Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving: Some Scientific Facts

Wow...hard to believe this is my fourth Thanksgiving post.

It's that time of year again for us Americans to cook for 18 hours, then stuff ourselves in under 15 minutes, and then unbutton the front of our pants in order to pass out in front of a football game.
In the meantime, enjoy some of the lesser-known scientific Thanksgiving tidbits that I've gathered:

That big dude sucking down the turkey and stuffing isn't the only one that could possibly suffer a coronary. Turkeys can have heartattacks too! Decades ago, when the Air Force was conducting tests involving jets breaking the sound barrier, turkeys below would have heart attacks and keel over.

The Guinness Book of Records states that the greatest dressed weight recorded for a turkey is 86 lbs - which was weighed-in at the annual "heaviest turkey" competition held in London, England on December 12, 1989.

More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving. I wonder how much Beano or Gas-X is served afterwards.

A spooked turkey can run at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. A wild turkey can also burst into flight approaching speeds between 50-55 mph in a matter of seconds. That's one fast butterball!

Studies done by the University of Georgia show that the average person eats between 2,000 and 3,000 calories at a holiday meal. That is more calories than the average person needs on a daily basis. I'm betting that the number of gym memberships skyrocket too.

As I had posted back in 2005, tryptophan (an amino acid found in turkey) is often blamed for that Thanksgiving Coma many of us experience. Truth is, we get sleepy from consuming all of those starchy carbs. That, and many of us partake in the consumption of alcohol too.


46 million turkeys will be eaten on Thanksgiving. And I personally plan on contributing to that statistic.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving...and I'm so very thankful to all you continue to visit my little blog.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Synchronicity: Dialing True Love

One of my favorite life mysteries is the study of Synchronicity. It's the fundamental question in the film Forest Gump. Is life a box of chocolates? Or is there such a thing as destiny? Are coincidences - as amazing as some are - simply the human brain searching for a pattern among random events? Or are there some coincidences proof of some things just being meant to be?

Without getting into Quantum physics and such, the topic is fascinating.

I'm going to share some very incredible stories of synchronicity. Some are incredibly funny, others are tragic. All of these stories share one theme: they rely on the power of coincidence.

Last year, the story of David Brown of England made headlines. His run-in with synchronicity begins innocently enough: from a dream. One morning in 2002 after David had been out partying at the pub the night before, he awoke with a phone number in his head. It stuck with him all morning, so he decided to send a text message to this haunting phone number.

Michelle Kitson, who lived 60 miles away, got his message. It read:

"Did I meet you last night?"

Michelle was dumbfounded. She replied with a text of her own: "Who are you and where are you from?"

David explained his whole weird situation and Michelle found it strange, but intriguing. They had NOT met the night before, and easily concluded that they had never met. They text back and forth, and David reached out to her the old fashioned way - he sent her a letter with his picture. Michelle likey! She summoned the courage to finally call him. Although they were strangers, they agreed to meet. They picked a particular spot between their homes to finally meet face-to-face.

Nevermind that the dude could be some deranged serial killer.

David had gotten there first. He called the phone number once again, only to see a young woman approaching as she answered her phone. It was Michelle. "It was love at first sight for me -- I loved everything about her," David said.

They fell in love, and five years later - in 2007 - got married. Even to this day, David can't explain how destiny brought true love to these two strangers.

"I've no idea how I ended up with her number in my head,"said David.

You can bet David and Michelle's single friends are now getting wasted at the pub and hoping to wake up with a hangover and the phone number of their next true love. Alas, the closest thing to finding true love was one of his buddies getting a bad case of crabs after a night of revelry with some brunette with fake eye lashes.

Interestingly, Michelle recently dreamt a mysterious phone number herself, and after dialing it she discovered the number belonged to a divorce lawyer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

James Bond Stronger Than Phonagnosia?

From the journal Neuropsychologia is an article about a woman that suffers from phonagnosia. This is a very rare neurological disorder where the patient is not able to recognize anyone's voice. This might not sound like such a big deal, but imagine if you could not make out a loved one's voice EVER.

People who suffer from phonagnosia usually do so as a result of a stroke or brain damage. But this lady, only identified as K.H., has had the strange disorder since birth.

