Category Archives: Rant Grenades

Rant Grenade: Pizza Tracking

Pizza’s like the perfect writer fuel.  You can get at it straight out of the box, no need to fuss with utensils or even plates, take a few bites and get back to writing.  Plus in most cases it comes to you.  So imagine how happy I was awhile back when science merged with the perfect writer fuel to create this:

The pizza tracker.  Maybe we’ve become jaded with the wonders of the modern era but seriously… it tracks pizza, y’all!  I mean, we’ve come from those big ass battle tank cellphones from the 80’s to having near real time intelligence of the grub you ordered.  You never have to wonder where the hell your pizza is–you know that weird space where you feel like it’s been for-frickin-ever since you placed the call so you’re trying to calculate when that was and it’s messing with your rusty math skills and you kinda feel like you’re tripping but maybe not and either way you’re hungry.  No more of that… it’s like they’re baking a chain of accountability right into the pie.

So what’s the rant about?  Because it’s a beautiful lie.  Because they lulled me in with their promise of pizza tracking and pulled the rug from under me, something I only noticed after about 4 orders where my pizza was kind of sucktacular.  See it for yourself.  Compare the old pizza tracker to the newer one:


See the difference?  While they were busy making it smaller and neater they were also removing the accountability from the tracker entirely.  Step 4 went from “Box” which means they took your pizza from the oven and put it into the box to “Quality Check”, which means Fuckall.  Think about it… it’s a conveyor belt oven so all you gotta do is stand at the ass end of the conveyor, look at the pizza as it comes out for a second just to be sure Johnny’s not pranking you again by turning the oven up or some starving fly decided to enter Valhalla by taking a suicidal dive into the lava cheese while screaming “witness me!” to its fly friends,  and box the damn thing up.  What kind of “quality check” are they doing?  Sticking thermometers in it to see if it achieved optimal internal temperature like a turkey? Measuring the distance between toppings to ensure perfect coverage?  No, they’re putting the pizza in the box.  That’s it.  The difference is when you literally honestly say Step 4 is “Box” most folks know that only takes a minute so it should be out the door and on its way to you.  When you say “Quality Check” it becomes this nebulous, undefined affair that could take 10, 15, who knows, 20 minutes.

And it does.  If your local pizza place is anything like mine, you’ll see your pizza dwell in Step 4 long enough to get mail there.  It is eternal.  It is the purgatory in which your pizza goes from this hot gooey wondergrub to this lame, limp heatlamp meh.  Ironically, “Quality Check” is where quality goes to die.  And my pizza like lives in there and I’m looking at the 4 do its subtle throb-glow and it’s supposed to be soothing but it feels like watching the hero of the story, say like James Bond or Flint or some other super spy, get put into a tank that’s slowly filling up with water.  I want to go to my pizza, to help it escape from “Quality Check” but that defeats the whole purpose of the call.  Besides, pizza can maybe hopefully go free from 4 to “Out for Delivery” any second.  Only pizza doesn’t.   Pizza isn’t James Bond or Flint or some other super spy with training and agency.  Pizza doesn’t escape, it becomes limp and soggy.

That’s my rant, y’all.  Another story of how science made things better and then somehow people turned that science into crap.  This is how Charlton Heston went from an astronaut to wearing a loincloth yelling “You Maniacs! You blew it all up!”  And it started with the pizza tracker.


REMINDER: Hey guys, I still have a few copies of my novel Pendulum Heroes available over at  For those of you who’ve already read it, they’ve allowed voting now!  So do your boy a favor and go to the site, grab the novel if you haven’t yet or vote on it if you have.  Since a whopping 20% of the decision on who wins the contest comes from votes, I DEFINITELY need yours!   Click here to help!


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Rant Grenade: What Happened to the Flying Car

Coming to the dealership in the summer of hell freezes over.

Coming to the dealership in the summer of hell freezes over.

I’ve been around the world and met a lot of people along the way in this war in the trenches.  Despite changing zip codes, country codes, coworker demographics, and uniforms, somehow I invariably have the same conversation with whatever happens to be my present social circle.  Somebody in the circle will say, “man, whatever happened to the flying car?  This is supposed to be the 21st century, the future dammit.  They promised me a flying car!”  Then everybody agrees vehemently and talk ensues about how ultra awesome the flying car would be.  They want one too.

Am I the only one who’s ever had this conversation occur and reoccur?  Maybe it is just me, and I bring this discussion upon myself somehow.  I know I used to be in the circle, vehemently agreeing.  Because it flies miles above awesome.  In my mind the flying car is the conveyance of choice of Jesus Christ.  Then realization struck; I suddenly figured out the answer to the all powerful initial question: whatever happened to the flying car?

We happened.  We suck.  We can barely drive in two damn dimensions, yet everybody’s screaming to drive in three?  This ain’t the Jetsons, this is a world where people tweet and text and eat and spill coffee in their own laps while they’re driving.  You know those people who drive regular ass cars that do any number of things that’ll have you yelling and ranting and getting ever closer to a coronary?  Imagine them dive bombing at you cause they’re busy putting on make-up, or envision them coming up at you in a straight vertical… collision course your floorboard where you can’t even see your impending doom… because they’re too busy rooting through their futuristic glove box to see they’re climbing like Crackhead Icarus.

We live in the 21st Century, where our smartphones do more than tricorders in Star Trek.  We’ve pretty much put Wall-E on Mars, where he’s collecting rocks until a sleek new robot comes through for an adventure of a lifetime.  Honestly, I think we’ve got the technology to make flying cars the standard in a marketplace where literally everyone wants one.  The only reason we don’t have them is because it would usher in Self-Inflicted Doomsday.

Until we learn to stop doing this, we're staying on wheels.

