Smoking on Planes

There was a time when people were allowed to smoke cigarettes on airplanes — and they actually did it! Like all of the time. I think about this every few months and it still freaks me out.

I was on a plane a few years back (pre-COVID, but still not too long ago) and the arm rests still had ash trays built into them. They just happened to be glued shut.

A SHORT (BRIEFLY RESEARCHED) HISTORY LESSON

In the year 1990 smoking on aircrafts (to and from the US) was mostly prohibited. Pilots were still allowed to smoke in the cockpit. It wasn’t until Bill Clinton signed the Aviation Investment and Reform Act in the year 2000 that smoking on planes was completely banned. Some countries kept smoking on planes around until 2016 or later.

LINK TO HISTORY

Imagine being on a plane today and witnessing another passenger pull out a lighter or match and lighting up a cigarette. That person would be tackled so fast just for pulling that thing out, and rightfully so. Planes are smelly enough as is, they don’t need the help of someone smoking a cigarette.

“SMOKING OR NON-SMOKING?”

There was also a time, not too long ago when you’d be asked this simple question at a restaurant, “Smoking or Non-Smoking?” Meaning, do you want to sit in the clean part or the nasty part of this fine establishment? And on a busy night with no reservation the “Smoking” section was where you’d end up.

When I was in college people would smoke cigarettes in bars. Today, I can wear the same pair of jeans for weeks visiting different bars and restaurants. Back then, if I wore my jeans to a smokey bar they’d be in the hamper that night and washed the next day. Plus, I’d have to shower before going to bed.

Hotels used to have “Smoking and Non-Smoking” rooms, and I’m pretty sure many of them still do. Some unknowingly, “Would you like to stay in a room that smells like we cleaned it or one that smells like we didn’t even have enough time to change the sheets?”

Thanks to my grandmother I’ve never been a fan of cigarettes. I’ve never tried one and I plan to never try one. I loved my grandma, but I hated the smell of her smoking in our house when she would come over. Luckily, she stopped smoking early on in my life.

Whenever I find someone who still smokes cigarettes it’s like I’m meeting a strange time traveler. Of course, everyone switched over to e-cigs and vapes by now. Years later, we’ll find out that everyone is getting some sort of computer virus in their bodies thanks to all the e-smoking.

Apples in Review: Vol 1 – Red Delicious

A few weeks ago I made a post about all of the different kinds of apples that exist. While writing that post I decided that I would attempt to try all of the different varieties of apples that I could find. I was going to start posting my short reviews of each apple on the @ferdislearnings Twitter profile, but after trying a few different types of apples I’ve decided to instead make a weekly (or bi-weekly) post featuring a different apple each post.

It’s been a few weeks and I have now tried a few different apples. I wanted to get a bit ahead of myself.

Of course, I’m starting off with the original apple — The Red Delicious. The forbidden fruit that Adam & Eve ate back in the garden. I’m guessing it was a Red Delicious apple because I bet they didn’t have all of these varieties of apples yet. If Adam and Eve were the first man and woman then there was no one around yet to create these new kinds of apples and the Red Delicious had to be the only one around, right???

Let me start off by saying that I don’t normally eat the skin of an apple. My normal apple eating ritual consists of cutting an apple into slices and just eating the inside parts and tossing the skin in the trash (where it belongs). There is also usually some Nutella, dulce de leche or peanut butter involved.

For the purpose of this apple eating experiment I decided to bite straight into these apples, skin and all. I’m not using any flavor enhancers either (nutella, dulce de leche, peanut butter…). I’m reviewing not only the taste of the inside of the apple, but also the skin.

Red Delicious Apples ($1.79/lb) at the Fresh Market

Now it’s time for Apples in Review: Vol 1 – Red Delicious

The Red Delicious Apple just tastes like an apple to me. It tastes like a regular, plain ass apple. If a candy or beverage said “Apple-flavored” on the label, this is what I’d expect to taste.

If you pick a nice one you’ll notice a beautiful, shiny red coat of skin. I’m guessing that’s why they call it the Red Delicious — it’s shiny, red coat makes it look like a delicious treat for you to eat.

