Sunday, February 29, 2004

HERE'S YOUR SIGN

A few years back, there was a humor record that received lots of play on country radio: HERE'S YOUR SIGN. It was a song about stupid people who should be required to wear a sign warning others of their stupidity. This thought dawned on me today as I was making my lunch (ham and cheese with Miracle Whip). On the wrapper of the individually wrapped slices of pasteurized, processed cheese product was the instruction to "open here." I'm convinced that some dumbass sent a letter to Kraft complaining that they didn't know HOW to take the plastic off of the fake cheese. Or the more likely scenario is that someone didn't open it right, accidentally swallowed some of the plastic, and sued Kraft. (Even though the actual cheese-like product might be VERY close to plastic itself, chemically speaking.)

I thought this over, let it pass, until I was brushing my teeth. THE TOOTHPASTE TUBE HAS INSTRUCTIONS!!!! Lucky for me, though, turns out I had been doing it right all along.

Before you run to your bathroom and check your toothpaste, one quick question for a survey that serves no purpose than to entertain us: how many of you know that toothpaste comes with instructions?

And I'll end this post by saying that I received THE neatest gift over the weekend: an alarm clock that projects the time on the wall, ceiling, etc. It's the BEST! I had often lusted over this particular piece of timekeeping equipment after seeing it in the "Sharper Image" section of the AirMall catalog in airplanes. Not only does it show the time, but you never have to set it! Just select your time zone, and every night, it stealthily receives a secret signal from somewhere in Colorado, which reports the time as calculated by a certain number of vibrations from a radioactive element. Or something. Apparently, there is a group of scientists who do nothing but count these vibrations and then announce, "yep, boys, that's a minute."

Lest you assume that this is some sort of luxury I bestow on myself, let there be no mistake. This is a necessary tool for me. You see, I keep my long-time alarm clock out of reach so I won't be attempted to continue striking the snooze button. The downside is that without my glasses, I can't see that alarm clock if I wake up during the night. So, it's an "Americans with Disabilities Act" issue to me. If I wake up during my sleep now, all I have to do is look at the ceiling.

Why didn't I think of this??? The next neat thing I want is that device that will flash caller ID information on your television. I'm going to wait, though, until I get a home phone. I have not yet done that since I have cable modem and a cell phone with unlimited weekend minutes. Perhaps a few years from now....
THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW

There are very few television shows which will ALWAYS be classics. THE ANDY GRIFFITH show is one of them. For those of you who don't know this, you can watch it every evening at 10pm on TVLand.
I see other blogs, and I'm jealous. Others have their "comments" posts at the end or bottom of blog posts. Oddly, mine is at the top. I don't know enough about the coding on this crazy thing to identify the comments generator and fix this thing that makes me different. I just want to assimilate! Will anyone help?

Thank you!

Thursday, February 26, 2004

It's Thursday night, and due to work things, I am only now getting back to the hotel room. At nearly 10:30. The results of the work were very good, though.

At one point today, I did some shopping at Borders Books & Music. In Dearborn, MI, a suburb of Detroit. I bought a 3-CD collection of Southern Gospel classics. I couldn't resist. It was only $13.99. If you appreciate 4-part harmony, and names like J.D. Sumner; the Oak Ridge Boys (before they were country), The Speers, and the Blackwood Brothers, you would appreciate some of this music. I had it blasting in the rental car while driving down I-94. Can't wait to get it back to the office and be inspired during work.

Today was very productive, even though I had to wake up at 4:30am. I am not a morning person. That's tough. Friday will be tough, too, with a wake-up time of 4:30 again, to catch a 6:30 flight back to New York. I think I might sleep until noon on Saturday. Just because I can!

Aside from business, one of the best parts of this particular trip is that I have found a new hotel in Michigan that I really like. Hilton Suites-Detroit airport. Full-service restaurant, high-speed internet, and free parking. Try it!

I guess I should post something really profound right now, but I'm exhausted. I hope to enjoy happy hour with Famous Author Rob Byrnes on Friday night. He always has something profound to say, so I will steal it, post it over the weekend, and you can read it on Monday!

Ciao for now.
"WELCOME TO ONSTAR"

My rental car is equipped with OnStar. While adjusting the rear-view mirror, I accidentally pressed the OnStar button. It took over the car. It was like the devil was talking to me and she was a woman! The radio went away, and I began being lectured about how I could NOT use OnStar because I had not activated my account. Heck, it wasn't my account, it was Hertz's! I tried to get the radio back, but nothing doing. Finally, the woman (she-devil) told me that I could ask for a live-person to help me. Faustian bargain? Perhaps....

