“Rest Area Reviews”

I mentioned to someone last night after an 8 hour drive from Washington DC to Charlotte NC West across I66 and south down I81 that at my age, I stopped at every rest area. Except one. They suggested I should do a blog on Rest Area Reviews.

What a great idea- I thought. With a demographic ranging from the pregnant, to parents with young children to the enlarged prostate age group, this would be a real useful page turner. So here’s a test

“Virginia Rest areas offer a variety of architecture and interior design for the discriminating rest Area aficionados. The true rest area connoisseur will appreciate the thought and design that has been invested in these oasis’s of elimination.

I suppose the iconic Va rest area is the Virginia for lovers design.

What is provides in instagram and FB posting app (because who doesn’t want a selfie in front of the “LOVE” sign after a hearty bladder emptying), it lacks in interior design and modern plumbing. Think your elementary school bathroom design.

Greater appreciation should be had for the more modern “convenience store design” where expansive motion center doors open to a white Center lobby with gleaming vending machines offering water to soda to every trans fat, artery clogging, nutritionally deficient snack known to Man. The actual bathrooms are designed by that famous airport bathroom designer, Toilette D’Aeroport, where washing and the other stuff are separated, al in small gleaming white style.

I admit my favorite is the Virginia cottage style design, where a walk around the building to find your door is not necessary, they being closely and conveniently located in the front of the building. What is May lack in architectural sophistication it makes up for in bath design with extra large brown and black faux marble tile, new soak plumbing fixtures and those wonderful motion Center faucets that only work if you do aerobics in front of the sensor while chanting Haitian voodoo spells.

A true lesson in not judging a book by the cover.”

So, do I have a best seller here? Should I have dreams in going viral? What state should be next?


What If Other Goods and Services Were Sold Like Timeshares?

Call me a masochist, but sitting through a timeshare presentation has always been on my bucket list. Ok, not really, but when the GF called and said, “Hey, I got 5 Days and 4 nights in a Hilton Vegas Resort for $200, I just gotta go to this presentation thing, wanna go”? -I was all in.  She even said she’d brace the presentation by herself, but who wants to miss THAT?

Rather than bore you with all the ways this is not a good deal, my mind turned to what if  other goods and services were sold the same way?

Imagine getting an email from your favorite grocery store. “Hi, Safeway Customer!!!   We see from your Safeway frequent flyer card that you buy groceries. A LOT of groceries.  SOOO many groceries in fact, we see you REALLY like to eat!  How would you like 4 days and three nights of groceries in MIAMI, FLORIDA for $50?  All you have to do is attend our presentation on our irresistible grocery OWNERS club?!?!”    So, one click, $800 of airline tickets and you’re in

You show up for your 10:30 appointment time and …. you wait for 15 minutes. What makes you more anxious to buy something than someone being disrespectful of your time? (Think doctors, cable repairmen and toll booths)

Finally, you and a large group of your fellow Safeway shoppers are ushered into a rather typically decorated hotel seminar room decorated in “high fever, blood drained from your face” beige with a 70 inch TV screen in the front of the room. Your host, a tall handsome, salesman named John takes the front of the room. He laughs, painfully and insincere, at all his jokes no one else laughs at.

He launches into his very scripted presentation which goes something like this. “Who likes to eat?”  (Only a few hands). (We’re going to hear 90 “raise your hand questions” in 30 minutes which soon makes me wonder if they’re trying to sell something or just lack creativity at Simon Says).  “Who buys groceries”?   (Pic of people buying groceries in Paris).  “Who LOVES food” (pic of grocery buying in London- you can feel the excitement building in the room)

“I’m now gonna answer the three questions you’re dying to know”.  “First, how long is this gonna take””.  90 minutes.  The other two questions, which I have now forgotten were also answered by -lies.

“What if you could have two weeks of groceries every year for –$59?”   “Pic of people buying groceries in San Francisco”. “Wouldn’t you love that”? (Pic of people buying groceries in the Maldives”).

“Right now, you just go to the grocery store and BUY groceries.”  (Pic of grocery shopping in Bali). “But what if you OWNED part of the grocery store”.  “You could walk in and just take groceries out in a percentage of your ownership- for almost nothing!”   (Wait, didn’t you say I had to buy part of the grocery store? Pic of grocery shopping in the Grand Canyon)

“Now this is not a timeshare.  This is a prepaid ownership points system.   We sell different ownership percentages from a teenie weenie bit to a whole lot!!  We use a point system because if you wanna buy groceries in a  blizzard nobody wants to eat at the airport in Detroit you get FOUR WEEKS of Groceries, but if you want healthy delicious food at Christmas in Paris, you get 48 hours”.

