Apr 222014

Chobani Blueberry PowerI’ve publicly announced my love of the Chobani Blueberry Power Flip yogurt in the past. You can imagine my confusion when I bought some this week only to find that they’d replaced the hemp seeds with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I started to wonder about the reason for the substitution. So I did what any person with a burning and important question does these days. I googled it!

This quickly revealed the reason for my loss: The Air Force! Yes, just because the United States Air Force is worried about trace amounts of THC, Chobani voluntarily removed hemp seeds from their Blueberry Flip yogurt. According to the Air Force, the number of active duty members is somewhere around 327,000. The US Census approximates the number of US residents at nearly 318,000,000. So, Chobani has decided that one one-thousandth of the US population gets to decide what the rest of us can or can’t have in our yogurt.

Thanks, Air Force!

 Posted by on April 22, 2014 at 5:11 pm
Apr 222014

I’ve had a Hyundai Elantra for nearly three years now. Last week, I posted a picture to Twitter of my first flat tire in that car. We were headed out of town for the weekend, so I left it until this past Sunday.

We arrived home in the late afternoon and after unpacking, I pulled out the owner’s manual for the car to read through the flat tire repair instructions just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. I noticed two sections: Spare Tire and Tire Mobility Kit. “Tire Mobility Kit?”, I scoffed. “I don’t need to look at that section. I don’t even know what that is!”. Well, I should’ve paid more attention when I bought the car because, I do, in fact, own a Tire Mobility Kit and not the familiar donut. A tire mobility kit, dear reader, is apparently the new car manufacturer favorite alternative to an actual spare tire. It’s a sealant canister (aka Fix-a-flat) and an air compressor that plugs into the car’s power adapter (formerly cigarette lighter). This post from Edmund’s in January 2013 discusses the trend.

This is all well and good, but I have several issues with this. First, it wasn’t made clear to me when I bought the car. Second, Hyundai charges $50 for a replacement sealant canister (they’re only good once) and they charge $399 for a Spare Tire Kit which is more than three times the cost of a new tire, $127. Third, there seems to be some debate, but as the Edmund’s article points out, the sealant can’t always fix the tire and it may ruin your chances of patching the tire at all. The dealership sure didn’t seem too interested in patching the tire once the sealant was in there. On top of that, they pointed out that my new tire has a two year warranty and road hazard coverage. Given the economics, I’ve decided to do what the majority of drivers already do which is just call for roadside assistance if I get a flat. It’s certainly cheaper if you factor in the alternatives of $400 for a spare or $177  (new sealant canister plus a new tire) every time you get a flat. My insurance company charges a negligible amount more for Roadside Assistance on my policy for both cars.

This post’s title comes from the Hyundai cashier as I lamented the lack of a spare tire in the car. “I guess it’s a sign of the times.”


 Posted by on April 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm
Dec 212007

Two things cropped up today and I think they tie together nicely. I’ve got plenty of immediate concerns to worry about, but these are two “big picture” items.

First, Sean, linked I Am Not Afraid from Downsize DC this morning. I completely agree that the Bush administration and the GOP in particular have used fear of another terrorist attack as the reasoning for doing all sorts of ill-advised, bone-headed and criminal things over the past 6 years. However, I don’t want to blindly endorse another push to downsize the government. There’s no doubt that bureaucracies are bloated with waste, but we can’t use the method employed by the current administration to kill it off, namely incompetence and privatization. I’m still baffled as to how I’m drawn into left and right, us and them arguments with friends and co-workers whose viewpoints I have a lot more in common with than somebody like George W. Bush. We’re arguing with the wrong people and about the wrong things.

The second, somewhat related, news item is the death of Nataline Sarkisyan. Jason Calacanis is all over this with posts to his own blog and Mahalo. Speaking of bloated bureaucracies, if it turns out that hers was a legitimate case for a transplant, one was available and she died because of wrangling from Cigna, then this case will be a rallying cry for everyone who’s ever had to deal with the crap that health insurance companies can dish out. This is exactly the sort of thing that illustrates how all of the free market whackjobs need to STFU. Some things can’t be evaluated on their profit potential and if that’s the sole criterion, then you end up with a dead 17-year-old who could and should have been saved. How does fear play into this? I fear that one day; I might have to face a similar situation with my own children.

[tags]fear, terrorism, healthcare, natalinesarkisyan, bureaucracy, policy, failed[/tags]

 Posted by on December 21, 2007 at 3:53 pm
May 012006

Crowded H-E-B, Oltorf and Congress, 5pm yesterday.
I choose the only “20 Items or Less” line because there’s only one person in front of me, a woman in her 20’s, fairly cute. Since the other lines were longer, I’m wondering if the 20 items limit is too much work for people or if it’s an odd number to choose as a cut off, maybe most people have less than 10 or more than 20 items. I think this is the first time I’ve noticed a “20 Items or Less” line.

As I start to unload our items from the cart to the conveyor, noting that we’re safely under 20 items, I realize that she’s over the 20 item limit. Way over. It’s really easy to tell since there’s a monitor over the conveyor showing us all how many items have been scanned. It numbers them. As the total reaches into the thirties, the checkout woman pauses and asks if the rest of the items belong to the woman. She replies that they’re hers and the clerk continues to check her out, the total eventually reaching 42 items. I would’ve cut her some slack until 25, but anything over that, there’s one of three things going on: you’re an inconsiderate asshole, you can’t read, or you can’t count. Instead of saying something, which I should’ve done, I kept quiet and vented to The Boy on the way out to the car, pointing out that there’s a reason why he needs to learn how to count, read, and not be a jerk.

What would you have done? Public humiliation? Snide comment? Death penalty?

Update: Apparently, Stepan had a similar experience a few hours before at one of them newfangled self-checkout H-E-Bs.

[tags]heb, checkout, grocery, rant[/tags]

 Posted by on May 1, 2006 at 11:20 am