Boomer Twilight

Mostly Humorous Observations of Most Anything, with a Boomer Slant

Archive for the ‘Cynicism’ Category

What’s with the Nuts?

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In February I took my first flight since 2000. That seems like a long time between launches, but I like to drive. It’s the Jim Ignatowski in me. I think during my last journey, the airlines still provided passengers with meals. This particular trip was from Baltimore to Florida and back, so not such a long flight. Food was not a big priority. The airline did supply us with a pack of dry roasted peanuts.

After receiving my mini-bag, I started reading the wrapper. Ingredients: dry roasted peanuts, salt. The Disclaimer – “Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts.” Their italics, not mine. They wanted to place serious emphasis on the statement that peanuts were produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts.

The moment I read it, I knew liability concerns are out of control. Either that, or they really think the general public consists of blithering idiots who don’t understand that peanuts are peanuts. I know some moron will cut his hedges with a lawnmower, and be forced to sign his “x” with a nub. So, yeah they need to put a warning on the lawnmowers for that guy. And some fool will use a bungee cord to smash his head on rocks lining the river bank below the bridge he felt the need to use as a launching pad. Go ahead, print the distance limitations of the cord for that guy. To assume we can’t figure out that peanuts are produced in a peanut factory, brings visions of mindless zombies walking around with ice cream cones stuck to our foreheads.

I ate the handful of nut kernels and chuckled inside, showing the wrapper to those nearby. They thought it was silly, of course. The fallacy was exposed. Do you remember the Wendy’s “Parts is parts” commercial? Well, “Peanuts is peanuts” (I just wanna slap somebody).

Please understand, my whining has nothing to do with a like or dislike of a fine legume. I love peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, filberts, macadamias, etc. All nuts are OK by me. No, my complaint is “we have to stop treating ourselves like fools.”

Eventually there will be no name on any products, because the nutrition and warning labels will be the packaging. I know peanuts and other foods do cause allergic reactions. If you are allergic to peanuts, I am sorry. The alert really isn’t meant for you, because if you see a wrapper that reads dry roasted peanuts, you assume suicide is unpleasant.

If the dangerous stuff is hidden within another product and sensible people may not know, then it should be revealed in warnings. I can kind of figure out that milk is produced in a facility that processes milk products. Or that wheat crackers are produced in a facility that processes wheat products. So goes the peanut reference. There’s no need to spend the time or effort rubbing our noses in it. We get it. Nuts is nuts.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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March 17, 2008 at 5:45 am

Nine Tenths or a Tenth of a Thent?

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Pssst! What’s wrong with this picture? Give up? Well? What? It’s the fraction. I didn’t pay much attention when I was younger, nor have any idea when it began. If you know, tell me, because I am clueless. Now that I’m old and cranky, it just pisses me off!

Why do the gas companies use 9/10 as a measurement? I’ve never purposely pumped 9/10 of a gallon in my car. I usually try to round it off at the .00 mark, occasionally going a penny over (man, it ticks me off when that happens) and then try to go all the way to the next .00. Sometimes I get caught at .77 and can’t fill the tank any more without spilling it on my shoes. My preference is to pay for the fuel in round numbers, not tenths. I rarely have a pocket full of tenthathents.

The consensus is sellers of petrol use the fraction as a marketing tool. That’s not particularly profound information, is it? I’ll bet more than a few of you reading this see 3.14 9/10, and think you’re getting a deal at 3.14, not 3.15. Many will drive a couple of more miles to buy the gasoline at 3.12 9/10, because it seems like it’s only 3.12. The strategy seems to work. I too, fall prey to their ploy. And to be even sneakier, they don’t use dollar signs (like they’re some fancy restaurant), as if we lemmings won’t know it’s money. Lately, I seem to have stopped chasing down the few-cents-cheaper-gallon-several-blocks-away. It just doesn’t seem worth the fight. I’ll probably burn any savings during the chase down. When gasoline is necessary, I just get it.

