Tag Archives: humor

“NEW AND IMPROVED,” BANISHED HERE

I suspect when the words, “New and Improved” appears on any product, item or whatever, it usually means the product, item or whatever has been improved better than the original. I hate these words because for me, it’s usually the kiss of death when these words appear.

Why are products, items or whatever—that are perfectly fine and need no further improvements—are suddenly improved? Is it because the little elves and drone bees have nothing to do except make life miserable for the rest of us who enjoy the product, item or whatever, just the way it is?

Let me put this perplexing problem into perspective with a few examples.

My favorite Belgian dark chocolate almond bar was unavailable for two months due to production and transportation problems. Sound familiar? Well, my favorite chocolate bar finally arrived on store shelves but the fancy new wrapper had sparkly green letters announcing “New and Improved.” How can anyone improve on chocolate? I read the small print on the wrapper. My 72% Belgian dark chocolate with roasted whole almonds has more alien ingredients to preserve its shelf life. If my chocolate bars were being sent to the astronauts on the space station, then the need to add more preservatives are understood. BUT, come on, we’re talking chocolate here and at my house, there’s no worries about chocolate hanging around too long. . .

Some months back, Hubby and I discovered a commercially baked apple-rhubarb pie and a sour cherry pie that tasted as if I had baked them myself. These store-bought pies were delicious. They had all-natural ingredients and that flaky golden crust with the lumpy surface because it was stuffed with great filling. The filling wasn’t that thick, icky-sweet commercial filling, but tasted as if I had peeled, sliced and sweetened with just enough sugar and spices. These pies were the dessert answer when I didn’t have time to bake. Today I saw the pies—new box, new size, new label, new price and with those dreaded words, “New and Improved.” I checked the ingredients and sure enough, there were sufficient chemicals to make that thick, icky-sweet filling and a phony pie crust. It was also a smaller pie with a bigger price. I decided to go home and bake my own.

The absolute, totally worst scenario is when “New and Improved” hits technology. I’m not against any improvements if it makes life easier. BUT, I am against any improvements relating to my computer programs that are working perfectly fine.

Do those techie knuckleheads ever consider the number of people who do not need to link their computers to smart phones, electronic notepads and all the other techie gizmos other people need to stay connected to? I only have my laptop that so far, can be persnickety, but if it had to deal with learning a new system, it (the laptop), would go into such a traumatized state, that no amount of dark chocolates or mini-donuts, would cajole it into a working mode.

I state this with complete sincerity—“Leave my programs alone!” It took me 6 months to learn the ins-and-outs of the previous program and another 6 months to learn the program that’s now been discontinued. I am literally getting older by the minute each time there is a you-know-what announcement. I don’t want to link my computer to my wrist-watch. I like my peace and quiet when I’m away from my desk. There are no buzzes, beeps or cheery tunes to call me back.

I like my old programs because it continually works for me. It doesn’t need any further improvements, So, please leave us a choice of whether or not we want the improved version. My “senior” laptop and “senior” cellphone thanks you.

Wait a sec— I was just about to take a calming bite of my dark chocolate almond bar when I noticed something else in fine print on the spiffy new label. The chocolate company is now under a new “Mother Ship.” If there is anything worse than “new and improved,” it’s called “Under New Management.”

Sigh. Life just handed us another lemon. . . . . .

HOTDOGS AND MINI-DONUTS

I think it’s because an American, Joey Chestnut, won his 15th Nathan Hot Dog eating contest that I even contemplated the thought of having a hot dog for lunch. After all, anyone who can successfully defend his dubious title “Hot Dog King” by gulping down 63 of them of them in 10 minutes—that’s buns and weiners—deserves to have little ol’ me eating at least one. However, Mr. Chestnut must be slipping a tad as last year, he woofed down 76 of them dogs.

But another short article caught my eye , as it too mentioned Joey Chestnut. This time Canadians in Regina, Saskatchewan would be the lucky ones to see Joey in action. He was going to compete in the “Celebrity Mini-Donut” contest in August. Competitors would have to be very good to beat Joey’s world record of chomping down 220 mini-donuts in 8 minutes.

My brain tried to figure out how anyone could possibly force that many mini donuts down their gullet without spewing them back out. My other question was why anyone would want to do that—speed eating specific foods in x number of minutes.

I think everyone is a bit competitive. Back in his youthful days, my neighbour Big Al would recall the good times he and his bowling buddies had every Tuesday night. The “Alley Cats” would compete to see who would end up with the most strikes that night and then celebrated by attempting to outdrink Sweeney Muldoon with pitchers of beer. Sweeney was built like a beer barrel and had the ability to hold his beers. It was a weekly challenge when Sweeney happily guzzled all the free beer he could while each of his competitors fell like 10 pins

We probably all grew up being competitive in various degrees. My hairdresser’s twins, Charlie and Arlie were born competitive. I remember when a very pregnant Liz would suddenly wince when she was clipping my hair.

“Oh no, you didn’t clip a finger did you?

“No, one of the twins just kicked me and the other one kicked back even harder!” See, it starts in the womb.

But back to Joey Chestnut. Who is he and why does he do what he does? Good ol’ Google blabbed everything—at least the juicy bits. . . .

Joey Chestnut is 38 years old, 6 feet tall and when competing, his weight hovers between 225 to 240 pounds. He started competing in 2005 when he gulped down 12 pounds of deep-fried asparagus spears in 10 minutes, beating out his competitors. Major League Eating, an organization that arranges eating competitions ranked Joey as the world’s best eater.

