Why do people keep cutting me in half to see if my insides are green?

In my quest to find a daily topic to write about, I have decided to select the first thing that pops in to my mind–a rather risky method as evidenced by yesterday’s foray into the world of armpit hair.  Today, however, a more polite (although equally random) subject has emerged from my cranium.  Kiwi birds.

"Damn, I'm cute."

“Damn, I’m cute.”

First of all, I have to put this out there.  It sucks to be a kiwi. Forget feeling sorry for the IQ-challenged dodo.  And don’t waste your pity on the ostrich with his head in the sand.  The unfortunate kiwi is the feathered friend truly deserving of your sympathy. To begin with, he cannot fly.  His bones aren’t hollow like other bird bones and his wings are short and stubby–making him the T-Rex of birds.

Secondly, they lay the largest eggs in relation to their body size out of any bird in the world.  Mama Kiwi is the size of a chicken, but she lays eggs the size of an ostrich’s.  If you thought childbirth was a bitch, be glad you didn’t have to lay an egg the size of your pillow.  And that’s one of those big puffy pillows–not your old down-filled one that has been flattened to a crepe.  You know, the yellowed, drool-riddled Obusform that, as Jerry Seinfeld would say “looks more like a Civil War bandage.”

Kiwi egg

But, they do have nostrils on their beaks.  I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse.  It all depends on whether or not he’s planning on visiting my husband after bean night.

“Beak” the Kiwi Beanie Baby was produced for only one year and sadly can now be purchased for a cent online.  Yes, even the plush versions of our little New Zealander have it rough.  Ironically, New Zealanders of the human kind are referred to as “Kiwis.”  But what about the green fuzzy fruit?

Meet Beak.

Meet Beak.

The kiwi bird has had its name hijacked by that odd-looking furry fruit.  The fruit is actually called a “kiwifruit” and is not, in fact, a “kiwi” at all.  A kiwi smoothie, therefore, is not what you think it is.  Ack.


This little bird, however, has enjoyed fame thanks to a manufacturer of shoe polish.  Yes, since 1906, KIWI’s name and image has been splashed across the front of this product that is now available worldwide.  The company’s founder chose the name “KIWI” in honour of his New Zealand-born wife.  Plus, he thought the bird looked nice on his small round tins.

A retro Kiwi tin.

A retro Kiwi tin.

I’m not sure if being the star of the “laces and polishes” racks in stores across the world makes up for the stubby arms, giant egg-laying, and low value in the Beanie Baby trade.  If you see a kiwi, give it a hug.  Odds are that the poor bugger has been through a lot.

If it’s any consolation to the kiwi community, people are blogging about you:

Conservation blog: http://blog.doc.govt.nz/2013/08/27/kaipara-kiwi/

Factotum of Arts: http://factotum-of-arts.com/2013/08/12/weekend-finishes-12-08-2013/

Infinite Sadness…or Hope?  http://infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com/tag/kiwi-bird/

B (heart) D: http://baileyolivia.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/when-i-say-kiwi-you-think/

Do you call the kiwifruit a kiwi?  

kiwi prep

Images courtesy of:  cute kiwi (http://pinterest.com/pin/553168766700624424/), Kiwi egg (http://misswrightenglish.blogspot.ca/2012/09/kiwis.html), Beak (http://stuffedanimaltoys.guidestobuy.com/ty-beanie-baby-kiwi#chitika_close_button), kiwi vs kiwi (http://shibbynempahcold.deviantart.com/art/Kiwi-VS-Kiwi-Bird-21535732), polish (http://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/category/kiwi-boot-polish-co/), kiwi prep (http://kevinw.de/greenbird/2010/04/26/how-to-prepare-a-kiwi/).

My armpit and the hairs that call it “home”

I have been neglecting my baby, The Embiggens Projects, as of late, so I have decided to try an experiment.  I am going to see if I can examine a new topic every day, instead of intermittently tackling three.  Bear with me.  Each day will be very different from the previous one.  Don’t ask me why, but I have decided to kick this new idea off with armpit hair.  It’s something we all have, but rarely talk about.  So, here is my diatribe dedicated to the follicles that try to live in the pit at the base of my arm.


