Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wash day.

A lot of people hate doing laundry, but I like it. I like getting a pile of fresh, clean clothing at the end of the chore. I like knowing that my favorite shirts and pants are once more ready for action. I like knowing that I'm not about to run out of underpants. I like the fact that the machines do 90% of the work.

Take it away, machines!
Seriously, as household chores go, laundry is no big deal. I wish the lawn mower would do 90% of that chore, but no, I always have to be right with it the whole time, holding its hand, so to speak. I wish anything would do 90% or even 50% of the windows or bathrooms. With laundry you just stick it in one machine, then cram it in another, and your work comes at the end, when everything is clean and smells nice. Some stuff just goes up on hangers, no folding needed. Why is this so hard?

There was a time when laundry was not so easy, and Mondays were devoted to it. Hand-scrubbing, hand-wringing, hanging out on the line, where it might get rained on or attacked by birds or be swiped by some colorful hobos -- that was real work. No wonder men had disposable paper collars. (You can still get them, actually, if you have a compatible shirt.)

At one time in my former apartment-dwelling life we did use a laundry service, which is a little embarrassing for a private person like me. It's fine to use a dry cleaner for shirts and suits and such, but no one gets underwear dry cleaned. I was never happy going to the laundry to pick up my clean underwear. I always had that feeling they were thinking things like That's the guy who got Strawberry Nesquik stains on his tighty whities. Wonder how he did that. Heh heh heh.

Prior to that, in my swinging bachelor days, I went to the Laundromat. There were a few in town that I favored -- this one had large machines, this one was quiet, this one was close to home -- but my favorite was right near a sports bar. Drop your clothes in a machine and go next door to watch the game; between drinks run back and make sure no one is stealing your clothes and that things are proceeding properly. The time went fast.

But on the whole I prefer having the machines here in the house, where I can take care of my business while they take care of theirs. Plus, at home, no one tries to shut down the shop while my clothes are still damp. Oooh, I hated when that happened.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Suffering in silence.

Everyone knew about Jim's fishing problem, but even his family did not know how bad it had become.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meme on meme fighting.

The weather has been so pleasant and I've been right on top of my work, so I'm in much too good a mood to get all worked up and bothered by some stupid meme I saw online. 

It's not the stupidest meme I've ever seen online, but that's only because the stronger candidates have so much stupidity packed in them that it hardly seems possible -- like a white dwarf star of stupidity -- and this is close, but not quite there. 

And yet, I'm not going to let this push me into making an angry response. How do you respond to something this asinine?

Do you explain to the numbskull that the opening statement makes no sense? This person appears to be saying that the Buddha would reject all the teachings attributed to the Buddha, which, after all, is where Buddhism comes from -- but how do you make the case? Only by saying that you know Buddha beyond what the written record shows, which only makes sense if you've met him. Which is, shall we say, unlikely. (Ditto Jesus, Mohammed, and any other religious figures you want to shove into this statement.)

Does the person believe that all the followers of these religions have screwed up what their founders said? She or he (I picture an ivy-covered undergraduate woman with her parents' money and greasy hair and bad clothing) (I can make personal attacks too! Or would if I were to let myself get angry) would not be the first person to do this, but it shows a tremendous lack of historical and scriptural knowledge. Jesus, for one, specifically founds his church with Peter at its head. Seems like he had an idea for what he wanted, doesn't it? And if she counters that we only know that from the Gospels, well, how else are we supposed to know anything about Jesus? Beyond some non-Biblical contemporary accounts, that is. Should we text him? What we have is what we have, Peewee.

As for the second part of this meme, Badass Peewee thinks all of us who follow religions are blind to her mighty revelation that God is Love. This is countered for Christians by the fact that the First Letter of John says this without equivocation. Nor do we think that all other codes of conduct and religions are bereft of love. C.S. Lewis puts this brilliantly in his book The Abolition of Man, discussing what he calls the Tao, using the term as the universal code of right behavior found in all human societies and proof that God loves us and leads us. So yes, I am willing to concede to Peewee that in that regard she is right, and love is the ultimate goal behind the law. But to say that this is the sum total of all that the religious teachers taught is a classic example of impenetrable ignorance, satisfied and smug, unable to be taught or corrected.

