Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thank Goodness I'm Diversified!

Half my assets are in Acura, half in GM....

Actual Conversation

Me: Whew! I'm beat. It just took me two hours to buy two pairs of shoes. I should be eligible for a government grant, I did so much research. I wanted some new shoes to walk the dog with, but they had to look good, and you know how impossible that is...

Mom: Look good? You live five miles out in the country. Who on earth is going to see you?

Me: What if Carrie Bradshaw had the attitude that in a city of nine million, no one would notice what she was wearing? I mean, really... where would we be?

Mom: go on..

Me: So I had this ten dollar off coupon for Famous Footwear --

Mom: How do you get this stuff?

Me: There's this big group of retailers that take turns sending me coupons to stimulate the economy. It's a heavy burden, but I'm up to the task. Anyhoo... I tried on every brand of athletic shoe they make and decided Keds were my best choice. Most cute. Not a bad shoe for walking either. But they were $40, so $30 with my coupon, but then I saw the shoe I really wanted, a white Sketcher, but they're like evening gown shoes. Too expensive for walking the dog. They start at $50, but these were on Clearance for forty, or $30 with the coupon and I just couldn't decide, so then I went next door to Kohl's...

Mom: You had a coupon there too?

Me: Well of course. They do coupons almost every day. I only had 15% off, but I wanted to look anyways.

Mom: Only 15?

Me: Yeah, I usually won't walk in there for less than 20, but I really wanted the shoes. So I see they had Keds on sale, but they pulled the old 'our part number' trick.

Mom: What?

Me: That's where the store puts their own stock number on an item to make it much harder for you to figure out apples to apples when comparing their price to a competitor. The electronic stores have the manufactures make up different models just for them so you can't ever buy that item elsewhere. You have to make somebody open up the box so you can read ALL the specs and compare. They're not used to uber-consumers like myself who will actually do that. Most likely they aren't expecting Famous Footwear to be right next door, either, but I'm pretty sure it was the same shoe. Or at least close enough that the $33 sale on Keds plus my 15% off made me feel good about my research.

Mom: So what did you do?

Me: Bought the Keds for $26 after tax, and the Sketchers for $30 with the coupon next door. I'm pooped. Hope Al has dinner on.

Afterword: First off, allow me to admit that I already have one Keds and one Skechers in tan, so these were just the same thing in white. HOWEVER, something is very different between the tan suede and white smooth leather Skechers. (Note: these are designed to be worn without socks) The new white ones caused three agonizing blisters within thirty minutes of the first wearing. No wimp, I'm determined to break them in. I've been wearing them some every day since. I now no longer have feeling in my left foot. I pray that means the bleeding has stopped and the calluses have begun to form. Let's hope. My friend Martha noticed I was limping and told me she just donated her two barely used pairs of Skechers to a shoe drive since they did the same thing to her. Really? I said, pulling a box of band-aids out of my desk drawer. Readers, have you had this experience? The tan ones are a dream, I really thought I was getting another pair of slipper-soft shoes. The white are causing heel blisters and the left toe may have to be amputated to stop the ice-pick intense pain on that side. OUCH!!

What if They Picket the Wrong Theater?

Letter to the Shareholders

Dear Stockholders Who Just Lost Everything:

Remember me? The girl you laughed at? You said I was foolish, spending all my money. Scoffed at the way I enjoyed the moment, never thinking about tomorrow. Predicted I'd be sorry someday. Well you know what?

My closet is still full of shoes.

How's that portfolio lookin'? I thought so.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Let Us Inspect a Few, Would You?

EAST LANSING, Mich., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Shipments of iceberg lettuce identified as a source of E. coli illnesses in Illinois have been stopped, a produce supplier said.

Once again, I'd just like to point out that zero cases of tainted pepperoni shipments have been reported so far this year...

Just Wondering

Have Gary Larsen and Scott Hilburn ever been seen in the same room together???

Soon to Stink Up a Beach Near You

from Variety...

Universal Pictures has made a splashy preemptive buy of "Moby Dick," a reimagining of the Herman Melville whale tale that Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted") will direct.
Studio paid high six figures to Adam Cooper and Bill Collage to pen the screenplay.
The writers revere Melville’s original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure. Gone is the first-person narration by the young seaman Ishmael, who observes how Ahab’s obsession with killing the great white whale overwhelms his good judgment as captain.
This change will allow them to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Ahab’s Pequod, and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive.
"Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s ‘Moby Dick,’ " Cooper said. "This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story."

Who cares? I'm still waiting for a decent Jaws remake where there shark wins. Spielberg's movie was great, but the shark was killed at the end. The phony 'franchise' jumped the shark on movie two...

