Reinventing Fast Food Breakfast.

If You Have the Stones To Order This, It Should be Available 24/7.

If You Have the Stones To Order This, It Should be Available 24/7.

On a scale of zero to Dunkin Donuts serving tuna sandwiches where would you rate the Taco Bell Waffle Taco?  For me, it’s a bit hard to determine, because this really isn’t a taco.  It appears to be a waffle sandwich, which while equally troubling, might be a bit less disgusting?  Does the sausage have Tex/Mex flavoring, because that would be a tremendous red flag.  Is that a pitcher of “dipping syrup” next to the taco?  I assume Taco Bell’s syrup comes from Not-Vermont?  What I don’t understand is why T-Bell thinks it can penetrate the breakfast market.  Are there people out there who think, “If I could only eat Taco Bell a fourth time a day…”

Anyway, the Taco Bell Waffle Taco is a part of a number of food innovations I’ve seen lately.  Some, like the cookie dough flavored Oreos appear to be inspired.  Others seem a bit haphazardly thrown together.  Is working in new product development for a fast food chain the easiest job in America?  Do they have a fat checker?  Just a guy at the top of the chain who is paid the big bucks to say, gut reaction–is this chubby enough?

I’ve actually had the opportunity to peruse some confidential fast food files and believe it or not, other fast food chains are not taking the Waffle Taco sitting down.  There will be a response.  A preview…

KFC:  Potato Oatmeal.

Not a new dish as much as a re-branding POWER MOVE.  The KFC potato oatmeal will be a bowl of mashed potatoes. They are focusing more on the “meal” than the “oat” in this effort and it’s expected to be a monster success.  Mix in chunks of your favorite breakfast meat for an additional $.49.

Wendy’s: SAC O’ BACON.

Wendy’s is on the leading of the bacon movement.  They will not be out-baconed and if you want 8 slices of bacon your burger, just walk into Wendy’s and tell them you got 7 slices at Burger King and they will give you the 8th ON PRINCIPLE.  The Sac o’ Bacon is essentially what it sounds like– 8oz of crisp bacon in a bag.  Complimentary bacon flavored mayo for dipping.

Pizza Hut: Pizzomelet.  

Are you familiar with the P’Zone?  This is a product that I was surprised to find still on the Pizza Hut menu.  It’s what the person who invented the stromboli feared might happen to the stromboli.  BUT, the Pizzomelet is a whole other animal.  It answers one of life’s greatest questions, “why can’t I eat this omelet with my hands?”  A buttery dough shell around that bad boy will solve all your problems.  Like everything else at Pizza Hut, a 3 lb side of penne alfredo will cost you only an additional $3.99.

Dairy Queen: Breakfast Blizzard.  

The Ice Cream for breakfast market is WIDE OPEN.  Dairy Queen is going to charge through the door with the breakfast blizzard.  Maple flavored soft-serve loaded with chunks of bacon.  Substitute scrapple for bacon in PA locations only.

Roy Rogers: Waffle Fixin’ Bar

The inventors of the Fixings Bar find a new muse.  The Belgian waffle.  The Belgian waffle crosses socio-economic lines.  It makes ANYONE feel like they are getting a classy breakfast.  You combine that with your choice of an array of syrups, sweet toppings, ice cream, and you have turned around an entire company–maybe.  Now just hop on a random turnpike and hope to find a location.

Burger King: Butter Nuggets

Is Burger King the most decadent of the fast food chains?  Has any other chain embraced what they are as much as Burger King?  Do we want to try to expand to a market that eats healthier, or do we want to continue to throw our loyal customers fastballs RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE?  I think Burger King leans toward that second philosophy and this breakfast trend has them ready to take the next step.  Much like the great French cooks, Burger King knows the value of butter.  What makes this taste good?  Butter.  So, lets cut to the chase.  Burger king is now proud to serve up butter nuggets (salted or unsalted) in 3, 5, 7 or 20 pieces.  ENJOY.

The Universal Skill.

This Car Must Have Been Without Driver.

This Car Must Have Been Without Driver.

It’s snowing a lot this winter.  How do I know?  I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the streetlights outside my apartment window.  Still coming down?  I learned to look at the light from a young age.  When I was a kid, praying for a snow day, I’d open up our back door–let in an inordinate amount of cold air–and stare at the porch lights.  That snow always looks more devastating while illuminated was besides the point.  Just show me something, anything, in that light–a two-hour delay?  Anything.

Of course now I’m mostly thinking about shoveling out my car, but I still look to the light and after a year or two of mild winters we’re getting our share this time around including a fresh ten inches or so a few days back.  What does all this weather mean?  It means it’s time for me to start hearing people talk about how well they drive in the snow.  And, to listen to them quietly–all the time thinking, “No, I’m really THE great snow driver.”

Before I move on with this, I’ll just offer the disclaimer that I am discussing Mid-Atlantic snow driving and snow totals.  I’m not trying to draw the ire of someone who is buried under five feet of lake effect.  This isn’t a contest.  At least not one you’d want to win.  Keep in mind this disclaimer does not apply to people who live in moderate climes, but spout off horsebleep like, “I went to summer camp in Buffalo,” or “I crossed the Rockies in a Volkswagen back in ’85.”  Being in a cold weather city for thirty seconds does not give you any special powers.

