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Domino’s Words of Encouragement

To get back to the casual, lighthearted origins of this blog:

So I just ordered a pizza online, which is the greatest thing ever because talking to strangers on the phone is my least favorite thing, and it is a safe bet that if I am ordering a pizza I am not at my best. Tonight, headache! And I burnt rice and it turns out we’re out of butter to fix it. ANYWAY, the final page has a progress bar (my pizza is currently baking) with irritating sound effects, ads for smartphone apps, a place to leave a review of the whole process and, most notably, the “Leave a note of encouragement to the team making your order” option. And it’s not a write-in either, you have to pick one of their pre-written notes of encouragement. Here are all of them, along with my thoughts:

1. Keep up the good work.
Solid. It is a note, and it is encouraging. B+.

2. You’re my favorite Domino’s Team Members.
Just a see-through lie. I have no idea who is making my pizza, and they know it. C-.

3. I love Domino’s. You guys rock.
Much more accurate! B.

4. Thank you for making my lunch.
Not really encouraging, but okay. Do a lot of people order Domino’s online for lunch? B-.

5. Thanks for making my dinner.
Wait, why is the lunch one a formal “Thank you” and the dinner one the more casual “Thanks”? Shouldn’t those be reversed? B-.

6. You are my pizza heroes.
Clearly the best one. It is encouraging and inspiring. A.

7. Treat my order like it’s the most important one in the world.
What the hell? This is not encouraging at all, nor is it appreciative. It is rude and entitled. Why not just have a “Please spit on my food!” option? D-.

8. Thanks for all of your hard work.
Much better. B+.

9. I don’t know what I would do without you.
Holy shit, I can’t even grade this. This is what you say to your pizza deliverer right before you KIDNAP them. I really hope no one in the history of online pizza ordering has ever chosen this, because it is downright threatening.

And my pizza is now out for delivery! I hope Tony1 made sure I got my garlic dipping sauce, for some reason that gets overlooked like nine times out of ten.

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Engagement Rings

Engagement rings are bullshit, guys.

I don’t want to turn my half of the blog into Alison Complains About the Sexism Inherent In Wedding Culture, but for whatever reason this has come up a few times recently in real life, and I never feel like I articulate all the problems I have with them well enough, so I figured I’d try to organize everything in the written word. So, let’s give it a shot.

Disclaimer: If you have or gave an engagement ring, I am not attacking you. If you have a monstrously huge diamond that cost you or your significant other four months’ salary, I am not attacking you. I am not calling you shallow or sexist. This right here is a criticism of the culture itself. At most, I am suggesting you may have been an unwitting participant in an inherently shallow and sexist practice, but maybe not even that! I can’t speak at the individual level, obviously, all I can do is try to get everyone to take a step back and think a bit more critically about the culture we all live in.

Okay, here we go:

1. Sexism. Engagement rings are sexist. They are a big expensive thing that a man bestows upon a woman at his discretion. She waits passively and eagerly, and once she gets it she can’t wait to show it off. Maybe she’s been fantasizing about this moment since she was a little girl, well before she had any man in mind who might give her one. Maybe she wants one so bad, she’s been dropping little hints to her man, and speculating with her girl friends about when and where the proposal is coming. Obviously this scenario isn’t reality for plenty of people, but it is basically the only version of events we see in media like film and TV. This is the story we tell ourselves over and over again. This is our version of what is ‘normal’.

Now, why doesn’t a man get one? Obviously because men don’t gain status from being engaged or married. It’s not a measure of a man’s worth that he’s managed to secure marital bliss. If anything, an engagement is jokingly referred to as a prison sentence for a man, but that’s a whole other can of worms. A man gets status from his career, from his ability to earn money for himself and his family. A wedding, however, is exclusively something a woman wants. And, of course, an engagement ring marks a woman as “taken”. Why bother marking a man as taken when men are the takers, after all?

The whole proposal set-up in general is designed to take autonomy away from women. Hell, men still ask a father’s permission before getting engaged-my own parents have insisted on this, and it’s just this outdated relic from when women were ultimately some man’s property, and a wedding was a transfer of ownership. If it were anything else, I’d be the ones asking my parents, but no, this is a conversation being held by two men.

