October 27, 2006

Campbell's Chunky Unknown Soups

Category: General — Cranky @

For a while now I’ve been enjoying Campbell’s chunky soups at lunch. It’s a terrific deal. I give them $1.90, and they give me a great soup that I would be completely incapable of making from scratch.

One of my favorites is “Sirloin Burger”. What’s interesting, though, is the can itself. It proudly bears the inscription, “NOW WITH SIRLOIN!”

I find this declaration to be somewhat unsettling. What was “Sirloin Burger” made with before? Since it’s “now” with sirloin, it must have previously made with something non-sirloin. It also begs the question, “What other Campbell’s products are made with something other than the declared ingredient?”

Is “Vegetable Beef” made with goat meat? Is “Prime Rib” made with chuck steak – or dog meat, for that matter? How do we know? Clearly they aren’t above lying.

In truth, there was a soup marketed prior to this one that was called “Beef Burger”. This soup replaces that one. The problem is that we can’t tell this from the Sirloin Burger label. It’s a graphic design decision made by somebody who didn’t think it through, and approved by somebody who didn’t really look at it. Not everybody knows the historical timeline of chunky soups, and by labelling the product thusly Campbell’s runs the risk of looking shady.

So many people are doing their job on autopilot. Somebody has to call them on it.


October 25, 2006

A Pox On Weird Al

Category: Entertainment — Cranky @

For several decades I have been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic, but no more! He has crossed the line. I find one of his latest tracks to be completely soulless and reprehensible.

The track is called “Weasel Stomping Day”, and the album is called ‘Straight Outta Lynwood’.

“So come along and have a laugh
Snap their weaselly spines in half
Grab your boots and stomp your cares away
Hip hip hooray, it’s Weasel Stomping Day”

It is appalling to me that Mr. Yankovic would call for such horrendous acts of violence against my brothers. If he had called it “Negro Stomping Day”, or “Wifey Stomping Day” people would be up in arms, but somehow it’s okay for weasels to bear the brunt of his genocidal rage. Where does this unreasonable hatred come from? Was he wounded by a rabid weasel in his youth?

I call on everyone, weasel or otherwise, to boycott Mr. Yankovic’s albums until such time as he apologizes to our community. If he were to release a track called, “Weasels: Stately and Godlike”, I would forgive him. But for now, I’m sorry to say that Al has found an enemy in me.

Unite, my weasel brothers! Together we are strong.


October 23, 2006

I'm Great, Thanks For Asking!

Category: Life — Cranky @

When I was younger I spent far too much time thinking about my flaws. I am, after all, human, and to be human is to be flawed, and so the critic in me would regularly engage in mental self abuse. Whether it was my poor social skills or my appearance, I was always down on something. It wasn’t an easy way to live.

Unfortunately I think many people go through a period like that in their lives. Some live that way forever. But now I’m in my mid-30’s, and I wonder if it was really necessary.

In my entire life, my thinking has never been more healthy and positive than it is today. I realized a few years back that there’s nothing particularly wrong with me. In fact, there’s a great deal that is right. I have nothing to fix. It’s difficult to describe how liberating that realization was.

Now that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I would like to “improve”. I’ve got lots of goals to meet. But saying I need to “fix” something implies that I’m broken in some fashion. I’m not, and neither are most people. In fact, anybody who thinks I’m somehow lacking can just go to hell. Their opinion is of no value to me.

So long as I break no laws, I am my only judge. So far, I’m completely satisfied. There are a few people who are important to me, and whose opinions do matter, but ultimately I’m the one whose thoughts matter most. After all, I have to live with myself forever. The opinions of strangers are not just unimportant – they are completely irrelevant. I’m not running for office, so I have no need to please the masses.

We all make choices that are flawed. We all have problems. But the natural state of man is imperfection, and we should not consider ourselves to be somehow less than great merely because we sometimes make an off-colour choice. Some people say that we should forgive ourselves, but I disagree. I think it’s more important to realize that there is usually nothing to forgive, unless you’re scamming the elderly, stomping kittens, clubbing baby seals or otherwise crossing the line.

It’s too hard to live in a constant state of self-hatred. Acceptance of ourselves should be a given. We shouldn’t have to spend years in therapy to find it. When you have that acceptance, it’s so clear to others that they modify their behaviour automatically. When you project confidence, people treat you with respect.

There’s an old saying in business: If you want a promotion, act like you’ve already got it. Confidence can affect all aspects of your life.

“And so I’m aware, as a sane person, that I’m not the best-looking guy in the world. I’m aware of it. But when I go into a party, I will walk out with your girlfriend.” – Gene Simmons

Everybody I know personally is worthy of some level of respect. The best person I know is far too hard on himself. Nearly all of the women I’ve known in my life require a relationship to complete their self-image. They’re all worthwhile people, but you can’t just tell somebody they are worthwhile and expect it to stick. Positives seem to take a long time to internalize, but negatives sink in right away.

My wish is that all of the people that I know would recognize themselves as being great.