Lee Majors Bionic Hearing Aids and TVLand Personal Care

"I wonder, if you go jogging, it makes that 'Eh-eh-eh-eh-cha-cha-cha-cha' noise."

It was the first thing I thought when I saw the ad for the Lee Majors Rechargable Bionic Hearing Aid. And while it doesn't mention it in the commercials, I really hope it does come equipped with some six-million-dollar sound-effects.

I mean, how cool would it be to not only be able to hear things you couldn't before, but a brisk walk around the mall before it opens has you sounding like you're about ready for take-off or to fight some baddies?

I could totally get behind that! Talk about empowering!

"What's that, Mildred?" you say smugly. "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over my bionic 'eh-eh-eh-cha-cha-cha'."

That would just make me happy.

So that got me wondering what's next in the world of personal health care products for older Americans?

You're probably not too surprised that I have some suggestions:

  • The Eric "Ponch" Estrada Denture Set. Finally you can get the refrigerator-sized, white flawless teeth you weren't born with! These quality, glow-in-the-dark choppers are perfect for driving around on your chopper-- in uniform or taking the Mrs. for a late afternoon early-bird special. Patented Teflonite coating makes bug splatters drip right off! Meaning now you can feel free to smile and smile, along every mile!
  • The Evil Knievel Turbo Roundabout Power Scooter. The fastest power-chair of its kind, the Evil Knievel Power Scooter can go from 0 to 120 in six seconds. No more spending hours just trying to do simple grocery errands. No longer will you be passed on the sidewalk by energetic squirrels. And transporting it is easy. Simply use its special "Daredevil" setting and it propels from the ground to your trunk, up to six feet in height. Best of all, it's safe. Extensive tests show only one in 50 of these innovative scooters spontaneously combust in a fiery pit of flames. Get yours today!
  • The Henry "Fonzie" Winkler Hair Replacement System. Turn your hair from "meh" to "ayyyyyyyy!" with the new Henry "Fonzie" Winkler Hair Replacement System. This self-adhesive D.A.-style hair layer is both comfortable and discreet. Plus it's all-weather and, when used in combination with our special preparatory oil, complete water resistant! Comes with free Official Fonzie comb and mirror, just pay an extra $39.95 shipping and handling.
  • Catherine Bach's Daisy Duke Brand Support Hose. Having trouble walking and feeling less confident due to the pain and embarrassment of ugly varicose veins? Well, you'll be sliding in and out of the windows of your Lincoln Towncar in no time with Catherine Bach's new Daisy Duke Brand Support Hose. With these strong, stretchy, sexy hose, your legs will gain the kind of young, more alluring appearance that will have you cutting-off those polyester, elastic-waist trousers into some shorts! And the pain? Gone quicker than a mug of beer at the Boar's Nest! Yeee-haw!
  • George Peppard's "A-Gleam" Anti-Nicotine Tooth Whitener. This crack-commando whitener will fight the underground battle against tobacco stains, particularly those from your favorite cigar. Yes, when you have a whitening problem, when no one else can help, call the A-Gleam. Find it on your pharmacy shelves inside the box with the cheesy rubber-nose and mustache disguise. But act fast! Government agents should be trying to remove it shortly.
  • Raquel Welch Prosthetic Breast Augmentation Bra. Not getting the attention you used to from the 60-year-old hunks at the bingo parlor? Feeling lost and invisible, your confidence as deflated as your sagging boobs? Well, no more! Simply slip into the Raquel Welch Prosthetic Breast Augmentation Bra and you'll feel robust, your spirits uplifted! Guaranteed to make the most of any mu-mu!

Well, those are my ideas. But you're a clever bunch of folks, so I imagine you all have some to add to the list, too.

But for now, I have to go. I'm currently pitching Linda Carter's people my idea for the "Wonder Woman Bulletproof Lifecall Bracelets"...

"Pa-chaa! Pa-chaaa! Peeeww!"
Complete with realistic sound effects, of course.


Haiku for My Japanese Spammer

Remember the old days when spammers just used robots to spread their life-changing messages of tungsten wedding rings, all-natural erectile dysfunction drugs, conspiracy theories, and Nigerian princes in peril?

They were so impersonal. So detached. So... off-the-shelf.

But every now and then, some innovative spammer looks at the state of spamming today, and decides to avoid all the cold, calculated spamming hustle-bustle. Yes, she determines to take a more hand-crafted spam approach.

This is a person who truly appreciates the subtleties of the spamming art. Who knows that irritating the hell out of a blogger takes time, a gentle hand, and adding a new spam message daily in a language that said blogger not only cannot filter out, but cannot read.

This passes the torch to the blogger, sparking another lost craft-- the need to take a thoughtful moment to hand-delete that new message. Every. Single. Frigging. Day.

It hearkens back to a simpler time, really.

Regular readers know that I have been the recipient of this regular spamly gifting, from a spam artist in Japan, whose agenda-- according to the Babelfish translator-- seems to be some sort of woo-woo psychobabble. And as we are now approaching, oh, the second month of this intercultural exchange, I have now been moved to another art form-- haiku-- in her honor.