When she picks up the phone, she cannot recognize her family or friends, so they have to use a series of codes so she can identify them.

Recently, Dr. Brad Duchaine and Lucia Garrido of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience did several interesting tests with K.H. to understand her disorder more. One test involved distinguishing emotional sounds - achievement/triumph, amusement, anger, disgust, fear, pleasure, relief, sadness and surprise.

K.H. could identify the emotional state of the person speaking 80%of the time, just like the control group. K.H. also did well on all music tasks, identifying famous tunes and discriminating between instruments. K.H. even says that she is able to enjoy and appreciate music, though she usually doesn’t recognize singers.

How weird is that?

Another test involved the group listening to famous people speak and identifying them. K.H. could only identify ONE voice - not Margaret Thatcher, David Beckham, or a bunch of other famous people from the U.K....just one person could still somehow etch their vocal magic onto K.H.'s brain:

The manly voice of 007 himself, Sean Connery.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spooky Story Four: Boy Haunting

For this final spooky story of 2008, I'm retelling a story an ex-coworker shared with a small group while on a business trip. We were sharing firsthand tales of the unexplained and paranormal, and this lady's story was simple yet gripped all of our attention. This is her story as best as I can remember it...

I was in college when I went back to my hometown to visit family and friends. My older sister had just moved with her eight year-old son into a modest brick home near a great big park. The neighborhood was pretty old but clean, and many families were out at the park a mere two days before Thanksgiving. It was unseasonably warm, so we decided to take advantage of the warm weather.

My sister was pushing my nephew on the swing when I remembered that I had left my cell phone in my sister's car. I got her keys and hurried over the hill back to the car. Before I got to the parking lot, something made me stop. I saw this little boy sitting on an old park bench. He was alone, and these days you don't see kids by themselves too often.

When I looked closer, the boy's appearance startled me a little. He was probably the same age of my nephew. He had brown hair, thin brows, and hollow sunken eyes. Dark rings outlined his eyes. His skin was unhealthy shade of white. He looked sickly and just so sad. When he looked up at me, I immediately turned away. I didn't want to scare him so I walked quickly to the car to retrieve my phone. When I locked the door and turned around, the boy was gone.

It was such a strange occurrence, I didn't tell my sister about it when I got back to the swings. The memory of the boy's pale skin and creepy look haunted me all day. That evening, we watched some funny movies and I had forgotten about that freaky little boy.

The next morning, I was at the table pouring myself some cereal. My eight year-old nephew was still asleep, and my sister entered the kitchen. She looked terrible. It was obvious that she had not gotten much sleep. She's normally the deep sleeper and I'm the one with insomnia. I had slept pretty well.

My sister sat down for some coffee. "What a horrible night. I kept having nightmares. As soon as I'd fall asleep, I'd dream about a strange little boy messing with me."

I stopped eating. "Boy? What boy? What did he look like?"

She described the same exact boy that I had seen at the park yesterday. Brown hair, pale white skin, and empty dark-circled eyes. In her nightmares, the pale skin boy would pull her hair, kick her knees, all the little vicious things a naught little boy would do to torture someone. This sickly boy attacked her in her dreams all night long.

My sister could tell that I was bothered. I then explained that I had seen that same little boy at the park. The kid was alone, and he had disappeared after I had retrieved my phone. We looked at each other in disbelief.

Did we each have our own encounter with this pale-skinned boy?

I don't know, but just thinking about it gives me the chills.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spooky Story Three: Prophetic Fiction

* This is a spooky story I received last year, but didn't get the chance to use. It's sure to give you the heebie-jeebies. My source wishes to remain anonymous, but he swears the following story is true.

In 1991, I was still in high school. I was a pretty good writer and loved reading Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. That year I took a creative writing class that sophomore year. It was an elective that was filled with mostly seniors wanting a blow-off class, but there were a couple of us underclassmen that wanted to actually become storytellers.

One of our assignments was to write a gruesome story. We had been studying how to be more descriptive, and since it was Halloween time - what a great way to celebrate by writing the grossest, goriest story we could write.

Of course we had guidelines so Mr. Bowen wouldn't get fired, but we had the freedom to be as grotesque as we wanted. I had been a fan of B-movie horror flicks, so I decided to write a short story depicting a couple of police detectives making a terrible discovery at some insane and crazed homicidal maniac.

