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An Imponderable Tale of Animal Poop

14 Jul

July 14, 2014

Recently, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo aired this episode:

synopsis

Yes, that actually says “Alana tries to find out who’s not flushing the toilet.” Just when you think TV can’t get worse, here comes Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

But who am I to complain? More people watch those hillbilly creeps than read my blog, so maybe they have something there. And regular readers of this blog know that I’ve done more than my fair share of posts about toilets (put “toilet” in the search box above and see what I mean) so who am I to act all stuck up?

It has been some time since I pandered to the lowest common denominator. It has been about two weeks since The [CENSORED] From China, and it doesn’t get much lower than that.

Hey we all poop. Everyone poops! I poop, you poop, Lois Lerner poops and then denies it, even former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Charles Tupper (May 1896-July 1896) pooped, and he was quite the distinguished personage.

So take this as a warning, your last chance to look away and surf the web for porn, before I jump into my true tale of a mysterious public poop.

_____________________________

The Hound of the Poopervilles.

There is a giant dog haunting the moors surrounding my ancient family estate the parking garage at the Company I Am employed by. I’ve never seen it and as far as I can tell no one has, but we know he’s there nonetheless. It is a feeling we get, a strange sense of something, a primal knowledge that all humans seem to share in times of danger.

But mostly we just see giant piles of shit in the parking lot.

Really, it seems more like a dinosaur took a dump than a dog. A passing stegosaurus maybe, but a dog? No way. Not even your lazy dogs that just eat all day could work up a pyramid like that.

“Dogs in a private parking lot? Must be a guard dog.” I’m sure that’s what you are thinking but no, we have no guard dogs here.  And while this parking lot is underneath my building, it is only partially underground. Using logic that is totally unnecessary for this silliness, that means that it is also partially above ground. Three of the sides are open to a gently sloping hill which leads up into the surrounding neighborhood, with only a short fence to provide what laughably passes as protection. Add that to the two entrance and exit ramps which only have a single bar to keep cars out, and animals not at all, and you can see how easy it is for some large dog to slip in.

Car thieves too, I’d guess.

Anyway, is there some huge neighborhood mastiff that likes to poop in the shade leaving giant piles around here?  And they are always in the same place, on the walkway just outside the east entrance and placed almost perfectly to step in. And they stink like you wouldn’t believe.

This is a job for better minds than me. I’m calling in Alana from Honey Boo Boo. She has experience with poop mysteries.

pooperville

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In London.

12 Jul

July 12, 2014

It was a not-so-rare night in the city. Dark and cloudy, no moon, no stars.

And no houselights, gas lights, or headlights.

This was London. It was World War II. And Lt. Russ Wyndham was being followed.

The man tailing Wyndham wasn’t doing too good a job at it. Even in the near-total blackness, he did such a poor job of hiding that Wyndham couldn’t help but be aware of him, and the noise he made gave him away with nearly every footstep.

Lt. Wyndham wasn’t expecting to be followed and didn’t know what to do. He was just over from the US, attached to military intelligence more because of family connections than any skill or capability. Pearl Harbor had just been attacked and Wyndham had enlisted, not out of any sense of patriotism or duty, but because he smelled the chance to get away from a messy affair with a married woman and an unwanted baby. His family was rich enough, and thoroughly arrogant enough, that if their youngest scion had to ditch his lover and illegitimate child, they’d be damned if he was going to do it as some enlisted grunt digging ditches.

Wyndham’s tail knocked over a garbage can, and the noise was so loud that, against wartime regulations, several blackout curtains were pulled aside, flooding the street with light as nervous men and women looked out to see what was going on. Wyndham could no longer pretend to be unaware of the tail, especially as the short and somewhat fat man following him was now illuminated from nearly all directions.

Both men were panicked. In Wyndham the panic manifested as paralysis. He didn’t know what to do, where to go, what to do, to run, to hide, to run to panic to scream to hide to yell to cry to-

The other man’s panic caused him to stand in his spot as well, but he was shaking, oh how was he shaking, he was afraid, so afraid, so very afraid of the man in the uniform ahead of him, what’s he going to do he’s seen me he’s looking at me why are all these people looking at me why can’t they shut the windows I could hide in the dark I’m afraid of the man afraid of the man afraid of the man with the gun the gun the gun he pulled a gun and-

-and in full view of the exactly six witnesses peeking around the curtains, the man who would one day have “Private Investigator” printed on his office window  fired a gun for the first time outside of basic training and murdered a man.

It would be many years before Hollywood Russell knew why he was being followed, but in only a few days Lt. Russ Wyndham would face a court-martial.

in London

 

It’s not funny anymore.

