What Ever Happened To…Plain, Old, Fast Food Shakes?

I love shakes. Any size, any flavor. Anything resembling a frozen dairy treat, and this girls in.

In some ways, I’m a connoisseur of all that is ice cream. I love it by the container, by the cone, embedded upon a stick. To me it’s pure joy.

So you would think that I would be okay with the trend that the fast food chains have adopted regarding my favorite little treat. You know what I’m talking about. The need to make their drinks fancy and ‘Old Fashioned’.

So instead of using a ‘prefabricated’ flavored shake mix that is dispensed from a refrigerated unit into a cup, we now make them the ‘Old Fashioned’ way.

Which is dispensing ‘prefabricated’ ice cream mix into a blender, adding flavoring and combining the two. We then transfer the concoction to a fancy clear plastic container. Then we add whipped cream and a cherry. And then we charge you a boatload more money, because it’s well…’Old Fashioned’.

Oh, yeah. They give you a fancy lid and a long handled spoon, too.


Two fine examples of the 'Old Fashioned' shake. Notice the fancy lid.
Two fine examples of ‘Old Fashioned’ shakes. Notice the fancy lid.

I was fine with the original shakes. To me they were awesome. Went perfectly with my Big Mac or Whopper. I didn’t need no stinking cherry. Or whipped cream for that matter. Just give me a straw, and I was golden.

And, if by chance, I wanted an ‘Old Fashioned’ shake, I would hit up DQ, or Baskin Robbins.

These do look pretty yummy...but that's why I hit DQ up. They rock when it comes to ice cream.
These do look pretty yummy…but that’s why I hit DQ up. They rock when it comes to ice cream.

I wish they would of left well enough alone. I don’t want to wait 10 minutes while you ‘craft’ me a shake.  Hell, my foods gonna get cold. And I could get a 20 piece order of nuggets for the same price.

Just pop open the spigot and let the ‘prefabricated’ goodness flow. It was faster, cheaper, and complimented my Quarter Pounder with cheese quite nicely. Slightly grainy with just the right amount of chocolate flavor.

Until then, make it a large Coke.    k

How Do You Know If You’re An Introvert?

Only about one in three people are introverts. And then there’s ambiverts, the wonderful combination of both introvert and extrovert. Actually most people don’t fall strictly into the three categories, but are a blend of them.

Extrovert vs Introvert Or are do you fall somewhere in between?
Extrovert vs Introvert
Or are do you fall somewhere in between?

So how do you know which trait you resemble the most? I have gathered a few of the top behaviors that introverts possess. The stronger you lean to one, the stronger your ‘inner introvert’. If you don’t relate to any of them, well that would make you an extrovert.

  1. Being around people, especially socializing around many people, exhausts you. Even if you’re enjoying yourself. Introverts lose energy in the company of others, where extroverts gain energy.
  2. You detest small talk. But not because you hate people. You find it a waste of time and find it annoying. If you find the topic interesting though, you can go on for hours.
  3. You need a lot of personal space. Introverts like and need to spend time alone. This is when they recharge. They also like to use this time think and figure out things.
  4. You’re easily distracted. Excess stimulation causes introverts to easily become overwhelmed and distracted.
  5. You start to shut down when you’ve been active for too long. Because introverts lose energy when around others, they begin to shut down when they’ve had too much socialization. This is a way to conserve energy.  Introverts will begin to ‘zone out’ unless they can go find a quiet area to recharge.

These are only five traits that introverts possess. There are many more. And if you’ve been accused of being anti- social, lazy, boring, or depressed you might find this information as a welcome relief. Many introverts are lumped into these groups because they don’t know any better.

I know that I fit all five of these to the letter. And knowing this information explains so much. Which means I can begin trying to find balance. And that will make for a much happier camper, don’t you agree?    k

Why I Hate U Turns

I didn’t have anything against U turns before I moved to Florida. I’m from the Midwest and it’s just something that isn’t all that common there. Here, well that’s a whole new ballgame.

It might have something to do with the landscaping. Streets in Florida are landscaped much more than in the north. And they all have medians. Beautifully landscaped medians.

This is what most of the medians in Lakeland look like.
This is what most of the medians in Lakeland look like.

Yes, they’re pretty. Especially from a tourist standpoint. And we all know what an important commodity tourism is to the state of Florida.

But from a drivers standpoint, they’re a nightmare. And unfortunately many people think that just because they can make a U turn, they should. Even when people can die because of your decision.

Last Friday night I was returning home from work on Memorial Blvd, and rolled up upon an accident. This is an everyday occurrence here. But this was a bad one.

