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What Does The Gallbladder Do?

representation of gallstones

A less offensive representation of gallstones

One of my coworkers is in the process of doing a gallbladder cleanse, and for some reason that is public knowledge in our office. She says it’s something all her friends are doing, and that everyone has gallstones they need to relinquish. Gross right? Just wait for the pictures. Take some deep breathes and then take a peek at this page.

The gallbladder’s job is to squirt bile into the intestines and dissolve all the fatty crap you eat, but over time the bile gets crystallized in there and turns into a rock garden, which starts clogging things up. So the goal of the cleanse is to get that gravel out. What you do with it afterwards is up to you. I might recommend pouring them in a fish tank, or a vase with flowers.

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How To Make World Record Paper Airplane

Recently, a new world record was set for the longest paper airplane throw (video here). Obviously, I wanted to know how to make the plane for myself. The designer’s name is John Collins, and he has been working on this plane for four years. The plane design is called SUZANNE, and if you pay $2.99 over at you can watch a tutorial on how to make it. I did just that, but found that it requires A4 paper. Another quick search informed me that A4 is the standard paper size for every country in the world except the U.S. and Canada. So if you’re reading this from anywhere else, lucky you! Fold up your queer-shaped documents and let’em rip (pun unintended). And for those of you in America (and its hat), one of the many other planes John has invented is called The Stinger. It uses standard 8.5×11 and flies farther than any plane I’ve ever thrown. John’s video tutorial is great, but it requires a membership, and this is a down economy, so enjoy the free version.

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Ears to the Ground

I’m in the market for a new apartment. I live in New York City, where it’s easier to snag a private box at Yankee Stadium than it is to find a decent, affordable place to hang your hat. I decided to post a note online, asking all of my friends to keep their ears to the ground. Then I paused. Since losing a bitter battle over the phrase “For All Intents and Purposes” – show of hands if you too thought it was “Intensive” – I have paid careful attention to my use of idioms. There’s nothing worse than being *this* close to winning an argument, only to find out that tender hooks aren’t really a thing. I started to experience some serious doubt. Was it ears to the floor? Ears to the door? Ears open? Maybe I should just ask people to listen hard. Fortunately, Google led me here, and confirmed that ears to the ground does, in fact, refer to listening for clues. Until I get a hot tip, you can find me on Padmapper. Fingers crossed for exposed brick.

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Vibram Five Fingers Marathon

Vibram five fingers.
Good for running marathons?
Yes, if you like pain.

Stuff I Haiku-gle:
A series where heart-warming poetry describes the results of a search.
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What If I Buy Every Lotto Combination

Mega Millions combinations.jpgI keep seeing a billboard on my way to work that advertises the Mega Millions jackpot, so I started daydreaming of ways to better my chances of winning. Buying every ticket was one of those ideas.

The simple answer is that if you bought every combination, you’d win. And I thought this was a great idea until I found out just how astronomical the number of combinations is. There are 175,711,536 of them. This means it would cost $175,711,536.00 to buy every ticket… and because of taxes (usually 36%), the cash payout would have to be 275M 255.1M (see update below) to turn a profit.

On top of that, there is the impossibility of buying all those tickets. Even if you had 500 friends and family helping you, they’d each need to fill out 351 thousand cards, and they’d only have three days to do it.

Needless to say, if you find yourself with hundreds of millions of dollars, you probably shouldn’t get your investment ideas from me. But if you’re foolish enough to try this, I’ll gladly be one of your 500 friends.

A friend reminded me that I hadn’t included the non-jackpot winnings into the prize calculations. In addition to the jackpot, you would also receive these prizes totaling an additional $30,483,670 before taxes:
45 $250,000 prizes
255 $10,000 prizes
14,225 $150 prizes
208,250 $10 prizes
573,750 $7 prizes
1,249,500 $3 prizes
2,349,085 $2 prizes

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112 vs 911

dial 911

Last week I got an email forward about dialing 112, a new emergency number that is supposedly better than 911. The reasons why were vague so I did a quick search and found that 112 is the emergency number for the European Union. “Ahh.” I think to myself, “Whoever wrote this was confused.” I pick up my iPhone, and flippantly punch 1-1-2-CALL. A second later I’m desperately smashing the power button as I see EMERGENCY CALL flash across my screen… And suddenly I’m haunted by stories from my childhood, of kids dialing 911 and having the cops show up at their doorsteps.

Needless to say, the cops have better things to do than hunt down mistaken emergency calls, so I’m writing this a free man. But I obviously hadn’t been thorough enough in my research, so I hit up Wikipedia. It’s true that 112 is the EU’s version of 911, but it just so happens that all GSM cell phones – of which mine is one – redirect 112 directly to 911. So although you can use it in an emergency, it’s not worth remembering unless you live in, or are planning a trip to Europe.

