Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hot Toddy!

The other night, I was introduced to one of the more amazing (and possibly my new favourite) sick/cold weather drinks I've ever encountered.  I've had whiskey neat, on the rocks, mixed with Coke/root beer/ginger ale, and a few other ways, but Monday, I learned a lesson about the true depth of whiskey possibility.  Apparently, it can be mixed with spices, condiments, and fruit and then heated!  The drink I'm describing is of course the "Hot Toddy."

There are several different ways to make it, and I plan to experiment with different things.  However, the one I had is going to be tough to beat.  It had whiskey, hot water, cloves, sugar, and lemon.  That said, I'd bet that honey and cinnamon would be amazing substitutes.  If you have any suggestions as to what you think might be good and/or that you know is good from experience, I'd love to hear!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thanksgiving Story

Often, history books falsify and sensationalize the story of the first Thanksgiving, so in the spirit of academic honesty, I would like to share with you the history not told.  Buckle your seatbelt, and throw your predispositions out the window, because you're in for a bumpy ride.

The story begins with a bunch of people wearing bonnets and hats with buckles boarding a boat, so they got that part right.  However, the full name of the ship was not the "Mayflower."  There was more to it.  The vessel that would take these fashion visionaries was known in its day as "May 'The Silver Dome' Flower."  Back in the day, each ship had an exercise room, and so that is often what was used to differentiate the boats.  It's a little known fact, but the May "The Silver Dome" Flower had a sister ship that went as "May 'Dallas Stadium' Flower."  However, this boat was filled with obnoxious people who refused to wear buckles on their hats, so they were sent away and wound up sailing South never to be heard from again.

Anyway, the one that has been come to be known as the Mayflower, i.e., May "The Silver Dome" Flower, finally reached land and began to settle in.  These people were such amazing farmers that they had a ridiculous overabundance of corn, potatoes, squash, etc., and when winter came, they knew it would all spoil, so they were in a tough spot.  It was at this point when Squanto entered into the story.  He came to the Pilgrims to try to understand their issues and help them.  As he approached, the settlers offered him a great deal of food if he could assist them in the use of theirs.  As is common knowledge, Squanto and his tribesmen and women had no issues growing their own food, so Squanto only accepted the offer so that when he helped the Pilgrims, they would not feel like such freeloading jerks.

Anyway, the two parties started a fire over which they would talk, and Squanto would share his wisdom.  He began, "My people have had this issue for many years after bountiful harvests."  The Pilgrims drew nearer, hanging on every word.  The Chief continued, "We have found a way to prevent spoilage that will occur due to global warming when winters are not cold.  We have invented a new type of garb that allows for increased consumption of our bounty.  We call them stretchy pants."  He then spent several hours explaining the concept and the production process of stretchy pants, and the Pilgrims bought in.  They made their own, and they realized a greatly expanded capability of gluttony.

Henceforth, because Squanto shared the idea of stretchy pants, Thanksgiving has been the great American holiday of coming together and eating ourselves stupid.

Happy and safe Thanksgiving to all,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Latins and Outs

For some reason, at least seven times today, I have experienced people improperly using Latin abbreviations in an effort to sound more sophisticated.  Since this is a little petpeeve of mine, I decided to discuss the difference between "i.e." and "e.g." in today's post.

This is the abbreviation for "id est" meaning "that is."  Thus, it is used when you are clarifying something or rephrasing what you've just said.

This abbreviation stands for "exempli gratia" meaning "for example."  Intuitively, this abbreviation is used before examples of whatever you're discussing.


I love watching AFC North football, i.e., smashmouth football in cold weather.
I love watching AFC North football, e.g., Steelers vs. Ravens.

Lawyers drive fancy cars, i.e., cars with all the bells and whistles.
Lawyers drive fancy cars, e.g., Mercedes Benz and BMW.

Please, for the sake of my sanity, use these properly in the future, and spread the word!  Please do not post comments purposely confusing the two for the sake of annoying me...


