Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stromboid Notch

Sea snails aren't just squishy, dumb blobs of slime roaming around the ocean floor looking for new places to be squishy, dumb, and blobby. They have thoughts. And dreams. And hopes. And they want to see a better tomorrow. Literally. Because they also have eyes. They're long and stalked, like selfie sticks. And they need a way out of the shell when it's time to look at stuff. That's why one family of sea snails, the conches, has something called a stromboid notch. Located along the edge of the aperture - which is just a fancy word for shell hole - these notches allow the eyes to safely pop out right above the siphon. Which is the penis (but not a penis) looking thing that juts out from the aforementioned aperture. The point is this. Some sea snails need a little more room for their long, silly eyes. Hence, the stromboid notch.


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Monday, February 23, 2015

Horacio Estrada

If you blinked, you may have missed him. Because over the course of his career as a relief pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies, Horacio Estrada barely touched the field. It was more like a slow, sensuous feather tickle. In three big league seasons, from 1999 to 2001, he pitched a mere 36 innings. Which, technically speaking, is only 36 more than you. Yet, Estrada wasn't terrible. With a lifetime record of 4-1 behind 22 strikeouts, the Venezuelan southpaw did arguably well during these limited interruptions from his regularly scheduled bullpen nose picking. Later, after leaving Major League Baseball, he went home to pitch with four different teams int he Venezuelan professional league. Unfortunately, one day the team bus he was riding crashed into a van and Estrada broke his hip. However, he returned the next season, went 5-1, and was later named pitcher of the year.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Bondying

At first glance, our eyes immediately want to read the word "Bondage," which is, perhaps, why Bondying hints at being some sort of active verb for a weird sex fetish. Maybe something with super glue and leather. Or as the emergency room calls it: A Deluxe. But it's not. Bondying is actually the name of a comic book character created by Filipino graphic novelist, Mars Ravelo. It's about a man child - a big person who still acts like a baby. Just pictured a diapered and drooling Orson Wells playing with toy trucks in a crib. Now go wash your brain with bleach. Orson Wells never played Bondying on camera, but in 1954 the character did become a movie. There were at least three more big screen adaptations of the comic book, and they were all hits in the Philippines. Behold, Adam Sandler! Your new core audience.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bonanza (Panda Album)

In 2012, the Mexican pop-punk band, Panda, released their fifth studio album, "Bonanza." It debuted at the top of the Mexican music charts, and may have gone even higher had it not abruptly bumped into Texas. Several weeks after its release, "Bonanza"became certified Gold. Panda first formed in Monterrey in 1996, right at the start of the city's booming musical movement called Avanzada Regina. In the mid-nineties, Mexican record companies began moving to this modern and beautiful commercial center in the northeast in search of new talent. The catalyst was in 1995 when a different band, Zurdok Movimiento, triumphed in Rockotitlan music festival's battle of the bands competition, marking the first time a group from outside Mexico City had won. Monterrey was suddenly on the map, and Panda was ready to burst onto the scene. No actual pandas were harmed in the making of the band.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DB Class 420

The DB Class 420 is a discontinued model of electric commuter train that was widely used on Germany's S-Bahn from 1969 to 1997. The S-Bahn is an abbreviated way of saying Stadtschnellbahn. Because if there was ever a word that needed abbreviation, it's Stadtschnellbahn, for it has a consonant-to-vowel ratio that goes beyond the limits of human speech or common decency. At best it comes out sounding like a rather mucus-heavy sneeze. Thus, it's known as the S-Bahn, and it stands for "city rapid railway." Germany's S-Bahn was first introduced in Berlin in December 1930 - the start of a lovely decade in which there was nothing of any historic importance. These particular S-Bahn trains were originally commissioned for Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt, but have largely been replaced by the Class 423, which has one large passenger compartment, as opposed to the three that made up a Class 420. Stadtschnellbahn! Gesundheit.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hands Up Punishment

In some schools, especially within the Indian subcontinent, the hands up punishment is a popular form of discipline. And it's just what it sounds like. A child does something bad and then must raise his hands above his head for a determined amount of time. It's not the worst punishment in the world, and it might even seem cute at first, but after a while it does get rather uncomfortable. So, in a lot of ways, it's just like listening to the new Taylor Swift album. Of course, it's still highly debatable whether or not this is actually a cruel form of punishment. Though, it's hard to argue it's anywhere near as bad as caning or a ruler to the knuckles or, say, having to Jell-O wrestle a medium-sized polar bear. Which is not actually a real punishment anywhere in the world. But, you know, what if it was?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maidenhead Railway Bridge

The Maidenhead Railway Bridge was completed in 1838 in the town of Maidenhead, England, about thirty miles west of London. It's an impressive arch-style bridge that spans over the River Thames, the country's most famous and important waterway, which has traditionally been used for the fast and speedy transport of dead bodies and cholera. Because when you absolutely, positively have to see a floating corpse and then violently poop your pants, don't turn to other rivers. Use the Thames! These days it's actually much, much cleaner as it flows under this impressive and proud structure. The engineering is considerably noteworthy. At the time it was built, the Maidenhead Railway Bridge was the largest span of brick arch ever achieved, and, today, it continues to safely carry the main line of the Great Western Railway. Which is good. Because trains are terrible swimmers.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

National Foods Limited

In 1970, National Foods started as a spice company in Pakistan, and claim to have dramatically changed the industry by being the first to package, brand, and retail a product that was otherwise sold loosely in open markets. Their website says this was "during an era when customers mistrusted and product that was not freshly ground right before their eyes." Well, maybe not just any product. Again, we're specifically talking about spices and not, say, rat penis. "I don't know about this powdered rat penis. I didn't actually see it get ground up, so how do I know if I can trust it?" Today, nearly 45 years later, the company is still primarily based in Karachi, and sells an impressive line of delicious-looking, authentic Pakistani products. And ketchup.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek

Nancy Drew mystery fiction has been around since 1930. She's a teenage detective, created by Edward Stratemeyer - the same guy who, in 1927, previously came up with the Hardy Boys. Nice kids, those Hardys. And clearly both closet homosexuals. Sorry, Nancy. Wah. Wah. Over the years, Nancy Drew novels were written by ghostwriters, but published under the pen name Carolyn Keene. And they all had these simple mystery-style titles. Like 1966's "The Secret of the Old Clock." Assumed spoiler alert: The clock was actually a banana. Nancy was just super high. Here, in "The White Wolf of Icicle Creek," Nancy is the main character in the 16th installment of her point-and-click adventure video game, where she solves a string of suspicious incidents at the Icicle Creek Lodge in Alberta, Canada. After each mysterious event, a white wolf appears on the scene. It says, "You're watching The Situation Room." 

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Mui River

The Mui River is a tributary of the Omo River, and primarily flows through southwestern Ethiopia's Omo National Park - a terrific place to accidentally die, sad and alone, never to be found again. Not to be confused with Reno. Which is also a terrific place to accidentally die, sad and alone, never to be found again. But this is a bit different. Because in Omo there's basically zero tourist infrastructure anywhere within the park. Which, among other legitimate concerns, means there's probably no vending machines. Which means no Funyuns. Which means it's a terrible place to be when you want a vending machine filled with Funyuns. The Mui River ends well outside the park in a brown expanse of nothing, where, once again, the availability of Funyuns is doubtful. Thus, this year we're all going to Disney World.

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