Friday, April 27, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #36: Odd Animals Edition

I like animals, even ones you can't eat. Especially ones you can't eat, as long as I don't have to clean up their droppings.

1) The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest armadillo in the world. It lives in the sandy plains and grasslands of central Argentina. It's 3.5 to 4.5 inches (90-115 mm) long, and it looks like this:

A nocturnal animal, the pink fairy armadillo makes its burrow near anthills, so it can feed on the ants and their larvae. It spends most of its time underground, using its large front claws to swim through the sandy soil. When it can't get ants, it feeds on insects, worms, snails and roots.

2) The maned wolf can be found in the grasslands and semi-forested areas of southeastern, central and southern Brazil. It has really long legs.

The maned wolf does not form packs, but is a solitary hunter. If mated, the maned wolf will defend its territory of 12 square miles (30 square kilometers) with the help of its mate. It eats birds, fish, rabbits and rodents, although more than half of its diet consists of sugarcane, root vegetables and fruits, such as the aptly named “wolf apple.” It is not, in fact, related to wolves, dogs, foxes, jackals, or coyotes, but is a separate canine species. While shy and not typically a threat to humans, the maned wolf has been historically hunted for its eyes, which were considered good luck. Though the animal is not endangered, the Brazilian government has awarded it protected status.

3) The okapi looks like a cross between a zebra, a giraffe and a horse, and also, look at its tongue:


That tongue, just so you know, is long enough for the okapi to clean out its own ears. This is the Gene Simmons of the animal world.

The okapi stands 4.9 to 6.6 ft (1.5 to 2 meters) high and weighs about 440 to 660 pounds (200 to 300 kilos). They are solitary animals who prefer to see each other only when breeding. They have suffered from human encroachment, which has greatly reduced their habitat. While ancient Egyptians depicted the okapi in their carvings 2,500 years ago, the animal was not photographed in the wild until 2008.

4) The Amazon river dolphin is f*cking pink.

Very pink.

It's found in the Amazon, Orinoco and Araguaia/Tocantins River systems and is endangered. It is one of only four extant species of freshwater dolphin, the fifth having gone extinct (probably our fault). It can grow to a length of 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) and weigh 217 pounds (98.5 kilos). The Amazon river dolphin's unfused neck vertebrae allow it to turn its head 180 degrees. It eats crab, catfish, turtles, shrimp, and piranha.

Something eats these. ~ Greg Hume

Local legend has it that, at night, the Amazon river dolphin turns into an irresistibly handsome young man who emerges from the river, makes sweet, sweet love with the young virgins of the town, and then returns to the river to regain his dolphin shape in the morning. Sounds like a good excuse to me.

5) The dugong is a marine mammal related to the manatee. Like the manatee, it looks ridiculous:

Juliem Willem

The dugong lives in coastal areas and feeds on sea grasses. It uses its large, flat forelegs to paddle through the water. It has historically been hunted for its oil and meat, and is now considered a vulnerable species due to hunting, human activities and damage to its habitat (also probably due to human activities). Scientists have determined that the dugong, while related to the manatee, is actually more closely related to the elephant. As if the name “dugong” weren't silly enough, the creature is also known as the “sea camel” or the “sea pig.” They can grow to a length of about 9.8 feet (3 meters) and weigh around 926 pounds (420 kilos).

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Standing Desk Adventure

So, for those of you who don't know, my leg is shriveling up.

Okay, it's getting better now. But for a while there, it was really shriveling up. I went to the doctor about some back spasms I was having, which seemed totally normal on the surface because about ten years ago now I f*cked the everliving sh*t out of my back, in that “holy crap how are you still walking” kind of way, and long story short, I have chronic back problems, and they're unpronounceable.

Of course I had to go to a new doctor, cause I recently moved, and I was telling him all the stuff that happened to my back – fell down, fractured L3 vertebra, spondylolisthesis at L3, car accident, trauma-induced scoliosis from T1 to T12 and reversal of cervical curve – and how I was having spasms in my neck and between my shoulders (normal) and spasms in my lower back (not so normal) and he was all, “Anything else?” and I was all, “No...Oh, wait, actually, lately I've been having shin splints after I jog but only in my right leg.”

