Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where Do All of the Ice Scrapers Go?

Around this time of each year, those of us unfortunate lucky enough to live in the Midwest find ourselves in need of an ice scraper.  I realize such an item probably isn't commonly found in Southern California or Arizona or Florida or anywhere else that Social Security payees tend to congregate, but here in South Dakota it is a given that each and every car on the road during the months of October or November through February (and sometimes into early May) will have at least one ice scraping device readily available.

However, when the Spring thaw rolls around each year, we tend to forget about these valuable pieces of plastic as they are pushed under seats, stuffed into glove boxes, retired to trunks, or perhaps even moved into a box full of hats and gloves which is put into storage for another year.

The real question is - when winter rolls around again and we find ourselves in the need of an ice scraper, do you think we could actually find it?  This leads me to believe the companies who manufacture ice scrapers do so with biodegradable plastic with no more than a seven month shelf life.  Either that or snow has some type of a negative effect upon long term memory... which might actually make more sense.

I cannot even begin to guess how many ice scrapers I have purchased throughout my lifetime, but I'd be willing to bet I average at least one a year.  At one point I thought I was getting ahead of the game by purchasing two when they were on clearance in the spring with the thought that surely one of them should be available for that first snowfall the following season.  However, as luck would have it, when the first snowfall came I had to resort to using an old CD to scrape the snow off the windshield as I mutter some choice words under my breath and wonder what I did with my ice scrapers.  Don't worry about the CD though... it was a mix CD I created myself and was already scratched bad enough that it really didn't matter.  

Although come to think of it perhaps I should place a Vanilla Ice CD in my car for just such an occasion... scraping a windshield with a CD containing a song entitled "Ice Ice Baby" seems rather fitting.  Then again on second thought, nothing really justifies owning a Vanilla Ice CD, so scratch that idea.

In any case, once again I find myself at Target choosing from the plethora of ice scrapers they have available.  From experience I have learned what works and what merely looks like it works, and I have also found that there really hasn't been anything innovative from the ice scraping community in decades.  Yes we have all seen the ice scrapers that plug into the 12V outlet and try to melt the snow and ice (they don't work) and we have seen the type with the brass blade that is supposed to work better than plastic (not really).  We have also seen the scrapers that come with their own gloves (which makes sense for those days where it is warm enough you don't already have gloves on, but cold enough to still have snow on your car (never), and we have seen scrapers with brushes and extension wands and ice chippers and built-in flashlights and all types of gimmicky attachments, but at the end of the day they rarely work any better than the $1.99 plastic ice scraper sold at almost any convenience store coupled with a coat sleeve used to brush off the fluffy stuff.

Yes there will be swearing when some snow finds its way up the sleeve, and more choice words when we are back in the vehicle and realize even after all that scraping the windshield wipers are still stuck to the glass.  Of course my personal favorite is when you spend ten minutes scraping windows to where they look great right up until the point you start moving forward at anything greater than seven mph and all of the snow from the hood decides it now prefers the windshield.  This in turn causes you to hit the brakes and do the "ice ostrich" move where you bob your head around looking for any area of six square inches or more of clear glass through which you can (quite dangerously) navigate the city streets until the defroster kicks in!

Come to think of it, I think 80% of the reason those remote car starters are so popular in this part of the country is because people just got tired of looking for their ice scrapers.  It is much easier to just hit a button 15 minutes before you want to go somewhere rather than contemplating where that little piece of plastic disappeared to.  Yes even a cheap remote starter is probably in excess of $200 and yes that will probably buy decades worth of ice-scrapers, but if you add up all the hours saved by not having to search for the scraper, then maybe the return on your investment starts to pay off.

The truth is I'm pretty sure I know where all the missing ice scrapers go.  The same gremlin that seems to steal just one sock out of the dryer also has an affinity for ice scrapers, and thus he steals them when we aren't looking.  Rest assured somewhere out there is a huge pile of ice scrapers all tucked neatly away in socks to keep them clean, dry, and warm.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Are You a Carrot, an Egg or a Coffee Bean?

