The Challenge of the Dust Collector

I suppose I got it from my father. I’m not talking about my wonderful good looks, nor my nose, but my love of knick-knacks. You know knick-knacks? If you type “knick-knack” into Google you get: “a small worthless object, especially a household ornament,” with wonderful synonyms like: “trinket, novelty, gewgaw, bibelot, ornament, trifle, bauble, gimcrack, curio, tchotchke, memento, souvenir, kickshaw.” My wife simply calls them dust collectors, so I guess, I’m a dust collector, although looking at the synonyms I’m thinking of shifting to calling them bibelot if only because then it sounds fancy.

My dad had tons of knick-knacks with most of them on shelves in our basement. Like most knick-knack collectors he gathered them in his travels. There was the variety of ashtrays, little statues, and he had this array of those little bottles of booze you would get on airplanes, which, I must admit, as a youngin’ wondering what booze tasted like, I had sampled (I wonder if Mom and Dad ever realized knew?). Me, my knick-knack collections kept growing through the years, though not to the level of my dad. Sometimes they were little gifts, something I made, maybe even a brick I kept in a sock, but most knick-knacks had a story.

The thing is, if you are a knick-knack, or rather bibelot collector, there generally isn’t any purging of them unless life changes happen, and usually that life change involves moving. Moving, many times, lets you re-assess the importance of things you have collected over the years, usually, in the end, revolving around the “What in the hell am I keeping this for?” line, especially if packing up of the knick-knacks happens at the end of the move, when, by then, you are sick of packing, sick of boxes, and somehow it’s just easier to just pull the trigger and either A) Throw them away. B) Give them away, usually to Goodwill now since it’s the easiest way to get rid of your bibelot and claim a tax right-off (Yes, that old hotel, ashtray collection must be worth at least $500, at least on the Goodwill form), C) Put them in a box that you won’t unpack at your new location. For me, though, my major purge came when I met my future wife. Somehow she didn’t run scared when she came to my bachelor pad the first time, and I had to explain why I had a purple, plastic armadillo that came from a drink at a cheesy restaurant, nor explain my sleeve of golf balls with Warner Bros. characters on them. They were there, on some shelves, and yes, there was probably some dust. Eventually, with her move in, there were some changes, and even I looked at some of the things with a “Why in the hell am I keeping this?”, and I think I claimed $5 for the sleeve of golf balls on the Goodwill form.

With the move to our new house there was some new purging, and now my bibelot collection is limited mostly to a shelf in my office (that is until we re-do our basement, just don’t tell my wife!). Included on the shelf are wonderful items like the first album I ever bought, Queen’s “A Night at the Opera,” obituaries of my mom and dad, a Noid from the Domino’s Pizza ad campaign, a bell and figurine that my dad had as part of his knick-knack collection, some old milk bottles from The Home Dairy, my grandfather, and then Uncle’s business back in Lorain, Ohio, with some of the best ice cream around (I always wished I could find the original recipes somewhere and restart the business, but alas, I believe its tastiness is lost as just a memory for Lorainites). There’s my old fraternity pin, a Buddy Christ (because he’s your buddy), a hat from Torrey Pines where we went golfing when a bunch of us were out there for our buddy Rob’s wedding, and one of my favorite pictures, of me, as a little dude, with a toy guitar in front of the TV with The Johnny Cash show playing (and I sometimes wonder why I’m a huge Johnny Cash fan).

The latest addition to the collection, because a knick-knack collection is always fluid and can grow at any time, is an Irv Kupcinet street sign, a real street sign secured, much to the help, and dismay, of my wife, from Sun-Times columnist and writer of the fun blog, Every Goddam Day, Neil Steinberg, who was having his own knick-knack purge when he was moving offices and offered it as a prize for guessing where a picture was taken. I won the sign, some pleasant conversation, and a cup of coffee, because my wife was relentless and wouldn’t let me give up figuring out the picture Neil posted was inside Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company.

Much like a good knick-knack collection, this post has just kept growing, so it’s time to finish this up simply with this wonder: Do you have knick-knack shelves?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Another Story of Super Bowl Gluttony

Chicken Wing Preparation for the Super BowlEric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune had a story about gluttony, or at least the preponderance of gluttony as explained by The National Chicken Council in Washington. The National Chicken Council came out with some crazy number of chicken wings that would be eaten during the Super Bowl. Eric’s story explains how his father did the math and pretty much the average consumption of chicken wings during the game would be 11+ wings should the Council’s numbers be accurate, and that upon further review, or a phone call to the chicken people, Eric found out that they meant the number of chicken wings during the entire Super Bowl weekend would be over 1.25 billion, Sure, that’s still a lot of chicken wings, but nowhere near the boisterous chicken slaughter needed for Americans to get their chicken wing fix during the Super Bowl.

