Oh Boy! Another Belgian Waffle Maker...

I spent the majority of the day yesterday attending several events pertaining to a wedding. I tried to find an original but useful gift. The only way to know if I succeeded, of course, is to wait for a year, go to the couple’s home, and poke around to see if they kept it.

It was fun to attend all these events, because this couple organized things almost exactly the same way my own wedding day was. This is great because I essentially have no memory of that day. I don’t remember a single word that was said during the ceremony. I don’t remember what we had for the luncheon (which, by the way, was some truly killer chicken cordon bleu yesterday). I don’t remember any of the greetings or advice from people. I don’t really even remember who came to anything.

I do, however, remember two particularly useful gifts. One was a first aid kit. This is such a great gift because it’s something you need to have in your home, but it’s not something others are likely to think of. And if you do get multiples, you can put one in your car. You’re bound to use it sometime. The other great gift we got was around $70 in one-dollar bills. This was great because a honeymoon is likely to be replete with occasions in which tipping is customary, and you don’t want your spouse to see you stiffing people.

So let’s stop re-gifting that old Star Trek steak knife set.

Horror Spray

Sometimes I use hairspray in the morning. Sprayed in the confines of the bathroom, I can’t help but breathe it in for a couple of minutes. I have this strange and compelling fear that the hairspray is clogging the alveoli in my lungs, causing me to slowly suffocate. Sometimes I even hold my breath before I spray and try not to breathe until I leave the room. Is this an unforeseen byproduct of anti-tobacco advertising or a warning sign of impending madness?

If I could be a vegetable (literally, I mean; my mental state often enough approaches that definition...), what kind would I be? By giving this question the hours of thought it deserves, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to be a brussels sprout. The reason is that if I were to get eaten, I would want to be as disgusting as possible to my killer. Some might call this pretty cynical. Others might not know me that well.
Then there's the question of what vegetable I resemble most. In other words, if I were to become a cartoon vegetable, what would I be? I'll rely on your creative-thinking skills to inform me (be kind).
What about you? What veggie would you be, and what do you most resemble?

Back in '82...

The responses to yesterday’s post made a little connection happen in my brain. Here’s what it looked like:





The connection was this: people always think the present is worse than the past (or their imagined future). That’s why people are always complaining about the weather no matter what the season. There’s a proverb in Korea that illustrates this: The frog forgets what it’s like to be a tadpole. And, really, it’s good to live in the present. Otherwise you end up like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. And I don’t think any of us would like that.

Post of a Good Hell

For some reason, as I was falling asleep last night, I began to wonder what my own personal hell would be like. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

It would be really windy, all the time, and super hot and humid. Everybody, including me, would be renamed Dakota (Sorry to anybody who likes that name, if any of those people can read, but it’s my hell, not yours). I would be forced to listen to muzak versions of really bad jazz while cashiering endlessly. I would have to wear a Hot Dog on a Stick uniform, and every customer would be buying really sharp objects like porcupines and bits of broken glass. There wouldn’t be a bar code on anything, and whenever the line got down to one person a hundred more people would come up at once and start yelling at me to speed up.

What would your hell be like?


[Update: One more thing that would happen is everyone would copy me. Just kidding, Jer.]

Don't Mess with Beefy

When I lived in Korea, there was this really expensive department store we used to hang around on occasion. When I say expensive, I mean they sold $1,000 sweaters and $1,500 gold pens. They had racks of furs tantalizingly close to the outer doors. I was always surprised that nobody ran off with them. Maybe they did.

Anyway, they had a lot of security people who walked around the place, and I was always fascinated that they weren’t the big, burly men you might see in a similar place here. Many of them were actually women (not to question the beat-down ability of women, particularly in a country which practices a lot of martial arts). I remember two of the women in particular. We called one of them beefy, because she actually was pretty formidable-looking. The other one was dubbed Sideburns, for obvious reasons.

