I don’t think the ne’er-do-well quite gets the whole concept of hide-and-seek.
I don’t think the ne’er-do-well quite gets the whole concept of hide-and-seek.
Ah, Starbucks… the land of ridiculously complicated drinks, nonsensical portion sizes, and cafeteria food at Michelin Star prices. Despite my disdain for the company’s obvious success with capitalism where a cup of coffee sells for a small fortune, I have found myself at the drive-through once in a while. In the past year, I’ve had to cut out caffeine, so these trips aren’t as enjoyable for me as they once were. However, I do snag a Strawberry Açaí Lemonade Refresher every so often for my daughter. Lemonade. Remember that, it’s important.
To further add to the mystery of the nonsense that is Starbucks, they put caffeine in this lemonade drink, as they do all of their Refreshers. Why? It’s not naturally a part of the raw ingredients… it has to be purposely included. Again, why? I swear, we’re going to find out one day that there is an addictive component to these drinks. Because why else would an otherwise sane person spend $6 on a small coffee? It’s the caffeine, isn’t it? It’s gotta be the caffeine. Anyway, apparently Moms everywhere had been buying the Refreshers for their kids, thinking it was a great alternative to the caffeinated drinks and they could use it as a mother-child bonding experience. Mom with a venti double shot mocha caramel soy coconut milk triple pump vanilla syrup extra hot no foam latte, and the child with a tall Strawberry Açaí Lemonade Refresher or Mango Dragonfruit Refresher. Lo and behold, there was a reason why their kids were bouncing off the walls an hour later in the Target. Caffeine. I mean, it just makes no sense to add caffeine to a juice-based drink.
Okay, so remember when I said to note the fact that this is a lemonade drink? Well, Starbucks announced a week or so ago that for their series of Refresher drinks, if you request that it be made with anything that is not water, they will charge an extra $1. So, if you want it made with coconut milk or, say, lemonade, they will charge you an extra $1. Yes, they’re charging you a $1 to make lemonade with … lemonade. It’s literally in the name. It defines the drink’s very existence. LEMONADE. Strawberry. Açaí. Lemonade.
In the Starbucks universe, I guess logic takes a backseat while profits take the wheel. Who needs consistency when you can have confusion and a bigger dent in your wallet?
I mean, I applaud their creativity in charging us extra for the very ingredient that makes up the drink. It’s a stroke of genius, really. Perhaps next, they’ll charge us extra for breathing in their stores since the air we enjoy is, regrettably, not water.
Bravo, Starbucks, bravo.
Let’s take a deep dive into the realm of tourist attractions. And we’re not talking roller coasters or the teacup ride. This rant is centered around an animal encounter at the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge in Bali. Ostensibly, Mason Elephant Park & Lodge is an elephant conservation park… but they seem to do an awful lot of what I would call sketchy touristy stuff with the elephants they’re supposed to be helping. Elephant chauffeurs, bathing with elephants, elephant treks on safari, and more. Seems a little counterintuitive if you ask me.
One intrepid vacationer embarked on what she probably thought was a good idea at the time. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? In this case, a series of bad decisions made by one Beth Bogar involved, you guessed it, the world’s largest land animal. The excursion in question started with an aquatic bonding experience with an elephant followed by a majestic ride on its back and an up-close photo op at the end. Little did she know, the elephant had a biting sense of humor. Okay, yeah, so that was an insensitive joke. I don’t even care.
Now, let’s take a moment to reflect on the mysteries of life. We live in a world where humans voluntarily hop aboard the backs of wild animals and expect nothing but rainbows and sunshine. It’s truly a marvel that the elephant in question didn’t whip out a “Welcome, Ride Me!” sign instead of biting our daring traveler. The woman required extensive surgery from what I understand, but it’s not surprising considering it was an elephant. They’re kind of on the “big” side. I mean, when you think “what would I rather get bitten by today?” one doesn’t ordinarily think “elephant.” Because again. They’re big. And powerful. And don’t take kindly to being exploited.
