Phlegm is not festive.

I have spent Christmas nursing some life-sucking virus that entered my body when an intellectually sub-par primate with a leaking face approached my cash register. He was the perfect poster child for the power of influenza–bloodshot eyes that oozed green globules of snot, a crimson clown-like nose, and so many cold sores around his mouth that he looked like he had been bobbing for apples with razor blades in them.

"Here, take this money out of my hand. It's right between my used Kleenex and my half-sucked cough drop."

“Here, take this money out of my hand. It’s right between my used Kleenex and my half-sucked cough drop.”

What dragged this typhus-laden individual from the solitude of his eiderdown comforter out into the public oxygen space? Apparently, he was experiencing some sort of emergency that could only be solved by purchasing an…um…book. I didn’t see exactly what book he was buying as I was rather obsessively trying not to touch any part of said book that had come in contact with his sweat-drenched, bacteria-riddled hands.

And no, his snot rag was not nearly this pretty. And the green stuff was not hand-stitched writing.

And no, his snot rag was not nearly this pretty. And the green stuff was not hand-stitched writing.

Perhaps, his home was on fire and he wanted to read up on planning escape routes. I really don’t know. Hopefully, he did manage to go home and successfully escape the flames.

I'm pretty sure he didn't buy this book.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t buy this book.

Maybe, his illness had simply rendered him bored–in dire need of mental stimulation. Based on his apparent brain power, however, I am convinced that the tasks of putting on his pants and tying up his shoes should have proved mentally stimulating enough.

No caption required.

No caption required.

Thanks to this nitwit, I have forgone the fun that is Christmas. No Christmas Eve church service. No volunteering at the annual Christmas dinner for the lonely or destitute. And, damn it all, no trekking to Walmart to battle the masses for Boxing Day deals on cheap batteries, DVDs, and half-priced Lindt chocolates. I blame you Face Running Man. A pox upon your household.

One of the many fine titles that I am missing out on today.

One of the many fine titles that I am missing out on today.

But to everyone else, I wish you giggles, hugs, and good health!!

Photos courtesy of:

Sick man http://oystercardjunkie.co.uk/tag/office-life/

Snot rag: http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/snot-rag-handkerchief

Book: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/book/stop-drop-and-roll#cart/cleanup

I will eat my gold tomato, wipe my butt with a cactus, and talk to the hamster with the pretty white gloves

I recently decided I wanted to buy a hamster.  Yes, I realize this is an unusual pet choice for a grown-up.  In my defence, I have allergies, so my selection is limited.  And hamsters are low maintenance–perfect for a scatterbrained individual like myself.

So, I headed off to Walmart and picked out a cage that looks like something the Jetsons would live in, some light blue shavings (yup, they come in techno-colour now), and some food.  I turned around with my heavily-laden arms (I was too stupid to get a cart beforehand), only to have a little old lady exclaim, “Oh!  You must have children.  I remember those days.”  Part of me wanted to make her feel like an idiot by saying, “Nope.  This is for me.”  But, then, I realized she may not feel like an idiot at all.  She might just think that I’m the idiot.  An adult with a hamster.  I simply smiled and said, “yes.”  Yes, I know.  I lied.  But it was a neat and tidy lie.  No flowers.  I didn’t feel compelled to give my fictitious children names (Molly and Clive would have come to mind.  I don’t know why) or ages (what age is “hamster appropriate?”).  I didn’t embellish and add a tragic tale of woe about a flattened beagle and the family car.  I managed to keep my deception to a single syllable.  This, in itself, is noteworthy.

My hamster is now home.  I have decided it is a “he.”  Apparently, “sexing” a hamster is tricky, so one really never knows.  I had originally named him “Clive” (there’s that name again) because he looks rather formal–for a relative of a rat.  He has white hands.  Like he’s wearing gloves.  But that name was not received with great applause.  He is now officially “Humphrey.”  I don’t know why.

Which, for some reason, brings me to something that I have been wondering about.  Did Noah have to wait for snails and slugs to make their way on to the ark?  Did he invite them first, so that he could get other things done while they were travelling?  Or did he wave his hands in frustration and pick them up?  Which makes me wonder how many “slower” animals didn’t make it on time.

And, how did Noah “sex” the hamsters to make sure he, indeed, had one of each gender?  And wouldn’t the ark have become overrun with the little buggers?  And rabbits.  And why on earth did he invite the mosquito?

