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 Acne.org
  • RAW potato kills acne – Oily skin – Forums – Acne.org
  • 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!!

“Chicago, Wisconsin” or Maybe The First Cell Tower

Have you stopped at a historical marker?

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The Welcome to Illinois Historical Marker.Dear Nathaniel Pope, Thank you.

I remembered hearing something about the history of Illinois, maybe back in college, and how there was a time that Chicago was almost part of Wisconsin because they were going to put the state line of Illinois at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Gone would be the north shore, the Illinois/Wisconsin border would be almost along I-80, and instead of Chicago being known as a city of gangsters and blowhard politicians it might be the cheese capital of the world.

Thankfully Nathaniel Pope proposed an amendment during the Debate on Statehood that shifted the border north to where it is now and instead of “Chicago, Wisconsin” we have “Chicago, Illinois,” where years ago the “Millionaire’s Special” would make its way from Chicago to Lake Geneva, WI, so that the wealthy could easily get from the hustle and bustle of the big city to their giant estates on Lake Geneva.

I was recently reminded of the history of Illinois when I stopped at a historical marker. On a trip to the land of cheese there was a sign along the side of the road announcing that a historical marker was ahead. On a tight time-schedule for our vacation, a mental note was made to stop at said marker on the way home, but throughout the weekend I couldn’t help but wonder about the marker. I remembered glancing at it as we drove by noticing it was a large sign and behind it was a cell tower. I wondered about the significance of the marker thinking it might be announcing a location of a giant battle for Wisconsin/Illinois supremacy. Maybe it was the sight that a famous cow was born? Who knows, maybe that cell tower was the first one in Illinois? Finding out the significance would have to wait as a relaxing weekend was waiting, and also finding another historical marker noting the location of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in Lake Geneva, and it’s elite “Millionaire’s Special.”
With the weekend over and on the ride back to civilization, there it was, the beckoning historical marker. A quick pit-stop, a quick photo, and a little disappointment I must say as this wasn’t the site of a battle, nor the site that someone famous was born, nor announcing that cell phone service had come to the northern counties of Illinois, but here, on the side of the road, was a marker welcoming people to Illinois, giving a little bit of history, and it isn’t even located on the border but about three miles south in front of a cell tower. It was, however, a seeming popular historical marker as you could see the worn out grass as people would park and walk up to the sign, thereby finding out that Allen Pinkerton wasn’t born in that spot, but he did live in nearby Dundee, and founded a detective agency in 1850, and was Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard for a time. Luckily for Pinkerton his legacy wasn’t destroyed as he wasn’t guarding Lincoln when he was assassinated, and in fact, Pinkerton foiled an earlier plot to kill Lincoln.

A historical marker for the Millionaire's Special.I guess I was hoping for a little more excitement with my historical marker stop, but alas, it did remind me how lucky we are in Chicago that Nathaniel Pope was a badass because “Chicago, Wisconsin” doesn’t seem to roll off of the tongue as nicely. Stopping at the marker also made me wonder “Have you stopped to look at a historical marker?”

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

 

 

 

 

 

Fasten Your Seat Belt and Check Your Vomit Bag

Have you been drunk on a plane?

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One of my favorite songs lately has been “Drunk on a Plane” from Dierks Bentley. It’s a nice ditty about a dude who gets dumped by his fiancé and decides to take his honeymoon trip anyway. While on the plane he decides he should start drinking, starts a party by getting drinks for everyone but the pilot, the stewardess gives him some “mile-high attention,” and the 737 is “rockin’ like a G6.” But hey, all is well because as the song says, he’s “Drunk on a plane.”

I’ve done a little bit of flying in my days and have had the occasional beverage while on board, but usually my drinking would start before the flight in an airport bar as, especially in my single days, I would get to the airport insanely early. I would say the tipsiest I’ve ever been had to be the time my buddy and I were on our way back from a cruise I was awarded for being an awesome Radio Shack Manager. Our flight back to the real world was delayed because of weather and we were warned they could push away from the gate at any time if there was a break. This led to multiple trips from the gate to the bar where we would get to the bar, order drinks, pound it down, get back to the gate, find the plane didn’t leave without us, and head back to the bar.

Finally we made one last run to the gate, they announced the plane would be leaving, it was time to take our seats, and I will say that I was drunk on a plane though instead of any stewardess mile-high attention, well, I just slept. I didn’t however, check my vomit bag and luckily I didn’t need it.

