How Do You Take your Caffeine?

How Do You Take your Caffeine?

CaffeineCaffeine, it’s that much loved little drug of choice that gives you a little extra pep when you need a little extra oomph to get things going. I for one am a fan of caffeine. It can increase your energy, helps with headaches (although it can cause them as well) and it promotes brain activity, unless of course you use it as a chaser for alcohol. I’m taking to you Red Bull and vodka. In those cases I think it just gives you more energy to destroy your brain cells faster. Still, it does have some attributes that make it my drug of choice.

Over the years my consumption of caffeine has included:caffeine-content-of-popular-drinks

  • Coffee – Cold and hot
  • Tea – Cold and hot
  • Chocolate covered coffee beans
  • Chocolate in general
  • Pills – Vivarin, NoDoz
  • Energy drinks – Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, etc.
  • Yerba Mate
  • Hot chocolate
  • Sodas – Coke, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, etc.
  • Bubble Gum – Yes I did try Jolt gum once . . . only once. Okay, so maybe I made it through the entire pack, but at least two pieces were given to people I was not particularly fond of, who liked to get all uppity and tell me I was addicted to drugs because I drank Mello Yello.

Apart from the pills, chocolate, chocolate covered coffee/espresso beans, and gum my history with this little pick-me-up has been beverage related. Hell, even today my average daily caffeine consumption comes from one can of Xing tea, usually blueberry or mango flavored. There is also the occasionally iced chai tea or Tai iced tea. So yeah, when it comes to caffeineing myself up (yes, it’s a real word, which I just made up), tea is my old reliable, and drinking it is how I get my daily allotment . . . or so I thought.

bar_shampooOn the average, men can be a touch lazy when it comes to caring about products that are part of our hygiene care. In the beginning there was soap, one product that was used for washing ourselves, including our hair. Then came shampoo, which was apparently liquid soap just for the hair on your head. But you know what? After we were introduced to shampoo we used it for both soap and shampoo. That is until it ran out, in which case we went back to just using a bar of soap for both until we got some more shampoo.

Then came conditioner. Want to know what every man thinks when he’s first introduced to conditioner? “What the hell is this?” Seriously, it’s a confusing addition to our hygiene productions arsenal. At this point in my life all I can tell you about conditioner is that it’s essentially lotion for your hair.

And yes when I run out of shampoo, that’s when I finally use the conditioner, but not as conditioner, it just replaces my shampoo until I can get some new shampoo.

Some companies had done a brilliant job in realizing that men don’t care about the crap we use in the shower to get us clean. There are now 2 in 1 products with shampoo and conditioner combined together in one, which, when it comes down to it is just soap with some lotion in it. I have even seen 3 in 1 products, which is body wash, shampoo and conditioner all in one. You know, soap with some lotion in it.

So a while ago my sweetie-baby-cutie-pie-wifey-pooh, who, as a woman has chosen to accept that there is a difference between soap, shampoo, and conditioner (apart from the smell) and is very adamant that I have my own of these products so I do not use hers, got me some new 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner specifically for men. I know this because it says so on the bottle.

Well, the other morning, as I was dumping a glob of this liquid soap into my hand to begin lathering up, I noticed something on the front of the bottle. A little box highlighting the fact that the stuff I was about use to wash my hair and my armpits contained caffeine!

That’s right, you can now skip your morning cup of joe and just wet, lather, and rinse your head. And for those of you what are used to that extra shot of espresso in your morning blend, well, that’s what the “repeat” directions are for.

phil-spector-crazy-hairAt first I was a bit skeptical about caffeinating my hair before work. I was sure my hair was going to get all wigged out, and I’d show up at work with Don King equivalent hair do, or worse. Surprisingly, my hair seemed okay with this new ingredient, and behaved rather nonchalantly about the whole thing.

There have even been a few days that I have skipped my tea and didn’t really notice much difference. However, I don’t see it as a reliable replacement in most cases. For one thing, it would be weird going into my work bathroom for a quick lather and rinse if I’m feeling the need for a little pick-me-up in the afternoon. Likewise, lathering up while you drive down the road could cause a few more problems than just drinking a caffeinated soda or some coffee because you feel a little tired behind the wheel.

Well I purchase this product again after it’s gone. Truth is, you’ll have to ask my wife about that one, because I really don’t have a strong opinion about it one way or the other . . . it’s soap.

