Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dude Seriously ? - Snail Facials

You know it's been a long time since you've blogged when you forget your own password.

Anyway, now that I've finally recovered it and am here (after a nearly 4-month hiatus), I just thought I'd disclose a beauty secret which involves slimy creatures crawling all over your skin... this, except more of them.
(Photograph by © |

The next time you pass through Siberia, peep your head into the Russian salon owned by Alyona Zlotnikova so that someone can put some snails on it. Supposedly, the mollusk mucus contains glycolic acid and elastin which is good for rejuvenating the skin and protecting it from UV rays.

If you think that's bad, then I dare you to try some of the "beauty trends" mentioned in an a article from a year ago. In it the author talks about such gag-inducing concoctions as chicken bone marrow moisturizer, bull semen shampoo, and whale vomit perfume.


If those are the things necessary to obtain beauty,
I think I'll opt for being ordinary, thank you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Lesson in Gratitude

Oh, I say the measure of a man
Is not how tall you stand
How wealthy or intelligent you are.
'Cause I found out the measure of a man
God knows and understand
For He looks inside to the bottom of your heart.
And what's in the heart defines
The measure of a man.

That's the chorus of one of my favorite songs: The Measure Of A Man by 4Him. The lyrics have always resonated with me, but it wasn't until a friend emailed me a clip of Nick Vujicic that I saw someone who personified them. Last month during Sunday school, when I was teaching my college students about gratitude, I brought up his story:

He’s a 29-year-old Australian preacher and motivational speaker. At the age of 17 he started his own non-profit organization. He’s addressed over three million people in 25 countries. In 2005, he was nominated for the “Young Australian of the Year” Award. In 2009, he starred in a short film called “The Butterfly Circus” which won the first ever Clint Eastwood Filmmaker Award and for which Nick received Best Actor at a film festival. In 2010, he put out his first book, which became a best seller. And all this from a man who was born without arms or legs...

He contemplated suicide at eight years old. And at 10, he tried to drown himself, but he said that his love for his parents prevented him from going through with it. For a while he prayed for God to allow him to grow arms and legs, but soon came to the realization that his accomplishments could inspire others. In one of his speeches he said, “If you’re praying for a miracle, if God doesn’t give you the miracle; you will be the miracle for someone else.”

In the above video, Nick mentioned his desire to be married. Well, on February 12th of this year that dream came true when he tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend Kanae Miyahara.

and God bless.
(From the Ratish Naroor Photography web site)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Things that I (formerly) didn't know existed

The Champion Dog
(Photograph by REUTERS/Jon Nielsen. Arlington, Texas | Fri Mar 23, 2012)
An appropriate alternative name for this wiener monstrosity would be "Two Feet of Heart Attack Goodness on a Bun." Not only is this frankfurter nearly the size of a baseball bat, but it weighs one pound! Unfortunately (wait - maybe fortunately), the Champion Dog is only sold in the Lone Star State at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Now, before you book your flight to head down for a bite, be forewarned that this mutant dog will set you back by $26 and that its calorie count is insane. According to the operations manager of the team's food contractor, Sportservice, "it's got to be 2,000 or 3,000." Since the Jenny Craig diet permits up to 2,300 calories a day, I say go for it  :-9

Miss Snake Charmer Scholarship Pageant
(Photograph by Joy Lewis. Sweetwater, Texas | Sat Mar 10, 2012)
Texas is awesome. Not only do they have the Champion Dog, but they've got teenage girls who know how to skin and gut snakes like pros. One of the highlights of the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-Up, a three-day event which attracts 30,000 to 50,000 visitors, is the crowning of Miss Snake Charmer. According to the 2012 application announcement "girls between the ages of 16-19, living within a 75 mile radius of Sweetwater" can compete for the coveted title. Think America's Junior Miss meets Indiana Jones because after obtaining the tiara, the winner has to milk, flay, and decapitate snakes, the last of those duties requiring her to "hold a machete elegantly."

Snake Massages
(Photograph by Uriel Sinai/Stringer. Talmei Elazer, Israel | Thur Sept 11, 2008)
If, after visiting Texas, you STILL didn't get enough writhing reptiles, then head on over to Israel. There you can find spa owner Ada Barak who offers snake massages for $80. Depending on whether you desire muscle tension relief, which requires larger species, or a mild fluttering across the skin's surface, which smaller snakes "specialize" in, Barak's got you covered (no pun intended). Her serpentine sessions are an hour long and involve only creatures of the non-venomous persuasion. So, if you dare, venture to the Middle East and lay yourself out for what, I imagine, is the king of all tickle fests... or you could just see what it's like by watching this video.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reactions to recent headlines

Tornado season comes every year, yet it never fails to horrify. Seeing the images of ravaged towns throughout Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, and the South wearied the soul. And finding out that Missouri got hit again after the Joplin devastation of 2011, was almost beyond belief. Thankfully, in Branson's case, there were no fatalities, but, unfortunately, tornado season has just begun.

