23 May

Move over Charmin, here comes something leaner

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the den, little Charmin bear. Oh sure you had the problem with toilet paper sticking to your rear-end, but you haven't seen the worst of it.

I didn't think bears used TP?  

Come to my work in EP, where we enjoy the finest in potty-time hygiene. Introducing, the 1/3-ply toilet paper!

Yes indeed, because toilet paper is so expensive, we'll stock the restrooms full of this ultra-thin rolled-up paper product. Man, if you thought Papa bear got a bit ticked having to sweep the "crumbs" off Baby bear's rear, he'd be bustin' a cap with management on this one fo' sho'.

Oh, and don't call it "toilet tissue" -- the image of nose and toilet paper for me just don't go hand-in-hand -- save it for those elite Britons.

I mean, you can't really call this toilet paper, can you? The fact that I can clearly see my hand through it certainly can't be good.

So why move to this onion-skin type product? I'd imagine it's a couple of reasons for sure. First off, it's probably cheaper, ok we got that out of the way. Second, it's probably because we're likely to use less overall. I personally couldn't disagree more -- based solely on psychology.

If I'm sitting there after a tough minut... two min......ok 5 minute ordeal, the LAST thing I want to be worrying about is whether my hand is going to move through the paper as I'm cleaning. So what do you do to compensate for that? Well, I'm not accustomed to using 1/3-ply paper, so I do what all the muscular show-offs do during the Big Wheel on The Price Is Right... I give a big tug on the toilet paper and grab as many sheets as I can.

Does it look like this will do the job? It better not dissolve once I try wiping. Oh golly, such anxiety. I think it's enough, continue. ::: hesitating:::

It shouldn't be that complex -- with my normal 2-ply, I know that 3 sheets, folded over, will do the job. I'm not willing to risk any "if it's 1-ply, just use twice the normal amount!" type argument. If your suggestion is to use twice as much, why not just stock the usual 2-ply? On top of that, this ultra-thin-ply crap is like sandpaper. To make it "soft", you have to use more!

I'm sure there's countless times where you're sitting at the bar watching a bar fight and it makes its way over to your table and one of the guys knocks over your vodka-Red Bull. Could you imagine trying to wipe up the spill with this 1/3-ply garbage? It would be like cleaning it up with sandpaper -- you'd just be smearing it all over the table.

So anyway, to hell with this TP. Get some real stuff and leave the TP that's trying to rival Listerine Pocket Breath Strips for thinness for the birds.

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20 May

Stop, it's hammer time... for you drivers

A short Gripe this week, but one to which many can relate. I'm sure you've all experienced this at one time. I did.

You come to a 4-way stop, along with two others -- one to your left and one to your right. All parties are going straight (i.e. nobody is making a left/right turn). Minnesota Statute 169.20 (b) states that in this situation, the driver on the right is given the right-of-way:

(b) When two vehicles enter an intersection controlled by stop signs or by blinking red traffic signals requiring drivers or vehicles from any direction to stop before proceeding, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

Ok, fine, this happened. The driver on the right did go first. Good job! Someone read the drivers manual. But what happens next would even get the Mona Lisa to blink.

The driver on the left actually (barely) came to a stop before any of us. Upon seeing that indeed the car opposite him (the car on the "right" in this case) did assume the right-of-way and proceeded to enter the intersection, the car on the left waited until the car on the right was almost 2/3 of the way through the intersection before entering the intersection themselves.

What the hell were you waiting for? Especially since you were the first to the intersection, technically, you should know that when the guy across from you goes, you go. You screwed the whole cycle up. Damn it, what chaos! Unnecessary.

And then yesterday as well, this car beats me to a 4-way stop sign by at least a second. They are to the right of me, making a right-hand turn. I'm going straight. They waited.... and waited... and I'm watching them just look at me. Finally, I proceeded to go and shook my head at them.

I totally get "Minnesota Nice", but man, that just doesn't apply here. There are rules. It's the reason we go to driver's school... it's the reason you have to take a "written" test and a road test. GO BACK TO DRIVING SCHOOL. I swear, once people pass the driver's course, they purge their brain of all information learned and make up their own rules when behind the wheel.

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11 May

Meteorologists trying to sound all impressive

With the latest round of severe weather last night came non-stop severe weather coverage on all the major TV networks.

And it's during these severe weather events that meteorologists are tested -- they have a lot of time to fill. Thus, you can count on at least two things happening:

  1. Trying to act overly smart by using catchy phrases
  2. Show off their new meteorological tools

And nobody demonstrates this better....... than your boy, Fox9's own Ian Leonard.

That's right, bringin' Alberta's finest Canadian-English vernacular, lit-tra-lly, this freeloading Canadian is apparently trying to oust the "Goof on the Roof" in terms of household names.

The latest gaffe came while talking about outdoor events and being "sky aware." He went on to say that if people see lightning, they should heed this rule of thumb (and no, I'm not making this up):

"When lightning roars, head indoors"

Honest to God, I don't know where to start with this one. Lightning roaring? Take some advice from ol' Garth... Thunder rolls, and the lightning strikes. Get it? Thunder rolls/booms/roars/crashes... Lightning doesn't do that.