Missing in the story, though, is the fact that we have a National Chicken Council. I guess it’s not really missing, I mean there are trade groups for just about everything and their dual purpose is usually to promote their goods to the public as well as make sure Congress has their group’s best interest at heart, in other words, doesn’t screw them over with bad legislation.

Me, although I helped the National Chicken Council work to achieve their boisterous claims of chicken wing consumption, it seems I came a bit short of the average needed because, from the preparation photo of our chicken wings, we’ll fall a bit short of the average between me and my wife. I do wonder however: Did you eat more than ten chicken wings during the Super Bowl?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!



MPAA Rated – Not Rate
It’s 1:15 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Shura Eadie, Ebert Hobbs, Henri Pelletier, Max Schellenberg
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Virgil Films
Release Date: January 27, 2015 – Online and VOD
Kiddie Movie: Not too young. It’s a documentary and there’s a lot of talking.
Date Movie: It’s cute enough for the two of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing that will make you blush.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: The seniors with no governor on some of the things they say.
Memorable Scene: Shura cooking the grilled cheese with an iron.
Memorable Quote: Annette says “I’m not eccentric.” and Henri the mentor just rolls his eyes.
Directed By: Saffron Cassaday

As I was watching Cyber-Seniors I couldn’t help but think of three people, my Mom, my Mom-in-Law, and my Dad-in-Law, and although a little older than all of the mentors in the documentary, my experience with each my seniors was pretty much the same as the mentors had with theirs. My Mom was an early adopter to the Internet though she passed away before Facebook hit it big which would have helped her re-connect with many more people she lost touch with than she had found just through email and Google searches. My Mom-in-Law’s adoption, especially on her iPhone, quickly accelerated once she hit Facebook, even to the point she has now discovered Snapchat as “GrandmaEleanor” and loves posting her “stories” while keeping in touch with the Grandkids. My Dad-in-Law stays away from social media, but loves finding any news site he can discover. Teaching all of them various aspects of the internet and social media takes a lot of patience, but as the mentors show in the movie, the patience pays off the minute you see the smile of the elder discovering the wonders of Skype, Facebook, and finding out that the younger generation swears too much in their Facebook postings.

As the documentary goes, Macaulee and Kasha Cassady had a high school project back in the late 2000’s after they witnessed their grandparents discovery of the Internet, and they started a program to help other seniors get online. They ended up setting up a group, recruited friends to help teach the seniors, and their sister, Director Saffron Cassaday, started filming the sessions. The documentary keys in on a few of the seniors, their mentors, the elder’s challenges in understanding the concept of the Internet with the youngin’s challenges in finding ways to help point the elders in the right directions, and the excitement of discovery as the elders realize their is another world out there beyond the walls of the retirement home by becoming part of their families everyday lives again.

The training progress showing everything from just turning on a laptop, to using webcams and Skype, even to online dating, while the movie concludes with a contest amongst the seniors, namely to see who can be the biggest “YouTube” star amongst them. Their worlds open up again, and it’s a joy to see.

The beauty in training seniors is that they rarely have a governor any longer, and some of the best moments in the documentary are times when the seniors don’t hold back about people’s looks and their opinions on life, and while some are a little hesitant at first, worrying that if they unfriend someone on Facebook that said “unfriend” will come and attack them, eventually, once they see the benefits, they love it.

All in all it’s a nice documentary about the youngins helping the oldins learn how to get online. There is a little bit of a side story as Macaulee and her grandfather came down with cancer during filming which kind of took the story off the rails a bit, and things dragged a tad as we came to the YouTube contest, but the touching commentary by Ebert Hobbs on having a purpose in life long past your retirement is both poignant and a nice ending to the movie.

A fun look at the old folks learning about technology and it’s 3 1/2 stars out of 5 for “Cyber-Seniors.” If you’ve ever tried to help an elder learn about technology you can relate to the patience the mentors have, but mostly you can relate to the joy when the senior finally “gets it.”

On a side note, if you are interested more about the movie, want to be a mentor or cyber-senior, be sure to check out the the Cyber-Seniors website.

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!!

Are You Sometimes Amazed at Technology?

Sometimes I’m amazed at technology and how things that seem so simple now were impossible just a few years ago. My case in point for this example is the Howard Stern Birthday Bash. As a fan of Howard, listening to his Birthday Bash is always a “I have to go to work but don’t want to stop listening and get out of the car” kind of moment, as well as one of those Howard events that most fans wish they could see because as much as Howard’s radio show is perfect for radio, the Bash always seemed like an event you just wanted to see. It took a while to get this thing on video as this show happened back in January, but a little while ago Howard announced, and has been tweeting and re-tweeting regularly, that his Birthday Bash show was available to watch online. Awake early on a Sunday morning I decided to attend the Church of Howard, and it couldn’t have been easier to watch it in full, big-screen glory.