Monday, November 21, 2011

Get Rich Quick Scheme!

The other day, I was driving down a small town road in a 25 mph zone, and I saw something that inspired a get rich quick idea.  It's so elegant and simple that I'm ashamed I didn't devise it sooner.  Surely, you've driven through intersections where firefighters held up boots asking for change to fund the station.  Well, I witnessed something similar, yet subtly different.  As I was driving, I saw two people holding up buckets asking for change.  However, the buckets had no indication of what the cause they were raising funds for was, and they were wearing reflective vests, so even if they were wearing shirts of an organization, nobody would have known.  However, most cars stopped, rolled down their windows, and poured change into the containers.

The fact that people blindly donated to the mystery cause is the focal point of my idea.  Why can't I just stand in an intersection asking people for money?  Some may call this panhandling, but they are oversimplifying things to a degree with which I am uncomfortable.  There are many differences, so before you label me as a hobo, consider the following:

1.  No hobo I've ever seen has parking cones.
2.  No hobo I've ever seen has reflective vests.
3.  I would not even mildly consider spitting on a windshield and washing it off with newspaper.
4.  I would require that my employees shower daily.

To be fair, I will note one similarity, namely that the money raised would go to the purchase of beer.
If you still don't believe that this scheme is little more than begging, at least have the decency to refer to my idea as "White Collar Panhandling."  I also hope that if you refuse to acknowledge the difference between what I'm proposing and begging, you at least recognize that you're jealous that I thought of it first.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Watered Down Logic

Courtesy of The Telegraph, I present to you this little nugget of news coming out of the EU.  For once, news coming from this region is unrelated to the debt crisis (although, given what happened, it wouldn't have been hard to predict that many EU members would be in such trouble financially).  A few days ago, the European Union banned the claim that water consumption is an effective way to prevent dehydration.  Per the article, the EU regulators claimed (after three years of research, mind you) that there was no evidence that water can effectively combat dehydration.  As a result, any bottled water manufacturer that makes this claim on its label can face up to two years in prison!

My theory behind this "finding" and law is the following (and I'm just trying to find their line of logic here):

1. There is dehydration in Europe.
2. Europe is under water (financially).
3. If Europe is under water, and there is still dehydration, then water does not prevent dehydration.
4. Water does not prevent dehydration.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Growing up, I was never a kid who loved the comics section of newspapers, but recently, I have begun to read Dilbert religiously.  It's witty, it's funny, his tie sticks up in a bizarre direction, and some days, it's downright dead-on accurate!  Today may or may not be one of those days:


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hey, Guy

I think I might start calling people "Guy" in casual conversation in the near future.  I find inspiration in its deindividualizing nature.  It's cold, it's calculating, and it's delightfully arrogant.  Further, if used in the proper situations, it can be hilarious.  For example, consider George Oscar Bluth when he says, "Why don't you call it a 'GOB,' guy?" discussing a candied apple on the boardwalk.  There is no way the line would have been as good if GOB had called the apple merchant "fellow," "friend," or even "muchacho."  The dubbing would have been either too familiar or too combattive in nature for it to work.

Long story short, I hope you enjoyed reading this, guy.


Sunday, November 13, 2011


It's Sunday, and since Tim Tebow hasn't played terribly well of late for the Denver Broncos, a lot of the talk has died down a bit, which makes this the perfect time for me to throw my two cents in regarding his situation.  My claim is that Tebow will never achieve much success in the NFL.  However, I don't believe that is the case because of his lack of talent or mechanics.  I feel it is true because of his fans.

It is clear from watching him that the kid is a winner, and he's got drive, athleticism, and heart.  Because of that, I think he can change his mechanics to become one hell of a quarterback.  However, due to his fans, he will likely never get a fair shake.  He has a following like no other player, and as such, whichever team he is on will be pressured to start him...His fans want to see him and are very vocal about it.  With all the talent he has though, he needs time to sit on the bench (or stand with a clipboard) and learn the pro game and mechanics.