Using the fraction is really no different than going into a store and buying something for $9.99. You’re only paying nine dollars, right? And, you are probably not even calculating the tax in your head. Who’s the better marketer; the petroleum companies or the retailers? The 9/10 is so annoying. Can’t they just round it out? Or switch to .99? That’s almost as irritating, but for some reason not quite as much as 9/10. Decimals are more appealing than fractions. Fractions seem a bit unwieldy. Decimals are quick and clean. Fractions are like a little fence you have to jump. Decimals are to the point. Hell, they are a point.

The price of gasoline is high, but how many of us buy bottled water? If a 16-ounce bottle cost $1.00, a gallon is $8.00. It appears the day has arrived where people are paying more for water than gasoline. Of course, no one can drink 10 gallons of water a day, but we can easily use 10 gallons of gas.

We’ll complain, debate, moan and groan about the price of gasoline, and how the Middle East is the cause of all our problems. Regardless, we won’t walk, car pool or drive more efficient vehicles. Why should we? When it comes to sacrifice, it is better to tough it out and pay the bill. Let’s save on groceries or other things in our lives. Eating at cheaper restaurants is helpful. I wonder how many Oil Executives frequent McDonald’s?

Well, I’m going to go now. I need to drive my SUV to Wendy’s and pick up dinner. They don’t deliver. Probably a result of the fuel prices.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

December 30, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Just Go Out There And Cell!

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“Can you hear me now?” We associate those words with the geeky, horn-rimmed Verizon guy, who started out walking through the woods alone and now is leading a pack of poorly-attired technicians. I am not sure what phrase Martin Cooper (pictured to the left) might have used to test his new device. But, one day there may be a church congregation worshipping this man for inventing the cell phone in 1973.

What did we do before Marty came along? Phone booths were a favorite urinal. Disgustingly dirty telephones on the side of lonely roads or in scary neighborhoods were our haven in emergencies or whenever we needed to make that sudden call to check what might be needed from the grocery mart. To the right is the last known working public phone booth in the Washington region. Only a few of the 70s-style booths remain. There’s one in Manhattan, a few classics in Pennsylvania, some on the Jersey Shore, and there are about a dozen Mennonite-built private phone booths in St. Mary’s County, MD.

Although I miss pay phones, I’m convinced they are the transmitter of fever blisters. Hasn’t the number of inflictions gone down over the last couple of years? It seems so to me. The transition from the phone booth, to the phone permanently attached in the car, to the credit card-sized data center that fits in a pocket has been a joy. Escaping it is becoming a chore. I carry my cell everywhere, and now it’s like my “clap on, clap off” emergency button. If I pass out or fall prey to a stray animal, my cell phone is programmed with the ICE (In Case of Emergency) number for my wife. Hopefully, if anything happens she has her cell turned on so the rescuers can do their rescuing.

Everyone has a cell phone. You can’t really argue against the cell as a safety device. It is a comfortable feeling to have your car break down on a desolate road and know your phone will save the day. Aunt Bea never called Andy from a back road. We’re fortunate there is a Marty Cooper.

One day they will be surgically embedding Bluetooth technology in the ear drums of infants in delivery rooms. They’ll be set for life. Speaking of Bluetooth, I have one. It’s a nice addition to the safety feature of the cell. I love using it on the road and having the hands-free option; but only while driving. Today, it has become something of a fashion statement. Wearing the Bluetooth everywhere is chique. We were recently in a restaurant on a Saturday night, when a group of eight people came in for dinner; four wearing a Bluetooth. A Saturday night is the perfect time for cell chit chat, while sitting at the dinner table, proving the Bluetooth is essential for the latest gossip update.

The idea for the cell phone was introduced in 1947 by AT&T, through their research department, Bell Laboratories. Motorola made the wise move of hiring Martin Cooper in 1954. Through the 60s and 70s, Bell and Motorola engaged in a mobile phone development war, and Marty came out the victor. Now we can pick up any forgotten or depleted grocery item on the way home from work. And we get free Caller ID. Martin, you are The Man.

