Bird Feet, Burger Beds, Bad Bites, and an English Lesson

If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.” – Robin Williams

The English language never ceases to fascinate me…must be the English Teacher in me.  Today, I have decided to be awed by words that sound like their meaning.  I know.  This linguistic phenomenon  has a name–onomatopoeia.  Good luck with pronouncing that one, by the way.

When I think of these types of words, my old MAD magazines come to mind.  Those babies were full of them.  Apparently, a knight being pierced by a sword goes “plortch.”  “Ack” is both the sound of people coughing and Native Americans being shot at.  And in a clever play on words, “Barroom” was the sound of a balloon being fired out of a gun in a saloon.

The old Batman TV show wasn’t as clever in its use of onomatopoeia, but it certainly offered quantity–regularly filling the entire screen with brightly coloured font bearing words like “kapow,” “splatt,” and “biff.”

Yes, inflicting bodily harm on someone makes funny noises and I appreciate these writers’ attempts to fully capture the moments.  I, however, am partial to words like mucous, phlegm, puke, or puss.  These words sound like the objects they are.  Fungus, sputum, diphtheria, diarrhoea, and louse are equally effective.

Some words, however, are far too cute for their meanings.  A bunion sounds like a cuddly, little, furry creature that everyone should want.  A carbuncle sounds like it should be fun.  And a dust bunny–well, you get the picture.  Words are weird.

1)  Nature shows disturb me.  Big animals are always chewing on smaller ones and, frankly, I just don’t see the entertainment value in watching that.  I know that it’s a big, bad, cruel world–particularly if you happen to be at the bottom of the food chain–but I prefer to pretend that the creatures in the wild live happily together.  Like the lions and zebras and penguins in Madagascar.  

So, when my husband began watching some big cat schmorgesborg of little furry things, I fled to the television in the bedroom and flicked on something benign like Third Rock from the Sun.  Turns out that I missed a scintillating little documentary about the life of a hummingbird.  Don’t worry though.  I received a complete synopsis over breakfast this morning.

Here are the highlights:

  • Hummingbirds, as we know, were built to fly–fast and furious.  In fact, 30% of a hummingbird’s weight is made up of flight muscles.  They can fly forwards, backwards, sideways and upside-down…upside-down?  Really?  I can’t even sit in the back seat of a car without throwing up.   And they can fly 25-30 mph.  Imagine doing that upside-down.
  • Hummingbirds, however, have very weak feet…an Achilles Heel of sorts.  These feet aren’t made for walkin’…perching, yes…walking, no.
  • And they have a metabolism that every woman would kill for–they can eat up to 8x their body weight every day!  I just look at a Glosette raisin and I gain ten pounds.  And, in order to meet their hefty caloric requirements, they visit an average of 1000 flowers per day.  This raises another question…who the hell is following these birds around and counting flora?  Furthermore, these little birds are FAST.  How do their stalkers keep up?  It all sounds a little fishy to me.

2)  Sometimes the Internet can turn up the most amazing things.  Well, this is not one of them.  But it is a story that sort of touched my heart.  It is the tale of a hamburger bed–a one of a kind–that spent its life in search of a friend.

Apparently, a young woman by the name of Kayla Kromer was a HUGE fan of hamburgers…so much so that she decided to create this hamburger bed. The 8′ in diameter, 3′ high, burger resided with her for 6 years and then, she did the unthinkable…she sold it on e-bay.  The burger moved to Chicago for a year and was put up for auction again.  It even achieved celebrity status thanks to Jay Leno.

Despite its beefcake appearance and fame, the burger bed was still alone in a world of king-sized squares.  And, then, along came Hamburger Harry and the Hamburger Museum.  Here, the Hamburger Bed has found true love in the form of the Cheeseburger Bed–a waterbed burger created by Harry, himself.  At last, Hamburger Bed has found a kindred spirit and he no longer sleeps alone.

3)  Okay, so the next time you are complaining about an onslaught of black flies or mosquitoes, I’d like you to think of this story that is fresh off the presses.

According to’s The Province, a village in India has become the target of an attack by a herd (flock, swarm, or whatever it is called) of huge, hairy, venomous spiders.  Twelve people have been treated for bites and there are unconfirmed reports of two deaths.

Even scarier, specialists have no idea what type of spider this is.  It is tarantula-like, but is said to be very aggressive with powerful fangs.  Yikes. It’s not too often you hear “fangs” and “spider” in the same sentence.

Currently, they are fogging and spraying the area with insecticides.  I think I will go outside and hug a Daddy-Long-Legs.