Now gluten-free!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

High school was a lie

Perhaps all we really need to know was learned in kindergarten.

(from Doghouse Diaries)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Creativity can be scary

This twisted little video is all the proof you need:

Don't Hug Me I'm Scared from This Is It on Vimeo.

(via Colossal)

Medical marijuana for your mutt

Has your aging dog tried to find alternative treatments for his chronic pain, but the lack of opposable thumbs makes it difficult for him to roll a joint? Don't worry. Ol' Sparky may be a candidate for the Tetracan marijuana patch.

Patented by Medical Marijuana Delivery Systems LLC, this new innovation in health care could also be used to treat other animals like cats and horses. (Perhaps even squirrels?) After all, many animals suffer from the same ailments that afflict humans.

The biggest foreseeable downside? Huge Milk Bone bills.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Drunk squirrel

I probably wouldn't hate squirrels so much if they were like this more often...

News flash: Government isn't responsible with your money

Did you know that there is a special fund set up to which you can send donations to help lower the national debt? Yes, if you feel the government isn't taking enough of your money already, you can send it even more. The government has received about $81.7 million in donations since the fund was set up in 1961.

Unfortunately, the money sent in doesn't actually go toward paying off the debt. It goes directly into the Treasury Department's general fund, allowing politicians to spend it on whatever they want.

But that isn't even the saddest part of the story. What gets me is that many of those who sent in donations have been surprised to learn the shocking truth that government isn't all that responsible with other people's money.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The sounds of silence

You don't have to be a classical music fan to enjoy John Cage's 4' 33" (as in "four minutes, thirty-three seconds"). Considered by Cage to be his most important work, the three-movement piece was composed in 1952 for any instrument or combination of instruments. The twist? It's four-and-a-half minutes of complete silence.

Believe it or not, 4' 33" has been "performed" by full orchestras in front of live audiences.

And yes, you can even purchase it on iTunes.

Maybe I'm just too much of an ignoramus to appreciate this as music or art, but as a father of three I can understand paying to enjoy four-and-a-half minutes of silence.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Man gets stuck in manhole trying to retrieve wallet

A man in Ceres, California, got stuck in a manhole while trying to retrieve his wallet. Police discovered two legs flailing about and, with the help of the fire department, were able to free the man.

And yes, alcohol was involved.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Giant Gummy Worm

Want to bring a smile to the face of every kid that comes to your door this Halloween? Hand out these:

Yep, it's a two-foot-long, three-pound Giant Gummy Worm, available at
Behold, the Giant Gummy Worm – gentle leviathan of the gummy candy universe. This benign, segmented invertebrate might be low on the evolutionary totem pole compared to the mammalian gummy bear, but what it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in delicious dual-flavored gummy goodness of Blue Raspberry and Red Cherry. Primitive candy-loving tribes would hunt these noble creatures in dirt made of cookies and pudding in hopes of feeding their families for weeks. Now you can do the same by ordering one.
Of course, if you're trying to watch your sugar intake, you could simply use it to reenact the sandworm scene from Dune:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Magical multiplying chair

From the mind of French designer Paul Menand comes the perfect set of chairs for someone living in a small studio apartment:

(via DesignBoom)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Walnuts are illegal drugs

You read that correctly. And who do we have to thank for that? Why, the Food and Drug Administration, of course.

The FDA recently sent a stern letter to Diamond Foods, ordering the company to stop promoting the healthy aspects of its walnuts:
Based on claims made on your firm's website, we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease. The following are examples of the claims made on your firm's website under the heading of a web page stating "OMEGA-3s ... Every time you munch a few walnuts, you're doing your body a big favor.":
  • "Studies indicate that the omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts may help lower cholesterol; protect against heart disease, stroke and some cancers; ease arthritis and other inflammatory diseases; and even fight depression and other mental illnesses."

  • "[O]mega-3 fatty acids inhibit the tumor growth that is promoted by the acids found in other fats ... "

  • "[I]n treating major depression, for example, omega-3s seem to work by making it easier for brain cell receptors to process mood-related signals from neighboring neurons."