So, what is it about snow that makes people lose their ability to judge themselves?  Now, I know there are certain areas where people don’t often look in a true mirror, but most can admit to a shortcoming or two.  Let me be a good example.  I can’t sing.  I can’t perform ANY winter sports.  I can’t grow a mustache.  You get complete honesty from me on these issues, and I feel like I would get some agreement in the crowd.  Maybe you can’t carry a tune either, but what if I were to say I wasn’t a good driver in the snow?

Maybe you’d think, OH YOU’RE THE GUY, because we all know the terrible snow drivers are out there, it’s just that no one is taking credit for the fishtails, the sliding back down hills with the brakes locked, the gentle tumble into the guard rail.  And yet each time it snows we are all behind dozens of these people.

I think everyone has their own comfort level for driving in poor conditions.  A person who is driving a steady 10 mph through the flurries probably thinks they are doing a GREAT job.  After all, they haven’t crashed, right?  They are just sitting there, behind the wheel of their Civic (or whatever) thinking, MY GOODNESS, I can practically feel the tires gripping the road right now.  The guy in the jacked up F-350 behind them, though, is about to pop a few capillaries until they finally get the chance to rip by at 65 mph in a spray of slush and rock salt. When this pass inevitably happens, both parties are likely cursing the other, and thinking, “why can’t anyone drive in the snow?”

So, I have my own snow driving story from today.  I was on a particularly odd stretch of back road, trying to avoid a bit of traffic on the way home.  I’m headed up a winding hill and about halfway up the road forks and I take the fork. The fork, still moving uphill, immediately comes to an intersection and at that intersection is a school bus.  So, everyone is stopped and the car closest to the bus pulls toward the shoulder a bit.  The courteous thing to do?  It was narrow, but the bus had plenty of room.  What I couldn’t see is that under the snow debris the front car had inadvertently pulled into a little depression.  A now, icy, slushy depression.  Stopping for the bus had ceased all momentum for the front car and for traffic in general.  Several cars waited while little Petey and Marybelle meandered toward their driveway.

The blinking red lights stop, the bus pulls away but the front car is still motionless.  Is that the sound of a tire spinning?  The cars lined up behind are getting a bit impatient.  Incredulous.  “First time driving on a hill there, Chief?”  It gets to the point where the front car has to roll their window down and wave people around.  Go on ahead, SAVE YOURSELVES.  What was I thinking?  I was thinking, hurry and pass me so I can back out of this f*cking rut. That’s right, a perfect career of snow driving and a tremendous ego was shattered this afternoon.  Perhaps I am the one.  The one who cannot drive in the snow.

To Redeem Self-Esteem, Quiz of the Day Nostalgia.  Sports Team Logo Timeline.  My Score: 21/25.

Post-Christmas Check-In.

Anyone Get A Car With A Bow?

Anyone Get A Car With A Bow?

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, or holiday season in general.  Still a week of slacking left before that cruel wake up call, January 2nd comes around.  Such a downer.  In the middle of enjoying gifts, packing on those last few pounds, here’s a quick update for the 6 people involved.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. Kraft, 45-33-2
  2. Big Dub, 41-32-3
  3. Grossy, 42-34-4
  4. DC, 41-35-4
  5. Nichols, 40-38-2
  6. JCK, 35-39-1

As you caq see, Kraft remains in control, as both Dub and I failed to take advantage of his 2-3 week.  DC making a late charge, and JCK needs a 5-0 to get everyone over .500.

The “Epic Christmas Light Display,” Pick of the Week:  Nichols, Indianapolis (+6)

Didn’t see this one coming.  I would have loved an “outright” call here for emphasis, but tis the season to make generous assumptions.  I’m sure Nichols was expecting this Colts romp.  Either way, better than any pick I made.

The “Fruitcake” Awful Pick of the Week:  Grossy, Chicago (+3)

Oh, dear.  Did the Bears cover that number?  The funny thing is, the scenario played out exactly as I thought it would.  The Cowboys won, making the game meaningless for the Eagles.  The Bears needed the game to clinch the division.  It should have been a layup.  Then the Bears came out like the Flyers in a game seven against Ottawa, the Eagles were clicking and pounding their starters and it was a blowout from the jump.  Didn’t help the Eagles in the standings, didn’t help me in Pick ‘Em.  Merry Christmas.  I stink.

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Ryan Tannehill.  

10/27 for 82 yards.  Shutout by the Bills.  Yep, that’ll do, Pig.

After one week of the D.A. Finals, Doubleback Vineyards leads Eli Esses D, 27 to 5.75.

***

Arbitrary, Yet Definitive, Top-10:

  1. Denver, 12-3.  A reliable blowout team
  2. Seattle, 12-3.  Whoops.
  3. New England, 11-4.  Hilarious when Baltimore gets blown out.
  4. San Francisco, 11-4.  Hottest team in NFC.
  5. Carolina, 11-4.  Massive win.
  6. Kansas City, 11-4.  Massive Loss.
  7. Arizona, 10-5.  I officially feel sorry for the Cardinals.
  8. Indianapolis, 10-5.  Possible AFC spoiler.
  9. Philadelphia, 9-6.  Suddenly impressive at home.
  10. Cincinnati, 10-5.  Dalton the anchor.

