Green Potatoes 6: Night of the Living Spuds 🥔


Are you with me so far? I bet you thought I forgot about #GreenPotatoGate. Maybe you had, and wish I had. I think this may be it, as I’m never going to get a full response from Giant Eagle, and I did get some coupons! First, are you all caught up?

Had enough? Of course you haven’t. Read on, brave soldiers for spuds and titans for tubers!

As promised, I did receive some coupons from Tasteful Selections. Way to stand behind their products! There was a cool ingredient card too, so I may check that out. I do like purple potatoes.

Giant Eagle reached out with a DM on Twitter, then nothing. 🦗🦗🦗

And…

I submitted some shenanigans to Shop ‘n Save via webform, but haven’t heard anything back via email.

Although, I did get a Facebook message:

That was anti-climactic. They didn’t comment on the maze or the green potatoes.

I did, however, get one super awesome response to a positive message that I sent out about some potatoes from The Little Potato Compnay that I bought at Shop ‘n Save. I reached out like this:

From: Me <me@nunya.biz>
Date: Sun, Jan 1, 2023 at 10:44 PM
Subject: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: <feedback@littlepotatoes.com>

Salutations Spud Specialists!

I just wanted to reach out to thank you for your tremendous tiny tubers, or your perfect potatoes if you will.

Saturday I picked up a bag of the Terrific Trio style spuds from Shop ‘n Save in Heidelberg, PA, …and they were all fantastic.

You may think it’s odd to be so elated with a perfect product, but lately I have been on a crusade of sorts as I feel that nearly ¼ of all my purchased potatoes are green and arguably poisonous.  Albeit very slightly poisonous.

I eat a lot of potatoes.  So I buy a lot of potatoes.  It seems like no one is immune to the great greening that has taken place iver the last few years.  Yours were absolutely delicious though.

If you would like a window to my spiral into spud shenanigans, please feel free to catch the saga as it has unfolded so far at my blog:  

https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/tag/green-potatoes/

I’m sure that I’m up to at least 2 readers semi-regulartly that aren’t me or AI bots.  Well, I think.

I draw mazes.  I sent mazes to some of your competitors as a means to get their attention, and perhaps stand out among all rhe other missives.

I am sending them you you as a thank you.  Please, enjoy them and pass them along to your potato people!  I would love if you got a chuckle out of them and if you took the time to try them out.

I really appreciate your multiple avenues of contact, prominently displayed right on the packaging, and a super easy to navigate website.  I need to poke around the recipes!

I hope the new year brings you many new opportunities, great joy, & happiness.

Auld Lang Syne

-Eric

PS – Also attached is a photo collage of breakfast home fries with those fantastic tri-color delicious beauties.

And attached this photo (along with my potato mazes):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wp-1672606172129.jpg

And I got this response:


From: Feedback feedback@littlepotatoes.com
Date: Tue, Jan 3, 2023 at 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: Me me@nunya.biz

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for the aMAZEing feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed your Terrific Trio home fries!

Don’t hesitate to check out our website at https://www.littlepotatoes.com/en/recipes/ for recipe ideas and upcoming contests. Also feel free to check out our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/LittlePotatoCo ) to watch our video recipes and share with other The Little Potato Company lovers.

Have a terrific day!

Madison Marano | Consumer Service Coordinator

direct 587.460.2095 | main 780.414.6075

email madi.marano@littlepotatoes.com | web LittlePotatoes.com

11749 – 180 Street | Edmonton, Alberta | T5S 2H6

Neat!

I will be looking for more of their products too.

I think we can all agree, if you start seeing less green potatoes in the grocery store, that was clearly all my doing.

Please try to solve the potato mazes if you’re into that.

Green Potatoes 5: From Russets With Love 🥔


Well. The garden plot thickens. Or something. I have a few more potato-related emails. All signs point to the grocery stores being at fault, and funnily enough the grocery stores have not replied, at all.

This happened, and we got a refund from Instacart. It’s not green potatoes, but they definitely weren’t ready to just toss into the crock pot with a roast.

Tasteful Selections - Organic Golden Potatoes Sprouting Eyes

If you’re wondering what the hell I am talking about, you must have missed the saga as it uprooted…

And that brings us to the following…

Dear Eric,

Thank you for reaching out. It’s always great to meet another potato enthusiast! As you may know, while we don’t represent any one brand, Potatoes USA works on behalf of more than 2,000 potato growers and handlers across the country to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. We’re happy to provide general feedback, and the individual brands and retailers can tell you more about their practices.

As far as green potatoes go, you’re correct that the color signifies the build-up of solanine. It’s a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. If there’s slight greening, you can cut away those green portions before cooking and eating. Generally speaking, you’re unlikely to ingest enough solanine to do you any harm.

However, I know you’re a potato skin fan (and rightly so). One bit of good news on the nutrition front is that the only nutrient significantly lost when the skin is removed is fiber. (A medium (5.3 oz) potato contains 2 grams of fiber with the skin and 1 gram of fiber without the skin.) Potassium and vitamin C are found predominantly in the flesh.

