Travelogue

Six summer weeks on the road, traveling from my New Orleans base back to my Twin Cities home turf. Let’s call it a ‘working vacation’…that I now could use a vacation from.

The trip itself was mostly a success, but while living in the south, sometimes a return to my Midwestern roots leave e scratching my head. Vice versa upon my return.

I was able to document some of the quirkier things I ran across. Maybe it is because I have spent the past eight years in a region where the odd is commonplace and celebrated, but some of these things I encountered seemed misplaced – especially some of the gastronomical quirks.

IMG_20160624_173647For example…barbeque hummus? Yeah, a Midwestern take on Middle Eastern staple that even I would think thrice on before trying. For real overkill, I suppose you could use barbeque flavored chips for your dipping/sopping option.

Even in the barbeque-happy south, grilling peas seems a cultural mismatch. It is also mildly disquieting that there is a certain ‘that aint kosher’ element to this little snack.

In downtown Minneapolis, I pulled up alongside a food truck – not unusual. The cuisine? That’s different.

In Minnesota parlance, where fishing is almost a faith, I used to refer to sushi as ‘lure on a plate’ which was usually IMG_20160602_131031greeted with a nod of acknowledgement. Now I guess the saying would have to be ‘bait on a tortilla’.

Or in true Minnesotan, ‘Minnows on lefse’.

Speaking of fishing, there is a small, family-run hardware store right by my mom’s new apartment, and as I frequently needed hardware items or tools to fix something at her old house, or prep something at the apartment, I became something of a regular. My first stop, the window signage caught my eye, but it wasn’t until my next-to-last (73rd but who’s counting?) stop that IMG_20160629_145402I said something almost pithy about ‘duct tape and nightcrawlers’ to the clerk at check out.

She sighed, glanced over her shoulder at the ‘live bait repair’ window paint job, with resignation and said,  for what sounded like the ninety-sixth time,“Yeah, they didn’t think that one out very well”.

Honestly, I did not see the upper-pane labeled ‘screen and window’ until at least the fifth time I passed by.

Off-beat signage always interests me, though this theatre marquee in Minneapolis is spot-on, local language wise.
IMG_20160623_084516

 

 

On the other hand, I don’t know the genesis of this little gem I saw posted behind the counter of a neighborhood café where I was having lunch with a couple of old friends, but it definitely has a New Orleans/Mardi gras vibe
IMG_20160603_114359

But this t-shirt? Definitely a Midwestern thing.IMG_20160628_122559

 

 

 

That hopefully stays right where it is.

I need to get back to my unpacking. More on-the-road shenanigans hiding between the dirty laundry and stolen hotel towels. So…

Later, kids.

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Jottings from a pocket notebook

Photo2596 (2)Yes, English teachers get spring break, too. A few days in to mine, all I can say is that the bulk of the items on my ‘to do’ list are not getting ‘too done.’

RobertBurns‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.’

Robert Burns must’ve had a few spring breaks like mine, but I don’t look great in a kilt.

 

deadhorse

Sometimes, people…

I understand the appeal behind the idiom of ‘beating a dead horse’ – (figurative) beating can be very cathartic.

But continuing to yell “Giddyup!” while doing it?

Dude, you got issues.

 

Lessons learned and re-learned

potholesSometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Me? I tend to be the guy with the shovels full of hot asphalt filling pot holes on a cul-de-sac.

On the plus side, I don’t need GPS to get back out quickly.

 

Kids, DO try this at home:

Rogets thesaurus“Umm…what?”

Favorite recent not-understood-observation-by-my-students on their classroom decorum, usually delivered following a deep sigh on my part: “An entire shelf of thesauruses over there, and yet – there are no words.”

Sometimes, there just aren’t.

 

‘Thank you for your support and concern’ department:

“Mr. Lucker! What’s up?!”
“My blood pressure.”

This is a not uncommon exchange in our school hallways during passing periods. Usually, it is at the start of fourth period, as my third period class of 35 seniors can be a real group of peasant’s donkeys; my fourth period seniors know this, and most empathize.

