The Cynics Workshop

Where I can try to influence the world, one word at a time.

Month: July, 2012

Head Scratcher of the Day

Why are hot dog buns sold in packages of 8 while hot dogs are not? Some packages have 6, some have 7…you would think that after all these years the two industries would have figured out a way to work together to make our lives easier…*sigh*

An Idiots Guide to Riding the Escalator

Assume for a second that you are a normal person…whatever ‘normal’ means.  Basically, you can walk, you can stand unassisted, and you can see.  If all those things apply to you, then please allow me to help you with a seemingly easy task that so many people can’t seem to do.

There are 4 components to riding an escalator, and below I have outlined a very easy guide to tackling each of those components…I hope you find this helpful.

Going up:
If I were to grant you any type of leeway, which I won’t, it would be going up.  Whenever you go against gravity, you are bound to run into people that struggle.  To put it in its simplest terms, think of it as a freeway…slow people on the right, fast people on the left.  If you do not want to walk up the escalator, so in other words you are content with being lazy, then please stand on the right side so you can allow those of us who are not lazy and like to walk up the escalator stairs (wipe that strange grin off your face, it’s not that uncommon to want to get 15-20 seconds of exercise at some place other than a gym) a free path to get to our destination 18 seconds before you do.

Going down:
There is absolutely no room for compromise here.  Going down an escalator is the easiest thing you can possibly do, how is it that so many people struggle?  My own personal preference is to also walk down the stairs, but if you would rather stand stationary…then please follow the above rule and stand to the right to allow us to pass.  Whatever you do, please do not stand in the middle with 1 hand holding the right hand rail, and 1 hand holding the left rail…this is not a ride at an amusement park so please do not treat it as such.

Getting on:
Is this your first time seeing stairs (or a walkway if you are in an airport) move?  No…then why are you looking at it like it is from Mars?  There is no reason to break your stride, or stop to try to time your entrance like you are jumping into a moving car…simply maintain the speed at which you were moving as you approached the escalator and place your foot on the appropriate step so as not to fall and make a complete idiot our of yourself.  If you do feel as though you have to let 4 or 5 steps pass until you feel comfortable, then please stand off to the side while you harness your chi.

Getting off:
Please begin to plan your exit strategy at the halfway point of the ride so you do not look like a college kid cramming for your 8.00am anatomy final at 7.56am the day of.  Take normal breaths, you can go 1 deep breath if it helps to put you in the zone, but either way the premise is the same.  As you begin to eye the landing, begin to envision which foot you are going to start with, play it out in your mind first.  As the landing approaches, lift that foot and prepare to execute the plan you recently envisioned.  As you place your foot down on the stationary landing, prepare for a bit of a jolt, but use the momentum that the escalator will give you to throw that other foot forward and be on your way.  Whatever you do, and I cannot stress this enough, please do not use the landing to look for that elusive item in your purse that has dogged you all morning, or to pull the handle up on your cute little suitcase with wheels.  As you can probably imagine, or perhaps you can’t, there is a small rush of people ready to execute their exit strategy and your dumb ass is now making that impossible.  In other words, you are the cause of a traffic jam…get out of the way!

If this seems like a lot to you, I apologize.  I did not mean to make this relatively simple task seem overwhelming.  If you approach an escalator and you begin to sweat, and you notice an increase in your pulse, I would advise you stand off to the side and watch as other people traverse the movable stairs.  Take notes if you must, but I would focus on 1 person, see how they get on and off, notice where they stand, and then when you feel comfortable, give it a try yourself.  I would recommend practicing at a mall…you will find plenty of idiots there so if you do something wrong you could go relatively unnoticed.  I would not recommend taking your virgin trip up and down at a place like Penn Station of JFK airport, you are seriously liable to get killed…there is no mercy there.

If you cannot abide by these simple rules, then please do all of us a favor…do not get off your couch…you are not built for life on the outside.

Val Patterson Obituary

Today we remember Val Patterson, who from I can gather, led a great life in Utah. If you’re not familiar with Val, please feel free to read his obituary here. Val did what I would like to do (well he did a few things), but more to the point, he wrote his own obituary. I feel like I need to gather a few more years under my fine Argentinian leather belt before I would truly be qualified to write my own obit…but please indulge me while I find a few high points with Val’s.

