Keeping the doctor away

I’m starting to find some really good things on my afternoon walks. First the killer satin pumps, and now this animal which I had previously thought to be extinct:

Should I send this photo in to the What Is It? blog, or should I make one of those corny “You know you were a child of the (insert decade here) if you recognize this!!!!!!!” email forwards I always get from my mom?

Published in: on March 12, 2014 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Etiquette & superstition: human infant excrement

5383435768_5aae2b1e66My mother calls rat excrement “rat coodles.” She does not call dog excrement “dog coodles”; it’s only the rat that leaves a coodle. I have never heard anybody else use this word in the same manner. Anyway, today we are not talking about rat coodles.

ETIQUETTE: If you have a baby and need to change its diaper while you are at a friend’s house, do not throw a poopy diaper into the bathroom trash can. Instead, ask your host where you should deposit the used diaper. They may be fine with you using the bathroom trash can provided the diaper is well wrapped up, but they may prefer that your little snowflake’s waste matter be deposited into a receptacle located outside. If you do not feel like bringing up the subject with your host, you can always wrap up the diaper in a plastic bag and put it in your diaper bag for later disposal at home.

SUPERSTITION: If a woman is infertile and wishes to bear children, she should take the first poo made by a newborn infant, dry it out, and stick it up her vagina.

Photo by ike4014 on Flickr

Etiquette & superstition: umbrellas


The last time I checked, my mother owned seven umbrellas. I wonder if having seven umbrellas is good luck or if it’s just a hoarding thing.

ETIQUETTE: There is very scant information in older etiquette books about the proper use of umbrellas, possibly because most of the tips may have once seemed obvious to anyone with common sense. “Why would I need remind anyone that it’s rude to poke someone in the eye with a sharp stick?” but it is 2013, and eh la…, don’t poke someone in the eye with your sharp stick. Don’t use a golf umbrella on busy sidewalks. Don’t shake your wet umbrella out on another person. There is one umbrella etiquette tip that I found to be helpful, however, and not completely obvious: if you are using an umbrella while walking on a sidewalk and approaching another person also using an umbrella, to avoid bumping umbrellas you merely need to determine which of you is taller. The taller person lifts one’s umbrella while passing, and the shorter person ducks theirs.

SUPERSTITION: If there is a person alive who has not heard that it is unlucky to open an umbrella indoors, I’ll eat my umbrella hat. It’s rarely indicated what sort of bad luck will occur – sometimes it’s death in the family, sometimes it’s merely a quarrel, but mostly it’s just “bad luck” – and other superstitions associated with umbrellas similarly have this vague outcome. If you drop your umbrella, don’t pick it up yourself… or you’ll have bad luck. Don’t give an umbrella as a gift… it’s bad luck. There are two specific outcomes I have come across associated with the act of dropping your umbrella, though: 1) you will soon meet a friend; 2) you will lose your mind. I have not been able to determine whether this is an “and” or an “or” situation.

Photo from my Flickr photostream

Etiquette & superstition: things in your tea (particularly butter)

A puzzle: I have found 43 packages of teabags in my mother’s home so far. The 43 packages are split roughly 50/50 between boxes containing 20 teabags apiece and canisters containing 50 bags apiece; however, there are one or two cellophane-wrapped packets that only contain 10 bags apiece. What is the minimum and maximum amount of teabags in my mother’s home?

ETIQUETTE: It’s an affectation to hold one’s pinky out when drinking tea from a teacup.No, it isn’t an affectation; it’s done for balance, and it comes from the ancient Chinese. Yes, it is an affection. Are you in ancient China? No, you’re not. What the hell is your problem anyway, that you can’t balance a teacup with the rest of your fingers?

Aw; let’s not fight. Let’s find something we can agree upon. If you are served tea with lemon, do not put milk into the tea as well, as the lemon juice will spoil it. If your lemon is a thin slice rather than a wedge, you should leave it floating in your tea and not squeeze it against the side of the teacup. The lemon will dissipate into the tea; trust me.

If you are with nomadic Tibetans, it is extremely proper to put butter and salt in your tea, and some milk as well.

SUPERSTITION: If you see a tea stem floating in your teapot, a stranger will soon visit. If you aren’t in the mood for company, butter the tea stem and throw it under the table.

Photo by H is for Home on Flickr
UPDATE – Bonus tea image from Retronaut here (thanks, Mauricio)

A primate reminiscence

In A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court* proud ginger Mark Twain noted, ” When red headed people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.”

I’m not sure if Doctor Zaius had red hair or auburn hair, but either way John Hodgman should be commended for asking Dana Gould to portray Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius as Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain. It is a truly inspired project.

via Metafilter
*I must admit that I’ve never read A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court. When I was four or five years old, my mom took me by accident to see “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and it traumatized me to the point that I started crying as soon as I saw a knight in the movie version of Connecticut Yankee, and I guess… I don’t know. I just can’t read it.

Word of the day for Thursday, November 3rd

I know it’s late, but I have to tell you something. I stole something once. It was a box of attelets.

