Thursday, October 27, 2011

Best 80's Year?

Here at PCPPP we have done a couple of best of 80’s posts (Best 80’s Song and Best 80’s Movie), so I did a little survey at my local DMV today to see how popular they were and the results show that no one knows who the hell I am, nor cares. But that won’t stop us from doing another one! BEST 80’s YEAR!

Which year of the 80’s was the best? I’ll start...

Christian: I’m going to suggest the grand daddy of 80’s years.  The one that started it all! The year with the gear! The 365 days with the plays! The Memphis Mauler! Nineteen “Hit Man” Eighhhhtyyyyyyy!   

It’s the year Mount St. Helens erupted - putting the Northwest on the map (and partially off of it) - Empire Strikes Back and Airplane! were both released, Magnum PI was on TV, and that dingo ate that baby. What a sweet year!

That’s one weird looking cell phone.

Oooh, and I almost forgot to mention that 1980 was the year they posed the question - Who shot J.R.? It’s now 31 years later and, still, all we have are loose theories of collusion between CIA and Cuba and rumors of second shooters from grassy knolls. We're talking about a major piece of American history here.

Pat:  Okay.

Christian:  Wait! I have a better one. 1981! MTV first aired - starting the requirement that our pop stars looked good and then maybe were talented - Diana and Charles got married, and the first space shuttle was launched!

These things are going to be around forever!

Our TVs were glued to The Greatest American Hero and Falcon Crest (I called it The Falcon!). And our radios were dialed in on Hall  & Oates and Rick Springfield (The Rick!).  

Plus? 1981 is the year a little old movie called The Cannonball Run came out. I’m sure that thing must have won four or five Best Picture Oscars.

Oh man, what a year to be a small child!

Pat:  Alright.

Christian: I’m getting the sense that you aren’t quite as into this one. Do you need some help? You could try suggesting 1985. That’s when the Compact Disc was first introduced to America, “We Are the World” was recorded, and Back to the Future came out. Wow.

Pat:  I’m going to leave 1985 as YOUR third venture into naming the best year of the ‘80s. Not to’s not that I’m not into this one, it’s just that it whelms me over a bit, and from your first blurb I know that my knowledge of the lost decade will come nowhere near yours. So, yes, I guess I’m conceding defeat before I even start.

Whew, with THAT load off my back maybe now I can play!

I’m going to go with 1986. My freshman year in high school (yours too, I believe). The year started on a Wednesday--always a good sign (and thank you, Wikipedia™!). It was designated the International Year of Peace by the United Nations (thank you Wikipedia™ and the Cold War™). Challenger exploded. The Mir space station was founded. Voyager 2 encountered Uranus (huh huh...thank you middle school mentality!). Pixar Studios was opened. Marcos and Duvalier fled the Philippines and Haiti, respectively. The U.S. officially outlawed genocide. Metallica released “Master of Puppets” (does that win me the stoner and metalhead votes?). Hands Across America. Fergie (the British one) entered the picture. Oprah premiered. Iran-Contra. We bombed Libya the FIRST time. And Geraldo opened an empty tomb while millions of viewers were annoyed and let down. And, oh yeah...Chernobyl.  

Seriously...kinda makes it feel like all the other 80s years were just sleeping!

Christian: 1986? Really? Yes, there was some good stuff in there, but didn’t you notice that you also listed off several major historical tragedies; Challenger explosion, Chernobyl, Geraldo.  


No, 1986 definitely wasn’t the best. You really blew that one Pat. 1986. Pshh. Try again. But this time, really try.

Pat:  You’re not even going to commend me on the “Voyager 2 encountered Uranus” bit? That alone is material enough to win this contest.

Okay, fine, I’ll try it again.

1986...we were STILL both starting high school (That was a positive thing for me. Did you not experience four years of joy like I did? Do we need to process a little bit outside of the blog?) Oprah STILL premiered? Geraldo was STILL embarrassed in front of millions of viewers. Sciency things STILL happened, and peace STILL tried to prevail (though, admittedly, Chernobyl exploding didn’t really help that one). Those are all good things in my book.

But here’s some more to quench your competitive thirst:

-The U.S. Senate finally agreed to outlaw genocide. Way to go fellas!
-Out of Africa won the best picture. RIVETING!
-Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace.
-Heather (you know, from T.J. Hooker!) and Tommy Lee got married.
-Top Gun, Platoon, Crocodile Dundee, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Aliens (plural!), 9 ½ Weeks (STEAMY!), and perhaps my favorite--a little gem starring a younger Laurence Fishburne, Band of the Hand. This year wins for movies alone!
-Van Hagar premiers, A-ha sweeps the charts, the Monkees reunited (thanks Wikipedia?), and Culture Club disbanded. R.E.M. came out with Life’s Rich Pageant.
-Matlock premiered.
-The nicotine patch was invented.

