Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I just need insurance not a catchy jingle!

What is the worse than having an annoying song stuck in your head? Having an annoying jingle stuck in your head. I was out mowing and what keeps playing over and over again, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there." Over and over and over and over again. Well it got me thinking. How come it seems all the big insurance companies out there have these annoying jingles. For example, "Nationwide is on your side." "Play it safe, Safe Auto." "For the best car insurance rates in town, call 1-800-General now!" And not only that, how about the catch phrases. "Thats All State stand, are you in good hands?" "Now thats Progressive." "Geico, So easy a caveman could do it."

All these stupid little sayings and songs that play like a record needle stuck on the record, over and over again in my head. Just like any Barney song or Achy Breaky Heart from the 90s. "Dont tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, I just dont think it understand." Now you have that stuck too, dont you. You're welcome!

Back to the insurance companies, lets not forget to mention the useless spokesperson for these companies as well. The Geico gekko. You think adding an aulstralian accent to a reptile makes him endearing and cute. You know what I am thinking, that cold-blooded reptile is leaving slime trails all over you desk and will probably pee if you make any quick moves. But at least it would apologize in its cute voice. "oh dear, dear, dear, i have appeared to have made boom boom on your expensive mahogeny office furniture." Nationwide is trying this new "the world's greatest spokesperson in the world." but what I am thinking, "trying to hard. And giving him a blue phone doesnt make him better than the rest." How about the General Auto insurance with the little cartoon character. I am thinking, "sure i'd buy insurance from you, if I needed to insure my tank or Apache helicopter. And quit telling me what number to call and when to do it. You're not the boss... I mean... general of me."

I am even questioning the validity of these jingle claims. You had better back up your promises, insurance companies. If I am in a fender bender and it was my fault, is Nationwide on my side. If they were, they would pick up the tab regardless of whose fault it was. And I am sorry State Farm but you have not been available if I need a cup of sugar or mowed my grass and collected my mail while I was on vacation. You are nothing like a good neighbor. I also heard someone bring up a good point, at the end of All State commercials read the fine print about how they are not available in some states. Pretty deceiving name if you ask me.

Back to jingles. I know what you're saying, "but the catchy jingles are working because you are remembering their name and thats what the advertisers wanted to accomplish." But these jingles are having an affect the advertisers dont want; a sense of anger and hatred toward their companies because of their songs stuck in my head. So if I need insurance, you know who I am not calling, anyone on my side, like a good neighbor, or who employs filthy reptiles and men with blue phones.

My current insurance company is Erie Insurance. Ever heard of them. No, exactly, and thats why I love them. I could be getting terrible insurance rates but I dont care cause they have no catchy jingle or annoying catch phrase or cheesy spokesperson. But now watch, because I wrote this, tomorrow I will see an Erie Insurance commercial with a big dancing lake singing "If your car bangs his reary, grab your phone and call Erie!"

When I am looking for an insurance company. I want one that has a non-threatening name that tells me what I am getting and leaves out all the hokey music, jingles, clever catch phrases and spokespeople/reptiles. I made this add with the ideal insurance company advertisement. Enjoy!

Now thats an insurance company. I know what I am getting from them. Low price insurance and privacy. No jingles stuck in my head. Thanks LPI!

Now with Achy Breaky Heart stuck in my head,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Whale Wars? Was the title "Nerd Wars" taken?

