Eric D. Snider

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Breaking news: I am seeing much more of this great land of ours than I had hoped

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

This story will presumably one day be funny and thus worthy of inclusion in a “Snide Remarks” column, so I don’t want to spoil it by sharing too many potentially amusing details here. But this is the gist of the story so far:

– After I wrecked my car last month, a faithful reader and friend offered me her 1994 Geo Prizm for free. The only condition? I’d have to fly to Ohio to get it.

– This was unbelievably generous of her, and I am forever grateful. I hasten to point out that none of the problems I’ve had subsequently have been the car’s fault.

– I flew to Ohio late Wednesday night, arriving early Thursday morning. I recuperated a bit, then hit the road, staying in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday night.

– I planned to make it to Ft. Collins, Co., by Friday night, and stay with a friend there. Under good conditions, the drive from KC to Denver is about eight hours.

– As I progressed westward in Colorado, however, and the sun went down, the roads became icy, slick, and steep. (Well, I guess they were steep in the daytime, too.)

– I got a flat tire. (OK, maybe kind of the car’s fault, but keep reading.) In trying to change it — in the zero-degree weather on the side of the road on I-70 — I discovered that the rim was rusted on to the axle. It WOULD NOT COME OFF. I banged, pried, kicked, leveraged, yelled, and prayed, all to no avail.

– Eventually I gave up and called for a tow truck.

– After an hour or so, a state trooper pulled up and reported that he had ordered all tow trucks off the roads. They (the roads) were too perilous and icy, and it wasn’t worth it. He gave me a ride into the nearest town, Limon, about 15 miles away, and I stayed at the Econo Lodge Friday night.

– This morning, a tow truck hauled my vehicle into Limon. On the way out to where my car had been left, we saw about a dozen cars stuck on the median or off on the side, having skidded off the road last night. I’m convinced that NOT changing my tire was the best option for me. Had I changed it, I’d have gone on my merry way toward Denver and maybe wound up upside-down somewhere, like so many other drivers did. At least the recalcitrant tire got me off the road.

– I had four new tires put on the car (it needed them, and I didn’t want to press my luck) and went on my way.

– I took I-70 into Denver, then I-25 north to Cheyenne, Wyo., where I met I-80 and headed west through Wyoming.

– At Laramie, I-80 was closed. That’s it, just closed. Bad weather ahead, and the entire state of Wyoming is located in the middle of nowhere, so no driving.

– I headed back east, thinking I might go back to Ft. Collins to stay with the friend I had originally planned to stay with Friday night, only I couldn’t get a hold of him. Not wanting to drive all the way and be unable to find him, I stopped in Cheyenne, where I am now staying at the lovely Super 8 motel.

– With the cost of the tow, the tires, and the two unplanned nights at hotels, the trip has now cost about $500 more than I expected. Still quite a bargain for a perfectly functional car, of course, but nonetheless, $500 more than expected. So now would be an excellent time to buy that merchandise you’ve had your eye on all this time!

– Cheyenne has a lot of truckers, more so tonight because of the road closure, and I do not like truckers. They say “he don’t” when they mean “he doesn’t,” for example. Surely you can see how I would be unpleased to be here.

Thanks in advance for your well wishes, thoughts, and prayers. I look forward to being on Portland roads again, which though they may be rain-soaked, at least are not icy, closed, or in Wyoming.

Perfectly Harmless Instant Messenger Statements That Will Get You in Trouble If the Government Is Spying on You

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Perfectly Harmless Instant Messenger Statements That Will Get You in Trouble If the Government Is Spying on You

i thought my jokes about congress would kill, but they totally bombed

my dad’s gonna blow up at me when he finds out i helped toilet paper that white house down the street

she kept hijacking the conversation during the whole plane trip! it drove me crazy! i wanted to kill myself and everyone onboard!

my science teacher, mr. alkayda, has farts that are like chemical weapons

i am going to murder president george w bush

Dawn’s first text message

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

My friend Dawn recently sent me a text message while waiting for a film to start. I was out in the theater lobby, about to enter the same screening, but she didn’t know that yet. This was the first text message she had ever sent anyone, and she was excited about it, as you can see from what she wrote:

About to watch movie hahaha gah baa

Dawn makes a living as a professional writer.