I started with this one, but while it captured some of my feelings, it didn't quite say all that it needed to:

Inbox reveals you
Anger flows like heavy rain
Mouse clicks 'Delete'

Then I decided to try encouraging my spam artist into a more productive direction...

Eyes see. Mind reads not.
Kanji sits so alone here
Spammer finds new friends

I hoped to use a metaphor she might understand...

Culture is cuisine
Flavors please... unite
Yet Spam tastes of hoof and snout

And then I just decided to stop beating around the bush...

Japanese spammer
Blood pressure you raise so high
Knock it off, will ya?

Just doing what I can to keep the art alive in blogging, don'tchaknow.


Today's question: have I missed any important angles I should be embracing in this ode to my persistent fan of the spam?


Bugzilla Versus Bathra

Nature: I embrace its mind-boggling beauty and awe-inspiring wonder.

I cannot embrace its many legs, multiple eyeballs, and parts that go "chomp."

I mean, if I go to a zoo and spot a furry tarantula... or an armored scorpion... or a local politician campaigning... I examine it there behind three inches of glass or perhaps surrounded by bodyguards, and think:

"Cool! You are interesting to observe, my friend. You stay there in your contained area, and I will remain here. And all will be both hunky and dory."

Not so was the case last week in my bathroom.

Lightly-caffeinated one morning, I entered this room of revitalization for a refreshing shower. And no sooner was I about to step into the tub, unclad and distinctly vulnerable, when-- from some dimly-lit corner of the room-- charged this giant, multi-legged freak of nature. One undoubtedly spawned from years of sewage, radiation, Pixxy-Stixx and half-eaten Twinkies.

I leapt back to let it pass, but this was apparently not good enough for its nefarious intents. No, it needed more.

It was going to start with the bathroom, yes. Then it was going to conquer the house... the block... the city... and possibly take a flight to Japan so it could really get cracking on Tokyo.

Y'know, like the Monstering-For-Morons: How To Stomp a City Real Good manuals tell 'em.

Okay-- sure, he'd probably get delayed in security, given all of the legs with explosive shoe potential. But I doubted he'd be deterred-- just a little petulant by baggage claim.

So when I moved out of Bugzilla's way, did it thank me for the courtesy? Did it show me its FastPass?

No. It decided to charge at me.

Yes, friends, it let out a mighty roar, reared up on 500 of its hind legs, shot morning breath of fire and Liquid Plumber, and ran straight at me.

And me, I did The Naked Mile in under five seconds.

I searched frantically around for something to barricade it. Something to stop it in its fleet-footed, galloping tracks. And that's when I spotted it. The metal lid to the container that holds extra toilet paper!

Wham! went the lid (which proportionately is, of course, seven stories high and flame resistant).

"RAWWWR!" echoed the enraged monstrosity from its dark chamber, shaking 300 angry fists.

I sighed, and sunk to the floor. Phew! Crisis averted...


See, a good shower does wonders for the ol' attitude. With some happy suds and good hot water, the trauma of my battle with the mutant beast from the netherworld swirled from my memory and down, down the drain of the past.

I got ready for work.

And I forgot all about my plans to slide some cardboard under its confinement cell and release Bugzilla back into the wild, far far away from my own personal self.

Here I should mention, I have a housemate that shares the facilities.

Yes, it was evening by the time I saw the friend who rents from me. As she was headed into the bathroom, I glanced at her retreating back and something sharp jabbed my memory.

Wasn't there something I was supposed to tell her? Wasn't there something fairly important that she should know?

She was mid-toothpaste-on-brush when my recollection kicked in, and I rudely busted in to her moment of Aquafresh and meditation.

"AGH! Don't lift that metal lid!" I shouted, pointing at said item on the floor.

She glanced from it to me with a single eyebrow raised, and the same expression she gave me the time she caught me making a Great Escape episode starring Marshmallow Peeps.

"I noticed that earlier," she said calmly.

Yes, it was the Marshmallow Peeps tone again. A friend who knows you're inclined to set Easter candy up for an action picture photoshoot, pretty much knows to expect weirdness as a part of the rental contract.

I explained the incident of the morning. The terror, the running legs (some of them not even mine), and pointed out the scorch marks on the tile walls.

And with this, that brave girl... That battler of underworld demons... That Buffy the Bugslayer who I call 'friend,' she grabbed a tissue, lifted that lid and...


The battle was simply too ugly to describe.

But suffice it to say, the house... the block... Pittsburgh... and even Tokyo...

Has been saved.

At least, until next time, good readers. At least, until next time.


Question for today:
Is there any part of the animal kingdom that completely freaks you out? And why... why must they always charge us? What's that about?


Neighborhood Watch or The Tale of Old Fat Naked Guy

Dawn! It crept over the Pittsburgh horizon like a wise and careful mouse, slipping stealthily over the slopes and wriggling around the buildings of my post-college neighborhood with hungry, all-encompassing ambition...