Potato growers take a number of steps to reduce greening, including maintaining enough soil cover over potatoes in the field and storing harvested potatoes in facilities with minimal light.

If you aren’t already, I’d encourage you to store your fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place. If you’re finding green potatoes upon returning from the store (or after Instacart delivery), you can often return them.

Thanks again for your note. We hope you have a spud-tacular holiday season, filled with plenty of potatoes.

Cheers,

Btj

Bonnie Johnson, MS, RDN

bonnie@potatoesusa.com

Director of Nutrition + Industry Relations

O: 303.873.2328

C: 702.217.3055

3675 Wynkoop St.

Denver, CO 80216

PotatoesUSA.com

So, of course I replied.

Hello Btj,

Thank you for your response!  I really appreciate your time and the imparted potato knowledge.

In my reaching out to several potato producers, it seems that they all want to lay the blame on the distribution and storage by the grocers.  

So, the “all the vitamins are in the skin” that I got from my grandma when I was a kid was just potato public relations? 🤣

No matter, I agree they are delicious.

Please, enjoy the attached mazes with your friends, family, & co-workers!

I hope you enjoy you have a pleasant holiday season and a happy new year, and a great going season next year.  I know I am looking forward to planting some potatoes myself.

I may leave out some potato candy for Santa, if I don’t eat it all!

Tuber-ular Tidings to you & yours!

-Eric

I sent the mazes again, like an idiot. Ha ha. I forgot I had sent them previously. No reply or acknowledgement this time.

This came as response from Tasteful Selections, which are the ones pictured above:

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for contacting us. I am terribly sorry for the poor experience you had with our product. I can assure you that the quality you saw is not our standard, and for this I apologize.

We strive to ensure that every package of potatoes that leave our farm is handled with the utmost care in order to deliver a quality product to our consumers. Unfortunately, sometimes temperature changes and changes in light make potatoes break down or decay faster than they normally would. 

The greening you’re experiencing occurs when potatoes have been exposed to too much light, either natural or artificial, that gives the potatoes a sort of “sunburn.” While greening is a result of light exposure, the visible greening can be delayed. Potatoes exposed to light may be packaged and continue to green beyond our last inspection point. We make every effort to avoid this, however, in your case we were not successful. You can cut the green out of the potatoes and use the rest (although that’s a bit tougher with small potatoes), but eating the green portion of the potato can give a very bitter flavor.

Here’s some additional information if you’d like to see more: https://www.potatogoodness.com/potato-greeningfact-check/

I am sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. We stand by our products and you should not have had to have an experience like this. I would like to make it up to you by offering you a product voucher to hopefully help compensate you for your troubles.

If I may please have your mailing address, I would be happy to send you a product voucher straight away. Again, my personal apologies for the frustration this has caused you. 

Sincerely,

Jenny

RPE Inc. support@rpespudassist.freshdesk.com

TastefulSelections.comimage

So, I wrote back:

Hello Jenny,

Thank you for your response!  I have been exasperated lately with the amount of green or sprouting potatoes from the grocery store.  It is a consistent issue across brands and stores, and whether we use a service like I Instacart or pick a bag ourselves.

I understand, from your reply among others, that the issue is most likely occurring after it leaves the potato farm.

Can retailers like Aldi, Giant Eagle, or Target be better educated about potato shipping and storage?

Instacart already refunded us for the purchase of the recently sprouting spuds as that was clearly a shopper error.

If it was spring, I would just plant them!  You have a delicious variety of golden potatoes, perfect for home-fries!

Sometimes, the green potatoes don’t reveal themselves until you crack open that bag about to prepare a meal.

I would just like some sort of solution going forward.  What can the potato industry do to hold grocers accountable?

If I wanted the gastrointestinal distress and discomfort associated with eating green potatoes, I would just dine at Taco Bell or Pizza Hut.  Right?

My mailing address is…

     Eric AiXeLsyD

     #### Nunya St. 

     Bidness, PA  #####-####

…but again I’m not really looking for free potatoes, I just want to get what I pay for.  

I appreciate you reaching out, and pride in the quality of your product.  Please find my gift of the attached potato mazes, and share them with your co-workers and friends if so inclined.

Have a very starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!

-Eric

And I got a reply:

Hi Eric,

Thanks so much for getting back to me. I definitely understand your concerns. Our sales & business development team are already working with Produce Managers and providing resources for storing and caring for potatoes. We’ll continue to do our part, however, it ends up being the responsiblity of Produce Managers to not only train their staff, but also make sure they are following through with the potato best practices. 

I have a few coupons headed your way. 

Sincerely,
Jenny

I like free potatoes. I will be on the lookout for potato vouchers!

Now, I have reached several road-blocks with getting a message to Aldi. They apparently do not like to give out email addresses.

I dug up some email formats & corporate names on teh Google mosheen and sent this, also to no avail (so far):

Greetings My Frugal Friends,

I hope you are gearing up for a pleasant, festive, and relaxing holiday season!  I appreciate your role in bringing food & other goodies to our homes.

I write to you today with some tuber related shenanigans I have noticed over the last few years.  I have submitted a missive to your contact form at the Aldi website to no avail.  I have been checking my junk/spam folder too.