I only mention this because I don’t regularly check my vomit bag, or I suppose the better term would be airsickness bag, but after a different flight I took with some buddies, if you ever think you might be sick on a plane as opposed to drunk on a plane, or maybe hand in hand, you might want to add checking it to your pre-flight safety review. The reason for this is that sometimes you get a person who took a flight before you, the kind of person who is a jokester, and finds it funny by tearing the bottom off of the bag. Yes, you know what that means: In that moment you find yourself in an unfortunate situation, feeling sick on a plane, pulling out the barf bag, doing that heaving thing, and at least trying to contain your spew, you will find yourself with a lap full of sick. You will have people like my buddy to thank.

Vomiting and my helpful airline tip aside, and not having ever ended up “passed out in the baggage claim” as the dude in the song fears he might wind up, I do wonder: Have you ever been drunk on a plane?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

 

A Mighty Tasty Fish Fry

Have you been to a Friday Fish Fry?

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Friday Fish Fry at Freddie's West End at Lake ComoIt’s been a long time since I’ve had a good fish fry. I’ve been trying to remember when it might have been, but I hate to think it was before my Mom died over five years ago and it would have been from Slovak Home back in Lorain, the staple of the Friday Fish Fry in my youth and in my older years whenever I would make it home to visit and Mom wanted fish fry. For years I would think about trying to find one near me in Illinois. Usually it came down to seeing a sign advertising a fish fry during the week, but then when Friday would come I would forget about it until after dinner saying “Oh yea. I wanted a fish fry.”

Low and behold I found myself in the other land of the Friday Fish Fry, Wisconsin. A brief 4th of July weekend getaway and I’m at Lake Como, the other lake by Lake Geneva, staying at a little house right near the water. My wife, in charge of finding things to do and food to eat, during her first batch of searches, came up with going to Popeye’s, a local touristy stop that had an all-you-can-eat Friday fish fry. It sounded like a plan, but luckily I needed a nap on Friday afternoon and she did a little more snooping around.

No Bull Shit!As Google-searching luck would have it she stumbled across an article of great fish frys and it pointed her to this place called Freddy’s West End. Turns out the place was a few minute drive where we were staying, and even though it wasn’t “all-you-can-eat” it sounded like a destination.

Kind of off of the beaten path unless you are familiar with the area around Lake Como, Freddy’s is a local bar at its best with a pool table, some video gaming machines, hanging bags of chips and pretzels, and a neon sign on the wall that says “No bull shit.” It just looks like an awesome, local place to grab a beer at the end of the day, and I’m told that during the week that’s all it is. Forget the food – stop in for a beer. Switch to Friday, though, and it’s time to move the pool table out of the way for Mary Lynn’s Old Fashioned Fish Fry time with your choice of Walleye Pike, Lake Perch, Blue Gill for the fish side, and some other staples like shrimp or chicken tenders. Served with the proverbial slice of rye bread, a really good coleslaw, and a choice of homemade potato pancakes, french fries, or baby baked potatoes, (I opted for the potato pancakes – they were a good choice), Freddy’s had a fish fry that was fantastic and everything you want a fish fry to be. It wasn’t all-you-can-eat, but for $11 they give you a giant portion of fish, fried to perfection with a batter that isn’t overly greasy and just crunchy enough to remind me of home, and dare I say, this fish fry was even better than Slovak Home.

I suppose my quest for a good fish fry near my house still goes on, but if you want a really tasty fish fry I highly recommend pointing your GPS towards Freddy’s West End by Lake Como in Wisconsin, and of course Slovak Home in Lorain, Ohio. Having lived around the Great Lakes all of my life the Friday Fish Fry has always been a staple, but it makes me wonder: Have you been to a Friday Fish Fry?

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!!

The Final Member

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:12 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Final Member
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sigurður “Siggi” Hjartarson, Pall Arason, Tom Mitchell
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Drafthouse Films / Cinedigm
Released On: June 17, 2014
Kiddie Movie: They might giggle a lot, but you might want to put them to bed.
Date Movie: I was a little worried when my wife said “I wonder what his penis looks like?”
Gratuitous Sex: Some talk of womanizing.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Only like most people would laugh at penis stuff.
Memorable Scene: The ending scene was awesome, but there were two scenes I won’t mention that were hilarious and might make you cringe if you a man.
Memorable Quote: “He has this great specimen, Elmo.”
Directed By: Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math

Who knew it was so difficult to get a penis donor? That, in essence, is the underlying theme of “The Final Member,” one of the most riveting and at times hilarious documentaries that will make most men cross their legs and give that “protect my junk” gesture with their hands, while women, or at least my woman, will watch in utter amazement at the quest for a penis specimen.