As it turns out, you don't get shin splints in only one leg. So the doc checked out my right leg and it turns out it's shriveling up. Apparently the displaced vertebra in my lumbar spine has displaced a little bit more and caused some nerve damage which led to some muscle atrophy which would have caused the leg to shrivel up whole buttloads more if I hadn't thought to mention it, so go me.

I'm currently going through some therapy to counteract the leg shriveling, and yes, it's growing back, though not without a ton of odd and sometimes unpleasant sensations in the shriveled leg at all times. Doc seems to think it's the sitting down to work for several hours a day that's to blame for this particular episode of My F*cked Up Back, not to mention the several additional hours sitting down to look at Cracked, Memebase, Facebook and Pinterest, and of course, this blog.

The things I do for you people.

For those of you who don't know, recovery from these kinds of things generally involves (*shudder*) “lifestyle changes,” and so I was, ahem, 'strongly advised' to stop sitting down so much, as in, work standing up.

Everyone I've told about this has had the same half-horrified, half-panicked reaction that you're having right now, like, Oh my gawd you can't do that, how can you do that, that's just unacceptable man YOU CAN'T DO THAT, and you know, I wasn't exactly excited about it to begin with myself, but GUESS WHAT.


For the first week or so, I hated it. My legs were insanely tired – both of them, not just the shriveled one – and my feet hurt like you wouldn't believe. I wouldn't say it was the worst pain I'd ever experienced, cause you know, broken back and all, but it was bad enough that by the end of the day I was hobbling around because my feet were actually sore to the touch.


But I soldiered through, because I'm tough, and it's not as if I've never spent a day on my feet before. And eventually, miraculously (ok, maybe not miraculously), I got used to it. And now, I can't believe I haven't been doing it this way the whole time. I mean, I'm telling you guys, THIS SH*T ROCKS. For instance:

  • My neck feels better than it's felt in years. I used to have pretty much constant discomfort in my neck and shoulders, but now it has totally cleared up. Just like that.
  • I sleep better too – and this is coming from an insomniac who's turned staying up all night into an Olympic sport. If I was in the Hunger Games, I'd win by sheer virtue of never closing my eyes.
  • According to what I've read online, standing up burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting down. So I don't have to worry so much about that ten pounds I've gained since I quit smoking.
  • For that matter, according to my friend Kathryn and this author, sitting down all day will straight-up freaking kill you, man.
  • I concentrate much better now, which is kind of important since my paycheck depends on actually getting stuff done, and not just looking busy till it's time to go home.
  • I've also stopped sitting on the computer for hours after I've finished work, and have found lots of free time to do other things, like watch TV.

Oh TV, I've missed you.

  • And the best part of all, as of last Tuesday, I've regained one centimeter of muscle mass on the circumference of my shriveled leg, which means I've gained back fifty percent of what I'd lost.

So, yeah, do try this at home, I definitely recommend it.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #35: History of English Edition

Happy Friday everyone! This has been one of the best writing weeks I've had in a long time, and to celebrate, let's take a look at the language that makes it all possible: English!

I'm going to have trouble finding pictures for this one.

Here's one that I can't wait to lord over my British friends as soon as I see them again:

1) Starting with the English colonization of North America in about 1600, a distinct dialect of American English began to emerge. If you're American and you know any British people at all, you'll be familiar with that freaking annoying habit they have of belittling you for your linguistic “mistakes.”

In fact, many of the “Americanisms” that the British like to pretend they don't understand are actually older British expressions that solidified when they reached the American colonies. These include the use of “loan” as a verb, the use of “trash” instead of “rubbish,” and the use of “fall” instead of autumn.

2) While we're talking about the British, they also keep bothering me about the spelling/pronunciation of the American word “aluminum.” As in, how in God's name could we make such an obvious mistake?

Sir Humphrey Davies, the English chemist, discovered aluminum in 1807. It forms a base of the chemical compound alum, so Davies named it “aluminum.” Later, in 1812, Davies changed the name to “aluminium,” because his classically-educated colleagues liked the sound of it better.

That makes perfect sense.

Did you get that, Britain? The American spelling is the older, and, therefore, more correct spelling.

3) The ampersand was once the 27th letter of the English alphabet. The character dates back almost 2,000years, and first appeared in Roman cursive. Those old Romans used to link the E and the T together when they wrote out the Latin word “et,” which meant “and.”

Like this.

