Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin

I am sitting at my keyboard in a state of shock. I never believed that McCain would pick Sarah Palin as his V.P. choice. Palin is too much a classic conservative for McCain to find much in common with her.

In other words, what Palin represents has little in common with the neocons which have taken over the party under the Bush administration(s).

Palin is both conservative and moderate in all the right areas.

For those of you who don't know Palin, she is a very impressive woman who, although opposed to legalizing gay marriage does have gay friends and is willing to listen to their concerns.

Although opposed to abortion, she ended up with a fifth child that has Down's Syndrome, and has chosen to raise that child with her husband, a native Eskimo. Her oldest son is in the Army, scheduled to enter Iraq within the next couple of months (however, this should be rethought as he would make a beautiful hostage.)

Palin has an amazing record of standing up to corrupt government, and sticking to her principles, no matter what it may personally cost her. What she lacks in experience she more than makes up for with intelligence and moxie.

As I wrote on April 25th of this year, "The press has been fawning over Barack for ages now, while the obvious sex-discrimination against Hillary Clinton continues unabated. This week, Lou Dobbs (CNN) sponsored a poll concerning this matter. Over 74% of his viewers believe that the media displays a sex bias against Hillary."

In this campaign, women have felt very disenfranchised, ignored, and dismissed.

Until now.

I was seriously considering sitting out the elections this year, but I have now made the decision to vote for McCain/Palin.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Vanara Scam

As most of you know, I've been looking for work. I recently saw a couple positions that would fit me, and as a result, I sent my resume to the Executive Search firm called Vanara.

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, vanaras are "the race of ape-like humanoids in the Hindu epic Ramayana who were brave and inquisitive by nature." This is appropriate, as Vanara wants to make monkeys out of us.

I got a canned letter back from Vanara, extolling my virtues but adding that none of their positions would be a fit for me at that time. This is when I heard warning bells, because I knew that some of these positions would be. So, if they thought I was so marvellous, why were they telling me that I wasn't a fit?

"Given the strength of your record, it is my opinion that you can get several offers—but most likely not by using a recruiting firm," wrote one of their 'employees', improbably named Carina Zaragoza.

So although they're a recruiting firm, and make 25% of any executive's first year salary, and I am simply stellar, they are going to point me in another direction?

In con games, this is called "setting the hook."

Throughout the letter, Carina repeatedly mention two 'sources' that they highly recommend in my job search. Obviously they are somehow connected to the sources, as they loudly extol their praises.

"One source which can provide you with immediate access to virtually every open business development position in the United States is BusinessDevelopmentCrossing. BusinessDevelopmentCrossing is very effective in tracking down intelligence on business development jobs and distributing them to business development professionals. There are always thousands of business development positions on this site that are difficult to find on your own."
When you click on the links provided in the email, you can see that all sorts of information is passed on to BusinessDevelopmentCrossing so that if you are a sucker and pay the exorbitant fee, Vanara will get a cut.

Later in the email, the Vanara shill rhapsodizes:

"If you are eager to find new employment immediately, I recommend you contact Employment Authority. Many professionals use Employment Authority to get positions in the United States each year. Employment Authority can assist you in applying to not only the business development opportunities Vanara recruits for, but also other business development positions."
The fee for Employment Authority? $150, minimum.

Now here's the real kicker. Both services are merely job search engines with some additional goodies thrown on top (such as resume evaluation). You can get all of these services for free elsewhere.

Free substitutes that I highly recommend are Indeed, which is a premium search engine, and of course the standard job sites such as Career Builder and Monster.

Want to see for yourself? Go to Vanara and submit your resume here.

And if you get that letter from Vanara, you might point them here. And let them know that there's a special place in hell for people who prey upon the vulnerabilities of others.

Well, I decided to send a copy of Jacinta Bugg's resume to that helpful recruiter from Vanara.

Jacinta's "unique" resume is vastly different from mine. She would have nothing in common with the advertised jobs. Strangely, Jacinta shares the same address and phone number as the Pinellas County Sheriff's.

Interestingly enough, Carina Zaragoza told her exactly the same thing that she told me.

What a coincidence!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Update on John Graziano

The press either isn't as interested as they were, or perhaps they don't have the inside scoop, because little has been mentioned lately about John Graziano, the victim and passenger of Nick Hogan.

But I recently learned that John has been moved to the Veteran's Hospital at Bay Pines (just outside of St. Pete Beach), and has undergone surgery to cover up the massive hole in his forehead which was left behind after the horrific accident caused by Nick Hogan's careless driving.