...To illuminate the round, bald noggin of Old Fat Naked Guy, my neighbor next door, staring in my living room window.

Yes, each day he sat on his stoop, chair turned at the perfect angle to watch me work-out in the wee morning dim of my first-floor apartment.

Early rising slugs kept him company-- no doubt chatting about my pitiful lack of form-- and a layer of dew shone on his great domed brow, his sandpapery jowls, and his perpetually shirtless Buddha belly.

"Not again," I'd grumble, tossing my workout jacket over my shoulder and wiping sweat from my forehead. I glared at him through the window, vowing to remember to close the curtains next time.

Which is what I vowed every time. But at 5am, pre-coffee, vows are like rice cakes. They don't amount to much.

So he just sat there, still and unmoved by my glare, like a TV watcher who went from gameshow, to soap, to Oprah blindly... indiscriminately. Just because anything else involved rising to change the channel.

I imagine he felt this program had it all; girl in spandex plus pratfalls. The quintessential combination of sex and humor. How could I expect anything but his regular audience?

It was my own fault, really.

Of course, Old Fat Naked Guy didn't just tune-in to the Good Morning Pittsburgh Workout Comedy Show. No, he enjoyed Upstairs Housemate Walking Dog. And Downstairs Housemate Going to Work. He took in Drunk Unemployed Dude Fourth of July Party Week to our left. And the Landlord Letting Herself In Without Notice show that, while airing sporadically, did have quite a few episodes.

Yes, he sat outside on that stoop for hours, watching the world go by, sometimes nursing a beer and occasionally shouting inside to Mrs. Old Fat Naked Guy to fill in the lulls.

And like actors who don't actually know the people they touch the most, we-- the players in his regularly scheduled programming-- did not actually know his name.

This was not because we hadn't spoken to him...

It was because we couldn't understand a single word that came out of his mouth.

"Grumma tumma whaddaya mumble mum," he'd say, pointing at Upstairs Housemate's dog in the language which-- from the effects of beer, false teeth and perhaps a colorful youth-- had become all his own.


"Whaddaya grumma tumma mumble mum," came the reprise.

Upstairs Housemate would pause, then smile. "His name is Barkley," she'd say, working the art of statistical probability, wave, and then politely slip away.

Or if I were taking out the trash:

"Flamma jamma ramma lamma dingdong!" he'd shout, waving a finger with some perturbation.

"Yup, garbage day tomorrow!" I'd exclaim cheerfully, sensing I was actually getting a lecture on something, but realizing that without the first edition of the Old Fat Naked Guy to English dictionary, I would just have to miss his words of caution.

Or if my roommate's brothers were visiting:

"Sheeg glabba frabja ya blonga!"

"Good morning! Yes, it's always nice to get together with family, isn't it?" she'd sing, and flee quickly into the house.

Soon, I became a homeowner myself, leaving that first floor apartment and Old Fat Naked Guy behind. But every now and then, when I struggle into my exercise clothes and the autumn light just begins to creep into my windows, I wonder how he is.

Is he still alive, sitting there on the stoop, enjoying a whole new Fall Lineup?

Perhaps Young Man Rocking Out To Guitar Hero? Or Ambulance Driver Carting Drunk Unemployed Dude Away for Heart Testing?

Yes, I wonder... I consider those tender semi-stalking moments we shared... And the unexpected piece of wisdom he once imparted to me. Wisdom which, in his honor, I will share with you right now:
"Pooka snooka dooka ga-bungee wa-chingee!"
Just something to think about.


Today's question: Any memorable characters in your neighborhood?


How to Set Up Your Home Entertainment System, Ocean's 11 Style

Since when did setting up a television suddenly become more complex than executing the plot of an elaborate caper film?

Yet that's what I discovered this weekend when what I thought would be a simple Swap Maneuver-- my housemate's tube TV for the new HD one I'd bought-- turned into a tangled, sadly Clooneyless remake of the Ocean's variety. Only minus the high-stakes payoff, rakish wit, crack team of rag-tag experts, and with 200% more cursing.

Otherwise, just the same.

For instance, in a caper film, there is always the use of high technology. Ziplines, cables and the like.

Well, in setting up the television, you wanna talk cables? I had cables coming out of my butt!

(I mean, not literally. As that would, even to my untechnologically-inclined eyes, be a pretty sure indicator that things were, in fact, hooked up incorrectly.)

But still.

S-Video, FR cables, RGB cables, HDMR cables, PDQ, LOL, and YMCA cables... All sorts of cool high-tech cables with initials going to all sorts of different devices with more initials, just to get the most out of the alphabet.

And like a caper movie, these different cables were all planned out in a big overarching schematic, to guide the step-by-step process.

The difference here is, where the Ocean's 11 team tends to work from one main, finely-tuned, well-timed plan, the Television People don't want us to be boxed in like that.

No, friends-- they want us to have options.