This linking together of letters to form commonly recognized symbols is known as a “ligature,” and it was common in old Roman cursive. As the centuries passed, other common ligatures disappeared from Latin cursive and the ampersand began to evolve in appearance, until it became the critter we know and love today.

Evolution: Not a lie. ~ Alatius

From at least 1111 AD, the ampersand was included as a letter in the English alphabet. The word “ampersand” came to being in the 1800s, when school children reciting the alphabet finished with the phrase “and per se and,” where “per se” means “by itself” or “singularly.” This phrase was gradually squished together and mispronounced because that's what schoolchildren do.

Tee hee.

4) English emerged in the 5th century AD as tribes from what are today Germany and Denmark invaded the south and east of England and pushed the native Celts into Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Their dialects blended together to form “Englisc,” or Old English. Old English picked up Latin words already in use by the natives, including “candle,” “belt,” “wall,” and “wine.” With the introduction of Christianity late in the 6th century AD, even more Latin words joined Old English. These were mostly religious words like “bishop,” “eucharist” and “presbyter.” When the Norse invaded in the late 9th century AD, they brought words like “window,” “skin,” “egg” and “husband.” After William the Conqueror arrived in 1066, Old French became the language of court and government, Latin was the most widely used written language, and English became the vulgar tongue of the lower classes. The lower classes cooked for the upper classes, which is why the words for livestock and game animals – swine, sheep, ox, cow, deer, calf – are so different from the words for their meats – pork, mutton, beef, venison, and veal.

<Obligatory picture with funny caption.>

5) People who learn English as a second language often find it pretty confusing, in part because it's not phonetic and has a lot of unusual vowel sounds. This is due to what linguists refer to as the Great Vowel Shift, which took place mostly between 1350 and 1500 AD. Many vowel sounds disappeared from the language and those that remained became shorter and began to be pronounced higher in the mouth. For instance, before the vowel shift, “wipe” would have been pronounced more like “weep,” “house” more like “whose,” and “boot,” more like “boat.” By the end of this lingual shift, the language had changed enough to be mostly incomprehensible to speakers of earlier Middle English.

Historians don't know why the language would have evolved so drastically over such a short period of time, but they suspect it may have occurred as a result of the Black Death.

Oh Black Death, you so crayzee.

The Black Death caused most of the people in northern England to move south, stirring up the the island's dialects. A revision of standard pronunciations would have been necessary, just for the sake of clarity. The decimated aristocracy were forced to begin marrying beneath themselves, which created a new level of social mobility in a culture where the upper and lower classes spoke two different languages. English spellings were first recorded and standardized in the middle of the vowel shift, which accounts for all our bizarre, non-phonetic spellings.

And now you know.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quitting Smoking: Day One Hundred and Twenty

Otherwise known as FOUR F*CKING MONTHS b*tches! This is the longest I have managed to quit smoking in at least ten years, or as my blogging BFF Christina likes to say, the longest ever because I'm going to stick with it this time.

I was going to check back in with you guys two and a half months ago but stuff was going on and I didn't get around to it. “Stuff” included my grandmother's funeral and the arrival of thirty Irish-American relatives and their opinions.

I'm still having revenge fantasies.

Here's what I managed to write at the six-week point:

As far as I can tell, it's been six weeks and one day since I quit smoking. It could be anywhere from day forty-two to day forty-five, but I'm pretty sure it's day forty-three. I'm crap at keeping track of stuff. I've been counting the boxes of nicotine patches and I just opened my fourth box yesterday. At two weeks a box that's six weeks and – wait, two days? I don't know, because a couple of times the patch fell off, I cried, and then I replaced it. Also it's a leap year, so I don't know what the f*ck is going on anymore.

I stepped down to the final step yesterday. The nicotine patch squirts a certain amount of nicotine into your skin every day – not enough to stop you wanting to rip someone's face off, but enough to stop you actually doing it, usually. After a few weeks, you're supposed to swap it for a weaker one and so forth, until finally you stop using them altogether, and deal with your face-ripping impulses like a man, or in my case, woman. That means I cry, or slap you, or cry whilst slapping you. Quitting smoking is hard, which explains why I'm just getting around to it.

I wish I had finished that post, because it would have been interesting to look back on my “progress so far.” The one thing I clearly remember from that week:

I was at a party where everyone was smoking, and I was all, notsmokingnotsmokingnotsmoking, and this girl kept telling me I might as well give it up cause it would never work. So I replied, “Neither will your diet.” I'm usually not that big of an a**hole, honestly, you guys, I swear.