I started my story with an innocent victim I named Edward Tracy. He had been kidnapped by a lunatic, but was lucky to escape. He ran into the streets flagging down a police car. The police followed him to the home where he had been taken in order to investigate.

The crazy man opened the door, very calmly. Earlier in the year, I had read Edgar Allen Poe's Tell-Tale Heart, so I used that as my inspiration for my story. In fact, the bulk of my story was sort of an homage to Poe's tale. The seemingly tranquil homeowner welcomed the two cops inside and allowed them to look around.

Immediately, the police officers knew something was wrong. There was this putrid stench invading the entire house. As soon as he realized there was no fooling the cops, the maniac tried to run, but they handcuffed him.

They called for more police, and when they searched the house, they made one gruesome discovery after another. Scattered throughout the house were pickled body parts in jars, all kinds of knives and surgical instruments too. Silence of the Lambs had been a box office hit earlier that year, so I put some of that movie's elements in my story. Police found human body parts in a refrigerator and more in a freezer. I had the cops also discovering bones and skeletons under the floorboards and in closets.

My story was so disgusting, and when I got to read my story out loud to the class, they were all pretty grossed out. Because of all the descriptive detail I had used to write my gory tale, I received an A.

Several months later, I received a phone call from my best friend Jeffery. He had asked if I had been watching the news. It was summertime, and I spent most of my days at the pool or playing basketball at the YMCA. I never watched the news. He told me about a recent investigation and arrest, and the circumstances surrounding it all sounded eerily similar to that story I had written nine months prior.

In my story, I had named the crazed killer after my best friend. And I gave the fictional maniac my mom's maiden name: Daimler.

Jeffery Daimler.

The name of the real life killer: Jeffery Dahmer

I did some quick research on the infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer. He was arrested on July 22nd, 1991 - and that matches up with the timeline from the above story. Also, the character in the short story that survives the killer's abduction and brings the police to the killer's home is named Edward Tracy.

In real life, the name of the guy that actually did escape Jeffery Dahmer and led police to his house was Tracy Edwards!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Spooky Stories Two: A Strange Case of Old Hag Syndrome

The following story is backed up by many sources, including testimony from the victim himself. This has to be one of the freakiest cases of Old Hag Syndrome I've ever heard. For various legal reasons, the names of many people and places in the original story have been changed.

In the early 1990s, in a certain area of Louisiana, a group of property developers got permission to buy a parcel of land that was mostly a desolate eyesore. One narrow crumbling house stood at the end of the strip of land, and the landlord who owned this old dwelling, which was built in the 1870s, keenly accepted an substantial sum from the developers. It was what is known as a compulsory purchase deal. There was an elderly and sickly couple in the house, and they refused to move. The landlord warned them that the city inspector had condemned the house, and he alerted social services.

Days later, the old man was taken into care by two social workers and put into sheltered accommodation. The old lady was to gather their belongings and follow the next day. Before leaving, the old lady approached the landlord as he was talking to the one of the property developers - a 42-year-old man named David. The old white haired lady shouted: "Where's Agatha going to live now?"

"She's crazy," the landlord whispered to the property developer.

David asked the elderly eccentric woman who Agatha was. The old woman said, "Aggie! The very old woman who's lived with us for years. We asked her to move with us but she doesn't like the area where we're going to because there's a church one floor above the nursing home."

David didn't want to make a scene, and felt sorry for the old and apparently confused woman. He knew there was no such woman named Agatha at the condemned house, but he said: "Ah, don't you worry lady. Agatha can stay with me if she wants."

Laughter suddenly burst from the condemned and empty house. David looked at the landlord with a puzzled expression and asked, "Did you hear that?" The landlord nodded then said he had to be going.

David still felt uneasy as he arrived at his home. His wife Emma had left to visit a friend, so he found himself alone for at least three hours that evening. He put on a few classical CDs and opened a bottle of wine. He inhaled the aroma of the perfumed candles Emma had lit, then relaxed on his chesterfield, lost in Mozart.