So you can hook the S-Video and the red and white audio cables from the TV to the DVD. Or the VCR. Or from the cable box to the DVD. Or the Wii to the garbage disposal. Or the garbage disposal to your cousin Vinny's power mower which has this really sweet hum.

Or you can use the HDMR cable and connect everything to your cell phone and the IMAX theater in Boston.

Or you can use the YMCA cable to connect the TV to the all-male review down the street's video poker.

It's really entirely up to you!

Now, any good caper movie has to have a safe with a secret code. And setting up the television requires a secret code, too!... Well, maybe.

See, in order for the TV to talk to the cable box, the instructions explain, it needs a special code from the cable company. Or not. But it might. But it depends on your cable company. And your cable plan. And your television model. And the number of planets aligned when the clock strikes 12 noon, only not your time, in the place of manufacture of your television and...

You don't know it, do you? The code?...

No, we didn't think so. Just pick a three digit number at random. Or a four-digit number. Or a five-digit number. How many digits you need depends upon the people who haven't told you the code in the first place.

Just give them a quick call... Their phone number is unlisted.

Also, in order for your set to work, don't forget to set it to channel 03. Or 04. Or a different channel which you'll need to get from your cable or DirectTV provider. Or possibly your first grade teacher if she is not, in fact, dead by now.

Got all that? Great!

Now you have officially set up your home entertainment system! Proceed to pop in the original RatPack version of Ocean's 11, sing all of Dean Martin's 14 reprises of "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" and have a martini.

You've earned it.


Question for today: What was the most frustrating item you've ever had to set up?


Snuggie Fashion Show Inspires Infomercial Couture

"I'm too sexy for my Snuggie... too sexy for my Snuggie..."
This past Wednesday, those infomercial winter warmers, Snuggie slankets, stepped into the spotlight in their first runway fashion show and--


Oh. I see.

You're thinking: "This is just another Cabbages Making Bizarre Things Up post."

Well, friends, sometimes real life doesn't even need spoofing. Check this out.

Yep, with its new "designer colors" like Zebra Print and Leopard Print-- (who knew all this time the zoo had been so, um, designery?)-- the Snuggie slanket has done a little turn on the catwalk.

And has given me the opportunity to repeatedly use the word "slanket." Sleeves + blanket = slanket. Say it with me: slanket. Let's all try working it into a sentence today just to see the looks on people's faces.

Ah, but I digress.

Due to the roaring success of the Snuggie fashion show--which NBC reports a whole twenty or so people attended, meaning each guest did some very enthusiastic roaring per person -- other makers of infomercial products are seeing their products in a whole new light.

And I mean really seeing them in a whole new light. Like these simply brilliant Tap Light Nighty-Bike ensembles!

These easy-to-stick, long-lasting lights give you illumination right where you need it-- even sweaty spandex! Now you can walk, bike, or jog any time of the evening, getting that important daily exercise, all while playing it safe in dark, dangerous alleys.

Then there's the Space Bag Self-Storage, for that person looking to be vacuum-sealed from the effects of naughty Mother Nature...

Helps keep skin fresh, too!

And not to be forgotten, the Pasta 'n' More Pasta Cooker Chapeaus are really taking off. Perfect for that person on-the-go who otherwise might not have time for a good wholesome meal...
Stylish and useful!

Yes, this year in fashion, it's really about combining artistic form with function. It's a busy, more practical world these days. Why not dress for it?





Cells and Sensibility

Hell is experiencing a light frost. Dogs and cats are finalizing their Anti-Animosity Treaty. And sharks have voted on it and decided to go vegan...

Yes, the world is topsy-turvy, and the impossible is now:

I have finally purchased... a cell phone.

I know; I am the last hold-out on the entire planet. These days, babies are handed a cell phone and given their Daytime Babble Minutes the moment they make their goopy grand entrance.

Toddlers are texting, plotting their next Chuck E. Cheese adventures and conferring on potty successes.

Dogs are barking into their Flea-Mobile wireless saying, "Red Rover, Red Rover, walkies on over?..."

And then there's me. Cell-phone-less. Fervently combating the laws of probability that I would never... oh... completely lose my traveling dad on Christmas Eve, somewhere between Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Upper Tarnation, USA...

Or that I would take up residence in Panera waiting for someone so long, management sprinkled me with sesame seeds and slapped on special Day-Old pricing...

(There were no takers.)

Or that I would never get stuck in the middle of a 15th century Ren Faire field with a broken down electric carriage, and no Ye Olde Steed-4-Let in sight.

It was this last incident that served as Her Majesty's Wake-Up Herald on the matter.

I suppose I should explain that my resistance to the technology all this time had been more of a frugal and self-preservationist nature than techno-fear...

For years, I'd worked for a Bill Lumberg type, a driven fellow who thought nothing of tracking me down to my parents' home in New Jersey on Thanksgiving Day to ask me about a project...

Who was at a tradeshow in England and decided it would be okay to ring me up--- 2 a.m. U.S. time-- just to "test the phone."