BPUsually the kids just shake their heads, smile, walk into class. But, once or twice a semester, one kid will actually HEAR
ME
, and stop, a look of concern crossing his face (it’s always a male student, oddly) and some form of the following ensues:

“Mr. Lucker, your blood pressure really bad? You should see a doctor about that. My granddad had high blood pressure. He had a stroke…and died!

“Same thing happened to my grandma.” chimes in student number two, equally concerned.

“Thanks, guys. Nice to know that someone cares. My blood pressure is going back down, but now I’m really depressed.”

“Ummmm? You’re welcome?”

 

Like, in an elevator, and you can’t place the tune…

I recently heard a cover version of a common wedding and graduation song played by a Mariachi Band; they called it Photo2594 (2)‘Tacobell’s Canon.’

That joke is obviously Baroquen.

Yeah, I know. There are no words.

2012 Leftovers: Scraps, tidbits and what-thas…?

100_3851The ever-present-in-my-back-pocket Notebook of Niftiness (NON) becomes something of a Rubbermaid tub throughout the year; while many of the ideas and tidbits make their way into a post on either this blog or into a full-fledged poem for my poetry blog, some just languish there, out of sight, out of mind, but safe in the tub for future use. Or not. Many will never see the light of day again.

Some the notes in NON are tantalizing tidbits to build upon, some are merely interesting quotations I ran across during the year. Some were shorthand notes that made little sense days, weeks or even hours after I jotted them down. Some were interesting or amusing at the time I jotted them down, not so much after-the-fact. Some of the hasty chicken scratches I can’t even read.

Sometimes NON is more than an acronym.

Time to empty the tub. Or at least, rummage through it.

Wile-E-Coyote_fallingYear End News Item #1: ‘Congress reaches a short-term deal to avoid the fiscal cliff’.

Why do I continue to get mental images of Wyle E. Coyote and the word ‘ACME’?

Prime Misconception of the Year 2012: So with all the hubbub about the end-of-the-world via the Mayan calendar, even though it was well documented that the Mayans failed mayancalendar1to account for leap years and Monday holidays, many people were still fixated on the prognostication skills of a vanished culture that couldn’t even foresee their own demise.

The real reason the Mayan calendar ended with December 2012? Impractical design. Made of chiseled stone and measuring three feet or more in diameter, the damn things kept ripping the nails out of the Mayans adobe garage walls before the calendars crashed to the floor in pieces.mayancalendar2

That, and the sacrificial virgin pin-up pictures weren’t much to look at.

My 1st Prediction for 2013: Having moved to New Orleans nearly five years ago, I have become well acquainted with hurricanes, having had to evacuate for one twice in that fifty-some month span – including this past August for Isaac. The naming of hurricanes is curious. Something called the World Meteorological Organization (think ’10 o’clock news weather guessers in super hero tights’) have come up with the list since 1953, only adding male names in 1979. There are six lists that continue to rotate. The lists only change when there is a hurricane that is so devastating, the name is retired and another hurricane name replaces it. Interestingly, 2013 seems to have a decidedly more ethnic flavor; Fernand, Humberto, Ingrid, Lorenzo, Olga and Pablo standing out.

bookieMark my words: somewhere along the line, some elected idiot will somehow work this year’s hurricane names into the national debate on illegal immigration.

My bookie is standing by to take your sucker bets.

MarkTwainNotable quote seen…somewhere/Affirmation:
“In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards”.
– Mark Twain

In addition to the new state testing procedure were are now in year two of teaching toward, this year we also began the implementation of the new national Common Core Curriculum (don’t get me started). Oh, and this year our district is also adding mandatory ACT testing and the associated…uhm, teaching? It’s less ‘teaching to the test’ and more teaching ‘which test is which, again’?

Conclusion? Twian’s faith was grossly misplaced.

Year End News Item #2: Twenty percent of Americans who admit to making New Year’s resolutions say that ‘spending less time on BLOG in Portugese (2)Facebook’ was one of their main decrees to self. The Facebook proclamation came in third after ‘quitting smoking’ and ‘losing weight’.