Have you seen this brilliant piece of television gold? It is on Animal Planet friday nights at 9 in case you missed it. But again like all other goldmines, Animal Planet plays it every other hour until the new one comes out on Friday. If you havent seen it, here is the premise. The show follows a bunch people who got together, bought a huge boat, and went to the Antarctic ocean where Japanese Whaling Vessels patrol the waters looking for whales to poach. It has potential right? Sounds like good versus evil. And the title "Whale Wars" makes you believe there may by violence and fighting and "war" on the high seas. Well you would be sadly mistaken, as was I.
I missed season 1 but I tuned in season 2. This is what happened. Basically this white haired guy went to college campuses and recruited students from hippie animal rights groups on campus with no majors and asked if they wanted to delay getting a real job for a summer and go to Anarctica to live out their bumper stickers and "save the whales." And since most of them were returning to their parents basement after graduation anyway, this seemed like a good gig. So you can imagine the yound adults signing up for this "mission" are not, shall we say, hard-core extremists. But again, on a show called Whale Wars, I would have expected it. The kind that our using grappling hooks to climb aboard Japanese whaling vessels in the middle of the night with knives in their teeth and taken care of business Steven Segal-style. But it is a reality TV show and not something scripted like "the Hills." (You know Heidi is only with Spencer cause she gets paid to be with a Tool Bag. I refuse to believe Spencer Pratt is a real person. But thats a different blog.)
Anyway, in season 2 they come together on the main ship called the Steve Irwin and travel around the ocean trying to find Japanese whaling vessels that are attempting to hunt and poach whales. On the Steve Irwin, they have a short range helicopter and a tiny speed boat to scout out the Japanese ships. The funny thing is when they catch up to these ships you can clearly see they are harpooning whales and bringing them on board to slaughter them for meat and by-products but the Japanese hold up giant signs saying, in english, that its for research and they are collecting samples. Well, if you are innocent why do you have giant guilt signs in english stating your business. And why do you need to slaughter whale after whale for "samples."
The war is on! But not really. What are the weapons of warfare in this epic battle on the high seas? Stink bombs. no really, stink bombs. Buturic acid to be exact. They throw it onto the Japanese whaling ships because it stinks up their decks and ruins the whale meat. And how do the Japanese fight back? Water cannons. Yep, high powered super soakers. Funny thing is, just like in the 70s, it still works against the hippies. There must be a phobia of water and hygiene to all hippies. And also, these "whale warriors" are nerds so to throw a bottle of buturic acid onto the bough of giant boat is as easy as getting a date on saturday night with a real girl. of which they can do neither.

So the entire season was the Steve Irwin trying to catch these Japanese ships to throw stink bombs on their decks while attempting to avoid their water cannons but never making a direct hit to make their decks stinky. All for the whales, I think.
One episode of note, the little speed boat was along side the Japaneses ship attempting to throw bottles when the Japanese crew threw bottle caps at them. You would have thought they had thrown live grenades by the way these nerds overreacted. They were like, "we were protesting whaling peacefully but they have obviously taken it to the next level. We could have been killed by these bottle caps. How dare they?" Forgetting that they were throwing glass bottles of acid at them.

The entire season reminded me of 2 little kids fighting like babies and tattling on each other. Nobody really getting anything accomplished except "hurt feelings." Not really what I would call "war." Well here is a video summary of Whale Wars.

Hope you enjoyed that.

Well season 3 has just started. And on the season premiere, the extra slow Steve Irwin always had trouble catching those pesky Japanese whaling vessels so they added 2 new ships to their "fleet." To catch those ships they added a brand new space age looking boat called the Ady Gil that can travel twice as fast as any whaling vessel.

Sounds like a great advantage right? But in the first episode a big wave hit this ship, damaged its radar and it was sent back into harbor for repairs. Oops. And the second ship added is called the Bob Barker, named after the legendary game show host who donated $5 million toward the cause. And you would think they would take that money and buy the latest and greatest ship out there but instead they buy a huge old piece of junk with an engine as old as Bob Barker himself and cant fix it in time to leave the dock and join the Steve Irwin. Not the greatest start to the campaign so far this season.

Anyway, I am all for helping defenseless animals against illegal poaching but there has got to be a better way to do it. But as much as I find this show hilarious and ridiculous, I cant help not watching! So please tune in friday nights at 9 on Animal Planet so I am not the only one laughing at nerds risking their lives as voulnteers by throwing things at big ships to save the whales. I wonder if there will be a spin-off "Baby Seal Wars?"
Saving the world one blog at a time,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Honesty of Children