Week 13 NFL Picks — Finally.

The Pride Of New Hampshire.

The Pride Of New Hampshire.

Well, the games start in about 4 hours.  If I wait much longer, I’d be guaranteed to picks some winners.  This is what can happen.  Big holiday weekend.  Eating, shopping, had to dig the christmas tree out of the ground myself.  It’s that holiday time.  I won’t waste any more of it…

Week 13 Beer:  Smuttynose “Finestkind” IPA

I first had this beer a long time ago.  So long that I really didn’t remember it at all.  It was on tap at Quotations in Media, home to many a random brew.  Sometimes those nights at Quotations turn into a little bit of a haze when one beefy IPA gets poured on top of another.  But, I started seeing Smuttynose in six-packs, and despite me having no idea what the name means, I decided to try it again–for the first time.

Am I sorry I didn’t Get Sierra:  No.

Smuttynose packs a lot of punch.  At nearly 7% ABV, it’s an IPA with a distinct taste but you know from the first sip that you aren’t drinking a light beer.  It warms you up right away.  But, Smuttynose has all the classic IPA hops you’d be looking for and pours absolutely beautifully–if you’re into that kind of thing.  It’s a great beer to drink while you ease through a big, beefy dinner.

Top 10:

  1. The Alchemist, Heady Topper
  2. Southern Tier 2X IPA
  3. Smuttynose “Finestkind” IPA
  4. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  5. Shed Brewing IPA
  6. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  7. Casco Bay IPA
  8. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
  9. Evil Genius Eye PA
  10. Deschutes Brewery IPA

***

JCK, 27-34-1

  1. Denver (-5.5) over Kansas City
  2. New England (-7.5) over Houston
  3. Miami (+2) over New York Jets

***

Kraft, 35-23-2

  1. Buffalo (-3) over Real Housewives of Atlanta
  2. Seattle (-4.5) over New Orleans
  3. St. Louis (+8) over San Francisco
  4. Jacksonville (+7) over Cleveland
  5. Tampa Bay (+7.5) over Carolina

***

Nichols, 29-31-2

  1. Denver (-5.5) over Kansas City
  2. Chicago (+1) over Minnesota
  3. New York Giants (-1) over Washington

***

DC, 28-29-4

  1. San Francisco (-8) over St. Louis
  2. Miami (+2) over New York Jets
  3. San Diego (-1) over Cincinnati
  4. Minnesota (-1) over Chicago

***

Grossy, 34-23-3

Chicago (+1) over Minnesota.  Wrong team’s favored.  That’s one of my all-time favorite tout lines.  But, really, Minnesota giving points is awfully tempting.  What’s the worst thing that could happen, they tie?  This is 53 guys against Adrian Peterson.  I’ll take the 53 guys by a whisker.

Arizona (+3) over Philadelphia.  Some warning signs for Arizona–they’re coming across the country.  They are coming off a big win.  Some warning signs for Philly–they haven’t beaten a good team.  I’m nothing if not disturbingly stubborn, so I’m going to stick with this whole Nick Foles aberration thing until I’m proven right.  It may take 10 years, but it’s happening damnit.

Buffalo (-3) over Atlanta.  So, you think Atlanta, in their current state of grotesque deformity, is going to be fired up for this trip to Buffalo?  Forecast for Southern Toronto?  38 degrees with rain and snow showers.  Sounds like a dream for a dome team that’s given up on the season.  If Atlanta was a Tecmo Bowl season, they would have hit reset about 10 weeks ago.

New England (-7.5) over Houston.  The Texans have about as much appeal as a Port-0-Let in the Houston humidity. This is teams that have given up on their season…Number two.  The Patriots, on the other hand, should be more than happy to beat the Texans down by a couple of scores.  The only question is, will Bill Belichick screw over everyone with his RB rotation, or just 95% of fantasy players?

New Orleans (+4.5) over Seattle.  Mega Revenge Game.  This is at least double revenge, if not triple.  I’m not going to say, “well the Seahawks will lose at home eventually,” even though that is 100% accurate.  I just think New Orleans is going to get the better of them this time.  And, as not to waiver and back into a cover I’ll later take credit for–I’m expecting outright here.

 

Alternate Viewing Guide: Thanksgiving Edition.

In Case You Are Sick of Football AND The Godfather Trilogy.

In Case You Are Sick of Football AND The Godfather Trilogy.

Certain people feel obligated to watch football on Thanksgiving.  Maybe it is some high school rivalry game they’ve been to for the last 30 years, maybe it’s the NFL, but football has branded itself with Thanksgiving.  So, you’ll probably end up watching a bit even if you think football is dumb and “don’t really get the rules.”  Of course, not all Thanksgiving football slates are made equal, and this year feels especially repulsive.  Green Bay at Detroit should have been the game of the day, but with no Aaron Rodgers, it loses a lot of its appeal.  It still might be the best contest, though, as Dallas/Oakland should be ugly and Baltimore/Pittsburgh is about two years past its expiration date.  I strongly encourage you to follow the advice below if can’t stomach another second of football.  For the sake of originality, I will not list the Godfather this year.  Just know that it’s going to be on.  Probably all day.