As long as ‘reading blogs’ stays in the single-digits as a resolution, I’m jiggy with the whole ‘resolve to give stuff up’ approach. Good luck with that Facebook thing, by the way.

Things come in threes…

Early last fall, I wrote in this space about a sophomore who wrote an essay commenting on her sister’s positive attitude, and the inspiration the sister provides all of her younger siblings. She lauded, in worthy prose, her sister’s ‘self of steam.’

surprised-lady steamDiscussing her paper with her, I was met with a puzzled look as I tried to explain that what she meant was her sister had a lot of ‘self-esteem’ – even going so far as to having her look up ‘esteem’ in the dictionary. She paused, looked at her paper, looked up at me standing over her and said, distinctly, and with a definitely-correcting-me tone of voice: “Yeah, it’s her SELF. OF. STEAM, Mr. Lucker…how good she feels about herself”!

The young woman’s ‘self-of-steam’ stayed that way in the final draft.

Toward the end of the semester, we had some more writing to do that focused on sense-of-self and self-awareness. Sure enough, ‘self-of-steam’ once again reared its pesky head…not only with the girl who originally coined the phrase, but in the papers of two other classmates as well.

This episode reminded me of my first teaching gig a few years back. On a district social studies test, much to the amusement of our social studies teacher, three of my homeroom fifth graders used the same, oh-so-unique answer on a question about the effect that iron tools had on irontoolsthe new world: “When they got iron tools in the new world, people didn’t have to take their clothes to the dry cleaners no more”. Much as with my current sophomore, they could not be swayed that their answer was not perfectly logical and correct.

Maybe they could all get together to use some self-of-steam to press their uniform pants.

goodtimecharlierecordHey, it could always be worse. With apologies to Danny O’Keefe: “…sometimes it pours…sometimes it only sprinkles; Good Time Charlie’s got the periwinkles…”

A final thought: School cafeteria food raises the intriguing question, “Haute cuisine or hot food?” If you answered neither, you are correct.

Happy 2013.

Signs of the times

Oh, sign, sign everywhere a sign
Blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign
Five Man Electrical Band, 1965

Oh meme, meme, everywhere a meme
clogging up my Facebook, beating on my mind
animals, politics, cutesy kids clogging up the scene
everything’s a statement, everything’s a meme
Me, 2012

Memes. We all get them, many of us have made them. Facebook, emailed, texted them. Memes are everywhere; cute, political, sarcastic. Pictures with a message, many that ‘go viral’ in our Internet age and end up coming to you from half a dozen different folks in far-flung corners of the world. Or Detroit.

I am not putting any memes in this posting. In the spirit of D.I.Y. and not being an enabler, I am offering you the raw materials to make your own meme(s). The supplied pictures are all from my phone, having been snapped, filed away, and rediscovered as I was trying to download new pictures on my phone and was accosted by the ‘Memory Full – Delete Some Items’ warning from my dumbphone.

Dive in, have some fun. See what you can come up with.

One more thing: Realizing that just the pictures might not be enough for some of you, there are also some random comments included – meme prompts, off sorts. They are not etched in stone. As food packages frequently read, ‘SERVING SUGGESTION’

Speaking of food…

I encountered this ‘Express Lane’ signage array in a Missouri grocery store last winter. Really befuddling for those with grocery-cart-approximation issues or general math anxiety, sweaty palms territory for the OCD crowd.  The outright indecision (1 -15, ‘About 20′) is definitively Midwestern.

This store does give you multiple options for ticking off the people in line behind you. Always nice to have choices.

My wife (who found this one and sent it to me) knows that the whole canned food/can food issue continues to bedevil me; in the Midwest, where I grew up, it is ‘Canned Food’ – presumably because it is canned. Or jarred, which is still referred to as ‘canning.’  In New Orleans, it is ‘Can Food’ – because, so I have been told, ‘Because it is food in a can.’ Admittedly not as compelling as the ‘pop’ versus ‘soda’ vernacular debate, but curious nonetheless. At this particular New Orleans grocery, the indecision is palpable.

Or not.

