Thursday, November 25, 2010

Do I need to disable my pop-up blocker here?

When you were a baby, if you weren't clad in evil Earth-killing disposable diapers, your parents likely used a diaper service. They'd send fresh new cloth diapers regularly to your home, which your parents (OK, your mother) would place on you. Your job was to turn those diapers into wet stinky containers of corruption and horror, which your parents would peel off you, throw into a bag and send back to the diaper company the next time the nice man brought fresh ones. Now, they used enough hot water, bleach and other harsh small-lifeform-killing chemicals that your parents didn't have to spend time pondering the fact that they weren't sending you back the SAME diapers. They didn't need to remember that more people had been in those pants than all the Kardashians' combined.

A year or two passed, your need for diapers abated, and you stopped getting your underwear delivered.

Until today. advertises itself as an "underwear subscription service".  For a nominal fee, they will mail you new underwear at regular intervals.

Blessedly, you are not getting communally worn and soiled breeches as in the days of your childhood, but new underwear, sent to you as you require them.

They offer rush service.  Now I gotta say, no matter HOW quickly they deliver, if I am in need of expedited underwear replacement, they shipping process cannot be fast enough.

Their FAQ describes themselves as:

A service that replenishes a man's basics like underwear, razors and more so he doesn't have to think about it anymore.
Small problem.  Men do not think about it now.  Underwear, like nutritional groceries and cleaning products, are purchased by girlfriends and/or wives if one is in a relationship, by servants and/or assistants if one is successful or influential, or they simply don't get bought. 

Many companies are trying to make the Internet the source of so many daily needs like video entertainment, books, and of course, porn, the reason the Internet was invented in the first place.  But many products have not made that jump successfully.  Many grocery websites have come and gone, and I still have some unredeemed flooz.and beenz.  So will internet underwear be the next boom, or their plan full of holes?

It could be worse...they could be offering disposables.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When you see someone make a major change to their life, it's usually not by choice

Our local paper the Morning Call has an item about a local Disney collector who's selling off his entire collection, and is considering having thousands of Disney tattoos removed from his body.

Now, what would inspire, or drive, a person who's spent nearly his whole life collecting something to part with it?  Is he suffering from a health issue and needs the money?  Do his kids need a house?  Did he bet on the Washington Generals one time too many?


"Reiger's tune changed recently when he met a woman in Florida."



He allegedly met his new love at a Disney convention.  That really begs the question why would he then choose to sell off what has to be described as a major portion of his life and epidermis?

This SCREAMS "Either this crap goes or I do".

There's not a sci-fi or comics fan who doesn't have a friend who found a girl (or guy) and got convinced to sell/donate/just fucking throw away all their collectibles.  They have that look of tired resignation to them, paired with a repeated "No, really, she's a great girl, she just thinks we need more room in the apartment."

This guy spent his life happy as a clam, going to the theme parks and getting more ink than the last theatrical release.  But he meets a girl, and goes from "Hi Ho" to "Yes Dear" in nothing flat.

He couldn't even bring himself to be at the auction - he's off on another (and I'll warrant his last) Disney Cruise, probably crying into his Goofy-tini, realizing that even though he gets to keep the glass, she probably won't let it in the house.

Here's what you do.  Go ahead and get married.  The sex is likely fabulous - it's what lures most men into tender traps like this.  So have a lovely wedding, and a great honeymoon.  Get her nice and pregnant..  Nine months from now, when the resentment starts to really sink in, make sure she gets an epidural.  She should have no pain or discomfort at all, the child should be healthy and well.

But as she's laying there in the recovery room, the nurse is going to come in with the paperwork for the birth certificate.  She'll ask, "Name?"

Look at your wife, think of all you parted with in the name of her love, and then look back at the nurse.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Discomfort Food

Outrageous Food star Tom Pizzica gets down with his subject matter

Having enjoyed the most recent edition of The Food Network’s Next Food Network Star, I was pleased to see runner-up Tom “Big Chef” Pizzica get his own TV series, Outrageous Food, on Friday nights at 10 p.m. ET. A joking, cuddly bear of a guy who seems like he’d be fun to hang with, Tom is a fine choice to host a show in which people cook and eat foods such as the 105-pound hamburger (including the 45-pound homemade bun) served at the Clinton Diner in Clinton, NJ, not far from us. Unlike Adam Richman on The Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, Tom is not expected to try to eat the titular outrageous foods by himself in a brief time period. Just as well; even the ten college students who teamed up to gobble the behemoth burger within an hour—with $5 million dollars on the line if they succeeded—couldn’t finish it.

