Sparky-my flat, green, fire-breathing child

I am going to take a “One-Time Only” break from my usual seemingly A.D.D.-inspired, often incoherent, journey into what this mind calls “entertaining” and “informational” and indulge in a wee bit of self-promotion.  Bear in mind this is not something that I am comfortable with–self-deprecation is much more up my alley.

Blogging has given me the privilege of meeting many incredibly funny and talented people–one of which is the hilarious and clever writer, Jodi Ambrose.  With two published books under her belt, Intimacy: How To Get More Of It and Sex: How To Get More Of It, (both of which are loaded with brilliant insights into navigating a successful relationship with the opposite sex, by the way), her third offering has now been released.  A wonderfully entertaining and helpful cookbook entitled Darn Good Eats: The Cookbook for Creative Chefs and Reluctant Cooks. 

As many of you know, I loathe cooking.  So cookbooks aren’t usually my thing–unless, of course, they are filled with pictures of the delectable Gordon Ramsay.  Mm.  Darn Good Eats, however, is a darn good read.  Jodi’s whacky sense of humour shines through on every page.  Her intro makes “reluctant” chefs like myself feel right at home.  Her thoughts on cooking are summed up with “Blech!”  Mine too.  She even grates her thumb during the creation of “Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce”–something I would do–and, yes, they ate the grated thumb Parmesan cheese.

For those of you who have mastered the art of cooking, Jodi’s handsome hubby, Grant, is on board with more intricate dishes for the “creative” chef.  The second half of the book, Jodi’s collection of recipes that enable one to cook without actually cooking, is perfect for us “reluctant” (sounds much better than “useless, could burn boiled water” ) cooks.  See.  Something for everyone.

You are probably wondering what any of this has to do with self-promotion.  Well, Darn Good Eats also sports a nifty “Dragon-Breath-O-Meter”–a device that informs would-be eaters as to the breath-killing capabilities of each dish.  One dragon, for instance, tells the reader to rinse with mouthwash, while four dragons comes with the recommendation that they get a new mouth.  Like I said, clever.

This is where me and my inner braggart come in.  I created the dragon.  Yes, my little baby dragon who I named “Sparky” now resides in the pages of Darn Good Eats and will forever live in pantries everywhere.  I’m so proud of my boy.

My bouncing baby boy

My bouncing baby boy.

I was thrilled to have this opportunity and am very grateful to Jodi for providing it to me!  If you’d like to learn more about Jodi and her books, you can find her at Jodi’s website and Jodi’s blog.

I must also give a shout out to another fellow blogger who provided a couple of recipes  for this collection,  Bernadette Martin.

If you’d like your VERY OWN copy of Darn Good Eats, and Sparky in all his glory, it can be purchased from Amazon right here:

I will be back to my strange, tangential self on Thursday.  I promise.

Please Stop Staring, Give My Intestines Back, and Tell That Bacon to Shut Up.

As you know, there are two things that I loathe.  Clowns.  And dolls.  I don’t even want to consider the possible existence of a Clown Doll.  Clowns are grown people who throw on hideous make-up, big shoes, and over-sized, polka dotted onesies in order to be around small children.  Their squeaky noses and water-squirting flowers aren’t fooling this girl one bit.  And dolls.  Yikes.  I’m sorry, but we humans aren’t that cute.  For one thing, in order to be cute, something really does need fur.  It’s true.  Just look at the skinny pig or the Mexican Hairless.  Ick.  Factor in a plastic pallour, obvious hair plugs, and vacant eyes that seem to follow your every move and you’ve got a doll.  Your very own Chucky.

I still remember getting a Baby Alive doll for Christmas.  Great.  A doll that craps its diapers.  Just what every child wants.  Maybe that’s why I never wanted kids.  The thing just ate, cried, and crapped.

The secret lives of dolls.

The secret lives of dolls.

Thanks to my part-time job at Amazon’s number one competitor in Canada, I have recently been introduced to the only thing that ranks beside a Clown Doll on my Top 10 Creepy Things list–the Elf on the Shelf.  First of all, male or female, they are butt ugly.  Sort of like Pinocchio without the long nose.  And they all wear the exact same attire–like a militaristic regime of tiny snitches in red.  Second, their sole purpose in life is to spy on small children in the privacy of their own homes.  Even creepier, these mini Big Brothers are operating with parental consent.  I’m afraid that if my mother had recruited an ugly little elf to “keep an eye on me” I would have been damaged for life.  More than I already am.  Seriously, look at this thing:

I'm hoping that the snowman stabbed it with his stick arm.

