Five Rule Changes “Wheel of Fortune” Needs to Be Better

Everything needs improvement, even the game show Wheel of Fortune, so here’s some rule changes The Grump would like to see…

  1. Cannot guess vowels 2 times in a row. Guess a vowel, then you have to guess a consonant before you are allowed to guess another vowel.
  2. Vacation prizes should not count toward the person’s winnings for getting to the final round.  It’s not fair to the other contestants as the vacation almost always seals the deal and shuts everybody else out.
  3. With the exception of the million dollar prize panel, Bankrupt should count for that puzzle round only.  In other words, if you win a “Wild Card” in puzzle one, landing on Bankrupt in puzzle 3 would have no effect, you get to keep the Wild Card.
  4. Any ‘free ride’ (guessing without contestants spinning the wheel), i.e. Express, Toss-ups, etc., should be consonants only.
  5. The letters K, Q, X, and Z, should be double value… including in the final round for the entire prize money, but only if you called it in your added letters.

Some added suggestions, but not totally necessary.

  • Game shows should be legally required to pay taxes on all winnings.
  • Require contestants to “bet the house”, put something up of value like in gambling.  That’d make it interesting.  I could hear it now… contestant loses, Pat says, “Ok, guys, take away the furniture!”

Thoughts?

The (Perceived) and Real Evils of Self-Checkout

Self-checkout seems to be a fairly controversial thing, and we all know The Grump is all about controversy, and I’ve been thinking of writing on this subject for awhile.  First off, let’s be real, some of the “reasons” for being against them are really dumb… as is the case with so many things in today’s society, not just in politics.  Things from “I’m not employed here”, and so on.  But if you’re as old as I am and you remember having to go inside to pay for your gas instead of pay at the pump that argument is specious.

Anyway, let’s take a quick look at some reasons in the photo attached…

1) They kill jobs.

Ok, I suppose they could.  I mean, there are fewer people up front, and for some businesses that would be a definite boon.

2) Self-checkout machines don’t contribute with payroll taxes.

This is really combined with #1, and like I said it could be true, but… as my good friend Lisa pointed out to me… if the store is now moving those people to be individual shoppers for curbside pick-up then nothing is being lost in either point.  So much for those points.

3) They are really not that convenient.

Convenience depends, both on the individual and the situation.  When I have just a few items they’re very convenient.  When I have a cart full of groceries they very not convenient… at all.

Moving on with my commentary:

But none of that is why I don’t like them. Why I don’t like them is stores go out of their way to make sure using a human checker is so inconvenient I’ll want to give up and just do it myself.  They… the stores… take away my legitimate choices.

Look, I don’t expect every aisle open, but I also don’t want to see 6+ full carts lined up for a single human checker.  I’m sorry, I want a reasonable and realistic option of using a human check per #3 above, depending on MY needs, not the store’s desires.  It’s the way self-checkouts are used to make the shopping experience even more inconvenient and disrespectful to the customer.

Sometimes You Do Win

I had a recent online shopping experience that was initially frustrating but in the end turned out in my favor.  Here’s how it played out…

I ordered a relatively obscure CD from a third-party merchant via Amazon.  The package arrives and it is empty.  Just an air-filled bubble package, nothing else.  With shipping I paid about $7.00.

Contacted Amazon and got a refund.  Because it was from a third-party there were no more in stock, so a refund was my only option.  Ok, great, but I still wanted the CD, so I got back on Amazon and purchased the same CD from a different third-party merchant.

Long story short, because of rewards on my credit card available, instead of paying $7-ish I ended up paying 17 cents!  Shipping and sales tax  included in that 17c.

See?  Sometimes you can win!  😀

25 People I Hate

“Hate” is such a strong word.  It is often hyperbole, and in the interest of honesty and fairness, I don’t actually hate these people… well, mostly… but they are damned annoying and need to be told so.  So, without further ado, I hate…