12:00-1:00 PM–The National Dog Show, NBC

As you probably read I went to this event a couple of weeks back and now is your chance to not see me on television. Despite my offer, I was not asked to sit-in as a guest commentator.  Starting at 12:30, football is going to be on for about 10 straight hours, so this will get you in the proper, competitive frame of mind.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Dr. Phil, OWN.  Dr. Phil is the absolute worst.

1:00-2:00 PM–Wild Russia, Animal Planet

Judging by the description, this is an hour of watching Polar Bears.  If you need more enticement than that, you are probably dead inside.  If all animals were able to domesticated, and could live comfortably, and you know…not accidentally maul you to death, a polar bear would be in my top-5 of animals to just have “around.”

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Keeping Up With the Kardashians, E!  I’m not above reality TV, but I’m above this.

2:00-3:00 PM–Cliffhanger, Sundance

Of all of the implausible roles that Sly Stallone played (Rambo, Rocky, Demolition Man) and of all the ridiculous things those characters pulled off, I’m not sure that there is anything more ridiculous than Sylvester Stallone: Rock Climber.  Just an amazingly horrible and watchable film.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Top 100 House Party Songs Part 9, Fuse.  You’d probably be lost if you missed the first 8 parts.

3:00-4:00 PM–Family Feud, Game Show Network

I’m assuming this is classic Feud and not Steve Harvey Feud.  If you don’t see Richard Dawson, turn back to Cliffhanger.  Dawson was a perverted master.  He’ll kiss you, ON THE MOUTH, at any moment.  Let it happen.  Also, the Feud is great for sporadic attention spans and audience participation.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Star Trek Next Generation, BBC.  I’d love to hear a defense of any Star Trek vehicle.  Just kidding.

4:00-5:00 PM–Property Brothers, HGTV

Who doesn’t love the property brothers?  I’m sure this show is a total scam, but it feels like the show to get on, because they get you a good deal on a house and then they renovate the damn thing for you.  All you have to do is waffle on a few decisions and act exasperated a few times.  Sign me up.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Beverly Hills, 90210, Soap.  Not on the Pilgrims’ Day.

5:00-6:00 PM–The World Series Of Poker, ESPN

Dinner should be over, people should be getting sleepy and/or tipsy, it’s the perfect time get the juices flowing for some games of chance.  It isn’t a holiday without some cutthroat family game time.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Sponge Bob Squarepants, Nick.  Isn’t everyone’s kid watching this crap on their iPads at this point?  Free up the TV.

6:00-7:00 PM–Pawn Stars, History

You just won all that money off your family, how about a Civil War belt buckle to complete your collection.  I’ve been through a Pawn Stars phase, a Storage Wars phase, an American Pickers phase and a Duck Dynasty phase.  Pawn Stars seems to have the longest shelf life.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: The Andy Griffith Show, TV Land.  Your parents will defend Andy Griffith like you’ll defend Seinfeld in 20 years.

7:00-8:00 PM–Con Air, Random Cinemax.

I took a bit of a shot at Stallone earlier, of course some of Nic Cage’s roles make Sly look like Daniel Day Lewis. There’s plenty to love here, from the ridiculous premise, to the horrible Cage accent, but Thanksgiving is a time for nostalgia.  Remember when Nic Cage was a movie star?  Remember when you saw horsebleep like this in the theater?

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Reba, CMT.  I’m mostly against genre crossover.  Singers sing/actors act, etc.

8:00-9:00 PM–Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, ABC.

You know, unless you don’t love America.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Billy Madison, IFC.  Someone’s got to say it–Billy Madison isn’t funny anymore.  Sorry.

9:00-10:00 PM–Friday Night Lights, ESPN Classic.

I think I would actually rather watch this movie (for the 9th or 10th time) than the Steelers and Ravens play live. Even though I know that Mojo isn’t going to get in on that last drive against Dallas Carter, part of me thinks this could be the year?

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Glee, Fox.  People that like Glee don’t even like Glee anymore, right?

***

Ok, that takes you to 10 pm.  At that point you should be pulling down the covers and calling it a night.  Or having a conversation with your granny, or eating your 22nd piece of pie–just no more TV.  We’ll see you Friday, Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday Evening Self-Esteem Check.

Tom, The Blog, Not Happy With Mr. Whistle.

Tom, The Blog, Not Happy With Mr. Whistle.

I don’t have a ton of time to throw this together tonight.  Already a good bit behind schedule.  Perhaps it is a good thing.  Not a great week for picking games.  It sure would have been nice to get that Patriots cover last night.  The shame is, the game played out kind of how I expected.  I wasn’t thinking blowout, but I thought New England could win, would find a way to win.  They were right on the verge.  Anyway, still 30 games left to pick (a lifetime), but dreams of 65% or winning the Super Contest next year are starting to fade away…

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 33-20-1
  2. Big Dub, 31-21-3
  3. Grossy, 30-22-3
  4. DC, 25-26-4
  5. Nichols, 25-28-2
  6. JCK, 24-30-1

***

The “Sean Bradley Triple Pocket Jort,” Pick of the Week:  Big Dub/Nichols (Tampa +1.5)

You would think someone who has hated on the Falcons so much recently would have had this game, but what happens is there are some weeks where I like more than 5 games and some get left off the sheet.  That happened this week and I certainly regret it and am envious of the wisdom displayed by these two.  I think we’ve finally seen the end of Atlanta getting the benefit of the doubt?  Will the lines start to reflect them being 2-8 now?  Has everyone decided they aren’t going to snap out of it?  If they play Jacksonville tomorrow, who is favored?  They just got blown out by Tampa.  Maybe the Jags look feisty in that matchup.  Anyway, I’d expect the Falcons to continue to be a popular fade.