Half an hour later he'd fallen into a light sleep. Suddenly, something was pressing down on his chest. At first he thought that Emma had returned and was teasing him, but when David opened his eyes he saw something that filled his entire being with terror.

A hideous old woman with a long hooked nose was pinning him down. David couldn't move. He was paralyzed. He tried to speak, but could only touch the roof of his mouth with his tongue. He couldn't cry out. The old hag smiled and revealed three decaying yellowed teeth. Saliva dripped from both ends of the woman's sickly sagging pink lips. Her face was a mass of wrinkles and her cheeks drooped down to her flabby jowls. Her watery eyes were yellow, and a mass of red veins encircled her faded bluish-grey irises. The old woman looked as if she was centuries old. Her claw-like hands undid the bun of greasy white hair and her locks fell down past her shoulder. In a horrible raspy voice she said: "You are a fine young man." She cackled as thick mucus dripped from her flaring nostrils.

David's heart felt as if it was going to explode. He kept trying to wake up from the nightmare, but he immediately realized that this was no bad dream - that he was wide awake. The old crone bent over and licked his lips with her nasty tongue which was mottled with white warts.

She said, "Ooh, I'll stay with you as your wife if you desire."

David finally managed to summon up the strength to move. He screamed out and the old woman screamed back in protest. David managed to lift his arm and he took a swipe at the gruesome figure, but the old witch was no longer on his chest.

He sprang up and saw to his horror that the shadowy figure of the old woman was now at the other end of the lounge. She wet her fingers and began pinching the wicks of the perfumed candles, extinguishing them, one by one. David turned up the light dimmer and saw the weird-looking old woman in the full light. She was crooked and bent over, and she grinned at him before disappearing.

David ran to his car and drove non-stop to his friend Alec, who lived three miles away. When he told Alec about being terrorised by the old hag, his friend assumed the wine had gone to his head. But David said he was sober and deadly serious. Alec asked him why the ghost of an old woman would choose to pester him, and David recounted his little run-in with the elderly lady at the condemned house asking about her imaginary housemate "Agatha."

He and the landlord dismissed the crazy woman, but was this ghastly Agatha taking him up on his joking offer to live with him?

Alec said, "I see, and you unwittingly invited the ghost into your place. It is a bit of a coincidence I suppose."

David said, "Please believe me, Alec. That thing is demonic. How do I get rid of her?"

"I don't know. Tell her to pack her bags," Alec replied.

"I'm desperate. " The image of the old hag's face was still burned in his mind, and he wanted to wash his mouth out again.

His mind went back to his encounter with the elderly lady and how she had said that Agatha refused to follow her to her new home since the facility had a church on-site. He turned to Alec. "Have you got a Bible?"

Later that night, David returned to his home. He sat in his lounge, enjoying the cozy fireplace and watching TV. He started to doze off when he saw something moving out the corner of his eye. He turned and saw the old hag, cowering in the corner of the room. Emma was due back any minute, so he had to act now.

"Are you Agatha?" David asked, picking up the bible.

"Yes. " The awful apparition hesitated. "Please be rid of that book, dear. Go on, throw it on the fire."

David stood up. "You're not wanted in here any more. Get out of my house. In the name of God, I order you to leave my home."

He hurled the leather-bound Bible at the grotesque vision and it vanished before the book passed through it. The old hag was gone, and he hoped for good.

David never told Emma about his supernatural ordeal, but she was perplexed when David came home the next day with five copies of the Bible. He placed the holy books in different rooms of the house.

Several days later, David tracked down the old couple that his development company had recently displaced. The home wasn't much better than the delapidated home they had just abondoned, and they looked just as sickly as ever.

David asked them who Agatha was, but the old people refused to comment. The old woman just smiled and said, "So you met her then?" That was all the old lady would say, and wouldn't answer any of his questions.

Thanksfully, David hasn't set eyes on the old hag since, but he was tormented with graphic nightmares about her for over a year.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Spooky Stories One: Demonic Possession - A Contemporary Case

Dr. Richard E. Gallagher documented a real case of demonic possession, and his work was published this spring in the New Oxford Review. Dr. Gallagher, M.D. is not only a board certified psychiatrist in private practice in Hawthorne, NY but the man is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York Medical College and on the faculty of Columbia University Psychoanalytic Institute.

