Why Gallery

Beer Coolers in Grocery Stores.

What sadist designed walk-in beer coolers for "Microbrewery" beers? You used to be able to just reach into a cooler and select one of the four beers available in America. (Actually, it was all the same beer with different labels - like GM cars, or breakfast in England, but most people never realized this). Now, when there are thousands of different beers from hundreds of breweries, and it takes hours to decide what you want, they design walk-in coolers. How many people have frozen solid trying to select a beer in there? We don't know; nobody knows.


Why do we still use this term? It's only used for college, in high school we call them girls. It's so wierd; it implies that women can't learn unless men are present. I wouldn't be surprised if the reverse were actually true. What do we call men that go to college, Eds? Of course, the word woman is like this too. But that would take a long time to explain and wouldn't be much fun

Common Bricks

Why is it that bricks from two different lots are never the same size? I understand that bricks are made in a lot of different places by a lot of different manufacturers but why not have them all be the same size? They can do this with concrete blocks why not common bricks? Maybe the word common is what I object to, perhaps they should be called 'unique' bricks.

Huge Carts in Warehouse Grocery Stores

Now, what's the point here? The store got bigger, the containers of food got bigger, but I didn't get any bigger! (I suppose I would if I ate all of one of the new huge containers of food at one sitting) The problem is that when you fill up the cart you can no longer push it to the cash register. I usually can just barely control the full cart when I'm taking my groceries to the car. Fortunately, most grocery store parking lots slope away from the store. I think grocery store designers do this intentionally to keep the customer from being pinned to the exits from the outside. Someday I'm going to lose control of a cart and if it hits a Miata, someone is likely to be horribly injured.

The Non-Conveyer Belt

Besides the huge carts and big packaging, the first thing you notice at a warehouse type grocery store is that you have to bag your own groceries. That doesn't bother me, it means I can put the bread on top of the canteloupe instead of the other way around, which is preferred by box boys(because it packs better, I think). The thing I can't under stand is their policy regarding the conveyer belt. The checkout stands at the store where I shop have a button on the bagger's end of the stand so that the bagger(the customer) can use it to move the items purchased to within reach for convenient bagging. The activation of this button is controlled by a switch on the checker's end of the checkstand, which can enable or disable the bagger's advance button. For some reason, or policy, the checkers are dead-set against enabling this button. Every time I start bagging, the button is disabled. If you ask to have the button turned on, many times the checker will advance the groceries, and then disable the button. What is the fear here? Are they afraid I will forget to stop pushing the button and bury myself in groceries? What's the point of having a conveyer belt if I have to walk up and down the length of it to collect my groceries because nobody will turn it on?

Do People Get Paid for Naming Computer Operating Systems?

I don't understand what possesses the people who name operating systems. Why did Microsoft start naming their operating systems with two digit year designation just when everyone else was concerned about Y2K? How could anyone expect 'Windows 95' to be Y2K compliant? Apple's no better. Why switch to Roman numerals? Sure OS X looks cool but who will think OS XIV is cutting edge when it comes along in a few years. Do they want to emphasize that its based on an archaic operating system? And now Microsoft again: "They have a X !" "I wish we had an X" Viola!: Windows XP. Which brings us to the fundamental advancement in operating system naming theory: You must have an X. However, there needn't be any rational explanation for it's being there.

Airline Food: This little article was written back when "meals" were still offered on airline flights.

In the past I have been disappointed by the poor quality of airline food. Much of it is indigestible, and frequently, it is unrecognizable as well. I now think that I was taking airline meals far too literally. It occurred to me, on my most recent trip, that my dissatisfaction stemmed from the expectation of actual food. When, really, eating on a plane is a much more abstract than that. I believe the items you are served are intended only to evoke a nostalgic sense of foods you have previously experienced. To illustrate I will describe a performance of "Breakfast" which I attended on a recent flight:

