Very Tiny

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When this 2000 cartoon appeared on the Web site in 2008, gas prices were hovering around $4 per gallon. In recent weeks, gas prices fell to near the $1.69 price that flabbergasts Arlo above, and drivers were elated. Perspective is everything, no? The situation depicted here is totally factual; as a boy I loved raiding the “service stations” for bundles of maps, and most of them never complained. On a tangent, I went into a Shell station yesterday looking for a bottle of bleach. (Why isn’t relevant.) Almost the entire store, and this was a sizeable one, was devoted to snacks! I know this comes as no revelation to you, but it is brought home when one searches for quotidian inedibles. No wonder we’re getting fat.

88 responses to “Very Tiny”

  1. I can remember my folks buying 500 gallons for $0.29 per gallon when gasoline jumped over $0.40 in 1973. Gasoline increases have a way of putting the halt on an economy. Stability, even at a slightly higher price is best.

    Just overnight the gas can and has increased $0.29 at times. Talk about perspective.

  2. Repeat of comment that went away with yesterday’s comments:

    AM sky question for EMB, I saw a bright object (planet?) in the NE sky @ 6:40AM from Baton Rouge, LA, a little N & W of New Orleans. Could it be Venus?

    Blessings on everyone on this beautiful Fall day.

  3. $1.69 ??? where are you??? we pay $2.39 here (in Central NY) but I was on a business trip to Ithaca yesterday and filled up at $2.16 and was thrilled – yes, I too remember paying $.29 when I was in college – and then it went up to $.44 – I was in shock!

  4. Thanks in part to low gas prices there will be zero COLA for us SS recipients this year. Oh well, I’ll just make the best of it and take more road trips.

  5. “Quotidian.” I’ll bet fewer than you’d think residents of and visitors to the Village had to look that up. This place will educate you, if you’re not careful.

    Little Arlo’s response today would likely be, “Wait, what? You can buy bleach at a gas station?” And Ike’s response today would likely be, “Wait, what? The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways’ primary purpose is to provide a marketplace for gasoline and snack foods?”

    Here’s another WABAC pricing story, this one involving The Evil Weed. (Tobacco. What did you think?) An older friend told me that, loving all things mechanical, one of his favorite activities when he was about eight years old was to purchase cigarettes from a vending machine for his uncle when the extended family was eating out. (Yeah, I know; allowing that would probably now be considered Capital Child Abuse in some jurisdictions.) He said he can remember when his uncle would give him a quarter, and the cigarettes would be delivered with four bright, shiny pennies under the cellophane along one edge of the pack. AND HIS UNCLE WOULD LET HIM KEEP THE PENNIES! Getting to operate a big, clanky mechanical device, plus getting paid four cents to do so…Small Boy Rapture!

    I haven’t even noticed the price of cigarettes lately, but I’m guessing any of those Interstate-based snack-food emporiums would be happy to sell you a pack for $5 to $15 today, depending on their location’s current level of sin tax.

  6. Ghost and Anonymous, the expansion of foods in the “convenience” stores is probably the same as in the movie theaters. Owner’s major profits come from sales of ancillary items. Gas only makes money for the oil companies, like movies only make money for the studios. So to stay in business, the retailers sell everything else they can make a dime on.

  7. Our local Walgreens drug store only recently started stocking milk. Before, you could only find sodas, energy drinks, beer, and hard liquor.

    Gotta grow the clientele for their pharmacy, I guess.

  8. Just returned home from a 6 week cross-country road trip that was on my bucket list. Magnificent to see the U.S. landscape with my own eyes. Also amazed at how rural so much of the country is compared to the East Coast. It’s like 2 different worlds. But I digress. We hit over 45 gas stations and every one was chock full of snack food. So…..I gained 9 lbs. No discipline within this traveller. On the other hand, in the old days it was difficult to find restrooms while you were traveling and those you could find were disgusting. But at today’s gas station/mini marts the restrooms are accessible and almost uniformly very clean and comfortable. Some even include interesting tile or artwork.

  9. Last month I had noticed that every single person at the new QT convenience store here in Muskogee, Oklahoma was buying food.
    So I asked. The manager said their food sales exceeded their gas sales.