Need I say more?

Christian: When I said try again I meant try choosing another year. But it sounds like you are kind of set on 1986. I’m still holding firm with 1981 so to compromise we could just split the difference and go with 1983.5 which I guess is June of 1983.

Pioneer 10 became the first man-made object to leave the solar system, Sally Ride became the first American female object to leave earth, and India won the Cricket World Cup by 43 runs (I have no idea if that is a lot or not).

Not bad. I guess. Not great though. Seems like when we put our minds together we have a combined intelligence equivalent to two relatively smart geese. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Social Etiquette - Kid's Menu

As you may have seen from our prior posts (see: “Half-and-Half”) I struggle with what I call “moral grey areas.”  Well, I don’t really struggle with them as much as I like to find a way to rationalize my own desired outcomes.

You also probably know that Christian and I both have kids (not together...his and mine...their different...separate...TWO SETS), and as a result are both very familiar with Kid’s Menus at dining establishments. Most of the time the menus are pretty standard...mac-n-cheese, chicken strips, hamburger...but sometimes you find a place where the children’s menu just shines! I’m not going to tell you where those places are--that’s not what this post is about--but I do have a question for you:  

Is it okay to use your own children as a foil when ordering in order to eat, as a grown adult, off of the children’s menu?

I’m going to kick it right off by saying YES, and telling you in advance that if you disagree with me you’re wrong and this blog is DEAD to me. So really I want you to tell me WHY I’m right, and thus assuage my slightly conflicted feelings. I’ll get it started for you...

Christian: Well, Pat, I couldn’t agree with you more because...

Christian (the real one): Hey hey, don’t go putting words in my mouth. How dare you? Anyways... Well, Pat I couldn’t agree with you more because who do these people think they are? How dare they discriminate against what we can order off their menu based on our age. That’s like racism but instead of race it’s age. There should be a word for that.

Wait. Hold the phone. Are these people preventing you from ordering off the kids menu or are you just too embarrassed to order off the kids menu so you say it’s for your kid? Now I’m confused as to who is being the racist here. Is it you or is it your kids?

Pat:  Well...they are preventing me by IMPLYING on their menu that you have to be a kid to order that dish. So I think they ARE being racist, but it’s more like institutional racism, the lighter kind where you don’t know that you’re being a jerk. I don’t blame them, I blame our larger food culture.

Yes, I’m embarrassed, okay, but that doesn’t mean they should make me pay more money for a “pasta con quattro fromaggio” when a bowl of mac-n-cheese from the kid’s menu will do the job (and probably taste better). Are you not backing me on this one anymore?

Christian: No, I’m still on your side.

For now.  

First off, I don’t think you should be embarrassed to order off the kid’s menu. My grandma does it all the time. I also have a great Aunt that does it along with her senile friend. And I know this guy that will sometimes order off of it for his old decrepit dog that can’t use it’s hind legs and only eats human food. So you’re fine.

Secondly, even if you do use your kid as a foil, are you sure you’re really fooling anybody? I’m assuming your kid still wants to get their own meal right? So are you ordering them two meals and you don’t order anything? Doesn’t the waitperson usually check in on things (e.g. to see if you need more water)? Don’t they see you eating the kid’s meal at some point?  

What I’m getting at is that you actually may look more kooky by trying to hide the fact that you are ordering off the kid’s menu than if you just went ahead and did it openly. I think it’s time you came out of this ordering-off-child’s-menu closet. Then maybe someday it will be legal for you to get married in this state.

P.S. I’ve also seen foreign travelers that can’t speak or read any English accidentally order off the kid’s menu too, so buck up little camper.

Pat:  I see what you’re getting at, but I don’t think it’s that easy, and I’m going to venture a guess that the Foodservice Workers of America are with me on this one.

If I am going to be 100% honest, with you and myself,, I don’t think I’m fooling anyone. They know, and I know they know, and they know I know they know that I am just a cheap-ass diner trying to bilk the system by eating large portions of unhealthy (but TASTY!) food at low cost. And they let me do it because it’s printed on the kid’s menu, and it’s easier to just go with it than to challenge me and risk causing a scene.

If I did it openly, then they would have to acknowledge that I acknowledged that I KNEW what I was doing and therefore they would not be able to let me do it. Dig?

There is a very fine thread holding together the stability of our dining culture, Christian. I, for one, do not want to mess with that thread. But I cannot pass up ordering three fried chicken tenders with sauce on THEIR menu that are half the cost of the three herbed-breaded chicken fingers with dipping aioli (Psst! They’re the SAME THINGS!) on MY menu. It’s just not that easy!

Christian: I’m picking up what you’re laying down here. I say do what you have to do to get those cheap chicken tenders while preserving the fabric of our society.

Pat: Right. Should I bother to ask if it’s okay to engage in such ordering if the kids aren’t even with me?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Which is More Insulting: Job Rejection or Coors Light?