I was recently sent this story about how different people react to life's challenges, and I thought it was interesting enough to warrant sharing:
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."
 "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.
 Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mother?"
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrots went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, they softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting in the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy. That's because ... the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way.
I realize analogies like this are simply clever ways to make a point, although whether they have any lasting effect is left entirely up to the reader. Personally I'm not a huge proponent of self-help remedies or catchy anecdotes as I tend to believe people are typically set on their respective paths and can only change when they decide to do so rather than on the advice from another or based upon a witty analogy or bumper sticker catch phrase. Although I have no science, statistics, or empirical evidence to support my theory, I would guess real significant personal change only occurs in approximately one of around a thousand people.

I am reluctant to say people can't change, but rather deep down I'm not sure people really want to change. I think if we are honest with ourselves, most of us would likely admit we would prefer others to adapt to us rather than us changing to fulfill some societal obligation.

I suppose I could draft my own analogy using objects tossed out off of a 5,000 foot cliff above jagged, razor-sharp rocks in the middle of a remote landscape. So what is the difference between a bowling ball, a helium balloon, and a pair of hiking boots?

If you throw all three of these objects over the edge of the cliff, they all respond differently. If you throw the bowling ball, it will succumb to the oppressive force of gravity and fall until it hits the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. Most likely the bowling ball will fracture or perhaps even break into pieces, and it will never again be used for its intended purpose. If you release the balloon, it will fight against the force of gravity and sail into the sky where wind currents will determine its path, and although it will eventually return to earth it will most likely do so in a safer location and at a much more gentle rate of descent. The balloon's path is unpredictable even if we believe we know the end result. However if you throw the hiking boots, they will bounce down the face of the cliff and land at the bottom out of view. They will likely be separated from one another and most likely will never be seen again.

So what is the difference between these three objects? Well when forced to go one direction, the bowling ball simply followed a path which guaranteed a disastrous ending. On the other hand the balloon responded differently and took its own unpredictable path keeping it safe from immediate harm. The hiking boots responded much in the same way as the bowling ball, and although this might not seem like an important differentiation to most people, to the guy who just tossed his hiking boots over the side of a 5,000 foot cliff this is a rather important event, because now this idiot has to continue his hike barefoot.

So which are you... a bowling ball, a balloon, or a pair of hiking boots once worn by a moron?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The McNugget Dilemma

I have to admit it… I’m a fan of McDonalds.  I know the food is bad for me and I assume that each and every meal I choose to eat at McDonalds probably shortens my life by a measurable amount, and I understand that it is far from fine dining.  I understand the average McDonalds menu item has more sodium and calories in it than many children from Haiti eat in a month, and I wholeheartedly admit that even though they are offered I never order a salad or anything which could in any way be misconstrued for being remotely healthy.

Although I will never even attempt to compare the taste or quality of McDonalds with more expensive eateries, when it comes to fast food McDonalds does it about as good as anyone, and thus when it comes time to decide which drive thru is going to get my business on a particular day, McDonalds probably earns that dubious distinction more than any other.  Maybe it is the fries that are quite simply the best french fry of any fast food chain.  Maybe it is the “limited time only” offerings of the McRib or Monopoly game pieces.  Or maybe it is due to childhood nostalgia that surrounds the idea of a Happy Meal.

One thing I can promise is that my appreciation for McDonalds has nothing to do with Ronald McDonald himself.  It might be due to the fact that he is nothing more than a talking clown (and everyone knows clowns are just scary), or it might have something to do with the overall creepy “pedophile-like” demeanor, but I can honestly say I have never been a fan of Ronald McDonald.

That said, ever since I was a kid I’ve always liked the McNuggets.  I’ve bounced back and forth from sweet & sour sauce to barbeque sauce, and I’ve lived long enough to remember when they sold the nuggets in six piece, nine piece, or 20 piece boxes before they moved to the ten piece standard that is common today.  For a while I thought the chicken selects would soon replace nuggets as my preferred choice for tiny bits of chicken deliciousness, but eventually I migrated back to the nuggets and find myself ordering them more than anything else on the menu.

