at the ingredients list and was appalled to find these noxious pellets each contained about 17 ingredients. Sugar led the list, joined by Corn Syrup, Coconut, and partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil. (I believe that's the oil you get when you hold a kernel in your palm). 

Then there was invert sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, chocolate liquor, and egg albumen (often used in vaccinations---from what? I wondered. Deer scat-atitis?) 

Several chemical ingredients followed, of which my favorite was Agar Agar. Which I guess meant it was an agar form of agar, whatever that is. Perhaps a derivative of deer scat. Or a chemical to give it it's old pirate flavor. Agarrrr.

I wish he had just brought me a potato. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2121 Billy Chevy

I was stopped at a stoplight last Veteran's Day. Feeling in a patriotic frame of mind, I noticed the street I was on was called an avenue and the car next to me was an SUV from Korea which had a guy in it eating a croissant and drinking a latte.  I also noticed the big name on the American-made truck in front of me. It said Chevrolet.

Hmm, I thought, how odd that the most iconic American car brand, favored by Billy-Bob rednecks from St Louis to Louisiana, should have a Frenchy-sounding name.

Which, of course, got me curious to look up that name and find out what it actually means in French. I'm here to say the good old American ingenuity of the internet didn't let me down.

At first there appeared to be no direct translation of Chevrolet. The name Chevrolet came from a guy named Louis Chevrolet. He was a Swiss race car driver and engineer who founded the Chevrolet Motor Car company in Detroit, in 1911.

Hmm. Since there was no French to English direct translation, the closest I could come was chevalier, which is the French word for knight. Knights of the roundtable sort of knight. We also get the word chivalry from that same root. Also the word Cavalier.

A brand I think Chevrolet made for a while. Namewise at least, a Chevrolet Cavalier would have been perfect for the Knight Rider series. 

Finally I found a website that gave origins of French and Swiss surnames. Hold your horses knights. Or maybe your goats. Because the "chevro" in Chevrolet comes from chevre, meaning goat. The "let" comes from lait, l-a-i-t, meaning milk. 

The most famous American brand name means goat milk.

Me? I always wanted a Goat Milk Corvette. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

2120 Bury Inappropriate

Bad news in the cemetery business. At least if you're planning on erecting your tombstone of choice. Seems an Ohio cemetery plans to remove a monument shaped like Sponge Bob Square Pants from its grounds. They say it's inappropriate.

Which brings up a host of issues. Is there free speech protection for how one wants to commemorate one's loved one? Sure, the cemetery is private, but do the cemetery grounds enjoy any tax benefit or deferment? If so, and if they're the only place to get planted in town, I would think there would be grounds for a law suit.

The plot thickens. The grieving mother of the deceased had the monument put up at the grave of her daughter because the daughter really loved the character. The daughter was a 28-year-old Iraq War Veteran. She was buried with a Sponge Bob doll as well. 

As I said, the cemetery officials thought the headstone, with its depiction of the smiling character, wasn't quite proper. Who's “square” now? Cause, you know, death is so solemn. God forbid anyone should laugh at a funeral. Sending folks off to heaven, also known as paradise, should be a sad occasion, and mortuaries, mausoleums, and cemeteries should all invoke horror.

I wonder if Walt Disney has a Mickey Mouse character anywhere on his tombstone. Or Hanna or Barbera have Huckleberry Hound or Yogi Bear in a Jelly-Headstone Park? Why shouldn't something that has given so much pleasure and laughter be allowed to venerate the departed?

I agree, Sponge Bob is a little off the wall, but who am I to judge? If I was walking through a graveyard feeling sad and depressed, I'm guessing seeing such a thing may actually cheer me up. 

Maybe make me feel a little less grave.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

2119 Dream Rinse

Why do we sleep? Perchance to dream. They used to say dreams were the result of the brain reordering itself during sleep. As memories were burned and shifted our unconscious picked up their traces and, since the brain tends to prefer a narrative, it constructed a story around them that we picked up as a dream. The artifacts of defragging as it were.

Wonder if when your computer goes into sleep-mode it dreams. Could explain that annoying residual hard-drive ticking.

Well science has figured out a new reason why we and other animals sleep. Even though it seems like a bad thing to do survival wise, unconsciousness making us so vulnerable to predators and all. Without it we'd go crazy. 