First, he does well by describing a little about him, where he went to school, and that he had a great wife. Where it really gets interesting is when he confesses to stealing the safe from the drive-inn back in’71. He writes it almost as if they had accused him of stealing it all along, to which he constantly denied, and is now finally admitting it. Great way to start, really grabs the reader’s attention. Next, confessing to not really having his PhD. Great story how he actually acquired it, but what is more fascinating is that no one was able to bust him on it his whole life. Think it would be easy to pass yourself off as a PhD…think again moron. I would be scared out of my mind to talk to anyone in my field, all you need to do is run into one smart guy, or one wise ass, (or one in the same) and the gig is up. To go your whole life and to be able to fool everyone, he should get an honorary PhD just for pulling that off. He then confesses to being the one that put some rocks into a geyser…not really sure why you would do that (oh wait, he grew up in Utah…ok I know why now.) I think maybe the lifetime bans might be a bit of embellishment, I can’t seem to think of anything that would get someone banned for life from Disneyland…at least back when he grew up. Now-a-days our Country is so full of pansies, you could accidentally trip Mickey and get a lifetime ban…but back in the day people were more relaxed.

I couldn’t agree more that he grew up in the best time to have grown up in America; I have always been envious of my old man since he actually got to live in the ’50’s and ’60’s. The cars were cool, the music was great, and $20 would be more than enough to get you through the weekend. Now we are a bunch of zombies all driving Honda Accords and God forbid you tell the asshole behind you to stop tailgating you, he’ll probably pull out a gun. Not to mention the fact that men were actually men back then. These guys had fought wars; they knew what it was like to be tough. Sure now the boys might be stronger thanks to steroids and a gym on every corner, but take one look at those over-tanned, over hair-gelled meat heads down on the shore and I dare you to tell me those are men.

I like how he talks about regrets. I can’t stand these people who walk around and say they have no regrets…everyone has regrets…everyone. What’s important is to limit the number you do have. Next time someone tells you they don’t have any regrets, do me a favor and smack ’em upside the head for me…because I guarantee you there was a hot chick in their 10th grade Math class that they never mustered up the courage to go talk to…everyone has regrets.

He wants no funeral or burial…just dust in the wind. Ultimately we are all just dust in the wind, it’s simply a question of when you start flying. To those of you who want a cemetery to be your final resting place…it won’t be. Do the math people, how fast is the population growing on this planet? How long do you think that valuable real estate that we waste called cemeteries will be allowed to stay unused (at least in a constructive way)? Sooner or later every one of those graves is getting dug up to make way for a high rise, or a freeway, or a Starbucks with free WiFi. We have to put the living somewhere, and when you look at the two biggest wastes of real estate on this planet, you get golf courses and cemeteries. You want to honor the dead, you don’t need to go sit in the grass in front of a rock to do it…do it by living a good life. Ask anybody you know how they want to be honored when they die, and I guarantee you not one person will tell you they want you to spend 2 hours next Sunday sitting in the lawn talking to a rock. I’m rambling a bit as I tend to do…I will continue this rant at a later date.

There is a Pabst Blue Ribbon in my fridge that will cracked tonight around 7.48…and I can tell you that I will indeed raise it up and have a sip to honor Val Patterson…that’s Dr. Val Patterson to you.


Head Scratcher of the Day

I am very excited for the Olympics to start in London. I am a huge fan of both the summer and winter Olympics, partly because I get to watch sports that I rarely if ever watch other than during the Olympics (think curling). But there is also a certain pride that comes with cheering on good ole team USA, it is definitely more special that sitting in the Garden to watch the Rangers beat up on the Devils. I know not everyone shares my love of the Olympics, nor my Country cheering pride, but who is the moron who gave the ok for Team USA’s uniforms to be made in China? Will this idiot please stand up to be acknowledged…and beat up? We’re talking about the ultimate Country vs. Country show down, 4 years of bragging rights on the line, we’re way past the line of my dad can beat up your dad, this is as big as it gets, we’re going to go in there and show every other Country that we are the best, that we can kick their ass in any sport…and we will be doing so in duds that come from the orient!?! Now I have nothing against China, I thought they did a great job while hosting the Beijing games, I love their low mein, and I wear many a t-shirt that carries the made in China moniker…but again, we are beyond that. This is nothing short of ridiculous. Yet another instance of us looking like a bunch of nimrods. Who in their right mind would give the ok for something like this to happen? Someone is asleep at the wheel…and let’s hope he or she isn’t running the anchor leg in the 4×100 relay, we can’t afford to drop the baton again.

