Monthly Archives: September 2012

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Does this ever happen to you? You see something in the grocery store, or the hardware store, and it just jumps up and smacks you in the face. Something so obvious that you marvel that no one thought of it sooner. Worse, you didn’t think of it sooner. And you just feel kind of sick, knowing that someone, somewhere, is raking in a fortune, and it could have been you, if only you’d thought of it first.

The first time that happened to me was Continue reading

Contains Milk

Lon, Penney, and I were down in Monterey last week for a tiny amount of business, and a lot of vacation. After a long day at the Steinbeck museum in Salinas (fantastic!), we stopped for pie and coffee at a local diner. Along with our coffee we got a little bowl of those tiny coffee-creamers. I drink my coffee black, so I don’t usually pay any attention to the creamer, but this one caught my eye. It was called “Wholesome Farms Coffee Creamer.”

It had a cute little picture on it. The sun is rising on a pastoral scene with rolling hills, plowed fields, with a little barn on the right. Even the typeface was old-timey-looking, giving you that good, old-fashioned, down-on-the-farm feeling.

But next, in tiny little letters, almost too blurred to read, came the Ingredients: Water, Corn Syrup, Contains one or more of the following (Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernal Oil, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil), Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Artificial Flavors. Contains: Milk.

Good thing they warned me — I almost ate something…wholesome. Oh, corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oil, is there anything you can’t do?”

I wonder what the UN-wholesome creamer has in it?

Taking, Having, Leaving?

Why do Americans say “take a pee” and “take a dump”? We’re not taking anything. The Brits are only slightly better, with “having a dump.” I suppose it’s like “having” a baby, except when we have a baby, we keep it around, usually, so we actually have it, as opposed to promptly flushing it and having nothing.

Maybe we should switch to “leaving” or “dropping”, but “leaving a pee” just doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it? And “leaving a dump” sounds like you just dropped your garbage at the landfill.

And don’t even get me started on how we drive on a parkway, but park on a driveway.

Alan Alda, Naked Ladies, and a Stuffed Dog

Last week I was trying to explain to my friend, Penney Knightly, the difference between modern strippers and old-time Burlesque. Unlike today’s strip joints, Burlesque was an entire variety show. The acts included singing, dancing, comedy, juggling, animal acts, and more. Also, strippers. More accurately, they were strip teasers. A striptease often started with the performer fully clothed. She’d dance to live music, removing one article of clothing at a time, smiling and flirting with the audience. It was an exuberant performance with a joyful spirit.

To illustrate this to Penney, Continue reading

Bobtail Squid Glows in the Dark

I’ll bet you didn’t even know that squid have tails. Neither did I, and for a very good reason–they don’t! This little guy, according to Wiki, is also called the Dumpling Squid because of his shape, which makes a lot more sense.

But here’s the best part: Bobtail Squid glow in the dark, courtesy of a special light organ in the mantle, complete with wavelength filters, a lens, and a reflector! The point of all this bio-cleverness? It helps him hide from predators by changing his color to match his environment.

Also, he’s cute. And exceptionally pretty. I wonder how he’d do in a home aquarium?


Live to Work, or Work to Live?

I just read this article about the difference between work, leisure, and creative, leisurely work. Seems that we’re doing it wrong.

I think he’s onto something. I’ll add a few more variants. Some make their living from their hobbies, such as fishing guides and ski instructors. Some earn a living playing chess or golf. There are even professional video gamers. The semi-lost art of cottage industry provides a family environment in which children and parents work, play, and learn together. Many of our greatest inventions began in a home workshop, invented by people who had the leisure time to work on projects of their choice and interest.

Our leisure time is an endangered species. Enemies of constructive leisure time can include Continue reading