    By the way, they own QT’s Kitchen and when I want healthy I stop and get food there. All calories counted and fresh fruits, great breads, low fat, multigrains, salads. Easy to stay on diet.

    If you live in Texas Chuckee’s gas stations are a tourist stop. Someone from Texas explain why. Love.

  10. four above – “Gas only makes money for the oil companies” – oh, a little, it makes the most money for federal and state tax collectors, but it’s true about the extra items. I know when I did my teenage years at Whatburger, they don’t make a lot off the burgers, it’s the soda and fries that only cost the company pennies. I remember in the early 60’s we still had Tenneco stations in Houston and they were the first ones I saw grocery items in, totally weirded me out to see bacon for sale in a gas station. I was always getting maps from the Enco and Mobil stations and they would have other states and regional maps covering the whole country, so I was sure to have all I could get.

  11. We used to have Tenneco stations in Florida. There was one year, mid-1970s, when Bob’s budget was particularly tight, that he did all his Christmas shopping for me there – a collection of FSU paraphernalia.

  12. “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star…the big, bright TEXACO star!”

    Ghost Sweetie, it’s good to know you’re home safely in the Village again, and that all is well with you.

  13. I remember as a kid, when we went on vacation, I would sit shot gun with road map in my lap, keeping up with where we were, and what was close by. Still have a fascination with maps. In my library I have a world globe, a world atlas, road atlas, a wall world map, and I don’t know how many National Geographic maps. Maybe I need to get out more.

  14. Jackie/Anon,

    Buc-ee’s are big tourist stops in Texas because they are always spotlessly clean, have huge bathrooms, lots of gas pumps, plenty of staff, and many Texas-themed souvenirs and snacks. Most also include just about every flavor of beverage and general snacks as well as pastries, barbecue, and deli sandwiches. Everyone loves the buck-toothed beaver mascot and logo merchandise, too. The fan photos page shows the mania:

  15. Hi, Jean dear! And I’ve wondered about you at times, too. Don’t be a stranger.

    Even in this day of turn-by-turn GPS navigation devices, I still make an annual stop at the welcome center when I cross a state line and pick up one of their generally nice state highway maps. I too love me some paper highway maps.

    Of course, the GPS device does have its place, such as when you are on a heavily traveled stretch of urban Interstate, doing Warp 8+ to keep from getting run over, and trying to decide which of the next eleven closely-spaced exits is the one you need to take.

  16. I just realized my “return” to the Village has garnered more comments here than has Robin’s return to the cartoon. Of course, I’m sure there have been plenty of Janis/Robin comments made on The Dark Side…and that a certain number of them were creepy.

  17. Road maps even a few years old can be very outdated. True story. Loon was navigating us through a city using a state issued road map that was ~ 2 years old. Could not find the exit for the state highway we needed to exit on. After three circuits, we found the exit only by heading towards our next waypoint city. Turns out the map was correct, but the state had renumbered a series of their highways.

  18. Posted this at the end of “Next.” That was stupid.

    domaucan1 on 14 Oct 2015 at 7:59 am #

    AM sky question for EMB, I saw a bright object (planet?) in the NE sky @ 6:40AM from Baton Rouge, LA, a little N & W of New Orleans. Could it be Venus?
    For 3-4 months, a bright, pre-dawn celestial object in the E, other than Luna, is Venus. You can even see her after sunup; just find it before sunup and follow her the same distance from Sol. Best to stand in the shade to avoid Sol’s glare. Once you do that, find a flagpole or whatever, get Venus right above, and show someone. Try not to become a pest / your new-found skill. You might get hanged as a witch.

    PS: This works for any place on Earth, not just Baton Rouge, if the sky is clear.

    Peace, emb

  19. I have an app on my smartphone called SKYNET. It’s basically a road map of the sky!
    Just start it up, aim the phone at the object and it will tell you what it is.

    Just keeping with the road map theme and places you’ve never been (and probably
    never will be).

  20. I had a VW Bug in the good old days. Gas stations were offering a free glass with a 3 dollar purchase. I never could get one of those glasses. Of course I could also buy a CARTON if Lucky Strikes for $1.80. I sure am glad I quit smoking. It’s the only way I can afford today’s gas prices.

