Monday, January 24, 2011

I Gotcha Fawchun Right Hea...

The next time you have Chinese food, check out the back of the fortune cookie wrapper. Chances are, if an address is listed, it's from Brooklyn. Most fortune cookies come from Brooklyn. Seriously. I know it sounds like a joke. Some cookies have no address given, but when they do have one, it's for a company in Brooklyn.

Yeah, the irony is obvious, but I'll say it anyway: in an age when all of our products are manufactured in China, our Chinese fortune cookies are manufactured in America. Logic would suggest then that Chinese people are born in America while American people are born in China. That makes we in America actually China and THAT then means that WE are the world's up-and-coming economic powerhouse and superpower! Woo hoo! U-S-A! U-S-A!

© 2011 Scott Teel. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I realized (and achieved) something awesome today: I can fold laundry while I'm on the toilet!

(c) 2011 Scott Teel.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today's Lesson: How Not Admitting You Were Wrong Can Bite You

Why?  Why why why do I live in America?  Why?

Don't take me the wrong way, it's not that I don't like living in America, it's that I should be living in the United States of Columbia, shouldn't I?  Shouldn't all we Americans be called "Columbians?"  We've been taught for centuries that America was discovered by Christopher Columbus.  In 1492.  When he sailed the ocean blue. 

Never mind that that's not entirely true, he was the first mainstream European to reach what is now known to be the "Americas" and tell a lot of people about it.  Why didn't mapmakers start calling the new continents "Columbia?"  That's usually how it worked.  You land on it first, you tell people about it, they call it you.  So what gives with the continents in the Western Hemisphere?

Waldseemuller map detail.

Many people know that the continents are named after Amerigo Vespucci, who landed in South America five years after Columbus.  The first map to use the word "America" was made by Martin Waldseemuller in Germany, in 1507.  He'd seen some letters from Vespucci from a decade earlier, which described the many wonders of the new world.  The letters were forgeries, but Waldseemuller plopped in "America" on his map.  Fortunately, the forged letters only enhanced his reasoning and weren't the only reason.

See, Columbus had, until his dying breath, refused to accept (or perhaps admit) that he hadn't succeeded at his original goal - to find India and Asia.  Rather than admit he'd failed, and accept the pretty astouding accomplishment that he had in fact found entire new continents with amazing, flourishing new people and civilizations to destroy, he stubbornly claimed he had found India.  Thus, the long-used tag of "Indian" to our Native Americans.

It was Amerigo who, looking around South America five years after Christopher, said, "WTF...this is so not India.  I can't help but notice a severe lack of elephants.  This place is not only not India, it's not anywhere we've seen yet.  This is some new world."  Or something like that.  In Italian.  With many hand-gestures.

Since Columbus had stubbornly refused to admit he was wrong, and Vespucci had been the first to realize that the new continents were new continents, Waldseemuller named the place after Vespucci, and now, 500 years later, we live in the U.S.A instead of the U.S.C.  The only surviving print of the original Waldseemuller map was purchased from Germany in 2001 for ten million dollars, and is stored at the Library of Congress, where you can see...a copy of it.
Full 12-Panel Waldseemuller Map

If Columbus had been willing to admit he'd been incorrect about finding the Indies, everything might be different: we'd be using the Columbian Express Card, flying Columbian Airlines, singing "Columbia the Beautiful," and our grandparents would talk of how they dreamed of one day emigrating to the land of the free and living the Columbian dream.  But that's what you get for being stubborn and refusing to believe you could be wrong, even in the face of true hard facts: America.

That's why I live in America!  It's a nicer name anyway.

(c) 2010 Scott Teel.  All rights reserved n' don't you forget it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

O Irony, O Irony, How Puny Are They Branches

I am not a [insert name of grumpy, fictitious Christmas-hating character here: Scrooge, Grinch, Mouse-with-glasses-from-that-odd-cartoon-with-the-big-clock-and-crappy-animation].  You can't be yourself and hate Christmas these days, you have to be "a" someone.  Although oddly, no one ever says "I'm not a Herod," even though he was undoubtedly the biggest Christmas-hater ever.

