Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Need a Hero

Hey folks. Been a while. Sorry about that. I do this every year or so, but this time I'm not going to expect myself to write frequent blog posts. So since I'm not expecting it, you'd be kind of dumb to expect it out of me. Not that you're dumb...well, I know a few of you are. Anyway, I digress. My attention span probably has an awful lot to do with why I don't write more often. I just hope I can make it all the way through this post without changing the subject.

I don't really watch all that much TV. I've found I enjoy sleeping far more. But right now the NBA Playoffs are on, so I've planted myself in front of the TV a few times in the last week. As you know if you've read some of my other blogs, I really like making fun of bad commercials (See this post from a couple of years ago). But maybe they're not bad commercials. Maybe it's brilliant marketing and we're all just idiots. I'm afraid it's the latter more than the former.

Tonight during one of the games, I saw a commercial that left me speechless. Domino's Pizza apparently has a deal that has so many morbidly obese Americans eating their pizza that they need more pizza chefs. Yes, they call them chefs. Like the people who go to culinary school. How insulting is that to actual chefs, by the way? You might as well call the fat guy who throws his Big Mac wrapper into the garbage can an NBA player.

What happens when you don't have enough people to make the greasy, processed sustenance we Americans depend on? You look for a savior--a hero, if you will. So Domino's is scanning the globe, looking for heroes--Pizza Heroes. I'm not making this up. See?

Here's the deal, says Domino's. You buy one of our crappy pizzas, we'll let you download an app on your iPad that allows you to simulate this minimum wage job. Then, if you're good enough at the simulation, you get rewarded. Your reward isn't cash, or a vacation, or free pizza for a year, or a day with a celebrity. No, it's way better than that. We'll give you the privilege of working at Domino's, making pizzas. We'll call you a chef. If you're not good at the simulation--if you're a loser--you get a chance at a decent job.

It's not surprising that these jobs are tough to fill, but I thought we had enough meth addicts to keep doing jobs like this. Apparently not. Maybe the war on drugs is working after all. And seriously, if you can afford an iPad, you're probably not looking for work in the kitchen at Domino's.

Seems to me the reward for doing something well should something relatively valuable, glamorous, or even unattainable, not something that's exactly the opposite of that. I'd like to see kids of the people who came up with this idea.

"Billy, if you're good, I'll let you clean the kitchen."

"You're the worst mom ever! I wish I was never born! I'm not doing anything you say!"

"That's it, William. I've had enough of your attitude young man! You're getting extra allowance, and that's final!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eating Shouldn't be this Difficult

I'm a healthy eater. Please understand that when I say "healthy", I mean it in the same way as a person would say "he got a healthy dose of tough love", or "that 23-year-old blonde got a healthy payout when she divorced that 89-year-old rich guy". It means "a lot" in this particular case. Just so we're clear.

In fact, a friend of mine told me the other day, "I think that's why we get along--we both have a healthy appreciation for good food." I had to disagree. Turns out my "appreciation" for good food is not my most healthy personal characteristic.

So when they see me pull into the parking lot at the grocery store, the staff breathes a collective sigh of relief. Guys like me provide a lot of job security for folks in the grocery business. And I love grocery shopping. People who love clothes love to shop for clothes. I love food, and shopping for food is equally as fun for me.

But it seems to me that the process of grocery shopping gets weirder all the time. Maybe people are less considerate these days. Maybe the economy has everybody on edge. Or maybe I'm just getting more and more irritable as I get a little older. Yeah, that has to be it.

Last night I went to the grocery store, and as I walked through the parking lot, a lady who was hurriedly loading her car with groceries pushed her cart at me and said, "could you take this in for me?". She didn't say it in a considerate way, like she respected me as a human being and fellow citizen of her planet; she said it like a mother "asking" her child for the 500th time to clean their room.

I stopped, stunned, wondering if she thought I worked there. I caught the cart as it rolled toward me (not a normal cart--one of the miniature carts that kids push around), and said, "What?!" through my laughter.

