Starbucks… How could you?

The AP reported today that Starbucks has launched a line of instant coffee. Instant coffee? Starbucks? WTF? You guys spent the last twenty years convincing all of us to spend the better part of $5 on a cup of coffee… and now you want to turn my caffeine addled thoughts to the type of “coffee” my grandmother kept in the back of a cabinet to fix when guests not civilized enough to drink tea came to visit? I know your fancy TV ads are going to tell me that it’s OK because the Europeans do it, but you know what? It’s not OK, Starbucks. Coffee should be brewed! It’s not that I’m against gaining efficiencies… I mean, that’s sort of what I do, but some things are sacrosanct. So what I’m going to need you to do is keep brewing real coffee. While you’re doing that, I’ll stay busy doing the things I’m good at and when the time comes, I will exchange American dollars for fresh brewed coffee… and if I want a cup of instant, I’ll reach to the back of the cabinet and pull out the 10 year old jar of Folgers.

People… People that need people…

I can’t help myself. When someone sends me a website like, I simply have to look… at all 45 pages. Some of the pictures were funny, some were stupid, and some were simply disgusting. The thing that really caught my attention, though, was the section where you can read the hate mail the site receives. Seriously, some of that stuff was better than the actual pictures. I guess people who complain about websites are the same type who complain about what’s on television. Sure, I don’t deny your right to complain at all… but wouldn’t just surfing on over to a different site be a better use of you time. I’m just sayin.

Silent but deadly…

The good news: Electric cars are going to save the universe, polar bears, and oil. The bad news: Electric cars are sneaking up on poor, defenseless people in parking lots and violently attacking them… At least according to the article in this morning’s Washington Post. That’s right! Electric cars are about to be deemed too quiet by the National Highway Safety Board and now pose a clear and present danger to unsuspecting pedestrians, cyclists, and that drunk guy on “World’s Dumbest” who drives his lawn tractor on the interstate. Thankfully, it seems our ever-industrious car industry is working on deciding what kind of sound these new cars should make. Leading contenders seem to be some kind of chime, or a little tune, or maybe even that whirring sound the Jetsons’ car made. Yeah, that would sound sweet on the Beltway during rush hour.

I suppose it’s too much to hope that people will just learn to actually look both ways before walking out into the street. Seems like we’re intent on spending a billion dollars to solve a $.75 problem. The capacity of people to be stupid never ceases to amaze me.

You can find the inspiration for this rant here:

As a general rule…

I tend to think of field trips as something school kids take to places like New York or DC. Perhaps it’s something a archeologist does or a anthropologist even. As a general rule, I think it’s probably a bad idea for field trips to be something that the criminally insane/ murderers of society have the chance to do. Surely the simple solution of homicide = no field trip for you is something we can all agree on, no?

With that being said, it’s worth pausing for a moment to ponder that someone in a position of authority actually had to think that taking a murderous sociopath to the state fair was a good idea. Seriously? How did this not turn up in someone’s “request denied” file? And in the event that you did decide it was a good idea, a rule of thumb might have been “for god’s sake, whatever happens, don’t lose track of the dangerous psychotic while you’re waiting for your cotton candy or deep friend Snickers bar.” I don’t know, maybe it’s all just too much to ask. I mean with all the flashing lights and bells, it’s easy for someone to let the institutionalized murderer slip their mind for a few minutes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they caught the guy, but really, why should anyone need to be looking for him in the first place?


There’s something about the early hours of the morning that I’ve rather come to enjoy. It’s the steam coming from the just-poured cup of coffee, or the steadily lightening of the sky, or even the lack of traffic noise. It’s being flanked by two dogs who are happy to do nothing more than hang out at your side. And it’s the as yet untainted promise of the day ahead. Then you leave the house and realize you’re still surrounded by morons… So, I’m going to enjoy this moment while it’s here.

