Floppy Fingers, Stretchy Arms, and A Rainbow Vagina

Genetics is a crapshoot.  Some people hit the DNA jackpot–Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, for example–and others don’t fare so well.  I would be one of these people.  I rolled the dice and this is what I got:

Tall Father + Short Mother =  Short Me

Thin Father + Generously Proportioned Mother= Generously Proportioned Me

Tanned Father + Fair Mother= Fair Me

Hammer-toed Father + Pretty Footed Mother = Hammer-toed Me

Fine haired Father + Thick, Lustrous Haired Mother= Fine-haired Me

Two Asthmatic Grandmothers + A Father with Plantar Fasciitis = A Wheezy Person with Sore Feet

I realize that I have just portrayed myself as a pasty, round, dwarf with a balding head and claws for feet.  This is not true.  I also have very thin lips.  No really, I’m not that bad.  I’m no Jennifer Aniston, but I’m not Godzilla either.  I think we all have things we’d change about ourselves, if we could.  First of all, I’d love to be about four inches taller.  I have thought of hanging by my feet in the hopes of stretching myself.  I’ve never seen a short bat.  This stretching thing would also make me much skinnier.  Think Stretch Armstrong.  Only permanent and without the really long arms.  And no black tighty whities.  Can tighty whities be black?

I really do believe in the old adage, “Never judge a book by its cover.”  Unless you come across a cover like this.

1)  This is just weird.  Someone actually thought that children all over the world would want to colour female genitalia.  What’s worse is that a publishing company also thought this would be a great idea.  And that someone out there has probably paid hard-earned money to buy it.

This raises another question.  Aren’t colouring books supposed to be colourful.  Last time I looked, my parts were monochromatic.

I had to check out a few sample pages at Amazon.com.  Curiosity got the best of me.  Well, here is what I found:

If you think your children would benefit from this colouring book, they have places for people like you.  Oops.  Must really learn to censor myself better.  As I was saying, if you would like to order this “educational” book for your child, you can get it here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Coloring-Book-Vaginas/dp/B000R0HU92.

I’m sure there will still be several in stock.  Bet these would make a splendid stocking stuffer.

2)  Sometimes, our appearance is not hampered by any genetic flaws, but by the choices that we make.  Anyone who watches Coronation Street will be familiar with Deirdre Barlowe and her horrific eyewear choices.  If you are unfamiliar, these will illustrate my point.  Lenses the size of garage doors.  I hope they at least help her see better.

3)  Extra fingers run in my family.  Unfortunately, I was born with the usual 10 fingers.  This is one defect that I would love to have inherited.  Imagine having an extra finger.  Think of how fast I could type.  This blog would have been finished ages ago.  And you would have finished reading it a long time ago.  Ah, now you wish I had that sixth finger too, don’t you?

This condition is called Polydactyly and is usually found in people, dogs, and cats.  It is most commonly located by the little finger, but can also develop beside the thumb.  According to some sources, it occurs in 1 of every 500 live births.  Hm.

Admittedly, my family’s sixth finger tends to be a useless, limp flap that just hangs there.  But I still think it would have been cool.  A great conversation starter at parties.

But it would have been hard to find gloves.

Photo credits:  Stretch Armstrong (www.simpsonspeaks.com), Colouring Book (amazon.com), Deirdre 1 (www.randrlife.co.uk), 2 (www.corrieblog.tv), 3 (www.telegraph.co.uk),  extra finger (usatoday.com).

Foods That Fly, Run Marathons, and Make My Pee Stink

Summer is the perfect time for trying to eat healthier.  Lots of weird fruits to try.  Walmart had a mound of Dragon Fruits the other day–can’t wait to try mine.  Hope they’re an actual fruit and  not something that has been food growing next to a Japanese Nuclear Power Plant.  The price of produce this time of year is a lot easier on the wallet too.  I no longer have to re-mortgage my house to buy a beefsteak tomato, a bundle of asparagus, and some blueberries.  (I live in Canada.  The only thing we can grow in the winter is snow).

But there is a downside to consuming large quantities of fruits and vegetables.  For one thing, broccoli and cabbage stink when they’re boiled.  Forget grenades and machine guns.  Just wave a pot of cabbage water at the enemy and they will flee in terror for sure.  My house perpetually smells like a fart.  (Admittedly, not all of that can be blamed on the cabbage water).  Cruciferous veggies produce noxious gases, it seems, that must escape the body.  Noisily.  And with lethal consequences.  (Note to self: Adopt elderly dog to serve as scapegoat.  Or maybe an actual goat?  To scape?)  (Another note to self: google how term “scapegoat” came about.  Did it involve a goat?)

And, to make matters worse, this “healthy eating” is affecting my pee.  Holy crap!  Asparagus urine reeks.  The only thing worse than peeing out a river of asparagus juice at home is having to do it in a public washroom.  I swear the lady beside me must think I have something seriously wrong with my plumbing.  It’s all I can do  not to scream out, “It’s the asparagus’s fault.”  But, knowing me, I couldn’t just stop there.  I’d wind up in a through-the-stall rant about what this healthy eating is doing to my home and my innards–not to mention my social life–and that my husband has recently developed a hankering for beets and that, next, I’ll have to deal with beet-coloured pee staining the toilet bowl.

Rather than risk this, I simply let them think that my urinary tract is rotting.

1)  TV shows and movies often portray displeased audiences as violent, produce-hurling delinquents who, for some reason, always have a  tomato or two on hand for tossing.  I would never throw a tomato at someone–even if they were assaulting my ears with jazz fusion.  (Apologies to jazz fusion fans.  It is just not my cup-of-tea.  Nor is Country.  Great, now I have to apologize to the Country fans.  Note to self: shut up before you alienate your entire blog audience.)