Literally, because the sleep cycle is not unlike the rinse cycle in your washing machine. It's when your brain cleans itself. Not just those misplaced thoughts, your actual brain cells. Turns out thinking is dirty work and various toxins build up during the day. At night, or whenever you sleep, your regular brain cells actually shrink, and the spaces between them enlarge to make it easier for cerebrospinal fluid to flush out the toxins. 

Sleep is necessary because your waking brain needs the cells enlarged to think. You can't think and flush at the same time. Interestingly, one of the toxins flushed out is beta-amyloid, the brain plaque found in many dementia patients. Who, not coincidentally it now turns out, often suffer from sleep disorders. 

So, if you're feeling a little forgetful of late, I suggest a nice comfy nap. Away go troubles as you drain that brain. I'm guessing the newest off-label use for dementia will be the sleeping pill Lunesta. 

Don't want to get loony? Use Lunesta.

It'll have you feeling flush in no time.  

America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2118 Torched

Read a story the other day about the Sochi Olympic Torch. Apparently, on it's way to Russia for the next Winter Olympics, it's making a stop in outer space. Well actually low earth orbit, but that counts as outer space these days. Even a short run on Virgin Galactic's high looper will count as Lady Gaga singing from space so why shouldn't the space station count.

In any event, the story said that the Olympic torch for the first time would be traveling to space to commemorate the upcoming Olympics in Russia. As Russia currently has the only manned up and down vehicles to do this I guess it makes sense. 

But I kind of got the impression the reporter of the article didn't quite get space, or the whole idea of a vacuum and lack of atmosphere vis-à-vis combustion. Perhaps he watched too many Star Wars episodes as a youth and was under the impression flame could actually exist in space. And that there was the possibility of the sound of an explosion when there was no atmosphere to carry that sound. 

What made me think this was the final line in his article. After saying that the two Russian cosmonauts living at the station were expected to take the torch on a first ever spacewalk, he said the torch would remain unlit for safety reasons. 

And, oh yeah, because there's no oxygen in space to combust to produce a flame. 

I bet he feels pretty dumb. But not as dumb as me, I just went to the Sochi Olympics website to check it all out. And then remembered it's a Russian based website hosted in Russia by Russian web folks. 

I'm expecting my own flameout shortly. As my hard drive gets torched.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2117 Jammed Oceans

Lots of interesting news stories lately, like NASA now estimating space rocks the size of the recent one in Russia are actually a lot more common than they thought. Not long after the announcement a huge meteor blazed across the California skies.

I just hope they'll poke holes in our atmosphere and let all the global warming out. Because in addition to massive hurricanes and typhoons, global warming seems to be impacting our farming and fisheries. Droughts and floods. Coral reefs acidifying and dying. Add that to wars in the Mideast and fire and brimstone from the sky and we got ourselves an apocalypse. 

Unfortunately, there's a fungus killing frogs so we won't have a plague of those. 

Too bad, since they could have been an alternative food supply. Or perhaps you'd like some jellyfish soup. Because another recent headline proclaimed that jellyfish are taking over our oceans. Due to warmer ocean temperatures and over-fishing, jellyfish are blooming like crazy and we're really in a jam. 

Beach resorts report more stings. A salmon farm lost all its fish. Jellyfish blocked a nuclear reactor's cooling intakes, forcing a shutdown. It's like the attack of the blob, except it's the attack of a bunch of mini-blobs. 

What to do? The answer's obvious. Harvest the suckers. They are pretty much just loose gelatinous protein. Neutralize the stinging chemicals and use the rest as a protein base for food. Don't want a bowl of mucussy jellyfish soup or a big loogie steak? At least add it to animal feed and supply the food chain that way. 

Maybe if we actively harvest the stinging snotballs, regular fish can bounce back. Now all we need is a way to sop them up. Someone call Kimberly-Clark. We need some giant Kleenex. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2116 Incomplete Election

The recent election brought up some interesting things, not least that a potential run-off was possible between two candidates with less than a hundred vote difference between them.

What was especially odd was that the office they were running for was county auditor, which counts the votes, and that they were both election officials, and that one of them was currently the election official in charge of the vote count.

It really showed how crucial each vote is. Which led me to another observation. In looking at the results for the candidates, I noticed that if a candidate ran unopposed, they often got fewer votes. A contested race would get 32,000 votes for example, while an uncontested candidate would only garner 29,000. How did this happen?

There's only one thing to surmise, some people weren't voting for everything or everyone on their ballot. Some people weren't filling in every bubble. They were Lazy Bubble Non-filler-outers.

Oh, the shame.

