A Family of Weirdos

We are a family of weirdos of the first order. If you thought I was weird, listen to this true story about N.

I make lunch for him to take to work every day except Friday. On Friday, the company orders takeout for all employees and they share a meal. Every time they try to choose a new restaurant.

N. never asks for the menu when he orders his Friday lunch. He likes to be surprised. So he enters the names of every employee in the company (it’s not a large company) into a program that assigns random numbers to their names. Then, he chooses a colleague who has been randomly assigned the greatest number and orders the same food as s/he does.

Is that the weirdest way to order food or what? To me, this sounds especially strange because, as a Ukrainian, I have a famine complex and the idea of relinquishing control over my food is terrifying.

If Your Comment Doesn’t Show Up

Dear readers,

there has been a spam attack on this blog. For the past 2 days, spammers have sent over 1,000 comments to this single inoffensive post. I have no idea what about this particular post is so attractive to them. As a result, the spam filter on the blog is overworked and it sometimes erroneously places good comments into the Spambox. Since these spam comments are so numerous, it takes me a while to rescue good comments from the spam.

I apologize for the inconvenience and hope that this spam attack is over soon.

A Mystifying Review

Some reviews of resorts are simply mystifying. Take this one, for example:

With the resort being so huge, you have a variety of choice of what type of vacation you want to have, the swim up pools offer a quite and almost private environment, the main pool offers a quite but more public venu, the beach speaks for itself and if you want a more vibrant and active area you can go to one of the many other pools located throughout the resort.

The “beach speaks for itself” part is very mysterious. I’m glad it speaks, but what does it say, exactly? I’d really like to know since the beach is pretty much the entire reason we even go to a resort (unlike the weirdos who go all the way to Punta Cana to sit in a chlorinated swimming pool).

A Gym on the Beach

From a review of a resort in Punta Cana:

The gym was sad. It needs major renovations. I like to work out on vacation but this gym should be closed down. The attendant was useless and walk around outside the gym area most of the time.

The most fascinating people of all are the ones who pay a boatload of money to come to a resort and, instead of playing volleyball and running on the beach, swimming, diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, parasailing and doing all the other athletic things the resort offers, choose to go INDOORS to run on a TREADMILL in an air-conditioned environment. Because, obviously, they don’t have the same gym with the same treadmill and the same AC back home in Indiana.

My favorite athletic activities at a resort are swimming, table tennis, and dance classes on the beach. There is also this great activity where you can play chess on the beach with huge chess pieces that you have to lift and carry in your arms. This activity exercises both the brain and the body. But I tend to lose all of my chess games before the 4th move, so it doesn’t work for me. My sister, however, is a brilliant chess player.

Choosing a Beach Resort

Since N. and I first met five years ago, it has been our dream to go to a beach resort in the Caribbean. He’s never been and I’ve traveled quite a few times, always hoping that one day I’d meet a man who’d be special enough for me to want to share my vacation with him. As soon as I met N., it became clear that he was plenty special. There was only one problem: he was in the US in a student visa and people with his passport (Russian) tend to have trouble coming back into the country. Obviously, we didn’t want to take the risk of having them denied the chance to return.

For five years, we’ve been telling each other stories of what a great time we would have on that Caribbean resort once we finally get there. And now that our papers have arrived, we can go. Of course, I want it to be the kind of a resort that will not disappoint hopes we’ve entertained for all these years.

Choosing a resort can be weary work. On the positive side, the reviews one finds are hugely entertaining. Here are some that I want to share with you (mind you, I didn’t change a single letter in them):

There is one thing that bugged me at the RST and it is the fact that most of the staff (there were some nice ones) look bored and just didn’t look like they cared. We don’t need much out of a resort and don’t ask for anything special but when we are spending good money for weekly winter vacation we at least want to see a couple of smiles… I tried everything: jokes, extra tips, extra extra extra thank you’s and smiles…nope…I got the bored face most of the time. ” – Well, have you considered that maybe you are a boring person, lady? Maybe your jokes are not funny (or incomprehensible to Spanish-speakers) and your attempts to buy smiles with tips are non-inspiring.