Angrily, she looked at me and said, "Please? Thanks." At least she's polite. Apparently she has no sense of humor though, because she didn't think it was as funny as I did when I asked if I could also shine her shoes. Oh well. Clearly I was casting my pearls before swine there. So, hunched over, I pushed the toddler cart back to the front of the store, getting lots of disapproving looks, as if I had stolen the child who was once pushing the cart.

When I went inside with my big-boy cart, it dawned on me that I take my life into my hands every time I enter the grocery store. I am convinced that if we drove cars like we drive shopping carts, humans would surely become extinct at a rate unprecedented by any species that has ever faced its own peril.

If you stopped your car in the right lane and stood in the left lane to look at signs, you would be dead in seconds. If you came to a blind intersection and carelessly crossed or turned without stopping and looking, lots of people would probably be killed on the spot. And if one more person hits me in the heels with their cart because they're not paying attention, I'm going to lose it. Obviously I don't like that person's chances at survival either.

Not long ago I was in the grocery store, near the back wall, when a lady approached me like a grizzly bear was chasing her. She stopped in front of me and asked in a voice that could only be described as a mild yell, "Where's the deli?" Stunned yet again, I looked immediately to my left and saw the word "Deli" high on the wall, written in cursive. There was a picture of a ham next to it. I stared at it like I was confused, assuming she would look where I was looking. When I turned back to her, she was still looking at me, but now with that face that seemed to say, "hey, idiot, I asked you a question!"

I answered her as if I had really been pondering the question but was really stumped. "I don't know." I looked back to the left and pointed, saying, "I wonder if that's it." Finally sensing my sarcasm, I was able to decipher at least one swear word under her breath as she stormed past me about two steps. I left her with a polite "Good luck finding the deli!", then continued my fun.

How can such a joyful experience be so stressful for some people? How can a person be so angry in the presence of so many pleasant things? The only logical explanation is that these people have been hit in the heels one too many times by a careless shopping cart operator. It's only a matter of time before it happens to me.

Yeah, I know I haven't written in a long time. Give me a break. I'm not promising I'll write again for another year. There's so much I want to write about, but to be honest, it's mostly about people, and those people read my blog. They'll know it's about them and I'll have to face them, so I have to tone it down, which is no fun. I hope you enjoyed this one, and I hope you drive more considerately next time you're at the store.

Monday, November 1, 2010

When do the Baseball Playoffs Start? Wait, what?

It's halfway through the football season, and I'm sitting here watching Monday Night Football instead of watching the clinching game of the World Series. Even at halftime, I preferred watching the halftime show over the baseball game.

I'm a baseball fan, so I've been a little confused as to why I couldn't care any less about this World Series. I think it has to do with a handful of different things.

First of all, it's easy for me to lose interest in baseball once football, basketball and hockey start. It doesn't matter who's playing--it's a calendar issue. Including the preseason (I like the preseason, so I include that month), baseball has been going for eight months. For something that goes on that long, the end needs to be something spectacular. This is the epitome of anti-climactic.

It's like if you had a fireworks show that lasted a full hour. Each firework during that hour was a simple little Black Cat firecracker. Those are fun, but they get boring pretty fast. So an hour after the incessant popping, it's time for the grand finale--a bottle rocket. Disappointing, right? And for the last 15 minutes of this show, there's been a better show going on not too far away.

So even with the most exciting teams playing in the World Series, it's been going on for a tad too long. But these aren't the most exciting teams, and I can't really explain why. Sure, Tim Lincecum is hard to even look at (he looks like Harry Potter's Hippie older brother) and Brian Wilson's beard is disturbing (don't argue with me, that looks weird), but for the most part these teams have little to aggravate even me.

But that's the biggest problem. I'm used to watching the World Series when a team I care about is playing, for better or for worse...usually worse. I was happy a few weeks ago when the Yankees lost out, but maybe I'd pay more attention if they were playing, because then I'd care about them losing.

