Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kroger bacon update

Yeah, I took a week off. You get what you pay for around here. Just like the Kroger Value Bacon. 

You remember the whole Kroger bacon fiasco, don't you? I thought I made a pretty persuasive argument for their having cheated me on the meat portion of my package of bacon. Turns out, I was wrong. Here's the letter I received from Sara, my Kroger Customer Connect ambassador, who apparently followed the link in my complaint and read my post about my Kroger bacon experience.

Dear Valued Customer:
Thank you for contacting Kroger Customer Connect. I received your email regarding our Value Bacon. I am so sorry to hear that there were a few nice slices concealing fattier pieces. I assure you this was not done intentionally, and I appreciate that you have brought this to my attention. It is our goal to provide every customer with products and experiences that make them want to return to our stores. I'm so sorry to hear that our Value Bacon has missed that mark in this instance. I have forwarded your comments to our Quality Assurance team on your behalf, so that they may use your observations to make changes that will better your experience with our products in the future. It is my hope that the next time you purchase this product you notice marked improvement. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address your concerns, and thank you for your patronage; have a wonderful day.

I hope that you find this information helpful. My name is Sara and if I can be of further assistance, please simply respond to this email or call 1-800-576-4377.
Thank you for shopping with us.
SaraKroger Customer Connect The Kroger Family of Stores 

Sara is almost as adept at hiding meaning in her words as someone else at Kroger is at hiding the bacon. While she claims to admit -- probably due to my irrefutable photographic evidence -- that the "nice slices [concealed] fattier pieces," she denies that someone purposefully put partial pieces of bacon meat on top so they would show through the little window.

What was I thinking? Of course they wouldn't. I mean ... they didn't try to fool me. I'm obviously paranoid. They simply "missed that mark." I just happened to get the one unfortunate random package of nasty bacon hidden under 3 pieced together slices of bacon meat. My bad!

What's funny is that she thinks her words are so comforting and reassuring that I will go back to Kroger and buy that shitty bacon again .... because she's going to forward my letter to somebody who will make sure they don't hide the fat again, because they didn't do it on purpose in the first place.

If I were to reply to Sara, I would remind her that I don't fucking trust them now. So why would I trust that my one little blog post would create change in what is undoubtedly a systemic plot to rip off bacon-lovers everywhere?

The only way I would bring that bacon home again is if she gave it to me for free. She didn't dare do that though. I suspect that's because it would have been a Groundhog Day experience.

I should be happy she wished me a wonderful day, I guess.


Two days after Sara emailed me, I received another email from The Kroger Family of Stores. At least I think it was meant for me. It came to my email address. It's hard to tell whom it was meant for though. Here it is.

Dear {address.full_name is NULL},
Thank you for contacting Kroger Customer Connect. In order to improve your experience, you are invited to participate in a brief customer satisfaction survey. 
This survey is designed to measure your customer experience with us; if you would like to participate, please click here
Thank you, 
Kroger Customer ConnectThe Kroger Family of Stores

I guess that would be me. "NULL." Sounds pretty close to Reticula, right? Null. That really encourages me to give them high marks for cheating me on my bacon, calling me a liar, and then calling me a zero.

Kroger, this experience was so fantastic I want to shake my poms poms for you. I might even jump up and show everybody my panties and then do the splits. Rah! Rah!

All I can say is that Kroger met my expectations, which were lower than the lean meat content of that package of bacon.

I did my shopping at Aldi yesterday. Doesn't mean I'll never go to Kroger, because it's the most convenient store to me. But when I can, I'll spend my dollars elsewhere .... especially my bacon dollars. Especially all of my bacon dollars.

This has been another whiny blog post by NULL. Over and out.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Is that an electric eel in your pants or .....

Here's a product I find rather shocking. If I understand the video right, these guys learned about a challenge issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for someone to design a sexier condom, a "next generation condom."A condom that men would want to wear. They're willing to pay $1 million to the winner.

Go, Bill and Melinda! I would give anything to have so much money I could afford to offer a million bucks to someone for designing a fucking condom. I mean it.

So the first thing these guys thought of was running electrified thread through a condom. You know ..... because the reason men don't like to wear condoms is because normal condoms don't shock their dicks.

