The Cheese That Makes The Man - Part 1

For as long as I can remember I have had a ritual on first dates that helps me figure out if a guy is right for me or not. I ask what his favorite cheese is. My truth is, out of zillions of cheeses worldwide, there is only one wrong answer they can give me -- American cheese. Let me just say right away that I like american cheese a fair amount (it is still cheese after all) so I don't want to answer to rioters outside my loft screaming about the injustice I've done this processed dairy miracle. However, if it is your favorite cheese there is no deep long lasting love connection in our future. This dating tactic has never failed me; men who long for cheese of the perfectly square kind and choose it over all others are all the same.

I can maybe let it slide if you think Swiss won't compliment your sandwich, but anything has to have more depth than American. I don't understand; when Provolone is an option, why not take it?! These guys are the picky eaters and the ones who order the same Chicken Parmesan at every Italian restaurant and General Gau's Chicken at every Asian place. They scoff at the idea of trying any new food that "looks weird", "smells funny" or "is green" no matter how many people tell them it's worth a bite. If you ever do get this guy to try something new after he swears he won't like it, he will say it's disgusting no matter what, just to be right. There is an element of control here that ladies would be wise to avoid.

Ever wonder why you never see American cheese as a part of an entree salad at restaurants? It is because people who like that stuff don't eat salad.

The man who likes his cheese patriotic and processed is the same guy whose mother made him grilled cheese sandwiches with no crust on command and now you are going to have to fill her apron. I say all this because if someone is claiming that their favorite cheese is something that uninteresting, I have to believe they haven't explored their other options fully. I assume they have no natural interest in the world around them because they were coddled and sheltered as a boy. I wouldn't be surprised if these were some of the same culprits of underwear deliveries from their mom... that alone is a rant for another day.

In the wild, this color means "Do not eat! Poison!"
In the wild, this color means "Do not eat! Poison!"

After doing a little research I discovered that I'm breaking laws in this post because here I have been calling it "cheese" (I couldn't make this up if I tried). It is illegal in the US to call it that because it is not. It has to be referred to as:

  • Processed cheese
  • Cheese product
  • Cheese food (my personal favorite)
  • American Slices/Singles (leaving the word cheese out altogether)

There was govenrment time and money spent talking about referring to it as "cheese" because of how it is made and what is in it. If this concept doesn't concern the consumer I have to question all their life choices.

What about cheddar? That's another simple and unimaginative answer but I can respect it because at least it isn't defined by it's color. "Would you like the White American, Yellow or Orange?" The difference is food coloring, so why there are options at all is beyond me.

When I tell a guy that he picked the one wrong answer he always tries to defend his choice (but let's be real here, if he picked American he isn't the sharpest debater either). Usually the main point in his case is, "But it's so delicious!". Touché dude, you have me there. How can I argue with such powerful and insightful logic?

The only argument I will hear on behalf of our nation's namesake cheese is if one is referring to the rare but delicious unprocessed American. It is a mixture of Colby and Cheddar and the tales I have heard of it in my journeys tell me that it is quite tasty. If this is the cheese you speak of, and it is your favorite, you are off the hook. Otherwise, that second date we planned for next Saturday? Yeah, I forgot, I have a show that night...

(If you want to know what your favorite cheese says about you, read my next post, where I will attempt to tackle other cheese personality types)

The World is Your Trash Recepticle

While we are on the subject of driving, I feel I should address those of you who keep a messy car. I take no issue with someone wanting to clutter their own space as I too have been known to let my back seat pile up. What I do have a problem with is when you decide that you can't take the mess anymore and you want to clean out your car and do so by throwing your trash out the window... you must be kidding. Has Captain Planet and his gang of ethnically diverse preteens taught us nothing?!?! What is it about being in your car that you are suddenly exempt from normal social etiquette? If your office was a mess and you opened up the window and started throwing files onto the street people would think you had lost your mind. But oh, now you are in your vehicle and you can drive away from the crime scene so you can wash your hands of it, that's reasonable. Maybe I will put my trash on your front lawn, I figure if you don't see me do it and I run away really fast it is practically like it didn't happen. Heck, I don't care if your yard looks bad, I don't have to look at it, right? Am I capturing your mindset accurately here or am I still missing something?

Also, the size of the trash does not deem it more or less trash-like, and I'm mostly referring to cigarette butts here. I think they are gross before you even open the pack, but once you've touched it and put it in your mouth it reaches a whole new level of horrible. I guess it makes sense, why would you want that nasty thing in your car, it might make things stink and look bad, therefore it belongs in nature. I have heard that planet earth has the capability to absorb used cigarettes and convert them into energy so clearly you are just supporting sustainability practices.

