Category Archives: Humor

Applebees Promotional Crap

I was at Ocala Florida Applebees this past weekend, only because I was with a relative in which Applebees provided a comfortable and consistent dining experience.

I’m not going to argue with the elderly, or attempt to force Thai Fusion local cuisine on someone who prefers coffee and quesadillas.

After we settling in I had to put this tower of promotional garbage under the table. I’m all for checking out the specials, but this was lording over our table like the Jolly Green Giant, preventing me from enjoying all of the other crap-tacular kitch scattered about the room.

Here’s just some of what I missed out on.

Giant Free Sangria
Applebees Touch Tunes be my own DJ
Tomato Ketchup. (I kept this)
1/2 Price Aps, not applicable to my visit.
$10 off my next meal. (not applicable, as I wasn’t planning a “Next Meal”

Personal Fitness Roundup

I received some new skis for Christmas. I recently took them down to Sports Authority at 10th and Broadway (formerly the Gart’s Sports Castle) to get some bindings installed. And guess what happened? I got the deal of a lifetime. Jason in the tech shop managed to track down some new clearance bindings (a year or two old) for TWELVE dollars. These originally sold for just over $200. Unbelievable – I thanked him and his boss for going the extra mile for me.

With this savings bonanza I purchased some new boots, which I needed anyway because my vintage mid-90s Koflachs were so worn down the shop guys wouldn’t even mount them. I had some time to kill while they were finishing the tune-up, so I meandered around the fitness section.

I don’t profess to be a personal trainer, but I hit the gym a few times a week. It keeps me energetic, healthy, and with my bike commute (nine miles each way,) its a perfect balance between weight maintenance and cardio.

I get a kick out of fitness infomercials, but never paid attention to how much garbage is available for retail sale too. Much of it is overpriced, and only targets one specific exercise or body part.

What I would and would not purchase. Here we go:

This angry man punching bag sells for $199. Next to it is a standard punching bag for $99. $100 to punch the rubbery form of a human? You can print out a photo of your hated one for free and glue it on – savings of $100. I don’t have anyone in life that I hate, so I would probably print out my latest 401k statement and tack it up.

These medieval looking ab getups (above right) are $199 and $279 respectively. I’ve seen these in dumpsters three months after Christmas. They don’t even look comfortable as camping chairs.

These weights (below left,) are adjustable, and cost $300. They are actually pretty ingenious, as you can swiftly switch and lock between different weights, and they take up far less space than a full rack. However these hexagonal ones are only .50 a pound. And you really only need a group within your range. i.e. I mostly use 25 – 50 lb weights. So I’d have no use for a five or 200 pound weight.

I have no idea what the difference between a “pilates mat” and a regular mat is, except that a pilates mat retails for $26.

These benches (above right) are a good deal. They’re sturdy, simple and perfect for doing upper body exercise, and the $119 one is adjustable for crunches and gives back support while doing arms and shoulders. This one (below left) is even better at $119, which includes a barbell bar. That’s a good deal, and an solid piece of equipment that serves multiple uses.

Not a good deal? Some sort of balance ball (below right) for $119. Doing calve raises on a street curb is free.

Whatever tubular contraption this is (below left) costs $900. Unless you’re just going for sheer bulk you can get a BETTER workout with the bench and free weights. Why? By when using free weights your body is forced to maintain its balance, thus giving a better workout of the targeted area (i.e. shoulders, triceps, etc.) (This isn’t my opinion, it’s repeated all over.)

Ok, so the other gear is actual equipment, even if high priced. But I’m appalled Sports Authority would even sell the “Slendertone” ab shocker. (above right.) This is one of the hilarious devices people wear (in infomercials,) around their house while watering plants or watching TV. They promise rock hard abs without moving a muscle. (Because the jolts of electricity move the muscles for you.) Yeah right.

Speaking of moving, now that it’s snowing today I need to finally get up to the slopes and test out my new skis. And boots, and bindings…

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Alcon Opti-Free is TSA Compliant

I noticed this bright orange banner atop Alcon’s “Opti-Free” contact lens solution. The package reads “Carry on Size, TSA Compliant.”

First, I should hope that any contact lens solution would be carry on size. I don’t believe they have or ever will sell contact lens solution in keg size.

Second, I glanced down at the bottom and saw that this bottle is “4 ounces.” Now the TSA is currently in the process of restructuring their liquid carry on restrictions, but as of now and for the past few years its always been UNDER three ounces.

That makes me wonder how a 4 ounce bottle can be “TSA Compliant?”

Alcon’s site has a paragraph lifted from the TSA site stating “if its a medical necessity and over three ounces you MUST (capitalized,) declare it to the screener.

Apparently if you volunteer the fact you have a four ounce bottle, and REQUEST a bag search – then you will be allowed to carry this through. Why on earth would anyone REQUEST an additional screening over ONE ounce?

No one gets into trouble for “not volunteering” their medical supplies. I’m type 1 diabetic who travels with insulin, syringes, and testing supplies. I’ve had my bag inspected many times AFTER getting x-rayed, but I would find it quite “Ned Flanders-ish” to request an inspection in advance. I guess Alcon thinks you should.

The logical solution to this non-issue, and Alcon’s gimmicky marketing: Just throw it in your bag and “carry on” as usual.


Someone sent me this number and told me to dial it.  I did, and have been calling it every morning for a week.  Googling the number led to this post at Challenged Confessions, answering my curiousity: Its the daily recorded menu of the Schumpert Hospital Cafeteria in Shreveport, Lousiana. 

