Friday Free-for-All #86: Brand, BOGO, hotdog, impressive, vacation

More random questions, including the most impressive thing I think I can do, and more.

Friday Free for All

Here’s the next in an ongoing series in which I answer random questions generated by a website. Here are this week’s questions. Feel free to give your own answers or ask your own questions in the comments.

First think of a product. Now, what would be the absolute worst brand name for one of those products?

Oh, so many come to mind, and there have been so many bad brand names IRL too, like the infamous moist towelette Pocket Wetty. While the name isn’t exactly inaccurate, it’s unpleasant in its implications. Plus it still makes you think “moist” either way.

Here are some of my ideas, in alphabetical order:

Baby Wipes: ShitBeGone

Birth Control Pill: Egg Beaters

Cat Litter: Stank Box

Caulk: Stuff-ma-Crack

Chainsaw: Woes-Away!

Condoms: KnockBlock

Dentures: Your Little Secret

Hemorrhoid Cream: Anti-Painus

House Paint: Upsellophane

Microwave Ovens: Fire and Ice

Prescription Lenses: Monopttix (Click that link for the real story of how it’s true.)

Refrigerator/Freezer: Hotpoint. (Oh, wait. This one is real.)

Tires: Road Rubbers

Toilet Paper: Finger Defender

Toilet: Das Dumpster

Vibrator: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cock®

What would be the worst “buy one get one free” sale of all time?

Well, in the case that it actually applied, coffins — which you can buy retail at Costco, of all places. But this does mean that you’ve got two dead relatives to bury at once, so good on you for the savings, but really sorry for your loss.

Other than that — a colonoscopy is probably pretty high on the list, unless you have a really good friend who wants to go in halvsies with you.

“Root canal” is another top choice. I mean, it’s bad enough if you need one, and bravo if you need two but only pay for one… I guess?

Other winners: A CRT TV that only receives over-air broadcasts but also doesn’t come with an HD adaptor box.

A VCR player/recorder with no tapes included and no HD/VGA input/output.

An 8-track player — unless you’re an old school radio DJ with their own studio and a lot of “carts” still hanging around, in which case knock yourself out.

Floppy disks, in any size from 8 inch to 3.5. Even in 500 packs at 1/10th a cent per disc — bad deal. I mean, what are you going to stick them into? And how much can you store on them? The 8 inch disks held a whopping 80K. Meanwhile, 5.25 inch floppies started at 100 kB, eventually expanding to 1.2 mB.  3 inch floppies topped out at 1.44 mB.

But, by this point, digital media blew these other formats away, with Zip discs reaching capacities of 750 mB, but being quickly overtaken by CD-RW for one simple reason. Zip discs used serial access.

That is, if you wanted to find data point X within a series, a Zip disc started literally at zero and searched until it found the string. This was exactly how the I/O systems on the earliest home computers worked, and it was slower than shit.

And then CDs came along and exploited something that hard drives had been using for a while: Random access. Enter a string to search for, and instead of starting at zero, the algorithm would follow a path of most recent/most likely locations, as well as taking advantage of the operating system having indexed the entire hard drive or disk drive in the first place.

It was a necessary flex, really, because by this point the amounts of data on storage devices were so enormous that older devices could not have handled it at all.

So, anyway, unless you’re a collector of computer memorabilia, getting a BOGO offer on any piece of ancient tech is really no special offer at all.

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

Oh, hell no. Just like putting pineapple on a pizza destroys its inherent pizza-ness completely. A hot dog is not a sandwich because it is not individual pieces of meat, toppings, condiments, veggies, etc., put between two slices of bread.

Nope. A hotdog is a skin stuffed with all kinds of offal, include pig lips, snouts, anuses, and other bits that don’t get sold over the counter. This is then slapped into a bun that isn’t totally split, or, in other words, a white people’s “taco.”

A burger is a sandwich because it starts out with aforementioned meat — a hamburger patty — which is then put between two slices of bread/bun, with things like lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and possibly onion rings also included.

Meanwhile, a hotdog is just a steamed sack of pig offal slapped into an uncut bun and maybe slathered in ketchup, mustard, onions and, if you’re a goddamn Philistine, chili.

But it is still not and will never be a sandwich. It’s a BBQ abomination on failed bread.

What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?

It pretty much has to be my ability to sit down at the piano (or any keyboard instrument) and just start playing my ass off by improvising a tune. I attribute this to my having been exposed to music theory very early on in life, along with having studied the classics at the time when most of my peers were listening to shitty pop/rock.

And the thing that I seem to never notice or appreciate is that when I start doing this I also start drawing an audience like moths to a porch light, and maybe it’s just my introversion or insecurity, but I often fail to realize that these people are staring because they are just in awe of what I’m doing.

But I’m not in awe at all of doing it because, well, I just do it. I’ve done it since I was like seven years old. Before the plague, I discovered that there was (is?) a piano in Union Station in downtown L.A. that is open to the public to play, and several times when I’ve been in transit, I’ve made it a point to sit down and improvise away.

Every single time, I’ve wound up with someone leaning on the back of the piano staring and, unfortunately my inclination has always been to think, “Oh, shit… they want to play, don’t they?”

I’ve been wrong every single time, and more than a few times have been asked things like, “Who wrote that?” or “What was that?” And I’ve felt really embarrassed to answer things like, “I did,” or “I don’t know, I just made it up.”

But, anyway… while I never would have thought so, according to other people, this is apparently my most amazing talent. Well, at least the one that involves an expensive instrument and not just human bodies, but that’s not what you asked.

What’s your favorite vacation memory from when you were a child?

Easy. I think I was either 11 or 13, on one of cross-country treks from California to Pennsylvania by car to visit my mom’s family. (We only did it three times, when I was 11, 13, and 15, but I know that this one was before the last one.)

Anyway, I’m guessing that I was 13 and we were staying in a Holiday Inn in Cleveland for the night. It was a hot and muggy Ohio summer, so I spent most of the evening in the pool, where I met a guy my age, Ray, and his cousin, and we bonded.

They were from Louisiana and were fascinated by me being from California. He also mentioned that his nickname was “Coon” (as in Raycoon/racoon) but was also really sensitive over that being totally racist and apologized for it, and while I didn’t get it at the time, I understand it now.

He also asked whether I’d been to a nude beach in California, which I had not, and which were not really as common as people outside of the state thought, and at least I didn’t lie and say that I had.

But it was really the first time that I met someone from way outside of my own life experience and yet still understood them. So he and I and his (maybe) cousin hung out until it got really late, my family and I moved on in the morning from Cleveland to the dive through the rest of the boredom in that state until we hit Pennsylvania and the home stretch.

But I always have wondered whatever happened to Raycoon.

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