If you are going to hit someone with something from  the produce section, at least a tomato is soft.  It is one of the edible orbs that most closely mimics the Nerf ball.  An orange does not.  An orange would hurt.  A lot.

So, naturally, humans have created a Carnival that revolves around exactly that–pelting other humans with non-Nerf-like balls.  ORANGES.

In the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, citizens and tourists alike come out to mark this festival with a very strange origin.  Apparently in the 12th or 13th century (the story varies from one source to another), a tyrant from a powerful family attempted to rape a young commoner on her wedding night.  He was unsuccessful as she decapitated him.  Not with an orange, by the way.

If you wish to participate in this tradition, seek help.  Sorry.  Those things just keep popping out of my head and down to my fingers.  Seriously, if you wish to play, you must join a team.  Tourists are warned to wear a red hat, which apparently serves as a “leave me out of it” symbol.  Heaven help anyone who isn’t made aware of this fact.  I, personally, would opt for a red goalie mask–but I’m Canadian.  Rumour has it that we never leave home without one.

2)  I love berries, but I hate the fact that they often come with their own wardrobes–fur coats.  Well, I may have stumbled upon a cure.

Using 1 part vinegar (white or cider work best) and 10 parts water, submerge berries and give them a good wash.  Apparently, vinegar is an enemy to mould spores and inhibits their growth.

Your little berries will remain “coatless” for much longer, giving you more time to scarf’em down.  YAY!

3)  It’s not every day you see a man with pasty white legs and black sport socks–and, oh ya–dressed up as a banana.  It’s even rarer that you see one running a marathon.  That’s exactly what Patrick Wightman of the United Kingdom did in March of 2011.

He managed a Guinness World Record-setting time of 2 hr 58 min 20 seconds at the Barcelona Marathon–the fastest time ever recorded for someone dressed up as a fruit.  There were others?  Wightman chose the banana shape because it was more stream-lined.  So, it wasn’t merely because he looked fab in yellow.

The “fastest marathon dressed as a vegetable” is held by a carrot.  No, really.

In Wightman’s defence, he did this for charity.

The following are random strangely-shaped produce.  I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to eat any of these.  Firstly, they’re freaky weird mutations.  And, secondly, some of them are just way too cute.  I don’t want to eat anything that’s cute.  That’s why I have a lot of turkey and crustaceans.  They have faces only their mothers could love.

Photo credits:  Orange fight (themagazine.ca), Berries (http://ottawaraw.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/beauty-in-the-raw/) Banana man (thisiskent.co.uk), Duck cucumber (FotosUp.com), Weird hand (nocutnews.co.kr), Tomato duck (xcitefun.net), Potato bear (FotosUp.com), Weird goose & pepper snake (xcitefun.net).

Garlic Breath, Mutant Dogs, and Mints that go “Oink”

I have had killer bad breath since last Thursday.  Don’t get me wrong–I brush my teeth.  And my tongue.  I even gargle.  No tongue fur or plaque stucco here.  I blame it completely on garlic.

I recently learned that a spinach crepe is not nearly as innocuous as it sounds.  Apparently the flavour of spinach is greatly enhanced by garlic–lots of garlic.  It’s not that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy my crepe.  I did.  Even my subsequent burps were scrumptious.

The Caesar Salad that I had later on in the day was totally my fault.  Even the crispy blocks of heaven–otherwise known as croutons–were doused in the naughty spice.

By that evening, dogs were crossing the street to avoid me.  Birds fell from the sky.  I couldn’t even coax a mosquito to bite me.  (Note to self:  look into viability of garlic-based bug repellent).  And my poor husband avoided me like the Bubonic Plague.

On the up-side, I did gain control of the TV remote.  And I got the bed to myself.  Really, my breath was THAT bad.

Well, it is now Monday and my halitosis has finally departed.  For now.  Four Weddings Canada is on later in the week and I really want the remote.  Garlic & Parmesan Twistos, anyone?

1)  Dogs notoriously have bad breath–and it’s not from garlic.  It would stand to reason that the bigger the dog, the bigger the mouth, and, therefore, the bigger the breath problem.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure there is a Chihuahua out there with breath that could kill a skunk–all those spicy Mexican food scraps.

This…um…dog is the Guinness World Record’s tallest dog in the world.  Look at him.  He’s practically a mutant.  “Giant George” the Great Dane of Tucson, Arizona stands 43 inches tall.  He consumes 110 pounds of food each month and has his very own queen-sized bed.  He has appeared on Oprah and now has his own book out.  This dog really is worth his weight in gold.

If you’d like to buy George’s book, you can purchase it here (although I am not clear as to how a dog actually writes a book.  He doesn’t even have hands):  http://www.amazon.com/Giant-George-Life-Worlds-Biggest/dp/1455511455#_

2)  My garlic breath was tough.  No amount of Listerine, Sensodyne, or Cool Mint gum could kill it.  Apparently, I should have tried a slab of bacon.  Huh.

Meet Uncle Oinker’s Savory Bacon Mints.  I never thought I’d use the words “bacon” and “mint” in the same sentence.  Just one question–if bacon has the power of a mint, how come the bacon bits in my Caesar Salad didn’t freshen up my mouth?  Maybe it’s only the bacon/mint combination that works.

Please note that unlike the chocolate/tomato bar, the square watermelon, and the girlfriend pillow, this invention cannot be blamed on the Japanese.  If you’d like to buy a pack or two of these rare delicacies (I’m sure they are a delicacy to someone somewhere), you can get them here:  http://www.mcphee.com/shop/products/Bacon-Mints.html

1440 Facebook users “like” this product.  Honest.

3)   Onions are a major perpetrator of breath infractions.  Not that it’s onion’s fault.  I’m sure it would rather live than be sliced or diced and made in to food.

