#869 Slurping steaming hot soup on a freezing cold night

Ready to be slurped

Say it’s a cold, bone-shivering night.

Say there’s snow shooting sharp, shooting sideways, shooting into your eyes, and the wind is just howling and twirling into mini-tornadoes, slicing and dicing deep through your coat and into your chest. Your fingers are icicles, your nose a dented, frozen strawberry, and your cheeks look like someone ran them over with a cheese grater a few times.

On nights like this, just face it: you’re an ice-cold mess.

You just need to get home fast and eat some soup.

saltinesYes, you need to stomp your boots, shake the snow off your jacket, let your glasses steam up, and touch-feel your way to the kitchen to heat up a nice hot bowl of steaming, delicious soup. So do it up, heat it up, pour it up, snag those saltines up, and sit right down in front of the TV — flicking it’s flashing lights on in the dark as you curl right up under the blanket with your big bowl of warm love.

And then just slurp away. Yeah, slurp like you mean it. Slurp like there’s no tomorrow. Slurp till you can’t slurp no more. Because we all know that slurping hot soup is one of life’s great pleasures. For a few big reasons:

Temperature check. That soup’s steaming hot and you’re ice cold. You want the soup to warm you up but now is not the time for First-Degree Tongue Burn, so let those slurps force some cooler air into your mouth to chill the soup out a bit. It’s like cooling beer bottles in the freezer for a few minutes or nuking the cold half of your dinner for ten seconds to heat it back up — just a bit of temperature knob-twiddling to get it jusssssst right.

saber-tooth-tiger-skullOur ancestors did it. What, do you think cavemen sipped their soup politely? No, I bet they slurped it straight from the saber-tooth skull and loved doing it. So I say next time your date pops up from inhaling her steak dinner with sauce on her cheek, meat in her teeth, and some mashed potato in her hair, just flash a big thumbs up sign and start slurping your soup. It’s all about embracing our common roots.

Get closer. To slurp properly, you may need to hunch right on over the soup bowl. Yes, lean those shoulders forward and let that steam fog up your glasses and thaw your face. You are a few inches closer to being at one with the soup. It’s a Zen moment.

So next time you get home from a long and cold winter walk home, just heat up some soup and start laying down some wet and juicy slurps.

Also works with cocoa.


Gifted from birth


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#870 Nailing the milk to cereal ratio

Aim for perfection

Things could go a few different ways near the bottom of that cereal bowl:

1. Drowning in white. You poured 2 fast and 2 furious and overfilled the bowl. Now after you spoon up those last few soggy Honey Nut Cheerios you’re left with a good inch of sloshy, super-saturated, sandy-colored syrup at the bottom. Well, the damage is done, so I say bottoms up to that. Just tilt your head, tilt your bowl, and say hello to a peppy morning full of jitters and fast-talking.

Drowning in white

2. Corn Flake beach. Here’s where you end up with too much cereal and not enough milk. You first notice it when you’re halfway through your bowl and those Corn Flakes seem a bit too crunchy for their own good. So you look down and notice you’re swimming in the wading pool, my friend. Assuming you’re out of milk or are very lazy you have to frantically start rationing, aiming for just enough milk on each spoonful to get by. Let’s hope you make it and don’t end up with a fat lump of slightly damp Corn Flakes sitting pathetically in the corner of your bowl.

This beach needs a surf

3. Cereal Bowl Bliss. Oh mama, this here’s the perfect milk to cereal jackpot. Maybe you’re like my friend Mu, who has lifted the art of obtaining Cereal Bowl Bliss into a noble, decades-long search for perfection. Yes, he has studied milk absorption for years, and knows that a bowl of Froot Loops and a bowl of Frosted Flakes have nothing in common other than a mascot who lives in the jungle. See, Mu points out those Froot Loops float high and dry while the Frosted Flakes are like crispy sponges that require a lot more milk to make it through. And then there’s the bowl itself. Sure, a big, deep bowl may look great when you pull it out of the cupboard, but watch out for the illusion of size. You may end up drowning in white if you’re not careful. Lastly, if you’re ready for Advanced Milking, you may be interested in the patient art of The Sit, which involves letting your beautiful bowl of cereal just lay on the counter for a good minute or two before eating. This will allow your cereal to soak up a consistent amount of milk, and prevents those dreaded bone dry first bites of crunchiness which offset your whole ratio. Remember: this is Advanced Milking, folks. Not for the faint of heart or extremely hungry.

