Thursday, April 26, 2012

Consumer report: colored bubbles

We recently went to the park as a family and before long, our daughter wanted to blow bubbles. As a mini-surprise that my wife had secretly stashed away, she broke out the Crayola Colored Bubbles. In a scenario of “which spouse made the correct decision?” I am almost always on the losing end. But the second I saw these bubbles I was like, “This looks like a terrible idea.” On this rare specific occasion, my instincts actually proved correct, so I figured I’d record it for historical purposes.

Because it was, in fact, a terrible idea.

Granted, it wasn’t so much a terrible idea on my wife’s part—she had the best of intentions, and only purchased something that was available for sale. It is more, I would say, a terrible idea on Crayola’s part. I don’t want to go overboard here, but Crayola Colored Bubbles is definitely the worst item on the market available for consumer purchase.

This is how it went. I saw the bottle and said, “This looks like a terrible idea.” My wife was like, “Whatevs.” She blew a round of orange bubbles. My daughter was like, “Yippie, bubbles!” She popped one bubble and orange crap went all over her shirt and shoes. We stopped the bubble-blowing process immediately. The stains proved permanent. The end.

We decided to look at the bottle. Most of the bottle is filled with pictures of colored bubbles and images of kids and cartoon kids having boatloads of fun blowing colored bubbles. The fine print, however, stated essentially: Do not use these bubbles under any circumstances.

Here are the Preparation and Clean-up Tips from the bottle, also on the website:

Get Ready!
A little preparation can go a long way to help you enjoy the exciting fun of outdoor messy play.

Get ready to prepare! Readying myself for having fun responsibly is almost as fun as the fun itself.

Play Outside: Colored bubbles are for OUTDOOR PLAY ONLY. Grassy and dirt areas away from houses, patios and decks are best for less mess and cleanup. NEVER use at formal events like weddings.

That Crayola even has to explicitly specify this seems to imply that some moron actually used colored bubbles at her wedding and sent Crayola an official letter of complaint: Dear Crayola, used yer colored bubblz at my wedding. thought it would be cool … not! wtf? my dress is ruined and everybody hates me and also now I am divorced. it’s too late for me, but plz don’t let this happen to other brides. thnx, Misty.

Get Clean! While they are messy, Outdoor Colored Bubbles are designed to clean up from most outdoor surfaces. To see how it cleans up, watch the video above.

Other than not having to watch an instructional video on how to clean up the inevitable mess, I can think of no better way to have fun than to watch an instructional video on how to clean up the inevitable mess.

Skin: Simply rub to remove color from skin—it magically disappears! If needed, wash skin with soap and water to remove any remaining bubble solution.

This product is awesome! It comes right off your skin … eventually! It’s not like those other products that stain your skin permanently! Also, please scrub the skin immediately so that the potentially harmful chemicals used to color the bubbles are not absorbed into the pores. Here is a commercial that will air in three years: Did you or someone you love use Crayola Colored Bubbles and are now experiencing dyslexia or shortness of breath? If so, call Harris, Goldberg, and Johnson. Are we having fun yet? I am not!

Clothes: Launder promptly in a washing machine with warm water and detergent. Repeat if needed. Pre-soaking may help with the removal of heavy color marks. KEEP AWAY FROM fine clothing like silk, leather and suede any other material that cannot be washed.

The ratio of fun-to-hard work here is unlike anything I have ever seen, especially considering the actual act of using these bubbles is no fun at all. And we haven’t even gotten to the “Outdoor surfaces” part of this.

Outdoor Surfaces: Hose down outdoor surfaces like asphalt and concrete sidewalks and driveways with water to wash away color. A good soaking rain or a few days of bright sunshine also helps to remove color. Not recommended for use on concrete less than 6 months old. KEEP AWAY FROM marble, stone, wood and other porous surfaces—color may penetrate and stain these surfaces.

Here is the best way to use Crayola Colored Bubbles: Dress your children in disposable, child-sized bee keeper outfits, let them play with the bubbles in an open field far away from developed society, and then hope it rains.