This really doesn’t have a point. I just felt like reminiscing a little bit.

The Pen Is Mightier than Being Bored

I started writing a post about the trapped Utah miners and the emotional manipulation employed by the media, but that kind of bored me. So instead I’m going to go for something a little more lighthearted.

I like pens. Can I just say that? I’m constantly in search of the perfect pen. There are many criteria involved: how smoothly it writes, how much the ink bleeds, how rich and dark the color is (I prefer to use black ink), whether it clicks or has a cap, how much it costs, and whether it is disposable or refillable. The list goes on. Maybe I’m weird. Or maybe this fascinates me because I’m so interested in language. At any rate, you might be bored, but at least I’m not anymore. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to daydream about Bics and Pilots.

[Note: I'm messing around with templates, so don't get weirded out if the layout is different every time you visit.]

Save Your Breath

There are some things you should never say, because no matter how true they may be, nobody will believe you. Here are some examples.

1. I’m not stupid!

2. No, that dress does not make you look fat.

3. Of course I’m over 21, I just forgot my ID!

4. Reality shows are the greatest! (Okay, some people will believe this. See item #1.)

5. The sugar-free kind tastes just like the regular kind.

6. I thought the speed limit on this road was 50, officer.

Can you think of any others?

5 a.m.

There’s something magical to me about the hour of 5:00 a.m. True, I usually sleep through it, but that’s sort of the point. It’s the hour by which most night owls hit the sack, and I think the majority people are able to sleep in until at least 6:00. Traffic outside seems more calm, and that nocturnal silence seems to prevail for a brief time before the world wakes up. Occasionally I wake up at some point during that hour, and it’s nice to just lie in bed enjoying the calm. Everything seems right with the world at 5:00 a.m.

Okaybye

When you finish a phone conversation, have you ever noticed how many times you have to exchange words like “okay” and “see you later”? There seems to be some set number of conversational volleys before you can let the ball of communication drop. Pay attention the next time you’re on the phone. You can’t just say “Bye,” and hang up, or you’ll seem rude.

My problem is that I always seem one exchange ahead of the other person. When I say “Bye,” the other person still needs to make two comments, so they end up quickly saying “Okaybye” before hanging up.

Seriously, pay attention to your phone conversations and see if this isn’t the case. Try saying goodbye one round earlier and listen to the other person splutter. It’s fun to do, especially when someone you don’t care for calls you.

Death vs. Pestilence

The new figures on international life expectancy just came out, with the U.S. ranking a dismal 42nd. Still, the average life expectancy has increased to 77.9 years for the average person in this country.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have a pain-free life, of course. You might have a chronic disease for decades, and you’ll probably spend several weeks every year sick with a cold. So here’s the question: Would you give up a portion of your life in exchange for having perfect health? Let’s say you could live to be 65 with perfect health, as opposed to 78 with health problems. What would you do? I'm betting the answer has to do with your overall health.

You Scratch My Ego...

I just had an imaginary conversation between Bill and Hillary Clinton in my head. It went something like this:

Hillary: “Fine. You can go out carousing, but you have to help me get elected president. Plus you have to at least act meek and penitent in public.”

Bill: “Deal!”

The Pants Dance

Here’s an idea fresh off the, uh, synapses. Generally speaking, there is one person in every relationship who plays the dominant role. There’s usually one person who makes the majority of the phone calls, perhaps makes most of the conversation, and “wears the pants,” if you will. Well, this morning I thought of another indicator. It’s the person who does the driving. I often see people dropped off at work by a spouse, but the person being dropped off here was the driver, so the other person has to get out and walk around to the driver’s seat. It would make more sense efficiency-wise if one person just drove the whole way, so I wonder if it’s an indicator of dominance. What do you think?

