Thursday, July 27, 2006

Retirement Plans

Today, I took an online poll that asked what I think is the best way to save for retirement. You know - company pension plan, savings, property, mutual funds, etc.

I vote for the Lotto. Old people always win that, right? That's what I'm counting on to get me through my old age. Either that or I'll become a greeter at Wal-mart.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Raising an even more inconsiderate generation

Tim and I went to the movies on Sunday. We saw "Superman Returns", in its third week of release, so maybe it won't be too crowded. Eh-n-n-n-n, try again.

The good thing was, we didn't notice anyone make or receive a cell phone call during the movie. That's a first for the Rave Theatre. Unfortunately, a couple of people brought small children, I'm talking like 3 years old, to see this PG-13 movie. This long PG-13 movie. The one directly in front of us talked almost continuously.

If I went to see a movie aimed at little kids, I would expect to see little kids in the theatre. But come on, people! The least you could do is get up and take the child outside. The family in front of us, the dad completely ignored the child. The mom shushed him a few times.

You have to understand, your life is different once you have children. Every generation, people develop a deeper belief that they can always do the things they want to do, and if they annoy you, well that's your problem. Sorry, that's not the way it works.

It is not my problem that I forked over $14 in the expectation of actually being able to hear the dialogue, music, and sound effects in the film. I expect to be able to watch the movie and think about the movie, not watch the movie while simultaneously wondering why idiot parents brought a 3-year-old to a movie designed for teens and adults.

You need to have consideration for other people around you. If your child is typically quiet and you decide to take him or her to a totally inappropriate movie, and the child starts making noise, take it outside. Ask for your money back if you're not that far into the movie. Heck, if the movie's just about over, it won't hurt to ask. The theatre folks may be impressed enough at your consideration of others, they'll still give you free passes.

If you lose yor money, maybe you'll think twice next time. Teach your kids to be quiet while watching a DVD at home. Train them to appreciate the movie and be considerate of others. Then maybe when they're parents, they'll teach their own children to have common sense.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Black Pepper

My mom and I had lunch Saturday, while shopping for anniversary party supplies. She had a hard time, as she does every time she dines out, finding something that didn't have black pepper in it. She's going to a meeting of her high school class reunion committee soon, and she called the restaurant, and they said they really don't have anything without black pepper in it, except for salads, but the dressing all has the black pepper.

Zantac and some of the other acid medications specifically say not to eat black pepper when you're taking it, and yet, it's next to impossible to find prepared foods that don't have black pepper in it or on it. My mom can't eat it because it makes her sick.

My point is, hasn't anyone made the connection between the increase in acid reflux and stomach problems and the proliferation of foods that are cooked with black pepper? Sure, we're all under increased stress these days, but that can't be the only cause.

And why is it that corn needs to be sprinkled with black pepper? The breading for fried chicken? Grilled steaks? Green beans?

My problem is onions. I don't like them, and they make Tim throw up. Everyone puts it in their potato salad. Some restaurants put it in the coleslaw. I've even found 'em in the green beans. If I can't order it without onions, we won't eat it.

Tim says the problem is that the stuff is all being manufactured -- most restaurants don't cook from scratch anymore. The manufacturers, in turn, are making the stuff faster and cheaper, and they're starting with low grade, tasteless main ingredients, so they add the black pepper or the onions to try to add flavor.

Now, I've read that the veggies we have nowdays are not as flavorful as the ones we used to have. The flavor was bred out as they genetically manipulated the stuff to last longer, so it could be shipped from Costa Rica or wherever.

I wish I could afford to eat organic.

Whatever happened to....

Cracker trays?

My mom and I are working on their 50th wedding anniversary party, and my mom wants to set out the crackers in one of those half-tube cracker servers that used to be very popular, but apparently not many people know what they are any more. I did find some at Orientral Trading Company, clear plastic in a set of three. I guess we'll order some of those since Party City didn't have any, and my mom says everyone in her garden club is looking for them for the table-decorating event they put on every year. They've been using the ones my mom inherited from her mother. Weird how things stop being made. No doubt next year someone will start manufacturing them for Target or Crate and Barrel and then they'll be all the rage, and everyone will act like it's something brand new.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What does it mean, if you dream you were shot to death?

I got shot twice in the chest in my dream last night by an Asian man I've never seen before. He was riding in the back of George Carlin's cab. George was a friend of ours. Tim and I decided to hang out with him for a while after we went back in time and did something important related to the Chinese ambassador and a reception.

Of course, after I got shot, Tim used the time travel device to go back in time and warn me and then he went after the Asian man. And the weird thing is, he opened the cab door and the Asian man looked at him and said, "I knew you had a time travel device." Then Tim shot him in the head.

That's when I woke up. I have nothing against Asians, by the way. Maybe it had something to do with all the news coverage of the North Korean Missile Tests.

Why do businesses ignore the chance for free publicity?

At the TV station where I work, two of our newscasts every day have a business news segment. We run the stocks of local interest, the oil prices and whatnot, on a graphic, and the anchor reads a business-related story. Maybe it's a new store opening, or a big donation to a charity, or something about taxes.

On several occasions, we've contacted a new business, or maybe they're opening a new location, and we ask to come out and shoot some video, and maybe interview a manager, and they either refuse or never call back.

What is the deal?

A 30-second commercial spot has to cost in the hundreds of dollars, if not the thousands, and here we're giving you 30 seconds for free. Maybe 45 seconds. You don't have to hire a cameraman or a writer - we do it all for you. And it's not airing during a commercial break, when people are going to the bathroom or grabbing a soda from the fridge.

I mean, I can see some small businesses maybe not realizing that they can get free publicity and not contacting us on their own. But when we call them and offer a free plug on the top rated news show in the area, why the hesitation?