The “Sean Bradley’s Jort Tailor,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Kraft (Jets +1) 

Sometimes I go for faulty rationale, other times I just go for games that didn’t even get close to covering.  The required line for this game would have been NYJ +23.5.  When the Bills cover by three touchdowns, obviously something has gone terribly wrong.  What might have Kraft been forgetting?  The Jets could be on a–get blown out, win inexplicably, get blown out see-saw right now?  Rex hates Buffalo since he got his stomach stapled?  I don’t know…

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Seattle, 10-1.  Am I worried about them winning the Super Bowl yet?
  2. Denver, 9-1.  Nice solid win, but more tests coming.
  3. Kansas City, 9-1.  Needs to adapt in two weeks time to prove themselves legit.
  4. New Orleans, 8-2.  Has to figure out how to get home field.
  5. Carolina, 7-3.  Six straight wins.  High-Water Mark.
  6. New England, 7-3.  Need more big plays.
  7. Indianapolis, 7-3.  Need a blowout to regain rhythm.
  8. Cincinnati, 7-4.  Atop an ugly division.
  9. Philadelphia, 6-5.  Atop an uglier division.
  10. San Francisco, 6-4.  Floundering–again.

At The National Dog Show.

Where is Busy Bee?

Where is Busy Bee?

I went to the National Dog Show this weekend, which shouldn’t be confused with the Westminster Dog Show, but instead is the dog show that your aunt will be watching on Thanksgiving before you rip the remote from her hand and put on the Lions game.  Follow all that?  Great.

I imagine the large majority of people out there have not had the opportunity to attend a dog show, but it really is almost exactly like the movie Best in Show.  I’m not even sure that movie qualifies as parody.  Aside from all the handlers having a right AND a left foot, the dog show related details in the film are all quite accurate.

Dog show people are crazy in that obsessed, yet not totally endearing way that you see with most niche fascinations. And, going to the dog show was an intense experience because you have the common folk walking around saying things like, “look a Lassie dog,” mixed in with someone blow drying a dog’s tail while it stands on a specially designed grooming table that may cost more than the groomer’s car.

Anyway, I’m not going to spoil which breed won the show, and actually I have no idea who won.  The results are either closely guarded or people don’t care enough to make them public before Thanksgiving.  But, we only saw one group final and a bunch of preliminary stuff.  Some dog show thoughts–in case you ever go.

1. Some of the dog owners are very nice, some cannot be bothered at all, and others are blossoming egomaniacs?  Oh, US?  We’re just waiting around for best in breed.  Yep, thanks, thanks for asking.  (No one asked).

2. The dogs, on the other hand, seem to all be extremely friendly and well-behaved.  I didn’t see a single unsuspecting toddler lose a grubby finger.

3.  It’s a bit of a low-budget affair.  There is a misconception among some people that there is big money in raising dogs and showing them, kind of like racehorses, and those people are wrong.  I’m fairly sure the winner of the dog show gets a trophy, a lot of personal validation and a coupon to Cracker Barrel.  This ain’t the Kentucky Derby.  And, that shows in the “outer rings” that are nothing more than squares outlined in collapsible “fencing.”  The areas where the dogs have to wait things out are also quite cramped.  Even the “tv ring,” is a lot smaller than it appears on television with fewer seats available than your average high school gym.

4. I learned that not all the best dogs go to all the big shows.  It’s sometimes better to win a smaller show than to get bested against tougher competition.  This, of course, does not matter to the casual spectator who is not interested in seeing Grand Champion English Tom’s Muffins–they just want to see whatever kind of dog they have.

5. The guy who announces the show really is the best.  Is he reading off a script?  Does he get bored describing the same breeds every year?  “The Appalachian Squirrel Terrier originated in Western Virginia in the 1830s and quickly developed a reputation among moonshiners as a loyal and easily trained tracker of small game.  In the years since, as demand for squirrel meat has rapidly declined, the Appalachian Squirrel Terrier has found a niche a docile lap dog.  This is Appalachian Squirrel Terrier…Number 27.”

6.  The handlers wear terrible outfits.  There are a lot of suits (on the ladies w/skirts) that seem salvaged from the nineties.  Apparently being a handler requires you to wear something that accentuates your upper arms.  Think shoulder pads or poofy sleeves.  If you took all the dogs out of the room you might think, “oh, hilarious–90s prom party.”  Also, all these women wear grandma sneakers and trot around the ring.  It’s spectacular.

7. Speaking of clothing. I thought I’d see more air-brushing.  I thought there would be an air-brushing station where you could get your dog sprayed onto your jean jacket, but I saw nothing of the sort.

8.  Someone streaked right between the Schipperke and the Keeshond.  I’m joking, but that would have been wild, right?

9.  Aside from the main show ring there were two massive crowds.  One around the ring where the golden retrievers were showing and another around the booth selling dog treats.  I’m serious, the dog treat booth was like stock exchange scene in Trading Places.

