Did everyone enjoy the official start to the summer season? I saw several posts across the social medias of people bundled up at the Jersey shore. Today, it’s 90, last weekend–no such luck. When the shore calls, though, you have to answer. It’s one of those things about Memorial Day. It triggers an impulse. One of my favorite staples of Memorial Day weekend, something you might not immediately think of, is the music countdown. What are the top 300 songs of summer? Of All-Time? Memorial Day feels compelled to delve into this topic. So, I will now list the 300 best songs of all-time: Please feel to discuss.
#1: “Shoop”–Salt N’ Pepa
#2. “Gangsta’s Paradise”–Coolio
#3. “Welcome to Miami (Bienvenido A Miami)”–Will Smith
I wonder how long I could keep that going with a straight face. I think I could list 40 or 50 songs, IF PRESSED, but what I really wanted to say about these countdowns is: how do you decide between the 230th best song and the 231st best? Aren’t we pretty much flipping a coin after the top-10? It’s like the NBA draft. I’m fairly sure any GM picking in the 2nd 10 picks is like, “honestly, who cares, just pick someone.” Anyway, the moral of this is all lists with an unreasonable number of items are crap. Happy Memorial Day–the 17th Best Day of the Year.
Q: Who do restaurants think they’re fooling with those french fries that have the fake “extra crunch” on them? Why not just put a neon sign out front that says, “Our Fries Come from a Bag!” Pam Frites, Columbus, OH.
A: They’re fooling no one. When I get the fake crunchy fries I get so aggravated and then I eat ALL OF THEM anyway. That’s what the restaurant knows that you might not want to admit to yourself. You probably can’t even verbalize too many complaints about your fries, because you are busy shoving them into your gorge hole. Well, these are terrible, but they still hold ketchup. Not EVERYTHING is lost. I think the fake crunch originated in the grocery aisles. Nothing is limper than an Ore Ida crinkle cut that’s been barely thawed in a conventional oven. The french fry people had to do something, so they invented the fake crunch. WHAT IS THAT STUFF? Is it potato? Potato byproduct? Sand? KFC breading? I DON’T KNOW. All these fries offer is extra TEXTURE. Not extra crunchiness. The difference is akin to the difference between chocolate and carob. Not that I’d know really. So, my final suggestion to you is to create a spreadsheet documenting mediocre chain french fries. This way you can temper your disappointment at the table.
Q: If you have a terrible waitress/waiter do you actually adjust your tip? I hear people say things like, “There goes her/his tip,” but I’m not sure if I could bring myself to do it. Serving is a pretty rough job. Noah Substitutions, Memphis, TN.
A: I think I made a post once about my general tipping policies, or my tipping questions/concerns. It’s such a difficult and SENSITIVE area. Plus, the behavior can be mostly learned. If your father peeled off a crisp 11% through your entire childhood, there’s a good chance that is how you will tip. Unless, of course, you ever worked in a position where you relied on tips, in which case you will always over-tip to the point of barely being able to afford your extravagance. When I lived in Michigan my roommate dated a waitress (server? I don’t know) and she would throw down like $40 for a 23 dollar pizza PICK UP. It was startling. Anyway, my general policy is to tip in reverse proportion to the meal’s cost. Six dollar breakfast–I’m generous. One hundred dollar dinner, you’re going to have to really impress me to go above 20%. Is this fair? Appropriate? I DON’T KNOW. I generally don’t take off for poor service, though I do occasionally tip a bit less for a poor attitude. Space cadet? OK. Prick? Not so much. I don’t want to get a server down, either. What if they just started, and they think they spent the whole meal blowing their tip? They could be thinking that this job isn’t cut out for them. WHAT ELSE IS THERE? So, maybe you surprise them with a real solid tip and it settles their nerves a bit, smooths things out for the next table. I’m really about helping people.
Q: Did people ever actually blow things up with their mouths? Like various inflatable objects? Rafts and the like. I don’t see how it’s physically possible. Deap Breths, Boston, MA.
A: Inflation is funny business. I think I remember things needing to be blown up at the beach, or possibly by a pool. I could BARELY float as a young child, let alone swim. Blowing up swimmies is a task that would typically fall on the grandparent. Grandpa’s got time. WHAT ELSE IS HE GOING TO DO? Not only is blowing things up with your mouth a taxing experience, but it’s wildly inefficient. You have to blow and then try to plug the hole, repeat that 4,000 times–and those little rubber nipples (?) nozzles (?) were designed to stay open. THAT’S THE RUB. I’ll tell you how bratty I am–I never even liked blowing things up with a pump. There are few heartbreaks as a child that can match going out to grab your basketball and finding it flat. That can throw you off kilter for hours. Of course, we had a pump, but that didn’t mean we had a needle. Why must this all be so complicated? And then of course, there was the even graver realization that your basketball was leaking and therefore you could pump until you could no longer lift your arms above your head but your ball was going to have the spring of your average bean bag. Even in the air compressor era, things go wrong all the time with inflation. What is the average number of nights you sleep on an air mattress before it pops, or the cat puts 57 holes in it? .8? I think it’s POINT EIGHT nights.
