The Halloween Lie?

Now that it’s over, and my research has begun, I’m beginning to think that Halloween is just a lie. Okay, maybe not Halloween, but the idea that hundreds of cute, little kids will be showing up at your door, with their cute, little costumes, pronouncing “Trick or treat!”, and you will smile with glee, tell them how cute they are, give them some candy, and have their parents remind them to say “Thank you.” I think it’s a scam propagated by the candy companies to entice you to buy bags and bags of candy only to leave you waiting by the front door, peering out to see if the kiddies are coming, while you are chowing down on Reese’s Cup after Reese’s Cup only to be left with bags and bags of candy to eat because hey, who returns candy?

Sure, some of my Facebook friends professed their busloads of children arriving at their door, and a couple of people I talked to spoke of a couple of dozen kids showing up, but I think they are just plants for the candy companies, sustaining the stories, and I also think they are paid-off by the candy folk. I also think the companies hire a couple of hundred little kids, dress them up nicely, and ship them off to a few neighborhoods so that some pictures can be posted and the tall-tales of Halloween mayhem will continue.

Why do I feel that this entire trick-or-treating thing is a scam? It started when I lived in my townhouse. I remember the first Halloween. There were a lot of kids in the neighborhood, and in my head I thought a townhouse development would be a fantastic place to trick-or-treat so I loaded up on candy. I think that first year I had five kids show up. Year after year I would buy candy in the anticipation of kids, but there were years with no kids, some years I would have maybe five, but I think the best year was about ten and that was only because some high-schoolers were running from house to house, with their pillow cases, not really in costume, and I was able to unload a bag of candy on them.

A neighborhood anomaly I figured, so when we moved to our new house, a neighborhood with a lot of kids, hope for trick-or-treaters began anew. How many bags of candy would we need? Should we give out full-size bars? Should we decorate the house? The big night came, a howling night of cold with a winter wind that would leave the kiddies in their winter coats and the parents huddled at the end of the walk saying “Don’t forget to say ‘Thank you!'”, we expected it all. And expected. And expected.

Peering out the window and the door, the streets were barren. Leaves were blowing by, “Is that a group of kids?” “No, just the neighbor walking their dogs.”, but finally, success, our neighbors started their trick-or-treating, so here they came. The dog was dressed like The Lion King, the little girl was from Frosted, and the boy was adorable as he tried to jump up to ring the doorbell.

Two kids, a dog, and yes, parents reminding their children to say “Thank you.”, and that was it. The trick-or-treating was over. Left with bags of candy we blamed the weather, but I don’t think it was the weather, I think Halloween trick-or-treaters is a lie, and even though I probably won’t believe you if you answer anything higher than 25, I wonder: How many trick-or-treaters did you have for Halloween?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

It’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Time

Every now and then for lunch, especially when the household is out of things like chicken breast, ham, or maybe even a leftover from dinner the night before, we break out the peanut butter and jelly. It might seem odd coming from a 40something year old dude, but I still like the standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The fact even came up with someone when they asked what I had for lunch one day, and I told them a PB&J sandwich. He initially looked at me like I was crazy, like how could you be having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at your age, but then you could see the look on his face that it sounded refreshing and different, with almost a hint of jealousy that I was enjoying the tasty mix of the creamy peanut butter with the sweetness of the jelly.

There are a lot of variations on the sandwich, well, okay, maybe not a lot, but even the standard sandwich has choices like crunchy or smooth peanut butter, jelly or jam, toasted bread, white or wheat, and even with or without the crusts. For this wondering I’m not going to get crazy about the choices, but for me, I like my peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a little bit more jelly. Others I know prefer a lot of the peanut butter and just a dab of the jelly, then of course there are those who go for the even mix. And so I wonder: How do you like your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Shopping Until You’re Dropping

So the other day was the 25th of October which means Christmas is now less than two months away. I’m already seeing stories on Facebook about stores that won’t be open on Thanksgiving to kick off the shopping season, and even though I do have my question of their validity, I’m too tired of “Snoping” everything for people when they keep sharing stuff that sounds odd, but with the simple thought that “It sounds good enough for me I’ll share it anyway even if there is not chance Bill Gates will give me money.” Then of course there is the opposite story, the ones how “Store X is the Devil because they will be open on Thanksgiving.”

Soon there will be the radio station playing nothing but Christmas music, although even with thousands and thousand of Christmas songs and variations they’ll be playing the same, short playlist of the same songs over and over, with Halloween coming to a close the shelves will magically transform to all things Christmas, and we’ll start to here stories of strategies for the best sales, and what the hot toy of the season will be. Yup, Christmas season is pretty much here, my wife is already threatening that we should decorate our house, and last weekend would have been perfect for it because the weather was nice except, well, we don’t really have any decorations for the house. Yet.