Actual Conversation

Me: (wandering from room to room, looking for the yellow sandals that were on my feet not ten minutes earlier) I've lost a pair of shoes!

Al: I can't believe you noticed.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Wish I'd Said That!

"Sarah Palin, you know, was at the U.N. yesterday, and she was a big hit. She's over there meeting all of the world leaders. She's still learning who the world leaders are. Right now, she thinks that Warren Buffett is the head of Margaritaville." --David Letterman

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Visa Ergo Sum


Our local grocery store has a scam going called Gas Buddy.

Buy certain products, and earn a certain amount of cents off on your next gas purchase at their gas station. On the surface, this sounds great, but as a savvy shopper, I was able to see through the sham pretty quick. Anything that had a Gas Buddy sticker was no bargain. In fact, it was frequently up-priced.

So I end up floating about the store with my cell phone in hand (set to calculator function) trying to figure out if I'm really getting anything off on gas. I'm not. Anyhoo.... since this store has the cheapest gas station for 30 miles associated with it, I'm going to pop into the grocery and take a little look-see every week anyways.

Last week I bought some generic toilet paper that turned out to not be such a good deal. Walgreen's advertised the name brand this week for the same price, so whatever few pennies were saved on gas didn't amount to much if the generic doesn't last us as long (although I did make sure it was the same ply and square footage, I'm not sure it will be as good).

This week, I won. In fact, if I have a few more weeks like this, the store should go bankrupt. I wouldn't miss Gas Buddy, or the wilty produce, but I sure would miss the gas station.

Here's what I bought:

Two Pantene Shampoos. A premium brand, I can't get this at the Wal of China for under $3. Frequently I see it for $3.49. Their super-duper price was 2 for $5 with Store Coupon. (I had said coupon.) I think they were looking to discontinue the line or something. Who buys shampoo at the grocery store anyways? Bachelors? They don't have hair most of the time. But buying groceries at the shampoo store is fine, I do it all the time at Wal of China. They added groceries later. Grocery store toiletries are too expensive as a rule.

A Pantene Hair Spray. $4.19 - sounds high, but this is a grocery store as mentioned.

Skim Milk. Store coupon 2 for $5. I put one in the cart, hoping I don't have to buy two. Great price, milk is now as high as gas.

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. 69 cents. This is outrageous. Last time I bought this, a mere decade ago, it was 44 cents a box. However, it is good for two cents off each gallon of gas up to 15 gallons. OK, Gas Buddy, you got me.

Eggs. Store coupon for 99 cents. This is how much eggs should be! I should not need a coupon. Cluck you, high prices.

Saltines. $1.00. Oh, sure, I could buy Al Premiums, but if you've ever seen him use the whole sleeve of crackers in one bowl of soup, you'd seek out the dollar shelf too. In restaurants, the waitresses ask if he wants some soup with those crackers. It's that bad.

Silverware. $1.00. Couldn't help myself. Little roll of four spoons looked handy for dishing out pet food or taking to lunch with my soup. Anyplace you don't want the fine silver going. Impulse buy. So shoot me.

Soooo.... I get up to the check out and start waving coupons like a madwoman. Checkout girl says one milk is fine.

Now...for the coup de grace...I whip out two manufacturer's coupons for Pantene - one says, buy one conditioner and one shampoo, get any styling product FREE and the other says $2.00 off Pantene Select.

A) I bought two shampoos
B)They don't even carry the Select

But you know what? Cute little check girl said she'd take BOTH of them!! And... wait for it.... I got an additional five cents off for "Plastic Bag Refund"!!! I didn't even know there was such a thing! I just bring a cloth bag because I'm trying to do something nice for the environment! Grand total, with tax (Drum roll, please) $9.69.

I've been redeemed!!!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bog Blog

What a Country!

Gotta love an obese, lazy nation that creates the Drive-Through Nature Preserve. Went to Horicon Marsh this weekend and took the "Auto Tour". My only complaint is that it was too short! A mere three miles of paved roads (with gentle little speed bumps) through the wetlands uncovered many species of birds (and frogs, if you care to get out of the car for a bit) and plants.

Amazingly, most visitors were using the hiking paths and there were very few automobiles taking the road. If it had been a nicer day, I would have hiked, but it was rather cool and cloudy. I loved being able to putt through an ecologically sensitive area in a muscle car and not have to worry about locking it up or who was parking near it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

No, Speed Racer, No

On the heels of my screed about speeding statistics being interpreted incorrectly comes this fantastic Jalopnik post.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which Mr. Sepkowitz cites as his source, says 31% of people involved in fatal crashes in 2007 were speeding at the time. From this, we can draw several conclusions. The first is that while speed was a factor in these crashes, it is not given as the cause. The other obvious conclusion is that two thirds of people involved in fatal crashes were not speeding at the time. So, by Mr. Sepkowitz’s logic, isn't it actually safer to speed than it is to drive at or below the speed limit? Maybe we should call for a ban on not speeding.