You then get your personal salesman, Mike, who takes you on a tour of the grocery store you’ve shopped in many times before and repeats, ad nauseam, much of what Snake Oil John said. The one question he claims to beyond his pale of understanding like “what caused the Big Bang” is “what does this cost?”   I know, cause like a prosecutor in Law and Order, I rephrased this question a dozen different ways.

It is now 105 minutes in. I have behaved up until this point. Until, he asks, “if we actually DID tell you what this cost, would you buy today?”   Apparently, suggesting that this one question is used by every scam artist selling used cars purchased out of a flood to Ponzi schemes was taken personally.  We were immediately taken to Jay to sign out where we were required to listen to what caused the Big Bang.  Meaning – cost

Jay was a nice Asian guy who sat down and started to listen to the Mike go through a word by word recitation of what had taken place the last 105 minutes. I angrily interrupted to say that we were told this would be 90 minutes total, that they were 15 minutes over time, and that even cars had stickers on the window to tell you the cost and even car dealers, at some point brought in the finance guy. Jay also took this personally and claimed he was only doing his job.  I calmly said I was not addressing my anger to him, as a sociopath thief, but to Sociopathic Thieves, Inc for whom he worked. This resulted in an immediate pricing. $10,000 payable $2500 up front, with payments of $250 a month at 14%-24% credit card interest for 10 years plus a maintenance fee of $1000 a year, forever.  For a weeks worth of groceries. I assume the lack of attraction for prepaying $30,000 worth of groceries where you would not reach the break even retail point and get a discount for 20 years needs no explication.

Health care-imagine the same scenario above except your paying a high monthly payment to Medicare or health insurance for health care you may or may not need, where you have less buying power for the best healthcare when and how you need it- oh wait, bad example. Healthcare IS A timeshare.


Move Over Hated DMV Photos- US Passport Photos Is The New King in Town

Who likes their DMV photo?  No one.  However, the federal government, fulfilling it’s primary goal to be ever more annoying,  has recently changed passport photo requirement to insure you will hate your photo. In the age of selfies, they have guaranteed your worst selfie ever.

Surprisingly, it didn’t require much.   Two of these requirements guarantee you’ll be unhappy. First, no glasses.  Second, no smile.   (Actually the rule says “neutral facial expression” which I assume means halfway between your “Hi, mother in law”  and “I’m so glad to see you snoopy after my weeks vacay” look. Here’s the government’s exciting web page, US Department of State How to Take and Awful Photo Page.   Do NOT miss the exciting video available there.

Anyway, my GF and I recently took a cruise and realized our passports expired just past the 6 month deadline.  Many carriers will not let you travel with a passport that expires in 6 months or less, so at 10 months, we realized when we got back, a renewal was due.  I did mine online, went to a local drugstore for my passport photo and found out about these new rules.  Now, I’m a 60 year old, overweight man of Italian Descent on both sides of my family so, I’m not winning any modeling contests but I’m a happy guy, so I’m usually smiling.  Quite often. Always for photos.  Here’s an example. And, to be fair, even though I wear glasses 24 hours a day, here’s a pic of myself, taken by a professional photographer, without glasses, that I like. 

I saw my passport photo and thought, “OMG- they have done a remake of the Goodfellas – with the same actors- even the dead ones, and one of the dead ones got arrested and this is his mug shot.  No one is seeing this pic.  Ever.”

I mentioned  that I had renewed my passport and reminded the GF to get hers done.  Of course, a few weeks later she texts me her passport photo, and complains of the new rules.   I look at her photo and she looks like she just left a cover photo shoot for Vogue.  Of course she does.  I mentioned my horrible photo and I got back a “really? Pfffft” message as if I was being self deprecating. So I texted her the black and white from my passport card. 

5,4,3,2,1- and the phone rings.  She is laughing so hard, the tears coming out of her eyes are coming through my  phone. She’s laughing harder then the time in  Austin Texas I slid out of the back seat of a pickup truck so far because I’m so short I ended up in a ditch.  She was laughing so hard, I could understand no words she was saying. Not one. Then the texts started. It was my pic back with a caption. Some of the best were:  “I have killed and will keep on killing”.  “Sorry to bother you, don’t want to interrupt you cutting up peeps in little parts”.  “Jaundice for babies”. “Jeffrey Dahmer for adults photo filter”.  “No probation for you ever”. “Everybody’s talking about your mug shot”.  This went on for hours. 

Ok.  If you liked that, here’s the actual passport photo. 

The ER called later.  They actually had to give her something to get her to stop laughing. 

Humor Uncategorized

Ebola update from the Future- November 2017

Panic continues to grip the country as CNN announced this morning the 123rd person died from this raging epidemic. Since it’s been a little over two years since this dreaded disease has swept across the world decimating the world’s population causing 11,142.4 deaths, 24 euthanized dogs, 16 cats, and one beloved hamster, Harry; we should probably look at how we got to where we are today.