Love, as it is understood by the kind of person who composes such memes, is just a feeling, is not enough, and by the time you're out of high school you ought to know that. But I can't teach Peewee all the facts of life.

The problem is that memes are really only good for a laugh. They have no space to construct an argument or provide basis for information. They are less weighty than a pop song. They feel like an argument but they can only be a slap. And that's what Peewee the Undergrad is doing -- slapping out in her universal ignorance at others who know things. Stop knowing things, people! You make Peewee feel bad!

Really, though, the only argument that can get through to a memeist is another meme, so here's one for you, girl:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Woofer twofer.

The lovely Mrs. Key was not feeling her best yesterday morning, and I had to take the dogs out to do their usual dog things to my unsuspecting lawn. (Which shows you how dumb lawns are.) After which it was still early, a little after six on a Sunday morning and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, so I thought I would both of them for a walk.

If you have had multiple dogs, you're thinking "Oh that's nice YAWN" or "Are you CRAZY?" depending on the kind of dogs you've had. I think mine count for the latter. It's mostly an issue of size, their combined weight being about 200 pounds, and them being younger, faster, and together probably stronger than I am. It wouldn't be an issue if they were both calm, sedate adult dogs, but one of them still acts like a crazed puppy a good deal of the time, and the other one can usually be counted on to do something naughty if he knows Pops is distracted with the baby. So walking them together has the potential to be challenging.

In the past we've had some success trying this, but that was when the puppy, Nipper, was quite small and more easily manhandled. He also was less likely to fun-attack the older dog, Tralfaz. When the fun-attacks became virtually inevitable anytime they were outside at the same time, the idea of walking together was temporarily discarded.

Sunday was different. We started off a little hinky, the boys scooting back and forth in front and behind me, twisting up leashes, me switching hands as needed, turning and leading, wondering how those dog-walkers in the city who take 18 dogs out at once handle it. I felt like an idiot who couldn't control his dogs. But then, suddenly, they snapped into shape. Suddenly, I wanted to be seen by my neighbors.

It was beautiful, them trotting ahead of me side by side, enjoying the morning. It was surprising. It was wonderful. It was about twelve seconds.

It could have been worse. If one of them had decided to poop on a neighbor's lawn -- which I would be obliged by honor to clean up -- I would have to hold them both with one hand while wrangling poop and a poop bag with the other. I've done it before but it is nobody's idea of a good time.

Actually, it could have been a whole lot worse than it was. The boys were good, and there was no attack fun until we got back to our own property. We got a nice walk in and I think just two people saw us, one of them being the lady that delivers the newspapers.

And no one pooped. Not even me. Big, big props for that.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fantastic voyage.

Here are some parts of the body that sounds like they came from a bad fantasy novel. All I ask is that if you write the novel using these and make a million dollars, that you send me half.

Name: Femur
What it is: Thigh bone
What it sounds like: Norse hero

Name: The Adenomeres
What it is: Functional unit of the salivary glands
What it sounds like: Femur's people, beset by a curse

Name: Superior Vena Cava
What it is: Wide vein
What it sounds like: Chief of the Adenomeres, who sends Femur on a quest to save his people

Name: Islets of Langerhans
What it is: Regions of the pancreas that produce hormones
What it sounds like: Where Femur's quest takes him

Name: The Sphincter of Oddi
What it is: A muscle valve that controls the flow of digestive juices
What it sounds like: Magic artifact Femur needs to find on the Islets of Langerhans to set the Adenomeres free of their curse

Name: Medulla Oblongata
What it is: Lower half of brain stem
What it sounds like: Mysterious witch woman on the Islets of Langerhans who prophesies big fat trouble for Femur

Name: Urethra
What it is: Tube that connects the bladder to the genitals
What it sounds like: Beautiful tribal princess on the Islets of Langerhans

Name: The Cholecyst
What it is: The gallbladder
What it sounds like: Urethra's tribe

