Pre-packaged vegetables… damn them!

Carrots, just in case you’re one of those people who never eats vegetables and aren’t sure.

Damn the grocery store produce manager, I mean.  This is serious.  It’s all about them when it’s supposed to be about me.

Here’s how it goes down.  I decide to eat healthy.  I select a scrumptious recipe that has… <gulp!>… vegetables.  (Remember, I said this was serious!)  Anyway, I scan the internet for something appealing… I plan my meal… I write down the ingredients I need for said recipe… I pack the dog away so I can leave… I leave and head to the store… I turn around and go back home to get my list… I get back in the car after trying to get the dog to calm down after being hopefully excited that I’m home for good (to service him, of course, it’s all about the dog)… I drive to the store… I get annoyed at the parking… I grumble at the cluster-eff of people in my way… I make my way to the produce section.

I have arrived!  Now time to ‘be healthy’.

I need a carrot to spruce up my dish, make it a little more colorful, add a few extra vitamins, ya know?  Please note my specific working here.  I need A carrot.  One.  I don’t eat carrots often.  So what do I see?  I see bags of sliced carrots, baby carrots, and 5-10 lb economy bags of whole carrots, the literal bag-o-carrots that even Bugs Bunny would be hard-pressed to consume.  What happened to the loose carrots?  Back in my day… get off my lawn!… there’d be a huge bin of loose carrots, allowing me to sift through them and pick the one perfect carrot for my needs.

It worked for me.  It seemed to work well for everyone.  I cannot recall ever hearing a complaint.

What was wrong with that set up?

Rules to Live By, Vol. 1

Sometimes people simply need to be told, and I’m gonna tell ya.  I’m probably going to have to tell some people that these points are self-explanatory, so here we go…

  1. When a stranger or casual acquaintance asks, “How are you?”, they’re not actually expecting an answer.  (Unless you’re like me when I’m in a mood, and I do answer… in great detail.)
  2. Don’t say, “Ewwww!”, in response to what someone else is eating.
  3. When talking with someone on the phone, don’t talk to someone else in the room.
  4. When visiting someone for a meal, offer to help clean up.  If they decline, offer once more.  If they still decline, drop it!
  5. Don’t take the urinal next to an already occupied urinal, unless no others are available.  This is simple unwritten ‘urinal etiquette’.
  6. When someone else is buying a meal, don’t order the most expensive item.  Try and have them order first, then follow along in the same or lesser price range.  If they insist you order first, pick something somewhere from the cheapest to roughly mid-price.
  7. Always hold the door open for the person behind you, male or female is irrelevant.  Say ‘thank you’ when it is done for you.
  8. Middle names are for use only by mothers when you’re in trouble.
  9. Don’t ask shy or introverted people, “What’s wrong?”, or otherwise bring attention to their quietness.  It only makes them even more self-conscious.
  10. Never… ever… makes plans in front of people you’re not involving.
  11. Close your mouth while chewing/eating.
  12. In the grocery store, when you change your mind about an item, put it back where it properly goes.  Especially do NOT abandon frozen or refrigerated items at random.
  13. If you borrow someone’s car, before you return it fill up the gas tank, and clean out trash (even if not yours).
  14. Don’t let your dog jump on people.  (There is an understandable training period to this.)
  15. Praise publicly and often.
  16. Don’t talk to people while wearing sunglasses.  It’s rude.
  17. Don’t expect someone’s else’s food to get cold just because you haven’t been served yet.
  18. Don’t answer someone’s thoughtful email with just, “k”.
  19. Don’t stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk or aisle.
  20. Don’t read every word in your PowerPoint presentation.
  21. Don’t expect someone to not talk about the hot new movie a month after its release.  You get one week of consideration, that’s it.
  22. Don’t bring toddlers to movie theaters or loud concerts.
  23. Knock before entering your kid’s bedroom.
  24. Compliments on people’s appearance is fine, just once, though, and don’t overdo it.
  25. The customer is not always right.  It’s ok to tell some people to just get the eff out.  (Remember, the theme of this post is that some people need to be told.  🙂 )

You know there’s going to be a Vol. 2.  😉

Three Superpowers I Need

Life would be enhanced if I could have superpowers.  We all want superpowers, don’t we?  I mean, who wouldn’t?  My life would be greatly enhanced with superpowers.  Now, I could go for things like enact world peace, or cure cancer, or some other selfless act, but where’s the fun in that?  No, I want “revenge superpowers”.