So of course ordering nuggets as often as I do has led me to a conundrum which I have affectionately labeled “the McNugget dilemma”.  The basic premise is, from time to time I have discovered an order of ten nuggets doesn’t always contain 10 nuggets.  On rare occasion I have been shorted a nugget, but it seems most of the time if there is a counting error it is in my favor, which translates to 11 nuggets (or one time it was 12 nuggets).

Now I fully realize in some cases the McDonalds employee who is putting the nuggets into the little box might have one or two extra nuggets in a batch so they just toss them in my box as a free bonus, but I have to wonder how often this odd number of nuggets is actually due to human error.

Thus, when receiving 11 nuggets should I be happy I have received a free (and tasty) bonus McNugget, or should I be sad that the McDonalds worker who prepared my meal lacks the ability to accurately count to 10?  These are the types of questions I struggle with, and I dare say I’m not the only one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Question of the Day

Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of pizza we consume is round, yet when you order a pizza it most often is delivered in a square box?  Seems like a lot of wasted space if you ask me.

Yes I know Domino's has clipped corners on their box, but it isn't exactly round by any means.  Papa Johns attempts to make use of this extra space by tossing in some dipping sauces and a pepper or two (which almost always end up in the trash), and occasionally you will find a pizza place that actually makes square or rectangular shaped pizza, but it is pretty rare.

I wonder how much extra space is delivered to American households in the average day.  I'd say the guy who can invent a round pizza box that can be produced economically (at least as cheap as the more common square boxes) is going to be one very rich man.

Maybe they should get one of the Ikea designers to work on this... those guys are experts at efficient design and know how to pack the absolute most amount of product into the smallest possible container.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Baby Names and Professions

What is it with people wanting to name their kids after professions or activities?  Oh sure it all started innocent enough when someone decided to name their kid “Taylor” but spell it T-A-I-L-O-R, but next thing you know you have kids named Hunter, Priest, Lawyer, Carpenter, or Judge. 

Do parents actually think naming a kid something will lead them to follow that career or be interested in that activity?  If so I imagine those people who have named their daughter Candy probably wanted her to be a confectioner... or perhaps they just gave up all hope even before she was born and assumed she would be a stripper.

Parents who have named their son Hunter probably wanted to ensure he liked the outdoors, and parents who named their kid Dusty are probably just assuming he will be dirty his entire life.  However, if parents really do put emphasis on names as professions, DeForest Kelley’s mother most likely really wanted him to be a logger... specifically a logger in Ireland.  

Of course above all else is the former NASCAR driver with the name Dick Trickle… he must have been a huge disappointment to his parents as it seems they had their sights set on him becoming either a porn star or a spokesperson for Flomax.

That said, there is actually some science behind names.  I recently was listening to a radio program where New York Times columnist David Brooks spoke about “brain sculpture”.  He spoke of studies that have shown people named Dennis are disproportionately destined to become dentists and that people named Laurence are disproportionately likely to become lawyers.

According to Brooks in some sense people have a vague sense that they like the familiar – so they gravitate to words (and concepts) that are familiar to them.  The mind seeks out familiarity, and this is just one way it presents itself.  I suppose some might call it fate, others coincidence, but if you are taking the chance on naming your child after something you hope they can strive to become, might I suggest you name your child "Doctor", "Actor" or "President"?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fun Size!

With Halloween upon us, it got me thinking about the candy that is given out and how blatantly misleading candy companies are.

I think there should be a law against "bite size" or "snack size" candy bars.  I mean...what’s the point?  Instead of eating one regular size candy bar, you just end up eating 23 of the smaller ones... but I guess you can justify that by using all that energy to open those little bitty packages right?