I’m hoping that the snowman stabbed it with his stick arm.

Not only do I have to get used to the fact that one of these hideous creatures lives in the store, watching my productivity, but I also have to convince other people to adopt one of their own.  I have been forced to be complicit in unleashing an army of ugly, little, seemingly footless and thumbless creatures on to unsuspecting minors.  Ugh, the guilt.

Oh, joy.  Oh, bliss. Erwin undergoes a complete "organectomy" without anesthetic.

Oh, joy. Oh, bliss. Erwin undergoes a complete “organectomy” without anesthetic.

1)  I suppose there are worse things to find on your shelf than an elf.  How about a disemboweled doll, perhaps?  I don’t like dolls, but anything that has to endure having its organs yanked out and pushed back in the wrong place on a daily basis does deserve my empathy.  This pretty much sums up Erwin the Patient’s life.

Oops.  Did put your lower intestine in your esophagus?  So sorry about that.  Just let me rip it out and put it back where it belongs.  Sort of.

And when his guts get just a little too…um…gooey, they can be machine washed.  I’m sure that’ll make him feel much better.

You can purchase an Erwin for your future Jack the Ripper here:

  2)  Yes.  It is a pair of dancing lederhosen.  Ants in the pants without the ants.  I’m not quite certain as to why your child would want to play with an empty pair of rubber pants.  I’m even less sure as to why an adult felt a need to create it.  The only thing that I am sure about is that the remote control looks like an orange penis.  Play with the penis and the pants dance.  Sounds about right to me.

You can get your very own “knockwurst” (ya, right) remote-controlled, dancing pants at for $19.95.

Who wouldn't want to hug a slab of bacon?

Who wouldn’t want to hug a slab of bacon?

3)  It happens to me all the time.  I’m in the middle of frying up a few slices of bacon and I suddenly become overwhelmed by the urge to hug one.  Obviously, my childhood was seriously lacking something.  Stuffed animals obviously weren’t enough.  I needed the affection of a stuffed animal by-product.

With a catchy slogan like “You’ve Got a Friend In Meat,” this cuddly lump of saturated fat is sure to nurture your children’s love for pork.  And it talks.  Every time your child hugs his “My First Bacon” friend, it will reward him with a little self-promotion stating, “I Am Bacon.”  No subtle subliminals here.

Yes, it would appear that there are worse things than an Elf on the Shelf.  But I still think the damn thing is creepy.

And, in light of my most recent project–to have Storage Wars‘ Barry Weiss find my blog–I will share a clip of him going through a locker of Canadian memorabilia with This Hour Has 22 Minutes‘ Mark Critch.  It’s funny and it just happens to feature some butt ugly “toys” from my typical Canadian childhood.  I must warn you that you will need to let it fully upload first…Not sure why.  And you may have to sit through the commercial TWICE.  Again, not sure why.  CBC gets enough public money that it should have a better system.  We’re Canadian.  I guess we’re not supposed to sweat the small things.  But it’s worth the wait.

Barry Weiss on This Hour Has 22 Minutes


If you’d like to see Barry’s Christmas appearance on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, check it out at my social media experiment:  Searching For Barry Weiss

Photo Credits:  Chucky (Wikipedia), Elf (, Erwin (, Bacon (

My blanket smells like belly button, my coffee reeks like skunk butt, and my pocket smells like 100-year-old phlegm.

It’s one of those days where I seriously contemplate gender reassignment.  Let’s face it–having a uterus and a pair of ovaries can be a pain in the ass.  Especially when they render you a hemorrhagic, cramped-over, anemic mess every 21 days.  Thankfully, I don’t get bitchy.  Whiny, yes.  Bitchy, no.

I fear a sex-change will leave me looking like this.

Knowing my luck, a sex-change would transform me into this.  No offense, Nathan Lane.

I, therefore, apologize in advance for what will likely be a less-coherent than usual (and that’s saying something) post that may or may not contain a number of period-induced expletives.  For any of my faithful male readers who have not yet ran away from the computer screaming, I say, “thank you.”  If women must endure bleeding profusely from the crotch in order to ensure that the human race continues to thrive, the least the men can do is listen to us vent about it.  I bet you’re glad you’re not my hubby right now.  Hehe.