Bells will be jingling, reindeer will have a red nose, and there will be this baby in a manger very soon, but I’m wondering: Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

To Eat Ice Cream, or Not Eat Ice Cream?

Maybe it’s because year after year they are the same, or maybe it’s because I’m just not focused on TV any longer when I’m watching TV thanks to multitasking, but it’s been increasingly easy to “tune-out” all of the political ads lately. Sure I’ll see them come on, but even if I’m in the midst of watching a show I’ll immediately zone out of that TV moment and let my mind drift to something more important, something like “To eat ice cream, or not eat ice cream?” Every now and then I’ll pay a little bit of attention, but when they aren’t lambasting the other candidate instead of explaining how they are going to be a better person in charge, they’re saying they will be the better guy and still not explaining how they are going to be the better person in charge. There was a blip when there seemed to be an uptick in the desire to vote or at least listen to a candidate’s message. It was only a few short years ago when President Obama started his campaigning, with a ton of charisma and a message that this will be a better world, but, alas, that hope for change turned into the same bullshit. I’m not blaming the President, I think it’s the system and too many alpha-people who, as much as they say they want to work together, only want to work together if you want to do it their way. (Heavy sigh.)

I’ll be honest that I’m not always the most diligent voter, especially when it comes to primaries, but here in Illinois we have a Governor’s race that is at least interesting because we have Governor Quinn, who, if you listen to any approval ratings, well, maybe about one third of the people think he’s doing a good job. That means 60 to 70% of the people pretty much think he sucks. You would think that with that kind of rating you could put any despicable oaf up there to run against him and that oaf would win, but no, you have a candidate in Bruce Rauner who can barely, right now, muster up a tie if the vote were to be held by the people polled. I think part of the problem is now that people are just disheartened in the system especially when things were supposed to be different with President Obama in office. People were supposed to finally get along and work together, but sadly most common folks realize the candidates are, for the most part, the same blowhards, and even if they have the desire to make things better, the obstacles they have, the games they have to play, won’t allow it.

Alas, my issue now is figuring out where I vote. It’s easy once you’ve been settled at an address for a while, your driver’s license matches your mail, and you’re not getting things with yellow “forwarding” stickers from the post office, but I suppose I’ll check with my local voting folks the issues I might run into and get them fixed before the November 4th mid-term elections.

This is, I suppose, an important election season as it’s a mid-term election, with the House of Representatives up for grabs, a boatload of Senators up for grabs, and maybe we can have a new Governor in Illinois who can mess things up as badly as the other guy or just not be able to do squat because Michael Madigan doesn’t want it done. I’ll do my due-diligence and figure out how I can make a difference with my vote, though I’m wondering, and sadly I think I already know the answer, but I’ll ask anyway: Do you plan on voting in the 2014 mid-term elections on November 4th?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Sitting Where Their Butt Sat

As sometimes my wondering follows current events or people I see while I’m out on the town, the experience of moving has left me with lots of things I’m wondering about so count on seeing a few as the weeks roll by. This time it’s about toilet seats.

There are things I don’t always think of that are important I suppose, but others in my family seem to have it as just about #1 on the priority list when moving. Sure, there is contacting a moving company, making sure you have everything at closing, packing, maybe figuring out new furniture or the best place to put a lamp, even buying cleaning supplies for the initial move-in, but nowhere on my list of things to do was buy a new toilet seat. Yet there it was, I would say #2, nah, actually #1, on things to buy and install for the new house.

At the Home Depot we’re in the toilet seat isle and it’s not the easiest of choices to make. There are the easy-remove versions, elongated versus round (and from the number of boxes that were obviously returned it appears most people don’t get this one correct), padded, no-slam, and then do you go with the no-name brand versus say a Kohler? Sadly they didn’t have the version with the money molded into the plastic, so standard white was in order for our bathroom.

With new toilet seats in hand (we went with Kohler, with the slightly nicer one for the upstairs bathroom), and at the new house, changing out the toilet seats became one of my first priorities as, well, the need to use the toilet was quickly approaching and there would be no sitting where their butts sat. I will say as gross as it can be to change out your own toilet seat and see whatever gets in places under the plastic caps, it’s even a little more gross when it’s not your toilet seat and not your own gross.

