Dominos Tracker

dominos tracker

I’ve been enthralled with the Dominos pizza tracker for many years. The first time I ordered online was an experience like no other. I chose thin crust, as opposed to hand tossed, with regular marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and banana peppers. “Muhammad has prepared your pizza and put it in the oven.”  I immediately chose the Jamaican themed tracker. The sound of the ocean and a quasi Jamaican accent serenades me of the progress of my creation.

“Your order is going into the oven.” (said in a Jamaican accent) My mouth begins to water in anticipation for the salty delight. I patiently wait while listening to Reggae muzak and another update chimes. “Muhammad is double checking your order for quality.” I like the sound of that. Dominos has become the Apple computers of fast food pizza chains, constantly updating your product, like iTunes. Another few minutes go by, “Jose is on his way!” Thirty minutes later the pizza arrives and I couldn’t be happier.  I tip $5.00 and begin to feast.

Fast forward four years later. The pizza is still bad and it takes longer to get your order. In reality this is what the tracker is telling you.

“Muhammad hastily put your toppings in a haphazard manner and threw it in the oven.” 20 minutes later, another update. “Muhammad is NOT double checking your pizza for quality because he went outside to have a smoke.” The best part is when the pizza is done and is “ready for delivery,” but sits untouched for another 40 minutes. The update chimes in, “your arder is getting cold mon.” From ordering to receiving, an hour and half has past, and I’m tired of Reggae muzak. Next time I’ll try the baseball theme, “your order is striking out, and you should’ve gone to Pizza Hut.”

The First Sext

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The first sext was not erotic in the slightest. It was not sent at 2 am. It was not even a booty call.

The first sext was not a witty pick-up line beamed to space on a cellular network. It was not even transmitted over the Internet.

The first sext was not sent from a man to a woman or vice versa. It was definitely not the work of a horny politician with a sex addiction (although that would come much later).

Shockingly, the first sext did not include a picture of anyone’s genitalia. And despite their popularity nowadays, it was not accompanied by a naked bathroom selfie.

The first sext was delivered by hand, however it was not handwritten.

The first sext was incredibly concise and yet evoked a thousand salacious images.

While I don’t know the exact time or place, the first sext was most likely exchanged in a school from one giggling boy to another. And these boys were almost assuredly nerds. (When the first sext appeared, nerds were still mocked and not super cool Internet Zillionaires like nerds today.)

The first sext was a groundbreaking example of creative expression using the latest technology. The message itself took up nearly the entire screen on which it appeared. Most of these screens were solar powered, so the first sext was likely viewed in daylight or at least under the institutional glow of flourescent lighting.

The first sext did not realize it was a sext for many years, and later modestly stepped down, taking a back seat and letting the cocky new generations express themselves with no clue that it–sitting right back there behind them, fat and bald and wearing a Hypercolor t-shirt and loud green, yellow and red Cross Colours jeans–was the true Originator.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first sext:

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Raising Hobos

My children, loitering on a street somewhere.
My children, panhandling on a street somewhere.
Speaking as a father, I have come to the sad realization that all children have the innate social decorum, personal hygiene skills, and civility of your everyday, bus-depot variety hobo.

How did I come to this conclusion? I cannot pinpoint it exactly, but my children have left a variety of clues as to their true hobo nature. Perhaps it was finding a collection of used Kleenexes discarded throughout our living room. Maybe it was the dirty socks or underwear strewn about our hallway. It could have been the umpteenth time I entered the bathroom and encountered a fresh “deuce” residing in an unflushed toilet.

Whatever it was, I now view our nice suburban home as a veritable tent city. Once I began to take notice of my surroundings, I found the signs of hobo “culture” were everywhere. For instance, around the dinner table each night, I am more apt to hear burping and flatulence than polite conversation.

Furthermore, like hobos, my children relish in their unhealthy diet and lifestyle. My daughter would happily eat a bag of gummy worms smothered in maple syrup for breakfast and wash it down with a root beer float.

Like hobos, my children have horrible hygiene. If left to their own devices, their teeth would go unbrushed and their hair uncombed henceforth. Forget showers too. I have honestly witnessed lengthy debates between my wife and daughter over whether a morning shower is necessary after one has an “accident” the night before.