Several years ago I had a job interview that lasted eight hours. In a row. Each hour a new person would come in with their own slew of questions, while I got to continue to be the only person answering them. Several of the interviewers also gave me white board problems to solve (I’m in the tech industry). I was supposed to be given a lunch break but the guy that took me to lunch continued to ask me interview type questions all through it. Relentlessly.

Overall I thought I did OK, especially considering the length of the interview, and the ridiculous range of questions I received. However by the time I got home, coming straight from the interview, there was already an e-mail in my inbox saying that they weren’t interested in hiring me.  

I could not believe that they had me answer questions and solve problems for eight hours straight and then decided within five minutes to not hire me. They could have at least given the illusion that they had to think about it, and let me know a day or two later. But no.

For some time now I have felt like this was one of the biggest insults to my intelligence, if not the biggest, I have ever received. But recently Coors Light has been airing commercials boasting about how their can has a label on it that will tell me when the can is cold, so now I don’t know.  

How am I suppose to know if this ice is cold? There’s no label on it.

What do you think Pat? Which one is the worst insult: the job interview rejection or Coors Light?

Pat:  When I first saw that Coors Light commercial, I hoped to god that it was part of a new social responsibility campaign where Coors was appealing to burn victims and those with genetic mutations that rendered their sense of feel useless. But then I saw how foolish that was, and that they were really only trying to prevent really really drunk people from ingesting WARM beer.

Sorry about that interview though, buddy. That sucks. I hope they gave you a conciliatory case of refreshing Coors Light as a consolation prize though.

You know what really sets me off as an insult to my intelligence? Fucking magicians! I don’t care how cool it is. I don’t care where it went. I don’t care how mysterious your eyes can get. I KNOW it’s not real, so please quit wasting my time.

Whew...sorry.  I feel better having gotten that out.

Christian: I hate to be a nit-picking nancy, but you didn’t answer my question. I understand what you’re saying about magicians, although I happen to like them (They’re like real life Harry Potters!) but this post is about me not you. There is no ‘you’ in ‘me’, is how the saying goes, I think.

Expecto Cold-detecto-armus!

Pat:  Well, if you insist upon picking nits, Nancy, I can easily answer the question for you, but know that I was just trying to deflect the ultimate feelings of inferiority and shame that your question brings up.

The Coors Light blue can technology is just plain DUMB. Well, actually, it’s not really dumb...I mean somebody came up with that idea and I bet it wasn’t easy. And I bet it could be put to good use and benefit the world in some way (ideas, anyone?). And I bet if it were a better beer in the container, one with a much hipper reputation and which cost about three times as much in a bottle and four times as much from a tap, I would be totally excited about it. Yes, I am THAT easily swayed by brand recognition and trends.

Anyway...that thing that happened with you and the interview...that’s just horrible man. I don’t know if I would have been able to bounce back from such a soul-crushing experience. I mean, do you have any sense of self-worth after that experience, or did it bleed you of all ambition and will-to-power?

Shit, Christian...forcing me to think about this has SERIOUSLY bummed me out, man. Why’d you have to be so insistent? Why couldn’t we just talk about bad beer in cool cans and call it good? Y’know, sometimes life is easier when you don’t think about things too hard. Thanks a lot!  I can kinda’ see why they didn’t hire you.

Christian: So you think the job rejection is more insulting? Because I was really leaning towards the Coors Light can. Think about it. At some point there were a bunch of Coors executives sitting around a board room talking about getting their yachts cleaned and their polo ponies shaved and brainstorming ideas on how to get more people to drink their beer so that they could buy more yachts and shaved polo ponies.  

Someone may have suggested improving the taste of the beer but it was quickly shot down as it would ruin their bottom line on profit margining incentives or other fancy finance terms. Then someone suggested putting a label on the can that would tell people that the can was cold. Some may have questioned, “But can’t people already tell when the can is cold?”

But the response was “After they see that our can is the only one that has a cold detection label those stupid commoners will all fall in line and soon forget that they even have the ability to detect temperature on their own! Then all will be ours and everything will come together just as we had foreseen it! BWAHAHAHHAHHAHA!”

Then they all went to deposit large bonus checks in their bank accounts before riding their perfectly shaved polo ponies over to the yacht club.

That’s exactly how it happened.

I’m part of the 99% so I can only afford to get my polo pony partly shaved.

Pat:  Okay, I think I get it. Yes, the Coors Light deal is more YOU! But that’s exactly the problem.  I tend to identify with the common man (hint:  it is SO much easier than trying to keep up with the uncommon man!). In that vein, I recognize the glory of the “cold beer= blue label” gimmick because I know that there are a lot of shallow dipshits in the world whose lives just got immeasurably better because of that innovation.  