I also tried reaching out via Facebook and Twitter… only to be told that your social media teams are unfathomably unable to forward messages to your customer service team or provide an email address.  I had to do some Googling, and I pray to a higher power that this reaches a live intelligent and empathetic human being.

I love potatoes.  At rhe risk of sounding like Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba droning on about shrimp…

I love potatoes.  I like home fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, cheesy potatoes, hassleback potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato candy, potato soup, lyinnaise potatoes, potato filling, tater tots, potato salad (hot or cold styles), shepherd’s pie, and sometimes even potato pancakes.  Twice baked potatoes are a fantastic treat too.  I hear potato vodka is good too, but I am not much of a drinker.  Perhaps a potato beer would be more my speed if such a thing exists?

Nearly every bag of potatoes that I have purchased from your and/or your esteemed competitors over the last few years has had an alarmingly large amount of green solanine-filled potatoes.  Glycoalkaloids are not our friends!  On the mild end, eating green potatoes would be like chasing a Taco Bell meal with a laxative.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was one night at dinner when ready to bake 8 potatoes as a side to chili… 2 of the potatoes were totally green on the outside.  They had been delivered by Instacart, but the green potatoes were not evident upon eying the outside of the bag.

That’s ¼ of rhe potatoes unusable for their intended purpose.  Yes, I could have peeled away the green, but who wants a baked potato with no skin?  That’s just craziness.  Do I get ¼ of my money back?

I have written to and received replies from quite a few potato farms, and they all seem to point the finger at the end retailer… which in some cases is Aldi.  They cite importer handling and storage… specifically exposure to light and longer than optimal time frames.

Perhaps the powers that be within your fine organization can put their heads together, asses your handling of these tiny starcchy underground gifts from heaven, and come up with ways to prevent waste?  It may need to be a highly coordinated effort with logistics, distribution, shipping, and warehousing.

As an effort to aid exercise in meditation and clearing your thoughts, I have attached some potato themed mazes.  Mazes and labyrinths have a history of assisting people to achieve a zen like state.  Perhaps this will provide the needed clarity to prevent ultra violet potato decimation.

You have a fantastic business and I appreciate your effort to bring quality goods to the more budget-concious among us.

If requested, I can even forward my original (perhaps lost?) message.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts on the matter!

Let’s root for a starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!
-Eric

So, maybe that will get something. Maybe not. Giant Eagle hasn’t bothered to reply either.

Oh well. Do you think I’ll ever get a meaningful reply from Aldi or Giant Eagle? I am starting to doubt it.

I know we have received green potatoes from Target too. I’ll have to bark up their tree next.

Green Potatoes 3: Probably Not The Last Crusade🥔


Well, the replies are starting to come in. While this certainly isn’t an issue as pressing, depraved, or salacious as the lady who put the pee in potato at Walmart that one time, it does seem to resonate with people.

What am I talking about? The story so far:

Also, to prove and share my love for potatoes, check out these recipes:

My post on Nextdoor had some strong opinions in the comments. My favorite implied that like bananas, I should just let the green potatoes ripen. Oops.

First, I wrote back to Alsum:

Hello Christine!  

Thank you so much for your prompt reply!  This was a 5 lb. bag of Russet potatoes, I believed purchased at Aldi via Instacart.  Unfortunately, I disposed of all the packaging.  I cooked the whole bag!  Well, everything that wasn’t green.  It would have been purchased at the Aldi in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania… earlier this week.  I really don’t want a rebate or anything.  I just want to stop getting green potatoes.  Can you imagine if 3 out of every dozen eggs were unusable?  Or 5 slices of every loaf of bread just moldy?  I may have to reach out to Aldi regarding their shipping/storage practices… and Instacart about their selection process.  I am sure you take great pride in your potatoes.  I know how I feel with a back yard garden, and I’m only feeding a family of 4.  You guys must feed millions.  I, really though, am going to reach out every time I get green potatoes, no matter the producer.  We, as a society, can’t afford to not get the most value out of a dollar.  I hope everyone can work together to get perfect produce into our kitchens.

Thank you for your time!

-Eric

And, they wrote back to me:

Hi Eric,

These are unique potato mazes! Thank you for sharing along with where you recently purchased your Alsum 5 lb. russet bag of potatoes. I’m hopeful the hands shopping for your produce through Aldi can be educated to remove from the store shelf any green potatoes to prevent this poor experience going forward. It might be worth the call to bring this to the retailers attention to help everyone have a good potato eating experience and use the bag in full.

As a consumer, I couldn’t agree more we need to stretch our food dollar, and it’s important from farmer to retail grocer to work together to provide a quality product.

We hope you give us another try.

Take care,

Christine

I wrote back once again:

Thank you Christine,

I have reached out to Aldi via web contact form and Facebook, but they are not nearly as quick as you with a response.  I am sure you, like all of us, feel the pressure of stretching a dollar lately.  I will most certainly give Alsum and Aldi (and even Instacart) another try.  Hopefully they can adjust their potato handling process.

Thank you so much for your quick, informative and warm response.  I hope the mazes can bring a smile to your co-workers’ faces!