A middle-aged American woman he calls "Julia" had gone to her local clergy in desperation. The Church then turned to Dr. Gallagher not only as a scientific witness, but to also diagnose this woman and help differentiate between legitimate psychosis and supernatural manifestations.

Julia had long ago rejected religion and actually had a long association with a Satanic group. Because of her recent experiences, she turned to the church for help. Julia was convinced that she was being attacked by a demon.

The church referred her to their official priest-exorcist. And after that, they turned to Dr. Gallagher for a thorough psychological evaluation. “Julia was not the typical type of individual who frequently importunes the Church for help but who is really in need of psychiatric or other medical intervention,” Dr. Gallagher wrote. “She was in no way psychotic; in fact, she was consistently logical, highly intelligent, and even quite engaging at times, despite her obvious turmoil.”

Dr. Gallagher assembled a team of experts including mental-health professional, four Catholic priests, two nuns (both nurses) and several lay volunteers.

What convinced Dr. Gallagher that this was truly demonic possession was the supernatural or paranormal phenomena he witnessed first hand. He watched objects literally fly off shelves in whatever room Julia was in. She also exhibited psychic ability - often relaying personal information about those around that she couldn't have known.

For example, she knew how one of the treatment team member's relative had died - from a very specific type of cancer that no one could have even guessed.

While in her possessed trances, she would speak in "other voices." Dr. Gallagher writes: “Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts, and obscene language, phrases like ‘Leave her alone, you idiot,’ ‘She’s ours,’ ‘Leave, you imbecile priest.’ “The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia’s own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these comments during these ‘trances,’ or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred.”

Julia would have no recollection of what had occured while in such a trance (thank God).

At Julia's request, they performed two rites of exorcism. The team witnessed her speaking in foreign languages (Spanish and Latin - which Julia later confirmed she could not speak), levitating a foot off the ground, the room becoming extremely cold, and super-like strength. She would emit animal-like growls, the kind that a human couldn't make. But it was the multiple voices that scared them the most.

“The voices were noticeably attacking in nature, and often insolent, blasphemous, and highly
scatalogical [obscenities about excrement],” Dr. Gallagher said. “They cursed and insulted
the participants in the crudest way. They were frequently threatening - trying, it appeared, to fight back - ‘Leave her alone,’ ‘Stop, you whores’ (to the nuns), ‘You’ll be sorry,” and the like."

When splashed with regular tap water, the demon exhibited no reaction whatsoever. But if they secretly replaced it with holy water, “She would scream in pain when the blessed water was sprinkled upon her."

Sadly, although the exorcisms were helpful, they have not yet resolved the matter of the woman’s possession, Dr. Gallagher says, and may or may not be repeated in the future.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sexy Voice = Sexy Looks?

It seems people don't just take physical looks into consideration when concluding if a potential mate is hot or not. In a recent study published in The Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (gee, that sounds like an exciting read) Susan Hughes found a strong correlation between what's considered a "sexy voice" and a physically attractive person.

"The sound of a person's voice reveals a considerable amount of biological information," said Hughes, an evolutionary psychologist from Albright College in Reading, Pa. "It can reflect the mate value of a person."

100 individuals listened to voice samples and rated them on nine traits: approachability, dominance, healthiness, honesty, intelligence, likelihood to get dates, maturity, sexiness and warmth.

Interestingly, the voices that rated the highest generally were considered attractive for their respective sex. Men were broad-shouldered and had lean hips, the women had hourglass figures. The sexy voice champs from both sexes also had very attractive faces (symmetrical).

Participants also agreed about certain vocal attributes that they found attractive (i.e. men found breathy voices sexy). But when Hughes analyzed her voice samples using a sophisticated computer program, she was unable to pinpoint the actual patterns of sexiness. In other words, the human ear was able to discern what's hot, while the computer couldn't find any technical reason why.

I'm skeptical of this study. I know plenty of people that look attractive, but have horrible voices. Also, there are lots of ugly people that sound incredible on the phone. When I was in high school, I worked at a marketing research firm and did telephone surveys. There was one guy that always ended up with the most completed surveys, night after night. His voice was deep and smooth like velvet. If you heard it, it would make you stop. But after you turned the corner and looked into his cubicle, you would see a guy that made John Belushi look like Brad Pitt.

