Category Archives: Culture

Doctor, Doctor, Find Me a Cure!

So I’m trying to find a new doctor since my current done drives me nuts.  I hate going there because he always asks me the same stupid, and sometime scary questions.  He has my entire medical history in front of me and proceeds to ask my date of birth.  And every time I’m there he asks if I’m still working at a job I haven’t worked at in over two years.  I’m far from one to be racist, but he’s Filipino, and I find it hard to understand him, he basically yells everything and answers most questions with "HUH!?!?" at first.  I also hate the way he says my name.  He manages to trill the "r" in "Derek."  I can’t even do it.  And his receptionist isn’t much better – I can usually hardly understand her. 

The last time I called for a prescription refill he told me he couldn’t call it into the pharmacy directly because it was a refill and that I had to come pick up the prescription. Since I couldn’t get the time to do that, I had someone go for me, and when they got there, they said that they had already called it into the pharmacy. 

I injured my right foot last year and he sent me to the hospital to get xrays and nearly sent me with a sheet to have them xray the wrong foot.

Every time I go there, I’m the only one in the waiting room, but it always takes at least 20 minute to see him, most of the time because I can hear him chatting (remember he shouts, not talks) with either a drug rep and/or an attractive female patient.  If it is an attractive female drug rep, I hunker down with the entire stack of outdated magazines from the waiting room.

Basically, the only thing I’m confident about with him is that he may be a moron, which isn’t the thing that you want to be confident about in a doctor!

So today I started looking online for a new doctor.  I figured that at this point there must be tons of places to search for doctors and get current patient’s feedback on them. 


You see, apparently you can look up the for the 105 reviews for the new White Stripes album or the nearly 1000 reviews of Tuscan Dairy Farms milk, but you can’t really find many reviews of doctors online.  Oh yes, there are sites that supposedly offer reviews, but there aren’t many actual reviews – they are just left blank.  I guess it is more important to review pencil sharpeners than it is to review doctors. 


There might be some people out there who think this is old news, but this morning I read about a game called "Cornhole."  As if that isn’t strange enough, there’s two organizations dedicated to furthering the cause of this game:

American Cornhole Association

American Cornhole Organization (I hate it when my cornhole isn’t organized!)

It is an unfortunate name for what seems like a perfectly simple game that is a lot of fun to play while drunk.  Unfortunately, the other meaning of "cornhole" is often done while drunk as well.  At least the first time.

A quick Google search reveals a number of links for the game, including Cornhole Outlet (nothing like a little discount cornholin’!), and a company’s attempt to make it sound less dirty by calling it a "Tailgate Toss."  Is that anything like tossing salad

Let’s hope not.

The sad thing is that I kind of want to play this game now and I want my own cornhole set, but they are expensive.  Further proof that if you want to play with a cornhole, sometimes you’re betting off doing it yourself.

Sure Sign That the Lawyers Are Out of Control

Just wanted to let everyone know that the peanuts served on Southwest Airlines are "Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts" per the warning printed on the packages of peanuts they hand out.  I thought that was good to know, since if I was trapped in a metal tube at 10,000 feet and allergic to nuts, I’d want to know that as I ate my peanuts.  A little late for that, don’t you think?  Not to mention obvious.

What a Circus!

So if you’re a young, childless couple looking for some fun on the weekend, and you live close to two major metropolitan areas, what could you do?  Go out for a nice meal… dancing… movies… a play…  or you could go to the circus and have a blast.  At least that’s what we did. 

It sounds crazy, and our two fears was that either a) we’d be surrounded by screaming children or b) it would be quite disappointing.  Fortunately, the screaming child factor was kept to minimum, especially after we moved to a virtually empty section after the intermission, and the circus kept us as entertained as 5 year old.   The trapeze act, the clowns, the lions… it is at least as cool, if not even better than you remember it.  In fact, going as an adult makes you realize how much of the show is used as a distraction for other parts of the show.  So while there’s this big daredevil act going on at one end of the stadium, when that is done, magically the tiger cage is all set up with all the tigers in it.  In all honesty, I don’t remember that from being a kid and makes you respect the complexity of the logistics.

I was also surprised/thrilled to see that the circus still travels by train.  While going into Providence this week, I saw the train cars all lined up on the tracks on the outskirts of the city.  It adds to the old fashioned romance of the circus to think about all those clowns and animals traveling by train.

