Sunday, January 15, 2017

Token Madness

What Baby Boomer doesn't recall the fun of picking his or her token at the start of a childhood Monopoly game?

My sisters and I would argue over who got to be the Scottie Dog.  My brothers would go to the mat over the Race Car. 

But nobody wanted to be the Iron.  The Iron was lame.  In fact, Hasbro replaced it with a cat in 2013.

Now Hasbro is sponsoring Token Madness, a contest to come up with a new, more relevant set of Monopoly game tokens.  In addition to the Scottie dog, top hat, car, thimble, boot, wheelbarrow, battleship and cat, there are 56 options that the public can vote on here.
As you can see, Hasbro has provided some "interesting" new options.  I can just imagine making my way around the Monopoly board as a Bunny Slipper!

Or passing GO as a Sliced Bread token.

Have the Marketing geniuses at Hasbro lost their minds?  Where's the wine glass? The Pop Tart?  The tap dance shoe?

Come on Hasbro!  Why do you have to pre-select the options anyhow?  Why not let the public come up with ideas?

Oh.  I know why.

Hasbro is afraid of the public.  And their collective sense of humor.

Like when the public voted to name a Humpback Whale in a 2007 Greenpeace internet poll Mister Splashy Pants.

I happen to like that name.

Then there was that Dub the Dew contest in 2012 where an Italian restaurant launched a campaign to choose the name for their apple-green soft drink.  They had to cancel the campaign when the winner was "Hitler did nothing wrong."  The 1st runner up was "Diabeetus".

Yeah.  I guess I'd have cancelled that campaign, too.

But my favorite public poll gone awry was the contest to name an expensive polar research vessel.

And I'm kind of bothered by the fact that they decided not to name the $300 million Antarctic boat Boaty McBoatface.  

It won fair and square, right?

I suppose that's why Hasbro pre-selected the 64 tokens included in the Great Monopoly Token-Off. 

But guess what, Hasbro Marketing Geniuses.  There's a downside to your chicken-ass business decision. 

We will probably never hear these words in an American Living Room.

"I want to be the tampon."

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Developing Healthy Lifestyles

I was taking a walk with Kevin on Christmas day when I noticed them: the two kids riding brand new bikes down the sidewalk.  The boy was about 8.  His sister no older than 6.  They made me smile.

Bikes under the Christmas tree.  A rarity in this day and age of electronics and gadgets that have proliferated the shopping season.

These kids were getting exercise rather than sitting around on their butts, playing on some expensive new devices.

My smile broadened as they got closer.  Clearly the offspring of outstanding parents.  Parent who understand the importance of exercise and helping kids develop healthy lifestyles.

These parents deserve medals.

As the boy passed me on the sidewalk I heard him say, "Mom, how far can I go?"  I looked around to see the mom.  (I had to sneak a peek at this June Cleaver of 2016.)

I didn't see her.

"Turn around at the bus stop," she said loudly and clearly.

What?  Where was she?

As the little girl approached me on her bike she said, "Mom, can I go with Brice?"

I looked around again.  What was she, Casper the invisible mom?

And from the iWatch on the girl's left arm came the response, "Okay, but be careful."

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sling Blade

Time for an update on my recovery from that lil' ole Rotator Cuff surgery I had last week.

Over the past 211 hours (but who's counting) my arm has been held captive by a very tight papoose sling. I have a love/hate relationship with that damn sling.

I hate it 99.99% of the time.

When I'm brave enough to remove the sling for a wardrobe change, my arm feels as if 2 million alien chinchilla are gnawing at it.

My only relief is returning said arm to the sling. Which is when when I love my sling. (The technical term for this phenomenon is "Sling Stockholm Syndrome".)

Speaking of wardrobe, many would consider mine these days to be a fashion "don't".  But it's actually more like a fashion HELL NO, DON'T YOU DARE.
I wear a long sleeved buttoned up PJ shirt under the sling. And pull-up pants.  That don't necessarily have to match.  

I tried, unsuccessfully, to put on jeans but could not pull up the zipper nor fasten them one-handed.

It was quite the scene.  

It should be noted that I have not applied deodorant to my left arm pit for 9 days.  I suspect that is why Dave and Kevin can most often be found seated to my right.  Or in another room.

On a positive note, I have learned how to eat with my right hand.  Typically 82% of the food ends up in my mouth. Four percent lands on my face, 2% in my hair and the rest is, unfortunately, destined for my shirt, and contributes to the need for a wardrobe change.  

I entertain myself during the day by deleting junk mail from my in-box.  The rest of the time I am either reading, binge watching NetFlix, or shopping online.  

