Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween, 2014

Ah, tradition!
There's nothing quite like the annual celebration of long-established rites and customs. Largely because it doesn't require a lot of original thought, and therefor, not a lot of work.
Now that's something that deserves to be celebrated!
In other words, it's time once again for the re-cycling of the only real, traditionally-formatted joke joke I've ever written, which is only appropriate during the Halloween season, which is to say THIS ONE JOKE RIGHT HERE!

Knock knock
Who's there?
Ow who?
Werewolves Of London

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I love Craigslist

I love Craigslist, the seedy, debauchery-soaked flea market of the internet. For every creepy, awkward, inappropriate, potentially horrifying and probably illegal post you find, there are, well, dozens more exactly the same if not worse. It's like whatever the next thing is after pornography in terms of being less socially redeemable, that's what Craigslist is. It's wildly entertaining for virtually no good reason whatsoever. Every so often, right-minded people will make an attempt to clean it up and make it a more decent and reasonable resource for people. Poor misguided do-gooders. Craigslist is, was and always will be a haven for whores and degenerates of all kinds to peddle their perverted wares.
Thank goodness!
I've been enjoying it for some time. I don't go on as often as I used to but still check it out from time to time. Like last week, when a co-worker was talking about going up to Auburn, where he went to college, to watch a football game between the Auburn Tigers and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, but he was concerned that he had no place to stay. Craigslist to the rescue! I quickly posted this ad on his behalf...
Can I stay with you, my friend? (Auburn) Hi. My name is Hayden and I need friends for two days. I'm coming to Auburn for the big football game against the Cocks taking place somewhere between the 24th and 25th of October and I'm looking for a place to stay. I prefer to stay with friends so we would need to establish that relationship first (there isn't much time between now and then so, chop chop!). Here are some of the things I like: Golf. Showers. Dogs. Salad dressing enthusiast. Auburn football against the Cocks. I hate breakfast. After the game we will each go our separate ways and never speak to one another again so it's no big deal if we're not completely eye-to-eye on some of this stuff. Let's do this, pals!
No replies, but who cares? Fun!

Last week, a friend and fellow Craigslist devotee shared this beauty from Chattanooga with me...

LET'S FUCKING FRISBEE (anywhere in the Noog) No frisbee golf, no ultimate. Don't care what race or gender you are. Not trying to jack off or fuck anyone. All I wanna do is toss a goddamned frisbee at you, and you throw it back. I don't care if you're any good. Let's just try this shit. Yes, I am awesome at frisbee throwing and catching (especially for a man of my portly stature), but don't let that intimidate you. Embrace my awesome. Have a drink from my flask. Let's do this shit.
Yes. If you are in the Noog, you should definitely do that shit.

Craigslist; It never, ever gets old.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Subpar heroes

Someone posted this picture on Facebook the other day...
It's obviously a panel from some deservedly long-forgotten comic book, featuring the introduction of five of the least inspiring "heroes" ever. In the comments, someone asked what each of their super powers are. Personally, I have no idea. I'd never seen this before. Things like that don't stop me from answering questions, though. So here's what I think:
  • Halfaman = possesses half of all the abilities of any normal man. 
  • Monkeyman = Kind of like a monkey. 
  • Pigman = Perceived as slovenly yet actually quite clean. 
  • Pizzaman = Delicious. 
  • Frogman = Has a watertight ass.
There you go.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Time to take a T.R.I.P. with Monica!

Once again, it's been a while since we've presented The Ridiculously Inconsistent Podcast (or T.R.I.P.). But we're breaking that fast today with an interview of local radio (Tampa Bay) legend Monica! That's Monica! with a !, not Monica the !-less pop star. The Monica! we talked to will share her insights on sports fandom, working in the wonderful world of radio and being Mexican.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Convenience store of the damned

