Monday, August 31, 2009

August "Allele Poll" results are in

Ok, let's start with the results that were not in the least bit surprising:

All of you who voted can roll your tongue into a "U" shape. This is the dominant trait, and it's apparently rampant in the population of people who enjoy this blog.

All but one of you who voted have detached ear lobes. This is also the dominant trait. Person with attached ear lobes: I have nothing to say to you.

Half of you have facial dimples and half of you do not. Having facial dimples is the dominant trait, therefore dimply people like myself are better than you non-dimplies.

Now onto the more surprising results:

2 of you are ambidextrous. Really? Can you also write with your feet? Only one of you, in comparison, is left-handed. The rest of you are right-handed, which is the "dominant trait" (though it's since been pointed out that there's a right-handed shift in the population -- which is why you 2 ambidextrous people are probably not actually ambidextrous and only chose that because you were enchanted with my description: ).

Only 3 of you report NOT having a hitchhiker's thumb. The majority of you do have a thumb that curves when you give the thumbs up, but that's the recessive trait. Huh. Maybe that's something that's distinctive about people who enjoy this blog. Maybe I should re-title it the "Hitchhiker's Thumb Blog." Maybe I should try hitchhiking. Why is it called the hitchhiker's thumb, anyway? It's not like if you stick your thumb out like that for prolonged periods of time, like a hitchhiker would, that you will develop such a thumb. Although, if you had a weird thumb like that, maybe it would get the attention of more drivers. They would be more likely to stop for you just to ask you about your bizarre thumb. But that would only really be an evolutionary benefit if like, the entire population had to hitchhike to survive at some point, therefore passing on the weird thumb genes. BUT THEN if the weird hitchhiker thumb was passed on so much that it began to thrive and become the norm, then it wouldn't be weird and drivers would start stopping for people with straight thumbs... should I be concerned that I'm starting to smell burnt toast right now?

And finally, all but three of you CAN SMELL ASPARAGUS PEE!! Why, then, am I faced with so many questioning looks when I say "I hate the smell of asparagus pee!" in mixed company?! If most of you can smell it, then please, next time I mention it, don't look at me like I've said something like, "I went to the hairdresser's and requested a Detroit!" All I ask is that you stand tall.

Oh and in case you're wondering, here's more on asparagus pee (the ability to smell it, the ability to produce it, and why it's probably your genes and a digestive enzyme that are the culprits):

The good news is that asparagus does not affect everyone. Studies conducted on the "asparagus urine" phenomenon (aren't you glad you didn't volunteer!) indicate that roughly 40 to 50 percent of those tested developed the distinctive odor. Surprisingly enough, there is also a segment of the population who cannot smell the sulphurous fumes of asparagus-laced urine. It is believed that both the generation of the odoriferous urine and the ability to smell it are based on genetics. Only those with a certain gene can break down the chemicals inside the asparagus into their smelly components, and only those with the proper gene can smell the results of that chemical breakdown.

Scientists are still not entirely sure which set of chemical compounds contained in asparagus actually cause the smelly pee. The stalks themselves do not acquire a similar odor as they are prepared, so whatever happens most likely happens after ingestion. Experts believe that those with a certain gene produce a digestive enzyme which breaks down the asparagus into various chemical compounds. One of those compounds is called methyl mercaptan, which is the same chemical which gives a skunk its defensive smell. One theory suggests that asparagus breaks down quickly in the body and an enzyme releases methyl mercaptan, which eventually goes through the kidneys and is excreted as a waste product in the urine.

Others suggest that the asparagus smell is created by other chemical compounds called thioesters. There is also a compound called asparagusic acid, which is not surprisingly found primarily in asparagus. If these compounds are broken down and mixed with the genetically-created enzyme, the results could be a strong smelling urine. This smell is actually considered to be good news, since it proves that the asparagus eater's kidneys are functioning as they should.

(Thank you,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Put your hands up for Detroit

My most recent Google image search: Detroit hair cut

Back story: Over the weekend of our bridal shower in NY, after things had petered out and it was just me, Jess, and our respective parents, my Dad was addressing the group. We were on the topic of hairstyles, and he was telling us how he went to get his hair cut just the other day. He said he jokingly asked for a "butch," which, after our shower of confused looks, my Dad clarified that this meant a military-esque, flat top sort of do. Crowd: "Ohhhh." Now that we were on board, he decided to continue onto joke #2, which was, "I asked her if she could give me a Detroit, and she didn't even know what it was!" Us: Giggling, but not entirely sure what he was talking about. He wasn't getting the reception that he expected, and asked us if we knew what a Detroit was. We shook our collective head sheepishly. He threw his hands up in astonishment, then proceeded to explain what a Detroit hair cut is.

The inspiration for my search: Apparently, it's a men's haircut wherein the top is cut short and spiked and the sides are left long. Not mullet long, just long enough to slick back. Classy, right? Of course, I had to find a picture of this monstrosity in all its glory.