I started my journey with the most basic version of an apple so that I can hopefully notice the differences when I venture out into other varieties.

The red delicious apple is refreshing. After biting into this one the inside quickly started to turn brown and loose moisture. Apples tend to do this, but this felt much faster than I’d expect. Since eating this apple I have noticed that some apples have a extremely high moisture content and this wasn’t one of those.

When biting into the Red Delicious I thought, “Yeah, that tastes like an apple to me.” This is why I look forward to trying other varieties and seeing what differences I can taste.

I don’t expect to taste wild notes of chocolate with hints of mild cherry like in coffee, but I do plan to notice subtle differences in sweetness and sour levels, moisture and other apple identifiers. I’d say the Red Delicious is our middle of the road apple. It’s got a mild flavor for those who crave a simple, plain ass apple.

image from the Washington Apple Commission (bestapples.com)

Croqueta Roulette

Something I never really thought about but I do almost anytime I go to Publix in the middle of the day when I haven’t had lunch yet and I’m too hungry to wait until I get home — I always buy some croquetas from the Publix bakery.

SIDE NOTE: For you gringos a croqueta is a fried breaded cylinder usually containing ham inside and some other stuff too. I’ve heard someone call it a fritter before. They can also be filled with chicken, fish, cheese, chorizo, mac & cheese and all sorts of crazy stuff. I would call it the Cuban cousin to the Italian Mozzarella stick.

I’ve always been a ham croqueta person. Ham is the original. If you order a croqueta anywhere you will 99% of the time be given a ham croqueta, no questions asked. If the establishment you are at has chicken, fish, cheese or other types of croquetas they will either ask you, “What type of croqueta?” or you will have to specify, “I want a croqueta de pollo.” (Spanish for chicken croqueta).

What I do at Publix bakery to make my mid-day snack into a fun game is I usually order a few original croquetas (aka HAM) and one of either chicken or cheese (sometimes one of each). They all get thrown into the same bag and since all croquetas look about the same from the outside, it’s a fun guessing game.

The Publix bakery person usually tries to separate them with some fancy bakery paper, but that doesn’t really work because they are getting tossed around all over the bag. Also, I’m going to eat these while driving so I will not look in the bag to see how they are separated.

So, once I leave Publix and I’m driving home or to my next destination I get to play a little game I call CROQUETA ROULETTE. I stick my hand in the bag and grab one at a time. Next, I take a bite not really thinking about what’s going to be inside and I’m surprised each time.

Here’s my croqueta bag from yesterday’s game.

Yesterday I ate the cheese one first. I had ordered three ham and one cheese, so the game ended on that first bite. It was still was and always is a delicious game to play.

So, the next time you find yourself at Publix (if you’re in Florida) order some croquetas (if you’re in South Florida), and play a round of CROQUETA ROULETTE (if you’re in the car). 

You won’t regret it. If you’re not in Florida, find some kind of dumpling place that will let you order single dumplings and try DUMPLING ROULETTE. Maybe a FILLED DONUT ROULETTE. There are many ways to play this game.

Customer Service

Back in college I took a class on hospitality and customer service for some reason. In this class we read the book Raving Fans by Sheldon Bowles and Ken Blanchard. The book’s message was telling companies/brands to have great customer service so that they have “raving fans” rather than customers.

Let me start off by saying that I am not a bamboozler. I do not lie to get free stuff. The stories below are completely true and this is a teaching moment for you — my fans. Only use this method of reaching out to brands/companies if you had a less than wonderful experience.

Customer Experiences

Have you ever had a bad experience with a product or service? Maybe a slightly inconvenient experience? We all have and I’m here to tell you that as long as it’s a small accident you don’t have to go public with it. Don’t be like Topanga’s husband who tried to say there were shrimp tails in his cereal when they were probably just funny shaped sugar strips (I actually didn’t keep up with this story so I have no idea what they ended up being).

Most companies today have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and possibly multiple social media profiles. They’re mostly run by ad agency interns. This is why when something goes wrong I find a company’s Twitter profile and send them a DM (Direct Message). It’s also good to send a picture, when possible.