The other night, I had the misfortune of stopping at the Gowers Corner Citgo station  at 18901 Hwy 52 in Land O' Lakes.
I parked next to a tow truck with two teenagers inside who stopped making out long enough to glare at me as I made my way into the store.
Many convenience stores are managed well and lovingly maintained. Clean, well-lit, plenty of quality merchandise displayed in an attractive manner. This place has none of that going for it. Dark, musty and generally picked-over, it looks like the kind of place where Hepatitis would shop if it were a person.
I realize this is a pretty uneventful story but this part is where something interesting happened...
I got the beer and got in line, waiting to be served by the clerk whose nametag identified him as "Jerry".
Yeah, okay.
That isn't actually a picture of "Jerry" but you get the idea. Anyway, I was next in line when this skinny, skeevy, dusty old redneck guy suddenly cut in front of me, handed "Jerry" a $20 and asked for quick-pick lotto tickets.
Also not the actual guy but again, you get the general idea.
I was somewhat annoyed but didn't make a big deal about it, planning to just pay for the beer and get out of there before accidentally cutting myself on something. But as he collected his tickets and left, he turned to me and went, "Heh heh heh."
For some reason, this completely threw me and I didn't know how to react. "Heh heh heh". Who outside of a comic book actually says that? Like he had gotten away with some fiendishly clever scheme. Way to beat the system, pal. Congratulations, dark genius. You win today's game of Convenience Store. I sincerely hope that one of those lottery tickets is the grand prize winner, only because I want to see his reaction. I can totally visualize him hitchhiking to Tallahassee to collect an oversize check from the governor, turning to the crowd and cackling, "heh heh heh" before slinking away on tiptoes, returning to Land O' Lakes where he'll cash the check at the Citgo station and buy more lottery tickets.

I guess my message here is Never shop at the Gowers Corner Citgo station  at 18901 Hwy 52 in Land O' Lakes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Garage sale people are out of their minds

My friend Ronny is moving soon and he decided to get rid of some stuff with a good ol' fashioned garage sale. I wanted to support my friend and Ronny is a musician who has had a long and very interesting career, so I attended with the intention of getting some cool stuff and maybe snapping some photos of even cooler stuff that might have been out of my budget. Specifically, I anticipated being able to look at some very cool guitars. I got there just after 9AM, the scheduled start time. There was very little on display on the tables outside and I thought that he really wasn't getting rid of all that much. I saw him and told him I wanted to take the guitar tour and he said they were basically all gone. "Yeah, they pretty much cleaned me out at 7:30". I had made the crucial mistake of forgetting that garage sale people are out of their minds.

I had a garage sale once, when I lived in Sarasota. I remember that people showed up hours before the advertised start time. I remember people passing on what I thought was good stuff and instead snatching up the things I figured I would end up throwing away. I also remember that they paid no attention whatsoever to the price tags or even a price quote.
GARAGE SALE GUY: How much are these?
ME: They're a quarter each.
GARAGE SALE GUY: How much really?
ME: A quarter.
GARAGE SALE GUY: Yeah, but how much will you actually take for them?
ME: Only because I want to see where you're going with this, how much are you offering?
GARAGE SALE GUY: I'll give you a dime each.
ME: That's crazy. I don't even have anything smaller than quarters here to make change.
GARAGE SALE GUY: All right, but you have to throw some in for free.
I didn't sell him anything and he wasn't even insulted. Just shrugged his shoulders and left. Onward to the next sale, I presume. He didn't want what I was selling (these were books, by the way), he just wanted a deal beyond the considerable bargain already being offered. He wanted to negotiate as a form of recreational competition. "I didn't just buy these books, I beat somebody out of them!" That's because he was a crazy person, like most garage sale people.
I think beyond feeding that level of psychosis, the other thing that people find appealing about garage sales is the opportunity to judge people based on their stuff and feel superior to them. You get to walk around and scrutinize people and the way they lead their lives based on what they set out for sale. "Look at that! Who in the world would ever buy that in the first place? God only knows what they're keeping!". Think about it: we don't really get a lot of legal opportunities to look inside of people's houses. And sure, you can make fun of stuff you might see at Target but that stuff doesn't belong to anyone yet. It's just waiting to be picked up by someone displaying bad taste or making a poor decision. That's not nearly as much fun. You want to see the tacky item juxtaposed with the individual who cared enough about it at some point to have spent heard-earned money on it so you can form an opinion of what a laughably sorry person they are.

