Peeve du Jour

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

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Monday, October 26, 2009


Crinkle crinkle little star...

I serve on the executive board of a couple of organizations and whenever we have a board meeting, a fast food meal is included. Usually something like Quiznos, Subway, McDonald's or any number of similar restaurants that serve "to go" meals wrapped in paper. As we eat, the meeting gets under way, and by the time we're all done eating, the president of the group is already delivering important information for us to consider, to take action on or to vote on. And as he's speaking, board members begin crumpling up the paper wrappers that their food came in. I think it's a special, high decibel, ultra-crinkly paper specially imported by fast food joints for the express purpose of drowning out speakers. Crinkle Drowning.

Maybe Crinkle Drowning is a Pavlovian response to quiet moments when someone is delivering a punchline or making a very important point. If there's a food wrapper in front of you and there's no food on it, it must be crumpled. Not later, not soon, but RIGHT NOW.

That inability to resist crunching sheets of food wrapper paper into as tiny a wad as possible is like a dog being told to sit and stay while a cat runs across his path. Or a kid being ordered not to scream in a horror movie. Impossible. Mother nature has a built in mechanism that automatically overrides all orders. People just can't resist crumpling up a food wrapper. They just can't leave it alone, flat on the table, until the speaker is finished. They GOTTA crumple that thing up RIGHT NOW!

Maybe it's a psychological holdover from childhood when you'd let mommy know you were done eating by clanking on the table with your spoon.

"Look at me, mommy. I'm done!" CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK.

"Ooh, good boy, Bobby. You belong to the Clean Plate Club. Now you can have some dessert."

Is this a universal trait or is it just an American obsession? Do executive board members in Mexico crumple their corn husks? Do board members in Asia do a drum roll with their chopsticks? In Switzerland do they toot their Alpenhorns?

"Elementary, my dear Watson. The murderer was..." CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Yatter Yatter Yatter (Part A)

Is there a law that says announcers and spectators have to yatter, scream and make gorilla noises throughout every event they're watching? Not just sports events on television but awe-inspiring events in nature, too. Why can't people just observe without commenting? STFU!

Some years ago I was in Glacier Bay, Alaska watching 400' high chunks of ice calving from Margerie Glacier. It was a magnificent thing to see. Each calving was preceded by a series of loud cracking noises as the ice then broke away from the glacier and plunged into the bay. The instant there was a cracking noise everyone began yattering.


"There's one!"

" Here it comes!"

" Here we go!"

Then when the ice broke and began to fall, all I could hear was more yattering.

"There it goes!"

"Oh my God!"

"Look! Look!" as if everyone was not already looking at what was going on in front of them.

I hate it when someone yells, "Look! Look!" at something I'm already looking at.

"Look at the wave!"

"Look at the water!"

"Look at the ice breaking off the glacier and falling into the water!"

You'd have to have a serious Attention Deficit Disorder to miss it.

Even from 1/2 mile away, these calvings are very loud. The roar of the breaking ice crashing into the water, along with the crumbling 400' high towers of ancient ice roaring down behind it, was pretty much drowned out by all the observers screaming, yelling, cheering, pointing and telling everyone to "Look! Look!"

I doubt this happens when one is alone in nature. It's only when we're with other people that we feel compelled to verbalize everything we're observing as if everyone around us needed an announcer to tell us where to look, to explain what we were looking at and what they should do before they could fully grasp what was unfolding before them.

Here's a link to a typical video of a calving glacier I found on YouTube:

Yatter Yatter Yatter (Part B)

Is there a law that says graduates of Sports Announcer College with a BA in Blabbermouthology have to team up with an equally qualified graduate in order to get a job? These guys always wind up being announcers and color commentators on football and baseball games, and boxing matches. And all they do is yatter throughout the event. Yatter Yatter Yatter Blah Blah Blah Yatter Yatter. They interrupt each other, finish each other's sentences and talk about what I just saw as if I were watching the radio.

What do they have against letting me hear a sports event?

The worst of these are announcers at boxing matches. The two or three announcers just never shut up. They tell me what the boxers are thinking, what they have to do to get the job done, what the other guy has to do to prevent the other guy from getting the job done, what his strategy is going to be, what it should have been, and what a boxer has just done. By the time he speaks the words needed to describe what the boxer has just done, the boxer has delivered five or six more punches, so I don't know what the hell the announcer is referring to. And I don't care to begin with. But I have no choice. If I want to watch the match, I have to put up with the announcers.

So I never get to hear the punches getting delivered, that brutal smack of leather to ribs, fist to face, the grunts, the groans, the crowd. No. All I hear is Yatter Yatter Yatter Blah Blah Blah Yatter Yatter.

Wouldn't it be great if one of those sports channels had an "A" and a "B" option for viewers. Choice "A" is for announcers, choice "B" is for no announcers. They'd make a fortune from subscribers who'd choose "B" and save another fortune by not paying for announcers.

Here's a great example of Yatter Yatter Yatter Blah Blah Blah Yatter Yatter at a boxing match:


Saturday, October 03, 2009


There's a half a glass of water on my table...

We've all heard the hoary old adage that claims "The OPTIMIST sees his glass as half full and the PESSIMIST sees his glass as half empty."

Just typing it produces a flood of colorful expletives in my throat, snarling to get out.

Be happy you have a half a glass of anything.

The REALIST asks...

"How big is the glass? Is it an Oktoberfest beer stein on wheels with two handles and a lid or is it a champagne flute with a cute little stem?"

"Was it full before you came along or was it empty to begin with?"

"Are you trying to fill a half-empty glass or are you emptying it?"

"Are you putting the contents to good use, beneficial to the global community or are you draining it for personal gain?"

"Did you already drink your half and now you're saving the other half for your neighbor?"

"Are you drinking from a full glass and now you're whining because there's only a half glass left?"

"Or are you drinking from a half glass knowing it will soon be a drained glass?"

"Are you peeing in the glass and YOU'RE only half empty?"

"Are you completely full of shit or half full of shit?"

I think a real optimist would relish the idea of a glass that's half empty. It indicates accomplishment and synchronicity with the universe. Conversely, the true pessimist would love a glass that's half full because it indicates one's inability to achieve fulfillment and an acknowledgment of man's utter failure to communicate with the dead.

I like a double shot glass filled to the brim with a fine bourbon which I quickly make completely empty, followed by a good bartender who fills it with another double snort of fine bourbon on the house.

What if your glass is 75% full and 25% empty? What the hell does that mean?

If you live alone is your bed half full or half empty when you sleep in it?

If your backyard swimming pool is filled to the brim and a hippopotamus sneaks in at night, is it completely full or is the circus in town?

The mind boggles.