This sign is really indicative of nothing; it’s just the street I live on and I enjoy being able to tell people that (or in this case, write it) using a French dialect: “I leeeve on LOUeee zeee four-teeeze Street!”

I found this one last spring in a Mississippi gift shop. Nice reminder, as long as your kids aren’t yet old enough to read. I would take this particular warning to heart; the proprietor of the shop had a certain, ominous Deliverance quality to her.

And they serve the espresso there in Mason Jars…straight up. Buyer (or parent-shopper) beware.

This New Orleans billboard conjures up all sorts of interesting interpretations: costumed ushers, Kool-Aid and graham cracker communion, aw-shucks-and-brimstone sermons…

“I luv YEW….yew love MEEEE…” with Barney the Choir Director.

This is just a cool sign you will see all over New Orleans – phrase copyrighted by the artist, Dr. Bob. They are ubiquitous in public locales and in very high demand. Just a very cool sentiment.

‘Be nice or leave.’ 

I saw this one a few years ago at a campground in southern Mississippi and it made me laugh simply because of the placement of two seemingly unrelated signs. Then again, in whatever context you might read them, its decent advice.  I mean, you get a couple of shots of schnapps into your typical gator, and..

As my old friend Mark Preston put it, ‘Hey – “Gators Gone Wild.”

Conversely if you have a few, and you see a cute gator…just don’t.

F.Y.I.  – Do not ask local game wardens for clarification on the topic, “But what if the gator comes right up here to your tent?”

Finally, this bumper sticker. And if you have read this blog more than once, now you truly do!

Random thoughts and sporadic observations

‘Huh, whatttayaknow!’ category, take 1:

I casually learned something recently about one of my favorite types of bread: In Italian, “ciabatta” means ‘an old worn-out slipper.’ I get where the name came from; coming out of an old Italian oven back-in-the-day, it’s what they looked like.(see pic above) Now I like ciabatta bread, so this just made me chuckle. Then…I got to wondering about other bread-type things and how they got their names.

My curiosity thus piqued, I looked it up: ‘Wonder Bread’ in Russian is ‘хлеб интереса’ – which is pretty much how it tastes; like a Sunday paper cartoon expletive.
 
хлеб интереса!!

WARNING: Rant Alert!

My primo pet peeve ( I may have touched on this before) is the alleged ‘Cookie Cake.’

You know, those big, pizza-sized chocolate chip cookies you see in most grocery stores. People refer to these giant cookies as ‘cookie cakes’ and most stores have the gall to label them as such.

Any self-respecting baker will tell you: cookies are made with dough, cakes are made with batter. These things are giant cookies made from cookie dough, regardless of what some Nimrod grocery store ‘baker’ labels them. When I worked at a grocery part-time this past year, I had the opportunity to spend ample time in the bakery area, and dealt with many boxes of the frozen cookie dough we used. They boxes were labeled, by the manufacturer, ‘Large (12 inch) Chocolate Chip Cookie’ so I feel vindicated and don’t need to belabor this point any more than need be, though for most I already have.

But it got me thinking about other baked curiosities. Such as cheesecake. Cheesecake is made with a batter, but is usually presented on a graham cracker or some similar-type crust, which begs the obvious question:

Why isn’t it called cheese pie?

Just sayin.’ More appropriately, just askin.’ I guess as long as they make real cheesecake with ricotta instead of acceptable but certainly not authentic cream cheese, I won’t complain.

Not that I am a purist, or anything. But…my late grandfather once owned a bakery, though I never met him (he died before I was born) or saw the bakery. It’s a family honor sort of thing.

‘Huh, whatttayaknow!’ category, take 2:

America continues to take the whole ‘super-size me’ mindset to odd heights, as I stumbled across this disturbing tidbit: Life-size chia pets?
 
The traditional, original, window sill-perching Ram isn’t good enough in these modern times. It wasn’t bad enough when they branched out to Chia Presidents – now we’re going life-sized…?

I’m not paying full retail, I’ll tell you that. I’ll wait until I see one at a garage sale.

I guess if you want a Chia Michelangelo’s David, go for it. Just be careful when you’re pruning it. Especially if any of your , um, more socially conservative neighbors are watching you garden.