Need more cleanup and stain removal information?


We're here to help! Our Crayola bubble experts are ready to answers any questions. To see how they clean up, please watch the above video or contact us at

I would like to call this number, just so I can ask, “Aren’t these just too many sacrifices to make in the interest of bubbles that are colored instead of clear? My child does not know what day of the week it is, so I’m pretty sure she is okay living in a world with only clear bubbles.”

Also, if I ever meet someone who is a self-proclaimed “Crayola bubble expert,” then and only then can I say that I have truly lived.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Journey towards becoming angry, old man accelerates

Note: This column will appear in the 4/26 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/27 issue of the Peoria Times.

Well, it happened. I yelled at kids to get off my lawn.

Okay so, not my “lawn” exactly, as we do not have lawns in Arizona. What I literally said was, “Get off my property!” To a girl. Who is like, 6.

A little background, in my own defense. I have detailed before the children who gallivant throughout our neighborhood unsupervised and unaccounted for by what society traditionally describes as “parents.” Among those are several young girls who are not as openly mischievous as their male counterparts—with whom, by the way, they have recently joined forces to the benefit of zero people—but who must be watched closely. I used to believe any trouble or inconvenience the girls may have caused was born of their own naïveté, but recent events have proven this assumption incorrect.

They hang on people’s trees. They throw rocks. They toss garbage in the street. If your gate is unlocked, they will go into your backyard and hang out. If your gate is locked, they will climb the wall. They have, several times, awoken our napping daughter by ringing our doorbell to see if our dog could “come out and play.” Last summer, in the middle of a July afternoon, they rang our doorbell all sweaty and red-faced, and asked my wife for water, as if they were drifters who had just emerged from 40 Biblical days in the desert and didn’t live five houses away.

My wife had to reprimand them before I did. She pulled out of the driveway one day and had to slam on her brakes because one of them was just standing in our driveway. The other girls were at the side of our house messing with our outdoor water supply. My wife called them over to the car with a stern “get over here NOW before I flip out” finger wag and, through gritted teeth, explained that she was from Brooklyn.

Last weekend was my turn. I was already stressed just trying to leave the house, and our daughter was whining about something or other. I opened the garage door and standing there was one of the girls, messing with this metal, spinning daisy we have in our front yard. We made eye contact and, instead of saying, “Sorry,” and walking away slowly, she looked at me defiantly, and said, “What? I’m not doing anything!”

That was it. The other girls were nearby in the street. Here is a rough transcript of what I think I said, although my rage has somewhat clouded my recollection:

What are you doing? GET OFF MY PROPERTY! I’m sick and tired of you girls being in everyone’s yard, and so is everyone else (open arms to signify entire neighborhood)! You think I don’t see you hanging from trees and throwing your garbage in the street? Enough is enough!

This wasn’t said as smoothly as it reads here. There was definitely some stuttering as my mind raced to edit the desired profanity. As I turned back to my car, I think I heard one of them call me a “weirdo.” They’ll be back.

I was talking to my wife about it later, and we were saying, “Could you imagine if a neighbor yelled us when we were kids?” I would be so embarrassed, and scared, and remorseful, I wouldn’t go within 100 yards of that house ever again. Am I crazy? I might be crazy.

I would, however, like this to serve as my explanation when St. Peter stops me at the pearly gates and reminds me that I once yelled at a small girl for playing with a flower.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Classic card of the week

Reggie Miller, 1990 Skybox

The thing that was awesome about Skybox basketball cards, besides nothing, was how they transported you to an alternate realty. If you stare at this card long enough, it’s like Reggie Miller is about to execute a reverse layup in space, within another galaxy, which is really what a basketball card is supposed to be all about. For the sake of ingenuity, let’s call this galaxy “The Silky Way,” named in honor of the silky way with which basketball player Reggie Miller glides to the space hoop while wearing a knee brace. Is that big yellow thing the sun? Maybe. What about the purple ring with the blue border? An abstract space defender? Possibly, and if so, good luck blocking that stylish layup, space defender! Ha, ha … idiot. Also, is that a comet basketball about to be deposited for two galactipoints? You betcha.