I am retro

Monday, May 8th, 2006

So the other day I was at my new favorite cafe/office, The Fresh Pot, clacking away on my laptop and enjoying a tasty mug of hot white chocolate, when a man approached me and said, “Can I ask you about your laptop? Is that a new design?”

Now, I had noticed the man before, sitting at an adjacent table and clacking away on his own laptop, the very latest model from Apple. My computer, on the other hand, was an Apple iBook in the classic “clamshell” style, purchased in January 2001 and now fast approaching the end of its life. (Don’t worry, I have a lovely desktop model at home that I use for most of my computing. The laptop is only for when I’m at the office.)

Alt text

I told the guy, “No, actually, it’s quite old. I bought it five years ago. I don’t think they even make these anymore.” (Subsequent research confirmed that they discontinued the product about six months after I bought mine.)

He was quite taken with the nifty design, though, and I realized my computer is so old, it’s “retro.” Maybe people will start buying these old iBooks in thrift stores and the Salvation Army and carry them around with their “vintage” clothes and ironic old slogan-bearing T-shirts.

In other words, maybe my crappy old laptop is so old, it’s cool again. Hooray for me!

Stupid names

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

In today’s Oregonian there’s a story about a family who were found alive and well after being missing for two weeks, stuck in their well-stocked mobile home on a snowy road in rural Oregon.

But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about. What I want to tell you about are the family’s two children, ages 10 and 8. Their names: Sabastyan and Gabrayell. First the stupidly misspelled names, then the ill-fated camping trip. Parents, why do you hate your children so much?

Four Things Muslims Cannot Take

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Four Things Muslims Cannot Take

1. A joke
2. Criticism
3. Their land being divided and their people slaughtered, time and time again over the course of centuries
4. Advil (allergies)

Possible Names for Rock Bands, as Suggested by News Stories in 2005

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

Possible Names for Rock Bands, as Suggested by News Stories in 2005

Schiavo & the Feeding Tubes
Papal Deathwatch
The Filibusters
Interregnum & the Congress of Cardinals
Box Office Slump
Oprah’s Couch
Senate Confirmation
Heckuva Job Brownie
Michael Jackson’s Pajamas
Katrina and the Waves

Two signs I saw

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Sign No. 1: A preacher from some church is standing on the street corner in downtown Portland, ringing a bell and collecting money for some cause. Next to the bucket where you’re supposed to donate your change, there is a sign:


Obviously, I want no part in an organization that would construct such a poorly grammared sign, so I declined to donate.

Sign No. 2: At the Rite-Aid drug store, the motto is as follows:

“For your life, Rite Aid’s there.”

Do you really want the word “AIDS” in your slogan? Yeah, it’s “Aid’s,” not “AIDS,” but still. I’m just sayin’.

‘Hollywood of the ’70s’ syllabus

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Some Great Movies That Were Not Required Viewing for the “Hollywood of the ’70s” Class I Took at Portland State University, Followed By One That Was

Not required:
Annie Hall
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
All the President’s Men
One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Godfather, Part II
The Sting
The Exorcist
The French Connection
The Last Picture Show
Dirty Harry

Every Which Way But Loose

Men without hands

Friday, October 28th, 2005

On the same day, I saw the following people in downtown Portland:

– A man with a hook for a hand. He was not a pirate, as you might suspect. He was dressed in ordinary business attire, with a suit coat and everything. But he had a hook for a hand. If I were a businessman in need of a new hand, I would consider getting a ballpoint pen rather than a hook. That would be useful.

– A man with no hands. He seemed to have been born without them, rather than having lost them through carelessness or misadventure, and the interesting thing is that he was smoking a cigarette. I sort of admire that. I know that if I didn’t have any hands, I would try to find FEWER activities that required hands, not more. So I respect this guy for taking the opposite approach: “No hands? Bah! I’ll do everything a handed person can do, and more!”

So men without hands, I salute you! With my foot!

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