I thought about blacking out the mailbag today in support of SOPA. Wikipedia is dark today and if Wiki is not up and running, no one should be up and running! But, I really don’t know what SOPA is–not the details anyway. If they shut down this blog, I’ll just have to resort to producing a handwritten newsletter. Who wants a subscription? If that was the case, I’d have to get actual mail for the mailbag.
Q: The other day I stumble across something called “Bud Light Platinum.” It’s in the most beautiful blue glass bottle you’ve ever seen. I think to myself, has Bud Light finally detached itself from the atrocities that were Bud Light Lime and Bud Light Golden Wheat? Some research reveals that Bud Light Platinum rocks 6.0% ABV. Yikes. Is this Bud Ice in different packaging? Fay Root, Golden, CO.
A: I’ve got to be honest. I’ve never heard of Bud Light Platinum. How do you call a beer “light” when it has 6% alcohol? Something doesn’t line up there. It’s certainly not Bud Ice, though. Ice brewing is a different PROCESS. In fact, I have a friend who is “allergic” to this process. That’s impossible, of course, it’s just a euphemism for not being able to hold his Bud Ice. I think Bud Light has really stumbled onto something here and that’s most beer drinkers fall into one of two categories of a-hole. The first is your basic beer snob who spouts off about craft brews and wouldn’t use this beer to put out a fire on their crotch. The second type is…pretty much everyone else. Meatheads, posers, clowns, alcoholics. Bud Light Platinum is perfect for that 2nd group. It gets you drunk faster and the bottle looks sweet in your hand. Done and done. I predict I will have one Bud Light Platinum in my life, probably this summer, possibly at Chickie & Pete’s.
Q: Do you know how everyone says they wish they could play an instrument? It’s got to be way up there on bucket lists, or lists of regrets or whatever…My problem is this: isn’t this disrespectful to people who actually play instruments? It always sounds so casual, “Oh yeah, I should have learned the piano,” like it’s as simple as learning cursive. Chances are all these wannabe piano players out there would be awful at it. Harvey Pianoman, Exton, PA.
A: You know when I wish I could play an instrument? Every time I see some character on a TV show or in a movie waltz into a room and start playing the piano. Everyone immediately LIGHTS UP. It’s like they are cavemen seeing fire for the first time. This person becomes fascinating and impossibly attractive. And, that in turn makes me want to be an equally desirable master of the ivories–if you will. I do see your point. Playing an instrument seems to be a common regret that people have and at the same time they don’t acknowledge the difficulty in learning to play. You don’t hear people walking around saying, “Oh I wish I had learned to play third base for the Phillies.” And, I guess that is an important distinction. Playing instruments is something people think they can learn with little regard for natural talent. You can learn to play a few songs, knock out Jingle Bells at Christmas, but you’ll probably never learn to be a great piano player. Personally, I’m prepared to give you musicians all the respect you desire. I’d like to cozy up to the Steinway and start pumping out Elton John’s entire catalog, but it’s not in the cards for me. That said, I’ll still occasionally say, “I wish I learned to play the piano,” so DEAL WITH IT.
Q: Are you aware that no one watches Parks & Rec? People watch it, but the rating are–abysmal. More people watch…just about any show you can think of. I honestly thought it was one of the highest rated shows and now I’m worried it’s going to be cancelled. Not sure how people don’t realize this is the funniest show on regular television. Chick Parm, Pawnee, IN
A: Well first, don’t panic, Chick. Yes, the ratings are not good, but you must remember the show is on NBC. Right now, if an NBC show needs to go to a 2nd hand to count its viewers it is a RUNAWAY HIT. The Office is still the anchor of the NBC comedy lineup and it doesn’t get anywhere near the number of viewers your basic Big Bang Theory gets. NBC is scuffling. If you took Parks and Rec and shoved it between The Middle and Modern Family on ABC–its ratings would probably soar, but it still wouldn’t be the highest rated show, because it’s not mainstream enough. We have seriously diverging tastes in television in this country. You’ve got your highly rated shows going one direction and your “critically acclaimed” and “smart” shows going another. If you saw any of the Golden Globes you’ll realize that the best way to win an award is to have very few people see your performance. This HBO show Enlightened? No one watched that. Not even people who watch HBO. A show like Mad Men, or Breaking Bad? It has a tiny, tiny audience. So, while you appreciate these shows–they’re really not for the masses. The masses want Ashton Kutcher.
Q: Do you find you have a word or two that you always have trouble pronouncing? For me, it’s asterisk. If I see it written down, I can usually struggle to sound it out, but otherwise I basically can’t use the word. Peach Impediment, Norristown, PA.