Speaking of sales, I recently saw this chiropractic visit-inducing double take:

Turns out it’s a non-profit store, ala Goodwill, that benefits a local animal charity.

Some Saturday morning, yell out “Honey! I’m going to SpayMart to drop off a donation!” and see what kind of response you get.

And, just because it’s been a while since I have blogged about beer-drinking dogs: 

Til next time, then.

Post-it-Notes and scrap paper notations from throughout the year that were scrunched up and stuffed in my pants pockets and forgotten about. The ones that didn’t go through the laundry.

One of my favorite overheard  lines of the year: A guy was sitting in a New Orleans restaurant nursing a beer and waiting for his order, complaining that the beer was cheap but wasn’t very cold, when the waitress walked up with his po-boy and said, “Here – wash your beer down with this.”

Things to ponder in the coming year:
There is no ‘I’ in team, there are no carbs in coffee.
Meringue’ is what sits atop a pie; ‘merengue’ is a dance. Both involve elaborate whipping techniques, both are more entertaining with partaken in with a partner.

When I pull underwear out of my dresser drawer, I feel like I’m headed off to camp: my name (well, DAD) is written in bold, indelible Magic Marker on all the tags.

Such is life in the household when you have a teenager who is now taller than you, and wears some of the same sizes in certain apparel. I’m guessing in the next year, my youngest son, soon to be thirteen, will add further to the labeling and sorting dilemma.

One of us is going have to change brands, styles or laundry.

Around here we don’t sort and our laundry as much as we collate and calibrate it.

Speaking of matters familial, one night, while still only fifteen, Will made a statement about something that made no sense to the rest of us. His response to our blank stares and silence?

“I’m thinking ahead here. My paranoia is getting the best of me.”

I know my kids are really getting older when…
I had to bribe soon-to-be-thirteen Sam to play ‘Auto Bingo’ with me on our recent trip home to Minnesota.  Kid won two bucks, really got into it. We had a good time. Well worth the investment.

One of my favorite students is a tall, lanky African-American junior who is an average student, but really picks up on nuance and subtly better than most of his peers.

I stand in the hallway outside of my class during every passing period, and ‘Alan’ almost always greets me at the doorway with a bump-ready fist or a handshake, and a hearty, “Yo, Mr. Luckerwhat’s up?!” to which I one day responded, “My blood pressure.”

This got him to stop in his tracks, think for a moment, and as the light bulb came on over his head, he smiled, shook my hand and his head, replying “Dawg…” with a chuckle as he took his seat.

This has become a near daily ritual, and depending on his mood, the ‘Dawg’ now takes on different inflections and meanings: ‘Dawwwwwg’ with a guttural growl of agreement indicates ‘I hear you man.’ “Dawg!” with a yelp of surprise says, ‘You can’t be serious!’ Dawg…?’ in questioning tone means, ‘What did those ninth graders do now?’

He won’t be in any of my classes when the new semester begins, but I hope we will see each other in the hall from time to time, and that he continues to dawg me. Pun intended.

One of the things I miss about not working in the food service area of the grocery store was getting to take po-boy orders, and hollering them out to the kitchen while I stuck the order on the wheel.

This was especially true when there were a large number of elderly customers around the counter area, because they would always giggle when I hollered out, “Six inch hot sausage – dressed!” as I rang the bell.

Old people are funny when they giggle…just because a bell rings.


Finally…

Just for kicks, one day I ran my blog homepage through a translation website – just to see what it might look like, should any of my Norwegian relatives or long-lost members of my Russian lineage track me down in cyberspace; it has an interesting look in Cyrillic.

It was all fun, but I really liked seeing my blog in Italian. In Italian, I am known as ‘maestro.’

I kind of like that. ‘Maestro’ Mark Lucker. A big ‘thumbs up’ for the romance languages.

Oddly, though, my blog wouldn’t translate into Dutch or Greek – I am apparently incomprehensible to those cultures. This is ironic, as many of my English readers say when reading my stuff, “It’s all Greek to me!”

Now that statement will probably land me in Dutch for perceived political incorrectness.