You might be saying, “But the woman is being asked a question! Surely she has ALL the autonomy?” Well, yes and no. On the surface it certainly seems so, but what does she really have? Only the power to bail on everything. She has, ostensibly, no say in when the proposal occurs; all she can do is, at a time she has no control over, say yes or no. And a no is death to a relationship, isn’t it?

It occurred to me recently that this is very similar to the problems with the power dynamic of sex in a relationship as well. Traditionally, men are expected to be pursing sex at all costs, and women are the ones who have to put the kibosh on things, because heaven forbid a woman actively pursue sex and be labeled a slut. Those are the established roles, even in this day and age. So when a couple is getting hot and heavy, a woman’s subtle hints that she isn’t comfortable with what’s going on are all too likely to be ignored. Men have been told to stop when they get a clear NO, but they haven’t gotten a lot of direction other than that, and they don’t know the difference between a woman holding back so she doesn’t get a ‘reputation’ and a woman holding back because she honestly doesn’t want to go forward. So while a woman may have the power to say NO, she doesn’t necessarily have any other power, and she probably fears that saying NO will amount to saying NO to everything, not just going further. With this kind of skewed power dynamic a woman could easily feel pressured to go further in a relationship, either physically or with an engagement, simply because she fears losing what she has, not because she actually wants it. And a man might never be able to tell the difference. This is why the idea of active consent is so important (and why men whining that “feminists think everything is rape” makes me see red), and why engagements need to be restructured to be a decision that a couple comes to as a team. And I think most couples actually do do this, to some degree. But with that engagement ring, there is still this pressure to have the final word be a classic, picturesque proposal scene, where the woman is totally surprised and delighted because she had no idea, and thus no say, in when and where it occurs. Sure, surprises are nice, but isn’t having an active role in shaping your own life better? The engagement ring may have lost most of its power over a proposal, but it is still a throwback to a power dynamic we fancy we left behind decades ago.

Subclause: Engagement rings are heteronormative. You’ll notice the only kind of relationship I described is the heterosexual one, and that is because it is really really difficult to talk about how our culture feels about engagements in same sex relationships, because same sex relationships get practically NO face time in film or TV. I honestly can’t think of a good example of a same-sex proposal in the media, can you? Honestly curious here. Anyway, as with all other things that reinforce a skewed power dynamic in a relationship, engagement rings reinforce the idea that every couple has a “man” and a “woman”. Never mind if it is a same-sex couple, OBVIOUSLY there HAS to be one man and one woman, or how else could it work? Again, if you are in a relationship that actually does fit this, that’s totally cool, but the bullshit idea here is that’s the ONLY way a couple can work. And WAY too many people, including people I know, still have this idea.

2. Expensive. Engagement rings are expensive. This might be the biggest understatement I’ve ever typed. Engagement rings are OBSCENELY expensive. And to tie this into Point 1, is there anything more obnoxious about consumerism than that it has managed to equate Women’s Liberation with Having Pretty Things? I submit that there is not. And, as mentioned in Point 1, getting an engagement ring is not particularly liberating.

What’s wrong with an expensive ring? What’s wrong with spending money on LOVE? Well, spending MONEY on love, that’s what. Money=love is a really really stupid idea, guys. It’s just exceptionally classist, and has basically nothing to do with whether a relationship is a good one or not. And I know, I know, we live in a capitalist society, so EVERYTHING gets equated to money, that’s just how consumerism works. But it’s just so blatant here. Maybe because I am a woman I just notice it more. I suppose it’s not so different from selling men expensive cars by equating them to power and virility, but at least nobody is saying a man with a fancy car is ACTUALLY more virile-quite the opposite, in fact, there is a running cultural joke that men are overcompensating with fancy cars. That’s obviously got issues too, but just imagine living in a world where someone saw a huge engagement ring and made a similar comment. That might actually be a nice change, but no, God forbid anybody be cynical or even practical about engagement rings because they are symbols of LOVE, and NO cost is too much. Any man who spends less than two months’ salary, or four months’, obviously doesn’t even DESERVE to be accepted.

