Previous month:
March 2009
Next month:
May 2009

21 posts from April 2009

Because It's Never Too Early to Learn That the World is a Scary and Horrible Place

When I was a kid, I had a book called The Greatest Natural Disasters of the Modern World, or something like that.  It was a chapter book, and each chapter was dedicated to a different catastrophic event in history.  The book was fascinating, and I read it more times than I can count.  Unfortunately, a side effect of this was that I became completely neurotic.  Basically, I was at the age where I was old enough to fully grasp the horror and destruction of a huge earthquake, tsunami, or volcanic eruption, but also to young to properly put the chances of any of those things happening to me in perspective.  So I worried.  A lot.  I felt relatively certain that my house would be taken out by a tidal wave (coming from where, I don't know--the Chesapeake Bay, maybe?  The local swimming pool?), and don't even get me started on earthquakes.

I thought of the book today while reading some article about swine flu hysteria, and looking back, I have one question: who the hell thought it was a good idea to write a CHILDREN'S BOOK about NATURAL DISASTERS?  Why make children feel even more insignificant and helpless than they already are?  I don't get it.  But there must be a good reason, because I checked today, and apparently making children scared of natural disasters is big business; there are hundreds of books on the topic.  Some titles you can buy for the lovable little scamp in your life:

Natural Disasters: A Chapter Book Natural Disasters: A Chapter Book (True Tales): Madeline Boskey: Books
This one is pretty standard as far as children's disaster literature goes; it also looks pretty similar to the book I had.  I like to think that right now, it is scaring the bejeezus out of at least a handful of kids.

Totally Weird Natural Disasters Natural Disasters (Totally Weird): S. Fletcher, Clare Oliver: Books

I believe this one was created with the rationale that it's OK to terrorize kids, as long as it's WACKY!

MOTHER NATURE GOES NUTS! Mother Nature Goes Nuts! (Amazing Natural Disasters): The editors of Klutz: Books

This book is called MOTHER NATURE GOES NUTS!  I like that it includes a free toy, so you have something to play with while you lay in bed at night with your eyes wide open, trembling and wondering when death is coming for you.  How thoughtful.

Inside Access: Natural Disasters Natural Disasters (Inside Access): Bill McGuire: Books

This one gets the WTF? Award.  I wasn't aware that a plan crashing through a wall counted as being brought on by nature.

Graphic Natural Disasters: Tsunamis & Floods Tsunamis and Floods (Graphic Natural Disasters): Gary Jeffrey: Books
The cover art concept for this one is the all-time winner: a bunch of horrified children, alone without adults, facing catastrophic mass drowning.  The boy in the left corner is my fave.

At This Point I am OK with the Fact That My Life's Work is Facilitating the War Between Michelle and the Athletic Trainers

Comments continue to trickle in on this three-year-old post, and in light of the most recent one, Michelle has asked me to post the following addendum to her recent, olive-branch-offering clarification post.  Michelle says:

Maybe because all of the other pieces of hard-hitting journalism I have written for this blog, athletic trainers seem to think that I intended to write an honest description of their profession with my post three years ago. One would think that the graphics alone would tip off most to the fact this is not an informative article, but whatever.  I guess it's a little too much to expect from a group of people who can't handle the pressure of being an EMT, and lack the intelligence to be a doctor.  So then let me spell it out clearly to all athletic trainers, who, given the critical thinking skills they’ve demonstrated in their comments, must be the kind of people who write research papers that reference wikipedia and geocities websites:

I actually did do research before I wrote the post. I went to the NATA website and read about athletic trainers. Yet I still decided to make that pie chart because that would be much more hilarious than actually describing what an athletic trainer does, which, though important, is boring. That’s because, once again, it was intended to be a joke and not at all factual. Only an idiot would read this and think that any part of it is serious. I mean, really: Mr. Peanut and One-eyed Doctor are listed as occupations.

When it comes to jokes, you either think it’s funny or not. It would appear that AT’s think that this post was not funny. It’s been noted, I’ll cry about it later. For now, lay off the comments because you’re doing your profession a bigger disservice through your whining than I ever did when I suggested that you spent a lot of your day playing with tape.

Needless to say, I think the olive branch has been revoked.

I Think This Qualifies as a Rant

My mattress is pretty uncomfortable, so every few weeks I start looking for a new one, only to discover that the process of shopping for a new mattress is even MORE painful than sleeping on a bad one.  It only takes about three minutes of sifting through the confusing product names and seemingly arbitrary selling points for me to completely break down and give up in frustration.  So today, I have decided to direct my bitter rage into a rant against the mattress industry and list a few of the things about mattresses that I find infuriating.

Infuriating Mattress Thing No. 1: Bullshit Orthopedic Jargon

Mattress ads really like throwing around words like "pressure points," "motion transfer," "coil tension," and other shit that is meaningless to the average human.  They also like to add the suffix "-pedic" to just about anything they can.  Am I supposed to be impressed by the fact that a particular mattress has SCIENCE-PEDIC ERGO COILS w/ MAXIMUM SPRINGPULSALATION?  Because I'm not.  Those are not legitimate metrics that can be compared from mattress to mattress; they are B.S. written by a blithering idiot copywriter in Mattress Hell, USA.

