Picture and Mailbag.

When Cat Parachuting Goes Wrong.

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Right Next to the Hydrox Machine in Hell.

Ok, that’s your picture bag.  Two big submissions this week.  That’s 100% growth.  I don’t expect to be able to maintain that rate.  The picture bag could collapse like a Ponzi scheme.  But, luckily, the written word will live on, in all its bloviated glory.  

Q:  Would you get a  little annoyed if you had a 33″ waist?  Wouldn’t you get tired of buying 34-inch pants?  I mean, you should get credit for that inch right?  Slim Fitte, Austin, TX

A:  I’d never be annoyed if I had a 33-inch waist.  Maybe I should rephrase the question for you.  Would I be annoyed if I had a 39-inch waist?  I think that’s a pretty significant cutoff.  Do you wear size-40 pants, or not?  That is what is known as a significant threshold.  If you’re being picky about a 33 or 34, I’ll kindly tell you to take a walk and EAT A COUPLE SLICES OF BREAD, STICK FIGURE.  I have vague memories of seeing pants in odd-numbered waist sizes.  Perhaps during a Father’s Day excursion in 1989, I was looking for a pair of 33-inch waist pants?  A nice pair of Dockers?  Or some Levis?  I think they used to include odd-sizes up to a certain point.  But then, the country’s girth EXPLODED.  Cancel the 31s and 33s–we need some more 42/29s.  That’s my favorite pant size I see in the store.  Those pants probably require some severe self-reflection when you buy them.  So, anyway, what I’m saying is, just get the dang 34s and enjoy the little bit of extra breathing room.  Come back to me when you have a real problem.  

Q: I knew this was bound to happen.  We had this conversation maybe 20 years ago.  Finally someone else is getting rich off my idea.  A coating inside ketchup bottles so there is no waste!  The bottle empties completely!  I can never approximate how much ketchup I need and end up throwing it out.  Double waste!  Now it will be so much better!  I’m still bitter someone is getting credit for the idea I couldn’t get out of my head.  Heinz Hunt, Lewisberry, PA.  

A:  Several people sent me the link to this story (great video) when it was reported last week.  I guess that’s what happens when you are a ketchup expert, maybe not an expert as much as a CHAMPION of ketchup’s cause.  I do remember having this conversation.  The general consensus was–it’d be too expensive to line the bottle.  I guess this is what separates the idea people from true innovators.  I guess you keep on working until you see the finish line.  Either that, or BE A SCIENTIST.  Having extra ketchup on the plate is never a problem for me.  I see people who do this, but I’m not sure how it happens.  You know the old baseball adage, “see ball, hit ball,” I preach, “See condiment, eat condiment.”  If I have a lot of ketchup on my plate, that just means the last few bites are going to have EXTRA KETCHUP.  A win-win.  My only concern about this bottle is that dregs are still dregs.  Part of the reason I don’t go the extra mile for what is stuck to the bottom is because that is the stuff that’s been in there for a while.  It’s been percolating down there.  It always feels better to open up a freshie.  

Q:  I was at a library the other day and there was a section titled, “Adult Movies.”  Now, this was distinguish these particular flicks from “Children’s Movies,” but don’t you think that label is a little suspect?  Certainly there’s a better option.  Lawrence Flint, Flint, MI.

A:  I think the library is immune to such concerns.  You weren’t walking into some seedy spot like you’d see back in the day.  This isn’t “Jim’s Video.”  It really baffles me that I lived in a time when there were independently owned video stores.  Can you imagine?  I feel sorry for the people who ran places like that, they probably thought they were SET FOR LIFE in 1985.  Then came Blockbuster, then came everything in the world streaming to your own magic laptop box.  In 40 years, maybe you could open up a “vintage” VHS store, but for now, you’d have better luck selling luck AOL free trail CDs.  The neighborhood video store always had a stairway, or a curtain of some kind blocking off the adult area.  Walking up those stairs had to a daunting experience.  Hitting a slot machine jackpot is less conspicuous.  Anyway, I’m a mile off-topic.  It’s mildly amusing the library calls their big person movies the “adult video section,” but let’s go ahead and give them a pass.  They give out free wi-fi.  