So if the front of the card is fantasy, can the back of the card be realty, you ask? Sure. Keep in mind, however, that the realty we speak of is 1990.

Skybox: Reggie, it’s Skybox. Hey, listen. Need you to drop by the studio when you get a chance for a photo shoot. Got the upcoming set coming out, which is gonna blow your freakin’ mind, Reg.

Reggie Miller: Okay, sure. Should I wear my uniform?

Skybox: What? No, that’s dumb. I need you to wear an oversized, white, formal t-shirt with a black border that’s kind of like a turtleneck but not really and that has a triangle in the middle of it. You got one of those?

Miller: I’ve got three of those, just in case.

Skybox: Cool. Also, bring a pair of modern sunglasses and also a hat.

Miller: Should I wear the sunglasses and hat, or just bring them?

Skybox: Darn it, Reg! What did I just say? Just bring them—I don’t know where the photographer wants to take this yet. They might just be props.

As aesthetically pleasing at it is, the vast amount of space the back picture utilizes does not leave much room for basketball statistics.

Henceforth, Skybox decided to go with Miller’s career stats and ‘89-90 stats, as compared with those of “All Forwards,” and also there are “Per 48 Minutes” stats. Are those for Miller or “All Forwards?” I do not know. Doesn’t really matter. It is, however, curious of Skybox to use “All Forwards” as an accompanying category considering there are small forwards and power forwards and forwards whose sole responsibility it is to set picks and foul Michael Jordan, which is not information reflected in statistics. Also, Reggie Miller was a shooting guard.

Did you know?
Reggie Miller’s sister Cheryl is his sister!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

True balance from an imbalanced budget

Note: This column appears in the 4/19 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/20 issue of the Peoria Times.

Not long after I entered the real world, I had a revelation: Why do we work five days a week with only two off days? If we claim, as a society, to value most the transcendent things in life, why is considerably more time dedicated to capitalism?

I thought I was really smart for thinking about this, as if no one before had ever considered it. Also, my motivation at the time was by no means “spending more time with family” or “taking aimless walks on the beach and contemplating the vastness of the ocean.” I really wanted another night to go out, and/or another day to recover.

It was around this time I began dating my wife, and assimilating myself to Italian culture. Strengthening my resolve for the 4/3 week were the stories I began hearing about Italy, where businesses are literally closed in the afternoon so people can nap. Even regular business hours mostly involved people sitting in front of the store smoking cigarettes, from what I understood. And sometimes stores were closed for no apparent reason. Italy seemed like the place for me, I thought, unless I actually needed something done, in which case I would be super annoyed.

Fast-forward almost a decade, when my wish finally came true, albeit against my will. Due to the terrible economic circumstances affecting the entire country, all of us here at this newspaper were forced to cut back our work schedule. I initially thought “furlough day” was an Arizona-only holiday honoring Pablo Furlough, inventor of dry heat, and I was happy to celebrate with an annual paid day off. But then my boss had the awkward task of explaining to me what furlough day meant, and that it would be weekly. I cannot say that I was thrilled.

At first this news seemed ill-timed, considering we were new parents of a little girl. But the more I thought about it, the more enticing it became, and my schedule began to open up like the Red Sea. Now I can do laundry and eat on separate occasions! Instead of worrying how I was going to pay for our daughter, I could take advantage of the time spent with her. The false reason I had provided so many years ago for wanting an extra off day had now become a true reason. My new furlough day had miraculously coincided with some newfound maturity.

Granted, if these were the olden days and I was the sole “breadwinner” of the household, I may be singing a different tune. But thank God for trailblazers like Emily Furlough, who provided women the right to work and then outwork men like myself. (Sorry for the history lesson.) 