-Eric

Then, my mass email reached Sterman Masser Potato Farms:

Good Afternoon Eric,

You have a knack for writing, I enjoyed your email!

I am very sorry to hear about the many “green potato’s experiences”  you have had.    This particular purchase does worry me, we have not supplied potatoes to Giant Eagle since Sept. 29, 2022.  So if they are our spuds, they were packed over 9 weeks ago and they would most definitely be green or breaking down.   (We suggest a 4 week shelf life).

You are correct in saying eating green potatoes can be harmful, that is true but only if consumed in very large amounts.  To play it safe, we tell everyone just to peel the green away or just throw it out. 

Do you happen to have the kwik lock (plastic tie) to seal the bag? If so, can you tell me what the 6 digit numbers are?  I am sorry I cannot be of much help on this one, but I would let the produce manager know so he or she can clean out their out of date bags on their produce shelf.

Thank you for your message,

Rachel

That was via webform, so I sent the potato mazes and this:

Hello Rachel,

Thank you for such a quick informative reply!  I hope the attached mazes can entertain you & your co-workers.  I believe I will follow up with Giant Eagle and other local grocers about the green potato issie.  It seems that no potato farms are letting green potatoes out the door, but improper storage may be leading to green toxic tubers.

I must confess I have never put much thought into the choice of brands of potato.  I just go with whatever is on the produce shelf.  I will have to seek out Masser Spuds with intent from now on.  

I don’t believe your product specifically was one that has recently been GOA (green on arrival) or turned quickly once it reached my home.  I had some issues most recently with Alsum.  In a bag of 8 total potatoes, 2 were green and unusable as baked potatoes to go along with the delicious chili that my wife made last week.  It’s delicious because she follows my recipe although taking some unnecessary liberties on portions.  The kids are crazy because they say hers is much much better than mine.  I agree with them, because I may be crazy, but i am not stupid.

I also spotted an entirely green bag of Side Delights potatoes at the aforementioned Giant Eagle yesterday.  It lends credence to the theory that Giant Eagle may need to take more care of their precious potato produce.  A lot of people may not understand.  I posted on social media asking if others had noticed the issue.  On Nextdoor someone suggested that like bananas, I just let them ripen at home. 🤦‍♂️

Sadly though, the problem does not seem limited to any one store or potato farm.  The Alsum bag with one quarter of the bag unusable was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  I feel like for the last 2 years, I have been getting a much greater number of green potatoes from Giant Eagle, Shop ‘n Save, Aldi, Walmart, Target, & even BJ’s Wholesale.  It is usually only with bagged potatoes… not ones that I would pick fresh.  There is the convenience of ordering from Instacart or Target home delivery.  Arguably they should be picking better produce, but it is hard to see the whole bag.  

Potatoes usually don’t last long here before they’re consumed.  We grow our own in the summer, but they cannot fuel our entire consumption.  Our small yard and time available are limiting,

If only Mythbusters was still a thing, perhaps they could tell us how much green potato we could safely consume before it felt like we had one of everything from the Taco Bell menu with a side of possible neurological complications.

Thank you once again for your time, and I do hope you enjoy the mazes.

Thank you!

-Eric

And that’s about it for now, other than some standard auto-replies, like this one from Aldi via Facebook Messenger:

I know you’re absolutely riveted by the saga and glued to the screen with anticipation of a solution to the great green potato crisis. Try the potato mazes while you wait!

#OKBoom a.k.a. #PGHBoom


On New Year’s Day at approx. 11:25 AM or 11:26 AM EST, there was a sonic boom in Allegheny County or Washington County Pennsylvania.

Immediately, Yinzers took to social media to ask what was going on. Some armchair experts already had all the answers.

The first link shared was from a website called Volcano Discovery. It posts user reported incidents before they’re certified as seismic events before the USGS. At least it’s a url right? It’s on the internet. It must be true.

The next thing that circulated was a phone screenshot of a news story from 2010 about detonating munitions at the airport. The date was left out. No link. Just a screenshot. I saw it all over the place.

Then, the meteor theory started to come out. A blip on an image from a satellite meant to detect lightning showed a flash in an area with no discernable storm systems. A known asteroid being close by for a meteor shower to peak in our area on Jan. 3rd, my be related. I read somewhere but can’t find it now that a chunk of the asteroid most likely entered our atmosphere (now a meteor) at twice the speed of sound, and burned up… resulting in the sonic boom & shockwave.

Yinzers on social media immediately forgot elementary school science class, put on their tinfoil hats, and stated emphatically that there was no flash or no crater, so it could not have been a meteor… therefore had to be anything from top secret military testing of airplanes, to subterranean bomb testing, to nefarious manufacturing at any number of local industrial businesses, to fracking, to gas buildup in mines, to extraterrestrials, fireworks (Yinzers do love their fireworks), and of course… to flatulence related to consumption of the Pennsylvania Dutch classic Pork & Sauerkraut dish as is new year’s tradition. So many fart jokes. Some blamed themselves, some blamed their significant others, one even blamed a cat.

I’ll give you a skyquake or guns of the seneca as also unexplained phenomena (that also may be this same exact thing).