10.  There were no puppies for sale.  Thankfully, because you might have left there with a dog.

What’s in the Mail?

Hoping For an Anomaly.

Hoping For an Anomaly.

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.  

How Many Idiot Bloggers Does it Take to Destroy A Light Fixture?

One of These MIGHT Fit.

One of These MIGHT Fit.

There are jokes out there.  Not particularly good jokes, but even the most clever can fall into the trap.  How many Ruben Amaros does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  Five.  One to flip the switch and four to stand around telling him that nothing is broken.  Or something.  The punchline that delivers zero laughs is based on what is supposed to be an undisputable fact.  It is EASY to change a lightbulb.  We must now rewrite every hacky joke book in the world.  

I’m old enough to remember two things.  First, when a light bulb was actually shaped like a bulb.  I bet that’s HOW THEY GOT THE NAME.  I also remember when you just screwed them into the darn light hole.  You couldn’t make a mistake. Perhaps you screwed up your wattage and you accidentally got mood lighting in your kitchen, but I bet you never returned a light bulb to the store.  That’s right, time was you could just stroll into a grocery store and get a generic bulb.  There were only a few choices–but who cares?  

The light bulb (now a name with no meaning like “woods” in golf) has undergone a dramatic change.  I suppose this is mostly due to environmental reasons?  We’re saving energy?  Saving filament?  For a while light bulbs started to change their shape, but you could still just screw the cusses into the fixture.  The light might be SOFTER, meaning you couldn’t actually see anything, but the bulb would last for 3 billion hours and you had a clear conscience.  I wasn’t too bothered by this development.  I let everyone else save the world and I just went on buying my regular light bulbs, an old curmudgeon sticking to his unfiltered Lucky’s.  

The bulbs finally got me, though.  This week the revolution came to my doorstep.  A nifty, decorative, barely functional light fixture in the kitchen had been down a bulb for some time, but we soldiered on in slightly enhanced darkness instead of trying to change one of the magical bulbs.  But then, light number two vanished and the entire room was illuminated by one meek light that wouldn’t satisfy a toddler who was afraid of the dark.  The lights had to be changed, and they weren’t going to take your basic Sylvania Soft White.  No, Sir.  

I was prepared for the battle.  I knew that the “bulbs” in this fixture were actually FOR SHOW.  They came out to reveal these tiny little mutant lights that are likely designed by the tiny fingers of Santa’s elves in the off-season.  Written on the fixture itself is a handy little tip.  It says, 12 Volt T4 Bi-Plug.  Only one part of that information is useful.  I won’t spoil which one it is just yet.  I write this gibberish down on a note and head to SEARS HARDWARE.  

Sears is very close to where I live and I wanted to do my best not to go to Lowe’s or Home Depot, because it could take me the better part of the evening just to find the light bulb aisle.  Plus, I could have impulse bought all the supplies for a Beirut Table and frankly I don’t have the means to transport that home.  But, anyway, I’m in Sears, trying to drum up some American nostalgia, or better yet be the last customer in the HISTORY OF THE CHAIN.  Sears is so awful right now, and it’s sad, but true.  They’ve been conquered, and aren’t even trying.  

Much to my delight, Sears does have these gypsy bulbs and I spend three to four minutes staring at the section.  I see some buzzwords “T4″ and “Bi-Pin” on some signage above the display, but on the shelves there are no T4s.  There is a T3 and some other junk, but I was expecting to see what I had written down in bold and obvious type and that WAS NOT THE CASE.  So, I swallow my pride and ask a guy.  Asking a clerk for help in a retail store is, for me, just slightly more appealing than living my life in darkness.  The kid had NO IDEA about the bulbs.  Can you blame him?  Who would know this stuff, but he scurried off to get me some educated help.  

It never arrived.  The old guy that ambled over and I shared a nice conversation that revealed he knew nothing about the bulbs.  He suggested I go to Lowe’s.  Great.  My problem was, I thought I was on the right track after seeing “T3″ in print.  I wasn’t.  T4, written on the fixture is a completely useless piece of information.  You’re welcome.  

I arrive at Lowe’s several minutes later, it’s not close to Sears really, not when you are starting to think about what you are going to have for dinner.  To my surprise and contained elation the light bulbs are front and center at Lowe’s.  No search required.  But, in the section I saw no mention of T3s, T4s, or really anything that I had on my handy paper.  There were plenty of bulbs that KIND OF looked right, but they all have slight variations.  I’m sure an electrician could tell you why, but I bet I wouldn’t make too much sense.  

At this point I realize it’s likely I will need the actual bulb to make my purchase.  I do not have it–can you imagine taking a regular light bulb into a store for reference?  So, I make my best guess and leave Lowe’s with two bulbs.  They cost more than my dinner.  

Seven point three seconds after arriving home I know that I have the wrong bulbs and this makes me quite angry, but I guess I did this to myself.  Who doesn’t bring the light in so they can match up the width of the base?  TOTAL AMATEUR MOVE.  It was one more night in darkness and then back to Lowe’s, with my bulb, with my incorrect new bulbs, and with my receipt–SCREW YOU FOR MAKING ME KEEP A RECEIPT, light bulb.  