I will, however, state that for the record, adding caffeinated shampoo to the tub so you can take a hot, relaxing bubble bath is quite counterproductive.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: caffeine, caffeinated drinks, shampoo = soap, crazy hair.

Copyright © 2013 Richard Timothy

The ‘Not so Much a Miracle’ Whip

The ‘Not so Much a Miracle’ Whip

As an average person who enjoys the occasional television show, and, just like anyone who has ever enjoyed the brain numbing effects of spending an hour or so in front of the t.v., I too have a deep rooted despise for the one thing that constantly detracts from my favorite shows, those damn commercials.

Every once in a great while I’ll admit there are some commercials that I might refer to as clever or a good ad, but sadly due to the unrelenting redundancy of these ads, they go from clever to unrelentingly annoying after the third viewing in an a half hour time slot. As a result I consider commercials to be the leading cause of lowered brain activity and ADD and the world. To counter this, I have started hitting the Mute button every time a commercial comes on. This has helped reduced my instant and uncontrolled distain for companies and their products, and in turn makes my life a much more relaxed and groovy experience.

I’ve noticed that my intense dislike for commercials has made me a bit more critical about ads and the message they are trying to convey. One commercial campaign I’ve noticed lately that seems incredibly poorly devised is the one for Miracle Whip.

In the one commercial I’ve seen it plays out a parody of the Scarlet Letter, but instead of a big red A on the lady’s chest there is a red MW instead. The other puritans in the township seemed moved to possible inflict harm on her for being a Miracle Whip supporter, and in the end she is saved by the town preacher who too has a MW fetish and has been hiding the red MW red letters pasted on his chest under it over coat. The commercial ends with the slogan “Keep and open mouth.”

Yes, ha ha, very punny using this play on words for the phrase ‘keep an open mind’. You commercial people must be so proud. Hey Kraft, if people literally keep an open mouth, guess what? No one is ever going to eat any of your products! It’s a stupid slogan and makes absolutely no sense. If you really want to get people to buy your (in my opinion) nasty product how about making an ad that says if you purchase Miracle Whip you will be entered into a drawing and the winner gets flown to L.A. for the sole purpose of repeatedly slapping the person that came up with the ‘Keep and open mouth’ ad campaign. Hell, I might even purchase a few bottles to up my chances at winning that honor.

And while I’m not the subject, Miracle Whip? Really? Anyone else find flaw in this name? When I think of those two words together as the subject of conversation, a miracle whip is what I could call Indiana Jones’ second all-time most important accessory, only a notch below his hat, and not a pigmently challenged goo that has the same consistency as the filling of a three year old lemon flavored Hostess Fruit Pie.

I suppose if they whipped a bunch of random ingredients together to create a mayonnaise substitute and made millions of dollars as a result, then yeah, I might call that a miracle. Still, that miracle happened after they had named this substance. So it still doesn’t really fit. At least they didn’t call it ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Mayo’, because anyone who has ever tried this produce can believe it’s not mayo. Likewise, at least they didn’t try to combine the tangy element of the product with the name of the substance they are trying to replace, so jars with names like Tangonase, Maytang, or Mayotango never made it to the store shelves. So, I guess in that regard, we all owe Kraft a miniscule amount of thanks.

If you love it, hate it, or are completely ambivalent toward it, I hope that we can agree that their ‘Keep an Open Mouth’ campaign truly is in poor taste.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Miracle Whip

Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy

The Bad Business of Pointless Warnings

The Bad Business of Pointless Warnings

Today’s Smirk began to form the other night as I sat down to watch a DVD after dinner. As the DVD loaded and began to play that I did something that I don’t think I’ve ever done before, I took a moment and actually read the FBI warning. Usually I just curse under my breath at the DVD as I wait for the warning to pass while pressing the forward or menu button incessantly in hopes that something will happen that has never happened before, and I’ll be able to skip that damn warning. Say what you will about VHS, but when it comes that tedious FBI warning VHS will always be a superior form of technology for the sole purpose that you can actually fast-forward through them.

There are a number of different formats for FBI warnings on DVDs, and in researching it I’ve discovered the language in the warnings can vary a little. The one I happened to read said this:

Federal Law provides sever civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, video tapes, DVDs or video discs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Anyone else catch that? That’s right “video tapes”, they are including the term video tapes in the warning. I don’t know about you, but this causes me to believe that the people responsible for making sure the FBI warning is displayed on every DVD don’t even read the warning.

