As if the report in Social Science Quarterly that says giving newborn boys strange, feminine, or odd names increases the chance of their winding up in jail isn’t bad enough, now it turns out you need to be careful if you change your name. A study in the journal Science claims changing a fish’s name can endanger them. Slimeheads roamed the seas innocently until seafood dealers renamed them orange roughy. Now their numbers are dwindling. Same for Patagonian toothfish (which became Chilean sea bass) and goosefish (which turned into monkfish). The worst situation is for baby boys who are named slimehead, toothfish, or goosefish. They’re doomed.
Archive for July 2009
If you’re looking for pain relief, look no further than your wallet and your filthy sailor’s mouth. First, there’s the study that was published in the journal NeuroReport which found that swearing can have a powerful pain-killing effect, especially in women. Meanwhile, a paper published in the June edition of Psychological Science says counting money can also relieve pain. Once again we humans have it backwards. Don’t curse when you don’t have money, curse when you do. You’ll feel much better.
UCLA has released the sixth edition of their 20-year-old slang dictionary, UCLA Slang 6. It includes fresh—I mean, new—entries like fro-yo (frozen yogurt, not saying Hi to a bushy hairdo), chillax (calm down, as in “chill and relax”), and skrilla (money). It also includes such golden oldies as booty call, muffintop, and beer goggles. *yawn* Before you know it parents everywhere will hip to the lingo and will be shelling out mad skrilla for their bling.
Those who scorn blue M&Ms should think twice. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that when they injected the food dye Brilliant Blue G—the same coloring that makes blue M&Ms blue—into rats suffering spinal cord injuries, the rodents regained their ability to walk. Yes, they had a limp. And yes, they temporarily turned blue. But that’s much better results and an infintely cooler side effect than you get from most drugs. Don’t be surprised if Mars raises the quota of blue M&Ms from its current 10% of a bag and launches a new ad campaign: “I’d walk a mile for M&Ms. Or will after I eat enough of them.”
After the big flap over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr in which President Obama said arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley acted “stupidly,” the President invited the two men to the White House to join him in a beer. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says he hopes the Happy Hour will happen this week, though it’s doubtful. Gates says he’s offended because the President assumes he doesn’t drink wine, while Crowley wants to know why the President has profiled all cops as beer drinkers. And if doughnuts are going to be served.
If you want to put a prayer in Jerusalem’s Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, but aren’t up to the trip, now you can use Twitter to pass your message on to God. Just send a Tweet to Tweet Your Prayers. They’ll batch them up, print them out, and take them to the Western Wall where they’ll stick them between the stones. & if ur prayer is 2 gr8 2 be said in less than 140 characters? Just email it to email@example.com. It’s free, it’s easy, and it will do until the iWail app is released for the iPhone.
Are you tired of trying to enter beauty pageants just to be told you’re ineligible because you’ve had plastic surgery? You’re in luck! Promoters are putting on the Miss Plastic Hungary pageant in Budapest on October 9, and in order to enter you have to have had cosmetic surgery. Just Botox doesn’t count, you need to have had a surgical procedure done under at least local anesthesia. The winner will be given an apartment, the runner up gets a car, and the second runner up wins a vacation for two in Kenya. And all three of their plastic surgeons will win prizes too. There are separate judging categories for contestants 18-30, over 30, and Joan Rivers. You have to be a Hungarian citizen or a foreigner with a residence in Hungary to enter, but don’t worry, Craigslist Budapest has plenty of apartment listings.
Monday’s rain in Iquique, Chile, knocked out power to several neighborhoods and damaged the roofs of over 4,000 houses. Schools were closed the next day so they could be repaired. The rain, which totaled less than 1/100th of an inch and was accompanied by 10 mph winds, is about half the city’s annual average. The local umbrella store will reopen again in six months. For ten minutes.
If you’re tired of boring old chocolates like single-bean fair-trade shade-grown first press 83% cacao dark with bacon and habanero-tuna bits, just hold on a while longer. Soon you’ll be able to sample some camel milk chocolate. Al Nassma—unfortunately the obvious name Mounds was already taken—is the world’s first camel milk chocolate because, well, no one thought of it before. I can’t imagine why. It’s made and sold in Dubai but is headed to Saudi Arabia and soon the United States, where hopefully they won’t use the slogan “I’d walk a mile for a camel milk chocolate” or bring Joe Camel back as their spokescamel.
The Department of Homeland Security is considering changing or even getting rid of the color-coded threat system because, in their own words, it’s “too vague to be useful.” What’s so un-useful about the current national threat level being yellow except for domestic and international flights which is orange? They should make it simple and straightforward by getting rid of the colors and describing each level in plain English:
Level 1 – No problem
Level 2 – Go about your business, there’s nothing to see here
Level 3 – The sky’s not falling. Yet.
