Taunting the Tomatoes

Today’s post comes from Dr. Larry Kyle, the founder and produce manager at Genway, a supermarket that creates and sells nothing but genetically modified foods.

I was surprised to discover how casually people will pile on the scorn when it comes to disrespecting grocery store tomatoes.

They don’t have any flavor!
They have thick skins!
They’re only made to look good and taste be damned!

Please! These are delicate fruits.
Can’t you just be nice?

There was a time when tomatoes were thrown by the general public to insult performers who did not entertain. Now entertainers are throwing insults at tomatoes as some kind of performance for the general public. I’m discouraged by this strange turnaround.

This latest attack comes from Science Magazine and the New York Times, who blindly publish so-called research that begins with a questionable assumption – that grocery store tomatoes are a disappointment.

The argument is that we’ve fed ourselves fruits that were developed to serve large corporate interests by being easy to pick, ship and display. Critics say Americans are so dumb, we’d rather buy something that looks good rather than eat tasty foods.

I say – “So?”

Anyone who has spent five minutes trying to market anything at all understands the irresistible power of a Pretty Thing. That’s why we developed this summer’s produce special at Genway – The Lightning Bug Tomato!

By combining last year’s shockingly red Bloodbath Tomato with DNA taken from the ordinary firefly, we’ve created a piece of produce that has a pulsing, crimson glow. How successful is it? People line up and pay a fee to come into our store after closing when the lights have been turned out, just to stand by the tomato bin and bathe in the random flickering of piles and piles of ruby red orbs. It’s a splendid cross between languishing in an erotically charged boudoir, and hanging out at a crime scene.

We sell these Lighting Bug Tomatoes by the cart load, and so far no one has complained about the taste. It may be that no one has ever eaten one! I know quite a few will be launched from homemade catapults this Fourth of July. But I’m a businessman. As long as people pay on the way out, I don’t care what they do with the fruit once they get it home.

Maybe someday someone will find a way to market a tomato based on flavor alone. Good luck with that. In the meantime, don’t be cruel, be cool! And keep an eye on the sky. There’s something up there that’s very bright and very red. It glows like a tiny, throbbing sun, and it’s headed directly at you!

Dr. Larry Kyle
Produce Manager and Founder

What’s in your garden this summer?

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Tax Attacks

Clearly the summer is off to a slow start for perennial Sophomore Bubby Spamden, a boy with too much time on his hands.

Hey Mr. C.,

I’ve got a question for you.

What is it with you old people anyway? You’re supposed to be easy to figure out, but me and my friends have been kinda stumped. We’re not been getting the attention we expect … and DESERVE … from the geezer contingent in our town. Part of being young in summertime is to go out at night and have lots of loud fun in public places – fun that makes wrinkly folks mad.

We’ve been trying and trying, hanging out on streets downtown and in parks and even at the mall, laughing and messing with each other and acting goofy, but nobody even looked at us! So we upped the ante and started cursing loudly, because that’s always been a good way to get a rise out of cranky oldsters. We waited until a little clump of creaky blue hairs walked by and then my buddy Doug let rip with some #$%’s, and a few *&#!’s, and even a *#&*@!#-#%*$. I was expecting a lot of finger wagging and lecturing, but nobody said anything. At first I thought their hearing aids were turned off, but I finally decided they just didn’t care! What’s wrong with our society that it’s so hard to shock people?

Finally I asked my dad and he said “there’s been a cultural shift in language that started with Lenny Bruce and now has reached its full fruition with the Internet and the current level of discourse.” (He talks like that all the time – it’s boring).

His argument – there are no more dirty four letter words left in the language that have the power to shock large numbers of people – except one.

And he says that word is “Taxes”.

He said if we go around shouting about raising taxes and drop the word into every sentence we can at every chance we get, it would sound taxing brilliant and every old person within earshot will go out of their taxing minds telling us to shut up and then we can tell them it’s too taxing bad and they can just tax off because this is the way we taxing talk, and then we can feel like real honest-to-tax teenagers again.

I’m thinking it might work. Or he might be messing with us. Which is it?

Your friend,


It shouldn’t be so hard for a young person to draw a little scorn from older people in the summertime, but I tend to think Bubby’s dad is taking him for a ride on this one. Old folks are just tired, and in a world that demands so much disapproval, one has to be careful where one chooses to spend it. Even so, I’d watch my mouth in public. You don’t want to get caught tossing the “T” word around.