For those extra special pricks, taking the final sips of their super-sized McDonald's soda and then tossing the giant empty cup directly out the window, I have to ask... are you for real? Now imagine you are at a restaurant and you finish your meal, would you just pick up your plate and throw it on the floor? Of course not, because at a restaurant there is someone being paid to clean up after you. Nobody deserves to be the person assigned to picking up your garbage, I don't care if they are criminals and this is their community service. Imagine if we all stopped junking up our highways, we might be able to put those workers on a task that wasn't the equivalent of being your personal butler.

Since this is a rather short post and I feel I have not fully gotten the message across, I will just let my all time favorite furry friend tell you what they think about your littering, maybe he can get you to take this more seriously... here.

Kindly Get Out of My Way

I remember driver's ed like it was yesterday. For some reason I loved that class and I can still recall most of what I learned about the rules of the road; the little things like, who has the right of way at a 4-way stop sign or how to merge into a rotary. I'm guessing that many of you have forgotten a lot of these details and need a little recap, because when I drive on the highway I'm pretty sure I'm one of the last remaining drivers who knows how to use the left lane. The left lane is for passing. Are you with me so far? This means that unless you are passing someone, you should not be there. I have noticed that many of you are getting into the left lane and just casually riding along with nobody in any of the lanes around you... why? Worse than that are those of you who pass the car in the middle lane that is going 40mph but then the car in front of it doing 60 is the one you want to ride alongside. Is your buddy in that car? Are you signing through the windows about where to meet for some gelato? PASS HIM.

This often feels like an eternity and the car in the left lane will pull ahead just a little and you think you'll be able to just pass the car in the middle lane and scoot ahead of him, but no. The idiot in the left lane panics when they realize that they are passing a car, so now they might be speeding and they could die. Better slow back down and keep pace with the car next to you, let's not go all daredevil here. It always feels like some sort of idiot phenomenon when you are on a three to five lane highway and cars in every lane line up alongside each other and travel as though they are in a pack together. It is truly an amazing sight to see, like a flock of rams in a field just running into each other and banging their heads over and over.

I can understand when sometimes you get into the left lane to pass a few cars and then your favorite Toni Braxton song comes on and you have to belt it out. You are a pop star and I love you for that and it's alright to lose track of what you're doing when your big solo starts. I will give you a courtesy flash of my lights as a friendly reminder to please speed up or change lanes. What's that? I've interrupted your high note and now I'm the asshole? Well surely if you are that mad at me you should teach me a lesson by slowing down and not getting out of my way. It's the only way I will ever learn.

Is it complicated? Am I expecting too much here? Riding in the right hand lanes doesn't make you less hip and nobody thinks less of you. In my opinion, if you are speeding in the slow lane when the roads are empty you're just smart; statistically you are less likely to get pulled over in any lane other than the passing, even at the same speeds. But really, you can't recognize that maybe you lost track of what you were doing and just pull aside for three seconds while I politely pass you? It feels like a teenager who gets upset with their parent because they found marijuana and the teen then claims that they are now furious that their privacy was invaded, so they are off the hook. Don't play that game with me. I might be handling the situation wrong by riding up your back end and screaming sweet nothings about your mother, but let us not forget why this started... you wanted to teach me a lesson by pissing me off, what did you expect, a thank you note? I'm sorry I didn't think of a better way to communicate my wants and needs, I thought flashing my lights was the friendliest option. Next time I'll invest in an engraved invitation sent to you personally, courtesy of the middle lane.

Spreading The Love?

I think I hate Valentines day. Before you go getting upset, let me explain myself; I love Valentines day (no I'm not trying to contradict myself). What I hate are the people who bitch about the holiday and act like they are badass because they are rejecting the whole concept. You are not super cool, we see right through it. What is even better are the girls who say they hate Valentines day to a guy they are into, just so he will think she is low-maintenance. Then, the next year, when they are dating... BOOM, suddenly if you aren't lighting candles and paying for a fancy meal, you are an ass. We have all spent at least one V-Day as a single, and I admit it makes the day harder, but do you have to whine? You know the girls I'm talking about, instead of just being adults about it they have to talk about it days or weeks in advance, to mention (in case they haven't 1,000 times already) that they are dreading it. Well don't you think bringing it up starting when CVS breaks out the sweet tart hearts is just making it worse? Try this instead-- shutting up.

It is a Hallmark holiday, nobody gets it off from work, we don't shop for months preparing for it, no religion is demanding that we recognize it, so if you are feeling a bit lonely this year, maybe try making plans with some friends and pretending it's just a normal day. Don't go twisting what I say here and get your girlfriends together for a hate fest where you all get together like a pack of rabid hyenas, gripe about dating and cry as you eat your second pint of Ben and Jerry's. This type of display is beneath you and you know it.