Name: Thorax
What it is: Part of the body that lies between the head and abdomen
What it sounds like: The half-warlock, half-demon beast that steals the Sphicter of Oddi and kidnaps Urethra

Name: The Epithelium
What it is: One of four basic kinds of animal tissues
What it sounds like: Band of tribal elders who blame Femur for the kidnapping of Urethra

Name: Crypt of Lieberkuhn
What it is: A gland found in the epithelial lining of the small intestine and colon
What it sounds like: Where Thorax spirits Urethra and the Sphincter of Oddi to

Name: Submandibular
What it is: A salivary gland
What it sounds like: The hideous monster that answers only to Thorax

"Submandibular Attacks Femur,"
by Frank Frazetta

Name: Auerbach's plexus
What it is: Part of the nervous system
What it sounds like: The mysterious weapon Femur finds that leads him to the Crypt and helps him destroy Submandibular and Thorax

Name: The Fovea
What it is: Part of the eye
What it sounds like: The vessel on which Femur and Urethra depart to bring the blessings of the Sphincter of Oddi back to the Adenomeres

Who says there's no romance in science?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Noisy neighborhood.

What's that loud clashing noise I hear all over the block?

It turns out they repainted the fire hydrants, again. The town seems to do this every now and then, and never the same color twice. This irritating red and orange hydrant was a stylish yellow and blue last week. Now it's so loud even the dogs won't go near it. Sensitive ears, you know.

I was puzzling out what this means. The town's done strange things on the street before, like leave street markings for alien ship landings. One thing they did just this week was notify us that the water might shut off one morning between nine and noon, but it never happened, unless it was just for a moment when we weren't in the shower or flushing the can. This was said to be part of a water flow improvement project, and I wondered if the Crayola attack on the hydrants was connected.

According to the site Today I Found Out, upon which one may find out things, fire hydrants may be color-coded according to their water pressure. "Due to the numerous different supply systems throughout the United States, there can be a wide range of available supply, from 500 GPM [gallons per minute] or less to over 2500 GPM." It's very helpful for firefighters to know at a glance what the water pressure is going to be when they hook up to the water supply. So that could be the answer, right?

Maybe not; the same article notes according to National Fire Protection Agency standards, while the caps indicate the water pressure (orange would be 500 to 999 GPM) the body of the thing should be "chrome yellow." A red cap would mean under 500 GPM. Using a red body muddles the code for the cap, if that's even what's being signaled here.

What the heck, town? Get your act together!

If I find out that this was some idiot councilman's idea of "aesthetics" to help keep our town "weird," I will write a strongly worded letter to the editor. This was a nice quiet block until those hydrants were repainted.

I confess, though, that I was kidding about the dogs. They still love the hydrants. Their color vision isn't as good as ours, so they aren't as offended by the color selections. Never hire a dog to redo the living room.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer shopping!

Summer's here! It's the first full day of summer!

And the summer season, like the Christmas season, is a good time for shopping!

Let's see what summer stuff is available at the local supermarket.

First off, we want to taste summer -- all the best produce the earth can offer is in the produce section! Who cares? We want portable, clean, shelf-ready snacks, like Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunny Summer Strawberry Fruit Snacks.

They're organic, so it's virtually identical to real food. Just not as messy. Seriously, you can't just walk about with raw strawberries in your hand. People will talk.

Now for the entrée -- and that means meat!

Sausage you have to cook is great, but sausage that you can just whip out and gnaw on is better. And Hillshire Farm is there, with the Yard-O-Beef Summer Sausage. Now, maybe this too will cause people to talk, if you just go around waving your Yard-O-Beef in the air, but you know what? There's no law against it. It's summertime! Knock yourself out. (But please: No Ecky-Thump.)

Now that we've had a taste of summer, let's get the scent, with our old friends at Airwick:

Ah. Airwick Life Scents Summer Delights. Smells like... I have no idea, actually. Melted ice pops? Suntan lotion? Coney Island? Lawn mower oil? The Lexington Avenue/59th Street station express platform in August? Oh, God, I hope not that. But those are all Scents from my Life, Delightful or not. No, it's probably floral stuff. Okay, that's fine. But summer isn't always flowers and soft breezes. Sometimes it rains....