This does preclude something like the ability to see through clothing.  I think Superman had that one, but I forget.  That has a certain… provocative allure to it.  There would be downsides, though.  You’d have to be able to pick and choose whose clothes you were ignoring.  Don’t want to see just anybody.  Plus, looking through clothing you wouldn’t be seeing people in their perfection.  The clothes would still be there, so you’d be seeing their body all stuffed in and wrinkled and unnaturally pushed here and there, not unlike a homemade sausage.  And do you really want to see the entire muffin along with the muffin top?  I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound as appealing as one might think.

Presuming the genie would give me only three superpowers, here’s what I’d choose…

The ability to have the entire road pull over to the side while I drive where I want to, unhindered.  Readers of The Grump know that other drivers is a pet-peeve of mine.  This is numero uno.  People just need to get out of my way.  This includes police and ambulances and fire trucks.  Now, in my own magnanimous way, my superpower would include the ability to heal whoever is being transported by the ambulance, or reverse the fire the fire truck is going to.  The Grump just wants people out of his way, he doesn’t want to be a jerk about it.

The ability to disable all cell phones within a 150 foot radius of me at concerts.  The Grumpess and I went to see Alice Cooper a couple nights ago.  Truly an awesome show.  We had great seats.  The man may be 70 years old, but he can still bring it!  He even played one of my favorite songs from a semi-obscure album from 1980 that he hadn’t played live since 1982 until this leg of this tour.  It was a perfect night… except for the lady in front of me that kept raising her phone in the air, in my direct line of sight, throughout the show.  And for what, some crappy photos and videos that she will probably forget about after next week.  It was rude!  I was tempted to knock on her head and tell her to stop, but an arrest for starting a riot wasn’t exactly in The Grump’s best interests.  So now, I want the ability to disable ALL cell phones around me so that I can enjoy the show.  I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all.

The ability to remember where I put my keys, and my wallet, and my glasses… all the time.  For anyone who is getting up there in age, this is self-explanatory.  What’s that you say?  I should just designate a place and always put them there?  Bless yer heart.

There ya go.

Three things Facebook needs to do to improve my experience

Hey Facebook… I’m lookin’ at you, Mr. Zuckerberg… your product is pretty good, but needs help.  I have three things that should be easy peasy for you to fix, because I think you do them on purpose.  Let’s get started..

Put things in order.  News feed and notifications, both.  Skeptical Ken says you do this on purpose because you want people to be confused and stumbling around the site.  You want them spending more time, doing more clicks, that appeals to advertisers, and so on.  It also makes you look incompetent, even though it’s deviously brilliant.  If Social Fixer can put the news feed in order, so can you, and you know it.

Stop notifying me when people I don’t know do something.  Whenever I comment on a friend’s thread I get notifications when people I don’t know… and don’t want to know… post as well.  Let Annoyed Ken carefully phrase this so it’s crystal clear:  I… don’t… care.   I don’t even care if they post in response to my comment, or tag me by name.  All it does it muck up my notifications, which I already have to navigate deftly because you refuse to put things in order.  I don’t know these people, why should I care?

Give me a place to contact with questions… and get answers.  And something easy and legit.  How about an email address or a contact form.  How about something where I can ask a question and get a human response with an answer?  At least a legit place for me to complain about your shortcomings, with a real person reading them, even if you don’t respond.  I know, I know, I know, nobody does this.  Not Yahoo, not Google, not Microsoft.  Be better.

There ya go.  These three things would enhance my experience greatly.  Please note that I did not suggest more privacy or that you don’t sell my information.  We both know that will never happen.

