The Straight Dope From Colorado Road Signs

I’m in Colorado for work, and as I drove my rental car in from the airport I was stopped dead in a massive traffic jam on I-70 heading into Denver.  While I was stopped on the road I saw this sign about driving on I-70 taking up to four hours and saw how that could be true — but the line about “edibles” initially mystified me.  It was only when I noticed the marijuana plant logo at the bottom the sign that I figured out the meaning of the “edibles” and four-hour references.

Still later I saw an “adopt-a-highway” sign indicating that the stretch of road I was on was maintained by “Silver Stem Fine Cannabis.”  I don’t know what was more unnerving — the thought that other drivers in the traffic jam may have mistimed their “edibles” ingestion or the notion of stoned clerks from a marijuana emporium wandering around a highway picking up litter.  It’s nice to know that the Silver Stem proprietors are good corporate citizens, at least.

It’s a brave new world in Colorado!

Morning Walks With Kasey

The last few days I’ve been responsible for walking Kasey in the morning.  We’ve got a routine going:  she sleeps in while I take my lap around Schiller Park, she barks angrily when I return, she waits impatiently while I shower and dress, and then we set out toward Frank Fetch Park.  On the walk, Kasey smells everything there is for a dog to smell — namely, everything — and along the way she answers the call of nature multiple times, leaving it for her trusted aide to clean up after her.

Some might argue that picking up after your dog helps prepare a lawyer for the work day ahead.

Cereal Killing

Cereal has been in the news a lot lately.

The Washington Post letters to the editor page has seen a significant debate back and forth on whether cereal is a good way to start the day at breakfast, or whether sugary cereals have ruined the kind of breakfast Americans used to eat.  The President of “Morning Foods” for Kellogg’s wrote in to emphasize the nutritional value of a cereal breakfast, noting that “[a] serving of cereal and a half-cup of skim milk can provide protein and four nutrients most people don’t get enough of: fiber, calcium, vitamin D and potassium. That meal is also 152 calories; a bagel with cream cheese has more than double the calories and saturated fat.”  He added that “Kellogg’s offers more than 20 cereals that provide a good source of protein when eaten with a half-cup of milk, and more than 90 percent of our cereals have 10 grams or less of sugar per 30-gram serving.”

f14cc6b5-59c8-4468-b1be-a50e3689fb18_1-303be2af9801047b84102e79b4624761I’m not sure what a “30-gram serving” is, but of course the problem with cereal is not whether you can structure a breakfast that makes sense from a nutritional standpoint.  No, the problem is moderation and portion control.  Even if people knew what a “30-gram serving” looks like, they end up eating heaping mixing bowls of cereal while they’re watching TV.  Or, at least, I do — which is why we have a longstanding rule to not have any cereal around our house.  In my case, where I’m helpless to resist the lure of Frosted Flakes and would eat a whole box if given the opportunity, total abstinence is the only practical course.

And here’s another issue for cereal manufacturers:  millennials aren’t eating it.  But their objection isn’t nutritional in nature; instead, according to survey data, many millennials apparently don’t like eating cereal for breakfast because you have to clean up after eating it.  The millennials prefer yogurt cups and breakfast sandwiches because you can just throw the remains away, whereas cereal requires that you rinse off the bowl and spoon and put them in the dishwasher.  This has caused some people to make fun of millennials as lazy, but I think millennials simply acknowledge an important point — if you don’t fully rinse off the bowl after you’ve eaten cereal, the remains of the cereal and the milk create some kind of chemical bond with the bowl, leaving the flakes seemingly welded to the sides of the bowl, that makes later clean-up an enormous hassle.  If you’re rushing to get to work in the morning, therefore, maybe cereal isn’t for you.

Poor cereal!  Caught between the Scylla of poor nutritional value and the Charybdis of too much work to consume!

Maple Syrup, Anyone?

The duty-free shop at the Calgary International Airport features booze and the other items you awaits find in a duty-free shop . . . and maple syrup.  Lots of maple syrup.  Shelves full, and in decorative maple leaf bottles, too.  So much maple syrup, in fact, that they’re actually running a buy 3, get 1 free promotion.

So if you need four decorative bottles of maple syrup, perhaps because you want to clebrate Canada’s 150th birthday as you eat your pancakes, and don’t want to pay any duty on it, I know where you can go.

Or, you can pick up some Mrs. Butterworth’s in your local supermarket.

Overly Mapled

I’m on the road today, heading to meetings in the Great White North.  Even if I didn’t know I was in Canada, though, I’d still be able to make a pretty good educated guess about my location based on this shelf in the airport convenience store.

Notice a theme here?  It’s all things maple — but does anybody really want maple-flavored caramels?

Signature School

Recently I ate at one of those sports-themed pubs that has a lot of sports memorabilia and autographs on the walls.  As I reviewed the wall hangings, I noticed that all of the signatures of the sports stars were utterly illegible from a penmanship standpoint — yet always in a very cool, larger-than-life way.

Like the signature above, which I think is that of Jerome Bettis.  I think that’s right, not because I can read his handwriting, but because his nickname was “The Bus” and that seems to be part of the autograph.

I’m guessing that, if you’re going to be autographing a lot of things, you want to come up with something unique to foil the forgers.  I wonder, though:  what was Jerome Bettis’ signature like when he was in high school?  Did it look at all like this?  And when he became famous, did he go to some kind of signature school to come up with this masterpiece?

Fatherly Advice

Tomorrow is Father’s Day.  All across America, fathers will be receiving cologne, ties, and power tools, and everyone else will be thinking about the sage advice and guidance that they received from their own dear Dads.

e04aaedc09e253b1f93d41943aee090eMy Dad wasn’t much for giving pointed advice about your life, however.  In fact, you could say he had a decidedly laissez-faire attitude about how and what people were doing.  Whenever he heard about somebody doing something that suggested that they were really going off the rails, Dad typically would shrug and mutter something about people needing to “do their own thing” and “find their niche.”  These phrases, in fact, were heard so often that they became part of the Webner family lexicon.  I think Dad realized that he didn’t have all the answers, and he wasn’t going to impose his views on somebody else — who probably wouldn’t have appreciated his attempt to steer the course of their life, anyway.

And you know what?  Nine times out of ten, the person who was struggling figured things out for themselves, through a little trial and error, and in the meantime the family happily missed out on the drama and slamming doors and yelling and hard feelings that sometimes can be the result of a little aggressive parenting.

As I sit here, I realize that I also haven’t really offered much in the way of Father Knows Best-type wisdom, either.  Sure, I instructed the boys not to stick their fingers into electrical sockets and told them that littering was wrong, but beyond those basics the only thing hard and fast rule I remember imposing was that if you wanted to play on a sports team, you had to stick it out and play to the end of the season, to be fair to your teammates and your coaches.   I suppose you could draw some deep life lessons from that, if you tried real hard, but of course the rule wasn’t meant to convey deep life lessons — just to establish an understanding of the consequences of decisions about childhood things like Little League and the Nazarene basketball league.

So where do you go if you really want to get some fatherly advice?  That’s simple:  Homer Simpson.  Here’s an example:  “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.”

Hey, maybe getting fatherly advice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, after all.