And later on, he tries to sound even more impressive. He showed us a picture of the radar and how everything was "quiet" after the storms went by. "We call this -- Severe Clear."

Really? Funny, is that why the NWS, when updating their tornado watch area, still has us included in the tornado watch. NWS sure doesn't consider us "in the clear." Nobody calls it severe clear... YOU do. And why does everything have to be alliterative or rhyming (or near-rhyming)?

And I swear meteorologists get their hard-on during severe weather outbreaks. Why? Because they get to show-off all the fancy new tools: Smartboards, swirly-arrows that they can draw using their finger on the board to show where there is likely air inflow, unreadable 3-D graphics trying to show cloud tops, and touting their Storm Tracker Technology, which is not technology at all. Rather, it's simply a "click-a-spot-on-the-map-and-drag-out-the-direction-the-storm-is-heading-and-indicate-how-fast-the-storm-is-travelling" feature. The human does nearly all of the work -- the computer simply highlights the cities that are in the way and the approximate time it will be there BASED ON THE HUMAN'S INPUT. There's no technology involved!

Pffff... Storm Tracker Technology, ugh. Sounds as dumb as Domino's Pizza touting their new cardboard pizza box as "Corru-Skeletal Technology." Whatever. It's a freakin' cardboard box. My TV set came in a box with the same "technology" so shut up. Ooooh, I bet you thought you sounded so impressive because you used the word "technology" -- why not just say something to the effect of "We now use sturdier pizza boxes"?

I'm a boot to end this blog entry litraly. But before I do, eeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhIIIIIIIIIII better repeat the phrase I have been saying the entire time I got here... be Sky Aware!

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06 May

We're truly a wasteful, throw-away society

You've seen those National Geograhic (Nat Geo for you haughty peeps that need a shortened version of every word) episodes where they go to third-world countries and show just how poor they are. You know, when a million-dollar, high-tech, High-Definition camera, which costs about as much as all the huts in the city cost to build, goes around and films the daily life of city dwellers.

If only we could hand those poor residents a laptop and show them videos of the Vikings stadium debates.

As many of you know, the Metrodome roof collapsed last year. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), who owns and operates that nearly 30-year-old structure, had an insurance policy out on the fiberglass roof. The replacement cost? BirdAir Inc. is going to replace the roof at a cost of $17,973,245. Cost to MN? Only a very modest deductible.

So everything is just fine, right? We've got a new roof... Vikings are happy because they can play at home again... those that use the Metrodome can now resume their activities... no real substantial cost to MN to fix the roof. All is good!

But wait...

What happens in another year?

To answer this question, let's imagine we're a pick-a-path book. Damn I loved those books. I remember reading The Great Baseball Championship.

Ah, yes, The Great Baseball Championship

You could be on the last page of the book, and then your answer to the question could lead you a completely different direction (and back near the front of the book). What a country!

Anyway, pick a scenario. There will be three of them. We'll see how it plays out. Keep in mind, there's nearly $18M worth of new tiles put up to repair the current Metrodome. Also keep in mind, the Vikings lease in the Metrodome will end after the 2011 football season.

Vikings get their new stadium on the Metrodome site

Vikings have already admitted the current Metrodome will not work. Renovating the dome will not work either. Thus, we'd have to move the Vikes to TCF Field for a few seasons while they destroy the Metrodome and rebuild. Destroy the Metrodome. Destroy. That means, the ceiling tiles go bye-bye.

Vikings get their new stadium NOT on the Metrodome site

Vikings will play out the 2011 season in the dome. That means the $11-$12 million dollar budget  would need to be supported by all the other activities that occur in the Metrodome during the year... revenue which currently totals about $2 million. MSFC says they will not be able to operate the Metrodome with that revenue and would have to close it down. No more use for the ceiling tiles. Bye-bye ceiling tiles.

Vikings do not get their new stadium and leave

(see previous answer)

So maybe you see an issue here. The multi-million dollars that were spent replacing the ceiling tiles are going to get torn down regardless of the outcome of the stadium issue (unless some subsidized payments to keep the dome operating come from the state..... yeah, d'okay!)

What a f-d up slap in the face to the third world countries, courtesy of the United States. Hey, look at us... we can throw away money like it doesn't matter!!! Meanwhile, you're living in huts made with straw and wood just trying to make it!

We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Oh, and I get it. Technically, we had insurance and insurance is holding its end of the bargain... I get it. Really, I do. Also, I get the fact that the Vikings are under a lease agreement for the dome for this last year, so you have to have the Metrodome in playable condition. I get that too.

But we're supposed to then completely ignore all sense of wastefulness?

The Vikings have really wanted nothing more than to be out of the lease. MSFC doesn't want that any sooner than necessary. But if it's ultimate doom for the dome, why bother replacing it? MSFC should have accepted some sort of settlement w/ the insurance company in lieu of replacement -- you know, just like you do when you file a claim w/ your auto insurer. Do you really take that $500 check and bring your car to the repair shop so they can get a couple of tiny hail dings out of your hood? Naw, I didn't think so. You pocket that shizzle, head on over to the Big Wheel Rossi and get your chrome on... or your spinnin' rims, either one.

