Please Don’t Free That Willy

I recently learned an interesting little factoid. A blue whale’s fart bubble is large enough to encapsulate a horse. In this way, they are much like my husband’s farts. Except his are not ensconced in a protective layer of water and are more mushroom cloud-like.

mushroom cloud

“It was he who farted,” the villagers exclaimed as their town lay in ruins. “We will have to rebuild, but first–kill him.”

Pubs.usgs.gov

While images of giant whale farts seem cute and amusing, I find myself worrying about unsuspecting sea life and the impact that a giant fish colon blow can have on their lives.

spongebob

Which raises another question. Why can’t those people who sell CDs of supposed tranquility-inspiring whale songs include a few fart noises in the mix? I mean, come on. Sure whales make cool noises, but after a few minutes even the most talented diva in the pod becomes stale. A whale fart, however, never grows old.

I recently learned another interesting tidbit of info pertaining to whales. While playing a game of trivia at work (this was, of course, during the first ever, never-to-be-repeated-again moment in which we were being non-productive), it was discovered that the Blue Whale has a penis size of up to 10 feet in length. Now, I have heard that “once you go black, you never go back,” but apparently it should be “once you go blue, there’ll be nothing left of your wazoo.”

 

 

Fun with Words ~ Word Play Masters Invitational

This is my first official “reblog,” but I couldn’t resist. This is, after all, about WORDS (one of my favourite things) and it’s FUNNY (my other favourite thing).

And, if I had to come up with my own, it would be :
DUSTBUNION. A foot condition caused by walking in filth.

Life Is Like That

Reading your post, there are so many humorous writers out there.  This is a challenge for you.  Start putting on your thinking cap and join the fun. 
The Washington Post’s Mensa invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.   Here are the 2009 winners: 
1.     Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time. 
2.     Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole. 
3.     Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with. 
4.     Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly. 
5.     Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating…

View original post 184 more words

My Highly Dysfunctional, Obsessive Compulsive, Neurotic baby is ONE!

So, the Embiggens Project has finally reached it’s first birthday.  I feel bad because I have neglected my first born for the last month as a multitude of other projects have overwhelmed me.  And I feel even badder–I know that ‘s not a word, but it just feels right–that I have been out of touch with my blogging friends.  I think about you often and have been accumulating page after page of e-mail notifications about your posts.  And I will be reading them.  I promise.  The “delete” button and my finger shall never come in contact.

I have learned some really bizarre–and useless–things during my research for the Embiggens Project.  Not only have I grown new dendrites (I hope.  I’m sure the old ones were defective), but I have become quite a great conversationalist at parties.  Although I rarely have time for parties.  In fact, my blog has led to all types of great writing assignments.  Which have led to one hectic life.  Which has led to having no time for fun.  Or blogging.  So, in twelve short months, the Embiggens Project has annihilated my social life.  And, ironically, this blog has led to me having no time to blog.  It would appear that the Embiggens Project has suicidal tendencies.

But, I am determined to get back to my first born and give it the loving that it deserves.  I miss it.  And I miss you.  And I hope to rekindle our friendships.

And as a fitting tribute to my eldest child, I will give you a post from it’s little sibling “Searching for Barry Weiss.”

http://searchingforbarryweiss.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/does-barry-weiss-know-why-pen-lids-have-pointy-things-on-them/

 

Big Hugs and Lots of Love to you all,

Face Like A Frying Pan,  aka FLAFP or “Kim” in the three dimensional world

The “You Make My Day” Award

I love starting things.  Finishing them is a whole other thing.  So, I thought to myself, “Self.  What is something that I can start without having to finish?”  And, a-ha, it came to me.  Start a blogging award.  So, after a little bit of time on Paint, here it is…The You Make My Day Award.  

This award is designed to thank the bloggers that brighten, enlighten, or heighten your day.  

Receiving a prestigious award such as this does come with a few responsibilities.

First, one must thank the person who nominated them.

Second, you are required to answer the following 8 questions.