The Ebola crisis helped the republicans regain control of the senate in the midterm 2014 elections. They immediately introduced a sweeping bill to completely close all our borders. This passed on a completely party line vote as expected. However, due to vociferous lobbying by their constituencies in the airline, cruise, train, automobile, and law enforcement lobbies, the airline, airports, harbors, roads, train stations, and bus line were exempt from this bill. So, in the last two years, no Canadians in go carts WITH OR WITHOUT Ebola have entered our sacred shores. They also banned airline flights from Gdansk Poland and Tolmachevo Airport, Siberia Russia. (These two airports did not send in their portion of the lobbying fee to the airports association lobbyist so they were negotiated out of the bill).

The CDC finally bowing to pressure, from well…. Microbiologists and virologists started communicating honestly about the disease. By this time however, they had lost most credibility with the majority of people who got their information from MSNBC, FOX NEWS, or the Internet. Congress got a proposal to disband the CDC and to transfer their duties to the DEA, which was suffering from budget cuts due to the ever larger number of states legalizing marijuana. The DEA suggested a “WAR ON EBOLA” in which people who LOOKED sick would be arrested, their assets forfeited in order to fund operations to go to West Africa to kill the disease, and those producing it. This was very attractive to Congress, which immediately adopted it, and also provided a great place to resell the government glut of used military hardware since Ferguson Missouri had to stop buying it since their recent unpleasantness in 2014 and 2015 in which more people died from rioting and police clashes then total Ebola deaths for both years.

The pharmaceutical industry, seeing a tremendous opportunity had a vaccine ready by summer of 2015 and the FDA immediately suspended all its rules and rushed it to approval. Scientists with the pharmaceutical company said that if 97% of the population was inoculated, EBOLA would be wiped out by the end of 2016. The national group “NUTJOBS”- (No Unctuous Toxic Junk 4 Our Babies) (a new national group which formed uniting all the anti vaccinators especially in light of the huge spike in measles, whooping-cough and other childhood diseases which were now killing children nationwide). Based on this endorsement from scientists alone, 25% of the population REFUSED to take it. Congress then introduced a bill making it mandatory. This completely split the two political parties truly demonstrating the fascist- protectionist, ACLU-freedom schizophrenia in both parties. The Democrats “We must protect you wing” went to war with the “right to choose” wing. The Republican’s law enforcement wing went to war with the tea party gun control too much government wing, which in may cases were the same people, which led to an enormous spike in mental health admissions, taxing an already overtaxed health care system. Nonetheless, the bill passed and the vaccinations were now mandatory. At first, the IRS was in charge. They revoked NUTJOBS tax exempt status. Another 25% STOPPED getting vaccinated BECAUSE it was mandatory.

Because it was now mandatory, it became illegal to get vaccinated by anyone except the government, so the DEA got involved. So did the old marijuana organized crime industry, which had been going out of business since the stuff had been going legal, so they started selling non GMO vaccines, some flavored, some for snorting, some for parties and some with other drugs mixed in. Vaccine use now jumped back up to 75% but these were just estimates because people’s responses to the survey depended on who was asking and there was an entire ANOTHER industry which had popped up selling fake government vaccine certifications.

The panic of the last two years however has been great for the media, and they have stopped hiring journalists and have been hiring microbiologists and virologists to scour the planet to identify new diseases and scourges that they can then sensationalize and just wait for people to make up facts and fears about. Not having journalists doing the news anymore was not missed by any of the viewers of any of the media outlets since news had not been reported by any news show in decades. However, most of the scientists were too intelligent and not good-looking enough to actually be on camera, so the networks started hiring more homeless people as their high population of extreme mental illness actually was an assistance in meeting the ever higher bar that was becoming known as “cable news”. They were also cheap to clean up, and cheap to pay, mostly with and alcohol and drugs and by this year, nobody noticed if all the news anchors were sober or not.

Coca Cola dropped its plans in 2015 to attack sagging sales with a strawberry colored carbonated, diet, stevia sweeted drink called ECOLA- to capitalize on it being a diet drink for the electronic age, due to its name, and its blood color. They also induced the soft drink association to file suit against the WHO for trademark infringement for the name EBOLA as being too close to “Cola” or “Coca Cola”. Just recently, the federal Court referred their case to the Patent and Trademark office, who is actually, sensitive to the argument that the name “EBOLA” is offensive to native cola drinkers everywhere, and is considering revoking EBOLAs trademark. While originally named for Zaire, Coke is suggesting the name be changed to the tea virus or the milk virus. This suggestion is not going well with the – you guessed it, tea lobby and the milk lobby.

Oops, I see my exit coming up. Gotta get off this interstate. I try to make it a rule now, not to blog and drive in downtown traffic. Safety first!