Friday, April 11, 2008

Wal-Mart Greeters: Good and Bad

If you head to a Wal-Mart, hope that your greeter is the guy who said this:

"I love people. It's just fun. I meet all kinds of people, and everyone's different. The kids are the best. If you don't give them a happy face, they will ask you about it."

And stay away from the greeter who, instead of giving out happy faces, bruises a fellow employee's face with a pricing gun.

'80s Flashback: Rambo cartoon

Friday is here again, so it's time for another '80s Flashback.

Before a word from our sponsor, here are the recent '80s Flashbacks:

'80s Flashback: Psyche!
'80s Flashback: Jim and Tammy Faye
'80s Flashback: Avoid the noid
'80s Flashback: Mary Lou Retton
'80s Flashback: One night in Bangkok
'80s Flashback: Adams Atoms
'80s Flashback: Don't you forget about me

OK. This week's '80s Flashback is brought to you by the black-and-white checkerboard Vans shoe. Truly an icon of the '80s, when much of the fashion scene was trying to thrash something or catch a gnarly wave.

On to the Flashback:

After Rambo became a big hit at the movies, the decision was made to turn it into a cartoon. Rambo and Rambo II were good movies, but they were also incredibly violent. Both were rated R, so nobody under 17 was admitted without parent or guardian -- unless they were at the 99 percent of theaters who never enforced that rule.

But seriously, Rambo as a Saturday morning cartoon? It's not like there was a Cartoon Network that ran this at night when kids went to bed. This Rambo cartoon truly was created for kids -- and assorted adults who couldn't get enough of a protagonist with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Hmm ... a Rambo cartoon for kids. What could be the reason?

Well, here's one. (Rambo Human Growth Hormone accessory not included).

Here's the opening to the Rambo cartoon. Note that Rambo was impervious to gunshots, explosives and the hypothermia that would come with skiing while wearing his typical kick-butt outfit.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tornadoes and sleeping double in a single bed

It's 1:30 p.m. and it feels like it's 1:30 a.m.

That's how I feel after a night that included a tornado alarm and sleeping next to my 2-year-old son for four hours in a twin size bed. Cooper didn't want to sleep alone after getting pulled out of bed and brought downstairs to an interior bathroom where he sat with his 5-year-old brother, Ryan, as my wife and I watched the meteorological mayhem on TV.

But we ended up lucky. We had no damage at all, and there was lots of damage around us. The neighbor behind us had part of his fence blown down by the 80 mph winds. There were tree branches all over the place, and one street near us had about seven or eight houses in a row with roofs that were partially ripped off. Boards are blown off fences, some fences are completely down and a trampoline got picked up and smashed into the side of a house.

So we were lucky, and Ryan and Cooper actually thought it was fun. Innocence is great ... while my wife and I were watching as the "rotations aloft" were tracking toward our house, Ryan and Cooper were just laughing away in the bathroom.

After that, I got to remember just how small a twin bed is, especially when sharing it with a 2-year-old. I didn't get a lot of sleep, but Cooper was nice enough to offer me his Blankie to sleep with.

The Thudguard Helmet

Ladies and gentlemen, especially those who are parents of toddlers, I pass along news of this invention:

The Thudguard.

Thudguard is a revolutionary new product, an infant safety hat, designed to help absorb and reduce the impact of head injuries due to a fall or collision. It is suitable for babies and toddlers aged 7 months to 2+ years.

Soon to be available, a bubble-wrap jumpsuit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Worst Bad Name Contest

A writer for The New York Times put together a "Worst Bad Name Contest" and he got some tremendous entries.

Included:

Charman Toilette
Chastity Beltz
Wrigley Fields
Justin Credible
Tiny Bimbo


Also:

There was Unnamed Jones (pronounced you-NAH-med). There was Brook Traut and his daughter, Rainbow. There were more names involving genitalia than the judges cared to count.

And the winner is ...

Iona Knipl

The story includes her comments on her name.

The Froo Froo Menu Generator

I am not a connoisseur of fine food. I'm also not a connoisseur of the word "connoisseur," but in this case, it fits.

Anyway, I think a lot of upscale restaurants are just overpriced, snooty and come up with exotic items that are no better than a good pizza. That's why I enjoy the Froo Froo Menu Generator.

