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).

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/).

Use your stubby arms to throw the dog a pizza ball. And put the butter back in the fridge.

Do you ever have one of those days where you can’t seem to string together a coherent group of words to save your soul?  I’m having one of those.  So, of course–I have decided to write a blog.  You, after all, are used to my lack of lucidity.  My rambling, moronic, rants.

A few things have occurred to me lately.

Why is the English language so strange?  I can’t imagine trying to learn it for the first time.  Who decided to name evergreens “fir” trees?  Especially in Canada.  We suffer the “living in igloos” stereotype enough without newcomers falsely believing that it’s so cold here our trees need fur.

And who invented the doughnut?  And why?  If something tastes good, why would you want to have less of it by cutting out a hole?

And why can an owl turn his neck right around?  It’s not like he needs to back his car out of a long driveway.  Or keep an eye on misbehaving students, while he writes on the blackboard.

And why are my arms too  short to scratch the middle of my back?

And why does aspartame taste like crap?

If you know the answer to any of these conundrums, I would love it if you could enlighten me.  In the mean time, I will share a few gleanings that I have discovered of my own.

1)  Most of you know that I am short.  Only five feet tall to be exact.  My lack of height is exacerbated by the fact that everyone seems to be getting taller these days.  Seriously, I feel like an ewok.  With slightly less fur.   And better enunciation.

It turns out that things could be worse.  Yes, I am on the very short end of the height spectrum–for humans.  But I could be a short dog.

“Why would that be worse?” you ask.  Good question.  It turns out that if human heights varied as much as our canine counterparts, the shortest person would be around two feet tall–that would be me–and the tallest would stand at 31 feet.  Suddenly, I don’t feel so short.  I could be two feet tall.  Or 31.  It would be hard to find pants either way.  Or agree on a the height for my kitchen counters.  Where would you put a doorknob? I guess you’d have to have more than one.  And imagine if the tall guy sat in front of you at the theatre.

2)  Okay.  So, you are now going to think I am an idiot.  I think I am, so you might as well too.  For some reason, I always thought that doughnuts were made without holes in them and that the dough balls were later punched out.  It’s Tim Horton’s fault, really.  If the holes weren’t going to be punched out and discarded, why did they develop the Timbit (for those of you outside of Canada, these are doughnut holes that we buy by the dozens).

It turns out that doughnuts are formed in their tire-like shape–hole and all.  I feel very let down by this discovery.

Does anyone remember the little dough balls they used to put with pizzas in the pizza box?  I always wondered what they were for.  But, for some reason, they were always my favourite part of the pizza.  Until we got a dog.  Then the dough ball became “his” part of the pizza.  Stupid dog.

Speaking of Tim Horton’s–they recently caused massive confusion with the introduction of new cup sizes.  If you want to experience this ordering mayhem for yourself, watch this:

3)  After years of “heart smart” Becel, I miss the taste of real butter.  So much so that when I go to a restaurant, I always take a few of the little single servings home. I just found two in my purse.  They had melted.  Note to self:  put plastic baggy in purse for butter-thieving occasions.

And, apparently, butter isn’t just for eating anymore.  It has become a great medium for art.  Honest.  I just realized that my last blog had a bit about sculpting with cow poop.  Today’s is about butter.  I seem to be developing a cow fetish.  Hm.

Here are some mouth-watering examples of butter art:

Photo Credits:  Staypuft (ghostbusters.wikia.com), Homer (www.simpsonovi-dnes.estranky.cz), cow jumping over moon (edibleblog.com), Ben Franklin (endlesssimmer.com), farmer/cow/sheep (illusion.scene360.com), sow and piglets (dyscario.com), motorcycle cow (uk.search4eat.com), man with lion (thechive.com), cafeteria lady (thebaresquare.com), rose (edibleblog.com).  

Pig Eyes, a Unibrow, and a Dude With 23 Names

My head hurts.  I don’t know if anyone else gets this, but I have an eye that from time-to-time decides it no longer want to sit alongside my other eye.  It chooses, rather, to align itself with my left nostril.  Seriously.  The eyebrow always does what the eye tells it to, so it ventures downwards also.  Needless to say, I look like a freak.  On days like this, it is very difficult to apply eye make-up.  (I admit that I am a “girly” girl and venturing out amongst the humans with naked eyes is not something I do on a regular basis).  I have fare eyelashes.  Without my mascara, I have pig eyes.  Honestly.  Have you ever looked at a pig’s eyes?  I know that pigs are cute, but they’re cute despite their eyes.  And pig eyes really don’t work on a person.

