23 October 2009

Maybe Amelia Earhart simply unraveled?

This article made me laugh so hard, and for so long, I have to make sure you read the whole opening, so I'm going to reprint the first two paragraphs:

Famed US aviator's hair actually 'piece of thread'

An aviation museum in the US state of Ohio that believed it was displaying a hair sample from famed flyer Amelia Earhart made an unfortunate discovery, after DNA analysis revealed it to be a piece of thread.

"In a disappointing turn of events," as Cleveland's International Women's Air and Space Museum described it in a statement, the lock of "hair" in their possession since 1986 was revealed as thread only after they put it on display this year.

There are just so many dimensions of funny here, it seems to be, at least for me, a bottomless well of mirth.

I would give up a finger --cannibal's choice, even-- to have been there at the DNA lab when they got that thing under an electron microscope, or whatever else they typically do with such samples. I wonder if they were required to continue running through the rest of the tests to make sure they were confident in their result.

I wonder how much that maid got paid for this find all those years ago, and how much the museum itself paid. The possibilities are intriguing, but I fear my potentially lucrative customers/rubes might be dangerously wary now.

Still, it kinda makes me want to send a bunch of random fibers I find in to labs around the country, each labeled --as condescendingly as I can manage-- as merely needing confirmation of some groundbreaking find.

I would of course also issue press releases for each one at the same time, to build suspense. You know those 24-hour networks would roll with it immediately, balloon boy hoax be damned.

I'm can't decide if the most disappointed analyst would be the one testing Beethoven's lead-laden follicle before realizing it's a broken rubber band, or the one excitedly inspecting my Bigfoot Hair? sample only to learn that it's actually a stale strand of angel hair pasta.

I think, at least linguistically speaking, that one would be a touch closer to the real thing than the aviation museums' treasure. I wonder if the museum world has jocks and bullies who'll be teasing these people for decades? I sure hope so.

21 October 2009

Developments at our house, Vol. 17

Here, at long last, is the latest list of recent developments around here:

1. I discovered that whenever I'm reading an e-mail from my Work folder, Gmail's link above the message urges me to Go Back to "Work" and I can't help but feel that it's deliberately shaming me. Less often than it should be.

2. I accidentally drifted off to sleep on the couch one morning while the kids were playing, and when I woke back up I had a snap bracelet on my harder-to-reach wrist, as well as various toys on and next to me, which indicates that I was either playing in my sleep or being played with in my sleep. Both are equally likely, but I'm not sure which is more troubling.

3. When my wife J- inquired about an unfamiliar brown spot on my wrist, I rubbed it to confirm it was one of my many random freckles, but she doubted that despite my insistence. After a little back-and-forth, I had to silence her by licking my fingertip and rubbing even harder, which revealed this particular freckle to have been made of chocolate.*

* Thanks a lot, Muddy Buddies, you delicious little turncoats.

19 October 2009

If you first smash it beyond recognition, there is ME in team

Though my daughter M- is still only 2, her communication abilities are far enough advanced that we're able to get an even better idea than genetics has given us of her future temperament and predispositions.

Chief among the latter is most certainly not, it seems, willing cooperation with her peers, any more than those peers will be likely to enjoy the credit they're due for their contributions to groups including Miss M-.

This is a girl who, some time after hearing me idly singing, "We're following the leader, the leader, the leader..." one day, began marching about the house very seriously chanting, "Be. The. LEA-der! / Be. The. LEA-der!"

I haven't yet had any of my patented Extra-Boring Heart-to-Heart Talks with her about this theme in her life, but just in the past couple of weeks, she's crafted gems like these, the only ones I happened to write down before I forgot:

M- (after putting on her own shoe): I did teamwork!!


Me (to a now-smiling D- and M-, after they had been loudly fighting over who would lay where at story time): So, did you guys find a way to cooperate?

M- (proudly singing it out over her brother's more subdued response): I did!!

Can't wait till 5-and-under softball! Though maybe football is more her speed... her teammates can either crush the selfishness out of her until she's just cautiously individualistic, or strategically piss her off each game before handing her the ball and getting out of the way.