Fab Ultra Summer Rain gets rid of the Ultra Summer Mud in your life! I'm not actually sure what this is supposed to smell like either. Water? Ozone? It could go several ways. They may be thinking of laundry, which is wet. But that end is also covered by...

Little Tree Summer Linen scent! The smell of humid laundry! Why should your clothes and house have all the summer smells, when your car can too? In fact, why shouldn't you have it on your personal person as well? Here's one for the kiddies:

Tom's of Maine Wicked Cool! Deodorant for Girls in Summer Fun scent. Which is... cotton candy? Drama at the beach house? Oh, who knows. Tom's is very natural-minded, of course, even though the company was bought by Colgate in 2006. But you'd think they'd be concerned about gender assumptions, with girls' scents and boys' scents. Then again, isn't the whole point of gender fluidity the desire to assume the gender you feel? In other words, boys who want to be girls don't want to use Non-Gender Scent, they want Girls' Scent.

Although this might be a summer bridge too far:

And I suppose that's as good a place as any to end our expedition to the supermarket. Enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hangman for dummies.

I had an uncomplicated little app that plays Hangman. You're familiar with the game---you get a blank word and have to guess it letter by letter, but when you guess a letter that's not in the word, you get a line added to the little stick figure. If you miss enough guesses, the stick figure is completed and your man is hanged.

It commonly starts with this:

Usually the gallows is a given. Then you generally have six misses before the man's a corpse:

My app gives you one more wrong guess, after which the face is added to the doomed man and he shuffles off this mortal coil:

Now, if you're playing with a young jackanapes who is not too swift, you can add the lines of the gallows to give him 4 more shots at it. But that's 11 wrong guesses. Really, any word longer than 4 letters should be cake with that many shots at it. (A common error young players make is thinking that long words are harder, when they actually afford many more guesses. Silly children.)

But if you are using to game to teach spelling, you may wish to let the little chap have many guesses to keep him going before he is dead. Indeed, at his age, his own personal timeline may be much longer than yours at your age, so there is a philosophical basis for such handicapping. This design, by my calculation (counting gallows and individual lines) yields as many as 27 wrong guesses, which more than covers the whole damn alphabet:

The fact that he looks a little like a clown just adds to the enjoyment of the game.

Of course, if you're dealing with someone completely stupid---someone who will guess numbers, punctuation, blanks, typos, names, objects, special characters---someone so willfully and completely ignorant, so belligerentso blatantly stupid as to be a New York State politician, perhaps---you may have to cut him even more slack if you want him to win:

Although really, at this point I think it's time to pack it in. Anyway, shouldn't he be legislating or something?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dads and movies.

We were chatting on Father's Day about dads in movies. especially in modern movies, where they seldom cover themselves in glory. If it's a comedy, you know Dad will be a dumbbell; if it's a drama, Dad will probably be an estranged man who constantly looks at his progeny with a sad, wistful face. Usually George Clooney's face.

If it's an action or adventure picture, Dad typically doesn't exist. I don't think we know anything about the fathers of Rick Blaine or Barry Kane or Jack Burton. Other dads in these films are all bad -- serial killers or evil scientists or those deep into the dark side of the Force.

But we do get to meet some dads in action or adventure movies; let's see how they made out.

Taken, Bryan Mills

It's hard to be a father when you're off killing people for the CIA all day. Bryan misses all his daughter's school plays and birthday parties, but can be counted on to spill all of the blood of her tormentors when needed. He's surprisingly sharp considering that his ex-wife and child seem to be able to bamboozle him at will early on in the film. I guess he's okay, but maybe he wouldn't have had to kill so many people if he just had cultivated different father skills in his career.

"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are
looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what
I do have are a very particular set of skills, 
skills I have acquired 
over a very long career. These include double-entry bookkeeping,
compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations, lawn mower
maintenance, a bowling  average of 158, and the ability to shave with
a straight razor."