1)  Why do you blog?

2)  If you were trapped on a desert island, what book, DVD, food, cartoon character, and childhood game would you bring?

3) Share a funny joke or one-liner.

4) What is your favourite thing about your self?

5) What one word best describes you?

6)  If you could have a lifetime supply of any candy/candy bar, what would it be?

7)  What fictional character do you relate to most?

8)  If you were to write the story of your life, what would you call it?

And, last but definitely not least, nominate 8…yup, just 8…of your favourite blogs.  Be sure to let them know and share the instructions.

So, I am nominating:

1) http://familyhaikus.wordpress.com/

2) http://pickyniki.wordpress.com/

3) http://justoutsidetheboxcartoon.com/

4) http://onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com/

5) http://dottyheadbanger.wordpress.com/

6) http://motherhoodisanart.com/

7) http://palomasharma.wordpress.com/

8) http://kitchenslattern.com/

Thank you for Brightening, Enlightening, and Heightening My Days!!

This is just a sampling of the many awesome blogs that I have encountered.  Remember, I could only pick 8!!

“One Lovely Blog Award” for me? YAY!

I  am so excited.  I have just received the “One Lovely Blogger Award” from the awesomely witty http://allthingsboys.wordpress.com/.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.   Now, please visualize a short round person–let’s say a female Danny DeVito–doing cartwheels and backflips.  That’s me.  Watch me go.  I think I just pulled something.

Don’t worry.  My hands are fine.  Still able to type.

Apparently, I must now come up with another round of 7 Random Things About Me.  I have recently discovered that I am a very “random” person–I’m not sure if it was a compliment or a dig–but today, this skill (or flaw) will come in handy.

1.  I eat my food funny.  Let me qualify this statement.  I still use my mouth and chew and swallow like normal people.  It is my method of “organizing” my food that is strange.  Apparently.  I always save the best until last.  A Wunderbar involves eating the chocolate and caramel skin first.  The PB centre is my reward.  A piece of pizza must be eaten crust first, then toppings that are not cheese, then soggy pizza bottom.  Last and definitely not least, I eat the cheese.  Which could explain my problematic constipation.  It has occurred to me that I would eat less if I saved the worst for last.  But then I’d never eat my veggies.

2.  I love yard sales.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are aspects of rooting through other people’s junk that are rather…um…off-putting.  But every now and then, you find a gem.  Like my lamp with feet.  Or my rocking horse elephant.  A rocking elephant, I guess.  Or my tea pot with feet.  Hm.  Do I suffer from a strange form of foot fetish?

3.  I recently bought a big round brown pillow made of fun fur, put giant eyes on it, and named it “Skippy.”  He does not have feet.

4.  I lisp when I talk too fast.  Which is most of the time.  I am a fast-talker.  My husband thinks it’s cute when I lisp, so it’s okay.

5.  We hate a strange menagerie of wildlife that we feed.  A chipmunk named Snoopy (he has an unusually long nose–almost as if his father was a shrew) that comes when he’s called and sits on my lap to eat peanuts.  A red squirrel named Patches (he’s been in a lot of fights judging from his bald spots) that also lets us hand feed him.  Several blue jays that stand on the deck railings and stare until they are fed.  Crows that come for food when I call out “Big Bird.”  Yes, the neighbours think I am insane.  And they find pieces of food in really strange places.  In fact, if I looked at my neighbour’s roof right now, I’d probably see a slab of peanut-butter smeared bread stuck to his shingles or spread across his hedge.  And there are a lot of sunflower plants of “mysterious origins” sprouting all around us.  Hehe.

6.  I hate TV medical dramas.  I am far too neurotic and OCD to expose myself to hours of maimed and ailing people.  There simply aren’t enough airbags or anti-bacterial soap to conquer the fears that ER or Grey’s Anatomy would spawn in this manic brain.

7.  I snort when I laugh.  My husband does not think this is cute at all.

Now I have the honour of passing this award on to 15 Lovely Bloggers.  Again, I am sorry that I can’t pass it on to all of the blogs I follow, but rules are rules.

