America Does Things Big.

I would love to come back to the UK and see the size of one of these things.

Probably wouldn’t hold a candle, really.

Oh, and this is in Dayton, Ohio, so making election comments are tempting.  But I am going to ask for restraint.  My readers are above cheap shots. 

I’m not, but you are.

A Spirited Recommendation for Oprah

Some time ago, The Boffin and I were in Binny’s, the big chain liquor store known to those in the Chicagoland area, and I was fortunate enough to stumble across this recommendation.


Now that was very nice of you, Oprah, and I will certainly keep that in mind next time I have $270.00 lying around to buy a bottle of liquor that will make me punch random passersby in the genitals. But please, let me return the favor.

I offer you this.


Yes, you read that right. 192 proof. The 750 ml bottle only costs $22, so it provides a hell of a lot more value for your money than that tequila you are hawking. You can use it to make your own flavored vodkas and baking extracts. You can liquor up your fruits and use them in cakes and other baked goods. You can use it for medicinal purposes, even if the medicinal purpose is to forget about what ails you.

You know what, Oprah, I even have a craft idea to go along with it. I made a biodegradable personalized carrier sleeve to go with the bottle. Check it out.


I should stick that on Pinterest.


Mental Exercise: The Boffin Way

Welcome to Asda's. © Copyright Alex McGregor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Welcome to Asda’s. © Copyright Alex McGregor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

In any relationship, we just do little things to annoy each other.  It happens.

One of the very small beefs I have with The Boffin is his tendency to turn retail stores possessive when they aren’t.  Wal-Mart becomes Wal-Mart’s.  Target becomes Target’s.  It can drive me mental when I am in the wrong mood.

During a conversation just yesterday, The Boffin was talking about “Tesco’s,” his take of the well-known supermarket chain in the U.K.  Naturally, I had to correct him.  Then, he started to take the piss and mentioned “Sainsbury”…”s” and proceeded to rile me up in that way that partners know how to do.  I hit my breaking point.

Me:  You don’t love me.

The Boffin (mischievously):  Oh, I do.  I need to keep your brain active.

Me (exasperated):  That’s not activity!

The Boffin:  Stress is an activity.

The Netherworld of HomeGoods

For those in the UK, HomeGoods is the offshoot of TJ Maxx that sells the household items that the department stores and other fine retailers couldn’t push onto the consumers.  The idea is that you get a bargain by the big markdowns. You would know this store as Home Sense.

Well, stepping into a HomeGoods is really stepping into a warped stasis. These objects might make sense in one reality, but they cancel themselves out in most other realities. Alice’s trip through the Looking Glass was a doddle in comparison.

Right now, with summer approaching, we have a sea theme going on at HomeGoods. These are just two of many aisles of this sort of stuff.


This would be OK, if I did not live in the Chicago suburbs. Yes, we have the Great Lakes close by, which are sea-like in scale. However, they contain this thing called fresh water that negates that whole seaside ambiance that this decor is trying to achieve. In fact, if people do have cabins, they are by the lakes in Wisconsin and Michigan. So, HomeGoods is using massive amounts of retail space to promote this delusion of being somewhere we are not and completely missing a market in the process.

Piggybacking on this alternate reality is this tray…


We’ve been to Kennebunkport. Even drove past the Bush compound and waved. Nobody waved back. They must have known neither one of us voted for George W. We also didn’t buy anything when we visited the town. So this is our chance to get the souvenir we could have gotten…a wafer-thin tin tray that says Kennebunkport made in India and bought in Illinois. Only in America.

And just when you think your income isn’t disposable enough, you can buy empty wine bottles.


Let me give you some advice, if you are considering this purchase. If you want to make some friends, don’t drink, and need empty bottles, buy some wine and invite some people around. I promise you it’ll be a much more pleasant time than going to HomeGoods. Your new friends will be happy to provide that liquid dispensation service. Trust me.

Away from the drinking and onto the food, I have no issue with shortbread. Who does not love this combination of flour, butter, and sugar? And it is lovely when it is baked into novelty shapes, but I think kilts is taking things a little too far.

“I know! Kilt-shaped shortbread! Let’s equate it with wool and sweaty baws!”

I’m known to mentally ruin nice things.

Don’t think we left anything out for the kids.  Let’s start them on the road to galeophobia and behavioral therapy with this bean bag chair.


If you want to add to the fun, insert a motion-activated sound device that plays the Jaws theme and attach extra durable leather straps.  Just plop them in front of the TV at night with their new, favorite comfy chair and enjoy their squeals of excitement.

Look, Alex, Shark Week's on!  I'll just heat up your mac and cheese.
Look, Alex, Shark Week’s on! I’ll just heat up your mac and cheese.

As if things couldn’t get any weirder, this mug simply stating “SELFIE” was the most perplexing object in the shop.


I would guess you would only use this mug to use while you are taking a selfie. However, your friends would already be able to figure out you have taken a selfie, so it would be a lame joke. Maybe the mug is commanding you to take a selfie? But there are special treatments for people who take orders from inanimate objects.

Perhaps the mug isn’t inanimate? Maybe it’s a magical, mystical mug that just takes selfies. But how would it take it without fingers?  Telekinesis?  Can it supposedly bend teaspoons like Uri Geller?  If that’s the case, it’s a pretty crap mug because it should do something more suited to its purpose, like make tea. But you don’t, do you. You just roam the country, Selfie Mug, you narcissistic bastard, sneaking into people’s pockets and purses, taking pictures of yourself, without a care in the world, when you could be making hot beverages for others, and providing small moments of joy for humanity.  You probably damage cutlery too while you are at it.

I hate you, Selfie Mug.

Leave me alone with my crushed dreams and shattered psyche.