In case you haven’t heard–which I hadn’t, but I live under a rather large slab of granite–women have taken to growing out their underarm hair for charity.  Yes, men have movember.  And women have Armpits4August.  Yes, luxurious locks are sprouting under an arm near you in support of the little known condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  One of the symptoms of this disease is excessive hair growth.

armpit hair

The Great Underarm Campaign:

North American women have only been shaving their armpits en masse for about 100 years.  Yup, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Earnshaw, and all of our other favorite literary heroines likely had armpits like brillo pads.  And they probably smelled like horse.

In 1915, Harper’s Bazaar featured a shocking photo of a woman wearing a sleeveless dress that revealed a smooth and silky underarm.  This was followed by an advertising campaign by Wilkinson Sword to convince women that it was non-hygienic to have hairy pits.  I’m sure that sword sales were waning.  The sales of razor blades doubled in less than  two years as women become self-conscious of having manly underarms–heaven forbid.  I wonder when mass-produced deodorant came onto the market?

“Mum” was the word and Pens saved our armpits:

So, mystery solved.  The first deodorant was invented in 1888 and was called, Mum.  Strange name.  In the 1940’s an intelligent woman–is there any other kind?–joined the team and stole the roller-ball idea from the production of pens to create a roll-on.  This deodorant was called Ban.  Who knew?

Armpit juice of the 1950's.

Armpit juice of the 1950’s.

A 1933 armpit hair removal device.  Yikes.

A 1933 armpit hair removal device. Yikes.

laser hare



Well, now you know a wee bit more about your armpits and the hairs that call them home.

Do you think long armpit hair on women is natural, sexy, or does it send you screaming in the opposite direction?  Inquiring minds want to know.  

And, in case you want to read more riveting armpit facts, here are some fellow  Wordpressers that have something to say on the topic.

A Kaur’s Thoughts:  http://kaurthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/part-1-to-shave-or-not-to-shave-a-history-of-shaving/

…Said the Blind Man http://semiblind.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/smooth/

Tanya’s Armpits4August 2013 http://tanyasarmpits4august2013.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/almost-there-all-the-hair/

Images:  arm pit hair (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2404374/Armpits4August-Did-YOU-grow-underarm-hair-charity-These-women-did-.html), Harper’s Bazaar (http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2008/05/24/anxiety-about-objectionable-hair-money-in-someones-pocket), BAN (http://www.flickriver.com/photos/roadsidepictures/7640666640/), 1933 device (http://www.the-beheld.com/2012/04/conundrum-of-body-hair.html),  laser “hare” removal (www.cartoonstock.com), deodorant misfits (http://fuffer.wordpress.com/2007/12/05/shipwrecked/), octopus (http://www.toonpool.com/cartoons/deodorant_194243).  

Help! I’m trapped in an El Camino wearing a Clown Suit with Mimi Bobeck

If you have never had the…um…pleasure of experiencing a full-blown panic attack, consider yourself lucky.  When I was in my early twenties–back in the days before compact discs and Pantene–I used to have a lot of them.  I worked in a bank and had what was, perhaps, the strangest job description a financial institution has ever concocted.  In the morning, I adopted the role of bubbly receptionist with an Osmond Family grin.  In the afternoon, however, I kissed my sunny disposition adieu and put on my snarly collection officer hat.  Ironically, my desk didn’t change.  Just my persona.  

Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas

I wonder how many customers wandered away thinking, “that little redheaded girl must suffer from a multiple personality disorder.”  Note to self:  stay away from former place of employment and men who drive large white vans with padded interiors.  

Anywho, I blame the sudden appearance of my panic attacks on my unusual job duties.  And on the fact that I was still living among cockroaches.  And I had just been chased down the street by a man in an electric wheelchair.  But you already know about all of that.  

And they thought I was deranged...

And they thought I was deranged…

Amazingly, I was not the lone sufferer of high anxiety.  It turned out that the soft-spoken, seemingly “had her shit together” loans officer–we’ll call her Wilma.  I don’t know why–spent a great deal of her time fighting heart palpitations, dizziness, and an irrepressible desire to flee with her hands up in the air yelling gibberish.  

panic attack

In fact, she introduced me to a sure-fire way to fight the panic.  And it involved lying on the floor.  Now, my fear of being stepped on–particularly by someone wearing golfing cleats–precluded me from flopping spread-eagle on the linoleum beside my desk, aka the Jekyll and Hyde district.

giant cleat

Giant cleats…they DO exist.

