Saturday, October 28, 2006

Yeah, We Got That

For the two of you who have never seen the last scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, let me explain. A little box gets put in a big warehouse full of all sorts of neat things that will never, ever see the light of day again.

I'd like to do that with my seventh grade report card. Like the Ark, it reigned tremendous horror, terror and suffering upon all who gazed upon it. Unlike the Ark, it was heard from again and again and again. Pretty much in the form of "you're not going there, doing that, getting that, seeing your friend, breathing air again until you bring home better grades."

That's not to say I did uniformly poorly. I excelled in the subjects I was interested in. Unfortunately, staring vacantly into space, walking about aimlessly and speaking about pointless things were not disciplines officially recognized on the curriculum when I was in high school. I pretty much sucked at everything else.

Now I am reminded of the movie scene because of the hardware store across the street from my coffeehouse. Not the one I hang out at, sipping latte's and waxing philosophical. The one I own and set beartraps in the shrubs outside of hoping that some poor fellow will trade having his ankle freed for the price of a cappucino.

But there's this hardware store. It has eschewed all the latest marketing research, product placement analysis and sales boosting studies for being, well, just a small town hardware store. The lighting is bad, the aisles are narrow, the carpeting smells like some sort of machine lubricant but I'll tell you what; they have one of EVERYTHING.

The only problem is, you just can't find it. Hence the Ark comparison. Run in some Sunday afternoon like my buddy Eric did looking for a metric threaded flexible metal water supply hose because your friend's espresso maker just began to leak like E deck on the Titanic and they don't have one. BUT they do have a solid brass adaptor that couples imperial measure to metric and the hose that attaches to the adaptor so when said friend comes back to his coffeeshop and the floor looks like a hockey rink in July, you can reassure him it'll all work out because, well, I ran across the street to the hardware store and they fixed me up.

The folks in there are true experts. Not only will they solve your problem, they'll know the right word for the part you need. I once went in looking for something to cut a bunch of black crud off some small electric motors and was told they just got in some fresh non-conductive electrical contact cleaner. Thanks very much, who could have imagined it had a shelf life. Double bypass reversing valve? We got that. Single pole dual throw ground fault interupt wet location switch? Right here. Organically based non invasive weed herbicide? Bags of it out in the yard.

You could build the space shuttle out of this place and still have a few parts left over to deal with that drippy spare bathroom faucet and cracked garden hose. Its not that the parts aren't there, its finding them. I think that Flight 19 and the Holy Grail might be in there somewhere, next to a roll of Teflon tape that dates back to the Carter administration. They probably have Nixon's missing eighteen minutes, come to think of it, they just don't remember where they put them. Probably next to the bunting they stocked up on for the Lincoln funeral.

Can you see it? Or hear it for that matter. A truck pulls up and several nondescript cardboard boxes get piled up on the sidewalk. Stock up for another busy week.

"Whatcha got here?"

"Looks like a reverse ionizing oxygenation filter better suited to space missions of 18 months or longer. Orbital re-entry vehicles only though."

"Did we order that?"


"Put it next to the bird feeders. SOMEBODY'S gonna need something like that eventually."

Bunny on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's Noon and I'm Exhausted

Let's just be geographically intolerant for a minute. Today I'm posting from New York City. A couple of hours were spent getting in here today and I've just concluded my business in twenty minutes so I get to do the whole thing over again. When the next Beige Book announces worker productivity has fallen in the last quarter, you can blame me.

Not only that but I got lucky on the ride in. I did NOT have to share a space with the chronic Weight Watcher's dropout. You know, the guy or gal that not only takes up every living inch of their allotted seat on the bus, train, plane or cargo hold but is so fat as to literally pour flesh into your assigned row like dripping candle wax. There's an airline that charges lardos for two seats if indeed they take up such space. That upsets the chunkers, most of whom attribute their size to genetic conditions that they have no control over like the inherent and insipid tastiness of Snickers. Too bad. If you don't like paying double, how's about I sit with you but fly for free. Hey, for a couple of hours, I'll even put up with you, basket ass.

Not today though. The lass I am parked next to is curdling milk with her breath. Holy crap, one firm exhalation and the tint film is melting off the windows. I'm begging someone to leave the lavatory door open in that a urinal puck is like Chanel to me at this juncture.

New York City amazes me in that nobody seems to have noticed that someone let the patients out of the neurological ward and they seem to be everywhere. Boosters of the place will point out the "vibrancy and energy that cascades over you at every street corner!" I'll tell you that its like walking through a strobe light with ADD, hepped up on a couple of pots of Starbucks! This place is an asylum and folks, if you're familiar with these pages, you now know it takes a lot to addle this brain.

It's lunchtime right now and I am hiding in a visiting office which means I am at a conference table with New York office workers passing by going "who's the out of towner?" to which a compadre will say "How do you know he's not from here?" to which the original inmate will answer "He's got at least one un-tatooed or pierced appendage."

They will then nod knowingly and proceed down the street to the famous Lexington Avenue Ptomaine Deli where buckets of food by-products are poured in troughs for their hands-free consumption. Just $14.95 plus tax for this gourmand buffet delight.

I, on the other hand, will continue to hide until about two p.m. when even in New York, lunch is finally over and the herd; fed, caffeined and nicotined, will have been goaded wild-eyed sociopathic taxi drivers back into cubicles that would give Apollo astronauts claustrophobia.

New Yorkers are a funny bunch. For starters, most of them are from Iowa. The natives live in Queens where you don't have to sell your plasma once a week to afford a Manhattan rent on a shoebox. They all ask you the same questions to which I have the same answers: "Do you get into the city much?" A-About twice a month which is four times too often. and "What's your favorite part of New York?" A-The bus home.

I don't have a lot of friends here. Can't figure why.

Bunny on.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A New PSA Campaign

Some new Public Service Advertisements that combine the best of Hollywood classic films with up to the moment messages regarding the general public good:

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs speaks about drinking and driving:

Footage of the star is voiced over with a convincing English lilt as scenes of automotive carnage, white line staggers and clearly plastered drivers are interspersed. Cut to the final montage, voice over announces "Don't Drink and Drive" and Hopkins says "I ate his liver with fava beans and a nice chianti."

Charlton Heston in Soylent Green for food safety:

The importance of washing fruits and vegetables is stressed in scenes of legumes being harvested and thoroughly cleaned. Cut to Heston being crushed in a crowd control truck from the last scene of the film. He is screaming "Soylent Green is people!"

Sigourney Weaver from "Alien 2" takes a stand against workplace harassment:

A typical office setting where an older, obviously powerful executive type is making rude suggestions to a young female who works there as well. They are both well dressed and made up but the upsetting undertone of the scene makes viewers uncomfortable in their homes even. After the tag line, "Harassment is everybody's business enter Ms. Weaver in her cargo handling exoskeleton. She grabs the executive, rends his body in half using the hydraulic power arms of the skeleton and shouts "Keep your hands off her you bitch!"

Roy Schneider in Jaws for Marine Safety:

After 22 seconds of pleasure craft shown sinking, Schneider backs into the wheelhouse and announces "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

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