Confessions of an armchair critic and general know-it-all

I have an opinion on just about everything and a wide variety of interests and experiences that give me insight into many professions. As a relatively quiet and shy person, I find myself imparting my knowledge more online, where I can talk and talk and not be worried that people are rolling their eyes or checking their watch while I drone on.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A case of the sniffles

I feel like crud today.  Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat and feared it was the first sign of getting sick.  I coughed up a bit and had some infrequent sneezing but after that started feeling better the rest of the day.  The coughing and sneezing has continued and this morning I woke up at 4am unable to breathe out of one side of my nose.  I got up and rummaged around for some Benadryl.  I didn't find any but I did find some Mucinex so I took it and went back to bed.  Morning came too soon and I seriously contemplated staying home but decided that I didn't feel all that bad considering so I should go ahead and go to work and save my sick days for when I literally couldn't get out of the bed.  On the way to work, I stopped at a convenience store to get some cappuccino and acetaminophen.  There happened to be a recall on Excedrin so I got Goody's headache powder in orange flavor instead.  Gawd, that stuff tastes awful!  It's like Tang (which I never did like) with an extremely bitter, and persistant, aftertaste.  My plan for the day is to drink plenty of water and just try to get through the day. I might fall asleep at my desk but I figure the worst that would happen if I get caught is I'll be told to go home, which is what I want to do anyway!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gruesome Disney movies

The first movie I remember seeing as a kid was a horror movie--Bambi.  I remember it being at a drive-in movie because I was playing on the swings until the show started.  Bambi might not seem like a horror movie to an adult but as a kid it was pretty frightening.  Very shortly into the movie, Bambi's mom gets shot and killed! 

I came to find out this was a trend in Disney movies.  Children are separated from their parents, often by a parent's death or being kidnapped, and face life-threatening elements.  In Peter Pan, Princess Tiger Lilly is tied to a rock and left to drown.  The Lost Boys are captured by Indians and threatened to be burned at the stake.  Captain Hook had his hand chopped off and fed to a crocodile, but of course it was just a harmless prank by Peter, right? In Lady and the Tramp, there's a rat trying to attack (and presumably eat) a baby.  In 101 Dalmations, puppies are being gathered by a crazy woman to be skinned and made into fur coats.  And it just goes on and on.

Sheesh, and people wonder why society has become so violent.  Could it be because we were raised on horrific bedtime stories like these?

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's Frigg'n Friday!

Today's blog is a lesson in the origin of the days of the week.  It's interesting to me that four of the days of the week are named after Norse gods while the other three are named for planets.  Well, technically one of them is named after a Roman god for whom the planet was named. 

Anyway, Sunday is named for the sun and means "sun's day" in Latin.  Monday is named for the moon and means "moon's day" in Anglo-Saxon. Tuesday is named for the Norse god Tyr, a god of war and justice.  He came before Odin in history so he comes before him in the days of the week.  Wednesday is named for the Norse god Odin, the father of the gods.  Thursday is named for Thor, Odin's son and the god of thunder.  Friday is named for Frigg, Odin's wife, patron of marriage and motherhood and goddess of love and fertility. Saturday is named for Saturn, the god of agriculture.

Apparently the Norse people weren't much on weekends.  They got along just fine with four days of the week--one day to fight, one day to parent, one day to make noise, and one day for lovin'.  The Romans decided that wasn't enough time for play so they added a day to bask in the sun, a day to sleep in, and a day to plant so they'd have an excuse to be outside all day.

Saturn must have been some guy to have had a day of the week and a planet named after him.  And now a car company, too!  I wonder if many ancient cities had a Saturn street like we have a lot of streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr. or U.S. presidents.  Although that would be kind of contradictory, when naming a street after a god of agriculture, to pave over the earth so things couldn't grow where people walked.  Maybe they named parks after him instead.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bathrooms weren't meant to be double occupancy

I have a book called the Bathroom Reader, with all kinds of short stories and trivia that you can read while in the bathroom or anyplace you're going to spent a little quality time at.  One of the statistics they mention in there is that 70% of people close the bathroom door even when they're home alone.  They seem surprised that figure is so high but I'm not.  I'm one of the 70% that closes the door even though I live alone.  I have a lot of reasons for doing so, even though I have no fear of other people walking in on me.

For one thing, I do have cats, and cat-people know how curious our little fur-babies can be.  Some cats like to be everywhere you are so if you disappear into another room, they want to follow.  I always wonder if cats know what bathrooms are for and what we're really doing in there.  I would think they would know since animals' sense of smell is better than a human's, isn't it?  So I'm not sure why a cat would want to follow me in there, unless it's to go in there after I go!  I sure don't want the cats going in there.  I have a litter box set up for them in another room for that purpose.  And I don't want them looking at me, rubbing their bodies on my legs, or jumping in my lap while I'm on the pot so I prefer to keep them out while I'm doing my business.

Another reason I close the door is to contain odors.  I might leave the door open when I'm not using the bathroom or if I just go in to wash my hands, but if I'm using the bathroom for other purposes, I prefer to keep the door closed to keep any possible sewer backups or other unwanted scents from drifting through the whole house.