First I pulled out my iPad and found the SiriusXM page where you can stream the video (It’s only available thru July 20th so find it fast! And yes, there are some swearing and dick jokes so if you watch and are offended, well, I just warned you so you are an idiot if you complain.) With the video ready to roll I connected my iPad to my Apple TV and fired up AirPlay, started the video, and there he was, the hook-nosed Jew bastard, larger than life, being congratulated on getting old by the likes of Barbara Walters, Jimmy Kimmel, Cathy Griffin, Ellen DeGeneres, and a slew of A-List celebrities and F-List whack-packers. Watching the show my wife sits by my side during Jon Bon Jovi singing “Dead or Alive” and proceeded to wonder how old he was, what work he had done, and then when Howard came back on the screen proclaimed “Why didn’t he shave? He looks horrible!” She was fascinated by the list of people there, surprised it was out there for free, and then, while Adam Levine was doing a phenomenal Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Pat Monahan shows up singing again, she says “What, is he just going to show up for every song? He’s like a little nymph.” She didn’t know Train was the house band, so I’ll let her slide. She also noted how Howard was able to get judge representatives from “America’s Got Talent,” “The Voice,” and “American Idol.”

Ten years ago you might be lucky to be able to watch a tiny video on your computer thinking it was the greatest thing in the world. This morning things are different, technology is amazing, and I wonder: Are you sometimes amazed at technology.

P.S. If you are a fan of music, even if you think Howard is a pig, watch this for some of the most fantastic musical performances out there. Adam Levine’s version of “Purple Rain” is worth it alone.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Do You Stop for Coffee on the Way to Work?

Do You Stop for Coffee on the Way to Work?

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They opened a new donut shop on my way to work. Umm, donut!

This is bad.

The Fat Elvis DonutYou see, I’m a sucker for a good donut, and this place, Jo and Doh! Donuts in Naperville has plenty, including the best maple bacon donut I’ve had to date and this donut called the Fat Elvis, a double-sized Bavarian Cream topped with peanut butter, bananas, and bacon. When they opened I hate to admit it but I stopped every day for two weeks on my way to work. It was bad, but it was so good!

I have since curbed my donut-stopping though I have to say it is super-difficult at times, but the thing that always struck me was that every time I came in they asked if I also wanted some coffee. I would always decline as I had my own in the car. Then the other day there was a story about how Chicago has 164 Starbucks stores, and if you are in the immediate Loop area there are 64 of them, which pretty much means if you want a Starbucks you are probably only a couple of blocks away from one.

As I make my own coffee, or I guess I should specify and say “latte” at home and take it to work, and as Mel asked me again if I would like a coffee with my donuts and I declined, I wondered: Do you stop for coffee on your way to work?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Would You Go on a Water Slide Taller than The Statue of Liberty?

Would you go on a water slide taller than The Statue of Liberty?

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The other week I’m watching the news and there is talk of a water slide that has officially broken the Guinness World Record for tallest water slide. Sure, there’s a world record for just about anything these days, so why not a water slide? Most people might probably expect the story to be at some exotic location, maybe Dubai or Kuala Lampur, you know, those places where they are building skyscrapers that touch the heavens, or maybe at some fancy Six Flags theme park, but no, instead of the United States sporting the tallest skyscraper we get to now boast the tallest water slide, and not in some huge metropolis – to ride the tallest water slide get your butt to Kansas City, Kansas (not the Missouri version), and this place called the Schlitterbahn Water Park, a chain of water parks throughout the country, but now making Kansas City famous.

The ride is called Verruckt, and clocking in at 168′ 7″, the drop is taller than The Statue of Liberty or going over Niagara Falls, and as the website lets you know, you won’t be getting a super-wedgie as this is an actual ride where you will be safely secured in a four person raft before going over a second hill a mere 50 feet.

Sure, the fact you will be in a raft might take some of the daredevil nature out of the ride, but still, it seems kind of wacky going down a water slide that would be like plunging over Niagara, though no more wacky than some of the tallest roller coasters. Me, I used to be a roller coaster kind of guy, though that has waned mostly because I haven’t been to my favorite theme part in the world, Cedar Point, in years, home to some of the best coasters and memories squiggles and of my buddy Rob doing an impression of Cornholio before we even knew who Cornholio was.

