I’m not sure if I like this new habit of naming winter storms. I think it only adds to the unnecessary drama. And, Nemo? Is this a crutch for headline writers? Did they run out of ways to use the word blizzard? Now we can get NEMO FINDS BOSTON. I like the general term, “blizzard.” There’s no fuss. Did you hear about winter storm Nemo? No, but I heard about the blizzard. In these southern PA parts we’re supposed to get mostly rain, which means expect the bread aisle to a barren wasteland. Did you want the last loaf of Wonder with the large dent? A loaf of rye with questionable expiration date? Well, I guess you’re out of luck then. Otherwise you’ll just have to brave the puddles on Saturday to get your bread. To my northern friends, good luck with Nemo, and here’s a mailbag for when the power comes back on/you stop shoveling.
Q: What is the fascination with stainless steel appliances? Last time I checked they didn’t keep your food colder, or make it taste any better. Woody Finish, Valley Forge, PA.
A: Well, to be fair, they don’t make your food any warmer, either. Kitchen trends are hard to figure and I imagine can be a nightmare when buying or selling a house. Great place, but it looks like the granite counter top fairy passed you over–WE’LL KEEP LOOKING. And then of course, you might still want the house, but not only do you have to shell out the cash, but you’ve got to load up with new appliances as well. If I owned a house I’d be in CONSTANT FEAR of my appliances becoming out of date. Is slate the new granite? Am I supposed to have a drawer freezer or a side-by-side? I DON’T KNOW. Anyway, if I had to guess about stainless steel’s popularity I’d land on two things. First, it reminds people of professional kitchens. There isn’t a white Kenmore stove in the back of any restaurant. Sh*t’s steel. So, the gourmet, the foodie, the poser–they want to pretend like they’re Bourdain. Steel is required. Second, it’s got to be a pretty safe bet, borderline timeless. It’s like getting a blue suit from Brooks Brothers. It may not be the hottest thing in 10 years, but no one is going to laugh at you for wearing it.
Q: What do you think people did at work to waste time before the advent of the cell phone and internet? Sue Doughkoo, Ambler, PA.
A: Here’s a shot in the dark–actual work? It’s a pretty good question. I know people who have a wide range of jobs, they all claim different levels of being busy, but I imagine everyone has some time to kill every once in a while. I think the busiest job I ever had was working in the bag room at a golf course. You could show up at 6 on Saturday morning and the next thing you know, it’s 2:30 and it’s time to go home. Suck on that, Doctors. But that wasn’t an everyday thing and in the days before cell phones I got into a lot of mischief in the bag room during my down time. I’ve recounted much of that here on previous occasions, but I did some of (if not all) of the following: hit members’ clubs, hit practice balls, played golf, golf ball art projects, put things in the vise, putting contests, flaming ball trick, etc. So, general mischief and pacing. PACING was huge. When I worked in Michigan I’d stroll around for hours, tracing the same path over and over. Great workout. As far as what actual business professionals did during this time? I wouldn’t know. Maybe an older reader can check in with some tales about things getting weird with the mimeograph machine. Or, maybe just drinking? That’s what it looks like on Mad Men.
Q: I saw a commercial for Comcast or Verizon the other day, can’t remember which one is was–does it matter? No. Anyway, they were bragging about having 2-hr appointment windows. Is this something to brag about? Al. L. Day, Hartford, CT.
A: I remember getting my cable set up about five years ago and when I called I was looking for a certain time and they said, “How about next Thursday from 7-10 pm.” And then I said, “How about you (expletive).” I didn’t curse at them, but I wanted to. You’d think getting your service set up would take an instant. New customer? YES, PLEASE. But, from what I gather, the cable companies employ just enough technicians to stave off a riot. If your cable goes out for a day or two, you’re still paying for it, right? RIGHT? Or, maybe you can spend 53 hours on the phone trying to get a refund or credit. The good news is competition is on the rise. There are various TV options. The companies can’t afford to be so dismissive. The old days of 8am-2pm won’t cut it. I’ve actually heard people say things like, “I had to take a day off for the guy to come out and set up the FIOS.” WHAT? That’s total horse bleep. So, it’s nice to hear they’ve narrowed the windows down a little bit. Is it still embarrassing? Disgraceful? Not good enough? You bet your sweet ass, but we’re getting there. As for the bragging, I’d just put up with it. You don’t want to discourage the progress.
