Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Now With Aloe!

Sometimes a consumer goods company will react to a need in the marketplace and change one of their products for the better. And sometimes, right around when I start to become comfortable with a certain item, they will change it just to mess with me.

It's one thing to come out with an alternative product. Frosted Flakes with 1/3 less sugar is a good idea. Just make sure that I can still buy the full sugar version, too, in case I actually want to eat the stuff instead of put the box on the counter and pretend for guests that I am on a diet.

Sometimes, though, companies change the original formula forever. New and improved they say. And you can't get the old one back.

Take for instance my soap. I've been using Safeguard for many years now, and I like it. It has been around since 1965 and is the #1 brand of antibacterial soap sold worldwide. You'd think that they would just leave well enough alone. Instead, they have recently decided that it was necessary to add aloe to my Safeguard. Why? Has there been an universal outcry for aloe lately? I'm just fine with the moisture level of my skin. You can now only get the aloeless version in beige. My bathroom decor is white. It doesn't go.

My toothpaste was also a victim of unnecessary change. Until recently, I had been an Aquafresh Extreme Clean consumer. I liked the crazy, foaming-at-the-mouth bubbles. I felt like my teeth were getting Extremely Clean. It all made sense. Until they decided to add whitening to all flavors of the toothpaste. You can't even get a tube without whitening anymore. I don't want whitening. One out of one of my dentists recommends that I don't use toothpaste with whitening.

A while back my deodorant of choice decided to add some ingredient that I don't remember the name of - it was about 25 letters long and sounded like a mishmash of the periodic table. Tetroclorohydraconiumazine or something like that. Anyway, the stuff was supposed to be better at keeping you from sweating. It gave me an underarm rash.

There are many other examples of this phenomenon. Cell phone plans. Rachel Ray. Even the cleaner Formula 409 was recently new and improved. I'm sorry - wouldn't that be Formula 410?

I'm just saying be careful. Sometimes new and improved really only means different.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Space Junk

Astronauts were attaching some new pieces to the International Space Station when they lost a bolt. Two of them, actually. On back-to-back spacewalks.

A 1 1/2 inch bolt doesn't sound like a big deal, but it can really do some damage if it punctures a space suit or some fragile space equipment. Especially when everything is zipping around the earth at almost 18,000 miles per hour. Mission Control, however, is sure that the lost fasteners are floating harmlessly back into the atmosphere.

It's not like if you lost a bolt at your house. They can't just stop by Space Depot and pick up another one. Instead, in both instances, they just "used three bolts for the task instead of four."

Let me get this straight. First, they can't come up with a way to keep these things from floating away. Second, they didn't bring any extras just in case. And third, they decided to just skip one and use three bolts when the brackets are designed for four.

And they told me I couldn't be a rocket scientist.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tell Popeye

If the taste and texture weren't enough reason for you to not eat spinach, here comes another.

Escherichia coli O157:H7.

It sounds like a European mailing address. But it's actually the scientific name for the strain of E. coli bacteria that causes illness in humans. It has been found recently in bagged spinach, and one person has died and almost 100 have been sickened by the outbreak.

Someone tell Popeye.

It's hard to be "strong to the finich" with severe abdominal cramps lasting five to ten days. Not to mention some of the other symptoms. Looks like he may have to find another leafy green to stock up on. For me, it's just another excuse to skip the veggie and move straight to dessert.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Out Of The Cellar

With today's win over the Cubs, the Pirates climbed out of last place in the NL Central Division, where they have been through the first 138 games of the season. What does this mean?

They're still playing baseball.

I did not know that. I always thought the MLB season ended when Steelers training camp started. At least since 1992. But, alas, baseball rolls on.

The Bucs are now 5th out of 6 in the division and 15th out of 16 in the National League - a mere 17.5 games back of the wildcard spot. Let's just say that there was no champagne uncorked after the final out in today's game.

But it is progress. Fourth place here we come...