Overkill

COLGATEWe live in an age of unparalleled variety. Never before in human history have we had so many options. Whether its food, clothes, cars, or cell phones, deodorants, or day cares, the people of 21st Century America have their choice of innumerable colors, styles, tastes, smells, or philosophies. But isn’t some of this just a teensy bit of overkill? Do we really need so many permutations of diaper cream? Is it necessary for Pepsi to have eight different varieties of diet cola (Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Pepsi One, Pepsi Next, Diet Pepsi Lime, Diet Pepsi Vanilla, Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry, Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi)?

Take toothpaste for instance. At my local CVS drug store, I recently counted over 25 different kinds of toothpaste that were all the same brand, Colgate. I didn’t count any Crest or Aquafresh, or anything else. Just Colgate. Twenty-five different types. And let me go even further by saying I didn’t even count the different flavors within each type. So example, Colgate Tartar Control I counted as one type. Colgate Tartar Control Mint, Colgate Tartar Control Fresh, Colgate Tartar Control Cinnamon were all counted as just one type, Colgate Tartar Control. If I had counted every flavor of every type? I’d probably still be there counting.

What’s the point of all this toothpaste anyway? Was toothpaste variety such a sticking point for good dental hygiene that there was–ironically–no other choice but to offer an exorbitant amount of choices? And this seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon. What did people do back in the day, like, the ’80’s, when there were only a few brands of toothpaste, let alone the scads of sub-varieties we have now?

I imagine some sort of Dr. Phil type daytime talk show, reliving the shame of a five or six toothpaste world. Toothless McGinty bares his soul to the good doctor.

“And Toothless, tell us why you were forced to wear dentures at the tender age of 23? Did you just not want to brush?”

“Oh no! I wanted to brush! Very much so, Dr. Phil, but I just couldn’t find a toothpaste that was right for me. That met my needs.”

“The need to clean your teeth.”

“That’s right. Oh sure, there may have been one that would have cleaned my teeth, prevented cavities, and freshened my breath. But none that really said, ‘This is who I am!'”

“I see.”

“Oh, I tried Colgate for a while. And Crest and Aim and even Tom’s of Main. I tried Close Up for cryin’ out loud. But red toothpaste? C’mon.”

“So, what could have prevented this terrible tragedy?”

“The only way, I believe, this and future tragedies could have and might be avoided is to have literally hundreds of toothpaste choices.”

“Hundreds?”

“Hundreds. Ideally, everyone would have a toothpaste individually formulated to their own dental needs. But I’m a realist. Hundreds of brands and varieties should cover it..”

“And you believe this is possible.”

“I do. I believe in a America. And I believe America cares enough about it’s children to make this happen. Only then will we live in a world where corn on the cob and crisp Granny Smith apples can be eaten without fear.”

“Incredible story. We’ll be right back after these messages.”

If it was just toothpaste, I could let it go. But it’s not. It’s everything from ball point pens to home theater systems. Tried to buy a TV lately? You have to do research now. Research! Nothing spoils a fun electronics purchase like research. So, obviously I cannot let this go. Exhibit A: this ridiculous post.

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I Am Peeved

Here’s why (because I know your dying to know):

Backing into parking spaces – I don’t understand this at all.  Advocates I’m sure would say something like, “This way I can pull out and leave a lot faster.”  What, are you robbing a bank?  That would at least make sense.  But if armed robbery isn’t really your thing, then why the effort? You will probably end up causing a massive parking lot traffic snarl since you have to pull past the space and all the cars behind you will pull forward, only to have to all choreograph an awkward and dangerous massive reversal as your back-up lights come on and you negotiate a 28-point turn to get the angle just right.  So, yeah, I see how that’s much more convenient.  Not to mention the fact that it’s about 158 times easier to pull forward into a smaller space and reverse out of it than the other way around.  Ever play Operation?  Which was harder, the writers cramp (small) or the bread basket (large)?