Who called HR twice because my hour-long, pre-scheduled dentist appointment was apparently taking too long.

Being reachable 24/7 would have had me a cell, all right-- a softly padded cell with stylish, comfy jackets that were just a skosh long in the sleeves.

But now that I have changed jobs, and cell phones come with "I Only Want to Use This Every Other Month With an 'R' In It" Plans, I have seen the light.

Of course, this also means I may have to make a few other changes:
  • Switch from dial-up, where my computer was powered by three really energetic hamsters-on-a-wheel (cheers to you Squeaky, Hammy and Kenneth), to something that allows me to watch a 30-second YouTube video in under 12 hours.
  • Contribute to American unemployment, by letting my fleet of carrier pigeons go. I'm sorry for the downsizing, but these things must be done in the name of progress. Please: no flaming comments from the Pigeon-American community. They're getting a nice severance package, after all.
  • Shift from an abacus to one of those freaky new-fangled calculators. I'm going to miss this one in particular, since the six-foot wooden abacus looked so stylish in my livingroom, and the Chinese wisemen I brought in to consult around tax-time each year were some super-fun guys. "Chow har kew?" "Fine thanks, and how've you been?"
But hey, the world marches on. And if the cell phone works out, maybe I'll even consider buying clothes not made courtesy of the Spinning Jenny.

Jenny's gonna be pissed. But... that severance package. It's a good'n.

Today's question: are you a late or early adopter of new cool technologies? And have you ever used an abacus or carrier pigeon?


Lady Anachronism and the Six Cylinder Wizards

It wasn't exactly a phrase I ever expected to say in 15th century Europe:

"Um, could you tell me if there's a pay phone around here I could use?"

But given my electric horseless carriage had completely lost its giddayup in the middle of the Renaissance Faire parking field, well, now was really not the time to be a stickler for historical accuracy.

I elaborated on how ye olde bewitched torches had accidentally been left to burn during the course of the jousting... During yon marketplace pillaging... During the enjoyment of grog and delicacies from ye locallle chippe shoppppeee... And thus had drained the carriage of its goodly magyckeee.

I shared the tale of how I am stupidly not keeper of the phone of cells... And how I had thoughtlessly not yet sought protection of the roving, rescuing band of the Three A's, wizards who specialize in the reanimation of stranded carriages.

I spoke of all this-- in four-part verse accompanied by lutes and dancing minstrels, two of whom I had to run through with sharpened sword just to get the whole story finished...

By Tudor's codpiece, those skipping minstrels do strain the nerves!

But once the woman in the wimple and velvet gown at Ye Olde Tickett Boothee heard my tale of woe, she leapt to action.

She picked up her own enchanted phone of cells and rang up His Majesty's Royalle Carriage Magycker-Uppers. This noble king--well-prepared for most contingencies which is undoubtedly why he is in charge (that and, y'know, being a legacy kid)-- had druid advisers on hand for just such an occasion!

Huzzah! Huzzah! And whoop-whoop-whoop!

I waited for their arrival, reading my carriage's Booke of Spelles, hoping to glean some bit of new knowledge. But alas, my powers of magyckkke in the area of horseless carriages are weak and silly and do sucketh.

A kindly knygggght came by with his lady and offered assistance, if I had the Bewitched Cables of the Jump. But alas, no. Miserably unprepared was I.

This Lady felt a fool.

He then offered me weaponry, to fend off any carriage-jackers that might come by to plunder my meager wealth, or my minstrel-less portable player of the tunes.

But soon, from over the field on a powerful steed-- I believe it was a Ford Bronco-- came the King's sorcerers. They were from the far land of Colorado, they said, and rescued dudes and damsels in this particular sort of distress at least once a fortnight using their talents of automotive necromancy.

Consulting a bit on the right spells to use, they coaxed my horseless carriage back to life.

And hey nonny-nonny! We were prepared to journey once more!

Ah, but wait!!-- good people of the land of Cabbages... What would this story be without a concluding moral?

When dark skies grow and winds do blow
Ye ask, "Will ye get threwghhht it?"
But hark!-- one call can do it all
As wisemen say: "Just Druid."

Blogging Birthday Lessons Learned

It's hard to believe, but as of today, I've officially been blogging for three years. Yep, newborns have grown into full-fledged, "NO!"-proclaiming humans in the time my first blog has been a virtual quickie-mart stop on the Internet Highway.