However I draw the line on the slightly larger size which is called “fun size”.  What the heck is actually fun about having to open up little candy bars when your brain is telling you that you really want the full size (real) version?  That isn’t fun.  That isn’t even remotely fun, and I challenge anyone to find someone out there who thinks getting only a portion of a candy bar is “fun”.

I suppose next time I fill up with gas I’ll just fill up to the ¼ tank line.  That way I can claim it is “fun” gas.  No need for a full tank here… I’m driving with a tank load of fun!  And the next time I decide to buy shampoo I’m going to skip the big bottle and just buy about 25 of those little travel sizes.  Obviously they are more fun, so that’s something to look forward to each day.  Finally, the next time I fly coach I’ll ask the flight attendant if they could wedge me between two morbidly obese people just so I get the experience of having a seat which is about 60% smaller than normal... because that would make the flight between Denver and New York a whole lot more fun right?

I guess in some cases this might actually be useful to certain men who were born with less than average sized "equipment".  If their girlfriends / wives / random one night stands ever complain... all they have to do is say that if fun size is good enough for The Hershey Company and Mars Inc, then it is good enough for them!

Life, after all, is all about the fun.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wind: my original (and extremely short) story

There are days when you can feel the wind even when you are indoors…days where a glance out of the window sends chills throughout your body.  Looking at the green meadow outside of the kitchen window, you can see the grass moving in waves as the wind releases itself onto the cool earth.

The windowpanes rattle in their frames, reminding you that winter is coming….soon you will feel the cold air rushing in through the cracks of the 100 year old home…and the only thing you can counter it with is another log on the fire and another blanket on your lap as you pet your Labrador and listen to the static impregnated music from the radio sitting on the counter.

It is overcast outside, with small hints of sunlight dancing off of that meadow from time to time, but not nearly enough to warm your skin as you stand in the window.  For some reason you feel it is enough to ensure you don’t turn on a light, and it makes the room feel cool – even if the temperature hasn’t changed in days.  You slide into an old cotton sweater your mother used to wear, not so much for the extra layer of clothing, but for the memory of her standing in that very same window, with that very same sweater.

You can see bits of plastic that have become caught on the rusty barbed wire fence across the driveway – the wind whipping at them almost as if it shows signs of fury, but powerless to tear the plastic away.  Years ago that fence was meant to keep cattle away from the house, yet decades later it is still keeping control of what crosses its path.  Parts of that fence are falling down, but you can’t bring yourself to remove the remaining wire.  It has become part of the atmosphere of this old house, and every time you look at it you are reminded of your late father.

He put that fence up in a hotter than normal July so many years ago.  You remember being a small girl watching him work under the oppressive sun as the sweat poured down his brow and he wiped it with his forearm – leaving a streak of moisture on his arm to collect more dirt before he smeared it onto his forehead again.  You can remember the day so vividly, almost as if it was just last week.  You can recall how he would lift his hat to tousle his hair – somehow thinking if he let his damp hair breathe it would cool him down.

Memories surround this old house, which is why even after the prodding of family and friends, you have never been able to sell it.  Sure you had a home in town that you could live more comfortably in, but new homes never have the emotion built into the old ones – and as the weeks since your mother’s death turned into months, you find yourself spending more and more time out here.  Other than the food in the cupboards, nothing inside of the home looks to be newer than the 70s, and you now realized how possessions never meant anything to your parents.  They never had much money, but it didn’t bother them since what little they did have was never of concern.  They bought what they needed – perhaps that was a trait developed by living through the depression and the World Wars….however for some reason you feel that it wouldn’t have mattered.

As you walk back towards the fire, the floorboards squeak with each step, almost as if they are crying for the loss of the people who lived there for almost 60 years.  The only surviving member is Mitch – the old faithful companion who only barks when he is hungry, but never when someone comes to the door. Mitch is old enough that the journey from the couch to the hearth of the fireplace is about all he can manage in an hour, but he seems so very content…the same feeling you get by being here.

