The Maryland license plate is terrible

I could care less about the War of 1812 or the Star Spangled Banner.

Sheri and I bought a new car a few weeks ago, a 2016 Ford Fusion, and the license plates arrived in the mail a few days ago.

Maryland_Passenger_Sample_License_Plate_2010

I hate it.

I love how this car looks. The idea of placing these terrible looking license plates on it pains me.

Our new car, a 2016 Ford Fusion.
Our new car, a 2016 Ford Fusion.

I don’t even understand these plates. They were evidently created to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812. According to my calculations, that was four years ago.

Why am I receiving these plates four years after the fact? Getting these plates now is like getting a graduation card four years after you graduate. Then again, at least said card would probably have a few bucks in it. The opposite is true with these plates. We had to pay for them.

I could care less about the War of 1812. As far as wars go, it’s one of my least favorite. The British were the bad guys. I love England and British culture. I would rather not dwell on such a dark stain in our history when Americans and the British were killing each other.

It was 204 years ago. It is time to move on.

The Star Spangled Banner is one of the worst songs ever written. The high-pitched notes and the ridiculously complicated lyrics make it one of the hardest songs to sing. Ordinary people cannot even sing it. What kind of national anthem is it when most citizens of that nation are incapable of singing it without their voice cracking?

As bad as the short version of the song is, the extended “deep cut” version is even worse. The full version even includes a bit about slavery:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave

Francis Scott Key
Francis Scott Key

That section of the song was a warning to lowly paid day labors and slaves tempted to take up arms and fight on the side of the British.

The song was written by Francis Scott Key, a slave owner and a co-founder of the American Colonization Society, an organization aimed at sending all non-slave black people to Africa. He is treated as kind of a Big Deal here because he was from western Maryland. That fact that Francis Scott Key lived here in western Maryland should not be a focus of pride. He wrote a bad song and wanted to send black people to Africa. Excuse me if I do not celebrate his existence.

This license plate just looks bad. The artwork looks amateurish. The fonts are ugly. It should not be the default plate for vehicles registered in Maryland.

Some upset over ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ ad

There’s a billboard promoting the movie X-Men: Apocalypse that some are saying is inappropriate because they feel it promotes violence against women. In the image Apocalypse, played by Oscar Isaac, is choking Mystique, played by actress Jennifer Lawrence.

I have a hard time understanding the underlying logic with this criticism, mostly because it seems to be devoid of logic.

X-Men: Apocalypse is a superhero comic book movie involving superhero comic book characters. Violence in a comic book superhero movie is as commonplace as obnoxious Hawaiian shirts are at a Jimmy Buffett concert. I haven’t watched X-Men: Apocalypse yet, so I don’t know the context of this image. My guess is that it wasn’t because Apocalypse was mad at Mystique because she didn’t fix him turkey pot pie.

To associate this image with domestic violence is silly. When I saw this image for the first time, it reminded my of this famous scene from Star Wars:

Some upset over 'X-Men: Apocalypse' ad - Bent CornerI thought of this scene from Star Wars and not violence against women because I don’t think of women as victims. I think of men and women as being equal. I’m also a giant nerd. When I see someone choking someone else, I think of Darth Vader.

A review of Retro Pop Box 1970’s

I received a Retro Pop Box 1970’s for the month of April in the mail yesterday. This is the first box I’ve received from them. Although I’m new to Retro Pop Box, I’m very familiar with their business model. Customers pay a monthly subscription fee and the company ships a goodie box every month containing things relevant to a specific theme. In the case of Retro Pop Box, it’s pop culture items influenced by a specific decade. My Retro Pop Box is dedicated to the 1970’s.

As a child of the 70’s, I know only too well not everything was so great in the 1970’s. Sometimes people as old as me will lament on how things were so much better when they were a kid. I am not one of those people. In most ways, the 1970’s sucked. WW Vietnam was still raging on. In the third grade, I remember having to write Richard Nixon a fan letter. Gasoline was rationed and you could only buy it on odd or even days. Iranians stormed the U.S. embassy and took hostages. Fonzie jumped a shark. Polyester was king.

Even though the 1970’s isn’t my favorite decade, I really loved everything that I found inside my Retro Pop Box.

Contents of my Retro Pop Box 1970’s for April 2016

T-Shirt

The main item is a t-shirt. It’s tan and brown and based on Star Wars. It features a custom van with Princess Leia posing with her father’s large helmeted head painted on the side. Chewbacca is sitting in the passenger seat wearing a tank-top. Han is leaning against the van wearing sneakers. I’m not really sure that’s cannon. Han wearing sneakers, but it’s awesome.

The t-shirt is nice. Unlike the t-shirts I’ve received from Loot Crate or the Marvel Collector Corps, this t-shirt is long. I haven’t washed it yet, but it’s a cotton poly blend (90/10), so it shouldn’t shrink.

Socks

It came with socks decorated with large boom boxes. Unlike the socks I’ve pulled out of Loot Crate boxes, these socks are actually large enough and stretchy enough to wear on my ginormous feet.

Magic Rocks

I forgot all about these until seeing them again. You sprinkle them in water and they eventually grow into rainbow colored crystals. Not only are they pretty to look at, after the crystals come to full maturation, drinking the water will make you gay. At least that’s what I once heard in Lancaster First Assembly of God Sunday School.

Tab Cola Lapel Pin

Of all the items in the box, this is actually my favorite. Tab was a sugar-free cola produced by Coke that was marketed towards women. In the 70’s only woman were concerned with consuming too much sugar because of what it did to their figures. This was before they invented type 2 diabetes for men. The artificial sweetener in Tab not only caused cancer in rats, it tasted like rat cancer.  I can’t stress enough how bad Tab tasted. Compared to Tab, Diet Coke tastes like the nectar of the gods.

Zotz Candy

Rounding out the contents of the box were two pieces of Zotz hard candy. I have no recollection of this this candy. According to the wrapper, the center fizzes in your mouth. I remember Pop Rocks, but not Zotz.

My Conclusion

Unlike Loot Crate or Marvel Collector Corps, I recommend giving Retro Pop Box a try. All good stuff and no filler. Loot Crate will include at most 1.2 things worth having. The rest of the box will have stuff you’d expect to find in the clearance bin at Toys R Us. Marvel Collector Corps will charge your credit card twice and then not send you anything. If you like pop culture stuff from a specific decade, than give Retro Pop Box a try. Not only do they have boxes for the ’70s and ’80s, they will soon be rolling out a box for the ’90s. Let’s just hope it doesn’t include anything related to Monica’s blue dress.

[Join Retro Pop Box]