What did you do to make the old folks angry?

Best of All Possible Worlds

It’s bound to be a very political day today. Congressman Loomis Beechly, representing all the water surface area in Minnesota, is getting out ahead of the conversation with this latest newsletter to his people.

Congressman Beechly believes in Floater ID

Greetings, Constituents!

I wanted to be sure you heard from me today, since Congress is about to take a 10 day break and at the very same time the Supreme Court is set to drop a decision bomb about health care that will feed the political chatter machine for the next four months at least!

People are wondering what effect the court’s decision will have on the various contenders for election in the fall. No doubt that jubilant winners will be declared and sorry, miserable losers identified. And as a resident of the 9th District, you have a right to know – what kind of Congressman do I have?

My approach to the health care issue has been consistent throughout the many years it has been debated in Washington. I’m in favor of the thing that most people want to do at the moment.

At the time I’m writing this message to you, I do not know how the court will decide. But regardless, I have only one reaction – I Told You So.

That’s right. At one time or another, I told you so because I have been careful to take every possible position on this issue.

  • I think everybody deserves quality health care.
  • I don’t think people should be forced to buy insurance.
  • I don’t think taxes should go up.
  • I don’t believe in a government “takeover” of the health care system,
  • I don’t know what that means.
  • I don’t like government, except for the good things it does. The rest is waste and should be eliminated so my taxes can drop – especially the expenditures that help other people.
  • But I don’t want to live in Dickens’ England. I’m against people dying in the street, or even in alleys, especially if I happen to walk past them.
  • Doctors should be paid fairly.
  • Care for the children, they’re innocent!
  • Keep keep those death panels out of the room while I’m talking to my doctor, especially if she starts to give me her favorite investment or golf tips. That’s private, privileged information, and nobody has any business snooping!

I hope that’s clear enough so that when I come back for my visit you can congratulate me for being on the right side of this issue and we can get on with the real business of a Congressional holiday – fundraising and marching in parades!

I hear walking is good aerobic exercise – better than spending all your time in doctors’ offices, that’s for sure. So look for me, 9th districters. I’m coming to a boat launch near you!

Your Congressman (and always a winner!),

Loomis Beechly

Rep. Beechly is trying to have it all, and who can blame him? Everybody wants to be a winner – it’s good for your health!

When have you said “I Told You So”?

Messing Around In Boats

I have just returned from a long, lovely weekend in Northern Minnesota at a private resort called Club Lyn, where the food, company, activities, scenery and weather were beyond excellent. A calm and beautiful lake was at our disposal, and a pair of loons posed.

June is a wonderful time to be out on just about any lake, whether you are a loon or a baboon. Or a Kangaroo. Today is Bob Keeshan’s birthday, born on June 27th in the year 1927. He was a children’s television pioneer, and also something of a boating daredevil. Look at this dangerous stunt!

Kids, I think even Captain Kangaroo would tell you, don’t go out on the lake without a lifejacket, for you AND your passenger.

What’s your favorite kind of summertime lake fun?

The Wedding Dance

Here is a tricky social situation, just right for navigation by sensitive baboons. The note comes from Jane Beauchamp – a former Morning Show listener, sometime Trial Baboon reader and permanently proud mother who is about to have an FTD moment.

FTD in this case means “Forced To Dance.”

My son is 24 years old and marrying his high school sweetheart in an outdoor garden ceremony July 21 at a local country club to which her parents belong. He’s my oldest and the first of any of his friends to get married. I’ve not been very involved in the planning but it appears that it will be an elegant affair; a champagne reception and formal dinner follows the ceremony, after which the dance begins.

The challenge, then, is to come up with exactly the right piece of music to make the obligatory mother/son wedding dance both memorable and painless.

My son and I agree that a) neither of us are great dancers of any genre and b) we do not want anything that is very sentimental/syrupy/pop culture type of thing that would leave his mother (me) weeping in a heap on the dance floor. In fact, if we could avoid the whole dance thing that would probably be better, but I’ve been advised that isn’t part of the program for the evening, and, honestly, I would likely regret it if we didn’t do it.

What is the solution? Jane says the tune should be “something classic but/and fun; short vs. many verses is better; and beyond that we’re open.” Here’s a little more background to help guide you as you sift through your musical back stacks.