  21. I have seen Venus in full daylight several times. I was driving the little schoolbus — some years ago — and I kept track of what Venus was doing. Easy enough with an Almanac, or the Sky and Telescope site and such references, or often just look up! We bus drivers had to get up very early in the morning. But seeing Venus happened around 4:30 in the afternoon, and it was Spring or Fall, not Winter. We needed to fill the gas tank every day after our route was done, and I was standing there at the pumps; it was a bright clear day, and the sun was hidden on the other side of the bus (really a converted van) and I knew where to look for Venus, a bit above the van roof; and there it was! I think I saw it the next day, too.

  22. “No wonder we’re getting fat.”

    Because of my fairly new dietary restrictions, I am becoming ever more keenly aware as to how correct Gene and Mary Lou were when they said, “It’s a deep-fry culture.”

    Finding green and other non-starch vegetables in restaurants is always a challenge.

    Once in a while, I do. Too often, it’s kale.


    I want spinach.

    Not kale.


  23. De gustibus, etc., but I agree on kale vs. spinach. Kale is my least favorite green, as opposed to chard, spinach, beet greens, mustard [very young, or mixed in with others], collards, cabbage, Br. sprouts, pak choy, some sea weeds, various lettuces. If you like it spicy, get JYOTi Delhi Saag, a zippy canned combo of spiced mustard greens and spinach.

    Peace, emb

  24. When I was a kid in Pittsburgh we drove one summer to a camp in Ohio. I was navigating using single state paper maps. As we approached the Ohio state line, I looked at my mom and said in all seriousness “The map stops”. It became a joke in our family for years. Later on, while serving in the Coast Guard, we had to make sure that we always had the next chart readily available. It was common knowledge that if you sailed off your chart, you would fall off the edge of the world.


  25. emb:

    Dandelions are also superb greens.

    The entire plant is edible and delicious.

    Thanks for the tip about JYOTi Delhi Saag. I will look for it tomorrow.

  26. As a kid, I would collect maps from all the different gas stations. It was interesting to see which ones were more up-to-date. I use to have (and maybe still do) a whole country map book in the car. It gets very dogeared and older ones are usually tossed by my wife while I’m not looking.

    We often use various GPS/map programs but they are not necessarily up-to-date or completely accurate. We now use the GPS as a rough guide only. We found the voice on the GPS is called Allyson so we have gotten rather rude with her and her “lies”.

  27. Emb, I recently heard that pumpkin leave are edible and supposed to be nice. I’ve never had the chance to find out.

    Rick, Re. Dandelions, make sure that no-one has sprayed the “weeds”.

  28. I love maps! My dad was a truck driver but I don’t think that is the reason. I think he was a truck driver because he had the wanderlust, and I inherited that part of him. But I do have to admit – I don’t have that desire as much as I did when I was younger.

  29. We still stop at all the state welcome centers to pick up brochures and sometimes maps. Ever since we discovered the Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer series many years ago, they have been our preferred guides – much more detailed, easier-to-read road info than regular maps, plus they’re topographical.

    At the risk of poisoning a new group of minds … Bob and I have to be careful what we say when we refer to the atlases in public. We were vacationing with another couple some years after we all started using the Delorme books. While visiting a mutual friend in the Keys, the subject of maps came up and he said he really liked their Florida “gah-zeeter”. Somehow we all managed to keep a straight face then, but guess what we’ve called the books ever since 🙂 And after we told the story to other friends and family members, most of them do the same!

  30. Since I am driving off to Texas tomorrow I doubt anyone questions my road warrior status. I have been driving like this since age 14 when I got my first car. I love maps and always have. My mom was geographically challenged and never learned to read maps so I have no idea how she did it before I took over but we drove coast to coast more than once. Then I took over navigating.

    National Geographic was always an inspiration to me and I had a lot of wonderful adventures because of following their often unvisited suggestions for remote points of interest.

  31. Mark
    Re: GPS disasters – and they want to make car driving completely computer/satalite
    The vehicles today are taking over – my new to me – PU has so many auto services I don’t
    agree with and yet cannot be turned off.
    I set the “hand brake” (You know emergency/parking brake) and then could not find how to release it – no hand lever. After reading the manual you have to press the foot/main brake
    and then the park brake at the same time. They are going to safety us to death.