And the Battle Rages On

I have spent an unusually large amount of time thinking about how men and women think and speak differently. No matter what feminists would like us to think, there are differences, and that’s a good thing. Each gender, for example, tends toward a predisposed set of skills which facilitates dealing with the other. For example, men are good at something called "strategic incompetence," as it was worded in a Dilbert strip. The idea is that you make youself appear so stupid that you avoid being given any responsibility.

There is one skill women possess that fascinates me. If I could master this skill, I could probably conquer the whole world. Here’s a hypothetical scenario.


Woman: I decided you didn’t need those old clothes in the bottom of the dresser, so I threw them out today.


Man: You what? That was my autographed [insert favorite athlete here] uniform! How could you throw that away without asking?


Woman (tears welling up in her eyes): I was just trying to help keep things clean… (begins sobbing)


Man: I’m sorry, honey. Let me buy you something expensive. Will that make you feel better?


The idea is that the woman can do something wrong, but the man ends up taking the blame and even apologizing. However upset the man gets, the woman doubles the intensity when she becomes upset at his becoming upset. In a contest of such emotional depth, the man will invariably lose. Hence, it all becomes his fault.

It is true that politicians are accomplished at delegating blame, but nobody is really fooled by it. Perhaps that’s an endorsement for more women to enter politics. They might be just as slimy as men, but at least we wouldn’t realize it.

O Sicko Meo

When I was in elementary school, I used to get a sore throat often in the summer, especially around my birthday. Eventually I had my tonsils removed. Then, a couple of years ago, I had a horrible stomach ache on my birthday. This year, I had a horrible stomach ache the night before my birthday and the night after (I didn’t really have that much cake). Something fishy is going on here. I suppose to be scientifically valid, I need to keep track of the other days I’m sick to see if I’m really sick more often on my birthday than any other day, but that would involve work. It’s much easier to just claim that mysterious forces are at work.

1+1=1

Today I’m going to get a bit political. I usually avoid politics, except for solving the occasional worldwide problem. So if you find the topic boring, well, it’s not as if you’re paying for this.

Apparently North and South Korea are again talking about the possibility of considering maybe trying to begin to reunite a little bit. This situation, however, involves several almost insurmountable problems. First and foremost, the dictator of North Korea is an idiotic narcissist who throws a significant part of his population in gulags and starves the rest, while maintaining a standing army of a million men. And what resources aren’t spent on the military are spent trying to make the rest of the world think they have nuclear weapons. Second, somebody would actually have to relinquish power in order to make two governments into one, and I don’t think rock/paper/scissors is going to be sufficient to make those decisions. Finally, it would basically mean that a country of 50 million would have to support an additional 23 million, which could collapse the economy entirely. They’ll need to sell a lot of Hyundai cars to keep things running.

Maybe we should try to get North Korea to host the Olympics. It certainly helped the South Korean economy prosper. They could convert some of their gulags into domiciles for Olympic athletes. They could have athletes toss javelins into the DMZ to get rid of a few mines. They could even add a new event: tunneling across the border. It could work!

Oh My Stars!

Something strange is happening to homes all around us. It started as a craft project, then grew into a nightmare of interior design. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the star!

I’ve been noticing this symbol appearing on more and more houses over the past few months. I have two possible explanations for this. One: This is a subtle, sinister sign of membership in a secret organization dedicated to the destruction of humanity. Two: It’s a symbol of the herd mentality we often try to deny but rarely escape.

I’m not sure which possibility is more frightening.

The Price You Will Pay

Yesterday I spontaneously created a new movie ratings system to replace the old 1 through 4 star system (what exactly is a star worth to me?). Here are the ratings: Don’t ever see it; See it on TV later for free; Rent it; See it at the dollar theater; See a matinee; See it for full price. I think this is a much more practical system.

You’re welcome.


Head Trip

Much of the violence in the world is done by those seeking to increase the amount of land they control. So what would happen if we just chose one world leader and put him or her in charge of the whole world? “Okay, the entire world is now your country. Will you stop trying to expand your borders now? How about you work on helping people get enough to eat instead?”