3 Dumb Sports Rules

Sports, like anything else, evolves over time.  Usually for the better, though not always… NFL I’m lookin’ at you with your anal retentive nanny rules that have virtually ruined the game.  But there are some rules that simply defy rational explanation, and that need to be changed.  What are they you ask?  Well, I’m glad you asked, because here they are..

Baseball

Batters are allowed to “steal” first base if they strike out and the catcher drops the ball.  Why?  You either let a good pitch sail by, or you swung at a bad pitch, you don’t deserve a second chance.  You struck out, go sit the eff down!

Football

The ground can’t cause a fumble.  Why not?  We have here some of the strongest and most gifted athletes imaginable, and we can’t hold onto the ball?  Really?  Seriously?  You’re a man, football’s supposed to be a man’s game, hold onto the damn ball.

Soccer

Offside.  This one can’t even be explained by commentary.  An official explanation is required.  According to the Orlando City Soccer Club, offside is explained thusly…

According to the FIFA rulebook, a player is in an offside position if:

  • He is nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.
  • A violation will occur when he is in an offside position (previous bullet point) at the same time the ball is being passed forward to him.

A player is NOT in an offside position if:

  • He is in his own half of the field of play.
  • No part of the attacking player (head, body, or feet) is closer to the opponents goal than the final defender (not including the goalkeeper) .
  • He is receiving the ball from a throw-in.

Got all that?  Simple.  😐  No, it’s not, and contrary to the link it’s not easier to see than read.  A casual fan has no clue what or when offside is happening, and there’s a good reason for that… it’s dumb.

My solution is really quite simple:  Teach the defense to play defense.  If they don’t defend properly, they deserve to have a goal scored against them.

Soap Box: Don’t lie to me

One of the great things about a blog such as this is that there’s almost never a lack of good subject matter. Today’s topic is when people lie to us. More specifically, when corporations… which are made up of people… lie to us. I’m talking the bold-faced intentional lie that no one, not even the most forgiving considerate nice person, believes.

For example: I log into my email this morning, and there’s a message from Google Play, the header of which reads…

At Google Play your security is our biggest priority

😐

No, it’s not. Don’t lie to me. Nobody, without exception, believes that. If I had to dissect it… which I will because I need to fill some space, stating the obvious is kinda short and quick… I guess the big hang up for me here is the inclusion of the word “biggest”. As in #1, everything else pales in comparison, we will sacrifice profit to protect you. The mere notion makes my head hurt, it’s so patently ridiculous. You’ll sell us down the road for a buck in the blink of an eye. You know it, I know it.

If they had said “…your security is our priority”, and left out the ‘biggest’ lie, it would still imply #1, but it wouldn’t be as in-your-face blatant lying about it, and would have been ok. I probably would have rolled my eyes and moved on. It wouldn’t have triggered my ire to the point that I felt the need to speak out about it.

At least butter me up and pretend that I’m intelligent.

Things I will never understand

The things we will do to posture ourselves so other people will think highly of us… or at least how we define highly. People are so fake. “Plastic” was a groovy term from the 1960s and 70s. Personally, I like “transparent” better. So, what are some of these things that people do to fake it?

1. Pro-active proclamations of assertiveness.

You know the person, they’re the ones who will make sure to tell you how freely they will tell the truth, tell it like it is, tell (correct?) others to their face, yada yada yada, and if people don’t like it they can lump it. Or something like that. I call BS. In my life’s experiences and observations, the more people brag how brutally open and honest they are, when opportunities do arise to do this, more often than not they’re as quiet as the proverbial church mouse. Do it too much and you lose credibility.

2. Pro-active proclamations of indifference.

If you take the time to publicly state, on your own, with no prompting, that you don’t care what anybody thinks, you are lying. The mere fact that you made the statement proves that you do care. If you honestly and truly didn’t care, the thought would never even have occurred to you to make the statement. Usually done by people who have no credibility to begin with, but desperately want some.