Q: I know you are a dog lover, but what breed would not be at the end of your leash? Do people factor in their own size/gender when picking a dog? L.A. Bradoodle, Rolla, MO.
A: I’m not sure it matters what size you are, or if you are a woman or a man. I think I talked once about what kind of first impression you can make with your dog. If you are a huge guy with a tiny little dog, people might make an assumption OR TWO. But, this doesn’t stop people from getting the kind of dog they want. You can see a guy walking around a lap dog every day of your life if you want to. With the disclaimer that if anyone out there has these types of dogs I would be happy for you, and would be nice to them when I saw them…I would not want the following dogs (in no particular order):
1. Poodles–We had neighbors that I didn’t like that much when I was a kid who had two poodles. Didn’t like them or the dogs. I HOLD GRUDGES. Plus, I can’t deal with the people who give them the pom-pom haircuts. Don’t care if they’re smart.
2. Jack Russells/Corgis–Back when I went to about 1,000 horse shows a year I would see these dogs all over the place. They can be very cute and very friendly. I’m just over-exposed.
3. Great Danes–You can go too big. And, If I’m going big, I want something a little sturdier with longer hair.
4. Anything Hairless–Even rats have hair. It’s supposed to be a pet, right?
5. Pug/Pekingese–Don’t pass the face test.
I could probably go on with some real random breeds, like the Komondor with mop-like hair, but that should give you a pretty good idea of where I’m at. It’s basically a Goldilocks complex.
Q: I assume you’ve heard the rumor that Tiger Woods is dating skier Lindsay Vonn. Lindsay’s peeps say they’re “just friends.” The latest is that he sent his plane to bring her back to the States after she tore up her knee last week. So, my question is, do friends send planes for each other? E. Lynn Nordgrin, Palm Beach, FL.
A: I’m trying to think of what the person with a normal income equivalent of this would be. Maybe you are the guy who has the truck and people are constantly trying to borrow it? Hey, just got a couch, how’s YOUR SATURDAY SHAPING UP? Do you want to loan your truck out? NO, but that’s what friends are for, right? More often than not if you ask your friend for their truck they comply. So, in this case, Lindsay was in need of a comfortable ride home. Do you want to fly commercial with two shredded knee ligaments? DIDN’T THINK SO. The question is, does Tiger offer, or does she have the BALLS to ask? Is it real casual? Hey, Tiger, not sure if you’re flying anywhere on Thursday, but I kind of need a ride home from f*cking AUSTRIA, so…? Does she offer to pay for the fuel? It’s all so confusing and above my pay scale. Apparently Lindsay gave some ski lessons to Tiger’s kids so maybe he owes her a few favors. Is it conceivable they are just friends? Sure. Is Tiger at the bare minimum trying to slalom that–at least once–ABSOLUTELY. Plane’s the ultimate power move.
Q: I was driving the other day and I saw a poster for a lost dog. So sad. But, then I saw they were offering a $1,000 reward. Damn. Is that standard? If I ever lose my dog, I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford getting him back. Also, say you found the dog, do you have heart to take the money? Do the people count on you not taking it? Miss Ingshnauzer, Boise, ID.
A: I’m going to need the address of this dog poster, because I am going to scour the EARTH for that pup. A grand? Dang. That’s a nice chunk of change. It would be hard for me to take the money and also hard to turn down $1,000. I’d probably be falsely magnanimous and take $500. But, I bet the people are perfectly willing to pay the money. Some dogs can be very expensive, and you hate to look at it that way, but maybe they spent a few thousand on the dog–isn’t it worth $1,000 to get it back? And, when you’ve lost your dog you will do pretty much anything in your power to get it back. Maybe they can’t afford the grand, but they’re willing to give it up. They’d probably offer up their car if you showed up with the missing dog. We lost one of our dogs briefly when I was a kid. I don’t have a great memory of it, but it was pretty traumatic. I’m not sure what we were offering as a reward, but I remember riding the bus home one day wondering if our dog was going to be found, and hoping she would be home when I got there. We were lucky, I guess, because she was found but every time you see a lost dog poster it hits you right in the gut. You think about the number of people who abandon their dogs, the ones who want them should never lose them.