Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fast Food Fusion? Yuck.

Fusion cuisine has been a trendy thing for years now with chefs all over the world. It's amazing to see these food artists reinterpret a traditional food item like sushi with ingredients not traditionally found in Asian cuisine. (If you haven't guessed, I do watch Top Chef religiously.)

Unfortunately, fast food joints have also followed this trend by fusing their cuisines as well. However, the fusion for fast food usually consists of fusing crap with, well, crap. Recently, I saw a commercial for Long John Silvers for their new lunch special. Basically they wrap some of their breaded fish in a pita wrap...basically another layer of bread. Then, they toss in everything but the kitchen sink and fold it up.

A fish pita? Really? Was there a need to have a portable fish meal? Can you imagine what one's car would smell like after driving around on a hot summer day eating deep fried fish in the car?

Taco Bell has a chicken ranch if somebody sat down and thought: "hmmm, what would make this taco better? I know! Ranch dressing!"

McDonalds has a breakfast "burrito" filled with eggs, sausage and American cheese. Seriously. American cheese.

What's next? A hamburger bun filled with a pizza, wrapped in a pita and drizzled with tarter sauce? Or how about a taco filled with pasta, a Caesar salad and covered with chocolate sauce?

I imagine one day down the road, these concoctions will have unexpected consequences on those who digest them. Perhaps one day you have a choco-taco-pizza-wrap x-treme sandwich and you wake up the next day with a tentacle growing out of your ear. Or, maybe you partake in a donut steak and fish sandwich and your stomach literally crawls out of your body and punches you in the face.

Or you could just wake up and have the expected consequences of eating said food. Either way, it's a lose-lose situation.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cameras: Useful Broadcasting Tool or Idiot Maker?

Whether you are a sports fan or not, odds are you have watched a game broadcast on television, whether it be the Superbowl, World Series (unless your a Cubs fan) or a riveting water polo match. (Apparently, water polo does not use "Marco Polo" rules as I previously assumed.)

Anyway, have you noticed how the perfectly normal people who sit in the stands to watch those sporting events become complete idiots whenever a camera lens points their general direction? Here are some examples of the odd things that people do when on camera at a sporting event (and why they should have some self-respecting restraint):

1. Grab the front of your t-shirt to lift and shake the logo of the team you are currently watching while simultaneously screaming "WHOO!" to the camera.
Yes, we know you're there to watch that team now. But when I see you do that, I mostly think back to the Mike Myers skit on Saturday Night Live--Sprockets--in which Myers pinches and raises his shirt in a similar fashion (to mimic female anatomy) and says "I'm as happy as a little girl." But Mike Myers version is actually funny and entertaining. There is another group that uses overexcited gestures and sounds to communicate....they're called primates.

2. Act like you've conquered the world after you happen upon a foul ball.
Don't get me wrong, when a fan makes an extraordinary foul ball catch, the guy has a right to celebrate. What is annoying is when there is no extraordinary catch--rather, a fan chases a ball rolling down an empty aisle and--when he grabs it--acts like he is the greatest champion of all time, raising his arms in the air and shouting victoriously. Wow, so impressive of you to be one of the 46 fans who will snatch a $2 foul ball in that game alone. And even more impressive how you pushed that seven-year old boy down the stairs who was competing with you for said souvenir.

3. Holding one finger up and shouting "NUMBER ONE" at the camera.
Do I really need to explain how ridiculous this is?

4. Bringing a sign that plays off of the call letters of the network broadcasting the game.
This wouldn't be so dumb if the creativity of these people was better. When I see a sign that says ESPN vertically down the left side to spell out "Everyone is Special at Pistons land Now," I think that the sign was better left at home. The signs almost never make any sense and are mostly a cheap plea to get two seconds of air time.

