I’m in grocery stores all the time. It’s troubling. I can’t shop for the future. It’s all about what I want to feed my face with in that moment. There was a guy selling “clean energy” in the entrance of a grocery store a couple weeks back and I had to duck him three days in a row. It was quite awkward, but the point I’m trying to make is that I have a good working knowledge of grocery stores and I am keenly aware of change. So, imagine my horror today when I’m in the cracker aisle and I’ve noticed the Club Cracker boxes have shrunk. Club crackers are great, but they are already a bit annoying, because they only give you three sleeves. A box should have four sleeves. It’s a round number, it’s tradition, but Club Crackers get away with three. We’ll live–I guess. But now you are giving me three mini-sleeves? Is this some type of mini-box overrun that I don’t know about? It better be, because if this is the new permanent size of Club Crackers, I’m going to have someone’s butt. I’ll write a Congressman. Maybe end up in his mailbag…
Q: I saw this debated online a couple of months ago, but what do you think is the best french fry shape, and is the french fry the best way to get a potato? Spud Peeler, Boise, ID.
A: The fry is good, because it has a large margin of error. Even if you think you don’t love the order of fries you get, you PROMPTLY eat all of them, because they’re fried. A bad baked potato is a nightmare and a good one is just OK if we’re being honest. Mashed potatoes are divine, but aren’t a vehicle for ketchup. Potatoes and cheese, AU Gratin, or AWE Gratin as I like to say is probably the best way to eat a potato assuming it’s done well, then fries, then mashed, then baked, then frickin’ Tots. As far as the shape of the fry goes? It’s probably just simple anatomy. You want to maximize the frying surface, but also have enough meat there that you can taste something aside from the delicious crunch. Although, I’m sure we’ve all had the hollow fry that is essentially a shell of hardened lard and those are TREMENDOUS, but not for a full serving. The worst shape is curly. CUTE, but the center just mushes together and it doesn’t cook properly. Then shoestring, because too thin and they cool off in about 3 seconds. Steak fries and crinkle cuts are amazing when they are done right, but this is almost never the case. Waffle fries are the perfect vehicle for applying ketchup and cheese directly to your waistline, but part of me thinks we should just let waffles have the waffle shape. The best fry shape is the basic, medium width fry. Is that a boring answer? I DON’T CARE.
Q: Do people who speak other languages mess up their own language as much as we butcher english? And, I mean across the whole range. From stupid mistakes, to impossible spellings, to effect/affect, to laid/layed/lain/lied…you know what I mean. I. Beforey, Tampa, FL.
A: Great question. Are spanish spelling bees a thing? Or do you just sound out every word and it works? Do grown up, professional, adult people in France or Germany lean on spellcheck like it’s the most important invention of modern times? I really have no idea. You would need someone who is bi-to-quadlingual to answer that one and that is not this guy. About the trickiest thing I learned in my years of public school spanish class was, “sopa isn’t soap and ropa isn’t rope.” Of course, that wouldn’t apply if you were just learning spanish as your native tongue. Even right now, I don’t know if I should be capitalizing these languages. WHO CARES–I’LL JUST CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING. We put up with english, because we don’t know any better, kind of like Europeans and soccer. Considering english has a reputation as a difficult language to learn, I imagine there are more tricks than most languages and probably more idioms? We LOVE our idioms. English is demented.
Q: A friend of mine has a neighbor who has a few of those hairless cats and he hates the things. They are constantly in the windows–just being creepy as (expletive). Those are his words. He’s contemplating leaving a note asking that all the windows facing him be cat free at all times (again his words). Obviously, this is ridiculous, but where do you stand on leaving neighbors notes? P. Dander, Chicago, IL.
