Plans for the Day: Swallow Rhode Island, get my dog’s tongue shortened, and shop for cookies with Betty White.

I tend to dream a lot.  Part of my breakfast routine is sharing my previous night’s slumber adventures with my husband.  He doesn’t really listen, but I tell him about them anyways.  He claims he doesn’t dream.  I tell him, “everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers.”  He doesn’t believe this.

I miss dreaming.  It would seem that my cough suppressant-induced comas aren’t conducive to dreams.  I do enjoy being able to sleep through the night without awaking to rib-snapping fits of hacking up phlegm (who wouldn’t right?), but I no longer have anything exciting to talk about over breakfast.

I once dreamt that I was shopping for Peanut Butter Pirate Cookies with Betty White.  That was fun.  I’ve also ridden a roller-coaster with Gordon Ramsay yelling in my ear.  That was strange, but I find Ramsay rather sexy.  Especially when he’s cursing.  I don’t know what “bollocks” are, but they sound dirty.  My sleep-twin has been rescued and seduced by Horatio Cain, sunglasses and all–which made me look at David Caruso in a whole new light.  I’ve even had my childhood dog return to life–but in my dream, he smelled like decaying canine (whatever that smells like) and I felt guilty for not wanting to play with him.

I would love to hear about your strangest dreams.  Maybe I could pretend they were mine and talk about them over tomorrow’s breakfast?

1)  In my Gordon Ramsay dream, we were stuck in a car at the top of a roller coaster.  And, no, not a roller coaster car–a street car.  In his defense, that could explain a lot of his yelling.  And his profanities.

It would appear that someone in Japan also has strange dreams–dreams that he or she later makes a reality.  Welcome to the the Skycycle in Okayama‘s Washuzan Highland Park–a roller coaster buggy that you must pedal, yourself.  Just what I need–a mixture of terrifying heights and cardio.

And I hate roller coasters.  I am afraid of heights and I suffer from motion sickness.  These give me panic attacks while I barf.  I have found that the best way to endure one is to simply close my eyes.  Well, this Japanese invention totally rules that remedy out.  I don’t want to be the one pedaling with their eyes closed, bumping into everyone else’s cart.  I might shove someone off the track, sending them plummeting to the ground below, perhaps on top of a vehicle carrying an elderly couple and their great grandchildren and their blind chihuahua, Clive, which would be a shame, course.  Or worse, I might hit Gordon Ramsay.  And he’d yell at me.  Hey, maybe dreams can come true.

Here’s what this thing looks like in action.  It looks sort of sedate, but remember…this involves the prolonged torture of having to LOOK DOWN!

2)  As I sit down to breakfast to bombard my husband with tales of my dreams the night before, I’ll have to stop and inspect my cereal more closely.  I could be inadvertently devouring a small fortune–and the likeness of a province or state.

Apparently, two sisters from Virginia (who knew their geographical shapes quite well and, obviously, eat very slowly) discovered this Illinois-like flake and managed to sell it on e-bay for $1350.

Rumour has it that the pair originally tried to auction the flake, itself, but were not in accordance with e-bay’s food rules.  Instead, they auctioned off a coupon redeemable for this crispy corn Illinois replica.  Clever.

3)  So, in the dream about my “dead dog come back to life,” I am happy to see my canine friend.  Don’t get me wrong.  But he smells really bad.  Doggy breath is raunchy at the best of times, but after being dead for twenty years–ACK!

Now here is a dog that I wouldn’t want puppy kisses from at all–dead or alive.  This is Puggy, the Guinness Record Holder for the dog with the longest tongue–the Gene Simmons of the canine world.  This otherwise cute little Pekingese has 4 1/5 inches of dog-slobber-laden papillae.  ACK, again.

If you’d like to see Puggy and his pink friend in action, here you are:

Well, I must go.  Betty White’s honking the horn.  She must need an Oreo.

 

Photo Credits:  roller coaster (declubz.com), corn flake (msnbc.msn.com), illinois outline (theus50.com), tongue dog (ohnotheydidn’t.livejournal.com).

Hand me my chicken shades, my dog’s polka album, and a cough drop, please.

