Friday, September 29, 2017

Meet My New Companion, Trash Can. He's A Good Trash Can.

I'd like to introduce you to the latest addition to my home: the iTouchless 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can with Odor Control System, Big Lid Opening Sensor Touchless Kitchen Trash Bin. I call him Trash Can, for short.

Trash Can is the friendliest trash bin I've owned. And I've owned many. Dozens. They were all very shy, they preferred to keep to themselves. They sat very quietly in the corner of the room. They were wallflowers, minus the scent of a wallflower.

Trash Can is a different sort of trash can. It is incredibly sociable. It loves to engage me whenever I enter the kitchen. It lifts its lid and makes this noise, kind of like a purr. I can't accurately describe it with words, but it's the sweetest sound you'll ever hear from a 13-gallon, stainless steel trash bin.

I like to give it a little attention, show it a little love. I'll toss it a treat (a banana peel, a wadded napkin, a bread crumb off the countertop) and rub its belly. It likes that.

And the way it gets so excited when I return home from work ... oh, it just melts my heart. Trash Can can sense when I've walked through the door. The entrance is just a few feet away from the kitchen, and I can hear it purr and wag its lid. It has a big lid opening sensor, but it has an even bigger heart.

I didn't know it when I ordered it from Amazon, but Trash Can is so much more than a trash can. It's a loyal companion. Can it get a little messy at times? Yes. Can it get a little smelly at times? Definitely. Is it a little painful when it wants to cuddle on my lap while I'm watching TV on the couch? Of course. But it has so much love to give, and really, who could ask for more from a trash bin?

Who's a good 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can with Odor Control System, Big Lid Opening Sensor Touchless Kitchen Trash Bin? This is a good 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can with Odor Control System, Big Lid Opening Sensor Touchless Kitchen Trash Bin.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @myemptythoughts for more of my comedy.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tiny Bits of Nonsense: Spring/Summer 2017

I haven't posted a new "Tiny Bits of Nonsense" in nearly six months. Six months! After an extended hiatus, I've finally made the effort to again compile my favorite tweets/jokes. Here are some of the tiny bits of nonsense you may have missed:

Other bits of nonsense: February/March 2017 |  January 2017 | November/December 2016 | October 2016 | September 2016 | August 2016 | Olympics Edition | June/July 2016 | May 2016 | April 2016 | March 2016 | February 2016 | January 2016 | December 2015 | New Year's Edition | November 2015 | October 2015 | Halloween Edition | September 2015 | August 2015 | July 2015 | June 2015 | May 2015 | "Back to the Future" Edition | April 2015 | March 2015 | February 2015 | Valentine's Day Edition | January 2015 | December 2014 | Holiday Season Edition | November 2014 | Thanksgiving Edition | October 2014 | September 2014 | August 2014 | July 2014 | June 2014 | May 2014 | April 2014 | March 2014

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I'm Sorry, Canada

As much as I hate to admit it, I owe Canada an apology. I've struggled with this for the past 24 hours, because I don't want to apologize. Canada and I don't see eye to eye. It hasn't treated me well in recent visits.

This is the same country:

In short, I don't care much for Canada at the moment, even with its dreamboat of a prime minister. A prime minister who I may or may not have called a bozo in a voicemail message yesterday.

I made the call through the app for Global Citizen, the advocacy organization that stages the annual music festival of the same name in Central Park. It awards free tickets to the festival, via a lottery draw, to "global citizens" who earn points by signing petitions, tweeting messages and calling lawmakers to urge them to take action on social issues such as poverty and education. Sixteen points are required to enter the lottery.

As a global citizen who was still several points shy of being eligible for this year's lottery, I placed the call to ask Prime Minister Trudeau to pledge millions of dollars for global education efforts. And, since I'd have his attention, to pledge one Tim Hortons donut to me.

I was a little nervous, as I'd never called a prime minister before, but thankfully Global Citizen provided a script that I could read verbatim. It was very helpful. In the future, I will be sure to consult Global Citizen before leaving voicemails for prime ministers.