3. Pro-active assertions of how they make the world change for them.

A particular medication is only available in pill form.  You hate pills.  You demand that they make it in liquid form just for you.  You won’t take it except in liquid form.  Basically, the person who claims they made the world change for them, and only them, and as you listen you know it’s not true. Hate to break it to ya, buttercup, but you are not that special that the world stops and re-directs just because you demand they do so. Oh, and I’ve already dismissed your story of corporate manipulation success, too. What credibility you might have had, is now gone. *poof!*

Incredible.

Look, a squirrel!… and other annoyances

Is it bad to be so annoyed all the time? I mean, c’mon, is everybody else really that… brain dead? Well, yes, many are. Around me, it seems. But not all, let’s be curmudgeonly fair. I have even had my own moments of dumbness, though only a couple, and mine were completely justifiable. No jury would ever convict me.

Be that as it may, there are some irritating things in the world that need to be discussed and dealt with.

Example: Road construction. A couple things here. First, back in my day… get off my lawn!… they’d put some cones and a couple signs out, and everybody knew where to drive to stay out of causing a wreck. It wasn’t a big deal. Today, apparently we have enough non-drivers that they have to completely repaint all the lines and arrows, just to take them out later, which scars the pavement, so they can repaint them again, rinse-and-repeat, lest Goober lose his way and ram someone who did know what to do. This is not a good sign of where society is going, no pun intended.

Second, you remember my previous post where I mention the Facebook page for my hometown where all people do is complain? Basically, whenever the city does anything new and/or different, the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins. Wasting money on pet projects for friends (read: developers), blah, blah, blah. We have lots of roads that need work so spend money there (there’s one guy that I think would prefer gravel roads, he wants no money spent at all). Yet when there is construction to fix or rehabilitate a road, they complain about that, too. It’s not being managed right (as if they’re in this industry and know what they’re talking about), why did they choose that spot when this other road right in front of my house needs it more?, and my personal favorite… I had to wait. 😐 and *facepalm*. What the deuce, people, do you want the roads fixed, or not? I mean, really!

Then there’s my memory, of late. This point was going to be something completely different just 45 seconds ago, and it was going to be so poignant and cool as to be mind blowing, so much so that you’d have had an urge to give me a fist bump, and now it’s this as a back up…

Oh, wait, now I remember… why is good food labeled as bad? Don’t know what I’m talking about? Treats like chocolates and candies and the such are often labeled as “sinful”. Why is that? Are we saying that good tasting food is from the devil and that good-for-you food sucks in taste, but is righteous? Phfft, that’s no fun. Oh my God, pun intended, we might be a bad person if we actually enjoy something. (throws up hands in futility of trying to be a good person)

It should be the other way around, the good people should get the good tasting stuff AND have it be good for you. “Sinful” food should be, oh, I don’t know… castor oil. Or liver & onions. This dichotomy fits with my historical perception of the Catholic church, whose motto should be, “Life is pain. Deal with it.”

And last, but certainly not least, “Look, a squirrel!”, the phrase. Such an awesomely descriptive phrase. It explains mindless distraction perfectly. I want to reference that, along with “first world problem(s)”, all the time, but just look at it. “Look, a squirrel!” I mean, to be done properly, an exclamation point is a must, but the exclamation point gets lost next to the ‘l’. No impact. Just a plain sentence. A perfect phrase thwarted by similarities in character.

So annoyi… oh, what a cute basset meme.

I just wanted a pizza

Is it really that hard to just sell me something?  If I want to go to a concert, when I go to buy tickets I have to create an account where I hand over personal information.  Everybody on the internet wants you to create an account anymore.  It’s become disconcerting.  Remember Radio Shack?  They would ask for your phone number at every purchase.  You’d have thought that that diode you purchased had national security implications.