1)  I admit that I do like escargot–at least I think I do.  Maybe it’s just the garlic butter that I enjoy.  Let’s face it–everything tastes good smothered in melted golden butter with garlic thrown in.  I have never actually had a snail without it.  Maybe they taste like dirt.  Or erasers.  Or worse, dirt-covered erasers.

Apparently, someone thinks they taste pretty good.  They have, in fact, become a key ingredient in one of the world’s most expensive dishes–a “curry” that goes for a whopping $3600 US.

London’s Bombay Brassiere has taken opulence (and quite possibly, indigestion) to a whole new level.  What their menu calls “The Samundari Khazana Curry” consists of Devon crab, white truffle, sea snails (told you–star of the show), Scottish lobster, and caviar.  But wait–I forgot the proverbial “icing on the cake”–this time in the form of gold.  Really.  The lobster has been iced with edible gold leaf.  Even a lowly cherry tomato has been coated with the stuff.  ACK.  Sure, gold is pretty.  As a ring.  A necklace.  Or in it’s natural shape–a long, rectangular bar.  But it doesn’t belong in my lower intestine.  That’s just wrong.  

I guess it’s like laying a golden egg.  Only messier.

2)  If you poop gold, ordinary toilet paper simply will not do.  It is likely that you prefer to use $100 bills.  But, if you find yourself short on cash (likely because you just indulged at the Bombay Brassiere), you may wish to opt for the faux c-note instead.  Justtoiletpaper.com (yes, there is a store for everything these days) will sell you a roll for $8.95.

I wonder how Benjamin Franklin feels about this.

If currency is not your style, there are many other fashionable rolls on which to wipe your tender toosh.  I thought it would be fun (not to mention unconventional) to hold a favourite toilet paper poll right here.

3)  So, maybe you don’t poop gold.  It doesn’t mean that your bowels are incapable of creating a masterpiece of their very own.  Just ask artist, Sam Mahon.  He has turned cow patties into a bust that sold for thousands.

The subject of his piece, New Zealand Environment Minister, Nick Smith likely wasn’t thrilled with his “sh*tty” likeness.  Mahon created the piece to protest against what he claimed was Smith’s failure to protect waterways from dairy farm pollution.  Apparently, the piece  doesn’t smell at all.

But kiddies, I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home.

Photo Credits:  gold lobster (http://goodnewsaday.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/the-most-expensive-food-in-the-world-2/), toilet paper money (comparestoreprices.co.uk), toilet paper for poll (www.justtoiletpaper.com),  poop bust (www.stuff.co.nz).

I’ll have a bug salad, a toe-nail in my sandwich, and one beak slurry please

I am constantly being ignored.  No, this is not merely an attention-craving rant by a narcissistic “what about me?” Generation X-er.  I am a member of Generation X.  And I do crave attention.  But neither one of these facts has anything to do with this.

I was always the kid in school who would put up her hand and never get called on.  Unless it was during math class.  I always got called on in math Class.  I think the teacher secretly enjoyed my blank, clueless expression and stammering.  But all my other teachers seemed oblivious to my very existence.

Even as a grown-up, my presence is often over-looked.  Particularly in line-ups.  The other day, I was next in line at the deli and the server asked the woman behind me what she wanted.  After years of this sort of thing happening, I have grown bolder and simply said to the woman behind me, “I guess I am invisible.”  Cheeky, eh?  The server looked astonished that I had called her out on her blatant disregard for my paltry synthetic smoked poultry needs.  “Oh, were you waiting to be served?” She asked.  Seriously, did she think that I was standing in line because I was short of better things to do?

This “ignore that red-head girl” attitude is not only foisted upon me by my fellow humans, but machines tend to ignore me too.  Especially automatic doors.  They refuse to open for me.  I could do Richard Simmons-styled arm flailing followed by a dash of Elaine Benes‘ awkward kick-dancing and still, the doors won’t budge.

That would look like this    with a touch of this added 

Not exactly something that is easy to ignore, is it?

At first, I attributed my failure to be noticed to my extreme lack of height.  It’s easy to overlook someone that is a foot shorter than you.  I ignore kids all the time.  Oops.  Did I say that?

But then, another thought occurred to me.  What if I’m not being ignored?  Maybe I’m invisible.  Or worse.  What if I am simply a figment of my own imagination and I do not exist at all?  Note to self:  Stop filing income tax.  I bet that will get me noticed.

1)  Sometimes being ignored at the deli counter is not a bad thing.  What the heck is mock chicken anyway?  Something else pretending to be a chicken?  And, I’m sorry, but baloney is just a flattened hot dog.  And we all know that hot dogs consist of a slurry of leftover animals parts.  And what’s with meat/macaroni loaf?  We know the meat isn’t meat, but is the noodle noodle?