I was at a crowded shopping center on a rainy night when the biggest pick-up truck I’ve ever seen—Ford F-950 or something with a lift kit that made it possible for a six foot man to walk upright underneath it without so much as mussing his hair—took a lifetime to back into a COMPACT SPACE!!

Not putting shopping carts back in the cart corral – You know what I call this picture?

carts

The Fall of Western Society.  Seriously?  They couldn’t have taken the extra, what, 15, 20 seconds to walk around the corner and put those carts away?  Oh, how far we’ve fallen America.  If you’re one of these scofflaws, next time your door gets dinged in the parking lot, before you complain you better take a long, hard look in the mirror my friend.

Waiting for a parking space – Now this one isn’t as big of a deal.  Sometimes in a busy parking lot or a multi-level garage there is no other recourse.  Its when there a spaces aplenty but they are—GASP!—20 whole yards away from the entrance that this becomes a problem.  When someone stops in the middle of the driveway (and they always stop right in the middle, negating any chance at being passed) and puts on that blinker, which they no doubt do as a courtesy, they are telling every other driver in the lot, “You wait patiently peasants, for I must have the best available slot no matter the cost to you in time and frustration.”  Listen Your Majesty, this is America.  We could all use the extra 40 second walk.  You’re no exception.

Not signaling or using a turn lane until the last possible moment – These fair folk are apparently unfamiliar with the meaning of the word “signal.”  Best as they can tell it means to suddenly slam on the breaks and veer violently in one direction or the other.  And if the turn lanes were only meant to be driven in those last four feet, guess what?  They wouldn’t be 50 feet long.

Pre-sliced cheese without wax paper between the slices – Is this some cruel cost cutting measure?  Honestly, how much can wax paper really cost?  I’d almost rather have fewer slices per container if it meant we could get that wax paper back between them.  As it is, I’m getting fewer slices anyway as they stick together and crumble apart.  Half a slice ends up under my fingernails since I have to use them to scrape one slice off the other.  This alone has driven me to purchase expensive imported cheese slices.  Spare no expense for wax paper, I always say.

Saying on MySpace/Facebook/Twitter “Watch(ed)ing a great movie!” and not saying what the movie is – Even though I’m your friend/following you, I still care more about what the movie is than that you are watching it at this very moment.  Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh (and heaven knows no one really wants to know that I just bit my lip, but did that stop me from making it a status update?) but throw me a bone here?  Are you teasing me?  Especially if you say it’s a good movie.  Maybe I want to see if it’s good, but how can I, you didn’t tell me what it was.  That’s just mean.

There.  I feel better now.  Any pet peeves of your own?  I mean other than dorks that blog about theirs and then force the link on you.

Proof!

Nearly a month ago I posted about the apparent shrinkage over the past couple years of the Cabdury Creme Egg.  Well, a like-minded commentor, 9erfan, who despite their apparent allegiance to a dismal NFL franchise,  has clued me in to some hard and fast evidence corraborating my claim.  See for yourself.

Red handed!  Who would’ve thought that an unassuming comic like BJ Novak would have the guts to step outside his cushy Hollywood life and call Cadbury on the carpet.  This video was posted over a year ago, so I admit my lack of vigilance in realizing the American public was getting the shaft.  But the time for blame is behind us.  Now is when we, John and Jane Q Consumer, rise up with one voice and tell Cadbury that we will not stand by and allow our sugary enjoyment to be further impeded.  Let the letter writing campaign begin!

Shell Game

Friends, I write to you today with a heavy heart.  As regular readers I’m sure have noticed Life of Ando has seen a significant decrease in post frequency over the past month or two.  I just haven’t had the desire to write, and frankly I don’t think anyone has really been missing out on anything special.  However, something has been brought to my attention that simply cannot be ignored and I feel it is my solemn duty to use my humble forum to bring attention to the matter.