I go right back to the bulb aisle.  I know my way around now.  Pro.  There’s another kid there.  We have the following conversation:  

Me:  Do you know anything about these (pause so I don’t say f&cking) specialty bulbs? 

Kid:  (Look of abject terror)  Uh, let me get the guy who works in this department.  

There’s a department?  I take everything back, these new bulbs are CREATING JOBS.  It took a few minutes to find the light bulb guy, I imagine he’s in high demand, but he comes over and he’s throwing off a bit of a hippie vibe.  He examines my bulb like he’s looking at a bit of designer marijuana.  He’s not saying a damn thing, so I spit out the stupid information I have on my paper.  This is when I found out that it was mostly useless, so I produced the bulb from pocket and let this guy take a look.  

What would have been reassuring is if he took one look and grabbed the bulb I needed immediately.  That didn’t happen. He examined, he pondered, he speculated and then gave me his best guess.  The light bulb guy, at Lowe’s, the man in that department, couldn’t give me a guarantee I had the right bulb, but what choice do I have? 

I’m back in the kitchen.  It’s getting pretty late again, I’m starving again and I start wrestling with the damn light fixtures. These things just kind of jam into the fixture like a misshapen puzzle piece.  There’s not satisfying click, no reassuring screwing motion–it feels a bit like you might electrocute yourself at ANY MOMENT.  I wedge one up in there, go over, flip the switch and nothing.  That was the moment where I almost lost my composure.  A man cannot make three trips to Lowe’s to get a light bulb.  I think you have to move out of the apartment before you do that.  

I end up dismantling the last working light on the fixture, trying to see what kind of trickery I need to perform to get these things to work, and finally after about 12 minutes, a bit of brow sweat, and a shoulder tweak, I finally said, “Let there be light.”  

It was a truly horrible experience and I know the third light is probably due to go out at any moment.  If you are wondering why you just read 1,500 words on changing a light bulb (did anyone make it this far), it’s so I can deliver my Christmas list. Send candles, please.  

 

A Mailbag of Sorts.

Not Sure I'd Learn.

Not Sure I’d Learn.

I was making something in the oven yesterday and I needed to give it a quick baste, you know the usual, and so I opened up the door to the oven and did what I always do–stick my face right in there.  I get blasted back the heat.  My glasses fog up, I get flustered.  I usually make some sort of unintelligible noise–”Dahhag.”  This happens every single time I check on something in the oven.  I have two theories.  First, when I was a youth I had an oven that was eye-level for me so you could open it and look in while keeping your distance and the heat didn’t rush up into your face.  So, I never learned.  The second theory is that I’m an idiot.  So dumb that I’m not sure I could learn to use an invisible fence, which is a skill that can be easily mastered by most dogs.  And, speaking of blasts of heat…the mailbag.

Q: If you had to fire someone, how do you think you would do it?  Give them the full song and dance about how great they are, or just go short and sweet?  Dawn Sized, Gainesville, FL.

A: Assuming it wasn’t a hostile situation, I think I would try to let the person down as easy as possible while also keeping it short.  In my opinion when someone is getting canned they don’t really want the full explanation right there (if there is one), they mostly just want to get out of the room, the situation–whatever.  Later, they’ll be pissed off and demanding of answers, but right at that second they are probably dealing with some shock.  Of course, I’ve never really fired anyone.  The closest I came was back in my caddy supervision days.  The course I was at was hosting a fairly significant local women’s event.  It was big enough to attract some loopers from some other local courses.  It was my job to assign these caddies to the players.  A hit-or-miss process if there ever was one, but I had a fairly good match-making percentage.  There was one exception.  After the second day (of three) a player came up to me and requested that I did not give her the same caddy for the final day.  Her reasons?  “He talks too much AND SMELLS WEIRD.”  Oh boy.  That’s a double.  So, this guy shows up for the last day–big grin on his face and drops the whole, “I’m with so and so again? I didn’t get her tee time.”  And, that’s when I had to break the news.  She’s going in another direction, Cowboy.  He guessed that it was probably because he “fell on the 16th green yesterday.”  A whole other problem, but NO, that wasn’t it.  I just gave him the old, you know those women golfers look and sent him back to Llanerch or wherever he came from.  

Q: Seeing as how Andy Reid is coming back to Philadelphia on Thursday (along with Donovan McNabb), can you go over the scenarios in your mind where it is acceptable to boo?   Throaty Pipes, Ardmore, PA.

A:  Let me start with a contradictory statement.  I’m not going to take away anyone’s right to boo.  If you want to be the person that boos–go ahead.  If you want to scream “sucks,” after every player’s name in introductions–I’m not going to stop you.  I won’t be there with you, but I won’t get righteous.  That said, neither McNabb nor Reid should be booed on Thursday.  The fan base has already proven it will likely receive McNabb in a somewhat friendly manner.  Some boos will sprinkle, but it won’t be like David Stern at the NBA Draft.  As for Andy Reid, there won’t be a great moment to boo him, so it’s likely that fans will continue to just be happy he left town.  If Andy Reid ever appeared down the road, after his coaching career, I’d expect a McNabb-like reception.  Mostly cheers.  So, when to boo?  I don’t think you should boo people who aren’t involved in the game.  So the mayor shows up and you hate his politics?  Not the time.  Booing should mostly be reserved for the officials and the opposition.  Bad calls, hated rivals, anyone on the ’86 Mets–all fair game.  Is there a statute of limitations?  Probably.  I think we can stop booing Chipper Jones now that he’s retired.  The booing of Scott Rolen probably should have ended when the ’08 team won the World Series.  At some point, you start to look deranged and desperate.  As far as your own players, I think it has to be effort based.  Nate Allen really shouldn’t be booed.  He’s just terrible.  But if a player quits, or says something stupid about the fans?  Fire away.