ONSTAR LIVE PERSON: This is ______________. How may I help you?
ME: Uh, I think I accidentally pressed the OnStar button. How do I get my radio back?"
ONSTAR LIVE PERSON: Push the button with the dot.
ME: Oh, thank you.

Music returns.

I used to think I was pretty savvy about these things. New York is causing me to lose touch with automotive technological advances. May God have mercy.
On Tuesday night, Famous Author Rob Byrnes and I stopped by Washington Mutual's ATM to get cash before heading to Townhouse Tuesdays. After inserting my card, the screen asked me if I wanted Spanish or English.

If they know how much money I have in the back, down to the penny, can't they figure out BY NOW that I want English?

Reminds me of something my cousin Donna was talking about over Christmas. In Scottsville, KY, when you call the automated account information line at the local bank, it asks you to, "press 1 for English, or press 2 for Spanish."

To quote my cousin Donna:

"I shouldn't have to mash anything to get English. OTHERS should have to mash a button to get a different language."

I don't think anybody should have to mash any button. Number of non-English speakers residing in Scottsville, KY? Zero.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A NEW NEIGHBOR?

I really don't mind (too much) my celebrity neighbors. Seinfeld is okay, as long as he doesn't try to break line at Ray's Pizza. I'm a little concerned, though, about rumors that Alex Rodriguez is considering my neighborhood. For now, he is taking a place in midtown-east, which is near my office. But if the rumors are true, he might be moving to the upper west side.

Therefore, I have some questions:

-Will he shop at Gristedes or Zanzabar? Let's hope not Gristedes. The aisles are too narrow.
-When taxi's come, will they pick up him before me? Just because he's famous?
-Does he prefer CVS, Duane Reade, or an independent? I guess it depends which has the best price on Flexall 454.
-What if he uses the same dry cleaner as me, and they get our clothes mixed up? I don't look good in thin pinstripes.

As one transplant to another: A-Rod, please go to the upper EAST side. It's more convenient to the stadium.

Monday, February 23, 2004

THE COUNTRY BOY RETURNS TO NEW YORK CITY

I'm back! And happy to be here. Aside from the traffic, the crowded sidewalks, the narrow aisles at Gristedes, and the high price of cigarettes. So, a quick review of what happened vs. what I expected.

FRIDAY-arrived 9:08pm on American Airlines #1550. Oddest thing: as the captain was giving the "Welcome aboard...." speech, he began it by saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, from the pointy end of the airplane, this is Captain...." Weird.

Before leaving Friday night, I got hungry and had a burger at Wendy's in La Guardia. Therefore, I was not very hungry when I arrived in Nashville. But I forced myself to visit Waffle House, anyway. Mmmm, mmm, good. Then home to Mamma's, then to bed.

SATURDAY-I was supposed to go see my friend James Neal and pick up a gift from a friend who is a statesman in Virginia, but time slipped away. I will do my best to seek forgiveness at the first opportunity. Mamma cooked a big breakfast on Saturday, and I ate it all.

I could recap all the rest of the eating and stuff, but now's not the right time. Instead, I am going to close things up by just telling you about Sunday night, when my brother, The Great White Hunter, was at my mother's house.

Naturally, I had to be tuned in to the final episode. Big brother had never seen the show, and rarely heard of it. But he sat through it like a trooper. At one point, during a slow moment, I guess when Carrie was being silly in Paris, he asked me if I was returning to Kentucky in time to do some turkey hunting. I replied that I was doing NO hunting that required me to be awake before 6am. That means I escaped.

Big brother is getting serious about coming to visit New York City. Since he can't stay with me (he won't fit in my apartment), I guess I will have to put him up at the Waldorf. He will like that. Until he tries to buy a beer at the Bull & the Bear and finds out they are $9. Then he will alert them that, "in Kentucky, I can buy a whole damn case of beer for $9!." They might just comp him a beer because he is, after all, some six and a half feet tall and could easily go a muscular 280 pounds.
In a recent post, Nicole asks a very relevant question: what do we do for our livers?

There are no machines at the gym for the liver. No way to exercise it. Now I'm more than just a little bit concerned.

I am thinking that we exercise organs by putting them hi-stress sessions of what they do.
-BRAIN-exercise by thinking. crosswords, reading, etc.
-HEART-cardio exercises to get the heart rate up
-KIDNEY-drinking lots of water to "flush" the kidneys

So, therefore, to "exercise" the liver, shouldn't we tie one on from time to time, rather than just have a little sissy drink every once in a while?
A COUPLE MORE NEW LINKS

1. As referenced earlier, Nicole is in Nashville. But she's from the greater-NYC area. So, one might conclude that we are learning the way around each other's old stomping grounds at the same time. Big difference: she's near Vanderbilt and I'm on the upper west side. We don't have The Trace, Sunset Grill, or South Street. She, on the other hand, doesn't have Ouest, Dock's, or Ray's Pizza. I think we probably look at each other's blogs to explore vicariously the eating/drinking habits of each other, and we both seem to do it all quite well.

