Free Million-Dollar Idea

If you want to get rich, develop a way to reheat pizza to be just as good as when it’s fresh. You’ll make millions, I’ll have my reheated pizza, and everybody wins.

Five Places

Five places where, if disaster struck, society’s loss would be pretty minimal:

5. Cock fight

4. Golf course

3. WWE Smackdown

2. Injury lawyer convention

1. American Idol auditions

Amus-eum-ing
















Sandy isn't a huge city or anything, but I would think their museum would be a bit bigger than this.
(Okay, this is a shed behind the actual museum.)

Diagnostic Inflation

You know how new parents stereotypically freak out over every little thing, and then by the time child #5 rolls around they’re like, “Eh. If it doesn’t kill him, it’s okay”? Well, it turns out doctors are the same way.

Our pediatrician is fresh out of med school, and I imagine that it’s tempting to over-diagnose things early on in your practice. Every time we took our baby in, he though we needed to check him for jaundice (the lights in their exam rooms were yellowish), and as far as I know, the tests never showed anything. The last time we took him in was for a persistent cough, and the doctor was hard pressed to decide between asthma and pneumonia.

Then there’s our family doctor. Every time I go in to him he tells me I just have a virus and will have to wait it out. I pretty much have to be missing limbs before he seems worried. I can’t blame him. He’s a little older, so by now he probably rarely sees challenges, and the run-of-the-mill stuff bores him. I’d be the same way.

Has anybody else noticed this? (Krista, I’m looking in your direction...)

Mirror, Mirror

Some time ago I watched a program on PBS that was about what we consider beautiful. It discussed facial symmetry and geometry, and at what age we are at our peak of physical attractiveness.

In the movie The Happening, a teacher tells one of his students that he feels sorry for him because he’s reached the peak of handsomeness while a teenager, and since features such as the nose and ears grow throughout life, he will only get uglier as time goes on.

So here’s today’s quandary: At what age (up to your current age, unless you can see the future) do you feel you have been the most attractive? For myself I would have to say within the last two years. If I look back at pictures of me even five years ago, I think I look like a kid.

Monsteritis

If you could be any movie monster, which would you be? There are the huge Cloverfield-type monsters that could lay waste to a whole city, or there are the little monsters that could hide in your house. Would you want to just scare people, make them laugh, or just eat brains?

I suppose if I were to choose from among the classic monsters, I would go with Dracula, since he was a snappy dresser and had that sort of ninja-esque air of mystery about him. But if I could go with any monster in any movie, I’d have to choose Godzilla. He gets to be good sometimes, he gets to be bad sometimes, he has radioactive breath, and he gets to fight other giant monsters and step on people. That’s the life for me.

What about you?

Felis Mortalis

It’s funny how different things will affect us emotionally. I remember that when I was a kid I wouldn’t cry if a relative died, but losing my lunchbox would easily reduce me to tears (those are real examples that John could possibly verify).

I just found out that my parents are going to put the cat to sleep this afternoon. She’s certainly old and feeble enough—she’s 19 and has terrible arthritis. It’s not like I saw her much anyway, since we don’t live there, but it still affects me, like a piece of my childhood will be gone forever. After all, I was 8 when we got her. And it makes me sad that when we take Sam over there, he’ll ask to see the cat and we’ll have to come up with an explanation of where she is, trying not to break a two-year-old’s heart.

Rest in peace, Lightning. (Yes, we had two cats: Thunder and Lightning. It made for some interesting experiences standing at the back fence calling them home. I think our neighbors thought we were practicing some sort of weather-control witchcraft.)

Today's Silver Lining

If anyone hacked my bank account, at least the effort would go unrewarded...

Take 2

I just had to do one more of these, with an old Halloween picture of me.


And to think that Benicio del Toro guy looks like that every day...

Me and the Weirdos

The other day I rode TRAX (Utah’s light rail system) downtown. While I enjoyed the convenience of not having to find a place to park, it brought to mind the age-old question of why there are so many weirdos who use public transportation. (And don’t tell me the guy who acted like the money in my hand was his wasn’t weird.)

The only time I have consistently used public transportation here was my freshman year of college when I was living in Salt Lake and had to commute to school in Provo. So I got to know the bus-riding weirdos that year.

Then I went to Seoul, where the majority of people use public transportation, and there were far fewer weirdos proportionally. So these are my questions:

a) Is there a greater concentration of weirdos using public transportation in a place where more people drive?

or

b) In a place where more people drive, does that just mean more of the weirdos are in cars?

BTW, the title refers to a great children's book

Celebrity Collage

So apparently when I smile I look like these people...