“It’s not a tumor…" (said in the style of Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Well friends, now that we have government run banks, government run car makers, and are dangling on the brink of government run health care, the next logical step for the United States Senate is to determine if cell phones cause cancer. Wait… Maybe this is one of the Sesame Street tests where one of the things is not like the others. But seriously, the venerable Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is promising to “probe deeply” at the bottom of the issue. Are you serious Senator Harkin? The nation is in the midst of two wars, the economy is a shadow of its former self, the treasury is beyond bankrupt, and you want to turn loose the investigative weight of the United States Senate to find out of my iPhone is going to give me a tumor?

Here’s the list of things now “known” to cause cancer: cetaldehyde, acrylamide, acrylonitril, abortion, agent orange, alar, alcohol, air pollution, aldrin, alfatoxin, arsenic, arsine, asbestos, asphalt fumes, atrazine, AZT, baby food, barbequed meat, benzene, benzidine, benzopyrene, beryllium, beta-carotene, betel nuts, birth control pills, bottled water, bracken, bread, breasts, brooms, bus stations, calcium channel blockers, cadmium, candles, captan, carbon black, carbon tetrachloride, careers for women, casual sex, car fumes, celery, charred foods, cooked foods, chewing gum, Chinese food, Chinese herbal supplements, chips, chloramphenicol, chlordane, chlorinated camphene, chlorinated water, chlorodiphenyl, chloroform, cholesterol, low cholesterol, chromium, coal tar, coffee, coke ovens, crackers, creosote, cyclamates, dairy products, deodorants, depleted uranium, depression, dichloryacetylene, DDT, dieldrin, diesel exhaust, diet soda, dimethyl sulphate, dinitrotouluene, dioxin, dioxane, epichlorhydrin, ethyle acrilate, ethylene, ethilene dibromide, ethnic beliefs,ethylene dichloride, Ex-Lax, fat, fluoridation, flying, formaldehyde, free radicals, french fries, fruit, gasoline, genes, gingerbread, global warming, gluteraldehyde, granite, grilled meat, Gulf war, hair dyes, hamburgers, heliobacter pylori, hepatitis B virus, hexachlorbutadiene, hexachlorethane, high bone mass, hot tea, HPMA, HRT, hydrazine, hydrogen peroxide, incense, infertility, jewellery, Kepone, kissing, lack of exercise, laxatives, lead, left handedness, Lindane, Listerine, low fibre diet, magnetic fields, malonaldehyde, mammograms, manganese, marijuana, methyl bromide, methylene chloride, menopause, microwave ovens, milk hormones, mixed spices, mobile phones, MTBE, nickel, night lighting, night shifts, nitrates, not breast feeding, not having a twin, nuclear power plants, Nutrasweet, obesity, oestrogen, olestra, olive oil, orange juice, oxygenated gasoline, oyster sauce, ozone, ozone depletion, passive smoking, PCBs, peanuts, pesticides, pet birds, plastic IV bags, polio vaccine, potato crisps (chips), power lines, proteins, Prozac, PVC, radio masts, radon, railway sleepers, red meat, Roundup, saccharin, salt, sausage, selenium, semiconductor plants, shellfish, sick buildings, soy sauce, stress, strontium, styrene, sulphuric acid, sun beds, sunlight, sunscreen, talc, tetrachloroethylene, testosterone, tight bras, toast, toasters, tobacco, tooth fillings, toothpaste (with fluoride or bleach), train stations, trichloroethylene, under-arm shaving, unvented stoves, uranium, UV radiation, vegetables, vinyl bromide, vinyl chloride, vinyl fluoride, vinyl toys, vitamins, vitreous fibres, wallpaper, weedkiller (2-4 D), welding fumes, well water, weight gain, winter, wood dust, work, x-rays (thank you,

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, Senator, but the fact is that from the time sperm meets egg, our bodies are already conspiring against us. Cells divide, mistakes are made, and those mistakes themselves are replicated. One of the only common threads among all people throughout time is that we all die. The endgame is the same for all of us; rich, poor, healthy, or unhealthy. It’s not that I’m taking cancer lightly or trying to make a joke at the suffering the disease causes. I am, however, making a joke at the expense of the Senate. Surely with these steady hands upon the rudder of the ship of state, what could possibly go wrong?