As I said once already, I love this holiday. I think it is a lovely excuse to rekindle a little romance, get out of the house or just commit to spending some time with people you love, reminding them you appreciate them. One year my best friend Jamie was my Valentine, and I highly recommend her, she was wonderful.  I am not asking you to like it, but when is it ever ok to make a spectacle about hating something?  I really hate cantaloupe, but if someone else was eating and enjoying it you wouldn't catch me saying, "Oh, wow, you're eating that? I never eat that, I'm boycotting it because everyone else who likes it makes me feel left out and when I feel left out I throw a tantrum." Are you ladies even listening to yourselves? Giving the holiday that much attention is the only thing giving it any power over you.

If you just look for the silver lining you will make the whole month of February easier for yourself. I believe that the whole day is worth looking forward to just for the discounted candy that they mark down the day after. Don't mark the 14th on your calendar, change things up and make it a special occasion by going to the grocery on the 15th and stocking up on red and pink M&M's (because they are pretty colors, not because they might remind you that you are alone and give you an excuse for a pity party). The day is what you make of it and from those of us who want to just enjoy it all, please keep your bitterness to yourself.

I'm sure this plea won't spare me from the endless Facebook posts tomorrow about how you just bought a dozen roses just to cut them up and laugh in the face of romance. Yes, you win. You really showed that jerk Saint Valentine. Now next year the holiday will be cancelled because you were boycotting it. Job well done. Imagine what else you could accomplish with that kind of drive and passion.

Celebrity Babies

While scrolling through today's entertainment news I came across freshly released photos of Mariah Carey's twins... Monroe and Moroccan. I couldn't make that up if I tried, they really named them that. While trying to figure out if that was enough fodder for todays post I scrolled to the next story about Beyonce and Jay-Z's newborn... wait for it... Blue Ivy. I guess it will be nice if all these celebrity kids go to school together because they can all hang out at the nurses office after they get the crap kicked out of them. When they arrive they will see Kal-el Coppola Cage with a bloody nose, Jason Lee's son Pilot Inspektor weeping in the corner and Michael Jackson's son Blanket sucking his thumb under the nurses desk.

What, because you are famous you don't have to follow the standards of society? Some of these assholes aren't even trying anymore, for example the Zappa kids are named, Moon Unit, Diva Muffin, Dweezil and Ahmet. Really? Were these randomly pulled from a bad game of Scrabble? Did you just decide that it would get you some attention and the long term emotional well being of your children was unimportant?

When Gwyneth Paltrow named her first born daughter Apple she went on Oprah and gave this explanation, "It sounded so sweet and it conjured such a lovely picture for me – you know, apples are so sweet and they're wholesome and it's biblical – and I just thought it sounded so lovely and … clean! And I just thought, 'Perfect!'" I really like tomatoes, but you don't see me even naming my dog that. I wish my life was so charmed and I had so much money that I could just pick any word or words that came to mind and write them willy-nilly on a birth certificate. Speaking of fun with words, we must discuss celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's children, Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom and Rainbow. What an ass.

I suppose they assume that money will buy their kids a way out of torment and ridicule. As if being famous makes their names now cool and popular. It could also be a case of wanting their children to be different and creatively free and unique. If free-spiritedness is the new trend why name our kids at all? Let's take it to the next level and just wait until our babies are old enough to speak, then let them name themselves.  I have to be honest here, Gah-go0 is almost better than anything else I've listed above, these newborns might be smarter than their parents. If common names are thought to limit an artists creative potential, we should be willing to let them have complete freedom over what they will be called. We should no longer oppress our babies by shackeling them with a name that they may or may not want down the line.

If my parents had gone by this ideal I would have named myself around the age of 3 and I would have called myself "Fee-oom", but that is a whole other story I guess.

The Donald's Approval

On CNN's website today I saw the headline, "Romney Gets Trump's Endorsement". Oh thank goodness, because everyone else he has endorsed has proven to be a real winner. There was that Miss USA contestant who he defended when some racy photos surfaced, but if Donald supported her, I'm sure she was a real gem. Joan Rivers was the last person standing on one of his seasons of The Apprentice, so I just know he has an eye for a winner.

What is great though is the headline just below the first one, under related headlines, said exactly what I was thinking... "Does Trump's Endorsement Matter?" I'm glad that someone said it. By the way... the answer is no. Since when can someone like that even be a political candidate for the presidency? I know that Arnold won the gubernatorial race, but I don't support us turning our favorite celebs into political figureheads, it messes with the system. I want my movie stars and millionaire entrepreneurs to stay where they are best, behind someone else who is getting paid to make the tough decisions for them.