Of course those assholes were there at 7:30 in the morning. As a result, I didn't get to see any cool guitars or even most of the stuff that Ronny had for sale. I did score this sweet poster from a show he did that happened to be on my birthday...

Also, I bought two books and a microphone stand (note: I do not own a microphone).
That, plus a very sweet lady recognized me as the writer of this thing we call a blog and said several nice things about me to me. I love it when that happens!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stranger in the night

This happened to me last Friday night...

It was 3:47AM (Okay, technically Saturday morning) and I was at home, sleeping, like a good boy. I woke up suddenly and unpleasantly when I saw headlights shining through my bedroom window. I thought somebody was lost and was turning around in my driveway. I was half-right. Some (presumably inebriated) boob started pounding on my door and yelling, "WHERE'S BONNIE?". How annoying. This is the kind of thing that would not have been uncommon when I lived in the shittiest apartment complex in Tampa but I've grown accustomed to not having to put up with it over the past year.
I went to the door, cowering to the side of it, because, yeah, I'm a big guy but I live in Florida and I know how bullets work. I yelled, "What do you want?", even though I knew what he wanted, I just wanted to hear him yell, "WHERE'S BONNIE?" one more time.
"There's nobody named Bonnie here. You're at the wrong house."
"Do you see Bonnie's car in the driveway?"
(silence for a couple of minutes...followed by the sound of his car backing out of the driveway.)
I just thought it was a good idea to give him some additional data he had not previously considered in arriving at his otherwise perfectly sound theory regarding how Bonnie had come to take up at least temporary residence at my house. An alternative viewpoint on the matter based on the fact that he was an idiot, if you will. I also think it's a good for you, Bonnie, if you're out there, to keep moving. Somebody willing to bang on a stranger's door and scream your name at four in the morning probably doesn't have good intentions.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Well, apparently we (in Florida) are doomed.

CRIST: "Are we really gonna debate about a fan, or are we gonna talk about education and the environment and the future of our state? It's just a fan, folks! (chuckles) No big deal!"
(Crowd whoops and cheers)
SCOTT: (from behind the curtain) "If it's no big deal, why don't you remove it?"
CRIST: "Maybe I don't wanna remove it."
SCOTT: "Well, maybe you have to because the rules say you can't have any electrics down there."
CRIST: "This is the only electrics I got. One fan."
SCOTT: "You say that, but how do I...more importantly, how do the voters know that's true?"
(Crowd whoops and cheers)
CRIST: "There's a camera right there. It can totally see what's behind my podium. There's one behind yours too. Technically, that's electric too. I suppose you want to remove all the cameras? Typical!"
SCOTT: "That's great for the people watching on live television, but we both know that nobody is watching this on live television. Also, cameras are not technically electric because nobody really knows how they work."
CRIST: "Both of those two things are true. I'll give you that."
SCOTT: "I mean, how do I know you don't have a George Foreman Grill under there and that I won't be making some kind of point on economics or something and you won't reach down and pull out some hot, crisp, delicious bacon and just start snacking on it while I'm talking?"
CRIST: "That'd be okay because I'm not aware of the rules of the debate saying I can't have one of those too. I mean they might say that. They might specifically state in bold print "NO GEORGE FOREMAN GRILLS UNDER THE PODIUMS". The point is that I'm not aware of it."
SCOTT: "What if I want some bacon during the debate?"
CRIST: "Do you honestly believe that I wouldn't share my bacon with you if you asked me nicely for some?"
SCOTT: "I really don't know. You have a fan and I don't. It seems like you only think about yourself. Plus, I've seen those grills and they aren't all that big. You might not be able to even make enough to share."
CRIST: "Dude, I can make another batch in like, less than five minutes."
SCOTT: "Seriously?"
CRIST: "Oh yeah! I brought soooo much bacon with me tonight. Have you ever seen one of these babies work?"
SCOTT: "Actually, no."
CRIST: "Come over here and check it out. These things are pretty amazing!"
SCOTT: "Hell yeah! I'll be right out!"
CRIST: "Don't touch my fan."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let Subway help you whore it up, ladies