Anyway, I realize many people locally are staring down the barrel of the furlough day—the City of Glendale is set to include more in its upcoming budget—or are already there (the City of Peoria remains on a 40-hour work week, but has been closed Fridays since 2010). But I am here to tell you it’s not so bad. It beats the alternative, for one, plus you may just find yourself shedding a few of the demands of capitalist society. After all, naps are a healthy way to live longer, as is smoking on a stoop.

I mean look at me. I get more time to spend with our daughter. And more time to recover.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My prerogative? Breaking down "My Prerogative"

Before we begin, I’d like to mention that I had to browse many different sites in order to find the lyrics that seemed to be most accurately recorded. The site I eventually chose begins thusly:

Check out Bobby Brown My Prerogative lyrics - another terrific addition to the already magnificent Bobby Brown lyrics collection. My Prerogative lyrics are part of the Dance! Ya Know It! album that features an amazing beat and vocals.

Obviously, we came to the right place. “My Prerogative” is originally part of Don’t Be Cruel, by the way, and Dance! Ya Know It! was the remix album. How do I know that, besides owning both albums and listening to them each like a million times? I don’t know. The point is, that album does have one singular amazing beat and also vocals. Let’s go …

Everybody’s talking all this stuff about me
Now why don’t they just let me live
I don’t need permission
Make my own decisions oh
That’s my prerogative

Is there anything more relatable to the average listener than the petulant celebrity anthem, “Why is everybody so concerned with my life?” which eventually morphs into “Why isn’t anybody talking about me anymore?!”? No, there is not. Regardless, let it be stated that Robert F. Brown, Esquire, does not, as opposed to the common man, require permission to make his own decisions. Yesterday, for example, I wanted to wear a blue shirt, but I had to first submit an application to my Aunt Carol.

They say I’m crazy

Who says that? This is ’88. Nobody knows Bobby Brown is crazy yet.

I really don’t care

Not that it matters.

That’s my prerogative

I sense a theme.

They say I’m nasty

“Ewww. Bobby Brown didn’t wash his hands after he came out of the bathroom!” – Average person, 1988

But I don’t give a damn

One day I’d like to create a song detailing how I don’t care about people’s perceptions of me. Sure, creating the song in itself may imply otherwise, but you know what? I don’t give a damn.

Getting girls is how I live

Oh, okay, cool. Your promiscuous lifestyle and the “nasty” way in which you go about it is not open as a topic of discussion. Duly noted. You keep on livin’ life, Bobby Brown. I’ll be over here, minding my own business.

Some ask me questions
Why am I so real

Barbara Walters: (Leans in close, takes dramatic pause.) Bobby, why are you so real?

Bobby Brown: (Wearing leather vest and headset, eating a sandwich, six bikini clad females sitting on his lap.) Pfftt. I don’t know, Babs. Stop asking me questions.

But they don’t understand me

Bobby Brown: People always be asking me questions, but they don’t understand me!

Person: Maybe the questions themselves are an attempt to understand you.

Bobby Brown: Humps female passerby.

I really don’t know the deal
About my brother trying hard to make it right
Not long ago before I win this fight, sing!

I really don’t know the deal about any of these words.

It’s my prerogative
It’s the way that I wanna live (It’s my prerogative)
I can do just what I feel (It’s my prerogative)
Nobody can tell what to do (It’s my prerogative)
Cause what I be doin’
I’m doing for you

Wait, is this a love song? “Getting girls is how I live, baby. It’s all for you.” Or is Bobby Brown subtly implying that his entire persona is only to entertain me, specifically? Darn you, Bobby Brown—YOU ARE TOO COMPLEX!

Don’t get me me wrong
I’m really not souped

This site has it as, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not zooped.” I really wish the Internet was big in ’96, because “Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not zooped” would have totally been my senior yearbook quote. Anyway, this is supposed to mean “souped up,” like full of himself, which Bobby Brown is obviously not.

