Hoffman's Houston
hoffman's houston

Ken Hoffman on a crack new idea for post-COVID-19 life

Ken Hoffman on a crack new idea for post-COVID-19 life

woman in elevator yelling
This skill could be a new career move post-pandemic. Photo by Getty Images
Pet of the week - Darla boxer retriever
Sweet and bouncy Darla is CultureMap's pet of the week. Photo by Citizens for Animal Protection
woman in elevator yelling
Pet of the week - Darla boxer retriever

They say there will be a new economy when the “new normal” sets in after the COVID-19 crisis eases up. Many of the millions of laid off and furloughed workers will have to learn a new skill or seek new business opportunities.

Well, here’s your Million Dollar Idea how to profit off the coronavirus outbreak: open a factory that makes unbreakable elevator buttons. Shark Tank, here we come. 

I’ve been riding out much of the lockdown at a condo high-rise near Lake Travis. Several times a week, I notice that buttons on the elevator are cracked, jammed, or completely missing. That’s when I have to push the floor above me and take the stairs down.

I asked a maintenance person, what gives with the busted elevator buttons?

He said, “We gave tenants a list of ways to keep everybody safe and avoid getting sick, and one of the suggestions is to avoid pressing elevator buttons. We said they should use their keys or something like that. The keys are cracking the buttons. I’ve seen someone kick the elevator buttons with their heel. We have broken buttons all over the complex. We have a service that maintains our elevators and they said that elevator buttons are being broken all over Austin. They’re having trouble keeping up with replacing them.” 

It’s not just up in Austin. Two weeks ago, I visited Hobby Airport to check out the ghost town that airports have become. I took the elevator down from the parking garage. Two of the buttons were broken.

One thing in common: Lester Holt and ... Jerry Springer?
They say that people can subscribe to every channel the cable company offers, or as Bruce Springsteen says “57 Channels and Nothin’s On,” but you really watch only five channels 90 percent of the time. 

Mine happen to be: ESPN, Tennis Channel, CNN, QVC and … is Netflix considered a channel? What are your Big 5 channels?

But lately, because of the bug that’s going around, I’ve been watching more local and network news. I’ve noticed something weird. When NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt signs off, he says, “Please take care of yourself … and each other.”

I know I’ve heard that before. Wait, I got it — that’s Jerry Springer’s catchphrase, after three bimbos wrestle in mud and pull out each other’s hair over a cheating loser with more felony convictions than teeth. As his security muscleheads collect the women’s wigs and stray shoes, Springer turns to the camera and says, “Take care of yourself — and each other.”

How did this happen? The face of NBC News, a journalism organization respected around the world, and Jerry Springer, not so respected, have the same sign-off. Don’t the bosses at NBC realize this? Or care about this? The real shame is that Lester Holt didn’t steal a different Springer quote for his sign-off, like the time Springer scolded one of his guests with, “You’re a transsexual fighting with a hermaphrodite over a mistress!” If Holt said that on NBC Nightly News, it would be the greatest moment in broadcast history.

Bullfighting is bull
Here’s a COVID-19 silver lining: Over in Spain, they’ve had to cancel 21 bullfighting events, which has spared the lives of 120 bulls. They also had to cancel the famed Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, which saved the dignity of fools being chased (and occasionally gored — I have no problem with this) by bulls on the road leading to the bull ring. Both bullfighting and the Running of the Bulls need to be canceled forever. It’s hard to believe that a civilized country like Spain, which can produce tennis great Rafael Nadal, still allows beautiful animals to be murdered for entertainment.

Bullfighting is not a sport. Matadors are punks.

Pet of the week
While we’re at it, let’s do right by a deserving animal here in Houston. Our Pet of the Week is named Darla, as in the real name of the pooch who played Precious in Silence of the Lambs. I still get the creeps thinking of that film. Our Darla is a 1-year-old beautiful boxer-retriever combo who is spayed, healthy, frisky and house-trained. To inquire about her, email adoptions@cap4pets.org and arrange to meet and greet Darla at Citizens for Animal Protection.  

The pandemic 'do
A friend of mine, who happens to be a fussy dandy, asked me what I’m doing for haircuts during the stay-at-home order. I said, “I’m okay, I got a haircut back in early March, so I’m good for a while.” You would have thought I told him that I haven’t taken a shower since 2008. He was shocked. I asked him, how often to do you get your hair cut? He said once a month. Seems a lot to me.

I once had breakfast at the Omni Hotel with Larry King. He was about 15 minutes late. His excuse, “I was scheduled to get my hair combed at 8 and the woman was late.” He said he pays someone to comb his hair every morning. I thought, well, that’s insane.

I get about four haircuts a year, with some DIY work between visits to TGF (Tuesdays are $5 off). I get it cut short and wait until I’ve got a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet going, then I get a haircut.

Bizarro bread
On my last sneak visit to the supermarket: Hostess, the cupcake company, now makes hot dog buns, and Ballpark, the hot dog company, now makes hamburger buns. So wrong. 

This is what you’d find in supermarkets in the Bizarro World. Seinfeld fans know the Bizarro Code: “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!”