Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dogs, fake and real

I am bothered by a particular domestic sculpture that is found on at least two doorsteps in well-to-do Center City Philadelphia neighborhoods. Upon first glance, we have your garden-variety stone dog, holding a basket of stone flowers in its maw. But look closer. Shouldn't the dog's jaw be slightly open? What dog can close its entire mouth around the handle of a wicker basket? He would have to have a basket-handle shaped cutout in his teeth and gums for this to be possible.

In other dog news, I live across the street from the Cutest Dog in the World. Behold:

Here we see him trying to stay in the shade on his doorstep. Aw! Somebody get that boy a parasol!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Home doctor

Perhaps you're familiar with MedlinePlus, a project of the NIH that brings together information from government agencies and health-related organizations. It's very authoritative. Its newsfeed, it turns out, is also a trove of hilarious headlines. A sampling:

Babies Come Packed With Natural Knowledge
Refusing Whooping Cough Vaccine Shown to Raise Risk
Health Issues in Childhood Often Show up in Adulthood
Experts Urge Less Weight Gain for Obese Women in Pregnancy
Staying Home When Sick Might Be Wise
Youth and Driving Don't Always Mix Safely
Looks, Money, Fame Don't Bring Happiness

MedlinePlus also runs a series of helpful health tips:

Health Tip: Use a Ladder Properly
Health Tip: Eat Enough Fiber
Health Tip: Keep Your Feet Safe in Flip-Flops
Health Tip: Why Is My Nose Bleeding?
Health Tip: Taking Care of Baby's Dandruff

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I live in an old house. A lot of it is kinda dirty. Not, like, fetid and vile dirty, but the kind of quiet dirtiness that comes from decades and decades of wear and just won't go away, no matter what you do. In an old rental like this, it's easy to get slack on the cleaning and caring, because it's never ever going to be pristine and you're probably going to move out eventually anyway. But whenever I start to feel guilty about being lazy around the house, I take comfort in the fact that I am not nearly as lazy as its previous occupants seem to have been. Those occupants inexplicably painted this metal vent in the bathroom white (and honestly, this is as white as that grate now gets):

And ... hey, what's that on the upper left-hand corner of the vent there? There's a tiny rectangle that appears to be protruding a bit. What could it be? Oh look -- I see that it's removable.

Yes, that's right. The painters couldn't be bothered to remove a piece of magnetic poetry from the vent before they painted it.

It says "theater," by the way.

My favored method for letting the world know that I love something is by becoming a Facebook fan of it. I am a Fan of 80 different things, and I swear not all of them are neat products that you can buy (though most of them are). Did you know that, if you want to become a fan of something for which no page exists, you can just create one yourself? A while back I created a page for Square-Headed Dogs. It's dedicated to dogs of no particular breed whose heads could reasonably be described as cubical in shape. Not straight-up pit bulls (there are plenty of pit-bull-oriented pages to become a fan of if that's your thing), but dogs who are a just pitty enough to be adorable little stocky monsters (see fig. 1 above).

The page doesn't do much except sit there with a few pictures of square-headers on it (including one with birthday hat). For a while it had only two fans, me and someone I strong armed into joining the square-head movement. A few months later I checked back and saw that 10 people who live in Wales had also become fans. Imagine my surprise and delight when, recently, I saw that Square-Headed Dogs was up to 32 fans, including three people I actually know!

I encourage all of my readers to show their support for square-headed dogs by becoming an online fan of them. If you are a Facebook member, this is quite easy and you probably already know how such things work. If you are not a Facebook member, you will first have to click the link contained in one of the 4,396 emails you've received from friends trying to coerce you into joining Facebook. Either way, I promise it will be worth it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Granola power

During my countless trips to Superfresh, I have often contemplated buying the generic America's Choice version of my beloved Nature Valley Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola Bars in order to save 79 cents on a six-pack (for those of you without calculators nearby, that this results in a savings of 12.67 cents per two-bar pack or 6.3 cents per actual bar). These being Troubled Times, I finally decided to give the budget bars a shot. I should never have waited so long. For while the America's Choice box has a fairly bland and prosaic design ...

... out of that box emerges the most fearsome and powerful packaging in granola bar history:

It's so crunchy!!!! It's as if my granola bar is going to don a spandex suit and save the planet with its crunch. It's the only kind of granola bar I'm ever buying again. I don't even remember what it tasted like.