Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Roll Me Out of the Ballgame

If you are a dedicated reader of my blog (as I am), you'll recall that some time back I regaled you with a tale of immense gastrointestinal importance...that being the all-you-can-eat section of the right field bleachers in Dodger Stadium. I'm here to update that report and give hope to all sports gourmands and even, possibly, to those of us in Wisconsin.
A quick recap for those new to the space: the LA Dodgers decided to offer seats in the right field bleachers this summer to those willing to fork over $40 per game to eat all they could during the course(s) of Dodger games. Since the left field bleachers cost about ten bucks, I was a bit dubious about prospects for success. Hence, the need for an update. Before you plan the road trip, remember that beer, ice cream and candy are exempt in this section. You'll pay regular price for these items from vendors. You could also become a member of the Dugout Club: they get seats behind home plate and a REAL buffet which probably includes $400 a seat per game! Otherwise, Dodger Dogs, popcorn, peanuts, nachos, soda and water are there in abundance from 90 minutes prior to the game until the 7th inning regurgitate, I mean stretch in the right field bleacher section. Patrons are limited to four items at a time so that everyone gets a chance to pig out. How successful has it been?
There are no reports of sellouts in that section, but the Dodgers have been averaging between two and three thousand fannies for those seats every home game! So now, an average family of four can see a game for $160, excluding parking. I'd never take my wife...after a couple of trays of nachos, she'd be done: hardly worth it. Don't get the impression that it's all about excess, according to Marty Greenspun, executive director and CEO of the Dodgers.
"It's not about gluttony. This is really about offering a new fan amenity. It's all up to individual choice."
I suppose with dogs going at $4.75 with a soda costing the same, it might be an OK deal. So how does this benefit Wisconsinites? One of the teams, in addition to the Philadelphia 76'ers, that has inquired about the promotion: the Milwaukee Brewers. I knew there was a reason I needed to get to Miller Park.
Now, if only they'd start selling Krispy Kremes. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Their Noses Knows

First of all, let's get something straight: if diamonds are a girl's best friend, how come men only get dogs as "best friends"? I think we're getting hosed here, and I think it's time someone of the male persuasion spoke there...I've spoken up. I say to all you guys "Let's rise up and demand something better than a dog as our best friend...somebody like the pizza delivery guy or a local bartender or...well, you get the idea. Dogs are ok, but best buds? Nah. However, dogs can be very useful. In addition to fetching frisbees (sometimes), we've been able to train them to perform many utilitarian functions.
Dogs can be trained to bark at anything that moves, ensuring that they will be effective as watch dogs and nuisances. And the things dogs can sniff out! (other than each other and every crotch available): dogs find drugs and bombs and bodies much better than those bees we read so much about. Now, I find they can also sniff out DVD recordings!
It's least in Malaysia. Seems there's a big market in bootleg DVDs from Kuala Lumpur, and night vision goggles just weren't doing the best job possible catching thieves in theaters. Imagine yourself as an usher in a theater there...the movie starts, and you slip on your night vision goggles to spot someone with a hand-held video camera or a phone camera copying an entire movie for surreptitious sale. The ushers have caught 17 people in the last 2 months doing just that! But it was not enough for the Motion Picture Association which, of course, stood to lose gajillions of dollars more than they paid out to some hack actors to make the movies. So, the MPA trained and delivered two Labradors (named Lucky and Flo) whose job it was to actually sniff out bootleg DVDs. What made them smell different than regular copyrighted ones? I dunno, but then, I wasn't doing the sniffing, and Flo and Lucky aren't saying. These best friends of man have sniffed out more than one million fake DVDs and broken up at least two pirate rings for bootleg films. Of course, fame has its price: Malaysian pirates have placed a bounty on their heads...literally. Imagine how Lucky and Flo are going to feel when they discover that THEY are man's best friends but the converse definitely does not apply!
Bow wow, indeed!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Check Your Hand

I knew it. I knew there was a reason I was absolutely horrible at math in spite of Father Richard Birdsall's best efforts to cajole something like an intelligent answer from me. He would always ask me a question, and when I could never respond correctly, He would reply, "Yes, that is correct..." and finish with the right answer so as not to confuse the math geniuses (genii?) in the class. At last I know that it was not his fault or mine that I was not equal to the task for even a fraction of the time. The answer was as plain as the hand in front of my face...well, my ring finger, to be exact. I'm a freak of nature.
Word comes from a reliable source (my know-everything son Ryun) that if ones ring finger is longer than his or her index finger, there was an abundance of testosterone in the womb, enabling said person to be better than average in mathematical computation. It also coordinates with the left brain-right brain thing, apparently. Anxiously, I checked both hands and was dismayed to discover that my ring finger is longer than my index finger ON BOTH HANDS! That means I should not only have a lot more hair on my chest but that I should be a math whiz instead of a math fizzle. While this may not be the first area in which abnormality is part of my makeup, it is certainly a significant one. What else is wrong with me that makes me the way I am and not the way I am supposed to be? Is therapy in order? Do I want to know? Am I the reason that the Bucks got the 5th pick in this year's draft instead of the 1st?
I need an explanation, and I need it soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Hey, m**&%#!*&!!, Can't You Drive?"