In honour of the sacrifice that onions have made in the name of flavour, here are a few onion facts:

  • -Libyans eat more onions per capita than any other country.  Apparently, their consumption works out to 66.8 pounds of onions per person each year.  I hope they also consume a lot of mints.  Note to self: purchase portable iron lung machine prior to vacationing in Libya.  In comparison, the average American will eat 20 pounds of onions in a year.
  • -It has been said (mainly by an old English Rhyme) that the onion has the ability to predict the weather.  Let’s face it, any vegetable could do a better job than the average weather man.  Rumour has it that a thin skin predicts a nice winter, but a thick skin means a harsh one.
  • -Apparently, onions and potatoes do not play well together.  According to the Centre for Disease Control, “do not place onions near potatoes because potatoes give off moisture and produce a gas that causes onions to spoil more quickly.”  What happens if you eat raw potato with onion?  Will you explode?  Hmm.
And here is a Burger King advertisement that disrespects the onion, yet elevates the pickle.  
“If you hear an onion ring, answer it.” -Anonymous

Photo Credits:  Giant George (bedlingtondogs.blogspot.ca), Uncle Oinkers( blogs.villagevoice.com/forkintheroad), Onion Boy (myfunnyeye.blogspot.ca), Airport check (slog.thestranger.com).

An Okra, An Artichoke, and a Mitt With No Ears

I love mascots.  Seriously, for me, they are the highlight of any sporting event.  Who doesn’t love an animal or inanimate object that stands on all fours and, for the most part, acts human.  Well, like a very hyper, Ritalin-needing human.  That doesn’t speak.  And seems to require constant attention.

The truth is–I WANT to be a mascot.  Perhaps not a sports mascot.  I’d live in fear of the other team’s fans.  I’d like to be an advertising mascot.  Well, on nice mild days.  Those costumes must be a bitch in the heat.  The head probably absorbs sweat like a sponge.  It would probably weigh a ton by the end of the day with all that water-weight.  And what if it hasn’t been dry-cleaned since the last person’s perspiration oozed all over it?  Ew!

Okay, so my mascot dreams do have limitations.  But on a not-too-hot and not-too-cold summer day with a zero probability of precipitation, I would love to dress up as something cute with eyes.

I once got to spend a day as the Planter’s Peanut.  That was fun.  Who doesn’t love a monocled nut?  Or is a peanut a legume?  Doesn’t matter.  The fact is that I got to be a fictional and beloved character for a day.  I admit that the costume wasn’t exactly designed for someone who is as “vertically challenged” as I am.  Mr. Peanut had no legs.  Just a body and feet.

I had the opportunity to be an Instant Teller Machine once, but, of course, I was too short.  Apparently, Instant Tellers are at least 5’7″.  Isn’t there a law against height discrimination?  Is there a mascot union that I can file some sort of grievance with?  At least I can take comfort in the fact that the whole Instant Teller mascot thing was cancelled.  The tall people just didn’t want to do it.  Go figure.

1)  So, I decided to look up some mascots on-line and choose my next gig.  I discovered that produce-based mascots are all the rage.  Particularly with sports teams.  This seems strange to me.  I hadn’t realized that vegetables have so much street cred.  I’ll have to keep a closer eye on my tossed salad.  God only knows what trouble such a large group of greens could get in to.  Peer pressure.

Here’s a sampling of what I found.   

I am partial to Artie, but I doubt he intimidates his foes.  Not only is he an edible fellow with a cute name, but he has a so-dopey-looking-he’s-got-to-be-a-nice-guy smile and the same stance and mannerisms as Barney.  The dinosaur, not Rubble.

In case it isn’t obvious, the WuShock is a manly bale of wheat.

2)  There are a lot of product mascots that I love.  If I am completely honest, my “mascot bucket list” (I can’t believe that I just admitted I have one of those in a public forum) would include poking the doughboy’s belly, partying with Red and Yellow M&M, shaking the Hamburger Helper Hand, opening the door for the Excel Gum garlic (and teaching the donut some yoga for better balance), and punching the Snuggle bear.  I know that last bit sounds cruel, but come on–he’s nauseating and spends way too much time in women’s laundry.

I would, however, give the Burger King ‘King’ a very wide birth.  He’s just creepy.  For one thing, he parts his hair in the middle, which only highlights the large cow-lick he has on each side of his head.  Plus, he has no bottom teeth.  He supposedly lives on burgers, so how the hell does he chew them?

Plus, I would never trust him around my children.

Well, Burger King seems to think that children and adults alike will want to dress up as their social deviant “royal.”  This horrific mask is available in several sizes.  If you’d like to buy one, seek help.  (Oops, did I say that out loud?)  You can purchase this here:  http://www.buycostumes.com/Burger-King-King-Mask-Adult/27401/ProductDetail.aspx

3)  In my opinion, the Arby’s Oven Mitt was awesome.  Despite the fact that his voice belonged to Tom Arnold.  It’s not the mitt’s fault.

Oven Mitt wasn’t around for very long, which I really don’t understand.  Ronald McDonald was employed for years and let’s face it–clowns are creepy and he is creepy even by clown standards.  And don’t even get me started on the Noid.

My favourite commercial starring this beloved mitt is the one where he attempts to wear glasses, but discovers (much to his shock and dismay) that he has no ears.

I did, however, find this gem:

So, if you require a mascot to dress up as something cute with eyes, but is shorter than the average mascot, and in no way resembles a clown, let me know.  Just get the costume dry-cleaned first.

Photo Credits: WuShock & Artie (10awesome.com), Okra (sports.yahoo.com), Kernel (Grand Forks Herald), Oven Mitt (Flickr-Roger Coss).