A: You know what, off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything that I have repeated trouble with right now. Someone who has the pleasure of listening to me talk all the time can feel free to chime in and correct me. I think asterisk might be one of the most difficult words to say in the ENTIRE English language. I think you have plenty of company. When I’m being lazy about the word, when I don’t want to GRIND through the correct pronunciation, I just say ass-tricks. It’s gets you where you need to go, if you know what I mean. People know what you’re talking about. I think people avoid that word. They act like they can’t remember what it is called, or say “the star thingy.” I can certainly commiserate with your problem, though, because I spent a portion of my youth not being able to say the letter “R” correctly. A woman had to come to our house to teach me–special. That’s a TRUE STORY. Anyway, I couldn’t say any word with an “R” in it. My teachers often had no idea what I was yammering on about. That may be a slight exaggeration, but back when I had those troubles the word “world,” was very difficult for me to say. And, to this day sometimes when it on the word cue, about to come out of my mouth I take a split-second pause and think about it. So, if I had to answer I guess I’d say, “world,” or “whirled.”
Q: Do you think if ice cream was healthier you’d eat less of it? I’m saying is part of the reason ice cream tastes so good is because you know you really shouldn’t be eating so much of it? Does the guilty pleasure aspect have an impact on your taste buds? Darren “Dutch” Chocolate, Wawa, PA.
A: I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but that might be the dumbest question we’ve ever gotten here. If ice cream was healthy for you, would I eat less of it? Are you high? If ice cream was healthy for you it would be ALL I EVER ATE. I don’t eat ice cream because I think I’m secretly being naughty and breaking a diet. I eat it because it’s delicious and it goes so well with other things like cake or COOKIES. If ice cream were good for you the grocery store would only have one aisle. What would it be? ICE CREAM. Ok, let me try to answer this with a little less emotion. You are applying the T&A argument to ice cream. Men are so fascinated with certain lady parts because it’s supposedly taboo to see them. But, if you stumble into the depths of the Amazon a topless woman creates about as much of an uproar as a well concealed fart. They’ve seen ALL THAT before. I suppose some people might eat less ice cream if it was healthy. I guess some people eat it specifically so they can think about how gordo it was. But, I am not one of these people.
Q: I have a pretty radical idea. I think the United States should have a royal family. This would give people something to obsess over, but would also hopefully seriously cut down the number of people who are “famous for being famous.” George W. Busch, Newport, RI
A: Hmmmm….King or Queen of the United States. That’s a hell of a title right there. That would carry some weight. Of course, how would you decide which family? Would there be a reality show where the winner got to be King? That’s kind of counterproductive to your whole idea there. Maybe we should just strip the President of all real power and make him King. Let’s see how the country runs itself for a while. I bet things would be all right. I fear though, that you are underestimating the American public’s appetite for new celebrities. Would a Royal Family be constantly followed and obsessed over? ABSOLUTELY. People will pay attention to most anything, but rounding up a couple of royals isn’t going to rid the world of the Kardashians or anything like that. Giving the US public a royal family is like throwing a 1/4 pounder into a cage of lions. Appetite not satisfied.
Q: You’re about to order a pizza. You have the following options. You can call a place that is very good every single time. 10 out of 10. Or, you can the place that makes extraordinarily good pizza–best pizza ever–50% of the time. Assuming the other 50% is edible, but just blah pizza, which place do you call? John & Chris Frazer, PA.
A: Here’s a tip for getting your question in the mailbag. Start it off with, “you’re about to order a pizza.” That will always get my attention. This is an interesting question. It brings to mind certain things, the first being Tin Cup’s thoughts on golf. “Perfection is unattainable.” Do you want the place that strives for perfection and sometimes misses, or do you want the place that consistently delivers something less than perfect? It’s also reminiscent of the old Eagles debate. Would you trade 5 straight losing season for a Super Bowl? And, people say why can’t we consistently win AND win the Super Bowl. Why can’t the place that makes perfect pizza make it the same way every time? I’ve personally found that almost no pizza place is immune to the occasional mistake. One of my favorite pizza places–Tony & Joes in Conshy–will occasionally burn the crust. I got a pizza home the other day and I was excited because it was larger than usual. It barely fit in the DANG BOX! Then, I realized the crust had been tossed too much, it was paper-thin. It couldn’t support the toppings for SH*T. It turned out to be a below average pizza with above average circumference. To finally answer the question, I think I’m taking the 50/50 shot. First, because even if the pizza is just OK, it’s not the end of the world. But also, think of the excitement and anticipation while you wait to see what you got. If you open that pizza up and it’s one of the good ones? ABSOLUTE BEDLAM. Jubilation around the kitchen table. It’s worth the chance.
Here’s an aside, does anyone out there feel pressure when suggesting a pizza place? Like you’ve got visitors and you need to come up with a good pie? It’s expected that EVERYONE has a go-to pizza place. If someone is visiting you, you are obligated to provide them with good pizza. It’s pretty tense moments when you are hoping the person likes YOUR pizza place. And, if you frequent an inconsistent eatery, you’re hoping they don’t screw it up. You better not burn the crust this time, Tony. And, look alive, Joe.