Hot Dog Water


It’s street festival season in Vancouver. Yesterday, 17 blocks of Main Street welcomed thousands to annual Car Free Day celebrations. Hundreds of vendors marked twelve feet of curbside real estate with colourful tents. Block after block of inexpensive dresses made in India, food trucks, jewellery, yoga classes, political action groups, straw hats and local crafts. Lavender Kombucha in one hand, bacon raspberry chipotle jam sandwich in the other ( don’t judge me 🙂 ), an eager young man in a hot dog costume drew my eyes to the “Hot Dog Water” tent.

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Hot Dog Water CEO Douglas Bevans, mustered his inner Gwyneth Paltrow to proclaim –

“We’ve created a recipe, having a lot of people put a lot of effort into research and a lot of people with backgrounds in science really creating the best version of Hot Dog Water that we could,” “So the protein of the Hot Dog Water helps your body uptake the water content, and the sodium and all the things you’d need post-workout.”

A sign breaks down the “health benefits” of Hot Dog Water.

Scores of festival goers lined up for free samples of chilled hot dog water. Move over Gatorade, there’s a new boss in town. Hot dog water is the future of weight loss, vitality and brain function. Still skeptical? Rest assured proof is in the cost – one bottle of hot dog water sells for $37.99,  two for the Father’s Day special of $75.

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Bevans won’t say how much hot dog water he sold, but cheerfully points to a statement clearly displayed at the booth –

“Hot Dog Water in its absurdity hopes to encourage critical thinking related to product marketing and the significant role it can play in our purchasing choices.”

From Global News –

Bevans, a tour operator by trade, is also an artist, and said the Hot Dog Water concept was actually dreamed up as a commentary on what he called the “snake oil salesmen” of health marketing.

“It’s really sort of a commentary on product marketing, and especially sort of health-quackery product marketing,” he said.

“From the responses, I think people will actually go away and reconsider some of these other $80 bottles of water that will come out that are ‘raw’ or ‘smart waters,’ or anything that doesn’t have any substantial scientific backing but just a lot of pretty impressive marketing.”

Vancouver festivalgoers invited to enjoy a cool glass of… hot dog water?

Kudos to you Douglas Bevans – well played.

 

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Crazy Train Rolls Into Work Town


Every so often crazy train rolls into work town. Usually we hear it coming, sometimes signals fail. Crazy train doesn’t discriminate, we never know who’ll climb aboard.

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Yesterday crazy train rolled into an all day professional conference for doctors. Repeat client, nothing too fussy, routine conference defined by breakfast, morning break, lunch and afternoon break. Despite leaving for work at 4:15 am, I looked forward to seeing this client again. Remarkably, special dietary requests were few, only one in fact, a Dr. B who identified as Celiac. I remembered Dr. B from the last conference – requested gluten free meals, rather than eat our food, provided her own meals to re-heat. No problem Dr. B, I’ll warm up your gluten free pizza.

This morning Dr. B arrived with Tupperware boxed lunch and polite request to reheat when appropriate. A few minutes later one of my servers presented a zip-loc sandwich bag of what looked like oatmeal. Server said “I was asked to add half a cup of boiling water to this”. Why didn’t Dr. B talk to me when she gave me her lunch? Never mind. Crazy train hadn’t whistled, how were we supposed to know it was about to derail?

Does this look like a restaurant, do you see anything else in a bowl? We’re off-site caterers, never mind, we have hot water, I’ll find a bowl. There you go Dr. B – nice ceramic bowl, half a cup boiling water, personally delivered by a keen young server smiling with a sense of accomplishment – enjoy your breakfast.

Moments later server returned with furrowed brow, exclaiming – “She snapped at me, said it wasn’t instant oats and demanded a microwave” . “We don’t have a microwave, she asked us to add hot water, where is she now” flew back in rapid succession. “Looking for a microwave and extremely upset” replied server. Barely had time to mutter “give me a break” when another co-worker announced Dr. B was in the bathroom crying hysterically. It’s too early for this shit Dr. B!

Everybody relax I’ll talk to Dr. B preceded reconnaissance of the ladies room, Dr. B’s sobs could be heard in the hallway – kill me now. I opened the door, “please don’t be locked in a stall”. Oh crap! What fresh hell is this? Note to self – caution staff to report accurate information – not in my wildest imagination could her performance be defined as shedding basic bathroom tears. Unaware of my presence, Dr. B wailed “I’m all alone, no one will help me. Why won’t anyone help me?” “Help me, someone help me” What the fuck, enough! “Excuse me” accompanied the knock on crazy train’s bathroom stall. “I’d like to help but you need to come out”. “Go away, I need to compose myself”. Gladly Dr. B, take all the time you need. I left to inform client that one of her doctors was in meltdown.