Ego trips is not my thing

Humbleness, thy name is Bobby Brown. Something else that is not Bobby Brown’s thing is grammar.

All these strange relationships
Really gets me down

What the hell is this song about? First he’s talking about wanting to do whatever he wants with no repercussions; now he’s talking about his depression as a result of strange relationships, like, presumably, when a giraffe falls in love with a mailman. I am confused.

I see nothing wrong with spreading myself around

Great news! There is enough Bobby Brown for everyone! So if you all can form a single file line and just wait your turn, that would be great. I hope you’re all prepared though, because this guy is nasty!

Yo Teddy, kick it like this!

Teddy Riley
: Sure thing, Bobby! (Kicks it.)

I can do what I want to do
Me and you
Together, together, together …

So this IS a love song! Bobby, you sly dog! “'Sup, girl. Why don't you come with me so you can watch me do whatever the heck I want to do until I inevitably crash and burn. I suggest you wear your tightest spandex.” This whole song reads like a Tracey Jordan parody skit.

There’s also the angry spoken word part of the end of the song, which has been a source of much debate.

What is this a blizzard* that I can’t have money in my pocket and people not talk about me?

*Blizzard makes no sense, but two things: 1) No other word that matches phonetically makes any sense, and 2) he definitely says “blizzard.” And the more I think about, the more it actually does make sense. When I used to live in New Jersey, snowstorms always made me frustrated that people were judging my free-spending ways. Oh, you bought a snowblower? What are you, a doctor now? Pfft. Get out of my face, poor person.

This world is a trip; I don’t know what’s going on these days

Me neither, Bobby. Me neither.

You got this person over here talking about this person

Sociology 405 term paper: “People Talking About One Another: What’s the Deal?” by Bobby Brown

Hey listen, let me tell you something, this is my prerogative I can do what I want to do

Thesis: “I’m going to do whatever I want anyway, doesn’t matter.”

Grade: F

Notes: Thesis is the entire paper, turned in three weeks late, paper has mayonnaise stains.

I made this money, you didn’t
Right, Ted?

Ted: Right, Bobby. However, maybe we shouldn’t patronize the people we’re targeting to buy the record.

Bobby: Humps female passerby.

We outta here.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Safety first, after the fact: a father’s journey

Note: This column appears in the 4/12 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/13 issue of the Peoria Times.

There has been some discussion in our household concerning how often our daughter gets injured on my watch.

To be specific, my wife believes our daughter has gotten injured way too frequently on my watch, and that I am somehow responsible. I, on the other hand, while conceding I would certainly like to see her get injured less often when I am watching her—or, ideally, not at all—believe these occasions to be the random result of an active childhood.

Ignoring previous instances of injury, let us say for the purposes of this column that it began two weeks ago. We were at our friend’s house and I was pushing our daughter on the swing outside. Mind you, because she is a thrill seeker, she was laying on the swing on her belly, like in a flying motion. I want to specify that my wife bore witness to this and did not pose verbal opposition. Unless she voices her disapproval, I can only assume that what I am doing is awesome and acceptable.

As I was swinging her, I was repeatedly reminding our daughter to “stay still, don’t move, just let me swing you.” This she understood as, “move at the worst possible moment,” which she did, and which caused her to land on her head. (I am as surprised as you are that talking rationally to a 2-year old did not attain the desired outcome.) This resulted in me carrying a crying girl through a house that isn’t ours while briskly passing curious onlookers. One of those onlookers was my wife, whose immediate look of concern was quickly replaced with a look that said, “I knew I should have voiced my disapproval.”

But then, as if to really test the issue, we went to Phoenix Children’s Museum last weekend. When you first walk into the museum, there is a giant, obstacle-course type climbing contraption. Because our daughter is too young to traverse this thing on her own, I, as usual, would accompany her. I would like to point out that this thing is made for like, 7-year-olds, at most. I am 6-foot-3. Last summer while trying to follow her on that thing I almost got stuck. One of my great fears in life is getting stuck in that thing to the point where the museum is shut down and the fire department has to come lift me out with a crane and the Jaws of Life. If that should ever happen, I am telling the helicopter pilot to fly to Spain because I am leaving the country forever.