Before you start saying “aww, how terrible!” it’s important to note that these animal encounters raise a few ethical eyebrows. If yours aren’t raised in solidarity, then I just don’t know what to even say to you anymore. You may not know this, but elephants are not born with a predisposition for carrying humans on their backs or posing for photo ops. Surprise, surprise! They prefer to live their lives free from the clutches of capitalism.
But, dear readers, let’s delve deeper into the dark underbelly of these seemingly innocent attractions. For instance, where do you think they find these elephants? It’s not as though you can just pick them up at the pet store. No. These businesses usually get their elephants as babies by either stealing them from their mother in the wild or unethical breeding programs. Rather than a heartwarming story of compassion where the calves (baby elephants) are trained with kindness and empathy, it’s more like a tale of horror with the young elephants being subjected to cruel and abusive practices to instill fear and ensure obedience.
Naturally, it should come as no shock that an animal who has endured a life of fear and manipulation might snap. Or maybe, you know, it simply didn’t like a human in its face, and it did what a wild animal does if its space is being invaded.
Now, here’s where the fun part begins. While Ms. Bogar doesn’t blame the elephant, she does blame the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge – because, and here’s the funny bit, they should have known the elephant might bite her and the guide let her arm get too close to the elephant’s mouth. I guess it never occurred to her that the elephant might bite if you’re up in its face. Wild animal and all that, but no, the thought apparently never crossed her mind. So, anyway, she thinks they should pay for her ordeal. I mean, I guess I agree, and one could say that she’s been punished enough for her bad decisions. But, come on. Everyone involved in this situation is in the wrong, except for the elephant. And it’s hard to muster up any sympathy. Except for the elephant. Because really, dear readers, what did they expect? When you choose to get up close and personal with a wild animal, one that is likely abused and fearful, the universe doesn’t always reward you with a good time.
Of course, I can’t vent about this topic without stating the obvious: if it weren’t for people like Ms. Bogar who condone and actively participate in exploiting animals in this way, there would be no demand for such attractions, and the animals would be left alone to live their lives instead of being “trained” to cater to the whims of tourists. Another plus side to this is that there would be no biting of said tourists.
You know who probably paid the biggest price in this fiasco? Yep, the elephant. No word on whether the animal was euthanized, punished, or released. But I would bet good money that one of those things is definitely not in its future. Can you guess which one?
Rant over. But I’ll leave you with this last thought… call me cliché, but it’s true. And important. We need to look beyond our selfishness and work together to create a more compassionate world for all living beings.
Okay. Rant really over this time.
To quote the words of the great Kat Stratford from the hit movie 10 Things I Hate About You, “I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.” This is true today, back in 1999, and even in 1882. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this suggestion from an 1882 etiquette book. If a lady did not respond to a gentleman caller or at least did not respond in the timeframe he deemed appropriate, he was encouraged to send the following follow up message:
I’m not sure if Agnes ever responded to desperate Ed, the “nice guy” that he is, but I’d like to imagine it went a little something like this:
My dear self-proclaimed admirer,
It does come as a surprise to me that you have been plagued with such vexing anxiety, ruminating on why I have not acknowledged your pitiful attempt at chivalry. But alas, you are mistaken to think that I have wasted even a modicum of my precious time pondering a response to your countless letters. One might think you had invested in a paper mill given the number of letters I have received in the post in just four days’ time. To quell any qualms, suspicions, or apprehensions of my wellbeing, let me assure you that I am hale and hearty. In fact, there has never been a moment in my life when I have felt more elated, content, and jolly. It is as if a weight to which I had become accustomed was suddenly lifted. And if by some misfortune, I do fall ill, let it be from imbibing the choicest of wines and feasting upon the bounties of our earth with my lady companions.
If you persist in sending me such missives, I shall have no choice but to accidentally drop my candle near your dwelling. As the flames engulf your abode, I shall stand afar and rue my idle nature, wishing I could do something, anything to help. But alas, I shall not even spit upon the fire in hopes of quenching it. May your desires and your foolish presumptions turn to ashes and dust.
I know, I know. This is why I’m still single.
We live in a golden age.