Anyway, I'm not.  It gets under my skin that Christmas is rolled out earlier every year, but everyone says that and it still gets earlier.  The Christmas season is an actual season long now, and soon it will start the day after Christmas like in Whoville.  It's tiring.  It makes Christmas wear out it's welcome.  It's too much of a good thing.

And I'm not one who overanalyzes things that aren't really meant to be looked at so closely, except when I am, which is probably a lot.  Like, say, watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and finding fault with the shape of Hermie's dental tools when I already have accepted that a flying lion cares enough about imperfect toys (now known as "seconds") to purchase, develop, and maintain an island for them where they can be miserable without being watched.  It's stupid of me, and I do it.

This isn't like that.  I love A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Fifty years after it was written, I still laugh that Lucy never gets what she truly wants - real estate. It's endearing that the kids who did the voices had been purposely taught English slightly incorrectly and wooden.  As in, "What do you want?  For Christmas Charlie Brown?"  It's cute.  It became a hallmark of Charlie Brown animated shows.  If you want your kids to be a Charlie Brown voice-over actor, you need to start early - begin erasing any correct diction they know before age three or you'll be way behind.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is pretty blunt when hitting you over the head with its meaning: Christmas of the 1960s was too commercial.  The Grinch also bluntly says this, but Charlie Brown actually says this, in dialogue, more than once.

And what does Charlie Brown (everyone always uses his full name, no one ever calls him simply "Charlie") do to fight the consumerism all around him?  Yeah, he buys a pathetic little real Christmas tree and everyone else hates it.  In the end, everyone else gives it a little love and "spruces" it up (oh YES!  Is it possible no one else has ever made that joke?  I know.  It's not possible). 

It's absolutely clear in its message - Christmas is too commercial and the little pathetic tree is Charlie Brown's attempt to overcome greed and the "buy buy buy" mentality.  That was fifty years ago, and we've taken the message to heart.

So - and I'm not the brightest so I can't be the only one to notice this, someone must have writen about it already - the irony that the little anti-consumerism symbol Christmas tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas is now available as a fake tree for purchase from retailers for as much as $23.99 is so pungent that the Sphinx can smell it.  And I mean that in the sense that the Sphinx is made of stone and can not smell anything at all, not because it doesn't have a nose, but I can see how you could have misinterpreted that.

Here it is.
Charlie Brown literally walks through and rejects a lot full of fake trees before choosing the little tree.  He goes out of his way to avoid commercialism and phoniness.  And today you can be a consumer and purchase a phony copy of the tree!  For Christmas. 

This tree represents the television special that represents the opposite of everything the tree represents.  It has become its own anti-matter and annihilated itself so now neither the fake tree nor the Christmas special ever existed, and therefore neither does this blog you didn't just read, and therefore writing anything further is pointless, except to mention that my first reaction to the fake tree was that I kinda wanted one.

(c) 2010 Scott Teel.  All rights reserved.

Friday, December 3, 2010

He Fell For It

Well, you've seen the t-shirts and bumper stickers that say "Join the Dark Side...we have cookies."  It looks like Santa, the goodest man on earth, has finally decided flying around the world bartering toys for cookies each year while overseeing a massive number of toy-production employees, not to mention a coal-mining operation that is now unable to keep up with demand (forcing him to negotiate coal from China to meet his needs) has decided to give in and join the Dark Sideto get his cookies free.

Which is cool.  We welcome Santa and note that he's had decades of experience terrifying children in malls!

(c)2010 Scott Teel.  All rights reserved.  Photo from

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Let's Stop Poisoning Our Dogs and Cats, Okay?

That was a dramatic title, I know. Too late now, I posted it already. But I’m not kidding, since I’m talking about Frontline and Advantix and such. This isn’t some crazy blog claiming fake things about Purdue chickens or whatever, there are resource links below and you can find more info on it. There’s a safer alternative!