I understand that Donald wasn't going to win the candidacy himself after his debacle with Obama's birth certificate, or was it that he has his own reality show? I think that is grounds to NOT elect someone (I'm talking to you Sarah Palin). It also could have been his hair line, it's pretty bad... I wouldn't vote for it just because I wouldn't want to see his plugs on my HD TV every time there was a press conference, it's just not meant for that. So we get why he was no longer in the running, there were so many reasons, but why does an eligible candidate suddenly need the Donald's blessing?

Maybe our political system is like one big episode of The Apprentice and this is Trump's way of saying that Romney is the winner of the weeks challenge. I can picture that for this endorsement Mitt had to raise funds dressed as a hot dog outside a New York restaurant, or maybe like Gary Busey he had to throw pepperoni up in the air and dance (it happened). I would vote for a man who was willing to throw italian meat around and sing about it, that shows real character.

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Dear Donald, I appreciate you standing behind a republican candidate other than yourself, it shows me that you are capable of pretending to be something other than a narcissist (you owe your publicist a raise); but please, go back to the business world. As long as you are in politics I can't differentiate Fox News from prime time network shows and I'd hate to get caught up in thinking that Rick Santorum is a member of the blue team with Latoya Jackson and Jose Canseco, although maybe I could get on board with a campaign strategy that put Meatloaf on the team, he is constant entertainment.

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By All Means... Make Us Lazier

While walking through the Warwick Mall the other day I came across this upsetting sign:

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 Really!?!

Seriously? Are we, as a country, really in any position to be deterring people from exercising? This takes it to a whole new level; forget exercising, we are now telling people to not even move for everyday activities. Next step, "ATTENTION WALKERS: DO NOT Window shop. Walking is only permitted when you go somewhere to purchase" because all that meandering around the mall might make people uppity and energized.

Now I know that this sign isn't geared towards anyone other than the blue hairs who do laps at the mall to get in shape, but what is our problem with them? They usually get up with the sun and go before anyone else is there. They are utilizing a public space in a way that improves their health, energy levels and mood. If we stop them aren't we risking a world filled with unhealthy, needy, grumpy old people who no longer choose to contribute to society? Won't that risk raising insurance premiums or mess up medicare and fill up the hospitals? (I'm really asking because I don't know much about this stuff, but I've heard). Let's face it, the mall is an ideal place for them to work out, it's warm and large and visually captivating, I would save a ton on  a gym membership if I could get into that. Plus, it gets people window shopping for hours and they will likely return later to shop. Now that I'm thinking about it, these people are fitness role models and they boost the economy.

I wonder who came up with the idea for this sign, who approved it, designed it with the mall logo and had it professionally printed to fit in that stand? Real effort went into this message, which says to me there was a heated discussion behind it. What? Were the thousands of ladies in track suits clogging up the stairs trying to get those extra calories burned? I can picture paying customers having to shove through mobs of fit seniors and stumbling into the stores all bedraggled and out of breath. It's a war out there.

I decided to walk around the sign and take the damn stairs because I'll admit, my intention all along when I approached them was to get a little bonus cardio. If not for that sign I would have recklessly messed with the mall policy and I might have even used the stairs to go back down... I did my best to appear to be lackadaisical on my way up so as not to get in trouble.

True tales of a moron

The return policy for live fish at Petco is that if it dies within 30 days you can bring it back to the store, accompanied by a water sample. If the water test show that the tank is healthy they give you a new fish. This isn't complicated, but in my two years working there people found some interesting ways of messing this process up. Most commonly people would bring the dead fish in the water and when I told them I needed a fresh sample they were always furious. "I brought you the fish and I brought you a water sample! I'm not going home and coming back to get you the same water." I suppose that it didn't compute for them that a decomposing animal might affect the test results.

I could always tell when someone brought their tank water from Pawtucket because it became my job to tell them that they were putting fish into water with a pH level similar to orange juice.

The dumbest man I ever met came in with a dead fish and no water sample. When I told him he would have to go home and get some from the tank he looked at me blankly. I repeated myself, "I'm sorry sir, I just need some of the water from your tank before I can give you a new fish". He said nothing and continued to look at me as though I had an ass on my head. After I repeated myself for a third time he said, "I don't have any water." I assumed he meant he didn't have any with him so I explained the policy yet again.

After a back and forth that was felt like an eternity I got to the bottom of why his fish hadn't made it. He had returned home from the pet shop with the fish in water. He then took the fish out of the water and placed it on his table. He genuinely wasn't sure why it had died...