Previous “Questions” posts

Why Gerald Ford?

Per Futurama, we do know that Ford has never felt voting to be all that essential to the process.

This morning, my pal Amy Jane pointed me to a tidbit from a mostly-unrelated story about one of Donald Trump’s many lawyers, Evan Corcoran. Please enjoy this peculiar image:

[W]hile sitting together in Trump’s office, in front of a Norman Rockwell-style painting depicting Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and Trump playing poker…

I am fascinated by the idea of this painting, and boy do I have questions.

Questions about a bizarre painting purportedly showing Donald Trump playing poker with Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and Bill Clinton

  • Has Donald Trump ever played poker in his life? Do you imagine that he thinks he can play poker?

  • Can you conceive of a worse poker player than Donald Trump? Keep in mind that bluffing is a strategic maneuver, different from simply lying about reality.

  • Why Gerald Ford?! Even with Republicans turning on and abandoning Reagan, and despite the fact that Trump continues to harbor an epically pathetic grudge against Hillary Clinton, I find Ford to be the absolute oddest inclusion at this imaginary table.

  • Is it because the only thing possibly more ridiculous than being elected President while not receiving a majority, or even a plurality, of the votes, is attaining the office without anyone outside of Michigan ever voting for you?

  • Was this painting commissioned by Trump? Was it an unrequested gift?

  • May I see this painting?

After a bit of searching for a picture of this ridiculousness, I suspect the description is wrong, and that the real painting contains no Clinton at all. It seems likely that the work in question was instead this painting by an artist named Andy Thomas, which was notably mocked a few years back. That piece includes Gerald Ford solely because he is a Republican president. Hell, even Coolidge is in there!

If there really is a painting of Trump playing poker with Clinton, I want to see it. For now, however, my bet is that the details got lost in the shuffle.

Salmon Chaos

Perverse incentives are often fun.

I have a lot of questions about this story of dozens of Taiwanese people changing their last name to “salmon” in order to get free food.

Questions about this strange Taiwanese all-you-can-eat sushi promotion

  • Just how little work is it to change your name in Taiwan?

  • How did the government decide that the number of allowable name changes would be three?

  • After a name change, how quickly can you obtain a new ID, with your new fish-based name?

  • Would former Major Leaguer Tim Salmon qualify for this promotion?

  • The promotion provides “an all-you-can-eat sushi meal along with five friends”. Does that mean the name-changer gets free food, provided they bring five paying friends (rather steep)? Or that up to six people, including the name-changer, get free food (rather bad business)?

  • When you’re done with this foolishness, do you change back immediately, thereby leaving yourself with just one more name change available? Or do you rock the salmon name for awhile, so you have two more changes remaining?

  • At a glance, this promotion seems to be poorly thought out on many fronts. Then again, it’s now leading to a ton of free press. On the third hand, the aforelinked article doesn’t even mention the chain (“Sushiro”) that offered this promotion by name.

    Regardless, I’m glad they did it, because it adds to the weirdness of the world in a wonderful way.

Too Many Slogans

This package has a lot going one.

This is a “Constellation Medley” package of NatureSweet tomatoes:

Thanks to produce industry news site “AndNowUKnow”, I now know it features

“…a predetermined mix featuring the SunBursts and Glorys varieties, as well as three new tomatoes, the Jubilees, a chocolate grape tomato, and an orange grape tomato.”

Want to know more? OK!

“All these tomatoes have been bred for flavor with each answering a different calling – SunBursts are ideal for a sweet, healthy snack, the new orange grape tomato adds a burst of color and flavor to salads; while Glorys tomatoes are for cooking, Jubilees are ideal for sandwiches, and the new chocolate grape offers versatility for multiple uses.

That’s far more information about a package of tomatoes than I’ve ever received before, and yet I find myself with rather a lot of questions.

Questions for this package of tomatoes

  • Does one single product really need two different slogans?

  • Sadly, I have memorial service for my dear departed grandmother coming up. Can you recommend the right tomato for this occasion?

  • Is that a bumblebee in the upper left, representing the pollination of tomatoes bees perform? Because it looks like a tomato that’s simply dressed up as a bumblebee.

  • The tomatoes themselves appear to note where I should peel, using the words “let us out”. Does the “Wash me” text thus mean I actually need to cleanse the container itself?

  • Has anyone ever told you that you’re rather demanding?

