31 Jan

Electrical Signage Issues

An oldie, but a goodie. Would you walk into this place?


I might think twice... but still walk in, just to understand the true definition of "nasty."

On my way to work, I would pass by the Regal Cinema. Here is the picture of the building:

But seemingly every time I passed the building, the "G" at the top was burned out. In the early mornings, as well as at night on my way home, it would look like the "Real Cinema." Perhaps there is no faux pas and they are simply highlighting/setting the gold-standard of their building with all the neon and stuff.

Even the Target Greatland by us was "Target eatland," perhaps indicating to the public that they now have a full grocery store inside (which they do).

And lastly, I passed by the Broadway Bar & Pizza the other day to have it say "road Bar." Simple, and to the point -- as effectively as the Rogers liquor store sign that says simply "BEER."

I realize the last three aren't as good as the first one. I also realize that light bulbs do burn out. But in the first case above, by choosing the name "Dynasty Buffet," if you're the manager/owner, I don't think I'm going out on a limb by saying it's good business practice to keep a watchful eye on the signage. It's the price you pay for the name. That, or have the bulbs linked to each other, so when one letter goes out, they all go out.

Choose your names carefully, if you're going to have lighted signage with each letter powered independently. After all, we saw what happened in Revenge of the Nerds...

Categories: Amusement , Gripe Read More

18 Jan

No butts about it

You've all likely seen it while sitting in your car. I saw it happen three times on my ride home tonight.

Cigarette butts: Flicked out of a moving car (or in some cases, sitting in a pile beside the left-turn lane)

Let's forget about biases when it comes to the smoking laws in this state/country. What I want to know is... why is it ok to fling a cigarette butt out the window?

I personally claim it's ignorance in most cases, or simply a lack of caring. Let's view some arguments on why some smokers feel it's ok:

I don't want my car to smell like old cigarettes

Then when you get to your destination, wherever it is, dump it in a garbage! It's really that simple. And if you don't have an ashtray that's removable from its housing, bring an empty tin can and place it in your drink holder in your car. Just like you don't want the smell of old cigarettes in your car, I don't want the smell of old cigarettes on a hot summer day just after it rains, sitting in that left turn lane waiting for the light to turn green.

I don't want the mess in my car

Oh yeah? We don't want the mess on our roads! It's sad that we need Adopt-A-Highway programs to clean up the trash on the road. And now on top of the trash, we have these annoying little butts that are damn near impossible to pick up without a vacuum. Didn't you listen to those movies in grade school about not littering? Oh yeah, that's right, I forgot the doctor diagnosed you with A.D.D. and so you've got an excuse.

It's not littering. All smokers do it.

I'm not kidding, someone actually told me that one day. That's the mentality of these people (obviously not all of them). Those two thoughts aren't even related! Many people excessively speed on the highway -- that doesn't make it right. Littering is littering, whether it be a cigarette butt or your sack of garbage. Minnesota Statutes define it, and the penalty as:


Whoever unlawfully deposits garbage, rubbish, cigarette filters, debris from fireworks, offal, or the body of a dead animal, or other litter in or upon any public highway, public waters or the ice thereon, shoreland areas adjacent to rivers or streams as defined by section 103F.205, public lands, or, without the consent of the owner, private lands or water or ice thereon, is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

Do you really want to argue your point now? They specifically state cigarette filters and highway in the statute.

It biodegrades anyway, what's the big deal?

True, it does biodegrade, after many decades. So you're right, it is better than dumping your old CFC light bulbs out on the freeway, from a toxicity standpoint. However, it does take a while, and in the meantime is very unsightly. It's nearly the same reason why you can't just ignore cutting your lawn, or keeping your old broken-down jalopy out in the public eye -- it's an eyesore.

It's not like trash, it's much smaller.

Absurd. So that'd be like saying it's ok to steal, just as long as it's in small quantities. Or, tell that to those that have Evergreen or similar lawn care company come out to spray the lawn. The chemicals they use on the lawn can get into your drinking water. Oh sure it's small, but over time, it builds up.

Look people, littering is littering, there's no way around that argument. I'm not the world's biggest critic of smoking, but I am a critic of public behavior. Just as you wouldn't flick your cigarette on the floor of your living room, quit flicking them out your car. Stop taking the coward's way out, have some decency, help create SOME positive image for smokers (i.e. decency not to litter), and give a little effort... it's not much... to take responsibility for the freedom that you still have (the right to smoke). By continuing to litter, you're just fueling additional hatred that non-smokers have for smokers.

Categories: Gripe Read More

10 Jan

Creative Company Names

Sorry folks, I realize I took a breather here in posting Gripes. Trust me though, it's me being lazy recently and NOT due to a lack of things to talk about.

So I heard a commercial lately for tax-related services. It's yet another company wanting to help people get out of owing taxes to the government. Put the politics of such action aside for a moment and let's focus on the name.

The name of the company: Tax Monkey. They help relieve you of the debt burden you have with the IRS.

Now, I realize today you need a catchy name. Something that stands out... something that will grab people's attention, but yet isn't too long. After all, Google didn't choose the name worldsbestsearchengine.com -- it's too long. Such a company name wouldn't be easily used as a verb. Take a hypothetical, real-life example:

"I Googled your name and it returned 1,000 results."

Translation: I went to www.google.com and put your name in the search box and it came back with 1,000 websites.

It wouldn't be realistic to expect people to say "I worldsbestsearchengine'd your name..."; however in thinking about it, today's generation would probably shorten it to "I WBSE'd (wibzee'd) your name..."

Anyway, getting back to Tax Monkey, let's examine the name a little more and highlight where things, to me anyway, get awkward:

  1. The use of "monkey." I don't know about you, but when it comes to something as serious as taxes, I guess I just don't want a monkey messing around with my situation. Of anything, I would want the IRS monkey OFF my back, not ON my back
  2. What does a monkey have to do with taxes anyway? Just like those infomercials for The General auto insurance -- call on the General and save some dime. A General? Oh yeah, I know when it comes to matters of automobile accident remuneration and getting a good deal, I can rest assured that because the General's got my back.
  3. Are you really going with the cute angle on this one? Ohhh, it's a cute little monkey! I think I'm going with them! Ohhh, what a funny talking gecko... I'm going with them! A pair of hands for a symbol? No way! If I'm searching the yellow pages, looking for the ad with the cutest mascot just isn't the defining factor.
  4. Sound effects. Oh yeah, the monkey sounds in the background make me take your commercial VERRRRY seriously.

So honestly, I know you're trying for the distinction from other tax debt companies out there, but seriously, take an extra day before you come up with the name. I'm going to hunt down every other company before ever thinking of seeking the assistance of yours.

Categories: Gripe Read More

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