She should have known better, anyway.

So, without further ado, my Progress So Far:

I am so angry I could rip someone's throat out with my teeth. Okay, not all the time. It sort of comes and goes. I had thought that, by this stage of the game, it would have just, you know, gone. I assumed it was a symptom of physical withdrawal. It is not. It is the reason I was smoking in the first place.

Who knew.

I started to clue into this when I found myself in the presence of the aforementioned relatives and their, ahem, opinions, without my usual means of anger management therapy. Shouting at them obviously wasn't the solution, because if it was I wouldn't have started smoking in the first place. Instead, I was forced to explore alternative measures, such as:

  • Storming into my room, slamming the door and pacing around while muttering about what b*tches they all are.
  • Avoiding everyone.
  • Getting into my car and turning up the stereo really, really loud, and then just sitting there in the driveway like a weirdo because driving angry is worse than driving drunk, you know.
  • Grinding my teeth.
  • B*tching on Facebook and/or Twitter.
  • Jogging until I feel better (incidentally, the doctor says my resting heart rate is 50).
  • Yeah, okay, shouting a little.

This is why they tell you to go to counseling when you're quitting smoking, because when you're addicted to something there are usually feelings involved. But I didn't need to pay someone a hundred bucks an hour to tell me that when I get pissed off I turn on myself, mostly because my mother already did that when I was fifteen and got caught smoking at school.

The jogging seemed to be helping, but I can't do it anymore because I've got a pinched nerve in my back, which is a subject for another post. I'm going to have to get a cross-trainer or a stationary bike or something. The chiropractor recommended racewalking.

Ha ha ha ha good one doc.

Just so you know, I did not get a back injury because I tried to jog myself to death. I already had a back injury. I was totally only jogging a moderate amount. I know that because I still managed to gain ten pounds after going off the patch. Not that I wanted to tell you that, because now you know how fat I am.

I'm not eating very many lollipops at all anymore, and trying to stop eating sweets altogether, now that I'm not constantly thinking about smoking. I have the encroaching fat to worry about, and also my teeth started to hurt. I tried sugar-free candy for a while, but I'm not trying to contribute to methane emissions.

I'm sounding so sexy right now.

I still feel like smoking on a pretty much daily basis, but the toothpicks satisfy my hand-to-mouth habit and are much more effective now that I've learned not to chew them up and swallow them.

"Chewing up toothpicks" belongs on the anger management list up there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday

Is it just me, or does this mushroom look like a penis? Kinda? Just a tad? ~ George Chernilevsky 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weird Sh*t Goes On Around Here All the Damn Time

I live with a couple of my mother's sisters. I don't have a husband or children so these women are, for all practical purposes, my family. I have a mother, but she doesn't come around very often cause we're weird. For instance:

We Have Far Too Many Damn Mugs

Just to be clear, we have this many mugs:

That's not even all of them, I might add.

And for some reason, people (not me, THEM) keep buying more mugs. As if we needed them. Every time someone brings home a new mug, they say, “There's no damn room in here for this mug!” Every time.

The House is as Hot as Hell Itself

Seriously, it's over 80 degrees in here right now. I've got my windows open and the fan on and it's like, literally freezing outside but it's figuratively boiling in here.

It's because we have a coal furnace and it's really easy to overheat the house when you're burning coal. But hang on, wait a minute...

Why the Hell Do We Have a Coal Furnace?

It's 2012, who heats their house with coal anymore? Is this A Christmas Carol? Are we Bob Cratchitt? I didn't think so. Where the hell does the coal even come from?

Yes, I know it comes from the coal mine, shuddup. Apparently, you can still buy coal for your own personal use. Who knew.

Nothing says "Appalachia" like having your own coal bin.

The Blender is, Like, a Million Years Old

Now, I don't mean to make it sound like I'm picking on one particular household appliance, at the exclusion of all the others. Except I am, cause all the other appliances are fairly new and in good working order. It's just the blender that appears to be a time-traveler from 1978.

Hey baby, what's your sign?

It doesn't work terribly well anymore. I guess blending things is not a priority.