Let’s hear it for my last official puns of 2011.

Happy New year to you and yours, from me and mine.

Til next year; Ciao, kids!

Store stories

Monday was Labor Day, and for me it was very odd: there was no MDA telethon…well, there was, for about an hour and twenty minutes or something on Sunday night. But, Labor Day sans Jerry Lewis just didn’t seem right.

It’s like going to the mall the Friday after Thanksgiving and finding out that mall management has nudged Santa into retirement and left the elves in charge of Santa Land. And we all know how creepy it is when an elf asks you to share his lap.

As Jerry might say; “Heyyyyyyy, layyyyyyyyyyyyDEEEEEEE!”

I worked the morning shift Monday at the store – kind of a slow one, but a few of our regulars showed up, in different guises than the norm. One in particular was interesting; a fortyish woman I usually see in the afternoon when she stops in on her way home from work. She usually dresses nicely, seems to work in a professional environment. She is always pleasant and gracious, asks me how I am. On Monday, she came in wearing  jeans and a sweatshirt and was a bit more chatty than usual. We were discussing dodging the Tropical Storm Lee mess when she looked at me, leaned in and kind of squinted. “You must be from up north or out west – I can tell by your accent, your dialect. Where are you from?”

“Minnesota, originally.” I replied

“See? I knew that. You have such nice articulation and good enunciation…” she paused, gathering her fresh po-boy and groceries. ”We don’t have that here, so thank you.”

With that, she took her bag and left.

“Heyyyyyyy, layyyyyyyyyyyyDEEEEEEE! Have a good afternoon. And…uh, you’re welcome?”

When I work mornings, I meet some of the store’s vendors who are making their daily rounds restocking products. One of them is the Zapps potato chip guy, a really nice, older fellow. We have a rack of individual-serving chips at our counter, and are constantly restocking. Zapps makes really tasty chips and some locals will only eat Zapps. Their flavors are very localized, too; Voodo and Cajun Crawtator are two spicy favorites, plus sweet potato chips, and they have black pepper and vinegar, bar-b-que, etc.

Due to our weekend crush of people thinking they were going to be stranded at home due to T.S. Lee, the racks were picked over more than usual, and our restock supply beneath the counter was all used up; about all that was left on the rack were the orange bag, ‘Regular Flavor’ potato chips.

This is a ‘flavor’ choice that seems to confuse a lot of our customers, as in, “So, what flavor is ‘regular’?” when we only have orange bags left on the rack. (“Uh, plain-old potato chip” is my general response.) For the record, when that is all that is left on the rack, we don’t sell a lot of potato chips.

As I started to relate this story to the Zapps guy, he just nodded, kept checking off stuff on his order pad. “They always ask that. I don’t know why.” He shook his head and chuckled.

“Maybe they should just say ‘potato flavored’ instead of ‘regular’” I suggested, tongue firmly in cheek.

“People have said that” he nodded in response, looked at me and shook his head. “I don’t know why they ask what ‘regular’ is – but people always do. It’s all you can tell ‘em, I guess”

Just a couple of regular guys discussing the befuddlement of regular customers and ‘regular’ potato chips. 

Labor Day morning was a little dull at the store, and there wasn’t even much good on to have on the restaurant-area flat screen. With T.S. Lee having moved on, the Weather Channel was even more boring than usual, and a customer asked me to put something else on.

It was a challenge (especially with no telethon!) and brought to mind a recent discussion with a friend on watching golf on t.v. – something I can only do for about five minutes. Now I love to play golf, but watching it on t.v.? Nope. In fact, there are a lot of things that dot the airwaves these days that I simply don’t understand the appeal of. Doing or participating in them is great, watching them on television…?

The  ‘things I really enjoy doing but find watching others doing on t.v. is a colossal waste of time’ list  includes, but is not limited to: golf, tennis, weather, poker, sex, baking cupcakes, NASCAR, cooking (except for Rachael Ray) and shopping come readily to mind, and don’t even get me started on ‘reality t.v.’.

Give me a good, cheesy telethon for a good cause any day.

