Before we start the mailbag today, I want to make a public service announcement. Never buy Lucerne ice cream. I may have just gotten a bad carton, but there’s too much competition out there for me to give them another chance. You’re banned. It tasted like cheap, ice cream sandwich filling. I can’t even believe I bought it to tell you the truth. Now I have to write a formal letter of apology to Turkey Hill and hope they take me back. Chose your creamery carefully, people. Ok, let’s change some lives…
Q: At what age do you realize Eggo waffles are not good? And, to that point, does the waffle in general just get phased out of your life? Most people will whip up a pancake from time to time, but breaking out the waffle iron? No chance. Joe Continental, Bangor, ME.
A: The last time I had Eggos was a few years back. I was doing the standard tour of the grocery store, trying to find a dinner option when my eyes lingered longer than they should have on the frozen waffle section. I decided to make myself breakfast. Eggos and bacon for dinner. Got some Mrs. Butterworth’s. It was going to be historic. But, when I sat down to the feast I found myself a little disappointed in the waffles. Don’t get me wrong, they were still a great vehicle for delivering butter and syrup, but I’m not really sure they tasted like anything on their own. Certainly nothing you could find in nature. I haven’t had an Eggo since and I think I still have the Butterworth’s. Before that, it might have been college when I had my last Eggo. And, I can remember being ALL ABOUT THEM then, so the cut-off was sometime post-graduation. I’d put the exact number at 24.5 years. As far as the waffle being phased out of your life–I hear you. No one wants to break out the waffle iron and if you happen to go to a diner? It feels like you are getting short-changed with the waffle. You’re giving me ONE Belgian waffle when I could have THREE giant pancakes for the same price? I wasn’t born yesterday, Ma’am. GIVE ME THE FLAPJACKS. That said, I almost bought a waffle iron last year on a whim, so there’s still hope.
Q: You know what I hate? When people add water to their soap dispenser. Could there be anything more ridiculous than this? I’m guessing people do this to get every last drop of soap out of the container? Why are people such idiots? Just buy some new damn soap. Please go ahead and continue the rant for me. Hygienically Yours, Robert McDonald, Cincinnati, OH.
A: Well first off, Robert, congrats on getting Ryan Madson. I assume Madson will also will be looking for a new agent, so if you are looking for work, maybe shoot him a cover letter. Getting back to the soap, if you’ll allow me a quick anecdote. When I was a very young man I used to like to take the last few drops of shampoo and then fill up the entire bottle. At this point, I’d just rain down the full 24 oz or whatever on my head. It felt very EXTRAVAGANT. Did I actually get my hair clean that way? I DON’T KNOW. I don’t think I’m quite as fired up about this as you are. Sometimes you get in a bind, and I don’t want to begrudge anyone saving a few pennies in these hard times. The main issue I have with phenomenon is that it messes up the soap’s consistency. You know when you open a bottle of BBQ sauce and expect it to be thick and it just gushes out all over the place? That’s what this super watery soap can do, you give the pump a nice little hit and it’s like a gosh dang water main exploded. There’s soap EVERYWHERE. That’s just frustrating. So, people should at least put up a little sign, like the Piso Mojado things, caution, EXTREMELY watered down Dial.
Q: Do you weight your laugh responses in emails and texts? Like most people are either “LOL,” people or some variation of “Hah” people. If something is really funny do you go “LOLOL?” I assume ROFL and LMAO were last used about 10 years ago. Lolly Haharwood, Chapel Hill, NC.
A: I feel like this would probably be a Seinfeld episode if the show was still on the air. Someone would get angry because they only got a “ha” instead of a “hahaha.” In fact, now that I think about it there was an episode where Jerry got upset that a girl didn’t laugh, she just said, “That’s funny.” I guess first off I should say that I am a “hah” and all its derivatives person. Way back in the early stages of texting I became pretty staunchly anti-LOL. I just couldn’t picture myself saying it. And, in fact, one time it did slip out in a text and the person who received it said, “Did YOU just say LOL?” They made fun of me for several days. I learned my lesson and became even more entrenched in the Haha family. I do weight my hahas. I’d say I have three categories. The standard “haha” pretty much covers everything. It usually means I’m smiling, but not actively “lulzing.” If you get anything more than four letters, it means you’ve really come up with something clever. I might even be laughing. Then, there is the comically long, “hahahahahah,” sometimes the “ba-hahahahah,” which means you’ve struck gold and I am laughing hysterically. I feel like people deserve to be rewarded with the extra long hahahaha….
Q: If Tim Tebow is such a bad quarterback, does this heighten his miracles can happen argument? Moral Model, Phoenixville, PA.