Thor, Odin

You think being a human dad is tough? Try being the immortal father of the Norse gods. The kids never leave the house. And all they ever do is party and fight.

Odin is known as Allwise, the god who famously sacrificed an eye in his quest for wisdom, but you'd hardly know it in this picture. He overreacts to his son being a doofus (like that was something new) and exiles him to earth, a move that will result in all sorts of mayhem and death among the humans, especially in the Avengers picture. Then he takes his little ol' man Odinsleep, not anticipating that his adoptive son Loki, the god of treachery, is going to use beddy-bye time to take over the joint. Didn't see that one coming!

"I do and I do and I do for you kids...."
Maybe you were right in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul about retirement, Odin.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Henry Jones

Henry's single-minded pursuit of his goals leads his son into deadly peril, and we can be sure it isn't the first time. Worse, we quickly find out that he shares his son's stupid habit of not preventing Nazis from acquiring enormously powerful religious artifacts. Plus Henry and his son (real name: Henry Jr.) bicker through the whole picture.

They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, but working things so His sacred artifacts had to be rescued by the Jones family could make you wonder about the kindness of Providence.

"He took hish nickname
from the dog! Can you
believe it? My shon ish
an idiot!"

So we see that even when action movie dads are tough, brave, not dead, and possibly competent, they can leave you shaking your head. Maybe next year we'll dissect fathers from Disney movies. I would expect that in real life all those Disney characters would be seeing analysts once or twice a week, minimum.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fun with words, or something.

I hate writing about writing, as much as you hate reading about writing about writing, but one thing I have to confess: Continuity is an issue. 

When you’re creating a novel it’s hard enough to get the facts right; if you have the sun set at seven p.m. on Washington’s Birthday in Wichita, someone will be sure to write telling you the sun will have been gone by quarter after six. You big stupid. Well, by then the damn thing is in print, so what are you supposed to do? Fortunately you can look things up very easily these days. 

One problem the writer may still have, however, is continuity. It’s an issue in the movies because scenes are not shot directly in the order in which they are shown, so a character drinking out of a mug in one shot may be shown holding a teacup in the next if the continuity editor or the prop guy doesn’t catch it. 

For the novelist, he may have to break off from working for practical reasons, or because he is stuck, or to find reasons to keep his head out of the oven; it may take him a month to write a scene that would take five minutes in real time. So until he goes into revision, he can end up with something like this:

Joe lit a cigarette slowly, shaking his match out just before the flame reached his fingers. He looked up at the thumbnail moon, the sharp silver sliver cutting through the darkness pricked by starlight. He wondered if the night had ever felt so raw before.

“What’re you thinking about, Joe?” said Sara, huddling deeper into her woolly cardigan on the stone wall. She gnawed on a cuticle cutely as she looked at him.

“Me? Nothing,” he said. “You?”

She chuckled. “Feels like the loneliest spot on Earth, doesn’t it? Nothing around for miles but this guardrail.”

Joe grinned. He took the pack of cigarettes from the pocket of his parka and packed it against his palm. “Heck of a spot to have a blowout, huh, kid?”

Sarah smiled. She took in a deep breath of the chilly night air. He loved the way the words OHIO STATE stretched on her sweatshirt when she did that. Indescribably delicious.

Joe tore his eyes away, looking instead at the dark valley below, sprinkled with lights from the houses and the big Stop & Shop, the glow from its lights the brightest thing beside the heavy half moon. Being stuck on a lonely mountain road with a pretty girl wasn't the worst thing that could happen to a guy. 

What about Millie? he thought, mentally kicking his own mental shin. She’s waiting in Dayton. He thought of her smile, her freckled face, her head full of soft red curls. Will that tow truck ever get here?

Can it, Joe, he thought, putting a Camel to his lips. Keep your sunny side up. He flicked open the Zippo Milly had given him -- the one with the flaming skull on it -- and lit his cigarette. She was so thoughtful that way, buying him cigarette lighters, cartons of smokes, whiskey, pork ribs, barrels of high-fructose corn syrup...

Hey, wait a sec --

“Joe?” said Sara, wriggling with the cold. “I’m cold.”