Halloween is coming and Subway wants you ladies to not ruin things for everyone by not wearing the skimpiest, sluttiest costumes possible. So stop being such a fat cow (aka, normal-sized human woman person) and start pounding those foot-longs. Because it's important to eat well if you expect to showcase the goods in something satin-ish and fishnetty, rather than the clothes you normally wear when we objectify you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"This Life should be awesome"

Behold Alyssa Schoenberg...
She's perky.
She wears a Superman cape.
She eats spinach by the fistful (literally).
She's REALLY perky.
She speaks in simple terms that I can easily understand.
She has some skewed views of who Iron Man is, but that's all right.
She might be my new favorite.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Then there's THIS waste of space

Even though I've mellowed, even though I make a concerted effort not to judge others, even though I have worked very hard to control my temper in situations where I have no control, there will always be a reason why it's impossible for me to achieve a state of true peace. Like this...

On behalf of those of us who don't feel entitled to free shit every time something doesn't go our way, who don't have time to get upset about goddamned candles or how unfair it is to live in a world with stores where employees don't occasionally make an honest mistake (or, for that matter, those of us who know you don't watch videos on a camera), please do us all a huge favor and jump feet-first into a nearby sausage grinder.

Honestly, if I won the Powerball, I'd go to Wisconsin, visit every Bath and Body Works in the state, buy every single candle they have (at retail, so the staff all get nice bonuses) and make you watch me dump every one of them into Lake Michigan.

Stop being horrible, you great, gaping void, you worthless, omni-repulsive, yawning deficit of a human being.

Also, fuck you and your fucking air quotes.

PS: The Packers blow.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Whose homecoming is it anyway?

When I worked at the Sun Dome on the campus of the University of South Florida, one of our biggest challenges was trying to engage the students in doing some big things and helping them try to establish some kind of unique culture. USF was established in 1956 and remains saddled with a reputation of a charmless commuter school, lacking in many of the traditions found on most college campuses. The University hasn't done a lot to help itself shed this not-totally-undeserved regard. "Midnight Madness", a celebration of the opening of basketball season and a staple at most universities was never observed consistently. Sometimes, they'd do it, sometimes they would try to turn it into something else, sometimes they wouldn't have anything at all. I don't know if there's a word that means the opposite of tradition, but that's what that is.
Worse, when it came to booking an act for the annual homecoming show, in spite of grand desires, they'd be extremely timid with their budget, apparently not understanding what a budget is for. Every year, there'd be talk of booking Chris Rock and every year we'd end up with Randy Watson.
"Welcome students, alumni and honored guests!"
It was frustrating but ultimately you can't blame the students; they're kids, after all. Sure, old enough to legally vote, drink and serve in the military, but still kids taking a final childhood victory lap. There should have been an adult in a position of authority to explain the importance of consistency in trying to establish tradition. Someone who could tell them that when you're given a discretionary budget to spend on something, that it's not a savings account. There should have been someone there to help them do things the right way.

I left there in 2004 and sad to say, it looks like things haven't changed much. 

This is a promotional t-shirt produced and distributed by a student organization called the Campus Traditions Board to promote this year's homecoming activities:

Nice, huh? One problem, though. This is what USF's football team looks like...

And this is what USF's homecoming opponent, the East Carolina University football team, looks like...
'Purchased with $5,600 from student Activity and Service (A&S) fees, 1,200 shirts on campus share the same purple color with the East Carolina Pirates — the Bulls’ Homecoming opponent.
“We really want to be in green,” Center for Student Involvement Director Monica Miranda said. “The opposing team’s color is purple, so we don’t want to be in purple.”
The shirt’s primary color is grape with white letters advertising the list of the week’s events on the back and the Homecoming Superbull XVIII logo on the front.
About 200 of the purple shirts were passed out to promote Homecoming week. By Friday, Miranda said someone brought up the oversight to the Campus Traditions Board.
“It’s a student committee,” she said. “They didn’t realize purple was the color of the opposing school.” ' - Wesley Higgins, The Oracle (USF student newspaper)
I could say something snarky and sad like, "Oh USF, please never change" but it appears there's no threat of that happening. On the bright side, maybe screwing up at establishing tradition IS a tradition.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