There was twisted metal and plastic all in the east bound lane and atop the median. The only way I could tell it was a motorcycle was by the handlebars. The emergency vehicles had all arrived. There were flashing lights everywhere, yet no sirens.

There was also no sense of urgency as the EMT slowly covered what once was a man with a white sheet. Just looking at scene, you knew there was no way he could of survived.

The next day I found out what happened. Now this is all hearsay, but from what I saw, it appeared very plausible. Seems a large flatbed truck was in the left ‘U turn’ lane, which is cut in the middle of the median, behind another vehicle. He didn’t fit, and part of his truck was extended out into the left driving lane.

The man on the bike, driving in that lane, then hit the truck’s back end. He didn’t stand a chance.

The problem is, this happens constantly around here. Instead of going up a block and turning around, the truck driver sat extended out in the lane to make his U turn because he could. Was it the right decision??? Absolutely not.

Why is everybody always in such a hurry? They then make terrible decisions. And people die. And they have to deal with that for the rest of their lives. Everyone loses. All because of a stupid U turn. I hate stupid U turns.    k


Yay Me!!! I’m Not Sick, I’m Just An Introvert!!!!

I am so glad that I finally figured out that yes, I’m an introvert. There are a ton of us out there. And unfortunately, not only are they misunderstood, they aren’t really even aware that’s what they are.

What is an introvert exactly??? Well in a nutshell an introvert is someone who is energized by being alone, and whose energy is drained when they are around other people.

I'm in good company...
I’m in good company…

It has nothing to do with shyness.  Now an introvert may be shy also. But shyness in itself usually has issues with anxiety, apprehension and nervousness thrown in the mix. The reason that introverts avoid social situations is because it literally sucks the energy right out of us. And we need to be alone to re-charge. Not because of fear, or being antisocial.

And just because introverts seem to eschew conversations, it doesn’t mean we don’t like to talk. It’s just that we detest small talk. I know to me it’s trivial and contrived. Throw me into a discussion about ideas and concepts, and I’m all in.

Now I'm POSITIVE I'm an introvert.
Now I’m POSITIVE I’m an introvert.

But to go to a social gathering and mingle??? It exhausts me. And now I know that this isn’t a figment of my imagination. And it’s not just my allergies. After taking some time to do the research, so much has been cleared up.

I mean, I’ve always considered myself introverted. But now I know there is more to that statement. It’s a personality trait, not an affliction. It is who I am, and I need to start embracing it instead of forcing myself to participate in events that suck the life right out of me. I need to find a balance.

It’s a shame that this all had to come to light for me now that I’m in my fifties, and not sooner. But I’m grateful and excited that it did. I’m going to jump in with both feet and start exploring my new found trait. And I’m going to share the good stuff I discover. I’m sure there’s more than one or two more introverts like me reading this who will find new information interesting. Who’s with me????        k




So I Hear 50 is the New 30…

I keep seeing that 50 is now considered the new 30. I personally don’t know what to think about that. I mean this could be a good thing or a bad thing. Just like everything else life throws at us.

I am in my early 50’s.  Do I feel like I’m in my 50’s??? Hell, I don’t know. It’s not like I’ve been here before and am going back for round two. Seriously, how do you even gage that???

Do I feel like I’m in my 30’s??? I don’t think so. Actually, I can’t remember what it felt to be in my 30’s. Same goes for my 40’s for that matter.

We all age. It’s a fact and it is inevitable. The alternative requires a shovel and a pine box. I, for one, am in no mood to hasten the process. Plus I’m not to high on “pine scent”.

Just waitin' for Vlad the Impaler to jump out and scream 'Surprise!!!'
Just waitin’ for Vlad the Impaler to jump out and scream ‘Surprise!!!’

Why can’t 50 be, well just 50??? Why are we so obsessed with youth and all the perceived virtues of it??? Was 30 really all that fun???

Thanks to advances in health care, nutrition, technology and many more innovations, life expectancy has gone way up. In 1900 you were on the average pushing up daisies at 52. Now the average is just under 80 years, and continually rising.

Yes, I’m a few steps slower. Yes, I’m starting to forget little things. Yes, it’s tough to get moving in the morning. But does that mean I want to be 30 again? And go through that fun ‘mid-life crisis’ one more time? Uh….no.

I can't remember when this started happening to me....
I can’t remember when this started happening to me….

I, for one, am going to just sit back and roll with the punches. Why conform to what the world says I should be? I’m in my 50’s, damn it. And I’ve earned every wrinkle, every scar, every grey hair. Don’t you dare tell me that I should be 30 again. I don’t want to.

