Things I Learned Today: October 22, 2017


First, I want to state that the things mentioned here are a collection of observations over a period of time and not things I noticed just today. It will be that way going forward – now you know.

So here we go!

Things I Learned Today for October 22, 2017

Wait, October is almost over? Holy cripes.

1. After a long bike ride, beer ain’t so bad. I have been riding in the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour since 2010 and not once did I ever go for the option of having an ice-cold beer at the completion of the ride. The usual finish line fare consists of a bag of snacks, a banana, water and – ugh! – coconut water. Now I don’t know if you ever tried that stuff but there’s nothing good about it. “Devil’s armpit sweat” is about the only way I can describe it. It’s putrid and people tend to drink it because they’ve convinced themselves it tastes good – just like kale. Don’t believe the hype. The stuff is garbage and so is kale.

So this last time (October 8), I opted for the Beer Garden. Keep in mind it’s about 7:30 am and I just finished riding 20 miles. With medals clanking around my neck, I got in line for a wristband, grabbed my can of beer, cracked it open and took a sip.

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And you know what? Coconut water has got nothing on this after a nice bike ride – this stuff very refreshing and light. I actually enjoyed it and I’m not the biggest beer drinker (which probably explains things). Now I know what I have to do next year.

2. People still use Mapquest. This one will lead into other things. For example, I had no idea Mapquest was still around. You see kids, back in the day we had no GPS or smartphones so outside of consulting the Thomas Brothers street maps for directions, this was our only real option. In fact it was probably the most popular online mapping service back in the ‘90s and it would be years before any competitors would show up. But with smartphones and GPS, Mapquest is all but obsolete but people still use it. How did I find this out? I saw somebody driving with printed directions with the Mapquest logo on it. I realize not all of us are fortunate enough to own a smartphone or GPS unit and some choose to live without either (a coworker comes to mind), but I still found it unbelievable.

3. Newspaper machines still exist. While I wrote about the cost of the daily newspaper in my last “Things I Learned…” post, I guess it never dawned on me that there’s still a demand for newspapers in general. Additionally, people still use slugs to try to fool the machine.

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With the cost of the daily paper now $1.50, I can almost understand why. That used to be the cost of the Sunday Edition of the Los Angeles Times which got you retail ads plus coupons, the Calendar section (a great resource for upcoming concert information), and a killer Classified section.

4. Payphones are still around. And yes, I’ve seen people using them.

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5. “Bette Davis Eyes” is a cover! We all know the classic ‘80s version by Kim Carnes which goes a little something like this:

But through a search on Spotify, I discovered the original version was recorded by legendary songwriter Jackie Deshannon back in 1974. GET OUT! Really!

(Guilty Pleasure alert: this song remains one I would somehow incorporate into a movie scene since I freaking dig it. Night, beach party. Camera pans down from a darkened sky. The scene is lit by unseen moonlight, song playing in the background. And that’s all I’ll say – there’s more.)

And while I’m blowing your mind, Hall and Oates’ “Family Man” is a cover of a Mike Oldfield song. That’s right, the guy that composed “Tubular Bells,” aka the song from The Exorcist, also wrote that one. What a world.

Well, time to throw away that Post-It note and start on another list. And since I spoke of newspapers this post, here’s one you should see.

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THE DODGERS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!

Ahem. Pardon my enthusiasm but it’s been 29 FREAKING years! I was still a punk teenager the last time the won it all and I can’t wait to see it all happen again starting Tuesday.

Dodgers. World Series. I can’t stop saying that.

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Adios, Amigo


There are very few things on television, let alone television advertising, that I can honestly say I enjoy.

Sitcoms? Not so much. Dramas? Bo-ring!

Reality shows? Don’t get me started.

I’m just not into watching television. In fact when faced with the task of simply changing the channel, I get lost because I don’t even know where the Guide button is on the remote. Seriously – I have to inspect it for at least 15 seconds before I find it, and I kind of like it that way.

However, there’s a certain character who was a perennial favorite of mine and today I found out he’s been given a send-off only he would be worthy of receiving.

He’s the fictional spokesperson for Dos Equis beer or, as we all came to know him, The Most Interesting Man in the World.