I am fascinated by the videos that people shared form their Ring/Blink/Nest/etc. It sounds like the footsteps of Godzilla. (Mad props to Foley artists everywhere!)

I’m also sort of mad that I didn’t notice it. I was apparently at Sheetz at the time. Good to know I will not see any cataclysmic apocalypse coming. I’ll be taken out before I even know what happened.

Thanks to all the credible sources that reported on this and pieced it together. Thanks to the people who shared video. Thanks to the Illumi-nutty for the wild baseless yet endlessly entertaining fart jokes speculation.

If you want to go down the rabbit hole, let me at least turn on the lights…

Then, these… These are the greatest minds of our time speculating:

I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg too.

(To be fair this is the kind of shit I post on local FB groups and Nextdoor.)

Happy New Year!

Marked Safe From Loud Boom in Allegheny County

Get an A-Maze Mug! c[_]


Hey, we talked about it before… No one, not two, but three times.

It’s finally here! Get an A-Maze Mug from Ci3! How cool is that? Each mug comes with a dry-erase marker so you can solve the maze, both in a nifty box covered in mazes!

A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13
A-MAZE MUG by Ci3 & AiXeLsyD13

More cool maze-related merch coming soon. What else would you like to see? Socks? Masks? T-shirts? Books? Puzzles? Mirrors? Tiles?

I haven’t ever done anything to make my mazes available for any kind of sale, so this is exciting to me. What do you think?

I am eternally grateful to Mike Copen for the nudge and the opportunity. It’s so cool for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, & creative types to support each other.

Of course, I think they’d make great gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, or even anyone that may be hard to buy for. Who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage? Solving the maze with the dry erase marker is a good opportunity to kind of zone out in a zen-like state, to help you regain focus to start the day or even decompress at the end of a long day! I know that’s the drive behind drawing them.

These would be great for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, warm apple cider, ramen, or one of my soup recipes.

Please, share the link if you’re so inclined. I’d like to see how far these can go. Thanks in advance if you plan on making a purchase!

Diarrhea & the CDC


With the world plunged into chaos due to COVID-19, it is important to remember other ways to keep safe.

Diarrhea and swimming don't mix!

🏊‍♀️💩🏊‍♂️

Thankfully, the CDC has your back! They also have secured the services of a graphic designer that is nothing short of a hero.

Diarrhea will never not be funny. Well, maybe if you lived at the time of the Oregon Trail it may have not been funny.

Diarrhea makes me laugh. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell jokes make me laugh. Remember the Pizza Hut maze and tweet? Government makes me laugh. Twitter makes me revile in disgust, but also laugh.

I wonder if the government or Yum! Brands will reply?

I once got a proclamation about food allergies from then-Governor Ed Rendell containing the word diarrhea and I was ecstatic.

This was equally exciting.

DON'T SWIM WITH DIARRHEA
🧻🦄🚽

Challenge Accepted.


So, the other day I read a Facebook post from Pittsburgh media personality, Marty Griffin. I think Marty is a great talk show host. He does not tow a party line. He seems to be a man of common sense. His job is to stir the pot and get discussions going. I have no doubt he comes at it from the right place. I believe he sees his function as sparking discussion whether it is an easy or a difficult discussion to have. He is by all accounts a guy that really helps his community with his position and I love how he speaks about his family.

I honestly haven’t listened in a while. I know he riles people up. It’s part of the job. I have heard him say things about food allergies that I considered ignorant, but people are complex and you can’t hold your opinions on them to one single issue. I still follow him on social media.

This was the post;

Message from a friend.
What do you say?

This coronavirus is the strangest virus I’ve ever heard of. It’s very dangerous the way it spreads. It is so mysterious the way it lurks in schools, but then dies at Home Depot. It can wreak havoc in churches; praying people are exceptionally vulnerable! Although it’s Mind-boggling how it vanishes when people stand close together holding signs, destroying businesses, homes, property, monuments, etc. Yet, standing to watch a marathon or a concert triggers its wrath. It is sneaky. It can spread when buying clothes at Kohl’s but not at Target. It is non-alcoholic. It can’t spread when you are buying beer. It lives for two days on Amazon boxes, you must wait 48 hours to touch them but It can’t survive on Dunkin Donuts coffee cups, so enjoying a hot cup of joe is safe. It is the most curious thing, how it lives on basketballs, baseball bats and ballet bars, but dies on WWE ropes and Walmart shopping carts. It is spread by hair stylists, dog groomers, and dentists, but not by bank tellers, cashiers, and fast food workers. It’s so smart. It won’t bother the first 10 people but it knows when the 11th person shows up so be careful if that’s you. It even knows what you want vs what you need. If you want a massage or your nails done it is very actively on the prowl and not even a mask can stop it but If you need a plumber, it is weak, and a mask will keep it away. It also seems to be most dangerous after 5:30pm so businesses must start to close before the virus comes out and wreaks havoc upon the populations. Whoever heard of such a smart sneaky virus?!?😂

~copied, author unknown

It, like many other things I have seen on social media lately, just had me exhausted & exasperated.