“Heyyyyyyy, layyyyyyyyyyyyDEEEEEEE!” Boy, I enunciate well.

“I think I can, I think I can…but I prefer my beer from a bottle, thanks.”

The marvels of modern technology.

The week leading up to my anniversary, Facebook kept reminding me…it was my anniversary. Contrary to popular stereotype, perpetuated by television sitcoms ad nauseam, most men I know do not forget their anniversaries, and can recite the date when asked.

My first thought about this was that whoever programmed this little feature into Facebook was really sexist, because my wife received no such reminder. My second thought on this was that with all of its odd little reminders, Facebook was becoming a nagging, t.v. sitcom wife.

My third thought was, that second thought makes me the sexist.

Stupid Facebook.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone has ever said to me,”Who does your hair?”

In a recent blog post I mentioned dreaming in song, which prompted a friend of mine to respond that, ‘sometimes, I don’t even dream in color’ which makes me wonder if some people’s dreams are like late night television, flipping through a bazillion channels, landing on this old sitcom or that old movie, some in color, some in black-and-white. Is there a big ‘clicker’ in your head, jumping you from dream-to-dream in your head until you find something interesting? Who or what controls that remote? Is it your id, or your inner child? Your subconscious or some subliminally implanted messages?

Do you dream in color or black-and-white, or are you a history buff, whose dreams are sepia toned? Do you dream in reruns or original programming? Forget about Freud and all that ‘wish fulfillment’ stuff – what genre do you dream in? Drama or comedy? Adventure or Sci Fi? Are dreams like Netflix? What’s in your dream queue?

Maybe the whole dream thing is more about the platform you dream on. Do you dream on VHS format, fast-forwarding past stuff you don’t want, rewinding and re-watching certain parts over and over? Maybe you dream in DVD format; extended cuts, director commentary options, special features. Do you dream on portable device, or big screen in HD? (NOTE: If you dream in Betamax, seek professional help) Inquiring minds want to know.

As for me, I dream mostly in color, usually on a mid-70’s vintage, Zenith console model television, but on occasion in grainy, silent super-8 movie form, though I have at times had ViewMaster dreams about childhood events like family trips. (I stopped dreaming in filmstrip form in the early 1990’s, but sometimes I still slip in a daydream or two on microfiche).

Sometimes, though, when I dream about my wife, its big screen stuff; Technicolor and shot in wide-screen Panavision…lots of sweeping-vista camera work and bold oboe and trumpet musical scoring in the background, you know, Lawrence-of-Arabia-type epics.

Oddly, in those particular dreams, I’m never riding a horse. Wonder what Freud would think about that.

As a smart shopper, I use coupons and take advantage of rebates when I can, but I have an issue with the rebate process. I think manufacturers should add forty-four cents (the price of a stamp) to any rebate you mail in for. In a purely P&L way, I feel I am getting ripped off (because I AM) because the value of my rebate is diminished.  Next time I buy a printer cartridge, I want a rebate for $5.44, not $4.56.  

Just sayin’.

Warning! Old guy harangue forthcoming:

This incidence crops up every couple of years, and always fires up my indignation: Mr. Potato Head was a great toy…

until they started using a plastic potato.

My first Mr. Potato was received as a gift in 1966 while I was in the hospital having my tonsils out. It came in a box, with a couple of dozen pieces; noses, eyes, arms, feet, hats, etcetera – but no potato. That had to be supplied by mom. Or she/you could substitute rutabaga, carrot, green pepper or pretty much any vegetable or even (“Gosh, Wally!”)…fruit!

Mr. Potato Head came up the other night in a workplace conversation with twenty-something coworkers and the conversation swung to me. They simply could not get their heads around the idea of Mr. Potato Head not being….well, the Mr. Potato head we know today: standard, smooth, brown, boring, only a few select-location holes, plastic Potato Head. I pity them.

They know not what they missed out on. Proof? Click below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICGrjmJouWA

See?  In terms of toys, my generation was Picasso…theirs is flippin’ clip-art.

Harangue concluded. We now return you to regular blogging.

Damn. Film broke. That’s all I got. For today.