Sunday, October 15, 2017

New species of sea sponge does not live in a pineapple

You may think you have it bad, but try living 13,000 feet under the ocean on a metallic nodule. Scientists recently discovered an entirely new species of tiny sponge which does just that. And it’s not even rent-controlled, so have some perspective, people. We are fortunate to have one of these sponges with us today. 

GW: Greetings, Plenaster craigi, as I understand they have designated you.

Sponge: Pfft! Scientists. Am I right? I prefer Larry.

GW: O.K., Larry, I understand that you were only recently discovered?

Sponge: Um, by people, yeah. The lady sponges discovered old Larry a long time ago.

GW: How did you get acquired by the scientists?

Sponge: From far off there was this pinprick of light which got bigger and bigger until the sea floor was glowing, and I was plucked up into a basket. Next thing I knew, I was in a lab on a ship.

GW: They named you Plenaster because your backbone is made up of stars, something we don’t see a lot of in the animal kingdom.

Sponge: Thanks for noticing. I’m not vain, though. My backbone is generally stuck up against a rock, so I don’t get a lot of red carpet moments. 

GW: Yes, I keep hearing you sponges live on “metal-rich nodules” down there. 

Sponge: Yeah, people are talking about mining them for their copper and manganese and stuff. You know what happens then. There goes the neighborhood. 

GW: It’s not clear if mining can even be done at that depth. The water pressure is more than 5600 pounds per square inch. How do you even survive?

Sponge: You think that’s pressure? Try opening a movie on Memorial Day.

GW: You follow the film business?

Sponge: A little. I met SpongeBob Squarepants. He’s real down to earth. Living in a pineapple, though. That is totally now my dream. 

GW: If it’s not too personal, how do sponges reproduce?

Sponge: Well, that’s not really known by scientists yet, but between you and me, let’s just say some Barry White music comes into play.

GW: You get Barry White down there?

Sponge: Haven’t you seen those documentaries? Everything eventually ends up down there. 

GW: How does a sponge eat?

Sponge: I’m a filter feeder, an inhaler. I suck more than an Adam Sandler double feature. 

GW: Well, I hope your options have opened up a bit.

Sponge: Two words for you. Fat. Burger.

GW: Larry, let me tell you about a little something we call pizza.


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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saudi women finally allowed to drive...sort of

Last week Saudi Arabia announced it would finally allow women to get drivers licenses, despite protests by nobody. 

Well, there was this one old conservative cleric who, true story, objected because women “only have a quarter of a brain.” To be fair, he meant women’s capacities are diminished while out excitedly shopping, and that driving in that state would be dangerous. He was then banned by the government from preaching henceforth, and will be running for Congress in Alabama.

Saudi Arabia was perhaps the last country which overtly kept women from getting drivers licenses. While technically legal in Afghanistan, culturally speaking, women driving is still seen by men as equivalent to doing a public pole dance slathered in infidel butter. 

In America women tempt an equally violent reaction by appearing on Fox News as brunettes. 

The new law will not take effect for another nine months. Nine. Months. The Saudi ambassador to the U.S. explained the delay; “We have to make sure our streets are ready for a potential doubling in traffic.” 

If I can read between the lines, I think he really meant “We hope the world comes to an end in the next nine months so we won’t actually have to deal.” 

Other things Saudi women still cannot do:

Try on clothes while shopping. The mere idea of a woman in her underwear under the same roof as men who are strangers is apparently too heady. 

This is the party line, but I suspect that men just don’t want to be stuck outside a changing room when the game is about to come on. 

Visit cemeteries. The argument against women driving used to be that it would “harm their ovaries.” Maybe the same goes for being in close proximity to dead bodies. My suspicion is that the average ovary goes through a lot worse each month.

Saudi women cannot swim in a public pool with men, exercise at a gym with men, sit in a Starbucks with men, or enter a bank through the same entrance as men. 

On the plus side, they can totally marry whoever their male guardian agrees to, or sign a contract with his approval, or get divorced if he gives the O.K. Recently a woman’s right to have surgery without a male guardian’s approval was legalized. 