Let’s get one thing straight. No matter where you eat, it’s not like eating at Hy’s or Ruth’s Chris. But for the Dominican, food here was top rate.” People who travel to foreign countries in search of the same kind of boring food they can get at the neighboring chain steakhouse are a mystery to me. I remember reading a review where a tourist scoured the world in search of food that would equal in quality that which is served at the Outback Steakhouse. The world disappointed him, so he was happy to go back home to Buffalo.

Yeah you get a butler in your building. It’s not really a butler though, it’s more of a concierge. If you want to make a reservation you make it through this person. They’re not going to fold your underwear so lower your expectations.” Some people have watched too much Wooster and Jeeves, it seems.

“For all those people that say the people here do not speak english,well i found that they tried there hardist and for most part understood what you were saying after all you are in a differant country I would like to give a little shout out to our butlers Andy and Mickey for being there when we needed them and Tomas the lobby guy they were great.” The saddest part is that many of the American tourists don;t speak their only language either.

Who knows what’s behind the walls of a building built in the DR.” I know! Bored Dominican butlers who don’t fold underwear are lurking there.

Having observed some of these chairs to remain empty for hours on end, it would be nice to see some policing of unused chairs so others can use them. ” I can imagine that brave Dominican who will dare to police the tourists. Yeah, right.

I laughed at the fact that I have a few pair of very nice shorts and could not wear them to most restaurants but saw many pairs of worn and torn jeans that were ok. I have been in many, much better restaurants in southern Florida that have no problem with patrons wearing shorts.” Then go back to Florida where you can expose people to the sight of your ugly hairy legs, knobby knees, and dirty feet with peeling heels while they are eating! It is extremely aggravating to me hear people bitch about the horrible inconvenience of dressing in normal clothes every once in a while. People over the age of 18 who wear shorts in any context other than the beach are incomprehensible to me. One of the things that attracted me to the resort I’m considering is that every a la carte restaurant there insists on formal attire. For the lovers of eating in their beach towels and swimsuits, there is always the buffet. I want to dress nicely for dinner and see well-dressed people around me.

And if you are wondering why I say that reading these reviews can be tiresome, see the following: “The grounds of this resort are well kept the grouds crew are always working hard to keep it beautiful.The srevice at this place was good.It seemed everyone went out of there way to help you with your needs.One day were walking back from lunch and Tomas was going buy on a golf cart and stopped to see if we needed a ride.” Almost all of them are written this way. I get a headache after spending 15 minutes deciphering them.

Anti-Depressants Are Falsely Prescribed for Autistics

A reader sent me the following terrifying article:

The antidepressant class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are among the most frequently prescribed drugs for autism.

Although none are specifically approved for the treatment of autism, it’s estimated that up to one-third of autistic children receive the drugs, often to treat the repetitive behaviors like tapping or head banging that are frequently observed in those with the condition.

A new analysis by researchers from Yale and the University of Michigan has now revealed that serious study biases have been occurring; while published research appears to show the drugs have a modest benefit in patients, in reality they have little or no benefit at all.

People who use every opportunity to pump poor small children full of horrible, dangerous drugs with a multitude of side effects in order to turn these  kids into convenient, zombified little robots are criminals.

The article starts well by identifying the reasons why drugs so often get overprescribed and misrepresented (corruption, of course) but then goes into the usual let’s “manage this illness” by avoiding vaccines, milk, artificial sweeteners, and home-cleaning products. Every time autism is mentioned in the media by a non-autistic I cringe because I already anticipate the offensive tone the article will adopt, the nasty terminology, and the general tactlessness of discussing autistics as if we were a bunch of freaks who need to be “managed” through all kinds of weird methods.