Archive for January, 2010

Super Duper Limpio My Funky Hood # 16

January 25, 2010

Another  amusingly named small business in my neighborhood.

Esta lavendaria es muy fantastico.

E limpio.

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The Mattress Industry

January 24, 2010

Another blog about something mundane i look at every day.

So here’s the deal;

There is no way to compare mattresses on price  because they work out deals with the manufacturers ( there are only two)

to change the names and model numbers. So the same mattress may be in two stores, but how would you know?

There are also no generally accepted ways to rate mattresses for quality.

Despite talk about  the number of coils or whatever materials they use, no one can say whether one is better than another.

And the way they are sold is very much like the way cars are sold.

The sales “associates’ are on commission.

The markup is usually 100% to 200%, so they will try to ” do you a favor” and give you ” a special price today only” but ” dont tell the manager or i’ll get in trouble”, etc.

Most mattresses are sold through these huge mattresses chains. Some of these chains have 700 stores!

The 2 biggest in my state advertise constantly. I cant get through a few minutes of commercial radio without hearing an ad.

And here’s the kicker.

When i did some research, i found out both  mega chains  are owned by the same person!

Mostly obscurred by a passing car, i was able to capture this bike rider pushing a mattress

on a homemade wheeled table attached to the front of his bike.

Entrepreneur Spirit My funky Hood # 15

January 18, 2010

As opposed to…..

I love all the goofy names small businesses in my hood  come up with.

No corporate branding consultants here.

His funky truck was plastered with his company name in huge letters as well as on  the t shirt

he was wearing, just  in case you somehow  missed it.

Bandsaw Mania

January 13, 2010

Go to full screen and wait for the suprise at the end.

Mark McGuire Gives It A Shot

January 12, 2010

He just gave a press conference  yesterday where he admitted using steroids.

Apparently, there are still baseball fans roaming the earth who didn’t know he was juiced.

This is sadly the new style of  coached pro athlete ” confessions”

He said he used them a little. WRONG. See below.

He said he didn’t want to get big like swartzinigger  or fearing. WRONG. He was the Michelin man of baseball.

I mean, his nickname was ” Paul Bunyon” for christ’s sake.

He said he needed the drugs to recover from injury. WRONG. I think the injuries were CAUSED in large part by the steroids. Take a close look.

Besides, injuries are part of sports. Do you think every athlete doesn’t have to deal with  injury and fatigue?

What makes you different?

There is nothing to say except; ” i cheated” and ” i’m sorry”.

I suppose you could add that most of the other guys were doing it too.

But at least you could take the high road and separate yourself from the pack.

He said he couldn’t answer truthfully at the congressional hearings because  he didn’t want to involve his family. Did he mean his steroid using brothers, the football player and the weightlifter?

He could have come out before now, that’s for sure.

He said it didn’t make any difference in his performance.. Oh Please.

Al you had to say was, ” it probably helped, but i couldn’t tell you how much. After all. i hit 49 home runs my rookie year without them. ”

Of course, that is taking him at his word that he wasn’t taking them in 1987. I wouldn’t put money on that.

If they weren’t helping, why did you take them?

Oh, i forgot, to recover from injuries.

Or maybe he liked acne on the back, rapid mood swings, and shrunken nuts.

And it’s just coincidence that the home run records crumbled during the “steroid era”.

He also says he didn’t inject them with Canseco.

Of all the people involved in this mess, i find Canseco to be the most believable.

I mean, who would have figured that?

And i’m not impressed by Tony LaRussa for providing cover for him all these years.

” his success was based on all the hard work in the gym”.

Uhh, that goes with the steroids, Tony.

Of course Tony knows this.

He has a law degree.

He is not stupid.

He is compromised because he is an active coach and has to keep the trust of his players.

I am always amazed by how people will pretend to not see the emperor’s naked body.

UPDATE: Mark’s brother came out with a book yesterday where he said he personally injected mark for several years beginning in 1993.

Mark had said he never injected drugs. That’s because most of us swallow aspirin or vitamins or antibiotics ( or mood levelers), but the person who injects drugs is considered unsavory.

The Retro People

January 12, 2010

retro people at the flea market

I went over to someone’s house the other day and all the furnishings

were from the 1950s.

The people who lived there also had period correct haircuts and every piece of clothing in the house  matched also.

You probably know people like this.

This has been going on for 50 years.

This phenomena never goes away.

And they make new ones all the time.

I still meet young people who think they have invented the idea of “living” a retro lifestyle.

They have these tribal distinctions for which flavor of retro you pledge allegiance too.

People who are eclectic or who don’t cleave to a clearly defined style are to be avoided.

Anyhow, what’s the point?

Pretending you are in an old tv show  all day is delusional.

I  myself have a deep sentimental streak, and i have affection for the objects of the past.

They represent a slice of frozen time.

It fun to imagine the people who used them originally.

And stuff was sure constructed in a more sturdy, charmingly  crude way.

But they are only objects.

Projecting meaning  onto vintage stuff  just says that you are seeking shelter from the present.

I think part of the appeal lies in the Age of  Discovery era they represent.

When lots of goofy ideas were floating around and people were hopeful.

Or were they?

Maybe our era, or any era , is no different.

The nostalgia you feel is for a version of the era that was stylized through media and  other commercial concerns.

Anyhow the nostalgia lifestyle is  a closed loop from which there is no escape.

And i have to say, i find  watching people get old living this “lifestyle”

sad and horrifying.

Gentrification Blindspot

January 9, 2010

I use the word  “gentry” to describe a certain type of person.