John is still in a vegetative state. However, when the surgeons were doing the reconstruction, they found to their surprise that John had more left of his frontal lobe than was previously suspected.

John will go home to his parents' home in October. At this point, no one knows what, if anything, he will regain of his mental facilities. The family remains hopeful due to this most recent discovery.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Faye the Ferret

Recently my friend's daughter, Bugs, was in her best friend's dad's truck when she spotted a ferret running by the side of a major road. She asked him to pull over.

At first he refused, because he's apparently afraid of ferrets. However, when Bugs scornfully declared that SHE would pick up the little creature, he turned around and was kind enough to throw a towel over the unprotesting creature and put it into the back of his pickup truck.

Bugs immediately called ME, as we already have a ferret in the household, begging me to foster the little ferret until we could decide what to do with it. I reluctantly agreed and they drove right over.

The moment I got the ferret, I could see that it was a female, and she was in distress. I got up on the pickup truck, leaned over the truck bed, and tentatively picked her up. She didn't attempt to snap or wiggle free. She just lay there limply, eyes glazed, mouth open and panting.

She didn't look good.

So, as they drove off, I rushed into the house to dribble some water down the ferret's throat.

The ferret greedily gulped the water, which I saw as a very good sign. She drank from my fingertips as I called the vet's office to arrange a visit. He told me to come directly over.

On the way to the vet's, I kept the air cool. The ferret was in a box next to me, nestled in a towel, with the air blowing over her. Gradually her eyes became more focused, though she lay there limply.

By the time we'd arrived at the vet's, the ferret was looking somewhat better. She was dirty, had some flea detritus, and the bottoms of her paws were scraped from running along the highway. But, I felt that she was truly in pretty good shape, all things considered, unless there was something I couldn't see.

The vet agreed with me.

I had different options: Call the Humane Society, keep the ferret temporarily, or keep her permanently. I called the Humane Society, but they were closed due to Tropical Storm Fay. So, my only choice was to keep her for a day or so.

I took her home, bathed her, and isolated her in the spare bathroom (she could potentially have some disease that the other animals could get, although it's very unlikely). She has been hungrily eating for 3 days, and has had all the water she can hold.

She is amazingly sweet and gentle.

Sonosaur is now begging me to keep her as a companion for his ferret. Ferrets are social animals, and he should probably have a friend. Happily, she's been fixed, so there will be no worried of little ferrets running around.

And her name? Well, she was found during Tropical Storm Fay. But the name Fay looks very plain by itself, so Bugs and Sonosaur voted to add an "e" to the end as she's a very elegant ferret, apparently.

I'm still mulling it over.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Burned Out

I'm so burned out. I'm overwhelmed and have so much to do that I can do nothing. I'm not exactly depressed, but I have too much on my plate. I don't know where to start, so I remain motionless in many areas.

I've experienced this sort of thing before, and I always feel better when I begin to tackle things, but the problem is: What do I tackle? I start to tackle one thing, which reminds me of something else to do which is equally (or more) important, so I then drop it to pick up the secondary project. Then in the middle of the secondary project, my mind continues on it's route through the first and third ones.

I'm sure many of you have dealt with such a problem before. What I really need is someone else to keep me on point, but there is no one that can come over and help me with these projects.

Lists don't help much. I will cross things off the list and feel relatively empowered, until I realize the magnitude of the things remaining on the list.

Top of the list is, of course, my job hunt which is going nowhere fast. I'm not panicking yet, because I have another month before I'm willing to work at MacDonald's.

But I'm fighting the rising sense of panic as I try to stay focused on answering the only job offers that are coming in right now with a resounding NO; as the only offers are for jobs that pay little to nothing and are being offered by companies who are preying upon those of us who are feeling the tight pinch of the economy.

My current business remains stagnant. We're talking cesspool-swimming-with-mosquito-larvae stagnant. In addition, a very beloved family member is returning to the hospital for surgery on Thursday.

Meanwhile, I am extremely fortunate in that I've found a renter for my property. However, "there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip," as my grandmother used to say. Hopefully all will work out the way it's supposed to.

And, as my grandmother also used to say, "This too shall pass."

Let's just hope it doesn't pass like a kidney stone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Yesterday I went to get my nails done. As I sat down, I glanced to my left to see a very petite woman getting her nails done next to me. Her little son stood next to her, and a big man hovered behind her.

I didn't pay much attention to either of them until the big man said very loudly to everyone in the salon "Hey, I've got a joke for you!" He then proceeded to tell a joke that only a first grader would find funny.