It would seem a reasonable prediction that eventually the Bluetooth and cell phone will be one. We’ll walk around with a plug in our ear and everything will be voice-based. Hopefully, it will include voice recognition. Otherwise, we could really mess with people by randomly screaming something in their ears that might trigger a dial. The ability to be in touch at all times is a good thing. We can’t really get away, but we can’t get lost.

Excuse me. My phone is ringing.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

November 9, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Maynard G. and Crowell – The Bums of Northern Parkway

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First of all, understand these names are fictitious.* I wanted to use monikers that convey some sense of dignity for two individuals holding the title of “Bums of Northern Parkway.”

I work in Baltimore. Many times on my way to the office, I end up sitting at the intersection of Northern Parkway and Falls Road (since I rarely beat the light), in the right lane to turn south on Falls. This is considered the most dangerous intersection in the city (not relevant, just an interesting side note). In the median strip by the left turn lane to go north on Falls Road, one of two interchangeable bums is probably walking back and forth seeking financial assistance from the cars waiting for the light to change. I know bums is a lousy word. We can call them homeless, derelicts, hobos, or some other derogatory term used to poke fun at two fellows who are obviously down on their luck. They don’t have a lobby group or enough people who care to force us to be politically correct. To avoid being mean, we’ll call them Maynard G. and Crowell.

What strikes me is how many people ignore them. Regardless of the weather, the windows that may have been down are hurriedly closed, and the eyes of the drivers focus on anything other than Maynard G. and Crowell. No one seems to be reaching in their pockets or glove box to scrape together a dollar or some spare change to give. It’s easier to think, “Get a job, ” or “I work hard for my money, why should I give it to these beggars?” I understand. But, let’s weigh the situation with regard to Maynard G. and Crowell.

Maynard G. appears to be the victim of a stroke, industrial accident or birth defect. His right side is mostly paralyzed, yet he treks back and forth at a lumbering pace to gain the attention of anyone who will look. His ability to obtain employment seems thwarted. Crowell, on the other hand, borders on healthy enough physically, but probably suffers from a mental condition, handicapping his prospects of a real job. If you watch for awhile, Crowell always goes to the sign at the top of the median at the end of his walk and touches it in four distinct spots, in a very regimented pattern (some say a cross). Crowell won’t be browsing the Business Casual section of Men’s Wearhouse any time soon. Maynard G. and Crowell’s alternatives are slim.

One day a few weeks ago, I landed in the left lane on the other side of the street (the dangerous side) with Maynard G. approaching me. He had been relegated to this location after being dislodged by candy sellers who took over his other spot. Business for them was very good. I reached into my pocket, grabbed a handy dollar left over from lunch, and held it out for Maynard G., who dragged himself as fast as he could, while I worried the light might change. It was only a dollar, but you should have seen his face.

A lot of costumes worn on Halloween are in the Maynard G. and Crowell vain. When I was a kid, Freddie Freeloader was one of my favorite characters on the Red Skelton show. I laughed, and he received accolades. I didn’t think it was mean; it seemed kind of funny. Pan Handling for a living is an acceptable skit. Maynard G. and Crowell are not amused.

Out of a total population of three hundred million Americans, we spend $20 billion dollars a year on ice cream; candy rakes in $46 billion; $8 billion dollars on beer, wine and spirits; NFL Franchises have a combined worth of $20 billion; and sales during Thanksgiving and Black Friday combined must exceed the annual budget of not just a few small cities.

So, the next time ice cream is on the tip of your tongue, while extravagant chocolate melts in your mouth, probably dessert following the Turkey Dinner you’ll take hours to absorb . . . . . just take a nano-moment to think about Maynard G. and Crowell.

Have a nice Thanksgiving with your family. Enjoy the football. Don’t run out of beer.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

* The photos were extracted from the Internet. They are not pictures of Maynard G. and Crowell.

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November 3, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Trafficking On The Ways

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It makes no difference what time I leave my house in the morning. The only way out of the neighborhood is a choice of one lane roads going in 4 different directions, only one of which heads toward the office. Fortunately I work all over, so the other escapes are sometimes handy. Regardless, those routes are usually stuffed, too.