I get that piracy is a problem, but the big boldfaced WARNING seems a little intense and overbearing to the person that just paid for the DVD. Not to mention, these warnings seem directed at the wrong people. I just purchased the film, and now this overbearing warning that I am forced to sit through feels a little like a threatened that if I make a copy of my DVD I can be fined and send to prison. Then I am stuck having to deal with a series of previews that in some cases I can’t skip past, but I can at least fast forward through, which in my opinion is just an asshole move by the movie company that put out the DVD. I don’t care that you advertise on the disc, but make it something I can choose to watch as an option in the menu and not something that automatically imposes itself on me when I start up the DVD.

Also, the warning is a tad erroneous. Having purchased the DVD I, under the “fair use” rule, have the right to copy my DVD for my own use, examples include burning it onto another disc as a backup or placing it on another device, such as an iPod, for personal viewing. So the “DO NOT COPY” in the warning is more of a suggestion than an actual demand. Still, in the written genre when you use all caps like that its considered yelling, and yelling at your customer is not only rude, but lacks standards and professionalism. You DVD manufacturers should be ashamed of yourself … and if you keep this up, I’m going to call your mother.

In researching this I found a comment in an article about pirated DVDs were the guy loves his pirated DVDs because the pirates understand the customer’s wants and have removed the FBI warning and the previews from their pirated product. When the guy puts a pirated DVD into his player one of two things happens, either the movie starts playing or the DVD loads to the menu list, that’s it. Personally that sounds wonderful! Yes, piracy is wrong and I don’t think people should do it, but the movie companies should really take a look at what their competitors (the pirates) are doing to make their product more appealing to the masses, and start applying it to their original product. At this point, it just feels like they are punishing us for being honest consumers, and that’s a pretty crappy business model.

In the end, is there really a point to these warnings? Has it ever thwarted someone’s pirating ways? Has there ever been a case were a DVD pirater has got everything ready to make a bunch of illegal copies, but as the movie begins he reads the FBI Warning and thinks, “Well my goodness, I had no idea what I am about to do is illegal. I am going to stop contributing to this crime right now!” I’m going to have to go with my gut feeling that no, this has never happened, and I doubt it ever will.

I suppose the only point for having them is so that in the event someone ever does get hauled in for pirating DVDs they won’t be able to use the “I didn’t know it was illegal” line of defense, which as far as I know has never held up in a court of law.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: watching tv, FBI Warning, fair use, and the point.

© Richard Timothy 2011

Ding! Bring out your Raptured!

Ding! Bring out your Raptured!

Today’s Smirk was unavoidable thanks to Harold Camping, a somewhat religious 89 year old guy who has been prophesying on his 55 radio stations and on some 2000 billboards across America that “The End”, you know the big one, the final farewell, the day the heavenly escalator is finally completed, the joyride to the stars, the day the Earth said “bugger it”, and the eternal blue light special will begin this Saturday, May 21st in Jerusalem starting at sundown. What I find so entertaining about this whole thing is that this is Harold’s second attempt at insighting the “Rapture.”

It’s true! Harold’s first attempt at predicting the end of the world was back in 1994. He was even kind enough to put in print. His book “Are You Ready?” was filled with the methods he used to add up numbers in the Bible to decrypt the versed book and proclaimed to all that the world would end in September of 1994. After this unraptured event came and passed, the only thing I can think of is that ol’ Harold went back to work and realized that he either A) missed a decimal point, or B) forgot to carry over the remainder and add it to the final number. Bible math must be hard.

This does bring up one key question though, what is the limit on “End of the World” predictions for one individual? Personally, I’m perfectly fine with incorporating the “everybody gets just one” rule, but any more than that and, well, ol’ Harold is now the boy who cried “The End”. What’s surprising to me is how seriously he is being taken by so many people for someone who has already got it wrong once before.

For those of you who don’t know (and I just so happen to be one of those people) the term rapture, when used as a verb, is (according to some millenarian teachings) the first stage of the second coming of Christ, where he will transport all his believers from earth to heaven. As a noun however, it just means a feeling of intense pleasure, which I think is something we can all agree would be wonderful to have in our lives on a daily basis. In looking back at the verb approach to the word I’ve got to say it would seem that the true warning for tomorrow goes out to all the sky divers around the world, watch out for floating people on your way down. Could you imagine getting all raptured up, heading to heaven and then next thing you know you are plummeting to the earth because sky diver ended up nailing you on his way down. Talk about a bummer.