I polled my workmates, who got a bit uncomfortable at that point. A word of caution; if, in fact, you poll your workmates, be gentle. 

They admitted to being less than conscientious about filling in every bubble, figuring that the uncontested guy was going to win anyhow, so why waste the effort. I understand, but for me it's an OCD challenge to fill in every oval perfectly and not color outside the lines. What was all that coloring book training in my youth for?

Here's the sad thing. If you don't vote for the uncontested person, a write-in candidate could emerge the victor.  So be warned -- don't be a lazy bubble non-filler-outer. If our next City Councilperson is Donald Duck it'll be your fault.

On second thought, maybe a loud-mouthed character that doesn't wear pants would be a refreshing change...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

2115 Presentiment

Sometimes the words they is slippery as a greased eel. Take the word presently. I don't mean take it in the future. I mean take it as an example. Many people use the word to be synonymous with currently. In fact, my Microsoft spellchecker synonym-finder suggests it exactly that way. So one couldn't be blamed for using it that way, could they?

Only by us persnickety grammar types. Because the correct use of the term is to mean in the future. I will be with you presently. As in, in a few moments. If you mean I am with you currently you say currently. Or "at present." 

Like in the recent voter's guide. In describing the changes in law certain initiatives would make, they used the phrase, "the law as it exists presently." 

To anal-retentive strict English usage folks, one cannot exist presently, as presently is in the future and, at least according to those pesky laws of the universe, we do not yet exist until we are in the now. 

In order to satisfy all of those potential voters, not just those who believe Microsoft grammarcheck, the phrase could have read, "the law as it exists currently" or "the law as it exists at present." I'm sure I'll hear from some of you presently, as every dictionary says that it's now perfectly acceptable to use presently as a synonym for currently. 

That die is cast, as it were. 

That's another slippery phrase. Does it mean die as in one of a pair of dice? So a die is thrown, never to be unthrown? Or does it mean die in the sense of a mold from which a thing is cast. Like diecast metal cars or toy soldiers? 

Either one indicates there is no going back. Presently. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

2114 Panda Money 'Em

When it comes time to learn what the next big investment is, look no further than your local zoo. That is if your zoo has a panda. That's right, a panda, the gigantic version of the little teddy bears we had as kids.

It's an animal that's guaranteed to bring folks in. Folks who want to ooh and aah. Folks who melt and gush, and fret over whether or not they'll be able to get a panda couple to conceive and have an adorable teddy-baby. Folks who will pay top dollar for a ticket.  

And the Chinese are making a bundle off them. Pandanomics, as some folks call it, is one of the great leveraged investment tools of China. There are currently about 50 of the colossal black-and-white furballs on loan to zoos around the world. Almost all have been arranged only after major trade and investment deals.

In 2011, for example, Scotland entered into a multi-billion dollar deal with China where they traded oil-drilling technology and salmon for a pair of pandas. Scots were barely able to contain their enthusiasm.

In 2006, Australia agreed to supply uranium to China in exchange for pandas.  Canada and France have done the same thing with their uranium exports. 

How nice, giving China the means to manufacture nuclear weapons in exchange for a couple of cute titanic teddy bears. What could go wrong? And it's bad enough we're trading bomb making materials for bamboo-eating beasts. We're not even buying them. They're just on loan! Somehow that makes our fawning prostitution of the means to our national security even worse. All to sell tickets at zoos…

Is this what they call pandering?

Or is it just the bad investment strategy you normally see in a bear market? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

2113 Commutin'ism

Commuting. It changed America. From a primarily agrarian country where people stayed home all the time to the car culture of today. The great result of the Federal Highway Act of the 50s, a huge government spending project that created jobs, revived the moribund post-war economy, and kept us out of another depression. Who do we have to thank for it? One of those tax-and-spend presidents.

Dwight David Republican Eisenhower. 

Kind of funny in a way, since the big bugaboo in 50s era politics was the red scare and people worried about communism. It wasn't communism we had to worry about after all. It was commutin'ism.

So now that we’re stuck on the freeway for what seems like a third of our life, what result is that having on our happiness? Depends on whom you ask.  According to a Swiss economist, a person who commutes an hour each way to work has to make 40% more money than a person who lives close to the office to be as satisfied with life. More than 11 million Americans commute more than an hour each way to work. 

Those Swiss, what a cheesy attitude. Because in Britain, a study of 27,556 rail passengers found that 37% fewer felt commuting was a waste of time in 2010 than they did in 2004. The difference? Mobile devices on which they can get email, listen to podcasts, or check the news. 