The result: I was, however, unsuccessful. All searches for this hairstyle (which included Detroit hair, mens Detroit, mens Detroit hair, spiked mullet, slicked spiked hair, etc.) came up surprisingly empty. But that wasn't even the real surprise. The real surprise was the number of times my searches landed me on the Detroit Hair Wars.

Obvious revised search: Detroit Hair Wars



Annual Detroit Hair Wars
July 19, 2009

email for details

This all started in Detroit over 20 years ago. Back in 1985, Hair Wars was started in Detroit nightclubs as a stage show for local hairstylists to showcase their craftsmanship. This idea was conceptualized by DJ David Humphries, aka "Hump The Grinder". Since then, Hair Wars turned into an annual phenomenon in the hair styling industry.

I'm sorry, "aka 'Hump the Grinder'"?

Final search: Duh, "Hump the Grinder"

Result: There are no words...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Boy and the Rubber Chicken

Three nights ago, Jess and I went out with our friend Erica to the comedy show at the Hong Kong in Cambridge. No, amazingly, we did not have a scorpion bowl and thus did not end the evening passed out in a pool of each other's vomit. On the way there, however, I was mentally preparing myself for that very scenario. Why? Because every time I hear someone talking about their night at the Hong Kong, their story always begins with, "Oh my God I went to the Hong Kong last night," continues with, "and I had a scorpion bowl," and inevitably ends with, "and then I got soooooo sick!" It's as if these scorpion bowls are stronger than one might realize as one is drinking it. Either that or it's the vegetable tempura, that likely side dish accompanying the scorpion bowl. Or they're poisoned. Anyway, I was ready for the Hong Kong and its scorpion bowl challenge, but seeing as we were only three people, it would have been seriously unreasonable for us to order a scorpion bowl. Mind preparation and mix of excitement and dread: All for nothing.

For the most part, the comedy show was pretty funny. There was, however, this one comedian who was really into metal and had based his entire routine on metal references. This was really poorly thought out, as our 1/2 local and 1/2 tourist audience had no idea what he was talking about. Other acts, however, were quite funny. Though no one asked me what I did for a living, like when we went to the Improv Asylum, someone did come on stage and immediately say he was unemployed. I filed away my temporary aspirations to develop my own stand up routine after that.

Anyway, my whole point in bringing up this story was for none of the above information. It was, in fact, to tell you about the little boy and his rubber chicken. While we were walking to the T after the show, Jess and Erica were chatting. I was walking alongside them, not really paying attention to what they were talking about because something had caught my attention. On the side of the road there was a woman yelling, "Get over here and don't you EVER do that again!" By her side was an "I told you so" sister and an embarrassed father. (I'm of course assuming the relationships here, but it seemed all too obvious at the time). A few seconds later, a boy holding something, I couldn't yet make out what, zoomed down the sidewalk and into my view. He seemed excited, nay, exhilarated, and wore a smile so face-consuming that I found myself smiling too, as if we had been in cahoots on his unknown mischievous deed.

As he got closer, I saw what he was holding: A rubber chicken. A true Fozzie style rubber chicken. Wokka wokka! I giggled, and Jess and Erica took a moment to look at me funny.

I saw him approach his mother and his exuberant smile sadly faded as she began to scold him. We passed the scene and continued on to the T, and the boy with the rubber chicken's tongue lashing was soon out of earshot.

I mentally reviewed the scene and had so many questions: What had he done that his mother deemed so terrible that he must never do it again? How had she even seen him do whatever he did when he was so far down the street? Had the sister told on him? Why was he so excited? Did any of this have to do with the rubber chicken?

I hope it had everything to do with the rubber chicken.

I don't know why I told you this story.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lounge Singer

So, more on that lounge singer comment from Monday...

Yes. I sang in a hotel/restaurant bar area (capacity: no more than 35 people) one night in P-Town. Debra & Patrick were playing and they were wonderful: She was singing all sorts of stuff as he accompanied her on piano. From blues to jazz to modern music to country...they were excellent and she had a seriously great voice!