You realize it will never be your house – surely the deed to the house and surrounding land is in your name, but this will forever remain your parent’s home.  The thought of someone buying it has never appealed to you – however you doubt anyone would want a 100 year old house almost 20 miles from the nearest town, and 4 from the nearest neighbor.  Since the rent from the land is more than enough to pay for the taxes and upkeep, you figure you will just let the house age with you. 

As you sit there thinking of all of the years spent with this house, you are startled by the phone ringing from the kitchen.  Even the phone is the old rotary dial with the real bell inside – enough to alert you to the call even while standing outside on the porch.  Reaching for the receiver you softly answer, listening as the caller asks for your mother.  It has happened a few times in the last few months, but it doesn’t get any easier to tell people she has passed on….especially considering you don’t know if they are a salesperson or a longtime friend from years gone.  As you accept their condolences and hang up, you recognize that 12 seconds of conversation is the only human contact you have had in over a week – however this suddenly doesn’t seem all that disappointing.

As you pull the sweater up around your neck a little tighter, you glance once again at the grass in the meadow dancing up the hill, and you realize the wind carries more than just dust and cool air…it interacts with you and the surroundings…and it presents the memories of a family that once was.

Monday, September 13, 2010

20 Arguably Famous People Who Prefer to Wear Black

Note: This list is not in any particular order and I chose not to include any mention of the film Men in Black or include to any Goth or Emo types because that would just be too easy. 

20. Richard Lewis
Lewis is probably best known for his HBO comedy specials, his literally hundred or so late night TV appearances, his role on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and as the only man who beat out Billy Ray Cyrus for the longest running mullet of all time, but if you are under 25 years of age there is a chance you have no idea who this guy is. GQ Magazine put Lewis on their list of the '20th Century's Most Influential Humorists', which would have been quite an honor had it not come from a magazine that is only read by frat boys and closet metrosexuals. 

19. Judge Ito
It was a tossup between Judge Ito, any of the Supreme Court Justices, or Judge Judy. Since Judge Judy is far too annoying to be included in my list, and because the Supreme Court Justices are the farthest thing from entertaining Ito it is. Frankly, nobody really knows what Ito wears under his robe, but then again nobody wants to. Although Ito bears an uncanny resemblance to Oddjob from the James Bond film Goldfinger, he will probably always be associated with the OJ Simpson trial he presided over, better known as the only time Court TV ever had more than 32 people tuned in at the same time. 

18. Clint Black
The guy's last name is black and he has black hair so it probably isnt a stretch for him to always be seen with a black cowboy hat and black wrangler jeans. I am convinced had his last name been Fuchsia, there is a good chance RCA Records wouldnt have been so eager to sign him to a record deal, but opinions vary. The real dilemma here is how he could marry Lisa Hartman... a blond woman with skin so bright she makes the Olsen twins look tropical by comparison.

17. Richard Belzer
My grandfather once told me Richard Belzer was a funny guy, but then again grandpa wore diapers and claimed Amelia Earhart worked at the local Walgreens, so maybe he was just confused. Belzer does however win the award for best character name for any of the 43 versions of Law & Order with his portrayal of Detective John Munch in Law & Order: SVU. I'm guessing most people with taste have no idea who Belzer is although many probably confuse him for Mr. Spock on Star Trek.

16. Joan Jett
The question is, would Joan Jett still resort to wearing black all the time if her band was not called The Blackhearts? I think so, but then again I have noticed Jett has started bleaching her hair, so perhaps she has drifted away from her punk roots (pardon the pun) just a tad. Jett will always be known for her 1979 cover of the classic rock song I Love Rock N Roll, which made the song a mainstay on American radio stations until Britney Spears covered the song again in 2002, and publicly attributed the hit version of the song to Pat Benatar single handedly ruining a perfectly good song in multiple ways at the very same time. 

