A Petrified Hot Dog, A Lesbian Horse, and A Foot Named Mildred

The paper cut is a mysterious thing.  For instance, I could lop off an entire arm, leaving a gaping hole with a fountain of arterial blood squirting forth, and it would not hurt as much as a paper cut.  Albeit, the limb-removal is more likely to cause me to scream in horror, pass out, or perhaps, die.  But I bet the paper cut–especially one along a bending seam like a knuckle–would instill greater pain.  Not that I’d sacrifice a limb to prove my point.  After all, I was a kid who named my hands and feet.  It would be like cutting off a friend.  Left hand=Petty.  Right hand=Loyalist.  (yup, Loyalist).  Right foot=Snowy.  (Maybe I had perpetually cold feet).  Left foot=Mildred.  I was a strange child.

Forget waging war with machine guns and tanks.  We should simply throw shards of paper at the enemy.  Maybe we should be dropping bombs of 8 1/2 x 11″ sheets of photocopy stock on them.  And, if they are looking up, we may even be lucky enough to deal out a paper cut to the eye.  Yee-ouch!  That’s gotta hurt.

One of my many occupations is a part-time job in a book store.  I am no stranger to paper cuts.  You see, part of the problem is that space on the shelves is tight, so we regularly have to use Houdini-like feats to make new stock fit.  It does not matter that customers can barely pry a book loose from the Jenga-ish wall that we have created.  Our goal is to simply get the inventory out.  This leads to a lot of paper cuts.

Honest, all I did was pull out one book!

Honest, all I did was pull out one book!

But I have never bled on the merchandise.  That would simply be disgusting.  Although, I did sneeze on a book once.  I hope the pages didn’t stick together.


1)  Speaking of fingers, does it not strike anyone else as strange that prolonged exposure to water actually makes our skin wrinkle?  The moisture gets sucked right out.  Look at this thing.  It doesn’t even look like a finger anymore.  It looks like a dehydrated carrot or a really old hot dog.

According to researchers at Newcastle University, prune-fingers actually serve a purpose.  Apparently, digit wrinkles allow us to grab on to wet objects.  All-season radials for our fingers.

I thought this was a cool little fact.  Even if the picture does remind me of the episode of Seinfeld in which Kramer eats a really old, theatre hot dog.  Blick.  I almost throw up in my mouth thinking about it.  After all, I hate hot dogs–new or old.

Check out the clip, if you’d like a good laugh:  

Everytime I watch it, I get the dry heaves a little.

extra toes

2) Like I’ve said once before, extra fingers run in my family.  And, despite my mother’s sigh of relief when she discovered that I had the requisite 10, I have always wished that I had been born with extras.  It would have been a great conversation starter.  Plus, I wear mitts instead of gloves, so that never would have been a problem.  I probably could have conned some doting elderly person to knit me some six fingered gloves, anyway.  Plus, I think I would be able to type much faster.

I now introduce you to the feet of a six-year-old, Chinese boy who was born with 16 toes and 15 fingers.  I’m amazed at how perfect each little piggy looks.  After a 6 1/2 hour operation, the little lad now has ten fingers and ten toes.  And he has cut his risk for paper cuts in half.

3) Stocking the bookstore shelves is not always exciting.  It seems like I am forever putting out new offerings by Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts.  Ack.  How in the hell does Nora Roberts possibly find the time to write what feels like a book a week under her own name AND under her mystery-writing pseudonym J.D. Robb?  Has she undergone cloning?  Or is she not an individual at all, but rather a writing team?  Hm.  I really want to know.  If she is a real person, I suddenly feel like a lazy, non-productive writer.

I would love to stock the shelves with bizarre titles like these puppies that I found at Amazon.com.  Yes, these are real books.

weird book 1weird book 2weird book 3weird book 4weird book 5weird book 6

Even some of the descriptions are hilarious.  The “Lesbian Hair” author refers to children as pets with thumbs.  The coffin book claims that this is one project you will not want to put off and that it is perfect for people who want to be buried in their work.

And I didn’t know that horses could be Lesbian.

Photo credits:  finger (www.popsci.com), toes (www.dailymail.co.uk), books (amazon.com).

Flat Cows, Numbered Turds, and Bananas for my Feet

I spent the greater part of the morning using the power-washer to peel my deck.  The sad part is, it was the most fun I’ve had in ages.  Not only am I easily entertained, but I, obviously, lead a very dull life.

The truth is that no matter how old I get, water still has the potential to mesmerise me.  Seriously, I’d love to put on my bathing suit and run through the sprinkler.  Or sit in one of those inflatable duck-shaped kiddie pools.   The only thing that stops me is my fear of what the neighbours will say.  That, and the thought of being carted away in a jacket with my sleeves tied together.  Especially in this hot weather.  Wouldn’t my hands sweat?

So, playing with the power-washer is a socially acceptable adult water activity.  I didn’t even mind that my legs were splattered with renegade sheets of detached grey deck stain.  And that I got a sun burn on my shoulders.  And soggy sandals.  I got to play in the water under the guise of doing something mature and productive.  Yay me.

1)  In the past, I have featured a plethora of…ahem…unique Japanese products.  Today, I present one from China.  Canoe Shoes.

For every human who has ever had the desire to walk on water, these inflatable bananas for your feet can make this dream come true.

Yes, now you can walk and fish simultaneously (I suggest you master walking and chewing gum first).  Where oh where will he put his catch though?  Shouldn’t he have at least worn pockets?

If I am totally honest, I wouldn’t mind trying a pair of these.  But only when my neighbours aren’t looking.  You can get yourself a pair here: http://www.made-in-china.com/showroom/yuemaohkltd/product-detailAebnPfHjIEtD/China-Walking-Canoe-Shoes.html

2)  Deck debris on the legs doesn’t even register on the Things-That-Make-Me-Want-To-Vomit-ometer, particularly compared to the prospect of feces raining down on my head.  However, in Talkeetna, Alaska, this is something to be celebrated.  In fact, an entire festival revolves around this.