Sure, there are still people who die every day from hunger, despite there being enough food in the world to feed everyone. Okay, yeah there always seems to be war breaking out. Russia, we’re looking at you. You’re right, political corruption seems to be at an all-time high. Yes, we seem to be slipping back to a time when Nazis were running wild. But at least we live in a golden age where information and answers are at the tip of our fingertips. What a time to be alive!
Let me give you a prime example. Have you ever wondered how peanut butter is made? Buckle up peanut butter cup, ’cause it’s a breeze:
Or, if you have a lot of time on your hands:
It’s that easy.
Did you know that when Betty White was still alive (sadly she didn’t live forever as we all hoped and thought she would) she was older than sliced bread? Literally. I’m not making a “she’s so old joke,” but if I were, it would be funny and factual.
You know how I learned this? I wondered what year she was born. In less than ten seconds I had my answer: 1922.
When was sliced bread created? 1928.
Where am I going with this you may be asking yourself. Well, the point is, nowadays if you have a question or you’re not sure about something, finding the answer is so unbelievably easy. A few keystrokes and you’re there at the doorstep of your answer.
“Back in my day,” said in an old folk’s voice, if you wanted to know something, it was a much harder task.
Again, sticking with peanut butter (hope nobody is allergic) if you wanted to know how it was made you had to:
What I’m trying to say is, there’s no excuse to not know things nowadays, especially things that you can easily look up for yourself.
The other day I saw this post in my Agatha Christie Poirot group on Facebook where some young person was confused when a movie star was mentioned in an episode because… they didn’t think there were televisions in Hercule Poirot’s time. So how could they watch a movie?
I digress here for a moment to say that Agatha Christie wrote the Hercule Poirot stories from 1920 to 1972 and, for the most part, they were set in the year in which they were written. The televised adaptations (with the incomparable David Suchet, pictured) were all set in the 1930s (for whatever reason). Now, the TV was invented in 1927, but movies have been around even before then with the first moving picture dating back to 1895. You may not know this (but you should cause…Google), but film and television are also two different things. You don’t need a television to watch films (no, really, it’s true), and they certainly didn’t need them back in the day.
Luckily, someone with much more patience and understanding than me chimed in to explain that yes, there were movies back in the day, but they were called films and they were shown in this thing called a cinema. The original poster ended up laughing at themselves and saying “obviously I’m from the streaming generation.” As if that explained it all away.
I realize that the Facebook group is meant for socializing and whatnot, but why not look up something like this before posting a question for public critique? I mean, for the love of Pete, you have the knowledge of the world at your fingertips. Another person, equally as kind as the first – and loads nicer than me – said there are no stupid questions. Really? Are you sure about that?
All I could think of were the America’s Funniest Videos clips where parents watch their kids struggling with a rotary phone or a rolodex. Rather than feeling “smart,” my having the knowledge that films did and can in fact exist without the need for a television somehow made me feel… old. And that was unexpected.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but this sounds like a bad idea if you ask me. A working LeMarchand Lament Configuration? No thanks. I’ve seen how this ends, and let’s just say… it’s not good.
I get that Facebook, Target, Walmart, and all of the others are tracking our every move, but, come on! Demons too? Which, makes sense really, if you think about it. Everyone is so tied to their screens these days, finding souls to torment just isn’t what it used to be. No one plays with Ouija boards anymore. The only thing getting sacrificed is our sleep. And long gone are the days of intricate demon summoning rituals, where one had to meticulously follow ancient texts and endure hours of incantations. Who has time for that? The Cenobites have always been clever and have always been able to adapt to changing times. They also understand the value of efficiency. So, enter the latest breakthrough in demonic marketing strategies: a clickable ad. Online shopping for the soon-to-be damned.
There you are, innocently scrolling through your news feed, catching up on the latest cat videos, and there it is — the alluring, otherworldly puzzle box that promises unimaginable experiences. A quick tap, and before you know it, your soul is on a one-way trip to an eternity of suffering and pleasure. All for a steal at just $19.99.
Let’s talk about makeovers in movies – the ones where a girl’s entire self-worth is determined by how she looks to a man? Yeah, those. It’s like watching a horror movie, but instead of a chainsaw-wielding maniac, it’s just a basic dude with a fragile ego. What brought this to mind, you ask? The Breakfast Club. An iconic John Hughes flick that up until recently was a guilty pleasure. I watched it again this week and it just didn’t hit like it used to.