Next June she will able to drive to the operation in a car, unchaperoned. Well, as long as her male guardian says it’s O.K. to leave the house. 

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Waters to world: stop making scents

We do not appreciate what we have until it’s gone, as they say, and this is certainly true of deodorant. Major retail stores seem to have gotten together to stop selling the scent which I identify as me. 

So for months now I have been smelling like some other guy, someone probably not as attractive but maybe with more hair. My arm pits currently evoke a guy who definitely drives something I don’t. I’ll never know what. 

It is surprising the power which scent has over us to evoke memories, people, moments. I did not notice scent, really, until my first girlfriend in high school. If I smelled her brand of shampoo on someone tomorrow, there is no doubt I would have flashbacks like they have in movies—first kiss, walking from Lit holding hands, slow dancing in the dark, begging her to take me back over the phone. 

I could not tell you the shampoo’s brand name, but they should have called it LoveStinks. 

I grew up using Prell shampoo, because that is what my mom bought. The TV ads for it showed them dropping a single fat pearl in the top of the bottle and watching it slowly sink to the bottom. This expressed, I guess, that Prell was wonderfully viscous. Or that elegant people had really simple tastes in visual entertainment. 

It was sold in glass bottles back then, because the world did not hold enough menace already. It smelled like mom, and Cold War.

It is hard to convince people that a little scent goes a long way. Teen boys are notorious for overdoing it. Stores should sell that teen stuff in tiny canisters like pepper spray, behind locked glass cases like spray paint. If you ever drive a carload of teen dudes somewhere, your upholstery is done. You might as well just Thelma and Louise that sucker. You’ll never resell it. 


I work at a public desk, so I am exposed to a lot of people’s fragrances. Perfume, skin lotion, pot smoke. It is surprising how few people understand that cigarettes are basically incense for your face. I guess we don’t smell ourselves, really, unless something seems off. 

Speaking of which, I found my old deodorant online, so after this other guy’s brand runs out I guess I will reclaim myself, olfactorally speaking. Not that you’ll notice. I hope. 


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Patience is its own reward



Sheesh. And after I had been holding it all day in anticipation, too...





 . . .

Guest Wa Pic courtesy of Kelso Greg.

Thank you!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Expose yourself to "Hamilton" at your peril

By now you will have heard the buzz about the Broadway show “Hamilton,” and asked yourself the obvious—why such a boring name? For a Broadway juggernaut, it sure sounds like a paint company. 

I suppose it was better than calling it the altogether too informal “Alex!” Given the inevitably grim ending (you do know your history, right?), I guess they could have called the show “Mort!” But that would assume that a lot more people understand French than probably do. 

It is true that Broadway has previously had one-word hits named after people. “Mame” comes to mind. Who knew a show about President Eisenhower’s wife could be so compelling?  “Gypsy” brought to audiences a newfound respect for an obscure type of moth. “Annie” showcased the darker side of Helen Keller’s famed mentor through the medium of tap dance. And “Fiorello!” and “Oliver!” taught us the difference punctuation can make between failure and success. 

“Hamilton” has broken all records, but just imagine if it had been “Hamilton?” Or even “#Hamilton$”. Not only might it have made even more money, it would have been a pretty solid password.

“Hamilton” the show, like the founding father himself, is known for its brilliance with words. A sample lyric: “A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists? Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is!” 

It is sort of like Gilbert and Sullivan, if their three little maids from school were not “filled to the brim with girlish glee” but were in fact itching to bust a cap in some Redcoats.

A year or two ago, the lyrics of “Hamilton” spread like a wordy virus through my friends. Being a former theater major, I willingly contracted it from my actress friend Susannah, then passed it on to my wife and my coworkers. Soon we became insufferable. 

You know the kind of people who, if you happen to say something about truth, say "You can't handle the truth"? That is us, only in revolutionary-war-themed rhyme. 

I cannot in good conscience recommend you expose yourself to this addiction. Otherwise you will soon find yourself ejecting a CD and sobbing in your car in the employee parking lot. 

"Are you O.K.?" your coworker will ask, seeing your puffy eyes.

"Hamilton," you will rasp. 

It is too late for me. Consider this a warning from a friend. 


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