But there I was, contorting my body in all kinds of ways to follow our daughter while my wife took pictures from below with her iPhone, which is quite a gig. We made it through unscathed. As we were coming down the stairs, my wife asked me a question, and when I turned to answer, our daughter fell down the remaining steps. It was, thank God, the most graceful fall on metal stairs I have ever witnessed, and she was much more scared than hurt. Also, this was my fault.

Later on, I was waiting with her so she could send a toy car down a ramp. Sounds safe, right? In her typical independent and oppositional way, she began telling me that she didn’t need my help this time, but as she looked up at me to tell me this—remember, I am 6’3”—she lost her balance, fell backwards and hit her head on the small steps she was waiting near. This, for my wife, was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I was relegated to the sidelines for the rest of the morning.

I don’t know. Maybe all the incidents together don’t sound great, but I think a valid explanation lies behind each one individually. I mean, if she’s just falling down when I’m standing near her, I’m not sure what else to do, short of tying two pillows around her body with a string at all times. All of this has made her one tough cookie though, which is something I plan to highlight on my Father of the Year application.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Classic card of the week

Jack Clark, 1987 Topps

Normally I like to make fun of my old cards. After all, that is what I get not paid to do. But today I am here to tell you: this is a pretty darn cool card.

It’s got action, dashing good looks, eye black, suspense, dirt, an unbelievable head of hair … all the things I look for in a great baseball card. There’s also this: check out the peeps in foul territory. Media? Maybe. One guy’s got a tripod. Other dudes are just sort of hanging out, watching the game. How is that a thing that used to happen? I don’t think the guy in the white shirt has the reflexes to get out of the way of a hard-hit foul ball, but he doesn’t seem to care. Man … the 80s. Sit wherever you want! Here’s some cocaine. Enjoy the game. Try not to die.

As for Clark himself, I enjoyed this tidbit from that source of all that is good and right, Wikipedia:

But Clark hated the Giants' Candlestick Park, a notoriously bad park for power hitters because of the wind coming off of the San Francisco Bay. He won the first Willie Mac Award in 1980 for his spirit and leadership.

“Thank you for acknowledging my leadership and generally positive spirit. I hate this place and also, I hate wind. If the wind blows away my leadership award, I am going to be super pissed. (Waits for applause.)”

In 1987, Clark finished third in the NL MVP voting. I admit, I am quite fascinated by the ’87 NL MVP situation. Andre Dawson won, even though his Cubs were terrible, by hitting 49 home runs and driving in 137, which is, obviously, awesome. However, his OBP was .328. .328! How does someone hit 49 home runs with an OBP of .328?! That is like trying not to get on base. Meanwhile, Ozzie Smith finished second with a surface stat line of .303/0/75. In 1987 Ozzie Smith hit zero home runs and drove in 75, which seems impossible. (For reference, in 2006 Bill Hall hit 35 home runs and drove in 85.) Smith also posted a 7.1 WAR thanks almost entirely to defense. Dawson’s WAR was 2.7. The 4.4 difference between the two is more than the WAR of the fourth place finisher, Tim Wallach (4.2). Meanwhile, Clark, with a 6.5 WAR, reached base at a ridiculous and league-leading .459 clip, and posted the only 1.000-plus OPS. Jack Clark walked 104 more times than Dawson.

I realize things just got a bit nerdy and baseball-y and not very funny. To make up for that, here is a clip in which Jack Clark accuses members of the 2010 St. Louis Cardinals of pooping in their pants.

Ha ha ... poop. That was fun. Here’s more from Wiki:

Clark was driven into bankruptcy in 1992 by his appetite for luxury cars. According to his bankruptcy filing, he owned 18 luxury automobiles, including a $700,000 Ferrari and a Rolls Royce. Clark was trying to pay 17 car notes simultaneously, and whenever he got bored with a car he would get rid of it and just buy another one. He ended up losing his 2.4 million-dollar home and his drag-racing business because of his extravagant spending habits.