Anyway, when you get the milk and cereal ratio just right at breakfast, you’re all aces, my friend. And when you hit it, you hit it, and you know you hit it, because that last spoonful goes down smooth and sweet without a hint of drowning in white or surfing up onto Corn Flake Beach. So nailing the perfect amount of milk in that big breakfast bowl of cereal?



Don't get furious -- slow and steady will win this race


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#871 Finding out your birthday is on a Friday or Saturday next year

Save the date

Planning those Wednesday birthdays is tough.

Do you party-back on the weekend before or party-forward to the weekend after? Either way, you’ll get a lot of “So wait, when’s your actual birthday?” questions, and you’ll be forced to take a sip of your drink, smile pleasantly, and casually say “Oh, just a couple days from now,” or worse “Oh, you know … two Wednesday’s ago.”

That’s just no fun.

So if you’re as self-centered as I am and the first thing you do when you get your greasy paws on a crisp, new calendar is flip right to your birthday, then you sure are loving it when that big day hits the Friday or Saturday Jackpot. Now it’s on for so many reasons:

  • Save the date. No need to puzzle over when to throw the big bash. Just start planning it for that Friday or Saturday. You have no choice and no need to waffle.
  • Party Priority. It’s true. When it’s your actual birthday, your event moves way up the party priority list. Sure, you’re still slightly below Friend’s Wedding or Out Of Town Guest, but you zoom up way higher than Poker Night or Grandma Visit.
  • More free drinks. Especially if you have a birthday party that starts the night before and kicks into high gear at midnight when you ‘officially’ start celebrating. Hopefully you don’t have to wear a tiara and a sash to keep those free shots coming.

Yes, you know as well as I do that when that big day lands right on a Friday or Saturday, it opens up a world of celebration possibilities. Because now your birthday’s going on, your birthday’s going long, and your birthday’s going strong, fool.

Awwwwwww, yeah.




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#872 The feeling of squishing sand in your feet

A million little massages

Free your feet.

When you kick off your tight, suffocating shoes, peel off your nasty, sweaty socks, and just start walking on the beach in bare feet, how good does that feel?

Man, it’s a million molecules of Earthbeads massaging your foot all at once. It’s a tickly, gripply sand sensation. It’s big piles of small cubes hugging and comforting your tired and sore and broken sole.

And yeah sure, the sand wedges itself up into your toenails, dusts up in your toe-knuckle hair, and coats the bottom of your feet like butter on toast. So your feet may look a little worse for wear.

But whatever, because the feeling of scrunching sand in your feet when you walk on the beach is 100% guaranteed




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#873 Finding an old mix tape given to you by a boyfriend or girlfriend years ago

Shoebox of memories

Stashed away in shoeboxes, basements, and broom closets around the world are some of our greatest treasures.

That’s where we might find old prom photos, expired driver’s licenses, handwritten letters from faraway friends, or maybe, if we’re really lucky, one of those beautiful gems known as an old Love Tape.

Time it right

Love Tapes are simply any mix tape carefully put together by someone who like-likes you. Yes, that blurry, distant boyfriend or girlfriend probably spent hours timing songs to fit perfectly on a side of a tape, painstakingly scrawled out love notes and drawings on stickers, and maybe, if you’re lucky, even sprayed it with a bit of perfume.