But at least the giant burger only fills you up, big time. The Outrageous Food that gave me pause was at Cactus Bob’s BBQ Corral in Johnston, IA. Owner Cactus Bob isn’t just being a showman when he ominously intones, “Do you think you can handle the pain?” Several of their menu items have the word “Death” or “Dead” in their names. The insanely hot food on the menu gets its heat from the most intense chili peppers known to foodie-kind, Ghost Peppers, honored by The Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest chili peppers ever. At one million Scoville Heat Scale Units, the Ghost Pepper has snatched the Hottest Pepper crown from the once-mighty Jalapeno, now considered kid stuff with its paltry 2,500 Scoville Units. 
Call me a wuss, but as I watched the Cactus Bob segment, the “honor” looked more like punishment to me, if not outright torture. When Tom and Bob prepared the joint’s signature Showdown Sauce, featuring not only Ghost Peppers but also a satanic smorgasbord of other hot sauces and spices, the capsaicin fumes were so noxious that the guys couldn’t touch the peppers with their bare hands or even breathe their fumes without wearing safety goggles and surgical masks. Even then, they had to bring the skillet outdoors to cook without contaminating the restaurant! No problem for the local chili-heads who knew and looked forward to what they were in for, but I felt sorry for other poor unsuspecting souls on the street who happened to be standing downwind. Second-hand smoke has nothing on capsaicin fumes.
Dr. Lester Wilson of Iowa State University was on hand to explain, “The capsaicin is in the (pepper’s) membrane as a protective mechanism by the plant, meaning we’re not supposed to eat it.” Laughing, Tom said, “So the body’s saying, ‘You’re an idiot.’” A reasonable assumption, considering Tom broke out sweating from sampling just a tiny dab of Showdown Sauce. Cactus Bob tightened the screws even more by making diners who’d eaten the Showdown Sauce-bathed pulled pork sandwiches sit still for 10 minutes after eating, with no milk, water, or other coolants to douse their inner fires. I felt even sorrier for folks who’d accidentally gotten Showdown Sauce on their faces or in their eyes! “This is worse than labor,” one lady said, “and I pushed for three hours!” If she thinks it hurts now, wait until the next time she has to go potty; what goes in must go out, after all, and I’m told capsaicin stays potent for quite a while….
Hey, I get the appeal of eating ginormous amounts of food; it’s kinda like the call of the wild, but with more variety. But I’m at a loss as to why people are eager to eat foods that actually cause searing pain inside and out. Is it some crazy way of getting in touch with one’s primitive side to convince ourselves that modern life hasn’t turned us 21st-century folk into wimps? If you want to set your alimentary canal on fire, go ahead and have yourselves a blast. I’ll get my wild food kicks from ice cream, thank you; brain freeze doesn’t last as long.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Because calling it a Shellectric Chair would just be silly...

Eating a lobster is the ultimate act of the carnivore. Nowhere else (unless you believe about those websites in the Far East) can you look at a selection of living creatures, choose one, point at it and say "That one, the fat one; kill it, cook it, and bring it to me, for I am hungry". Similarly, when they bring it to you, they bring it to you whole. Cut open, perhaps, filled with stuffing (often made of OTHER similar animals, too small to sell on their own) but there's no denying you're eating an until-recently-living thing. You could try to convince yourself that a steak wasn't part of a larger creature if you really felt the need, but they don't even cut the dangly bits off of a lobster.

But many well-meaning busybodies bemoan the fate of the poor crustacean, claiming the methods used to kill them (boiling them alive, or keeping them in a frozen torpor UNTIL boiled alive) are cruel and vicious. Many have bought lobsters from restaurants and released them into the sea (where they likely die of the pollution of the cites they're not used to, or just eaten by larger animals, but it's the thought that counts). They can't get past the idea that these over sized aquatic insects aren't being given the dignity of a torture free death.

No fear - a gentleman in England has a solution.  He has invented a device that electrocutes the little darlings, so they don't have to endure the experience of being boiled alive.

It's called The Crustastun, and its unveiling was covered in the UK in The Independent.

Professor Douglas Neil of the University of Glasgow said that studies he has performed for the company that makes the machine demonstrate that electrocution is the quickest way of ending any signs of nervous activity in edible crustaceans – an indication of a clean death.
 Indeed, the last thing I would want to eat is a nervous lobster.

This is another example of a cause that exists only because we have too much time on our hands.  Just a century or two ago people were too busy not starving to wonder if the animals they were catching and eating felt morose about their fate.

Of course, the same amount of time ago, lobsters were peasant food, some disgusting mud-dwelling creature that no sensible person would put in his mouth.  So I imagine mindsets do change, usually with the assistance of a properly-executed marketing campaign. 

Do I have a problem with this invention? Not at all. Human ingenuity has found a need and filled it - it's the definition of business. Do I want them to use it on MY lobster?

Only if I can watch.