On the other hand, the show started with a commercial for Campfire marshmallows.  Yes, a commercial.  The lights hadn’t gone down yet, but there were about 10 clowns out there, getting the crowd warmed up and doing a promotional bit for the little pillows of sugar.  I can’t wait until the childhood obesity activists get a hold of that one.

Speaking of unadulterated commercialism, our tickets were surprisingly inexpensive, making us think that it is a good value for families to go.  Unless you buy any souvenirs.  Then you might as well take them to the opera – $15 for a snow cone in a flashing plastic cup!  $10 for cotton candy with a paper hat!  $20 for a program!  So you can get IN for only $20 a person, but good luck getting OUT for under $100…

Speaking of modern additions to the circus, what’s a perfectly good innocent family-focused event without someone trying to ruin it?  Standing outside the stadium were two protesters (I’m sure even they would admit it was a weak showing) trying to raise awareness about the animal cruelty that goes on with the circus animals.  Personally, I feel like those tigers are doing alright – I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that cage with them!

The best part though was just feeling like a kid again – but being able to have a beer too.  Whether you’re 5, 25, or 50, tight-rope walkers and lions in cages, and human cannonballs are pretty cool stuff.

Hint, Hint

The addition of tip calculators to just about every model of cell phone has made the basic math of leaving a tip in a restaurant almost obsolete for an entire generation.  I have always been a heavy tipper, not bothering to figure out that whole “before tax” thing – I usually just look at the bottom line, move the decimal to the left one space, and either add another 50% to leave a 15% tip or more commonly, just double it to leave 20%.  If the service was good, I’ll throw a little more in and if service was poor, I’ll round down.  Rarely is service so bad that I take the time to figure out something less or figure it out to the penny. 

Recently though, I came across one restaurant that had an interesting idea: at the bottom of the credit card receipt was a line that said “Be sure to tip your server” and then had the amounts calculated out for you at 15%, 18% and 20% increments.  Personally, I think this is a great idea, since I hate light tippers – I’ve never waitered and that’s for good reason, since I’ve worked in a kitchen and I know how miserable it is to be on the front lines.  Hopefully this gets people to leave a humane tip for these people who are usually otherwise sustaining on minimum wage and depending on tips to make their lives easier.

Of Interest to Me…

…and hopefully to you.  Here is some stuff that has been intriguing me of late:

This isn’t exactly breaking news anymore, but to be filed under "some people can find something wrong with anything" here’s an article about Prince’s phallic suggestions at the Superbowl.  The idea of a guitarist using his guitar neck as a phallic symbol isn’t exactly a new one or a shocking one.  Chuck Berry did it.  What else could you expect from a guy who wore assless pants during an awards show?

On a personal note, I get really aggravated when I have to deal with "amateurs" when flying.  The occasional flyers who don’t know how to go through security or how to board or de-board a plane, for example. I once heard a guy ask "WHY!?!?" in response I to a TSA security guard’s request to take his shoes off.  When the guy with the gun asks you to take off your shoes in the airport, it isn’t time for a debate.  But out of everything, nothing annoys me more than the people who think they are flying in first class or haven’t flown since 1968 and think that it is totally cool to put their seats all the way back.  I will admit to doing some guerrilla retaliation tactics, including kicking the back of the seat or coughing like I have whooping cough on top of pneumonia.

Should English be the official language of America?  This town thought so and then changed its mind.  Discuss.

I peed in a urinal once and had it speak back to me.  I stopped drinking at that point and apologized to the bathroom attendant and stopped drinking.  However, now you might have the a urinal speak to you if you’re in the the state of New Mexico.  You know there’s gonna be more than a few freaked out ravers who stop doing the E after going to the bathroom and experiencing that.

Every new music format has resulted in back catalog music hitting the charts, and it predicted to happen again now that the U.K. Charts are tracking Internet downloads as well as single sales.  I can’t imagine that there’s that many people buying physical singles anymore anyway.  Watch for the Beatles to be #1 again once their music gets released digitally.

Here’s a new one: apparently there’s a chance for a day light savings "bug" because it will be starting three weeks earlier this year.  Software that is set to adjust itself automatically on a set date will not be able to do so and everything could be off by an hour this year.  I’m guessing that every traffic light in the country is probably on a non-daylight savings time change compliant system and everyone’s commute will be royally screwed for one hour for about a week.

Metropolitan Opera is broadcasting its Saturday afternoon shows to movie theaters around the country.  I saw this advertised a while ago and wanted to mention it then.  Looks like it has been a great success. 