Level 4 – If you have Xanax, take it.
Level 5 – Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye
A British Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that Pringles are in fact a potato chip because they contain “more than enough potato content.” The judges didn’t mention why they called it a chip when in Britain their chips are our French fries and our chips are their crisps. Pringles’ manufacturer, Procter & Gamble Co., probably won’t appeal the decision, though they might ask the court to rule that potato chips are a vegetable so you can eat five servings of them a day without guilt.
With the California budget crisis threatening to close many state parks, PETA has stepped up and offered to pay to keep Pescadero State Beach open. Well, as long as it’s renamed Sea Kitten State Beach. “Pescadero means ‘the place to fish’,” PETA’s Manager of Campaigns explained, which of course they don’t like. They think the term “sea kitten” will make people want to cuddle, pet, and walk fish—I mean, sea kittens—rather than eat them. It could work, though naming the brand Chicken of the Sea never stopped anyone from eating tuna. Right, Charlie?
When Josh Muszynski bought a pack of cigarettes at a New Hampshire gas station the other day he used his debit card. A couple of hours later he went online to check his account and found that he’d been charged over 23 quadrillion dollars. $23,148,855,308,184,500 to be exact. After two hours on the phone with Bank of America he finally got the 17-digit number and the $15 overdraft fee sorted out. Apparently they thought that instead of buying a pack of cigarettes he’d agreed to pay the California state budget deficit.
A survey by British clothier Matalan found that the average woman will spend 287 days over her lifetime—yes, nearly an entire year of her life—going through her wardrobe trying to decide what to wear. She’ll spend 20 minutes figuring out what to wear before going out on a weekend night, 52 minutes for a holiday outfit, will try on two outfits each morning, and every time will ask, “Does this make me look fat?”.
Hoping to create a new image in the public’s mind, GM (new advertising slogan: “Now out of bankruptcy!”) is planning on selling its cars on eBay. Chief Executive Fritz Henderson announced that to start, California GM dealers will be able to post their new cars on the online auction site, though you’ll have to go to the dealership to pick it up. Sorry, no FedEx overnight or overseas delivery available. If it works out, the company plans to roll out the program nationally, then increase their trend quotient by releasing an iPhone app that lets you turn an onscreen key and hear the sound of a car starting, setting up a Twitter feed for your car so you can get updates about how much gas you have, and a Nike+ program for your iPod that lets you know how much exercise you would have gotten had you walked or run instead of taking the car.
A survey of 4,500 hotel owners conducted for Expedia ranked French tourists as the worst in the world because they’re arrogant, bad at foreign languages, cheap, and from the sounds of it, very good at imitating American tourists. The Japanese ranked as the best overall, the Italians were the best dressed, and the hotel owners agreed that as long as you pay your bill they really don’t care where you come from.
The new edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary has added about 100 new words. While it’s always nice to have an enlarged vocabulary, not everyone is familiar with the new terms. Here are some of the new words they’ve added and the old, more familiar terms for them:
Frenemy (one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy)
OLD TERM: Hypocritical backstabbing two-faced jerk
Locavore (one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible)
OLD TERM: Yuppie
Staycation (a vacation spent at home)
OLD TERM: Broke
Shawarma (a sandwich of sliced lamb or chicken wrapped in pita bread)
OLD TERM: Gyro
Sock puppet (a false online identity used for deceptive purposes)
OLD TERM: Facebook profile
A report released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Corrections revealed that more than 40 children who spent “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” at state prisons were zapped with stun guns, in some cases after being told they’d be the first to get hot dogs and hamburgers at lunch if they did it. There was also a demonstration at one prison where children were accidentally exposed to tear gas when the wind shifted, another in which they were told the electric chair they sat in was a massage chair that “went to 11,” and in several instances the children learned what it was like to have a cellmate named Spike who’s sweet on you.
Twitter has applied for a trademark for the word “Tweet.” They say they like it when people such as TweetDeck use the word but want to be able to stop companies if they don’t like the way they’re using it. No word on whether they like Sylvester’s friend Tweety Bird’s name, whether the high end speakers in your stereo will have to be called “treblers,” and whether birds everywhere will have to start coughing up royalties or keep their mouths shut from now on.
A company in Montrose, Colorado, is selling environmentally friendly caskets made of banana sheaves they say will biodegrade in six months to two years. So far they’re not using the jingle: “I’m Chiquita Banana and I’m here to say, think of me when they put you away.”