With my fat ass nestled nicely on the new seat, and my correct guessing that we had round instead of elongated toilet bowls, I must admit it was kind of nice to be the person to christen a new toilet seat knowing mine was the first butt to grace its plastic. I also couldn’t help but wonder: Do you change the toilet seat when you move to a new place?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Playing the Part of Poor

Chicago has its share of panhandlers. I guess I’m stating the obvious as most urban areas, especially the downtown sections, will have them, and sometimes, especially when I worked downtown for a spell, I would occasionally put some coins in the cup of a dude who regularly set himself up at the end of one of the bridges. He wasn’t the aggressive kind of panhandler, didn’t have the sign detailing his woes, but would casually wish you a nice day if you caught his eye. For me he just seemed like he was a little lost in life at this stage, not ready yet to move on back to the “real world” as we call it, and most of the times he just seemed happy to sit there on his milk crate, greeting people on their way to work. I guess I always figured an extra buck or two would help him through another day on the way to whatever life would bring him tomorrow.

He was a nice enough panhandler, but if you’ve been to the “big” city, you have probably seen and experienced your share of the not-so-nice. There are the stories about of the dad holding the gas can (one I’ve personally experienced), asking for a few bucks so he can get some gas to get back home, even to the point of either having his kids in tow or if he caught your attention, pointing to the car with his wife and kids, them doing their best to “act” sad next to the car. Then there are the guys and gals with the detailed life stories on a piece of cardboard, usually ending with “Will work for food.” A friend of mine even had someone asking for money for food outside of a McDonalds. My friend went in, bought him a meal, but when he brought it back outside to give it to the guy he was pissed just saying “I didn’t want any food, just the money.”

The curious ones for me, though, are the people located at the off-ramps of the expressways, most of whom I will never believe need the money and could actually find a job should they desire, but making tax-free money on the side of the road actually seems like the easier gig for them. One location I would drive to regularly had a guy, nicely disheveled, holding the cardboard sign, and always with a limp as he would hobble from car to car stuck at the light. You would see some people give him a buck or two, and from the couple of minute light cycle I could see him easily bringing in about $20 an hour. What most people didn’t see was that the minute he called it a day suddenly his limp was gone, he would take a small stroll down the street, and go into his house near the off-ramp.

I only bring this up because the other day I saw a panhandler girl, on an off-ramp, and after seeing a dude one day, a woman a different day, and now this girl, I’m figuring it’s becoming a family gig. The issue was that whereas dad would go for the disheveled look with the torn jeans, and mom did a decant job of looking down-and-out, the daughter needed to learn to play the part of poor because either she found some way-to-nice clothes at the Goodwill, or this is one profitable off-ramp. Her hair was fairly nice, she didn’t look dirty/grungy, and yup, the clothes were clean and looked brand new. I know it sounds a little wrong of me to judge, and maybe she did need the money as she just lost her job or has some other disheartening life story, but having seen my share of obvious scam-artists on the panhandling front it’s hard for me to even consider helping you if you’re not even to to try to scam me, or play the part of poor.

Call me heartless if you want but the dude who owned the house and begged for money really tainted my feeling sorry for most panhandlers, however, when I do see people give the panhandlers money, I wonder: “Do you give money to panhandlers on the side of the road?”

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Safer Driving and You

Depending on the study of the week it’s either safer to be hands-free and talking on your cell phone while driving, or it doesn’t make a difference. Personally, other than being annoyed because one hand is tied up from doing something like turning on a turn signal or changing the radio station, I don’t think it makes a huge difference as your head is still in the conversation instead of on the road, and while others will say something like “What’s the difference between having an in-depth conversation with someone on the phone instead of with your passenger in the car?”, I will retort that at least with a passenger you have someone else watching the road who can yell at you to stop.

The other day as I’m driving I see a woman doing her part of complying with the law of technically being hands-free while driving as she was obviously on her speakerphone. I say “obviously” because she was also a hand-talker and in my rear-view mirror I couldn’t help but see both hands off of the wheel as she was in heated conversation, phone in one hand while her other hand was anywhere but attached to the wheel, hands waving around like a bee was buzzing her head, and I was probably more mesmerized and distracted watching her than she was talking on her phone.

Over the course of the stretch of road I can bet with nearly 100% certainty that if you pulled her over and asked her to say any detail about the travel she had just undertaken should couldn’t tell you if traffic was bumper to bumper or wide open, she wouldn’t know if it was raining or sunny, but she sure had one entertaining conversation, at least from my perspective, one that would have only been topped had she had her window open and the phone slipped out of her hand on onto the road in one of her “hand-waving conversation” goodness moments.

As many states are enacting hands-free legislation that doesn’t really seemed to be enforced, and seeing my share of people who still have their phone glued to their ear while driving, whether you believe the studies or not I do wonder: Are you hands-free while talking on the phone while driving?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Looking Cool but Unable to See

Do you know anyone who has worn glow-in-the-dark sunglasses?