I need help figuring out how to help those who need help

Has this ever happened to you?
You're in your car, on your way home from work. You stop at a light and see someone on the side of the road. They look kind of disheveled, with a pitiful look on their face and carrying a chunk of cardboard with a hastily scrawled message on it. It might be a short summary of their predicament, detailing a particular tale of woe or it might just say something succinct like "PLEASE HELP". Either way, they want you to give them some money.
You like to think of yourself as a good person who will help someone in need. But on the other hand, you don't want to enable someone who might be looking to pay for some bad habits. On top of that, there's a sliver of indignation in the back of your mind: you just put in at least eight hours of work, goddamnit. You don't necessarily feel good about that last part but it's there. You wish that you didn't have any cash on you so you could just say, "Sorry, I don't have anything to give you" without lying but you actually have two bucks that were sitting on the kitchen counter that you shoved in your pocket when you grabbed your keys.
As you sit there, agonizing over how to properly handle this dilemma, already resenting this person for even putting you in this situation in the first place, the panhandler folds their cardboard sign, walks to a nearby parking lot and proceeds to get into a car that is nicer than yours where they count the wads of cash they've accumulated over the last few hours.
Has this ever happened to you? It happened to this guy...

I don't know about you but I see panhandlers every single day. They don't always hit me up but they're out there all the time, not much more than an arm's length away at multiple intersections I pass through to and from work. A lot of people believe that this is exactly what happens every time you give money to a panhandler, that it's all a huge scam. And if they're not banking wads of cash, they're buying drugs and you're inadvertently-yet-directly contributing to crime. The good person in me (small as he may be) wants to say, "No, that can't possibly be the case. Sure, it might happen once or twice but times are hard and lots of people are really struggling, so in the grand scheme of things, I guess it's all right." Well, I'm not completely wrong... just about 80%,
"According to the Homeless Alliance only about 20% of panhandlers are actually homeless." - Dana Hertneky, News 9, Oklahoma City
Well, shit. I guess at my most cynical, I suspected that was the case. But even then, I kinda hoped I was wrong. Now I know better, so that's something at least. But what are we supposed to do about it?
Well, if you live in Oklahoma City, where this took place, you can get vouchers to hand out instead of money. The vouchers have shelter info, a map of where they are and a pre-paid bus ticket to get there.
I don't live in Oklahoma City and we don't have that here. What we have is a page Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative's web site that says:

What should I do when I see a person with a sign on the corner asking for help?
That is really a personal choice based on your own comfort level and beliefs.
Some people:
  • Give them fast food gift certificates or a snack
  • Choose to donate to an organization(s) that helps homeless people
  • Give them money
  • Ignore them
  • Direct them to a service provider/organization
No kidding. Wow. In other words, other than a sadly validated opinion of how shitty people can be, I'm pretty much back (still?) at square one.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Jerks are everywhere

Here in Florida, we spend a lot of time complaining about tourists from New York. It's like the state industry is catering to tourists and the state hobby is hating them. Everybody knows the stereotypical reputation of New Yorkers; loud, brash, arrogant. Most New Yorkers won't attempt to deny it and many are downright proud of it. And they bring all of that with them by the buttload when they come to visit. Meanwhile, I have friends here in Florida, native Floridians, who think people from the Midwest are just the nicest, most humble and friendly people on the planet.
"Golly, I wish there were some strangers around that I could help" - How my Florida native friends thinks people in the Midwest spend their time.

