Saturday, September 14, 2019

Random Rants: The Constant Pillow Fight at Hotels

We all know that traveling can be stressful. From long car rides in unfamiliar vehicles to going through security at the airport and putting up with last-minute gate changes when flying, it’s usually never simple to get from one destination to another. So, when you arrive at a new place for business or pleasure, you probably will be tired, antsy, and a little anxious.

Taking a trip can also mean staying in hotels. Whether you’re budgeting for a room at Motel 6 where they’ll leave the light on for you or you have some money to drop at the Hilton, it’s almost always a guarantee that you’ll have a pillow fight on your hands. No, I’m not talking about actually fighting your brother or significant other with pillows in the hotel room (unless you’re into that). Rather, I’m referring to battling with the pillow itself all night.

It seems as if there are absolutely zero hotels that exist on our vast planet offering comfortable pillows. A pillow might be too firm. It might be too lumpy. It might be too soft, too small, or just plain weird in texture. This means tossing and turning in order to find the most obscure angle at which to position your head and neck in order to feel a fraction of comfort while you try to catch some z’s.

Many hotels will also put four pillows on one bed, presumably assuming that their guests might be interested in stacking two pillows together or using one for leg or back support. In theory, this gives guests a little more flexibility, but it certainly doesn’t help most sleep. Two lumpy pillows are just as ridiculous as one.

It’s also worth mentioning that if I have the opportunity and space to do so, I’ll drag my own pillow with me on a trip, generally if it’s only a car ride away. Unfortunately, this isn’t really an option if you are flying and attempt to stuff a large pillow into an already jammed-packed suitcase.

I don’t like arguing, let alone fighting, with anyone or any object. When I’m out of town, I look for any comforts I can find. I’m still waiting for the day when I won’t have to put up a fight with such an inane item like a pillow one day when I’m just trying to get enough rest for my marketing conference for work or tour of Alcatraz the following day. If a hotel could promise this, I’d be the first one at their front desk checking in and swiping my key card to let me into a room of comfort.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Random Rants: Sneezes are as Unique as Snowflakes

When I was a junior at Palm Harbor University High School, I had a physics teacher named Dr. Wilson. He was a bit of a quirky gentleman (but aren’t all high school physics teachers?), and it was something he said that really stuck with me. The funny thing is that it had nothing to do with physics at all – or certainly was not part of the curriculum but, now that I think about it, could be tied to physics in some way.

One day, somebody sneezed in our class. It must have been a loud one that caught everyone’s attention in the middle of a lecture. Dr. Wilson and some of the students were quick to “bless” the sneezer, but that wasn’t the end of the acknowledgement as it normally would be. Instead, Dr. Wilson spent a minute or two talking about sneezes. He talked about how differently some people sneeze, from a very soft-sounding sneeze that might be confused for a cough to a very violent sneeze that is practically alarming to those around the culprit and could literally cause an injury to one’s neck.

This one quick discussion got me thinking about a few things. Obviously, males and females seem to have noticeably different sneezes. The same can be said about younger kids compared to older individuals. Some people only sneeze once or twice during an “attack,” while others can keep the “sneezin’ mo-jo” going for more than just a split second.

I sometimes wonder how someone’s sneezes and personality stack up. Are “violent” sneezers who put their whole body into this natural event generally louder, more boisterous individuals? Are those who hardly make a peep typically soft spoken and fall into the category of introverts? Based on my observations, it doesn’t seem like you can draw a perfect line between a person’s sneeze and their overall characteristics. I’ve met some people who constantly use an “outside voice” whose sneezes are barely detectable. On the flipside, I know of those whose voices can barely be heard but can let loose with the best of them when sneezing.

This is why in my view, sneezes are like snowflakes. Each human being has a slightly different sneeze. Whether it’s a loud “ahh-choo” or a modest squeak, it is fascinating how this human reaction to various conditions can vary so much.

So, the next time you hear someone sneeze, do a quick mental evaluation to see if you expected or were surprised by the sound they made. There’s a good chance you’ll be surprised.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Am I Too Young – Or Too Old – To Eat That?

