Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I hate these commercials. (I'm not the only one.)

I mean, "'Love is a devil.' That's Shakespeare, y'know? Boy, that man knew about love"? Was that stream-of-consciousness, or did someone actually write that? Actually, wait, I'm not sure which of those two options is worse.

On the other hand, I loved this clip on The Dish this week.

"I know what you're thinking. Yes, I have a sticker collection. Puffy ones, mostly.
I can't believe I just told you that!"

"Gooshy and awful."

Once upon a time (in the early 90s), my family went on a bender. And, like many benders, it resulted in tragedy, recriminations, and a lingering sense of shame whenever we passed a freezer full of processed meat.

My mother had recently gone back to work at JCPenney's after more than a decade as a stay-at-home mom, and having more money in the coffers and less time to cook meant that a few new (to us) frozen delicacies found their way into the basement freezer.

Enter...the Jennie-O Turkey Loaf.

Look at those clearly-defined meat striations. Much like a geologist rappelling down the walls of the Grand Canyon, you can easily make out where the more-recent light meat layer ends, and where the aged darker meat begins. What was once in clumsy, non-striped, bird-shaped form is transformed into an ergonomic, easily-boxed square of meat. It's the IKEA of meats! Science! Is there anything it can't do?

Okay, I mock the turkey loaf now, but then? I loved it. We all did. It was moist. Juicy. So much more succulent than Spam, what with the gravy gurgling in the bottom of the "roasting pan" (i.e., cardboard trough). I'd always liked meatloaf; this new, exotic form of loaved meat was destined to simmer its way into my heart.

Until...The Infamous Jennie-O Turkey Loaf Incident of '96.

It was February. Our ongoing love affair with the turkey loaf had waxed and waned over the ensuing years, but it was still a frequent guest in the freezer. One night after work, probably before shuttling me into town for pep band, my mom popped one in the oven and set the timer. When the dinger dinged, she pulled it out of the oven, cut into it with a knife, and this is what happened:

The infamous turkey roast of '96.

A bloody, mangled mess. It looked like something that had been pulled out of the grill of a semi. (And covered in gravy.)

(Frankly, I'm shocked that any blood could even come out of something that processed, but whatever.)

Tragedy had struck. Not only was dinner ruined...but none of us could look at a turkey loaf the same way ever again. It was so traumatic that yes, it merited being captured on film, so that the legend of the bad turkey loaf could be passed on to future generations in all its disgusting glory.

And, also, so my mother could write an official Letter of Complaint to the good people at Jennie-O.

The woman is a master of the Letter of Complaint. Much like the turkey loaf bender, she goes through Letters of Complaint spurts...she won't write one for months, or even years, but then all of a sudden something snaps and boom, she's back in the game. Her letters are to-the-point and polite - she expresses her love of the product, she expresses her disappointment at some flaw in the product, and includes a sample of the product to prove that she's not crazy. For example:
"Dear Potato Chip Company:

I'm a huge fan of your chips and recently purchased a bag. I was disappointed. These chips were too salty. I've enclosed a chip for verification purposes.

Disappointedly yours,
The Jane"
And why? "To get free chips. Or whatever."

Well, she couldn't very well put the turkey in an envelope and mail it in, so photographic evidence it was. The results are captured for posterity on the back of the picture:

"Roasted gooshy and awful."

A $5.00 coupon? Not bad. It didn't get us back on the turkey loaf bandwagon anytime soon, but it was something.

Months later, the oven was acting up, so my parents had the gas guy come over to check it out. "Geez, that thing's shot," he said. "It's not warming up at all. Ain't good for nothing other than a bun-warmer."

And suddenly, it clicked: there was nothing wrong with the turkey loaf. It was the OVEN. THE OVEN!!

That was the last Letter of Complaint my mom sent out for a while.

And then, a few weeks ago, she got some Kix that didn't taste right. And some Old Dutch popcorn that had a giant clump of salt in the bag.

Letters were written. Samples of the offending products were mailed. (In padded envelopes & everything, to prevent sample breakage - she's upped her game.)

And look what showed up in the mail the other day:

This only encourages her.

Damn it, people! This only encourages her!

The Second Coming Sale.

(As seen nightly on FOX-21 out of Duluth.)

  1. If the world is going to end, why spend money on jewelry? Won't it all just be left behind when you're sucked up Heaven's Chimney?

  2. And if the Rapture's coming, and all your material things will be no more, wouldn't it be more fun to spend that money on something...fun? More fun than a hunk of metal, I mean. Like a trip to the Dells? A dirtbike? A night of karaoke, hot wings and grain alcohol? I mean, at least then you have something to remember fondly as you while away eternity.