Based on our experiences already, this plan shouldn't be too hard to execute, and it would be devastatingly effective.

How else can one harness convulsive rage and a steadfast maverick streak to unleash his or her full potential? Politics? Ultimate Fighting? Competitive eating? I'm not sure which is the least undignified, but then there's very little dignity in the contorted faces she wears while trying to inflict pain on those who displease her, in her smiling-monkey-faced footie pajamas.

She can transition easily from that into cramming the faces of her enemies, as carved into pie crusts, down her food chute at rates never before seen, thanks to that dash of OCD I contributed to her mother's genetic material.

Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket... she'll miraculously stay as lean and mean as her Japanese opponents, and with her Threats and Intimidation skills, she'll win such an assortment of global endorsement/protection deals that she'll be able to support her father in the luxurious lifestyle to which he only wishes he could become accustomed.

I can't quite reconcile what's best for her with what's best for me... either way, I'm prepared for quite a lot of notes to be sent home from kindergarten.

15 October 2009

I'm not only the president, I'm also a client!

If you need a window repaired around here, your best bet* is the local Ace Hardware store, according to as unimpeachable a source as Ace Hardware itself:
Front window of Ace Hardware store
No job is too big, no job is too small. Some jobs, however, are too obvious, and thus they must be declined without consideration:

Broken front window of Ace Hardware storeOr is that expertly applied duct tape meant to serve as a handy example of the kind of top-of-the-line repair job they're anxiously waiting to offer your own windows?

* Also, you should especially avoid the dedicated window place right across the street... in fact, let's all just pretend it's not there entirely!

13 October 2009

Amusing searches, Vol. 3

Here are some more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently.

In honor of Christopher Columbus, in whose name half my family got to spend an extra day at home yesterday, this list is a random, confused hodgepodge that stumbles upon others' familiar territory.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered.)

"parenting jokes" in good taste" - You came to the wrong place, my friend.

awkward hispanic moments - With only 6.8% of the Portland, Oregon population reporting Hispanic heritage, I'm guessing all the "Hispanic moments" in your hometown are awkward.

HOW TO KNOW I AM HERO - You may not like the answer, but here it is: if you have to Google it, you are not a hero. If you Google it in all caps, you just might be a supervillain. Not sure if that's any consolation.

someone put meth in my shampoo - Jenny the Bloggess, is that you??

ben affleck is a son of a bitch - Were they were looking for argument, validation, or evidence? I don't have anything in particular against Ben Affleck, but this searcher is pretty convincing...

judgmental hoe - Sure, I spout off a lot about a lot of people and things, but that's no cause for name calling. After all, I haven't publicly said anything negative about you. Yet.

Oh, and, P.S., since you're visiting from Athens, I know you're probably not a native speaker, but here in America, most of our gardening implements are pretty open-minded and fair. Except for the pruning shears... those bitches can be as bad as post-hole diggers.

09 October 2009

Nervous, self-conscious people will now become dramatically moreso

I just wanted to share with you all this development that's busy shaking me to my core. I'm now extra hopeful that they soon build a high-speed rail system in the U.S. on which I can rely in place of air travel. God help me when I need to get overseas...

Will airports screen for body signals? Researchers hope so

They're looking for fidgeting, rapid eye movements, and increased body temperature, perspiration, & heart rate???

This just in: I will be arrested on suspicion of terrorism the day they introduce this technology.

07 October 2009

A conversation between M- and D-: It's not plagiarism, it's an homage!

The following conversation from a recent morning exemplifies perfectly the relationship between my 5-year-old son D- and my 2-year-old daughter M-. (Or, at least, it pretty well covers all the time they're not bickering or screeching at each other.)

D- (very sweetly, though M- was perfectly happy): G'morning, honey, did you have bad dreams?

M-: No, I had good dweams.

D-: Oh, well, I had a bad dream. Some bad guy came to the house and tried to take me, and I was fighting him but he took me anyway and I called out for Mom but she couldn't save me.