Then I came across this. Because you know, the internet is spying on us.
Of course, the lovely Ally Sheedy played the equally lovely Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club. But like so many movies geared towards young people, there came the dreaded “makeover” scene. There’s usually an upbeat pop song playing over a montage of trying on new outfits, putting on makeup, straightening or coloring hair, or the most magical transition of all – taking off the glasses! Sure, the character may not be able to see now but at least she is finally seen by others, especially whichever guy she has her sights set on. And yes, I meant to make that pun.
Look, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against a character going through some self-reflection and making some personal changes in a movie. Hero’s journey, and all that jazz. But why does it inevitably fall to the female character to change? And if she were altering her appearance for her own personal wants, desires, or goals, that’s one thing, but to do so just for some arrogant dude’s attention is disappointing. That’s why the transformation scene like the one in The Breakfast Club is so frustrating. Because just like all the other ones, the jock or stupid boy crush has no interest whatsoever in making any real changes in himself. Just another entitled dude who thinks the world revolves around him, and well, to be quite frank, in these movies, it does. And apparently in real life too, hence the meme.
What’s more frustrating is that young people are the target audience of these movies. We’re continuing to tout this nonsense to the next generations. We’re teaching, or rather, trying to teach young women that they must adhere to contemporary beauty standards to be liked or loved. Worse, they need to subjugate themselves to a man’s whims. But you know what? Young women these days aren’t having it. They’re a force unto themselves and I’m glad to see it.
You know what movie had a great makeover scene? Grease. The main characters both changed because they wanted to be more of what the other wanted. They cared about each other and were willing to do whatever it would take to make the other one happy. Both of them. We need more of that and less of this one-sided crap. But it’s not surprising that Grease is the superior take on this trope. After all, Grease is the word.
Once upon a time, there was a curmudgeonly recluse named Wendy (Keep in mind, this is a made-up name for someone I don’t know… a fictitious person in fact. Yes, a fictitious person. This is in no way about me. I was not involved in this story. Nope. Wasn’t me.) who needed to go grocery shopping. As a raging people-hater introvert, she dreaded any form of interaction with strangers, but she couldn’t avoid this essential task any longer.
Upon arriving at the local big-box store, she was greeted by an annoyingly friendly worker who offered her some samples of a new type of granola. Wendy politely declined, but the worker drew closer and insisted, not unlike the witch in Snow White pawning off her poisoned apple, saying that it was delicious and that she just had to try it. It was only $7.99 for a 4 ounce bag, don’t you know? Wendy relented – albeit through gritted teeth and took a sample, only to discover that it tasted like cardboard mixed with sawdust. Blech. She quickly walked away, cursing herself for that slight hesitation in her step as she passed the sample stand and fervently hoping to avoid any further encounters with overly enthusiastic workers.
As she made her way down the first aisle, Wendy noticed a small, cute dog of the normal non-therapy variety riding in someone else’s cart. Wondering why on earth someone would bring a non-therapy dog into a place with food but happy she would get to meet a dog (maybe the day wouldn’t be so bad after all), she slowed down. Uh-oh. The dog was barking and growling at everyone who walked by, and even not so sneakily trying to get in a quick bite if people got too close. Disappointed at the fact that there was a dog she couldn’t pet, Wendy tried to avoid the cart, but unfortunately, it was parked right in front of the cereal she needed. Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter, if you’re wondering. So, she decided to take a deep breath and move quickly, grabbing the box of cereal and running away before the dog could get to her.
Being a little too graceless to really move quickly, when she turned to stay out of reach of the pup’s biters, Wendy slammed right into what had to be Bigfoot’s cousin or else a Hell’s Angel member – to say this guy was big and burly and hairy is an understatement. The impact caused his basket to crash to the floor and oranges (Really, oranges? I mean I guess no one wants scurvy, even Bigfoot’s cousin) went flying everywhere. Desperate to escape the awkward situation, but raised to be polite, Wendy started picking up oranges while trying to duck and dodge the tiny terror’s snappy teeth. However, her new t-shirt was no match for the dog’s vicious chompers, and it got caught in his mouth. The owner got angry because “Why are you messing with my dog!? How did your t-shirt end up in my precious little boo-boo’s teefies? You’re going to pull out his teeth!” Rather than point out the obvious, that their precious little boo-boo badly needed anger management classes – and maybe the owner did too – Wendy just stuttered something to the effect of “Cute dog you have there. Nice teeth… and quick too.”