Here's where I made a critical mistake: I made the call while walking home from the subway, and so I didn't give it my undivided attention. To be honest, it didn't have any of my attention when I reached the end of a block on Columbus Ave., saw the pedestrian light on the other side of the crosswalk, and realized I had three seconds to cross the street. Puh-lenty of time for a New Yorker.

I was all set to run to the other side of the street when a bicyclist came barreling toward me in the bike lane. He had no intention of slowing down or swerving out of the way because, well, he was on a bike and knew there was nothing I could do about it. I jumped out of his path and, as he sped past me, yelled out to him, "Bozo!" Actually, it was more like, "BOZO!"

Unfortunately, I was still on the phone and was supposed to leave a message at the tone. I didn't hear a tone, but I'm pretty sure there was a tone, right before the bicyclist nearly flattened me. Meaning the voicemail may have recorded the whole incident, including my very loud and aggressive use of the word "BOZO," a word that wasn't part of the Global Citizen script.

So now I feel compelled to set the record straight.  Prime Minister Trudeau, let me be absolutely clear: You are not a bozo, nor would I ever call you a bozo. On the contrary, I think you are a dreamboat, as I mentioned earlier. Please accept my sincerest apologies, both as a global citizen and as someone who made a regrettable mistake. All I wanted was a moment of your time to ask you to pledge aid to global education efforts on behalf of your country.

I'm sorry, Prime Minister Trudeau. I'm sorry, Canada.

It's all that bozo's fault. He's a terrible global citizen.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @myemptythoughts for more of my comedy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Everything I Know About Asking Out A Girl I Learned From Orange Julius

This will be the first and only time I write about Orange Julius, in all likelihood. It just doesn't come to mind very often.

I believe I've seen an Orange Julius once in my adult life. It was during a visit to the Mall of America in 2012. I remember my jaw literally dropping as I said, loud enough for others to hear, "Wow, an Orange Julius!" I'm easily excitable.

I've yet to see a stand-alone Orange Julius operation here in New York City. It's been years since I've seen one in the tri-state area. There was a location at the mall near where I grew up on Long Island. That's actually why I'm writing this post. I had an unexpected flashback to that Orange Julius this weekend that I shared with my wife and I figured I'd share with you here.

It happened while my wife and I were at a carnival. I was looking around, admiring the deep-fried Oreos and the three-foot-tall poop emoji dolls, when I saw a boy, 15 or 16, hat backwards, braces shining brightly in the night sky, approach a brunette his age and, without hesitation, start a conversation with her. After a minute or two of introductory chit-chat, he asked her for a date.

It reminded me of the first time I ever saw a boy ask out a girl. The setting was the aforementioned Orange Julius at my local mall. I was 8 years old. I was standing on line, patiently waiting to purchase a frothy OJ with my handful of change, behind a female who must have been a sophomore or junior in high school.

Suddenly, a boy walked up to her and said, and I'm paraphrasing here because this was nearly 30 years ago, "Hi, I was leaving Sam Goody over there and I noticed you and I just had to tell you that you are really beautiful. Would you like to go out sometime?"

I was stunned. I'd never seen this before. A boy asking out a girl. No one had ever instructed me how it works. This was my first exposure to the process. All you have to do is walk up to a girl standing on line at an Orange Julius, give her a compliment and then request a date before she gets her drink and walks away forever? Just like that?

So that's how it's done, I thought to myself. OK.

The girl politely turned him down, but the memory stuck with me. I was too young to date at the time but I filed away the information for future use. When I was older and mature enough to ask out a girl, I would do exactly what I saw the boy, so confident and so bold, do.

Regrettably, the Orange Julius closed a few years later, and I never had the chance to ask out a girl there. I was single all throughout high school. All alone, because there wasn't enough demand for orange juice at the mall.

Obviously, this story has a happy ending because, as you know, I'm married now. I'm married to the perfect wife, and we have the perfect backstory. We met on line at a Jamba Juice.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @myemptythoughts for more of my comedy.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sprinkles Have Haunted Me For A Year

I was rifling through my wife's purse, as I so often do, last night. I was searching for a tissue, because my nose was runny. I never have a tissue handy when my nose is runny. I need a bag in which I can carry tissues. I need a purse.