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In looking for some promotional items my wife pointed out a listing for glow-in-the-dark sunglasses. At first this struck me as odd. I suppose maybe because I’m old, haven’t done ecstasy, and have nightmares at times with the Corey Hart classic “Sunglasses at Night” in my head, then I reverted to being ten years old. Normally I am twelve, at least so says my wife, but I can see being ten years old, being outside in the sun with, well, sunglasses, and then going inside into the basement, in the dark, and think I’m looking cool and rad (do kids even say “Rad?”) although I can’t see anyone because even though I’m looking cool and rad I am, well, wearing sunglasses.

Transporting myself back to being old I am now wondering about the liability of glow-in-the-dark sunglasses. If the purpose of the sunglasses is to wear them in the sun thereby energizing the “glow” part of the glasses, and then having to wear them in the dark in order to look cool, if you run into something, or hurt yourself while in said dark, can you sue the maker of the glow-in-the-dark sunglasses for some kind of negligence in promoting lack of sight in the dark, or worse yet, sue me for giving you such a dangerous accessory?

Yup, somehow I turned what is probably a fun promotional item into a lawsuit, but I revert back to my initial question bubble over my head, “Glow-in-the-dark sunglasses?” I guess I’ll simply wonder and ask, not worried if you know anyone who was injured, but: Do you know anyone who has worn glow-in-the-dark sunglasses?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Raw Potatoes Kill Acne

Search results for raw potatoes for acne.

Do you like eating raw potatoes?

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I was trying to come up with a headline for this “Andy Wonders” column, but I was having a tough time because the topic was about how I like eating raw potatoes. Other than something boring like “Do you like eating raw potatoes?”, I was a little stumped. Not wanting to wait forever for inspiration I did what any lazy person might do – I began a Google search with “raw potatoes,” and if you’ve ever paid attention, as you type a search, Google will start giving you a dropdown list of topics it thinks you might be looking for or that are popular right now. For this search the options were: raw potatoes, raw potatoes for dogs, and then, there on the list, was “raw potatoes for acne.” Curiosity got to me as I’ve been cursed with acne issues for what seems like forever so I clicked on the link and there was this list of results:

  • Potato reviews on
  • RAW potato kills acne – Oily skin – Forums –
  • 3 Ways to Get Rid of Acne Without Using Medication
  • How to Use Potatoes to Cure Acne (This from the Livestrong site)

And the list results went on about potatoes being good for acne scars, natural remedies for acne, and the benefits of potato juice especially for an upset stomach. Who knew?

People who suffer from acne will generally try putting just about anything on their pimples in hopes of finding a cure. I’ve read about using toothpaste, yogurt, Head and Shoulders Shampoo, Witch Hazel, and even semen. I will admit I’ve tried the toothpaste, the shampoo, and the Witch Hazel, but I just couldn’t bring myself to try the last one. Little did I know that I should have been slicing potatoes and making a potato mask instead of actually eating them.

I guess I could wonder if you’ve tried using potatoes for your acne, but I’ll stick with my original thought: Do you like eating raw potatoes?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

A Solution for Too Much Debt

Are you worried about too much debt?

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It’s lunchtime, and I’m eating a chicken sandwich, some yogurt, and an apple with the TV news on. They have the normal things like a story about an overnight shooting in Chicago, a blurb about violence overseas, and other depressing news, then they shift to lighter fare like how to make a good chicken parmesan and the weather. Like I said, normal things. Commercials, though, during the daytime, are anything but normal. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma you should call this one lawyer because he can make you millions, there’s a lawyer that has never lost a case and will win your injury-at-work case for you, if you have a loved one who has bed sores at a nursing home or died there it’s probably worth money to you, and then I find out that what worries most people is too much debt. I learn this not by some Harvard study the news spotlights but by a dude during a commercial telling me that I am worried about debt, and that he has the solution: Declare bankruptcy. The easiest thing about bankruptcy? He can help, of course, and all that I need to do is make a phone call and my worries will be gone! How did he know what worries me?

I’m sure debt worries a lot of folks and maybe bankruptcy is the only option for a few, but the bankruptcy business must be pretty good because he sure has a lot of commercials. Me, I’ll give you a pretty good solution if you have too much debt – don’t spend so much money. Scraping for $20 to pay for some food at the end of the month yet have a full-boat cable package? Guess what, go ahead and cancel the “gotta have every channel” for the “I only watch these channels anyway” package. Tell your kid, “No.” when he asks for the $150 pair of gym shoes, and do you really need a Coach purse? Saving money and getting out of debt isn’t always easy, it’s kind of like the opposite of dieting. To lose weight you have to spend more calories than you take in, but to get out of debt and actually save you have to spend less “calories” compared the “calories” you get. The equation is simple, or you can pray you get mesothelioma because at least you can get a cash settlement.

Okay, I’m preaching to the choir, and I’ll admit that I’m not always great with my dieting nor my savings plan, but it can be done and without the help of the guy on TV. For me debt isn’t what always worries me, but I do wonder: Are you worried about too much debt?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!