Another reason to support light rail. People are happier, and people will buy more devices to keep them that way. A good place for Apple to invest all that reserve money they have. Or, hey, the government to tax and spend into a new job-creating infrastructure. 

Because happy people are healthy people. Commutin'ism will lower the costs of health care.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2112 Pip Squat

I went to Costco recently and saw an interesting thing. A kid-sized recliner. That's right, it was a regular old leather recliner, pipsqueak version.  Naturally I was appalled.

A lot of people, not curmudgeonly like myself, would most likely have oohed and aahed about how cute it was. Oh, look at the precious little recliner, now Billy can be just like Dad...

The same people, no doubt, who thought Jon Benet Ramsey looked precious as a tarted up 6-year-old beauty queen. Really people, role models are a good thing for kids, but remember, it's a role model for when they grow up.

Is couch potato-hood a noble goal? Do we want little Billy to slack back in his recliner and doze off with a bowl of popcorn on his bulging belly? Why not hand him a can of beer while you're at it? Help him nap while you whip up some chips and dip.

I'm just saying, think ahead. Maybe a toy that encourages active play might be a little better. Making TV watching even more comfortable is not a habit to instill too early. 

By the way, I don't know why couch potato is synonymous with someone who uses a recliner. Wouldn't they be a recliner potato? Or perhaps some other root vegetable or tuber? A recliner rutabaga perhaps?

And where did the term "pipsqueak" come from? Pips are the small dots on dice aren't they? Do they squeak when you roll 'em? Or is it pip as in pipped, the word for a chicken chick breaking through it's shell?  That would be a pip-tick though, not a pipsqueak.

This could take some time to research. I better get my laptop. Then I can Google it from the comfort of my recliner.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2111 Widespread TV

TV or not TV, that is the question. The answer seems to be TV. Time after time, given a choice, Americans prefer watching something rather than, and even while, doing something. The widespread use of TV is amazing.

Saw an example of that recently. I was at one of the newer gas stations in the area, new enough in any event to be positioned next to a roundabout. I pulled next to the pumps to get some gas. When I got out I glanced at a little videoscreen on the pump and assumed it was the screen for my transaction. Nope. I was totally surprised because the video was moving. It was a little snippet of the news, with a crawl on the bottom and everything. It then switched scenes to a commercial of some sort, then back to the news thing again.

I thought I was sitting in an airport bar. In Munchkinland. Waiting for the tornado report perhaps. It was only a five-by-seven screen but golly gee Toto. My final analysis? It was annoying. The crawl letters were too small to read. There was no sound. I pressed all the buttons on either side of the screen and couldn't get the sound to start. So I really didn't get anything out of it. I left with my tank and my morning frustration quota filled. 

Then there's the news that Samsung has come out with a new curved smartphone slash tiny TV. Which is good because with their new bigger smartphones it sometimes feels like you're talking to DVD case. Samsung says the curvyphone is better. Quote: "Good for your face and good for your butt." Because much as we like our TVs we still don't like them wedged in our behind. 

Talk about widespread. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

2110 Cucumbersome

I quoted another comic the other day in a newsletter I sent out. The quote was from Oscar Wilde: "Always borrow money from a pessimist, he won't expect it back." I got a few responses, among them requests to borrow money from me. One response just said it was too bad I was a pessimist. To which I replied, all comedians are pessimists. Just ask Bob Hope.

The truth is we're not actually pessimists. We're romantics. Romantics tend to approach the world with high expectations and then end up being disappointed. It is that disconnect between expect and reject that makes for comedy.

So I thought recently, when I finally got around to hearing about a study that apparently took place a while back. It was a study that showed what scents get female folks more romantic. Or perhaps amorous is a better word. 

In any event, scientists measuring the blood flow to certain female bodily areas determined which scents are most likely to get said person in the mood.  The most aphrodisiacal aromas? Cucumber slices in conjunction with Good and Plenty candies. 

Great. Now I have to stock up on those. How cucumbersome.

Mild licorice and fresh cucumber, scientists have no idea why. Paleoanthropologists are digging to come up with a theory. Sociologists are shrugging their shoulders. Freudian psychologists grabbed onto the cucumber thing but couldn't dream up a reason for the licorice. 