I made a comment. Not only should I never read the comments, I should never post a comment. It’s a sickness, I tell you. My comment garnered a request. I am happy to oblige.

Please give examples with proof to back it up.

Rather than rant on FB, and in order collect my thoughts/links, I decided to post it here. I was even going to go to a Spongebob Mocking Text Generator to use that and post the OP sentence by sentence & argue it. But I want to be calm & civil. I want to pass on information that I have read, & maybe explain how I have come to perceive it. I may not be correct. I am not a scientist. I am not a journalist. I am just an asshole that figured out how to set up a WordPress a few years back and posts things for about 3 or 4 people to read occasionally.

None of us know the correct course of action. We could, maybe, use past pandemics as a model. We could, maybe, listen to the advise of experts… from doctors to scientists to statisticians, maybe even teams of the aforementioned. We have been inundated with media (and social media) that contradicts itself every few days.

I believe both the state and federal government failed to take swift decisive action, and they failed miserably to communicate how that action was to be rolled out, or why they made the decisions they did. This is not a political post. Leave your “Trump this” and “Wolfe that” at the door. They both needed to have a quick and concise plan, and that did not happen. I believe that government inaction/incompetence, coupled with the ever-contradicting media rushing to be first to a story (or to sensationalize to garner clicks), and further complicated with the panicked populace using social media as an outlet to voice their fear and frustrations… has built a mounting anxiety of epic proportions.

Proof, or at least validation, as requested for the above paragraph:

That is a long-winded way of putting an explanation behind my perspective. Here we go;

This coronavirus is the strangest virus I’ve ever heard of. It’s very dangerous the way it spreads.

Agreed. Read this article from WebMD: How Does Coronavirus Spread? Boy, we’re off to a good start.

It is so mysterious the way it lurks in schools, but then dies at Home Depot.

Um. It’s in both places, but let’s think about it logically. Did you read the article above about how it spreads? (Or one from the CDC, the WHO, Scientific American, or the Mayo Clinic if you prefer?)

Kids are in school for what? About 6 hours. Most of those kids are on buses to & from. Do you know how close together kids sit on the bus, in classrooms, the cafeteria? Have you ever seen a gym class or a playground? You have to realize its a Petri dish for communicable diseases on a good day, right? Right. Kids, though reminded, aren’t always the best at remembering social distancing or washing their hands.

You are hopefully at Home Depot for about an hour at most. If you need longer than that, ask an associate. They are generally knowledgeable or they can find someone who is. Please be polite though, as this is probably an insurmountably stressful time to be working. Better yet, it’s 2020. Order your stuff online and pickup in store and you’ll be in there 10 minutes tops. Hopefully the adults in the store (remember when they asked 1 person per family & no kids?) are able to remember social distancing (or read the arrows in the aisles or stickers on the floor), wearing masks, adhere to occupancy limits based on keeping customers well-spaced apart, and are good at dutifully washing (or at least sanitizing) their hands.

It’s all about risk. Please see this from the CDC: Deciding to Go Out – Venturing Out? Be Prepared and Stay Safe

This article from KLTV may help: Medical experts rank 36 activities by COVID-19 risk level

Does that make any sense? Going quickly in & out of a place of business while following the social distancing policies recommended by our governor puts you (and everyone you may come into contact with thereafter) at MUCH LESS RISK thank spending all day in close quarters with a large amount of tiny unsanitary people.

If you’re going to say it doesn’t seem to get a hold of children, please see this: ATTENTION PARENTS…. this morning I was notified that Lucas tested positive for COVID (Facebook) …and this: Kids with suspected Covid-related syndrome need immediate attention, doctors say (CNN)

It can wreak havoc in churches; praying people are exceptionally vulnerable!

Gonna go ahead and agree here, although it isn’t the praying that’s worrisome as much as the singing.

Read about how taking deep breaths and singing while packed together tightly is a perfect vehicle in which to spread the virus:

Read multiple accounts of pastors refusing to close churches thus promoting rampant spread:

I don’t even know if I really need to offer my take here. You can find many more examples on Google, and probably even Bing or Yahoo.

Although it’s Mind-boggling how it vanishes when people stand close together holding signs, destroying businesses, homes, property, monuments, etc. Yet, standing to watch a marathon or a concert triggers its wrath. It is sneaky.

What is sneaky here is the slight at the ongoing protests of the Black Lives Matter movement. I won’t get into that here, other than to say a few short things: It’s saying “black lives matter, too.” more than “only black lives matter.” It’s saying “black lives matter now.” Then again, what do I know? I’m a straight white guy who grew up in a sheltered suburb of a still largely segregated city. Listen to 8:46 by Dave Chappelle. If that doesn’t move you emotionally, I don’t know what will. And don’t confuse protesters with rioters and looters. They are diverting attention and skewing the message. Even you, “antifa!” Which by the way, is not an organization or a thing at all, but a philosophy. That philosophy was shred by the United States of America & most of the world when we kicked Hitler’s ass.

Back to the original discussion, and I don’t believe I have to say this. The protests are not organized or sanctioned by your state or local officials. OK, the governor got a great photo op and PR boost, or maybe, just maybe… he valued the ongoing betterment of society over his own personal health & safety? I don’t even know what to say here. No one anywhere gave anyone the OK to protest. The protesters have had enough. They want heard. They want noticed. They want change.