 “Wilma,” however had a carpeted office with a functioning door.  Here, we could both lie on our backs, engage in deep-breathing exercises, and imagine our “happy places.”  Hers involved meadows, songbirds, and sunshine.  Mine was Times Square on a July afternoon–which could explain why meditation has never worked for me.

happy place

Thankfully, once I shed the job, the panic attacks–and the need to find a carpeted spot in a low-traffic area–disappeared.  As did my antacid addiction.  And my fear of mental health professionals.

While I have been panic attack-free for twenty years, there are a few things that could potentially tip me over the edge.   

1.  creepy clownClowns freak me out.  Personally, I think there is something seriously wrong with someone who spends their day in big floppy shoes, an afro wig, and lipstick that looks like it was put on by a far-sighted centenarian with a tremor.  

Personally, I have never understood why people flock to circuses.  And I always give Ronald McDonald statues a wide berth.  But no amount of Zoloft could quell the anxiety that sleeping on an actual “clown pillow” would create.  

Seriously.  There are people that actually make clown pillows.  And, there are sick, twisted, individuals with way too much disposable income who buy them.  

Here is a horrifying glimpse of the many innocent pillows that have been defaced by clowns.   

clown pillow handstitchedclown pillow cheshire cat grinclown pillow 5 oclock shadowclown pillow hole in headclown pillow impressionistclown pillow pom pom fringe

Which one would deprive you of the most zzz’s?  Which one is the least horrific?  


2.  This is a strange phobia, I know–especially for someone who loves cars as much as I do–but El Camino’s scare the crap out of me.  I don’t know why.  

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Chevy’s version of the Ford Ranchero (another freak on wheels), it was basically a coupe with a truck box.  Yup, Dr. Frankenstein bred a Chevelle with a C1500 and this is the ugly baby.  

Forget the ’57 Fury.  Christine should have been an El Camino.  Definitely uglier.  And a whole lot scarier.  


3)  The ugliest toy known to man, without a doubt, is the troll doll.  Dolls, as you know, are high on my list of “things that freak me out,” but the worst of all are these rainbow-coloured freaks with bad hair and mongoloid monkey faces.  Their association with Mimi Bobeck does not help either.  She was just weird.  

Since I’m supposed to be regaling you with dendrite-enhancing knowledge, here are a few little known troll doll facts.  

It turns out that it is perfectly okay to refer to these plastic atrocities as “damn trolls” as you are not too far off the mark.  The first collectible troll dolls were created by the Dam family of Denmark in the ’50s and are officially known as “Dam Things.”  

The most collectible trolls are black trolls, 2-headed ones (yikes), those with real mohair, and ones that appear to be the result of an animal pairing.  

DreamWorks animation has acquired the film rights to the Damn Things troll dolls and, apparently, plans to use them in a feature film.  This would truly be a horror flick.

That’s enough about troll dolls.  I’m getting hives.   

What things freak you out?  

Photo credits:  Old folk on Rascals (http://www.kulfoto.com/funny-pictures/20153/riding-together), Panic attack (http://www.trollmania.org/it-was-just-a-little-panic-attack/), Happy Place (http://yenyoga.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/celebrating-summer-yoga-in-times-square/), Giant Cleat (http://www.flickr.com/photos/redlady_rike/), “Go To Bed” (http://www.meh.ro/tag/clowns/);clown pillows: handstitched (http://www.etsy.com/listing/117997398/vintage-needlepoint-clown-pillow-pale), Cheshire cat grin (http://www.migandtig.com/Circus-Clown-Pillow-Down-Filled_p_2612.html), 5 o’clock shadow clown (http://etsystalker.com/2010/04/22/scary-clowns-for-violet/), hole in head (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/free-shipping-new-arrive-The-Horror-Clown-cushion-pillow-b0873/703275_421999360.html), impressionist clown (http://www.zazzle.com/funny+clowns+pillows), pompom fringe (http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=34926.0#axzz2ajKJNvbP); El Camino (http://1969elcaminoforsale.com/), troll tattoo (http://pics3.this-pic.com/key/dam%20troll%20dolls).