  • "The omega-3s found in fish oil are thought to be responsible for the significantly lower incidence of breast cancer in Japanese women as compared to women in the United States."
Because of these intended uses, your walnut products are drugs within the meaning of section 201 (g)(1)(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(B)]. Your walnut products are also new drugs under section 201(p) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(p)] because they are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced conditions. Therefore, under section 505(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 355(a)], they may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application.
The FDA's threat is clear:
You should take prompt action to correct these violations. Failure to do so may result in regulatory action without further notice. Such action may include, but is not limited to, seizure or injunction.
You can read the full letter here.

Meanwhile, big companies like General Mills are free to promote Cheerios as a heart-healthy, cholesterol-reducing snack. Go figure.

What other protective measures can we expect from the FDA in the future? My guess is that it will soon become illegal to say that eating food may relieve hunger.


Man-bites-dog story: Woman arrested for groping TSA agent

You can look, but you can't touch. It seems that's the lesson we're to take away from this story:
A Longmont woman was arrested at Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport Thursday afternoon after police say she sexually assaulted a TSA agent.

According to the arrest report, 61-year-old Yukari Miyamae is accused of grabbing TSA agent Barbara O'Toole's "left breast through her clothing and squeezing and twisting it with both hands without the victim’s permission."

The report says Agent O'Toole was dressed in her TSA uniform and was wearing her metal badge.

Police say Miyamae admitted to them that she did it. She now faces a felony sexual abuse charge for the incident.
What's that saying again? "What's good for goosing..." Uh, "When goosing the gander..." Well, you know what I mean. Seriously, though, I cannot help but wish we would see more stories like this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

U.S. presidents all related to a British king

Whether Barack Obama's birth certificate is genuine or not, this is still an interesting bit of historical trivia...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baseball's all-star game no big deal

According to Henry D. Fetter, writing in The Atlantic, baseball's all-star game isn't all that relevant, even for the fans:
It just doesn't seem to matter—as falling television ratings show—down by two thirds since the late 1960s and by half over the last 15 years alone—more than attest. And trying to make the game mean something by introducing the home field advantage payoff for the winning league in 2003 has clearly failed to stem that continuing decline. Last year's game attracted two million fewer viewers than the one in 2002—the infamous game that then acting commissioner Bud Selig called a tie when the teams ran out of players in extra innings.

And why should it? In truth the game is an artifact of a now-vanished era. Started as a Depression-era effort to hype interest in a sport whose fan base was crumbling amidst the economic crisis, the game belongs to a now vanished time when there was no inter-league play, when televised baseball was a scarce commodity (and pretty much confined to broadcasts of your local team or teams), when all-star caliber players tended to stay with one team during the primes of their careers, and if not with one team, then within one league.
I've never been an all-star guy. I can't recall any MLB, NBA, or NHL all-star game that I've seen. I think I might have watched one or two Pro Bowls in my lifetime, but that's about it.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Feeling stupid in the hardware store

There are two topics you can bring up if you ever want to make me feel stupid: cars and home improvement. I don't crawl under my car and change the oil myself. I have no desire to change the oil myself, and I wouldn't know how even if I did. And as for improving things around the home, I will put in a new light fixture and maybe even a new light bulb, but that's about it.

Still, as a guy, I like going to the hardware store -- any hardware store or home center. There's something about being surrounded by power tools and lumber that provides a boost to one's masculinity. However, on occasion, even the simplest errand reminds me of just how incompetent I really am.

Yesterday I went to a local home center to get a replacement sprinkler head for our in-ground sprinkler system. I even took the broken one so I could match it as closely as possible. I wandered around the lawn care section for what seemed like an eternity. I did notice a sign that said "sprinklers," but it was merely referring to the ones you attach to the business end of a garden hose. While it wasn't what I needed, I knew I had to be getting warm.

Come on! I thought to myself. You're can do this. It can't be that hard.

