Priming the pump
While gasoline prices have come down some from their spring highs-which were pushing hard on two bucks a gallon in a number of places-everybody's favorite subject to grouse about still is the fluctuating prices at the pump. Especially when they tend to go up every weekend.
Just as we were about to cruise down to the petrol pump and pry a fiver out of our worn wallet, a friend e-mailed a dose of perspective on prices of other liquids compared to gas. Try these on for size:
A 16-ounce bottle of Diet Snapple goes for $1.29, translating to $10.32 per gallon. The same amount of Lipton Ice Tea sells for $1.19, or $9.52 per gallon, while a pint of milk, at $1.59, would be $12.72 a gallon. And 16 ounces of Ocean Spray cranberry juice sells for $1.25, or a hefty $10 per gallon.
Like Gatorade? Twenty ounces of the sport drink for $1.59 would be $10.17 per gallon. You can pick up 12 ounces of STP brake fluid for $3.15, making it $33.60 a gallon.
If you're looking for a cheaper liquid, stick to the STP, because six ounces of Vick's Nyquil goes for $8.35, or $178.13 per gallon. Running a close second (and you may need it if you chug some STP) is Pepto Bismol, which retails for $3.85 for four ounces, meaning $123.20 per gallon. Or there's always Whiteout, which goes for seven ounces for $1.39 or $25.42 per gallon-and it probably will stick to your ribs about as good as Pepto.
The real kicker? Price some Evian water...nine ounces for $1.49. Yeah, that's $21.19 per gallon-for water.
So the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on Nyquil or Whiteout, though a dose of Pepto might do wonders for our tailpipe pollution problems.
This `n that
Truth in advertising?-A National Public Radio story on a New England politician mentioned he was visiting a restaurant that boldly advertises its morning fare as ``the only breakfast menu in central Vermont that doesn't suck.''
Job hunting?-Rummaging around on the Internet for something or other, we stumbled upon the career section of the Web site www.albertapork.com. Quite enlightening- and some good recipes, too.
If you think busting tires and greasing autos is dirty business, check out what the site says are the kinds of jobs available in a modern hog barn. A stock person can make $18,000 to $24,000, but you need a Grade 12 diploma, preferably with a Swine Worker Certificate, Level 1. Under a logo of a pig are the words: ``It's a career.'' 'Nuff said.
No more Mexican for dinner, skipper-Last month, according to Reuters, a jet carrying U.S. tennis star Venus Williams and 130 other passengers to Milan, Italy, was forced to turn back to London after a ``funny smell'' was detected in the cockpit. (Maybe they should have distributed packages of Gas-X instead of peanuts.)
Trendsetters-We've noticed something we hesitate to call a trend yet, at least in the automotive industry.
Ford Motor Co.'s design chief, J Mays, uses only a first initial, sans the period after it. And then there's the guy whose responsibility it is to fix Cadillac's image: General Motors Corp.'s new ad man, CJ Fraleigh.
Wassup with these auto execs lacking punctuation?
The ``King's vernacular'' can get beat up pretty badly when one travels to a faraway land that's struggling to accommodate English-speaking visitors.
The following examples are of signs (in some form or another of English) spotted in various locales. Many of them, it seems, originate in Japan.
In a hotel bar in Norway: ``Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.''
A hotel in Acapulco advised that ``the manager has personally passed all the water served here.''
An information booklet about the air conditioner in a Japanese hotel room noted the unit ``cooles and heates-if you want just condition of warm air in your room, please control yourself.'' Another hotel in that country told guests, ``You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.''
The ``Dick's Last Resort'' eatery chain in the States promotes this type of behavior as a gimmick, but in a Nairobi hotel restaurant a sign read: ``Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.''
The sign in a Bucharest hotel lobby warned: ``The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.''
A Bangkok, Thailand, dry cleaner suggested patrons ``drop your trousers here for the best results.'' In a similar vein, a Rome laundry's sign told ladies to ``leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.''
An advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand asked: ``Would you like to ride on your own ass?''
Meanwhile, an airline ticket office in Copenhagen probably summed up the lament of many a weary traveler the world over: ``We take your bags and send them in all directions.''
Sealed with a Kiss?
This comes under the heading, ``Why didn't we think of this?''
Earlier this summer in Manhattan, dealmakers scurried about the gaudy booths of the ``Licensing 2001 International'' trade show. They were looking for what the New York Times described as the ``next great marriage between household product and well-known brands.''
One big attention-getter was the ``Kiss Koffin,'' which garnered the product of the year award (from whom?).
The coffin lid is decorated with pictures of the makeup-wearing glam-metal band, while the sides show a crowd of adoring fans reaching up to the motto ``Kiss Forever.'' The story said the coffin seals out heat (in case you're going somewhere a tad warm in the afterlife?)-and it also can double as a beer cooler...while you're alive, we presume.
The Times pointed out that, in all, almost $73.8 billion in licensed goods were sold last year. That makes the market ripe for some of the other products such as underwear bearing the likeness of chop-chop martial arts action star Jackie Chan, or an infant playpen sponsored by Jeep.
A few of the other intriguing products on display at the show included ``Chevrolet'' perfume for women-which we're guessing does not smell like oily shop rags-and Teflon-branded nail polish, windshield wipers and tire rims. Might we suggest they sell under the John ``The Teflon Don'' Gotti trade name and likeness. Just kidding, Mr. Gotti sir.