The only way that will happen is if he goes to a team with an unquestioned starter (that isn't him) for a little while.  If he's on a team that isn't performing well or with marginal quarterbacks, he'll keep being thrust into games before he's ready, and that will hurt his chances of latching on with another team in a more favorable situation conducive for his development.

I wish Tebow all the success in the world, but at the same time, I would be lying if I didn't find a bit of humor in the irony of the proposition that his fans are the ones who are slowly sucking the life blood out of his NFL career.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nail in the Coffin

Well, there was a debate for the Republican Primary last night in Michigan, and it appears that one candidate has officially buried himself (not to imply that he wasn't already waning) in a mere 53 seconds.

I can only imagine how certain people reacted to this, but I think it may have gone something like this:

Al Gore: ::finishes chewing::  Did I hear EPA?
Herman Cain:  Man, this gaffe is going to harass him down the road.
Nancy Pelosi:  This kind of rhetoric leads to violence.
Mitt Romney:  Thank you, sir.
Michael Moore:  ::finishes chewing::  ::starts chewing again::
George W. Bush:  At least I attempted to pronounce what was on my mind.
Barack Obama:  He should have used a teleprompter.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Unpleasantness Defined

This morning, I was in that state where you're not quite asleep and not quite awake, and I was a tad cold.  I don't recall doing it, so I was probably skewed a bit more towards being asleep than conscious, but I must have pulled the sheets above my head.  I've had this happen a thousand times before, but this time was different.  I immediately woke up to a very distinct sensation.  I had unwittingly and inadvertently dutch ovened myself.  Now, I'm trying to determine a set of steps to prevent doing this in the future, since I don't want to flirt with death like this again.  Here's what I've come up with:

1.  Nose Plug to fix the intake system
2.  Beano to fix the output system
3.  Mummy Bag to preserve separation of nose and arse

If you have any ideas to help me out here, I'm all ears.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

E&O Hell No!

On 10/29, I received my first bill for my auto insurance renewal.  Knowing that with insurance, I get thirty days to pay the bill, I put it aside to pay it later.  Today, in the mail, I received an unsettling letter from my auto and homeowners insurance agent informing me that my auto insurance was cancelled for non-payment of premium effective 11/2.  I immediately picked up the phone and dialed Mercury Insurance.

When I got to speak with a person, I let them know that I was never notified with enough time to pay the bill.  The "customer service" person told me that the bill had been sent in September.  I shot back that I never received it and mentioned that regardless, I wanted to pay the bill and have my insurance reinstated without a lapse.  She told me that she could reinstate, but it would be effective 11/5, and there would be a lapse in coverage.  She said to me in a somewhat condescending way, "In insurance, we can't reinstate without a lapse."  Since I'm keenly aware of the inner workings of insurance companies, I called her out on this lie, and I asked to speak to a manager since I'd never received the original bill.

The "manager" got on the phone (I use the quotes because I suspect this was not a manager at all based on her constant references of having to discuss with her supervisor), and I told her my side of the story.  She again reiterated that a bill was sent out, so they had done their part, and there was nothing she could do.  I replied by asking where the bill had been sent.  Apparently, it was mailed to my old address.  She saw that there were some notes in her file too stating that the mail had been returned as undeliverable.  Further, when it was returned, the company reached out to my agent to see what my real address is.  At that point (in mid October, mind you), my agent sent in a change request to amend my address.

Sidenote: This error by my agent is what caused all of this hassle.  Why they didn't make the change when I bought a house and thus a new homeowners policy through them in June (and explicitly reminded them to make the change) is beyond my level of comprehension.

Anyway, since there was now proof in Mercury's system about what happened, the "customer service manager" told me that the situation was different now, and she would be able to backdate the reinstatement.  However, there was a caveat.  Apparently, the proof was not quite enough, and she needed a note from the agent stating that the address should have been changed a while ago.  I thought that was reasonable, and I said, "Okay.  Let me pay the renewal now because I need coverage so I can run my errands, and then we can backdate when you hear from the agent on Monday."  She countered by saying that's not how it works and that if I paid now, there would be a lapse in coverage; the only I could reinstate without a lapse is if I went without coverage for the weekend.

