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. 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.


Tongue Tied

tongue_tiedI feel like I haven’t had much to say lately.  I guess that’s mostly because I haven’t had much to say.  But on the other hand, there are a few things I’d like to say, but I just haven’t had the energy to say them.  This may seem like just plain old laziness.  But that makes sense because that’s pretty much what it is.

The thing about having a free-form blog such as Life of Ando, is that there isn’t any established structure to speak of which can help guide the writer when ideas are lacking.  If this was a celebrity gossip blog I would have no problem throwing up a juicy tid-bit about Brad and Angelina to fill the space until I could come up with some fresh new rumor, like which one of the Jonas Brothers Miley Cyrus is dating. (What?!  Miley Cyrus is dating one of the Jonas Brothers?  OMGosh!)

Speaking of throwing up juicy tid-bits, that’s what I spent the bulk of Monday night doing.  I’m really glad Lily is learning to share at such an early age, I just wish it wasn’t always her sicknesses she chooses to be unselfish with.  For the second time in three months Lily has started the barf train rolling in our house.  Monday night Jen and I were on rotating shifts to the bathroom for about five straight hours.  We handed Lily off to Grandma and Grandpa Tuesday morning so we could recover without relapsing at the smell of dirty diapers.

See what happens when I get writers block?  Fake celebrity news and vomit.  Hmmm, those two things seem strangely appropriate together.  Come back soon!

Observations From The Express Lane: Autobiography

More than once here on the Life of Ando I’ve relayed my observations on odd item combinations at the local grocery checkout stand.  Well, tonight I have to report on my own purchases and how they must have looked to my fellow checkout-line mates.

When:  Tonight

Where:  Safeway

Who:  Me

What:  Three jars turkey and rice baby food, one box Life cereal, largest jug of liquid dishwasher detergent available, lemon scent

(Previous observations)

These Pretzels Are Making Me Thursday

Greetings faithful Regulars and wayfaring newcomers.  I bring you tidings on this fine September Thursday.  Though my integrity bids me to inform all readers here that I am actually writing to you on a Wednesday, but in all likelihood you will in fact be reading this on a Thursday, especially if you happen to reside in the central timezone and all points East as in a mere few minutes it will already be Thursday there if it isn’t already.

Now that we’ve got that settled….

Maybe its just the fact that I’m only recently emerging from my summer hiatus (or doldrums, depending on how you look at it) but it seems to me that the Life of Ando is getting a bit stale.  Periods of stagnation are to be expected when something has been reasonably well maintained for nearly three years, except for those who are very gifted, a number which does not include myself.  Those who have managed to hold their nose and stick with me for nigh on 391 posts will recall I’ve faced such wastelands before (notably here and here) but have always managed to right the ship, or at least get the ship pointing in the direction it started in.  Whether that was the right direction or not I’ll leave for someone else to judge.

So here we are again.  The wind has died down to a hot, sickly breeze, the ship is listing, and we’re out of grog.  And yet we press on.  Why?  Because we have to, that’s why.  We have to press on for the independent blogger, sitting at his keyboard this very minute, wondering whether or not its all still worth it.  “No one ever comments or links to my posts, all my readers are related to me, my wife doesn’t even read my blog, why should I go on wasting my time?”  For that poor soul we must persevere or the small time blogging spirit will be extinguished forever.  Some of our blogging brethren have already fallen by the wayside.  Which gets me to my real point.

I’ve cleaned up some of my blogroll links.  I held on to a few dead blogs just for the sake of padding my blogroll, but I was having a difficult time looking myself in the eye (especially since I don’t own a mirror) and the time had finally come to cut loose the quitters.  So, so long Reluctant Fundie.  Sayonara, Bruce Glidewell’s blog.  Adios, Chronicles of Kuhnerdom, we barely knew thee.  There are a couple more that are lingering by a thread but if they don’t get to steppin’ in the near future they’ll be kicked to the curb as well.  I have added some new links to blogs that are in fact very active and that I actually read.  Most are history related, for whatever that’s worth to you.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll hopefully be adding some other items to my space (not Myspace) here to spruce things up.  Just eye-catching accoutraments really, nothing of any real substance.  The true substance of the blog, the posts, will, I’m sorry to have to say, be much as it has been these 2+ years.  For that, I apologize.

In the meantime, feel free to let me know what you might like to see here and what would keep you coming back and commenting.  Content, nifty sidebar widgets, a “file not found” message, anything.  Leave a comment on this post or in the Suggestion Box at the top of the page.  I love input.