Dave thinks this surgery has saved us a fortune in shopping expenses.  Wait till he sees my Discover card bill.  Which brings me to my scathingly brilliant idea for a revision to ObamaCare: allow me to use my Health Savings Account card for surgical recovery shopping. (Feel free to use this idea, Donald.)

Dave and I go on one "special" outing each day.  Yesterday's trip to the Dollar Tree was just too darn short!  Although I am grateful to be getting out of the house, Dave has absolutely no appreciation for the Dollar Tree Customer Experience.

I was barely past the Rudolph Earrings and headed into the musical instrument aisle when I heard him beeping his car horn.

My surgeon, who has a very sick sense humor, prescribed what appeared to be Michael Jackson/Elvis drugs, but were really placebos.  The only impact the meds had on me required additional pills, the first of which I affectionately called S2.   (Stool softener)  The second was Benedryl, to get rid of the rash that covered my torso.   I threw a third into the mix: Chardonnay.   

I can finally sleep through the night.

I have a follow-up appointment with my surgeon tomorrow.  That's when I'll get the scoop about physical therapy.   If he takes my arm out of the sling I cannot be held accountable for his well-being.

That's all the news I have to report.  Except I'm still trying to pull my hair into a pony tail one handed. One of my neighbors did it for me last week.  She said my hair was soft.  

I must have had bananas for breakfast that day.  

I have an idea, but I'll need Dave's cooperation:

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Flopped Rescue

I was minding my own business in the Wendy’s drive through lane when I noticed some movement in the back of the pick-up truck in front of me.

The driver of the truck was paying for his lunch at the window.  His tailgate was open.

I surveyed the truck bed.  It contained buckets and what looked like an old freezer lying on its side, held in place with yellow rope.   

I saw something moving.  What was it?

Then it flopped.  

OMG. It was a fish.  A flopping fish.

I gasped.  What the flip was a fish doing in the back of a pick up truck in Wendy's drive through?

The fish kept flopping.  As if trying to make a get-away.  What should I do???

“There’s a fish flopping in that truck!” I said loudly to nobody.  

Nobody responded.  The fish kept flopping.

“He’s gonna die!” I roared.

Where did he come from?  The bucket?  He was about 6 inches long so he probably wasn’t bait.  Unless they were fishing for really big fish.

I quickly sized up the situation.  I could step out of my car and tell the driver that there was a fish flopping around on his tailgate.  He would probably laugh at me.

Or I could rescue him!  That’s what I should do.  There was a sidewalk between our vehicles.  I could walk past and casually reach in and grab the little guy.

But he needed water.  Badly.  His flops had become less spirited.  All I had was Diet Coke and I was relatively certain no fish could survive long in Diet Coke.  

I had no choice.  I had to tell the driver about the fish.

Except he drove away.  

“Wait!!!” I screamed.  “There’s a fish flopping on your tailgate!”  

I was sick to my stomach.  The poor guy was dead meat.  Make that dead fish.  

I drove up to the window.  The employee said, “$5.19,” without looking at me.

I handed her my credit card and in a shaky voice said, “There was a fish flopping around the back of that truck.”

“Say what?”

“There was a fish flopping around in the tailgate of that truck.  The one you just served.”

“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t see no fish.”

I did.  And I wish I hadn’t.

My fish sandwich would have tasted way better.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Clash of the Duvet

I was in way over my head.  Literally.

And I thought I was prepared for the challenge. 

I had started training earlier in the day.

By putting towels in pillow cases.  I perfected my process: shove the towel all the way to the back, then grab both ends and shake.  

After hours of practice, my doggie duvet was perfect.

And I was ready for the real thing.

Or so I thought.

I laid Kimmy's duvet cover on the hallway floor and measured the duvet, determining which corners went in first.

"This hallway ain't big enough for the both of us," I said to the duvet.  "You're going IN THERE."

The duvet just laughed.

I took a deep breath, grabbed hold of the far end of the duvet corners, and crawled in, kneeling on the near ends to hold them in place.

As I approached the end, I dropped one of the corners.  CRAP!  Where the flip was it?  I felt around for it.  Nothing.  Maybe over there?  Or there?  

Hours later, Kevin came to my rescue.

And my brave dog led me out of duvet hell.

I was 5 pounds lighter.  And that was before I grabbed both ends of the duvet and "shook."

It was an exhausting experience, both mentally and physically.

I told my sister Jan about my duvet workout.  She could hardly get a word in.

"Holy crap!"  I said.  "Assembling a nuclear plant would be easier."

I chugged some wine.  "Next time I do that I'm going to lay down bread crumbs so I can find my way out."

I was on a roll. 

"And pack a lunch.  I could have starved to death."

Jan accused me of being dramatic.