When my boys were growing up, we’d listen to The Morning Show every morning on the way to school. I like many other of your listeners told them it was my way of supporting a part of their music education. It was my only chance music-wise, as they both are very competitive athletes and that’s where their interests were. The son getting married played high school and college soccer; since finishing college, he’s been in sales for a national insurance company and loves the different type of competition he experiences there. He and his fiance have a small dog, Jolie, who they love to pieces, and when they’re not planning their wedding they like to travel (France, US, Mexico) and cook.

Stories? Suggestions? Songs?

Ask Dr. Babooner

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Everywhere I turn today, I hear people talking about austerity. Whole nations need to be more austere. The world itself is on an austerity binge, if such a thing is even possible.

And yet everyone seems to hate austerity at the same time they’re urging others to subject themselves to it. But here’s the thing – I’ve been into austerity all my life, always cutting back on expenses with relish and always trying to take as little pleasure in everything as I possibly can. For example, if I were you I would have dropped those pearls a long time ago.

I have even tried not to feel too superior about my own austerity when compared to everyone else, because to enjoy it would be a luxury, and we Austeriterians don’t go in for that sort of thing. That’s why I have to suppress a laugh when when they ask me to cut back on my budget at work or someone tells me to not use the air conditioning in my car so I can get better mileage. I’ve been making those sacrifices for years! No one can out-austere me. All these downsizing latecomers and expense slashing woe-is-me-ers really burn my hide.

Or they would, if I had any hide left to burn. As an austerity measure, I got rid of my frilly, self-indulgent hide years ago. I’m better off without it, and you would be too!

Frugally yours,
Already Ultra Austere

I told AA it can certainly be frustrating when amateurs try to horn in on your territory, but there is nothing to be done. It is human nature to believe one has “discovered” a way of life or a new experience. The idea that others have known about this for a long time and have already made the sacrifices you’re demanding diminishes one’s enjoyment of being in the vanguard. In the case of the current crop of austerity fanatics, taking away this one source of joy would be … well, ultra austere and compulsively cruel. Just like you.

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

The Long Weekend, Day 3

Not that I would ever do this to you, but one of the frustrating things about being brought along on other people’s vacations through regular photo updates is that you, when at home, are stuck in slow moving routine time while they, on holiday, are experiencing super-fast pleasure time.

Water Sports!

That means the Holiday People will think the whole thing is a giddy, fascinating lark throughout, rushing by them at a breakneck pace. To you, however, their vacation seems to go on forever.

Aren’t they done yet?

If I had taken a long weekend and ducked out on Thursday, I’d be in my third day of recreation and relaxation today while you would be just getting used to the idea of not having to report for your usual duties because it is Saturday. How cruel! That’s why I’m probably not taking a loooooong weekend, and certainly not telling you about it at length and in excruciating detail. It would be rude. That’s also why I wouldn’t send you pictures of the fun I was having. Why waste even a moment of your precious weekend wishing you could be where I am, doing the outrageous and crazy fun things I’m doing?

Time for a Sand Castle!

If I did subject you to my vacation, you would only have Sunday to look forward to. Then, at least, you could take some satisfaction in the knowledge that I would spend a large part of the day packing, and the rest of it traveling, possibly stuck in an airport or jammed up in traffic, just so I could be back where I’m supposed to be on Monday.

Meanwhile, you’re already there.

Time for relaxation. Ahhhhh!

What makes for a perfect Sunday afternoon?

The Long Weekend – Day 2

No, I’m not really skipping out of work for an unreasonably but seasonably Long Weekend and then rubbing your face in it by gloating.

The Glittering Lights of Somewhere Else Dazzled Us!

Probably not. But maybe it wouldn’t be much of a loss if I did. Not a lot gets done on Friday anyway – in some workplaces the whole day is almost a complete waste of time, especially during the summer months. You could argue that a person might be MORE productive if they worked extra hard Monday through Thursday and permanently reassigned Friday to weekend status.

The Local Transit System is Surprisingly Plush

That’s assuming they didn’t already take Thursday off.

I don’t think I did that. Probably not. But if, by chance, I did and in the process saw a few exotic, exciting places and took in some unique or at least highly unusual sights, I would keep it to myself. In any case, I certainly wouldn’t bother you by sending puzzling pictures of my ambiguous activities dully described with cryptic captions. That would be wrong.