Don't Blink

Kevin (in accent identifying him as life-long resident of Jaipur): This is Kevin, how may I help you today?

ME: Hi, I'd like to activate my credit card. (Kevin, yeah, that's a traditional Hindu name. God of Usurious Credit Practices, I believe...)

Kevin: That's great. Did you see your new card has the Blink logo? Do you know how that works?

Me: Yeah. I blink, and I'm over my credit limit.

Kevin: Oh, ho...no. It means you don't have to swipe your card anymore. You can just hold the card up to any terminal that has the blink logo.

Me: Oh. (That should work great as I walk out through the registers empty-handed... paying for everyone else's transactions on the way. )

Kevin: So, tell me, what do you use your credit card for?

Me: Uh, shopping. (A bookmark. What do you use yours for?)

Kevin: If we know what types of purchases you are likely to make, we can flag your account and call you if any unusual transactions take place.

Me: Oh, I get it. OK. If you see any four-digit shoe store purchases; I want you to process those lickity-split. If you see any charitable contributions, shut the card down. It's stolen.

The Horse Should Have Shouted "No, Don't"

LONDON (AFP) - The author of the international best-selling book The Horse Whisperer was recovering Wednesday after falling ill from eating poisonous mushrooms.

Evans and his wife, along with her brother and his wife, were taken to hospital where it was established they had eaten a rare variety of mushroom called Cortinarius Speciosissimus.

This type of mushroom is highly toxic, with the toxins attacking the kidneys in particular.
Evans and the other three members of his family were then transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where they were given dialysis and other kidney treatment.

The party had picked the mushrooms in local woodland and cooked and ate them on Saturday, August 23, but fell ill the next day.

Did the horse tell him to eat it? Or was it that after they all ate the mushrooms, the horse was whispering all kinds of good stuff???


Using the Internet to look up symptoms for diseases you're sure you have.

Armegeddon Looming

(Should've stuck with the Wunderoos)

Do you need any further proof that the Great Wal of China has corrupted our very souls by taking what was once great about America and cheapening it to the point of our now being a fourth-world country?
I'm speaking specifically of undergarments. You heard me. Cotton panties. Fruit of the Loom. Famous American company. Read all about them at Wikipedia.
I admit it, I buy them at China-Mart. Produce, soda pop, aspirin, underwear... I just cruise the aisles at the mega-mart all willy-nilly. I see it's back-to-school time and there's a big sale on underwear. Makes sense. Wow! Package of six. $4.88. There's a deal. Oh, wait... if you dig around towards the back of the hangpegs, there's bonus packs! Whoo-hoo! Eight assorted for $4.88. Satisfied I have somehow scammed the Waltons, I check out.
So I come home and decide to open the new package to place in the laundry and take out the old ones from the dresser to discard... Hey! Wait a minute!!! The new panties are 52% thinner!! As in cheesecloth! I can't begin to describe how chintzy the new ones are compared to the first set. Downright see-through.
I blame China-Mart. Why? Their low, low, prices everyday policy states each year their suppliers must lower the price of the product or they will go elsewhere. So - sometime over the last year "Thread" became a luxury they just couldn't continue to provide their loyal customers, even after outsourcing assembly to Honduras. (I also think the Purple Grapes got laid off when they went bankrupt back in 1999.) FOTL also has quite the anti-union stance, just like their buddies from Bentonville.
I see the Wikipedia article cites some unconditional guarantee. Need I start a FOTL Sucks campaign??
Warren Buffet, if you're reading this, I'm NOT SATISFIED!!!
If you need me, I'll be the one in the Emergency Room with clean underwear on - two pair.

Huey Lewis and the No-So-Breaking News

The blur at the far left is Huey... in all his 1.8 megapixel glory...

Saw my honey Huey at the county fair over the Labor Day weekend! He did a fantastic show, although I can't but help thinking this scenario was played out just prior to his appearance on stage...

Huey (on cell phone, peering through window of tour bus): It's a cornfield!
I think I just saw a cow!

Agent: It's Wisconsin.

Huey: There's twelve farmers in the stands...they have rotten produce to
throw! They think I'm the Dixie Chicks!

Agent: You must go on. You signed a contract.