Like hobos, my children sleep in a tangled rat’s nest of blanks, pillows, assorted personal belongings, dirty clothes and half-eaten food. In addition, like hobos, this “bedding” has the unmistakable odor of stale “pee pee.”

Like hobos, in settling even the smallest dispute, my children generally escalate it to a crazy screaming match in a public place.

Like hobos, the decision-making of children overly favors instant gratification and has an astonishing degree of short-term bias for someone that will live for another 90+ years.

Like hobos, my children constantly beg for money and rarely disclose how the money will ultimately be spent. Knowing their unhealthy lifestyle and bias for short-term gratification, I know my donations will not be going towards their retirement fund. However, there are rare instances that I do feel generous and hand over a dollar to a panhandling child or hobo. I’ve noticed, almost without fail, that within mere minutes of handing over the dollar that I’ll be approached by the exact same child or hobo, unabashedly requesting spare change once more. I then am put in the uncomfortable position of having to exclaim amongst a throng of bystanders, “What! Don’t your remember?, We just had this conversation 10 minutes ago! I gave you a dollar for “bus fare” or the candy machine, remember? Where did that money go?!”

I never really expect a response, as hobos often don’t provide the truth or a direct answer, anyway. Also, hobos complain a lot, make excuses, and are disrespectful. Hobos routinely fail to say “please” and “thank you” or generally show gratitude, even when you are bestowing generosity upon them. Does this sound like any children you know?

As I’ve outlined above, hobos have few redeeming qualities. My job as a parent, fundamentally, is to prevent my children from fulfilling their inborn hobo destiny. Now that I have begun to anticipate their lowlife tendencies, I have developed a counterstrategy.

I call my method “Hobo Chores.” The system is both simplistic and ingenious. Whenever I observe a hobo-esque act of anti-social behavior, I immediately and loudly assign a “hobo chore” to the offending child in witness of the entire family and other onlookers.

Now, there’s nothing inherently different from a “hobo chore” versus the type of routine chores our kids perform each day… except for the stigma of being associated with hobos. In other words, hobo branding has been the key to the program’s success. It should also be noted, that this is the first time in history that “hobo branding” has ever been successful in association with anything.

Look, it’s not easy being a parent. For those of you struggling with childrearing, feel free employ my methods. And someday, when your children are fully grown, and they are not aggressively panhandling in a touristy part of town or defecating on a sidewalk somewhere, you’ll know who to thank.

Remembering the Shiny Disc Wars

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I confess I never used AOL. But there is no denying it was huge. It was a key gateway for a lot of people to access the Internet in the early days of its existence. Talk about a major A-OL.

The biggest reason it was so huge? They had this crazy idea to manufacture CDs by the millions (loaded with their installation software) and mail them to everyone in the US! Did you know there is a group of people who collect these discs now?

I just did some checking and found some mind-blowing stats showing just how big AOL was in its prime.

AOL mailed 660 million disks during this promotional deluge. Keep in mind the population of the US was around 260 million at the time. That is almost 3 discs per person, not just per household!

Now stay with me here, this is where it gets fun. I am saying that way before Netflix, AOL was shipping discs to every city, every street, and every person in the US. No wonder Netflix knew it could be done! They watched AOL do it for years.

At the height of its DVD service, Netflix had almost 20 million customers and 40-50 million discs in its catalog. AOL did it bigger. They had 26 million US customers and hundreds of millions of discs in circulation.

Don’t forget we also had the BMG Music and Columbia House mail-order music clubs around that time. You could get 12 music CDs for the price of one! So did AOL ship more discs than BMG and Columbia House too?

Digging around, it seems the music clubs (BMG and Columbia House) are estimated to have shipped over a billion CDs in their heyday. (Interestingly, I also read that they didn’t properly license the music they were selling until 2006. Ripping off the musician, no real shocker there.) So all told, they rivaled or perhaps surpassed AOL’s reach in terms of discs delivered.

With this info, it seems my old hunch about the post office is clear. In the late 90s, the mail carrier’s job was little more than transporting shiny discs from place to place.