Sunday, September 30, 2012

Are We There Yet?

There are a lot of jokes, even blogs about back seat drivers, the eternal irritant who is determined to tutor the driver with unending advice ranging from directions to safety tips, yet I don’t think there is enough said about the driver who feels the need to remotely correct the bad habits of fellow drivers on the road.  I’m not talking about the aggressive driver who deliberately behaves in such a manner as to risk an accident. No road rage or challenging other drivers to get out of their car to duke it out. I’m referring to drivers who feel it is their responsibility to report their observations to their passengers regarding the careless, ignorant, reckless, inconsiderate and unfit maneuvers of fellow drivers.

My husband, Captain Kurbash, as I refer to him, is one of these expert analysts. Strangely, I have never found his announcements irritating but rather a source of amusement.  It’s almost like listening to a sports commentator. I know that no matter how short or long our driving distance, I will be entertained.

It usually begins at the stop sign at the first corner.  Since it is a four way stop, drivers are hesitant to proceed or they simply don’t know the rules of such an intersection.

“While we’re young,” he says as he pulls up behind someone. “Are you waiting for a green light?” This one puts a smile on my face because I actually sat at a stop sign once, deep in thought on other things, expecting to see a go sign.

“Don’t even think about it,” he warns through clenched teeth to stop drivers from entering the freeway out of turn.

“Incoming,” he looks into the rear view mirror and glares at a passing speeder changing lanes every few seconds. “Really?” He asks the driver who just pulled into the lane in front of him. “There’s no exit. Why is it so important for you to cut me off?” This is usually followed by his compulsion to go around the driver and give them a look of disgust along with a slow shake of his head. This would be my cue to say, “You showed him, and I’ll bet he’ll never do that again.” He ignores my remark.

“Look at this genius.” He points to a driver who can’t seem to decide which lane to drive in. “It must be nice to own the road.”  The sigh he emits equals the sound of air being released from an accordion’s bellows.

“Nice move,” he says to someone who crosses three lanes to exit the freeway.  In the next moment, “it’s the peddle on the right,” meant for the driver who doesn’t adjust their speed when getting on the freeway. “You’re not going to tip over if you get on before the ramp ends!”  He lets off the gas and furiously waves (with all five fingers) to the driver to speed up and merge onto the freeway.

“First solo drive?” is usually reserved for the slow driver.  “You think you’re invisible?” A quick toot of the horn announces his displeasure and usually startles the other driver.

Sometimes we come across someone who is looking for an address. “Sightseeing or just stoned? Get a GPS!”  This remark comes just before speeding around them.

“Dial that big round ring in front of you!” He believes this actually helps a driver make a turn faster. “That’s it, I knew you could do it.” He gives them thumbs up.

If he happens to see someone roll through a stop sign, “No, that’s ok, don’t stop, I’m sure you have real important places to be.” Sometimes he turns to me and says, “he probably has to drop the kids off at the pool.” I have learned that he means he has to go to the bathroom.

In a traffic jam, he talks to the rear view mirror. “Yeah, keep honking and I’ll blaze a trail just for you.”

What do I do while all of this driving education is going on?

One of my favorite comedy movies is, Galaxy Quest (1999). It is a spoof on Star Trek and even if you aren’t a Trekkie, you will laugh.  It stars Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver.  There is a scene where the ship’s Beryllium Sphere is fractured and they must visit a mysterious planet to obtain a replacement. Tony Shalhoub plays Fred Kwan, the engineer tech Sgt. As they make this very dangerous trip to the planet in the small shuttle, being bounced around by turbulence and pelted by space debris, Tony sits shotgun, smiling with amusement as he eats a snack of cheese and crackers.

I think of Tony’s amused expression and I smile.

We have reached our destination. As we walk though the parking lot my husband finds at least one crooked car.
“Nice parking,” he says sarcastically.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Smell Only A Mother Could Love

Y’all know I’m a sucker for studies, and for me, the stranger the better. Yesterday I found an article written in July of this year for HealthCare News. I don’t think I could find a study any stranger than this one but I promise I will keep looking.

