Despite what my little Harry Potter map shows, we are spending the weekend at the coast, in Lincoln City, OR.
The hotel at which we've chosen to stay is pretty crappy, but that's part of the reason we've always opted to stay there. It's cheap, right on the beach, and tucked away off of "the main drag" that makes up Lincoln City.
This time, however, we've found it too be just a bit too cheap for a variety of reasons.
Last night we could tell that the people on the left were watching "CSI: Miami," not because we could hear the TV (well, we could hear the TV, but having never seen "CSI: Miami," we wouldn't know it from "CSI" or "CSI: Lancaster, PA1"), but because we could clearly hear them say "Ooh! Let's watch 'CSI: Miami!'" in an only slightly louder-than-normal voice.
There is no fan in the bathrom, meaning you either have to suffocate in shower steam, or open the window -- the window that is at eye level for anyone who needs to walk by. Everyone needs to walk by. The lack of fan in the bathroom gives those of us with constantly-ringing ears an extra bit of poop-shy that we really don't need. Also, tiiiiny round bowl. Also, 3/4 grit toilet paper (not that I'll be needing that...)
Highlight of the trip so far: while the neighbors were watching "CSI: Miami," they kind of argued a little over something I couldn't make out, and then the guy said "Would you pleaaase get your finger out of my ass?
1: Watching Jebediah, Ezekiel, and Sarah use turn-of-the-century forensic techniques (such as "dusting for dust") to determine who tainted the funnel cake batter, which buggy-racing teens were responsible for the hit-and-run homicide, and whether or not that collapsed rocking chair was foul play might just get me to tune in. (Call me, Jerry!)
Dear Mr. Progresso, Marie Calendar, Wolfgang Puck, Bruce Campbell, Emeril (and Andre1) Agasse, and all the other soup manufacturers,
I like chicken soup. A lot.
The most convenient form of chicken soup for me is, more often than not, from one of your vibrantly-labeled cans.
While you've made quite a few advances in canned soup technology in the last few years, (pop-top rings are awesome!) one of the biggest problems still remains to be solved: the chicken in your soup sucks. Dry, chewy, flavorless zombie chunks mingle with the tasty vegetables and flavorful broth, essentially ruining an otherwise delightful soup. More distressingly, this is leaving our nation's bountiful chicken flocks depressed at the thought of giving their lives for this terrible purpose.
See, chicken soup is only good for the consumer's soul if all the chickens are contributing their souls to the soup. This can't happen if they feel the inherent purposeless in living only to contribute zombie chunks to otherwise-tasty soups. Those clinical trials you've been running? The ones that are not returning the "good-for-your-soul" data that you expect them to? You aren't getting quantifiable results because you are eradicating their flavorful life-essences before they get a chance to even become part of the soup.
My suggestion? Skip the zombie chicken, instead putting in more vegetables and a more-flavorful chickeny broth. Vegetables and better broth are bound to be less expensive than whatever magicks the zombification process entails, leaving you with a cheaper, more pleasant soup. And chickens without the soul-draining ennui that keeps your soup from being verifiably "good for the soul."
If you could please let me know when these changes have been made so that I can start buying your soups again, I'd much appreciate it.
1: I'm inferring the involvement of Andre based on the perfectly square chunks of potatos present in most of these soups. What besides a swift, forceful BAM! with a tennis racket could create such chunks?
It occurs to me that you probably never knew just how much you meant to me while you were alive. This saddens me, because, though you may not see why, you really made a difference in my life, ending up as of my most valued role models.
You taught me that it doesn't matter how inept you may seem at times, it's where your heart is that really counts. That people's expectations of what you're capable of shouldn't deter you from your course of action in those areas. That the beliefs and actions of one man can make a world of difference in the lives of others.
When you risked life and limb trying to ensure that kids have a Christmas to look forward to, I didn't take it lightly. You taught me that their joy is worth the hassles and hardships involved in helping to make them happy, and now as an adult I strive to continue your work, helping to ensure that Christmas is there for those that can't have it.
The time you spent when your life and freedom were taken from you by that "evil twin" bad guy doppleganger was pretty educational for me as well. The people who knew you could tell something wasn't right while that crook pretended to be you, but, more importantly, people could tell you weren't the crook either. Those close to him noticed the goodness in your heart, and you made a positive impact on them, bringing out the goodness they never knew could be there inside them. Though I mostly fail, I try pretty hard to make a positive impact on everyone in my life, using you as my example.
Remember when you saved Kamp Kikakee from destruction at the hands of those heartless corporate raiders? You not only helped keep joy in children's hearts, you also taught me valuable lessons about stick-to-it-iveness, the power of having faith in things I may not understand, and that one shouldn't mess with the traditions of Indians. Now, when something arises that I feel is an injustice, I feel the need to try to do something about it, sometimes at great personal risk. This often worries me, but when it does, I just think back to your experiences. Those arrows could not pierce you, and they probably won't pierce me either. But, if they do, I will hopefully have caused some change for the better in the process.
Whether trying to or not, you need to understand that you made a positive impact on the lives of countless individuals, time and time again. To this day, most people still see you as a bumbling buffoon, but those of us that can see a little deeper know how great a man you were, and strive at every turn to be just a little more like you.
Remember learning back in history class about those smoke bomb things ninjas used to throw down on the ground in order to produce a puff of smoke in which to vanish?
What do you think they made the smoke smell like?
If I were a ninja, I think I'd have gone with Corn Nuts, because in my experience, there's no smell with quite the distracting power as that of disembodied Corn Nuts.
I'm not entirely sure that Corn Nuts were even around in Ye Olde Ninja Days, but we already know that ninjas invented throw-on-the-ground-poofy things. Corn Nuts are only slightly more complicated than those, right?
While listening to various skepticism-related podcasts over the last week, I've been hearing James Randi bragging about one of his latest exploits in the war against Uri Gellar. Apparently Uri did some really bad magic trick on Israeli television, and someone posted said trick on YouTube.
Randi talked about how the copyright owner quickly told YouTube to take it down, but not before he "made a copy and spread it all over the Internet," ensuring that everyone who wants to see it will be able to.
This from the head of the organization who began legal proceedings against me for (naively) trying to help spread the valuable messages of the speakers from The Amazing Meeting 4 by painstakingly recording, editing and posting them on the Internet. His wanton disregard for copyright (downright pride was shown in the fact that he did it) shows that other people's copyrights are of no concern to Randi -- just his.
I really hope things at the JREF start heading in a more above-board manner soon, as I think a lot of the work they do is very valuable. I just think they ought to behave in a more law-abiding manner in the future, especially considering they only exist because of the donations of people like me.