Perhaps the most important reason I close the door is to stay in the habit of doing so.  If I always left the door open when I went to the bathroom at home, I might forget myself when I'm visiting someone or using a public restroom and leave the door open, enabling other people to accidentally walk in on me, leading to a mortifying incident.  Just as I store unopened mayonnaise in the refrigerator even though it could go in the pantry, so that I get used to seeing it there and don't accidentally put an open jar in the pantry, I keep the bathroom door closed so that it becomes the norm for me to see it that way and I don't leave it open in a place I shouldn't.

I have to wonder about the 30% who don't close the bathroom door at home.  What percent of them also leave the door ajar when they're away from home?  Ewwww!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Honorary degrees not so honorable

It always bothers me to hear of some celebrity getting an honorary degree from a university.  It seems misleading to me.  The point of using alumni to promote the school should be that so-and-so learned everything they know at this school and if you come here, you'll learn it too.  If it ends up that the alumni member didn't even attend the school, how does that prove anything to current students about the quality of education they'll receive?  It seems to discourage people from going to that college, saying "Go out and work in the field, become successful, and then come back here and get your degree for free!  No need to spend all that money on tuition and books!". I would be much more impressed with a university if their noted alumni did actually attend the school and their education did attribute to their success.

In a way it's like giving immigrants (or their children) citizenship rights if they manage to get into our country illegally.  True, you could go the long way and fill out the necessary applications, take the required tests, and wait for months or years to become a naturalized citizen, or you can jump the gun and sneak over here by crossing the border and if you gain enough public sympathy, citizenship will be given to you on a silver platter. Hey, it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission, right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy birthday to me

It's funny how as a kid I looked so forward to my birthday but as an adult, I dread it.  I think it's because as a kid, there's more of a reward to turning a year older, another milestone you get to reach.  There are some rides you can only go on if you're a certain height, certain movies you can only go to at a certain age, some restaurants make kids order off a special menu and they can't order off the adult menu until they turn 12 or so, you look forward to being old enough to get your learner's permit, your driver's license, to vote to drink alcohol, etc.  There's more of an incentive to get older, to get taller, to age and mature.

As an adult, about the only positive incentives you have to look forward to are getting old enough to retire and getting senior discounts.  Most of the other things that come with old age or negative--more aches and pains, more of your friends moving away or dying, getting forgetful, needing more surgeries to patch you up and more prescriptions to maintain your health.  Even if you manage not to decline in old age, there's always that constant reminder that you're not going to live forever and the more years that go by, the closer you're coming to the end of the road.  You can manage not to think about it the rest of the year but when your birthday rolls around, it hits you square in the face that your time is running out.

I wish I could get back that childish joy of birthdays, when time stretched out seemingly endlessly in front of me and I could celebrate my life without worrying about tomorrow, or next month, or next year.  I wish I could just be happy to be alive right now and to be me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Let the blogging begin!

Here we go with another social networking trend.  First it was Xanga, then LiveJournal, then Myspace, then Facebook.  Honestly, I'm not sure what the difference is between the sites except that if all of your Myspace friends jump to Facebook, you better jump too or else you won't have anyone visiting your page anymore.

I might as well start my new blog with a rant.  You'll probably find that I do more ranting than raving on my blog.  I guess I'm kind of a Bitter Betty.  I swear I'm trying to change that in real life and leave my belly-aching for online, where people can choose to tune into it or not.

Last night I went to Burger King to try their new fries.  I don't usually go to Burger King because I've had problems with them and their fries suck.  About a year ago a lady at the drive-thru at one Burger King told me I could only get a Whopper with cheese on Wednesday, which ended up being a crock and turned me off so much, I avoided Burger King for most of the year.

Anyway, back to my recent adventure.  I placed my order for a Whopper with Cheese meal (I didn't order by number because they don't specify that the #1 meal has cheese and I wasn't sure it could be added on) and a peach and granola sundae.  I pull around to the window and it takes forever for my food to come up.  I'm trying to be patient but normally it doesn't take this long to get food at a fast food restaurant.  That's why it's called fast food!

Eventually the dude comes to the window and says they're out of vanilla so they can't give me the peach and granola sundae.  Would I just like extra peaches?  I give him a look and say, no, I don't want just peaches.  Then he asks if I'd like to order something else instead.  It seems to me that if vanilla is not available for the sundae, that pretty much rules out any dessert (assuming they're all made with vanilla) and I don't want chicken fries as my dessert so I decline the offer.  Then he asks if I want my money back.  I look at him for a long second, considering how preposterous this statement is.  Did he really expect me to say "You know what, just for taking your time getting my order to me and delivering it incomplete, I'd like you to keep my money as a tip!".  I told him of course I wanted my money back for the dessert if I wasn't going to get it.  Why should I pay for something I didn't receive?

He doesn't seem pleased but he takes my receipt back and gives me a new one, showing that the sundae was taken off.  I paid by debit card and he said it should be taken off but I'm going to watch my credit union account like a hawk until the transaction goes through to make sure they don't charge me for the sundae that never was.

Boy, Burger King blew it big-time for me.  They were already on the outs with me over the previous Whopper with Cheese scandal and months later when I give them a second chance, they burn me again.  I won't be going back to Burger King for a good long time, even though admittedly their new fries are much better.