(Photograph by The National Guard from Flickr)

Now that they've been punished, I'm looking forward to seeing how the Saints will fare this season. If the Colts crashed and burned last year due to the lack of quarterback leadership, I imagine that the demise of the Saints will be even more epic with the removal of their head coach and defensive coordinator and the temporary sidelining of their assistant coach and general manager. The only question is which team will get caught next?


Today, the British newspaper The Guardian asked if the Hunger Games is the new Twilight. My response: Who knows and who cares? Actually, I suppose that millions of people do, but since I have absolutely zero interest in reading or seeing either series, it is impossible for me to give a fair assessment. I'm simply not that into the cinema or fiction literature.

(Image from

A bead-encrusted Volkswagen Beetle is currently on display at the National Museum of the American Indian. The vehicle is called the "Vochol," a name which combines that of the car and the ethnicity of the Mexican artisans: Huichol. Since the Museum is in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, I could easily go check it out on my lunch break, but why would I do that when this nifty slideshow is available?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dude, Seriously? - Tide-theft phenomenon

A couple of days ago, while lying in bed listening to news radio, I heard a story that made me sit up. Apparently, a theft trend has been sweeping across the nation for an unknown number of months and the media is all abuzz. Even in the Washington Metropolitan area, items are marked with electronic anti-theft tags and locked within glass cabinetry because thieves have been stealing them by the cart-full. The merchandise in question?

Liquid Tide.
(Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg from Getty Images)

 Yes, the laundry detergent. It seems that, like baby food and over-the-counter medication, it has become a hot commodity on the black market, with police regularly raiding drug dealers' homes and finding bottles of it on their shelves. The trusty clothes cleaner is being swapped for drugs on local street corners for the simple reasons that it's costly, doesn't spoil and, most important, everybody uses it.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, the police department in Prince George's County, MD resorted to uncover cops and other tactics to confirm that such transactions were indeed taking place. One drug dealer was even quoted as saying to a police informant, "I'm out of marijuana right now, but when I get re-upped, I'll hook you up if you can get me 15 bottles of Tide."


In an article published in the StarTribune, a local police chief  affirmed that theft of such necessities is not unusual. "They've done the same thing with baby formula for years. It's an essential."

But, c'mon, is it worth going to jail for?!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Time's a wastin'

We all occasionally find ourselves tripped up by a "time-waster." A time-waster is something that you indulge in which has no intrinsic value, adds no meaning to your life, but quickly becomes an obsession nonetheless. The fascination may last for only a few days, a few weeks or even a few months and brings a fleeting sense of happiness and/or satisfaction. However, the maddening part about the whole situation is that you can't figure out why it brings you delight. Especially since you know it's a ridiculous squandering of valuable minutes that you will never get back and pulls you away from legitimate activities... like your job, cooking or the laundry.

My former time-wasters include watching shows like Project Runway and Design Star and playing online games like Bejeweled 2. Concerning the former, I lost interest when the winning designers became mediocre and downright forgettable. I mean, really, can anyone recall successful alumni from those shows besides Christian Siriano and David Bromstad? Yep, that's what I thought. It's kind of like how nobody can remember the names of American Idol winners from the past five years or find one of their songs on a top ten (or even top 40) music chart.

Concerning Bejeweled, when one of my playing sessions reached an hour and four minutes, I knew I needed help. And that's all I will say about that.

One of my friend's new time-waster is Pinterest, which I, for the life of me, can't understand. My mother and I spoke about it briefly last week and still couldn't figure out the purpose of assembling pictures of favorite things on a virtual tack board. Based on what I've been told about the site, I think that the above definition explains it perfectly.

(Seriously, can someone explain the point of Pinterest?)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pop culture confusion

Whenever I read the newspaper, I generally try to steer clear of anything dealing with the entertainment world because more often than not, the names and faces displayed are either unknown to me or of those that I couldn't care less about. Just last night, for instance, my father and I were trying to figure out what that "Snooki" woman did for a living and how she got famous. Within seconds of broaching the topic, however, we dismissed it with synchronous head shakes.

Below are entertainment news excerpts that I found in the local Express paper this week... and all have baffled me beyond belief.

"So, it's settled, at this point everyone is looking forward to the return of Game of Thrones, even The Simpsons."
My first reaction:
What the heck is Game of Thrones? (A video game?) And why would "everyone" be looking forward to it?

My second reaction:
People still watch The Simpsons?

"... isn't sure how the new website JuggaloBook, fashioned after Facebook, is going to work out for Insane Clown Posse, which started this week."
My first reaction:
I was booted off Facebook after only two months because one of their junior sleuths actually figured out that "Missy Blasé" wasn't my real name. Good work, Sherlock.

My second reaction:
Who and/or what is the Insane Clown Posse?

"... new mashup that remixes Adele's Set Fire to the Rain and Daft Punk's Something About Us that was released on Monday."
My first reaction:
Who and/or what is Daft Punk?

My second reaction:
Why would I want to hear a mashup of two songs that I never heard of in the first place?

I'll just stay under my rock, thank you.