They don't share the results of their tests of this electrified condom, but I have a theory about it. See, men usually wear condoms to have sex with women. And I'm guessing most women don't want an electric cock shocking up there inside her vagina during sex. I had the irresistible urge to cross my legs just writing that. Not all women would, of course. Somebody inevitably would like an electrified wiener. Every kink has a kinkster. But most women won't find the whole electric shock therapy for the genitals an improvement over a plain condom. Because while men complain that condoms dull their experience, I'm guessing most women don't like to plug their vaginas into the AC.

Probably the same goes for gay men and their sensitive interior cavities. A man should always ask before he electrifies his partner's ass.

So .... from what I understand the design changed and now the electric penis shocker Electric Eel is more like a remote-controlled penis-shocking hoodie. A garment that is certainly not designed to enter a vagina -- any more than an eel is. (No jokes about fishy smells please.) A garment that probably doesn't do anything to encourage men to put jackets on their penises, but was approved, according to the inventors, by "various sexes."

The video shows one of those various sexes -- I would call him male -- experiencing the electric shocks to the underside of his penis. At least that's the implication. We don't get to actually see his hoodie-wearing penis, which is probably crimson with shame and glad for the hoodie. We just see his face as somebody jolts him with a few random volts over and over.

Charging! Clear!  beep beep beep beep

Let's go back to the original challenge. The Gates Foundation wants a condom that doesn't interfere with men's sexual pleasure. So these guys think electrifying the condom will give a guy the feel of a real vagina?

That's flattering I suppose, but powerful as vaginas are, they don't work by electrocuting men's penises. How would women even take baths if that were the case?

And a hoodie definitely isn't an improvement over a condom. That's just stupid.

Maybe I'm not meant to get this. For $350 an interested investor could have purchased a hand-made Electric Eel through the Indigogo campaign. Unfortunately they only raised $1750 of the $10,000 they wanted to raise, and only 2 people purchased the hand-made Electric Eel. I can't say I'm surprised.

First, this is what an electric eel actually looks like. I can speak for all women except that one exception and say that no woman wants an electric eel in her vagina giving off even low-voltage shocks. This is not sexy -- even in a hoodie. Especially in a hoodie.

And second, why spend $350 when you can get the same effect from putting on a pair of wool socks, shuffling your feet on the carpet and getting a static electric shock from the top of your dog's head or a filing cabinet or even a real live woman?

Or maybe just buy one of those trick hand-buzzers and rock onto Electric Avenue. I know more women who would be willing to put that buzzer on and shock the monkey.

I dunno. I'm not surprised this one didn't get the money. There's such a thing as trying too hard.

And then there's such a thing as trying to make an electric eel condom. That's in an entirely different category of "You're not Bill Gates. You should have stayed in school."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stop fakin' my bacon

I have a bone to pick. OK, maybe not a bone, because bacon doesn't have a bone. But I'm pissed off, and the thing I'm pissed off about is bacon.

I'm a fan of bacon. I won't go so far as to say my identity is wrapped up in the love of bacon like some people claim theirs is, but I like some tasty, lean bacon. The adjectives are important there.

I grew up in Iowa. Lots of filthy, vicious pigs also grow up in Iowa, and then they become bacon. Some years when I was a kid we made our own bacon and hams. Dad charged us older kids with rubbing the salt into the raw pork until the skin peeled off our hands and the burning became unbearable. It was worth every bit of pain after the meat had cured, and Mom had fried it up in her old cast iron skillet. That level of bacon is not available at the grocery store.

My friend Piano Man makes his own bacon for a big birthday bash he throws every year. It is a religious experience, the taste of this bacon. His bacon is real meat, not fat with a bit of lean meat painted on. It tastes like home, this bacon.

I really do know good bacon, and most of what is available at the grocery store is not what I would consider good bacon. It's OK bacon, if that's all you've got to eat, but a lot of it is more than 50% fat. Some more than 75%. It's disgusting. Like the difference between Wonder Bread and homemade whole-grain artisan bread fresh from the oven. Or the difference between Chips Ahoy cookies eaten with a Capri Sun and a pan of Toll House cookies, hot and fresh, eaten with a glass of cold milk.

But, hey. I'm too lazy to make my own bacon, so I buy what I can tolerate. I sometimes spend 15-20 minutes pulling open the little cardboard windows on the various brands of bacon, looking for a package that's lean enough to be called meat, and I almost always buy the high-end bacon simply because it's leaner than the cheap shit.

