Tag Archives: Caroline

The Glow of Being New

 

My sister recently rescued a puppy she found injured and barking outside a McDonald’s in Atlanta. I suggested she name him Big Mac. But then I realized: I didn’t know if he was a he.

And after seeing the video, I’m thinking I should have suggested Hamburglar. He bounces with the same mischievous energy. That near-criminal curiosity.

And then there’s that bound, as distinctive as a chromosome. What is it that puppies have? That little leap that seems to come from simply having so much energy the only solution is to jump UPWARD. Regardless of what you call the dance, it’s a step that celebrates life. Perhaps one we should emulate. Perhaps, especially, now.

So, look out, unwitting Ralph’s shoppers. A middle aged man infected by a dog’s exuberance at existing may suddenly bound in the cereal aisle.

No need to call security.

A snausage should do just find.

Now, factslap, bitches:

  • Wealthy ancient Egyptians slept with neck supports rather than pillows to preserve their hairstyles. 
  • The average inmate in Alcatraz read 75-100 books a year.
  • The most disproportionately common physical injury diagnosis in New York is “knee injury.”
  • During the American Civil War, free black woman Mary Bowser took a job as a servant in the Confederate White House and served as a Union spy.
  • Vatican City is one of six countries worldwide that ban abortion completely, even if the mother’s life is in danger.
  • Saint Drogo is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of those whom others find repulsive, unattractive people, cattle, coffee house owners and deaf people.
  • The British Standards Institution has a 5,000 word report on the correct way to make a cup of tea.
  • In Slovakia, using the names Britain or Great Britain instead of the United Kingdom can land you with a €6,600 fine.

 

 

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Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers (and Other Oaths but Wind)

 

On all grounds, legal and ethical, I should have been murdered for the Rubber Baby Joke.

The Rubber Baby Joke was borne of a documentary I saw as a kid on sharks. The show said that shark skeletons are made of cartilage, the sinewy gristle that comprises our noses and ears. Human baby bones, the show said, begin as cartilage until morphing into bone to cover vital organs like the lungs and heart.

Because I’m a genetic asshole, I immediately trotted to my sister, who would have been a Littler Kid, to tell her that babies were born of cartilage. If fact, I pontificated like a drunk Jon Levitz, if you dropped a baby from a three-story window with the right amount of backspin, it would bounce unhurt up to the window ledge of a first-floor apartment. Er, why that’s why they’re called bouncing babies. That’s the ticket. lovitz

Caroline, who would have made a far better reporter than I, did the smart thing. She never forgot the lie. If ever I windbag a story that begins to wax unlikely — I estimate 137% of the time — she will ask “Is this a bouncing baby story?”

I’ve always wondered from where that jackass humor sprang. I’d like to blame it on a parent. But mom presented me with strong evidence recently that there may be a sonofabitch  gene: The Carbonaro Effect. It’s a show featuring a second-rate magician with first-rate props, a Candid Camera in which subjects are lured on stage, which in the show’s case is anything from a fake crafts shop to a lumber yard.

There, Carbonaro will perform hilarious jokes: floating coffee cups, taxidermy turning real; a great hardware store skit where he suggests he’s been magnetized by an electric mishap; that’s why bikes keep sticking to him. Unlike my sister, suspicion is checked at the door. This, even though 90% of studies are 70% fake, statistics say. People need to believe. People need to know there’s a reason, however unreasonable the reason may be.carb

Like all good reality TV shows, the series works not for the jokes, but the subjects. When played correctly, reality show participants underscore a larger zeitgeist (Tosh 2.0 the prime example). In Carbonarao’s case,  just just a little bit of rubber-baby logic does the trick: The coffee floated because, duh, heat rises. Water a dehydrated mouse, and it will no longer be snake food. He’s discovered: add a little logic, however skewed, and an audience will do the rest.

Perhaps that’s why magic is back. Carbonaro has gone syndicated; Penn & Teller’s Fool Us crossed the pond to American prime time; Now You See Me, an awful Morgan Freeman flick, was one of 2014’s biggest box office surprises.

The opposite should be true. Magic works best up close, without camera editing. Does anyone believe David Copperfield vanishes the statue of liberty?

Then again, perhaps it makes sense. About a third of Americans go to regular religious service, the lowest in history. Politics have become an As Seen on TV minstrel show. Perhaps, unlike pastors and politicians, a magician will tell you a lie is coming.

But, trust me on this, Mike, for your own health. Do not turn a baby to rubber.

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