A: I don’t know that I fully understand the spectrum of Tebow emotion. Some people don’t like him because of his overt faith, but others don’t like him because he’s somehow become a great underdog despite being a 1st round pick and a complete stud for his entire pre-NFL career. It is amazing that a QB could be drafted in the 1st round, have some success (not overwhelming) and there are people out there saying, “Well, maybe God is on his side.” Personally, I’m just tired of hearing about Tebow, especially the non-football angles. I don’t think he’s going to be a successful long-term QB in the NFL and I think discussing his success in terms of divine intervention is actually an insult to him. I’m sure even Tebow would like to think that he can win a football game on his own merits. Some people would make the argument that what some people call a miracle is just the perfect storm of coincidence and I think that’s what we’re seeing with Timmy. His faith, his detractors, the dramatic ways his games have been ending–it all plays into the story line perfectly. It’s all going to end eventually, though. One way or another. Tebow will either continue to win and become a respected QB for his on-field skills, or he’ll washout and the miracles, so to speak, will come to an end. So, long story short, Al Michaels doesn’t need to dust off any of his old calls for upcoming Broncos games.
Q: Would you be careful to not name your kid after a famous person? In some cases it’d be more obvious than others, but regardless, I don’t see the upside. Rachel Mackadams, Honolulu, HI.
A: I feel like naming kids is a high stress situation. Look at Jay-Z and Beyonce. It’s very easy to mess it up ROYALLY. Would I name a kid after the unsung hero of Old School? No, but to each his own, I guess. And then there is the Office Space scenario where you don’t even know what you’re doing until it is too late. Michael Scott probably sounded like a great name until The Office came on the air. Now your kid is named after one of the biggest buffoons in TV history. I’d be exceedingly careful about this. First, even if you name your kid after a famous person you hold in the highest esteem, who is to say that person won’t be felled by some terrible scandal? That’s the age we live in. Everyone is just one internet story away from being exposed. Secondly, I think you’ve got to take into account how common the name is you are going to give your kid. For whatever reason, Brian Williams, the news guy popped into my head. That’s a very common name. You can get away with that, no problem. But say your last name is Thomas. Very common. But, that doesn’t mean you should call your son Thurman. Inappropriate. At the end of the day, shouldn’t you want your kid to be someone whose name is copied rather than being a copy itself? Keep it as non-celeb as possible, that’s my stance.
Q: Have you ever seen these TV shows or movies where some genius is writing on a mirror or a window? The Social Network. A Beautiful Mind. Good Will Hunting. Do smart people not use paper? Is this done solely for the camera shot? What in the Sam Heck is going on here? Sam Heck, Des Moines, IA.
A: You know what, I’ve never really though of that until you brought it up. I will say that writing on things that aren’t paper can be very fulfilling. There are times when I think I need a giant dry-erase board or some type of chalk board in my apartment just so I have a place to SPIT-BALL things. Of course, I’d likely never use the thing. Back in day when I dabbled in a little sports gambling, a couple of my friends got two dry-erase boards for their apartment. We thought this would be the gambling war room. Ideas would have to be HASHED OUT. Mostly it was used for writing down lines. One time we played inappropriate Win, Lose or Draw and its lasting contribution was being home to the great quote, “A Push is not a Loss.” A few months after the boards went up on the wall, we were all broke. I don’t know where those boards are today but I hope the quote lives on. To get back to your question–finally–I think it’s probably a tool used to enhance the “shot.” Maybe John Nash wrote on windows at Princeton. That I’d believe. Maybe Will Hunting couldn’t afford a tablet–we’re stretching it. There’s no reason for Zuckerberg to be scrawling away on his window. I think it’s a good way to show the complexities of the work (Look! Weird math symbols) and also show the character’s face so you can see the genius gears turning. Either that, or I’m not smart enough to know why writing on windows and mirrors is so beneficial.
Q: Have you noticed the Sixers are 7-2 and in first place? They drew a decent crowd on opening night, but the last two games have been pretty pitiful. Any chance the city catches Sixers fever at all this winter? Drew Halladay, Manayunk, PA.
A: I have noticed the Sixers are off to a great start and I even gave them a tiny shout-out a few days back. It’s great for the real basketball fans in the city. The Sixers are in a stretch of 5 games in 6 days–welcome to the shortened season and I think the condensed schedule is only going to help. They’ve got a ton of momentum and the young legs to keep pushing the pace. That said, drawing 8-10 thousand isn’t too impressive. I’ve got to think some of that has to do with the opponent. Indiana and Sacramento don’t create any interest on their own, we’re talking weeknights, but still this was a team that sold-out all the time 10 years ago. I don’t think they’ll ever get back there. Not with this team. They’d have to land a superstar somehow to really drive ticket sales up and even then, I’m not sure we’d hit Iverson-level hysteria. The landscape around here was a lot different in ’97-’01. The Eagles were just emerging out of a long period of suck. The Phillies were terrible and so there was much more room to latch onto any winner. People are so Phillies-obsessed right now that I think the Sixers have to wait their turn a bit. It’s hard to envision a scenario where they are ever better than the 3rd most popular team in town. I say by the end of the year the Sixers are pulling in a steady 12-14 thousand, but don’t expect any outbreaks of fever, remember we’re less than 6 weeks from pitchers and catchers.