Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fig Newtons

They changed the packaging. For years and years, Fig Newtons were packaged in two cellophane sleeves. Lined up back to front, each Newton was spooning the one next to it. The package wasn't re-sealable; you just had to fold the ends over and know that the next time you came back to it, the first one would have a crusty shell. But it was OK. We survived.
Grape Nuts used to come in a package WITHOUT a liner altogether. Just a bunch of nuts running wild in a tightly sealed cardboard box (reminds me of my college living arrangements).
But the Fig Newtons at least had the sleeve - I guess it was put there to let you know when you were half done.
And every now and then, you'd notice that one of the Newtons had turned inside the sleeve. Just 90 degrees. Just enough to stand out. Just enough to make me appreciate that it had a little attitude. I mean, in a mechanized process that consistently places each cookie in the sleeve oriented correctly, it astounded me that one could find the energy to turn itself. Cheeky bastard. You go, man! Don't let "The Man" force you into conforming. Be your own . . . cookie.
Well, apparently Fig Newton got tired of individuality among its cookies, so it changed the packaging to prevent such behavior. They did it under the guise of "re-sealability", but we know better.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Unhappy Fans?

Growing up in Detroit makes me a Lions fan by default. I'm not a bandwagon-type fan; I've been a casual observer for YEARS. I've been to only two games in my lifetime, and I've never owned/wore an NFL jersey. For years and years, my autumnal Sunday routine has always been to go for a long bike ride and then spend the afternoon watching the hapless Lions discover new and creative ways to lose. They've been consistent losers for my entire life having only 5 seasons with 10+ wins since 1960. A few years ago, they made NFL history by losing every game on the schedule.
This year, they turned the corner. They magically exceeded all pre-season predictions. They won 10 games and made it to the playoffs. They were exciting to watch. They had some thrilling moments. They also lost out in the first round of the playoffs.
And to listen to the sports talk radio shows in this town, you'd think they went 0-16 again.
First of all, I'm sorry to admit that I occasionally listen to sports radio. I only do it to feel smarter.
Everyone in this town - or I should say, everyone who made it on the air, had something biting and negative to say about the season. Everyone had suggestions on how to fix the problem. Almost every single caller (and host, for that matter) bitched and moaned and complained about everything under the sun. The defensive coordinator should be hanged in Grand Circus Park. They have no running game. They should trade the entire offensive line. Get a new quarterback. Trade Megatron. (Seriously, that was brought up a LOT.)
I never heard anyone say this: "it was an exciting season to watch, and that's all I asked for."
Nobody looked forward to next year.
Nope. The general consensus that I heard was that the season was a disappointment. It was a barrage of negative criticism that lasted the entire week following their collapse against the Saints.
Maybe that's just how football fans are in general. Maybe everyone is miserable except the team that wins the Super Bowl. Seems pretty sad to me that they're completely unable to enjoy the good things that happened in a record-setting year. What are you supposed to get out of being a sports fan if that's your reaction to a winning season?
Imagine if this is how bike racing fans felt during bike racing season. Imagine if every time Garmin-Cervelo (now Barracuda) lost a race.
"They need to trade Tyler Farrar."
"Vaughters needs to go."
"They need to clean house."
"What is the deal with VDV? Ever since his contract was extended, he's been phoning it in."
"Do you think they should get rid of Zabriskie and maybe to go after another time trialist?"
Shoot me now.
I'll gladly fly to France, stand along a road for 6 hours, scream at them as they roll past, and not give a damn who wins.
Once again, I think cycling does it right.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Taking a break.

If I were to spin this story if I worked for, say, a government entity, it would go like this:
In an effort to allow my mind to fully refresh and recover from the intense thought that comes with completing two full books within a few weeks of each other, I have decided to take some well-deserved time away from the computer keyboard.
The truth (pictured) is a little less glamorous. I can't type very well.