2. Hot Toddy (Toaster Oven) has a mind that should frighten small children yet provides me with endless entertainment from his perch in the Pacific Northwest. If the "Sex and the City" girls were as cool as him, that show would have been much more popular.

Friday, February 20, 2004

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

After a day of business in New Jersey, I am now excited about my trip home to Kentucky (and TN). I have blogged about that already. What really has my mind spinning now is New Jersey. These thoughts, in no particular order, crossed my mind today while traveling the length of New Jersey on the Turnpike

-In both Philadelphia and Manhattan: it's free to leave these cities to go to Jersey. However, it costs money to LEAVE NEW JERSEY to go to these cities (on the toll bridges/roads). Is this some sort of conspiracy to keep Jersey people out?

-SERVICE AREAS: are these places exempt from the same health laws that other food service places are required to follow? I mean, come on. How many hours can one roast beef sandwich sit under a heat lamp at Roy Rogers? (Answer: we don't know yet--one at Joyce Kilmer Service Area now holds the record at 18,273 hours.)

-TURNPIKE TOLLS: when you get on the turnpike in South Jersey, a machine kicks out a ticket. In northern New Jersey (near Manhattan), when you get on the turnpike, a person gives it to you. Are these workers members of different unions, with the northern workers being better negotiators, resulting in stronger job security?

-CONVENIENCE STORE CLERKS (only South Jersey): is there a requirement that if you work in a convenience store here that you must have hair that rises 25% of your body height above your head? And that fingernails must be 25% the length of your finger? And painted fire engine red?

Only in New Jersey, kids, only in New Jersey.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

HOW CAN WE FIX THE BROKEN PRIMARY/CAUCUS SYSTEM?

A couple of weeks ago, with fewer than 20% of Democrat delegates committed, the mainstream media had coronated John Kerry as the likely Democratic nominee for President. When I say mainstream, I mean the broadcast networks and New York Times. It seems that this will play out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, the media--a unique, integral part of our democracy--is (ironically) tainting the process. Also, ironically, they have anointed a sure-loser in John Kerry. I'm not saying that because I dislike him, but rather because he is not electable. "The Devil you know...." and all that. Bush, while having strong leadership qualities, is being undermined by the likes of Halliburton and its relationship with Dick Cheney. The best thing Bush can do now is dump Cheney as the veep, keep him on as advisor as necessary, but find a new, younger, energetic running mate. Perhaps Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky. One to understand and exploit the power of persuasion that comes with the #2 slot. Something more than breaking ashtrays on David Letterman's television show.

It almost seems that there is a big Democratic plan to offer up Kerry, for no more reason than it's his turn to run. The same as when Mondale was offered up against Reagan. The same way Dukakis was offered up against Bush 1. Then, the Democrats will finally come out with a viable candidate in 2008. Perhaps Hillary Clinton, but just as likely John Edwards. My initial reaction to the change in fortunes of the Democrats was, "they're giving up on Dean after one little falter. No party THAT fickle deserves a winning candidate." After further reflection, my attitude is more compassionate. Democrats are so eager to regain the glory of the Clinton years that they are willing to sacrifice 2004 in order to get a two-term stretch after the 2008 election.

Both parties have proven that a southern candidate can take the race. They've proven that several times over. Al Gore, popular vote winner, is a Tennessean by blood (although he has always been a beltway boy). George Bush really is a Texan, in spite of Connecticut roots. Bill Clinton, as southern as ever. George 1, almost southern, having served in Texas so far in the past (but really a beltway boy, too, even before there was a beltway); Ronald Reagan, southern Iowa and southern California. Does that count? James Earl Carter, southern. Richard Nixon, southern California. Southern boys help more than hurt. That's why I now make this prediction:

Picture it. USA, 2008. Democratic nominees will be John Edwards for President and Hillary Clinton for Vice-President. Republican nominees will be a southern Senator or Governor and a former cabinet member or Congressman. I expect Colin Powell to be on the ticket either in 2008 or 2012. I really would like to see both parties have a female in one of the slots. That would guarantee that this country would have a woman in one of the top two slots--the first time in history. And not Geraldine Ferraro, who was also a sacrifice fly for the Democrats, to make a statement. Finally, wouldn't it be a real coup de grace for the Republicans to beat the Democrats in having the first female (Christine Todd Whitman, perhaps?? No, not her....) and the first man of color (Colin Powell??) to be nominated on the same ticket?