The Baltimore Washington corridor is a nice place to live. I’ve been in this area all my life and would not want to live anywhere else. Civil War and Colonial History is all around us. We have access to every service available. The Federal Government is nearby for our benefits challenges. Roads are constantly being built and improved in a never ending cycle of traffic. I mean traffic. Lots of it. It’s just too much. My steering wheel and turn signal are crying “abuse” and my right shoe is screaming “Kiwi!”

On any given day you can spend 50% of your morning on the road, even though your profession is not driving. And what is the deal with all the traffic on Tuesday? If Monday were Tuesday, would Wednesday then be crazy? There are several ways around the traffic. Beltway, highway, roadway, subway, byway, anyway. No way.

The price of gasoline is running anywhere from $2.66 a gallon to $3.00 at no particular time of the year. I would gladly pay $3.12 a gallon if they could just stop the traffic. It’s everywhere and never goes away. Ever.

Maryland taxes are high, and the amount of tax dollars spent on our roads appears to be hefty, based on the amount of traffic. I can’t remember the last time 695 circling Baltimore and 495 smothering DC were not undergoing some renovation. Yet, with all the construction, we still have too much traffic. Is the intent to widen the roads so we can get somewhere faster, or to make room for more traffic?

It’s a thrill to be stuck in the left lane with no way over to the right and wanting to get over there because I just know it’s quicker. Then I get in the right and it stops so the left can move faster. Traffic. How could a band name themselves Traffic?

We could all help each other by driving scooters and bicycles to work each and every day. We could also fly kites and make our own electricity. I love having my car available for any voyage. I’ll deal with the traffic, if I can find a way.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

October 16, 2007 at 11:41 pm

The Quils vs. the New Stuff and How Ice Changed the World

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Have you recently tried to buy any original NyQuil (introduced in 1968) or DayQuil (1974), or the generic brand of the same product? You have to give your name and address, possibly show identification and sign for it; if the store even carries the stuff. Most of it has been replaced with a non-pseudoephedrine containing impostor. If these new products were tested on anyone, I want the phone numbers of those people.

The New Stuff doesn’t work, especially the new NyQuil. They have replaced pseudoephedrine with phenylephrine in DayQuil, because methamphetamine is manufactured by Speed Freaks using pseudoephedrine as a key ingredient. It has been eliminated completely from NyQuil. Now the rest of us have to suffer through severe colds with inadequate medication. We are forced to purchase a lesser product containing phenylephrine so Crank Heads don’t have their faces eaten away by the sores that develop from their addiction. Let’s save them all! It’s the humanitarian thing to do! There are several street names for methamphetamine, including: crank, crystal, meth, ice, speed, glass, and chalk. You can read more about the reasons for the changeover at new stuff.

Original NyQuil worked. It flat out did the job. I could take it at night before going to bed, and wake up feeling myself. With The New Stuff, I wake up feeling like crap. The same goes for original DayQuil. It worked great during the day, when you wanted to avoid drowsiness. They simply removed one of the ingredients, doxylamine succinate, from original NyQuil when producing original DayQuil, which is the antihistamine that makes you sleepy. Both pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are nasal decongestants, but the newly formulated NyQuil doesn’t contain either of them, and the new DayQuil, which does include phenylephrine doesn’t work as well as original DayQuil. NyQuil is now made with acetaminophen, which most people know as the ingredient in Tylenol, dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), and the aforementioned doxylamine succinate. New DayQuil contains all those ingredients except doxylamine succinate, and pseudoephedrine has been replaced by phenylephrine. Confused yet? I am. The final result is we now have another inconvenience caused by illegal activity.

I guess the crystal-meth manufacturers are pretty smart, even though some of them are blowing up their homes making their batches. How do they even extract the pseudoephedrine from the medications to produce their drug? I can’t imagine any of them have degrees in Pharmaceutical Engineering. But, criminals are usually more genius at whatever activity they pursue, than those pursuing them. And, they seem to have more resources to use in their ventures than those assigned to put them out of business.

Apparently the decision was made to stop the manufacture of crank by taking away the source of pseudoephedrine, and give us ineffective products in return. How did we end up being the bad guy? I didn’t ask for the cold. I am sure the criminal minds will figure out a way to produce ice using phenylephrine, Drano, rat poison or whatever people are willing to consume.