Plus, think about all of those radio personalities. Ever see pictures of your favorite host or DJ after listening to their sexy voice for years? Talk about a ruined fantasy. That's where that old saying "you have the face for radio" comes from.

Monday, June 30, 2008

You're No Mariah Houston!

I'm a big fan of karaoke. I love doing it...and I'm happy to report that I have never been booed off the stage. Generally speaking, however, getting a bunch of drunk people to sing their favorite tunes into a microphone can be a scary experience.

There seems to be two philosophies among those that cannot carry a tune: those that know they suck and those that think they are the second coming of Clay Aiken.
So, are there people out there that are just naturally tone deaf? Even with proper training, can they learn to sing on key? Researchers at the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw and University of Montreal decided to get to the bottom of this. They asked more than 150 people to sing a very familiar song - like "Happy Birthday." Then they had another group sing a note after hearing it from an instrument.
What they found was pretty astonishing.

More than 90% could sing in tune. The identified two types of bad singers: those that are completely tone deaf. They sing terribly and can't discern the correct note they hear from an instrument. The other group can easily tell if a note is off key, but can't sing properly - they are tone mute.
Regardless of singing ability, there are tons of "artists" that have made it big in the music industry despite having terrible singing voices. Here are my personal top five:
5) J-Lo. She's gorgeous, she could dance, and her perfume was probably OK. But when she had to sing live with her hubby, Marc Anthony, it became obvious that she really cannot sing.

4) Tom Petty. How does a guy who sings like he's got a mouthful of everlasting gobstoppers sell so many albums? The dude has an awful voice. Why oh why did he sing at the last Superbowl?

3) Britney Spears. She's a trainwreck, and before K-Fed, she was so cute. Ever hear what she sounds live? It'll make your ears bleed.

2) Chris Martin of Coldplay. Many of you will disagree because they have a hot single on the Billboard Charts right now. But be objective and listen to his voice. He often sings in falsetto - and it's not very good. At other times, it sounds like his moaning in his sleep. What do you expect from a guy that thinks Amy Winehouse is the best singer in the world?

1) Bob Dylan. I've had sounds come out of my butt that sounded better than this guy's voice. I know he wrote powerful lyrics - I will not disagree. But he sounds like one of those hair clippers at the barbershop. Listening to his voice reminds me of the sound some kid in my 5th grade gym class made after his nuts got rocked from a line drive. He might be the voice of his generation, but his generation spent most of their days in an incoherent stupor.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hot Bot To Trot...A Solution For Lonley Guys

You're a lonley, desperate Japanese guy...and you're striking out with the ladies. What do you do?

Try porn?
An escort service?
Become a priest?

Nope. Just buy the Eternal Maiden Actualization - or E.M.A. robot - to fulfill your every fantasy.

Manufactured by Sega Toys, E.M.A. might stand only 15 inches tall, but she's programmed to please. For a mere $175 USD, she can go into "love mode" and give her owner a tender kiss. "She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend," says said Minako Sakanoue, a spokeswoman for Sega Toys.

Oh, so it also has a "nag mode?"

E.M.A. is designed with all the womanly curves any man lusts after, and she walks like Marilyn Monroe with specially designed hip joints.

Sega has very high expectations for E.M.A., forcasting sales of 10,000 units from September until next year.

I was going to ask if E.M.A. has a USB port, but I think I'll just refrain from that one...

Plastic cleavage is HOT!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer = Psycho Parents

Happy summer...and in towns and suburbs all across America, summer means hundreds of thousands of kids playing baseball, soccer, and other sports. And accompanying these children are their parents.

Normally even-keeled adults take to the field and suddenly transform into crazy, angry, abusive parents. They'll fight with other moms and dads, the referees, the coaches, and even with the kids.

What is the cause of this nasty phenomenon?

Ph.D student Jay Goldstein of the University of Maryland School of Public Health decided to find out why. He surveyed and observed over 340 parents during youth soccer games in suburban Washington D.C. What he concluded was that parents suffered from an affliction identical to road rage. Goldstein calls it "sideline rage."