Infuriating Mattress Thing No. 2: The "All Women Wear Silk Pajamas" Lie

Roughly 90% of the women pictured in mattress ads are wearing silk pajamas.  I guess they are trying to convey luxury and comfort, but please--spare me.  Silk pajamas are for pimps and cougars.  They do not lend your product glamour and sophistication; they make it look like the woman pictured is crashing hard after a night spent seducing the 19-year-old bartender at a TGI Friday's.


Infuriating Mattress Thing No. 3: The Bare Mattress Conceit


Nothing irritates me more than the way these mattresses are pictured: completely bare, but inside a furnished room and usually topped with pillows and even, as in this picture, a dust ruffle of some sort.  It is completely absurd to think that someone would adorn a bare mattress with a dust ruffle and satin pillows.  I get that the picture needs to show the mattress, but why do we need this charade with the pillows and the decor and whatnot?  Trust me--I will still know it is a mattress even if it is not shown within the context of a decorated bedroom.  I am smart like that.  Maybe there is someone out there whose reaction would be along the lines of, "But lo!  What creation is this?  It appears to be a mattress, but where are the pillows?  And why is there not a generic woman draped upon it?!"  But that person does not represent the majority of mattress buyers.

Infuriating Mattress Thing No. 4: Mattress Model Poses

Speaking of generic women draped upon mattresses, let's talk about mattress models.  These are some of the worst models in the business.  They make the women in the Sears catalog look like Giselle.

Basically, there are three poses favored by mattress models.  They are:

The "This is How My Dog Sits"

Seriously.  Pancake does this pose all the time.  He is not a working model.

The "Let's Be Friends!"

This one is a particular favorite of the mattress models.

The "OMG, Sleeping Soooooooooo Peacefully"


Gee, I bet that was a hard pose to come up with.  Closing your eyes?  How genius.

Infuriating Mattress Thing No. 5: Excessive References to NASA Technology

Pretty much every single mattress claims to include NASA technology of some sort in its engineering.  Besides the fact that this can hardly be considered a differentiator, since every company mentions it, it's also ridiculous.  Generally speaking, I do not have a lot of the same needs as astronauts.  There is NASA technology that involves peeing into your spacesuit, for example; do I need that?  No.  I do not.  I need a bed.  To be used on Earth.  By me.

I feel much better now.

This Week In Internet: JTT, Urkel, and Glow-in-the-Dark Puppies

Damn, JTT is still pissed about whatever went down on the set of Home Improvement back in the day.

OMG--glow-in-the-dark puppies?  So weird, so . . . cute.

Yahoo closing GeoCities.  That's a shame, I had some good times with GeoCities back in the day.  (Back when "good times" involved animated GIFs and marquee text.)

"Police said a 23-year-old man is in stable condition after he pretended that he was falling off a bridge over the Minnesota River, then actually fell off the bridge."  I IMed this link to Emily and her response was, "i am shocked alcohol was a factor"

Big things are goin on with the cow genome these days.

The intersection of font geekiness and math geekiness.

Alex Ovechkin does an Eastern Motors commercial.

The Top 10 Sitcom Cameos Made by Other Sitcom Characters.  Steve Urkel on Step by Step=awesome.


I f-i-n-a-l-l-y finished the last book in the Twilight series today.  That means I can officially stop having awkward conversations like this one, which took place at the dog park Sunday:

OLD BIATCH (with disdain, upon noticing my copy of Breaking Dawn): Why are you reading a children's book?

ME: Actually, it's a teenager book.

OLD BIATCH (smugly): Are you a teenager?

ME: Well . . . no.

Whatever.  Granted, she may have had a point, but also, it's not like I was engrossed in Clifford the Big Red Dog or something.  At least this book had chapters.

At Least Someone Is Getting His Job Back Despite the Recession

Back in 2006, I blogged about the fact that Ask Jeeves had kicked poor Jeeves to the curb and rebranded as, essentially trying to look more Google-y.  Well, today I am happy to report that Jeeves has his job back--in the UK, at least.  He also got a sweet makeover:
Jeeves01.jpg (JPEG Image, 1600x1050 pixels)
I am thrilled to see that Jeeves was able to get his job back, because one thing I know for sure (but not from experience) is that once you have been a high-profile butler, it is just about impossible to find work as anything else.  After all, you're old, slightly snooty, and all you own is a closet full of duplicate butler uniforms.  Your options are seriously limited.  Just ask that guy who hasn't been seen since he played Niles on The Nanny.

This Week In Internet: Animals, NPR, and Comic Sans

This week I looked at the Internet!  Here are some links I found!

This video of a 10-year-old kid getting interviewed on the Today Show is awesome.  The best parts are when she is clearly being condescending to the two idiot hosts and they don't even really notice.  I also cracked up when they zoomed out to reveal her hilariously awkward posture/seating position.  That is the exact same graceless pose I employed in my televised spelling bee days. 

Totally cool zoo pictures.

Find your "NPR Name" using this simple formula: "Take your middle initial and insert it somewhere into your first name.  Then you add on the smallest foreign town you’ve ever visited."  Me=Laureen St. Goar.

17 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped

WSJ article on That Font (thx, Gorg-o)