Blowing Bubbles in the Shower with my Meatball

What year did Jesus think it was?”  George Carlin

I did something really strange yesterday.  I had a shower, while chewing gum.  Thankfully, one does not need to “walk” in the shower.  I wasn’t in the mood to disprove any old adages–I had simply forgotten to spit my gum out.  Plus, it was one of those new-fangled dessert gums–apple pie, to be exact.  I like to chew every last bit of aspartame-enhanced flavour out of that one.

Being in the shower with gum in my mouth was a really weird experience.  Not sure why.  Maybe it was the constant threat of getting water on my gum.  For some reason, I feared that getting my gum wet would dry it up.  (Pause, while I scratch my head).  Despite that irrational fear, I cheekily blew a bubble and was suddenly transported back to my Grandfather’s house.  Five-year-old me was sitting at the kitchen table beside the window with all the Red Rose Tea figurines perched on its sill.  Grandad is seated across from me.  There is a bird outside whistling and I am making a pitiful attempt to mimic it.  I’m pretty sure that this attempt involved a lot of flying spit and heavy blowing.  My breath probably wasn’t minty sweet either.  Five-year-olds hate to brush their teeth.

My grandfather decides he is going to teach me to whistle.  Sounds sweet, right?  I guess it was, but, unfortunately, this pivotal moment in my life would forever hamper my whistling future.  Never would I be able to enter whistling competitions and tweet out a symphony.  Nor would I ever be able to hail a taxi with an authoritative toot.  No, I whistle just like my Grandad.  And what we do, as I found out years later, can’t really be called a whistle at all.  For one thing, my upper lip totally covers the lower one–a far cry from the lip-symmetry displayed by professional whistlers.  And, for another thing, our whistle is monotone.  I don’t know what note it is in, but it’s not an overly useful one.

This brings me to another relative’s attempt to teach me a new trick–please note that I was the only grandchild and niece for the first twelve years of my life; therefore, everyone clamoured to “educate” me.  Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks, but with people.

My uncle decided he wanted me to learn how to make a whistling sound (what is it with my family and whistling?) by using a blade of grass pressed between my thumbs.  I never did master this either (what is it with me and my lack of mouth coordination?), but I did get a series of grass-cuts–much worse than their paper-induced cousins–on my lips.  And my tongue (I’m a slow learner).

Another uncle tried to teach me how to catch a football.  I broke my thumb.

So, I decided to teach myself how to blow bubbles with my gum.  This was the era of Bubble Yum, a superb gum for making balloon-like bubbles.  Basically, any idiot could do it.  Even me.  And even in the shower.

Speaking of Bubble Yum, this commercial jingle still gets lodged in my mind every now and then.  Right now would be one of those times.  Ugh.  Get it lodged in your head here: 

1)  Which brings me to this riveting little piece of information.  The World Guinness Book of Records title-holder for the largest bubblegum bubble ever is Alabama resident, Chad Fell.  His bubble reached a diameter of 50.8 cm or 20 inches.  As someone who never truly grasped any of the concepts taught to her in geometry, this means absolutely nothing to me.  Thank God for pictures.  That is one hell of a big bubble.  But I think the picture after it popped would have been more telling.

It’s probably clever of him to protect his hair with a hat, but why the hell does he sport a beard?

2) And just in case you are completely bored with regular gumball-machine variety gum, someone has come up with the ultimate combination–meat & gum.  Thankfully, this gum doesn’t taste like hamburger.  It just tastes like bubble gum.  Regular pink gum.  But if you really want to try this or freak out your friends, you can order yourself a box here:


Spearmint, Peppermint, and Cinnamon are the most popular gum flavours in the world, today.  Interesting, considering that the first mass-produced gum was based on spruce gum.  Mmmm…tastes like tree.  And don’t spruces need their gum?

3)  The thing that fascinated me most while writing this gum blog, is the fact that there is an International Chewing Gum Association.  Seriously.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  Apparently, the gum manufacturers of the world need to associate.

I had to investigate further.  It would appear that this organization likes to brag about gum.  Not only is gum great for oral hygiene and providing a low-calorie treat, but it  is also a “delivery vehicle for dietary supplements and even medication” (their words, not mine).  This confused me immensely and then I recalled Aspergum.  I used to love Aspergum.  It is orange.

4)  And this blog wouldn’t be complete without a reference to ABC gum–what grade-schoolers’ call “Already Been Chewed” gum.

Seattle is home to the world’s greatest “nose-thumbing” at grade-school teachers everywhere.  Forget sticking your glob of masticated Juicy Fruit under your desk.  In Seattle, you can stick it to the wall beside the Market Theatre in the Pike Place Market.  Cool.  And then you can call it “art.”  Even cooler.  And, then, your little glob of gum will become part of a tourist attraction and visitors from all over will take pictures of it.

And no one will make you scrape it off and wear it on your nose.

Photo Credits:  Bubble (www.guinnessworldrecords.com), Wall (Wikipedia).

Fish Heads, Canoe Heads, and Ones That Wear Suction Cups

Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!”  Steven Wright.

Some humans have way too much time on their hands.  Like bloggers, for example.  But at least we try to put this excess time to good use, entertaining and educating the masses.  Or at least that’s what we say to justify what we do.  Or at least that’s what I say to justify what I do.  I’m still not sure if anyone believes me though.

I could be doing much worse things with the extra hours in my day–I could sing a song about decapitated fish heads and dress them up in assorted outfits.  Right now, you are probably thinking that this is just some random, weird thought that I just pulled out of my head.  I wish.  In actuality, the comedy duo, Barnes & Barnes, did just this. In 1980, this video was everywhere…and my adolescent self thought this was very entertaining.  Now, I just find it disturbing.  Seriously, someone had to collect a pile of smelly fish heads and, then, find fish-cranium-appropriate Little League outfits, knitted sweaters, and someone who would actually consent to dead fish parts be placed on their drums.  And how did they ever convince Chip & Dale to do the vocals?