So I was surprised when I opened the little window on a package of cheap Kroger-brand bacon and saw how lean it was. I was even a little suspicious, so I pulled the window out and peeked down the length of the slices. It was lean all the way down. Good deal! I bought it.

And I was still pleasantly surprised when I opened it to fry up for brunch when my son Drake and his roommate K were here. I pulled off the first piece and found out it wasn't really a piece. It was half a piece .... but that's OK. The other half was apparently there. Same with the second slice: 2 halves. And the third.

I didn't give a shit if the entire package came in half slices. It was lovely and lean.

Then I got to the fourth slice, which happened to be whole. And looked like this.

Not so much lean meat there. In fact, the entire rest of the package was mostly slices of fat. Somebody had taken the time to put the lean parts of cheater slices under the window to hide what made up the bulk of the pound of bacon.

Thanks a lot, Kroger. You just lost a bacon customer. Not an entire customer, because where else am I going to shop? But I will never buy your bacon again. Fool me once, I'll post about you on my fucking blog. You don't get a second chance.

I am so fucking sick of people trying to rip me off with stupid ploys like this. Did they think I wouldn't notice all that fat? Did they think I wouldn't notice those first 3 slices of bacon weren't whole slices? Is it worth all this to sell me just one pound of bacon, when I could conceivably buy 2 or 3 pounds a month if the product lived up to the promise under the little window? Why is the second pound I might purchase not as important as the first?

It's short sighted and deceptive and mean. I wish I could take my business to another market, but the fact is, I can't afford the up-scale grocery stores out in the suburbs. And besides, there's no guarantee they're any less deceptive.

I am going to join a CSA this summer, and buy whatever fresh vegetables I don't grow myself from a Marianist coop just a few blocks away. That's $400 for 4 months of weekly deliveries of whatever is in season. And that's more than $400 I won't be spending at Kroger. But I will be supporting a group of friendly young people who work their asses off in their gardens, and who have to care about the quality of their products or they won't survive. I wrote about buying produce from them last year here.

I also buy raw milk and farm eggs every 2 weeks in a coop. Coraline loves to drive with me the hour or so it takes to get to the farm and meet the cows. Every time I pour her a glass of milk she says, "Thank you for this milk, cows. I love you."

When it comes to eating out, I rarely go to a chain restaurant. Only if somebody else makes the plans and insists. Otherwise, I eat at places where I know the owner or know the owner lives in town and runs the business. I might pay a little more, but I eat a whole lot better.

I recognize that I'm privileged. This is not poverty-level food. I can afford to pay $5/gallon for my milk and $2.50/dozen for my eggs, and I can pay ahead for my CSA, because I only have to buy food for myself. And I consider myself lucky to live in the city, because I save money by living here, and I've actually found more opportunities to buy local.

OK, I went off on a rant. Not the first time; not the last. That bacon just pissed me off. It represents every corporation that wants to take my money without giving me the product I was promised. It represents how little they care whether I'll buy their product again, because they'll just fool the next 200 people who buy their brand of bacon this week.

And it pisses me off because those first 3 cobbled together slices of bacon really made me want some good lean bacon .... an entire pound of lean bacon. It's not right, to cheat like that. Especially with something as delicious as bacon. Only an asshole would conceive of that.

So I'm considering buying a slab of pork belly from a local butcher and making my own damn bacon from now on. Kroger can go fuck themselves on one more product I used to buy from them. First milk, then eggs, then fresh vegetables, and now bacon.

The moral is this: I don't care what you do to the pig, but do not fuck with my bacon, fatheads. Do not fuck with my bacon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool

Consider this my April Fool's Day post. I was just joking when I didn't post last night.

No, really I'm sick, and all I had energy for yesterday was teaching teenagers and my evening with my 2-year-old granddaughter Coraline, which lasted until almost midnight. I actually feel worse today, so here are my terribly random, foolish thoughts.


In spite of my 3 days of failure last month, I'm trying to decide whether to make a commitment to writing every day in April. The jury in my head is still out. On the one hand, I write more and that's always good. On the other hand, I need more sleep. I guess if there's a post here every day, the decision has been made.