10 Jul

July 10, 2014

No, the title does not refer to this blog.

Last time I went to Tangra Masala in Queens, which is its real name, there were a few strange characters there and I wrote about them in the post called Mumbles Mumbai Meets Sleepy Bhopal. I intended it to be semi-humorous (your humor mileage may very) but everything I wrote was true. However, I’d been there about a dozen times before with generally good experiences and was prepared to go back, which I did last week.

Never again.

Let’s recap what happened last time.

- There was a waiter sleeping in full view of the entire restaurant in our favorite booth.
- After he was awakened by some customers, he started serving us, replacing our mumbling waiter, whose every third word was incomprehensible, and who was incapable of getting us lime.
- Sleepy argued with us over which sauce we wanted to take home, despite my pointing directly to it, trying to get us to take a sauce for a dish we did not even have, accused us of not listening to him, and started mumbling and complaining about us to the rest of the staff- while he was still at our table.
- We were visibly upset and did not leave a tip. When I left the money for our check, the waitress (who was usually pretty good) ran over, grabbed the money, and ran back, never thanking us and making us feel like she was afraid we were running off without paying.

Despite all this, we had dozens of good meals there in the past and, despite the occasional hard to understand accent, the food was always good. So we decided to go back and give it another try.

We arrived at about 6:30 and the place was empty, which is never a good sign. The entire staff was seated at a table and stared at us when we walked in. We gestured to our favorite table and one of them nodded. After a few minutes of waiting, during which time Saarah told me “They’re staring at us” (my back was to them) one of them came over with menus. This was a waiter we had never seen before, and he spoke perfect, and perfectly polite, unaccented English. It struck me as odd that of all the waiters they’d made sure to give us that one, but I chalked it to them remembering us and giving us good service. Was I wrong.

While the service was good, and the food as usual good too, when the bill came I saw that there was a 15% mandatory service charge added to the bill. I had never seen that before and assumed it was new, and idly thought that, ha ha, they must have started adding it because of us not tipping last time. Yeah, as if we were that important, ha ha.

yelp-bad-reviews

Turns out I was almost right.

While restaurants have the right to add mandatory tips (that’s what the service charge is), I hate it because it takes away my right to tip whatever I feel is deserved. Sure, I can add more, but I can’t take anything away. What pissed me off right there was that if it were added because of us (more on that later) it meant that the lack of tip last time was in their eyes a reflection of my cheapness and not their awful service. In other words, I was the problem, not the lousy staff.

Saarah called her sister, who often also went to that restaurant, and asked if she had ever seen a service charge. She wasn’t sure but believed that it was on her bill the last time she was there. When was that? Coincidently, it was just a couple of days after our bad experience, adding fuel to my theory that it had been added just because of me.

Anyway, I was still not egotistical enough to think that I had affected the whole billing structure of an entire restaurant, so I went on Yelp and read some reviews. I found one, back in 2013, complaining that they had added a service charge for a small party of two. So I was wrong that the policy was created just for me, but it was clearly added to my bill just for me in response to my last meal there. I’d been there dozens of times, always tipped, and probably tipped a little higher than most patrons there. (I found out that rarely do those customers reach 10%, let alone 15%.) But because one time their staff has a meltdown, suddenly I’m viewed as a threat to not tip. But while that’s offensive, what really pisses me off is that, as I said, they see me as the problem, not their staff. I deserved an apology, not a service charge!

I’m the one who received bad service. I was the one whom a waiter argued with. I’m the one who was insulted.

I did not get an “I’m sorry.” I did not even get a “what’s the problem?”  I got treated like I caused a problem and when I returned, I was treated like they didn’t trust me.

I left the money on the table, service charge and all, and stood up to leave. The waitress, who had not served us at all, rushed over to grab the money before I was even halfway to my feet. She took the money and ran off- not even a thank you. Obviously she wanted to make sure I wasn’t stiffing them. In the past, the staff was so lazy that try as I might, I often could not find anyone to take the money, now the female flash was spiriting it away under my very nose.

Worried I’m not going to tip after years of my leaving perfectly good tips? How about asking yourselves- or better yet, ask me- why I didn’t tip that one time. Don’t assume I’m a cheapskate, look at your sleepy, mumbling, combative staff and figure it out. Don’t look at me with suspicion and make me feel like a crook when I’m going to your restaurant with the intention of spending money, tipping, and coming back again! YOU screwed up last time, not me!

Meanwhile, you lost me as a customer. For good, this time.

And the picture of the sleeping waiter is gracing my Yelp review.

This guy deserves a tip?

This guy deserves a tip?

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