  1. People who hate lists like this.  You go do your happy-happy-joy-joy fantasy world elsewhere and leave me to my grumpiness.
  2. Iowa drivers (a common theme here), whether they’re driving a car on the road or a cart in the grocery store.  They’ll hog the left lane under the speed limit, or they’ll leave their cart in the middle of the aisle and wander off.  They have no clue there is someone behind them who wants to get somewhere.
  3. People who see a question on Facebook or in Amazon and respond with, “I don’t know.”  😐  Then the question wasn’t for you, was it, Slick?
  4. People who say “perfect” to every response.  I once had a receptionist in the doctors office ask me my phone number.  After I told her she said, “Perfect.”  😐  Of course it’s ‘perfect’, it’s my phone number and I know it.
  5. People who complain about ‘reply all’.  I’m sorry, but ‘reply all’ is a ‘cover my ass’ feature and has it’s place.  (Just don’t use it willy nilly.)
  6. People who say, “I hate Mondays.”, and, “Thank God it’s Friday.”
  7. Servers who abandon me and don’t check to see if I want a drink refill.
  8. Anything labeled “for your protection”.  It’s almost always for their protection, not mine.
  9. Non-fans at baseball games.  Baseball was so much better when only baseball fans went to games.  Now it’s all about entertainment and dot racing.
  10. People who don’t understand sarcasm.
  11. People who feel the need to “one up” everything someone else does.  (On a serious note, I think it’s a sign of insecurity.)
  12. 60 year old people still trying to look 20 yrs old.
  13. People afraid of the number 13.
  14. People who say, “Thanks for the add.” when approved to join Facebook groups.  Did you really think you’d be declined?
  15. People who won’t commit to something when invited.  You know the person, the one who says, “Sure, unless something better comes up.”
  16. Men who have “Man Caves”.
  17. Women who like Hello Kitty.
  18. People who show up to buy an item you’re selling for $50 then say, “I only have $40 on me.”  Sorry, Skippy, I can direct you to an ATM.  You knew damn well what the asking price is, and we didn’t make a prior agreement, so this is simply you being dishonest.
  19. People who look for a reason to be offended.
  20. People who, in social conversation, always swing the conversation back to themself.
  21. People who forget the “good old days” had their sucky parts, too.
  22. People driving huge vehicles and you watch them and it’s clear they really don’t know how to drive it.
  23. Men who walk in public around shirtless.  I’m sorry, that’s tacky.  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  24. People who don’t know how to park.
  25. People like me.  Seriously.  I get along better with people who are not like me.  People like me annoy the hell out of me.

So there ya go.  Maybe there will be a part two, I don’t know yet.

What is a Patty Melt?

Well, how would YOU define what constitutes a patty melt?  A PROPER patty melt?

Based on several factors… my lengthy experience as a restaurant cook in several different locations, discussion I’ve had with others, items I’ve read, etc… the proper definition of a patty melt comes down to this…

  • Hamburger patty
  • Swiss cheese
  • Grilled onions
  • Grilled rye bread

That’s it.  Some people like to add 1000 Island Dressing, but that’s an addition.  Same with bacon.  Now, I prefer to have it on toasted sourdough bread (or whole wheat, not a big fan of rye), but I openly acknowledge that’s a deviation from a proper patty melt.  I will also add bacon on occasion.  If they add 1000 that’s ok, but I prefer to dip it in ketchup.  Some also like to substitute cheddar or American cheese, both of which are fine, but I prefer Swiss.

Now, as you can see from my dislikes and dislikes, you can certainly deviate according to your personal preferences, but what is outlined above is the starting point of a proper patty melt.

What brings this up is there is a local restaurant… which shall remain nameless… with a patty melt on the menu.  Problem is, both grilled onion AND grilled rye bread are an upcharge, each individually.  What the deuce kind of cheapness is that?  That’s not a patty melt, that’s no more than a hamburger on bread, and if you want a patty melt you have to build one.  (Fries/sides are also extra, basically everything ala carte.*)

As a second source you could check out this Definition of a Patty Melt.

*- To be fair, some places cater to an older clientele, and many older people like the option of ordering smaller, only what they want.  But one place, another local place (now closed permanently) would charge $9 for am omelette & toast only, same as what other places would charge for an omelette, toast, and hash browns, then make you still pay extra for hash browns.

The Case Against Hamilton Burger

Upfront Disclaimer:  This blog post pertains to the television program from the 1950s & 1960s starring Raymond Burr and others.  Not the books or any other television programs or movies.