Yesterday was Friday.  It was hot and muggy.  I was tired.  On the way home I decide I’m going to stop in and get a pizza to take home for dinner.  I go in, the clerk immediately asks for my phone number.  Curious, I ask the clerk if it’s required.  He looks shocked, then says ‘yes’.  Now, I have no idea if he’s lying or telling the truth.  He could have lied just to get me to shut up and comply.  It’s a good thing The Grump has a strategy for this.  If The Grump, aka “Jenny”, determines that they have no legitimate need for my actual phone number… such as when purchasing a pizza… he gives his phone number as 867-5309.  I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now, and only once has someone looked back at me and smiled because they knew exactly what I was doing.  (Then there was the business that had over a dozen ‘Jennys’, and I had choose from the list.)  This does afford me some level of privacy, granted, but it still shouldn’t have to be that way.  I order the pizza, I give you my money, you give me my pizza.  Done.

But it’s amazing how many people just blindly hand over their personal information, as if everyone is ethical and honest.  It wasn’t all that long ago that the same thing happened routinely with Social Security numbers.  Now, THAT’s dangerous.

Of course The Grump is not so naive as to not know they are collecting information to make more money, to entice me to buy things I might not otherwise buy, to sell and/or use against me at a later date.  They claim it’s to serve me better, and there is a kernel of truth to that, but if they didn’t get anything extra out of it they wouldn’t be concerned about serving me better at all.

The Grump wrote a letter to corporate asking if this was indeed a mandatory policy.  I want to know if the clerk was being truthful or if he was jerkin’ my chain.  Simple transactions shouldn’t have to be so difficult.

I just wanted a pizza.

Equal Time: Yes, Men Have Their Annoying Quirks, Too

I used to live in the downtown district of a very small town. Lived there for 15 years, as a matter of fact. Being that it was literally an old-fashioned small town downtown, I did not have a driveway or a garage. I had on-street parking in which I had to vie for a parking space every single day. I could usually get pretty close to home, but it was no guarantee. Simply put, I hated that.

What was especially not optimal was that I preferred to wash my own cars. I will now do a touch-less automatic car wash, but I do not do any automatic car wash that drags carpet across my vehicle or spins abrasive brushes against it. Washing one’s own car is the way to go, and gets the best results.

Whenever I could get a parking space right out front on a Friday or Saturday night, I would drag the hose and bucket and soap out the next morning and wash my car in the street. Just me and some shorts and a tank top and some sandals and a hose and a bucket and some soap, and… old men.

Ugh!

Just as women have that chemical imbalance that kicks in at middle age regarding their shopping rituals that I mentioned in my last post, men I think experience a similar brain chemical imbalance that kicks in right on their 60th birthday.

Obviously, because I was washing my car on the street, and it was downtown, people would often walk by. Pretty much everyone would look, some would point while whispering to their companion, probably wondering who the hell washes their own car anymore to begin with, but would never say anything. Except the old men.

Always, without fail, some old codger would sidle up to me, and smile in his charming my-dentures-are-about-to-fall-out kind of way, and say… and this is pretty much verbatim, it was like they all had the same script… “How about I pull mine in behind you and you can do mine next?”

😐

Oh, lordy, you’d swear they just made up the most uproariously hilarious and completely original, joke. Wow. I’d never heard that one before, by golly. They’d all get some version of a belly laugh as they wandered off feeling so satisfied with themselves. If they were strolling with their wife they’d re-tell it to them, usually while the wife was rolling her eyes.

And I single out old men for a reason. It was only them. Never kids. Never younger men. Never ever a woman, at all, ever. Just old men. I will strive to never be “that guy”.

By now you’re wondering, “What did Ken do?”

At first I did an eye-rolled laugh and quoted a price of $50 (a couple guys were actually offended by the price, go figure). Then after awhile I just said, “No thanks.” I eventually just gave them a blank stare and didn’t respond at all. That last one was the most satisfying to me, as they seemed to enjoy comebacks, and didn’t know what to do with no response at all.

Fast forward to today, and I have a driveway and a garage, and I used to still wash my own car in my own driveway… and loved it… but the last several years have been using automatic touch-less car washes, instead. I miss washing the car… really, I do… but I don’t miss getting dizzy every time I bent over that came with my own advancing age.