Thursday, February 27, 2014

A mother's note to her three little scientists

My friend Liz, the long-suffering mother of three curious (and adorable) little boys, posted this on Facebook yesterday, and I had to share.

[Anyone who is or was the mother of a curious boy will appreciate this.]
Dear Boys,

While I appreciate your enthusiasm for scientific experimentation and laud your quest for empirical knowledge…we need to clarify a few things.

The toilet is not designed to determine whether small rubber animals sink or float. Especially when flushed.

The purpose of a ceiling fan is not to test your reflexes. Unanticipated outcomes are almost guaranteed.

The microwave is not a science lab. One of two things will happen, no matter what you put in there: it will melt or it will explode. Neither outcome will make me happy.

And speaking of microwaves and science labs... ;-)

You're welcome, Liz!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The truth about college?

As the parent of a high school sophomore, I've been thinking a lot about college lately. So I was both amused and depressed by this viral video on YouTube titled "Honest University Commercial."

As someone who feels totally let down by her undergraduate (prestigious women's college) and post-graduate (prestigious research university) experience and disappointed by how little those institutions of higher learning have helped me, I worry about today's college and high school students. College is so much more expensive and pressure packed now.

And what do today's graduates (those who actually graduate) emerge with? Tens of thousands of dollars in debt (from student loans) and, more often than not, disappointment. True, I know of several relatively recent graduates who have found rewarding jobs right after graduation. But there are so many smart twentysomethings who can't find work -- or a job in their field. And even the "lucky ones" still struggle with student loans.

I don't think answer is "don't go to college," at least not for everyone. (Unless you are Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, those with college degrees make significantly more than those with only high school diplomas.) But I'm not sure what the answer is.

At the very least, though, I wish colleges were more truthful in their advertising.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

A guy's worst fear?

Okay, maybe waking up one morning to discover your girlfriend or wife had mysteriously gone from a D-cup to an A-cup is not a guy's worst fear*. But it's probably a close second (or third)**.

Though now that I think of it, considering how many women undergo breast augmentations and reconstructive surgery, having small breasts, or waking up to find your breasts have shrunk or disappeared, may be a woman's worst fear***.

[A tip of my bra strap to friend of the blog Another David S., who sent me the "Ghost Tits" video, featuring the lovely Olivia Munn, and who doesn't judge a woman by her bra size.]

*That would probably be waking up to find someone cut off your penis. Or you ran out of beer and all the liquor or package stores were closed.

**See the bit at the top of the page, in the header, about this being a satirical blog.

***Before all you breast cancer survivors and relatives of women with breast cancer start leaving nasty comments about how incredibly insensitive that video is (and by extension how insensitive I am), see the note above and take a deep breath. No one is making fun of breast cancer. Thank you.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The purr-fect direct marketing campaign?

I've been in marketing a long time, and I've seen some great direct marketing campaigns. However, this direct mail campaign for kitty litter, targeting cats, is one of the most creative I've seen.

Talk about a purr-fect setup -- using a cat to get to the owner, by printing your kitty litter offer on catnip-laced paper. 

And according to Rethink Communications, the catnip campaign is working.

Though I wonder if this could be the start of a disturbing new trend. What's next, offers for brownies printed on pot-laced flyers? (Speaking of which....)

In any case, my marketing hat is off to Rethink, for its out-of-the-litter-box thinking. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

One small step for a bikini...

One giant hard-on for mankind.

I think everyone who regularly reads this blog knows of my feelings regarding the annual Sport Illustrated Swimsuit issue (which appears on newsstands right around Valentine's Day -- how sweet).

I actually didn't blog about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue last year, because, frankly, how much more is there to say about big busted women posing in tiny bikinis (or a thong, or body paint, which is now, apparently, considered swimwear, even though if you actually tried to swim in it, it would wash off, which, okay, may be the point, but I digress) in exotic locations?

But try as I might to ignore this year's 50th Anniversary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, when I heard about Kate Upton's zero gravity shoot ("Kate Upton Defies Gravity"), I had to see what all the fuss was about.

And, I have to admit, this behind-the-scenes video of the Kate Upton Sports Illustrated 2014 Swimsuit issue zero gravity shoot is pretty awesome -- and funny.

For those interested, Kate Upton is wearing a Target limited edition swimsuit. Because, you know, I'm sure y'all were wondering "Huh, I wonder who made that swimsuit?" or "Where can I get that bikini?" when you were watching that video.