After using spot-on flea and tick preventatives (Frontline, Advantix, BioSpot) on my dog and our family dog before her, I learned that there are a lot of concerns about them being toxic (possibly very) and not a good thing to be putting on our animals. Spot-ons work by absorbtion into the blood through the skin, and what they basically do is make the dog’s blood into poison that kills any fleas or ticks that bite them. Yeah, the flea has to actually bite them first and suck out blood.

I never knew that. I guess I'm stupid, but thought the stuff managed to work its way around the skin and warded fleas off. If I’d known I was making Mabel’s blood into a POISON, I never ever would have used it on her. I wonder now if my use of Frontline may even have been a part of her death and it eats me up. No, it doesn’t affect all dogs terribly, but still…how do we know if it will until it’s too late?

The EPA is even investigating spot-on pesticides in this report:

Which states:

  • EPA found that the products could be used safely but that some additional restrictions are needed. EPA’s team of veterinarians learned that most incidents were minor, but unfortunately there were some pet deaths and “major incidents” reported. The Agency learned that the most commonly affected organ systems were dermal, gastrointestinal, and nervous.

“Could be used safely BUT” isn’t good enough for me. Sure, the report isn’t saying these treatments are terrible, horrible, awful, no good, very bad things, but they’re only starting the real investigating NOW. 

And you know how it goes with these types of announcements. Remember the dog food recall? First it’s only one type of one brand. Then it’s two types. Then it’s the whole brand, but others are fine. Then it’s one type of another brand too, but no indications that…what? Okay, it’s two whole brands to avoid. Three. Three whole brands, so don’t buy any of those four brands. Five. You know what, just let them catch some squirrels to eat. But be careful of those injected squirrel growth hormones!

They let the info out in little crudules over weeks and months so you just get disgusted gradually instead of one giant disgust clump that might overflow into riots. Like the frog in a hot pot of water story: toss him in while its boiling and he jumps out. But put him in cold water and turn the heat up gradually and he doesn’t even notice how bad the situation has gotten and then he croaks (all right, he buys the farm. Pun haters). Also, spot-on treatments haven’t had to comply with pre-market studies to prove they’re safe as of yet. AAAAAIIIEEEEEEEE!

But there's also a safe, organic, flea and tick deterrent available called “Best Yet.” It uses cedar oil, “nature’s pest deterrent.” The stuff is basically a natural miracle, and is explained in this video from their site:

Cedarcide (the company that makes Best Yet) is a safe, natural way to control just about everything. This stuff kills almost immediately – the longest time a flea lived after a spritz was 41 seconds – and kills fleas, ticks, mites, mosquitos, ear mites, lice, silverfish, and works on Bedbugs so quickly and easily that it’s almost crazy they’re even considered a problem. It’s available for personal insect spray, in granules, as a fogger, as a pet flea and tick preventative, as a non-toxic deck stain, and more.

The only side effect appears to be that things sprayed with the stuff smell nice. There appears to be no reason to ever use any toxic insect repellent or pesticide again for nearly any insect.


Here’s the website for Cedarcide and Best Yet. It’s available from many carriers, including Amazon.

I encourage you to look further into this and check out the cedarcide website, and any others. On Amazon, it rates as 5 stars with over 5,000 reviews, which is unheard of. I’ve looked into it a bit, but I urge everyone with a pet (or bug problem) to look into it further, as I’ve only scratched the surface. From what I’ve seen and read, I would have bought it it for Mabel for sure. Anything is better than poisoning your pet’s blood.

I may even order the insect spray. If this stuff does even half of what it appears to do, it could put Raid and other toxic chemical insect sprays and repellents out of business. Just kidding, don’t worry, those companies have lobbyists to watch out for ‘em!


Please take a look and do what you feel is best for your pet. Don’t lose them prematurely to a chemical company.

(c) 2010 Scott Teel.  All rights reserved.