And in that time, I've learned a few things. Things which I will share with you today:

  • Spammers know no sense of irony. I have a Japanese spammer. She spams both of my blogs daily, in Japanese. My readers and I don't speak Japanese. She doesn't speak English. Each day she specifically spams the post about my deep loathing of individuals of the Spamacious nature, such as herself. Each day I delete her spam. What we have here is a failure to communicate.
  • When you discuss the film Aliens, do so with the reverence normally reserved for the Pope and crispy bacon. Back when I was just a baby blogger, I made the mistake of thinking I had some funny observations about the film Aliens. Due to the wonders of Social Media (meaning about 10 angry Reddit-haunters who apparently sleep under Aliens sheet sets on their parents' pull-out sofas, dreaming of how different their lives would have been if only Sigourney Weaver had gone to the prom with them), I learned that my observations about Aliens are, in fact, wrong and distinctly unfunny. So from here on out, I shall refer to Aliens as "That Space-Oriented Film Of Which I am Unworthy To Speak, What With Not Having Thoroughly Digested Its Entire Catalogue of In-Depth Mythology." For your own safety, I recommend you do the same.
  • No, they've already heard that story. No, really. Really. I'm lucky enough to have a few real-life friends who read my blogs. This, I understand, helps them keep up with all the fast-paced, budget-conscious, telemarketer-flaming, furniture-refinishing, anti-zombie activity that surrounds my oh-so-riveting life. This also means that when I see them in person, I begin to regale them with my latest plan for better human-zombie relations or, say, the cool new purse I thrifted, they cut me off quicker than the Stig test driving a Lambo on the Autobahn. "Yes, I read that," they tell me, offering the polite pained smile you give that aged relative with Alzheimer's who's just opened her birthday slippers for the fourth time. Let me tell you, the conversation dies quicker than Meryl Streep looking for another Oscar. Always have new material.
  • If they're not laughing at your jokes, at least you can't see their faces. Blogging has allowed me to share all the things that have struck me funny, some of them not even involving infomercials. But the best thing about blogging is, I don't have to see your faces. Not that you guys aren't all really beautiful people, who I wouldn't totally enjoy staring at until you started nervously sweating and tugging at your collar, because of the High Art involved in your perfect profiles. But 1.) I don't have time for that crap. And 2.) when I make a joke that totally bombs, I don't have to see your expressions of weary bewildered tolerance. This has been great for the ol' self-esteem. Thanks!
  • You can't turn back the hands of time on a bad post. Believe me, I've tried. I've scoured the city, looking for Doctor Who. And not just for a brief vacay of interstellar travel and cheeky banter, but also to intercept the latest, mutant blog issuance I'd given birth to. How do you unmake that three-eyed, humorless child you adored for 3.5 seconds? Well, you don't. You can't. You can unpublish, but it's already out there, limping through the cities and breaking up the place. So just slap a tux on it, sing a duet of "Putting On the Ritz," and move on. Maybe no one will notice.
Well, I could go on and on about this, but I won't because of the last thing I learned from blogging:
  • Know when enough's enough.
And since I know a lot of you readers out there are bloggers, too:
  • Care to share your bestest blogging lessons?...

And do any of them involve a "Space-Oriented Film Of Which You're Not Worthy to Speak"?


Cabbage Bowling: the Abuse Abides

It has reached the attention of Of Cabbages and Kings that an unfortunate segment of our population is experiencing regular shame, degradation and physical abuse, all in the name of celebratory amusement.

At events all over the country, and for such frivolous reasons as St. Patrick's Day, quirky radio contests, and the annual Phelps Sauerkraut Festival, cabbages-- that most proud and noble of leafy vegetables-- are being used as projectiles for cruel merriment.

Just look at the cabbagey carnage here at one such event...

Yes, once these were strong, independent vegetative spheres-- with dreams of someday achieving the respect bestowed upon higher-profile vegetables such as Mr. Potato Head... the entire cast of VeggieTales... and local politicians...

Yet now these once-dignified herbaceous biennials have had those dreams ripped to leafy shreds... hearts cut out, and turned into tiny bits of slaw on the Existential Bowling Lane of Life at the hand of thoughtless humans, all for a few hours of bowl-a-rama bliss!

This cannot abide!

What's worse is children are being taught to view cabbages as idle unfeeling playthings from a very early age. I mean, just look at these Bowling Bunnies!...
Okay, sure, sure... it's the cute fluffy little bunny rabbits that get knocked over. Yes, everyone is always soooo quick to worry about the cute fluffy little bunnies.

But what about the cabbages that are impacting them at the rate of low-speed car crashes? Just because cabbages don't have stupid fluffy tails and dumb pink twitchy little noses, do they not merit equal attention?...

If you lob a cabbage, does it not bruise? If you stab a cabbage, does it not slice?

So that's why we here at Of Cabbages and Kings are stepping up to the line and saying "Strike!" to this conscienceless sport. (Even if, you know, a strike is actually a good thing in bowling, yet more of a call-to-action here in in the context of pro-cabbage concerns.)

So, we offer you some Cabbage Bowling Anti-Abuse propaganda-- er, paraphernalia... paraphernalia— to help spread the word about the unspoken tortures our green and leafy friends face regularly...

Yes, feel free to share these at will with family and friends and too-slow-to-refuse strangers on the street, and let them know about the pain currently facing the Cabbage-American community.

Please, won't you take just five minutes a day to help spare the cabbages?

Unofficial Guide to Family Holiday Personalities

Holidays: uniting people with common DNA, under the rented pavilion of blind hope, thick, creamy guilt, and pickled eggs.