I don't know if I should be more concerned that I look like an Asian man or a white woman.
And when I frown, I look like these people:



I like the whole Christian Bale thing (and it's funny that there are two stars from Batman Begins on there. But Tori Amos?

Thanks for the idea, John.

Mental Dental

Last year I had some serious tooth pain and went to the only dentist I could find that was open late. They told me I needed a root canal, but they weren’t on my insurance so I just had them prescribe some pain pills and got it done at another dentist a few days later. I never want back to the original place or had any contact with them.

This morning, approximately 14 months after my first and only visit to this dentist, I simultaneously received a text message and email from their office, telling me I was overdue for a check-up. Which of the following most likely explains this?

a) They are losing patients and want to reach out to everyone who has so much as passed their office and coughed.

b) It’s a mass-mailing that just happened to reach someone who had been to their office before.

c) Computer/human error

d) They sincerely care about my well-being.

Dream Log 1

Sometimes I have weird dreams and tell my friend Todd, who advised me to keep some sort of dream journal. That sounds like a lot of work, but adding the occasional weird dream to the blog is much easier.

Anyway, last night I dreamed that my son ended up in a parallel dimension, where they drink blood instead of water. My wife and I had to go and rescue him before they sacrificed him for his blood. I don’t remember how we saved him, but for some reason my wife wanted to stop and change his diaper before we went back to our own dimension, but I didn’t want to risk the danger.

Mystery Solved

Last night our "little" beetle friend was back (it's a full inch long). My wife had gone to the store, and I thought she was back and knocking on the door for me to let her in. But it was this beetle, flying erratically and bumping into the door (probably a little unstable because it had lost an antenna). This time I caught it and took some photos, and you'll be glad to know that I positively identified it as the ten-lined June beetle.

Ignominy

The other day I had an interesting experience. For the sake of maintaining some semblance of dignity and not offending the person involved (although this individual is unlikely to be a computer user), I will offer an analogy rather than an actual account. Imagine that you are a firefighter. You fight fires all day, and you like it. At home you have a fire extinguisher in every room, you have family fire drills, and you certainly know not to throw water on a grease fire.

Now imagine that one day you are in your back yard, about to light your gas grill. Your neighbor, whom you invited over for a barbecue, informs you that the way you are lighting your gas grill is unsafe and could result in an explosion. And you look down and realize that he's right. How would that make you feel?

My Mop!

The other day there was a plastic cup on my desk when I left, and the next morning it was gone. I figured the janitor must have thrown it away, and then I felt ashamed for assuming it must have been the janitor. I mean, I've done a fair amount of janitorial work, and I know those poor folks always get blamed for everything. Remember that scene with Stanley Spadowski on UHF? If not, you need to go watch that, in order to pay homage to the folks who help us keep things clean.

Show Me Your Simile

Why is it that little kids always kick their covers off during the night? I have no idea, but this morning as I was putting the blankets back on Sam I had an idea for a game.

Finish this phrase: “Keeping covers on a sleeping kids is like __________.”

For example: “Keeping covers on a sleeping kid is like keeping the raccoons out of the trash.”

I know you can do better than that.

Zap!

On Saturday I went to pick up a “new” couch from a friend of the family. When I got back, my wife told me there had been a loud boom and the power had gone off just before I got home. Then, as we were moving the couch inside, out of the corner of my eye I saw something explode on a power pole just outside our back yard. It sounded like a gunshot.

Eventually the power company came out and fixed it, but it was a little scary to see. One thing I have never desired to be near is an explosion involving power lines.

Beetle-Browed

On Friday night our neighbors had noticed this incredibly weird beetle outside. It had black and yellow stripes running lengthwise down its back, and it had multi-tiered feathery antenna. I went back in the house, and then a minute later decided I wanted a picture of it. When I went back out, our neighbor had tossed it out into the yard, and I couldn’t find it to take a picture.

So now I’m dying to find out what kind of beetle it was, which is no small task. Apparently there are 350,000 known species of beetles, with an estimate of millions of different species.


[It looks like it was probably the Colorado potato beetle, although the antenna still looked different. But here’s a picture of the most likely suspect.]

Big News

Every day I read a news headline that says “Oil Prices Rise…” and then just adds some random words at the end. Today’s headline is “Crude Oil Rises to Record on Speculation Israel May Attack Iran.” Another one I often see is something about the weakening dollar driving up prices or some terrorist attack in Nigeria. I know that when you analyze things it makes perfect sense economically, but the average person just sees some random world event driving prices up. One of these days I’m going to see something like “Butterfly Flaps Wings, Oil Reaches Record Price” or “Saudi King Has Cancer, Raises Price of Crude to Fund Treatment.”