Ugh, can we talk about how messed up it is that in a discussion of how much an engagement ring should cost, the unit of money is MONTHS OF SALARY? Ugh, it makes me sick to my stomach to think of people spending MONTHS of SALARY, especially in our current economic state. And it’s just the cherry on top of how much people are supposed to spend on the actual wedding. Are young lovers just supposed to be in debt for the first ten years of their marriage? I’m at a marrying age, and practically everyone I know is already in student loan debt, and will be for a very very long time. They are struggling like hell to get a job, and the jobs they do get are not the jobs they thought they’d be getting after four years of college and the aforementioned mountain of debt. Now we’re supposed to pile huge, unnecessary wedding fees on top of it? On the other hand, I guess if you get through that you can get through anything.

The other thing loaded into the idea of an expensive wedding ring, other than being the fiscal expression of exactly how much love is worth, is that a man is in some way proving how fit he is to support you financially. Look at this expensive ring he can afford, looks like YOU won’t ever go hungry married to him! To which I say, so the hell what? What century is this? Because last time I checked, it was the century where women were allowed to support themselves. What was the fucking point of all those years of school and higher education, of working so hard to get a job, if at the end of the day I still have to worry about being supported by a man? Was it all just supposed to keep my pretty little head occupied until a man swooped in to rescue me from it all? It is baffling to me that so many people who otherwise are totally on board with feminism still insist on thinking of women and their potential husbands in these terms. Is the connection between the two really that hard to make?

3. Immoral. Can we all agree that diamonds are creepy? I thought we had as a culture, but when engagement rings came up at lunch the other day and I started my Engagement Rings Are Bullshit argument with this, the whole table went, “OH, OOOOOH, I see, it’s about BLOOD DIAMONDS” and then half the table ignored me like I was some kind of nutjob, or maybe that my views were to adorably naive to have any real-world weight? I don’t know, but it was really irritating. Anyway, I know things have gotten a lot better in the past ten years or so, but it’s still really hard to get past the diamond’s incredibly horrific history. You have to actually do RESEARCH to get a non-creepy diamond, and if the reaction of my coworkers the other day is any indication, not a whole lot of people are bothering.

4. Hideous. Am I the only person who thinks engagement rings are hideous? Like, just on a purely aesthetic level, putting aside all the sexist, consumerist, racist bullshit they’re loaded with. Diamonds are hands-down the most BORING looking gem imaginable. I admit, they became a little more interesting when I took physics and learned about indices of refraction and how they are the toughest stuff on earth, but somehow I don’t think that’s what’s enchanting people. Everyone thinks they are pretty because they are expensive, but they’re NOT. They’re GAUDY and DULL at the same time, how is that even possible? De Beers has somehow convinced us to accept the most boring stone for engagement rings, just like Queen Victoria convinced us to accept the most boring color for wedding dresses. An engagement ring should be unique! It should be clever and meaningful to the specific couple, or bride-to-be at least, but they all look the same and it sucks. Brides have started taking back other colors for wedding dresses, and I think it’s high time we start doing the same for engagement rings as well.

I think that basically sums it up. I reserve the right to add things via very long comment, though. Will I get an engagement ring? Yeah, I probably will. That’s just the culture we live in, and I can certainly see the appeal of having an outward symbol of one’s romantic bliss. But it’ll be one I pick out, one I probably at least half finance, and it definitely won’t have a diamond. Time to start pushing the envelope, guys!

Oh, right, this is a rating blog. Um, okay, engagement rings: D+. Not completely worthless, but miles of room for improvement.

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Captain Wedderburn’s Riddles

There’s an album I have a bit of sentimental attachment to, Road Rage by Great Big Sea. It’s the album my parents bought at the very first concert I ever went to, and the band covers both my Irish and Newfoundlander heritages very satisfyingly. Also, they’re just kind of objectively awesome.

Anyway, the eighth song is a pretty little folk number called Captain Wedderburn. It’s not my favorite by a long shot, but it’s softer and sweeter than the others so it’s a nice change of pace. In the song, the titular Captain Wedderburn wishes to bed a lovely noble maid. BUT! Before she will have sex with him, she has RIDDLES.