Yet in every family gathering, there seem to be some common players--- personalities that somehow span generations and cultures, transforming each get-together into another keepsake reminder of just why we move 200 miles away from these people in the first place.

So let's pass the fried chicken and take a gander at our talented cast of characters. Perhaps you will even recognize some of these folks from your own holiday events!:

  • The Time Traveler- Due to some personal issues with the space-time continuum, this person always pops up at least an hour and a half later to any event than expected. They call and say they're headed out the door, yet still find themselves missing significant chunks of time between the duration it typically takes to make the journey and the time they actually set foot at the family event. A stopover in the Jurassic era? Layover in the Bermuda Triangle? Abduction by aliens? This phenomenon is so mysterious, relatives will automatically add hours onto any ETA data given, just to compensate for the flux. The Government is looking into this phenomena.
  • The Storyteller- This is the person who turns something as simple as an oil change into an elaborate tale for the masses. Depending on your storyteller, these tales can have the audience rolling off their chairs or running for the hills. My grandfather was the latter. His hunting journeys were like Last of the Mohicans II: Natty Bumppo's Nature Scrapbook, Now With Even Fewer Action Sequences. They were not memories as much as early 1800s topographic and botanical expeditions, where every leaf, tree and rock got equal attention, complete with sub-story and sub-sub-story offshoots. It could go on for several years. Or until everyone in the audience died.
  • The Drama Llama- Whatever the event-- wedding, funeral, annual picnic-- the family Drama Llama knows that the function is actually secretly about him or her. It becomes the perfect time to air decaying grievances, announce bitter divorces, and toss other cherry bombs of intimate angst into the festivities, just to see where the parts fly. Techniques include grand entrances, loud accusations, crying fits and lengthy non-communicative sulking.
  • The Negative Nelly- If it's a bright sunny day, the Negative Nelly lets you know it's probably going to rain soon. If you brought potato salad, the Negative Nelly makes a public service announcement that it has too much onion, and you probably shouldn't eat it anyway, because it will clog your arteries and kill you. If you have good news about a pending trip, a marriage or a job shift, the Negative Nelly will greet your enthusiasm with a "What do you want to do a fool thing like that for?"
  • The Rube Goldberg Worrier- For any activity, the Rube Goldberg Worrier will come up with elaborate ideas why this is incredibly dangerous and is likely to get everyone turned into charcoal briquettes. "Don't put that macaroni salad there-- it's so close to the edge. It could fall off the table and knock one of the smaller children unconscious with the sturdy Tupperware." "Oh, don't park your car there. One of the kids could throw a Frisbee and not look where he was going and run into the side of it and then burn his face on the hot engine, becoming disfigured for life." You might try to persuade the Rube Goldberg Worrier to just relax and have some fun. But remember, safety proofing the picnic area for a possible attack of locusts between the hours of noon and five is fun. We all have our hobbies.
  • Hydroponic Tot- This child has not eaten more than a teaspoonful of anything solid since last Christmas, and isn't going to start now. How the kid has survived to be age five seems to be due to some supernatural ability to draw nutrients directly from the air. No, he does not want a cookie. No, he does not want some of Great Aunt Edna's Jell-O salad. He will test that Jell-O's physics, though. The Hydroponic Tot loves physics.
  • Black Plague Betty. This relative chronicles family illness more thoroughly than the National Health Organization. Not only will you hear about her own lengthy battles with heartburn, nasal mucus, elevated blood pressure, diabetes and dandruff, you will hear about Aunt Myrtle's gout, Uncle Cedric's erectile dysfunction and the new pacemaker of her neighbor's nephew's sister's ex-husband's former boss. Black Plague Betty can recall all of this in an instant. She, however, will consistently call you by the name of your cousin, Todd.
  • The Flash. This person attends every family event-- but for about 4.9 seconds. Yes, this relative is in-and-out in a blur of baby seats and covered dishes. Once the 4.9 seconds elapse, crisis arises and The Flash has vanished into the ether, leaving nothing but a whiff of Gerber strained peas and an empty styrofoam plate.

So tell me, folks-- do you have your own personal Negative Nelly? Or perhaps you're the family Time Traveler? Or maybe you have another personality to add to the list. Go ahead and share with Cabbages readers!..

The therapy is free.


From Lady Gaga to Baby GooGoo

I'm not precisely sure when it happened, but our entertainment industry has gone embryonic.

It transformed from 40s films like It's a Wonderful Life, where Jimmy Stewart played a teenager who had hair in his ears, a pacemaker, and was just tapping into his Social Security...
("Every time a bell rings, George Bailey thinks it's hearing aid interference.")
...To leading ladies and pop stars so young they need new Pull-Ups between takes.

I was noticing this in particular the other day, when for the first time I saw Lady Gaga interviewed. I'd seen still shots of her on mags like Rolling Stone, and had read an article or two which spoke of her eccentric, crafted personality. Like a modern-day Ziggy Stardust.