This is the story of three different customer experiences I had with three different brands — one bad, one slightly inconvenient and one that I’m not even sure affected me in any sort of way. It’s also a story of redemption and how these three companies stepped up and admitted they were wrong and made it up to me.

THE BAD: FRESH STEAKS

I shop at The Fresh Market weekly and I have stated this before in other posts. Earlier this month I bought two steaks (Filet Mignon) to make for dinner for my girlfriend and myself. It was Easter weekend, I purchased them on Friday and by Sunday they had transformed into rotten, ugly zombie meat. I had to toss them.

I’m not really sure how long Steak should keep in the fridge, I usually freeze them if I’m not cooking and eating them within one or two days. I would guess two to three days would be the max.

My next visit to the Fresh Market I asked someone in the meat department how long a Filet Mignon should last in the fridge, they told me a whole week — 7 days! I thought that was a crazy thing to say, but instead I just said, “Sure, ok.” and nodded my head.

I didn’t want to be a Karen and talk to the manager of the store, although I have met him and he’s a nice dude. Instead I went to Twitter and DM-ed the Fresh Market directly.

I also mentioned that I was told that a steak would keep fresh in the fridge for up to one week. They immediately made things right and sent me a $25 gift card. The two steaks were probably somewhere between $10 and $20, so I think this was a good job by them.

Thank you Karla!

At no point was I going to stop going to Fresh Market, it’s still my favorite grocery store. And even after having this and a few other small problems from time to time, they have always been great about making it up to me.

THE SLIGHTLY INCONVENIENT: WHERE’S MY BOLOGNA, OSCAR?

The second experience was with a classic Lunchables meal (Bologna and Cheese). I do eat more Lunchables than someone in their 30s should eat, but Lunchables are always a quick, easy and delicious meal.

There I was enjoying my Lunchables cracker sandwiches. Yes, I double up and instead of making six one layer cracker stackers I make three sandwiches instead with two of each item.

Cracker + Meat + Cheese + Meat + Cheese + Cracker.

I was on my last cracker sandwich when I realized that there had only been five slices of Bologna this whole time instead of the usual six. My last cracker sandwich was a disappointment.

Cracker + Cheese + Meat + Cheese + Cracker.

Yes, it was still good but I wasn’t satisfied ending my lunch(able) on an incomplete sandwich. I went to Twitter.

I mentioned a FREE Nintendo Switch there because until December of 2020 Lunchables was holding a free Nintendo Switch contest which I entered multiple times. This is the reason why I’ve eaten so many Lunchables recently. Also, I probably would have eaten the same amount of Lunchables without a contest.

No Nintendo Switch… but a nice letter and $3 coupon.

Lunchables sent me a nice letter and a coupon for $3 off of a Lunchables to make up for my incomplete lunch(able) that day. I hope Lunchables don’t cost more than $3? Either way it doesn’t matter, this coupon has expired since I was holding onto it just for this post. Oops.

I guess I should just frame the coupon and put it up on the wall now that it’s expired. This will show people my friendship with the Oscar Mayer company.

THE I’M NOT SURE WHAT TO CALL IT: NOT ENOUGH M&M’S

The last instance wasn’t really a problem at all. I was truly just informing the Keebler elves that I had purchased a bag of Keebler M&M cookies and every cookie in the bag either had one or two M&M’s only.

I have eaten tons of one or two M&M cookies in my day. It’s usually only a few of the cookies that don’t have the proper amount of M&M’s. When it’s a small percentage of the cookies that are missing M&M’s, it makes them special. When the whole bag has zero cookies with the proper three M&M’s, something has gone completely wrong.

I felt it was my duty to inform the Keebler elves of their mistake. I didn’t want other people to go M&M-less too.

My message to the Keebler elves. They must have a strong wifi signal in that tree, they got back to me right away.

Even though I wasn’t trying to get them to send me anything, the Keebler elves still sent me not one, but two coupons for their family of products. These just came in the other day so let’s hope I use them before they expire.


These are just three small experiences I’ve had like this of many. I’ve reached out to many companies with feedback and complaints and have usually received some help . I’m still a fan of these three companies. I will continue to shop at the Fresh Market weekly, and I have many Keebler Elf cookies and Lunchable to eat in my lifetime. 