Q:  If you started a brewery, what would you call it, and what would you name some of your beers?  Samantha Addams, Boston, MA.

A:  Is Sierra Nevada taken?  I might call the brewery 3-Putt Territory.  Look how well that name has served me here.  And, it did take me a while to think of that name.  It narrowly won out over, “Mike’s Blog,” and “Grossy’s Ha-Ha Hut.”  I think I’ve gotten one solid compliment on the name over the years, and really how much more do you need?  In terms of naming the actual beers, I have a question in response to the question.  Have we gone too far?  Should the brewery name and the style of beer be enough?  Does calling something Monkey Astronaut IPA really spike sales?  I guess the answer to that is it does, because the names of the beer keep getting stranger.  More COLORFUL.  So, I’ve got to come up with some names here.  Putting a guy on the spot.  Luckily, this is not unlike thinking up trivia team names, so I should be OK.  Rapid Fire:

  1. Alimony ESB
  2. DU-IPA
  3. Beer Pong Lite
  4. No Tan Lines Summer Lager
  5. Placebo (Non-Alcoholic)
  6. Call a Cab Tripel

Q:  Now that school has started back up I’ve seen multiple times the elated sprint off the school bus.  First, were you this happy to get home and second, does anything in adult life compare?   E.Z. Lyamused, Coatesville, PA.

A:  I imagine that people with kids would say that putting the kids on the bus is pretty MAGICAL indeed, but I’m not at that point.  I’ve definitely seen kids run like crazy off the bus and I’m trying to think back in time to see if I ever possessed so much GLEE.  When I got home school there were only a few things that could be on the agenda.  Eat Pop Tarts, play Nintendo, pretend I’m in the NBA and dunk on my 8-ft rim, watch A Different World in syndication–all of these things should have had me at a dead sprint, but if I remember correctly I didn’t have that much heart.  I mostly walked.  Our driveway was upwards of 75 yards.  That’s a long way to HAUL IT with a Lands End on your back.  And some of the time I got dropped off down the street (and downhill) from my house, so forget that.  I think the really young kids run because they are actually happy to see their parents.  Then things change and you are praying no one is home when the bus drops you off so you can BE ODD AS SH*T at your leisure.  What do adults gain that type of simple pleasure out of?  I’m not sure.  Making good “time” to work?  Finding cheap gas?  Having your carry-on bag fit through the damn slot?  There’s plenty out there to be JAZZED about.  

Q: Some people like designer bags, or have to have a certain brand of sneakers, but I think name brands are most important for the little things.  Ever try to use generic aluminum foil?  Whon Ply, Sarasota, FL.

A:  This is a true statement.  Generic Aluminum foil has the consistency of tissue paper.  Exhale with greater than usual force and you could tear a hole clean through the stuff.  Are we even sure it’s aluminum?  It may be an illusion.  When it comes to foil, you’ve got to go with Reynolds Wrap.  That’s the only brand of foil I am aware of? I’m sure you can buy a roll at Williams Sonoma that’s made entirely out of recycled cans of Shasta for $34, but that’s probably going a bit too far.  Reynolds will serve you fine.  And, with kitchen items, it doesn’t stop with the foil.  Paper Towels?  Generic paper towels are great if you want something to decorate your paper towel holder.  God forbid you need to use one.  Trash Bags?  Please throw the entire box into a Hefty or a Glad. That’s all they are good for.  

Q: I have a friend who consistently keeps magazine cologne samples in his pocket.  Open.  It’s one of those things that is out in the open, but you still can’t talk about it.  Should we just be glad that he smells like cologne all the time?  Is he hiding something?  Where does he get them all?  Tenzing Nosegay, Frankfort, KY.

A:  That is very odd and also admirably frugal.  Why commit to a full two ounces of one cologne and pay those exorbitant prices when you can simply go to the nearest news stand and rip your way to a different fresh scent every day.  Wearing a scent is a tricky thing.  I prefer to smell clean, rather than to walk around with a noticeable aroma.  Do I always accomplish this?  I DON’T KNOW, but that’s the goal.  To me, a lot of cologne hints that you are trying to hide something.  It’s like if the dog lets one happen on the rug and then you rain down Febreze, I don’t care what the commercials say it’s going to smell like Febreze AND dog grumper.  So, if you are rocking a steady cologne, I might think–still in 7th grade, OR has a BIT of a B.O. problem.  Either one.  I don’t want to be known by a smell, good or bad, really.  I’ve worked with people who you know are in the room before you see them because they APPLY GENEROUSLY.  That’s not for me.  As far as the samples go?  I don’t really know what to make of that.  I have rubbed these on my shirt in moments of desperation, and I’ve seen people use them as de facto air fresheners in their dressers or between sofa cushions, but to use one as a part of your outfit seems a bit out there.  My best guess is that he can’t afford to do his laundry.