But if I look and act younger than what a 50 year old should by your standards, I’m doing it because it’s me. Not because of some lame propaganda. And one of the things I have learned over the years is to embrace my differences. I wouldn’t have known that at 30.

I truly believe that aging is a journey. And I’m going to enjoy every step possible.   k


What Ever Happened To…Planter’s Cheez Balls?

Hmmm…Planter’s Cheez Balls. Where did those tasty little neon orange spheres of goodness disappear to???

My friend Steve came up with the suggestion of this beloved snack for my ‘What Ever Happened To…’ series. I, too, am curious where these little guys went.

Do they not look mouth watering??? Don't lie, you know you want some...
Do they not look mouth watering??? Don’t lie, you know you want some…

So I started to investigate. And do you know what I found out??? That they were discontinued in 2006. That’s it. No explanation, just gone.

Even went to their web page. Tried to search for it, but it came back with ‘Looks like we don’t have what you have searched for.’  I know this. I even tried asking ‘Why did you discontinue Cheez Balls?’. Same response.

And there are none to be found. Not on Amazon. Nor ebay. I did find out you can get a case of 6, 6.5 pound packages of Cheez Whiz on ebay for $174.30 with free shipping….if you’re interested.

You can purchase Utz cheeseballs. A 23oz container will set you back about $6.00.

Not as cool as that blue can....:(
Not as good as Planter’s Cheez Balls, but a cheese ball none the less.

According to what I’ve read and heard, they are about as close to Planter’s as we’re going to get.

What is interesting though, is the that the many fans of Planter’s Cheez Balls have started a petition to bring back their beloved snack. It’s located on causes.com, and has 611 current signers.

There’s also a post concerning a Cheez Ball sighting in Baton Rouge, LA in 2009. Probably just a hoax. Those Cajuns are such little pranksters!

Unfortunately, there does not appear any chance of Planter’s bringing back these tasty, little balls. By the looks of their web page, they appear to be focusing on nuts, not balls.

It’s a shame. They really could of had the lions share of the nut and ball market. Would of made for some awesome T-shirts. Just throwin’ it out there, Planter’s.    k


Will You Please Control Your Children…

Why do people have such a difficult time controlling their children??? Am I asking too much by expecting you to monitor your kids when you’re out in public???

Do these children  look familiar??  (Even tho it's obviously staged)
Do these children look familiar?? This is the edited version. Reality is not this orchestrated.

I’m a parent, so I understand that there are times when our little darlings act up. They are children. It’s gonna happen, even to the best parents. But it just seems that lately the rugrats are running wild.

Maybe I’m just getting up there in years. That could be part of it. But I don’t think that’s the only reason my patience is wearing thin. So to test my theory, I did me a little experiment today at work. I just stood back and watched.

This pretty much sums it up.
This pretty much sums it up.

And lo and behold, at least 75% of the children I watched for this short period of time acted like little assholes. And their parents, or guardians, or whatever, ignored them. Just went about their business totally disregarding the fact that their children needed the shit slapped out of them.

And I just stood there in woman’s wear, shook my head, muttering. How did it get this bad???

These children are the future. And we are doing them a huge disservice by letting them run amok. By not disciplining them, we are creating a generation of self-centered, spoiled, disrespectful, losers.

Kid needs his little ass beat.
Kid needs his little ass beat.

Yes, I said losers. A generation that has everything handed to it. A generation that will never know the satisfaction of accomplishing something by their own sweat and ingenuity. A generation that has no respect for authority or any one for that matter.

A generation that breaks the law and could care less. Because they have never had to answer to anyone for their negative behavior. A generation of thugs. A generation that has babies that you’ll get to raise.

Sound like fun??? Yup. Because you refused to discipline your children and teach them to behave responsibly, you get 18 more years of child rearing. Which you sucked at to begin with.

Not that there aren’t many great parents out there. There are. And they’re doing their best. But they’re just as pissed off as I am by the total disinterest these idiots show concerning their children.

So to all the lazy parents out there, when your child and 5 grandchildren are living rent free in your basement with no end in sight, enjoy!! You have only your lousy parenting skills to blame.   k

Keith Emerson, 1944-2016

Keith Emerson is the latest victim of the Grim Reaper.

It’s as if old Grim has put a contract out on aging rock stars. I realize that I’m getting up there in years, so it’s only natural that people that I grew up listening to begin to die. And ’70’s rock stars aren’t notorious for their healthy lifestyles…

Really, with options like these, why Keith???
Really, with options like these, why Keith???


But it just seemed that 2016 had started out as a banner year. I was hoping that it would settle down a bit, but nooooooo….. Still rockin’ out the death sentence, heh Mr. Reaper??? (No pun intended.)