Sigurður “Siggi” Hjartarson is the founder and curator of the Icelandic Phallological Museum, a museum that was started pretty much to save his marriage as Siggi’s fascination and collecting of any penis he could find was driving his wife crazy and over-running the space in their house. Over the 40 years he has collected many a penis, from the teeny, tiny hamster dink to the giant, sperm whale johnson. He also is into wood-carving, carvings, of course, of penises, with clocks, utensils, and a variety of items any man would be proud to display in his man cave. All of this is great and swell, but what his museum was missing is the most treasured of specimens, the homo sapiens.

During “The Final Member” we follow Siggi’s quest for the piece that will make his museum and in fact, his life, complete. You see, Siggi is getting up in his years, and as a man who is proud of his museum he knows that without the human penis it’s just a collection of stuff. Low and behold enter two people, Pall Arason and Tom Mitchell. Pall is an elderly gentleman, an Icelandic legend not only for his adventurous nature, but also for his womanizing. Pall has decided that upon his death he would like to donate his penis to the museum, and Siggi is thrilled because what would be a better way to “complete” the collection than with an Icelandic legend. There is also Tom, however, who states “I felt ever since I was a kid that when the time came I didn’t want my penis to go to waste when I died.”, and has named his penis “Elmo.” He decides, though, that he would like to donate his penis while he is still alive, a fact that makes Siggi curious but also excited because he won’t have to wait for Pall to kick the bucket. Tom, however, is a weird dude, and if you think Siggi is obsessed with the penis, that’s nothing compared to Tom who has come up with how he wants his penis preserved, displayed, and even Siggi says of Tom, “This is a funny guy.”

Sure this is a little bit of a spoiler alert, but the movie does end with Siggi getting “The Final Member,” and the ending triumph scene is awesome. I was so happy for him at the end I almost got a little weepy. I will, however, not spoil two of the best scenes in the movie only to say that yes, they do involve the penises of Pall and Tom.

A lot of documentaries can be boring, drag on, and get preachy, but I was happy to find “The Final Member” a fascinating look at man’s obsession with his penis, blending the oddly serious nature of Siggi’s quest to complete his collection with a mix of humor that, well, goes along the line of how people generally find talking about the penis funny. It’s 5 stars out of 5 for “The Final Member.” Women will just shake their heads watching and wondering why men can be so obsessed with it, while the men will fully understand and maybe pull out the ruler to see if their penis is of legal length.

A great movie, and I now have a new vacation destination, the Icelandic Phallological Museum. The trick, now, will be convincing my wife we should go to Iceland.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!

Did you receive a questionable gift when you were younger that you still use?

Have you been summoned for jury duty?

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The other day while rearranging my closet a bit I came across my old toiletry case. It’s nothing special, nothing fancy, just this blue, well, toiletry case, with two large compartments and some smaller side pockets with zippers. The thing is it’s one of those things I questioned when I received it but would have been lost for years had I never gotten it.

I still remember the day. It was my high school graduation and our neighbors, The Goldbergs, had given me a gift. I was slightly perplexed figuring I would just get a card with cash (or should I say I was hoping I would just get a card with cash), but there it was, an actual gift and a slight anticipation became me as I was trying to figure out in my head what they might have bought me. Sort of giddy as I opened things, the card they gave me was nice enough but no cash, and I proceeded to the gift portion, opening it to find this toiletry case. Like probably the majority of any high school senior, or I suppose just about anyone in humanity, I thought “What kind of gift is this? What the hell am I going to do with a toiletry case?”, but I filled out the obligatory thank-you card, and put the case in my closet.

When I moved to college I remember taking the case with me, still wondering why I was even keeping it, but then low and behold, my first trip back home and I’m questioning where I would put my toothbrush and other toiletries when I remembered, “Hey, I have a toiletry case!” And thus began years of, at every trip, digging the old case out of the closet or out of my luggage, stuffing it with the essentials of deodorant, hair brush, tooth brush, razor, toothpaste, and other things you would put in a toiletry case, and undoubtedly, every time I see it I think of The Goldbergs and how this seemingly odd gift has actually been a part of my life for over 25 years and has outlasted anything the cash would have bought had they given me money as a gift.

And so I wonder, as I think of The Goldbergs and my toiletry case: Did you receive a questionable gift when you were younger that you still use?

That’s it for this one! L8R!!