Ok, for those of you unfamiliar with the Perry Mason television program none of this will mean anything to you, so I feel no obligation to explain it all and provide loads of background.  Cut your loses now and click on to the next post.  For those of you who are familiar with the program this will make sense, though you may strongly disagree with my premise here.  Hamilton is very popular among Perry Mason fans, and for good reason, he does indeed have some endearing qualities, but that’s not what I’m kvetching about.

Hamilton Burger is incompetent.  There, I said it.  In the series Hamilton Burger (played by William Talman shown in the photo at right) is the Los Angeles District Attorney (DA) who almost always goes up against Perry Mason (defense attorney), and I claim is a very bad, a very poor, attorney.  And that’s what fans will disagree with me about.  But here’s my evidence, circumstantial as it may be…

  1. The premise goes that only a competent attorney could ever be a DA, hence Hamilton must be a competent attorney.  But… he loses pretty much every case.  Against Perry, at least, but isn’t that enough?  No competent attorney would have that bad a record against a single adversary.
  2. Maybe he wins against all the other attorneys, people say.  Ok, then if his record is consistent, and he continually prosecutes innocent people against Perry, then he sends a lot of innocent people to prison when he faces others, and he would send a lot more if Perry weren’t so good.  Hardly inspiring.
  3. Even in the five or six episodes with a “guest defense attorney”, when Raymond Burr was out with a real-life injury, Hamilton still loses to every single one of them.  Yes, it’s just a tv show, but c’mon…

Some like to point out Hamilton is interested in truth and justice and not winning… which highlights the “it’s only a tv show” aspect because real life certainly wouldn’t be that way, and it still doesn’t excuse his overall inadequacy as a prosecutor.

Some also like to speculate he wins most other cases, but we have no evidence for that.  All we have to go by is what we see in the show, and it shows constant ineptitude.  Sorry, I calls ’em as I see’s ’em.  In other words, Hamilton Burger is… wait for it… irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.

Rant: Stadium Naming

How much importance do you place in stadium names? How much effort do you put into keeping up?

For example, Yankee Stadium is Yankee Stadium. Say “Yankee Stadium” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. Same with Dodger Stadium. Even Wrigley Field is named after people and/or corporation, and Fenway Park is named after the neighborhood it is in, but they still have long-standing history and and tradition and are immediately recognizable.

But what about the more recent trend of stadium names changing every few years based on nothing more than who is willing to pay the most money? Guaranteed Rate Field, anyone? Third name for the same place, btw. I still call it Comiskey Park. If you were to walk up to me and mention a game in Truist Park I’d have to ask you which team or city. No lie. “Truist Park” means nothing to me.

I still call Oracle Park “Pac Bell Park”… it never had a legit name so I go with the first brain dead iteration. Oracle is what, the 4th or 5th iteration? I am a long-time Oakland A’s fan, yet as far as I am concerned they still play in the Oakland Coliseum (I know, originally Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, I’m not doing tongue-twisters, either), and always will. O.co, my ass.

Basically, stadiums names have become absurd and for the most part meaningless. When the name right’s holder sends me a check I will comply. Until then I feel zero obligation… Braves Field it is.

Rant: Everything’s a Chore… ATMs, Passwords, and Bears, Oh My!

Everything’s a chore

Computers and technology were supposed to make life easier.  Computers and technology were supposed to give us more free time.  Granted, most of us aren’t churning our own butter anymore, so there are certainly benefits to our modem lifestyle in the information age, but it’s not all a cakewalk, either.  Now, the following examples aren’t life threatening, they aren’t going to bring you to your knees, and they most certainly aren’t the most important thing you will deal with.  But they are annoying, frustrating, high blood pressure inducing… and they are most certainly unnecessary time stealers, and they’re all a byproduct of computers and technology.  Here’s just a few of them…

Getting a new debit card

I am the Treasurer for a local Toastmasters club.  The old debit card had expired and I got a new card in the mail.  Called and activated it and set the PIN.  So far, so good.  Then kept getting declined when I went to pay people’s dues, so I called the bank. Turns out I have to use it at an ATM as a second step, then it would work fine. *sigh*  Ok, thank you, I cheerily said.