I stopped at Long’s drugs yesterday to pick up a few grocery necessities after work; milk, bread, and so on.  It was here that I made my startling discovery:  Cadbury Creme Eggs seem smaller than they used to be.  This, dear readers, is an outrage.  Long time readers of Life of Ando will recall my affinity for these seasonal treats.  In the realm of specialty confections, the Egg is king.  Cadbury is to be admired for adhereing to the tradition of the Egg’s limited springtime-only availability (though apparently springtime now begins January 2nd), which lends the chocolatey, creamy delight a cache not found amongst other treats.  The TV spots featuring the clucking bunny are rightly regarded as one of the rites of spring and a visual reminder of the impending rebirth of nature.  The Creme Egg is a legend in its own time.

But it appears the makers of the Egg have chosen to betray its devotees by subtly reducing the size of the candy.  As I brought my two Eggs to the check out counter yesterday, I remarked to the cashier, “These look smaller than they used to.”  She responded with a patronizing, “Really?”  Clearly, she was too young and unsophisticated to have fully developed a meaningful  appreciation for the Creme Egg.  Or worse, she simply didn’t care, making her an unwitting accomplice in the crime.

Unfortunately, I have no hard proof of a size reduction.  Just my own perceptions, which, as honed as they may be after decades of Creme Egg indulgence, provide precious little by way of admissable evidence.  The measurement on the wrapper indicates a net weight of 1.2 ounces, but even a fanatic like me can’t recall ever checking the weight measurement in previous years.  And why would I?  For decades I trusted Cadbury to continue to provide me with the same magnificent indulgence every annum.  But that was my folly.  Cadbury is afterall a business, whose only stake in my happiness is how much of it I can buy.  My joy in their Eggs satisfied them only as much as the ringing of a cash register in their ears.

But just as my love of Cadbury Creme Eggs has been well documented in this space, so to has my commitment to holding confectioners’ feet to the fire.  I wrote emails to Oreo, I can write emails to Cadbury.  They may not change their policy, but neither will they feel they’ve gotten away with anything.  In THIS ECONOMY, when people need, more than ever, a little joy and pleasure in their lives, when all they ask is for at least their sugary indulgences to remain unvarying (unlike their 401(k)’s) someone has to stand up to these corporate robber barons.  Someone has to be Mr. Smith and go to Washington (or London in the case of Cadbury) and tell them that the American public will not sit still while their sweet enjoyment is tampered with.  Its time to stand up people, take our sugared destiny into our own hands and fight back.  To quote the great Colonel Mustard, “This is war!  You can’t make an omlette without breaking a few eggs.”

Problem Solved

This isn’t what I intended on posting today, but the news was too fantastic not to share with the world.  I received this important and life altering email just minutes ago.  Looks like my corrections officer dilema is solved.

From: Jerome Kerviel
Paris-La Defense.

My name is JEROME KERVIEL, a ROGUE TRADER in charge of VANILLA FUTURES HEDGING FOR EUROPEAN EQUITY MARKETS with Societe Generale Bank Paris France. I got your contact through cross border business information centre situated here in Paris and picked interest on you after going through your profile for a mutual benefit.

I don’t know if you have been conversant with invents lately as regards to my case with my bank (Societe Generale), if you are unaware, please point your cursor on the following TIMESONLINE associate web-link to be better briefed.

[Link removed]

From the above, you will understand that I was accused of loosing 7.1 Billion Dollars while serving my bank.

The truth of the matter is that I was used as an escape goat to cover my superiors who happens to be the master minders over the deal. Our bank Societe Generale has insurance premium worth three times the sum reported to be lost, with French National Insurance Commission and they sees no other way of claiming the sum to favour the bank financially other than using me to cover the plot. The deal was successful following a reward of USD 32,500,000:00 (Thirty Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) to me.

The above sum was successfully secured into a bank account in my name in Nassau Bahamas according to my superior’s directives, but I have been warned by my superiors not to use my name for the lodgment of the said sum in the bank as that will jeopardize the whole transaction and possibly expose all, because investigation later widened to my personal cell phone records to explore possible links to other individuals working at rival banks and private investment firms who may be involved.  But luckily there is no traceable information that link to the Bahamas bank. And I do not have an international contact to assist me in accommodating the funds until I am able to file in my resignation and contact you back to take my share.