It's no secret that we Americans love an underdog, but I've just realized there's nothing worse than when two underdogs make it all the way and have to play each other. We don't love underdogs; we love it when underdogs play the big boys. When underdogs play each other, it's just lame.

My apologies to the Giants' fans that might read this, even though you are all driving me crazy on facebook, talking about your team like they're all your best friends. I don't want to take anything away from your team's great accomplishment, but none of the rest of us care. And if you're a Rangers' fan, I'm sorry for your loss, although I don't really think you were a Rangers' fan a month ago.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Grizzlies Don't have a Chance, and Neither does Anybody Else

I'm a big sports fan. I love the action and drama in any big game, even if it's a sport with relatively little action, like soccer. I love watching the passion of fans, even though they (okay, we) look like idiots when they (fine, we) jump up and down, losing their (ugh, our) minds when people they (whatever) don't even know that are often just kids, do something better than their opponents. It seems silly and irrelevant, but like it or not, it's a huge part of our culture. If you don't believe me, ask Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds.

I love how sports teaches people to finish a task, to give their best efforts, and to be competitive in everything they do. But what just doesn't make sense to me is how fans seem to take credit for what their team does.

I've been guilty of this plenty of times, talking smack to opposing fans while I sit on my couch eating chilli dogs. If you don't know what I'm talking about, find any chat site for any sports team at any level and either feel ashamed or feel pretty good about yourself. You'll know which category you belong in.

I'm an alumnus of Montana State University. Here in Montana, the rivalry between the Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State Bobcats is as big as any rivalry I have ever seen, and I've spent a considerable amount of my life living in both SEC country and Pac-10 country. It doesn't mean a thing to anybody outside of Montana, but for our little state, it means the world. And even though the schools compete in many different sports, the one that really matters is football.

For the last 20 or 25 years, Montana has dominated Montana State in football, and therefore in statewide bragging rights. I'm hoping the tide is turning, but only time will tell. Montana fans have plenty of reasons to boast to us Bobcat fans, but there's one that makes me laugh every time.

Every once in a while, some genius Grizzly fan points out that an actual Bobcat is no match for an actual Grizzly. Yeah, like in a fight in the wilderness. That should sound ridiculous to you. Admit it, Grizzly fans, you've heard this one and either participated or turned a deaf ear. No wonder the smarter kids go to Montana State.

If that was the only criteria for a team's dominance, why would anybody have ever picked a Bobcat as a mascot? Are Montanans that dumb? I doubt it. So why don't teams always just pick the most dominant mascot every time?

You know what's killed more people than Grizzly bears? AIDS, that's what. So why hasn't somebody named their team something like the Atlanta AIDS Virus? Who would win between the Atlanta AIDS Virus and the Pittsburgh Bubonic Plague? Or how about a matchup between the New York Nuclear Weapons and the Colorado Cancer? Good luck in one of those games, Grizzlies.

Would minor league teams have to pick less-deadly monikers? So you'd have the Newark Napalm vs. the Memphis Meth or the Columbus Car Accidents facing off against the Huntsville Hunting Accidents? While still deadly, those can't really compete with many other human-race-threatening incidents.

And how bad would the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox be? The only team a sock could ever beat would be the Baltimore Blisters and the Fort Worth Foot Odor.

Come on, meatheads, let's put that argument to bed. If you have to take credit for something a bunch of sweaty guys you've never met did, make it about what they actually did, not what they're called.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Streets of Montana: Every Day is a Battle

Maybe it's just me being pessimistic, but one of the reasons I love getting up every day is so that I can be around people. You might be saying, "that doesn't sound very pessimistic, Dave!"

Let me finish.

Sure, I love people. I celebrate differences and I embrace quirks; I love most people I meet, and I mean I really do value them for their friendship, their insights, and their company. I could not be a hermit. But one of the real reasons I love to be around people is so that I can learn a new pet peeve every day.

