Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Dave Barry's house

 Finally good directions to one!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"And you thought Godzilla was bad for the neighborhood"

My wife clipped the article from the newspaper and handed it to me without comment: "Radioactive boars run rampant in Japan." We have a shorthand after so many years together. She knows what I like. She knows that if there is one thing I like more than a can of Cheez Whiz exploding on the floor of the Senate, it's radioactive wildlife. (I am actually still waiting for the Cheez Whiz thing to happen.)

After the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011, residents for miles around were evacuated and in their absence the native wild boars have flourished. Radioactivity does not seem to have dampened their reproductive impulses. Perhaps it is easier to find a mate when you glow in the dark. So a boar's life these days in the forbidden zone basically consists of eating radioactive vegetation and making like a tusked Hugh Hefner.

The government is allowing people back to their homes in the zone, though, which means the boars, which number in the thousands now, are a problem. Like deer are in certain parts of the Midwest, except poisonous. There has been talk of using drones to frighten them away. As a suburbanite, might I suggest a phalanx of gardeners walking shoulder to shoulder with leaf blowers, all the way to the sea?

Japan is not even the only place dealing with radioactive boars. Over the past few decades the critters have meandered hundreds of miles from the Chernobyl meltdown region to Germany, where a third of all boars are now too Geiger-countery for human consumption. This is the world we are living in. I am old enough to remember the good old days when a boar would be content to kill you with its tusks.

Chernobyl has been a boon to wildlife, ironically, creating a thousand-square-mile human-free sanctuary for animals who don't mind having a half-life. The Eurasian Lynx, gone from Europe for a century, is rebounding. Wolves too, although there are fears of genetic mutations. I say if there is finally a worthy foe for those ninja turtles, let's do this!

Godzilla was just a metaphor, but his smaller, bristle-haired cousins walk among us. Residents say they must be cleared out before normal life can resume. Who wants to stroll out for their morning paper through a front yard gauntlet of boars? The headlines are scary enough as it is.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Proof at last!

Pfft! And some people believe the moon landing was faked.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

This is why a man should never tidy up. Ever.

"I was just trying to help" will likely be carved on my tombstone, right under "I didn't mean to screw it up." There are so many ways for a man to screw up, especially if he is alive. With my track record, even dead I will probably manage to screw up moldering. Witness the following recent exchange:

Wife (looking at the sideboard): "Have you seen my receipt? I need it to return this ugly lipstick."

Me: "The receipt that was right there?"

Wife: "Yeees. I left the lipstick on top of it so I could return it."

Me: "I remember throwing away a receipt. I thought it was one of mine. I was just trying to tidy up."

Wife: "Tidy up? You never throw ANYthing away. You have piles and piles of stuff you don't throw away." (She points to five or twenty damning piles around the room.) "The one thing you 'tidy up' is mine?"

Me: "I don't think the lipstick is that ugly."

I would have had a stronger position if there had not been coins, paper clips, a name tag and several other receipts still on the sideboard next to the lipstick.

I would have had a stronger position if I had feigned an attack by a fruit bat and then run out the front door promising to continue the conversation later, like maybe after a few weeks of rabies shots.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, "As man liveth, so he screweth uppeth." I have thrown away receipts I needed too, on occasion, but I did not try that out on her as a comeback. Years of living as a human man gives you a certain sense of what will assuage a woman's ire, and pointing out your proven consistency in the screwup department is not it.

So she was not getting her seven bucks back for her tube of Peony Pucker. (From the Color Fwap! line of cosmetics: "Color so head-turningly bold, men will walk right into plate glass windows...Fwap!")

Since the universe is not fair when it comes to lips, my wife's preferred shade was no longer for sale locally, and clearly Pucker was no replacement. As penance, I ordered her favorite color, Sassy Shenanigans or something, online.

It isn't even lipstick, it's like a lip felt pen. A felt pen! For lips!

I will never understand why society feels it has to make perfectly good things better.

. . .