There Are BIG F*CKING SNAKES in the Basement, I Guess

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting up in my room working quietly away, and the aunts were down in the basement cleaning out about fifty years' worth of my grandparents' stuff, which they won't be needing anymore on account of being dead. The neighbor boy, Nick, was down there helping them. I could hear them talking cause they're loud as hell and the floors are thin, although I couldn't hear exactly what they were saying, but it probably wasn't that interesting, anyway.

The afternoon wore on in this manner until shrieks of “SNAKE! SNAKE! GET RID OF IT, NICK!!” commenced. I was glad Nick was there because f*ck wrangling snakes.

Later, they were quick to assure me that it wasn't a big deal, only a THIRTY-FOOT PYTHON that crawled in through the window.

By "thirty foot python" I mean "small black snake." Naturally.

Seriously though, the snake gets bigger every time they tell the story. It must be a mile long by now.

I've come to eat your children, sssssssssssssss.

Also, Severed Heads

I walked into the “sewing room” the other day to find this lying on the table:


Okay, it's only a teddy bear head, but it's still pretty freakin' creepy, dude.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #34: False Fossils Edition

Bet you didn't know that if you type “fossil hoaxes” into Google you'll get about four real results and about seventy bajillion EVOLUTION IS A LIE!!!!! results. No, neither did I.

It made it really hard to research this. ~ Amy Watts

You tend to think of fossils in general and fossil hoaxes in particular as being kind of modern things. After all, they didn't really start digging up dinosaurs in earnest until the late 1800s. Those of you who've been following along at home will know that I'm about to knock your socks off with some mind-blowing revelation about fossil-hoaxing in the ancient world.

1) From at least 3,000 BC, residents of the Mediterranean island of Malta collected fossilized sharks' teeth. Shark teeth, especially the fossilized teeth of the enormous prehistoric Megalodon, were considered sacred. Their serrated edges also made handy tools for early Maltese potters who wanted to decorate their goods with even rows of grooves and, presumably, instill them with extra godliness. Fossilized marine animals and mammoth tusks were also popular in Maltese temples. Evidence suggests that “fossil” shark teeth and sea creatures were manufactured on Malta from baked clay and limestone as early as the Neolithic period.

2) According to medieval European legend, fossil sharks' teeth, known as “Maltese tongues,” were capable of protecting against poison. St. Paul the Apostle was bitten by a Maltese snake while shipwrecked on the island in 60 AD. Paul was unharmed, but, as punishment to the island's snakes, he took away their venom, eyes and tongues. Medieval Europeans therefore called used fossilized Maltese sharks' teeth, or “tongue stones,” to remove poison from their wine before drinking. The teeth were mounted and hung from “languiers,” or decorative coral trees, at banquets. Guests would choose a “tongue” and dip it in their wine goblet to remove any poison. Maltese shark tooth fossils became so popular that laws were passed to prevent their forgery.

"My brother died of poison!" "I told you not to trust that shifty-eyed shark tooth salesman."

3) So, by now you've probably figured out that people didn't just suddenly start discovering fossils out of nowhere the year after Darwin published The Origin of Species. Some people have always believed that fossils were the petrified corpses of dead animals. Ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, put forth another theory, as he was wont to do – that the fossils were never actually alive, but were formed in the stone by a higher creative intelligence, or God. Christianity, which just loves the sh*t out of Aristotle for some reason, picked up the theory and will never, ever, ever let it go.

F*ck you, Aristotle.

But I didn't tell you that just to be nasty to ancient Greek philosophers. In the 1700s, a professor named Johann Beringer was Chief Physician to the Prince Bishop of Wurzburg, and Chair of Natural History of the University of Wurzburg. Beringer was what we'd now call a creationist; he supported Aristotle's theory, that fossils were placed, intact, in the earth by a higher intelligence, basically God.

Two of his colleagues, Johann von Eckhardt and Ignatz Roderick, thought Beringer was wrong. They also thought he was an obnoxious douchenozzle, or would have if douchenozzles had been invented then. So, they came up with a plan.

Roderick and Von Eckhardt fabricated fossils out of limestone and planted them for Beringer to discover during his next dig. These weren't just any fossils; they showed spider webs, insects, even frogs in the act of mating. The next dig yielded “fossils” with writing – in Hebrew and Babylonian – on them. Beringer, completely taken in, rushed out and wrote a whole book about it.

With illustrations by the author.