It can spread when buying clothes at Kohl’s but not at Target.

Target sells food and other essential items. Kohl’s does not. What do you need from Kohl’s that you can’t get at Target or Walmart? Don’t say better clothes because in the early stages of the pandemic you were asked to not go anywhere. I don’t think I need to cite a source or proof here. Again, if people were in Target or Walmart wandering around aimlessly instead of shopping “on a mission” to get in and get out as explained above with the case of Home Depot vs. school (and all those links), then that is their own entirely stupid prerogative.

It is non-alcoholic. It can’t spread when you are buying beer.

Actually I believe alcohol kills the virus… so if it was sentient it probably would choose to be non-alcoholic. (That’s washing your hands with it, not drinking it.) If you remember, alcohol sales were shut down entirely, then opened because the government realized that withdrawal symptoms from alcoholism could be deadly. This isn’t a moral debate. Again with risk, getting in & out of the beer store quickly, & your personal feelings on whether it’s a nessecity.

It lives for two days on Amazon boxes, you must wait 48 hours to touch them but It can’t survive on Dunkin Donuts coffee cups, so enjoying a hot cup of joe is safe.

This is where maybe the media is sort-of to blame? They rushed to get the information out. Or was it groups of doctors and scientists publishing studies to quick? Was it the world’s hunger for information? I don’t know. The risk seems to have gone down. Did we wipe-down Amazon boxes or anything else that was delivered at the beginning of the pandemic? You’re damn right we did. Do we now? Not so much, but we discard packaging right away & wash our hands immediately. Why the change? Well, we did this curious thing where we adapted our behaviors based on the best and latest information available. I know that sounds crazy. But it works for us. For some reason, the “experts” as they are, decided that take-out food was low risk. Some still advised to wipe-down and discard packaging. Perhaps the push was because (we can only hope) that food-service employees are trained repeatedly on sanitary practices, so ramping up a bit more to protect them selves and the public may not have been that difficult. Word on the street is that Amazon doesn’t really care about employee health & safety, let alone yours.

I don’t even know how to tie these together:

So, there’s that.

It is the most curious thing, how it lives on basketballs, baseball bats and ballet bars, but dies on WWE ropes and Walmart shopping carts.

It’s not the objects in question, although it can probably live on all of those surfaces… it’s the activity. You are most likely breathing heavily while playing basketball, baseball, or dancing a ballet. Did you read above why that’s bad with choirs? I would guess that also applies here.

The WWE, I believe, is testing all participants involved. Also, they dubiously were classified as essential by the state of Florida. I mean, Florida. I don’t know if I would agree with this, but if they feel they can do it within the guidelines of social distancing and that state is corrupt enough to agree, who am I to stop them?

Yeah. Maybe the WWE doesn’t have the welfare of their people or the general public in mind. I don’t think I would hold them up as a standard-bearer of science, morality, or medical advice.

It is spread by hair stylists, dog groomers, and dentists, but not by bank tellers, cashiers, and fast food workers.

Yes, yes, & yes. No, no, & no.

A hair stylist is in your face for an extended period of time, probably in a ship full of other stylists or barbers in other people’s faces. The dog groomer is all over your dog with their hands… both potentially spreading COVID-19-laced bits of hair airborne. Masks mitigate risk, but not when you aren’t also standing the recommended distance apart. Also, hair stylist work in cash tips. No one wants your filthy cash.

The dentist is literally in your face. That job is disgusting enough without the threat of COVID-19 being spread from patient to dentist or patient to patient. I would say that if the dentist was open, they would handle emergencies & take all of the recommended steps to maintain your safety. I was unaware that dentists were ordered to shut down.

Bank tellers are generally behind a big Plexiglas wall. Most banks were drive-through only for a while anyway, no? Keeping customers apart car-to-car instead of in line in person is half the battle. Cashiers & fast food workers are now behind a big Plexiglas shield. Plus, food is essential, and haircuts are not. I think we covered stores & food already with the requested examples & proof.

As above with us personally lightening up on Amazon packages and the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania going into the green phase, maybe it is time to get back to the stuff. I anticipate a post-Memorial Day & post-protest spike though, so I’m gonna sit back a while.

I will eventually get back to my awesome barber shop, and I sure need it. They will get a big tip and I’ll sanitize the money first.

It won’t bother the first 10 people but it knows when the 11th person shows up so be careful if that’s you.

Social Distancing

Again, it’s all about the exponential spread. There has to be a number to pick. Ten people will spread it to less than eleven. You know how math works, right?

Yes, 10 is an arbitrary number, but there had to be a recommended number.

It even knows what you want vs what you need. If you want a massage or your nails done it is very actively on the prowl and not even a mask can stop it but If you need a plumber, it is weak, and a mask will keep it away.

Facemask/Peeing Meme

What? You want someone, potentially an asymptomatic spreader, putting their hands all over your mostly naked body? Good luck with that. Masks work in conjunction with social distancing. How can we not all agree on that already?

