Monday, December 15, 2008

Its Hard Sometimes to Find Personalized Knicknacks

I often have a hard time finding crappy personalized products with my name. Sometimes, in a really touristy place like Orlando I might be able to find a Mickey Mouse mini-license plate, but thats only because there's probably a wall of 675,000 personalized name plates in 109 languages to serve the Small World of visitors they greet each year.

Usually though, I'm screwed and I'm forces to come home with a chili-pepper painted mug from Santa Fe with "Gene" on it, or maybe a belt buckle that says "Jesus" (because at least two of the letters are the same). My name isn't that unusual, and I have trouble. Its nto the best name, but at least its not something embarrassing like some Bart Simpson Prank--Amanda Hugginkiss, Seymore Butz, Mike Rotch or any other creative name-slam.

I mean, seriously. What name could be worse than I.P Freely? or Ura Snotball? Maaaaaybe Adolf Hitler. Well, its not like anyone would actually name their kid after Hitler...or would they?

Heath and Deborah Campbell of Holland Township, PA have gotten a little creative with their child naming responsibilities. The names of their three kids are JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell and Adolf Hitler Campbell. If you ask me, Aryan Nation is a pretty crappy middle name. The problem this family is currently facing is that the local ShopRite is refusing to put little Adolf's name on his birthday cake.

""We believe the request ... to inscribe a birthday wish to Adolf Hitler is inappropriate," said Karen Meleta, a ShopRite spokeswoman."
I'm pretty sure that if I worked at Shoprite as a cake decorator I would refuse to write Adolf Hitler in with my star tipped green frosting pen (you know, unless it was for some college history class celebration of his "death", or something) but can the company itself really refuse? Leave your thoughts in comments.

Post Script: This whole discussion really reminds me of this site. Awesome.

Post Post Script: ahhhh! The Cake Wrecks site (linked in the Post Script) actually has a post about the same topic. Double Awesome!

Isn't There One Very Important Question to Be Asked?

Man sprays 'toilet-papering' teens with fox urine

The Associated Press

WILLMAR, Minn.—A 50-year-old man told authorities he was fed up with teens toilet-papering his house during homecoming week. This year, he decided to defend his property—with a squirt gun filled with fox urine.

Now, Scott Wagar is in trouble with the law. He pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court to misdemeanor assault and other charges. He was released on personal recognizance.

According to police, on Sept. 16, Wagar used night vision goggles and saw 15-20 people running toward his place. He told them to leave and sprayed them with the fox urine. He also struggled with one teen who he says grabbed him from behind.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Wagar says he's innocent, and has a right to defend his property. He says groups of teens have been toilet-papering and egging his house during homecoming for about eight years, and each year it gets more destructive.

He says he sprayed the kids with a mixture of one-third fox urine and two-thirds water because "it stinks, but it doesn't hurt anything."

Where the hell did he get the fox urine?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Kill Time, I Dare you

Today is a little slow, to say the least. I have been trading fun, time wasting websites with a few colleagues over the course of the last couple hours, which I would like to share at this time. Its amazing that there is such a demand for pictures of humorous things on the web. Is anyone doing any work anymore? The picture above is from a site dedicated to poking fun at awkward/funny/inappropriate translations into English from other languages. because of Engrish, I have been sufficiently warned not to point at the creature. There's plenty of fun to be had there.

Another good one I was just turned on to is the Fail Blog. A place where pictures and videos of failure come together in harmony. the photograph below, a display failure, depicts an unfortunate bookstore display of not-so-festive titles under the Happy Holidays sign.

These two sites can take up plenty of time while you are struggling to keep your job during the recession, listening to your hungry baby cry, or browsing your iphone on a city bus. There are only so many legitimate news stories you can read and still convince yourself to wake up in the morning, so you might as well rejoice on other peoples failures or bad English translations instead of

Post Script: I'm really thankful that my Firefox spell checker doesn't know what an iphone is. As soon as it suggests it correctly I'll know Apple is the messiah. Maybe by that point Firefox will stop suggesting "granulate" as the correct spelling of my last name.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Curse of the Shades

Every time I take a nasty fall in a public place there is a common factor. It's not a certain gripless pair of shoes, or a tree-root shifted sidewalk square that "just gets me every time!". It's nothing logical. Nothing that would make my unfortunate diggers more understandable or at least a little bit less embarrassing. I'm not that kinda lucky.