Now, my dear good man, she said
Do not be perplexed
Before that you might bed with me
You must answer questions six.
Six questions you must answer me,
And I will ask them all
And you and I in the bed might lie
Roll me over next to the wall

I heartily approve of this set-up; getting sex for riddle answers is very charming and fairy-tale, and it’s nice to see a girl have fun with standards. I am strongly in favor of removing all the obnoxious social shame and stigma that comes with sex in our culture, but sometimes it seems like maybe when you strip all that away there’s a lingering emptiness, and I think riddles are just the thing to fill it.

Setup: A+

This is where things start to fall apart, as so many riddle-centric stories inevitably do. I think like everyone else who ever reads this blog, I spent a lot of my childhood reading books of riddles and looking up riddles and in general enjoying the solace of feeling smarter than all the friends I didn’t have. This means, unfortunately, that as an adult I’ve been more or less ruined for all riddles. With that in mind, I do try to judge each one fairly (unless they involve either spelling or ice) but these ones are especially disappointing.

What is rounder than a ring,
And higher than the trees?
And what is worse than a woman’s curse,
And what is deeper than the sea?
What bird sings first, which one best?
Where does the dew first fall
And you and I in a bed might lie
Roll me over next to the wall

So far so good, right? I mean, pretty classic, old-fashioned riddle format. Fairly promising. Now, the answers:

The earth is rounder than a ring,
And heaven is higher than the trees,
The devil is worse than a woman’s curse,
And hell is deeper than the sea
The lark sings first, and the thrush sings best,
And the earth is where the dew falls
And you and I in a bed might lie
Roll me over next to the wall

Is it just me, or are these answers exceptionally boring? Let’s take them one at a time:

1. Rounder than a ring: Earth. Really? Under what definition of round? Because the last ring I saw didn’t have, like, mountain ranges on the surface.
2. Higher than the trees: Heaven. Yawn.
3. Worse than a woman’s curse: The devil. Double yawn.
4. Deeper than the sea: Hell. YAWN TIMES INFINITY. What the hell, boring straightforward religious answers?
5. Which bird sings first: The lark. Okay, we’ve moved from sunday school to 1st grade life science I guess. Can anyone confirm whether a lark sings particularly early?
6. Which bird sings best: The thrush. Is this true? Does anyone know? How can it possibly sing better than this bird?
7. Where the dew falls: The earth. This is like the mother of all smartass vague answers. I hope the Captain puts a little more effort into the actual lovemaking, for our young maid’s sake.

Riddles: C

Those of my readers who posess rudimentary quantitative reasoning and/or reading comprehension skills may have noticed that the specified number of riddles was six, but the actual number is seven. I cannot express how truly crazy this drives me. Every single time I hear this song, I carefully count along, WITH MY FINGERS, just in case there’s any chance whatsoever that I’ve somehow miscounted every time I’ve ever heard this song, and every time it comes back seven. Some of them blend together a bit, but there are clearly seven separate answers. Unbelievable.

Counting: D-

Finally, is it just me or is “roll me over next to the wall” one of the less appealing code phrases for sex? It is like he is pushing her aside so he can read his book or something. I don’t know, maybe it is just because it reminds me of how I have always used my own bed as a general storage area, and frequently have had to just sort of shove everything against the wall if I want to use it at all.

Euphamisms: C-

Overall: C+. A kind of fun idea, but only if you don’t think too hard!

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A PEP TALK IN EVERY DROP

I have a cough, so I got some cough drops. About halfway through the bag, I have discovered that I have been throwing away DOZENS of phrases meant to help me, without even knowing it! It turns out that Halls cough drops have encouraging words on the wrappers! This fact is not indicated anywhere on the bag these came in. I have never heard of it before. Was it always this way??

Either way, they miss the mark for me. Even the few I have seen since my discovery fill me with annoyance. Also, they fill me with sad mental vignettes featuring the saddest sickest sadsters smiling weakly at the wrappers crinkling in their flu-addled hands. I will attempt to categorize the phrases from a random handfull of wrappers on and around my desk (the trash is wayyyyy over there, okay?)