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Is Bread an OK Meal?

Just eat bread for a meal

(Not Jesus)

It’s doubtful this post is going to apply to many of your lives, because I don’t know anyone else that would choose to just eat bread for lunch. But I do it sometimes. I’ve always been that guy at restaurants who scarfs down the pre-dinner basket of bread and asks for more, sometimes twice. Do you ever find it odd Panera gives you a side of baguette with your sandwich? Not me. I find it awesome. I just really like bread. So now that our office building sits adjacent to an Italian bakery, it has become a frequent form of sustenance. I’ll buy a loaf of Ciabatta, eat half of it for lunch, and then finish it the next day.

My wife thinks it’s unhealthy, and that I’m “shaving years off my life”, so I checked into it. As far as I can tell, I’m good. In fact, even if I ate nothing but bread, I could go six weeks without getting sick. Then I’d get scurvy from lack of vitamin C and my body would slowly dissolve into mush. But a quick glass of O.J. and I’m back on my feet. So I plan to keep enjoying my loaves. Besides, it has to be better for you than eating nothing but meat. Like Jesus said, “Man can not live on bread alone,” but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a meal of it every now and then.

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What Are Dartboards Made Of

I had always heard
dartboards are made of horse hair.
False. It’s rope fibers.

Stuff I Haiku-gle:
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How To Clean French Press

how to clean french press tambarooOur Keurig is on the fritz, so I bought a French Press the other day. It makes great coffee, but I’m afraid to pour the grounds down the drain because our house is old and the pipes are prone to clogging. Trying to dump the grounds in the trash is nearly impossible though. They all stick to the bottom of the pot, and if I bang it any harder against the trash can it’s going to shatter. I needed to find a better solution, but these are the only good suggestions I could find:

  • Rinse the grounds out by pouring them through a sieve, or a disposable coffee filter.
  • Use a spatula to scoop them into the trash.
  • Swirl some water in there and dump the grounds outside.
  • Purchase a device called the tambaroo.
I was hoping for some trick that didn’t involve any other equipment. Dumping outside comes closest, alas, it involves going outside. The tambaroo seems pretty cool, but I probably won’t buy it simply because I’m miserly. Maybe I’ll just stick to using the French Press on special occasions. Besides, during this search I discovered that drinking French Press is bad for your cholesterol, and I don’t want to be stuck eating Cheerios® for the rest of my adulthood.
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Why Do Girls’ Shirts Button Backwards

Men vs Women Shirt buttonsIt is easier to button a shirt while holding the button in your dominant hand. And since most people are right handed, it makes sense that men’s shirts are designed with the buttons on the right. But why aren’t women’s? I drew a few hypotheses before I did the search. Here were my guesses:

  • To warn fashion-oblivious men – as they button up – that something isn’t quite right with their shirt selection.
  • To make it easier for men and women to undress each other.
  • To oppress women by making their shirts harder to button.

The real reason is unknown, but there are several common theories here and here. The one that is most widely held across the Internet is that wealthy women used to be dressed by their servants, so the buttons were arranged to make it easier for them. Seems legit to me, but I still think it’s oppressive. You deserve the right to easy shirt-buttoning, too, ladies. That way, you can spend less time getting dressed, and more time cooking food. Win-win.

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Do Eagles Rip Their Beaks Off?

My mom loves email chains. Like, loves ’em. I assume she must have a network of friends that all pass these things in circles, because I get several a day, and some are repeats. This is usually how it works:

Read email, Google validity, confirm skepticism, break news to mom.

I don’t blame her, she hasn’t had tons of exposure to the Internet. So she doesn’t understand how or why someone would make up a story about a dog that saved 967 people from the twin towers.

This email in particular though, was pretty awesome. It’s an inspirational story about how every Bald Eagle goes through a butterfly-like metamorphosis to extend its life by 30 years. The transformation begins with a jolly session of self-mutilation, followed by a death-defying period of starvation. The highlight of it all being when the eagles slam their faces into the rocks until they rip their own beaks off.

By the end of the email, I’m creeped out, and I suppose maybe a little inspired. But mainly I’m stunned that people are passing this around without questioning its absurdity. I mean, I definitely enjoyed the read, but I prefer to assume that one of my mom’s immediate friends wrote it, rather than think thousands of people are sending this out, with new-found expertise in Eagle physiology. According to Snopes it’s been fooling people for 5 years.