The staff gave the obligatory snicker, and I said teasingly "Oh, c'mon! My son told me that one years ago!"

Apparently the man took offense at this, but he covered it well, and told a dumb blond joke. "OK, bud," I thought to myself. "I get the point." I looked at him appraisingly and saw a guy who looked like trouble. He was bald, tatooed, and pierced in various places. He was tall and burly and I guessed he could be formidable when he wanted to be.

In return, I told a dumb blond joke of my own, and a joke about aging. We were all friends again.

The next time I looked up, he was gone with the son, although the woman remained next to me. I began to really look at her for the first time, and saw terrific bruising on her upper right arm, where handprints could clearly be seen. On her left leg was a soft cast.

"Hey, what happened to your leg?" I asked, already knowing that answer and sure that she would lie to me.

"Oh, uh, I just tripped," she said hesitantly.

"What a shame," I said lightly, watching her. Her eyes dropped, and I didn't pursue it in front of everyone else. But my mind was racing.

So many women are abused, and many of them are abused willingly. We could discuss the psychology of it at another time, but that's what it boils down to. Still, there are always the victims who are re-enacting a horrid childhood, or are ignorant of their rights, or grow sick of it all and finally leave. For them, there's an organization named CASA.

CASA will help hide women, give them lodgings, and train them so that they can be financially independant and take care of their children on their own. CASA even provides food and clothing while a woman gets back on her feet, and provides counseling and emotional support as well. I've run across CASA at different functions, and I've always admired the organization.

I wondered if this young woman had heard of CASA, and how I could get the information to her without either insulting her or alarming her.

The conversation drifted around me, as I thought furiously. I realized that I only had a little time before The Thug came back, and I had to say something before he did.

A TV news story about a snake was playing in the background, when one of the nail techs shuddered and declared that he could never stand snakes.

"I never could either," I said. "You know, I was once at a charity benefit for CASA. Do you know what CASA is? CASA is a group in St. Pete that helps women who are abused. It takes them in, helps them hide, gives them food and shelter and helps them to resume their lives."

The little woman next to me visibly started, and glanced sharply at me.

"It's a great organization," I continued. "And they're conveniently located in St. Pete. All any woman has to do is call them in order to get help. Anyway, I was at this charity event..." and I continued glibly along, lying about a fictional encounter I had with a boa constrictor.

Eventually the conversation evolved to something else, and the woman was moved to the pedicure area just before The Thug returned, glancing suspiciously about.

"No," I thought speculatively, "You wouldn't like anyone speaking to her about CASA, would you?" Upon close examination, you could see ill tempered lines on his face, and his mouth was set in a grim line.

I didn't stay to watch their family dynamic. I finished up, paid, and left.

But I wonder if CASA will be getting a call from her in the near future. I hope very much that she will do so, but it all depends: Does she want this abuse, or doesn't she?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Russian Aggression

So now that the Soviet Union is again rearing it's ugly head, what are we going to do about it?

Russia is invading Georgia, it's former province, with the obvious intent to subjugate it. This is not without provocation, as Georgia struck first into Russian territory, invading South Ossetia, a pro-Russian province that threw off Georgian rule in the 1990s.

Due to this violent outbreak, Russian Prime Minister Putin left the Olympics immediately to return to his country. And although war has broken out between Russian and Georgia (a USA ally), President Bush continues to cavort about the Olympics, playing volleyball and posing for photo ops.

I grant you that this war is not major, and initially it didn't directly involve the USA. It does now, however, since the USA military has ferried out 2,000 Georgian troops from Iraq to deliver them to a war torn Georgia.

Putin is complaining, and I cannot entirely disagree with him, even though everyone knows that 2,000 troops are a drop in the bucket compared to the tidal wave of troops that Russia can utilize.

The UK and the European Union are also getting involved, calling Russia's putsch deplorable.

The same people that are saying Russia is overreacting and using too much force are the people who feel that Israel is justified in using the same force against its Muslim aggressors.

As much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Russia in this. If Mexico invaded Texas with the intent to win it back after all these years, would the USA stand idly by in negotiations or would we hit them with as strong a show of force as we possibly could?

Never the less, such Russian strong-arm tactics should alarm the rest of the world. We are seeing a rebirth of a very aggressive militaristic state, and I suspect that this is merely the beginning of the second Cold War.