1.  http://jodiambroseblog.com/  She is hilarious and no topic is off-limits!!  She always makes me laugh out loud!

2.  http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/  I live vicariously through this blog.

3.  http://annaweezy.wordpress.com/  I just discovered this blog and she is hilarious.  Check it out!

4.  http://losjuevos.wordpress.com/  This is the quirkiest blog I’ve seen in a long time.  It makes me smile.

5. http://thisthatandtheotherthang.wordpress.com/  This is one of my favourites.  I like the way her mind works.

6.  http://palomasharma.wordpress.com/  This is one of my other favourites.  This girl can write!  And make you laugh.

7.  http://pickyniki.wordpress.com/  I just discovered this blog and LOVE it.  Imagine torturing yourself every day by having to eat something new and weird.

8. http://dearflash.wordpress.com/  Who wouldn’t love seeing life through the eyes of an endearing, short-legged canine?  No one, that’s who.

9.   http://killsharpcheddar.com/  A cool and eclectic blend of photos, cartoons, and thoughts.

10.  http://jefferly.com/  This blog is funny and intelligent.

11.  http://agingappropriately.wordpress.com/  Just discovered this blog and LOVED it.  Funny.

12.http://doninmass.com/  Quirky and witty.

13.   http://kitchenslattern.com/  My day would not be complete without the kitchen slattern.  Absolutely hilarious.

14.   http://motherhoodisanart.com/about/  Funny and clever take on real life with kids.

15. http://wedelmom.wordpress.com/   This is awesomely funny!!

I am about to tag all 15 of you.  You’ve been warned!

Trees with Eyes, Tube-shaped Eggs, and Packages That I Haven’t Read Carefully

It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase ‘As pretty as an airport’ appear.”    Douglas Adams.

I hate wearing sunglasses.  I have an oddly shaped head or face or something, because they always make me look very strange.  Like a beetle on crack.  I’ve tried every type from teeny-weeny intellectual ones to motorcycle cop “you-can’t-see-my-eyes” styles to the ones with lenses the size of garage doors.  None of them give me that sophisticated Jackie-O look–no matter how many scarves I wear.

And they make my eyes sweat.  Well, not my actual eyes–that would probably land me a spot in some optical medical journal–but the space under my eyes.  All summer I look like Alice Cooper.  I realize that I could invest in some waterproof mascara, but that just opens up a whole new can of worms.

My husband’s glasses fog up a lot.  That must be frustrating.  One minute the world is a crisp vision of loveliness and “pwoff,” it is transformed into a chasm of blurriness (do you like my attempt at Mad Magazineish sound effects?)  Which raises another question?  Do contact lenses ever fog up?  Or worse, if they get cold can they stick to your nice, warm eyeballs? Think of Flick’s tongue and the flagpole in The Christmas Story.  

1)  I have recently discovered that I am an idiot.  Seriously, I am a total numpty-head.  I don’t know how many times I have endured the frustration of pulling out a sheet of Saran wrap, having the entire tube come with it, and struggling to hold on to my sheet of cellophane without allowing it to stick to itself, while I fight to return the roll to the box.  A box with a jagged metal “tearing strip” that usually winds up ripping my flesh during this battle.  It happens to me on a regular basis.  And I always blame the Saran wrap.  Or its equally frustrating cousin, tin foil.

It turns out that I am to blame.  Apparently, the thoughtful manufacturers of these products have gone to the trouble of creating a device to keep these rolls in place.  I’m just too stupid to read the packaging and make this discovery.

If you, too, are a moron–I’m in no position to judge your mental prowess–simply take a glance at the photo to your right.  See the little triangular-ish shape on the side of this (and all other) Reynolds Wrap boxes?  Well, apparently, if you push that puppy in, the roll will stay in place.  Who knew?  Okay, some of the world’s “smarty-panted” people probably knew.  But, surely I can’t be the only one who didn’t know.  Could I?  (Cue sound of crickets).