” Dr. B asked for hot water, no mention of microwave. We don’t have a microwave, would have told her so from the start. How are we supposed to know what’s in her sandwich bag? She’s crying in a bathroom stall, wailing pleas for help, threatening to go home” rolled off my lips. “She does this a couple times a year” sighed client. Really? In public? went unspoken. Professional obligation fulfilled, Dr. B was crazy train’s problem not mine.

An hour later servers cleared Dr. B’s oatmeal bowl – it was licked clean. Hang in there Dr. B! Nothing like a good cry, public display of crazy and chorus of despair tinged attention seeking outbursts to work up an appetite. Heat your lunch? No problem Dr. B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catch And Release


A few minutes ago youngest son presented a wad of toilet paper. “Hey Mom, does this look like a black widow?” Before I could say “pretty sure it was before you squashed it to smithereens”, youngest son apologetically explained his act of arachnid annihilation. “Sitting on the toilet when it ran towards me, squashed it before I had time to think”. Trust me it wasn’t after you, went unspoken. Youngest son knew how I felt about killing spiders.

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Spider bites are extremely rare, truth is they want nothing to do with us. Spiders exist to control insect populations. House spiders control flies, snag mosquitoes, sideline beetles and trounce moths. Garden spiders feast on aphids ,control grubs and beetles, dissuade spider mites and crop destroying grasshoppers. But for spiders, ours would be a unrecognizable world. Like it or not, spiders matter.

It’s no secret I have a thing for spiders. Truth be told, the first thing I did after youngest son dispatched bathroom widow was check on kitchen widow. The sight of kitchen window widow’s shellacked body eased regret over bathroom widow’s demise. Well behaved spiders are welcome in my house, uppity ones are caught and released.

Catch and release contradicts human nature. Instinct commands our imperative to eradicate arachnid invaders. I get it, house spiders terrify most people. That said, next time a spider surprises you on the toilet, muster the fortitude to catch and release. All it takes is a glass and sheet of paper. Spiders aren’t after us, they mean us no harm. Trust me, catch and release feels great.

 

 

Death By Selfie


Earlier this week Prabhu Bhatara left a wedding near Pharsaguda, India. Compelled by a full bladder he pulled off the road to relieve himself in the forest. Bhatara spots an injured bear, moves in for a moron with wounded bear selfie. Amateur video captured his mauling and death. Had Bharta stopped posting selfies long enough to watch the news, he might have known barely a week had passed since a Indian taxi driver succumbed to an eerily similar bear maul selfie death. Truth is, 60% of all selfie deaths occur in India, that’s 76 of 127 recorded global selfie deaths between March 2014 and September 2016. A statistic alarming enough to prompt government intervention. Mumbai has banned selfies in 16 high risk locations.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-killed-selfie-bear-india/

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Death by selfie begs the question, why India? Temptation to reason proportionate population only goes so far. During the same period only 8 Americans died by selfie. China admits to a paltry 4 selfie deaths, not one of them by bear. Ponder death by selfie the next time an injured bear finds you watering the forest. Death by selfie is far from epidemic. That said, it’s worth noting that statistically selfie death is more likely than death by shark.

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What drives selfie obsession to pepper social media with still life caricatures? Social media created a generation of me-bots. “Look at me, look what I’m eating, look where I am”. Me, me, me. Happy face, goofy face, glamour pose. Look, I’m having fun, don’t I look pretty, don’t hate me for being fabulous. Hate to break it to you me-bot, but nobody cares. If you’re so fabulous, hand your camera to someone else and let them capture how the world sees you. Trust me, death by selfie extends beyond a handful of accidental screw-ups. Don’t be a me-bot, put that selfie stick down.

 

Pondering A Life Of Hospitality


Recently a client asked if any one situation stood out in my hospitality career. Hmm, that’s a loaded question.

There was the groom who begged for a make-up miracle to conceal his black eye. Pimps don’t care if it’s your wedding day – any man who slinks out between nuptials and reception to bang a hooker and refuses to pay, deserves more than a black eye.