We also need to realize that oil is fueling Russia's militaristic growth, just as it is fueling the growth of our other enemies. The only way to stop this monster is to starve it in its cradle. It's time for us to strive toward independency, and start drilling for oil here. Even if we begin the process now, we will still have 10 years of struggle and compromise. It's best to start the clock ticking now, rather than prolonging that agony.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Facts & Hints for Everyday Life in 1872

I just happened to recently acquire an old edition of Facts & Hints for Everyday Life, published by Cassell, Petter, & Galpin in 1872.

It's amazing to see how much our views and understanding of the world differs from the supposedly knowledgeable person of that day.

For instance, in their description of "consumption" (which we know as tuberculosis - a contagious airborne lung disease), they write that consumption is caused by

"...improper diet, impure air, deficient exercise, injudicious clothing, a want of cleanliness, drunkenness, or anything which tends to deprive the body of its due nutrition, is an active agent in producing scrofula or king's evil [this refers to any type of skin ailment. For more info, go here.], which is now identified with consumption."

They also give great advice for self-dentistry. Under "Decayed Teeth, Stopping for," they advise:

"Take quicksilver and fine silver filings (a small quantity of the former in proportion to the latter), and mix them together to a stiff paste, or as much of the filings as the mercury will hold together. Scrape away the decayed part of the hollow tooth, and wipe it dry, then press the paste into the cavity. At night after supper is the best time to do it, as by the next morning it will have hardened without interruption."

If that isn't a poisoner's delight, I don't know what is.

There are also interesting recipes for Eel Pie, Derby Cakes, something called Bakewell Pudding, Lobster Soup, Minced Fowl and Cucumber, Mince Pies, Calf's Head Pie, an article titled "Australian Meat", directions on how to make beer, and more (including formulas for a variety of pen inks).

However, they recommend against fish, writing

"Fish affords comparatively little nourishment, and their fat is more insoluble and indigestible than that of any other animal, and turns rancid with peculiar readiness."

They ominously warn against keeping plants in bedrooms, writing

"Plants should never be kept in bedrooms. Gardeners who are compelled to remain for some time in hot-houses where a number of plants are collected together, are very subject to painful headaches, in consequence of being compelled to breathe an atmosphere loaded with this destructive agent."
They conclude their warning with a cautionary tale:

"The following instructive fact was recorded in the Times of Oct. 17th, 1814: - "Mr. Sherbrook having frequently had his pinery robbed, the gardener determined to sit up and watch. He accordingly posted the greenhouse, where...he fell asleep, and in the morning was found dead upon the ground, with all the appearance of suffocation, evidently occasioned by the discharge of mephitic gas from the plants during the night."
Although it's rare, sometimes they're right! Under "Liver", we read

"The livers, especially those of full-grown animals, are very undesirable as food, although they afford nourishment. Serious obstructions and gross humours have been traced to indulgence in such things as food, and we counsel our readers to avoid them."

They do, however, supply recipes which use kidneys.

Interestingly, they fall for the "earwig in the ear" old wives' tale, and write "If one of these insects should crawl within the ear, and a piece of apple is applied to the ear the insect will crawl upon it, it being fond of apples..."

The recipe for Queen Victoria's Favorite Soup (a type of cream of chicken soup) is opposite an article on rats and mice and another article on perspiration. Incidentally, this particular article must be the origin of the mistaken belief that gilding your skin will kill you. These originators of this urban legend write of

"...the case of a child in Florence whom Pope Leo X. caused to be gilded to represent the golden age in a pageant which celebrated his accession to the Papal throne. The result of this piece of ignorance was that the poor child died in a few hours."

Maybe they misunderstood and the child was gelded, not gilded (a far more likely occurrence).

They recommend ammonia gum for asthmatics (the thought makes me shudder). The highly poisonous vitriol and foxglove are recommended for stomach ailments. Opium is recommended for pain. Hemlock is prescribed as a sedative. However, they correctly say that ipecac should be used as an emetic, and magnesia is used for heartburn.

So go back in time, come up with your favorite ailment or problem, and ask what they advised in 1872. I'll do my best to share some of their "wisdom" with you.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Progress Energy: Monopoly at it's Finest

Like you, I heard the commercials for LifeLock. You know the one I'm talking about? The owner always recites his social security number in an attempt to prove that he's completely safe from identity theft.

Since it sounded like a good idea to me, I signed up for it in December of last year.

I didn't really notice much of a difference. They sent me periodic credit notices, and that was about it.

But when I needed power to be temporarily turned on in my rental trailer, I called Progress Energy so that I could do as I'd done before, and just add the temporary turn-on to my home bill.