A couple of brilliant ideas that I wish I had thought of: paper hangers for dry cleaners with advertising on them and are completely recyclable.  Umbrella vending machines in high-traffic areas.  If I knew that these were available at airports everywhere, I would love it.  And a high-end ice cream truck for adults.

Last but not least: 2007’s 12 most intruiging new things.  My favorite one is the glass skywalk over the Grand Canyon.  I loved the glass floor at the CN Tower in Toronto and think that this is awesome.    

Bubbles, Blogs and Videos

First of all, here is one of the coolest products I’ve seen in a while: colored bubbles.  I can’t wait for the first jam band to make use of these during some long, trippy jam sessions.

Secondly, an idea popped into my head today that I am sure is already floating around other’s as well.  With all the user-generated content out there (YouTube, Revver, blogs, etc.) and all the attention given to the Golden Globes and the Oscars recently, how long until we see an awards show for online media?  It’ll be old-school media lauding new media, but the numbers have gotten to the critical mass point where you could have "funniest short clip" or "best personal diary."   I’m going to start my campaign for an award right now…

Wicked Good

"Wicked" is thrown about regularly by New Englanders to mean "good" or "cool" or even "intense" – as in that is a "wicked storm out there" or in the former meaning "that is a wicked good chowda."  However, never before could you say "That was a wicked good Wicked" until now.

If you haven’t read the book  read Wicked by Gregory Maguire , you really should, and if you haven’t seen Wicked the musical, then you need to get there quick. 

I am not enough of a theater goer to be able to review things like production quality or performances with any authority, but on a personal level, the show was extremely enjoyable and it puts such a spin on the Wizard of Oz that you will never watch it in the same way again – and I mean that in the best way possible. 

I watched the movie for the first time in years a few months ago and it surprised me how fast paced it was for an older "children’s" movie and the book/play combination of Wicked takes it even further out of the realm of being a work of juvenile literature, and more into a story of good, evil, deceit and truthfulness.

Truly a wicked good Wicked. 

Trends That Drive Me Nuts

I don’t know if there is a television show out there today that annoys me more than "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV.  American Idol comes in second, but it is a distant second.  None the less, I find myself sucked into the show when it comes on, watching is horror, disgust and awe at the shallowness of these spoiled brats who have no concept of reality and offer insufferable commentary on how terrible their lives have become because the wrong $500 centerpieces are on the tables.  I believe that violence isn’t the answer to life’s problems, but I wouldn’t mind seeing one of these drains on society getting slapped around into reality.  Every parent who is thinking of throwing a $100,000 party for their daughter and giving them a $50,000 car should refuse and make their offspring give the money to charity, which means they might actually do something worthwhile and meaningful with their lives.

*phew* OK – got that off my chest.

The next thing that I want to bitch about are people who walk around everywhere with a Bluetooth headset in their ear.  I want to rip them off, ear and all when I see all these people who clearly do NOT need to be in touch with everyone 24/7 with everyone in their lives while doing things like grocery shopping or ordering a sandwich.  Don’t they realize that they look like cyborgs, only far, far more stupid?  I hope they find out that wearing a Bluetooth for longer than an hour at a time causes ear infections and they all end up with a big ‘ol goiter on the side of their heads.

Make A Note Of This…

About 5 years ago while interviewing for a job, I was diligent about collecting business cards from everyone I interviewed so that I could follow up with a thank you note via e-mail.  However, I forgot to get the card from the one guy who could potentially become my boss and who, in the end, would decide whether or not to hire me.  Since I was at home with no email address, I pulled out one of the personalized note cards that my parents had given me as a graduation gift a few years before and sent him a hand-written note, thanking him for his time.

When they eventually hired me, he mentioned that the personally hand-written note made me really stand out among the candidates and it influenced his decision.   If he only knew it was a last-ditch effort (I eventually told him about it and we had a good laugh over it and complimented me on my ingenuity).

This article from the International Herald Tribune talks about how stationary and old-fashioned hand-written notes are becoming slightly more popular as a counter-trend towards email, text messaging and instant messaging.  All this instantaneous electronic messaging means that a note that someone has taken the time to write by hand really stands out.   

The article discusses some pretty high-end stationary options, but it doesn’t need to be hand-made paper to be a good experience.  Paper with a good feel and that absorbs ink well and feels good while writing – a slightly scratchy (but pleasantly so) tactile feel is ideal – makes it a pleasure to write and helps to slow your writing down, so that you actually think about what you’re writing.