If you would like to see this video in it’s entirety, go here.  Warning: the actual song doesn’t start until past the two minute mark.

And, it would appear, that some of my fellow Canadians had a little too much time on their hands–and, perhaps, a wee bit too much to drink.  I admit that I love to canoe.  And I have had to portage from time-to-time.  And that I have often wondered what would happen if, while I am balancing my canoe over my head, I am struck by lightning.  Apparently, someone else entertained this thought too–and turned this thought into a character on the comedy show Four on the Floor.  The character, of course, was called “Mr. Canoehead.”  And, surprise, surprise, it was aired in 1986.  The 80s were strange.

To watch Mr. Canoehead’s inaugural episode, click on this:  

1) Fish Heads, Canoe Heads–I see a pattern developing here, so I might as well run with it.

As this blog has shown, the Japanese are a very innovative people.  The have a solution for every problem.  I, for instance, am a pretty dumb commuter.  Like the woman pictured here, I love to sleep on the bus, but I have failed to adopt bus-ride-head-protection-safety-gear.  I actually didn’t even know that such a thing existed.  I usually rest my head on the window, which results in my head pounding against the glass at every bump or turn.  (Can repeated small blows to the head inflict brain damage? Hmm.  That could explain a few things.)

She, however, is a  genius.  Why didn’t I think of suction-cupping my head to the pane of glass?  And, just in case she doesn’t wake up at her stop, she has posted a sign on her forehead telling other passengers where she is supposed to get off.  Not only is she clever at preventing head injuries, but she has also found a way to shirk her passenger-ly responsibilities.

I, however, cannot read in a moving vehicle without vomiting, so I wouldn’t be able to look at her sign at all, let alone know when to wake her up.  And wouldn’t her helmet give her her hat-head?

2)  I thought my allergies were a bitch, but then I came across an ailment called “Exploding Head Syndrome.”  Seriously, I will never joke around about my head exploding again–no matter how much snot I have in my sinuses and no matter how much pounding my migraines cause.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  People who suffer from this affliction do not actually experience the rupturing of their craniums (what is the plural of cranium, anyway?)  Rather, they hear extremely loud noises much like a gunshot, a roar, or a scream.  The noises come from “inside” the head.  And they usually occur when the person first falls asleep or within the first two ours of sleep.

Is it just me or does this condition sound freaky?  Voices in the head are bad enough–particular if that voice sounds like Fran Drescher.  But even she’s slightly more soothing that the sound of bombs or guns going off.  I repeat–slightly.  This would be enough to make me never want to sleep again.  Ever.  And I love sleep.

3) I couldn’t do a blog dedicated to heads without including an ode to the best one of all–The Mayor in Tim Burtons The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I have always loved both of this politician’s faces–his happy one and his stressed out one.

I just discovered that his voice was provided by the late Glenn Shadix (pictured here), an actor that has a very familiar face for good reason.  I remember him as Otho on Beetlejuice, Harold (Jerry’s landlord) on Seinfeld, and, of course, as the mayor of Halloween Town.  His list of credits is quite lengthy.

Shadix passed away at the young age of 58 due to a fall that caused blunt trauma to his head.

For a glimpse of his character in The Nightmare Before Christmas, click on this: 

This post wouldn’t be complete without at least one Bobblehead.  And who’s a bigger Bobblehead than Dwight Shrute?  (Rhetorical question.  Please do not answer.)  If you’d like to buy this bobblehhead of Dwight Shrute, you can visit Dwight Shrute Bobblehead at NBC.  I’d love to know if anyone actually has this Bobblehead or any other strange ones.  

Well, enough of this “heady” topic.

Photo Credits:  Subway Sleeper (www.weirdworm.com), Exploding Head (fishinmama.blogspot.ca), Glenn Shadix (aveleyman.com), anteater (http://justoutsidetheboxcartoon.com/tag/brain/)

My Phone: I Can Throw It, Smoke It, and Put It In a Song

Two guys walk into a bar. You’d think one of them would have seen it.”  Daniel Lybra

I am not a fan of the cell phone as many of you know.  I realize that it does have its uses.  It has allowed distraught husbands to call home and check that they are picking up the right brand of  tampons.  It has allowed for the creation of many viral and highly embarrassing videos.  And, according to CSI Miami, you should always have one in case you wind up being kidnapped in the trunk of a car.  (Sorry, had to click to CSI Miami link and ogle David Caruso for a minute).  Damn.  In typing last sentence, discovered that I now had the opportunity to create David Caruso link, so had to do some more ogling!)  Must focus.

For the most part, cell phones (and, apparently David Caruso sites) have made us rude.  We ignore the “present-in-the-flesh” people around us, while we text and twitter with everyone else.  We turn the highways and bi-ways into death traps as we text, talk, and drive.  And we light up movie theatres with our little telephone screens–who has time to watch a movie with so many texts to text?

Rather than rant and annoy the snot out of myself, I have decided to dedicate today’s blog to the telephone in all its glory–most of it being former glory.

1)  This woman appears to be quite annoyed with her cell phone.  Perhaps when she asked “can you hear me now?,” no one replied.  I have to admit, I’ve often felt like doing this to my phone.  It’s one of those runaway touch screens that never seems to stop on  the contact that you want and always seems to dial someone that you don’t want–and they are always long distance–and it’s always during prime time.  And it never gets any reception in Walmart.  What the hell do they make those walls with anyway?  Plutonium?  But no matter how irked my phone may make me, and no matter how often I entertain thoughts of backing over it with my car, I would never actually “hurt” it.  At least, not until my contract is up.

This woman pictured here, however, makes it her business to hurl mobiles.  She is a participant in the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, a Scandinavian tradition that is growing in popularity.  I knew we all secretly hated these intrusive devices.  The World Record for the longest throw is 95.83 meters and is held by Brit, Chris Hughff.  There are four different categories in which to compete, but I think the most interesting would be the freestyle category.  This allows contestants to choreograph interesting manoeuvres for their mobile devices.  Yes, some phone-tosses can be more esthetically pleasing than others.  Apparently.