It probably means I'm bitter or irritable. I don't think that's it; I think it means I think I'm better than most people. Whatever it is, I'm not proud of it, so lay off me.

I've always had pet peeves, and like most pet peeves, they involve people you interact with as you go about your day, and they happen somewhat regularly. I've always known that I get irritated when people interrupt constantly, or when they are consistently negative. From loud cell phone talkers to slow drivers in the fast lane, we all have a few things that just bug us. They're pretty universal, and there's nothing rare about them.

But I just learned a new one tonight. I was driving home from my church group, and a souped-up Mustang about 10-years-old pulled up fast beside me and slowed down to my speed. He periodically revved his engine and sped past me, only to slow back down to my speed. When we stopped at a red light, he was in the left lane and I was in the right. He rolled down his passenger side window and the first thing I saw was his friend showing off his flip phone to me. It was awesome.

Then I realized these two were probably gangsters, as they had hats on somewhat sideways and each gave me a look like they wanted to kill me. I was certain they would if given the opportunity, so I was careful not to make eye contact. Just then, the driver revved the engine again, this time with his foot on the brake. The car lunged slightly like a caged animal. Impressed, I finally rolled down my window.

For a split second, there was tension. Surely they saw my Toyota Camry and thought I was returning to my farm house south of Kalispell, Montana following a violent drug deal with some Colombians. Or perhaps I was a pimp, or maybe even a hit man. The point is, when you see a Toyota Camry on the street, you need to challenge that person if you want to be the top dog on the street. If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best.

I broke the tension with a large smile and an enthusiastic wave, followed by an aggressive thumbs-up. Big mistake.

The light changed and the Mustang Mafia screeched away, leaving me with a lot of work ahead of me if I was going to prove my manhood on the rough-and-tumble streets of South Kalispell. As I passed the Ranch and Home store and then the boat dealership, I realized I might just not be tough enough for this hard-knock town.

But just then, they slowed down and let me catch up. I gave another thumbs-up, clearly impressed with his ability to beat me in a race. But he showed me again who was boss. That was the point where I realized that, even though I drive a super-tough Toyota Camry, work for a non-profit children's home, go to church, have a blog, and play lots of golf, there is still somebody out there even tougher than me. Or maybe I just don't have that much to prove, who knows?

For once, this post is actually entirely true. I tell the story to show my newest pet peeve: when guys try to prove their manhood by racing strangers in family cars. That's like playing one-on-one against a blind guy with no arms and legs and talking trash when you win. It's just one of those pet-peeves I would have never thought I had unless somebody actually went there.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Maybe We're All Morons

Happy Fall everybody. The combination of worsening weather and the start of the football season has drawn me once again to the television. Other than a very select few shows, I watch sports on TV. When you watch sports regularly, you see a lot of advertisements for beer, cars, investment firms, and erectile dysfunction medication. These commercials give me lots to laugh about, of course. Some because they are funny, and others because they show us all just how dumb we as American consumers really are. But apparently the dumbest are those in the target demographic for alcohol ads.

Everybody knows Bud Light has the best beer commercials. Every year during the Super Bowl, at least two of the best four or five commercials are from Bud Light. And some don't even make it to TV (see swear jar on youtube). So the other two light beers, Coors Light and Miller Lite, are forced to try gimmicks to sell beer.

Surely you've seen the commercials for the cold-activated mountains on bottles and cans of Coors Light. This is for the person who wants to know if their beer is cold enough to drink, but is too lazy or afraid to utilize their sense of touch. Seems reasonable to me; you never know when a beer can has boiling beer inside and could therefore give a consumer third-degree burns.

Or how about Miller Lite? You may know it's "Triple Hops Brewed", because they say so on the commercials. Does anybody know what that means? For all I know they're trying to tell us they re-heated the beer in the microwave three different times, then pass it off as something good. But people probably buy it, then sit around on their patio and say things like "this tastes like it's been triple hops brewed, don't you think Larry?"

