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Summary:

It’s the kind of weekend that has me thinking about goofy stuff that doesn’t really matter but I have to get them out of my system.  Here they are in no particular order: As bad as the food is at McDonald’s why are their French fries […]

JK_100pixIt’s the kind of weekend that has me thinking about goofy stuff that doesn’t really matter but I have to get them out of my system.  Here they are in no particular order:

As bad as the food is at McDonald’s why are their French fries so much better than other fast food chains?  They’re just so golden brown and tasty.  Why haven’t the other food chains figured out how they do it by now?

Speaking of McDonald’s, ever notice how the beeping of the fry machines sounds just like the beeping of life support machines in the intensive care units in hospitals?  I guess that’s kind of appropriate, isn’t it?

Why does the gas pump ask if you want your transaction to be debit or credit?  The only difference at the gas pump is if you choose debit you have to enter your PIN number.  Credit you don’t so why ask?  And why would you choose debit?

Why do people who can’t even operate an electric can opener think they can scan their own groceries at the U-Scan lane in the store?  While the line of people behind them wait for the employees to help them, of course.

As great as the MacBook Pro is there’s nothing better than sitting in the easy chair in front of the basketball game using the Tablet PC like I am now.  It can’t be beat.

Why is Saturday Night Live so bad?  Is the current show so bad due to the lack of star quality or due to bad writing?  Or all of the above?  Remember Jim John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Gilda Radner and Chevy Chase?  There’s nothing memorable about any of the shows today.

Why do kid’s sport leagues let every team in the division into the playoffs?  Doesn’t that make the whole regular season pointless?  Just ask your kid and he/she will tell you the regular season games don’t matter.

Speaking of kids why do schools try to eliminate competition in schools?  Is it just to protect kid’s delicate psyches or does it stem from the belief that competition hurts self esteem?  A little healthy competition is actually good for kids, it builds character.  If we don’t show our kids how to succeed they can only succeed by accident.  At least that’s obvious to me.

  1. In answer to your question: Why does the gas pump ask if you want your transaction to be debit or credit? The only difference at the gas pump is if you choose debit you have to enter your PIN number. Credit you don’t so why ask? And why would you choose debit?

    There is a very good reason. Likely a number of reasons. The extra fees and charges that one can make to each are different. Places will charge an overhead for the use of credit card or debit (processing fees). Most fuel places will also put a “temporary” lien on your account, if debit, to ensure that you can pay for the amount of gas your intend to purchase. This was shown on a news report some time ago. It appears that gas station will put, say, a $100 dollar lien on your debit card, then when you complete your purchase, will “bill” the correct amount and remove the liened amount. Although removal of the liened amount may take some time (up to days in some cases). I don’t believe that the same practice is done for credit cards.

    Is it fair? Not really. Is it legal? Apparently so.

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  2. James: Great piece today, and excellent questions. Since the credit / debit thing has been addressed, I’ll try to take on the fries. I may (now be) incorrect, but for years, McDonald’s has used beef fat in their deep friers; the stated reason was because it made the fries tast better. A couple of months ago, I think I read that they had finally concocted a mixture of vegetable oils that produced nearly the same taste. Of course, most other chains converted to vegetable mixtures long ago.

    Your observation about the beepers was maybe even more on target that you knew…!

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  3. Right on!!! Excellent and “goofy” observations :)

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  4. I remember Jim Belushi. He’s the less funny but still breathing brother of John Belushi (the brightest flame burns quickest). As for SNL being less funny, I stopped watching when Tina Fey left as head writer to do 30 Rock (that’s where the funny went).

    BTW, McDonald’s fries may not be food. Check out the Supersize Me DVD. In an added feature, Spurlock did an experiment to see how long it took for various McD items to break down while sitting in jars. Everything else degraded normally, but the fries did not break down. Not one bit. This was the only thing in the movie that really grabbed me. Also, McD shakes cannot legally be called “milkshakes”. Enjoy your “food”.

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  5. Anton P. Nym Sunday, April 15, 2007

    To heck with teaching kids how to succeed… the important part of competition in school years is to help the kids learn how to handle failure! If you teach them that winning is their right, then when they lose odds are they’ll complain that it’s “unfair” (and make demands on how to redress this) or they’ll choose to cheat on the next one to get back what’s “theirs”, or they’ll decide that whatever they just lost at isn’t for them and they’ll give up. Trust me, I’ve seen this all too much while playing games online. (And not just kids, either.)

    You don’t build any worthwhile self-esteem by handing out cheap victories; that builds bullies, cheats, and diletantes. You build it by teaching kids how to handle defeats, learn from them, and keep going until they finally win.

    — Steve

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  6. McDonald’s coats their fries with sugar to give them the golden look. Might explain why they didn’t break down as easily.

    At least one gas pump that I use regularly had different limits depending on whether you are using a credit card or debit card.

    And why do stores that have U-scan aisles have them closed some times?

    Trust me, even when scores aren’t kept, the kids know who won and lost. And if they aren’t sure, the parents know.

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  7. Cary, sugar? That’s why they taste so good then. :)

    Re: kids knowing the score. What I see with my kids going up through baseball (non-school) is that since all the teams get in the playoffs the regular games don’t matter. You can have all the heart to heart talks you want about how giving 100% effort is always important but it’s hard to refute the comeback that the games don’t matter, because as far as getting in the playoffs they don’t, in the kid’s eyes anyway. Make getting in the playoffs dependent on regular season record and that attitude changes immediately. I don’t see how we’re helping the kids by protecting them from the pain of losing. We’re just muddling the joy of winning.

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  8. John in Norway Sunday, April 15, 2007

    I’m sorry James but I can’t help you with any of your questions. I either have no clue what you’re talking about or it doesn’t apply where I live. :)

    Here’s hoping it didn’t get you down and that you had a good day.

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  9. Having worked as a primary school teacher in the UK, I’ve witnessed at first hand the removal of competition from the curriculum. As a result,in my experience, whenever it is introduced children invariably cannot handle defeat. Parents are no better and football (soocer) matches can become highly charged affairs with all manner of accusations being levelled at the opossition or referee. It seems that days of shaking hands with the victor and acknowledging their skill and determination are long gone.

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  10. My Kroger used to have a sane U-Scan or Credit Card system and then they went the way Walmrt did many years ago. You swipe the card and it trys to treat it as a debit card. Why? Well, Walmart claims they loose money on small purchases when your debit card is used as a credit card even though the price charged is the same. I always press cancel and slap that credit button. My bank is a pain when you use your pin in anything except one of THEIR machines. They want to charge you their fee as well as the foreign bank fee. I have paid as much as 5 bucks to use my pin once. Never again.

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