Before you make your rough draft of the list you’re going to send me, take a break and check out this post.  Part of me wants to scream “NERD!” and part of me wishes I thought of this.  Ok, all of me wishes I thought of this.  Shout out to Blog 4 History, where I found the link.

McCain Nabs Crucial Vietnamese Jailer Endorsement!

Election season is always good for a bizarre news story or two and I particularly enjoy all the celebrity endorsements candidates get.  What, Liza Manelli is backing Obama?  Well, I did love Cabaret so I guess I’ll vote for him too.  Almost always ridiculous.  But this one has gotta be one of the weirdest.  McCain’s old jailer from his Hanoi Hilton days has given his endorsement to the Senator from Arizona.  I don’t know which is more strange, the endorsement, or that the jailer is described thusly:  “a 75-year-old retiree and amateur ballroom dancer.”  Must be American election season.

I Demand an Explanation!


Can somebody please explain this to me?


Men with pony tails




The recent proliferation of mini-burgers


God’s sovereignty in light of man’s free will.  This one deserves fleshing out.  I’m not implying that God is somehow restricted by man or that He can’t do whatever He wants and I’m not talking in terms of salvation, but rather in living.  Was it God’s will that I wore a black shirt today?  Yes, that’s a pretty silly question, but following that logic, when I have a big life decision to make, am I really making that decision, or has God already made it for me?  Maybe a better phrasing of the question would be, how much does God intervene in day to day living of human beings?  Is there even a way to answer that question?


Hitler’s declaration of war on the US immediately after Pearl Harbor




Coastal areas are generally so much more liberal than interior areas


Things that are hard go soft when stale, things that are soft get hard when stale


The continued appeal and success of Tom Bergeron


There are 33 different varieties of Colgate toothpaste (yes, I actually counted)


Meatloaf waited 20 years between the releases of his two albums


And what is it that Meatloaf won’t do for love


This man had a relatively successful career in show business


People read this blog


Thursday Randomness

Because what’s more random than a Thursday?  Along with Tuesday, it’s like the middle child, even though Wednesday is technically in the middle.  But Wednesday has the distinction of being “hump day.”  You’ve reached the pinnacle of the week, and now the light at the end of the week is starting to glimmer.  But Tuesday and Thursday?  There’s not much to love there.  Sure, Monday gets put down because the weekend is over and its back to the old grindstone, but at least it gets some attention.  There’s even a couple of songs about Mondays.  Manic Monday by the Bengals and Monday, Monday by the Mamas and the Pappas.  Friday is of course beloved the world over and everyone loves the weekend days.  But poor Tuesday and Thursday.  So to give this particular Thursday some love, here are a few random things to consider.

– Read an interesting post on Without Wax yesterday.  Should Christians get cosmetic surgery?  Be sure to read the comments.  It’s an interesting question and there’s some pretty good stuff in there.  What do you think?

– For all you Bay Area dwellers out there, a local fixture has left us.  KTVU channel 2 news anchor man Dennis Richmond made his last broadcast last night.  Mr. Richmond has been on channel 2 since I can remember.  Other local news anchors came and went, Pete Wilson, Dave Macalhatten, Elaine Corral, Ed Beout, but I could always count on Dennis Richmond.  Not that I ever really watch local news, but still, it’ll be weird seeing someone else in his chair.  Farewell and good luck Mr. Richmond, you will be missed when I occasionally flip past channel 2 between 10 and 11 on weeknights.

– You know what really needs to stop?  People putting stickers on stop signs to make them say something else.  Like STOP “Bombing El Salvador.”  Or STOP “Using pesticides.”  Or STOP “Reading this sign.”  Or the one I saw yesterday, STOP “Bush please!” I want to make my own sticker. STOP “Putting stupid stickers on STOP signs.  No one thinks they’re clever or witty and anyone who does is probably a communist.”  I think I’ve made my point.

– Speaking of the President and lame stickers, I realize that he is not the most popular guy around.  And while I don’t always agree (or share the bile bubbling vitriol that is often exhibited by the mere mention of his name), I can at least understand some people’s perterbmentedness.  But do we still need all the Bush slamming bumper stickers and such?  Is there really anything left to say that wasn’t said five years ago?  It all seems a little played out to me.  It’s like taking the easy way out.  But I’m sure there’s some nut in his basement somewhere still racking his brain for the next great warmed over fender manifesto.


– I am pleased to announce that I won my first game of the season Tuesday night.  We beat our rival 31-21.  No, it was softball, not football.  I went 4×6 with a double.


– And lastly, there is a new post on Past Tense which I’m sure will appeal to a wide, general audience.  How can Clausewitz and Sun Tzu be applied to naval warfare?  Man, that’s compelling stuff.