Rants and Riffs Installment #12: Greeting cards, too-early calendars, and cable companies

infant ranting
Greeting card makers…since when did your product need that glued-down third ‘page’? The minute I pull a card from the case and feel that extra heft, I know that baby’s going to cost an extra buck.

Moving on…
A curious question from a snail mail donation plea…”How are you enjoying our 2020 calendar?” It’s September of 2019! Why would I have a calendar out three months ahead of time? And really, enjoying a calendar?

And finally…
Cable companies forcing you into ‘bundles’. All I want is fast Internet access! No, I do not want Keeping Up with the Kardashians, meaningless statistics spewed by sports networks, or some poor mosquito-bitten shlub relying on a palm frond [if we’re lucky] for warmth.

 

Not writing? I’ll blame anybody.

I directed one of my morning pages blaming others for my not writing.

Sooo satisfying…

For starters, I blamed Hilary Mantel, who said,

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie exclamations

, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” [The Guardian, 25 February 2010]

One small segment of her message seemed to resonate…

I repeat…all her fault.

And I blame Trader Joe’s who is selling organic strawberries for $2.50 a pound. Let’s face it, most of those gorgeous ones in the supermarket have very little flavor and considering they are one of the dirty dozen, well, that doesn’t help in the ‘appeal’ category.

But back to my relentless search for scapegoats…let’s see…yes! Sam Merritt’s to blame for serving up this winning recipe for strawberry cream cheese pie.

strawberry cream pie with dog lying nearby
Always good to have a member of the quality control team nearby

My only complaint: “Return to refrigerator and allow to set at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before slicing and serving.”

Okay, in what world do people actually wait that long?

 

Rants and Riffs Installment #9: Thoughts while eating za’atar popcorn…

popcorn seasoned with za'atar

I wonder if the result is better if I sprinkled the za’atar in warmed olive oil to allow the seasonings to bloom…Worth trying the next time out. I know readers are riveted.

***

By the way, my favorite popcorn maker is this easy-to-clean Likue [sounds Hawaiian, doesn’t it?] brand of microwave popper. [BTW: Not an affiliate link.] Drop in the butter [I use olive oil.] and about a quarter cup of popcorn. My microwave’s ideal settings are: Two minutes on high. I don’t use the ‘popcorn’ setting. Bit of advice: Start tuning in at about the 1:50 mark. If corn is still popping at faster than ‘pop per one second’, let’er run. If the pops are less frequent ‘shut’er down’. [Geez, that whole rural twangy terminology gives me such a rush.]

***

Answer me this: Why in the name of Arnold Palmer do I even listen to the Dennis Silvers’ Golf Minute? Maybe I’m just a captive audience between segments of other stuff, but really, what part of ‘positioning your club face’ keeps me listening? I haven’t picked up a club in over 40 years.
Note: I’m still haunted by a psyche-scarring event when I was 11 years old. I scuffed a drive over to an adjacent putting green and it found a woman’s left calf. She was writhing in agony. I guess I too have been writhing ever since. [Pssst…probably not. Small comfort>>My ill-targeted shot bounced at least five times before making contact. Still, it does cross my mind whenever I revisit the idea of my hitting the links.] Okay, confession is over. Not sure if my penance has ended, however…I guess St. Peter will let me know…assuming I’m sent to the ‘escalator-up’ line.

***

escalator
I’m not exactly comfortable with the deep red glow. I’d be hoping for a relaxing azure blue…

And yes…now you’re all wondering…what about our post-mortem transport mode? If we’re directed toward an up-escalator, is that sometimes painfully deliberate climb the equivalent of ‘purgatory’? As opposed to a high speed ‘blink-and-you’re-there’ up-elevator? And is there music involved? And is TSA involved at any point in our journey? Gotta tell ya, if I’m issued one of those flowing robes, I’m not cottoning to any security frisk.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #7–Bobbleheads, dandelions, and…and…attention span

Bobble head doll of Charles Darwin
Not sure what his lifetime batting average was…

Bobblehead dolls…please. 40,000 of them on a given night at a major league ballpark.

And often to commemorate a player of marginal ability. [Not daring to use names here.]