I don’t have to spell it out, right?

Anyhow, my neighborhood has pretty much gentrified, and i’ve been through several other gentrification scenarios in other  neighborhoods.

To be honest, it’s a mixed blessing.

I dont miss the police coming over to my next door neighbor’s house every week, but the new people sure are bland and repressed.

Near my neighborhood is a  large neighborhood with not a single gentry person.

It was largely built from 1900 to 1950 and was once  mixed working class.

10 years ago, the last descendants of the original folks finally faded away.

But instead of the neighborhood being run down it is exploding with vitality.

half of all the children in my city live in this neighborhood.

The main commercial streets are crammed with new businesses, mostly small ones,  and

unlike other parts of the city, there are people walking  everywhere day and night.

And there is not a single gentry to be seen. Seriously, if i stand there for an hour, not a one.

Anyhow, this post is about something i’ve noticed.

When gentry drive through this neighborhood, they say nothing is there.

They are oblivious to all the activity.

It doesn’t register for them unless they see something familiar.

So the only thing there eyes might pick up on is  cafe that sells coffee.  ( gentry likes  coffee), a yoga place, a bookstore, etc.

Everything else is just backround noise to them.

Kind of like a hawk scanning for only rabbit shapes from above with it’s

radar  like vision.

All this tsunami of cultural and economic activity was created by recent immigrants. I’m going to guess that maybe 110% of the households have at least one member who was born out of the US.

And none of this was created by special incentives or policies or grants or subsidies.

Just hard work, imagination, and maybe unrealistic dreams.

I hope the local government continues to ignore this neighborhood.

They have a bad  habit lately of “improving” neighborhoods around here

With top down, tone deaf, heavy handed, culturally insensitive projects.

In the meantime i’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Dishwashing Machines

January 7, 2010

Every middle class american house has an appliance called the dishwasher.

Kind of banal subject , i know.

What can i say? I just see what is in front of me.

Anyhow, they are promoted as using less water.

But i have noticed that if i dont rinse all the food off right away, before i put the dishes in,  the  food gets baked on.

The teeniest bits of food will also get past the filter somehow and clog up the outlet valve.

and i’ve noticed for years that the high heat will really mess up plastics.

A lot of the handles from the pots and pans get brittle and break.

And the other plastic stuff gets cloudy and dull and gives off a toxic smell.

So if you eliminate the wooden things which really dont like the dishwasher, anything with plastic, the really nice

chef’s knives,   the things that are just too big, the fact that you have to wash everything first anyhow, and i come up up with a big ” why bother?”

But dont you use less water you ask?

My fancy imported machine only uses 4 or five gallons, but that doesn’t figure in the fact that you have to basically wash the dishes first anyhow. Not to mention the stuff listed above which is hand washed  anyhow.

Of course when i wash the dishes by hand, i dont stand there with the  hot water running all the way open

while i wander around the house.

But isnt it  a place to keep the dishes while they dry,you asked?

Sure, but then you have to put them away anyhow or the new dishes pile up in the sink.

But the main reason i use the dishwasher is to sterilize my dishes you say?

Think about that for a second.

Why would you need to sterilize them?

Do germs stubbornly dig their claws in and cling to glazed dishes and stainless steel spoons?

Throughout history have  people died left and right from unsterilized dishes?

I like to sterilize the baby toys you say?

Let me ask you, has that kept your kids from having a constant runny nose from age 1 to age 6?

Besides, a little dirt is good, it strengthens the immune system.

couple of other dishwasher behaviors i have observed:

At big family gatherings, sometimes the dishwasher will fill up right away but no one will run it because that’s what you  are supposed to do at the end of a party after everyone leaves.

Never mind that you have used up all the forks, and the dishes are piling up  in the sink.

I also like to watch how some people are super compulsive about how they load the machine.

II’d love to hear a behaviorial scientist break it down.

I did see one solution thats been around quite a while; its a dish rack that slides down from a cabinet above the sink.

After you rinse the dishes and load them up, you slide the rack back up into the cabinet.

They drip down into the sink and are dry in a few minutes when you need them again.

Of course, that’s not sexy enough for us modern americans.

We need to make things more complicated.

Like every other thing in my house, my dishwasher has a mother board, which has died  twice already.

I was talking with an appliance repair tech on a project and he told me no question all these appliances are designed to expire right after the warranty is up.

And designed to cost more to fix than replace.

All these appliances dont recycle all that well, either.

i think i’ll do another rant on american kitchens later.

Our Way Of Life

January 7, 2010

I often hear people say that’s what our soldiers in any given war  are fighting for.

This usually comes up when they have run out of other excuses.

Somehow i don’t think the people saying this mean a free, informed, and open system of  government when they say this.

Or a tolerance of differences.

But rather, i suspect, our energy hogging, wasting , over  consuming way of life.

Stand back foreigners, we are here in your country to perserve our way of life at home.

We assume you think this is important, also. After all, you have no other pressing concerns other than americas’ standard of living.

Or elese we might have to kill you.

Americans might nod when you inform them that they are lucky to have gotten the big end of the stick, but they dont truly comprehend just how much of the pie they have grabbed.

They feel they deserve it because, well, just because.

Like divine providence has anointed us.

We are not interested in history, or analyzing how we got here.

Only a teeny percentage of us own a passport and have  even been anywhere else.

And  even when we do, we often  buffer ourselves by bringing a portable version of America with us.

I see us as sheeple  meandering across the tracks as a giant train called End of Empire comes around the bend.