A few things have struck me as particularly strange this week.  First of all, the English language is a very peculiar thing–particularly if you only hear it spoken.  For instance, a naval graveyard can sound like a place where dead bellybuttons go.  Knotty pine sounds like very ill-behaved trees.  “She’s got a big pair,” could make someone think she has an over-sized fruit.  And who hasn’t partaken in the occasional “it’s not/it’s snot” joke?  Seriously.  ESL must be a nightmare.

Ack.  A blanket that smells like a belly button.

Ack. A blanket that smells like a belly button.

Plus, what’s with the saying, “it sells like hotcakes?”  Do hotcakes really sell a lot?  In Canada, we call them pancakes, and they do not sell at all.  We don’t have IHOP, but we did have a few wannabes.  Golden Griddle?  Defunct.  Smitty’s Pancake House?  Gone with the wind.  Don’t get me wrong.  Canadians like pancakes.  We just don’t seem to like to pay for them.  I think we should coin our own phrase–“it sells like Tim Hortons‘ coffee.”  Even though I still say that Tim Hortons’ coffee smells like roadkill skunk.  But maybe I am just developing a giant nose tumour.

For the first time in my life, colour me speechless.

For the first time in my life, colour me speechless.

1)  I consider myself to be somewhat of a collector–PEZ, model cars, pop culture memorabilia–but some “collectors” really should keep their collections hidden away.  Australian librarian, Graham Barker, is one of those people.  For the past 26 years, he has mined his belly button for lint; eagerly retrieved his lode, and stored it in dated jars.

Why?  No seriously.  This is not a rhetorical question.

Admittedly, he has garnered himself a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records, achieving a moment of fame.  But do you want to go down in history as the man that not only spent 26 years of his life navel-gazing, but digging around in there too?

Having amassed 22.1 grams of belly button fibre, I must wonder if there is anything left of his sweaters?  And I don’t even want to know what sort of putrid odour wafts from these jars when he unscrews the lids?  Ack.  Just puked in my mouth again.  After 7 months of blogging, you think I’d get used to this.

bellybutton lint

Now, just for shits and giggles, check out the adoring and gleeful manner in which his eyes behold his beloved collection.  This is a man who clearly loves his belly button and the gifts it sprouts.

Holy crap.  They smell the same to me.  Am I dying?

Holy crap. They smell the same to me. Am I dying?

2) It turns out I do not have an impaired olfactory lobe.  Nor do I have a nose tumour.  In fact, I may simply have a more finely tuned sniffer than the rest of you.

According to  David Rowe, smell-expert and author of Chemistry and Technology of Flavors and Fragrances, coffee and skunk juice do share an important aroma-causing compound.  Coffee contains furfuryl mercaptan, a chemical that is in the same family as butyl mercaptan–the chemical that gives a skunk squirt its musky (a.k.a. nauseating) smell.

This skunkiness is exacerbated during the creation of decaf.  Apparently the caffeine-removal process also removes much of this chemical, so companies must add it back in to make the product smell more enticing.  If they add too much, the result is a cup of java that reeks of skunk butt.

It’s not all in my head.  Or my nose.

If you knew what it was, you probably wouldn't hold it with your bare hands.

If you knew what it was, you probably wouldn’t hold it with your bare hands.

3)  So my quest to have Barry Weiss find my blog is still under way.  And I just happen to have a Barry-related tidbit that fits in with today’s rant.  Imagine that?

A while back, Storage Wars‘ (and all of television’s, for that matter), most lovable character came across an item that resembled a metal flask with a strange little door on the side.  He and his doting audience were enthralled.  Whatever could this strange device be?

Turns out it is a century-old, portable cuspidor–more commonly known as a spittoon.  Yes.  This is a vessel filled with the relics of old phlegm.  ACK!

While Barry initially appeared appalled by this revelation, he seemed to recover from this initial shock, pocketing the sputum-filled vessel and adding it to his personal collection.  I like to think he went home and boiled it first.

Ancient phlegm or not, he can still park his cuspidor under my Sealy Posturepedic any day of the week.

But he may want to wait for two to five days.

If you’d like to read more about Barry Weiss, his phlegm holder and more, check out my social media experiment at: Searching for Barry Weiss.

Photo Credits:  Nathan Lane  (,  menstruation (, belly button blanket (, belly button lint & man who loves it (, coffee-drinking skunk (, spittoon (