Depending on your time frame, your mix tape, or mix 8-track, or mix CD may contain gems such as:

  1. Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers
  2. More Than Words by Extreme
  3. Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams
  4. Can’t Help Falling In Love by UB40
  5. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
  6. I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) by Meatloaf
  7. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion
  8. Is This Love by Bob Marley
  9. End Of The Road by Boyz II Men
  10. You Were Meant For Me by Jewel
  11. God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
  12. Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
  13. Eternal Flame by The Bangles

So search your heart. Search your soul. And when you find mix tapes there, you will search no more. So don’t tell me, they’re not worth looking for. You can’t tell me, they’re not worth searching for. You know it’s true. Everything mix tapes do.

They do it for you.


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#874 The Five Second Rule for eating food off the floor

Still good

The Five Second Rule simply states that any food dropped on the floor is perfectly fine to eat as long as you pick it up in less than five seconds.

The rule has many variations, including The Three Second Rule, The Seven Second Rule, and the extremely handy and versatile The However Long It Took Me To Pick This Food Up Rule. But whatever version you use, there’s just no denying why it’s great:

  1. Makes you look less disgusting. Because now when you eat that wet grape that rolled into the corner by the heating vent and collected some cat hair and a few old, dry toast crumbs, you’re not disgusting. No, you’re just a law abiding Kitchen Citizen. Big difference.
  2. Saves time and money. Wait, wait, wait, don’t pull the peanut butter and jelly out again and make a whole new sandwich. No, we’ll just blow the floor spice off this one and maybe tear off the wet, soggy piece of crust that landed in juice puddle. It’s all good.
  3. It’s scientifically proven. Well, actually it’s scientifically proven that if a floor is covered in salmonella or E. Coli, your food will be covered in salmonella or E. Coli, even if they touch for a split second. But, and here’s the kicker, the same study showed no significant evidence of contamination on public flooring in general. Good save, Science.

So people, I give you a friend and savior in these tough times: The Five Second Rule. Know it. Love it.

Live by it.




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#875 Experimenting with facial hair

From this angle you can't see the toilet paper bits

I used to be The Wolf Man.

At least, that’s what a big guy named Fletch used to call me in tenth grade homeroom. He said it with a hearty, bug-eyed giggle while pinching and tugging the soft patches of thin, black hair extending from my ears to my collar bones.

Now, I wasn’t just born The Wolf Man. No, I had to create the identity by first building up the guts to trim my thin, soft mustache and sideburns for the first time. That first shave was a nerve-wracking ordeal, with a fresh razor, a steamy mirror, too much lather, and too much blood.

And I guess being around fifteen years old and new to this whole slicing the hair off your face with a knife thing, I didn’t realize that you were supposed to get the whole neck area, too. So I didn’t get the neck area. I completely missed the neck area. So for a good couple of weeks, I walked around high school with a smooth, freshly shorn face, and an untamed, hairy neck area.


But you know, looking back, I really do miss it. I certainly couldn’t pull off the Gratuitously Hairy Neck look these days, unless I wanted to leave Cubicle City to become a mountain guide, longshore fisherman, or professional scarf warmer-upper.

And it’s not just the Hairy Neck look that deserves mention. There are so many other classic facial hair experiments:

Try combing these suckers

6. Mutton Chops. Although it seems obvious, mutton chops are so named because they look just like big lamb chops. The thicker, the hairier, the better, as you can tell from the photo of famous 19th century Norwegian playright Henrik Ibsen. His closest rival for the Muttonchop Crown was probably Elvis, but really it couldn’t have been that close. I mean, just look at those beautifully shaggy chops.

Strap it on

5. The Chin Strap. This chin strip is the result of a deep study in the art of making perfect lines with a sharp razor. It shows form, style, and patience, because nobody can really nail it without messing it up a few times first and shaving the whole thing off in frustration.

Nothing wrong with a few patches

4. Weird beards. Ever seen someone who couldn’t grow a beard grow a beard anyway? And it sort of looks like a splotchy brown mess of assorted band aids and bread crumbs? Yeah, that’s a weird beard. Most guys have a few secret weird beards buried deep in their past.