Q: What athlete who is no longer with us would you like to see play their sport again. Someone you never saw when they were alive. Mine would be Babe Ruth. He seemed like a character and did not look like a professional athlete. Cy Tobb, Dallas, TX.
A: I think The Babe would be a popular answer to this question. I also would like to get a look at his dimensions. You hear that he was actually PRETTY FAST, and yet the video of him running looks so odd. Was he just bigger than everyone else, or was he actually overweight? We’ll never really know, I guess. While Babe is tempting, I think I’d pick Mickey Mantle for baseball. I think one of the reasons we watch sports is to see people do things we cannot do, and can hardly fathom. This is why people get so enamored with talent. Sure, great players and great teams are compelling, but the talent is what you watch you watch because it’s so unique that you can hardly comprehend what you are watching. HOW? How do they do that? And, just from a mythological perspective of talent and natural gifts, I don’t think there is anyone who could top Mantle. The reverence that other baseball players had for him is enough in itself to convince me. People get compared to Mantle all the time. From Mike Trout to Bo Jackson, and maybe seeing the Mick in person would ruin the myth, but I’d be willing to take the chance. Other guys I’d like to see–Wilt Chamberlain, Ben Hogan (I can’t tell if I would have been a Hogan fan or not) and maybe Reggie White? I saw Reggie play, but when he was most dominant and still in Philadelphia I was too young a fan to really know what was going on.
Q: What percentage of business cards do you think end up in the trash within 48 hours of being handed out? Patrick Bateman, Miami, FL.
A: Not as many as you might think. In my experience, people tend to hold onto these cards or put them somewhere–just in case. It’s like the business card turns us all into hoarders. Who doesn’t have a place somewhere where they throw odds and ends? The problem with a business card is that it’s difficult to throw out immediately. If there was a trash can sitting right there and the person giving you the card wouldn’t cry, you’d probably just usher that card right into the trash. You might not even close your digits around it, but no one is that rude. So, you tuck the card away for a bit and then it has a hold. You think, well, I taxed myself carrying this around all day–let’s put it in this container with a 9-volt battery, my old swatch, a cell phone charger from 2003 and dinner mint. And, maybe people sometimes remember how important they felt when they got their first business card. Even if they made it with their own dot matrix printer and it said, “Nintendo Coach,” it’s still a very big deal. Let me try to answer the question. I say 23% of the cards end up in the trash within 48 hrs, 100% eventually end up in the trash, and .46% lead to actual business. In fact, they may only exist these days so people can drop them into bowls trying to win lunch. FREE PANERA!
Q: Is Jell-O the worst dessert item? Can you serve just Jell-O in a dessert situation? What the f*ck is Jell-O? Grace C. Passedawaythirtyyearsago
A: I have no idea what Jell-O is. I mean, it’s gelatin. What’s gelatin? I DON’T KNOW. We probably don’t want to know. I can’t remember the last time I had Jell-O. In middle school I had to do a project where we put Jell-O in a petri dish, opened it up for a while in various rooms and then had to document the mold that grew on them. SCIENCE. So, this was supposed to be about a 3-4 week project, but I didn’t have that kind of time. I started a couple of days before it was due, and to speed up the process I coughed on a few of the dishes. The results were pretty terrifying. It’ll change the way you look at Jell-O forever. Anyway, I can’t think of a worse dessert than Jell-O off the top of my head. We are talking about desserts. They’re mostly good. I’d eat Jell-O before I ate carrot cake, but I don’t want to anger the carrot cake Nazis. And, you’d never see me eating a cookie with a raisin in it–VOMIT. But, for most people Jell-O probably occupies a very low rung in the dessert hierarchy. The slogan kind of tells the tale, doesn’t it? Think of your favorite food. Does the phrase, there’s always room for ______ apply? There isn’t always room for a steak. What if you just had a steak. So, in this regard, Jell-O is like celery, or air, or a HOT TEA. Jell-O will never die, though, because it’s an alcohol delivery system and people eat it in hospitals–I think. But, don’t ever serve it in a social setting. Just…don’t.