It would seem that my formerly mentioned head full of snot, which I had chalked up to being a mere summer cold, has somehow mutated into whooping cough.  Yes, I am being bested by a childhood disease.  I tell you–kids are tough.  I think if adults had to endure teething, we’d go ballistic.  Millions of newly-toothed adults pounding the snot out of each other.  Oops, there’s the word “snot” again.  I’m a little preoccupied with it.

And the term “whooping cough” sounds like it should be much more fun than it actually is.  I, in no way, feel like saying “whoop.”  I do, however, feel like beating myself over the head with a sack of hammers.

I remind myself of an episode of Seinfeld–come to think of it, everything reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld.

1)  Humans have been trying to “humanize” the animals around them ever since Noah crammed them into the world’s first cruise ship.  Poodles with parkas, pink dyed curls, and booties.  Need I say more?

This funky chicken appears to be enjoying her Elton John-esque, rose-coloured glasses–but don’t let her seemingly sunny disposition fool you.    In fact, these shades have been designed to prevent her from pecking her friends and relations…um…to death.  Yes, not all chickens are peaceful Foghorn Leghorn types.

I first came across these poultry accessories on an episode of Storage Wars.  Barry Weiss is not only easy on my 20/20 vision eyes, but he is also a fountain of knowledge–quickly identifying the mysterious objects as chicken glasses.

Check out this 1947 news clip.  You’ll be amazed by what passed for “clever banter” back then.  Not a glowing moment in our developmental history.

2)  We’ve all heard of shoes for dogs, but what about shoes that look like dogs?  Now you can say, “these puppies hurt my feet” and really mean it.

Created by Israeli designer, Kobi Levi, in 2010, these babies raised a few eyebrows…human and schnauzer alike.

I said, “Heel!”

3)  Snoopy thinks he is human.  He composes novels, engages in regular plane fights, decorates his doghouse for Christmas, ice skates, and prepares turkey dinners.  I’d love a dog that cooked.  Especially if he cleaned the kitchen afterwards.

Here are a few interesting facts about Snoopy:

He loves root beer.  Mm. root beer.

He’s afraid of large, dangling icicles.

His favourite brand of dog food is called “For Dogs Who Flew in World War 1 and  understand a little French.”

He was once engaged, but his bride-to-be took off with a Golden Retriever.  Must have been the hair.  And the height.

He plays the accordion and has a penchant for polka music.  Okay, that makes him a human with bad taste.

Here is a whooping crane.  I have whooping cough.  I don’t like this bird right now.

Photo Credits:  Chicken in shades (gp1.pinbike.org), Dog shoes (glamour.com), Snoopy (www.myfreewallpapers.net), whooping crane (www.birdorable.com).

A Lopped Off Tail, A Broken Beak, and a Whole Lotta Curds

Many years ago, when my parents were still dating, my father wrote love letters to my mom.  I know.  Cute.  Even cuter, he would always signed them with a hand-drawn ookpik by his name.  Ookpik?

As a kid, I always loved the seal-fur ookpik in my mother’s curio.  I know.  What the heck’s an ookpik?

And when I was eight years old, my dad bought me a royal blue, felt covered, ookpik that I fell in love with immediately and named it “Ernie.”  He was best friends with a little bear, “Herbert.”  Yes, I did watch a lot of Sesame Street.  And yes, Bert and Ernie were my favourites.  The budding young writer that I was, I instinctively knew that blatantly hijacking these Muppet monikers was wrong.  Herbert and Ernie were close–but not the same.  Anyway, back to my ookpik.  I quickly learned that running down the community ski hill behind our house with a bear in one hand and an ookpik in another was a danger-fraught activity.  One false step and I found myself tumbling down what felt like an endless mini-mountain.  I broke my pinky finger.  And my ookpik bent his beak.  Permanently.  I know, I know–what the hell is an ookpik, once and for all?

My fellow Canadians know.  Especially those born prior to the 1980s.  Those from outside the Great White North, however, likely don’t have a clue.  Perhaps, you have become frustrated and googled the word “ookpik.”   If you are my friend at  http://motherhoodisanart.com/, you are already “in” on the secret.