I love the purity in a child's thought process and how they see the world. It lends to them the ability to say things without a filter. It makes me believe that as we grow older and "wiser" we build that "filter" into our own lives which leads to fake realities and masks we put on for the world, so no one will know what we are really thinking. Our "filters" are our "candy-coating" of speech and actions, so everything is nice and neat and we dont offend anybody and everybody gets along. But at a price. Because we end up speaking through our masks to other people's masks and we never get past that "filter" into true relationship and honesty with one another.
But children dont have those so called filters or masks. They are so honest and at times brutally honest. Two examples of this happened tonight with our oldest Zachary. He is 5 years old and we visited a friends house tonight. I had to wash his hands because of course he was playing with their dog food (why not?) and we went to their kitchen. Now to me I am thinking, "ok their kitchen is a little messy. There are some dishes in the sink, some plates and pots on the counters, some trash here and there, plus its an older apartment and they both work so no big deal." My filter says dont say what you're thinking, keep it to yourself. But as I am washing Zachary's hands, he looks around and loud enough for everyone to hear, "Man, this kitchen is old and rusty!"
And then later tonight, we are putting him in his car seat to head home and my wife and mother-in-law are talking about wedding colors and my wife says, "Her colors are going to be red and black with a damask patten." And Zachary looks up at her at her with wide eyes and says, "Oh no. Is that bad?"
We can learn so much from children. I think we could all benefit from a little less filter in our lives like they live it everyday. Lets not try to silence them to "Be nice" but praise them for "being real." And try it ourselves sometime.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Am I doing this right?

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Am I doing this right?" when it pertains to something you have been doing for a long time. I had this thought today while in the bathroom and I will explain later. But how many things do you do in your daily life that you were never taught? I mean, who taught you the way to put on pants? Not just how to put them on but specifically the way to put them on. Do you put your left or right leg in first; do you stand or sit on a chair, toilet, or bed; do you hike them up on your legs then pull up or are they bunched at the feet and you jump to hike them up? As an occupational therapist, as crazy as it sounds, I analyze these things for my patients and suggest compensatory strategies to do it better. But who taught you or did you just figure it out? "As long as the job gets done, its right." Right? Well what if there is a better way out there and you just dont know it. For example, if you have an injured/less flexible leg, did you know you should put that leg in your pants first? Cause your "normal" leg is more flexible to get them into your pants last. And did you know, when you do steps, you step up with your good leg and down with your bad leg? Its all about weight bearing and flexibility. But would you have known that if a therapist didnt tell you?

I just found out I have been brushing my teeth the wrong way for 30 years. Until my dentist told me, I just "got the job done." But I wouldnt have known it was the wrong way until I started to brush away my gums cause I was brushing too hard. Who loves Sensodyne? I do now!

There are some things that people dont teach you but you learn on the fly. Like changing a tire, stopping your first nose bleed or how to unclog a toilet. In those times you teach yourself cause those are true emergencies and you have to learn quick. Cause if you dont learn, you will end up with a mess and most likely be calling a professional.

*If you are easily offended please skip the next section and cut to the end*

But this line of thinking occured to me when I was in the bathroom. My thought: who taught me how to wipe? Because you have 2 options: back to front or front to back. I dont remember mom and I having a good old heart to heart about proper wiping style. Maybe you had that kind of weird open relationship with your parents or a "TMI" too open friendship with a friend, but most sane people have not been taught but have just figured it out. But have you ever wondered if it is the right way? Try doing it the other way. It feels like signing your name with your non-dominant hand. You know you got the job done but it doesnt feel right or look right.

So next time you are doing your everyday things you've done for years and years just think to yourself, "Am I doing this right?" Cause there might be a different or even better way to do it that no one has taught you. Then you can write a blog about it.....and go back to doing it the way you've always done it.

Giving you something to think about on the toilet,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When God closes a door, he does not open an appointment window, cause those things are from Satan!

Ok, appointment windows. For those of you who have never had the priveledge of having an appliance break or cable go out, here is what you are missing. They are called appointment windows. Basically, the company gives you an allotted time during the day, usually 3-4 hours, they want you sit around, do absolutely nothing, be tied to the phone in case they call, schedule no other activities, meals, or bathroom breaks, and wait for them to show up whenever they want to. Instead of the normal, rational, common sense, less frustrating alternative called an appointment time, they give an appointment "window". And I'm sorry, whoever come up with the idea that a "window" would be between 3-4 hours long. I think window, I think 1 hour.