“Better get off the ground and move around, kid. Or get in the pickup. It looks like rain.”

“I will if you come with me.”

Joe smiled. He looked up at the clouds, wondering if it really would rain. Rain would make these gravel mountain roads really tricky. “Nah,” he said, reaching into his jacket for his Marlboros.  “Gonna have a smoke.”

“That’s your answer to everything, isn’t it?”

Firing up his Bic, Joe said from the corner of his mouth, “Seems to be, lately.”

“Fine.” Sarah got up and walked to the blacktop. “I’m hitchhiking.”

“Okay,” said Jo, flicking his cigarette butt away. “I guess I’ll just have to drink this flask of rye by myself.”

Sara turned and came back, smiling. But then she was caught half illuminated in the brilliant glow of headlights. She turned toward them, shocked, holding up her mittened hand to block the light. Joe was somewhat disappointed to see that it was the tow truck he’d called for. As he drew a cigarette from his pack, the truck pulled up behind his car and its engine cut off.

“Joe!” said a shockingly familiar voice from the tow truck. “Step away from that woman!”

“Millie?” he whispered, a chill running down his neck that had nothing to do with the swirling snowflakes.

“No!” said Sarrah.

“Yes!” said Milli, stepping down from the truck. She had an automatic in her hand and a glint of steel in her eye.

“It’s not what it looks like,” said Joe, lighting his smoke.

“I know it isn’t,” said Millie, her blond hair whipping in the wind. “This woman isn’t Sara Smith, Joe! She’s Sharon Schmidt!”

“My long-lost brother’s daughter!” he said.

“That’s a lie!” said Sharen.

“She knows that with you out of the picture she’s the only living heir,” said Maxine. “She brought you up here and sabotaged your carburetor so she could arrange to -- Look out!”

Sharon charged at Joe with a furious howl, clearly looking to push him over the embankment and down the drop into the valley. Thanks to Mille’s warning, Joe was ready; he clipped Sharin on the chin and she fell to ground like a sack of anvils.

“Nice work,” said Millie, smiling, as she put the gun away.

Joe rushed over and kissed her. Then he said, “Next time you come to save my life, sweetheart, you’d better load the gun. In the streetlight’s glow I could see the cylinder was empty.”

“Oh, Joe, you silly!” said Milly.

Joe smiled as he lit a cigarette. Millie’s tearful eyes shined in the light of his match. Or maybe it was the moonlight.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

What's for breakfast?

Father's Day! They're going to whip up a nice breakfast for the old man, right? Let's see what tasty confections await us down at the breakfast table! Boy, I can't -- 

What the hell is this?

Sure enough, it's what you think it is -- General Mills has released two breakfast cereals based on the most popular varieties of Girl Scout cookies, Thin Mints and Samoas (alias Caramel deLites). I spotted these in Walmart a few days ago. What kind of sad, sorry, cookie-inhaling fat bastard would be desperate enough to buy these?

So I bought the "Caramel Crunch" and tried it. Sure enough, the Internet's #1 cereal mentor, Mr. Breakfast, was already on the job, and I completely endorse his review:

The thing that makes Somoas cookies so good is coconut and gooey caramel lined with chocolate. By contrast, this cereal just looks like little cinnamon donuts. The flavor of caramel is there, but the coconut is so subtle that I'm still not sure if I just imagined it. There is no chocolate element to the cereal.... it still feels like General Mills is on their way to making a truly great caramel cereal one day, but this cereal is a stepping stone to get to that eventual product.
That was my feeling exactly. You really wouldn't know it was supposed to taste like a Samoa unless you saw the box. It doesn't mean that the cereal is bad, as it isn't -- crunchy, not preposterously sweet, caramelish -- but as a cereal version of the cookie it fails. (Mr. B says the Thin Mints cereal does a better job of approximating its cookie.)

Having had our cereal, what else is part of this complete breakfast, hmm? Waffles?