And if that wasn’t bad enough, when she bent down to grab the last of Bigfoot’s wayward oranges, her pants split right down the middle, exposing her neon-colored undies for everyone to see. The man just shrugged it off, saying “Looks like a typical Tuesday to me.” What does that even mean!? It was a Saturday for Pete’s Sake. With a face as red as her striped underpants, Wendy fled the scene, trying to keep her pants from falling down and praying that nobody recognized her as the pant-splitting, dog-attacked fruit-picker-upper.
Taking a deep breath and steeling herself for what may come, Wendy made her way to the frozen section, where she encountered a group of snotty-nosed children sitting in the ice cream freezer. Now there’s something you don’t see every day. And we’re not using “snotty-nosed children” as a derogatory term… they really were snotty-nosed. Presumably because of the arctic climate in which they now found themselves. They were giggling and making such a mess that despite a craving that only rocky road could satisfy, Wendy opted to bypass the frozen confection and hit the yogurt case instead. Eat healthy indeed. Pfft. I mean it’s okay if you want to do it, but not so much if it’s because of goblins are camped out in the damn freezer case right next to the rocky road. Parents these days.
Muttering not so under her breath, she called it a day and made her way to the checkout lanes, only to discover that there were no cashiers available. She groaned inwardly, knowing that this meant she would have to use the self-checkout machines. As she scanned her items and bagged them, she couldn’t help but feel frustrated at how long it was taking. Which makes sense, since she missed the new-employee training session for cashiering. Every other item heard the dreaded “place the last item in the bagging area” even though the freakin’ thing was already in the bagging area. Did you know that yelling “it’s IN the bagging area!” louder and louder at the self-check-out does nothing to hasten your escape… instead it just causes people to stare. Yeah, well. Now you know. And when she finally tallied up the cost of her meager haul, she was shocked to discover that she had spent almost $250 for only five meals’ worth of groceries. And yogurt. Not even rocky road. Ugh.
As I left the store… wait… I mean, as WENDY left the store, she couldn’t help but wonder why she bothered leaving her house in the first place. Amazon Fresh may be capitalism at its finest, but at least the groceries are delivered with no interaction whatsoever.
In her diary later that evening, she would recount in colorful terms how she survived the dreaded grocery shopping trip. It may have felt like a comedy of errors – or more like a modern-age horror tale – but she had managed to do it all while losing only a pair of pants and not her mind. And she would feel proud for having ventured into the wild world of grocery shopping. Even if she wouldn’t be doing it again. Ever.
Today’s rant is brought to you by a story I saw recently on HuffPost, and as you read along, you’ll probably think to yourself – much like I did, “why do the crazy news stories always come from Florida?” I don’t have an answer to that. Maybe the heat? The alligators? But what I can tell you is that this is not a Florida story. Nope, this crazy story is from Oklahoma. Oklahoma. Most people have never even heard of Oklahoma and would swear it’s just a made-up place. But what with all the alt-right legislation sweeping through the red states here in the U.S., I suppose our friends in Oklahoma wanted to join the likes of Texas and Florida on the map of bad decisions.
Let’s just get right to the headline of this news story, which reads: Oklahoma Sheriff Says Recording Of Officials Discussing Killing Reporters Was Illegal. “I think anyone caught making death threats to another person should be arrested,” said Common Sense.
I’m taking some liberties here because of course Common Sense was not actually consulted, and that’s not what the Sheriff had to say. I mean, he certainly can’t be accused of associating with Common Sense. Because the sub headline reads: Sheriff Kevin Clardy didn’t address the comments about killing journalists and hanging Black people but calls the situation “complex.”