[Photos from the Kate Upton zero gravity shoot here.]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Harmless little bunnies, my arse

Run away! Run away cute little Chinese girl!

Those are no ordinary rabbits. Those rabbits got a vicious streak a mile wide. They're killers!

Too late.

[Per the original version's About section, "The Japanese island of Ōkunoshima is known as the Rabbit Island for its huge population of wild bunnies. If you are carrying a big bag of treats, like this girl from Hong Kong, you better be prepared for a bunny attack."]

Where's the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch when you need it?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eat your heart out

I have tried over the years not to be or become that parent. You know the one. The one who constantly brags or boasts about their kid on Facebook or in person, whether there is something to brag or boast about or not. Or who constantly one-ups you with tales of their little genius's or athlete's or [insert whatever here]'s accomplishments.

I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping my pride (and bragging) in check. But sometimes your kid does something so awesome, so mind-blowingly sweet or thoughtful or amazing or extraordinary, you just have to brag share. And friends, today is such a day.

For today, the teenager made me (and okay, technically the spouse, too, but she really made them for me) croissants and pain au chocolats, FROM SCRATCH. Because she knew I'd been feeling blue and craving a good croissant and pain au chocolat. (I am still kvelling.)

Here is the scene that greeted me at 8 a.m. this morning as I entered the kitchen: a plate covered with hearts topped with a hot-out-of-the-oven croissant and pain au chocolat (along with orange juice and a selection of condiments).

Never has a mother -- or this mother -- been so moved by baked goods. But OH! what baked goods! I am not exaggerating when I say these croissants and pain au chocolat were as good as -- BETTER -- than any I've had in New York or Paris. And trust me, I have eaten A LOT of croissant and pain au chocolat in my day.

However, rather than continue to drool on my keyboard prattle on about how incredibly flaky and buttery and mouthwateringly delicious these delectable morsels of French yumminess were, I will let the baked goods speak for themselves.


[And if you think the croissant and pain au chocolat were impressive, check out the teenager's food blog and its Facebook page, which has way more likes than my page does. Okay, I'm done bragging now.]

Friday, February 14, 2014

Too cool for school?

This may be the best snow day/school is closed announcement ever.

And yes, it's for realz. I thought these guys were college students or twentysomethings. But they are, in fact, Michael Ulku-Steiner, Head of School at Durham Academy, and Lee Hark, Assistant Head of School/Upper School Director at Durham Academy, a K-12 school in Durham, North Carolina.


For those interested, here are the lyrics (via the Durham Academy YouTube page):

All right stop, Collaborate and listen
Ice is back and the roads will glisten
Polar vortex has a hold of us tightly
Wind like a harpoon daily and nightly

Will the power stop? Yo -- I don't know
Turn up the heat and then let go
Sleet fallin' down like a million missiles
Bringin' school delays and early dismissals.

Dance, To the grocery store
Buy batteries before conditions become . . .
Deadly, slippery roads might be
So stay in your house and drink hot tea

Don't worry kids, the learning's not lost
We have Evernote, Moodle, Veracross
If there is a problem, Greg Fishel will solve it
Check out a book while the ice dissolves. It's

Ice, ice baby. No school, there's ice, ice baby. No school, there's ice, ice baby. No school there's ice, ice baby!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

At least SOMEONE is enjoying all the snow

Me, I'm not a fan of epic snow storms. Been there, done that.

Then again, I am not a giant panda....

The Toronto Zoo's male giant panda, Da Mao, whose name means "Big Mao," sure does look like he is having fun out there, rolling around in the snow.

Then again, he doesn't have to shovel it later.

Or worry about ice dams. Or the roof leaking.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I love you more than bacon

Ah Valentine's Day. A time to tell that special someone in your life just how much you love her (or him). And nothing says "I love you" more than... bacon. (Except, perhaps, if you are a vegetarian.)

Indeed, just imagine her delight when you present her with this aromatic bouquet of bacon roses. (I can just smell the love! Or maybe it's just bacon fat. I often confuse the two.)

A little too pungent? Never fear! These sweet and salty Vosges Gourmet Luxury Bacon Truffles will have her eating out of the palm of your hand this Valentine's Day!

Mmm... chocolate AND bacon....

Or if your sweetie enjoys a good cuddle (even more than she enjoys a good slice of bacon), get her the "I Love You More Than Bacon" Bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

Personally, I have a couple of reservations about this one. Namely that some people might get the wrong idea. (Ahem.)