That’s all.

Remember Arm Wrestling…

Remember when arm wrestling was a thing in movies? There was a time where most movies had a scene (usually at a bar) where one character had to arm wrestle another person (usually a giant strong dude) for information, some form of goods or just to prove themselves. This was in the 80s and 90s.

Some companies were dedicated to making specialty arm wrestling tables where you’d strap in your elbow and grab a small handle with your non-wrestling hand to have a stable arm wrestling match.

These tables are completely useless for any other activity. You can’t put snacks
on a table with all of these arm wrestling pillows… it’s just stupid!

Arm wrestling was even a thing you would see on real TV sometimes (like how you see cornhole tournaments, grocery bagging championships and cup stacking competitions today on ESPN). There was an arm wrestling league where people would arm wrestle each other in tournaments to see who had the strongest dominant arm.

Side Note: I actually looked it up and WAL, aka the World Armwrestling League is still a thing and there’s a Buffalo Wild Wings Open, so I guess it’s time we all boycott Buffalo Wild Wings?

I bet becoming the arm wrestling world champ is much easier as a lefty — less competition.

I’m not saying we should bring back the practice of arm wrestling, in fact, I think the exact opposite is true. I hope I never have to see another arm wrestling match in a movie ever again. If I see two people trying to arm wrestle in a bar I’m leaving that bar and I will never return.

Arm wrestling is a stupid thing of the past and it should be made illegal and forever banned in the entire world. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and you happen to be a professional arm wrestler, because that means you’ve wasted your life and you’re just realizing that right now as you read this.

So, in conclusion, Arm wrestling sucks. Why not be a full-body wrestler instead? Well, not a “real” Olympic wrestler because that’s boring to watch, be in the WWE and have a fun backstory. Have a cool finishing move that doesn’t make sense, but people are still afraid of it. Get your hands on that championship belt.

Or, if instead you don’t want to be any type of wrestler that’s ok too. Just keep doing whatever it is you were doing before you read this.

Thanks for your time, bye bye.

I Got VAXXED! (…and so can you)

This week I got my first and only dose of the COVID vaccine — and I feel great! I went with Johnson & Johnson because I didn’t want to have to make a second appointment and drag this thing out.

I have to admit that I did tell a small lie, in order to sign up early. I was able to sign up before April 5th by saying that I was an educator. But I am sort of an educator, because I educate all of you on the internet with my learnings and video game writings.

I did schedule my appointment for after April 5th so I wasn’t actually cheating, it was more of a small fib (or loophole). I knew that they wouldn’t ask for any teacher ID or proof by the time my appointment rolled around (some friends even told me they weren’t asked for any proof when getting their early vaccines).

My appointment was for 10AM on Wednesday at a Walmart Neighborhood Market (which basically means a Walmart that’s just a grocery and pharmacy). It was much less hectic than the Super Walmarts I’m used to from college.

What I expected was to spend at least an hour or more in a few lines with many people. I brought my Nintendo Switch, my bluetooth headphones, my back-up iPhone charger. I was ready for anything.

In the end, the whole thing only took about one hour, and that’s because I got there 20 minutes early. Also, you have to stay for 15 minutes after getting the shot to make sure you don’t grow a third arm or anything weird like that. The only people there for the 10AM appointment were me and three others. I started wondering if people are just not getting vaccinated?

I know many people are scared of getting the vaccine. They’re afraid of the side effects. I’m here to tell you that I did not get sick or suffer any side effects, and neither did my girlfriend (who helped get me the appointment). Sure, I got tired in the afternoon, but I blame that on my White Chocolate Iced Mocha and the cake pop and scone I had to celebrate my vaccination.

When they first announced that Krispy Kreme was giving away a FREE donut to people who got the vaccine a few weeks ago, I thought, Hey, that’s not fair! The people who deserve FREE donuts are the ones who can’t get vaccined yet. I was wrong, because right after getting the vaccine I decided to end my “healthy-ish” week of eating (and the rest of the week was a free-for-all of carbs and sugar).