Things a mom (not my mom!) might say:

“Don’t waste a precious minute”
“Don’t wait to get started.”
“Keep your chin up”
“Seize the day.”

Things some kind of jerk who identifies as a cool-guy might say:

“Flex your ‘can do’ muscle”
“Fire up those engines!”
“Hi five yourself” (Picture a person with a sore throat following this instruction)
“Put a little strut in it”
“Let’s hear your battle cry!” (This one seems especially cruel to put on a lozenge)

Things a miserable person might mutterwhisper to themselves:

“Nothing you can’t handle”
“You’ve survived tougher”
“Don’t give up on yourself”
“Get through it”
“Power Through!”

Things a coach might say:

“You can do it and you know it.”
“Put your game face on”
“Get back in the game”
“Get back in there champ!”

Things a scrappy depression-era kid might say:

“Bet on yourself”
“You got it in you”
“Tough is your middle name.”

Weird things nobody would say:

“Buckle down and push forth!”
“Turn ‘can do’ into ‘can did!'”
“March forward!”
“Impress yourself today.”
“Elicit a few ‘wows’ today”
“Go get it!” (Not strange if directed at a dog)
“The show must go on. Or work”
“Inspire Envy”
“Don’t try harder. Do Harder!”

Most common phrase:

“A PEP TALK IN EVERY DROP (TM)”

You know, the pep talk isn’t technically in the drop. It’s around it. Also there are several per drop-wrapper. Also why is this only advertized on the wrappers and not on the bags or in ads? Relying on word-of-mouth? Or the cough-drop honeypot of promotion: giving an annoying sick person a handful of your weathered coat-pocket-drops?

Anyway, 2 out of 5. Irritating enough to amuse me.

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Something Borrowed

This trailer keeps popping up when I’m trying to enjoy myself by watching anything else, so I figure it’s time to fight back. Now, this is based solely on the trailer; I haven’t read the book, and I’ll probably never watch the movie. If you feel like wasting the next two minutes and thirty three seconds of your life, watch it yourself:

So many issues. I’ll try to itemize.

1. The Plot: The story that I see is clearly not the story I am supposed to be seeing. Apparently the blonde friend is the villain, ruthlessly ‘stealing’ the protagonist’s love interest, though as far as I can tell her only crime is being assertive, and I guess in expecting her maid of honor to help her with wedding things. The protagonist I assume is who we’re supposed to be sympathizing and identifying with, but when somebody basically refuses to be handed exactly what she wants on a platter, I stop caring forever. Honestly, I have so little patience for people who fold on everything, especially before there is any opposition. Her problems are entirely 100% her fault. Why should I empathize?

The next part I’m supposed to be seeing is someone finally learning to stand up for herself, but all I see is someone ruining her ‘best friend”s wedding at the worst possible moment short of sleeping with the groom during the actual ceremony. I guess if you are a terrible person and you want to stop being a terrible person and you’re in love with your best friend’s fiancee you should speak up before the wedding instead of keeping your meek little mouth shut for another five years of silent resentment, cumulating in an expensive and stressful divorce. You should also speak up before having sex with the guy, but maybe I’m old fashioned like that.

2. The Female Friendship: I am so sick of this. I’ll level with you, I don’t consume ‘chick’ media very frequently, so maybe my sample size is just too small (and skewed by Bride Wars), but it seems like the female friendships in all these things have the tiny problem of being completely awful. Like, just completely irredemable, with absolutely no basis in support or goodwill whatsoever. They are just selfish people screwing eachother over for petty non-reasons. And there is always lip-service to Sisterhood, but there is never any support for it in the text. The real moral is that women can NEVER trust other women, especially if there are any men around. Why do women tell eachother these stories over and over again?

And the really annoying thing is, it’s so wildly different from the ‘chick’ stuff targeted to kids and pre-teens. Those friendships were ALWAYS selfless and supportive. Sure, there was conflict, but you always knew at the heart of it these were great friendships. As I’ve grown up, the women in media targeted at me have devolved before my eyes, and now they all have the emotional maturity of sixth graders. What gives?