Joey’s diet is not a healthy one but it certainly is a diverse one. A few of his world championships includes devouring 7.61 pounds of buffalo chicken wings in 12 minutes; swallowing 141 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes; bolting down 55 glazed donuts in 8 minutes; gulping 390 shrimp wontons in 8 minutes; consuming 121 Twinkies in 6 minutes; shoving down 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes and chomping 32 Big Mac sandwiches in 38 minutes.

I didn’t want to know how he trained for each event and I definitely didn’t want to view any YouTube videos of what he looked like galloping through the competitions. I just know it wasn’t a pretty sight.

“The Sun” reported that , as a professional speed eater, Joey supposedly makes $500,000 annually—a very small portion from the eating contests with most from endorsing various products and brands. One of his past endorsements was for Pepto Bismol. Joey also has his own brand of condiments.

I salute this 38 year old for staying off the bread-lines and finding his own niche in this amazing world we live in. But looking over Joey’s list of unhealthy successes, I hope he switches to another vocation in the near future. It would be nice to think of Joey enjoying his success while he is still young and relatively healthy.

As for me, sharing my bag of hot mini-donuts dipped in cinnamon sugar was a lot more fun to savour and took much longer than 8 minutes to eat a baker’s dozen.

MEN AND CARS

Several Readers have requested this blast from the past as they remembered how much their little boys loved their cars when they were toddlers and still love their cars as adults.

I’ve often been baffled by men and their cars. Don’t get me wrong —I adore any male who knows how to handle an ornery car. That takes talent and artistry and a confident craftsman to deal with automotive problems. I’ve seen calm, gentle men go into shock-mode when confronted with the family car—battered and scraped from the war-zone of a shopping mall parking lot.

Me? I just want my car to take me from Point A to Point B without any hassles. And yes, returned safely too, without any new battle scars from careless shopping carts.

I have seen baby boys grasp their teddy bears and their tiny cars. It’s hard to say if the tiny cars take precedence over Teddy but you can bet your accelerator that the cars play a large part in their genetics.

My stepson has always been attracted to cars. Ever since I knew him as a sixteen year old car junkie, he always had his head under the hood and his hands near the engine, dealing with some doohickey that didn’t sound right, while his girlfriend obligingly stepped on the gas pedal for him. When my grandson was barely old enough to cling to the coffee table, he had a tiny toy car in his hand, making that sound like an engine revving up as he circled around the table. I remembered that because our table still has the grooves his tiny car made as he laughed and made car noises.

I am convinced that all baby boys have a genetic gene labeled “cars/trucks.” Little girls aren’t born with this gene even though they do learn about cars from their dads and/or brothers. But little boys are definitely born with the car/truck gene.

At Home Depot, I’ve seen those shopping carts with the miniature cars attached to the front. While little girls ride like princesses, little boys as young as 14-months, instinctively turn the steering wheel, push buttons , pull levers and honk the horn. See, it’s in their genetics.

Two blocks from our condo, there’s a huge construction site on the corner. A little guy, not quite 2 years old, was totally mesmerized by the huge bull-dozer tearing up the corner lot and tossing huge shovelfuls of dirt into the back of a waiting dump-truck. He had such a gleeful expression on his face by simply watching the action across the street. I’ve seen that same expression on a 4-year old who watched the fire-truck pull into the library parking lot. When the fireman noticed the little tyke’s fascination, he asked the little boy if he would like to come and sit beside him. I have never seen a little face beam so joyfully.

Try this on any 6-months old baby boy—hold a toy car in one hand and a soft stuffy in the other. Watch which one his eyes travel to first, At least 90% of the time, he’ll reach for the toy car. Congratulations–you have probably activated his car/truck gene and set the wheels in motion. Darn it, how can you not love a dedicated male and his car?

THE CHAIR

The Tilted Stool

When Hubby and I moved from our house to a condo, the selling features were the small den I claimed as my “writing space” and the breakfast nook in the kitchen. We had the perfect table for two that would fit nicely into the nook with enough room for two chairs. Hubby and I decided that two adjustable stools would look absolutely smashing and being a short person, I embraced the idea of sitting “higher” at the table.

Five and a half years later, disaster struck. I blamed Covid. My spouse, wise man that he is, merely rolled his eyes and remained silent.

It wasn’t my fault when parking my butt on the seat, as I normally do, that the seat tilted and threatened to unseat me. I thought I heard the murmur of mini-donuts at the other end of the breakfast table, but Hubby’s attention was focused on his breakfast.

Carefully, I eased myself back on the stool and the most awful groan and screech came from the bowels of the pedestal that raised and lowered the seat. My sub-conscience snickered and said, “Honey, those 72% Dark Chocolate Godiva bars are not the thing to nibble for calorie control.” As I attempted to adjust my weight evenly on the stool, the darn thing screamed in agony and defiantly tipped 45 degrees, staying there in a permanent position. AND, when I slid off to manually straighten the seat, it emitted this terrible moan.

This morning was the final straw. I cautiously approached the stool, gingerly sat on the edge and promptly toppled off. So I did what any short underweight person would do. I went out and got a replacement.

Tomorrow, I will be sitting tall and straight on my new stool that is balanced, comfy and best of all, quiet. . . . .