As a romantic, I'd say it's probably that those scents represent the pungent vitality of life. As a pessimist, I'd say it's just that they represent food and that's all the females really expect. Nothing gets you in the mood for procreation more than abundant supplies of calories. My proof? The third most popular scent is Banana Nut Bread.

Shut up Freudians.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

2109 TV Mysteries

Was talking to a guy the other day and for some reason the subject of old TV shows came up. And with it the premises of some of them that we were asked to suspend disbelief on. You know, like how it was Gilligan's Island's Howells packed such an enormous amount of fancy clothing for a three hour tour. Or how the Professor on that same show could make just about everything from coconuts except a distress beacon. 

Then there was Leave it to Beaver's Mom. Who always seemed to be able to do housework in a pearl necklace and high heels. I remember being appalled as a child when my friends came over. My own mom actually wore denims. 

Then there was the Courtship of Eddy's Father, one of many sitcoms with a single dad as it's premise. This one with a kid as a matchmaker. Bill Bixby was the bachelor in question. One of his many such roles, from roommate of an illegal alien to metamorphosing monster.

No wonder Eddy's kid had a tough time hooking him up. My favorite role for Bill Bixby was when he played Ken in the Ken Berry story. Or did Ken play Bill...?

TV loved the single dad scenario though. Often with a kindly or crotchety butler/uncle type, in everything from My Three Sons to Family Affair. It made you wonder what happened to all the women. They may have been off experimenting with doing something more fulfilling than wearing pearls and vacuuming. 

Like on the Patty Duke Show. A TV show based on a similar premise as the feature movie The Parent trap, except asking us to believe there can actually be genetically identical cousins. 

Somebody's parent obviously acted single on their own three hour tour...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

2108 Rushin'

It's great the little factoids you can pick up with a quick read of the news. Like they talk about the 99% in our country, how wealth disparity is undermining our democracy. I guess it's true because one of the most undemocratic places on the planet is even worse. In Russia, 35% of the entire wealth in the country is owned by just 110  people. Since the population of Russia is now 143 million that means their 99% movement needs to be called the 99.9999214286% movement.

Speaking of the 1%. Wayne Newton (who, coincidentally, many Russian rich guys model their hairdos after) had his boat sink the other day. It was a prime example of how reporting can be affected by the wrong font. Yes, I said font. I heard a news reporter say that Wayne's boat had sunk stem first. "Stem first?" I thought, "What end of the boat is that?" The reporter went on to say the 65-foot boat's bow was sticking up in 45 feet of water. 

Hmm. Maybe he meant stern. Sure enough, in Verdana and other fonts, if you put a lower case r next to a lower case n and you glance at it too quickly you have the lowercase letter m. 

Then your whole news story is sunk. Darn.

Maybe the reporter shouldn't have been rushin'.

Lastly, the American League of Lobbyists has elected to change its name. They were worried that everybody had the misconception that lobbyists are walking around with a pocketful of cash. As opposed to assignable secret offshore bank accounts, I guess. Anyhow, they changed their name to The Association of Government Relations Professionals. 

Much better. Government Relations Professionals. Now it sounds like a high-priced escort service. 

Wonder if they'll entertain rich Russian guys too? 

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

2107 Nut Detector

Used to be that math was considered a good way of testing for Alzheimer's. But a new way of detecting the disease very early has been discovered. You might call it a Nut Detector. Jennifer Stamps of the University of Florida had the idea, once she noted that a large percentage of mentally affected elderly patients had very little sense of smell, that maybe the loss of smell and Alzheimer's were related.

She found that a good way to detect Alzheimer's very early on was to have them sniff peanut butter. I know, it sounds nuts, but it works. In fact, it sounds like one of those naturopathic remedy things where a taste of a poison that mimics the symptoms of your disease will cure your disease. Afraid you're going a little nuts? Come to my office, let's smell some nuts to find out. 

Here's how it worked. A clinician would hold a tablespoon of peanut butter in front of one nostril, the other one blocked. Then measure with a ruler how close the dollop had to be before it could be detected. They then repeated the process with the other nostril after 90 seconds. Those in the early stages of Alzheimer's had a 10 centimeter difference between left and right nostril. 

If the left was worse, it indicated that the mild cognitive impairment the patient had already would likely develop into Alzheimer's. If the right was worse, some other sort of dementia may be imminent.  

Probably not a good idea to try this one at home, even though we all pretty much have peanut butter and rulers. I tried it and was very disappointed. I'm thinking I must have a cold.

I don't know why I didn't remember that before I took the test.  