Frankly, I think being raised right would result in a bit more in the way of manners.

Purchasing My Very Own Custom Pumper

I am pumped about this pumper!

Behold, the greatest Instagram ad I’ve yet seen:

Like you, I have questions about this ad.

Questions for Rosenbauer US About This Ad for a Fire Truck:

  • What list did I get on to receive this ad?

  • A follow-up, how can I make sure I’m never, ever taken off of said list? Is tapping the ad repeatedly enough?

  • Can private citizens actually purchase fire trucks?

  • What in the world does “Your first due is your most important message to battle” mean?

  • Is your marketing copywriter having a stroke? Quick, dispatch one of your emergency vehicles!

  • Do fire trucks actually need to advertise? How much competition is there in this space?

  • Let’s assume fire truck manufacturers do need to advertise. Are Instagram ads really an effective way to reach customers?

  • Wait a minute, is this the result of all my research on the yellow Multipurpose Machine?

Anyhow, keep an eye out for me speeding down the streets of Boston in my brand-new fire engine this Christmas. I’ll be the one who doesn’t actually stop for any emergencies.

Madison, the Superfluous Reindeer

Get your lowercase G together, Paper Source!

On a recent trip on the subway, I saw someone with a Christmas gift bag that made me very confused. I snapped a quick pic, but I didn’t want to be a total creeper, so it’s not great:

It’s blurry, but you should still be able to make out the fact that Santa’s sleigh is being pulled by 12, count them, 12 reindeer. I had to find out more.

Realizing that my subway stop was very close to a Paper Source store, I was able to find the product in question. Here’s a better picture of their “Snow Covered Street” bag:

As a result, I now have some questions for Paper Source.

Questions for Paper Source About These “Snow Covered Street Medium Gift Bags”:

  • Just how many reindeer do you think there are? We know the answer, and the answer is eight. We know all of their names. Dasher, Dancer, and Prancer, Vixen, Cupid, Comet, Donner, and Blitzen. Eight.

  • Are you counting Rudolph? Alright, then it’s nine.

  • Would you like help getting to ten? Fine. I’ve also heard of “Olive”, as in 🎶 Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names 🎶. It requires some clever/awful wordplay, but we’ll let you have it. Even with those two additions, you reach only a very shaky ten. As well, it’d mean you’ve got Rudolph in-line (rather than leading the pack), and without his distinguishing feature.

  • So, what are the names of the other two reindeer? I’ll say they’re “Madison” and “Logan”. Let’s go with some trendy-ass names for these ridiculous, superfluous reindeer.

  • Isn’t it likely that the average gift weight has decreased in recent years? Solid wood was replaced by plastics, and electronics have gotten smaller and lighter every year. Given that, Santa’s sleigh has surely gotten lighter. Is Santa now using more reindeer even as less energy is required, in some sort of make-work job scenario?

  • Alternately, has Santa recently gained weight, like so many people? And as a result, are more magical flying reindeer necessary to get the sleigh off the ground?

In closing, those reindeer lack antlers and kind of look like dogs.

Eee dont now

An unhelpful answer is worse than no answer.

As I skimmed through the listing for a stamp roll dispenser on Amazon, I came upon this question and answer pair:

A question being unhelpfully answered with the text 'No, í dont now '.

This incredibly useless reply from “Magaly” has been cracking me up ever since. They managed to cram three typos into just four words, which is worse even than this previous train wreck. I have many questions.


  • Why in the world did you bother replying?

  • Are you aware that it’s not mandatory for you to fill all empty text boxes on the web?

  • How did you manage to type an “í” instead of an “I”?

  • Isn’t it fun to pronounce this emphatically, as “Eee dont now!”?

  • Does a missing period count as a typo? If so, we’ve got four typos in four words.

Man, they really nailed that comma, though.

Previously in stupid Amazon things: This Is Not Helpful, Amazon

Wine Personalized to My Tastes Is Actually Just Called “Beer”

Everything about this piece of spam for horny winos is ridiculous.

Last week, I received a spammy come-on to purchase some wine via the internet. The ad had more than a few issues.

An add that says 'Wine personalized to your tastes', with a swimsuit-clad woman lounging on a pool float holding a glass of wine she can't even drink.


  • Is that woman lying down on balloons? Ah, no, I see. That’s actually a rather cool-looking pool float.

  • Do you folks sell pool floats? I’d buy that pool float.