2)  I love trees.  My favourite is the weeping willow.  They’re great for climbing and their long, draping foliage is perfect for hiding in.  Maples are nice too.  Seriously, a tree that makes pretty colours in the fall AND gives us sweet sap for pouring on our pancakes.  Plus, I’m Canadian.  Maples are sort of our thing.  Check out our flag.  And our pennies.  Although you’ll have to check out the pennies soon since they have been put on the minting chopping block.

I recently discovered, however, that not all trees are pretty or stately or eager to provide us with shade.  Some are downright scary.

This “screaming tree” lives in Hither Hills State Park, NY.  I’m sorry, but if I ran in to this, I’d probably run the other way screaming.  Trees just simply aren’t supposed to look like this.  I am grateful that a very brave photographer managed to take this shot though.  Seriously.  Can you imagine seeing this through a camera lens?  Or taking your eyes off it long enough to take your camera out and turn it on?  I’d be far too worried about what its branches were up to.  Like, are they reaching around to grab me?  I mean look at the mouth!  Trees generally don’t have mouths.  I can only imagine what someone would find if they peered down inside this bark-covered beast.

But, as ugly as the American offering is, the UK has an even more horrific forest dweller.  Not only does it have teeth, but it appears to have actual eyeballs.  Or eye sockets, at the very least.

Does anyone remember the evil trees in H.R. Pufnstuf?  In case you don’t, you can catch them here….

I think I’ll go outside and hug my faceless oak.

3)  I have  simply got to go to Japan.  As you know, this is the land of square watermelons, the girlfriend pillow, and tomato chocolate bars.  And in case those aren’t enough to send you out for airline tickets to Tokyo, I have just found another draw. The Japanese egg roll.

How efficient is this?  Instead of taking the time to boil an egg and set the timer to ensure it’s hard-boiled, you simply take out your tube of egg and hack off a slice or two.  I wonder what type of bird lays cylindrical eggs?

Photo credits:

Reynolds wrap:  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_gJCMpC3I-ng/TAkYjt80sXI/AAAAAAAAGxc/-grfoaKwtvg/s320/foil.jpg

Egg tube:  Marci Wittwer Butterfield

Screaming tree:  brothergrimm

UK Tree: David Garnham/Newsteam/Getty Images

Big Hoes, Giant Teeth, and a Run-away Cheese

“I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.”  Rita Rudner.  

Apparently, when I was in kindergarten, I came home crying to my mother that a boy at school had pushed me down and stepped on my throat.  Seriously, stepped on my throat?  Sadistic little bugger.  My husband would say that this likely happened because I talk too much (and, to his dismay, this early assault on my larynx did little to inhibit my propensity for chatter).

My mother, of course, calmed me down and said something motherly like “he probably just has a crush on you.”  Yes, crushing a little girl’s esophagus is the pre-preschooler’s equivalent of red roses and chocolates.  But, I did notice that my mother’s face was making strange contortions as she made this declaration–turns out that she thought my horrific experience was incredibly funny.   One of the benefits of having offspring, so it seems, is the hours of comedic relief they provide.

1)  Humans are fascinated by regular, everyday objects made big.  It’s a strange phenomenon really.  If you build it, they will come–no matter what “it” is.

It reminds me of the episode of Corner Gaswhen Hank proposes that Dog River build something really big to attract tourists.  Well, the mayor’s aunt suggests a large “hoe,” which then leads to a “dirty hoe,” and if it’s not made right it could become a “crack hoe.”  And it digressed from there.

You can view a clip here:

Turns out that someone thought it would be a great idea to build a giant molar and plunk it down on the side of the road.

And, just in case no one flocks out to see this giant dental masterpiece, they decided to build an audience too.  No, those are not real people enthralled with the gargantuan tooth.  They are statues.  I kid you not.

Where can you feast your eyes on this masterpiece?  It resides at 637 Sloan Ave, Trenton, NJ 08619.