15. Batman

Sure Batman isnt a real person, but he is arguably famous, so he makes the cut. You have to admit, for superhero born in the 30s, he still looks pretty damn good in a plastic suit. Then again, in some variations the suit was really medium blue or light gray but if you ask Robin it all looks the same in the dark. George Clooney went out of his way to make the character look even more gay than Adam West did while wearing tights, although the comicbook diehards out there swear there was nothing going on between Batman and Robin. Then again some people think Tom Cruise and Jake Gyllenhaal are both straight too, so obviously the world is full of ignorance. 

14. Ron White

His last name is White, so wearing white would have been the logical choice, however my sources tell me that he tried it once and wound up looking like a taller version of J.D Boss Hogg. Since that point, White generally only wears black when on stage, although his fingers do remain a nice shade of nicotine. An added bonus for White is that whiskey stains are much less noticeable on black and that has served to decrease his dry-cleaning bills by 80%. 

13. Wesley Snipes
Anyone who has ever watched Chapelles Show, or heard people recycling Chapelle quips for the next eight months after the airing of each episode, will easily tell you that Wesley Snipes is one of the blackest men on the planet, and I think that holds true regardless of what color of clothing the man has on at the time. Added bonus points go to Snipes with his role as a leather-clad vampire hunter in the film Blade, and again in Blade II, and once more in Blade: Trinity, and again in Blade: Another Attempt to Resurrect Wesley Snipes Career.              

12. A Catholic Priest
Priests all over the nation have given new meaning to the phrase pop the collar, but my therapist suggested I stop talking about such things to strangers, so Ill keep this civil. I guess there is a hierarchy to the Roman Catholic Church with Priests wearing black, Cardinals wearing red, and the Pope wearing white... even after labor day. I'm not sure what any of it means with the exception of black supposedly meaning poverty, which I find ironic because my Priest pays me $750 a week just to keep my mouth shut. 

11. Agent Smith
Pretty much any character from the Matrix films would have been applicable here, and yes Smith does wear a white shirt but his attitude is all black even if he does resemble a IBM engineer from the late 60s. The man is a regular badass capable of dodging bullets, amazing acrobatic maneuvers, incredible speed, self replication, and spawning from perceived death. Rumor has it that the real reason Smith was defeated is because Neo entered the following sequence into his source code: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. Thats just a rumor though and I havent been able to confirm it with the Wachowski brothers quite yet. 

10. A Ninja

I would have listed a specific ninja here but I couldnt find any due to their incredible usage of stealth. I searched and searched but as far as I can tell the only man who has ever successfully captured a ninja was Chuck Norris, and Chuck isnt talking. I tried asking him what it was like to come face to face with a real ninja, but when provoked all Chuck said was it isnt wise to question the authority of 'the Norris' which quite honestly left me somewhat in fear for my safety. I mean when someone refers to themselves in the 3rd person, it is pretty clear they mean business. 

9. George Clooney

George Clooney didn't always wear black, but ironically it seems to have defined his style ever since he started going gray. I guess the salt and pepper look coordinates better with black than any other color, so Clooney figured why fight it. Of course he also played Batman (number 15 on our list) and many of his other roles find him wearing a tuxedo for one reason or another, so black seems to play a prominent role with his on screen persona as well. There is also a good chance Russell Crowe will wind up giving Clooney a black eye sooner or later, which would only serve to solidify his place on this list. 

8. Simon Cowell
As it turns out, Cowell used to always wear a white t-shirt, but found it increasingly difficult to bleach out the pit stains every week, so he switched to black. Being known as the only honest judge on American Idol, and having to listen to Randy Jackson say dawg 54 times each episode has taken its toll on Cowell and he seems to have developed a dandruff problem. Rather than switch to Selsun Blue, he thought it best to try a different color shirt, although it is just a matter of time before listening to horrid fame whores try to sing annoys him to the point he will pull out his own hair, thus solving the dandruff problem, and thus being able to return to his signature black shirt. 

7. Al Pacino
Al is the biggest short guy on the silver screen with a voice that makes one assume he smokes at least four packs of unfiltered camels a day. He has played both good guys and bad guys but will always be associated with his role in the Godfather films as Michael Corleone and his incredible performance in Scarface as Tony 'say hello to my little friend' Montana. Pacino is regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation, and surprisingly he is one of the only male leads in Hollywood to have never been divorced. Then again he has never been married either, but that really isnt the point. 

