Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Delicious But Anger Inspiring Taste Treat

I went to a potluck on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of a friend of mine, and to my utter shock and disbelief, someone I didn’t know became upset with me! Those of you who know me are likely thinking “Dead Acorn, given your annoying mannerisms and social ineptitude, I’m surprised that this doesn’t happen more often.” Those of you who do not know me are likely thinking the very same thing. To be honest, the relative infrequency of occurrences during which strangers react toward me with rage does surprise me a bit, and I must say that I’m impressed with the self-control of the populace at large.

Anyway, the strange thing about the whole situation was not so much that a stranger was upset with me, but the reason for the ire:


Yes, Jell-O – that wonderfully jiggly treat. (To my reader in Pocatello: yes, Jell-O can be eaten as a dessert. It’s not just for wrestling.) I had made up some Jell-O cups the evening before – not just any Jell-O cups, either, mind you! These Jell-O cups had a layer of green on the bottom, a layer of crushed walnuts in the middle, and a layer of red on the top, all topped off with whipped cream! They were spectacular! (Again, to my reader in Pocatello: Yes, whipped cream can be used outside of the bedroom.)

I arrived fashionably late, and placed the Jell-O cups in the fridge as my fellow party-goers “oohed” and “ahhed” at the magnificence of my contribution. I know that it was really the spoon of Jeebus that had stirred the Jell-O during its preparation, for the creation of such beauty is surely beyond my capabilities, but I cannot deny feeling a bit of pride. I’ll surely burn in hell for such a transgression, I know.

So toward the end of the evening, this gentleman, who had, I sensed, done more than his part to make sure that there would be no beers left over, started getting all up in my grill about making Jell-O cups. I thought he was being facetious at first, as being attacked as less than manly* because I made layered, walnut-infused Jell-O cups hadn’t really ever occurred to me as being possible. But serious he was, and I was told later that he had been pissed off about it since I first unveiled them. Odd.

Eventually, he left in the cab that was there for him. (One funny aspect of the story is that the cab driver came inside and had some dinner and chatted while he waited for this guy for about a half an hour, meter running all the while. He was quite a pleasant fellow.) I have to believe that there exists, somewhere in this stranger’s past, a tragic Jell-O-related tale underlying the day’s happenings. Perhaps he had always wanted a pony as a child, but never got one, and he believes that it was because Kraft Foods used all of the pony hooves to grind up for their product. Or maybe he lost a beloved pet in the Great Jell-O Flood of ought-two. In any case, I hope that someday he is able to face his demons.

I wonder if he listens to Dead Kennedys.

* Yes, that really seemed to be the issue. Seriously.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Damn It! Just When Things Were Starting To Come Together!

I just read a shocking news story concerning my alma mater, the eminently prestigious Idaho State University. While primarily known as a mecca for underage drinkers, ISU technically does have a couple of other more traditionally recognized collegiate activities; namely, scholastics and athletics.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the story is that scholastics and athletics are loosely related to one another (unlike at some institutions, such as The Ohio State University). There is, I have just learned, a measure known as the Academic Progress Rate (APR), and Division I schools are required to exceed some minimum aggregate score in order to avoid horribly Draconian penalties, punishments so severe that even Magdalene, my cruel and unforgiving dominatrix friend, shudders at the thought of them. (And hey, call me, Mags! The new girl doesn't EVER ignore my safeword - miss you!)

According to the story, the threshold at which a program can avoid the brutal horrors that only the NCAA is evil enough to administer is 925. Since the APR rule came into effect in 2004, Idaho State’s football squad has never scored above 900. So even worse than just receiving whatever penalty would result in just a single year’s transgression, ISU could be facing the wrath of the NCAA administrators for seven years of scholastic sloth! Dear god have mercy on their souls.

So what horrific punishment have these sadistic demons handed down? Read on, if you can think you can stomach it ...

The Idaho State University Bengal Football Team will not be eligible for post-season play in 2011.

For my reader in Tanzania who may not be familiar with the ISU football program, here are their records for the last few years:
2010: 1-10
2009: 1-10
2008: 1-11
2007: 3-8
2006: 2-9

Yes, wins are listed first.

In other sports news, apparently Amaury Sport Organisation has noticed that the level of writing on this blog hasn't really progressed over the past three years and has disallowed me from this year's Tour de France. Monsters.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Strained Attempt At A Post

I visited the local “grocery store” the other day, which is really nothing more than a gussied-up Kwikee Mart, but is conveniently close, and so is acceptable for those quick emergency trips, as when I commit the unforgivable sin of allowing my beer reserve to dip below a six-pack. (If you’ve ever seen a grown man in the grips of a full-blown panic attack, you know it’s not a pretty sight.)

While strolling down the pasta aisle, I came upon this display:

Above: Nice to see the store catering to the neighborhood Lilliputians.

Just to be clear: Those are NOT giant packages of noodles. Those are miniature one-serving colanders. Now believe me, I’m appreciative of the fact that the food industry creates different sizes of packaging, so that those of us bereft of human companionship don’t have to buy more than we really need. Avoiding spoilage is just common sense, and really a responsibility of those of us in that situation as planet citizens. I be all down wit dat, as the kids say.

But a single-serving colander? WTF? They don’t cost less than standard sized colanders, and I certainly can’t imagine a kitchen so cramped for shelf space that the actual storage volume advantage would be a considered factor in any colander purchase decision process. I think the only explanation is that the local “grocery store” is going out of its way to tell us solo passengers that, on our little ride through life, we’ll nevah EVAH find ourselves in a situation requiring preparation of a meal for two.

Those bastards.