I probably won’t be making it to Schlittergahn anytime soon, but America, be proud! We have the tallest water slide, but I wonder: Would you go on a water slide taller than The Statue of Liberty?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Do You Have the New Facebook Wall Yet?

Do You Have the New Facebook Wall Yet?

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Much in Facebook fashion, once people finally get used to the latest “design” rollout, quit complaining about it, and just accept it, Facebook changes the look of things again, sparking a few people saying how much they like it, but mostly creating a tidal wave of complaints wondering why Facebook has to change things. I’m coming to realize one, that people don’t like change, but mostly I’m coming to realize that the folks at Facebook are geniuses, knowing that the best way to get people who might have lost touch with their engagement with the social media site to come back is to have their friends complain about it.

Yup, Jim at the office hasn’t been on Facebook for a while, is walking past a group of colleagues and hears Joe complain, “Facebook changed things again. I hate it.” while Steve says, “It’s not so bad.” Jim, wondering what the hubbub is about, decides to head back to his cubicle, have his password reset because he doesn’t remember what he used and hasn’t logged in for a while, and then bam, there he is, “Liking” his friend’s post about a dinner at an Applebee’s, getting sucked back into Candy Crush, and looking up an old friend from high school. Meanwhile, at the McDonald’s where the retirees hangout, Mable is telling Earl that Facebook changed things again, Earl says “Why do you go on that thing, anyhow?,” and then Dorothy, who hasn’t been on Facebook for a while, asks Mable what is going on because she didn’t hear while she was changing her hearing aid batteries. Mable again starts talking about how she doesn’t like that Facebook keeps changing things, Dorothy tells Mable she hasn’t been on it since the last time they changed things, that she hated it, and not having enough neighbors in Farmville to get to the next level bugged her, and Earl sparks in “Why do you go on that thing, anyhow?”

Guess what happens next? Yup, you guessed it, Dorothy immediately, when she gets home, logs back into Facebook, using her super-secret password of her dog’s name, and posts on Earl’s wall, who has a fake Facebook identity of Billy, that it was great seeing him at the McDonalds, and that he should come by later for some “pie.”

Yes, I’m thinking the folks at Facebook really are geniuses as they roll out new “versions” of the timeline, ponder if Mable will ever find out about Dorothy and Earl, and I wonder: Do you have the new Facebook wall, yet?

That’s it for this one! I’m Andy!! L8R!!!

Have You Used the “Near Me” Feature on the iPhone App Store App?

Have You Used the "Near Me" Feature on the iPhone App Store App?

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Maybe I need to get out more, or maybe I need to go to some more exciting places, but the other day I started to become fascinated with the “Near Me” feature on the App Store app on my iPhone. Supposedly it shows what some of the most popular apps are around you that people are downloading, and for them most part the people around me are really concerned about the news or how to get from here to there, although it also seems like my neighborhood has a lot of radio legend, Steve Dahl, fans, as his app is displayed prominently among the choices.

I’ve tried it a couple of times at places I’ve been, and usually it’s been a similar result – local news apps, travel times, train schedules, but oddly enough, never seeming to be anything fun. I think I might need to head to some fun parts of the area and see what comes up, but for now I wonder: Have you used the “Near Me” feature on the iPhone App Store app, and what the heck, I’m curious of any wacky ones that might show up near you.

That’s it for this one! I’m Andy!! L8R!!!

Will the Comcast/Time Warner Merger Result in Better Customer Service?

Will the Comcast/Time Warner Merger Result in Better Customer Service?

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The website Funny or Die has done it again, putting out a short of how most of us figure Comcast really feels about us, the customer. Yes, there is a merger coming between Comcast and Time Warner which results in a company where competition really isn’t an issue. Much like there wasn’t a choice in phone companies, and there really isn’t that much of a difference now even with all of the “breakup of the telephone monopoly” from way back when, we are at the mercy of the major players when it comes to cable TV or internet service. Really, what are you going to do? Sure, you can go for the digital antenna and still get broadcast TV, sort of if you aren’t that close to your city, and a company called Aereo, who had an interesting way of trying to bring broadcast TV to people who wanted to get rid of their cable TV, now finds itself heading to the Supreme Court to protect their business model, but when all is said and done, until the next technology breakthrough comes along, we are tied to the giants with the infrastructure, and political contributions.

Funny or Die probably gets it right in the video below, and really, why should Comcast, or Time Warner for that matter, care about us that much. We need them, they have us by the balls, and they really, probably don’t give much of a F&%k. I know the answer is probably moot, but I would like to hope it gets better. I wonder: Will the Comcast/Time Warner merger result in better customer service?

That’s it for this one! I’m Andy!! L8R!!!