Well, here it is.  “Ookpik” is an Inuit word for “owl.”  In the 1960s and early 70s, they became all the rage up here–sort of morphing into a breed of owl of its very own.  The ookpik is usually wingless–it’s only features being eyes, a beak, and toes.

Here are some examples:

Unfortunately, when I was in highschool, an errant mouse ate a hole through Ernie.  Such is the life of a felt ookpik.  And, yes, I still miss him.

Now, back to these two adorable Sesame Street roommates.  When I was in high school, I decided to conduct a survey relating to their names (I’m a survey junkie).  And now, I am going to conduct it again.

1)  Japan’s strange inventions have often been featured in my blog, so I thought it only fair that I poke fun at the oddball ideas that have come to fruition thanks to Canadian minds.

One of the strangest, and perhaps, most lethal from a cardiologist’s point-of-view is Poutine (pronounced poo-tinn).  This dish originated in nearby Quebec, but is now sold at mainstream fast-food restaurants like Wendy’s and A&W throughout Canada.  But anyone who really knows Canada, knows that we LOVE our chip trucks.  And no one does better poutine than one of those.

Poutine is simply a pile of french fries covered (or rather smothered) in dark gravy and cheese curds.  Mm.  Cheese curds.  It is sinfully delicious, but will probably clog an artery or two.

If you think that’s weird.  There was a chip truck in Eastern Ontario that sold fries smothered in butter.  Greasy french fries with butter?  Really?

We Canucks are a hearty lot.  Or so we like to tell ourselves.  Maybe we’re just all nuts.  Here’s a typical chip truck, Canuck-style: 

2)  This is my all-time favourite Canadian treat.  First of all, it originates in my hometown, Ottawa.  All good things come from Ottawa.  Except politicians.

And, most importantly, they are delicious.  BeaverTails–not politicians.  No, we do not hunt down buck-toothed rodents and lop off their tails.  We are, in fact, quite kind to our beavers.  We even put them on our nickels.

The “BeaverTail” is a flattened lump of whole wheat dough, deep-fried, and smothered in various mouth-watering toppings.  The traditional one is covered in cinnamon and sugar.  If you add a twist of lemon, you have the Killaloe Sunrise.  But, for the true sweet-tooth, you can smother yours in chocolate hazelnut, maple butter, apples with cinnamon, banana chocolate, chocolate & vanilla, chocolate & peanut butter & Reese’s Pieces, or cream cheese with Skor pieces and chocolate drizzle.  Damn, now I’m hungry.  I think I’ll head down to the park and get me one of these.  Blogging is not good for the waistline.

Oh, yeah.  Did I mention that BeaverTails, just like Poutine, are sold in small chip-truck-sized, cabin-like buildings.  Here is a typical BeaverTail vendor:

So far we have learned that Canadians like strange-looking, furry owls; have a penchant for heart-stopping, curd-covered, deep-fried potatoes; and regularly nibble on cinnamon-covered beaver appendages.  Quite simply put, we make the Japanese look normal.  But wait.  I still haven’t reached number 3.  There’s always a number three.

3)  Americans love to make fun of us.  According to them, we talk funny.  Yes, according to the nation that produced the southern twang and drawl, the Boston accent, and whatever those people in the movie Fargo were speaking, WE talk funny.  So, here’s a tip for those who really want to mimic us well–here are some uniquely Canadian words.  Ours are the ones in BOLD print.

Eh?  Replaces “Huh?” or “Do you agree?”

Serviette= Napkin

Washroom= Bathroom

Pop=Soda.  We do say Club Soda and Cream Soda though.  Everything else is Pop.

Chocolate bar=Candy bar

Chesterfield=sofa or couch

Double Double=two creams, two sugars in coffee.

Pencil Crayon=coloured pencil

Runners=sneakers

Rad=radiator.  We don’t say “rad” for radical.

Hydro=electrical service.  Paying our hydro bill is the same as paying the Power Company in the US.

Bachelor=small type of apartment.  “Bachelor for rent” does not cause confusion up here.

Garburator=garbage disposal.

Two-four=case of twenty-four beer.

Brown Bread=Whole Wheat Bread.

Kraft Dinner=Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Homo Milk=Homogenized Milk

Housecoat=Bathrobe

Go missing=disappear

knapsack=backpack

Lineup=a line or queue.