Every member of The Stones needs to be on high alert. Except Keith Richards. I think he might very well be dead already. I can not tell. It’s like ‘Weekend at Bernies’ when you attend a Stones concert.

You be the judge....
You be the judge….

I’m beginning to think I might need to add an obituary category to The Ventilator. I really would rather write about other things. Like tweekers, gators, bad baby names. Anything but this. So cut this shit out. Please.

This being said…

Keith Emerson was an English keyboardist with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer which was one of the supergroups of the early ’70’s. ELP was a critical and commercially successful group throughout this period. He was hailed by many as a keyboard legend.

It was reported that he was found Thursday evening by his wife in the couples bedroom. He had a single gunshot wound to the head.

Keith had been depressed recently, as he was diagnosed with a nerve condition that greatly affected his right hand. This severely impaired his ability to play the keyboards. Even with this condition, he was still slated to perform in Japan next week.

Authorities are treating his death as a suicide. RIP, Keith.    k

Go, Go Get ’em Grady Judd!!!

Grady Judd is at it again. And I think it’s awesome.

You see, we had yet another homicide. That in itself is nothing special here in Lakeland. Seems a lot of  Polk County’s ‘fine upstanding citizens’ enjoy killing each other. There are a ton of ignorant people around here, unfortunately. Which sucks, because they ruin it for many of the decent people who live here.

In the middle of January a badly burned body was found on some trail, and an investigation was naturally started. It is alleged that four young gentlemen decided to distribute some redneck justice.  According to the information I have seen, one of these young men had a girlfriend. How, I don’t know. But that’s neither here nor there.

Grady Judd holding up a photo of the accused.
Grady Judd holding up a photo of the accused.

Well someone ‘close to’ the girlfriend tells him that the girlfriend was raped by the victim. So he gets his brothers and a buddy together. They lure the victim to their trailer ( Yes, trailer) under the ruse of a drug buy, then sodomize and beat him to death. You can get all the details here at www.theledger.com.

This in itself shows how intelligent this group is. But it gets better. These rocket scientists took pictures of the victims body on their phone. Yes, you read that correctly. Rumor has it they even posted them on social media.

Ummm...make that 200,001 reasons.
Ummm…make that 200,001 reasons.

And these geniuses seem to believe that because they have these photos locked in their phone, the police will be unable to get access to them. Grady hopes the suspects will cooperate.

But if they don’t, he will be sending court orders to Apple for access to the photo’s.

“No one in the U.S. can create a business model that usurps the criminal justice system. The CEO of Apple needs to know he is not above the law.” stated Sheriff Judd.

Because no one stands between Grady Judd and justice. Yet another reason for my growing admiration. I know it helps me sleep a little better a night.   k


When Did the ‘Meth’ Look Become Fashionable???

I’ve never kept up with what’s fashionable and what’s not. Not my thing. Unless it’s athletic shoes and hoodies. Then you might get my attention for a short time.

But today I was walking past the magazine rack, and WHAM!!! I run straight into this cover for the March edition of Porter magazine. And this chick is looking straight at me. I was like whoaaaaa….

I have no idea who this poor girl is. I tried looking for credits in this magazine, but it was all ads. I know, big surprise. Then I stared at her for a moment. And thought to myself, ‘Gee, you look like a textbook shoplifter.’

And the typeface directly under her, ‘The New Seduction.’ WTF??? Are they referring to this poor girl? This girl isn’t seductive. This girl needs a cheeseburger. Desperately.

A nap and a shower would probably work wonders, too. She just looks terrible. And she’s on the cover of a major fashion magazine. At least I think it’s major. I’ve never heard of it.

April's cover. Nah...I'm just yanking your chain...or am I???
April’s cover. Nah…I’m just yanking your chain…or am I???

Porter. All that comes to mind is a porterhouse steak. Which sounds delicious. And this poor thing could use a bite or two. I don’t get it.

Now check out this side by side.

Which cover do you think is more fashionable???
Which cover do you think is more fashionable???

Vogue with Adele?? That’s my choice. That’s a real woman. And she looks healthy. Not like you would get a nasty STD or bugs. Real woman have curves. All the better to snuggle with. Just sayin’.

Check out this real woman rockin' the cover...
Check out this real woman rockin’ the cover…

Take this cover with Christina Hendricks. Not only does she look like she’s eaten this week, she’s beautiful. And has an awesome name, too.

I bet our girl on Porter is beautiful, also. The magazine didn’t give her a fair shake. Whoever told them this look is attractive needs to be looking for a new job. And sweetheart, whoever you are, get a new agent.    k