  3. Is it just me, or do most traditional descriptions of heaven sound insanely boring? The only one I've ever found all that thought-provoking was the one in Defending Your Life.

    Update (12/2/2010): there's a story about the store owner and his commercial on the front page of today's Duluth News Tribune. And he sounds like a nice guy, even if I do think his ad is kind of crazy.

Monday, November 29, 2010



One major benefit of having my younger brother come home for the weekend:
Toivo spends the next two days passed out on the couch.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Police blotter.

Monday, 9:54 P.M.:
Report of male with pants down around his ankles "flashing" passersby.

Thursday, 6:55 P.M.:
Report of theft of rhino head from tavern sign.

Friday, 4:55 P.M.:
Report of boy throwing apples onto private property. Update: Boy and his mother spoken to.

Saturday, 7:31 A.M.: Report of son pushing and shoving at his mother who said he was a "wannabe gangbanger."

Sunday, 1:46 A.M.: Request for officer to turn off oven at woman's apartment. She mistakenly left it on and was not to be home until the next day.

Sunday, 6:09 A.M.:
Report of female and her boyfriend locked in bedroom because door was stuck. They were advised to take the door off its hinges. They called back saying the hinges were loose but door would still not open so fire department was called in to help them.

Sunday, 6:24 A.M.:
Report of caller hit in head with pool stick.

Sunday, 10:11 A.M.:
Report of neighbor in caller's hot tub completely naked.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nothing brings me greater joy...

Toivo's punishment.

...than wrapping Toivo up like a fat little burrito and watching him try to escape.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, Walmart.

Yeild to pedestrians.

How is it even possible that no one caught this during some point in its production? How??

Police blotter.

Sunday, 9:21 A.M.:
Report of young male locked in post office. Update: Post office door was sticking.

Sunday, 4:35 P.M.: Report of young boys filling up doggy bags with sand and tossing them around.

Monday, 6:41 P.M.: Report of “pot” leaf taped to female’s door.

Tuesday, 2:39 P.M.: Report of blue van dumping large pile of Russ Feingold posters on side of road. When confronted, driver said he could do what he wanted.

Thursday, 8:25 A.M.: Caller reported she put her kitchen garbage out in a bag in a garbage can, and this morning the can was tipped over and the bag was gone, just wanted to report it in case someone found a bag of garbage somewhere.

Friday, 11:26 P.M.: Report of high school fire alarm sounding. Update: A fog machine at a dance set off the alarm.

Friday, 11:45 P.M.: Report of juvenile alcohol party with lots of wrestling around and thumping heard. Update: Was a dog chasing a cat around.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Skip Saturday Night Live tonight and watch this instead.

Regis: Look at the Ric Flair, jumping and stomping on the poor Hulk. Now watch this! Yow! He's got poor Hulkamania by the throat! And he's not gonna let him up. Snuffing the life out of the Hulkster.

Kathie: When was this, Reeg?

Regis: This was just recently, just the other day!

Paul Bearer: It's going to be the first funeral on pay-per-vieeeeew! First funeral on pay-per-vieeeeeeeeew, oooooooh!

Regis: That's a good one, Paul.

And then Regis starts running around the set, throwing Hulk Hogan pillows at the Undertaker.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Night: or, I Stayed Up Late for This?

8:02 P.M.: My mother catches a glimpse of Chuck Todd; swooning ensues.

8:07 P.M.: Good news - the people of Delaware had the sense to not elect a witch to the Senate! Brian Williams, in an aside: "...a woman who this very weekend proclaimed that she was certain people were performing human sacrifices on Halloween."

8:16 P.M.: First mention of the Feingold/Johnson race - too close to call. Hope springs eternal?

8:27 P.M: What the F*** Has Obama Done So Far?

8:30 P.M.: First Christmas City of the North Parade commercial sighting of the year!

8:34 P.M.: Brian Williams mentions Matt Taibbi's stupendous piece on the Republican co-opting of the Tea Party movement in Rolling Stone. Too bad the mainstream media didn't bother covering it themselves before this election wrapped up.

8:47 P.M.: Dayton's ahead of Emmer in the MN Governor's race so far, despite the fact that he always looks like he's about to burst into tears.

8:55 P.M.: Local NBC affiliate's butted in to update us on the MN/WI races, although as usual, their coverage is (predictably) much more Minnesota-heavy. Election season is the only time I wish I lived closer to a Wisconsin-based TV news source. Well, that, and anytime the Vikings win.

9:00 P.M.: Okay, enough election night coverage for a while, I'm going to give myself an ulcer watching the ship sink. Thank goodness there's a new Kathy Griffin special on Bravo, I need something to laugh at.