  • Did they change the calendar recently? This email arrived on Friday, August 3rd, which was not part of any three day weekend to my knowledge. While I too enjoy three day weekends, a month ahead of time seems a bit premature to celebrate Labor Day.

  • Oh jeez, is that a cactus behind the pool float? Don’t put an inflatable pool float near cacti!

  • Say, you mention wine, but I don’t see any. Am I missing it? I see ass. Legs and ass. Definitely no face though, and also, no wine.

  • Oh, there the wine is, all the way on the left. Did anyone on the marketing team notice that there’s literally no way this ridiculously-posed woman can drink wine in that position?1

  • In closing, I’d like to know where I can buy that pool float.


    1. Perhaps she could use some sort of straw, but only if she’s some kind of anti-environmental monster. ↩︎

Iceland Airwaves Is Apparently NOT the Onboard Music Station for IcelandAir

I recently visited Iceland for the first time, and my Instagram is looking fresh as hell1. My inbox, however, is not looking quite so gorgeous. That’s due to an email I received from IcelandAir, the airline that transported me across the Atlantic. With the apparent hope that I’ll fly with them again, they sent me this:

Six Questions for This Email From IcelandAir

  • Is Björk wearing Nickelodeon™ Floam® on her face?

  • You remember Floam, right?

  • Hang on, is Björk wearing a garbage bag on her head?

  • Those aren’t earrings, are they? They’re totally the drawstrings on a goddamned garbage bag!

  • Who books travel based on a marketing email received from an airline?

  • Is the answer to the previous question “Björk fans”?

In closing, “Björk” is a funny word.


  1. Here’s a small sample:









    In a word, Iceland is stunning.↩︎

OK, Now It’s Christmas

Earlier this week, the holiday season really kicked off, as my podcasting cohort Amy sent a seasonal floral arrangement my way. Perhaps in retaliation for the carpet-bombing of celebrity photos she received from me, she sent the “Santa Paws and His Best Reindeer™”, from the 1-800-Flowers “A-DOG-able®” collection. I did not answer the door bell when it rang, because honestly, who rings a door bell? Savages, that’s who. Anyhow, the delivery person opted to just leave these poor dogs in the snow.

I immediately shared it with the world via Instagram, because it’s…really something.

Santa Paws and his best reindeer
Really Something

However, this remarkable gift has left me pondering many things.

Seven Questions About “Santa Paws and His Best Reindeer”

  • Just how far from the original word, “adorable” can you get and have it still be acceptable? Whatever the answer, 1-800-Flowers is well past that point.

  • The dogs sit in a wicker basket, and inside is just a foam floral block soaked in water. Thus, the bottom of the basket is sopping wet. What exactly am I supposed to do here? Is this a tub arrangement? “Oh, you can’t use the downstairs shower, the flower dogs are in there”.

  • What year is it? Amy attempted to instruct me to “[p]lease save the dog’s glasses”. Here’s how that poor apostrophe was mangled:

    Santa Paws and his best reindeer
    “Please save the Doga S glasses”

  • What the hell makes this one Santa’s “best” reindeer, anyway?

  • Is the reindeer a flower dog dressed as a reindeer, or is it just a flower reindeer?

  • Hang on. What the hell is Amy planning to do with these dog glasses, anyway?

  • Can you believe this is someone’s job?

I, for one, can not.

Five Questions for the TSA

Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, Wiffle bats are free to be carried on domestic flights at last.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Bats

This change will come April 25th, 2013, when the TSA implements their updated Prohibited Items List (PIL). One of the many changes is the ability to carry on small and/or light bats. After looking over the full PIL1, I have a few questions.

Five Questions for the TSA

  • How is a box cutter any more dangerous than these knives?

  • Who the hell carries on ski poles, pool cues, golf clubs, or hockey sticks?

  • If someone carries on golf clubs, what the hell good will a maximum of two clubs do them?2

  • What is changing on April 25th to make these items suddenly safer?

  • Setting aside the reinforcement of cockpit doors touted even by TSA critic Bruce Schneier (which were ordered before the TSA was even created anyhow), have any of the changes to airline security the TSA has implemented ever had any impact on our real security whatsoever?

I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that last one.


  1. The revision from the time of this post is archived here. ↩︎

  2. Maybe a perfect golfer could make due with a driver and a putter? ↩︎