3. The Fellow: Why are men always objects in these things, without any agency whatsoever? The whole boy-stealing myth supposes that men have absolutely nothing to do with what woman they end up with, and it’s ludicrious. I suppose it’s just easier to just think of men as prizes; that way we won’t have to hold them responsible when they do things like cheat on their fucking fiancee.

4. The Message: I suppose I’ve already covered these, but to summarize the moral of the movie seems to be some combination of:
1. Women who go after what they want and “always win” are evil.
2. Female friendships are worthless when compared to True Love.
3. Men really want totally passive women, but those pesky assertive women tend to snatch them up first and men are usually helpless against them.
4. After you turn 30, a man is the Ultimate Prize. Even if he is the kind of putz who sleeps with his fiancee’s maid-of-honor, he is still incredibly desirable and you are depreciating in value FAST, so act quick.

On a related note, when are we going to get sick of this stupid Bridezilla thing? It is wholly incorrect and awful. It demeans women in pretty obvious ways, but more insidiously it sends the message that women are (and should be) more concerned about getting married than about who they are marrying.

So, out of fifty points:
Plot: 0
Female Frienships: -3
The Man: 0
The Message: 0
John Krasinski: 7 (3 for his doofus face, 4 for the hoodie)

Total: 4/50

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The crossword in the Jan/Feb 2011 edition of Life Times, by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

Backstory: I volunteer with the blind once a week, because I am a better person than you. This takes the form of many a task, one of the most common being reading consumers their mail, like the health paper Life Times one senior’s insurance sends him every other month. In it, along with some articles about adult asthma and healthier living through bowling, was a crossword he thought he’d try his hand at.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really like puzzles that depend on English. This might go doubly for crosswords, which have clues so vague I have no idea if the five-letter word I’ve thought of is the correct one, if I can think of anything at all. Unlike sudoku, where you only fill in the box when you know with LOGICAL CERTAINTY that it HAS to be a six or whatever, you just have to put down what it probably is and be prepared to erase it later if it doesn’t work.

Crosswords in general: C

So, THIS crossword. Well. The first clue that caught my eye was “Jack Sparrow expression, perhaps”. Five letters.

Answer: AARGH

What the hell, crossword? No. No, that is not anyone’s expression. Perhaps you are thinking of ARR, or ARRRR if you really must have five letters.

More clue examples:

Horse feed, four letters: MASH
Flower part, six letters: RACEME (It isn’t.)
Ran, three letters: LED
Waste piece of wool, four letters: NOIL
Cut, five letters: HEWED
Athlete’s concern, four letters: PACE
Primo, four letters: AONE (I had to stare at this answer for forever before realizing it was “A-One”)
Eagerness, four letters: ELAN
Level, four letters: SHIM
Bursa, three letters: SAC
Arachnids, five letters: ACARI
Shrouded, old word: CERED

Okay, sure, these are for the most part technically appropriate clues. But the answers are just so…weird. So frequently unintuitive, or completely unheard of. Is it me? Is it because I spend all my time squinting at symbols? Has my vocabulary atrophied? Dear readers, if you are people of letters and not numbers maybe you can tell me if I’m being too harsh.

Perhaps my judgement is colored by context as well. After all, I was reading the clues aloud and checking the consumer’s guesses, filling them in when they were right. So mostly it was him guessing significantly more appropriate answers, like “oats” or “bran” for “horse feed”, and me rejecting them over and over. And this went on for THREE WEEKS. By the next week, he’d caved enough to use a dictionary, which meant I’d read surprisingly long dictionary entries for words like “cut” out loud, and he’d keep an ear out for five-letter words with a ‘w’ in the middle. But that didn’t work, because ‘cut’ is secretly its own past tense, so by the third week we were scouring thesauruses and the Encyclopedia Britannica as well.