I’ll get back into the better eating next week, I hope. The main reason I wanted to write about my experience getting the vaccine is to tell everyone to go get the vaccine. Whichever one you choose to get, it doesn’t matter as long as you get it.

Don’t be an anti-Vaxxer and once you get the vaccine it’s still important to wear your mask and it will be for some time. But the sooner we all get vaccinated the sooner this will all be over and we’ll be able to enjoy indoor activities and all the things we miss.

Go here: www.vaccinefinder.org and find out where you could get vaccinated.

Leaving Facebook

Sometimes I feel like I should just leave Facebook and social media for good. Ever since I was at the Miami Ad School and I learned all about how advertisers and marketers are using our information from social media sites to serve us extremely targeted ads and content I thought, maybe I shouldn’t be here anymore…

Last year, “The Social Dilemma” came out on Netflix. Although it was a bit exaggerated with the re-creations and profile tracking, it was still a pretty good representation of what these companies are doing with all our data. They are using our Face ID cams to figure out how long we look at certain ads and posts, they are watching our every move on the internet, and now they’re even showing us only things they think we will “like” which is how people get caught up believing in QAnon, the earth being flat and other dumb stuff like that…

Of course, working in the ad industry made it nearly impossible to not be on social media. As a digital copywriter, I had to pay attention to what was going on social media and online platforms. I did meet a few people in advertising who weren’t on Facebook (or any social media) and it was strange that they worked in this business (usually on the data gathering side) and decided not to have their data collected.

Social media is highly addictive and I know this because I’ve deleted the Facebook app and Twitter app from my iPhone quite a few times. Both apps are now back on my iPhone, but when they weren’t my screen time was way down. Our phones are taking over our lives. Humans have become super dependent on smartphones and technology. This is both good and bad at the same time. It’s good that we have all the knowledge in the world right in our pockets. However, if the zombie apocalypse ever does happen and the internet goes down, we will all become useless idiots.

Back in the day, my dad used to draw me little maps when I was driving somewhere new. Older generations can still get around without using their phones for directions. The rest of us are lost in life. When driving back to Miami from New York with my college roommate in 2012, we picked up paper maps from AAA (since it was a free service included with my membership). We were going to attempt to drive all the way back home using real maps, like people used to do. That idea quickly went out the window (with a bag full of maps) in the first minutes of our road trip. We had no idea how to find out where we were on the map (without the little GPS triangle). Even at the mall the mall map always tells you, “You are here.”

I plug my destination into my iPhone GPS, even when I’m going home from somewhere I’ve been to hundreds of times before. Maybe I just want Apple to be aware in case something happens to me? (I don’t want to end up being another Amber/Silver alert on your iPhone). I also like to race the clock and try to beat Apple’s predicted “arrival time.”

It was my birthday recently, and I realized that my birthday is the main reason why I can’t leave Facebook. Back in middle school, I used to know all of my friends’ phone numbers — their home phone numbers — by heart. I still know everyone in my 8th grade class’s home phone number. Our neighborhood had a simple system where every number started with the same three digits, so we only had to memorize the last four — 361-XXXX (it was a time before area codes).

Today, everyone’s number is saved in our cell phones. If I met you after high school, I do not know your phone number. If I lose my iPhone along with all of my contacts tomorrow I would lose about 90% of my friends, forever. I would even lose my girlfriend — Sorry, bye bye Boba… (I had to look up her number on my phone the other day at Walgreens to pick something up for her).

This is the same for birthdays. Back in middle school, maybe even high school you knew your friends’ birthdays. I know many of my oldest friends’ birthdays or around when to expect their birthday in the year. But, we’ve all gotten lazy. Now we let Facebook tell us when it’s someone’s birthday. And we all had those stupid friends who would change their birthday on Facebook just to see which friends didn’t know their real birthday (If you changed your birthday on Facebook to trick your friends, then YOU are the jerk).

If you don’t have Facebook nowadays who’s going to even know when it’s your birthday? You’re stuck going around telling your friends and co-workers, “Oh, by the way, today is my birthday.” You’re not going to get any cake or presents like that.

