Crispy, crunchy cockroaches–great neighbours, great food.

I am about to confess one of my darkest and deepest secrets.  I have lived among cockroaches.  And more than once.  Phew.  There.  I’ve said it.  One more skeleton freed from an overstuffed closet.

My very first apartment was home to so many of the crunchy critters that I had to flick on the kitchen light first with my eyes closed and not return until my raunchy little roommates had departed to crevices unknown.  In my next apartment, we learned to co-exist peacefully.  We were both aware of one another’s existence, but we respected each other’s boundaries.  They had free run of the place when I wasn’t home.  And, in return, they made themselves scarce when I returned.  My third apartment, however, dealt me a breed of cockroach that no amount of horror movie watching could have prepared me for.

Don't let these four-legged imposters fool you.  Cockroaches are not green.  Nor are they cute.

Don’t let these four-legged imposters fool you. Cockroaches are not green. Nor are they cute.

I knew we had cockroaches.  My human roommate and I had bug-proofed our food–which cost a fortune in Tupperware, I might add.  We had installed a miniature village of Roach Hotels.  And, we left the bathroom and kitchen lights on in hopes that they would move on to a less vigilant neighbour.  But these radiation resistant roamers are not easily deterred.  They opted, instead, to bring in the big guns.

Bearing the nickname "Cockroach" is not a compliment--no matter what Theo Huxtable tells you.

Bearing the nickname “Cockroach” is not a compliment–no matter what Theo Huxtable tells you.

As I lay in my bed, awakened by the sense that something was not right, I noticed a strangely shaped shadow in the hallway, just outside my bedroom door.  It had antennae and a number of spindly legs–anything with more than four is bad news.  Yes.  It was a cockroach large enough to cast a shadow.  Albeit, it was a small shadow.  But no insect should be big enough to have one at all.  Insects by their very nature should be shadowless.

Rendered immobilized by fear, I simply waited for him, the King of all Bugs, to make his way to his throne–somewhere in the bathroom (which, ironically, is where my throne resided also), and moved shortly after.  The cockroach population had showed their hand and mine was no match.  I folded.

And, yes.  The only time to befriend a cockroach is when every other living creature on the entire planet has died.

And, yes. The only time to befriend a cockroach is when every other living creature on the entire planet has died.

Here are a few factoids about this resilient little creature that even a brick dropped from a substantial height cannot kill.

1)  I am eternally grateful that my first apartment was not located in Queensland, Australia–nothing against the lovely Australian people.  I simply do not think I could handle their “giant burrowing cockroaches.”  Yes, these monsters–and expert shadow casters–can weigh up to 1.2 ounces.  Holy crap.  16 of those buggers weigh more than a pound.  Ack.

It appears to take TWO HANDS to carry a giant burrowing cockroach.  EW.

If it takes two hands to hold a bug, I sure as hell am not going to be picking it up.  Drop it and run, moron.

2) Cockroaches love to be snuggled.  Yes, these hideous, unhuggable creatures love to be touched and seek out surfaces such as walls, crevices, and household items to give them that warm and fuzzy feeling.  Whacking them with a shoe simply equates to a helping of tough love–a rough thwack of the contact that they desperately crave.

Excuse me,  You've got a bug on your chest.

Excuse me, You’ve got a bug on your chest.

3)  Decapitation is a minor setback.  Yes, cockroaches can survive a couple of weeks without their heads.  I guess it helps to be able to breathe through gaps in your body segments, to have an efficient wound-clotting system, and to be able to go for weeks without food.  Hm.  If I could breathe out my ass, I’m not sure I’d want to.  Talk about bad breath.  Furthermore, cockroaches are butt ugly, but a headless cockroach would be even worse.  Note to self: Giant, headless cockroach–possible lead character in next novel?  Great opportunity to examine self-loathing and hot topic of bullying.

Damn.  Who turned the lights out?

Damn. Who turned the lights out?

4)  Eat them in moderation.  Apparently, some people will eat anything.  But who in the hell can look at a plate of Hissing Madagascar Cockroaches and say, “Mm. Can’t wait to get me some of those.”  Six Flags has been hosting a seasonal Cockroach Eating Contest for years, but an incident in Florida has put these events on hold.  A pet store decided to hold one of their own.  The prize?  A python.  Yup, eat a plate of bugs and go home with a snake.  Well, in October of 2012, a 32-year-old man died from cockroach consumption during the contest.  He literally died of a bug.  Sorry.  I realize that this is a serious moment and I should not be making puns.

cockroach suicide

cockroach nose

cockroach exterminator

cockroach motel


Check out my latest musings at Searching for Barry Weiss…

If you’d like to read more about cockroaches, check out:

Cockroaches: More Than Just Pests

Finally, the cockroach gets some respect

Why do cockroaches exist at all?

Roaches with jet packs

Photo credits  Raid cockroaches (, Cosby Cockroach (, Wall.E cockroach (,  Giant burrowing roach (, roach tee (, headless (, cockroach suicide, cockroach in nose (, exterminator (, cockroach motel (      

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 (, VW topiaries (, Mister Beany (