Create text onlineAn attelet is a kind of fancy toothpick, one that has some sort of frou-frou or hoo-haw or ding-a-ling on the top. And I stole a whole box of them once.

I couldn’t help it. I was very young (I don’t remember how young, exactly, but young enough to jam myself in between the frame of the sofa and the sofabed if I took the cushions off), and I was at the grocery store checkout counter and there was this clear acrylic box full of multi-colored playing card suit-themed attelets staring right at me where all the gum and candy and stuff I usually ignored was. I took the box of attelets.

When I got home, I realized that if I didn’t hide them, my mom would find them and realize that she hadn’t bought this box of attelets and I would be in trouble. Not like being spanked trouble, just my mom would be disappointed in me trouble.

And I hated when my mom was disappointed in me.

So I hid the box of attelets in the sofabed.

For a long time I worried about what would happen if we had a guest come to stay the night and sleep in the sofabed, but we never really had guests that stayed the night so at a certain point I stopped worrying.

I am not sure what happened to the box of attelets.

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Crime of fashion

I know you may look at this video and think, “Aw, cute. Baby chimp feeds baby tiger. That’s nice.” Yeah, you may think that.

Look below the surface, people. Do you see what’s going on? Humans dressing baby chimpanzees in jeans shorts. Jeans shorts. This is worse than when my mom made me wear that matching quilted vest/quilted pants ensemble in third grade. I hope for Sirinaj’s sake that Dodo doesn’t see this video when he’s an adult.

via The Awl
Published in: on August 1, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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The YouTube clip “Mom Spam” is pretty cute,

but there’s an inherent failure in it, I think. Are the moms to whom it’s directed going to understand it? Or is it just going to hurt their feelings? Every time my mom forwards me something really insane and inaccurate, I feel compelled to reply with a Snopes link, and then I invariably feel bad about doing that because I either get no response at all or a message to me and all the other previous recipients apologizing for the inaccurate information. It kills me, and yet I keep doing it. I don’t know why I have to do it. I guess I have to do it for the same reason that she has to keep forwarding insane and inaccurate information, whatever that reason is.

Maybe I’m overreacting. A bunch of mothers who were the subject of the “oh, Mom” site Postcards From Yo Momma got together a couple of years ago and seemed to understand the underlying affection underneath the public teasing their daughters subjected them to. One mother, a psychiatrist, even analyzed the situation further: “As my own mother always says, children are at the center of parents’ lives, and parents are on the periphery. We write e-mails that have to be perceived as lame, because independence has to be preserved.”

My mom’s not a psychiatrist, but she’s pretty smart. I’m a big chicken, so I haven’t asked her what she thinks of my “Oh Anne” section of this blog, or if she even knows it exists, but hopefully she understands the love behind it. Anyway, happy Mother’s Day, Momma.

Published in: on May 8, 2011 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Etiquette & superstition: baldness

I didn’t get my hair cut until I was in first grade. I suppose there must have been times in my toddlerhood when I got some sort of cursory trim to keep the hair out of my eyes, but by the time I was in kindergarten my hair was so long I could sit on it. I’m not sure what prompted my mother to urge me to cut my hair, but one afternoon in first grade, there we were, talking about how I should get my hair cut. My brother said, “You should get a bald haircut,” and thinking he was saying “balled haircut,” I agreed very enthusiastically. Balled hair. Wouldn’t that be hair that’s really curly, i.e., in the shape of balls? Sounded great. Mom said no.

ETIQUETTE: According to JP Donleavy in his etiquette guide The Unexpurgated Code, “The shiny head top condition is highly prized by some ladies. However it is true natural baldness which counts. If you are not blessed with this it is abhorrent to fake it.”

SUPERSTITION: If you want the highly prized shiny head top condition in order to attract the ladies, all you need to do is cut your hair while the moon is waning or allow a bat to fly into your coif. Your tresses will be falling out in short order. Go get ’em, Tiger.

Photo by Divine Harvester on flickr
Published in: on March 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Cheshire kitty

Whenever anything about Sanrio character Hello Kitty shows up in the news, my mother calls me. “I remember how much you loved Hello Kitty,” she says, and then she launches into this story about some former wife of my uncle (is that an ex-aunt?) saying something mean about my Hello Kitty obsession 30 years ago or whatever. The thing is, I didn’t like Hello Kitty the best of all the Sanrio characters. I liked the Little Twin Stars angels and My Melody the rabbit. Hello Kitty was always too serious with her lack of a mouth.

This party store in Eagle Rock fixed that.

Hello Kitty with a smile is leagues better than the typical no-mouth-like-that-creepy-cartoon-kid-Henry Hello Kitty. If you look closely, you can see she even has a trace of a moustache. Very endearing.

I really like this party store. They even sell sticks.

This place knows what kids like. A kid doesn’t really need more than a stick and a smiling cat to be happy. I doubt even my ex-aunt could argue with that.

Published in: on May 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Comments (2)  
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