Who me?

"You could do what I do," she added.

"What's that?"

"I use my duvet cover like a bedspread and lay it on top of the duvet."


What fun would that be?

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Race

As I was clipped from behind my car began to spin out of control. 

It was frightening. 

I circled 1,440 degrees.  (That's 4 times, for those of you without calculators.)

To say I was dizzy was an understatement.  My reading glasses only exacerbated the vertigo.

I screamed like a girl and managed, somehow, to straighten the car.  I gently pushed on the gas pedal and accelerated to 35 mph.

As an endless stream of aggressive sports cars passed by me on both sides, I wondered when this stupid NASCAR simulator race would finally end.


I'm lucky my lunch stayed with me.  Actually, the NASCAR Museum is lucky my lunch stayed with me.

After what seemed like an hour, the race finally came to an end.

I removed my reading glasses and struggled to open the door.  Upon exiting the torture chamber, I stumbled clumsily toward the exit. 

All around me I heard excited voices.  "That was great!!"  "Awesome!"  "Where'd you place?"

I was thinking, "Where's the bathroom?"

The race results were posted on a wall in 260 point font.  

Lovely.  Public humiliation.

There were 15 of us competing as part of our "team building  exercise".  For crying out loud.  Why didn't they do a Sudoku competition?  Or a quilting contest?  At least I'd have a fighting chance.

I was certain to be at the bottom of the NASCAR simulation race.

I looked at the race results.  The letters were moving.  I grabbed hold of the wall and focused, looking for my name on the list.

I was 14th.

WTH?  How could I not have been at the bottom?

Was it a clerical error?  I did not pass one car on the track.  In fact, cars pass by me like I was a kidney stone heading south.

Wait. One. Minute.

I beat somebody!   Hooray for me!

Maybe I should do this again.  I could get good at it.  My virgin NASCAR race and I wasn't even last.

If fact, I think I accelerated all the way to 40 by the last lap. 

Okay, maybe it was 39.  

I felt sorry for number 15.  He or she must really suck at NASCAR driving.  I squinted at the standings and saw that it was Ellen who came in last.

Poor, pathetic Ellen.

I decided to comfort her. (That's how empathetic I am.)

This was a delicate situation.  I did not want to embarrass her.  I mean, coming in dead last in a NASCAR simulator race.  How humiliating.

"Hey," I whispered.  "Don't feel badly about coming in last.  Who wants to win a NASCAR simulator race, anyhow?"

"Oh," she said, casually. "I didn't race.  I couldn't get my car started."

Saturday, November 5, 2016

No Use Crying Over Spilled Wine

I swear to God.  I was not drinking when I spilled wine on my laptop.

The wine was to be my reward for finishing the report.

I finished up, attached the document to the email, hit send, and reached for that well-deserved glass of wine.

What happened next was inexplicable.  Somehow the bottom of the wine glass became entangled in the laptop cord.

Did I mention that it was Halloween night and I was staying in a Myrtle Beach hotel?

The police were never able to identify the source of the reported screams.  Witnesses said they were certain a horrendous murder had been committed. 
Others suspected it was a werewolf on the prowl for young blood.

I immediately lunged for a paper towel and attempted to lap up the wine.  Unfortunately, the hotel did not have the quicker picker upper.  Instead a roll of three ply toilet paper masqueraded as paper towels.

I used the "knife in the ditch between keys" methodology and was able to completely contain all of the wine.

At least I thought I had.

The next morning I attempted to log into my laptop.  I typed in the password and was told quite rudely by said laptop that I had the incorrect password.  I tried again, unsuccessfully.


I looked at the screen and typed in the first letter of my password.  Here's what I saw:

Say what?  Two asterisks?  That's odd.  I only typed one letter.  

I entered the second letter of my password and this is what I saw:

Then I had a scathingly brilliant idea.  I started over.  I entered the first letter of the password.  Two asterisks appeared.  And I deleted one.

I was feeling quite proud of myself as I entered the second letter of the password.  When two more asterisks appeared, I deleted the second one.

Smarty Pants Clyde.  That's my name.

I entered the third letter of the password. No letters appeared.


I figured I had two options.  I could get the laptop repaired or I could buy a new one.  Neither option was ideal, and both options were expensive.

Way more expensive than that glass of wine.

Then I had my second scathingly brilliant idea.

Introducing the hottest, most technologically advanced laptop EVER:  the duo-keyboard laptop for those who want more than just 96 keys.

Forget Silicone Valley.  This baby was developed in Irmo, South Carolina.

And if you'd like your very own duo-keyboard laptop, I know where you can get one.  Just in time for the holidays.

And it's very reasonably priced.