So here is the story. Our dishwasher broke 2 weeks ago. We call the Home Protection Company who suggests the dishwasher repair company, who then calls me to set up an appointment...for the next week! I know I am not talking about our heater in the coldest part of winter but when you are used to throwing dishes in the dishwasher after every meal and your 2 oldest kids use 15 sippy cups each a day, plus 4-6 baby bottles, plus 3 sets of dishes 3x/day, plus utensils, plus cooking pots/pans, the fact that you are now going to have to hand wash all those dishes everyday becomes worse that losing your heater in the dead of winter. Oh convenience, you spoil me so! Anyway, they give us an "appointment window" of 4 hours 8am -noon. Well my gracious wife stays home with 3 overactive boys all morning, in the house, by the phone, no going outside. (I think I noticed nail marks by the doors where either they or her tried to claw their way out at one point.) So 12:00 comes and goes. No repair man. I get a call at 12:30 from the company, "Hey, our guy is running behind. He says he can be there at 2:00." Lets do the math, they missed their window cause it shut at noon or their window wasnt wide enough! I called Linds and she said it was fine. So he comes at 2:00, 2 hours after his window and they need to order a new part, of course. But when will it week! So, another week of hand washing cups that have been used for 1 sip of water.

Well today is the day for the fix we've been waiting 2 weeks for. Last week, they give Linds the "appointment window" of 1-5 pm. So at 5:30 I get the text they havent come yet. I mean seriuosly? No call, no show. I called the home protection company (cause i dont have the dishwasher repair company's number. Of course not, why would I? that would make sense), who put me on hold for 15 min and never answered. So here I sit with a pile of dishes that had an appointment window of 5-8pm tonight to be in the dishwasher and me with my appointment window of not doing the dishes by hand from 5pm till 'it breaks again'.

Why cant I use appointment windows in my daily life. "I will be into work today between the hours of 7-noon today." "I want my reservation at this restaurant to be from 6pm-10pm. Please have a table ready for me between those hours." "I will be home to take over with our kids between 6-midnight. Please have them in bed and sleeping if I show toward the end of my 'window'".

What if other people ran on appointment windows. "Hello 911 what is your emergency? Oh, you have been stabbed? Well the paramedics will be out to your house between the hours of 8-12." "You're house is on fire, expect the fire dept sometime after 6 till 10 this evening."

You know who might as well give us appointment windows instead of appointments...Doctor's offices. If they said you will be seen between 10-12 today, at least I wouldnt be mad when I in the office, dressed in a paper napkin held together by a charm bracelet, for my 9:00 appointment at 10:35. I would know what to expect. Oh I had a window, they werent late, I just didnt have anything better to do.

So please if you give out appointment windows, stay in your window. They are bad enough as they are and worse if you miss them. No better yet...shame on you for being lazy and not just scheduling "appointments." Get a day planner and a watch and save the world a headache. Well, I'm off to do the dishes....with a headache. Thanks appointment window.

With Palmolive soft hands,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

To Blog or not to Blog

That is the question. So my wife has been "blogging" for a while now. You can visit her blog at When she initially told me about it, my first reaction was laughter. Not the "ha ha good for you" but the "ha ha you're kidding right?" I thought blogging was for pink haired guys whose names resemble hotel heiress's names or the random soically awkward geek who sits in his dimly lit basement drinking red bull and eating doriotoes till 4 in the morning taking breaks from playing World of Warcraft to write about the risks/benefits of using a 12th level knight with an upgraded power sword against a 15th level mage with a necromancer key and magical ponytail. I thought "my wife doesnt fit any of those descriptions." They are very vague. Anyway, she began writing about our children and the challenges of raising 3 boys and the other random thoughts/ideas she has and she is actually quite good at "blogging" As of right now, you dont get 22 followers for having a blog that sucks. Well maybe Jessica Simpson does. I mean come on, you havent done anything in like 10 years. At least Nick Lachey was on the "Sing-off."
I must admit I did write one post on her blog about the Bachelor wedding and it was fun and suprisingly addictive. I wanted to do it again but didnt have any good material. And sorry but I refuse to watch the new Bachelorette for material or anything ABC puts on Monday night to fill up the evening with some kind of reality crap. Monday is a terrible TV night, who is with me?
So hence, here begins my new blog. I have been delaying but can delay no longer. Thank you for stopping by and hope you will check in again cause there is some good stuff coming. I have dyed my hair pink, got a case of Red Bull, a bag of doritoes, and a brand new deck of "Magick the Gathering" cards in case I run out of things to talk about. Get ready!

Geeking it up for the online masses,
The Joyful and Tired Dad.