Well, I didn’t get any photo submissions this week. Not any usable ones, at least. The well has run dry. Perhaps my dedicated contributors realized how difficult it is to keep coming up with new content. Hopefully the lack of pics isn’t too much of a letdown as we embark on a traditional mailbag. Read it while you take a break from the heat.
Q: Do you find it odd that in today’s politically correct culture people can express such distaste for certain breeds of dogs. Even people who like dogs will say things like, “look at that little rat dog.” What I’m saying is, why are we so accepting of dog racism? Chi Chi Huahua, Mexico City.
A: I’ve never really thought about the concept of dog racism. Maybe because humans have risen to the top of the food chain they’ve decided it is OK to pass judgment on other creatures. Sort of like, if you can domesticate something, you’ve earned the right to call it ugly. Doesn’t that sound awful? I am guilty of this, though. I dislike certain breeds of dog, most notably the pug you see pictured above. I would never discourage someone from pug ownership, but they are just simply not for me. Even that sounds a bit dog racist, doesn’t it? Oh, you only like the PRETTY dogs. What did the pug ever do TO YOU? Nothing, of course, and I’m sure there are pugs out there with fabulous dispositions–personalities if you will. My conclusion is, we should all be thankful that the world of political correctness hasn’t quite penetrated the dog world. We don’t need that headache. Not everyone has to love every dog, we just need one person for each dog–something we fail at miserably. If we ever got to that point, maybe we can then tackle dog racism.
Q: Let’s talk gum flavors. I’m noticing a distinct lack of peppermint on the shelves. Isn’t that one of the big mints? Wrigley Field, Lexington, KY.
A: I think peppermint is one of the big mints. How many mints are there? Are they called varietals? We all know spearmint and peppermint, but what else? Let’s google…has anyone ever heard of apple mint? Bog mint? Me neither, so lets MOVE ON. As far as I know, peppermint was once a pretty powerful force on the gum market. Isn’t Doublemint gum peppermint? At the very least, it has a catchy JINGLE. In my opinion, gum flavor technology has gotten a little out of hand. We’ve lost sight of our storied past. Everything is becoming more complex, but we usually don’t ignore the building blocks. Just because there are now 100 kinds of ice cream, doesn’t mean you stop making VANILLA. That doesn’t seem to be the case with gum, though. If you want a gum in the mint genre, you’ve got WINTER FROST, POLAR ICE–it’s very difficult to distinguish between gum and flavors of purple Gatorade. Nine out of ten grocery aisles have spearmint and a fake mint. Spearmint has beaten peppermint for the hearts of the traditionalists. I don’t know why. It’s TROUBLING. Spearmint is a little gross, isn’t it? A little pungent? You don’t see any spearmint patties out there.
Q: Why are people hell-bent on spitting their gum into the urinal? They realize no urinal actually flushes solid objects, right? Do they realize they are simply making another human being scoop their gum out at the end of the day? Do they realize all bathrooms typically have a trash can? Bubba Lee Schous, Hillside, PA.
A: Another gum question, although this is more of a why are people so AWFUL question. I think part of the problem is, men get quite bored while they’re using the restroom. It sounds ridiculous, you’re talking about seconds, but you’d be surprised how much your mind wanders. This is why some places have TVs in the can, or more primitively attach a newspaper above the old john. Anything to pass those ticks of the clock before you hurry back to the game, or the bar. I think some guys probably think, “Hey, I’ll spit my gum out.” That’ll take .124 seconds. I’ll practically be FINISHED by then. There is also the competitiveness factor. “Can I spit my gum into such a SMALL TARGET?” Then you feel like an accomplished marksman when you pull it off–and at that point, who cares about a lowly janitor? Your greatness should be CELEBRATED. I imagine that much like restaurant workers and bartenders are the best tippers, anyone who has ever had to clean a urinal probably keeps their gum to themselves. That’s all just fancy talk though to dance around the point that people are slobs and inconsiderate. And more than anything else, we love when things aren’t our problem. Gum in the pisser? Someone else can worry about it.
Q: Seeing as we’re in the 1st real heat wave of the year, what do you think is the hottest you’ve ever been? I mean, temperature wise, not the time you put together a real cute outfit. Pete Stroke, Death Valley, CA.
