No arms, skinny legs, a giant diaper, and a blanket that scares me.

I am feeling a tab bit discombobulated today and stringing together coherent thoughts is quite beyond my capabilities.  Stupid, random sentences that have nothing to do with each other is much more within my reach.

Everyone seems to think birds have it made because they can fly.  But imagine going through life with no arms.  Seriously.  Getting peanut butter off your beak without hands or paws or anything remotely like that must be a pain in the ass.  And the “armed” creatures all make fun of the way you walk.  It’s hard to strut when you have no arms to swing.  Or hands to put in your pockets.  Speaking of pockets, birds have very skinny legs and no hips, so pants are out of the question.  And without arms, they can’t wear shirts.  They will never know the joy of having pockets.  Plus, they must get tired of eating the same old thing all the time.  How many ways can you serve a worm?

Which brings me to another question.  Why do we call pants “pants” in the plural?  And why does one “pant” constitute a pair?  Some say it’s because they have two legs in them.  A shirt has two sleeves, but it remains a lowly, singular item.  Is this because we place more value on legs than on arms?  Hm.  That should make the bird feel a bit better.

1)  Birds, like anyone else, need to have fun and I am sure that one of their favourite pastimes involves well-aimed poop and shiny, red cars.  I know.  I own one.  A shiny, red car that is.  Not a bird poop.  Although, I do occasionally have a few in my possession on said shiny, red car.

It turns out that someone has found a way to rob our feathered friends of this sport.  Yes, they have created diapers for birds.  How humiliating.

If you feel compelled to diaper your canary, you can find these babies at  They have even included a how-to video for the first-time avian parent.

They could have at least included pockets.

2)  Even our insults seem to malign our feathered friends.  Take the term “bird brain.”  Humans have deemed the avian mind to be laughable–so small that even Dan Quayle (ironically named after a bird) could out-spell it.

But, perhaps, we have been wrong.  Turns out that a diet of caterpillars and crickets is the healthy way to go.  Ack.  There goes my cinnamon swirl peanut butter with raisins in it.  Never eat raisins before you compose a blog about bugs.

Scientists agree that insects are chalked full of protein, iron, and vitamins.  For every 100 grams of caterpillars you gnaw on, you are getting 28 grams of protein.  That’s impressive.  Unless you’re the caterpillar.  And if you prefer the finer things in life, perhaps steamed silk worm is more your style.  Sounds elegant, doesn’t it?

And here’s a useful little ditty for you to remember the next time you go digging for your dinner:

Red, orange, yellow, forget this fellow.

Black, green, or brown, wolf it down.

3)  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE fan of crows.  And I finally have the chance to feature one of the coolest roadside attractions  that I had the thrill of discovering–three 11 foot tall metal crows in Upstate New York.  They’re on the I-81 just south of the Ivy Lea Bridge (aka Thousand Islands Bridge) to Canada and can be seen most easily from the southbound lane.  Don’t blink or you will miss them.  Seriously.

Sculptor, Will Salisbury, created 3 Crows in a Field from 1999-2001 as a “campaign to abolish boredom.”  I know it keeps me and my “bird brain” (actually referring to myself, not my husband) entertained.

Photo Credits:  bugs (, crows (, Gary Larson Cartoon (

Flying Paint Cans, Feet that Squirt, and Underpaid Dwarves

I was coming out of the bank the other day as ominous storm clouds marched their way towards me.  All around me, people were telling one another that this could be a bad one–they had heard that tornadoes were possible.  Everyone was anxious to get home.  Me included.  But not my husband.  No, he wanted to soldier on and go to Canadian Tire as planned.  This is a man who does not believe in deviating off-course for any reason.  Even the threat of being yanked up and hurled through the sky in a “Dorothy & Toto” fashion would not thwart his plans.

Now, Canadian Tire is not the ideal place to be should a tornado decide to drop by.  Flying power tools scare me.  But my husband, God bless his stupidity  determination, had his eyes set on an even scarier section of the store.  The paint department.  I don’t know what he was looking for.  I was distracted by thoughts of sharing a wind funnel with large, heavy, and injury-inducing paint cans.  And really tall ladders with sharp edges.

I longed to be somewhere else, but there really isn’t a tornado-friendly section of Canadian Tire.  I wanted to be in a pillow store.

I guess you have deduced that we survived–no thanks to my husband–but there was a tornado in the area, so I am not totally neurotic.  Somewhat, yes, but not completely.

1)  Some pillows provide better tornado protection than others.  The “blood pool pillow” is too thin to keep you safe.   But, after you’ve safely landed wherever the tornado has dropped you, you can give your friends and loved ones a good laugh by posing like the woman pictured here.

No tornadoes scheduled in your area?  No worries.  Simply sprawl out on the kitchen floor with your blob-of-blood pillow around the time that your husband is due back from work.  It will make for hours of entertainment, I’m sure.

You can add this baby to your odd pillow collection by going here:

2)  The Wizard of Oz sort of disturbed me as a kid.  I much preferred the cartoon version with the catchy theme song.  

I do like the idea of being sucked up by a giant tornado and landing in a land full of  Munchkins.  Seriously, for once I’d be the tall one in the crowd.  And the kink that has developed in my neck from looking up all the time might iron itself out.  But, as the local giant, they’d likely look to me to settle their labour disputes with management.  Apparently, Toto earned significantly more money for his role as the dog than any of the little people did (it is reported that Toto rated $125 per week, but his short human counterparts received a mere $50 per week).

Frankly, I don’t want to get involved with any disputes that require negotiating with that little freak the Wizard or an evil witch.

Speaking of witches, I have unravelled the mystery of how on earth they created the illusion of fire when the witch tried to take Dorothy’s lovely red shoes.  Albeit, I had never pondered this mystery before.  Nor was I even aware it was a “mystery.”  But, if you have been pondering this feat (haha–pun intended), here is how they did it.  I caution you.  This is very high-tech.  Apparently, they squirted apple juice from the crimson footwear, sped the tape up to an awesome speed, and “voila”–it looks like fire.  Sort of.  Maybe if you squint.  Or remove your bi-focals.  Or if you don’t need bi-focals, put someone else’s on.

3)  I don’t particularly enjoy flying.  I guess with all this talk of high winds, I should qualify this statement.  While I don’t imagine I would enjoy flying in the “hurdling through the air” sense of the word, I am now referring to flying via the usual route–in an airplane.  I do it because Canada is enormous and it takes us forever to get anywhere.  Plus, I get sea sick, so it’s the only way to leave my continent.

On one particularly long journey, I encountered the strangest in-flight movie selection ever.  Alright, Snakes on a Plane would have been stranger.  We were treated to Twister.  Talk about facing multiple phobias at once.  I’m sure I saw a lot of Ativan-popping going on during that one.

The image of flying cows, apparently isn’t as far-fetched as we hoped it would be.  In fact, horses can fly too.  In Bowdle, South Dakota, in 1955, a nine year old girl was riding her horse when a tornado swept them both up.  The girl was deposited safely on the ground 1000 feet away with her horse standing beside her.  Both were unharmed with the exception of some hail welts.  This is a picture of the duo prior to the incident :

Sharon Weron aboard her horse

Never underestimate a cow.  

  Or a cat.  Meet the feline early warning system.

Photo Credits:  flying cow (, girl and pony (, cartoons “the Far Side” by Gary Larson.

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?