So, now I look doubly freakish.  Not only do I have pig eyes, but they are asymmetrical too.  I look like a Picasso painting in the flesh.  Don’t even bring up the possibility of hiding behind my sunglasses.  For one thing, I misplaced those a couple of days ago, so I have been reduced to wearing a pair of old ones.  And they have green frames.  I think they’ve been kicking around since the early 90’s, but that’s no excuse.  Forest green frames.  What was I thinking?  Plus, due to the recent migration of my left eyebrow, I now only have one furry caterpillar sitting over my frames.  Sunglasses look weird when you can only see one eyebrow.  And drawing one over the left frame is not an option.  Imagine taking my sunglasses off and showing the world that I now have three eyebrows.  Okay, one is down around my nose.  More like a moustache to one side, but still.

Sorry for the whinefest, but I really needed to vent.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Seriously, my eye professionals are stumped.  I will now focus on the task at hand–my three facts of the day.

1)  Speaking of Picasso, I haven’t actually delved into the world of Art for any strange new facts yet.  So, here it goes.  The name “Pablo Picasso” is a good name.  Has a nice ring to it.  It flows.

Unfortunately, for Mr. Picasso–his real name is not quite so simple.  In fact, his full name has 23 words.  His complete moniker is:  Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso.

Apparently, he was named for several relations and some Saints.  And everyone his mother had ever met.

I bet he never signed a cheque.  Who could blame him?

Van Gogh lopped off an ear.  Picasso whacked off 21 names or so.

Which brings me to this freaky little car.  This is a re-designed Citroen dedicated to and inspired by Picasso.  A British mechanic spent six months creating this masterpiece he calls “Picasso’s Citroen.”

Ironically, Citroen does have a model called the “Picasso” (pictured here).

Not quite sure how it got this name–it is rather staid for something inspired by the legendary artist who created humans out of cubes.  There is a Grand Picasso as well and it is rather mini-van-ish.  Picasso was known as a great Playboy–hardly the mini-van type.  I rather imagine him driving a giant phallic symbol like a 1970s Stingray or a modern-day Dodge Challenger.

Maybe it’s just  me.

2)  Like I said, pigs have small blank eyes.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  This little pooch pictured here, however, does not have that problem.  He has the antithesis to pig eyes.  The Marty Feldman of the dog world, one could say.

This dog’s penetrating stare has earned him the Guinness World Record for the dog with the largest eyes.  Not bad for a little lad that was once a pound puppy.  Bruschi the Boston Terrier‘s owner, Victoria Reed, says she didn’t notice her dogs large eyes until her friends commented on them.  Really?  Is she blind?  Is this her first time seeing a dog?

It was these comments that led her to contact the Guinness World Records people and the rest is history.

Not only are his eyes big, but they seem to point in different directions.  She didn’t notice?  Really?  I think she deserves some sort of award.

3)  When I think of a unibrow, Sesame’s Street’s Bert comes to mind.  Let’s face it.  Bert pulls off the unibrow look with style and finesse.  Maybe it’s the lemon yellow skin.  Or his tuft of black hair.  Whatever it is, it works.  On him.

Outside the Muppet world, sporting one large, unending eyebrow is not exactly going to win you dates.  Unless you are in Tajikistan.  According to Wikipedia, the women there are wild about the unibrow.  Apparently, it is a sign of virility.  Personally, I think it is a sign of not owning tweezers.

It turns out that George W. Bush also has a proclivity for synophrys (the official medical term for this condition.  Yes, it is a condition).  During his tenure as President of the U.S.A., George Double-Ya’s unibrow was divided in to two.  But in his early shots, like this one here on vacation with his wife, he clearly sports a Bert brow.

According to a Victorian criminologist by the name of “Cesare Lombroso“, people who are genetically inclined to having one giant eyebrow are also more likely to engage in criminal activity.  Hm.  Not only does George W. prove this theory, but many of TV’s not-so-nice characters possess unibrows (Bert, of course, is the exception.  If I were a Muppet, I’d marry Bert).  But here are just a few of TV’s un-friendly unibrows:

The Simpsons , Maggie, may be young, but not too young to have an arch nemesis.  This is him.  Notice that this evil baby sports a unibrow.

Lemony Snickett’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Count Olaf dons a handlebar-style unibrow.