Q: Now that Roy Halladay is down, how would you rate the Phillies chances to keep this season together?  Granted, they’re only three games out, but is that sustainable until Halladay/Utley and Howard can contribute?  Trey Deadline, Berwyn, PA.  

A:  Never underestimate the mediocrity of the National League.  The NL East is getting a lot of credit for being a tough division, but it’s certainly not a great division.  The first place Nationals are cranking out 3.8 runs a game.  The Marlins had a great May, but a horrific April.  The Mets have overachieved, but expectations were so low that it means overachieving is a mere five games over .500.  The Phillies only need to be worried about someone getting away with the division, and that just doesn’t look like it will happen.  Miami, considering their sustained level of play in May appears to be the only real candidate.  But, the Marlins NEVER beat the Phillies.  They have a block.  All they do is lose series against the Phils.  It’s the one thing the Phillies have in their favor–they continue to beat Atlanta and Miami.  That’s the real key to staying in the hunt, part of the Phillies’ issue has been getting throttled by NY and Washington.  If they can reverse that trend, they will hang right in the division.  I expect things will space out a bit in the next two months, but I think that will be teams falling off the pace–not running away with it.  I’d say the 4 most important Phils in Halladay’s absence are Contreras (have to shutdown the 7th inning), Worley (they can’t afford Bush/Elarton/etc in rotation), R0llins (it’s his turn to spark the offense for a while and Mayberry (I think the most recent Wigginton hot streak is likely to end at any moment).  This Phillies season has been about adjusting expectations, and the best thing I can say about the fan base, is they’ve been a little better.  They have finally seemed to realize that things are OK FOR NOW.  The Halladay injury will test that resolve.  

Q:  If you had to rely on an animal for transportation for the rest of your life, which animal would you choose?  Assume price isn’t a factor and you don’t have to train or take care of said animal.  Petey Barnum, Boston, MA.  

A:  I assume we’re talking about land transportation only?  Because if we’re talking water–I’ll take Shamu.  Not any killer whale.  I want the real deal.  I might SETTLE for Willy.  If we’re talking air?  Forget it.  I’m stuck in one spot.  If there’s a bird big enough out there to ride–I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT.  What are the traditional riding animals?  Horses, Camels, Donkeys?  Maybe an elephant?  Camels are creepy.  They fail the face test.  And, they don’t look terribly comfortable.  Ever seen someone riding across the dang desert on a camel?  It looks like it needs shocks.  I bet you could outfit an elephant with a real comfortable “cabin.”  You could ride like a king on top of an elephant, but I’m worried an elephant would be too slow.  I googled it, and it says an elephant can hit 25 mph if it is scared or upset, but who wants to ride a scared elephant?  You know, people ride horses for a reason.  There was a point when they had to, and they were obviously the best animals to ride.  That’s a super boring choice, though, so I’m going to go–GIRAFFE.  They can hit 32 mph.  I’d walk around telling people my giraffe had world-class sprinter speed.  

 Q:  The running of the bulls is getting a lot of attention in Philadelphia today with an Eagles DE, Jason Babin, planning a trip during the off-season.  Putting aside the fact that this sounds like an idiotic thing to do if you are under contract with an NFL  team, would you ever run with the bulls?  
 
A: Are you kidding?  I don’t like running without bulls.  So, really, why bring them into it?  I’ve got a pretty big problem with bull fighting, so anything associated with it, gets a giant and flamboyant THUMBS DOWN from me.  In every bull fight ever held, I’m pro-bull.  I like it when the matador gets gored.  Is that wrong?  Because it feels RIGHT.  This running of the bulls thing started when they had to corral the bulls into the bullfighting ring, where they would eventually get killed in action by cowardly matadors who aren’t even required to fight fairly.  From the periphery, it seems like it has evolved into some type of drunken spectacle (Spain’s version of the Preakness?) that turns its back on tradition and caters to lubed up foreigners looking for a thrill, or for something to cross off their to-do list for life.  The entirety of that, of course, is complete horse bleep.  Do people get hurt running with the bulls?  Is it dangerous?  I guess so, but most of the people who get hurt are injured because of their own stupidity.  Again, very little sympathy.  If you really want a rush, how about something a little more organic?  Go jump in the lion’s enclosure at the zoo or something–leave the bulls alone.