This advertising campaign was just brilliant. Commercials were simple montages of his believable adventures with voiceovers that described his traits or persona, which only led to his mystique:

  • His blood smells like cologne
  • Sharks have a week dedicated to him
  • If opportunity knocks and he’s not at home, opportunity waits
  • He gives his GPS directions*
  • Mosquitoes refuse to bite him purely out of respect

And today, he embarked on his final journey: to Mars, never to return.

“His only regret…is not knowing what regret feels like.”

Ugh. This was the perfect way to end this campaign and I’m not afraid to admit that watching it sort of made me a little weepy inside. Hearing him utter his catchphrase one last time as he was being propelled deep into space really effed with my head, man.

But my attachment might go a bit deeper than most.

When this campaign first started some nine years ago, my family all went nuts. We had reason to.

“My God, that’s Uncle Lupe,” I recall many of my cousins saying. They weren’t far from wrong.

Uncle Lou, rest his soul, was our version of The Most Interesting Man in the World because of his lifelong habit of being adventurous and unpredictable:

  • He’d randomly show up at your door because he was in there area, even though he lived on the other half of the state
  • He wrote a book while sailing to the Galapagos Islands during hurricane season

There’s much more to the man than just those anecdotes, both of which were absolutely true. My family will attest to the fact that he lived a life that was pretty much parallel to that of TMIMITW and, to top it off, he sort of resembled him.

Now, sadly, the real adventurer and his doppelganger are no longer one with this earth.

Dos Equis, your campaign succeeded in doing what not many could: they made me care, and I don’t even drink beer** regularly. I couldn’t even care about Clara Peller, Homer and J.R., or the J&R Whiskey Liquor Lads the way I did about your character. And seriously, they were the only commercials that would make me go silent just so I could watch his latest adventures and catch up on the newest witticisms about him.

And honestly, I completely forgot what he was advertising at times.

So in closing, I raise a glass to The Most Interesting Man in the World and wish him much luck on his journey to Mars which, given his history, I’m sure he will turn into an inhabitable place.

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¡Adios, amigo!

—–

*This was my own contribution
**When there’s beer at the office for Social Hour, I’ll have one

It’s None Of Your Business


0001820053030_500X500Sometimes it’s just better to keep your mouth shut.

It was a busy, long night at work and our lead cashier – she’s been on the job almost as long as I’ve been alive – was working the long shift with myself and the manager. It was late, we were counting down the minutes until it was time to go home…a long night.

She bought us packs of Mike & Ikes and Hot Tamales just to keep us going.

Later, she made the “store closed” announcement and a few people rolled up to her register to pay for their goods. The first gentleman had filled his cart with liquids: lots of individual bottles of water and a ton of Gatorade. I mean his cart was full of Gatorade bottles in every flavor (or as most people choose Gatorade, color). But hey, it’s on sale and there was a minimum purchase (88 cents with a minimum of 8 bottles) so he stocked up. I’m sure I would have done the same if I needed that many bottles.

The guy was waiting for his significant other – wife or girlfriend, I dunno – to return with a few items she was still looking for. That’s when the customer behind him looked inside his cart with amazement and spoke up.

“You know, I have to ask you. Why so many bottles of Gatorade? I mean, that’s a LOT of bottles of the stuff.” The guy just kept on rambling on about the quantity of the man’s purchase and really wouldn’t shut up about it. I was called away to do other tasks as he continued to probe the guy about his purchase.

I later came to find out that our cashier, tired of his incredulous and downright stupid remarks, sternly looked at him and offered this gem.

“So? You’re buying 30 cans of beer.”

Touche, my friend. Touche. I was almost in tears laughing when she told us this.

And you know what? She’s absolutely right and I know why she said that.

So what if the guy is buying 32 bottles of Gatorade. What’s the big deal? Maybe he likes it. Maybe he’s the coach of a team. Maybe his body requires more electrolytes than the average person.

The other guy was buying a Bud Light case comprised of 30 cans of beer. At least there are benefits to drinking the Gatorade.

Mr. Beer Can had no room to speak up, and the cashier later told us she didn’t think he even heard her comment because he just couldn’t shut up about someone else’s purchase.

Honestly, dude. It’s none of your business. He could have been buying cases of Fleet enemas and it still would be nothing for you to be concerned about. Now can we make all sorts of assumptions about you being in the store after midnight, by yourself and buying 30 cans of beer?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Because that would be rude.