6. Herman Munster
Herman (portrayed by the late Fred Gwynne) obviously always wore black, but considering ever episode of The Munsters was filmed in black and white I suppose he could have been wearing purple for all we know. Truth is, I wanted to go with Count Chocula here, but as we all know, the Count actually wears brown... so that just wouldnt work.

5. Lewis Black
Much to my personal disappointment Lewis is not Clints brother, however that doesnt prevent him from following the pattern of matching your wardrobe to a surname. Lewis is one of those guys that can find a complaint about everything, so the way I figure it elimination of all color from his closet enabled him to focus on the really important issues in life, like whether stereos should have volume knobs or volume buttons, or whether or not Pamela Anderson has to check her implants at the luggage counter when flying. 

4. Roy Orbison
Black hair, black clothes, black glasses, and a big black mole that would make Cindy Crawford jealous - that is the essence of Roy Orbison. Elvis was quoted as saying that Orbison was "the greatest singer in the world", so if the opinion of a bourbon chugging, barbituate inhaling, leisure suit wearing, cultural icon is of any significance, clearly Orbison was quite talented. Plus, Orbison was the only celebrity who successfully wore sunglasses at night and on stage without looking like a complete tool. (Im looking at you Bono) 

3. Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley
(Original band members of 

The band who was built around makeup and costumes long before The Spice Girls were ever even heard of surely deserves a position on the list. What I find most amazing is how a band can recycle the same 20 songs onto more than a dozen live, compilation, greatest hits, or soundtrack albums, various box sets, and even videos and DVDs yet people continue to buy them. Even more amazing than that is the fact that the self proclaimed rockers have recorded a song written by Michael Bolton, have pimped themselves out on more products than Ron Popeil including both condoms and caskets, and have recorded a few hundred songs yet only broke into the top position once with 1998s release of Psycho Circus which had a short life at #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Oh yea and Gene Simmons claims to have slept with about a bazillion women, so clearly women find something attractive about a man in makeup who likes to spit blood and wear high heels. 

2. Johnny Cash
No list of this nature would ever be complete without Johnny Cash. I suppose with the recent surge in popularity Cash has experienced you would expect him to be number one on the list, but then you would have to remember this list is in no particular order, and even if it was in a specific order Cash wouldnt be number one, because frankly I'm not much for jumping on bandwagons, and the truth is I dont even know what a bandwagon is. However, Cash earned the title of the 'Man in Black' on his own and was never guilty of selling out to popularity. The way I heard it Cash was so upset that they picked Joaquin Phoenix to play him in a movie that he threatened to haunt the studio, but apparently he changed his mind when Reese Witherspoon walked on to the set. After that the ghost of Cash could only be seen in Witherspoons trailer... and really who could blame him. 

1. Darth Vader

What needs to be said about the great Sith Lord who spends over 23 years inside of a black suit? A cultural icon who has infiltrated our society since the original 
Star Wars Episode IV film in 1977, Vader continues to be considered one of the greatest villains of all time. Although most consider his black helmet and outfit to be a requirement to sustain his life after a nasty battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi where he met the business end of a lightsaber I know the real story, and the real story is he wears black because he is in a constant state of mourning for his loss of Padmé Amidala and he was once told guys in capes get all the hot chicks. As an added bonus, thanks to the great James Earl Jones, he has the best voice of any villian throughout cinematic history as well.

So there you have it. 20 arguably famous people who prefer to wear black. It was a tough selection process and I'm sure some of your favorites didnt make the list but I think we can all agree that I don't care what you think about my choices. Just be sure to always match your belt with your shoes and everything will be fine - unless you are Jack Black in which case it doesn't matter because everything you do is considered comedic gold. Jack might not always wear black, but he is always funny.

True Story.