Now, you’d think that the focus here would clearly be the heinous comments made within the Sheriff’s Department. “Let’s get to the root of this corruption!” Common Sense demanded. But, as a flag-flying member of Team Common Sense, you’d be wrong. Instead of dealing with the obvious, the southeastern Oklahoma sheriff’s office said, “the recording in which the sheriff and others are reportedly heard discussing killing two journalists was illegal and predicted felony charges will be filed.”
Oh yeah. You read that right. The Sheriff was a participant in the whole “killing journalists and hanging Black people” brainstorming session. So, you can see why they have to go after the people who recorded the conversation. I mean, we can’t have that, can we? Because, you know, the real crime here is exposing the Sheriff’s true colors, not the fact that he’s advocating murder and hate crimes. Makes total sense.
If I was Sheriff Clardy’s lawyer, as soon as I heard “hanging Black people” I’d be doing the Homer Simpson step backwards into the bushes move. But that’s not the world we live in these days. Oh no. These folks are loud and proud about their bigotry and desire to oppress entire groups and what’s worse, they’re seemingly free from accountability. I mean, this is a Sheriff for fucks’ sake. Instead of this being a clear-cut case of racism and incitement, it’s “complex.” And instead of disassociating himself with his client, the Sheriff’s lawyer probably already has his PR strategy well in hand.
No doubt the Sheriff will say he was having a private conversation and the comments are being taken out of context, but we know better than that. Hell, even he knows better than that. We also know nothing will come of this. Other than the arrest – and probable jail term – of the one who broke the story. The Sheriff may … just may, mind… step down from his position. But that’s up in the air, quite frankly. Regardless, the story will go away.
No one who should be held accountable will be held accountable. No one who should go to jail will go to jail. In six months to a year, the Sheriff and his buddies will have their own reality show or, as seems to be the norm these days, they’ll run for political office. And win.
Have you heard of a business where people are paid to come up with baby names? Yeah, you read that right. Trust me, it’s a real thing. Apparently, there are individuals out there who have the audacity are savvy enough to charge parents thousands of dollars to come up with a name for their newborn child.
These baby-naming services apparently require no special qualifications, except perhaps a knack for Googling the origins of names and a touch of creativity. And a great marketing team. If you have some cash lying around and don’t feel like naming your own child, you can simply outsource the task to these so-called “experts.”
Because of course the uber-wealthy would outsource naming their child… just like they outsource pretty much everything else.
I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of paying someone to name my child a bit ridiculous. It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your child, and you’re just going to hand it off to someone else? Plus, what happens when your child grows up and finds out that their name was purchased from a stranger because you couldn’t be bothered? Awkward!
Now, if you’re like me and have no interest in coming up with baby names, but still want to make a quick buck, there’s a better option: naming pets. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend their days coming up with clever names for adorable floofs? And really, if rich people can’t find the wherewithal to name their own kid, do you think they’re going to name their pet? Doubtful.
You could be the next big thing in the pet-naming world. Your days would be filled with thinking up hilariously perfect names like Sir Pounce-a-Lot or Lady Fluffernutter or Larry. You’d be the go-to person for anyone looking for a fun and creative name for their furry friend. And the best part? You wouldn’t have to worry about the pressure of naming a human being.
Although, if you ask me, naming a pet is a great deal harder than naming a child. Basically, you’re dealing with a tiny, fluffy dictator who demands a name worthy of their unique personality. Of course, I mean the pet. Not the owner. And unlike naming a child, you can’t just pick a name that you think sounds nice and hope for the best. With pets, you have to consider things like their fur color, their breed, their favorite toy, and their weird little quirks. It’s a delicate balance between silly and serious, cute and cool, and something that won’t make you cringe every time you have to call them. Okay, well, it may sound like the same thing as naming a kid, but it isn’t. It just isn’t. No need to trample all over my dreams.
Seriously, though. This pet naming business idea is mine, so keep your grubby paws off. I’m already on my way to the bank with my epic business plan, ready to beg for a loan to pay for my dream team of marketing gurus. And if you’re rich and lazy and thinking of getting a dog or a gerbil or a fancy cricket… just have your people get in touch with my people and we’ll make the name thing happen.