5. Using your kid to get airtime by having him hold up your sign...for five hours.
How often have you seen a poor little five-year old boy holding up a sign (that he obviously had no part in creating) for the length of the entire game? At first the boy is happy to appease his parents. But by hour two, not only are the boys arms and shoulders suffering from extreme fatigue, but you've also managed to anger the fans behind you who can't see anything except the back of your sign. Try treating your kid like child, not like a gimmick for air time.

There are more, I'm sure. If you want to vent your "fans on TV gone stupid" ire, feel free to use the comments section on this blog to do so.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It Depends on How You Define "Taste"

Are you in need of a good laugh? Go visit a friend or family member in the near future and search through their music collection. Amongst the standard issue copy of Dark Side of the Moon that every American either buys or inherits at some time or another, you are sure to find a rather dubious album or two tucked away in the pack. Dust off its cover and you'll likely discover a rare copy of a Milli Vanilli album or a 90210 soundtrack CD. And you'll point at the guilty party and laugh heartily. You'll mock them and they will run and hide in a cold, dark place in shame.

But if you want a really good laugh, try looking at your own collection of music. It's true. We all have purchased and album or two along the way that--if we ever chose to run for President--would be just the breaking news story to foil our presidential bids. (You can bet that Obama and McCain have long since burned their copies of the Rick Astley CD long before they hit the campaign trail.)

But since I have no intention to run for President and I've never been accused of having any discernible taste, I will show my hand of my top five most embarrassing album purchases:

5. Train - Drops of Jupiter
I bought it because the first single sounded like the Black Crows. I realized soon after that the remaining tracks sounded like dog feces. I was mocked by friends for weeks for owning such an Oprah club, Lite FM staple of a CD until I ultimately converted the CD to a dandy coaster.

4. Brady Bunch - It's a Sunshine Day
I don't recall every buying this CD, but it's in my collection. And, yes, I have sung along to "Time to Change" in a faux prepubescent cracking voice. And yes, I am ashamed.

3. Ghetto Boys - We Can't Be Stopped
This rap group's gimmick was a suicidal midget. How could I have missed that GIANT RED FLAG!

2. The Beatles Anthologies #2 & #3
I left out the Beatles Anthology #1 because it was the first anthology I got and the atrocious sound quality of newly "discovered" b-sides and rarities should have kept me miles away from the subsequent anthologies. But I guess I thought that it was okay to listen to the fab four sound like they're singing in a distant tunnel with a vacuum player running during a thunderstorm...and pay $50 per anthology for the privilege.

1. Avril Lavigne - Let Go
This purchase wouldn't be so bad...if I were a 13 year-old angst-filled girl with a tendency to shop at Hot Topix. But given I'm a grown adult male (don't laugh), there is no excuse except for perhaps a momentary lapse of reason.

Don't be shy. Consider this your first BMLA meeting (Bad Music Lovers Anonymous) and share an album or two that you are embarrassed to have bought. We can build this thing together, stand up for eachother, nothing's gonna stop us now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Did You Hear the Big News?!?!

What the heck happened to news reporting? I tuned into CNN on Saturday to see if they had some interesting information about the presidential campaign. On screen were about 492 experts and pundits all working in tandem to report from the Democratic National Convention.

One of said experts--who looked to be a cross between a silver fox and a soulless imp--said there was breaking news. Wait, not "breaking news," but rather "BREAKING NEWS!!!" followed by enough swooping, swishing and flashing graphics to give you an epileptic fit.

So what need-to-know news item required such dramatic introduction? Well, according to CNN, it was the news that the Delaware delegates were being moved from the nosebleed seats in the arena down to the front and center high-roller box seats. (I guess now they get to sit next to Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson.)

The fact that the breaking news item had the word "Delaware" anywhere throughout it should have been a red flag to those CNN execs that it probably could have been buried in one of the seventeen news scrolls instead. But that's what news has become...a marketing gimmick designed to be a big giant steaming turd of a letdown.