So, I had to get in the car, drive to a bank, check my balance, and drive back home. Then it worked fine. *smh*

“For your protection…”

Last Saturday I had a photo shoot and on my way out of town stopped at a convenience store for some drinks for the ride.  My debit card (from a small local credit union) got declined.  Hmmm, that’s weird, I know there’s plenty of money in the account.  I try four times, declined every time, so I pull out a credit card and pay.

I then go to the ATM at said credit union which happened to be right next door.  The ATM looks suspicious like when I computer has been reset.  Had to go to the photo shoot, so I can’t call the credit union until Monday… which is another pet peeve of mine… you want people to abandon big banks and go local, then have someone to answer phones and deal with people during off hours.  But I digress.

Monday morning and I try the card again.  No go.  Good thing I had cash on me, which I normally don’t anymore.  I decide to visit said credit union branch in person.

To cut to the chase, through three visits to their ATM, and two visits inside to talk to a person, it turns out there was a “scheduled maintenance” (skeptical, there is no email evidence of such in my email) of the system on Saturday morning and my card usage was bad timing.  Then, because I tried four times, which is one more than the maximum of three allowed, my card was locked.

I’m sorry, but if it’s YOUR down time, then shouldn’t YOU be aware enough to make sure these things don’t happen?  Plus, back to the big bank vs credit union thing, big banks don’t have down times for “scheduled maintenance”, yet small banks and credit unions do.  It’s the 21st century, get with the program.

Passwords

How do you do your passwords for internet sites?  Do you have one for everything?  Do you mix them up?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what you want to do, you can’t do that.

You can’t have a single password for everything (which they say is a bad idea).  All require letters, but some require at least one capital letter, some require at least one number, some require at least one “special character” (i.e.: !@#$%, etc., and not all allow the same special characters), and none all have the same requirements, it’s a mix-and-match, so even if you wanted to have one password you can’t.

So, you have many different passwords.  Ok.  How do you remember them all?  Do you write them down on a piece of paper or a computer file?  They say you’re not supposed to do that either, btw.

How about one of those password organization sites?  I would think the chances of that getting hacked is greater than little ol’ me getting hacked.

There is no perfect answer.  And don’t even get me started on requirements to change my password every so often.

Money and ATMs

One of the great things where small banks and credit unions shine over the big banks is doing the small things to make life easier for the customer.  (That’s you and me, btw.)  One of these things is allowing ATM withdrawals in $5 increments.  This is so handy.  Sometimes I just need $5 or $10 for something small, and there is no need to force me to drain my account more than necessary.

Within the last year two of my credit unions have changed their policy and now only allow $20 increments.  This does not serve me well, and removes one of the key points for being with a credit union.  If I’m going to be treated like I’m at a big bank I might as well do business with a big bank and gain the added benefits, like the ability to call on a Saturday evening and talk to someone and get my issues solved.  (See what I did there?)

Conclusion

This turned out wordy.  😛

Thanks for… nothing, really

Anyone on Facebook for more than a day has noticed this trend:  People apply to join a closed group, and once they’re approved will create an initial post that says something like…

Thanks for the add

😐

In true Grump fashion I have to ask:  Why is this necessary?  Ok, it’s… nice.  It’s polite.  It doesn’t hurt anything… except forcing everyone to spend time and knuckle muscles to scroll by that tripe.  But is it necessary?  Does it help anything?

One has to wonder… what are they really trying to say?  They’re such a renown a-hole known the world over they’re literally surprised any group would actually accept them?  Shocking even to them.

My grandpa used to say if someone goes out of their way to tell you what a horrible person they are… believe them.  Hmmm… maybe they should be denied.

Rant: How strong are your convictions?

Facebook is many things to many people, and one of those things Facebook is is something of a political discussion forum, like it or not.  People post their particular views, other people respond, and all that’s fine as long as people aren’t abusive.  And here’s the rub, some take forceful responses as something they aren’t prepared to deal with.

Call me crazy, but I would think if all you want is a forum from which to spout your opinion, and are too thinned-skinned to suffer feedback, then maybe a public forum like Facebook isn’t for you.  You should probably start a private blog instead of creating something like a public Facebook account which is designed specifically to be interactive.

Here’s a hint: If you post something that other people can read, those other people may respond… and they may not agree with you. Shocking, I know.  Grow a thicker skin and get over it.  If you find yourself blocking or unfriending people over it, maybe your convictions aren’t as strong as you think they are.

/rant off