Today's post is focused on mysteries. I was assured in 1977 in fifth grade that after the Bronze, Iron, Middle, Center Forward, Industrial, and Light Cream Cheese Ages we now live in the Information Age. And while I may be wrong about one or more of those, I do clearly remember the poster that displayed a mosaic of laser light rays, a floating astronaut, a blinking computer panel, a fiber optic lamp, some plastic vomit and several other Spencer Gift items with big bold OCR Font lettering that read "Today's Information Age."
Since this memory is at least as reliable as Wikipedia, it must be true.
However, even with the vast resources of Wikipedia where we can get a western view of trash, some mysteries remain. I hereby present mine and hope that you, gentle blogee (I blog, you blogee) will be able to help me.
Mystery Number 5: Ramen Noodle Packages
There is no doubt that Ramen Noodles present several mysteries such as why the store across the street can try to sell them for $1 per package, when the store down the street sells them 7 for $1.
But, the real question is why do they continue to suggest on the label things that you might add? According to the package, they want me to get a pot for boiling water. Then they suggest some carrots, turnips, pork and/or chicken, which I am to obtain, cook, and slice, with, presumably, some kind of sharp instrument, on what? A flat surface of some kind? Huh?
The last time I ate Ramen I was living on $5 a day in Prague in a concrete apartment house with no curtains. I was unshaven, wearing torn sweat pants, my dining table a mattress with Sponge Bob Squarepants knock-off sheets and all the flat surfaces in my house were either the floor, or well, the floor. I was going to be putting a bowl of noodles and water in the microwave for 30 minutes, tearing open the "flavor packet" with my teeth and then mixing the two with my finger. If I could eat them in the hardened form right from the plastic wrap, I would.
So why print instructions to make the noodles taste like anything other than salty goo with hints of chickens run through an industrial sized automatic transmission when as a noodle eater, I don't have the cash? And, seriously, what's wrong with that taste?
Mystery Number 4: The New York Burrito
It is an open secret that all the best restaurants in New York have their stoves manned chiefly by Mexicans. Whether the meal is French, Japanese or Ethiopian, the line cooks come from south of the border.
But in New York, you can't get a decent burrito. In fact, the leading chain proudly proclaims that they use brown rice, no lard and no pork products. No pork? What's that going to taste like? Packing peanuts with brown rice, that's what. What addled brain decided that a burrito is supposed to be health food?
In San Francisco, a burrito is as much bad stuff as you can jam in a drumhead sized taco shell. In SF, even a cart guy makes a delicious burrito. Drive him 2,500 miles to Manhattan, and he can cook confit de canard, but not a tortilla. Explain this to me.
Mystery Number 3: Paris Hilton
The last person this famous for nothing was Grace Jones and at least she could wear an upside-down, triangle-shaped outfit. There are many people prettier or sluttier or stupider or richer. A variety of them are on MTV right now.
Celebrity has always been the touchstone by which we communicate ideas. For Homer, it was the pre-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter Ulysses, for Machiavelli the Trump-like Borges, and for us, Paris? Really? Really??
Mystery Number 2: Ice Cube Tray Thing
This is more of a personal mystery. Here you see a photo of the ice cube tray in my refrigerator. When I put in a fresh batch of water filled trays, one of the cubes forms with a mysterious stalagmite sticking out of it.
I am not using any trick photography or non-standard cube making apparati. Yet this happens every time. And moreover, when I've shown my friends and family, they simply haven't seemed to care enough to even guess the cause. What's up with that?
Mystery Number 1
This mystery was going to be: why does my car have a speedometer that goes to 160 mph? When and where and how am I going that fast? Short of shotting my VW into orbit, it really seems like they are encouraging me to break the laws of the land and physics.
But a bigger mystery presented itself: how did I post this blog after forgetting my computer in New York City? I am staying at a friend's house in the Adirondacks where there is no Internet, they don't have a computer, and I thought: I'm stuffed.
But no! This mystery is solved. They have a friend with a small independent bookstore. So buy your books from Powells and, if you are in town, also get them from Books and Baskets on Olive Street in Saranac Lake, New York. Heck, please, just buy some books! (And one of mine too!)