Running way behind schedule again this week, so I’m going to have to jump right in. Everything but “mid-week,” here comes the mailbag.
Q: I have a friend who thinks that every mega shopping center should have its own daycare. Like Best Buy, Dick’s, Home Depot and whoever should get together and provide an hourly daycare for people using the shopping center. He thinks people would be dying to drop off their kids and shop. He wants to call the place “The Toddler Garage.”
A: Well, love the name. I am sure people would like to shop without their kids. Nearly every time I see a parent out in a retail situation it is a complicated dance of bribery and sanity. The kid is either bored out of their mind and thus acting like a complete sh*t, OR they want everything on the shelves so they’re acting like a complete sh*t. One of the issues I see with “Toddler Garage,” is that parents are usually particular about where they leave their kids. WEIRD. Is this going to be a real daycare, or more of a literal garage, just a spot to “park” your kid under loose supervision. You know motels that charge by the hour have certain negative assumptions made about them and I feel that Toddler Garage could suffer the same fate. Hourly, retail daycare is just too much of an extravagance in this economy. Parents already spend a small fortune on people watching their kids. The babysitting fund IS DRY. This is why the kids show up at the retail stores and terrorize your shopping experience. Mommy’s tapped out. Financially and emotionally. Trademark that name, though.
Q: Shouldn’t we be playing hockey right now? I feel like the NHL, as a whole, is in a choking situation. Am I wrong? Terri Murray, Glens Falls, NY.
A: The NHL lockout is starting to hit home in Philadelphia. The Eagles stink. The Sixers just got absolutely crushed by the 0-8 (now 1-8!!!) Pistons and their big addition, Andrew Bynum, is never going to see the court at this rate. Philadelphia fans could use the foolish optimism that comes with the start of every Flyers season. The labor situation in the NHL has gotten so bad that this lockout doesn’t even feel that out of the ordinary. Hockey season not starting on time? Must be an even-numbered year. I always wonder, how bad of a job did you do on the last CBA that the negotiations this time around are once again so contentious? Sometimes sports are in need of an economic correction, but hockey can’t get it right. And, in that sense, they are choking. They can’t build any momentum. But, I don’t see any real long-term effects. The NHL is a bit like the NFL on a much smaller scale. The NFL can have a lockout or strike and the fans will come swarming back because they are conditioned addicts. The die-hard NHL fans are the same way, and the mainstream public that hockey is always trying to “capture?” They don’t care EITHER WAY. That’s just the way it is always going to be for hockey. So, are they hurting the product that much? PROBABLY NOT. It has a limited ceiling to begin with.
Q: Why does every movie, or novel that has a child for a major character make that child impossibly precocious? I’ve been out there–the percentages are way off. Read Level IV, Honolulu, HI
A: It is a phenomenon that exists in movies and books, but not so much on television. The idiot child is a staple of sitcoms. Why can’t they penetrate movies or books? Luke Dunphy wouldn’t make a hell of character for a novel? You know what I’ve also noticed? The circumstance makes a difference too. The more hardship in the kid’s family situation, the bigger the genius you find. Every single mother in movie history usually totes along with her a whole mess of brilliant, witty and wise children. Maybe the audience needs that? They see a struggle in some areas but are comforted by the adorable little cherub who spouts philosophy and one liners. AT LEAST SHE HAS A NICE KID. Precocious kids are good to use for an easy laugh, too. Pretty lazy humor. Hey, that kid talks like an adult–burst into laughter. As an audience, we’re suckers that way. In terms of books, I think writers who write for an adult audience often have no idea how kids talk. Or, when they think back to their own childhood they are so pretentious that they think they were spitting out fully formed, grammatically correct pearls at age three. That’s my best guess. But, to break the trend, perhaps I’ll start work on a novel (soon to be major motion picture) titled, Dimwitted–An American Family.
Q: Is the stadium nacho the worst incarnation of the nacho? Frito Laye, Phoenix, AZ.
A: I think so. It could be the movie nacho, but environmental conditions usually favor the movie theater. You know, at one time the nacho dish was about as exotic as it got at a sporting event. I remember the old Vet. You had the concourse, a full country mile around, it should have been teeming with food options–but it wasn’t. And anything that wasn’t the standard Dog/Pretzel/Peanut/Popcorn stand was scattered (MORE LIKE HIDDEN) around arbitrarily. Oh, you want fries? Better wander toward the right field foul pole, Sir. And, be prepared to wait. Helmet sundae? ONE STAND ONLY. And those nachos were really the only international flare you could find. I say that with intense sarcasm. Now, stadiums have all kinds of food options. They are all poor executions, but you have the choice if you dare. So, let’s examine the nachos. You have the chips, which are the circular, industrial strength yellow corn chips. As far as I know, the general public cannot purchase these. For good reason. Then there is a 1×1″ well for partially congealed cheez whiz and another for the peppers. So, three ingredients, all bottom basement quality and it’s build-your-own. I don’t know how you could do much worse. Especially with how bratty people are now. NO ORGANIC GUAC? It will never cross these lips.
Q: How many people do you think got fired for political rants gone wrong they posted on Facebook over the last few weeks. A. Greewithme, Jupiter, FL.
A: Not enough. I’m not sure I’d want to employ someone who went to Facebook to air their political views. Not because they don’t have the right to do so, not because they aren’t making intelligent points, but what do they think the end game is going to be? If you think that Facebook is the place for political discussion, or you think that you are going to post some screed and everyone is going to go, “You know what? I was wrong all along. THANK YOU! I am now pro-life,” then maybe you aren’t quite as bright as you think. I suppose there are some people who only communicate through social media at this point, so it’s the only outlet for their political frustrations, but you’ve got to be careful sometimes–a Facebook thread can escalate in a hurry. Do I think anyone got fired? I DON’T KNOW. I’m sure they did. I bet someone gets fired every day for any scenario you can dream up. Did someone in the country get fired today for humping a bagel in the conference room? PROBABLY. So, I bet a few got the axe, but I bet a lot more got pulled aside and were given the helpful hint to, “sort out your Facebook page.”
Q: Do you find it strange that some people will wash a plate 34 times if it was in the same room as a raw piece of chicken and yet won’t even blink before shoving copious amounts of cake and/or cookie batter into their gullet? Sal Manilla, Valley Forge, PA.
A: The raw eggs aren’t in there if you can’t see them. Didn’t you know that is the first rule of batter eating? There are certain foods that people are terrified of if they are raw. It is a dwindling list. I personally will never convert to medium pork (fighting back primal urge to vomit), but apparently this is how we’ve supposed to have been eating it all along. NO THANK YOU. But, chicken will forever be on that list. It must be cooked. Good and thorough. You’ll see people examining their chicken for any signs that it might not be done. Is that pink? IS THAT PINK? I once bit into a raw chicken finger. I don’t know how that happened, but it did. I was quite certain I was going to spend the next several days perched in front of the toilet. I WAS FINE. But, it was scary. Not scary? Licking the brownie batter off your elbows. That’s just delicious. I guess it’s just a calculated risk people take. The batter is so good. The Caesar dressing is so creamy and delicious. What I’m saying is, if raw chicken tasted like cookie dough, people would probably ROLL THE DICE.