Oh, here's an option... allow the Vikings to be out of the lease and do as they please!

Now of course this sounds absurd. Few Minnesotans would really want that to happen. The state doesn't want that to happen. And really, the Vikes probably don't either, because with such short notice, they'd have to play at TCF Field, where they would lose about $13 million for the year (heard that fact on the radio, so sorry, I don't have the link)

So what MSFC did makes sense.... from a financial perspective.

But I wish we would have at least taken a step back and thought, "Gee, aren't we being a little wasteful?" Ceiling tiles for one year?

As the old saying goes, there's a starving kid who'd love to eat what you're throwing away.

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05 May

Posts more irritating than Farmville

You're seeing it all the time today, if you're a Facebook user.

  1. No, not the Farmville requests that you think your friend personally sent you, but instead were sent to everyone on their friend list
  2. No, not the seemingly weekly changes they make to your profile page
  3. No, it's not even the "Hey, I checked in here!" posts

Rather, it's those posts, political in nature, that some people think are cool to post. You've probably seen them in one form or another:

Leftists: "Tell Republicans: Keep your hands off Medicare" (article follows when one clicks the link)

Rightists: "No New Taxes Democrats, Cut Spending!" (article follows when one clicks the link)

Activists: "blah blah ID checks blah blah Domestic Partner blah blah Illegal Aliens blah blah"


First off, when someone posts something cool on Facebook, you can click the little "Like" button, and then everyone that reads the person's post knows that you were fond of the message. However, when people post things so blindedly, like the examples above, there's no "Unlike" button. Actually, I didn't say that right -- I wouldn't be reaching for the "Unlike" button, I'm reaching for the "Ignorant" button. (for those not privy to Facebook, there is neither an "unlike" nor a "ignorant" button)

Second, over time, you know which posts come from whom. Uncle George posts the absurd "The hell they're going to tax me!" and Aunt Gertrude posts the "I earned those benefits, don't you cut them!" Both sides are either hard-core Republican or hard-core Democrat. They wouldn't dare vote for anything that the other party believes is true.

Me? I'm neither party. For voting, I sit down with a list of candidates and their viewpoints on each issue. I select the candidate who I agree with most, regardless of party, weighting the issues of course (because some things like guns just don't mean much to me). I've voted Democrat, Republican, Constitution, and Independent (but not those absurd, evil Socialists) Yes, I voted for Clinton... and others.

So when I see posts about not touching Medicare, and then see people commenting "No kidding, they're clueless" or "Yes! I hear ya!" or "I earned these benefits!", I cringe.

Yes, you're right. You did earn Medicare benefits. And you still WILL be getting Medicare benefits. They just won't be the exact benefits as they have been in the past. Just like Social Security! And before you start posting mudslinging comments on Facebook trying to bash the other side, you should stop, investigate and point at the real crux of the issue -- the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) approach.

Medicare Part A is considered PAYG, meaning that the system is not funded in advance. It is the future generations that fund previous generations' benefits. For example, the Medicare taxes collected from my paycheck do not get put in the government's savings account and saved for when I reach 65. Rather, they are going toward funding grandfather's hip surgery.

Without going into too much detail, our population growth isn't what it once was, which would have been enough to support your current Medicare benefits. Thus, without modifications to benefits, you're forced to either raise the Medicare tax or do what is done with Social Security -- raise the age which you can receive Medicare. If either of those two are options are your "solution", compound that solution every time there is a shortfall and see where that gets you.

Relying on future generations to fund the cost might have been the way to go back then, but isn't anymore. A CHANGE IS NEEDED.

And for all you extreme righties who say no new taxes of any sort -- go shove it. I understand your point on no new Federal increases, with how much money we give away to other countries and funding wars and all, but State money doesn't really get spent overseas. Roads need to be maintained. Kids need to be educated. Ziggy needs to feed his family (ha, sorry about that one).

Granted, yes, there are projects where the State doesn't make the best choices. However, we need to fund, at a minimum, the basic services provided by the State. If a State looks me in the eye and tells me a tax is required to do so, then so be it. But then if the economy recovers (which would be a revenue windfall to the State), reduce the tax back to where it was. (I know, stop your chuckling... someone would be honest enough to do that). Relying on the current tax rates to fund our necessary programs is not enough. A CHANGE IS NEEDED.

It's no wonder things don't get done at the capitol. You only have two parties, which have been molded to disagree on nearly every major topic. The only time things get resolved is at the deadline, where both sides cave in. But then, are the best choices ever made in those circumstances? (in my opinion, A CHANGE IS NEEDED here too)

But back to Facebook... it wouldn't be as much fun to post meaningful arguments... it's much more fun to throw mud, especially on Facebook where everyone is going to see it. And you'll get that self-satisfaction tingle when one of your friends chimes in, in support of your post, even though 500 of your other friends ignored it.

I've rolled my eyes and ignored these posts... always have... always will. Argue about these at the water cooler with your friends -- just keep it off Facebook.

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