Even the 1-percent is like, “Get a grip on yourself, Jack Clark!” To expand on the theme of extravagance, I would pay $50 to watch a Lifetime movie about Jack Clark starring a very overweight Alec Baldwin titled, “Appetite for Luxury.” In one scene, Clark/Baldwin is driving down the road in a Rolls Royce. He then yawns, says, “This bores me,” puts the car in neutral, gets out, and pushes it off a cliff with his foot. Then he walks to the nearby dealership and buys a different car and accuses the car salesman of pooping his pants. I don’t see how this doesn’t become the greatest movie ever made.

Did you know?
Mitt Romney once said, "When a poor person gets bored with a car, he doesn't care, because it was only a dream. He doesn't actually have a car."

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A dollar and a dream

Note: This column appears in the 4/5 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/6 issue of the Peoria Times.

The City of Peoria recently renegotiated its lease with Arizona Broadway Theatre. ABT had requested a new lease because they are $150,000 in the hole, and could not afford to pay its $4,900 monthly rental payment. The City of Peoria was like, “Oh, that stinks about you being kinda broke. We’d be happy to create a new lease. How about … one dollar? Will that work for you?” And ABT was like, “Yeah, that should work.” (These are not direct quotes.)

Upon hearing about the lease, the City of Glendale was like, “Pfft. We’ve been charging the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox—two of baseball’s biggest markets—one dollar annually to play at Camelback Ranch-Glendale since 2009. And we spent over $200 million to build that complex for them.”

Granted, in lieu of a traditional lease, the Dodgers and White Sox are responsible for the maintenance and operational costs of the complex year-round. That agreement is more beneficial to the city in many ways, and other cities—Kannapolis, N.C., for example—are attempting to follow suit with their major and minor league teams. This warrants mentioning, but does not curb my fascination with the $1 lease.

Regarding ABT, however, the argument was successfully made before council that its presence is crucial to Peoria’s art and culture scene. And hey, I have nothing against ABT as an institution. I’ve been to a show there, and it was great, and I think more people should go. But I kind of thought art was supposed to sustain itself organically. Art can be so pretentious sometimes, I mistakenly thought it was above a government bailout.

I mean, I would certainly like to have the following conversation with, say, a car dealer.

Dealer: We built this motor vehicle.

Me: Yes, and I would like to drive it, but not forever.

Dealer: Okay, we must then negotiate a lease.

Me: Sure. I’ll start the bidding at $1 per year.

Dealer: This is not a bidding process. And that is insane.

Me: BUT—you didn’t let me finish—but, I will be responsible for the maintenance and operational costs.

Dealer: You are responsible for that anyway.

Me: Oh.

Dealer: How about $320 per month?

Me: I cannot afford that. I am broke. How about instead of that, one dollar? After all, me driving this car is very important to your reputation as a car dealership and the culture of driving cars in general. People see me driving a car and they’re like, “I want one of those, and I want to live in a city where people drive those things.”

Dealer: Silence.

Me: Plus, if you don’t work with me there’s a good chance the car could sit vacant, which nobody wants to see.

Dealer: Or, someone who can afford to will lease it.

Me: Staring.

Dealer: Staring.

Me: Staring very hard.

Dealer: Okay, it’s a deal.

And that’s just a car. Last week I paid $9 to return a pair of shoes I purchased online, so I would be more than happy to pay just a dollar to maintain a residence or establish a place of business. 

As I’m sure would lots of other people. It’s unfortunate that all local, privately owned businesses don’t enjoy the good fortune of having their services recognized as crucial to the well-being and reputation of the city at large. It’s too bad people who fix HVAC units don’t do so “culturally.” It’s too bad people who make pizza aren’t a professional sports team.

It’s too bad we don’t all get to see our dollar stretch so far.