9:10 P.M.: Who am I kidding? Election bullshit, I can't quit you. Flipping back to Chuck and Brian during the commercial breaks.

9:14 P.M.: Frank Conniff on Twitter: "Rand Paul just said, 'Government does not create jobs,' as he prepares to take his new job with the government."

9:48 P.M.: Feingold is falling behind. This is depressing - back to Kathy.

9:55 P.M.: Thank you, Kathy Griffin, for taking my mind off this debacle by bringing up The Real Housewives of New Jersey. That's just what I needed!

9:58 P.M.: Judging by my friends' status updates on Facebook, I missed a hell of an interview between Chris Matthews and batshit-insane Michele Bachmann from Minnesota.

10:00 P.M.: Over to Comedy Central for their Indecision 2010 coverage. Help me, Jon Stewart. You're my only hope.

10:04 P.M.: "John Boehner is the first orange man - er, man of orange descent - to become Speaker of the House."

10:06 P.M.: On CNN's ridiculous election night graphics: "CNN is leading the way with its Tetris news fence, making any results indecipherable."

10:11 P.M.: No African-Americans in the U.S. Senate. Way to go, old white people!

10:12 P.M.: John Oliver is in a green-screen unitard, projecting graphics onto his crotch. -

10:13 P.M.: Jon Stewart: "Russ Feingold, one of the leading progressive voices, has been defeated by Ron Johnson. (audience boos) Now the crowd has turned on us." Hey, Wisconsin? Fuck you!

10:17 P.M: Jim Oberstar is safe!*

10:21 P.M.: "Of the three presidents in recent times who had big mid-term losses (Truman, Eisenhower and Clinton), every single one of them got re-elected." - Michael Beschloss, Daily Show guest ("So your thought is, 'what a great night for Barack Obama?'" - Jon Stewart)

10:32 P.M.: Colbert's got election results, "zoning ordinances, snow closings and school lunch menus." "Stiles Elementary - sloppy joes and corn niblets."

10:36 P.M.: Voting irregularities popping up. But this part made me laugh: "Probate Judge Tommy Ragland said Tuesday that voters had been marring ballots by pressing too hard with the pencils they used to mark them. He thought the problem was that voters were made after a contentious, ugly campaign season. He said they were taking it out on the pencils." God bless America?

10:42 P.M.: More on the Chris Matthews/Michele Bachmann interview. Matthews: "Has someone hypnotized you? Because no matter what I ask you, you give the same answer." Bachmann: "I think people are thrilling tonight." Don't look at her directly in the eyes, or you'll either turn to stone or catch the crazy!

10:53 P.M.: "Money in this election has been a dagger aimed at the heart of democracy." - Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, on Colbert's show

10:57 P.M.: Colbert: "Before I go, I'd like to speak to all Americans. So if you're an American who isn't currently watching, I'm going to give you a moment to turn on your TV."

10:58 P.M.: "When states turn red or blue on the election maps, that doesn't happen when you actually go there. It's disappointing."

10:58 P.M.: "The important thing for every American to remember tonight is that, whether you're happy or sad about the results, is that this is how it will be forever."

10:58 P.M.: "A party has been swept into power on the platform of change, and that's never bitten anyone in the ass."

10:59 P.M.: "Everything's fixed! So tomorrow's show might just be a rerun followed by Soul Plane. You won't want to miss it!"

11:06 P.M.: I think I'll leave it on Comedy Central for a while before I crawl back into reality.

11:07 P.M.: Sean Duffy's ahead of Julie Lassa? Was it his logrolling commercial that put him over the top?

11:26 P.M.: Getting condolence messages about Feingold from old friends out in Montana. It's insane that Wisconsin is making Montana look like a progressive hotbed tonight. Am I in the Twilight Zone??

11:38 P.M.: Back to NBC. It's still weird to flip over on election night and not see Tim Russert (and his white board).

11:39 P.M.: Tom Brokaw on the marijuana proposition in CA: "The fact is, they don't have to legalize it in California, because they're all smoking it out there anyway."

11:45 P.M.: Self-medicating with Doritos. Unsightly cheese dust on my fingers reminds me of John Boehner so I switch to leftover Halloween candy.

12:00 A.M.: Well, what a night. I can't say I'm surprised by most of what happened, although losing Russ Feingold is pretty awful. Oh, well - the country has spoken, and has once again shown that we have the shortest memories in the world (and that old white people are still afraid of The Gays and The Immigrants and letting people other than themselves get government-run health care**).

Alright, GOP - you've got 20 months to fix everything! See you in 2012!

*No, he wasn't. Oberstar fell to a grown man named "Chip" later in the evening.
**According to NBC News tonight, 58% of senior citizens polled want "Obamacare" repealed.