Monday, October 29, 2012

Real Conversations with Mom: Why I Shouldn't Do First Aid on Myself

Mom:  What are you doing?

Me: I'm trying to wrap up my ankle.  It's really starting to hurt.  I can't believe those cute shoes would twist like that and toss me so viciously to the floor.  They should come with warnings.

Mom:  Yes, they should.  Warnings like, "Don't buy me if you walk around reading a book and not looking where you're going."  Seriously, what are you doing to that ankle wrap?

Me:  I don't know!  It doesn't work!  Look at this.  It has these little loops but nothing to attach them to, and it's too short to wrap around enough to just tuck it under.  Where did  you get these things?

Mom  (leans forward to peer at my pile of ankle wraps): Linens N Things.

Me:  They sell first aid products at Linens N Things?

Mom:  No, they sell tiebacks that go with my bedroom drapes.

Me:  Oh. 

Mom:  Idiot.  Where is the brandy?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eyeballs on Sticks

Greetings, gentle readers!  I have returned, and I apologize for leaving you bereft of my dubious humor for so long.  No, I have no real excuse; I just haven't been posting.

But Halloween is upon us, dearest ones, and you can't spend every night watching The Walking Dead.  Unfortunately, my friend Christine was not watching The Walking Dead earlier this week, but attempting to leave the neighborhood when a car ran a red light, smashing into her car and destroying it utterly.  Luckily, the airbags in a Honda Fit saved Christine from a fiery death (okay, I don't know that it would have been fiery, but it's Halloween season, and all good Halloween car crashes involve flames.  Well-known fact), but unluckily the same airbags gave her a black eye.

So what, I wondered, can I do to make my friend and colleague feel better?  Buy her a new car?  Not on my salary.  Give her rides to work?  Already taken care of.  Use my healing magic to erase her bruises?  Unfortunately, I am neither ET nor Raven (no, not the character from "That's So Raven!"  Are you kidding me?  I'm obviously talking about the Teen Titan, and I'm ashamed that you thought otherwise.  Christine is probably ashamed of you too).  And though I searched an entire Hallmark store, I could not find a card that said, "Sorry someone crashed into your car and gave you a black eye, but at least you're not dead, so let's party!"

Though there damned well should be such a card.  I'm disappointed in you, Hallmark.

Speaking of parties, one of the best parts of Christine not being dead or maimed or anything is that she's well enough to hold her Halloween party Saturday night, which is One of the Best Parties of the Year and Worthy of Italics and Not to Be Missed Because a Bunch of Faculty Will Dress in Strange Costumes.  Evil fairies!  Gay Dumbledore!  A gas pump!  There is no telling what my colleagues will show up wearing, and if Christine had been dead, what would we have done with all of these costumes?!

Well, speaking only for myself, I would have called everyone and tried to convince them to wear them to her funeral because I think Christine would have liked that.

In any case, the party means that after a little thought I figured out exactly what to do to make Christine feel better about her accident and her black eye:  bring her a tray of eyeballs on sticks.

Because that's how good a friend I am, that's why.

Also, there's a kit for making eyeballs on sticks, and I happened to have one; it looks like this:

Another fine product from Target

Does that seeming frightening?  It did to me, but I love my friend too much not to take up the challenge.  Look carefully at the photo above, precious readers, for we all know that my eyeballs will not turn out so well.

A Step-By-Step Record of My Attempt to Make Eyeballs on Sticks with Illuminating Photographic Evidence and Humorous Captions

Step 1:  Have some whiskey so that making eyeballs on sticks for a car crash victim seems like a good idea:

The events of this evening are not the fault of the Jameson company.

Step 2:  Mix up some blood red cake, put it in the oven, and put the bloody bowl in the sink.

I am not a cannibal; I just have similar cleaning needs.

Oh!  Now we're cooking with gas!  Well, alright, I'm cooking with electric.  It's just an expression. 

Step 3:  Crumble up bloody cake, mix with a bit of icing, and roll out eyeballs:

What the inside of your eyeballs looks like

Step 4: Freeze the eyeballs and melt the mysterious discs that came in the eyeball kit.  This is what sclera is made of, apparently:

You've got to be impressed that I know the word sclera

Step 4: Dip the frozen eyeballs into the melted sclera to form eyeballs on sticks:

Note the jaunty jack o-lantern nightlight leering at the naked balls
Marvel that they are already deformed, being neither round, nor smooth, nor very white.

Step 5:  Realize that there is no way in hades that you can get twenty vertical eyeballs to Christine's house and also that the hardening sclera is cementing several of the eyeballs-on-sticks together.  Separate eyeballs and line them up horizontally on plates.

Step 6:  Attempt to add scary pupils, but run out of black icing and end up with just ordinary pupils:

Not even remotely eerie

Step 7: Try to add red, bloodshot veins.  End up with red squiggly lines on eyeballs and red drops splattered all over the kitchen:

Looking more like red-legged spiders than eyeballs

Step 8:  Figure out a way to get all of the not-very-eerie eyeballs on sticks on a single plate:

Halloween party game:  can you pull out just one?
Step 9:  Stop and look around and realize that, although the eyeballs on sticks are not particularly scary, the kitchen is a damned nightmare, with blood and viscera everywhere, and you'd better get it cleaned up before Mom wakes up and calls the cops.

Step 10:  Pick up a washcloth and go blog about about making eyeballs on sticks instead.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wofford Kitty Collars at Last

Well, gentle readers, Mom has insisted that I post photos of the Wofford kitty collars that she made herself, having finally given up on her campaign to get someone to make some for her.  She took several old collars, removed the breakaway safety latches and then bought a Wofford lariat intended for keys, took it apart and...