Well, I, for one, refuse to accept that (it would, of course, be difficult for me to refuse to accept it as more than one ... that's the whole point here). After a brief and calm explanation of my feelings on the matter directed at the checkout girl, who I don’t think was really listening, because she kept gesturing wildly toward the store manager and screaming “CALL 911!” over and over again, I drove to WINCO and purchased the largest colander they had. And while I may not soon, or even ever, have a need to prepare more than one place setting for an evening's dining, I am ready should that time ever arrive. I urge those of you in a similar situation to do as I have done, and reject the oppressive message that the food preparation industry is trying to force upon us. Go! Go buy that colossal colander, the super-siziest sieve you can find! We will stand united in our loneliness (well, metaphorically, of course, because, by definition, we’re not united, duh …) against the cold-hearted monsters who would see us broken had they their way.

In the meantime, the devil dog seems to be developing an Italian accent in her barks. Must be something in her diet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'll Wring Your Scrawny Little Necco!

I really don’t know exactly what I’m feeling right now – it’s an unsettling mixture of anger, sadness, confusion, betrayal … I certainly doubt that there’s any word for this particular emotion in the English language; perhaps not in any language, in fact.

Yesterday, I purchased a roll of Necco Wafers, after realizing that it had been perhaps a year since my last one (by far the longest Neccoless period in my life, excluding my first three years). I was a bit disappointed in myself, naturally, but I worked through it and was eventually able to forgive myself by pledging on my very soul that never again will such an oversight take place.

As is my practice, I prepared to begin sorting through the box in order to select the roll with minimal licorice-flavored wafers. Licorice-flavored Necco wafers, on the Acornian Taste Scale, are just to the bad side of lutefisk. They are, without a doubt, the foulest tasting things I have ever put my tongue on, and I’ve dated some rather Bohemian women in my day.

To my astonishment, the first roll I grabbed was entirely devoid of them! Such was my glee that I could not contain myself, and the store clerk was a bit taken aback upon being hugged by a grown man squealing like a school girl upon hearing that Justin Bieber had been spotted downtown. It was perhaps the high point of my confectionary consumptive career.

“My god, my god, what are the odds?” I asked myself. I quickly recalled the formula for binomial probability calculation and came up with p=6.65 E-5, or about 1 in 15,000. Of course, being one who shuns the sound rigidity of mathematics and statistics in favor of baseless superstitions, I figured that I was on a hot streak and began going through the rest of the box.

To my great shock, the second roll I picked up had no licorice wafers, nor did the third, nor the fourth! “This simply can’t be chance!” I said to myself. “But what else could explain this?” I asked aloud. At that precise instant, my knees buckled, and I fell to the floor, overcome by the realization that had just struck me:

I had won.

For the past twenty-some years, I’ve campaigned for the abolishment of the vile licorice wafer; a campaign involving letter-writing, picket lines, hunger strikes, candlelight vigils, and more than a few shenanigans that, for legal purposes, won’t be mentioned here. And at that moment, I realized that my work has not been in vain. The New England Confection Company had, at long last, succumbed to my demands, admitted defeat, and had rid the world of that most horrific of abominations.

I wept with joy.

Alas, my elation was short-lived, for as I tossed the fourth wafer into my mouth, I nearly gagged and rode into a parked car as I was flooded with the putrid sensation of my old waferious nemesis. They hadn’t gotten rid of it at all! Those bastards had only changed the color! I felt akin to Craig T. Nelson in Poltergeist:
You son of a bitch, you moved the cemetery changed the color but you left the bodies flavor, didn't you? You son of a bitch! You left the bodies flavor and you only moved the headstones changed the color!! YOU ONLY MOVED THE HEADSTONES CHANGED THE COLOR!!! WHY?! WHY?!!!
Well, I got home and did a little research, and discovered that Necco went natural back in late 2009, and the colors consequently changed due to the new ingredients. At least that’s their cover story. I suspect … no, I KNOW … that this was a not-so-subtle escalation in our little war. Well, you’ve won this battle, Necco, but this war ain’t over. Not by a long shot.

Game ON, bitches.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Pretty Sure This Is Scotland's Fault ... They Invented The Stupid Game, After All.

As I am currently just past the midpoint of my 9th decade on this earth, I am becoming ever more aware of my pathetic frailty. Where once I could battle the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix on a brisk spring day and carouse with French lasses throughout the night, drinking absinthe from various body concavities, today I am near tears with every movement, thanks to the unnatural twisting and bodily distortions required by the game of golf.

I thought I had prepared properly – I stayed up well past midnight Saturday and long into the morning strategizing, using the time-tested method of trying to drink all of the beer that the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company had produced and annoying strangers with senseless banter. Regrettably, while such activities can be advantageous for the younger crowd (and John Daly), a man of my advanced years does not fare so well.

But golf we did, a foursome quite comical, as well as odoriferous, I’m sure, as my fellow players also subscribe to these commonly accepted means of golf-eve preparation, as well as the traditional 10 am practice-green Bud Light Tall Boy. Between the ubiquitous four-putts and our tendency to use the fairways adjacent to the particular one we were actually playing, I’m sure it was quite a spectacle – quite a spectacle, indeed.

It probably didn’t help matters that later in the day, I helped move an armoire that weighed in excess of 3000 lbs (13,636 decagrams) and was the size of Rhode Island (but, you know, 3-dimensional). Luckily, the two girls that I was helping were quite a bit stronger than I am, so we were able to accomplish the maneuvers without serious damage.

To the armoire, at least.

And so I sit, whimpering at my desk, arms aching, searing pain shooting through my body with each keystroke, and I think back to last week, when an excursion to the bowling alley, requiring similarly bizarre gyrations for which the human body is not intended, produced a nearly identical result. It's almost as if I haven't the capacity for learning.

The cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix seem like heaven in comparison.