That was when I found out that it would take them 48 hours to call me back to verify that I was who I said I was before they could turn on the power there. I could hardly believe it!

I asked if I could merely show up in person, show them my driver's license, and give a blood sample. They told me no - their company policy was set in stone, and there were no exceptions.

I spoke to the customer service rep, then her supervisor, and was informed that there would be no exceptions. When I asked to speak to the supervisor's supervisor, I was told rather snottily that they wouldn't make any exceptions either.

How nice to be a monopolistic business: Vive le Roi!

I checked with LifeLock, who assures me that it hardly takes 48 hours - all Progress Energy needs to do is call the number listed that came up when they tried to pull my 'soft' credit report. (Aside note: Why do they feel the need to pull my credit at all when I've been a customer for many years, and they do a direct debit?!)

However, Progress Energy's empoloyees are sitting pretty. Like most government employees, they don't need to work any harder than they want to.

Must be nice.

I finally did speak to the supervisor's supervisor who attempted to intervene. I guess she was paid enough to work a little harder than the others, who apparently see themselves as just marking time on the job. She was unable to do anything to change the corporate policy, but she handled it better.

What does it say when a company's customer service deparment refuses to service the customer unless forced to?

And... how do I sign up for that gig?

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Crackhead Renter

True to the old warning that no good deed goes unpunished, I am still suffering at the hand of fate.

If you recall, I did a rent-to-own agreement with a former friend of mine, who turned to drugs, trashed my place, didn't pay her rent, and I finally had to evict her and her deadbeat son.

I then spent more money to fix up the place and rent to a woman who was on probation at the time. "Trixie" had been a former prostitute, drug dealer and crackhead, but as she was on probation and was on meds, I felt comfortable renting to her.

Although I had told her that I would consider doing a rent-to-own, I had promised myself that I'd wait to see if Trixie could stick to her monthly payments for 6 months before I would commit to anything more.

Little did I know that Trixie was about to come off probation.

Trixie immediately returned to her peculiar ways, and added a boyfriend as well. This guy is prone to seizures, apparently due to too many drug overdoses in his past.

Trixie went off her meds, picked up the crack pipe, and promptly stopped paying rent with all the excuses that crackheads are so very good at. In this case, her boyfriend suddenly needed new meds, and there simply wasn't any money left.

I let it go a month, due to my being busy and all her pitiful pleadings. June passed by, with promises of her ability to pay both June and July's rent on the first of July.

When I found out that she only had June's rent, I started proceedings to evict her.

In an attempt to delay or halt the eviction, Trixie treated us all to such a gloriously awful letter that I really had to share it with everyone. It's too long to publish here, but the translation is here and photos of the actual document are here.

On Friday, finding out that the eviction was going forward, Trixie showed up twice at the Clerk of the Circuit Court's offices, screaming and hollering at everyone in an attempt to stop it, apparently. It didn't work, and the eviction continues. She should be out on Wednesday at the latest.

I only hope for everyone's sake that she doesn't do anything really stupid to the place.

Trixie stands out as a golden example of Whitney Houston's famous "crack is whack" statement.

Some of my favorite excerpts:

1. Trixie seems to think I have a partner, despite what I've told her, and makes multiple references to my maintenance guy whom she apparently THINKS is my partner. When she was writing this, she called us both up, hollering her demands to be told his last name, as if this piece of precious information would win her the case. To her great frustration, she had to go without it.

2. I like how she has "windows to the utmost insecurity."

3. Trixie triumphantly claims to have given me money that I've accepted as partial payment, but gives no proof of this falsehood, as if the courts will merely accept her assertion.

4. According to Trixie, I want to disown my trailer.

5. Trixie thinks she really scores at the end, by pointing out that I forgot to renew my title / taxes on the trailer. That set me back a whopping $43.20 today. Thanks, Trixie, for the reminder.

6. The "personal matter" that she coyly refers to is the difficulty I'm having getting any money out of my former tenant, Zen. Happily, Zen's employer is cooperating with me on getting some of it out of her worthless hide. Trixie found this out when I told her that I certainly wouldn't wait to see if she could get as far in debt to me as Zen did.

7. I love how she's willing to accept $2,000 to move out immediately. If that isn't blackmail, what is? It takes chutzpah to blackmail someone in court documents!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Maria Bello is no Rachel Weisz.

Bello was chosen to replace Weisz as Evy O'Connell in this particular Mummy edition. Obviously the producers didn't want to put in any effort to entice Weisz with a good script, or pony up the funds to bring her back.

You get what you pay for.