How often have you watched a network program and the local news breaks in to tell you something shocking like, "Paula Abdul likes to kill baby seals? More on the 10 o'clock news." So, you tune in and you wait...and wait...and wait, until they tell you at 10:27 in a 10 second news blurb that PETA is angry that Paula Abdul wore a fur coat. And you're mad at yourself for falling for the rue.

Or, worse, when there is an actual news story and they cover it, and cover it, and cover it and cover it some more until you want to find the nearest blunt object and beat yourself over the head with it until it stops. I'll just mention some examples by name here which should bring back some horrible memories: OJ, Michael Jackson, Stacy Peterson, Scott Peterson, Drew Peterson, basically anybody who kills somebody else named Peterson, Brett Favre and shark attacks.

And has anybody else noticed that murder stories only get this sort of obsessive coverage if at least one of the people involved is either attractive or famous. Do you ever recall a time when a non-famous ugly person killed another non-famous ugly person and the media became a frenzy over it? Goes to show you how obsessed we are over looks that we don't care about crime news and justice unless it's got a looker or two involved or somebody who we saw on TV before.

I guess it's time to face facts. We are now all getting our news from a variety of news sources that, collectively, are essentially a version of the National Enquirer. Gotta go. Did you hear that a celebrity couple has named their newborn something strange? I must find out all about it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Joys of Grocery Shopping

Unless you order online--or have the luxury of having a maid or a butler--odds are, you practice the bi-monthly ritual of venturing out to your local grocery store to purchase goods chock-full of sustenance-y goodness. You know, the five food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, meats and whatever Oreo cookies are made out of.

Grocery shopping in itself is a perfect example of the yin/yang philosophy of duality in that for every fun part of grocery shopping--scooping up free samples, squeezing oranges--there are several unfun aspects as well--hauling the heavy groceries, having a heart attack after seeing the total price at the register. So, in an effort to improve upon the grocery shopping experience, I am writing this open letter to all grocery chains to offer these 5 tips on how to improve the customer experience:

1. Invest in New Cart Technology.
Isn't it odd that throughout your lifetime, grocery carts have changed very little? Outside of substituting out metal for plastic, grocers still provide the same shoddy carts that have fold down seats that get stuck and wheels that either stop spinning or go into a jittery, dancing convulsion with every revolution. Or there are the carts that insist upon turning right, which can lead to collisions and the potential bruising of produce and small children. Speaking of children, do you expect children to sit in those uncomfortable, pinching, ice-cold or burning hot seats and have a good time?

2. How About a Map or Directory?
35 rows filled with hundreds of thousands of products. A seemingly senseless arrangement of said products. And no map. I get it. You want people to meander and make impulsive buys. But why do so at the expense of annoying them? Imagine going to the New York City Visitor's Center and they tell you, "No, we don't have a map of the city. We figure that you'll eventually find the place you want to go and will probably find other places to go to along the way. So, win-win." And how about some logic to the arrangement of products? Try putting the bagels in the aisle next to cereal. Or how about putting salad dressing near the lettuce?

3. Hire Traffic Enforcement.
Let's face. For some reason, people enter a grocery store and turn into oblivious drones that are incapable of looking away from all of the shiny packaging on the shelves. This leads to traffic chaos. How many times have you walked down an aisle and a customer has their cart parked perpendicular to the rows, blocking the entire lane? So you sit there and wait until they decide between Honey Smacks or Trix. Or there's the speed walker who almost plows you over with his cart as he races down the lanes. Solution: Paint lines down the middle of the aisles to designate to lanes and take away the "preferred value super savings premier customer card" of anyone who carts like an idiot.

4. Less is More.
How about a sale that doesn't require me to buy enough food to feed a small army? Yes, I would like to save money on some chicken breasts. But do I have to buy 42 packaged in one large crate in order to get that savings? How about instead of having "Buy 4, get 1 free" deals, you can just take 20% off of each. I get it. You want you to buy more. But until they reinvent the storage capacity of kitchen shelves and refrigerators to be limitlessly expandable, there is no possible way I can fit all of the food you want me to buy!