This is bad news for those living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area: you're driving habits have deteriorated. You are in a free-fall in the road rage category, and Greg Jennings now lives in Green Bay! Dire warnings ahead.
AutoVantage, an auto membership club akin to AAA and based in Connecticut, has just published its yearly report on cities in which drivers have been surveyed with an eye on road rage. Our friends to da west, hey, dropped from holding the title of the "Friendliest, safest" drivers to #14 on the list in one year...not good.
The most-often identified trait of road rage involved an impatient kidding? I thought it would be soccer moms trying to get the best parking space across the street from my house on soccer night.
Anyway, the cities in which one is most likely to experience this boorish behavior are, in order, Miami (2nd consecutive "title"), New York, Boston, Los Angeles (where everyone needs a guardian angeles or two), and Washington. Chicago placed #7 on the list, and others were mentioned as well, but I don't drive in any of them so I don't care.
If one wants to be treated courteously on the roadways, he or she should spend time driving through the following cities: Portland, Pittsburgh, Seattle-Tacoma, St. Louis (where respondents indicated that they were least likely to swear)and Dallas-Fort Worth. As I said, Minneapolis has fallen precipitously this year but hopes to rebound for the next survey.
Nothing was mentioned in the survey about mumbling to onesself concerning poor driving habits or talking to other drivers as if they can hear (though my wife assures me that they cannot).
This is all so unnecessary...if everyone would stay off the road when I'm using it, there would be no problems at all.
Drive on!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Beer On, Cocaine Off Grocery List

I imagine the whole world has heard by now that Wisconsin grocery stores will be offering free samples of beer, but not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. An alderman from, get this, Green Bay petitioned the city council to enact an ordinance banning the practice in Green Bay. His concerns included the problem of giving little children bad example as well as getting a licensed bartender to do the serving. My students were already talking about grocery store-hopping instead of bar-hopping as an activity...something you heard about here first. Anyway, the city council said something like, "Yeah, thanks for the input. We'll get back to you on this one." Whew! Brews safe for free distribution. I'd have to be driving to Manitowoc for my free samples, and drinking and driving are definitely a bad combination (of course, I'd be walking to the store in Green Bay!)
With that being said, I need to note that Redux Beverages has decided to take its product called "Cocaine" off the shelves. "Speed in a can" "Liquid Cocaine" "Cocaine--instant rush!" were some slogans used to market said product.
I think the FDA looked a bit askance at these techniques and "asked" Redux to address the issue.
Supposedly an energy-type stimulant drink, Cocaine will be renamed and be back on the shelves sometime soon. Name? I don't know, but it probably won't be "Heroin" or "Crack!" "Meth-Me" might be a possibility. More to come on this one.
The Attorney General in Connecticut said, "Our goal is to literally flush Cocaine down the drain across the nation." I need to introduce him to the folks in Milwaukee who recently inadvertantly (so they say)dumped more than a million gallons of raw sewage into Lake Michigan (source of drinking water for lots of folks).
Meanwhile...keep looking to the grocery stores in Wisconsin to provide that little high point in your day!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Why I Wear A Hat To Bed

I'm not a big hat fanatic. Most of the time, I eschew them in order to give my hair a chance to breathe...thus, insuring a longer life span for the follicles. I'll admit I was tempted this weekend to buy a new chapeau at NikeTown in Chicago. Those clever Research and Development guys at Nike developed a stocking hat device that actually had speakers sewn in as well as a connecting cord for an iPod shuffle. Connect the iPod, clip it to the hat: no cords to tangle and all the music a person wanted...or at most 240 tracks in succession. The decision not to buy rested solely on the fact that it's going to be summer soon (in Wisconsin that means July) and it was not practical. Jesse Courtney will get one soon, though, I predict.
This 9-year-old kid who lives in Oregon (home to Nike) kept telling his mother that he heard noises in his head like Rice know, snap, crackle, pop. She took him to the doctor who examined young Jesse and decided there might be something in there after all.
When the doctor irrigated (flushed with water) the kid's ear, a dead spider came out. Upon an ensuing irrigation, a second, this time LIVE, spider swam to freedom from the ear canal. It seems that the arachnids had been tap-dancing on Jesse's eardrum which accounted for the noise he heard.
Maybe he needs one of those Nike hats in order to play heavy spider would come near him then.
As for me...I'm digging through the winter hat drawer tonight before bed. EEEK!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Roll Out the Barrel...Grocery Division

Anyone who is surprised by the latest news from Wisconsin obviously does not live here. It was only a matter of time. You know it, and I know it. I'm talking about the passage this week of a law in the Badger state that allows grocery stores to give away FREE SAMPLES OF BEER! The justiication for this legislation comes from those who feel that a local product is getting short shrift in comparison to wine...which apparently can be distributed with impunity most any time, most anywhere. (of course, the problem with that is all the glass-tilting, swishing liquid around in the glass and in ones mouth as well as a generally snooty demeanor that goes with such an event)
Wisconsin has long been known as a beer-producing state, and the Tavern League has a lobby second only to the teachers' union in political sway in our state. But giving away two, three-ounce samples o' brew between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. in a grocery store seems a bit extreme. I can see it now...
Senior citizens invade grocery stores on Tuesday for their 5% discount, load up on free brewskis and a massive shopping cart tieup occurs. Ladies will be arguing over who got the early bird special first, and blows will probably be exchanged. Business at the Golden Corral, Ponderosa and /China Bufet will plummet since nobody really wants to eat anymore. Altercations will take place in the checkout lanes, and hundreds of people will be injured weekly while wandering around in the parking lot looking for their cars.
Mothers with small children will go to the store for a dinner item and return with a whole cartful of things they didn't want. Then, of course, they'd need to make a return trip to take back the cart and get the car. Toddlers and teething infants would fill the store but be strangely subdued. Mellow (NOT the Coke version "Mello") would be the order of the day...every day samples were handed out.
As soon as the first bottle was opened, text messages would spread throughout the state, and stores would be deluged with, not potential customers, but freeloaders. Having no need for IM in the past, those home during the day would become expert and suffer eventually from Blackberry thumb!
On the other hand, imagine the growth of the cheesehead population. Schools would finally get the money they need because there would be millions more paying taxes...wait a minute...FREE BEER SAMPLES ALL AROUND! I'm buying.