Well, I have to run. My cold is killing me . . . . and I need to buy some chalk.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Amber Alert Goes Red

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I was driving to work one morning, listening to “Mike and Mike,” when the blurt of an alarm came on the radio to announce an Amber Alert. Personally, I think Amber Alerts are a wonderful tool; a way of combating the perverts who feel the need to prey upon young children, making it possible for us common citizens to lend a hand in the capture of the culprits. All well and good; however, the assumed need to be “politically correct” interfered with the Alert because the description of the suspect and victim was so veiled in obscurity it was useless. This is what I heard . . . . “3-year old, Kyren Parks, 47 pounds. Suspected abductor . . . . Robert Douglas, 6 feet, 170 lbs.” That’s it! That was the description! They gave a general idea of the locale, but it was just as vague. So, I am looking for a male/female, Caucasian American/African American/Asian American/Hispanic American (sorry, I can’t think of any more hybrid Americans) child, 47 pounds, and a pretty thin Caucasian American/African American/Asian American/Hispanic American/probably male, who is the suspected abductor. Thankfully for everyone involved, there was not a tragic ending.

What the hell is going on in this country? Why can’t we describe people? Why is it so insulting to the specific race/ethnic group/religious affiliation/cult/whatever to give a detailed description of the suspect so the Amber Alert can actually help? We’re talking about a child being abducted here, not some 7-11 being robbed of $23 and a Mountain Dew Slurpee.

I understand the concern about profiling when identifying various races/ethnic groups/religious affiliations/cults/whatever with various activities that seem to be overwhelmingly skewed in any one direction. We don’t want to immediately associate a race/ethnic group/religious affiliation/cult/whatever with any particular criminal activity by inadvertently categorizing the person as the member of a certain race/ethnic group/religious affiliation/cult/whatever because it would be innately wrong. But, we are dealing with children when it comes to an Amber Alert, and unless you have no heart at all, children do matter.

I continued on my way to work and at every stop light looked around for a small male/female, Caucasian American/African American/Asian American/Hispanic American child, 47 pounds, and a pretty thin Caucasian American/African American/Asian American/Hispanic American/probably male, who is the suspected abductor. Fortunately, I didn’t confront a father taking his child to pre-school or the donut shoppe, and make a fool out of myself by beating the snot out of him because he might be the suspect.

Let’s throw this silly urge to be unbiased out the window and give better descriptions during Amber Alerts of both the suspects and the victims. I would rather save a child than insult a race/ethnic group/religious affiliation/cult/whatever.

(By the way, Kyren is a boy.)

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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September 12, 2007 at 11:29 pm

Tangible Spam

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During the 60s there were several newspapers in most cities. It seems today in the majority of areas around the country they have disappeared or merged into one. I like competition. It makes things cheaper and requires a thirst for perfection in order to stay in business. Free is cheap. But the onslaught of free papers is getting out of control.

Walking through my neighborhood I am noticing more and more signs attached to mail and newspaper boxes that read, “No Free Papers.” Apparently it is getting to the neighborhood sign makers, too. It would be OK if the free papers were newsworthy, but they are simply advertising vehicles, which makes them free and encourages litter. Yeah, politicians need to get the message out so we can choose between empty promises of the best looking, family person, who loves Jesus, and a better school system. I guess we do need to vote. We are Americans and voting is part of our heritage. But, do we need 471 competing rags, littered with coupons offering us 20 – 40 cents off just about everything? Are there any gas coupons in them? I don’t recall ever getting a paper offering petroleum discounts.

If you are away from your home for a day or two, and it rains, you have a driveway filled with some sort of clear, pink, yellow, or orange-colored, spongy mass that once was a free paper. If you are away for a longer time, the sunlight turns it into some sort of disintegrating, clear, pink, yellow, or orange-colored, spongy mass that once was a free paper, that is now embedded in the crevices of the driveway. Of course, being polite, and not wanting the wrath of your Homeowners Association, you are neighborly and clean up the disintegrating, clear, pink, yellow, or orange-colored, spongy mass that once was a free paper, that is now embedded in the crevices of the driveway. The point is, you didn’t ask for this.