This article states that science may have confirmed that when a woman smells her   baby’s farts, large areas of her brain activate and this stimulates happy feelings. Fascinating. They haven’t had the chance to study the effects on fathers and I’m certainly not surprised about that.

While we are all running on a hundred forms of fear about the welfare of the nation, the department of pediatrics at Benton College of Medicine in Henderson, NV, is hard at work to unravel the chemistry of baby farts and the mother-child farting relationship.

I’m a skeptic at heart so I decided to conduct my own study.  I was curious to see if this cosmic fart bond is still present even after the child has grown up.  I asked my mother-in-law to help with my study and she naively agreed. 

I asked her to sit in her favorite recliner and get comfortable. I wasn’t able to get an electroencephalograph from the local Rite Aid, so I fashioned a rudimentary EEG by connecting wires to large metal washers that I placed on her scalp with low adhesive craft glue. The residue left in her hair should wash out after a few months.

I connected the wires to a family heirloom, a vintage Hickok Model 533A Dynamic Mutual Conductance Tube Tester and set it up on the TV tray next to her. I was able to get definite brain wave readings. It took a few minutes to get the short light to go off and I was guessing as to where to set the BIAS and the Filament knobs, but it looked like it would serve its purpose.

While she was settling in, I asked my husband to come into the room.  I thought it best not to tell him the nature of my study. His jaw dropped when he saw his mother all wired up. “What the hell? Is that a bomb on her?” He appeared to be a bit angry. 

I assured him that she was fine and that I had done my homework and from a medical standpoint knew exactly what I was doing. I skimmed over the technical explanations to ease his mind and picked up my clipboard. 

“It looks as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle.”
I ignored his comment, looked up at him and smiled.
He frowned that all too familiar way with the big vertical crease down his forehead.
“Go ahead,” I said with a hand on my hip. “Fart.”
“You want me to…”
“Yep, that thing you do everyday. In the car, in the supermarket, on the couch and especially in bed, and you know how I hate that. Now I’m giving you permission. “Fart.”
“Why? ”
“I want your mother to smell it.”
I don’t ever remember seeing that expression on his face before.
“It’s okay sweetheart,” Mom said. “It’s a noble cause, it’s for science.”
“I can’t fart on command,” he said a little louder than he needed to which brought his brother into the room.
“What’s all this?”
My husband shook his head and pointed at me. “She wants me to fart for science.”
His brother looked at mom, gave me a strange look then burst out in laughter.
I turned to my husband. “I want you to fart for your mother.”
“I can do that,” his brother said.  I believe it was the sibling double dog dare ‘ya glare that challenged my husband and in the next moment I heard from both of their posterior cheering sections.

“Oh my God!  You’ve ruined my experiment!” I quickly backed away holding my nose.  “She will never be able to segregate samples from both of you!”

I waited a full twenty minutes before re-entering the room. I’m not sure how the recliner fell over or how the tube tester wound up on her back. My husband and his brother were trying to help her up while laughing hysterically.

“Mom, are you okay?” I asked. “How do you feel? Do you feel happy?” I checked the meter on the tester and the needle was flat pinned to the green side which  measured 15K of something which seemed good.  “This machine is definitely registering quite a bit of brain activity so I really need to know if you were comforted by the smell of your son’s farts.”

The last thing I remember is mom running toward me holding the tube tester up over her head.  The rest is a blur.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Filet O' Feet