He didn't catch on until his next dig turned up fossils with his own actual name on them. By then, his book was published. Beringer, furious, filed a lawsuit. He won the case. Roderick and Von Eckhardt were disgraced and their careers ruined. Beringer published several more books, this time with real fossils in them.

4) Some of you have probably heard of the Piltdown Man. For more than 40 years, from 1912 to 1953, it was believed to be the missing link between apes and humans.

No one really knows who forged the skull of the Piltdown Man, but it was probably Charles Dawson. Dawson, it was later pointed out, had already forged at least 38 fossils and antiquities, including an English Channel sea serpent, which is not a thing that exists.

On 18 December 1912, Dawson went before the Geological Society of London to show them a skull that, he said, he received from a Piltdown gravel pit workman. The skull had been smashed because, Dawson said, the workers thought it was a coconut.

Sure they did.

Intrigued by this coconut, er, skull, Dawson returned to the site to investigate. He discovered an ape-like jawbone that, except for two very human-like molars, appeared to be full of monkey teeth. The skull was human-like, but too small to accommodate a modern-human-sized brain. The ape-like jawbone seemed to confirm the contemporary theory of human evolution, that the modern human brain evolved before the modern human diet.

Sense: It makes none. ~ Anrie

Other scientists called bullsh*t on this one right away. G.S. Miller pointed out that it was awfully convenient how the skull got smashed, since that allowed Dawson and his crew to put it back together any way they pleased. Prof. Arthur Keith of the Royal College of Surgeons used a copy of the fossil fragments to reconstruct a Piltdown Man skull that looked suspiciously like that of a modern human, because, as it would turn out much, much later, that's exactly what it was.

Dawson turned up a second Piltdown Man (called Piltdown II cause it was the sequel) in 1915, which seemed validate his earlier find. He died in 1916, putting himself beyond the reach of criticism. Scientists grew increasingly suspicious as the decades passed, and more and more legitimate humanoid fossils turned up, but never anything remotely like the Piltdown Man. By 1953, accurate dating technologies were finally invented. Evolutionary biologists Joseph Weiner, Sir Wilfrid Edward Le Gros Clark and Kenneth Page Oakley demonstrated that the Piltdown Man fossil was a combination of 500 year old orangutan jaw, fossilized chimpanzee teeth and a medieval human skull.

5) Meanwhile, in America, Nebraska geologist and rancher Harold Cook discovered a fossilized tooth in 1917. The tooth was identified as belonging to an early species of North American ape, named Hesperopithecus haroldcookii, but referred to in the press as Nebraska Man. The creature was believed to be similar to Java Man, or Homo erectus.

Scientists descended on the site in 1925 to look for the rest of the skeleton. They found it, and, to their perhaps never-ending chagrin, realized that it belonged, in fact, to an extinct species of peccary.

Human evolution is really getting weird.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Should You Tell Him About Your Blog?

The idea for this post came up today on Solitary Mama's blog, where she writes about the dudes she dates getting all butt-hurt about her blog posts and whining about how she “obviously has a problem with them” because they “read about it on her blog” even though, you know, the posts in question had nothing to do with them and didn't mention them by name and presumably, didn't even describe their physical features or hobbies or behavior or anything. These are just some incredibly insecure men who are also, somehow, simultaneously self-absorbed enough to think that Christina's blog post must be about them, because after all how could it not be about them, because they're the most important thing in her life.

I'm extrapolating.

I'm not surprised at all, because underneath all that chest hair and bravado, men are total wimps. And of course, it takes an extraordinary level of egocentrism to be insecure, because of all the time you have to spend pondering every little thing someone else says or does and what it has to do with you.

So, anyway, her point was that she's considering not telling the men she dates that she writes a blog, in order, I guess, to drag out the process of discovering that she's dating an annoying jackass.

All the good ones are taken.

Of course, a blog isn't the sort of thing you can hide forever, unless you're dating my mother, who is the last person in America to not even have an email. I mean, I could be wrong, I don't know what Christina's dating style is, maybe she plans to keep Christina the Blogger and Writer under wraps forever while she pretends to be Christina the Zulu Princess or something. I'm not here to judge.

So, let's assume you, Female Blogger, have refrained from telling your new beau about your blog, out of the misguided belief that it's the blog screwing up your dating life, and not the jackass's jackass behavior screwing up your dating life. Let's go ahead and pretend your creative efforts and hard-won skill are not something to be proud of but, in fact, something to be ashamed of, like an incurable STD.