New Laws

So as I was perusing the web today, I happened to notice on CNN’s website that as of July 1st, there were a bunch of new laws that went into effect.  Their crack research team narrowed the list down to their top 20.  Below is their rather impressive list, along with my witty comments for each new law, enjoy…


  1. Illinois: Taxi drivers can charge passengers a $50 cleanup fee for vomiting in cabs.
    1. If we had this in NYC, we wouldn’t run a budget deficit every year.
  2. Kentucky: A law prohibits people from releasing feral hogs into the wild.
    1. Did the law mention anything about non-feral hogs?  Only the second one and I already found a loophole…
  3. New Mexico: Grocery stores, restaurants and other vendors are prohibited from claiming that their fresh chili peppers are New Mexico chilies unless they were grown in the state.
    1. I can’t believe it took this long for someone to think of that law.  If I am eating a fresh New Mexico chili pepper, you better damn well believe I want that thing to have been grown in New Mexico!
  4. Pennsylvania: Punxsutawney school guidelines increase from ½ cup to ¾ cup the minimum serving of vegetables for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
    1. They were only at ½ a cup?  Now I know why Pennsylvania kids are so slow.
  5. Florida: A law forbids the shackling of women incarcerated during a pregnancy and immediately after giving birth.
    1. Some people see leniency, others see the perfect time to escape.
  6. Virginia: A law allows a brewery licensee to sell at retail the brands of beer that the brewery owns at premises.
    1. Is there any wonder more presidents were born in Virginia that any other state?  Genius!
  7. Virginia: A local ordinance requires electronic messages on outdoor advertising to remain in place for at least eight seconds to avoid driver distractions.
    1. I thought 7 seconds was sufficient, but what do I know?
  8. Kentucky: Prisoner of War and Missing in Action flags purchased or displayed by public institutions must be made in the United States.
    1. This is a no brainer.  I saw an MIA flag with ‘Made in China’ on it hanging down the street from my house and I almost lost it!
  9. Minnesota: A law increases penalties for transporting certain aquatic invasive plants and animals.
    1. I spend most of my weekend transporting certain aquatic invasive plants and animals; it would have been nice if they could have been a little more specific here.
  10. Florida: A law prohibits people from videotaping a person without his or her knowledge in a residential dwelling.
    1. Great, now what am I going to do this weekend?
  11. Indiana: A nepotism law prohibits local government workers from hiring or promoting family members in their direct line of supervision.
    1. Isn’t that how our Country got so good in the first place?  Memo to Indiana, you are going in the wrong direction.
  12. Virginia: A law requires a person convicted of DUI to have an ignition interlock device in their car, operable by blowing into a breathalyzer.
    1. My car has that now, does that mean NY is fast or Virginia is slow?  Or maybe it means I drink too much…
  13. Wisconsin: A law calls for mandatory license plates for all ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) operating in public areas.
    1. As long as I can have a cool novelty plate that says ‘ILUVATVS’, I am fine with this.
  14. Massachusetts: A law bans the disposal of medical sharps (needles, syringes and lancets) in household trash.
    1. So…that means I chuck them outside onto the street where kids and homeless can get them?  I see some potential negative repercussions coming from this one.
  15. Virginia: A law allows a concealed handgun permit as a valid form of identification when voting.
    1. Yeah…duh.
  16. Georgia: A law gives drivers the option of affixing a decal with the slogan “In God We Trust” on license plates in place of the county where they live.
    1. Leave it to the evangelicals…
  17. Nevada: Unclaimed casino earnings will be split between the state (75%) and the casino (25%). Previously, the casino got all the money.
    1. Why not donate it to charity?  Morons.
  18. Idaho: Law enforcement can issue arrest warrants by fax.
    1. They have fax machines in Idaho?
  19. Vermont: Minors (under 18) will be prohibited from using tanning beds.
    1. First off, thanks for clarifying what constitutes a minor.  Second, find me someone who works at a tanning salon who is actually over the age of 18, and then tell me how you are going to effectively govern this one.
  20. Kentucky: (Effective July 12) A law makes it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen copper for immediate cash at recycling centers by delaying payments.
    1. So if I’m a crook (big ‘if’ there), I am going to have to wait 3 days to get my money?  Ok…as long as I get it.  Instead of making it more difficult for thieves to get money for stolen merchandise, why don’t they make it more difficult for thieves to actually get the stolen merchandise in the first place?  Only in Kentucky…


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