I know it’s been around for a while but, did anyone ever think people would be using ‘Doctor Fish’ to exfoliate the disgusting crusty skin from their tired feet? I sure didn’t. Yet, in Europe and Asia, that’s exactly what they did. Of course, it didn’t take long for the procedure to become trendy in the US, so now we have people paying to dip their feet in fishbowl spas. The small Garra rufa fish begin to suck away the dead skin cells revealing the fresh new skin beneath.  Never mind that it is considered unsanitary and illegal in 10 states but you can still find salons in California that will allow you to offer your feet to the little suckers. Ew. If you try this, just make sure those aren’t piranha you’re offering your tootsies to.
Why should we stop here though? There are so many creatures that snap, squirt and absorb. Surely there are other species that might be beneficial to the all-too-consuming desire to be beautiful.  Take the sea cucumber for instance. All it would have to do is extend its stomach into a chubby buttock and begin digesting the fat. Natural liposuction! Octopus ink could substitute for hair dye and the neurotoxins produced by a starfish could be used to purge even the largest meal. What bulimic hasn’t claimed to have had food poisoning? And to think, it’s all organic. Puréed Jellyfish can make a lovely collagen for the skin and hand harvested (as opposed to other harvested) seaweed can be used to remove cellulite.
 I thought these suggestions were absurd until I did a little research.  How about a bird poop facial? Yeah, you read right. Bird poop! In Japan, they have been using this facial for centuries.  They breed and raise Nightingales on farms. They are kept on a strict diet of organic seeds. The poop is collected and sanitized with UV lights and then ground into powder.  Nightingale excrement contains a natural enzyme said to lighten, soften and leave the skin radiant.  You can pay anywhere from $150 to $450 per treatment.  Huh. It has the power to take the paint off my car so why wouldn’t it purify the epidermis?  
And what about snail slime cream? Why should we only eat snails? Yuck! Still, the slime is rich in protein, glycolic acid and elastin, the kinds of things that assist in skin regeneration.  Go ahead and laugh but people are paying good money for this stuff.  If you want a free facial, you could always collect snails out of the yard and put them on your face to leave the beneficial trails.
How about just drinking water? Studies have proven that it detoxifies and is better than any cream on the market. Too simple I guess.
My grandmother would just be rolling on the floor laughing if she were here and I do wish she was.  As for me, I’ll have my fish on a bun with a slice of cheese and lots of tartar sauce. And the only bird poop that possibly makes contact with this face will be accidental.

Monday, September 3, 2012

About Face

Ever have one of those days when everything looks just the way you like? Your face powder doesn’t settle into last year’s worry lines, your eye shadow blends seamlessly from lid to brow and your lipstick stays glossy all through mealtime? Well, yesterday wasn’t one of those days for me.
Let’s start out by asking, why do they call it make-up anyway? Isn’t that something you do after a particularly destructive occurrence?  Is that what we’re starting out with?  A negative event?  I do battle my tendencies for self-criticism, which often border on torture, but I don’t need anyone else chiming in.  
Yesterday I woke up with bags under my eyes big enough to handle a ten-day cruise. After splashing cold water on my face and gently dabbing it dry with a towel made of long-staple, Egyptian cotton, I noticed that not only had the bags not reduced in size, but my crows feet had turned into a wrinkle fest. I quickly seized my natural, anti-aging, soothing, soft, firming, daily moisturizer, promising to banish eye bags; I pumped a large glob into my palm. After working it into the combat zone, I noticed that the wrinkles had truly vanished but now it looked like I had a copious water balloon beneath each eye. Damn, why did I stop doing my yogic eye exercises? I began to squint and release and did ten sets of ten. I ended by squeezing my eyes tightly shut and counting to forty, but before I could open my eyes, my husband walked in. I heard a deep belly laugh that is usually reserved for the Jackass movies. I’ll allow him to make-up for this later.
The loose powder I applied clung to the, way-too-much moisturizer, and I was left looking like Mr. Magoo gone geisha. I had to keep moving. I applied my sunbaked brown eye shadow, using the applicator like a mason’s trowel.  My lids ended up looking like painted cement. I ignored it. 
 I only had twenty minutes before I had to leave. I quickly opened my cheekers blush compact and the brush slipped out and fell into the sink. Know what happens when you apply blush with a wet brush?  Raggedy Ann! I was on a roll. Now I applied my midnight-black, waterproof, lengthening, volumizing, maximizing, mascara. I had just finished the last touch when without warning, I sneezed. Now I looked like I had spiders splayed on both eyes.
I was stymied. No pun intended. It only took five minutes to remove the mascara, wash my face, and pull my hair back into a ponytail. Days like these are why God made designer sunglasses.