I suppose it could be worse.  If I ever walked in to the Walmart canned meat section and found a can of water bugs–not just the ordinary ones either, but the GIANT ones–I would drop my groceries and flee the store emitting a scream so shrill that it would put Richard Simmons to shame.  I know.  Quit picking on the poor man.

Well, apparently our friends in Thailand do not possess this North American squeamishness.  Canned tuna is for wimps.  Cloverleaf salmon for the faint at heart.  If you want a hearty meal, whip up a water beetle salad sandwich.

Okay, that time I really did throw up in my mouth.

2)  There may be some things worse than a bug salad sandwich, albeit not many.  One would be a sandwich lovingly prepared by someone’s feet.

Yes, that’s exactly how comedian Rob Williams of Austin, TX likes his lunches.  Foot made.  Gross?  Very.  But his nimble toes have earned him the Guinness World Record for the fastest sandwich made with one’s feet.

He whipped up a culinary masterpiece stuffed with baloney (he had to remove the rind), cheese (his toes managed to rip off the plastic wrapper),  tomato, mustard, mayo, pickles and lettuce , complete with olives on sticks, in a mere 1 minute and 57 seconds.  This included slicing the sandwich in half with his toes.  That’s some fancy footwork.

Toe jam sandwich, anyone?

Homer Simpson only has four toes.  He could never make sandwiches with his feet.

3)  I’ve always maintained that TV can be highly educational.  Unfortunately, I gravitate to more low-brow fare; therefore, my nightly education is limited to…well…this–the stuff you see in my blog.

Last night’s episode of Shipping Wars proved very enlightening.  To me.  One of the shipments turned out to be a 400 pound replica of the Simpson’s clan sitting in their trademark pose on the family couch.  According to the seller, only 86 of these movie theatre props were released to the public.

As much as I love it, I seriously could never justify dedicating a prime sofa location to fibreglass people–no matter how cute they are.  Plus, they look like a bugger to dust.

Photo Credits:  canned bug (www.sodahead.com), foot sandwich (http://www.robsho.com/), simpson clan (www.trendhunter.com), Bart (www.photoshoppix.com).

Foods That Fly, Run Marathons, and Make My Pee Stink

Summer is the perfect time for trying to eat healthier.  Lots of weird fruits to try.  Walmart had a mound of Dragon Fruits the other day–can’t wait to try mine.  Hope they’re an actual fruit and  not something that has been food growing next to a Japanese Nuclear Power Plant.  The price of produce this time of year is a lot easier on the wallet too.  I no longer have to re-mortgage my house to buy a beefsteak tomato, a bundle of asparagus, and some blueberries.  (I live in Canada.  The only thing we can grow in the winter is snow).

But there is a downside to consuming large quantities of fruits and vegetables.  For one thing, broccoli and cabbage stink when they’re boiled.  Forget grenades and machine guns.  Just wave a pot of cabbage water at the enemy and they will flee in terror for sure.  My house perpetually smells like a fart.  (Admittedly, not all of that can be blamed on the cabbage water).  Cruciferous veggies produce noxious gases, it seems, that must escape the body.  Noisily.  And with lethal consequences.  (Note to self: Adopt elderly dog to serve as scapegoat.  Or maybe an actual goat?  To scape?)  (Another note to self: google how term “scapegoat” came about.  Did it involve a goat?)

And, to make matters worse, this “healthy eating” is affecting my pee.  Holy crap!  Asparagus urine reeks.  The only thing worse than peeing out a river of asparagus juice at home is having to do it in a public washroom.  I swear the lady beside me must think I have something seriously wrong with my plumbing.  It’s all I can do  not to scream out, “It’s the asparagus’s fault.”  But, knowing me, I couldn’t just stop there.  I’d wind up in a through-the-stall rant about what this healthy eating is doing to my home and my innards–not to mention my social life–and that my husband has recently developed a hankering for beets and that, next, I’ll have to deal with beet-coloured pee staining the toilet bowl.

Rather than risk this, I simply let them think that my urinary tract is rotting.

1)  TV shows and movies often portray displeased audiences as violent, produce-hurling delinquents who, for some reason, always have a  tomato or two on hand for tossing.  I would never throw a tomato at someone–even if they were assaulting my ears with jazz fusion.  (Apologies to jazz fusion fans.  It is just not my cup-of-tea.  Nor is Country.  Great, now I have to apologize to the Country fans.  Note to self: shut up before you alienate your entire blog audience.)

