Cloudy With a Chance of Meteors

Welcome back everyone! Who’s next on our list? It looks like it’s you! You, who accidently clicked on this link while trying to “like” your aunt Gertrude’s four hundred and thirty-fifth consecutive facebook posting about the cute thing her grandson said yesterday! Come on down! You’re the next reader of Adventures of the Bear Team!

Hello from Southern California, where this past weekend the sky over San Diego was lit up by the brilliance of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Or at least it would have been, had it not been for cloud cover so thick that birds were becoming snared in the fog like flies in a spider’s web. As the local saying goes: “May = gray, June = gloom, July = still?, August = now it’s just getting ridiculous.”

Seriously though, anytime I plan on attempting to view any type of celestial event, no matter where I am, some sort of front will move in minutes before said event is set to transpire, thereby ruining everything. I’ve missed eclipses in Georgia, moonrises in Arizona, and now, meteor showers in California.

Since the heavens weren’t cooperating, the Bear Team opted to settle in for the night and watch “Zero Dark Thirty,” a film which, once and for all, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Middle East is comprised mainly of dirt; much like New Mexico. The movie is actually pretty good, with a strong performance from Jessica Chastain as the CIA agent who finally locates Osama Bin Laden, leading to his eventual death at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals. The movie was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, whose previous film, “The Hurt Locker,” won academy awards for Best Picture, as well as Best Director. “Zero Dark Thirty” is a worthy follow-up.

Speaking of entertainment, one of our favorite televison shows, Showtime’s “Dexter,” is currently airing its final season. The show, which stars Michael C. Hall as a Miami Police Departent forensics expert who moonlights as a serial killer who takes out those who have either escaped justice, or who he believes simply deserve to die, has had quite a diverse cast during its eight season run. While watching a recent episode, I noticed something: I recognized one of the newer cast members, Sean Patrick Flannery, from something I’d watched many years before. Anyone elso remember this? .

Now it’s time for another installment of “Recipes from the Bear Cave!” This time I’d like to share a delicious concotion that I like to call “some kind of Thai dish, or maybe Chinese.” The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t necessarily have to have all of the ingredients on hand. You simply use as many as you can. The dish may contain all, or some combination of, the following:

Shrimp, chicken, or beef
Red bell peppers
Bamboo shoots
Water chestnuts
Lime juice
Fish sauce
Oyster sauce
Chile oil
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Teriyaki sauce
Brown Jasmine rice

So as you can see, there are quite a few ingredients you can use. And it is very easy to make. Simply marinate the shrimp, chicken, or beef in some combination of the sauces. Then stir fry the meat with the garlic for a couple of minutes. Then add all of the vegetables, followed by the sauces. Stir fry for a couple more minutes; just long enough to get the vegetables heated all the way through (cooking too long will make them mushy). Serve over the rice. Trust me, you’ll like the way it turns out.

On to the top ten list. Today’s topic: Annoying Retail Customer Behavior. Anyone who currently works in retail, has in the past, or shops at a retail store knows how irritating certain customers can be. These are the ten that make me want to shake someone until his or her teeth rattle. Here we go:

  1. Not understanding the concept of sales tax/bottle deposit. I swear that this customer behavior is true. Let’s say an item costs $5.82. When tax is added, and the price comes up $6.24, the customer stares at the total for upwards of fifteen minutes before saying: “It’s supposed to be $5.82.” Seriously! you want to shout at them. How long have you been alive?
  2. Bludgeoning the pin pad. You know how you have to press the digital buttons on a touch screen just so in order to activate them? If so, you are in the minority. Some people feel that the harder they jab at the screen with the stylus pen, the better the chance it will read their response. I guess someday someone will thrust the pen completely through the screen and wind up with their arm buried up to the elbow inside the pad.
  3. Paying with exact change. These people refuse to break an extra dollar, even if the amount is $2.99. They’ll dig and dig and dig in their purse, pockets, wallet, socks, shoes, coat, and underwear in search of enough change as the customers behind them in line eye them with increasingly murderous looks on their faces.
  4. Refusing to sign up for the store’s reward/savings/membership card. Not having the card isn’t necessarily bad, but when the customer nods all the way through the cashier’s speech about needing the card to receive sales prices, declines to sign up, and then wonders why he or she didn’t receive the sale price, you just want to slap them.
  5. Being on the phone during checkout. I know, I know. Everyone complains about the abundance of cell phones and texting in today’s society. But if you can’t put your phone down for a few seconds in order to complete a transaction, you should immediately check into rehab.
  6. Not having money ready. I know you hate this one. The customer watches the cashier scan all of his or her items, waits as the items are bagged, and then seems absolutely shocked when asked to actually pay for them.
  7.  Leaving shopping carts/baskets at the counter. You people know who you are. You put your items on the counter, pay for them, pick up your bags and  walk away, completely oblivious to the fact that the next person in line cannot physically get to the register because you were too lazy to take your cart to the corral (which you walked right by on your way out of the store).
  8. Insisting on receiving the sale price on every visit. This particular behavior results when a customer, on a visit to a certain store in 1959, purchased a dozen eggs on sale for the amazingly low price of $0.15. Since that day, this customer firmly believes that he or she should be offered this same deal on every single visit to the store, even though no one has offered eggs at this price since the Cuban missle crisis.
  9. Not minding their children. You’ve seen these people. They’re always standing in the middle of the store, yakking on a cell phone and obstructing other customers while their kids are in the next aisle setting fire to the hardware section.
  10. Throwing money at the cashier. Once the total due shows up on the register, these cretins always start tossing money on the counter. The cashier will have his or her hand out, but the customer drops a handful of change on the counter and starts laboriously counting it out.

There you have it; the bane of my existence. These people have the ability to turn even the most laid back and gentle soul into a raving lunatic. If you are one of these “problem” customers, feel free to visit a store and work on your behavior, provided of course that it isn’t a store I am currently in.

That just about does it for this week’s installment. But before I go, I’d like to state that something big is in the works for the Bear Team. While I won’t mention specifics, suffice to say that a major change is in the offing. More on that in the near future. As always, thanks for reading. We always appreciate it. I’ll leave you with the thought for the day, which I believe brings a major social issue into the limelight:

No one using a shared laundry facility ever, under any circumstances, cleans the lint trap after drying a load of clothing.

That’s all for now. We’ll meet again soon. Have a good night everybody!




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