I used to have opinions, but now I have you.

He's going to see it on Facebook, anyway. Unless you just abandon your blog every time you start dating someone new, in which case, you are hereby evicted from the Blogosphere.

When he finds your blog on Facebook, it's going to, as Christina put it, look like you have a “blog secret.” I think you could get away with that, since Facebook friending typically occurs in the very early stages of a relationship.

The alternative is to simply not friend the guy on Facebook, which is something I happen to agree with, if only to avoid awkwardness in the form of:

  • Having the Relationship Status Talk, which is a thing now, thank you Facebook for giving us extra dating problems. It's only awkward if one of you doesn't want to do it, but that's kinda my point, cause it's been awhile since I've met someone who's worth that level of commitment.

Sure, I'll marry you, but not on Facebook.

  • Kissy-wissy sh*t all up on my Wall. Seriously, dude, no one wants to see that. There's an inbox for a reason.
  • Stalkerface creepiness all up on my Wall. I'm not talking about obsessive page-viewing or even liking things I posted two years ago or whatever. I just don't want some guy all up on my page getting all aggro and jealous and verbally abusive and stuff. That's never actually happened, I'm just paranoid it might. I've totally been attacked on other people's Walls, so it's only a matter of time before someone gets stupid enough to do it on mine.
  • Having the Why Did You Defriend Me Talk, which consists largely of, “You mean you have to ask?”

Of course, if you don't accept the new beau's friend request, then you have to explain why. Either that, or pretend you haven't been on Facebook yet and haven't seen it. This ruse will be harder and harder to keep up, until it eventually precludes any chance of actually accepting the friend request, ever, because then he'll see you were lying and think there is something wrong with you, because, you know, there is.

I totally approve of telling the Fresh Meat about my blog. By which I mean, I actually insist he read it. I don't get embarrassed or uncomfortable or “feel weird” when people read my blog, even obsessively, or when they comment on it, even angrily. Believe it or not, I like that sort of thing. It means I won.

I write this blog so that people can read it. If I went around not telling people about it, I wouldn't be doing it right.

I'm a writer, and that's a big part of my identity. I require a man to read, and more importantly, enjoy, my work before I'll even consider getting serious. I know other writers don't necessarily feel that way, but I do. And before you say it, yes, I've been informed that I will never find a man if I'm going to have that attitude.

So save your breath.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #33: Easter Edition

According to my downloadable desktop calender, it's Easter Weekend all weekend this weekend. It lists all the holidays in every country of the world and I haven't figured out how to make it stop doing that, so this is what I get to see:

Good Friday. ALL DAY.

Just so you know, that goes all the way down the page, until it gets to Sunday, and then it says “Easter Easter Easter Easter Sultan of Johor's Birthday.” That one's Malaysian, in case you're wondering.

1) According to the Venerable Bede, a 7th Century Christian scholar and historian known as the Father of English History, Easter takes its name from the old English “Eostur-monath” or “Easter month,” named after the Anglo-Saxon pagan goddess Eostre. Eostur-monath, which corresponds with the modern month of April, saw various festivals celebrated in Eostre's honor, along with the exchange of eggs and the baking of cakes, two traditions shared by numerous pre-Christian cultures. She was named after the Old English word for spring, “eastre,” and her symbol was a rabbit.

I always wondered about that bunny thing.

2) Most pagan religions celebrated a spring equinox holiday featuring a resurrected deity. In Sumer (modern Iraq) the goddess Ishtar was hung, nude, from a stake until her death, after which she was resurrected from the underworld. The ancient gods Horus, Mithras and Dionysus were killed and resurrected in their respective mythologies. I know lots of people who like to point out these cross-cultural mythological similarities as if they're shockingly important (“Look, you guys! Horus was JEEESUSSSS!”). These people have obviously never heard of an archetype.

3) Many of early Christianity's best converts came from religions or cults that had strong springtime resurrection myths. The Roman cult of the Sol Invictus, or InvincibleSun, appeared near the end of the Roman Empire, probably as a re-establishment of one of the older sun-worshiping cults. The cult began in 274 AD, well after the birth of Christ, and continued into the 5th Century, so long that early church leaders had to start warning against its dangers. There is some evidence, as suggested by Roman mosaics depicting the Sol Invictus, that they had him mixed up with Christ a little.