I tell them to slow down.
I'm from the Midwest and that's a nice thing to say but I assure them that people there can be every bit as arrogant and condescending as anybody from New York City, maybe even worse. It's a smug, smarmy, passive-aggressive, humble-braggy, "well, isn't that special" kind of arrogant condescension that's unique to the region. I've struggled to find suitable examples for my friends... until now.
The following is a response from Francis Slay, the mayor of St. Louis, to an article that the Wall Street Journal posted last week that named the St. Louis Cardinals the "most hate-worthy team in this year’s baseball playoffs"...
The Wall Street Journal recently released its second-annual Major League Baseball Hateability Index in which it ranked the 10 playoff teams for 2014 “in order of general loathsomeness.” The rankings were based on 10 essential categories to haters including drug suspensions, “ridiculous beards” and, of course, the time-honored crime of winning too much.
On the strength of its pennant collection and rabid fan base, which both travels to opposing stadiums and refers to itself as a “nation,” my hometown St. Louis Cardinals came in first.
“The Cardinals prevailed in large part because of one of the primary measures of repulsiveness: recent success,” the Journal reported, as St. Louis bested the nearly-as-loathsome Los Angeles Dodgers. Take that, L.A.!
You see, while you might think of St. Louis as flyover country and not pay us much due, we’re kind of a big deal come October on Major League Baseball diamonds. In fact, we’re kind of a big deal for a number of reasons.
Thus, I feel compelled to deliver a simple message to America: We’re sorry.
Sure, we’re sorry the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, two since 2006. But there’s much, much more for which we owe all of you a heartfelt apology.
Indeed, we’re sorry that New York and San Francisco are 2.3 times and 1.7 times respectively more expensive to live in than the St. Louis metro area.
We’re sorry for producing one of the world’s best-selling batteries (Energizer) and two of the 10 best-selling beers in the world—Budweiser and Bud Light.
That guy Jon Hamm? Yeah, we’re sorry for raising him here and sending him out into the world for your entertainment delight.
We’re sorry for our diverse community in that more Bosnians—over 60,000—call St. Louis home than anywhere outside of Bosnia.
We’re sorry for Forest Park, our beautiful 1,300-acre urban park comprises an award-winning zoo, science center, art and history museums, golf courses, ice rink and green space.
We’re sorry for not only being home to 18 Fortune 1000 companies, but for developing one of the most promising and fastest-growing ecosystems for startups and entrepreneurs, delivering innovations that are being used by businesses and consumers world-wide. You know, like that pesky social-media platform Twitter (St. Louisan Jack Dorsey ) or credit-card processing device Square (St. Louisan Jim McKelvey).
We’re sorry that at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Richard Blechynden served tea with ice, thus inventing iced tea (although not the rapper/actor Ice-T).
We’re sorry that the four largest metro areas in the nation lost nearly 25,000 financial-service jobs between January 2007 and September 2012, while St. Louis added more than 5,500 in the sector.
We are, in fact, actually kind of sorry that our state animal is the mule, but that’s another discussion for another day. The point is that we here in the Midwest are not a boastful people. We’re humble and quietly go about our business, inventing the things you use every day, entertaining you, finding employment for your citizens and handing you losses on the baseball field regularly. (We’re especially sorry to Chicago.)
Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful here in St. Louis. But if you do, just know that we’re sorry. Go Cards!
Ugh!! See what I mean? The loathsome humbly bragging about how humble they are and how that trait inherently makes them superior -although they'd never say it aloud, of course (yeah, right)- somehow practically oozes forth.
Now, please don't make the mistake of thinking this is strictly a St. Louis thing because it's not. St. Louis is a great town and there's lots of nice people living there, just like there aqre plenty of fine people in New York. It's just that when they want to put their jerk hats on, this is what they look like. And again, it's the whole Midwest that does it. They're just as guilty of it in Detroit (DETROIT!). Trust me, I know.
My point being, New York is not the only place where you can find jerks. They're literally everywhere, even in the Midwest.
That said, Go Royals!

Friday, October 03, 2014

It's almost time to start freaking out

As bad as things are for us here in America lately, between another war, racism being alive and well, guns going off irresponsibly by the minute and the NFL being in the toilet, the news that the Ebola virus has landed in the U.S. is certainly going to take things up a notch.
Unless, you know, maybe not.

A brief history of the Ebola virus as I understand it via what I've learned from the news: Since the mid '70s, Ebola has been laying waste to people in Africa by the thousands, eating their flesh, making their spleens fall right out of their butts and generally making them more unattractive than usual. 
(Splorp) "Hey, was that my spleen or yours? Oops. Yeah, definitely mine."
Then, two white American doctors in Liberia got it one day in August and it suddenly became a serious problem. They had some science and medicine and like two days later, TA DA!, they were cured, emerging from treatment looking like they were ready for a three-day weekend of kayaking, or better than you and I a week after a batch of bad clams. I may be slightly fuzzy on some of those details but that's the basic gist. 
"Ebola, Schmebola"

So whatever combination of voodoo and magic (aka "science and medicine") that fixed them up should be available to anyone here who needs it, right? No big deal.