2)  Not only will humans travel great distances to see boring things made big, but we also love to partake in extremely dumb contests.  I have introduced you to fish flinging, wife hauling, and even a tug-of-war competition that cost some people their arms.  Now, we turn our eyes to the U.K, where people risk life and limb for a big wheel of cheese.

Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire provides the perfect setting for this annual event that is believed to have been going on for roughly 200 years.  The hill is actually a very steep incline–more cliff-like, really–and the muddier it is, the better.  Someone rolls a wheel of cheese down the sharp drop and people chase after it.  The first one to the bottom receives the prize–which in my case, would be a whole lot of constipation.

Yes, people get very muddy.  Some even wear white suits to highlight the grime.  But many have actually been carted off on stretchers with broken bones and concussions.  In fact, 2005’s events proved extra bloody.  A forced “intermission” took place, while the racers waited for all of the ambulances to return from the hospital, where they had taken the wounded from earlier races.

Yes, people are weird.  You can take a gander at some cheese-loving maniacs here:

3)  Now that I’ve made you sit through some useless information, here is a bit of trivia that someone might actually be able to use.  I have to thank my friend, Stephanie, for providing me with this jewel.

There are things in life that we just accept as being the way they are without ever questioning why.  Bread tabs come in different colours.  It never really occurred to me to wonder why…until now.

It turns out that the colours actually mean something.  They tell us on which day of the week our bread was baked.  Here’s how it works:

Monday =blue.

Tuesday =green.

Thursday =red.

Friday =white.

Saturday =yellow.

(Note that the colours are in alphabetical order to make it easier to remember.  Sometimes, we humans are clever.)

So, if it’s Saturday, ideally you want a yellow tag.  Definitely not blue–or the tag might not be the only thing that’s blue.

And, this fact has been verified by everybody’s favourite myth-testing site–Snopes.

Walk Across the Nation, Hug a Rodent, and Wash Your Hands

“We’ll be back to our nature documentary, ‘Baggy the Anorexic Elephant’ in just a second.”  Colin Mochrie.

Why do really tall people always feel compelled to stand in front of really short people?  I admit it.  I am a short-arse, or so I’ve been told.  Repeatedly.  Some times this lack of height–or vertically challengedness–comes in handy.  I rarely hit my head on chandeliers.  My shoe laces are nice and handy when they need to be re-tied.  And I can stand up straight in crawl spaces.  But there are times when being short sucks, especially when you’re in a crowd.

I recently participated in our local Relay For Life and was eagerly looking forward to seeing the Survivor’s Lap.  I had a nice spot for viewing too.  Until the Human Elm appeared and stood right in front of me.  Okay, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he couldn’t see me.  Like I said, I’m short.  But he also stood in front of a group of children, some elderly women, and a number of other less than 7’12” people.

Maybe he is like a large dog–intimidated by toy poodles because he is totally unaware of his height.  Or maybe he used to be really short, experienced a huge growth spurt in his thirties, and has forgotten that he is now tall.  Perhaps, he thinks he is invisible.  Or see-through like Saran Wrap.

He is more than likely, just rude.  And his rudeness is in proportion to his height.

1)  I don’t know a lot about Monaco.  All I know is that I want to go there.  But here are a few Monaco facts:

–  It is smaller than Central Park.  But with much less bums at night.

–  There is no income tax.  Obviously, they have never heard of the NDP.

–  It would take an average person 56 minutes to walk across the country.  Now that would be a nice thing to be able to say–“I went for a cross-country walk.  Literally.”  As a Canadian, this is really hard to fathom.  Especially with my short legs.  Or stubs.

–  It is one of the safest countries in the world, which leads to another fact–on a per capita and based-on-area basis, Monaco has the largest police force on the globe too.

-And it is home to approximately a mere 36,000 people.  But I guess that is a lot of people to cram into Central Park.