Howie knows the score

3. Soul Patches. Apparently, the soul patch became popular with jazz trumpeters in the 50s and 60s because it provided a nice, comfortable place to rest their trumpet. Yeah, for real.

Running wild all over your chin

2. Handle Bar Stache. Also known as The Hulk Hogan or the Fu Man Chu, this classic moustache just screams business. You can’t have a Fu Man Chu and be a local politician, elementary school teacher, or birthday party clown. No, you have to either be a bartender at a dive bar, a cowboy, or in college.

too-much-time-on-your-hands1. Too Much Time On Your Hands. This is any intricate and detailed facial hair involving lightning bolts or abstract images that look like they’re from Spirograph.


So yeah, I miss that youthful freedom of bizarre, anything goes facial hair. Because there’s something liberating, creatively satisfying, and fiercely expressive about experimenting with a dull razor in a steamy bathroom mirror.

And remember: no matter how crooked your chin strap, how tiny your mutton chops, or how splotchy your weird beard, whatever facial experiment you’ve got going on is always just a little bit


An experiment in action


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#877 Getting in a line just before it gets really long behind you

Say goodbye to the next hour of your life

The worst lineups of all time include:

Airport security. Plastic bins, loafers, keychains, and laptop computers fly in all directions in the maddening chaos of the airport security lineup. People are getting the beepdown and guards are tearing through suitcases looking for Terrorism, while folks jostle about awkwardly, emptying and refilling pockets, the whole place smelling like sweaty feet.

The bank at lunchtime on Friday. Hey, even if you’re just trying to get at the ATM, chances are good you’ll get stuck behind someone making four or five deposits.

Wherever you get your driver’s license renewed. Toss some mugshot photos and a few eye exams in the mix and that lineup will just wrap around and around and around all day.

Some people are still waiting in this one

The bathrooms just after a movie lets out. How bad does it feel when the lineup is long enough that it reaches right up to the inside of the bathroom door but no further? And you’re the person who opens the door to find a bunch of fidgety folks wedged in that little Bathroom Lobby with their arms crossed and their faces all scrunched up. It’s just a sardine tin of quiet, anxious, heavy-bladdered folks, man. Not a great scene.

Post-Christmas Returns line. This one is the worst of all. Honestly, you may as well just keep that novelty wine bottle opener and ice cream maker at this point. Just give up, go home, and drown your sorrows in a big bottle of Merlot and a bowl full of warm, runny ice cream.

So yeah, there sure are some terrible lines out there. Sometimes you beat them, sometimes they beat you, but one thing’s for sure — it’s a great feeling when you enter one of those classically long and winding lineups just before it gets long and winding.

Yes, when you’re first through the maze of velvet ropes, when you grab the empty handicapped stall in the corner, when you get the new line at the DMV with the lady who just came off her break, well — doesn’t it sort of feel like you bucked the system or solved a mysterious riddle of life?

That’s when you can hardly believe your luck. You look back at the poor souls waiting and you just smile sadly, because you know you’ve been there before and you know you’ll be there again.

But this time you won the game, you’re riding high, and you’re feeling so completely


Add it to your pile


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#878 The crackles and pops of a campfire

Feel the burn

Slicing and dicing a dead tree, tossing it on a pile of dirt, and setting it ablaze is pure joy.

As that dry, withered stump slowly releases years and years of energy soaked up from the sun, the air, and the ground around it, out come bright lights, whispering hisses, sizzling pops, and a thick, intoxicating smell of Musky Smoke N’ Pine Needles.

You can close your eyes and let your eyelids paint yellow and orange kaleidoscopes as the heat washes over you, rosying up your cheeks and giving you that nice, warm Hotface Effect. In that cold, dark forest, on that cold, dark log bench, beside that cold, dark lake, your ears and nose perk up, as you call on some of your primal, caveman instincts to focus on every little sound and smell around you.


Tastes slightly better than a flaming log

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