I always hated the “opt out” option. Is their really an “opt in” option? Usually you have to make an ass out of yourself complaining, then the distributor of the free publication directs your attention to the fine print. Otherwise, the papers keep coming, and coming, and coming. Electronic Spam always has the link that you have to click in order to stop the messages from arriving in your email box. It really doesn’t work for several months, but the “opt out” option is there, nonetheless.

Unless you can catch the sneaky bastard delivering the free papers, you don’t get a chance to stop the flow. Try setting a trap of nails or glass particles in front of your driveway, and maybe it will discontinue, but you face the possibility that the trap you set becomes your own problem, once you have forgotten about it. Or the neighbors’ kid flattens the tire on his/her bike and you are faced with explaining yourself to someone you thought was a friend.

If you are a walker, you’ll notice the papers in driveways and if they have been there for some time, it’s a disgusting mess. You don’t want to pick them up and throw them away, because there is a slight possibility the person who has received them may actually want them. I doubt it, but who wants to be the neighbor stealing the other neighbors’ paper? Even though there is no possibility the papers can be read in the condition they exist, to throw them away is an invasion of privacy. And, who wants to be the neighbor invading privacy?

I guess it’s hopeless, so I will go now. I need to make a sign.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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May 25, 2007 at 9:15 pm

The Right To Bare Arms

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Tis summer and shoes might not be worn. You can’t go into a food joint without shoes or a shirt. Can you go in with bare arms? It depends on the number of tattoos and/or needle marks, I suppose. As Americans, we have a Constitutional Right to Bare Arms. Tank tops are possibly acceptable if you are female (and in decent shape). If you are a fat guy with a serious belly protruding, you may want to rethink your wardrobe.

The wearing of baseball caps in an eating establishment is common these days. Why, I don’t know. Perhaps I am old-fashioned and think a cap should be removed, but I live in a somewhat “Redneck” area and it seems to me there is not a second thought with regard to baseball caps. Let’s not dwell on the amount of grime on the sweat band. What the heck, no one sees it. It’s there, digging into the forehead of the wearer, and most likely not healthy. I don’t have scientific proof as to how unsanitary it might be. Sweat and dirt are a gross combination, so there is probably evidence to suggest the touching of the rim and constant removing of the cap and replacing it could lead to some form of bacterial contamination. Then there is the running of the hand through the hair before replacing the cap. That cannot be good. If he (I say he because few women wear caps) goes to the rest room, the odds are not in your favor he is washing his hands after whatever bathroom activity he has completed (I’m amazed at the number of men who leave the latrine without doing so).

If the guy wearing the cap touches a chicken wing on the buffet bar and puts it back (unobserved by you), is that wing healthy? You won’t know until you are ill from the lack of sanitation, which you didn’t know was a problem because, “out of sight, out of mind.” No, you have to depend on your immune system filtering the bacteria he transmits while his fat ass is fingering the food.

It may be somewhat possible to determine the extent of contamination based on the stains on his T-shirt. If there are only a few, maybe it’s safe; however, if he just came in from the construction site and went directly to the all-you-can-eat bar without visiting the men’s room for a wash, you are in trouble. Should you spend your meal worrying about him washing? Most of us don’t. We trust the restaurant is clean and the patrons are thoughtful.

We do have the Right to Bare Arms. But, we don’t have the right to crap on our neighbors’ plate. Wearing a cap in a restaurant is inconsiderate to those who don’t. Then again, to regulate it is another form of Government intervention we can live without. As long as we survive the food-borne disease.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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May 23, 2007 at 12:01 am

Tobacco Smoke vs. Flatulence . . . Whose Right?