2)  It wasn’t all that long ago, that some of my whiny countrymen and women complained that we should take the beaver off our nickel.  Apparently, rodents are not “upper crust” enough to grace our coins.  The loon is fine.  Beavers, so they say, are not.

Which brings me to my next tidbit of information.  In 1970, we not only deemed beavers respectable rodents, but we held them in such high regard that we gave a pair of black Manitoba beavers to Queen Elizabeth II, herself.

I, personally, am a fan of this furry little carpenter with the steam-rolled tale.  Look at this one pictured in the bottom right of this photo.  How could you not want to give him a big hug?  Okay, so maybe I’m the only one that wants to hug a rodent.  But, at the very least, this hard little worker is worthy of his place on what will soon be our lowest valued currency.

I just hope that I don’t find any circa 1971 photos of the Queen sporting a beaver coat.

3)  I use a lot of hand sanitizer.  You could say I’m a tad bit germaphobic.  Let’s face it, we touch a lot of things during the day–things that other people have touched.  I used to think that I was just being paranoid.

But then I found this little product.  It really made me worry about other people and where their hands have been.  Note to self:  purchase more Purell.

Which brings me to another question–who the heck is going to publicly pull a bottle of “Maybe You Touched Your Genitals” hand sanitizer out of their purse and squirt a glob into their palms?

Well, if you are that person, you can pre-order a bottle (or case) of these babies right here:

http://www.firebox.com/product/5351/Maybe-You-Touched-Your-Genitals-Hand-Sanitizer?aff=512&awc=550_1339370014_00610e24f4ba6e8d4b0a04702596c510

Each to their own.

Big Feet, Creepy Fruit, and Ugly Things for your Lawn

“Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice””?  George Carlin.  

I woke up feeling “annoyed” today.  Not sure why.  I got a good night’s sleep–the neighbour’s dog didn’t keep me up howling this time.  You’d think I’d be pleased.  I even got any extra 30 minutes of shut-eye.  But no, I woke up bitchy.  I’m trying my best to conceal this fact.  Especially because I am usually a nauseatingly cheery sort.

Which brings me to another bone of contention.  If someone is a grumpy-gut all the time, we simply shrug it off and say, “Oh, that George.  He’s such a grouch.”  We realize that this is who “George” is and we love him anyway.  (Disclaimer: I don’t actually know any Grumpy “Georges.”)  But, when a usually pleasant person is having an off day and exhibits even the slightest sliver of bad humour, everyone goes on the attack, questioning said person as to why they are in a bad mood.  Isn’t a ray of sunshine allowed a little gloom now and then?  (Not that I am calling myself a “ray of sunshine”…other people call me that.  And modest too).

1)  Let’s face it.  People put really ugly things in their front lawns.  Things that they would never allow in their living rooms.  Hideous little gnomes.  Brightly coloured ceramic toadstools (and you already know how I feel about fungi).  Crystal balls with their paint peeling off perched on plastic pedestals.  It would appear that when it comes to lawn ornaments, tacky is better.

This is actually cheering me up.

Well, now let me introduce you to the ugliest yard “decoration” ever…the BigFoot Garden Yeti.  While there are smaller versions available, it is the life-size model that caught my eye.  Although, how you can make a “life-size” version of something that doesn’t exist is quite puzzling.

This 71 1/2 inch tall, 147 lb. monstrosity will cost you a mere $1495.00 US.  If your garden gnomes have been getting a little too cocky, put them in their place with one of these babies.  Load up your behemoth-sized shopping cart here:

http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?c=10519&v=&tab=pd&vendorDirect=false&pid=204248855

I dare you.  Give your gnome a complex.

2)  Which brings me to my next topic.  Why do we call Big Foot “Big Foot?”  (Okay, that was a weird sentence to put into writing).  His feet are big, but are they really THAT Big?

Consider the Guinness World Record holder for the Biggest Feet–Morocco‘s Brahim Takioullah.  He wears a European Size 58, which apparently cannot be found stocked anywhere.  A European size 48.5 is the equivalent of a Canadian/US size 14, so one can only imagine what size this dude takes.