The common factor?

I'm always wearing ridiculous, oversized, movie-star sunglasses.

While this has occurred numerous times, I'll just recount my favorite time and the incident which occurred this morning.

The Best Fall Ever
When I first moved to DC I was living in upper Northwest on Connecticut Avenue. This was not a "cool" neighborhood (unless you are an octogenarian), but I sure as hell thought it was cool. I had a great apartment and the state code "DC" on my mail. All was good. Perhaps it was this overinflated sense of self worth which lead to my (literal) downfall.

It was a beautiful spring day and I strutted to the metro in my favorite brown skirt, flip flops and denim jacket. Over my shoulder my green and orange Timbuk2 messenger bag was carefully slung, full of text books for my recently begun graduate studies. My ipod earbugs sprung from my ears as some popular band I probably didn't like that much but thought I should blared. My hair was as big as it can get.

Of course, perched on my nose are my giant, movie star sunglasses.

Strutting my stuff, looking soooo goooooood, I approach the entrance to the Metro, accelerating rapidly. Some invisible object, probably hubris, gets in my way and I trip. And boy do I trip. The weight from Langston Hughes and WEB DuBois sets my liberally propagandized Timbuk2 bag into motion. In the one short second I have to regain my balance and my dignity, the weight of the bag lurches me forward, somersaulting me into the crowd of commuters. My favorite skirt flips over my head, my ipod goes flying and I land like the Vitruvian Man. The only part of my appearance still in tact: the sunglasses.

As passersby stop to assist me, their mouths gaping open in concern (with a touch of schadenfreude), I swiftly gather my belongings and rush down the escalator as fast as I can, pushing my sunglasses up, breathing irregularly and shouting, at an abnormally high pitch, "I'm fine! Thanks though! I'm fine! Gotta run! Thanks!"

The train downtown (and away from my shame) departs just as my feet hit the platform and I am forced to wait 2 minutes for the next one. As I stand there, the entire crowd of people who tried to help me, who were left in my dust as I busted my ass down the escalator to escape them, come quietly down the moving stairs and pass me one by one, trying not to look at me. I hid behind my over-sized sunglasses.

As if that memory hasn't been burned into my tiny ego long enough, I constantly reignite old shame when I soberly eat dirt probably around twice monthly.

I think most people look like they are trying to be Vanilla Ice when they wear sunglasses, as if they also have their ragtop down so their hair can blow. But, honestly, there are only about six times a year in which sunglasses are really necessary.

Five of these times include driving due east or west on a highway, or playing volleyball on a beach in Cancun. They other time, my favorite time, is about wearing sunglasses for no reason whatsoever--when the sun is barely shining or you are maybe even indoors. Its about wearing sunglasses to feel cool. I love sunglasses.

Today's Slippery Slope
This December morning, I intentionally put my contacts in(instead of the usual carefree spectacle look I sport) so I can don my new sunglasses on the way to work. Sure, WJLA had already informed me that it would be a cloudy day today, but from the shaded window of my basement apartment, I judged it to be light enough outside that sunglasses were a necessity.

As I locked the external door and headed up the stairs (ipod, Timbuk2 and sunglasses in tow) I realized it was drizzling. I had no where to safely store the shades so on my face they remained, and on I walked. To cut to the chase, my metro escalator is mighty steep and primarily exposed to the elements. It was still raining on me as I decended the stairs at an "I live in Washington DC, I'm important, get out of my way!" manner. I passed by a few slower folks, cruising at what I'm sure was an unsafe speed, until there it was again, sliding under my loosely laced red converse sneaker--hubris.

I slipped.

As I slipped, an inadvertent, instinctual mom noise tore from my lips, "oooh!". I hit the hard escalator, its angry teeth biting both my calf and vulnerable muffin top.

Faster than everyone could turn around to witness the tragedy (well, I wish it had been faster, but in actuality it was just long enough for everyone to turn) I popped up miraculously, every joint aching from the whiplash, and continued my jaunt to the bottom. Sunglasses still on my face, like a total toolbox. Don't worry, there wasn't a James-Bond-convenient train waiting to whisk me away this time either; I stood on the platform waiting while all the witnesses paraded by, probably thinking "Maybe you wouldn't have fallen if you weren't wearing those ridiculous sunglasses in the rain at 7:30 in the morning."