Her: "You got me a bear dressed up as a piece of bacon, with a frying pan?!"

Him: "Hey hon, looking at that bear is making me hungry. Could you run down to the kitchen and fry me up some bacon? And while you're there, grab me a beer."

Ah, romance.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Honesty or loyalty?

Maybe it's because I spent/d too much time following politics. (Though I am at the point where I can no longer watch cable or network news or read political blogs.) Or maybe it's because I've been binge watching The Good Wife. (It's been a long winter, people. Don't judge.) But lately I've found myself thinking a lot about the question, Which is more important, honesty or loyalty?

Or let me put it to you another way.

If you found out your child or spouse, a close relative, a good friend, or your boss (who controlled your employment/salary), did something wrong, something really wrong, as in illegal, or not illegal but something bad, something that would or could have serious consequences for this person (and possibly you, too), would you:

A) Seek out or verify the facts in the matter and if you discovered the bad thing was indeed true not shield or lie for this person but tell the truth, if called upon to do so (i.e., put honesty over loyalty).

B) Seek out or verify the facts and if you discovered the bad thing was indeed true shield or lie for this person (i.e., put loyalty over honesty).

C) Immediately refute any charges of wrong-doing, regardless of the facts, and defend your family member, friend, or boss (i.e., not even consider the facts for a minute; loyalty is more important than the truth).

Would the nature of the crime or wrong-doing make a difference? What if you found out your spouse sexually harassed an employee? Or your child bullied another child? Or your friend stole something?

I'm pretty firmly in the A camp -- honesty over loyalty. I try not to jump to conclusions but seek out the facts. And if the facts say that someone was wrong, I won't lie for them -- which has cost me many friends over the years and a couple of jobs. (We tell our children to tell the truth, but no one likes -- or wants to believe -- a whistleblower.)

Case in point: When I was in sixth grade, I spoke out against a bully, who at the time was one of my best friends. This girl took pleasure in bad-mouthing this one girl, who would let the bully say whatever she wanted, even if it was a lie. Ironically, this girl seemed to adore the bully, even though the bully made her cry. One day, I was asked to pile on the bullied girl -- and refused. I went even further, telling off the bully. The result? The girl I defended started to bully me, along with the bully, and I had no friends the rest of sixth grade.

I would do the same thing -- tell off a bully or abuser -- again, and have. (And have almost always met with the same result.) But I understand why so many kids -- and adults -- keep quiet.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who's a pretty kitty?

Flora is.

This is a photo of our cat, Flora.

Flora is a torbie, a cross between a tortoiseshell cat and a tabby. Flora gets very cross when the spouse and I don't pet her, constantly. She is likewise very cross when strangers try to pet her. (I know. And we apologize.)

Most days, you can find Flora in one of two places: on my daughter's bed, surrounded by stuffed animals (as pictured above), or on top of my desk, in front of my monitor, paws dangling over my keyboard or swatting at me as I type.

We love Flora, but sadly (?) I doubt we will ever make millions (or thousands or hundreds) of dollars off of her. While she is certainly a pretty kitty, she doesn't fling herself into boxes (like Maru), have a funny face (like Grumpy Cat or Bub), or play the piano. She is just an ordinary cat, who likes to scratch the furniture, paw you for attention, barf up her food when she eats it too quickly, and hiss at you when she wants to be left alone.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where's a beer drone when you need one?

Forget those ridiculous Coors Light ads with the mountain climbers delivering ice-cold Coors Light beer plucked from ice caves to bar patrons. You want an ice-cold beer delivered to you, to your door? Then you, my friend, need a beer drone.

(Take that, Coors Light!)

Now when you run out of beer on game day, no more having to suit up with a coat, hat, gloves, and boots. Just have the beer drone deliver a nice cold six- or 12-pack to your door!

Btw, I am not making this up. Lakemaid Beer really does deliver beer by drone. Or did. (The FAA has since grounded them. Boo.)

Speaking of beer, even though I am not a fan of Bud Light beer*, I have to admit that the Bud Light Super Bowl XLVIII ad, titled "Ian, Up for Whatever," is pretty awesome.

All I can say is, Ian Rappaport, you are one lucky dude. Cheers.

*With the hundreds of beers available, why would anyone choose Bud Light? Unless you are broke and it's the only beer you can afford.