Then she strode in, her dress rigged of plastic Post-its, a purple teacup in hand....

And under the wig, false eyelashes and hype, I got the first good look at her.

Okay, so maybe she isn't exactly still waiting for her adult teeth to grow in, but you can't tell me the last time she'd cashed in with the Tooth Fairy can be measured in decades.

Which got me wondering, what's next on our horizon?

I'm thinking it'll start with a pre-teen pageant circuit phase, where coiffed eight-year-old hoochies do infomercials on leg waxing and form manufactured girl bands. The Jon Benets will be as big as their hair. And the Little Miss Sunshines will top the charts with edgy songs of report card disappointments and bulemia.

Then we'll realize we need something for the younger set.

I mean, with these aging hags, so washed up before junior high, we'll see we'd missed a whole market.

Why, kids not even in school have a lot more disposable income than you can imagine! (At least, if they don't try to eat it, or stick it up their nose.)

So soon pre-schoolers will be rocking out to The Jiggles, an educational romp with three-year-old pole dancers in push-up bras. They'll have fun showing the kiddies things they'll really need to know. Like how to send pictures of themselves to their friends using a hacked version of the Leapfrog system.

Or how to enhance their figures using realistic Play-Doh ta-tas you can make at home. Y'know, from the Play-Doh Boob Factory.

And then don't forget the really little ones! Who won't want to listen to the in-vitro band, New Fetuses on the Block, with their hit song, "In Your Womb"?

Oh, there's no end to the untapped marketing opportunities!

Of course, we'll have to wait until technology catches up a bit. I hear the studio for those fetuses are typically cramped and the recording feedback is terrible.

Question for today: Has there been any movie or musical act that was way older or younger than you'd expected them to be for their role?

Why StumbleUpon is Like Heroes

Flashbacks... Flash forwards... Flash sidewayses, fer Pete's sake... Deja vu and deja vatthefrickisgoingon...

A day or so ago, members of BlogCatalog began a thread asking questions about the mysterious machinations of StumbleUpon.

And as minds who together had unravelled the puzzles of SEO... Of Facebook virtual farm animal addiction... Of how you can actually use Twitter for something other than talking about your morning Froot Loops...

This crowd was strangely stumped.

And it occurred to me that StumbleUpon is pretty much the social media version of the TV series Heroes. (Or if you want to go Old School-- Twin Peaks.) Sure, you like it, it's compelling. It might even do something positive for you.

But you're really not sure why, or how you even got there.

  • Flashbacks, flash forwards and flash sidewayses. Time is fluid. Heroes will pop you from ancient Japan to futuristic Times Square and across to a Middle American diner. Then, next season, you'll do it all over again, but fresh and new. StumbleUpon will send you to posts you've never seen before, places you've already reviewed, pages you didn't like the first time, and the same topic but different variations in mind-bending order. Where are you now and how exactly did you get to a site devoted solely to miniature blinged-out dog collars? Who knows?
  • Death is Fleeting. Does anything really die? In Heroes, characters you thought had snuffed it get resurrected through some twists of time and fate. In StumbleUpon, old, creaking posts thumbed-up months ago but which never saw traffic, pop-up out of nowhere and send hundreds of visitors your way. Why? There are no clues. You see no new upward thumbs. You just have to hope it's not thumbed down-- or, say, cancelled-- before you make sense of it.
  • Simple Is More Gooder. StumbleUponers tend to like stuff you can skim. A quick pic. A short cartoon. A bulleted list. Something that shocks. Or rides up and chafes. This earns the traffic and the stars. Heroes ratings took a dive once viewers realized theoretical astrophysics had fewer twists and turns, and everyone started watching something that didn't involve brain yoga. Like How I Met Your Mother. There is only one question in that program, and that can be dragged out for another seven seasons or so.
  • Where Does the Power Come From? In Heroes, character have superpowers. And whether it's due to genetics, or the eclipse, or government conspiracy, or not enough tinfoil hats, it's hard to say. Even if we figure it out, it will likely change by next season. In StumbleUpon, a post can be stumbled by two different people. But one will take off like Lance Armstrong after a power bar. And one will sit there like Rosie O'Donnell after a Vegas buffet. The StumbleUpon formulas have deemed some folks more powerful than others. Presumably if you Stumble with diversity, you'll earn the power of flight. But witnesses can't quite confirm it.
  • Nothing Is What It Seems. Or Is It? In Heroes, double- and triple-agents abound, and there are more red herrings than in a Norwegian fishermonger's freezer. In StumbleUpon, the Stmp.stumbleupon.com server keeps showing up in my stats doing what looks like page indexing. What is it doing there? Why has it come? Is this good? Is this bad? It looks hopeful. But are you StumbleUpon people on my side, helping my site? Or are you working for the powers of thumb-downingness? We'll have to stay tuned to find out.

For you folks, do you use StumbleUpon and does it leave you scratching your head? Or are you simply finding the fun surfing the blogosphere, surfing the world?