Standing between drunks and free flowing alcohol is a barrel of laughs – “I thought they gassed all the Jews” stands out as one way to guarantee a call to security is handled promptly.

Being hired to manage a “birthday party”, arrive to find a Bris, explain politely we could have provided a loaf of bread to “break” had they bothered to ask, negotiate compromise with the Rabbi (technically ceremonial “breaking” of sliced bread for the spinach dip fulfills ritual requirements, right? ) Post party clean-up – realize the coffee cup in my hand contains blood soaked gauze and foreskin.

Applying red nail polish to a bowl of raw chicken feet (Metallica dressing room), assuring Neil Diamond I would fire any staff who made eye contact with him. Asked to deliver a bottle of Jack Daniels (won’t say whose dressing room) moments after they trotted in a sheep on a leash. Jack in hand, walked in on rock star performing a sex act with said sheep. Brushing lint off Elton John’s jacket. Giving Robert Plant a stern piece of my mind for ignoring tour protocol regarding production company approval of any additional expenses. His “sorry ma’am” still rings in my ears.

Joe Cocker wearing nothing but boxer shorts, mesmerized by imperfections of his vulnerable shell, I set dinner on a table. He strikes up a conversation, for 30 effortless minutes we discuss the cosmos. Myself, Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt and Sarah McLachlan post show in a dark, empty arena – four ladies talking until the wee hours of morning. B.B. King holding court after his show, not a “meet and greet”, nothing formal, seems he just felt like hanging around. An hour passes, another, it’s after 1 am when he calls me over – “Darlin, I could really use some BBQ chips”.  He takes my hand, presses something into the palm and holds on for a peculiarly long time. He lets go, I open my hand to find a 14K gold pendant commemorating B.B. King’s final tour.

Menstrual calamities – cutting out red stained section of hysterical brides’ wedding dress, fashioning faux lace from white tissue paper, hand stitching in place with 10 minutes to spare before she walked down the aisle. Young Asian women with limited English, “help” drew my attention to blood running down both legs from crotch length spandex to 4 inch stilettos. Couldn’t find a feminine product but offered a jug of warm water and 2 clean bar rags. “You clean” she replied. “Wash your own legs” is universal in any language, she shrugged as I led her out the back door to tidy up in our cargo van. Hunched over, wobbling on stilettos, she used one cloth to wash, stuffed the other in her panties, ran back inside, jumped on stage to sing a karaoke rendition of Lady Gaga, I Was Born This Way.

Work is why I’m fearless, the reason my then teenage son once declared “Mom, you’re the MOST” (Master Of Small Talk). Amusement, satisfaction and unusual strokes knock without invitation. Truth be told, the stand out situation of hospitality life is recognizing the moment adrenalin flips a switch at “go time”. Unfazed, daunted, hesitant or perturbed, go time is my time to shine.

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V.I.Poo


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Lavender Superstar, Lemon Idol, Rosy Starlet and Fruity Pin-Up promise to “keep nasty smells under wraps”. Fear not vacant fembots, choose one to V.I.Poo like a V.I.P. That’s right, V.I.Poo. The commercial opens with an exterior widescreen view, cameras flash, the marque reads Magic Wanda. Cut to Wanda-

“Even Hollywood’s latest sweetheart needs to punish the porcelain occasionally, to avoid embarrassment I give every bathroom the V.I.Poo treatment. Spray generously before taking a seat and V.I.Poo forms a protective layer trapping the icky smells of your devils doughnuts. So, no red face in front of your boss, Hollywood’s hottest director. Even a VIP needs to V.I.Poo  ”

WTF? Punish the porcelain, devil’s doughnuts? Magic Wanda? Wanda?

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Clearly Wanda is not a modern woman, so why is her Hollywood bathroom unisex? Why is Hollywood’s hottest director portrayed as a greasy caricature of Harvey Weinstein? Are men entitled to punish the porcelain with impunity, mark their territory with odorous devil’s doughnuts to show who’s boss? Why starlet, pin-up scent designations? Is Wanda supposed to be a porn star? Film star? Barbie Doll? Did V.I.Poo miss the memo on #MeToo? Is this supposed to be funny? Relevant?

On the off chance Air Wick set out to create a viral revenue generating video they failed miserably. I’m being generous, V.I.Poo marketing strategy banks on antiquated stereotypes, the duty of women to politely fart, burp and poop in the shadow of a man’s world. Shame on any woman fool enough to tuck V.I.Poo in her handbag.