  32. Mark in TTown: Which states changed their mile markers to kilometers? Granted I had to quit trucking after my heart incident in ’09, but none of the states I drove in had done that! Only a few posted anything in kilometers, alongside the miles.

  33. Mark in TTown — From the article you posted:

    “This guy had to spend Christmas behind bars after driving a chemical tanker onto country roads that were only meant to have a 10 ton weight limit.”

    Following the instructions of a general-purpose GPS when driving a rig is dangerous! Truckers have “special needs” (bridge heights, truck routes, load limits, etc.) and so require trucking-specific databases for their GPS and/or mapping software. And the burden of avoiding those dangers and limitations fall strictly on the driver. As I was told in truck-driving school, “Even if a police officer has instructed you to follow him somewhere, if a bridge is marked as 12-foot clearance and your rig is 13′ 6” tall, you don’t follow him under that bridge!

  34. Ghost
    That woman with the bear has watched too much Disney. And Please bear?
    And then to post it?

    Reminds me of the joke about the Vicar that meets a bear on the remote trail.
    The vicar prays “Lord make this bear a Christian”
    The bear kneels and says ” For what we are about to receive we are truly thankful”

  35. emb
    Dandelion flowers make great wine.

    TruckerRon what the states did/forced to do was change the exit numbers from
    1,2,3,4 to mile post numbers Exit 37 is at milepost 37 or there abouts.

    Yous “guys” have kept me up late enough – up early
    Good Night!

  36. Good morning Villagers….

    John Connor….by chance is your mother’s name Sarah? 🙂

    Haven’t used a road map in years….haven’t been anywhere in years….but, in my younger days, we never used road maps…just followed the signs on our way to Florida. Ah, the adventurous days of youth.

    When I subscribed to Nat Geo mag, I loved looking at those maps, kept them inside the mag too. I figure that when I do decide to quit working (gasp), I have 5 years of reading to catch up on.

    John, did you see where I told you that Orion’s Belt is directly overhead. It’s been cold here in the mornings (41 degrees right now) and when I go out to start my car up, I find myself just standing and gazing at all the brilliant stars and planets.

    Did anyone read my story about my cp-worker from the end of yesterday’s entry? You should, it caught me off guard….well, it was one of those moments where you had to be there.

    I love spinach dip with cream cheese….love that fat.

    And a big welcome to all the new posters…..

    ya’ll have a blessed day

  37. 40+ years ago when I was a LORAN (precursor to GPS) transmitter technician in the Coast Guard we had a Chief who told us that “There is coming a day we will have these receivers in cars and trucks”. I looked at the receiving equipment the size of a small truck and said “sure we will”. Even the high tech solid state equipment for aircraft was the size of a suitcase.
    He was right.
    I now have it on my handheld smartphone. I still prefer paper maps though.

  38. TruckerRon, Sorry I wasn’t clear. The Feds required all the interstate markers changed to the metric measurements, not the state highways.

    Old Bear, I have seen many photos of trucks whose drivers didn’t pay attention to height warnings. The pics tend to show up on those “fail” sites.

    Debbe, yep I read it. Cleaning a chicken house and talking about stars/planets. That’s the way to handle it. Put the body on autopilot and let the mind go where it will.

  39. Interesting. I mostly drive in NY and CT but all the highways (interstate and otherwise) seem to have sequential exit numbers rather than mileage related numbers.

  40. that makes me think, I think, here the exit numbers are sequential, but they still refer to the miles from the border of the state, like some numbers may be missing ? is that right?
    Debbe, yes, it is Orion’s time, I don’t think I’ve even been out to see it yet, but with the days getting shorter I won’t miss it

  41. So, why when one is young is it complementary to say that they “have an old soul” yet when one is old it is good to be “young at heart?” Wouldn’t it just be better to be one’s self at whatever age you happen to be?

  42. It was some years back that they changed the numbering on exits in the Dallas area. I was driving up from Conroe to visit my brother in McKinney, on the north side of Dallas. I-45 / TX 75 goes up to Dallas and then while the road continues it is suddenly Central Expressway or something and the numbers used to start at 1 and go up to 40 something at the exit I took for my brother’s home. This trip they changed to reflect mileage rather than numerical sequence. Overall I liked the change.