M- (suddenly remembering, as if an unrelated story): Yeah! I had a dream where a bad guy tried to take me, and he took me out of the house and I called, "Mom!!"

You may enjoy my previous D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

05 October 2009

Things I've smelled worse than this

I must admit, when I read this recent news item about an unfortunately abandoned meat processing factory in South Dakota...

44 tons of rotting meat stink up S.D. town

[The] 44 tons of bison meat managed to hold its own for months, masked by the brutal chill of two South Dakota winters. Once the power was cut and spring thaw arrived, nature took over. And enough rotting meat to fill a high school gym did exactly what you'd expect: It stank.
The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad.

...I was more than a little thrown by the little hints of horror my imagination was able to muster. But after just a few moments of reflection, I decided that while I don't envy the poor saps who had to clean up this place, it wouldn't be a totally new experience for me, for several reasons.

Here are just a few of the things I've been lucky enough to smell that were more nauseating than this place would be:

1. A swollen ball of a disposable diaper that was somehow accidentally disposed under the radiator for a couple days. This one had a few sequels, which says a lot about our tenacious laziness and sloppiness.

2. The parking garage staircase at the CTA Howard Station on a hot summer day. If they leave the door closed for more than 10 minutes, I'm pretty sure the handle starts melting, threatening to trap everyone inside. That's the only reason I can think that they usually have it propped open. Because they obviously don't much care about the smell.

3. The first burst of gas upon opening any one of the 15,000 sippy cups the kids have left somewhere to miraculously change chocolate milk to chocolate cheese in a mere matter of days.* Eat that, Jesus!

4. The emergency exit hallway at a movie theater where I worked years ago, due to years of overflowing garbage cans being left there all day during busy weekends. The rancid residue of years of the unique mixture that is Movie Theater Garbage is much more potent than you would imagine, possibly because it's not an obviously objectionable smell that you would brace yourself for before encountering.

So you get it with both barrels, assaulted on every flavor-wavelength at once and confused beyond measure at what could be doing this to your brain. Burnt popcorn soaked in fermented Coke syrup chased by a touch of vomit and many rotten stubs of hot dogs that weren't exactly fresh to start with... I never could wrap my head around what the star player would be in this sum so much greater than its parts.

I know I could go on, but it seems my brain has been doing its best to protect me from my own memories. While brainstorming throughly to come up with contenders for this list, I was repeatedly able to taste little morsels of olfactory pain without recalling its source or the time and place of my trauma. I saw numerous flashes of myself writhing in agony, wincing away from diapers and dumpsters, burying my face in my shirt and arming myself with thick gloves.

So, what I mean to say is, with a bit of therapy, I can definitely pump this list up to at least 11. Then maybe after that catharsis, I'll sleep through the night without The Nightmares. Oh, The Nightmares.

* Or, in a tiny handful of bizarre cases, a matter of weeks.

02 October 2009

No laughing matter

As you may have read elsewhere, today is Cure JM day here in blog-land, an effort to raise awareness of juvenile myositis, a potentially fatal and always devastating group of autoimmune diseases affecting children.

This event was pulled together by my fellow blogger and friend Kevin, aka Always Home and Uncool, whose 9-year-old daughter has been living with this disease since before she was diagnosed 7 years ago today, which is also his wife's birthday.

You can hear more about Kevin's ultimately uplifting story at his (normally hilarious) blog, Always Home and Uncool, and also at the group blog we write for, Hot Dads. In short, he and his wife have chosen to take their daughter's lifelong illness and turn it into a positive for other families suffering with it, families who might not be as lucky in obtaining the necessary medical care to make life as comfortable as possible for their children.

His wife got this news as a birthday present 7 years ago, and today, though she may be the chair of the Cure JM foundation, she's being ordered to take the day off while the rest of us take up the cause. Happy Birthday!

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to Kevin's FirstGiving page, or to the Cure JM donations page. And again, to read more, go to Cure JM or Always Home and Uncool.