In addition to great sounding southern food and a listing of the “Inspiration Station” salad bar rotation, the person recording, (perhaps the chef,) also gives an uplifting aphorism or Bible verse.

How does grilled tilapia with almonds sound?  Or red beans and sausage – maybe southern fried chicken…  Call this number anytime you’re desiring a taste of the south. If anyone is in Shreveport please go visit this place for me.

I made an MP3 of today’s menu:

Extreme Junk Mail by AAA

How much crap can you stuff into one letter size envelope?  AAA Insurance attempts the world record… 

I have no problem with Triple A.  I’m not an insurance expert, but my parents and extended family have used them for years, and I was a member at some point in the past also.  As far as I know Triple A, (or is it AAA?) has a long and reputable history.  I can’t remember a family vacation without a trusty “Triptik” and motel discount book stuffed in the console of our wood paneled station wagon.

But I questioned this mess that arrived at my office last Friday from AAA Colorado (located at Colorado and Arkansas, just a hop from the Bulgarian Market.)  I receive plenty of junk mail.  Comcast, Xcel Energy, Qwest, and local menus from around the neighborhood are no stranger to my mailbox.  But this one gets the 5 star AAA award for most wasteful.  It would seem AAA doesn’t think a simple letter stating, “Hey how about joining AAA, we can save you some bucks,” will net an adequate response. I understand them wanting to create an incentive or call to action, but this is just overkill.  So grab your knife and let’s dissect it!

Top Center: A four page newsletter addressed to “member-elect” from “Rod Manuel,” summarizing via bullet points and pre-printed blue “highlighting” the full benefits of AAA membership. Ok – I can handle a letter stating they’re great for trips, travel, and roadside assistance, but the following ancillary enclosures start to look frightfully desperate.

Top Left: Actual “insurance cards” with a membership number and my name, good until February 15. The back states “AAA provides services and privileges with the exception of bail bonds.” I’m guessing they’re avoiding DUIs here.

ok – so this is a REAL AAA card good until the February 15th? I can actually USE it for roadside services?  But is this real INSURANCE covering comprehensive and liability? I doubt that if I totaled a BMW this would actually be accepted as insurance.

Middle Right: A 6″ x 6″ “personal” note from Rod telling me that he is delighted to include me in this offer. “It’s quite amazing!” writes Rod.

Bottom Center: As if Rod’s personal note doesn’t get me frothing, also included is a letter from member “John Ziegler.” This correspondence is angled to appear as if it’s been hastily slammed onto the copy machine in a mad rush to get this package out to me.  John’s letter to AAA states “days after mailing in my application, I locked my keys in my car.” He states he used his temporary card from AAA. Actual quote: “Thanks SO MUCH for mailing me the application.” I guess this answers my above question about use of cards.

Top Right: A glossy quick start guide for new members detailing benefits.  (As if anyone over 25 doesn’t know you can throw AAA around for car rental and motel discounts.)  Through even more bullet points and photos I’m shown stranded motorists receiving rapid assistance, a happy guy on a road trip, and couples and families dining and shopping with glee, all thanks to AAA.

Bottom Right: A dangerously shiny AAA rectangular sticker to be displayed on car.  At the proper angle this could be reflect the sun and blind pilots.

Left Center: Business reply envelope. “RUSH!!! Registration enclosed”

Bottom Left: The envelope in which these shenanigans arrived in- misleadingly marked “Membership Registration Enclosed.”

Whew! There you have it. Normally something like this would make a beeline for the dumpster and not even merit a second glance, but I found it utterly astounding at just how much stuff was jammed inside. 

Now – these temporary membership cards:  I examined the fine print, which states “If you USE your card you will be billed for services should you fail to send in the premium by deadline.”   I supposed that’s fair, but to play the manipulative consumer I COULD use my cards and just not pay.  I didn’t sign a contract with them.  They sent ME a service card to use.  It’s similar to the “Cash this check for $10 and you’ll be enrolled in…”  that credit card companies mail.  But what’s different here is that they have no way of charging me – All they have is my name and address.

Perhaps I should USE my temporary membership card and try to help a stranded motorist in the next month.  I’d like to make SOMETHING positive happen from all this waste.  If I can use my card to be a good Samaritan then I’ll win, a stranger wins, and AAA?   We’ll, maybe they’ll learn to be less wasteful.

By James Van Dellen

Christmas at Target

If you haven’t completed your Christmas shopping yet there’s still plenty of gift opportunities available at your local Target!

Today I visited the location in Mission Viejo, California. I didn’t even have to scrape the upper half of the barrel to find these phenomenal gems. Perfect for under the tree or as stocking stuffers…

Let’s get started…

A huge selection of third rate software. Hello Geek Squad! From $19.99

A category five hurricane shaped candle holder. Hypnotize your next dinner party!

Gillette razor and shaving gel set. Includes three golf balls for some reason.

Oh yes lots more…

Continue reading

Maps for Us

I’ve been happily exploring Maps For Us today. Do you love maps, charts, and diagrams of, well, everything? Of course you do. And so do I. Who doesn’t like to hunker down at the library on a rainy Saturday afternoon poring through old maps. Now expanding on my thrilling hobby, the site maps travel places like coffee houses in Amsterdam, various underground and metro lines, and other cityscape related maps. But what makes them fun in such a dry way is their serious documentation of such obscure charts as “Map of Halcyon Masonic Lodge No. 498 in Cleveland,” or “Neo-Copernican Map of Chronological Cosmology

Check them out at There’s more maps than you can shake a rolled up map at!

Pictured below: “Map of the Evergreen State Fair – Monroe, WA” and “Birding Hotspots of Guatemala”