Postal code=Zip code

Ski-doo=snowmobile

Transport truck=tractor trailer

So, now you can speak Canadian.  Woo. Woo.

Photo Credits:  ookpiks: 1 (static.artfire.com),  2 (www.mccord-museum.qc.ca), 3 (farm3.static.flickr.com), 4 (subrosa-rosamundi.blogspot.ca),  5 (www.nait.ca), 6 (farm3.staticflickr.com), Bert & Ernie (whatvinniethinks.com),  Poutine (trentonstories.blogspot.ca), Chip Truck ( busblog.tonypierce.com), Beavertail  (www.foodgypsy.ca) BeaverTail Truck ( foodworld-evablogspot.ca),   eh (www.talktocanada.com).  

A Tree Made of Rubber, A Head Full of Snot, and A Bike Named Bob

“For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier… I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.”  Steven Wright.

Two days until the start of Fall a.k.a. Autumn.  I wonder why it has two names.  Actually, I really wonder how the name “fall” came about.  Is it because the leaves “fall?”  What if you live in a country where leaves don’t fall?  What if your surrounded by pines, or palms, or rubber trees?  By the way, rubber trees sound cool.  Trees made of rubber.  I wonder if they bend like Gumby.

In winter, the snow “falls,” so why didn’t we call it fall?  Why doesn’t summer have the alias “swelter?”  Spring could be called “smells like poop.”  I like that.  People would ask, “Where are you going for Smells Like Poop Break?”

I am currently suffering through a summer cold–soon to become a Fall cold.  My head is a throbbing cesspool of snot.  My ears can no longer do what they are paid to do–hear.  They seem to have decided to try aching instead.  Even my tongue hurts.  Who the hell gets a sore tongue?

On the upside, my husband is enjoying the quiet.  But I am going crazy.  I must yammer.  Thank God for blogs.  And a captive audience.  Assuming you’re still there.  (Insert sound of crickets).

And I’ve never actually seen a rubber tree.  If you cut one down, I’m sure the logs don’t bounce.  But I like to imagine they do.  For some reason, this reminds me of a Seinfeld bit…

1)  Speaking of bouncing, here is a ball that doesn’t bounce.  It’s made of cling wrap.  It clings.

According to the Guinness World Records people, this is the world’s largest ball made of cling wrap.  There have been others?  And this sucker weighs over 281 pounds.  The last time I looked, Saran Wrap wasn’t cheap, making this one valuable ball.  Not that anyone would want to use any of this cellophane now.  He’s put his feet on it.  And I think I see dog droppings in the lawn.

2)  Rubber Trees remind me of the Osmond’s and their brief TV Show, The Osmond Family Show.  Here’s a clip of a young Marie singing about that very “plant” in 1979…

I was never a fan of Donnie & Marie, if I’m completely honest.  I just remember that Donnie wore purple socks.  The whole family had very nice teeth.  I bet if they all smiled at once, the blinding, white light could be seen from space.  And they were all horribly sweet and nice.  They made the Brady Bunch look like the Manson Family.  My favourite Brady was the dog, “Tiger,” which is a cat’s name–a fact that confused me immensely as a child.  And, apparently, also as an adult.  That sentence consisted of nothing but words that start with “a.”  Cool.

3)  So, while Marie Osmond was singing about an ant and a rubber tree plant, what were Americans naming their children?  According to the Social Security Administration, 1979’s top names were:

Jennifer & Michael.

Out of curiosity, I checked 1929 as well.  Turns out Mary & Robert were # 1 then.

That’s why my bike is named Bob.  And my car.  Bob’s a good name.

Now, I must go blow my nose.

Photo Credits:  Cling Wrap Ball (Huffington Post), baby (blog.howdesign.com).

I was driving in my furry car to see the Captain of Beans when my arm fell off.

Last night, I made the mistake of saying aloud, “I like wind.”

My husband, who never passes up a chance to be funny, quickly responded “Is that why you fart so much?”

I’m a bit of an attention hog, myself, so I deftly replied, “Yes.  And I’m really upset that I can’t put my ass in front of my face.”