I didn't find any tissues in my wife's purse. However, at the bottom of the purse, beyond the tube of lipstick, the sticks of gum, the loose change, I pulled out something very small, very bright, very plastic.

It was a sprinkle. Another sprinkle.

It came from the Museum of Ice Cream, which recently opened in Los Angeles after a successful run here in New York. Tickets sold out quickly after its launch last summer in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. My wife and I lucked out and secured two tickets for a Tuesday morning in July.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Museum of Ice Cream, it's a museum dedicated to ... ice cream. When we entered the museum, we received a sample of ice cream. We were then escorted into a room, where there was a huge sculpture made of ice cream.

There was a lot of ice cream in the museum. Candy, too. It was absolutely delightful. This was Willy Wonka's chocolate factory come to life. I was Charlie Bucket. (I wasn't invited to move in and run the museum, though I did offer.)

The centerpiece of the museum was the sprinkle pool, filled with close to 100 million sprinkles. They weren't the type of sprinkles you'd put on your ice cream cone. They were actually antimicrobial plastics, which you'd never want to put on your ice cream cone.
A post shared by MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM (@museumoficecream) on
I removed my sneakers and jumped right in, because how often am I presented an opportunity to take a dip in a pool of antimicrobial plastics? I waded through the plastics and took selfies for about 10 minutes before heading to the next exhibit.

Later that morning, after I'd left the museum, I was walking the streets when I felt a small object inside my right sneaker. I figured it would be a pebble, but it turned out to be a small, yellow antimicrobial plastic, i.e. a sprinkle. It must have stuck to my sock while I was in the sprinkle pool. I tossed it aside, put my sneaker back on and continued on my way.

The next day I was fishing through my jeans pocket for my keys when I grabbed hold of another sprinkle, a red one. Ha ha. These sprinkles are attached to me, I chuckled to myself.

But they really were attached to me. I found more and more sprinkles in the ensuing months. In my wallet. In my backpack. In my other sneaker. In my kitchen. I don't know how they ended up in any of these places. They just somehow proliferated, like colorful Gremlins. I was experiencing an outbreak of sprinkles.

Just make yourself right at home, sprinkle.

Toward the end of 2016 and into early 2017, I saw fewer and fewer sprinkles. And then, I saw none. I was relieved that they were finally out of my life.

And then I went through my wife's purse last night.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, see you if can score a ticket to the Museum of Ice Cream. It's an incredible amount of fun.

Just know this: The visit will stay with you for a long, long time.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @myemptythoughts for more of my comedy.

Friday, May 12, 2017

I Got A Manicure And Now My Hands Are Beautiful

My hands have never been more beautiful than they are at this very moment. Here, let me show you.

Have you ever seen anything so furry and adorable?

For the record, I don't often take pictures of my hands. This might have been the third or fourth time in my 36-plus years. Only on special occasions.

Here's a Shane tidbit for you: I'd never had a manicure before today. Not once. I'd always trimmed my fingernails myself. I'm kind of good at it, too. I'm steady, I'm precise. My hands are in capable hands when I have a nail clipper in my hands.

But there's a nail salon in my neighborhood that was advertising a special on men's manicures this afternoon. I saw the sign outside the entrance, and my nails were in need of a cut, and, well, something came over me. I thought, Do I really want to live life never knowing what it's like to get a manicure?

I went into it with no expectations. I didn't know what the nail salon would do to my hands, or what they would look like afterward. I actually Googled the phrase "What happens during a manicure" to find out what would happen during my manicure. (I tend to use Google a lot.)

I felt much more relaxed once I sat in the chair and the manicurist welcomed me with a warm smile. "Put your hand in mine," she said. A woman eager to hold my hand during our first meeting? That had never, ever happened to me before. We were off to a promising start.

I watched as she expertly clipped and filed my fingernails for 10 minutes or so. I assumed the manicure would end there. I would have been content if it had ended there; my nails were shorter and smoother. I was satisfied. What else could I want?

The answer: More! So much more. She asked if I'd like for her to apply gel to my nails, and a polish, too. And would I be interested in a warm cream massage?

