Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Circus Strongman

The rolling circus that is RAGBRAI (or here) is currently touring the state. For those who are unfamiliar with RAGBRAI, it is a week long organized bicycle ride of around 20,000 riders that take one week to travel from Iowa's west coast to Iowa's east coast.

The Des Moines Register, which sponsors the ride, has nothing but good things to say about the masses of pedaling flesh that roll in, destroy a town and move on. The t.v. stations get in on the act, too, following the route and recording footage of memorable events in little towns across the state.

In spite of the fact that the coverage is a constant barrage from all sides, it is a nice diversion from the hundreds of presidential candidates that have been crawling all over the state. If all the presidential candidates were riding the whole, hot ride, they would not get much attention because...

OHMYGODLANCEARMSTRONG is riding this year!! Last year he rode for a few days. He couldn't have gotten more coverage if it had been the second coming.This year he is riding the whole ride with "Team Livestrong".

UPDATE -- Since I started writing this yesterday it has been announced that Lance may quit the ride to cheer on his team at the Tour de France.
UPDATE UPDATE -- Looks like Lance is leaving, the pussy

People ride in groups that have silly names. They have stickers printed up with their team name on them and stick them on whatever body part a person will let them near.

One team I knew had tattoos made. They also had a method to adhere the tattoos and it went like this:

  • Sloppily lick a woman's breast (or as close to the breast as the woman will allow)
  • Place the tattoo on the wet spot
  • Lick the back of the sticker (allowing more face time)
  • Peel off the paper backing

The women on the team adhered tattoos to men's upper thighs in the same manner. From across the room it looked a lot like the fellow was getting "serviced".

When they roll through a town they expect entertainment, food, drink. Not only do they expect it, the DM Register dictates in reams of printed matter what you should provide. It also warns you of dire consequences of using the name RAGBRAI for profit. This is, after all, their cash cow and there just isn't enough hamburger to go around no matter how you grind it.

Tiny K-town (population about 100) has had the pleasure of being servants to the circus twice. I must admit, if you just come to party it is one hell of a party. But if it is your tiny town the circus invades, it is months and months of preparation. And a hell of a long day of serving. And one big mess left behind.

I think the riders can be divided into three groups. The first group wants to prove how great they are and they rise before the sun and pedal as fast as they can to the overnight town, stopping only if absolutely necessary (like to take a dump in a corn field).

The second group isn't in that much of a hurry. They like to stop at each town, discover what it has to offer, meet people, buy food and drink and then pedal on.

The third group heads straight for the beer or liquor when they hit a town, no matter what the hour. They initiate "naked beer sliding" contests on the floors of bars. Men moon and women flash. You can find them at night riding their light less bikes 20 miles from the overnight town with another town and party ahead of them. They are the most fun, most annoying, most rude and most dangerous.

The third group is one that the paper Iowa depends on will never show you in its paper or on its website. It's probably not the RAGBRAI that Lance Armstrong will see, either. But I'll bet there's lots of women on the ride who wanted to flash him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pouring Salt in the Wound

I finally consulted a medical pro about the wound on my leg -- two and a half weeks after the incident. What was a scrape had developed into a big, black scab. Plus I was pretty sure I needed an antibiotic.

The med pro tap, tap, tapped on the scab and then told me healing would be a process. I freaked a little. When Captain Crab was a medic in the service, he worked in a burn unit for a time. He told me about their process, in which they let saline soaked gauze dry on burns. Then they ripped the gauze off, tearing away the damaged skin. I wanted to tell my med pro that I preferred to be unconscious during the process.

Luckily, my process was much less painful. Wash the wound with canned sterile saline, pat dry, protect the good skin by dabbing with vaseline, apply skin eating cream to the black scab and cover with gauze pad, twice a day. I went to the drug store and got my scripts filled and stocked up on the incidentals, buying the ONLY can of sterile saline.

Days later I went on a search for more canned saline. Wally World (which sucks, btw) was out of it. Target had cans that were half the size as the first one I bought at the same price. Five bucks for 3.1 ounces of salt water? (No, for the CAN.)