They Certainly Know How To Have a Good Time Here!

But enough about me. What are you doing this weekend?

The Long Weekend

With the arrival of summer, the luckiest ones among us (those who have work) may also have the privilege (if they have the resources) of taking an occasional break from the routine – a long weekend to kick back and relax.

This was certainly more than we expected.

I’m not saying that I get to do that, but if I did, I’d resist taking pictures. Taking pictures is work. A Long Weekend is supposed to be the opposite of work. Plus, receiving pictures of someone else’s vacation can be a very mixed blessing. While it’s nice to see that your friends get to travel and have fun, when you’re stuck in place it can be thoroughly annoying to see that your friends get to travel and have fun. No one wants to be so selfish and resentful in response to someone else’s joy. It just happens.

The room had a memorable view!

It’s even worse if they give you a detailed description of the fun they’re having without you. I sometimes imagine there are darker truths behind the “having a wonderful time” e-mail – horrible things vacationers try to obscure with their overly cheerful accounts of sights seen and towns toured. You know – petty arguments over where to eat and tales of disappointment about the lodgings. An update on THAT part of the trip would be much more compelling. Perhaps.

Flora and Fauna

But I would never burden you with that. Like I say, I might not even be having a long weekend right now. Thursday morning is pretty early to start – that’s almost BEYOND a long weekend – nearing AWOL status. It’s the sort of embarrassing behavior a shy and humiliated person apologizes for at length in a roundabout way without even admitting it. And since I wouldn’t take pictures anyway, you’ll just have to use your imagination with these photos, which were definitely NOT taken this weekend.

Where do you go for a long weekend?

The Break Dance

Summer is about to start, officially. This is a time when the urge to work slows down and hours are wasted gazing out windows at sunny scenery. Idea man and dealmaker Spin Williams knows all about this – though it is no longer an issue in his company.
Spin is also an efficiency expert!

Here at The Meeting That Never Ends, we’re always trying to find new ways to hike our productivity to levels far beyond those posted by other idea factories. That’s why we moved to the Around The Clock Meeting paradigm in the first place – we were simply taking too much time convening and adjourning our conferences, planning them and scheduling them and re-convening and re-adjourning, etc. Valuable inspiration-generating time was being being burned the same way your car guzzles gas on jackrabbit starts from a red light!

Now that our meeting is constantly in session, we’ve been able to dispense with pleasantries and stay productive 24/7 courtesy of regular breaks! Yes, experts from famous high-productivity workplaces like The Mayo Clinic and The New York Times agree that people do better when they interrupt their workflow with some down time. So at TMTNE, we work for twenty minutes, break for ten minutes and repeat, ad infinitum. That means in a typical day we can have up to 48 productive discussions! And people still get 8 whole hours off every single day, which is plenty of time to get some sleep, or a little food, or a bit of both! If they want to skip a nap or a meal, they can change clothes or spend intensely focused quality time with a relative or some sort of friend. Who needs more than that?

Not only does our perpetual professional parley promote productivity, it discourages a host of other social and environmental ills. With no time for employees to go “home”, there’s no longer any need for the economy to support a domicile outside the workplace! Land-use stresses are reduced. Commuting is no longer a problem. Romance is still possible, but it’s limited to ten minute interludes. That’s better because it reduces unwanted pregnancies (you have to be very focused and intentional) and keeps the mystery alive. Casual “dalliances” become a thing of the past – there’s simply no time to dally. Domestic unrest is unheard of – every conflict is a workplace situation of one sort or another, which can be easily handled by the experts in the HR department. Children are raised and educated in a series of meeting of their own, which happen just down the hall. When we go on vacation, we go together and keep working! Under this system we could (and sometimes do) switch to a year-round holiday schedule without losing a moment’s productivity because time off is simply a calculation that happens as part of the paperwork.

Some people (i.e. Corporations) call our company a “cult” or a “commune”, but I think name-calling by the competition is a sure sign that you’re doing something right! I’d love to hear what you think of our plan, but the meeting is about to resume. Let’s touch base in twenty minutes!

Efficiently yours,

I think Spin’s scenario is the wave of the future! This is where we’re headed, but I’ll have to become much more productive if I’m ever going to make it happen.

How often do you need to take a break?