A: Well I once attended a wedding in near triple-digit heat and sweat through my suit pants–class. I also had to pitch my sweat-soaked undershirt in the bathroom after we moved into some air conditioning–DOUBLE CLASS. I was never in danger of really overheating, though. I was simply wearing too many clothes for the CONDITIONS. When I was about 13 I played on a baseball team that had all black uniforms. Not just black jerseys, but also black pants. The fighting Pirates. We were very ahead of the curve on black unis, and my goodness were those puppies suffocating. Again, I don’t think I ever really pushed myself over the limit. It was just BASEBALL. I think the hottest I’ve ever been was probably on a day pretty similar to the one we’re experiencing here, I thought it’d be a good idea to go for a jog. It wasn’t the middle of the day, but I had allowed plenty of time for things to get a bit sticky. You see, this was during a real good running streak, and I was just TOO COMMITTED to let a day go by because it was a little humid. As I jogged by someone on the street who was pulling in a trash can, they said, “You’re crazy.” No, I thought to myself, I’m just that dedicated to my exercise program. Feel inferior as I jog by. Then I got home and I didn’t feel quite right. I thought I was going to puke. I really had to sit down and GATHER myself. I didn’t pass out, or have to go the ER to TAKE ON LIQUIDS, but I think I was pretty close to the brink. Lesson learned. I took the next day off.
Q: Are you satisfied with a 4-team college football playoff? I hate the bowls as much as anyone, but I have the feeling no one is ever going to be satisfied with this thing no matter how much progress we make.
A: Well, I think the games will be great to watch. Will it stop people from complaining? Oh, HELL NAW. Playoff structures seem like they should be an easy thing to figure out. We all know a Beirut tournament should be double-elimination. Why isn’t everything that simple? As far as I can tell, only the NFL has a perfect playoff structure. The NCAA basketball tournament is a great event, but you could argue that there are too many teams. Why does the #1 seed have to play the #16 seed? Waste of time. Baseball had always been good, but now we’ve got two wild-cards and division winners opening on the road. For at least this year, it’s a total mess. The NBA and NHL playoffs have too many teams and take far too long. It’s almost the end of June. They’re STILL playing basketball. That’s pushing it, and as great as it was for Kings fans that they made that amazing run as a number eight seed, did they really deserve to win the Cup after the regular season they had? It’s a fine line between rewarding the regular season and keeping as many teams in it as possible to aid fan interest. The Kings had 95 points, third fewest of any playoff team and went 40-27-15 during the regular season. Another way to read that would be 40-42. Yet, they’re champs. It doesn’t quite sit right with me. So, what I want out of college football is for the eventual champion to feel like the champion. I think the 4-team playoff will help.
Q: What would you rather have crazy chef knife skills, or a tricked out, gourmet kitchen? Ginsu Weber, Ames, IA.
A: This would be an easy question for someone who wasn’t lazy. They’d take the kitchen and teach themselves the knife skills. It can’t be that hard, right? WRONG. I’m pretty confident I could never learn to dazzle with the knife, mostly because I like my fingers TOO MUCH. They’re precious. I think every chef at one time or another, and probably quite often actually, has done a number on one of their digits. Blood on the veggies is never a good thing. There goes the CRUDITE. And really as much as I admire some good knife work, I’ve never encountered the situation where I thought my life would be easier or better if I could slice and chop like a human Cuisinart. My kitchen, on the other hand, really stunts my growth as a chef. I’ve got zero counter space. The temperature gauge on my oven is a LOOSE APPROXIMATION. My range has two working burners. My hood vent is complete sh*t. It’s a miracle any decent meal ever comes out of the place. It’s a real testament to my commitment to simplicity. But think about what I could do with one of these cusses. I’ll take the kitchen.
Q: If you had to pick a TV family to live with, which family would you choose? Glen Bishop, Lakeville, CT.
A: Pretty good question, right there. Where do you want to live? Do you want your parents to be rich? How many siblings do you want to have? My first inclination is to think of my favorite shows. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a Draper. I think I would like to know the Draper family, but I’ll pass on being a member–look what it’s doing to poor Sally. For a second I thought it might be a good time be Zach Morris’s brother on Saved by the Bell. He seemed to have a pretty long leash, he had the cell phone, Bayside High was pretty incredible, but you have to think about living in Zach’s shadow. That’s quite the BURDEN. For some reason I keep coming back to Roseanne, but I don’t think I want to be related to D.J. Connor. Kid was odd. In the end, I think I might take the Cosby Show. Sure, it’s New York, and I’ve have 30 sisters, but as far as sons go, Theo sets the bar pretty low. His best friend is named Cockroach. It was a hot miracle if he got a C+ on a test. I don’t remember him being particularly good at anything, really. I could just sit back in my big house, let the Bs roll in, have some moderate JV success and I’d be the STAR CHILD. Feels like a pretty easy choice in the end.