This is the sort of banter that takes place in my house all the time.  But that’s not where I was going with this post.  The fact is that I LOVE wind.  The type created by Mother Nature, not Libby’s brown beans.

I so wish I could pretend to be a dog and stick my head out the car window, but let’s face it–I’d probably get my head lopped off by a mailbox or something.  Instead, I play it safe by sleeping in front of a fan.  Yes, we have central air, so it’s not because I’m hot.  In fact, sometimes I’m downright cold.  But the wind feels damn good.  Even if it is frigid.

And in the car, I never use the a/c–which is a major accomplishment.  It gets pretty darn hot and sticky here in the summer.  (Yup, I’m Canadian.  And, yes, we do get heat.  Eh?)  My husband, however, loves air conditioning.  You might think this causes a dilemma.  Not at all.  Our car is the Switzerland of automobiles.  His half of the vehicle is like a chilly, sealed-off, tomb with all the artificial air-pushing vents pointed in his direction.  My side has the window wide open and my arm flapping in the fresh, “real air” breeze.

The only problem is that insects travelling at 85 kms an hour hurt.  My arm has seen–or rather “felt”–it all.  Errant beetles, fuzzy bees, and God knows what else has been smucked against my tender flesh.  I know.  You’re saying, “How do you think the poor bug felt?”  I’m not without a soul.  I also feel sorry for the bugs.  But I cannot stop.

On an unrelated topic, I heard this joke on Ellen the other day.  What did the zero say to the eight?  I like your belt.

1)  What do you get when you cross a beetle and a rhinoceros?  Apparently, the ugliest bug ever.  Seriously, look at that thing.  It’s name is the “rhinoceros beetle” and I must say that both I and my arm were relieved to learn that it resides in the Far East.  And I don’t mean East as in Newfoundland–I mean China and Japan.  My heart does go out to my Japanese and Chinese arm-flailing counterparts though.  Having one of these careen into your arm would probably leave you…well…armless.

If you’re a regular follower of my blog–and if you aren’t, what is wrong with you?–you will know what a fascinating place Japan is.  Well, the home of the girlfriend pillow, tomato chocolate, the suction cap helmet, and so much more has struck again.

While we wimpy North Americans play with our pet Labradoodles and listen to the Snuggle Bear sell us laundry products, the Japanese are seemingly immune to such soft and cuddly façades.  They appear to prefer sharp and crunchy, particularly when it comes in the form of the rhinoceros beetle.  Pet stores sell them for $5 to $10.  In some places in Japan, you can even get one in a vending machine.  Hopefully, not the same one that dispenses Coke and Doritos.

They are also popular cartoon characters.  This makes me wonder what we are missing out on.  Perhaps, we should also embrace the insect world.  Monty the Mosquito?   David Dung Beetle?  Maybe these should be the subjects of the next Pixar flick.

2) One Beetle that I am a HUGE fan of is the Volkswagen variety.  You’ve got to love a vehicle that gives you permission to punch people.

The clever folk at the Dallas Arboretum have discovered a way to create soft fuzzy, colourful Bugs.  Meet the VW topiary Westfalia and Beetle pair.  These former street vehicles have had their proverbial guts removed and some sort of plant-friendly caging or meshing attached and “voila”–look at how pretty they now are!

This would make Herbie proud.

3) Japan is not the only place where I find strange things.  The UK has its fair share.

Meet “Captain Beany”–yup, that is what he “officially” goes by–the Curator of the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence.  Mister Beany–I refuse to recognize his self-appointed ranking–has amassed over 200 artefacts in his Port Talbot, Wales museum.  Um, he refers to it as a “virtual haricot heaven.”

So, there you have it.  If you consider yourself to be a bean fiend, this just may be the place for you.  But I don’t see any Libby’s.

In honour of all you busy-bowelled bean eaters, here is a clip of the famous Blazing Saddles bean scene:  

And, course, I couldn’t have a blog that mentioned “beans” without at least one clip from Mr. Bean.  

Photo Credits:  Ugly bug (http://life-bite.blogspot.ca), VW topiaries (http://www.dallasplanttrials.org), Mister Beany (http://www.bakedbeanmuseumofexcellence.org.uk/).