If you are going to hit someone with something from  the produce section, at least a tomato is soft.  It is one of the edible orbs that most closely mimics the Nerf ball.  An orange does not.  An orange would hurt.  A lot.

So, naturally, humans have created a Carnival that revolves around exactly that–pelting other humans with non-Nerf-like balls.  ORANGES.

In the Northern Italian city of Ivrea, citizens and tourists alike come out to mark this festival with a very strange origin.  Apparently in the 12th or 13th century (the story varies from one source to another), a tyrant from a powerful family attempted to rape a young commoner on her wedding night.  He was unsuccessful as she decapitated him.  Not with an orange, by the way.

If you wish to participate in this tradition, seek help.  Sorry.  Those things just keep popping out of my head and down to my fingers.  Seriously, if you wish to play, you must join a team.  Tourists are warned to wear a red hat, which apparently serves as a “leave me out of it” symbol.  Heaven help anyone who isn’t made aware of this fact.  I, personally, would opt for a red goalie mask–but I’m Canadian.  Rumour has it that we never leave home without one.

2)  I love berries, but I hate the fact that they often come with their own wardrobes–fur coats.  Well, I may have stumbled upon a cure.

Using 1 part vinegar (white or cider work best) and 10 parts water, submerge berries and give them a good wash.  Apparently, vinegar is an enemy to mould spores and inhibits their growth.

Your little berries will remain “coatless” for much longer, giving you more time to scarf’em down.  YAY!

3)  It’s not every day you see a man with pasty white legs and black sport socks–and, oh ya–dressed up as a banana.  It’s even rarer that you see one running a marathon.  That’s exactly what Patrick Wightman of the United Kingdom did in March of 2011.

He managed a Guinness World Record-setting time of 2 hr 58 min 20 seconds at the Barcelona Marathon–the fastest time ever recorded for someone dressed up as a fruit.  There were others?  Wightman chose the banana shape because it was more stream-lined.  So, it wasn’t merely because he looked fab in yellow.

The “fastest marathon dressed as a vegetable” is held by a carrot.  No, really.

In Wightman’s defence, he did this for charity.

The following are random strangely-shaped produce.  I’m afraid that I wouldn’t be able to eat any of these.  Firstly, they’re freaky weird mutations.  And, secondly, some of them are just way too cute.  I don’t want to eat anything that’s cute.  That’s why I have a lot of turkey and crustaceans.  They have faces only their mothers could love.

Photo credits:  Orange fight (themagazine.ca), Berries (http://ottawaraw.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/beauty-in-the-raw/) Banana man (thisiskent.co.uk), Duck cucumber (FotosUp.com), Weird hand (nocutnews.co.kr), Tomato duck (xcitefun.net), Potato bear (FotosUp.com), Weird goose & pepper snake (xcitefun.net).

My Phone: I Can Throw It, Smoke It, and Put It In a Song

Two guys walk into a bar. You’d think one of them would have seen it.”  Daniel Lybra

I am not a fan of the cell phone as many of you know.  I realize that it does have its uses.  It has allowed distraught husbands to call home and check that they are picking up the right brand of  tampons.  It has allowed for the creation of many viral and highly embarrassing videos.  And, according to CSI Miami, you should always have one in case you wind up being kidnapped in the trunk of a car.  (Sorry, had to click to CSI Miami link and ogle David Caruso for a minute).  Damn.  In typing last sentence, discovered that I now had the opportunity to create David Caruso link, so had to do some more ogling!)  Must focus.

For the most part, cell phones (and, apparently David Caruso sites) have made us rude.  We ignore the “present-in-the-flesh” people around us, while we text and twitter with everyone else.  We turn the highways and bi-ways into death traps as we text, talk, and drive.  And we light up movie theatres with our little telephone screens–who has time to watch a movie with so many texts to text?

Rather than rant and annoy the snot out of myself, I have decided to dedicate today’s blog to the telephone in all its glory–most of it being former glory.

1)  This woman appears to be quite annoyed with her cell phone.  Perhaps when she asked “can you hear me now?,” no one replied.  I have to admit, I’ve often felt like doing this to my phone.  It’s one of those runaway touch screens that never seems to stop on  the contact that you want and always seems to dial someone that you don’t want–and they are always long distance–and it’s always during prime time.  And it never gets any reception in Walmart.  What the hell do they make those walls with anyway?  Plutonium?  But no matter how irked my phone may make me, and no matter how often I entertain thoughts of backing over it with my car, I would never actually “hurt” it.  At least, not until my contract is up.