So mom, sorry to break it to you, but this one is fake. The good news is, you met the 10-friend forwarding requirement that keeps you from having bad luck. I googled that too. That part is true. So good job.

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How To Prepare For Solar Flare

Solar FlareI don’t really think of Solar Flares as natural disasters, but it seems they are a pretty big threat. Someone in the office yesterday made an announcement about today’s impending solar bombardment, so I looked to see if there was anything I needed to do in preparation. It seems there may be, but probably not for today.

The sun is quickly approaching the stormiest part of its 11 year cycle, which will peak in 2013. Strong solar flares can cause electro-magnetic pulses to surge through the power grid. In 1859, there was one so strong that it shocked telegraph operators and set their machines on fire. Now in your mind, replace the word telegraph with 50″ plasma. Yeah, like the one in your living room. It’s probably on fire right now.

Honestly, it doesn’t sound like today’s storm is going to be that big of a deal, but the next one could be. In preparation, make sure you have a map for when your GPS breaks, some Tylenol for those solar flare migranes, a hazmat suit for the nuclear meltdowns, and a boat-load of gravy. Also, just to be safe, try putting your small electronics in the microwave for protection. Just don’t forget they’re in there when it’s time to warm up your coffee.

UPDATE: We didn’t die today.

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Is Seth Meyers Gay?

Oh, he dates a girl?
I guess that means he’s straight then.
I’m still suspicious.

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Moonshine Blindness

moonshine bottleI bottled my first batch of home-brewed beer this weekend. The brewing process is actually pretty gross when you think about it. It’s essentially sugar water that has been infected with a fungus. You leave it in a bucket at room temperature to fester for a week and then bottle it up. The fungus eats the sugar and “relieves itself” into the brew, producing the alcohol and carbonation. Then you drink it.

As I was putting the caps on the bottles I started wondering if anything in there could make me sick, after all, the only other home-made booze I could think of will blind you.

To figure out if I was at risk of blindness, I learned how moonshine is made, and found there are three dangerous substances that can potentially make their way into the finished product: Radiator fluid and lead are the first two, and are accidentally introduced by people trying to save money by using old car radiators in their stills. The third thing is toxic additives. These are intentionally added by unscrupulous distillers to fake the alcohol content of the drink. According to How Stuff Works, “these could include manure, embalming fluid, bleach, rubbing alcohol and even paint thinner.”

None of these dangers pertain to beer. What I was really worried about though was bacteria. Just to be sure about the safety of my brew, I asked a friend who has been brewing for years. He said he’s only ended up with one bad batch, and advised me to pour it out if I found myself sipping on a putrid black sludge.

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How to make your hair grey but just on the sides

There was a time when I used to think to myself “Hey self, you wear glasses, so you sort of get a free pass into not looking homeless because, let’s face it, homeless people don’t just go to Lens Crafters and pick up some new specs, right?”


There was a time at work when, I don’t know, maybe I had a beard, and maybe my hair wasn’t kept up, and maybe … just maybe … I didn’t really care.  It was at that time that someone mentioned that maybe I looked like I could be a person who would also, on the side, sell drugs.

So, I’m more clean shaven now, but you know what?  I’m a classy guy!  BUT I WANT TO BE MORE CLASSY!  I want some grey hair, but just on the sides, not like all over, y’know?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with going all grey, you can still be an icon of grace, finesse, and don’t-mess-with-me-icity.  But you better have a beard.  And consider technologically advanced weaponry.  And, for goodness sake, get some extra midichlorians.

But I’m just going for something that says “look at this guy’s majestic silver stripes, don’t they just lend a mad air of sophistication about this gent?” or even “Great Odin’s Beard!  If this guy isn’t all Jack-Kirby-era Reed Richards, then why do I feel all topsy-turvy on my insides?”

So here is about the best thing I found because I want this to be natural (any corn dog out there can buy spray paint and also maybe some cardboard to protect his face, but this has to be the real deal).

Basically the best bet is to :

  • Get older – By nature of being currently not dead, I’m checking this item off my list every single day.
  • Have the correct genes – Cannot affect this too much (well … not with the current state of science).
  • Start smoking – This is the #1 thing I can get behind.  Not a lot of people take up smoking in their 30s, but when do you see a classy bloke who isn’t smoking in your daydreams anyways?
  • Stress more – Doable, but not preferable.
  • Medical stuff outside my area of expertise – It even says that if you have chemo-grey (an excellent band name, or maybe chemo-grey dot tumbler dot com) that it will turn back normal after a while, so no dice there.

So there you go.  I guess I need to start smoking, but then when I get the grey on the sides, just stop.

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