If you need a plumber, it’s probably an emergency. Feces backed up in your house, or a lack of running water may not help with the whole hand-washing thing. If the plumber is willing to come out, it (again) is an acceptable risk. Again… getting a massage or getting your nails done may not be as essential as having a functioning toilet.

Got it?

It also seems to be most dangerous after 5:30pm so businesses must start to close before the virus comes out and wreaks havoc upon the populations.

Aren’t you snarky?

Stores close early or open late to limit their employee’s exposure to the general public (some of whom erroneously believe their liberty is being threatened while they are asked to follow some pretty simple social distancing guidelines for the time being to promote the improved health of everyone), and to give the employees (or contracted specialty cleaning crews) a chance to sanitize the stores from top to bottom before the next day, all without extending the essential workers’ (who are are probably under inordinate amounts of stress) shifts.

A lot of these same stores offer early hours to the most vulnerable groups of the population.

Does that clear that up?

Whoever heard of such a smart sneaky virus?!?😂

By now, we all have. Hopefully, anyway. Although, a lot of us don’t seem to understand it yet, including the experts. Hopefully we get a treatment or a vaccination soon.

Have you heard of it now?

~copied, author unknown

Of course.

But to the commenter on my comment, I hope I did provide enough examples with proof to back things up for you. I hope you weren’t looking for anecdotal evidence. I hope I opened up your mind a bit. Maybe we can learn from each other. I am just looking to keep my family and myself safe during all this. That extends to friends and co-workers and yes, the general public. It would be nice if we could all stick to a plan.

Avoid it like the plague.

So, I set up a living room rig. 🎸


This morning I felt like playing the guitar. I didn’t feel like jamming in the basement by my work bench where all my stuff is set up. I didn’t bring up the Laney 2×12 or the Orange Micro Terror. I brought out the Fender Blues Jr. & a Yamaha MSR100 powered speaker so I could run my new DigiTech Trio into two different outputs.

The Trio was a birthday present from my wife. It was on backorder from Sweetwater for a while & we have been really busy so this was my first chance to try it out.  I set it up like this…

Living Room Rig Setup

It started out as a pile of stuff in the corner.  Then I remembered that I had an old RCA-Victor TV cabinet in the garage purchased from our house’s previous owner that I thought about turning into an amp someday.  The Blues Jr. fit where the TV went, and the Yamaha PA fit underneath where the speaker grille is.

Then I had a cabinet and I pile of pedals.  So, I cut up a milk crate and made a goofy pedal board with a Donner power supply & some zip ties.  The “board” fits inside the cabinet with the blues Jr. too.  It was a morning long project but it felt good to get it done & know I can jam a lot more easily.  It may be tricky if I just want to use the Trio & some headphones.

I do have a Dirt & Ernie pedal & an A/B/Y that I use to run the Jr. & Micro Terror at the same time.  Maybe a board extension will eventually be in order?  How cool would it be if the doors came off & were the pedalboard?

Oh well.  Enough monkeying.  Time to jam.

I will eventually have to give a serious(?) evaluation of the Trio.  I do already know I want a looper now.  Ha ha.  It was pretty intuitive & loads of right out of the box.  My 4 year old told me to turn it down right away, so it had to be cool.  Right?

 

Monkeying with the DigiTech Trio:

I apologize for the “living room while the wife and kids are home” volume, and the Crocs.

 

My little dude seemed to like the idea.  He has all the moves down.  Maybe some day he will want to play too!

Do you have a living room, bedroom, or other small setup rig?  Share some in the comments!  Any thoughts on any of this equipment?  Any tips for the Trio?  You can comment below here at the blog with WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, or a Gravatar login.

At my signal, unleash a $3 VHS cassette.


So, browsing one of the local flea-market/yard-sale type groups on Facebook, I discovered this post…

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

Gladiator on VHS for sale. Only $3.00 American!

As you can imagine because I’m blogging about it, many questions came to mind.  It’s hard to even know where to begin.

We’ll start with the obvious.  Who would pay $3 for a VHS cassette of any movie, let alone this movie?  I mean Gladiator was a good film… but here is a shortlist of better values available online…

This is just for physical media.  I didn’t even look into streaming.  I get that not everyone is set up to stream and that some people (myself included) like to put their hands on physical tangible media.

Who has a working VCR?  OK.  I do, but I’m odd.  It’s a VCR/DVD-recorder, and someday I will transfer all of my VHS tapes to DVD (which is already a dead format).  Who is still watching video tapes?  I mean, watching the old 4:3 aspect ratio drives me nuts these days.

The other side of this… who goes through their stuff, decides they can part with this, and assigns a $3 value to it?  I mean, I could see if this was a collector’s item.  I have Star Wars on VHS and I’ll probably have it forever, but The Gladiator?   Sure, it was a good movie… but not that good. Why were they even still making video tapes in the year 2000?

What do you need that badly that costs $3?  This wouldn’t be worth the gas money or the bus fair to meet someone to make the sale.

I have been strapped for cash, but never would think to list what essentially amounts to garbage for a negligible value on a Facebook flea market group.  If this sells, I really have a lot of stuff that I need to be listing for under $5 amounts.