I reacted in the same way Michael Scott reacted when he realized he could have sweet glaze, cinnamon sugar, chocolate, white chocolate, fudge, M&Ms, caramel dip, mint chip, chocolate chip, marshmallows, nuts, toffee nuts, coconut, peanut butter drizzle, Oreos, sprinkles, cotton candy bits, AND powdered sugar on his pretzel on Pretzel Day.

"Is there any way you can do all ... all of them?" I asked.

"The works, you got it!" the manicurist replied. (Or something to that effect.)

Sadly, I cannot supplement this reference to a classic "Office" scene with a video or GIF, because I cannot find one. So instead, please enjoy these GIFs of two more of my favorite pretzel-related sitcom moments.



Anyway, the end result was what you see in the photo at the top of this post. What happens during a manicure? Something very beautiful.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @myemptythoughts for more of my comedy.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Why You Shouldn't Use Your Cellphone In The Waiting Room Of A Hospital

I'm not proud to admit this, but I used my cellphone in the hospital waiting room this week.

A minor infraction? Perhaps. A sign by the reception desk made it very clear that cellphone use was not permitted in the facility. It had a picture of a phone with a red line through it. It left very little room for interpretation.

Yet there were several patients fiddling with their phones in their seats as they waited for their names to be called. I even saw one man tapping away on a laptop, loudly and with intensity. It was not at all discreet. 

As tempting as it was to follow their lead, I was determined to resist the urge to pull out my iPhone. A rule is a rule, and I wanted to respect the wishes of the hospital staff.

After I took my seat, I sat quietly, with my hands folded in my lap. I was such a well-behaved patient.

Five minutes later, my phone was in my hand. Again, I'm not proud of it, but let me assure you (and the hospital) I had a very good reason for breaking the rule and using my phone. It wasn't to check email, text friends or scroll through Facebook posts.

It was to find out how to wear a hospital gown.

This was right after a nurse had called my name, handed me a gown and asked me to put it on. Simple enough, right? I wish. I didn't know what to do. I'd never worn a hospital gown before.

I could wear it with the opening in the front, I thought to myself. It's how I'd worn my dress shirts, my jackets, my bathrobes...basically, every piece of clothing I'd ever worn in my life.

However, I was reasonably sure that that was not the proper way to wear a hospital gown, that it should actually be worn with the opening in the back. That's how I remembered it from a photo in an article I once read, or a scene in a movie I once rented, or something like that. Maybe this was covered in an episode of "ER"? Why didn't I watch that show more often? It was on for 15 seasons. I had no excuse. 

So that's why I used my phone, to Google instructions on how to wear a hospital gown. I needed answers, and fast.

The first results page told me everything I needed to know about the popularity of the hospital gown. One of the top links: a news article on the "hated hospital gown." Further down the page: another story on the "dreaded hospital gown."

Oh, good. I wasn't the only one who hated and dreaded it.

I clicked on a message board for a pregnancy website that answered my question. As I suspected, a hospital gown is worn with the opening in the back (according to those who responded to a post on the subject, anyway). So that's how I put it on. I was grateful for the site's input, as well as for its great tips on how to decorate my next baby shower.

Feeling much better about the whole situation, I left the waiting room, changed into the gown and began to walk down the hallway to meet with the doctor. I had on my gown, the opening was in the back, I hadn't messed things up, and I was pulling off the look, to boot.

And then I saw another patient in the hallway wearing his hospital gown with the opening in the front.

Hmm. Maybe I did mess things up? I started to second-guess myself. What do I do, I wondered. Do I ignore what I just saw? Do I reverse the gown? Who do I trust? The strangers on an online message board, or a stranger in the hallway?

I chose to trust the stranger in the hallway, and adjusted my gown in private so that the opening was in the front.

I have no idea if I made the right decision. I didn't get any feedback one way or the other from the nurse or doctor. I guess it wasn't such a big deal. It was just a hospital gown. Who cares how you wear it? Seems insignificant. As long as you're comfortable, that's what ought to matter. In retrospect, I shouldn't have let a handful of people on the internet influence how I wore my hospital gown.

Lesson learned. This is why you shouldn't use your cellphone in the waiting room of a hospital.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter at @myemptythoughts for more of my comedy.