If those petroleum-based cluttermeisters even make it home, they’re headed straight to the closet and/or the landfill.

Question 1: What is the half-life of a bobblehead doll of a shortstop who batted .234 lifetime?  450-800 years

Question 2: What does the guy’s batting average have to do with degradation of plastic?

Answer: Nothing. Nothing at all.


girl in field of dandelions
Worn down by the taunts and jeers

Topic: Dandelions. Fellow gardeners…or at least, those of us doing mindless grunt work with hoe and shovel…don’t you think dandelions simply mock us?

The big ones—”Neaner, neaner, neeeeaner! You’re oblivious and I’m huuuuge!”

The small ones—”We’re baaaaack!”


lawn mowing strategy

Topic: Clear sign of a vanishing attention span—my lawn mowing has regressed to ‘forward-and-back-in-one-5′ x 5′ square at a time’. Anything beyond that, all bets are off.


Hey, we’re all in this together [whatever ‘this’ is]. Any frustrations niggling at you? Share them below.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #6

weed whacker

First of all, doubt your dominance over nature? Git yerself a weedwhacker.


lady blowing her nose

2. Allergy season. Anyone suffer so much that the only practical way to deal with the messy symptoms is to hook a roll of paper towels to your belt?
Still on hay fever…nose-blowin’ guys with the cool 5 o’clock stubble: the inevitable remaining tissue-flivvle…not a good look.


fuel meter
3. Car rental agencies…love to give you a car with a partially-filled tank. They know darn well you’re:

  • too busy [or not math-fluent enough] to estimate how much is needed to return that midsize at the required level.

  • going to forget you started with a partial tank

  • therefore going to fill well beyond the required level.

Cha-Ching!


Hey, we’re all in this together [whatever ‘this’ is]. Any frustrations niggling at you? Share them below.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #5

dog chewing on toy
Pretty sure he didn’t order this ‘toy’ online.

–If you want to crank out a substandard product and still make a little cash, look to the world of pet products. After all, how can you guarantee the entertainment value of a dog toy? And so, it’s a wide open marketplace. “Barkley couldn’t live without his Squiggly Squirrel” goes the testimonial. What we’re not told is Barkley would equally relish an empty milk container.


Nike cloth bag
Shouldn’t I be collecting a little cash for this convenient product placement?

–Nike, Under Armour, Adidas… Shouldn’t you be paying us to advertise your products as we wear them?


man with long hair and beard
I want this guy’s shampoo.

–I am still waiting for that blasted ‘volumizing’ shampoo to kick in after years of use. My forehead continues its relentless advance.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #4–Tips for failure

So, here I am and I am clearly in need of a new look for drafts in MacJournal…

There—that’s better. Charter Roman…I like it.

Giving in to meaningless font-focused distractions prompts me to share a few more tips on how to fail at this writing thing.

1. Have a dog. For a less-fettered path to failure, get one with a clear opinion of his superiority over any digital device.

dog with chin resting on iPad mini

2. Live in a locale with great weather. That sun just pulls me away, with each wavelength of radiant flux** reminding me that: A. I need vitamin D B. camping out in front of a screen is a waste of valuable daylight.

3. Own a DVR. But if you ARE going to sit in front of a screen and waste valuable daylight, you might as well be catching up on [insert favorite cable series here].

4. Keep your most valuable insights and creations on a plethora of notebooks scattered throughout the universe.

These aren't strewn throughout the house, but you get the idea.
piles of notebooks

5. Nurture a lifelong interest in sports. [Diabolical ESPN.com opens on its own, I swear.] Checking for croquet updates is thus inevitable, followed by an all-too-convenient point-and-click side trip to your favorite croqueter’s profile.

**Another tip for failure: Find it imperative to research how sunlight is measure.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #3

cinnamon roll
This one stands on its own, but a thick layer of vanilla/cream cheese frosting wouldn’t hurt.

Today’s topic: Cinnamon rolls.

Come on folks, if there isn’t a roiling ooze of brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon the second the knife presses into the roll, it ain’t a cinnamon roll.

Want one with frosting? How about powdered sugar/cream cheese mortar? Something that requires the slathering skills of a professional mason. And yes, paying the guy’s union rate is worth it.

My cardiologist awaits…