I’d like to point out that along with ol’ Harold’s two End of the World forecasts, that brings my Google search for “failed end of the world prophecies” up to around 232, although I’m sure there’s more out there somewhere. At a quick glance it looks like the year 2000 is the winner so far with a whopping 15 failed end of the world prophecies. Oh Y2K you were such a kidder.

I think the important thing to remember about this whole thing is that if you do have friends or family that are all caught up in this latest end of the world fad, remember the brilliant concept that was so clearly expressed in the Bambi all those years ago, “If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.” This is similar to the concept of treating people the way you would like to be treated. When you make an ass of yourself, you don’t appreciate having it rubbed in your face, try to remember that before you call to gloat that they are still here come Sunday. If you must call, just let them know that you’re glad they are still around. However, if the rapture ready person was a complete ass to you, well then they treated you the way they wanted to be treated and I really see no harm in rubbing it in a little.

All this rapture talk does bring up one last question though… do you think if someone was getting all raptured up floating away on their way up and yell out, “So long and thanks for all the fish,” would that be like letting the air out of your rapture flotation device and return them to earth for being a smart ass? Yes, here at Smirk I am willing to ask those difficult rapture questions that everyone wonders about, but are afraid to ask.

Any thoughts? Oh, and see you all Monday!

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: the rapture, the is near, and be nice.

© Richard Timothy 2011

Why Parent’s Make Up Pointless Rules… because there’s a point… I think.

Why Parent’s Make Up Pointless Rules… because there’s a point… I think.

Families are odd little things. They are their own country in a way, with rules, laws, regulations, and rulers. In looking at some of my friends growing up and their family world was quite different than mine. The ruler concept is always easy to understand when you go from home to home. It was always the parent(s) and when they were not home it broke down oldest to youngest.

Then there is the collection of rules that you need to follow to ensure you didn’t get beat, verbally reprimanded, put in a corner on time out, or hugged and kissed in front of your friends until you promised never to do that again and amazed the embarrassment didn’t kill you. The thing that is so incredible to me is the absolute adherence you had for so many of these rules growing up. Rules that make absolutely no sense now, but back then, sure, you could see the point… if only because your parents would explain your confusion with the always “impossible to argue with” statement, “Because I said so.”

One of these rules recently came to mind one evening while I was enjoying a bowl of “magic soup”, which I believe most people call cereal. I mean I call it cereal as well, but only when I’m having it for breakfast. The rest of the time it’s lovingly referred to as “magic soup”, because… it is. Cereal enables to you build a magical fortress that you can hide behind, or do games on the back, or dig through to find a decoder ring with a special message on the box that, once decoded, tells you to eat more cereal.

The cereal rule I had growing up was a rule based on sugar. Because sugar cereal was, is, and will always be more expensive that unsugared cereal. I guess to be clear, for me sugar cereal constitutes cereal like Honeycombs, Frosted Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, and Lucky Charms, where unsugared cereal means Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Raisin Bran, and Corn Chex… even though technically they all have some sugar in them.

The rule was this; we could only have sugared cereal on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and only one bowl for each day. The rest of the time, if we wanted cereal for breakfast, we ate crappy unsugared cereal, which I would drown with sugar. Seriously, after all the cereal was gone I loved slurping down the left over milk, which was about half sugar. It had the consistency of clam chowder. The thickness was a result of all the sugar I poured over the flakes, one bite at a time. Thinking about it now almost puts me in a sugar coma. Pardon me while I embrace an uncontrollable shiver or two. (/shiver) Seriously though, left to my own devices, my regular cereal had about three times more sugar than my sugared cereal. And yet, I remember the sugar cereal always tasting so much better.

We followed the rule too. Mainly because if any of us screwed up, or took sugared cereal on a day we were not supposed to, everyone would lose their sugar cereal rights for about a month. Not to mention that there would be a good chance that you would be accosted by all of your siblings when the parents weren’t looking.

In looking back, there is one thing about this rule that makes absolutely no sense… Sunday! I managed to grow up in a religious home were every Sunday we would go to church. Now while at church it was hammered into me that church was a reverent place. A place where I was to sit quietly, listen to the stories teachers would read, and above all else I place where you behave.