At this point, the crossword might almost be forgiven. A good chunk of its clues are duds, but not moreso than your average crossword perhaps. But then, there are the fourteen and fifteen letter clues. The ones the entire puzzle is built around. They are health themed. Let’s see if YOU can guess them:

Good Exercise!, fourteen letters
Omega three sources, fifteen letters
Game suggestion, fourteen letters

Stumped? Well, sure you are. After all, you’re not meant to get those until you’ve gotten a lot of the smaller clues which intersect it. Let’s fill in some letters, then:

Good exercise!: _ I K E I N _ _ E _ I _ L _

Omega three sources: S A _ D _ N _ S _ _ D T _ N _

Game suggestion: _ _ T S P _ A _ T _ N _ _ S

Still stumped? Perhaps you pulled out a thesaurus yourself, and have filled in more letters:

Good exercise!: _ I K E I N T _ E H I _ L S

Omega three sources: S A _ D I N _ S A N D T _ N A

Game suggestion: _ E T S P _ A Y T _ N _ I S

Got your final guess? Let’s see how you measure up! The answers, of course, are HIKEINTHEHILLS, SARDINESANDTUNA and LETSPLAYTENNIS. Obviously. Because those are common phrases we hear every week, and not at all assortments of thoughts so random it’s like the puzzle writer just grabbed the nearest magazine, flipped to somewhere in the middle and wrote down the first four words that caught his eye.

This Specific Crossword: D-

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Removing Ads on Facebook

Specifically, I will be judging the set of options that comes up when the Facebook ad algorithm wants to know how it could have possibly failed you. We’ve all seen this:

You have removed this ad. Why didn’t you like it?

Uninteresting

Misleading

Offensive

Repetitive

Other

Is it just me, or does Facebook think I am deleting ads based on the merits of the ad and not on what it is, in fact, advertising? I don’t have anything against the ad, I just don’t want an online degree in theology! I’m not an expert on ads, I can barely remember what happens on Mad Men.

1. Uninteresting: Quite possibly the only option that is ever close to why I delete an ad. Again, though, the wording seems to apply to the ad and not to my personal interest in the product. While I may be uninterested in an ad, that doesn’t mean the ad itself is uninteresting. For example, I once got an ad that to the best of my memory read: “Deaf? Gay? Join FriskyHands.com!” Now, I am neither deaf nor gay, so I am not interested in that ad personally, but on its own merits it is a VERY interesting ad, and I would hate to penalize it. It’s as though this option is really for, I don’t know, an ad with a lot of block text and beige. But it is close enough for THREE STARS: * * *

2. Misleading: Seriously? In what situation is this option necessary? The ads are six words apiece, how much misleading is really possible? I won’t even know unless I click on the damn thing and discover the ad for cute kittens is really trying to get me to donate to the Green Party, and when I go back to Facebook the ad will be gone! Unless you have tabbed browsing, which I guess is everyone now, but whatever, this never happens. One star: *

3. Offensive: Facebook, aren’t you supposed to be screening these things for me? I’ve never seen an ad that even comes close to being offensive. Sometimes I pick this option when deleting religious ads, but my heart’s not really in it. Two stars: * *

4. Repetitive: When I first saw this option, I was super incredulous. How could an ad POSSIBLY be repetitive? And such a tiny ad! But, now that Facebook ads have been a part of my life for a while, I can see it. Not for a single ad, but for the latest in a string of ads for different companies that all want me to do the same depressing thing, like sell my eggs or buy my own engagement ring. They still all fall under “Uninteresting” though, so this only gets two stars: * *

5. Other: Oh, Other. Poor Other has to do ALL THE WORK in this list. If you (almost certainly) found the first four options insufficient, Other is there for you. Here’s the thing, though: If you select Other, a text box will pop up and Facebook will ask you to type in your reason. Fuck that! Facebook, the thing in my life that most understands how little effort or thought I want to put into ANYTHING, is asking me to think of an entire WORD? And then TYPE it? The second that text box comes up, I lose all interest in rejecting the ad. If Facebook had just come up with better, more appropriate options like “Pretentious” or “I’m Not Trying to Get Pregnant”, I wouldn’t be in this mess. Two stars: * *

Overall: Two stars! * *

Pretty damn weak, Facebook.

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