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Finger Sack edition

 I do not understand the world.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Daylight Saving Time—Love it or hate it? Yes

I know that I promised to continue the recent discussion here of the three elements, but the only material I came up with on "solids" was not printable in a family paper. So instead, I have executive-decisioned this week's topic into Daylight Saving Time: Sadistic Holdover From Another Era or good thing?

Perceptive readers may have sensed a bias in the topic title.

Daylight Saving Time (which isn't, because it doesn't) is irritating in a lot of ways. For one, there is no final "s" in "Saving," even though you always thought there was. Second, it causes you to go around your house tweaking all your clocks and you always miss the one that is most crucial for Monday morning and when you are late for work, or worse, an hour early, there is no one to yell at because time is only a human construct anyway.

DST is one of those things we partake in because to stop would require getting people to agree on something, which used to be possible, I tell my kids, before Facebook. They are skeptical. At least protesting is coming back, like in the days of my youth, and I wish we could get a good march up over Daylight Saving.

Possible chants:

"Hey hey! Ho ho! DST has got to go!"

"What do we want?" "More sleep!" "When do we want it?" "An hour hour from now! I can never remember!"

"My body clock, my choice!"

There is a lot of lore about the origins of DST; the farmers, the saving of electricity. I do not believe these tales. I think it was conjured up as a money-making scheme by alarm clock manufacturers and age-defying-cream companies. Have you looked in the mirror on the first morning of Daylight Saving Time? RKO used to make movies about you.

It does not even matter if you are "springing forward" or "falling back." It still takes a full week for your body to realize it is a) the victim of a profit-making cabal and b) that there is no recourse. I would say write your Congressman, but he is too busy enjoying free health care to ever need age-defying cream. Here is what Congress's first orders of business should be:

1. Repeal and replace Daylight Saving Time with something called "time."

2. Repeal and replace soccer with rugby.

3. Repeal and replace themselves.

. . .

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday Wa Pic - Political Fail

 I think Brooks may want to rethink his campaign advertising strategy.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Three states of matter that matter—part two

As promised in last week's column, today we will discuss the scientific property of gases. (O.K., I think we lost the grown-ups with that last sentence. They have moved on to the Wordy Gurdy, so now we can make fart jokes.)

A gas is a type of matter which does not conform to a defined shape, much like your local Congressional district. Examples of a gas:
  • freon
  • radon
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash
There are two major types of gases found in nature: political and harmless.
  1. Political. The first kind is found in elected officials (hereafter referred to as "gasbags"). This kind of gas tends to accumulate in the ambitious and morally flexible. It can be very dangerous in high concentrations, but can also be rendered harmless every 4-6 years. A harder type to get rid of is known as "lobbyist leaks." These are created when an attempted swamp-draining is bungled.

  2. Harmless. Gases which are harmless fall into many subcategories:
  • Steam. This gas is produced when your rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings" bounces off the shower tiles at such a volume nature weeps.
  • Helium. Very rare, and only exists when a clown and a balloon love each other very much.
  • Ozone. Much like a calzone, if a calzone were airborne and better protection against the sun's ultraviolet rays.
  • Propane. This is great for cooking on a grill and also for thumbing your nose at all your stupid anti-pane friends.
  • Krypton. This is a noble gas and has an atomic number of 36, but fudges a little by putting 32 on its resume. It is also totally tasteless. I bet you already figured that out.
  • Neon is the fifth most abundant element in the universe, but very rare on Earth, so what we humans do, for its own protection, is we stick it in signs advertising beer.
  • Argon. This is derived from a Greek word meaning "lazy," because it undergoes almost no chemical reactions. I feel a certain kinship with argon on weekends.
  • Xenon. This gas is used in arc lamps and, amazingly, as a general anesthetic. It also, let's face it, has the coolest name. Turn-ons include: long walks on the beach. Turn-offs: people who still only tip 10%.
Do not even get me started about mixed gases, which have been blended together to benefit humans. (I'm looking at you, tungsten hexafluoride!) Next week's topic: Solids, the only type of matter safe to sit on.

. . .

Wednesday, March 1, 2017