So I write to seek your immediate assistance to help me have the account be changed into your name immediately to forestall any trace of the funds. And I would permit you absolute control to invest the sum as stated above for me temporarily while I prepare to take my resignation in the near future.

If you are interested please provide me with the following in return mail:

YOU’RE NAME IN FULL
YOUR OFFICE OR RESIDENTIAL ADDRESS
TEL AND FAX NUMBER

As soon as I hear from you, I will introduce you to my lawyer’s colleague in the UK that would communicate and receive your data’s on my behalf as I would not like to appear in this transaction for security and confidential reasons. 

I look forward for your urgent response.

Sincerely,
Jerome Kerviel.

I can’t believe this is happening to me.  What a world!

These Are a Few (More) of My Favorite Things

In October of 2006, on the occasion of the 135th post on Life of Ando, I posted a list of 135 of my favorite things.  Today, November of 2008, I present the 414th post on Life of Ando. I was going to list 414 more of my favorite things, but I don’t think I have 549 (414 + 135) favorite things.  So in honor of the completion of my 31st year last Wednesday, here are 31 more of my favorite things, in no particular order.  I feel like Oprah.  Only with less evil. 

  1. Cold apple pie
  2. Lily’s toes
  3. Bowling shirts
  4. Three-day weekends
  5. Valet parking
  6. Foggy mornings
  7. White Christmas the song
  8. White Christmas the movie
  9. DVR
  10. Pay-pal
  11. Digital cameras
  12. Yosemite
  13. The smell of fireplaces burning
  14. This picture
  15. This movie
  16. This song
  17. This commercial
  18. Simplicity
  19. High-definition
  20. Putting my feet up
  21. Only working until noon on Fridays
  22. Monte Cristos
  23. The expensive Oakley sunglasses that I found
  24. Gas under $3 a gallon
  25. America
  26. Trail mix
  27. The diaper genie
  28. Job security
  29. Policemen
  30. Ben Folds
  31. The collage of Lily pictures Jen made me for Father’s Day that is in my office

Bossman Junior and Completely Unrelated Personal Stories

No, those are not my wings

– For those of you with the intestinal fortitude to make it halfway through my elongated World Series preview, you may recall my wondering how a guy named Melvin Emmanuel Upton ended up with the nickname B.J.  Well, it turns out that the B and the J are initials to the awesomest nickname ever.  The Yahoo Sports baseball blog explains.

– The House of Bauer is just now recovering from a pretty unpleasent bout with the influenza.  Lily was the first to succomb, vomitting all over herself and then her mother multiple times late Friday night.  She was fine for the most part after that, and even made the planned trip to the blazing hot, fly infested pumpkin patch on Saturday (ok, neither the heat nor the flys were planned).  I was the next to fall, waking up Monday morning feeling, as I told Jen, either really hungry or about to barf.  It was the latter.  After making hourly trips to the porcelain pony to do the technicolor yawn (though it was mostly just greens and yellows) from 7AM to 1PM, the scurge had mostly left my body.  I say mostly, because it returned for one encore at about 7PM.  Tuesday Jen fell victim and spent most of the day writhing, while I tried to recover/take care of the baby.  Not as easy as it sounds.  Especially when the dog gets loose after a squirrel when you’re trying to take him outside for some air and you end up running through bushes and leaping over brush to keep him from running into four lanes of busy traffic, all in your pjs and slippers.  We all seem to be on the mend now, but it has not made for a pleasent several days.

– The outlook was much brighter on Friday night, when we attended our annual costume party.  Jen and I came as 1960’s bowlers, for which we won the coveted Most Unique Costume bag of M&M’s, and Lily came as an adorable sock monkey (see above).  There were a lot of really good costumes, some of which can be seen here (unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of everybody), and we had a great time.  Mostly because we won something.

– Tomorrow our recovering trio heads, yet again, for Sacramento, though for business rather than pleasure this time.  Jen will be attending a teachers convention while Lily and I do something fun like hang out in the hotel and watch soap operas.  Just kidding, we’ll probably just go to a bar and watch them.