Try it out. My menu at Cafe Expensivo included this:

Skinless Panda with Barrel-Aged Polenta
Crock Pot Pony with Scorned Fritter
Minced Kinkajou with Traumatic Chutney
Boiled Leopard with Flambéed Tart
Ground Eagle with Grapefruit Fritter

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Climate change and beer

With this disturbing news about climate change, expect fraternities to start getting more politically active. Or at least drinking all the beer before it's gone:

A scientist says climate change will impact beer production.

Actually, the production won't be effected for 30 years. But I'm guessing some readers won't get that far because they'll be hitting the liquor stores.

My car is 2HOT4U

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, vanity license plates seemed to be everywhere. They're a lot more rare these days, but here are a few that I've seen over the last few months.

A BMW with this plate: "BMMMW"
I guess that means mmm, mmm good. Or that the driver stutters.

A Corvette with "YOU WSH"
You wish you had this car, buddy. Or maybe it's a command: "You wash!"

A convertible (unknown make) with "DELISH"
Delicious.

I've never had a car that I would want to call attention to, but I just wonder how much these people worry about their cars when they park them in a parking lot.

There are a lot of bitter people in this world looking for an outlet for their anger. And then they see a Corvette telling them "You wish."

That's a dangerous mix.

Monday, April 7, 2008

That's what friends are for

The song is "That's What Friends are For." And this video is what YouTube is for.

Awkward moments? Yes!

Embarrassed people? Yes!

Older gentleman playing an inflatable guitar? Yes!

Humor Me: Retirement won't be a tearjerker

By MATT WIXON

Back when I was a paperboy with a delivery that spared no potted plant, I dreamed of doing more in the newspaper business. Instead of breaking ceramic wind chimes with a newspaper fastball, I would break stories. Instead of writing notes that read, "Sorry about the newspaper on your roof," I would write headlines.

Now that I work for a newspaper, I should be satisfied with my career. But then I hear about the people who win the lottery and still don't quit their jobs.

Would I do that? Is my career that gratifying? Am I that happy?

No. No. No.

I think back to when Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman retired a few years ago. How can I be satisfied with my career after watching him weep during his announcement? How can anyone be satisfied after watching a person, as he quits his job, shed more tears than a third-grade class viewing the final 10 minutes of Old Yeller?

I can't imagine many people welling up at the thought of retirement.

"I just can't believe it's over, that my day has come," the retiring manager of Big Al's Hardware would sob. "Monday morning, I won't hear the cheery buzz of the 6 a.m. alarm, get dressed, fight traffic and ... I'm sorry, I need a moment to collect myself."

I would only need a moment to collect my things. Maybe a few minutes to pick up my final check and say goodbye to the poor saps who had to keep working. Then I would be off to the career I believe is my true calling: free-time management.

I know my lack of dedication sounds terrible, and, yes, I feel a little guilty about it. At least I felt guilty before talking to some other people, including T.J. Patida, the manager of a candy shop at the mall near my house.

"If you won the lottery and had enough money to retire," I said, "would you keep working?"

There was laughter.

"Not the same job," she said.

So, what job?

"Definitely something where I wouldn't work very hard," she said.

Seeking more validation of my work-free vision, I spoke to Mike, an employee of a major fast-food retailer. Mike, who in addition to working a deep-fryer seems to have a deep fear of the media, asked me not to reveal his last name or where he works.

But Mike, who I can reveal has worked for the business between three weeks and 14 years and is between the ages of 16 and 42, gave me some very clear responses.

If he won the lottery and had enough money to retire, would he keep working?

There was laughter.

"No way," said Mike, if that really is his name.

You wouldn't work at all?

"No way."

And if you had a news conference announcing your retirement, would there be a lot of tears?

"No way."

How about if during your announcement, you were watching the final 10 minutes of Old Yeller?

I didn't ask him that last question, but I'm assuming the answer would be, "No way." That or "Uh ... are you going to order something?"

Here's my order:

One job where I don't work very hard, a side order of being my own boss, and to wash it all down -- a super-sized salary that allows me to retire before the rest of my hair falls out. Then I will have a news conference to announce that, although I really enjoy my job, the time has come to retire.

I don't know if anyone will show up for the news conference, but I do know this:

Either way, I won't shed any tears.

***
To be on the list that is sent out when a new column in posted, e-mail mwixon@dallasnews.com. Have a great week.