Sidebar: Her voice and his playing were welcome to us both, especially after the incredibly bizarre show we saw before that at Vixen. A purported comedy, at one point it featured a 'pervy Jethro Tull meets Midsummer Night's Dream meets holy puce leotard' one man act that cannot adequately be described in words. (There was also a shirtles man wearing horns and hot pink fur chaps who tap danced rather femininely...with giant fake balls dangling off his backside. That was the highlight).
Anyway, Debra and Patrick were performing a romantic Billie Holiday song when we sat down and ordered out first glass of wine. A couple glasses later, they took a break and Debra walked around to say hello to her friends in the audience. She came over to our table and not two sentences in, Jess said, "You know, Pam sings" and Debra said, "Oh yeah honey? What do you sing?" I explained that I sang the kind of stuff that she sings, especially the jazz stuff. (As you can see, I was fantastically articulate). Then she asked me what specific song would I like to sing, I said "Stormy Weather," and she said she might call me up to sing with her. With her, mind you. She was really good, and her impromptu duets so far had made her duet partner look really good. I was excited.
She went back to singing (one song was "What a Wonderful World" and she did that growly voice that sounded JUST like Louis Armstrong), and about 5 songs later, she called me up...TO SING BY MYSELF! She announched that her new friend Pam was going to come sing a solo, that she hoped I could actually sing (because she didn't know me from Adam...or Eve?...anyway...), and told me to tell Patrick my key. I didn't know my key. I guessed Ab, then added "whatever key she would do it in is probably fine." I think I lost a little credibility for Patrick at that point, but he smiled and I went back to the front where Debra was waiting with the lipstick-covered mic. She handed it to me and said, "I'll be here if you need me." Luckily, I was half way drunk so I didn't pee my pants.
I started singing and it actually came easier than I thought. I hardly looked away from Jess, my anchor in the audience for 99% of the song, and got through it. I wish I had noticed the lipstick marks on the mic sooner than in hindsight, because apparently, Debra eats the mic while she sings. That must be why you couldn't really hear me on the softer stuff, but oh well! I was loud and clear on the beginning of each verse, so I guess that was something. Plus, there were cheers and genuine claps at the end, so I think I did a good job! And it was so much fun!
For a split second when I was falling asleep that night (an hour later), I considered a career in lounge singing. Then I passed out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I've missed you, blog!

Last week was quite a week!

We spent the first half in PTown...
...and the second half at Seneca winery hopping and bridal shower #2 in NY.

To sum it all up, PTown was beach, friends, sun, shopping, karaoke, drinks, gay!, a bad show that purported to be funny but was in fact bizarre, and singing like a lounge singer with a lounge singer (perhaps more on this later). Binghamton was family fun, winery-tastic, BBQ, spiedies, trips to Wegman's, laughing, drinks, surprise photo shoot, and a gift-opening good time. Through all of it, I've missed you! Here's a puzzle to say, "let's never go a week without each other again!"

Click to Mix and Solve
I think we need to set up an intervention for Sparki...

Friday, August 7, 2009

My shark week

First of all, let me start by saying this post could never be as cool as the real shark week. But, here are the best shark videos I could find on YouTube, and I hope they serve as a nice little supplement to Discovery's shark week. Why? Because this year's shark week is a little, dare I say, disappointing. It's mostly attacks, and less of the "Oooo I didn't know that!" effect that usually came with every special. Maybe it's because I've seen so many shark weeks. Maybe it's because scientists have told us all they know (these shows are always accompanied by the line "and yet we know so little about these awesome and mystifying predators"), but that's something I highly doubt. It's probably more like they've told us all they think we'd watch and understand, and this week's selling point is attacks. Well, after a few attacks, I'm all set with blood and guts, thank you very much. SO, here's a little something different for those of us who are curious. (What kills me is that a lot of these are Discovery videos -- show these on shark week, sillies!)

Why doesn't anyone focus on different shark species? Great whites (and now tiger sharks and bulls sharks, sometimes with the occasional lemon shark) are always the focus. Here's the hammerhead. Guaranteed "oo I didn't know that" effect from this video.

And the whale shark:

The 6-gill:

And a bizarre, prehistoric but apparently still living shark that lives off the coast of Japan:

And now for the shark vs____ section.

There was once a show that has since been canceled (because I alone cannot support it, apparently) called "Animal Face-Off." It was on discovery, and scientists would compare 2 animals that may or may not meet normally (most often predators). They would study the animals and try to scientifically determine who would win in a direct face off between them. Then they'd produce a computerized reenactment-- here's shark vs. crocodile (and the end is in spanish, so get babelfish translator ready):

This one has the "ohhh not the poor birdie!" effect, but the end leaves you with a little bit of hope:

Tiger shark vs. turtle (no attack footage for those of you with more tender tummies):

And finally, the winner for the most "WHOOOAAA ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" YouTube shark video is....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Since it's shark week...

...I thought I'd provide you with a little shark scrambler!
Click here and go to the middle of the page - then hit scramble and let the fun begin.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What happened to good jingles?

I was just watching the Colbert Report and there was a commercial for the Education Connection on:

It was like a train wreck in that despite how awful it was, I just couldn't take my eyes off of it. When it was over and I came to, the full extent of how bad it was hit me all at once, and I mourned the simple jingles that seem to have fallen at the hand of these "" full 30-second songs.

And I ask you, are these new songs as memorable as, say, "I am stuck on Band-Aid Brand cuz germs don't stick on me"? Or "my bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R...." or even just the simple, "chicken of the sea"? I think not. These new songs can't possibly get stuck in your head (ok, some of the ones are catchy) because you can't learn the words in one sitting. They're just not ear worms, like jingles are. They're also too long, especially in this one's case. I mean, "two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun" (ba dop bop bop bahhnw, I'm lovin' it) is one thing because it's catchy and you hear it all the time. But to remember this whole song from a commercial that doesn't get a whole lot of air time (so you aren't seeing it nearly as much as the Mc D's one) would just be savant-ish.

So is the moral of this post that I miss catchy jingles? You bet your sweet Aspercreme.