Now we have the most well-dressed feline fans of Wofford in all of Spartanburg, and, possibly, the world.

Of course, now Halloween is coming up, and Mom is searching the closets for the little skull-and-crossbones collars.   One of them is pink.

I kid you not.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Real Conversation with Mom: Why a Pink Cane Can be Dangerous

Mom:  Have you put those shoes away yet?  There were fifteen pairs!

Me:  No, I'm still putting away all of the jewelry I've scattered around the house, just like you asked.

Mom:  Putting away jewelry is stopping you from putting away shoes?

Me:  Yes.  I can only do one thing at a time, you know.

Mom: If you put things where they belong when you took them off, you would not have a list of things to put away!

Me:  Honestly, Mom, you have known me for forty years.  Have you ever seen any evidence that I will ever put things away when I take them off?

Mom:  I do not need evidence!  I need you to put away your damn stuff!

Me:  I'm working on it.

Mom:  I'm going to be working on your head!  I will kick ass pretty soon.  You have been warned.

Me:  Yes, but you've been warning me for forty years and have never kicked my ass.

Mom: But now I have a brand new cane.  A pink cane which will not show the blood.

Me: Are you threatening me with child abuse?

Mom:  I'm threatening to beat you to death with my pink cane.  And I will wash off the blood, and if it stains no one can tell.  And Alyce and Watt will help me put you in the trunk and dump your body in a river.

Me:  Alyce and Watt love me.  They will not help you.

Mom:  Yes, they will when they see this house.  Have you ever seen their house look like this?  No!  Any why?  Because they will beat up anyone who does this to their house.  They are in better shape than me, but I have this pink cane, and I will kick ass!

Me: Okay, okay.  Sheesh.  This neighborhood is getting awfully violent.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Top Models and Mule Orgasms

Okay, so I owe everyone an apology for not updating the blog sooner except, of course, for those of you who hate the blog and wish I'd never update it again to whom I say:  sorry, dudes!  I haven't disappeared yet.

Anyway, this is not a real blog post, but a post about why I haven't been posting.  Basically, a new book by Terry Pratchett came out and so all of my free time must be spent reading that book.  Because it's by Terry Pratchett, that's why.  Terry Pratchett, greatest living satirist in the world.

Suck on that, Garry Trudeau.

Also, I have been terribly distracted by a post on the Chronicle of Higher Education forums.  This is a place where academics (loosely defined as professors, graduate students, administrators, undergraduates and anyone else who decides to call him- or herself an academic) congregate to hold pseudonymous conversations about the profession.

Except that it's really not that boring, and every once in a while something about mule orgasms comes up.


Yes, mule orgasms.  In one thread, someone claimed to overhear another professor ask a class what happens when a mule orgasms.  Unfortunately, the listener did not overhear the answer, which is, I have to tell you, a horrific example of eavesdropping gone awry.  I mean, what does happen when a mule orgasms?  Isn't it just what happens when any other more-or-less horse-shaped entity does so?  But if that were the case, why would this unknown instructor bother to ask his or her class this question?

So far, I have received no satisfactory answer from the denizens of the Chronicle of Higher Education fora.  Therefore, I e-mailed my biologist friend and colleague, Tracie, to ask if she could possibly enlighten me.  But, wait!  Tracie is a relatively new faculty member, and what if she thinks that my question is some shamefully ineffective form of sexual harassment?  I mean, what would you think, dearest readers, if someone e-mailed you with no warning asking what happens when a mule orgasms?  You'd be worried, wouldn't you?

I'm a little worried myself, actually.

And Tracie has not yet responded to my query, even though I made sure to explain that I am not sexually harassing her, but that due to the Chronicle of Higher Education I cannot concentrate on my classes because I keep thinking of mule orgasms.

And I'm pretty sure that it was this distracting CHE thread that inspired me to show images from the Steampunk fashion shoot on Friday's America's Next Top Model episode in class today.  Okay, don't judge me too harshly.   The class is on steampunk fiction, and we're spending this week talking about art and fashion, and at least there were no mules anywhere doing anything in those photos, and showing them kept me from mentioning this mule orgasm quandary to innocent students and therefore getting fired or at least getting the head-shake-and-sigh from my dean.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, today Tyra Banks saved my morning class from orgasmic mules.


I have received the following response from Tracie:

"For males, that’s an easy question to answer: ejaculation. Even though they are sterile, male mules can still ejaculate; they just don’t produce any offspring from these matings. It’s my understanding that there isn’t a complete agreement over whether other female animals have orgasms at all, though I feel like female mammals should at least have the capacity for such, as they have clitorises (clitori?). At any rate, I am not aware of any animals (save us) who have outward presentation of female orgasm. There are only a handful of mammals who have sex outside of a discrete breeding season (e.g. bonobos, dolphins I think).

Enjoyed your question and the opportunity to ponder orgasm on a rainy Monday morning." 

So Tracie is completely awesome, obviously.  And if anyone would like to confirm the plural of clitoris, I'm sure that we would all be grateful. 


Yet a further update!  

According to a correspondent who is far too intelligent to want even his, her or its first name on this blog: "Clitoris is from the Greek κλειτορις, which is third declension and feminine, so the plural of clitoris would be clitorides."

Don't think of this as useless information, dear readers.  Think of it as a way to finally make light conversation with the next gynecologist you meet.  You're welcome.