A: I’m not for hairless cats I can tell you that much. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of a cat or dog in my mind, where do these hairless mammals come from? Such a mystery. It would be nice if all creepy pets were kept out of windows. No hairless cats, no rodents of any kind, no predatory birds, etc. Of course for every person who justifiably gets the chills from looking at a hairless cat there is another person who loves that cat and probably paid an outrageous sum to acquire the thing. I’d love to see a note written in this case and then I’d love to see the reaction to that note. It’s certainly not the right thing to do, but I’d find it terribly amusing. My opinion is, it’s almost impossible not to come across like a jerk when leaving someone a note like this. The circumstances are inconsequential. It’s very hard to convey tone, and no matter how nice you are about it, you’re going to sound uppity and the person will rebel against your little teaching moment. I’m of the opinion that dealing with neighbors is impractical. There is always going to be some baseline level of aggravation and there’s nothing you can do about it. Trying to nip things in the bud just adds fuel to the feud fire.
Q. I hate slowing down in School Zones, does this make me a horrible person? Ken Dergarten, Augusta, ME.
A: I’m sure there are countless other traits to your personality that make you horrible, so I wouldn’t hone on in this particular oddity. Recently I moved and for the first time in my life I’ve really seen the School Zone be effective. I’ve seen a lot of kids who walk to and from school and this makes a lot more sense than just arbitrarily slowing down so a bus can get out of the parking lot–or something. I don’t like School Zones when clearly the timing is wrong–no kids in sight. I hate when people tailgate me through the entire length of the school zone, but usually I can keep my rage in check for the 16-28 seconds it actually takes to drive through one. AN ETERNITY. You have to slow people down somehow, so by putting up the 15 MPH, it gets people down to about 25 from 50. Funny story about School Zones. I was once pulled over for speeding in such an area. Of course, I wasn’t driving. I didn’t even have my license. Nope, I was ON THE SCHOOL BUS. Very strange to be pulled over while on the bus. The driver got a warning. I got to be 15 minutes late for my Pop Tart feeding.
Q: Do you think the Phillies will get an outfielder, and if so, which outfielder will that be? Rickey Otero, Lancaster, PA.
A: The Phillies have some money to spend, which is good for them, because they were quite terrible last season and are nowhere near contention as currently constructed. I think the Phillies will definitely get an outfielder. They’ll need one to fill out a starting outfield. I don’t think even Ruben Amaro is bold enough to start another season with John Mayberry Jr in the mix, but who that outfielder will be remains to be seen. The main problem could be the team itself is a lot less desirable than it was when it made plunges into the free agent market in the past. Cliff Lee thought he was signing up for multiple rings. Raul Ibanez was coming to the defending World Champions. Now the Phillies have been bad for two straight years and have a roster that’s littered with holes. Players almost always go for the most money, but the Phils can’t lure anyone with tales of five straight division titles, etc. The major names out there in the OF are: Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson. None of these players is a perfect fit for the Phillies. They are all older than you’d like if you were handing out a long term deal. The team needs Cruz’s right-handed power with Choo’s defense and plate discipline. But, players with that combination rarely make it to free agency these days. Beltran would be my first choice on a short-term deal, because the Phillies are win now (allegedly). Then, Cruz because of the right-handed power and then Choo. I’d have no interest in Ellsbury (too long a deal will be required) or Granderson. I expect the Phils to actively pursue a big name, but if they don’t land one of the top guys, it may not be the worst thing, a flier on Marlon Byrd or Michael Morse could work out better in the long run if the team can figure out a way to get younger and stay competitive.
Q: Have you seen this new virus that locks your computer down and makes you pay a ransom to get all your files back? What would you pay to have your computer unlocked? Malorie Ware, Houston, TX.
A: Me personally? I’d pay ZERO dollars. My computer is in pretty rough shape and there’s nothing on here that is really priceless. A lot of the words I’ve pounded out exist in other places. What would I pay to have my Gmail account unlocked? Pretty much all my monies, but my computer itself? You can have it. I’ve never been too attached to my material possessions in that way. I need them, but I don’t cherish them and I don’t take especially good care of them. FOR SHAME. My last two computers experienced some pretty untimely deaths. I don’t know that I lost anything valuable. I don’t have all my college emails, but that’s probably good, because now I can go on thinking I was a genius and hilarious when, in fact, I was likely just a dipsh*t. I’ve got to say, though, this is a pretty diabolical virus/scheme. It’s incredibly smart, but SO RUDE. And, Mac users must be laughing their asses off at this one. Oh, we don’t get viruses, LULZ. Forty-eight emojis, frowny face.