Moms and dads most likely to lose control at a soccer game could be identified as having control-oriented personalities. “When they perceived something that happened during the game to be personally directed at them or their child, they got angry,” reports Goldstein. “That’s consistent with findings on road rage.”

More studies need to be done in order to find out just how this kind of parental behavior affects their kids. However, I'm going to assume kids hate it, are probably embarrassed by it, and many usually repeat it with their own children.

Goldstein came up with a list of techniques to help these psycho parents from losing their cool. They consist of relaxation techniques and such. I would like to submit my own list of things for control-oriented parents to think about before watching their kids on the field:

1) Lots of sports involve physical contact. You kid will probably fall, which means your kid will probably get hurt. Get over it. You can't put your kid in a bubble. If the opponent is actively trying to trip your kid, the ref will see it. So chill.

2) The coaches are volunteers and often are your fellow parents. Leave them alone. It's a thankless job. If you're such a hotshot expert, take your kid out and coach your own team. I bet you won't find many parents bringing their kids to your Nazi boot camp. Loser.


3) Your glory days are over. Maybe you were "da shit" in your prime. Take a good look at yourself. Just because you were never on a box of Wheaties doesn't mean you can make your kid into a superstar in order to compensate for your crushed ego and personal failures. You suck.
Oh, by the way, if you tried to go out onto the field to show us how it's done, you're either going to make a total ass of yourself or suffer a massive coronary. Go sit your fat ass down and shut up. Bringing that cinnamon roll to your mouth is the closest thing you'll ever come to "bending it like Beckham."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Moon Not To Miss

Tonight, Wednesday - June 18th, is a great night to get a great look at the Moon. Because of a seasonal lunar optical illusion, the moon will appear to be gigantic as it rises in the sky from the horizon towards the top of the sky.

Although it looks like the moon is closer, it's really not. There are a couple of things at work here.

First, we're dealing with a pretty full solstice moon this week. You might have noticed it lighting up through your windows the last couple days.

Secondly, everything looks magnified when it's close to the horizon. Take clouds for instance. We're accustomed to looking straight up intot he sky and seeing clouds. But clouds near the horizon seem to be so far away. If you think it's hundreds of miles away, but it's not, it appears to be bigger to you.

The same thing happens with the sun, although I don't recommend that you stare straight into it. The sun seems super huge as it's rising or setting. But int he middle of day when it's overhead, it seems smaller.

The is called the Ponzo Illusion. I have no idea who Ponzo is. Maybe he's Gonzo's brother.

So check it out.

Moonrise times in the States:

New York City: 8:58 pm
St. Louis: 8:58 pm
Miami: 8:35 pm
Seattle: 9:51 pm

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Object of Her Desire

In a post from 2005, I mentioned a neurological disorder called Kluver-Bucy Syndrome where the sufferer has this unstoppable impulse to have sex with inanimate objects. There are 40 people in the world that have been diagnosed with objectophilia.

Meet Erika La Tour Eiffel (pictured left). Yes, that is her legal name - she changed it a year ago after marrying the Eiffel Tower.

Yes. That's not a typo.

She freaking married the Eiffel Tower.

Mrs. La Tour Eiffel suffers from Objectum-Sexual disorder (among other things, I think). She has had other loves as well. Her first love was "Lance" - a bow she had used to become internationally ranked in archery. In addition, she is in love with the Berlin Wall. And when I mean she's in love with it, I don't mean she simply understands the history and significance of the structure. I mean she's sexually attracted to it.

She has admitted that she has an intimate relationship with a section of fence that's kept in her bedroom in San Francisco. I wonder if it's cedar or PVC.

The Eiffel Tower is her true love, however. And soon after marrying the object, she changed her last name to show her devotion to the 990 foot tall French tower.

So what do you give the happy couple for their 1st wedding anniversary?

How about a can of brasso?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Better Off?

Why am I getting WAY more hits on this website while I'm on hiatus??? that a sign I should just stay away?

Interesting indeed...

Monday, January 7, 2008

The 2007 Darwin Awards

Another year, another set of Darwin Award nominees. What are the Darwin Awards? I guess you could say that those who lose their lives due to their own stupidity are given some recognition for strengthening the gene pool.

Sounds pretty mean, doesn't it.