For a phone introduction to phone throwing, watch this video:  

2)  Okay…this is the coolest thing ever.  At least, I think it is.  Bare in mind, my life is boring.

This is a little tidbit that I learned at mashable.com and I had fun verifying its accuracy.  So, here are the rules.  Take any regular seven-digit phone number.  Multiply the first three digits by 80. Add one. Multiply that by 250. Then, add the last four digits of the original phone number. Add the last four digits again. Subtract 250.  Divide by two.  And presto!!!

Seriously, try it with all of your friends’ numbers too.  It will work every time.

And this picture makes me miss rotary dial phones.  But I don’t miss dialling (that word looks like it isn’t spelled properly, but spell-check claims it is) numbers with lots of nines and zeroes.  They always kept the tips of your nails smooth though.

3)  The 80s were a blast.  Big hair gelled into crunchy, immovable heights, then further solidified with a blast of French Formula or Final Net hairspray.  We thought we were cool.  Men wore gem-tones without shame.  Women wore ties.  And innocent people were unceasingly harassed–their lives made unbearable by the never-ending ringing of their phones.

All across the country, people with different area codes were united by one common bond–the ill fortune of having the phone number “867-5309.”  And Heaven forbid, they were also named “Jenny.”

If you want to hear the song that created this communications mess, go here:

Other phone numbers have proven troublesome over the years thanks to film or song.  In “Bruce Almighty,” God contacted Jim Carrey from the phone number 776-2323…again with no area code.    Ironically, in one area code this phone number belonged to a church that had a pastor named Bruce.  The DVD version of the film was edited to contain the number 555-0123 instead.

Why do TV shows and movies use phone numbers that start with 555?  Officially, the numbers 555-0100 to 555-0199 are reserved for fictional use.  There is only one toll-free number reserved for fictional purposes–1-800-555-0199.  Other 555 numbers are intended for Directory Assistance applications.

3)  I know that it’s the “in” thing to have your phone number convert into a catchy mnemonic.  To me, that would make sense if regular phones had QWERTY keypads as diallers.  Now we have to remember the letters, convert them one-at-a-time back into numbers, and I’m sorry, but that’s just way too much work.  The number 9 belongs to four letters.  And I hate it when businesses list their phone numbers mnemonically in the yellow pages.  I am looking for a phone number.  Not another advertising message encrypted into their phone number.  If I am calling you, I already know what product you are selling–and odds are, I am already sold.  But if you tick me off by making the phonecall, itself, too complicated, I might dial the other guy.  The one that lists his phone number as seven simple digits.

But, just for kicks, I had to put my phone number, my mobile number, my husband’s mobile number, and my parents’ number into this neat “convert your digits to words” service called Phone Spell.  None of these numbers, by the way, turned into anything that I would actually use.  Some references to kiwis (which I am allergic to), someone named Liz, and a spa (I wish).   You can give it a try at:   http://www.phonespell.org/

4) Years ago, I bought my father what I thought would be the coolest Father’s Day present ever–a phone that looked like a duck decoy.  It even quacked.  Unfortunately, a few years later, we heard that land-line phones that had the receiver in the earpiece caused brain cancer.  Bye duck.

Let’s face it.  Humans love to turn everyday objects into something else.  Egg timers that look like eggs with eyes.  I admit to owning one of these.  Kleenex box covers that look like the Easter Island rocks–I have one.  The Kleenex comes out of his nose.  Pot holders that look like beaks.  Got those.  And a gnome that is actually a watering can.  Don’t have one, but have been eyeing one at Canadian Tire.   Hmmm.  Maybe I’m the only one that loves everyday objects that look like something else.

And now, humans have the option of purchasing a cell phone that looks like a pack of Marlboros.  And if you smoke, while you’re on the phone, you can get brain cancer and lung cancer simultaneously.  Now that’s cool.

Photo Credits:  Phone Thrower (flickr husin.sani),  Retro Phone (remodelista.com), Jenny (tweentribune.com). Phone Spell logo (phonespell.org), cigarette phone (newlaunches.com), Life in the Future (DryBonesBlog.com).

Homer the Crow, Larry the Lobster, and the Zillion Dollar Omelette

“If one synchronised swimmer drowns, do all the rest have to drown too?”  Steven Wright.  

What does it mean when you hear a voice in your head and this voice sounds like Homer Simpson screaming?  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t usually hear voices.  It’s just that lately, whenever I step outside, I hear this piercing screech, much like the noise that the Simpson clan’s father figure made when he fell off the cliff.  And then out of the ambulance and off the cliff again.

I am comforted by the fact that my husband hears this voice too.  We both can’t be nuts.  Or can we?  They say that women who hang around together experience the synchronization of their menstrual cycles.  Maybe this is like that, but without the bloating and cramps.  Maybe my husband and I have concurrent periods of insanity.

This unsettling thought spurred us forward to seek out the source of this bizarre noise.  We soon realized that it seemed to be coming from the sky.  And it was not the sound of angels.  The noise seemed to pass over us intermittently.  Strange.

And then, we spotted it.  The source of our confusion.  We would not have to look in to the acquisition of a padded cell or his & her straight jackets, after all.

It was an everyday crow with a really strange caw.  Poor fellow.  What a horrible voice for a crow to be afflicted with.  I’m sure the other crows make fun of him.

Today, June 15th, is officially Lobster Day.  I had no idea that lobsters had their own day.  I guess it seems only fair.  We do dunk them into boiling hot water and listen to them scream.