Oh, sunglasses, you make me look so cool, but why do you bring such ill fortune?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Is this guy a Governor or Lil' Wayne?"

I really wanted to comment on the scandal in my home state with good old Governor Blagojevich, but I wasn't sure how to frame my blog until I heard those magic words. "Is this guy a Governor or Lil' Wayne?" Thank you Jon Stewart, for being so dreamy.

For those of you who don't know, Illinoisians (if thats a word) re-elected Rod in 2006 over his opponent Judy Barr-Topinka, primarily because of bad hair, a nasty Chicago south side accent and her dedication to the White Sox. In fact, it must have been the baseball thing because Rod and Judy have the bad hair and accent in common, but R-Blag is a Cubs fan. (Yes, Chicagoans know that the White Sox won the series in 2005, but we also know that White Sox = guys in sleeveless shirts driving mustangs and punching other guys in the mouth. The only exception is Barack Obama.) This Christmas Card may also have something to do with her loss:

Either way, Blagojevich kept his seat and continued his promise to reform Chicago after the 4 years of Governor George Ryan who began serving his sentence for federal corruption convictions in November of last year (but Ryan did issue a moratorium on executions in IL in 2000, and that was pretty cool of him. Props to you in the Pen, George.)

Oh Chicago, your beauty is again marred by scandal.

Also, you can check out a lil' Lil' Wayne music video here, if the picture above wasn't enough for comparison.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Breast Implants and Suicide Rates

My weekend research topic was “What happens to silicone implants when you die?” I know that implants can’t be biodegradable or else they would biodegrade inside your body, but does that mean that after your skin and bones become one with the earth that your implant/s would still be in the ground? I’m also pretty sure that all implants have serial tracking numbers, meaning that in a CSI-related moment calf implants found in some overgrown woods could be all that is left of a murder victim?

Unfortunately, I didn’t really find too much about this topic in my internet scouring, but I did find some information about breast implants that I had not previously been aware of. I am not against plastic surgery or implants at all, as long as one decides to go for that type of body modification for oneself and not to please a partner or society (or whatever) but I have always had a little bit of hesitation about the safety of those decisions.

Breast implants have notoriously had problems with leaking or bursting in the past. Silicone and saline and all sorts of things I don’t much understand, but in November of last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration okayed the sale of silicone breast implants for the first time in 14 years. I just recently heard about a study completed in 2007 which dropped this frightening statistic:

“WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Women who get cosmetic breast implants are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide as other women, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.”

From the same study, USA Today reported:

“Women who have breast implants are three times as likely to die by suicide and have a similar increased risk of death as a result of drug use or alcoholism, a study says. The finding confirms earlier reports linking suicide and breast implantation and suggests plastic surgeons should consider mental health screening and follow-up for their patients.

The study, in August's Annals of Plastic Surgery, is by researchers at the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md.; Vanderbilt University in Nashville; and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. It extends by eight years research on 3,527 Swedish women who had cosmetic implants from 1965 to 1993. No notable increase was seen in the first 10 years after surgery, but 10 to 19 years after, risk was 4.5 times higher, and six times higher after 20 years, compared with the expected suicide rate. Researchers say it's not clear if the increase was the result of underlying psychiatric illness.”

The study showed no rise in the rate of cancer among women with implants, but the suicide connection seems pretty conclusive. The article from Reuters also said that in 2006, 383,886 U.S. women had breast augmentation. Do you think that those almost 400,000 women thought that their mental health could be severely affected by an augmentation? What are the causes?

I'd also be interested if anyone knows about the biodegradability of implants to fulfill my initial topic of interest...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh Prop 8, You Make Me Laugh

There was so much to blog about today, but, alas, the man had me emailing, conferencing-calling and whatnoting all darn day. Because I haven't been too political lately, and because my blogging hiatus awkwardly fell during the whole Prop-8 situation I'll just leave you all with this one lovely video today.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is This News?

I'm starting a new weekly post on That Makes Me Nervous called "Is This News?" When I say weekly I mean whenever I get around to it, of course. Once every two weeks or once every 2.5 know.

This week comes from a CNN headline that reads: "Obama disappointed in Richardson."