No luck.

Finally, admitting defeat, I tracked down an employee and approached him with a sense of trepidation. "Where can I find a replacement for this?" I asked, holding up my broken sprinkler head out of fear of not calling it by it's correct name and inviting condescending smirks from the other employees standing nearby. "Oh, that's over in plumbing," the gentlemen replied, in a matter-of-fact tone.

Plumbing! Of course! Silly me. Faucets. Sinks. Showers. Toilets. Outdoor sprinkler heads. It was so obvious that I felt like a fool for not thinking of it myself.

(And to think that the lawn care specialist who comes out every fall to winterize our sprinkler system must be laughing it up with his buddies. "You mean he doesn't call a plumber to take care of that? What an idiot!" "Hey, as long as he's willing to pay me to do it, who cares?")

I managed a sheepish "Thank you" and slunk away to the other side of the store, my ego bruised once again.

A modicum of self-esteem returned when I managed to get the thing into the ground and turn on the sprinkler system to make sure it worked. "Maybe I shouldn't feel too bad," I told myself. "At least I didn't have to cough up $300 for a plumber."

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Time lapse video of the Phoenix dust storm

Typical Midwestern inquiry: "I hear things are a little dusty down there."

Typical Phoenician response: "Yeah, but it's a dry dust."

We're number one!

The U.S. is a world leader in many areas. Let's look at a few:
  • We have the largest total prison population.

  • The U.S. has the highest percentage of obese people.

  • We have the highest divorce rate.

  • Our nation has the most reported murders.

  • We lead the world in military spending, more than China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

  • The U.S. has the most complicated tax system in the world.
  • You can read more depressing statistics here.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2011

    Neighborhood pet cemetery

    As far as I know, the animals buried here don't come back to life (as in the Stephen King novel), but this pet cemetery is located on Cope Avenue. Really.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    Cop causes crash over chicken bone

    A man who was dining and driving on a busy road in Swansea, Wales, tossed a chicken bone from his vehicle. A cop in an unmarked police car saw him, and just had to brake suddenly in an effort to catch the litter bug.

    The result...

    Naturally, the hungry driver is being held responsible.

    (Source: The Sun)

    Mmmmmm! Peanuts!

    (Source: Go Comics)

    Saturday, July 02, 2011

    World's most expensive razor is from outer space

    At $100,000, the Zafirro Iridium is the world's most expensive razor. It is made from meteorite metal, and the manufacturer claims its sapphire blades will "last forever." The secret is in the sharpening method, which utilizes high-energy, ionized particles, resulting in an edge that is less than 100 atoms thick. That's 5,000 times smaller than the width of the average human hair.

    The handle is composed primarily of iridium, which is derived almost exclusively from meteorites, making it one of the strongest and rarest metals known to man. That's why only 99 of these razors will be made. Better hurry and get your order in now.

    Thing 3 and Thing 4

    (Source: Ironic Sans)

    Future science fiction events that have "already happened"

    The problem with many science fiction stories is that they limit themselves by assigning specific dates to major events. Once those dates come and go, those stories just don't seem as convincing anymore.

    Scott Bradford lists a few examples. Among them:
    • 1991 - Intelligent slave apes rise up against humans and conquer the world. (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes)

    • 1993 - Khan Noonien Singh and other genetic supermen rise to power and control over 40 countries between 1993 and 1996. (Star Trek)

    • 1997/2004 - The Skynet computer network becomes self-aware and turns on the human population. The original date of 1997 changes because of what happens in T2, but the event does eventually occur in T3. (The Terminator)

    • 2010 - The Soviet Union still exists, and a joint Soviet-U.S. mission is launched to find out what happened to the spaceship Discovery in 2001. Jupiter is ignited and becomes a star, and life is created on Europa. (2010: The Year We Make Contact)
    Remember that fateful day in 1951 when the earth stood still? I'm sure we could come up with a virtually endless list of similar examples. Can you think of any other movies that include "past" future events?

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