Huey: It's a county fair! I played the White House July Fourth...

Agent: I suggest you read the contract next time.

Huey: You're fired.

I mean really. You know your career isn't what it used to be when you're booked at the local carnival and admission to your show is included with admission to the pig barn.

Seems I'm the big winner here. Yay!! Thank you, Huey. You were great. So were those sows.

No Calories, No Conscience

Dear Wait Staff:

As someone who is fully capable of stealing her own weight in Splenda, I'd just like to give you this handy Theft Chart. It's like a Tip Chart, please use it to gauge your effectiveness in delighting your diner.

2 packets missing from table: Great job! You were personable and efficient. If anything went wrong, I'm sure it was beyond your control.

4 packets in my purse: You spent way too much time flirting with the cook. My coffee cup was empty twice.

6 packets AWOL: My order, "Number Six, hold the Onions", was beyond your intellectual capabilities. Please use my tip to enroll in some college credit courses.

Hey, Where's the glass sugar holder for table eight?: I suggest you get off that cell phone and acknowledge my existence.

I Suppose Palin Thinks They're Pretty...

TOKYO - Three normally white polar bears at Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in central Japan changed their color in July after swimming in a pond with an overgrowth of algae.
The sight of green polar bears has prompted many questions from visitors concerned about whether the animals are sick or carrying mold, zoo official Masami Kurobe said Sunday.
"Visitors seem to be shocked by the color, and we are asked every day why they are so green," he said.
High temperatures in July and August and less-frequent water changes because of the zoo's conservation efforts caused an algae growth in the bear pond and safety moat, Kurobe said.
Algae that enters hollow spaces in the bears' fur is hard to rinse off, he said.
The bears are expected to return to their natural color when the algae growth subsides in November, Kurobe said.
Makes them easier to spot when you are drilling in their snow-white living room for oil...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Livin' On the Edge

Couldn't resist buying this cute little turtle coffee cup. But should I really be drinking out of it? It says Made in China on the bottom.

Coffee - full of antioxidants + Cup - leaching lead = ???

Animal Abuse

This is so hideous, I don't think I can even comment right now...

Scales of justice tilt to the scaly
By Cliff Ward Special to the Chicago Tribune
August 22, 2008

A judge had a different idea Thursday when prosecutors suggested community service work in an animal shelter for a West Dundee woman who stabbed her estranged husband's pet lizards.

"That would be sort of like putting the defendant in a candy store," said Kane County Judge Grant Wegner, who instead ordered Sara Tinsley to spend 50 hours collecting roadkill.

Tinsley, 38, pleaded guilty to aggravated animal cruelty in May. She was arrested in April 2007 and later admitted that she stabbed the two bearded dragon lizards with a kitchen knife after a dispute with her estranged husband the day before.Police were called and found one lizard dead. But the other was still alive in a garbage can at the couple's West Dundee home. The reptile survived after emergency surgery.

Tinsley was ordered to work with a road crew collecting dead animals as part of her sentence. She also was told to pay $604 in veterinary bills, $375 in fees and court costs. She must undergo an anger-management evaluation and was placed on probation for 18 months.

"I'm very, very sorry for my actions," Tinsley told the judge. "I've been around animals my whole life and never had an incident."Prosecutors presented to the court a letter from Thomas Davis, a member of the Chicago Herpetological Society, who urged the judge to treat injuries to lizards as seriously as he would more traditional pets.

"I can tell you from experience the tears I cried over a 5-foot water monitor were every bit as hard as the one I cried over a 125-pound Rottweiler. . . . Scales, fur and feathers—it all hurts just the same when your pet dies," he wrote.

Tinsley's former husband, Harry Tinsley, 38, attended the sentencing. He wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of a bearded dragon lizard and a caption that read, "Here's lickin' at you, kid." It was clear he still grieved for his lizards, Ethel, who died, and the surviving Fred.

In a letter to the court, he wrote, "Ethel especially loved strawberries, which we found hilarious because her hips would get red and it looked like she was wearing lipstick."
Attorney Todd Cohen, who represented Sara Tinsley, said his client had led a law-abiding life but snapped after the domestic incident. The couple were divorcing at the time, prosecutors said. Harry Tinsley pleaded guilty to domestic battery in March. The couple have divorced since then, and both have remarried."There was some justice done," Harry Tinsley said. "But I don't think it was enough for what she did."

Can you say Death Penalty kids? I knew you could.

Sign O' the Times

Small roadside sign in front of rural gas station:

Fishing Worms

As opposed to what,
Cooking Worms?
Pet Worms?
Worms for the Snooze-Alarm Bird?