Or course, I have a tiny heart attack. I love Bill Richardson. I love New Mexico. I even love the fun-living folkloric jackrabbit who lights up the desert night with his human-like cry. I felt nervous that for some strange out-of-this-world reason Richardson perhaps turned down the job of Commerce Secretary. What was the article really about?

"(CNN) - Gov. Bill Richardson showed up to his press conference with President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday morning without the beard he has been sporting since dropping out of the presidential race in January, sparking his new boss to tell reporters he is "deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard.""

Oh CNN! You are soooo hilarious! Thanks for letting us in on this little life or death piece of information! Whew. What would I have done without knowing about Obama's little quip?? Richardson sure does look hipper with his beard! Gosh, I miss it already!

Hey wait, CNN! Did you hear that there were terrorist attacks in Mumbai recently? Or that the US is in a financial crisis? Weird! I was so busy thinking about the untimely death of Richardson's beard that I forgot all about all that crazy stuff!

Is This News?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Greatest Day of 2009

Since my short experience studying abroad in the UK about a million years ago, London has held a special romance for me. Certainly Big Ben, William Shakespeare, The red telephone booth and that bar in New Cross where I was frisked because someone had recently been killed there--all of it holds a certain glowing beauty about it. It was later my sister and I learned about the one thing that could possibly make London better: the introduction of the 24-hour bar. Now, I'm not sure if there are 24-hour bars anywhere besides in Heaven, but I do know that in 2005 London was blessed with this miracle.

It was the Swan Pub which obtained the first 24-hour pub license, and the owners were kind enough to be thankful while also taking the public interest into consideration.
"Pub licensee Adam Pattinson said he was "ecstatic"-about the prospect. Last night drinkers at the pub were also pleased, but added they hoped the move would not attract an "unsuitable" element of binge drinkers."

You know how those binge drinkers * can be!

In that vein, let me get to the point of this blog post. I've just learned from the that DC bars may stay open around the clock for Barry Obama's inauguration! Yes. 24 hours:

"A measure put forth today by D.C. Councilman Jim Graham - who represents the party-friendly Adams Morgan neighborhood - would allow bars and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol to keep pouring until 5 a.m., and to keep doors open 24-hours per day between Jan. 17 and Jan. 21."

The best part about it? I practically live in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood. So, for all of you Obama fans (or i guess just fans of drinking, too) this might the right weekend for you to come on out and see what DC is made of *! Just don't try to stay with me. Plenty of Chicagoans already made reservations at my crib for those days even before the 24 hour bar thing became possible. ESP, maybe.

*Wikipedia states: "Binge drinking is often defined nowadays as drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated."
*Travel and Leisure Magazine ranked DC #24 out of 25 cities in which to have a "Wild Weekend". We have quite a reputation for fun, eh?

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Snuggie

For all of you who at one point or another thought to yourself, "gee golly! I'm freezing, but I just can't be bothered to go put on a sweater!" or "Man, this blanket keeps slipping off my arms when I reach for the remote, I wish there was something that would wrap around me like a straight jacket and keep me warm even when I'm at a sporting event, holding my baby, or reader. Gosh! I wish someone would invent a luxurious fleece blanket with sleeves!" This product is for you! Its The Snuggie, and its ridiculous.

From the website, "Blankets are OK but they can slip and slide, plus your hands are trapped inside. The Snuggie keeps you totally warm and gives you the freedom to use your hands. Work the remote, use your laptop, or do some reading in total warmth and comfort!"

Right. I need a blanket with sleeves. What would stop me from wearing it backwards like a cape? hmmm...a cape. I like that idea.

Unfortunately, the Snuggie isn't alone. There is also The Slanket (and no, I'm not making this up).

Surprisingly, sleeves are everywhere. For example:

Tattoo Sleeves (not real):

Someone without sleeves:

Something that shouldn't have sleeves (wedding dress):

A good time to wear sleeves (handling a wild, taloned bird):

And, you know...the laptop sleeve.

That concludes our lesson of the day. Tune in later this week when we investigate another wacky, indefinable term! Any suggestions?

Monday Kitten Snack with Update!

LC bought the kits new beds. They have been taking turns testing them out. I think the kits like the the beds because they were handcrafted in a developing nation by women who sold them for meager quantities of money and were then able to feed their families. The kits are really into humanitarian shit like that. l


It looks like Eliot has also caught on to the new cat bed (10/2)! Go cats snuggled in cat beds!