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Tobacco smoke is a disgusting irritant. So is a fart. Farts are comical to most people. You may be snickering right now just seeing the word in print. When we were kids in school, the class clown was adept at bathroom humor. To break wind and point at the person next to him was a typical and overdone move, and the louder, the better. We laughed because it was a funny, welcome diversion. The “pull my finger” joke always gets a chuckle. There are many slang words for flatulence; fart, fluff, poof, poot, toot, squeaker, squiggle, ass burp, blurp . . . just to name several. Uttering these words usually causes chortling by anyone within earshot. But, if you are sitting in a bar and the person in the adjacent stool is busting his ass incessantly, it ain’t funny. Not so much because it is foul, as it’s inconsiderate. So, why is it non-smokers are expected to accept tobacco smoke lingering in their space simply because they’re in a bar?

Now, I’m not one who favors a lot of government regulation, but it seems to me repulsive behavior needs some control. We could outlaw farting, but that would be silly. Most people are courteous enough to “take it outside” without being forced. If someone sitting next to you at the bar asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?” and you are bold enough to reply “yes” they will still light up and blow it in another direction. Certainly the cigarette will not be put away. There is a sense of entitlement because you are in a drinking establishment and smoking is legal. Perhaps the smoker will move to another area of the bar, but if there are no other seats, you must be tolerant because it’s a bar.

Flatulence and tobacco smoke have three things in common . . . 1) both are airborne 2) it is impossible to control the direction of their movement and 3) they stink! Asking someone who is smoking not to, invokes an arrogant glare, a smart remark or simply being ignored. Common courtesy does not permit one to fart because it is innately understood to be repugnant to those in the immediate vicinity. Why then is smoking assumed to be inoffensive to the nearby non-smokers?

There is the argument smoking is an addiction. OK, agreed. Heroin and crack are addictive, as well. But, they are illegal. Attempts to outlaw smoking in bars leads to cries of “rights trampling” or “big brothering” or other insidious encroachments toward totalitarianism. It is thought by many to be unfair to require smokers not to trample on the rights of non-smokers, who today outnumber them. Our society legislates intolerance of many activities considered abhorrent by the general public. These “laws” are adjusted coincidentally with the change in mores. Today the non-smokers have overtaken the smokers in large numbers; therefore, the laws will eventually be changed as desired by the majority. Once in place, they become the norm and the protests are muted. I doubt a ban on smoking in bars will be quite the demise of society those opposed believe. People go to bars to drink and socialize. If feeding their addiction is necessary, they will go outside just as they do where they work.

I don’t frequent bars as much as before, simply because I prefer to spend my time at home; however, the next time I go to a bar where smoking is allowed and someone next to me asks, “Do you mind if I smoke?” my response will be, “No. Do you mind if I fart?”

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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March 3, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Howling In The Grieveyard

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The 60s were fun for a lot of us. For some it was a difficult time. Vietnam caused a horrible rift in the country, with people taking sides either for or against. A lot of good things emerged from that era; political accountability, a renewed attention to personal hygiene, the Beatles, the Motown sound, muscle cars, mood rings, genital herpes, Charles Manson, and granola. A troubling phenomena with its “peace, love and understanding” roots in the 60s has developed in today’s world . . . . . grief counseling.

If you are a Grief Counselor I don’t mean to get personal. But, what you do is hard to understand. Attorneys get grief for chasing ambulances, but Grievees chase disasters. “I dropped my toast, butter side down.” Call a Grief Counselor! “My mother yelled at me for a messy room.” Call a Grief Counselor! “They took Court TV out of our cable lineup.” Call a Grief Counselor! “There’s a fly in my soup.” Call a Grief Counselor!

Now, I am as sympathetic as anyone. My wife was extremely embarrassed when we saw “Terms of Endearment” in the theater. I sobbed and blubbered during the scene where Debra Winger’s children stood by her bed while she was dying. Any movie sure to make me cry has to be watched in solitude. When we put our dog down three years ago, everyone in the Vet’s office was wailing when I lost it. So, don’t think I don’t grieve. Do I really need a trained specialist to tell me I am sad and keep reminding me?