If you don’t have a Facebook account on your birthday you’re only getting a “happy birthday, love mom” text and possibly some emails from your dentist, your gym and whatever big corporations know your birthday (because they are tracking all of your info). If you’re lucky you may even get some Nintendo Bucks in an email.

I’m stuck with Facebook because of my birthday, but also because if I didn’t have a Facebook I wouldn’t have a place to share these posts with you… so you’re welcome!

The History of Face ID (according to me)

When the iPhone first introduced Face ID in 2017 it was the coolest thing ever (to some people). Unlocking your iPhone felt like being an international spy or living in the distant future. Apple and many other tech companies started off with fingerprint scanning, but when that became the norm they had to step it up.

Unofficial Apple Meeting Transcript (2016) 

TIM: What if we can use their faces as a fingerprint?

BOB: What? Like a face print?

TIM: Yes, but don’t call it that.

SHIELA: What about Print Face.

BOB: Face Reader?

SHIELA: Open face???

TIM: I hate all of those.

SHIELA: Face ID?

TIM: Yes, thank you Shiela! Face ID! Make it happen nerds…

Now, in 2020 and 2021 the face recognition technology has become slightly obsolete. Not all the time, but most of the time thanks to the pandemic. Now that we’re all wearing masks we’ve gone back to entering our pins and being forced to remember our hundreds of saved passwords. It’s madness.

The sad part is that Apple took away the fingerprint reader from our iPhones, so now we’re forced to enter our pins instead (like it’s the early 2010s). We’ve regressed not only one but two generations to entering pin codes.

I don’t understand how my iPhone recognizes my face with and without glasses on. Each time I unlock my iPhone using my face I try to stump it by making a different silly face, but it always recognizes me somehow (and I know many of you do the same). This is why I don’t understand how it doesn’t know who I am when a mask is covering the lower third of my face? There’s still two thirds of my face for you to read iPhone!

Disney is now testing out face recognition software to enter the parks, but again we’re still wearing masks. At first I thought maybe they were having trouble with imposters pretending to be their friends who are passholders, but they already have our fingerprints (and I’m guessing it’s hard to fake that, unless once again you’re some kind of international spy).

I’m starting to think this whole Face ID and facial recognition software craze is just a ploy for all of these big companies to sell more of our information (aka our faces) to advertisers everywhere. We should have never given Apple our faces, but now it’s too late, they have everything and soon our world will become some dystopian Cyberpunk future.

Until then — Good luck, everyone…

Ernest Vs Madea: Is Madea the Ernest of this Generation?

I remember watching every single Ernest movie as a kid. And I’m pretty sure I watched them all at the same friend’s house. Looking back now, Jim Varney did a whole lot of stuff in his lifetime, before playing Slinky Dog in Toy Story 1 and 2.

Most Ernest movies used the same formula for their titles: “Ernest goes to _______” or some kind of version of that. It’s as if whatever movie studio was behind these films knew that the country was obsessed with this character and we’d watch him do pretty much anything. I say country because I don’t think the appeal of the Ernest P. Worrell made it past America (but I could be wrong).

Cut to 20 years later, and Tyler Perry is basically using the same formula for his famous, beloved character, Madea. I’m not saying these characters are one and the same, but there are a few similarities in their stories. Madea and Ernest have even visited a few of the same locations in their on-screen lives.

Humble Beginnings:

Ernest and Madea both embarked on different journeys to the big screen, but they were both not intentionally created for film.

Ernest started out in these “Hey Vern” commercials before getting his own TV series. The character was created by Jim Varney and an ad agency for some local commercials. Ernest was so well-received that he was featured in ads for everything (some national), before finally becoming part of a huge movie franchise (the ECU, or Ernest Cinematic Universe).

An early Ernest Burger Ad

Madea began as a stage character, loosely based on Tyler Perry’s mother and aunt. She was a way for him to pay homage to these two important women from his life. Tyler Perry played Madea in many stage plays, and the character became a huge hit. The next step was obviously to adapt the character for the screen, but Perry probably didn’t expect Madea to become the star of a huge blockbuster movie franchise.

On-stage Madea

John Cherry III was the ad exec who created the Ernest character (with the help of Jim Varney). Cherry also took Ernest to Hollywood, writing and directing the Ernest films. Madea was created entirely by Tyler Perry though, who not only played the character on stage and on the big screen, but also wrote, produced and directed many of the films himself.

