There’s a handwritten sign recently posted in the shower room of the YMCA to which I belong. It’s next to the soap dispenser and it reads “THIS IS BLUE SOAP.”
Ever the skeptic, I put my hand under the dispenser, pressed the release button and, sure enough, a turquoise shade gel accumulated slowly in my palm. It seemed slippery and slightly transparent, and a few small bubbles showed around the edge. It was in fact soap, and it was in fact blue.
I’m not sure what the point of the sign was. I guess someone had questioned the liquid’s blueness or its soapiness, or maybe both, and the management felt compelled to clear the air of any doubt. I learned a valuable lesson that day on the folly of questioning authority. I’ve also learned to start bringing my own soap.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Coverage of the death of Ed McMahon seems a little over-done now, don’t you think?
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
One of the great things about people using wireless-equipped cafes as mobile offices is that you can poach on their privacy and get a tiny peek into other people’s worlds. No, I’m not stealing credit card numbers out of the ether. I’m just catching a glimpse of what’s on their laptop screens, and eavesdropping into cell phone conversations that aren’t being kept all that quiet in the first place.
In one recent example, I was sitting behind a young African-American man who I knew from previous conversations was an active member of the South Carolina Republican Party. When he got up to grab a coffee, I couldn’t help but see that his screen showed a page headlined “What’s on Chairman Steele’s Playlist?”
The chairman in question is national GOP chairman Michael Steele. He’s the guy who promised to inject some urban sensibilities into the party and then, a few weeks later, offered a cowering apology for referring to Rush Limbaugh as an entertainer. Not exactly an “urban” attitude, but whatever.
Anyway, this site was sponsoring a contest to guess which songs in several categories – gospel, pop, opera, hip-hop, R&B, country, blues, jazz, and old school – were on Steele’s music player. You also had to list his favorite black Republican musician, assuming you could name one (my pick would be Justin Timberlake.)
According to the rules, if you donate $5 to the party and you are “the first person to correctly guess the Chairman’s favorite artist in the most categories [you] will win lunch with Chairman Steele.” I filled in all fields but one with the name “Michael Jackson,” reserving opera for the towering voice of brother Tito, and was prepared to play until overwhelmed with guilt – not guilt that I’d be mocking the party, but that they’d use my $5 to buy a collar’s worth of Sarah Palin’s next designer ensemble.
Then, a few days later at another café, a young businesswoman within earshot held virtually the same conversation with several different coworkers via her BlackBerry phone. “Did I place that order last week for those ink cartridges?” “I know I placed that order. Am I going insane?” “You remember when I placed that order, right?” “I am positive I put that order in last week.” “Am I nuts?”
I didn’t stick around to hear the outcome of this crisis, but if she ever needs to order blue soap in bulk, I think I can set her up.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Please tell me I didn’t see a Jonas Brother testifying before a Senate committee on C-Span the other day. And know this: if I ever see Miley Cyrus walking along the Rose Garden colonnade with President Obama and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I will turn in my Democratic Party membership card.
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
Already, I hear that the phrase “hiking the Appalachian Trail” is becoming a euphemism for cheating on one’s wife. Following Gov. Mark Sanford’s admission of marital infidelity, and news that his purported communion with the wilds of the Blue Ridge Mountains was actually the congregation of another kind, pundits are driving the new buzzwords home.
I can already the imagination the upcoming frank conversations in far too many broken homes around the country.
“Honey, there’s something I have to tell you,” says the husband.
“What is it dear?”
“I … I’ve been hiking. On a trail. Actually, I’ve been on the Appalachian Trail.”
“Dear! No! No, it can’t be. I can’t believe this.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before. I didn’t know how. I just couldn’t pick the right words until now.”
“Did you … Did you go all the way? All the way from Maine to Georgia?”
“Yes and, actually, her name is Maria, not Georgia. And I think you’d like her if you gave her a chance.”
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
There’s a so-called dollar cinema house in our town showing movies that are a couple of months past prime theatrical release and just a week or two from coming out on DVD. It used to be one of the main theatres in town until the brand-new stadium seating place opened out by the mall. Now, it’s relegated to a smaller market.
Because it is set back so far back in its parking lot, it has one of those old-fashioned signs with manual lettering up against the main road. The display rows of the sign are arbitrarily divided into twos, so each of the eight films in the line-up is partnered immediately above or below a separate and unrelated movie. Occasionally, the name also has to be truncated to fit the space. This leads to some truly bizarre titles of movies that often sound better than what’s really playing.
Some recent examples:
Sex and … Marley and Me
Pineapple … Milk
Baby Mama … Wanted
Journey to Center of … Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Madagascar … High School
Rachel Getting … Australia
Iron Man … Mamma Mia
Nick and Norah’s … Quantum Solace
Curious Case of … Hannah Montana
27 Dresses … Wanted
Body of … Kung Fu Panda
Chronicles of … Love Guru
Forgetting Sarah … Slumdog
Horton Hears a … Mummy
Fast and Furious … Vicky Cristina
Monster Versus … W
Frost/Nixon … Hulk
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
I must pause from my joking here at the end to recognize the passing of a monumental public figure the other day. His voice was like no other. His rapport with his audience was unprecedented. His agility in moving from one area to another was legendary. His plea to buy OxyClean was virtually irresistible.
To read more about the life of TV pitchman Billy Mays, take a look at https://davisw.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/this-post-not-available-in-stores/