My junior class didn't show up for class yesterday. The bell rang; the seniors left; the juniors across the hall went into their classroom. I sat alone in my classroom .... waiting. I shuffled some papers, looked out the window, drank some water, considered a 30-second power nap. No students. Finally as my co-teacher was closing her door, I walked over to my door and asked if she knew why my students weren't coming to class. I felt, I have to admit, somewhat bereft

She just laughed and looked down the hallway. I stepped out and there on the stairwell were all 19 of my students, being quieter than I've ever seen them. We all laughed pretty hard at their trick, and then I laughed again 10 minutes later when I remembered it was April Fool's Day. Did I mention I'm sick?

When I told my daughter Elvira about it, she said, "Were they late to class then?"

I said, "Probably some of them were. Maybe all. I don't think I went looking until the second bell rang."

"They're lucky you're the teacher they pulled that on then," she said.

"Why?" I asked. "Who wouldn't think that was funny? It's a creative writing class. They were being creative."

"Because at least half of my high school teachers would have sent the entire class to detention for that little stunt," she said. "They must trust that you wouldn't."

"The thought never crossed my mind," I said. "Who wants to be an asshole like that? No wonder you hated some of your teachers."
I've gone over that conversation several times. I don't understand those teachers who would punish an entire class for an April Fool's joke. But I have to imagine that they would think the kids were trying to put one over on them by wasting class time? Or that they were usurping some authority? I don't know how those teachers think. I do know life is too damn short to treat kids that way, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next year.


I had to miss karaoke tonight. Even with drugs, I couldn't get off the couch except to fix food. I hate missing karaoke. First because every night is different, and I'm afraid I'll miss something interesting, like last week when a guy thought he was going to get a 3-way with his wife and me. He was so wrong. But that's another story.

The second reason I hate missing karaoke is because I've gone 11 weeks in a row, according to Foursquare, and I wanted to continue my streak. I was tempted to lie. Karaoke is close enough to my house to come up on the list of possibilities. I could just check in anyway .... but I didn't. I'm a fucking Pollyanna, I am.

Have you ever lied on Foursquare?


Since I turned off my internet, which I haven't missed one tiny bit so fuck you TWC, I've been on a House of Cards marathon ... if a marathon can last for several weeks. And I've come to a decision. 

My new alter ego is going to be Claire Underwood. I know I'll never be a tiny, fit blonde woman with a pixie (do they still call short haircuts pixies?) who runs for miles and can wear 4" heels for 17 hours without limping or slipping them off under the table, but I'm sure some version of that woman lives inside me ready to out-maneuver anybody who tries to fuck with me or the Vice President of the United States.

So if the temperature drops to below freezing when you're with me, you'll know this hot-blooded redhead just went Claire Underwood on somebody. Put on your hat and mittens.Liquid nitrogen is a soak in the hot tub compared to Claire Underwood and me.


A student was caught on camera and suspended for receiving a blow job in the stair well. It's not my job to judge my students' personal lives, only their writing. However, in spite of the stunning notoriety he will receive in addition to that blow job, I do think he was a fool to get caught. And because he got caught, he deserves every zero he gets. Some lessons learned in school have nothing to do with academics.


Finally, one of the requirements for all of my students this quarter is that they submit a piece of writing somewhere. A large part of my junior class plans to submit to a local literary magazine -- a freebie that comes out a couple of times a year. Most of them are excited about it.

When I contacted the publisher, who used to teach at the same school and who is a personal acquaintance, to get some back issues, she said she expected me to submit too. I hadn't really thought about it, but I agreed that she was right.

(And then I immediately fell into the pit of insecurity that surrounds every writer and thought, What if a student, or students, gets an acceptance email and I get a rejection? What then? And my response, as I climbed up out of that fucking pit once more, was, I'll be
proud as hell, that's what. Every teacher should want her students to surpass her, and I certainly do.

That doesn't mean I want a fucking rejection email just so I can put my largess to the test though. I'm not that free of ego, nor will I ever be.

So now I'm down to the deadline, which is Friday at midnight, and I have no idea what I want to submit. They accept any genre, but they especially want nonfiction, which is mostly what I write these days. I'm sure I can send something I've posted here, but the fact is, I've been functioning barely above the minimum this week.

The piece should probably be G-PG, because they take submissions from all ages. That should narrow my writing down to almost zero, right?

Help me out here. Have you read anything here you think might work? Something that's not about vaginas? (Or maybe, since I can send 3 pieces, I should try to sneak in a vagina piece?) What do you think?