In honour of this tasty crustacean, I think we should learn a few lobster facts.  So, here we go:

Lobsters taste with their feet.  So, this means their food all tastes like their feet.  Sorry, my feet may smell like parmesan, but they sure as heck don’t taste like it.  They taste like foot.  Or so I have concluded.  I haven’t actually tasted my feet.  And I don’t eat floor food–five second rule or not.  Floor food has been where my feet have been.

A lobster’s brain is in its throat.  That must be very uncomfortable.  Wouldn’t you experience a constant a-hem?  Would a hiccup cause a stroke?

Lobsters breathe through gills on their legs.  I’m glad my nose isn’t on my legs.  Too close to my farts.

You are already aware of my fascination for ordinary things made big, so it only makes sense that I feature a giant crustacean.  The photo above is Larry The Lobster, a 17 metre tall tourist attraction made of steel and fibreglass.   He stands proudly in Kingston SE, South Australia.

We are used to the traditional red lobster.  Heck, they even named a restaurant chain after them.  But in the cold waters that extend from England to Morocco, you can find the blue lobster.  This Smurfy lobster’s bright colouring makes him vulnerable to predators.  Plus, he is supposed to be even yummier than his North American counterparts, so humans are willing to pay big bucks to chew on his claws.  I would still never eat at a place called Blue Lobster.  A little too Green Eggs and Ham.

Okay.  This just goes to show that there are some people that have more money than brains.  Meet the “Zillion Dollar Omelette”–10 oz. of American Sturgeon Caviar, an entire lobster, a whole lot of egg, chives, cream, and more.  All this for a “mere” $1000. US.  Only available at Norma’s in Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Manhattan.

How am I ever going to face my boring PB on toast breaky tomorrow morning?  So pedestrian.

Apparently, about 12 people order this each year.  If you want to have a less expensive (and less decadent) version, you can have a scaled down, 1 oz of caviar omelette for $100.

And if a little lobster doesn’t have enough to worry about–being eaten by other sea creatures, being boiled in a pot, or winding up in a rich person’s omelette–they have incredibly horrible mating rituals.  They pee in each other’s faces–apparently, this is a turn-on.  It also allows the male to know that he has, indeed, found himself a female lobster.  If he is in the mood, he’ll flip her over and they’ll assume the missionary position.  Seriously.  But, if she isn’t in the mood–perhaps she has a headache (Would this be in the throat, where her brain is?  Or is it because he just pee’d on her head)–she will not allow herself to be flipped.  And the male will have to gulp down some liquid and pee on someone else’s head.

Photo Credits:  Larry the Lobster (TripAdvisor), blue lobster (justonemorepet.wordpress.com), omelette (dailymail.co.UK), BOB ( by Jeff Pert, Mike Lynch Cartoons), Stupid (Jeff Pert Cartoons).

TomTom, 5 Little Pins, A Confusing Comic, and the Best Ice Cubes Ever

“I got this powdered water – now I don’t know what to add.”  Steven Wright.  

When Mike and I were driving home from Ottawa yesterday, we wound up smack-dab in the middle of two New Hampshire-plated TomTom mapping vehicles.  They had massive metal contraptions on their roofs that looked like 360 degree (I can’t find the “degree” symbol on my keyboard) cameras.  I, of course, had to wave frantically.  How often do you get to be a TomTom sandwich?

The vehicles looked just like this one that was spotted in Colchester, Vermont, which also has New Hampshire plates.  So, somewhere out there, in TomTom’s head office, someone is busily editing out the footage of the stupid red-headed girl frantically flapping her appendages at the green Toyota.  Isn’t that why they have big orange hands painted on them in the first place?  Aren’t they encouraging us to wave?

The great thing about waiting in the doctor’s office for an extended period of time is that I had a huge selection of magazines (albeit ones from several decades ago that sickly hospital hands have touched.  I hope you appreciate the perils I face in the name of knowledge).  Magazines are a great source of useless information.  And I thrive on useless information.  So, here’s what I found out:

1)  The first magazine I encountered was a ratty and aged edition of Canadian Living.  I’m almost certain that many Bubonic humans have coughed and sputtered all over this one.  This isn’t usually my type of fare, but I did manage to find a good pasta recipe (which I surreptitiously ripped out, folded into neat squares, and slipped into my purse).  Oops.  Did I do that?

With my trusty recipe in hand (or in purse), I soldiered on and learned something very interesting…Canadians have invented some pretty cool stuff.

Loyal readers were presented with a poll which contained a list of “5 Cool Canadian Inventions” and asked to vote on what their favourite was.  Here are the results:

1.  Zipper  (Without Canadians, the world would probably have Velcro flies and that would just be weird).

2.  Blackberry  (Sorry, but I’m not a fan of the whole “cell-phone-permanently-attached-to-the-face” craze, so this would be at the bottom of my list.  But it is nice that iPhones have some competition).

3.  Ski-Doo  (No surprise here).

4.  Walkie-Talkie  (The precursor to the cellphone.  Damn, we are to blame.)

5.  5-Pin Bowling  (I voted for this, but apparently, I am alone in my appreciation for this Canadian invention.  But, seriously, it’s way cool!  Smaller balls that fit nicely in little hands.  And, if you grew up on the Flintstones like I did, you will know that the 10-pin bowling ball can inflict all sorts of damage to your foot or to your best friend’s head.  Plus, it is way easier to keep score in the Canuck version.  Even I can manage adding up to 15).

2)  The next little gem comes to you care of Chatelaine magazine.  Again, this isn’t my favourite, but it also added some great recipes to my handbag.  Seriously, who could resist Chicken, Mango, & Brie Quesadillas?  Not this girl.

I have never been a fan of ice cubes.  If a beverage has been in the fridge, I will forego the ice cube every time.  It just makes your drink watery.  If I want a watery drink, I’ll drink water.