I guess in one sense, it is. These people lost their lives, afterall. But from an objective perspective, the more idiots that rid themselves from the genetic pool, the stronger our species will be. So it's not so glum. It's for the best, really.

If you're interested, you can see my posts covering the 2006 Darwins and the 2005 Awards.

Don't Lose Your Head
In Guadalajara, Mexico, Jessica was working out at a hotel's gym. The 24 year old suddenly remembered that she needed something from the floor directly below. No one can figure out why she decided to use the industrial elevator shaft to yell at the people one floor down. She stuck her head into the shaft, and somehow managed to not notice the elevator coming straight up towards her. The lift was transporting a heap of scrap metal to a floor above, and it very easily decapitated the young lady.

I'm not a genius, nor do I have Chuck Norris-like abilities...but I think I would notice an elevator coming towards me from below.

Addicted to Enemas
58 year-old Michael, from Texas, was addicted to two things - alcohol and enemas. And he loved to combine the two. Michael had some sort of painful throat condition, so he wasn't able to get drunk like normal alcoholics.

One night, Michael decided to pour 100 fluid ounces of sherry up his ass. He got drunk as a skunk, and was found dead the next morning. Toxicology reports put his blood alcohol level at 0.47%. To think he died by shoving THREE LITERS of wine up his arse is actually pretty impressive. Moronic, but impressive.

Not So Safe Sex
In South Carolina, a cab driver found the naked bodies of a 20-something couple on the road. Although they were just barely alive, they died without regaining consciousness at the hospital. Police were completely at a loss. There was no sign of foul play, no abandoned vehicles, or anything.

After further investigation, they found the couples' clothes on a pyramid-shaped roof overlooking the street. It was evident that the couple was in the middle of having sex, and something called gravity took over.

Here's the of the deceased's last name is TUMBLESTON.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Health Matters...True or False?

As we embark onward in 2008, this is the time of year when we tend to look at our health. Fitness club memberships peak (only to drop off by May), and various diet pills, home gyms, and weight loss schemes promise to make us healthier.

It's amazing how many of these products prey on our belief in health and medical myths.

Here are a few interesting ones:

Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. It's true many of us don't get enough water, but there's no need to go crazy. We get plenty of water from eating fruits and drinking juice and coffee. If you drink too much water, you could actually get very ill from hyperhydration. I did a post on this topic last year on a radio contest that killed a woman trying to win a wii.

We only use a small percentage of our brains. I've heard we only use 3% of our brains. And then it became 10%. This is so absurd. If you've ever looked at an MRI scan of a brain in use can easily see that we use a whole lot of our brains. OK, maybe Jamie Lynn Spears uses 10% of hers.

Shaving hair makes it grow back thicker. My sister had very thin hair when she was a toddler. My parents decided to go ahead and shave her completely bald, thinking her hair would grow back much fuller and thicker. I'm sorry, sis, but that was not necessary. When you shave a hair, the new stubble grows without the finer taper at the ends of normal hair, giving the stubble the impression that it's thicker. (I was going to make a Brittney Spears joke here about shaving heads, but I think the Spears family deserves a little mercy).

Reading in dim light hurts your eyes. This is an old wives tale for sure. It might be a little tough to read under a dim light, but it doesn't do any damage. Also, crossing your eyes won't make them permanently stay crossed. This was just mom's way to make kids stop doing it. Staring at the sun, by the way, is true. Don't do it. Ever. Listen to your mother on that one.

Turn of your cell phone in hospitals. Having recently worked in hospitals, they have signs all over the place reminding you to do so. For some time, actually, this was not so necessary. But in the age of bluetooth technology, you do need to turn off the phone. Many medical devices work wirelessly these days as well, and modern cell phones CAN interfere with them. You probably won't kill a patient with a cell phone, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Learn while sleeping. Many of us are taking on new challenges this year, which means taking college courses or expanding our horizons. The myth involves playing a recording of a lecture or information while you sleep so that it will somehow embed that information into your brain. So not true. HOWEVER, recent research has found that if you do need to learn some information quickly, review it right before you sleep. Most memory consolidation happens during sleep, so anything you read or examine right before you snooze is more likely to be placed in your long-term memory.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2008!