  43. AFAIK the interstate highway system uses miles for exit numbers. In some areas, like Los Angeles, they add letters when more than one exit happens between mile markers. I seem to remember them going as high as J in one very confusing mishmash of interchanges.

  44. Those gas station road maps were my travelogue to the world beyond that wrong-end-of-the-telescope view I had from growing up in south Florida. Except for wearing a rut between Miami and Augusta, Georgia (from which both of my parents came originally), we did not travel unnecessarily. And so grabbing road maps of states and cities I had never set foot in was a treat and a free education.

    Back in the 1950s and 60s, as the Interstate Highway system was being built, maps would include proposed routes as well as showing those under constriction, usually with estimated dates for their completion. I made a point of looking to see that a new section of I-95 or I-85 had opened on schedule comparing the ‘old’ 1960 map to the ‘new’ 1961 version.

    Somewhere in a box in a closet here, I still have a 1964 Shell map of Florida on which I had laboriously traced and colored in with a pen all my travels around the state.

    Thanks for re-kindling that memory!

  45. Wife and I just got back from a round trip, Chicago to Denver on I-80 and all the signs were in miles. Didn’t see anything in kilometers. We used a GPS to find the wedding site in the foothills of the Rockies and “sweet lips” took us right there. She does get irritated when I stray from her prescribed route.
    Oh….trip was for Granddaughter’s wedding.

  46. TruckerRon, I think that the exit numbers in LA are only for easterners who expect them because the natives ignore them. All exits have the name of the street they take you to, and that’s what everybody uses. I’ve never understood what good the numbers were because they don’t give you any information about where you’ll be once you’re off the freeway.

  47. The value of the exit numbers? For one thing, combined with mile markers, they allow you to judge how soon you need to move to the exit lane (sometimes on the left!) even when it’s your first time in that area. Another benefit is you don’t have to read the names of the streets, just the numbers to know if it’s your exit or not… sometimes streets have very similar names. Here in Utah going south on I-15 in a 10-mile stretch are the following exits:

    Center St
    University Parkway
    Center St
    University Avenue

    The two Center Streets are respectively in Orem and Provo. University Parkway crosses I-15 in west Orem; University Avenue begins at the south end of Provo. If you were delivering a load of carpet up from Los Angeles and told to take the Center Street exit, wouldn’t you prefer to be told to take exit #265?

  48. TruckerRon, your mention of similar names reminds me of the problems navigating both Atlanta, where it seems every 3rd street is Peachtree something, and Nashville, where Old Hickory is everywhere. And as for the numbering of exits, from what I saw when looking for the proposed kilometer change, apparently there is no hard-and-fast rule. Some exit numbers and mile markers are close, some number sequentially from border to border, and these spurs and bypasses number from their beginning. No wonder Helen Wheels, Alice and Hal get testy.

  49. I did a little research (Wikipedia 😉 ) and it seems that several exit numbering schemes now coexist since it would cost money and confuse people to change the really older systems to match the current one. So, in some areas the exits after a toll plaza have the plaza’s number plus letters (like 8A, 8B, etc. between plaza #8 and plaza #9). Only the Interstate highways were forced to move from purely sequential to the mileage-based system; that came about because the purely sequential system was torpedoed by the addition of new interchanges.

    State highways and toll roads have their own rules regarding numbering… and I detest Nevada’s “mile markers” which are based on county lines, used mostly to mark bridges and drains, and are too small to see from a big rig’s seat. They’re OK for the county work crews needing to clear out a ditch, but useless for navigating.

  50. Charlotte in NH, PU equals Pickup, not the new car smell. I am having trouble getting to the comments. I had to go to my history, pick my visit from this morning, and click on it to get in here. Using Google Chrome, by the way.

  51. Mark: Good to know it’s not my laptop only. I’ve resorted to going to the unavailable comments p., copying its URL, then putting that in place of my server’s URL and clicking Enter. Pain.

    OF due 1752-1812 CDT. Had to erase its URL to get here. May be available in ‘Next’ Comments or the one before that.

    Peace, emb

  52. Dear Mark, thank you for getting me out of the puzzle. I imagined it was some make of car and coundn’t think what it could be!

    Sorry you are having problems, hope they go away soon.