Turns out that everyone I know and every restaurant I have ever been to has been making ice all wrong.  To avoid flavour loss, you should make your ice out of the beverage that you will be putting it in.  Having a pitcher of ice tea?  Make ice cube with ice tea.  Who knew?  Like I said–no one.  Such an obvious solution too.

3)  One would think that a highbrow magazine like The New Yorker would be teeming with wonderful gems of knowledge.  Think again.  This magazine, for the most part, gave me a headache.  Seriously.

I remember an episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine struggled to understand a New Yorker cartoon and even after a lengthy discussion with the other characters, she was unable to decipher it.  Well, I now completely empathize with her conundrum.  For the life of me, I don’t get the humour in the comic pictured here.  Okay, so a guy is walking a bowling ball and a woman is walking her pins…10 of them, I might add.  Is this “love is just around the corner?”  Maybe.  Is it funny?  No.  It feels like a feeble and unfunny attempt to enter the bizarre (but humorous) world of Larson’s The Far Side and makes me beg the question–what does it mean?  Will they fall in love?  Or will his bowling ball pound the crap out of her pins?  Please…can someone explain this to me?  Seriously, I didn’t understand a single cartoon in the entire magazine and I really want to comprehend just one.

P.S.  Does anyone know how to do a degree sign in Word?

Bird Feet, Burger Beds, Bad Bites, and an English Lesson

If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.” – Robin Williams

The English language never ceases to fascinate me…must be the English Teacher in me.  Today, I have decided to be awed by words that sound like their meaning.  I know.  This linguistic phenomenon  has a name–onomatopoeia.  Good luck with pronouncing that one, by the way.

When I think of these types of words, my old MAD magazines come to mind.  Those babies were full of them.  Apparently, a knight being pierced by a sword goes “plortch.”  “Ack” is both the sound of people coughing and Native Americans being shot at.  And in a clever play on words, “Barroom” was the sound of a balloon being fired out of a gun in a saloon.

The old Batman TV show wasn’t as clever in its use of onomatopoeia, but it certainly offered quantity–regularly filling the entire screen with brightly coloured font bearing words like “kapow,” “splatt,” and “biff.”

Yes, inflicting bodily harm on someone makes funny noises and I appreciate these writers’ attempts to fully capture the moments.  I, however, am partial to words like mucous, phlegm, puke, or puss.  These words sound like the objects they are.  Fungus, sputum, diphtheria, diarrhoea, and louse are equally effective.

Some words, however, are far too cute for their meanings.  A bunion sounds like a cuddly, little, furry creature that everyone should want.  A carbuncle sounds like it should be fun.  And a dust bunny–well, you get the picture.  Words are weird.

1)  Nature shows disturb me.  Big animals are always chewing on smaller ones and, frankly, I just don’t see the entertainment value in watching that.  I know that it’s a big, bad, cruel world–particularly if you happen to be at the bottom of the food chain–but I prefer to pretend that the creatures in the wild live happily together.  Like the lions and zebras and penguins in Madagascar.  

So, when my husband began watching some big cat schmorgesborg of little furry things, I fled to the television in the bedroom and flicked on something benign like Third Rock from the Sun.  Turns out that I missed a scintillating little documentary about the life of a hummingbird.  Don’t worry though.  I received a complete synopsis over breakfast this morning.

Here are the highlights:

  • Hummingbirds, as we know, were built to fly–fast and furious.  In fact, 30% of a hummingbird’s weight is made up of flight muscles.  They can fly forwards, backwards, sideways and upside-down…upside-down?  Really?  I can’t even sit in the back seat of a car without throwing up.   And they can fly 25-30 mph.  Imagine doing that upside-down.
  • Hummingbirds, however, have very weak feet…an Achilles Heel of sorts.  These feet aren’t made for walkin’…perching, yes…walking, no.
  • And they have a metabolism that every woman would kill for–they can eat up to 8x their body weight every day!  I just look at a Glosette raisin and I gain ten pounds.  And, in order to meet their hefty caloric requirements, they visit an average of 1000 flowers per day.  This raises another question…who the hell is following these birds around and counting flora?  Furthermore, these little birds are FAST.  How do their stalkers keep up?  It all sounds a little fishy to me.

2)  Sometimes the Internet can turn up the most amazing things.  Well, this is not one of them.  But it is a story that sort of touched my heart.  It is the tale of a hamburger bed–a one of a kind–that spent its life in search of a friend.

Apparently, a young woman by the name of Kayla Kromer was a HUGE fan of hamburgers…so much so that she decided to create this hamburger bed. The 8′ in diameter, 3′ high, burger resided with her for 6 years and then, she did the unthinkable…she sold it on e-bay.  The burger moved to Chicago for a year and was put up for auction again.  It even achieved celebrity status thanks to Jay Leno.

Despite its beefcake appearance and fame, the burger bed was still alone in a world of king-sized squares.  And, then, along came Hamburger Harry and the Hamburger Museum.  Here, the Hamburger Bed has found true love in the form of the Cheeseburger Bed–a waterbed burger created by Harry, himself.  At last, Hamburger Bed has found a kindred spirit and he no longer sleeps alone.

3)  Okay, so the next time you are complaining about an onslaught of black flies or mosquitoes, I’d like you to think of this story that is fresh off the presses.

According to Canada.com’s The Province, a village in India has become the target of an attack by a herd (flock, swarm, or whatever it is called) of huge, hairy, venomous spiders.  Twelve people have been treated for bites and there are unconfirmed reports of two deaths.

Even scarier, specialists have no idea what type of spider this is.  It is tarantula-like, but is said to be very aggressive with powerful fangs.  Yikes. It’s not too often you hear “fangs” and “spider” in the same sentence.

Currently, they are fogging and spraying the area with insecticides.  I think I will go outside and hug a Daddy-Long-Legs.