I once knew a guy who was 6’7″ and he always claimed that his “manliness” was in proportion to his height.  Well, if Brahim’s foot size is an indicator of his “manliness,” he will have no shortage of dates.  I mean look at those things!  They’re huge!

3)  Speaking of body parts, welcome to the strangest fruit that I have ever encountered–the Buddha’s Hand (a clever segue, even if I do say so myself).  This citrus fruit is kind of creepy looking–like the hands of a Simpsons  character that has hung out at Mr. Burns Nuclear Power plant a little too long.  Or headless octopuses.  (I always thought it was octopi, but this spell-check program claims otherwise).

Unlike oranges or grapefruits, this puppy does not require any peeling.  You eat the whole thing.  One finger at a time.

Ick.

If you have tried one of these, I’d love to hear about your experience.  And while you’re at it–octopi or octopuses?

Big bugs, Chocolate-covered Tomatoes, and a Game of Wife-slinging

“Go to bed in your fireplace, you’ll sleep like a log.”  Ellen DeGeneres.  

Is it me or are bugs getting bigger and stranger?  Seriously.  I went cycling the other day and something was flying along beside me that looked like an insect (scaly and ugly), but was bird-sized.  I don’t know what the hell this thing eats and, now that I come to think of it, I’m probably better off not knowing.   Disturbing encounters like these always make me imagine the following scenario:

All of the beetles, slugs, grubs, moths, ants, spiders, worms, fleas, flies, and every other bug-related life form in my half acre of property are rounded up and poured into one giant room with white walls and floors.  How big would the pile be?  What “never-seen-before” creatures would I be subjected to?  Would I ever want to step in my lawn again?  Probably not.

Which brings me to the first new fact that I learned today:

1)  I know it can’t help how it looks, but this thing is hideous.  It also looks like something that has walked the earth for millions of years.  In fact, this would be the perfect foe for a resurrected Mothra flick.

I used to think these were June bugs.  Someone in my childhood wrongly taught me this–a cautionary tale for any adult who likes to ply their child with bull@$%&.  June bugs and their cousins the May bug (honest, they exist) are much smaller and benign-looking.

This monster is, in fact, a “Giant Water Bug,” also known as the Lethocerus.  He is basically harmless, unless you are a smaller bug, a frog, a fish, or a salamander.  But, man, he is ugly.  And when he accidentally flies into your garage door, he makes quite the thud.  I guess I should just be thankful it wasn’t my forehead.

2)  I love Japanese inventions.  Remember the square watermelon and the girlfriend’s lap pillow?  Well, here’s a real dandy.

Let’s face it–chocolate is one of the world’s most beloved foods.  And some things make the perfect chocolate companion.  Peanut Butter is my favourite co-flavour.  Some people like chocolate-covered cherries or chocolate with mint.  And right now, Aero has re-introduced their yummy orange-middled chocolate bar.  mmmm.

But, it would seem that the Japanese crave something completely different–chocolate and tomato.  My tender North American senses can’t even imagine what this combo would taste like.  A baby’s diaper springs to mind.

I think this video says it all.  Nothing like sugary tomato soup to brighten your day.

3)  Okay, now let’s leave Asia and head to Scandinavia–Finland, to be exact.  It would appear that for centuries, the Finnish have partaken in a strange, yet jovial ritual–competitive wife-carrying.

Yes, strong male Finns fling their damsels over their shoulders and lug them through an obstacle course that includes water, what appears to be short horse-jumping fences, mounds of sand, and bales of hay.  The winner is the one who completes the course in the fastest time.

Unlike American Reality TV contests like Amazing Race and Fear Factorthis contest does not land the victors a hefty cash payout.  Instead, the prize is beer.  And the amount of beer depends on how much the wife weighs–which in itself causes quite a conundrum.  It’s easier to win with a feather-light wife, but the payout is bigger if she’s failed at Jenny Craig.