But the best thing Miller Lite has ever done is create the "Vortex Bottle". This is an ingenius bottle that has grooves in the neck. How many times have you been drinking from a bottle of beer and said, "dad-gum, this beer pours out too straight. I wish it was all swirly when it got in my mouth."? Problem solved! Miller Lite has eliminated straight-pouring beers. Thanks, Miller Lite!

One Miller Lite commercial compared the bottle to a wine decanter with grooves, which somehow aids in the oxidation of the wine. If you're a total wine snob, you understand this. If your snob-ish-ness extends to beer, you don't drink Miller Lite. But I'm guessing beer, being carbonated, doesn't need this.

Another favorite of mine is a commercial for 1800 Tequila. In this commercial, Michael Imperioli (Tony Soprano's bed-wetting nephew in The Sopranos) shows why 1800 is better than Patron Tequila. 1800 can pour a shot into the top. It's so much easier than other tequilas, because all you have to do is turn the bottle over and wait until the top fills up. Then, apparently, you take the top off and either drink directly from the top or pour it into a shot glass. This saves so many steps! With Patron, you have to take the top off and...well, that's pretty much it. The end of the commercial shows Mikey chastizing the poor top of the Patron bottle, asking what it can do, then he answers his own question with a smug "nothin'".

So the moral of this story is that drunks are morons. That's not my opinion, that's obviously the opinion of the people making these commercials. This stuff is as dumb as a car company putting an arrow on the hood of a car to show what direction that car is facing. But I guess somebody could convince us we need that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Newest Invention Will Revolutionize Communication

I'm not blogging much these days.  Let's just say I took the summer off and wrote a couple things on rainy days.  But fall is back and I might be too.  Or I might not be.  I don't make a lot of promises, because those come with commitments, and you can probably guess where I stand on those.  Maybe you can call this the Season Premiere of "Not Exactly Newsworthy".

I need two things to write a blog post:  Material and motivation.  I haven't had those lately, but truth be told, I just haven't had a lot of great material.  When I have great material, I'm pretty motivated to write something. 

In the summer when the weather is nice, I don't like to be in front of the computer.  When the weather turns bad, I get off the golf course and get reacquainted with my couch, my television, and my laptop.  That's a deadly combination, because there's so much to make fun of between TV and the Internet.  I mean really, what's not funny about infomercials, Nancy Grace, and people's ridiculous use of facebook?  I don't even need to say anything half the time.

But even when I have plenty of material, sometimes it's not enough to write a full blog post about.  I thought it might be nice to have a way to publish a sentence or two at a time.  There should be a service where you can post, say, 140 characters at a time that anybody could read.  Maybe you could send it from your phone, and people would get it on their phone.  You could follow lots of people, perhaps.  Some might like following celebrities, while others would follow business journals and politicians.  I was thinking a cute little bird could be the logo, as if there was a bird delivering these mini blogs.  Either way, people just like to be heard, and they like to know every little thing their celebrity idols are doing at every second of the day.

When I see a need, I act.  That's why I invented something I like to call "Twitter".  With this new medium, I will revolutionize communication.  In fact, it appears I already have.  Literally dozens of people are using Twitter already.  Perhaps more, I don't know.  I only invented it yesterday, so maybe it's grown.

So you're welcome, world.  Tweet (that's the word I came up with that means "to tell the world what you're doing or what's on your mind using Dave's invention, Twitter"...goes back to the cute little bird.  I'm a genius.) to your little heart's content.  Let me know what you're doing, even though I really don't care.  The point is, read mine and find somebody who wants to read yours.

If you like the blog, I really do appreciate it, and I'll try to keep the posts coming semi-regularly.  If you feel like being adventurous, try out my invention.  It's called Twitter.  Find me at www.twitter.com/dave_creamer.

*Disclaimer:  Dave Creamer did not invent Twitter.  If you think this is true, you're an idiot and you don't understand that virtually everything in this blog is, at best, only half true.  This is far less true than that.