Bello has the sex appeal of a frigid nun and the personality of a piece of Iceberg lettuce. Among a constellation of stars, she is a black hole.

Bello's drab, lackluster performance might not be as glaringly obvious if one hadn't seen any of the former mummy movies. But her current presence shows us just how much Weisz contributed to the series.

Weisz's absence is striking.

I truly believe that if Weisz had been in this last movie, it might have made all the difference in the world. It's difficult enough to make the supernatural a believable concept. And though the other actors attempt to make it plausible, Bello is a constant reminder that everyone is merely playacting.

The producers should have simply killed off Weisz's character. Bello just can't fit into Weisz's shoes, and it's cruel to make her try. It's like asking Keanu Reeves to play Al Pacino's part in a remake of the Godfather.

Because of this, the Mummy is as doomed as its title character.

The graphics are great. Some of the concepts are wonderful. However, they needed to flesh out the concepts more than they needed to flesh out the relationships. To make a relationship believable, the actors must be believable also. But seeing Brendan Frasier in romantic scenes with this rigid school marm is enough to make you cringe.

Weisz was able to emote humor and restrained passion in a role which takes a deft touch in order to convey it to the audience, but Bello simply doesn't get it.

Even Frasier doesn't seem to get it. He seems to be somewhat puzzled by his role in this movie, as if to ask "What am I doing here again, and who is this woman?" However, he tackles his role with good humor, giving it the old college try.

We are introduced to their son in this film, who may have potential although he has aged quickly from age 10 to age 27 in only two years. Because of this, the father-son moments are a tad creepy, and I wonder if they're attempting to edge Frasier out with someone who is obviously more fit to be his little brother than his son. If so, they might as well retire the series now.

There are some wonderful gymnastics by Jet Li and another fabulous performance by famed actor Michelle Yeoh (of "Memoirs of a Geisha") but even these actors cannot hope to save a stale plot, as it's often difficult for anyone to counter Bello's plasticine performance or the lack of believability in the O'Connell family dynamic.

This movie seems to go in the direction that many Hollywood movies take these days: Just worry about the graphics, and to hell with the plot. That is why The Mummy lags behind the latest Batman movie, which is now in its third week.

We've all heard the classic argument that comic book nerds love to get into: Would Batman beat Superman? We may never know the answer to this question, but we do know this: Batman beats The Mummy.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sweetbay Sushi & New Age Drinks

There's a new supermarket in town, called Sweetbay. They are as good as any other chain, from what I can see. Most importantly, they carry New Age Drinks (as you can see below).

What is this, Swami in a Can?

Anyway, whatever New Age Drinks are, they've got 'em.

Even better than New Age Drinks is Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, known in my circle as Food of The Gods. And yes, Sweetbay has plenty of that. Truthfully, I could exist on only Ben & Jerry's if I had to make that sacrifice. However, I know better: I might as well get a trowel and cake it onto my hips, because that's where it lingers.

So, yesterday I figured I had nothing for lunch and I was going to eat healthy. I wandered by their deli, which was stocked with all sorts of classic deli goodies, ranging from fried chicken to pasta salads, when I saw their sushi.

Now, I know that you should never buy sushi in a supermarket: I really do. But I was tempted to merely look at it longingly. So, I picked up a tray, and then did a double take.

The sushi was furry.

Not only furry, but it was developing a life of it's own. I could see colonies, government buildings, and unemployment lines. Civilization had arrived in the deli.

"Um, miss?" I tentatively said, waving the tray in the direction of the woman behind the counter.

The woman looked at me impatiently. "Yes?" she asked unwillingly.

"Er, your sushi is fuzzy," I announced.

The other people in line stepped back a bit.

"Oh?" she said, "I doubt it!"

"Well, doubt no longer," I said. "Here you go!"

She took the tray reluctantly, peering into it's depths. "Where?" she demanded. "I don't see it!"

"There," I said, pointing to their U.N. building. "They seem to have established colonies."

"Eh?" she said, blinking at me in puzzlement, and then looking once more at the sushi tray. "Well, OK, I'll tell the sushi chef."

"You do that," I said. "And," I added helpfully, "You might want to let him know that sushi is supposed to be made daily."

Still, overall I would recommend Sweetbay. It's not as good as Publix, but as long as it's nothing that they're producing in the deli, your chances of avoiding food poisoning is as good there as anywhere. I think we can hardly expect more from a supermarket than this.

Perhaps that's not a ringing endorsement, but as we all know, the FDA is almost criminally negligent, so it's every man for themselves.