 And, of course,  The Men Show’s Mr. Stubborn and Mr. Grumpy (the ones with the negative traits) also have eyebrows that meet in the middle.

If I had a unibrow, would it stay in place or would I have one giant lopsided eyebrow?  Thanks to my Tweezerman pointed tweezers, I’ll never have to find out.

Photo Credits:  Picasso’s Citroen (neatorama.com),  Citroen Picasso, (carautoportal.com), Big-eyed dog (Guinness World Records.com),  George W. Bush (unibrowclub.com), Simpsons baby (tvtropes.org).  Count Olaf (fanpop.com),

Poke Me In the Pancreas, Throw Me a Loin Cloth, and Don’t Call Me Dick.

I wish I was a dog.  Seriously, dogs seem to completely lack self-awareness.  Either that or they possess the most skewed self-images found in mammalia.  As I’ve told you before, I am short.  Five feet tall to be exact.  I put up with short jokes, have to rely on the charity of others to reach cans in the grocery store, and pay exorbitant amounts of money on having my pants hemmed.  (Thank God for capris–finally, pants that fit.  Unfortunately, they are long pants on me.  I guess if I want actual capris, I’ll have to buy shorts.)

The entire world seems to be designed to remind me that I lack height.  And that I suck at basketball.  Short dogs, however, do not have these problems.  And not just because they don’t wear pants.  Or shop for groceries.  Dogs seem to be oblivious to their height.  Rodent-sized toy varieties have no qualms about running up to Great Danes and barking ferociously at them–perhaps, saying something like “hey you, get off my lawn.”  And more often than not, the horse-sized canine will do exactly as the little dog says.

Dogs seem to have no idea what they look like.  Maybe I should adopt the dog’s approach to life.  I am six feet tall and my legs are long and shapely.  This could become my new mantra.  “I am six feet tall and my legs are long and shapely.”  

But I know this will only last until I try to reach for a mug.

Hmm…according to Wikipedia, the average height for a female among Bolivia’s Aymara people is 4’8″.  Note  to self: look into possibility of emigrating to Bolivia and likelihood of acceptance into its indigenous community.

1)  I haven’t featured a bizarre Japanese product in a while, so I thought it was time.  Meet the “anatomical” sleeping bag.  I’m not quite sure what the thought process was of its creator, but I have arrived at a few conclusions of my own.  This would be ideal if you needed to accurately pierce a specific organ of a sleeping foe.  Perhaps a dagger through the heart of a napping vampire?

While camping, it would give bears an edge on selecting human delicacies.  Hm…I feel like liver this morning.  Now where is that?  Oh, ya.  Right about here.

It also makes skinny slumberers look muscular.

This model is currently sold out, but you can put it on your “wishlist” here…http://www.japastuff.com/products/381-anatomical-model-sleeping-bag.aspx

   2)  (Time for another one of my awesome segues).  Speaking of body parts, it’s amazing the things one can learn while watching TV–even lame sitcoms.  Case in point–while “sort of” watching That 70’s Show (it never quite manages to fully capture and hold my attention), I caught Eric Foreman telling someone about a race car driver named “Dick Trickle.”  Seriously, that is his name.  Now if I had the name “Richard” and the last name “Trickle,” I never would have opted to go by “Dick.”  Maybe this guy has a great sense of humour.  Or maybe it was a marketing gimmick.  I will never forget that name for sure.

So, in case you are new to the world of Dick Trickle, here is a little bit about this man with the name that makes fifth-graders the world over giggle.  And some middle-aged women like me.

He is the short-track driver with the most wins in history.  He has logged over a million laps (I get car-sick just thinking about it).  And he has won over 1000 races.

Now you know.  This Dick can drive.

3)  Speaking of Dicks, what on earth is behind this loin cloth?  This is, perhaps, the creepiest roadside attraction I have ever seen.  And while doing this blog, I have seen a LOT of them.

This Bigfoot rendition is found in front of a gas station in the town of Vermilion Bay, Ontario.  He is 18 feet tall and weighs 3800 pounds.  And what the heck is in his mouth?  Is he smoking a giant cigar or is he chewing on a giant tootsie roll?

Apparently, Bigfoot a la Vermilion Bay was created one summer by someone who was just passing through town.  I guess he had time to spare.  Or asylums to hide from.

And to make this apparition even creepier, it is equipped with a speaker and has been known, on occasion, to speak to innocent sightseers. Maybe its maker is actually trapped inside.