Just in case I'm not completely 100% accurate, here are some tips YOU can use to prevent getting the Ebola virus...  
  • Avoid physical contact with people showing signs and symptoms, such as continuous high fever, red eyes, vomiting and stomach ache, as difficult as that may be to resist.
  • You know what, go ahead and use that precaution as a perfectly valid excuse to stop associating with the people in your life who are constantly bitching about things like that or anything else. Every cloud has a silver lining!
  • Don't shake hands with the dead.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water instead of blood and feces.
  • If your spleen falls right out of your butt, put it in a clean Ziploc® bag, put it on ice and take it with you as you proceed immediately to the nearest hospital. DO NOT try to re-insert it yourself! (You are not a licensed professional).
  • Don't high-five the dead.
  • Avoid ugly people. Just to be safe.
  • Don't lick the dead.
  • Do not share spleens. 
  • Don't share food with bats, monkeys, baboons or dead animals.
  • Do not have unprotected sex with the dead. Or animals. Gross.
  • Why? Gross! Because...
  • "Because bats can turn into goats, possums, apes and monkeys, all of which could make you pregnant with an Ebola baby. That is, a baby made entirely out of Ebola."

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Kale fale?

I now live in the super-trendy neighborhood of Seminole Heights here in Tampa and the other day I was in a super-trendy little farmer's market where I saw that they had some freshly-harvested kale. I have heard people talk about kale a lot, especially lately, but I've never actually listened to what they're saying. I'm assuming it's some kind of super lettuce and good for me, so I bought some. I got it home (along with some cucumbers, tomatoes and onions) but I wasn't sure what I should do with it. Make a salad? It kinda looks like spinach, in that it doesn't look like plain old lettuce, and I like spinach. Can I make a salad out of it? Should I incorporate it into my smoothie regimen? Should I wrap some bacon around it and fry it up? I honestly didn't know. So I called my nutrition guru (aka one of the few people whose phone number I have who doesn't eat like a teenager) and aksed her what to do. Turns out that it's the opinion of some that I might not be ready to handle kale.
ME: Hey, so I bought some kale. What do I do with it?
HER: You did what??
ME : I bought some kale and...
HER: What do you mean you bought some kale? Why? You just went to the store and bought it? What store? How much did you get?
ME: I'm sorry, did I mistakenly say 'yellowcake uranium'? Because what I bought is a bag of leafy green vegetable, not a metal briefcase full of radioactive bomb material. I spent like two bucks on it.
HER: Kale is very powerful. And it's versatile. You can use it with pretty much anything you would with spinach. But it's not as mild as spinach.
ME: Okay, The kale is actually here in the house with me. It's sitting on the kitchen counter. I'm talking softly and trying not to make any sudden movements, in case it's visual acuity relies on motion, like a T-Rex.
"I'm nutritious and delicious!"
HER: Okay, settle down.
ME: Listen, this kale is scaring the shit out of me right now.
HER: All right, clown. Kale is loaded with vitamins and minerals plus it has a fair amount of protein. It also lowers your risk for certain types of cancer. But it's got some distinctive properties in terms of taste and texture that you aren't used to so whatever you use it in, you'll probably want to start with small amounts. That's my point.
ME: All right, so don't dive out of a window and quickly set my house on fire, leaving the kale to thrash wildly and snarl at me as it burns to death. Got it. What should I do, though?
HER: Why don't you start out with equal parts crushed ice, kale, strawberries, bananas and yogurt and try it in a smoothie? Then we'll go from there. You can cook with it but let's try this first. Make sure you remove the stems from the kale. 
I did that and it was pretty good. I was worried the kale would make the smoothie taste weird but aside from altering the color (greener) it wasn't even noticeable. I don't think I've conquered it but I'm going to take a shot at cooking with it and seeing if that doesn't kill me.