The initial movement consisted of a yellow, orange, and brown disk about the size of a hockey puck, but crumbly, with an elastic top surface which served to hold the item together. This was, I believe, intended to represent scrambled eggs, while the orange topping could be interpreted as cheese. This was accompanied by a diamond shaped brownish wafer which bore a subtle resemblance to some substance I had encountered in my youth. However, even after considerable reflection, I couldn't place it. The passenger next to me suggested "hash browns" as a possibility, but I couldn't see any connection at all. I'm not even sure that what I remembered was food. There were other items involved in the experience: a small container of thick fluid which evoked in me a strong sense of yogurt; some light green chunks that, in appearance, and texture, strongly reminded me of honeydew melon; an item that was clearly intended to suggest a muffin and a small container of a thick substance that you might mistake for a speadable condiment, but which shared more attributes with boot polish - admittedly for a light yellow boot.

When interpreting such a production, remember that this is a limited metaphor, and that resemblance can not be safely stretched to other characteristics - taste, for example. The pleasant pursuit of calling up cherished memories of quality eating experiences of the past is a tricky and delicate matter that can be easily spoiled by an ill-considered act such as unintentional consumption of the product.

Nobody buys laundry.

When you go to the store, all they have is clothes. No Laundry. You have to make laundry yourself. Here's how you do it: Go to the store, a clothing store, and buy clothes. Take them home and put them in the drawer. (still clothes) Take them out and put them on. (still clothes) Wear them all day. (still clothes) Take them off and put them in the hamper. They turn it to laundry! Wash it and dry it; it's laundry. You can even fold it, and it is still laundry. But if you put it away, it turns back into clothes. In general, laundry is clothing in the process of being cleaned. Although you can't wear laundry, you can wash clothes. It's called laundering! They don't have a word for washing your clothes while you're wearing them, which is a shame.

What happened to paper towels?

At sometime in the recent past we decided as a society that paper towels in public restrooms are unsupportable. We still drive SUVs and rocket around in jet airplanes but we draw the line at using a piece of paper to dry our hands. The first sign of danger was years ago when paper towels quietly changed from white to brown. For some reason I don't fully understand Americans can't bring themselves to believe that a thing is recycled unless it is brown. That was the change then, to using recycled paper towels. That was just the start.

If you wash your hands in a fast food restaurant, for instance, you will probably be expected to dry your hands with a wall mounted air dryer. The original idea for these units was that you would push a button on the side of the dryer and it would blow heated air on your hands to quickly dry them. I have cleaned a bathroom after other people have used it so I know that there are more reasons than just landfill capacity for getting rid of the paper towel, but this was just the beginning. Some of the same people that had frowned on paper towels, now decided a wet handed person didn't deserve warm air. The air could be moving fast but it could not be warm. I have noticed that nobody updated the instructions on the side of the dryer though. They still say "Push button and hold hands under blower" They should have at least added "for all the good it will do you". But I really think the instructions should now read: "Wipe cold, wet hands on clothing to dry" or "Hold hands out with spread fingers and flap back and forth while complaining about the lack of paper towels".

I have noticed that in classier public restrooms at airports, museums, and the Visalia Convention center that they have installed motion detecting paper towel (brown, of course) dispensers. These are pretty new technology so I will explain how they work so that if you have not seen them before you won't embarrass yourself. They look just like a normal paper towel dispenser until your hands are wet. Then you realize that they have no handle. If you stay calm, you will sometimes find a little sticker explaining that they are motion sensing, but usually there is just a little drawing of a hand with little lines behind it implying motion. You would think that merely holding your hand in front of the sensor would be enough to get you a towel (it works with the infra red detecting sink and toilet) but you would be wrong. I have found that it take several hand passes under the sensor to conjure a single paper towel. If you need a second paper towel, you are a bad person. The dispenser, quite properly, punishes you for your folly. It will be much more time consuming to convince a second towel to materialize. I found that the required hand waving alone was sufficient to complete the drying process. On your way out of the restroom the motion detector will dispense a towel in response to your passage, as a sort of derisive salute.

I'm pretty sure this is one of the reasons Douglas Adams warned us to never lose track of our towels. I am thinking of wearing a small towel on my belt like square dancers and quarterbacks.

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