5. Just be a Grocery Store.
Stop trying to be a "Super" market. You have too much stuff already. Why are you selling patio furniture or sports team t-shirts? How many people are sitting at home and thing, "Hmm, I need some engine oil, a lazy boy recliner and a Morton Grove High School pennant. I know! I'll go to the grocery store!"

I could go on, but I thought I'd leave that up to you, the readers of this silly blog. If you have ideas on how grocery stores can improve, comment on this blog. Rock the Vote! (I know, that makes no sense). As for me, someday I hope to have a butler to avoid all of this. And if I do, he shall be called Merriweather whether it is his name or not.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

They Look Like they Smell Funny

Face it, the odds of any of us rubbing shoulders with famous movie stars and musicians are slim. Your television screen serves as an impermeable barrier between you and the glitz, glamour and over bleached teeth of the rich and famous.

Given my overactive imagination and abundance of free time, one day I began to wonder if you could tell by image alone whether or not a celebrity smells bad. And if you think about it, it's more than likely you can. So, here is my list of the top five celebrities I bet smell bad...along with a description of what I think they probably would smell like.

5. Christina Aguilera from the Diirty years - When you look like you're covered in oil and sin, odds are you probably smell bad.
Smells like: A combination of cheap watermelon lip gloss and two-month old deep fryer grease.

4. Kid Rock - Let's face it. If you know you're girlfriend has an STD and you're cool with it, odds are your hygiene isn't top notch.
Smells like: A plastic cup of beer that's been out in the sun for three days mixed with bad, skunk-scented B.O. Add in the aroma of day-old whiskey-induced vomit.

3. Larry King - I think he died seven years ago, so that can't help any odor issues.
Smells like: A newly opened band-aid, old cigar smoke, tuna fish and milk breath from an over consumption of tapioca pudding.

2. Miley Cyrus - Through no fault of her own, her smell would come from any incidental contact made with her father, Billy Ray.
Smells like: Achey-Breaky B.O., mullet mouse and desperation.

1. Johnny Depp - Thought I was going with Brittney Spears here, didn't you? Too obvious. Why does Johnny Depp smell bad? Because he can. He's Johnny Depp. And it's what the eccentrics do, isn't it? Not to mention, he lives in France, a deodorant-free nation.
Smells like: 21 Jump Street. He keeps scrubbing and scrubbing, but it just doesn't wash away.

I bet you, too, could venture to name a few celebrities you think probably smell bad. If so, feel free to comment to this posting with your input.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Common Courtesy: Where'd You Go?

The biggest source of frustration in my life comes from dealing with people. Not just any people. But those people. You know all about those people. The ones that make no effort to adjust their straight line path when walking through a crowded mall, forcing you to veer around them with the stealth and agility of a fighter jet just to avoid a collision.

Or the ones that don't bother to say 'thank you' when you hold a door open for them. Or even the ones that, despite being 6'5" in height, work their way through a crowd at a concert to stand right in front of you and block your view completely.

You know. Those people. And they're everywhere! It's an epidemic of rudeness and self-centered ego-driven attitude that takes over the bodies of completely normal human beings and turns them into repugnant, hideous beasts who manage to take a perfectly pleasant situation and turn it into a major suckfest.

Exhibit A: At a recent concert of a famous English band (whose names rhymes with badiolead), one freckled, make-up covered brunette...think a poor man's Lindsey Lohan (which is saying a lot)...decided that I was there for the sole reason for her to lean if I was an upright barcalounger on which to rest her skanky bones. At first, I wrote it off as part of standing in a tight crowd. But I soon realized that it was deliberate. Here was a person who was perfectly happy with leaning her body weight on a complete stranger for comfort. (I guess the Li-Lo comparison works in more ways than one.)