Almost two years ago to the day I investigated the Belgian Boys and found that they are a small outfit making these tasty Belgish treats. Tasty they are, especially the chocolate-covered liege wafel. The non-chocolate wafel has pearl sugar, which are delightful little droplets of hard sugar -- the chocolate ones have pearl sugar too, but it's kind of lost in the chocolate. These treats are like, if a standard waffle had a baby with a cookie. Like a pizzelle with a weight problem. As with the other Belgian Boys products, these are not quite really breakfast foods, though. Then again, neither are cookie-based cereals.

So all this sugar is getting to me; how about some nice healthy yogurt?

We've been following a lot of yogurt fads since Dannon stopped putting out its yogurt with those little cardboard lid discs. Mix-ins, Greek, Aussie, quark, lactose-free, whole milk... the yogurt aisle has grown to vast dimensions. But one thing Yoplait will keep doing is coming up with wacky flavors. Like root beer float.

This flavor is part of their Whips! line, which is yogurt whipped up to a creamy, almost whipped cream consistency. It looks like this:

You may note that that looks exactly like a scoop of ice cream does when it's been sitting in a glass of root beer for a while. Well played, Yoplait.

Here's the thing I find interesting: Hires, Barq's, Mug, and A&W root beer all use natural and artificial flavors, while Yoplait's root beer yogurt uses only natural flavors. Why is that? Why can't the guys who make actual root beer use all non-phony flavors? Are they scared of something? Is there some magic root beer ingredient that will degenerate after the shelf life of a cup of yogurt but shorten the shelf life of bottled soda? We want the truth, soda people. I suggest appointing a special prosecutor.

Well, after that meal you really ought to brush your teeth -- but if you can't for some reason, like you're at a funeral, maybe you could pop one of these:

I was surprised to see the labeling change in Breath Savers, a line of mints by Hershey that has always tried to get its packaging to make you think of whooshing through a frosty landscape, like you're on skis.

The new font is attractive and completely counter to what has gone before. Looks like Century Schoolbook, or a reasonable facsimile. It caught my eye, which the old packaging never did. I suppose that's the point -- that, and as a means of focusing on the "breath" part, the way Certs (by Mondelēz) always has.

The problem for me is that Certs always tasted good and Breath Savers always tasted lame. Why? Sugar. Nowhere does fake sugar taste more fake than in candy. Breath Savers and other sugarless candies have always tasted like plastic to me. Some are better than others; the sugarless Werther's are not quite as obviously artificial. But they don't freshen your breath. And if you're going to freshen your breath after eating, why use a sugary candy and rot your teeth?

Well, that's enough Father's Day breakfast for me; back to bed! See you Monday!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Mid-June delights.

Just some pics of things observed this June, often while walking Mr. Dog:

Now a followup on the bird's nest that I wrote about in May; Mother Robin had her babies, and they popped out of the eggs. Here's the fat little babies all clustered in the nest:

But robins, unlike humans, don't waste much time hanging around. Americans adults may be treated as children to the age of 26, but birds don't buy that namby-pamby stuff. By last Monday everyone had moved on, and I took the this year's nest down.

What's this next shot? Some kind of flowering ground cover? Actually it's a close-up view of a tree. What kind of tree, I have no idea. I never paid attention to the arboreal stuff in my career as a Cub Scout. Where I grew up in the city you'd see the same oaks and sweetgums everywhere and little else. This is beautiful, though. You wish your pillowcases looked as silken and inviting as these white flowers.

And this is... I actually don't know what the hell this is, either. Someone's house. Or someone's ex-house. We just happened to be passing by. What a bizarre side door. 

Finally, here's a thrilling monster movie -- 22 seconds of the biggest slug I have ever seen in person. Usually our New York slugs just look like something you coughed up, and about the same size, if you had a cold, maybe. This sucker had weird patterns, and looked to be as long as my index finger. It was the kind of thing you associate with southern areas, where the winter is never cold and the bugs just keep growing to the size of Elantras. Here he comes, sliming his way out of his nice safe lawn and onto the street. Go back, stupid slug!

The movie ends abruptly as a shadow (Dog) comes closer to investigate. I didn't want him to eat the slug. It might have been bad for both of them.

So that's my season so far; hope yours has been kind to you.