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

2106 Car Norms

We assume a lot. Like I was driving recently and the car in front of me was driving erratically. Since it was the middle of the day, I assumed the driver was texting. Drunken driving and texting driving are about the same.

I could have been wrong though, because the vehicle I was driving behind was chopped. You know what I mean, very low to the ground, with fancy wheels, big tail pipes and additional aerodynamic fairings added to it. Which always seems funny because the aerodynamics are supposed to help you go faster, but the lowering means a bump at high speed will tear off your menacing low bumper. 

Anyhow, what got me about it was the chopped car wasn't the Honda you would assume. It was a chopped Subaru Forester. I know, that's about as surprising as a Prius with trucknuts, those faux gonads rednecks hang from their trailer hitch. 

A chopped Subaru Forester doesn't meet our expectations, right? Chopped Japanese cars are for "drifting," like they do in the Fast and Furious movies. Is an SUV-based stable platform 4-wheel-drive car set up for that? I don't know. The off-road stability may make it even better.

They violated another assumed car norm too. It was a complete waste of space on the back end. There wasn't one bumper sticker on it. A Subaru without a bumper sticker is lots of political opinion real estate going to waste. It's like a Volvo without a "Baby on Board" sign. Or a pickup truck without a window sticker of Calvin relieving himself on something. Or an Odyssey without a mommy van set of family stick figures demonstrating what sports they all do. 

Cars are who we are.

Or so I assume.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

2105 Snoop Names

I was listening to the radio recently and there was a news story that mentioned Snoop Lion. You may remember him as Snoop Dogg, with two G's, the popularizer of the term "For Shizzle."

His mom calls him Calvin Cordozar Broadus. 

I guess that's one problem with made up names, you feel impelled to keep changing them. But really Calvin, you've established a brand as Snoop Dogg, why risk altering it? Don't you want it to multiply into new opportunities for income?

At least John Cougar, who became John Cougar Mellencamp and finally just John Mellencamp, had a reason. He never wanted to be John Cougar to start with. His record label forced the label on him because they thought Mellencamp was too German. Ironically, Mellencamp is a German word that means melting pot. 

You'd think Snoop would have learned from Prince, whose name shuffling has held him back; "Prince" to "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" to the unpronounceable Ankh symbol. Call a reputable PR firm who can explain the power of consistent branding, dude. It's enough to make a dove cry.

You sure as heck didn't see that problem with Madonna. She did the reverse, took an established name brand and co-opted it for her purposes. I'm not saying Snoop or Prince should start calling themselves Messiah or something, but you see what I mean. A good religious icon could go a long way. 

Come to think of it, that may be why Snoop picked Lion. It's got some pretty big Rastafarian religious implications. He could use it to branch out into new products. Snoop Lion's Rasta Pasta. 

I just hope Lady Gaga keeps imitating Madonna. Keep her name the same. No other baby names. I'm not ready for Lady GooGoo. 

Or Lady Icky KahKah.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

2104 PBJ Crunch

Back when I was growing up, we didn't get to eat in the school cafeteria. It was reserved for kids who could afford it. "Hot lunch" it was called. As in, "Make sure you get your tickets for hot lunch." The teacher would sell them in the morning or, later, kids would go to the office on their first recess to buy tickets or a monthly pass.

Kids in our economic spectrum had lunch boxes or, at my even lower end, brown bags. At least we had lunch. I was grateful I had something; even though youthfully resentful I had to pack it to school in a random grocery or product bag. It would have been nice to have one of those actually brown lunch-sized bags instead of an old bread or drugstore bag but, what the hey, at least I had food.

The food was problematic sometimes. I had two main meals: Boloney sandwich with ketchup on it or peanut butter and jelly. Both were always on brown-colored bread, what my dad called “wheat bread,” although it was really just cheap white bread dyed brownish.

Our sack lunches were stored at room temperature in the back of the classroom so baloney-and-ketchup got a little warm by the time lunchtime hit in the non-air-conditioned rooms. Did I mention we lived in a small desert town where the temps typically got up past 100 degrees?

That also made the ketchup soak through the top piece of bread. Ick. And jelly did the same thing. Peanut butter and jelly on soaked-through bread. Yum. We had a remedy. Lift up the soaked-through side and insert potato chips. Crunchy and delicious. Resourceful Poverty-Repaired PB&J. 

They now have them on and other epicurean websites.  

Gourmet, inspired by poor-met.

America, ya gotta love it.