This woman pictured here, however, makes it her business to hurl mobiles.  She is a participant in the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, a Scandinavian tradition that is growing in popularity.  I knew we all secretly hated these intrusive devices.  The World Record for the longest throw is 95.83 meters and is held by Brit, Chris Hughff.  There are four different categories in which to compete, but I think the most interesting would be the freestyle category.  This allows contestants to choreograph interesting manoeuvres for their mobile devices.  Yes, some phone-tosses can be more esthetically pleasing than others.  Apparently.

For a phone introduction to phone throwing, watch this video:  

2)  Okay…this is the coolest thing ever.  At least, I think it is.  Bare in mind, my life is boring.

This is a little tidbit that I learned at mashable.com and I had fun verifying its accuracy.  So, here are the rules.  Take any regular seven-digit phone number.  Multiply the first three digits by 80. Add one. Multiply that by 250. Then, add the last four digits of the original phone number. Add the last four digits again. Subtract 250.  Divide by two.  And presto!!!

Seriously, try it with all of your friends’ numbers too.  It will work every time.

And this picture makes me miss rotary dial phones.  But I don’t miss dialling (that word looks like it isn’t spelled properly, but spell-check claims it is) numbers with lots of nines and zeroes.  They always kept the tips of your nails smooth though.

3)  The 80s were a blast.  Big hair gelled into crunchy, immovable heights, then further solidified with a blast of French Formula or Final Net hairspray.  We thought we were cool.  Men wore gem-tones without shame.  Women wore ties.  And innocent people were unceasingly harassed–their lives made unbearable by the never-ending ringing of their phones.

All across the country, people with different area codes were united by one common bond–the ill fortune of having the phone number “867-5309.”  And Heaven forbid, they were also named “Jenny.”

If you want to hear the song that created this communications mess, go here:  

Other phone numbers have proven troublesome over the years thanks to film or song.  In “Bruce Almighty,” God contacted Jim Carrey from the phone number 776-2323…again with no area code.    Ironically, in one area code this phone number belonged to a church that had a pastor named Bruce.  The DVD version of the film was edited to contain the number 555-0123 instead.

Why do TV shows and movies use phone numbers that start with 555?  Officially, the numbers 555-0100 to 555-0199 are reserved for fictional use.  There is only one toll-free number reserved for fictional purposes–1-800-555-0199.  Other 555 numbers are intended for Directory Assistance applications.

3)  I know that it’s the “in” thing to have your phone number convert into a catchy mnemonic.  To me, that would make sense if regular phones had QWERTY keypads as diallers.  Now we have to remember the letters, convert them one-at-a-time back into numbers, and I’m sorry, but that’s just way too much work.  The number 9 belongs to four letters.  And I hate it when businesses list their phone numbers mnemonically in the yellow pages.  I am looking for a phone number.  Not another advertising message encrypted into their phone number.  If I am calling you, I already know what product you are selling–and odds are, I am already sold.  But if you tick me off by making the phonecall, itself, too complicated, I might dial the other guy.  The one that lists his phone number as seven simple digits.

But, just for kicks, I had to put my phone number, my mobile number, my husband’s mobile number, and my parents’ number into this neat “convert your digits to words” service called Phone Spell.  None of these numbers, by the way, turned into anything that I would actually use.  Some references to kiwis (which I am allergic to), someone named Liz, and a spa (I wish).   You can give it a try at:   http://www.phonespell.org/

4) Years ago, I bought my father what I thought would be the coolest Father’s Day present ever–a phone that looked like a duck decoy.  It even quacked.  Unfortunately, a few years later, we heard that land-line phones that had the receiver in the earpiece caused brain cancer.  Bye duck.

Let’s face it.  Humans love to turn everyday objects into something else.  Egg timers that look like eggs with eyes.  I admit to owning one of these.  Kleenex box covers that look like the Easter Island rocks–I have one.  The Kleenex comes out of his nose.  Pot holders that look like beaks.  Got those.  And a gnome that is actually a watering can.  Don’t have one, but have been eyeing one at Canadian Tire.   Hmmm.  Maybe I’m the only one that loves everyday objects that look like something else.

And now, humans have the option of purchasing a cell phone that looks like a pack of Marlboros.  And if you smoke, while you’re on the phone, you can get brain cancer and lung cancer simultaneously.  Now that’s cool.

Photo Credits:  Phone Thrower (flickr husin.sani),  Retro Phone (remodelista.com), Jenny (tweentribune.com). Phone Spell logo (phonespell.org), cigarette phone (newlaunches.com), Life in the Future (DryBonesBlog.com).