The Moose-Dropping Festival celebrates moose turd.  Honestly.  Artisans sell moose-poop jewellery and dung crafts.  There’s a moose lawn ornament auction.  Really.  And the highlight involves a giant sack of manure being hoisted into the sky, only to have its contents poured out over a target below.  Now each piece of poop has been lovingly lacquered and numbered (wonder what lucky lackey gets that job) and sold to the general public.  3000 in all.  And, apparently, they sell out quickly.  As a souvenir (and proof of purchase), each ticket holder gets a moose manure pin (so they can keep their crap close to their hearts) with the number printed on it.  The number that lands closest to the target wins a cash prize.  Lucky shit.

3)  Now any time you are aiming your high-powered pressure-washer at a wooden object like a deck in the hopes of removing paint, you’re putting yourself at risk for splinters.  After all, isn’t a deck just a series of giant pieces of wood?  And what makes splinters?  Wood.

Luckily, I remained sliver-free despite thumbing my nose at wood-safety.  Hm.  I guess wood-safety would involve keeping the “wood” safe from me.  I guess I was thumbing my nose up at me-safety.

I did discover, however, that the acquisition of a sliver is not the catastrophic event that I once thought it was.  Apparently, many splintery Internet folk have been rescued by Elmer’s glue.  Yes.  Merely dab a glob of Elmer’s glue on the affected area, let it dry, and peel the glue skin off.  Odds are, that nasty little wooden intruder will come with it.

And, during this lesson on first aid, I also learned that mascots can get married.  Even the flat, one-dimensional kind.  Rumour (and Wikipedia) has it that Elsie the Cow, the mascot for Borden Dairy, is married to Elmer’s own “Elmer the Bull.”  Borden’s mascot and her family (the hubby and some calves) were created first.  Borden then “loaned” their chemical division, which included Elmer’s Glue, Elsie’s husband for their packaging.  She had probably been complaining that she was tired of her idle spouse moping around the house.

  This video has made me re-think my power-washing activities.

Photo Credit:  moose turds (http://adriaandgarthtingey.blogspot.ca/2008_07_01_archive.html),

Wooden food, Classroom IV’s, and a Whole Lotta Smiths

I’ve got the brain of a four year old. I’ll bet he was glad to be rid of it.”  Groucho Marx.

This quest to learn has become an obsession.  It’s quite scary actually.  Everything that I encounter in my everyday life is suddenly inspected closely for an “a-ha” moment.  A cereal box is perused for unusual ingredients.  The Young and the Restless is listened to with intense studiousness.  I even find myself pondering the origins of my kitchen utensils.  My husband hasn’t said it yet, but I’m pretty sure he thinks I’ve lost my mind–which would be a shame considering all the work I’ve been doing to expand it.

But here are the 3 juicy tid-bits that I have selected just for you.

1) Many of you know that I have been trying to lose weight and I have to say that a lot of “diet” food tastes like cardboard.  You know what I’m talking about–melba toast, Ryvita, and worst of all, the coaster pretending to be a rice cake.  If God had intended me to eat wood, he would have made me a beaver.  Right?

Wrong.  Apparently, I have unknowingly been eating wood for years.  And so have YOU.  No, you won’t find “wood,” “bark,” or “knotty pine” written on any food labels, but you will find the innocuous term “powdered cellulose.”  It sounds innocent enough, but what exactly is it?

Beaver food.  Ground up wood pulp and other plant fibres.  Talk about roughage.  And we’ve been eating it in our favourite foods for years–waffles, cake icing, pasta mixes, cocoa, cheese, and ice cream, just to name a few.  And it is especially prevalent in foods that have been labelled low fat or high fibre.  I thought fibre was supposed to be good for the colon, but who wants a bowel splinter?

Just goes to show you that slick marketing will get us to eat anything.  Forget pumpkin pie or butter tarts.  Soon those mint-flavoured toothpicks will be dessert.

2)  We’ve all heard of test anxiety.  You may have experienced it yourself–profuse sweating that no amount of Lady Speedstick can help, butterflies in your stomach, and the dreaded blank mind.  I realize that some of us are perpetually in a state of blank-mindedness, but we’ll save that for another post in another blog.

Or maybe you have stayed up to the wee hours of the morning, cramming as much information into your exhausted brain as you possibly can, only to find yourself in a sleep-deprived stupor the next day.

It would appear that the Chinese have come up with a solution, albeit a strange one, for these exam-related problems–classrooms retrofitted with IV drips.  Yes, no need to interrupt your studies with pesky chores like eating or sleeping.  It’s far easier to pump amino acids directly into your vein.

Is this bizarre or is just me?  I’d love to hear your comments.

3)  Thanks to my eternal quest for the perfect pen name, I ended up in a conversation today about knowing more than one person with the same name.  I have known three Jim Smiths.  And two Jennifer Jones.  It’s not all that surprising.  Jim and Jennifer are both common names.  And so are Smith and Jones.

The conversation then moved on to trying to guess what the most common last names are.  I said Smith.  It turns out I was both right and wrong.  It all depends which side of the border I am on.

According to the majority of web sites that I found, the top 5 most common surnames in the United States are:

  1. Smith
  2. Johnson
  3. Williams
  4. Jones
  5. Brown
Interestingly, Canada’s list is quite different:
  1. Li
  2. Smith
  3. Lam
  4. Martin
  5. Brown
And for all my relatives…the 6th most common last name in Canada is:  ROY.  Ha, for years people have been telling us we’re strange.  Turns out we are common. And we have the numbers to prove it.