Completely miffed and increasingly frustrated with this absurd process, I said, "You mean to tell me that I have to choose between having a lapse in coverage or being uninsured for two more days?"  She said, "That is correct."  In one of the more difficult feats of my life, I resisted that urge to call her a eunuch like I would normally do in this sort of situation.  Instead, I said, "Pardon me for saying so, but that is the most backwards and foolish thing I have ever heard, and it creates incredibly perverse incentives."  Then, I asked whether it was even legal to cancel me only two days after I received my first notification of the bill.  She said, "It has to be legal because that is our process."

To that, I held my tongue because what I really wanted to say was, "Charles Manson had a process too..."  Anyway, I wound up paying the bill and sending my agent a note to call me ASAP.  Starting Monday, I'm going to make sure they correct the lapse, and I will begin my search for a new agent.

For now, to quote Larry the Cable Guy, "I'm madder than Janet Reno's blind date."


Friday, November 4, 2011

Missed Connection

Have you ever booked a flight with a layover only to have the first flight arrive at the connecting airport late causing you to miss the second one?  It's a veritable cornucopia of frustration, annoyance, and all things of that ilk.  However, at the end of the day, one ought to just step back, throw his or her hands up, and say, "That wasn't a flight I was supposed to be on."  Such is life.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Road to Nowhere

Today, I woke up, showered, took the dog out, made lunch, and then I started to drive to work.  The day started like any other, and the commute was proving to be quite ordinary.  Then, as I neared the highway exit, everything changed!  When I got to the top of the off-ramp, I took my spot as the fourth car in line to merge at the yield sign onto the road.  Looking ahead, I saw the first car in the queue start to go...Then I saw the brake lights come on, as he realized that there was a car coming.  The person behind him decided that there was enough time for him to go before the oncoming car arrived, so he hit the gas and slammed right into the rear of the driver in front of him who hadn't gone.

It was only a minor tap, and since nobody was hurt, I immediately thought of how this was just an inconvenience rather than anything major.  However, I underestimated the lack of awareness of the two parties involved with respect to the concept of "other people."  The two motorists began to walk around their cars to exchange insurance information while they were blocking off the entire off-ramp (and it is a busy one).  I had to physically get out of my car and tell them to move to the industrial driveway no more than 20 feet away.  They looked at me like I was crazy till several other people behind me started honking.  Then, they finally got into their cars and moved.  I'm just miffed that it took my commenting and a butt-load of honking for them to realize that they were not the only two people on this planet, let alone the road.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Move over, Mr. Bernanke


I'm sorry to tell you this, but there's a new sheriff of stockdroppyville, and you haven't got anything on him.  George Papandreou has officially just shown you how to cause an epic evaporation of cash.  When you talk, the market drops because you really don't have much that you can do to spur it.  However, when Mr. Papandreou talks, he tells us things like that he plans to put the Greek EU bailout to referendum!  As of now, if this does in fact go to referendum, the bailout will not pass.  The reason the bailout would fail in a popular vote is that one stipulation for the payments is a set of restrictions of government spending.  Pardon me if I'm not surprised by a population that got itself into such a ridiculous mess by constantly spending what it doesn't have (Public Debt/GDP since 1999) deciding that it wants nothing more than to keep spending...Even if it will cause a default in the very near future.  We saw a huge growth in the world's stock markets after the bailout agreement was originally reached because the market was extremely oversold due to fears of the a Greek (although we'd be making a large mistake if we were to ignore Spanish, Portuguese, or Irish situations) debt default that would cause massive losses to banks holding the debt around the world.  However, by announcing the plan to hold a referendum, all of the uncertainty that drove losses in September has returned, and as a result, gobs of cash have disappeared.  In closing, I implore you, Mr. Bernanke, to please not engage in a game of one upsmanship.