Exhibit B: Pick any road and drive on it for an extended amount of time. If you don't run across a driver who seems oblivious to the obvious line divisions in the road and will randomly veer into your lane, then you are sure to meet up with a driver on his cellphone who believes that the car magically goes into autopilot mode once the phone is flipped open.

Or, you are sure to run across those drivers who have yet to figure out the complexities of operating the turn signal function in their vehicle. These people are also often known to make abrupt stops and turns. Perhaps you've run across a "gabsalot" driver who is so focused on the conversation he is having with his passenger...taking his eyes off the road to give the all-important eye contact needed in car conversation...that he fails to recognize that there are actually other drivers on the road who like to do things like drive the speed limit and not get into crashes.

Exhibit C: Work in the service industry for one day. Pick one. You'll find out just how quickly how proportionate employee incompetence is to customer rudeness. I once delivered groceries to a woman who scheduled the delivery to be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., but proceeded to yell at me when I woke her up at 8:30 a.m. to deliver the groceries.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. It's the way of the world I suppose. And given all of the news about what life is like in China, I suppose it could be much worse. But, then again, I still have yet to make my evening commute home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Joys of English Speak

Within the last year or so, I've found that I love using an English accent. Or at least my interpretation of an English accent--which is actually a bizarre cocktail that is one part English accent, one part Australian accent and one part German accent with a healthy dash of gibberish.

Regardless, it is quite fun. Especially, if you're as easily amused as I am. Here are some examples of how you too can have fun using English speak faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle":

1. Replace the word "my" with "me."
Examples: I forgot to put on my pants becomes I forgot to put on me pants.
My family thinks that time they dropped me on my head has had a lasting affect becomes Me family thinks I'm mental.

2. End sentences with the word "Gob'na."
"Gob'na" is the phonetic spelling of the English pronunciation of the word "Governor" This especially works well when you're greeting somebody.
Examples: Hello, Dave becomes Hello, Gob'na. Why aren't you wearing pants, Curtis? becomes Why aren't you wearing any pants, gob'na?

3. Avoid pronouncing the initial letters in words.
Examples: Hello. Did you happen to see the new Harry Potter film today? becomes "'ello. Did you 'appen to see the new 'arry 'o'er film today.

4. Say "Bollocks!" to describe anything you don't necessarily enjoy...or just use it randomly.
Bollocks is the English slang reference to testicles and is the English equivalent to the American word "bullshit." (Apparently, we prefer feces over testes to describe something that isn't true). It would be fun to use this term how it's meant to be used, but it's even more fun to use it randomly, even when it makes no sense.

Examples: That Sandra Bullock movie was shitty becomes That Sandra Bullocks movie is bollocks!
Hello, doctor, I seem to have a sore throat becomes bullocks!

Now I'll use all the tips above in a sentence, for your reference, of course:

'Ello gob'na, 'ave you seen me pants? It seems me girlfriend feels that walking in public in just me tighty whities is bullocks.

Now you have all the tools you need to thoroughly annoy those who come within communications with with on any level!


Welcome to my blog. I'm officially blogger number 72,456,965 on the Internet! Because I'm one of the first billion bloggers, I receive a free casserole dish filled with some sort of tuna/pasta/mayonnaise/mystery vegetables. Yippee!

Anyway, I originally started this blog as a music blog, reviewing various alternative and pop music bands. But I soon realized that having a music blog requires actual research and much better listening skills than I currently possess. So, I scraped the music blog idea for your average, lazy-man's blog that will feature my odd--sometimes insightful--but mostly odd thoughts on everything from how I still giggle at the word "poop" to my theories on the effectiveness of economic sanctions on an ever-expanding global economy.

And if you believe I will actually talk about economic sanctions on this page, this blog is probably not for you. But I'm sure this blog is for you because there is no way that this initial post won't convince anybody who comes across it to read obsessively, everyday, over and over again. (Or, perhaps you want to stick around long enough to simply share in my free fishy casserole dish). Either way, welcome aboard!