Until we learn to stop doing this, we’re staying on wheels.


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Rant Grenade: Shoe Game

Alright, so here I am over in the third world, missing out on a more civilized lifestyle when I run across this Yahoo! news article.  Since it was brief, I’ll post the overwhelming majority of it below:

Shoppers waiting in line to purchase the latest incarnation of LeBron James’ signature shoe outside Atlanta were being harassed by a reported pickpocket until one patron decided to pull a gun out and shoot the as-yet unidentified man in what is being considered a move motivated by self-defense.

Wayne Washington at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story:

Witnesses told one man in line outside Wish, a clothing and shoe store on Moreland Avenue, pulled out a gun and shot the would-be robber.

The shooter then got back in line, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Police have not charged anyone and for now consider the shooting to be self-defense. No additional information was being released Sunday morning, said Officer John Chafee, an Atlanta Police Department spokesman.

Only 22 pairs of the sneakers were available, but that didn’t stop nearly 50 shoppers from lining up hours before the store opened. The shooting took place at 5:30, five hours before Wish opened its doors to LeBron’s fans.

One witness says the deceased got what he deserved. From the Journal-Constitution:

“He [the shooter] really stood up for all of us,” said Taylor White, who told Channel 2 that he was in line when the shooting happened. “I salute the homie that did that.”

That must be a badass shoe, right?  In case you were wondering, here’s the shoe:

Lebron Shoe

OK, there’s so much stuff wrong here I don’t know where to begin.  But I’m gonna try.

1. You’re standing in line for a shoe.

2. It is a shoe of stonewash black jeans material, with a gold-brown tongue and a pink plastic see-thru bottom.

3. Someone gets out of line and shoots someone dead and gets back in line like he’s seriously going to be able to finish completing the business transaction that has him waiting in line in the first place.

4. There’s STILL A LINE for the shooter to get back into.  Understand that this means someone in the middle of the line shot someone dead and afterwards there’s enough people not running, still waiting for these shoes that the shooter has to get back in line.

5.  He’s IN THE LINE, as in you’ve just seen this dude blast somebody, and you’re perfectly cool with him standing behind you, where you can’t see what he’s doing, things like counting the number of heads in front of him to see if he’s number 23 in line, or wondering if anyone up there is going to buy more than one pair.  How many people does a dude have to shoot to earn a place at the head of this line?

6. There’s a dead body next to the line, leaking either brains or guts, open eyes staring out vacantly and that’s apparently OK with would be consumers.

7. Of all the possible quotes of the witnesses, the one that made the paper contained the phrase, “I salute the homie.”

8. You’re standing in line FOR A SHOE.


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Rant Grenade: In a World Where…

You can wipe that smug, self-satisfied grin off your face you Tom bastard.

I know, two rants back to back!  But the last one wasn’t technically mine, and in a world where Hollywood decides to gamble on my favorite childhood classics, one dude must speak his mind.

First we have Star Wars.  Surely, you guys have heard that Lucas sold his legacy to Disney for 4 billion. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a paycheck… one that would tempt common folk like us to sell our own mothers into forced labor camps for.  Sorry mom, that’s four bil… I’ll try to buy you back when the rates are low.  But seriously Lucas, did you really need the money?  Dude, you sold STAR WARS!  To Disney!

The thing is, I’m not inherently mad at this.  I mean, I have a feeling Lucas raped his own universe much more soundly than Disney could ever do.  I don’t think the creative minds who spend their days wishing upon a star would’ve thought of Force rape babies and the one man minstrel show called Jar Jar Binks.  Well, maybe they would’ve kept Jar Jar… after all, they were responsible for Song of the South.

But Disney?!  What does this mean for Star Wars?  Is Leia a Disney princess now, hanging out with Ariel and Cinderella?  Will people be able to go to Disneyland and ride in Tie Fighters?  Is this a future where tourists take tours of the Death Star with Mickey Mouse ears on their heads?

What’s up with the movies?  Sometimes you can get a pretty rocking Disney movie… but you can also get John Carter of Mars.  Speculation is all over the place about where they’re going to take it.  Fear is strong in this one.  I heard they were going to bring the trilogy forward to the year or so after the Republic’s glorious defeat of the Emperor, the start of the New Republic.

How you gonna do that Disney, when all the folks we associate faces to names with–Han, Luke, Leia, everybody–is thirty years older since Return of the Jedi?  Will Chewbacca have gray hair or will it all have fallen out, leaving us looking at a seven foot tall prune with a bandolier?

You may laugh thinking not likely, then you come across Conan the Barbarian.  Arnold Schwarzenegger has come out and said he’s coming back in the role that put him on the map.

Again, I’m not even mad.  Because I want it to be good.  Dude, so much of me wants it to be good.  But I’m a skeptic.
Mako’s dead.  I mean, he’s the awesome voiced asian dude who said “Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”

You heard him talking didn’t you?  Yeah, you won’t this movie… and he was the only one who could tell me of Conan’s saga.  It wasn’t Fast and Furious writer-producer Chris Morgan.  Only thing he can tell me is how to Tokyo Drift.

But all the parts of me that want it to be awesome KNOWS only Arnold can play Conan.  Shit, he is Conan.  I mean, when you watch Conan the Barbarian you’re ready to believe this dude was real and some evil magic sent him forward into the future and now Conan spends his life playing Arnold Schwarzenegger… that’s how much Conan he is.  But goddamit, they waited like 20 years too long for this crap.  They were too busy in the 90’s, backing such great hits as Van Damme’s “Double Impact” and Wesley Snipes’ “Passenger 57”.

Now we find ourselves here, two thousand fricking twelve… with an Arnold so old I halfway believe he’ll die on set of congestive heart failure.  Now they get around to it?

C’mon Hollywood!

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