You, my good friend, are NOT one of those dipshits, and thus are rightly offended by such an assumption of ignorance.

Get over it though, man. Think about what you’re doing. Do you REALLY want a level playing field? If so, you best be polishing those interview skills even more!

Christian: I see your point. I’ll add to my resume “Has ability to detect coldness of beverage cans without visual aid.”

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fear of Latitudes: Session 2

As some of you may recall, awhile ago we had a post where Pat openly admitted to having a phobia of latitudes. You read that right. And as a hobbyist psychiatrist, I decided to try and help him get over this unusual fear after I spent some time making fun of him.   

In that first session of ours - which can be found HERE - Pat discussed a bit about the origins of his fears. We also found a soothing calming visual for Pat that we can use to help him with his anxieties when confronting latitudes. It’s an image of the lovely Jennifer Connely, which I thought we should start out with before we begin our session.


Christian: So Pat. Do you feel like you have made any progress since our last session?

Pat:  Yeah, I’m doing better, and the pictures of Jennifer really help as a sort of visual mantra (on a side-note, has she had work done since “Requiem for a Dream”? Something’s different, but I can’t pin it down). Thanks for that.

It’s all mental at this point, as I really haven’t traveled further than the northern Oregon coast (about 46 degrees north) since we started this dialogue. You reminded me that I wanted to travel to Iceland, and that really helped. ‘Cause when you look on a map, Iceland is pretty far north, which means that when you look at the earth it will be pretty far north too. I think I could travel there, anxiety free. But if I get there and see that Bjork and all of those other artsy blip-beep noise bands are really short you’re going to see me freak out on a Brobdignagian level because it means that I was RIGHT about my fears!

Christian: Whoah, slow down there. I think traveling to Iceland is getting a little ahead of ourselves on your road to recovery.  

I did a little of the googling to research how one gets over their fears and reaches serenity. Apparently there are 12 steps to this serenity. The first one is

We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable

Which is basically admitting you have a problem. Which you’ve done. Check.  

The second is

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

I guess for this one I’m that greater power and it seems like you have confidence in my abilities to cure you, and why wouldn’t you, so... Check.

The third is

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God

This one seems awfully similar to the previous one so will assume I’m God here and go ahead and check this off too.

The fourth is

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

You should do this one now.

Pat:  Check! My moral inventory is all good! I bravely conquered the parts of my life that I was willing to look at, and sensibly tucked away into deep recesses all the stuff that I just don’t want to admit or don’t ever want to see again. I did that so that I could do the first part fearlessly, so I assume it’s all within the protocol of the 12 Steps.

And guess what. Almost without thinking or using good judgement, last summer I took the kids across the border to Washington to look for a river that I heard had good swimming holes. Well, we found that river, and ultimately found a good hole, and you know what else we found? We found that swimming hole people in Washington are just as scummy and scary as swimming hole people in Oregon. So what have I been worrying about all this time? Baby steps, right God?

By the way...why are all of the steps written with plural pronouns, but you tell me to do the things singularly. Are you doing these with me or are you just sending me on a ruse? Aren’t I supposed to have a sponsor rather than a lord?

Christian: You’re not supposed to ask any questions during this process.
On to the fifth step:

Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

Actually, I just skipped ahead to peek at the rest of these steps and a lot  them involve God, which is me, and I really wasn’t planning on having to be so involved with this. So let’s just skip the rest and move on.

Let’s see... Yes, the two mile drive North to Washington is a good step forward. Where is the most North you have been and how did it make you feel? Did you sense any built up or suppressed childhood anger? Hopefully so, because then we can just point to that and call this baby done.

Pat:  Well, I’m not totally sure on this one without a map.  

(pause while Pat runs upstairs to his son’s room to study the large map of the world on the wall)

Sweden, I think. I was there when I was in second grade (or “Grade 2” for our Canadian friends of the Commonwealth). We stayed with our family friend Inga. I don’t remember much of Inga, except that when she stayed with my family (exchange student? Au pair? Mail order sister-wife?) we had a lot of dinner parties and a lot of my parents’ guy friends seemed really happy to visit. Hmm...I think the past is a vault best not opened!

So...I’ve been to the wintry hinterlands, and I know that I can do it. But that doesn’t erase the fear...or discomfort, rather. Everyone has an irrational fear, right? We might just hav’ta be content with this one as mine.

We can talk more about Inga though if you want.

Christian: Yes! We definitely need to. This Inga sounds very intriguing. I mean, of course, in respect to your fear of latitudes issue. I’m pretty sure she must be the sensual key to all of this. Do you have any pictures of her? I think that would help us, I mean you, greatly. We are finally making some progress here!

Go ahead and send me those photos so I can, umm,  prepare for our next session.  

Christian here. If any of you are a fan of satire and/or Harry Potter, I wrote a guest post over at Insert Eyeroll here. This is what you call shameless self-promotion.