While attending a recent weeklong convention out of town, restaurant menus became a major source of reading material for me. As such, I was reminded about age-specific foods that our society seems to dictate. In other words, there’s a kids’ menu and a regular menu at many eateries. There are also other foods you’ll find throughout the grocery store that seem to fall under different categories as being more acceptable for youngsters to eat and those that adults primarily consume. Here are some examples:

  • Lunchables
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Chicken or fish fingers
  • Cheese pizza
  • Hot dogs
  • Happy Meals
  • String cheese
  • Lucky Charms
  • Eggos
  • Pop Tarts
  • Cocoa Puffs
  • Hamburgers
  • French fries
  • - Mozzarella sticks

  • Salmon
  • Supreme pizza
  • Filet mignon
  •  Eggplant parmesan
  • Caviar
  • Vegetarian lasagna
  • Squash
  • Wild rice
  • Avocados
  • Fiber One cereal
  • Ensure
  • Bananas Foster
  • French onion soup
- Tiramisu

Our society certainly defines lots of things. But why should we let it define the foods we consume in our daily diets? If I were a 10-year-old kid, why couldn’t I enjoy a healthy serving of salmon with lemon butter? Or, as an adult, why can’t I go a little crazy on a bowl of Lucky Charms soaked in chocolate milk? Yes, I’ve always been somewhat of a picky eater. However, it kind of irks me when someone grabs something out of the fridge that is not necessarily catered to them in terms of marketing or, perhaps more importantly, in terms of how society thinks people should consume certain food items based on a birth certificate. I can assure you that any food manufacturer does not care who is purchasing their delicious delectable.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Review: Priceless Memories by Bob Barker

Ever since I can remember, I have always adored and admired Bob Barker, the longtime game show host and animal rights activist. I finally had a chance to listen to Barker’s Priceless Memories, an autobiography he wrote and narrated in audio form back in 2009.

While I and millions of others mainly remember Barker for his 35 years hosting The Price Is Right, he also had an 18-year run at the helm of Truth Or Consequences. As this innovative show was on well before I was born, I enjoyed learning about it in the book. I had no idea about some of the crazy stunts Barker and the contestants pulled off on that show. This must have been groundbreaking television for the 1950s and ‘60s. Some of the things he made the contestants do were very outrageous, and I must say that this show was a precursor to Survivor, Fear Factor, and countless other reality shows of the 2000s.

He also spends a good amount of time talking about his late wife, Dorothy Jo. He praises her with beautiful words and reiterates throughout the book about how much of a support system she was in his life. When I think of ol’ Bob, the unfortunate allegations made by several former Price models come to mind. But hearing him talk about his wife really speaks volumes about how much he cared about her. She was not even 60 when she died of lung cancer in 1981. It’s hard to believe how long Barker has been a widower since then, especially considering he and Dorothy Jo first met in high school in 1939.

Of course, The Price Is Right is a major part of the book as well. Hearing about all of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the show is pretty fascinating. As an aspiring contestant, I was also glad to hear Bob speak about how people are chosen to become contestants. His biggest piece of advice is for someone to be themselves. If you try to act like someone you are not in order to get attention, the contestant coordinators will immediately identify you as a fake, and you probably won’t be called to “come on down” at all.

Barker includes a ton of cool tidbits about his career throughout the book. He actually received an offer to star in a porn movie – back in the 1950s! I didn’t even know such material was being produced back then, but I guess I shouldn’t be terribly surprised. I just have to wonder what it would be like if a 60-year-old video of Bob Barker were to be dug up and available for viewing on YouTube today. I can only imagine how he’d feel, and it obviously makes perfect sense why he turned down the offer back then.

Animals are certainly at the forefront of the autobiography as well. Barker recounts numerous stories of dogs and cats that he and his wife saved – and took in as pets – over the years. I salute the man for the tremendous work he has done in the animal rights space. Encouraging viewers to have their pets spayed and neutered was only a bite-sized piece of the work he has done on this front.

Finally, it was neat to hear of Barker’s childhood. He grew up in South Dakota and later in Missouri. He is part-Native American, and he talks about how he was viewed as a child among his peers with this background. He speaks of his parents and how his dad died at a very young age. He talks about his mother’s significant impact on his life – and how she lived with him in her golden years.

Overall, Priceless Memories truly humanizes a man who for so long has only been known by his work in front of a TV camera. I appreciate Bob Barker more than ever now after listening to his well-told life story.