Hint: That's not Jesus.

4) Religious historians believe that the death and resurrection stories, and ancient pagan traditions, were added to the story of Jesus's life to help Christianity compete with other religions when it was still in its infancy. That's what they say now. I doubt there was a group of guys sitting around somewhere, 1800 years ago, going, “Man, Christianity just isn't gaining any ground. What do you think we should do? I know, let's use that egg-laying rabbit thing. That's good stuff.”

"Let's give 'em chocolate, everybody loves chocolate."

5) According to this website, the Easter bunny makes it into Christian mythology because Jesus, at some point, befriended a rabbit. No, I don't remember that being in the Bible, either.

Legend has it that, from Black Friday to Easter Sunday, the little rabbit waited for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, cause I guess they had a date, or something. Most people would wait for about half an hour, realize they'd been stood up, and go off in a huff, but not this little rabbit. It waited faithfully for its friend Jesus, until, on Sunday morning, the resurrected Christ appeared to do whatever Jesus Christ did with the pet rabbit I didn't even know He had.

6) Now, if you're anything like me, you're still wondering why the Easter bunny lays eggs. After all, rabbits don't lay eggs. That doesn't even make sense.

This picture is a hoax. ~ Gerbil

Eggs, of course, are a fertility symbol, and part of traditional Easter dishes for Catholics who are forbidden to eat eggs during Lent, the forty days of fasting immediately prior to Easter. During Lent, eggs that weren't hatched would have been hard-boiled and saved.

The dyeing and eating of the eggs came to be symbolic with the resurrection of Christ, with the eggs originally dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ, and the cracking of the egg symbolic of Christ's escape from the tomb. So where does the rabbit come in?

It's said that the idea of the egg-laying Easter Bunny originated with German Protestants who wanted to keep the Easter egg tradition, but ditch the Lenten-fasting tradition. That ultra-reputable website that gives us the legend of Christ's pet rabbit also gives us a pre-Christian origin for the Easter bunny myth. Apparently the goddess Eostre rescued a bird from the freezing winter snows. The bird was injured and Eostre healed it, out of either compassion or boredom; it's not entirely clear. In the process, for some reason, she also turned the bird into a rabbit. Out of respect for the rabbit's true nature as a bird, Eostre gave it the ability to lay eggs, but only on one day out of the year. Cause that was easier than just letting it stay a bird in the first place, I guess.

Boredom, I vote she did this out of boredom. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

3 Bitchery Basics (A Bitchery Triad Post)

While it's been made pretty clear that no one else can join the triad (triad being three after all, as some asshat on Twitter or Triberr was quick to point out last time, even though, you know, we already knew), the other bitches and I have discussed it and decided that we're going to allow people to write their own Bitchery posts. This is something like those kits you can buy in the children's crafts aisle at MallWart, you know, the Make Your Own [fill in the blank] deal where the thing you wind up making is kinda small, flimsy, and constructed largely of macrame cord, but that's just what you get for not being as awesome as me, I mean, us.

"Congratulations, it's a...what is it?"

Here, my little grasshoppers, are the three basic elements of bitchery. Slap these suckers together about any old way, and you get a bunch of angry f*ckers shouting at you on Facebook.

Or is that just me?

Speak Your Mind

Apparently this is one of the bad behaviors my grandmother, a paragon of politeness and good manners, tried to root out of my black little heart early on. She was too ladylike to ever find fault with anyone, however, and also, my mother was around, totally modeling bad behavior.

Be Funny

Actually being funny means that people will forgive you for number one, most of the time. I don't mean funny in that “I was actually insulting you but now that you're offended I'm going to say I was joking, and try to convince you you're oversensitive” kind of way. That's for loser boyfriends. You want to be genuinely funny, and if you want to insult someone, make it stupid people, since they probably don't read your blog and if they do, their enraged comments will only add to the fun. If you f*ck this up, kid, you'll get fired from the Internet.

We can do that, you know.

Be Insanely Smart, and Hot, and Kinda Scary

That's three things, I know, but I couldn't decide which was most important. You're on your own for the first one, but you can accomplish the last two easily by setting yourself on fire.

Ha ha ha, ha ha.

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Don't forget to check out Solitary Mama and Bubblegum Cari for their own Bitchery Triad posts.

Until next time, bitch on, friends.