So my question is this, if good behavior was an important aspect to the overall effect of this church going experience, then why was one of the only days of the week I was allowed to get wired and jacked up on sugar cereal on the morning of the day I would be going to church. There was no chance in hell I was going to sit quietly though an type of meeting after emptying a bowl of Fruit Loops just before going to a build designed to get people engaging in some type of holy experience.

Occasionally my parents did experience good behavior on my part, but this was only because I had opted to add sugar to my sugar cereal and by the time we got to church I had already hit my sugar peak and was crashing right as service started. I’d sleep through the whole thing, which I suppose was a rather peaceful experience for me as well. Although there were those times that I think my parents, usually my dad, appreciated my sugar rushed behavior, but only on the occasion that a sermon was excruciatingly drab and dreary. If, I mean when I’d misbehave on days like this, my dad was always more than happy to pick me up and escort me out of the main room.

Sometimes he’s smack me on the butt, because I’d more than likely earned it. Other times he’d just smile and give me a hug and take me outside to run around the building to work off some of my excess energy while he sat outside and watched me (out of earshot of the sermon being shared inside). Apparently, sometimes badly behaved children can be an answer to a parent’s prayer… but only if that prayer is for the sake of getting them out of church. Who knew? At least I’m glad I could help. Who knows, maybe that’s the reason right there for why sugar cereal was only allowed on the weekend.

What were some of the rules you had growing up that when you look back made absolutely no sense?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: family, cereal, pillow fighting kids, kids in church, holding kids, and spanking kid.

Messages from the Dead

Messages from the Dead

I have already started two different Smirks today. I was half way though sharing about an experience I had in my painting class during one of my teachers many “what is art” tangents, when I decided to check my email. Plans with a friend were in the works for tonight and I was waiting to hear where we would be meeting up. The email from my friend was there, it was just that the email right above his was from a dear friend of mine who I had not heard from in some time, mainly because she died a few years ago.

I admit I have seen the occasional ghost hunting show, and I still enjoy watching a Scooby-Doo episode or two when I am hanging out with my niece, but emails from the dead… that is a new one. When I say her name in the From: column, it took me a minute. I struck a pose like a dog that is being given instruction on how to set the clock on a VCR. They know what you are saying is important, but they just can’t make sense of the whole thing. They even tell you so by tilting their head to one side while the still show interest and wag their tail.

It kind of made me want to go on the John Edward’s show and when John asks me why I am there, I could tell him, “Because I received a message from a dearly departed friend… in my Inbox!” It would be one of those stand alone moments in television history, like when JR got shot, or when Bob Barker left the Price is Right, or when Greg was caught smoking, or when Mike and the Bots finally returned to Earth.

Of course I opened the email, how could I not? And I mean that metaphorically and not literally, because I literally know how to not open an email. I mean if I were superstitious, I might think twice about opening up an email sent to me by a dead friend, but since I’m a Capricorn, we’re not superstitious by nature. Turns out it was just some random link, probably to kind of virus. Call me a ethereal buzz kill if you want, but I think it’s a relatively sound rule that when you receive some random link from a friend that’s been dead for a few years, clicking in it is going to create more problems than not.

So logically I figure some lout hacked into her email and started sending a virus link to all the friends on her contact list, which makes me a little sad. However, from a purely illogically point of view, it could mean that the dead have become technologically savvy and are trying to make contact with friends and family to warn them about an evil entity that is hell bend on ruling the afterlife… or something like that. The sad thing is that you know it is only a matter of time until Hollywood steals that plot and decides to make it into a poorly made B-movie that only adolescent teen boys would watch in hopes of seeing high school girls running around in bras, screaming, and getting dismembered by some disgruntled computer generated cloud… because they don’t have the budget to make a whole monster.

Wow, that was an unexpected tangent. Although, is a tangent ever really expected? I mean to the person on the tangent? I have some friends that I know will be going off on a tangent way before they even get to the unexpected tangent. I’m probably one of those friends.

Regardless, there was something good that came from all of this… the memory of a friend. It’s been a while since I’ve thought of her, and even though the email was sent with malicious intent, I did give me some remembrance time, and for that I am grateful.

So, have any of you gotten an email from a dead person?

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: you’ve got mail, confused dog, ghost typing, and thinking of you.