God help us.

Things not to do…

I’m going to have to go on the record here and add “Shouting and waiving my finger at the President of the United States during a joint session of Congress” to my list of things do avoid doing to embarrass myself in public. Seriously, you have to wonder at what point a United States Congressman decided that that was going to be a good move for his career. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that was a classless move and the guy deserves every nasty think that’s been said about him all day. Is it any wonder the Republican Party has a hard time selling itself to moderates when this tool is their news story for the week?


The Senate has accepted that a public healthcare option is unreachable. Polling has increasingly shown that it’s not popular among the majority of respondents. And a president is at risk of demolishing his entire term and burying the possibility of reelection for daring to press on against the rising tide of opposition. Some of my friends on the extreme left would call that heroic. I call it just plain dumb. Politics, they say, is the art of the possible. It’s about constantly seeking out a coalition of 50% of the population plus one person. It’s a simple matter of math and right now, Mr. President, you don’t have the votes. You don’t have the popular support. And you don’t have the political good-will left to twist arms in Congress.

With that said, the president does have an opportunity, here. He has the opportunity to get the 70 or 80% solution. He has the opportunity to do what really great politicians have made their careers doing – Compromise. Insisting that reform must be all one thing or all the other is a sure recipe for failure. Follow the example of Speaker O’Neill and President Reagan on taxes in the early 80s. If the study of politics teaches us anything it’s that nothing good lies down the road of absolutism. Right now, both parties have the ability to walk away with something approximating a win. Wait too long and the moment passes… And then a pox on both your houses.

Another reason why they think we’re all crazy…

OK, the duly elected and sworn President of the United States wants to give a short speech to students about the value of education and hard work; controversial topics, to be sure. I’m not sure I’m feeling the outrage, though. Whether you love him, hate him, or are totally indifferent towards him, the guy is the president. I don’t see the impending harm of allowing students to watch and listen to the leader of the free world talking about issues that will impact them. Has the fabric of our civic discourse become so brittle that even hearing a view that differs from our own risks destroying our individual political beliefs? Are we so incapable of building a rational argument to support our point of view that the highest form of argument we’re capable of is throwing a five-year old’s tantrum and whining, “I’m not listening?”

For those who are keeping their kids at home that day, think about the message you are sending to your children. You’re saying that your own views are so weakly held that they won’t stand up to scrutiny or discussion. You’re saying that it’s better to tune out altogether than to engage in the discussion at all. If you truly believe that a 30-minute speech by a politician will undo the 16 or 17 years of influence you have had on your kids, then honestly, I feel bad for you. Living with that kind of insecurity must be tough. If you want to do right by your kids, encourage them to join the fray, to discuss, to develop and refine their own opinions, to ask the hard questions and seek the difficult truths. If you’re afraid of doing that, then lord, I don’t even want to know you.

It’s all about the numbers…

I’m all for people showing initiative during these economically challenging times. However, taping an “official” looking offer to paint my house number on the curb to the mailbox may have not been your most savvy business decision (Although it’s hard not to take you too seriously when you lead off your title with extra exclamation points!!!!! That way I know what you’re selling must be really, really important). I particularly like the effort you took to let me know how crucial these numbers were when one of the emergency services was looking for my house. Trying to edge nervous people towards paying you the $20 “fee” was definitely a smart move. Of course recommending that I just leave $20 taped to my front door was a pure stroke of genius. And it was nice knowing that you offered a discount if I ordered “multiples.” I can only assume that means if I wanted you to paint multiple numbers on my curb… in front of this one house. The head of your marketing department must have a MBA. I can usually tell, you know.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to take advantage of your service at this time. Best of luck with the curb painting, or hubcap stealing, or whatever it is you happen to be doing tomorrow. In fact, I should probably leave you a tip for your efforts. After tomorrow afternoon, I’ll know which of my neighbors are truly dumb as stumps. I guess I’ll just consider that an extra perk of your service.