I had my process checkup a week later and mentioned to my med pro that the price of the sterile saline was ridiculous. She told me that I could just make my own and she would write down the recipe for me. She came back with a note pad and wrote:
1 cup water
1/3 tsp. salt

She told me I could double it if I wanted.

I told her I was pretty good with recipes and would figure it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Welcome to the 21st Century

My grandpa was born in 1899. When I was a kid we sat and tried to imagine the year 2000. He told me that he wouldn't see it. I couldn't imagine seeing the year 2000 myself.

Gramps had 12 grandchildren he called the Dirty Dozen. In his later years, we celebrated his birthdays by gathering every year at his tiny house for a picnic. By that time, Gramps had begun to acquire great-grandchildren. I enjoyed these birthday parties with my cousins, whom I hadn't seen much since we were all little kids.

Gramps didn't make it to the year 2000. He died in his mid-seventies in the mid-seventies. He was the first person close to me to die. I refused to look at his body in the coffin, preferring to remember Gramps as a living human being who missed his wife who died too young. Who let me put peanuts in his glass of beer and watch the bubbles rise to the top. Who told me stories of growing up on the farm with his German speaking parents. My stubborn, sweet, living Gramps.

Yesterday I made a leap into modernity. I installed the Firefox browser. I know, I know, I should have been using it already. Change is hard for me. I had everything in IE just where I wanted it. But I'm getting around fine in Firefox minus the annoying things that made me want to dump IE in the first place.

I was drug reluctantly, browser-wise, into the 21st century. But I made it. And like midnight on December 31, 1999, when we were all propelled into the new millennium*, afraid of the Y2K computer glitch that would throw the world into utter chaos, I thought of Gramps.

*Please, no arguments about when the new millennium actually began. I do not care.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Ads Nauseum

Speaking of ads....

There was an animated ad for quilted Northern toilet paper once. All these women were sitting around a big hunk of this toilet paper in old fashioned quilting bee style. With knitting needles in their hands.

Every time this ad ran the ignorance of it pissed me off. Someone must have informed Madison Avenue that quilting was done by making small stitches with needles and thread and not knitting needles. The commercial was changed but the idiocy of the ad makers still rankled me.

I took marketing first semester last year. My instructor was so incompetent on the subject and assigned lots of reading and paper writing. The class soon figured out that she was not reading the reams of paper we handed in. One of my classmates inserted bits into paragraphs to check the instructor's paper checking. Like everything he'd eaten the day before. Pork chop, applesauce, mac 'n cheese. She never saw it.

Whenever we wanted to make each other laugh in class, all we'd have to do is say, "Pork chop". It was hilarious.

In my desparation to actually get something out of the class, I'd do online research. One day I came across this article in Wikipedia. It became our new hilarious catch phrase. And it pretty much told me all I needed to know about Madison Avenue.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Got (Sour) Milk?

I flipped on the t.v. yesterday afternoon while soaking my injury in a 5 gallon bucket. (Which is the ultimate decorative home accecessory.) In the span of an hour I saw the most disturbing commercial ever. And I saw it three times in that time frame! Crab came home and I told him about it, but he didn't believe me. Of course it didn't play while he was sitting there.

The commercial goes like this:
A guy walks into a barn holding a glass milk bottle. A another guy is sitting with his feet propped on a stool. He is eating sour Skittles. Hooked to his chest are the operating ends of a milking machine. Guy #1 berates the guy getting "milked". If he quit eating sour Skittles, maybe the milk wouldn't taste sour.

Ew, ew, ew! On so many levels!

1. Human milk in a bottle for adult humans??
2. Man milk??
3. I know where that guy would rather put those sucking vacuum tubes and I can't get that image out of my mind.

What in hell is wrong with the people who make these ads? Are they that stupid about farming? Human anatomy? About what humans consume? If they wanted a shock value, they got it. If they wanted me to buy Skittles, they missed by a country mile.