  53. I will have to look the next time I am traveling in NY, MA or CT. I am going by I81 and I90, both of which don’t seem to mark their exits with mileage numbers. OTOH, I90 is mostly a toll road and the exit numbers reset as you cross state boundaries.

  54. Charlotte in NH, you’re welcome. And if they were a make of car, they would probably be a Fiat or member of the Chrysler group. From what I’ve read online, they are having lots of quality problems. Too bad, because the Fiats look like nice little cars. And I hate to see the American company struggle.

  55. Dickens the Adventure Dog and are having dinner at QT convenience store, 290 calorie southwestern chicken sandwich, hummus and raw veggie dip. He got almost all the cheese and about half the sandwich.

    Halfway between Dallas and Waco, noticing mile markers all the way. Garmin got me thru Dallas just fine. Dallas starts 50 miles north and ends 50 miles south.

  56. Last time I used Mrs. Garmin, the one with the neat Brit accent, wife drove the Prius off the road into a mail box on a metal post. $5m+, and several weeks w/ only the Camry.

    On an earlier trip in Mpls. I was in Mpls. driving us S. on a street W. of Lake Harriet, with a stone wall on my right and a road teeing in from the left, and Mrs. G. was urging, “Turn right! Turn right!” She’s been sitting in her little box ever since.

    Peace, emb

  57. Thanks Mark for explaining . Around here PU without punctuation is a common

    It is a nice looking PU and as I frequently say “some day I will be dragged kicking and
    screaming into the TWENTIETH century.”

    I was told by the dealers that Henry’s & The Brother’s Company’s no longer make
    plain cabs with 8′ beds on PUs- they are extended or double cabs and 6′ or less box.

    I could have bought new with more (sort of) what I wanted but at 2X the cost.
    And I bought from the outfit I bought my other truck in ’93 – They were the only
    ones interested in looking for what I wanted (not what was on the lot) same as 22YA.
    Good People.

  58. Home again, home again, jiggety-jog…

    Yes, a long day. But I did have dinner (a fried-tomato-and-shrimp po’ boy, if you are wondering) at an outside table at a dockside cafe at a marina, and I watched the sun set over the water. So I had that goin’ for me, which is nice.

    Debbe 😉 Wished you were there…

  59. Well it is 3 a.m. and Dickens is asleep and I am leaping into tub, hope I stay awake. Got last room in La Quinta after doubling back off Texas newest toll road to the I-35 that Garmin took me off of and put me on under construction toll road to Austin where I paid nine bill you by mail tolls.

    Do I smell collusion?

  60. Good Morning Villagers….

    Going to be a crispy weekend here in S IN…temps down to 28 degrees Saturday night…yikes!!

    Yes, Nancy, so many new names in the Village….and I still want to know if John Connor’s mom is Sarah….maybe, he’ll be back 🙂

    GR 😉 you had a very long day of traveling…..did you prearrange your travel music?

    CxP…I know what a murder of crows is, but not pilcrow…so I’m going to have to cheat and look it up.

    Leaving early today, yesterday morning I caught Mercury at the beginning of dawn. Sirius is getting brighter too..yes, Mark, autopilot and my mind does wonder. I just need to be watching out for those deer too.

    Saw three coyotes way out in the field at work yesterday afternoon, and guess who just happened to have his shotgun….Skittles let one off and they scurried, One was a gray color. I hate hearing them howl at night, gives me the chills.

    gotta go…ya’ll have a blessed dy

  61. GR 😉 tried to copy and paste an oldie, “Sunrise, Sunset” by Perry Cumo, but it’s such sad song, so I didn’t……try and catch up on your sleep…..

  62. Strip of 10.16.15:

    Hmm… No husband foreseeable?

    Danger! Danger, Janis Day! Unaccompanied female in neighborhood!

    (Are we about to see a return to the former petty, jealous Janis?)

  63. A Nony Mouse
    Make sure there is no onion in that sandwich you share.
    Not sure about dogs but for cats a no-no.

    Coyotes in area is why the Grand Kitties are kept in at night and why I worry
    when any do “walk about”

  64. Great cartoon & so true about maps back then. Ghost Rider 6′ thanks for the .25 cigarette pack in machines memory and for the Otis Redding song! :- ;

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