When there is a news report on TV involving a mass shooting, an explosion, or some other tragic event, they announce that Grief Counselors are on the scene. Whew! Thank God! Everything will be OK, now! It seems like they arrive before the rescuers or the police. Do they have CB radios in their cars so they can get there right away? Are people actually waving flashlights to direct the Grievees to those needing grief maintenance? The bodies are still warm, while the Grief Counselors are busy gathering up anyone they can find to hold their hands, wipe their brows and shove business cards in their pockets.

When a High School kid loses control of a vehicle causing a deadly accident, which is usually the result of excessive speed, inadequate driving experience and/or alcohol/substance abuse, the school administrators dial the red Grief Phone to bring in a dozen or so counselors for the other students. Do you think the school officials would ever call a Priest, Minister, Rabbi, Mullah, or Monk to help the grievers? Not likely with the separation of Church and State and all. I would prefer my tax dollars go to feeding jobless pimps, buying dinners and plane rides for Politicos, providing condoms to those who won’t use them, cutting the grass on the White House lawn, saving the Clanwilliam Redfin, overpaying Defense Contractors, setting killers free to kill again, determining coffee is bad then good then bad then good then bad then good perpetually, or any other worthwhile cause.

Let’s put the grief ball back in the court of family and friends.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

February 19, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Aging In America

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What exactly is a Boomer? The official designation goes to those individuals born between 1946 and 1964. OK, that’s fine. Although my preference is to think of a Boomer as someone born between 1945 and 1960, I am positive being born in 1950 qualifies.

Many of us were Hippies. Many, many smoked pot (many still do). We watched black and white televisions as children. Leave It To Beaver and Andy Griffith were hilarious (then). Zorro, Johnny Yuma, Superman, Batman, The Cartwrights, and Wyatt Earp were some of our heroes. At our Elementary schools we ate grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup on Fridays. The year 2000 seemed like a fantasy, and we thought 50-years-old was a foot in the grave, with the other foot on a greased ice block. Now 60 is just around the corner. 70 is likely. 80 is not an Impossible Dream. So, where are we now?

Most of us are overweight, with High Cholesterol, HBP, Diabetes, ED, Prostate Cancer, Hormone Therapy, Cataracts, and we walk funny. Our AARP card is drawn like a gun at the movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, or any place we can save a dollar or two. We have angst over our retirement. We feel guilty bitching about our neighbor’s kid’s loud music, yet we still attend Stones concerts. Mowing the lawn is now a chore, rather than a joy as it was when we were new homeowners. Fiber is no longer an afterthought. Having a toilet seat break under the weight of our asses is now an accomplishment (at least we’re going). We were shocked when they started saying “ass” on regular TV. Shopping at Walmart no longer feels like an assault on the local small business (we’ll be vying for the Greeters’ jobs soon).

Now we are “Seniors, Hear Us Roar in Numbers Too Big to Ignore.” The 2008 election is coming, and the Presidential candidates are lining up. They’ll start kissing our behinds and making ridiculous promises they’ll not keep. They will hope we die before they have to deliver. But we are viable numbers, with viable needs. Portability this, Entitlement that. They talk a good game when their jobs are on the line. How’s the new Prescription Drug Plan working for you? Have you been to Canada recently? Have you obtained an online medical evaluation from Almost-A-Doctor so you can buy drugs? Don’t worry, they’ll vow to fix all that. At least up until the Inauguration of January 2009. Then we’re stuck with whichever Loser wins. But aren’t most of the candidates Boomers, too? Shouldn’t they be sympathetic?

I want to be able to off myself if there is no hope of recovery from whatever devastating disease I have in the future. I don’t want a politician standing by my bedside preventing my wife from pulling the plug. What the hell does the politician know about me or any of us? We are a vote or a no vote. That’s it. Sure, they preach they care. But, we know they don’t. When we’re at our Senior Center Dance, maybe they’ll come by to shake our hands, eat a cookie and wiggle their booties to the music . . . . . . . . because there is an election on.

So, let’s all gather ’round for the candidates to give us a big kiss. Some of them will pinch our cheeks. Some of them will slap us on the butts. But, they will all look at us through rose-tinted glasses and wish us well. And beg for our vote. Think carefully about who will get yours.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

February 14, 2007 at 2:00 pm