Stuck in Character:

Jim Varney had become interested in theater from a young age. He even had some big on-stage roles as a teen. Varney was actually a classically-trained actor who performed in many Shakespearean plays. He had some other roles, but was mainly remembered for his portrayal of Ernest P. Worrell.

Watch Jim Varney do some “Serious Acting” alongside the great Thomas Lennon.

Along with the Madea franchise, Tyler Perry has written, directed and produced many film and television projects. He’s even built his own empire, Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre lot located in Atlanta. Here, he’s not only able to create his own projects but also help others with their creative visions. He also was the lead in the 2012 movie, Alex Cross and he played a lawyer in Gone Girl (2014).

Take a Tour of Tyler Perry Studios

A Tale of Two Travelers:

Ernest and Madea both went to jail. Madea had a few spooky movies, while Ernest was “Scared Stupid.” Ernest attended school and Madea went to her class reunion. Madea had a Christmas while Ernest saved it. Madea went into Witness Protection and Ernest served in the military.

It’s sad that Jim Varney passed away right around the time Madea was created. If Jim Varney was still around today, I’m sure we would see a crossover Madea X Ernest movie: Madea & Ernest Save the Internet, Ernest & Madea Save America, Madea Saves Ernest or Ernest Saves Madea? Maybe Madea vs Ernest (in the style of Freddy vs Jason or the Alien Vs Predator movies).

The main similarity between these two characters is that they inspired giant movie franchises (like James Bond-style). Whether you love or hate Ernest and/or Madea there is something special about each of these characters that kept people wanting to experience more of them.

Madea is no carbon copy of Ernest, I think Madea was the Ernest for the next generation. But who will be the next Ernest or Madea? Probably Ninja, Blippi or some Twitch or Youtube star-kid who gets a huge movie deal.

Borat just released his second movie film, so he’s sort of on track to becoming the next Ernest/Madea. Who knows?

Now enjoy Jim Varney reading some Toy Story Slinky Dog lines…
RIP Jim Varney (aka Ernest P Worrell)

Jim Varney voicing Slinky Dog

Elevator Etiquette (2.0)

I know I once had the idea of writing a learning about Elevator etiquette/behavior. I also have a lot of thoughts about elevators in general and how strange they are. But today, I’m here to talk about one of my problems with elevators: dealing with other humans in elevators.

I’ve ridden many elevators (or lifts, if you’re British) in my day. I’ve always been the type of person that doesn’t want to talk to a stranger on an elevator ride. Yes, I shared a up-and-down box-cart ride with you for a few seconds, but you don’t have to tell me “good day,” or “have a nice one” or anything of the sort because of it.

I won’t be mad if you just leave me in the elevator with my thoughts once you’ve reached your destination. And if we reach my destination first I don’t think you should be mad if I don’t say anything on my way out.

I get nervous about what to say, and when I feel like I have to say something to the person I usually just walk out and scream, “Bye!” at them. It’s people who have elevator catch phrases that I’m concerned about. People who say things like, “Have a good one,” or “Take it easy,” or even “See ya later!” Ok, “see ya later,” is a very strange one. You don’t know if that’s true. You may not see me later on, you may not even see me ever again in your life.

Now with the COVID-19 elevators have gotten a whole lot weirder. There’s new rules to riding an elevator. There’s a new cap on the number of people. Remember the simple days, when it was a weight limit and you just had to hope that the elevator wouldn’t beep or shake. Also, everyone could just pack into the elevator like sardines.

Today, there is a two to four person limit (on the elevators I’ve seen). There’s also a mask rule, so it’s harder to talk to people (of course some people are idiots and don’t think they have to wear a mask, but that’s a different story altogether).

I’ve even added an additional wild card. I now wear my Bluetooth ear buds for elevator rides, grocery shopping and pretty much anywhere else I want to avoid talking to people. And it always works. Or at least if anyone has tried to talk to me, I haven’t noticed. And that’s the same as it working to me.

I will continue to use my ear buds in public well after the pandemic…