I guess the point is that this is one headline we no longer need, because it's obvious that prices are rising every day. It’s like saying “Turmoil Engulfs Middle East” or “Japan Is Weird.” It’s just not news anymore.

A Vision of the Future

Most of us who are young realize that there won’t be any social security by the time we retire. Knowing this, I enrolled in my company’s 401(k) program as soon as I was eligible, and I try to contribute as much as I can.

This morning I got an email telling me my quarterly statement is online, so I went and looked at how I’m doing. As it turns out, most of the funds I have invested in have lost money recently. So basically, we’re all doomed. By the time we’re old enough to retire, we won’t be able to because our retirement plans will all have lost so much that we’ll end up owing money to someone.

I plan to end my days as a cashier at Wal-Mart (which, incidentally, will be the only surviving retail chain by 2050), wearing pants hiked up to my armpits and grumbling about all the customers who pay more for the name brand. One day I’ll keel over while scanning some rutabagas, and they’ll just toss me in the composter and hire another old codger, because they will be a dime a dozen.

Happy Friday!

Don't Be Such an Ash*

Why do cars have ashtrays? Every single person I see on the road who is smoking just taps the ashes out the window, and then tosses the cigarette butt out when they’re finished.

*Prepare to be offended if you’re a smoker.

Through the Looking Glass

Ways to know that you have somehow been transported to a parallel universe:

People stop complaining about the weather.

Kids all get along on car trips.

Road construction ends.

Healthy food starts to taste good.

People really are attracted to you for your personality.

Watching baseball on TV is enjoyable.

Something Clever About Trains

I suppose I’m writing this mostly because in the middle of my Nyquil-tinged night I was thinking this would be a good thing to post about. Now, having said that, I don’t understand the volume at which trains blare their horns when coming to an intersection. I suppose there’s a law requiring them to do it, but I don’t understand why the horn has to be heard from several miles away. The other problem is that it seems they’re supposed to do it at every single intersection, which means that you hear that horn 50 times before the train gets out of range. This can make for an unpleasant night’s sleep, even with the aid of our good friends at Vick’s.

Kryptonite

This morning the shower radio fell right on my Achilles tendon, and now I’m walking funny. Curses! Why did my Achilles heel have to be my Achilles heel?

Separate but Equal

If you think women and men are really the same, please see the following excerpt from a recent chat with my friend Nathan.


me:
Well, we don't all have to have the same thing, do we?

Personally, I prefer grilled California condor.

nathan: I like their eggs.

me: They make great omelets.

nathan: Who doesn't enjoy a good condor omelet?

me: Nobody, that's who.
Condor isn't quite as tender as dodo, though.

nathan: Have you ever had Mastodon before? That's good eatin'.

me: True, if you can get someone to pick out the hairs.

nathan: But if you can get some of that milk, you're set.

me: True dat.
This is a conversation that I can't imagine two women ever having, and it makes me proud to be a man.

nathan: Yes. Grrr.


Can you really see two women having this conversation?

[Ladies, try to find a portion of an online chat that could just as easily be taking place between two men. I will post the winning entry as a rebuttal.]

Foghorn Voicehorn

You know how sometimes having a cold lowers your voice? Well, for the past several weeks I’ve had some funky sinus/throat thing happening, and this morning I woke up sounding like a foghorn. So I went down to the piano and found that I could hit three full notes lower than I normally can.

I wonder if there’s a way to artificially reproduce that effect without having to be sick. It would be really useful for singers, and anyone who wants to imitate Barry White or Darth Vader.

Baaaaaa

I tend to struggle with things that are super popular. I resisted reading Harry Potter for a long time, I can’t stand any of the TV shows that involve contestants singing or dancing, and there are even trends in home decoration that I think are idiotic (which I will not mention specifically, in the hope of preserving friendships). I suppose the bottom line is that I hate feeling like I’m part of a herd.

I think it’s important for us to carefully evaluate what we come into contact with, in order to choose what's worth our time. But am I going too far by deliberately avoiding things that a lot of other people like? I mean, obviously a lot of people find something redeeming in American Idol. (As a side note, my wife was recently at a baby shower where people looked at her like she was insane for not watching it.) There’s a demotivator at despair.com that sums it up nicely: “Tradition—just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid.” Along those same lines, just because a lot of other people like something doesn’t mean it’s worth liking.

So I guess it boils down to this question: Which is worse, liking something because other people do, or not liking something because other people do?

[Okay, I suppose the real answer is that either way I’m allowing others to dictate what I’m doing. But I want to hear your thoughts on this.]