#850 Absolute perfect silence


No rain.

No birds.

No wind.

No waves.

No buzzing.

No beeping.

No blinking.

No haze.

When there’s no office hum.

And no kitchen clatter.

When there are no idling cars.

And no distant chatter.

When there’s absolute, perfect silence and really nothing else.

When your ears strain for sound, and just meet silence itself.

Well, that beautiful rare moment is so sweet.

And so perfectly


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#851 Your family car growing up


Hanging out with friends late, late, late the other night, dim music on in the background, splayed haphazardly on a fat, squishy couch, my brother-in-law Dee suddenly started waxing nostalgic about his family’s big, old 1991 white Chevy Suburban.

He just broke into it, too.

“That monster seated nine people, I swear to you. Honestly, nine! There was a bench in the back, a bench in the middle, and a bench in the front. I remember when my parents bought it I said ‘Why not get the captain’s chairs in the front?’, and they were like ‘No, that’s just not practical.’ But I guess the benches did come in handy. My dad used to drive our entire baseball team around — that’s fourteen twelve-year-olds wedged in tight and twisted. I mean, we referred to it as The Team Tank. … Honestly man, I miss that old beast.”

A real showpiece

His wistful, late-night rambles got me thinking.

For my sister Nina and I, nothing would beat sitting in the backseat of our old 1984 Pontiac Station Wagon with brown paint, brown interior, and a classy fake wood trim on the outside. The backseat in this Logmobile was about eight feet away from the driver, but a world apart really. You could talk and play games out of earshot, all the while looking and laughing straight out the back window, distracting the people behind you on the highway.

Feel the teal

In the summer the metal belt buckles would grow red-hot and scald your skin when you tried to buckle up. The cup holders were always full of sticky remains from the half-dozen spilled Cokes that were never fully sponged up by the handful of McDonald’s napkins stuffed in there. The A/C was temperamental, the windows wouldn’t roll down all the way, and there were no DVD players entertaining you, no GPS voices guiding you. You’d just clamp up, invent your own fun, and sit patiently on the dark, fabric seats, deeply stained from that time somebody sat on a banana.

1992-teal-ford-taurus1So — what was your car? Was it a 1969 Dodge Dart? A 1990 Chevette in Classic Dull Grey or 1995 Chevy Lumina van? Was it a monstrous 1968 Impala, a 1954 Desoto, or a 1991 Ford “Feel The Teal” Taurus?

Whatever it was, I bet it sure does give you a trip down memory lane when you see the car you grew up in, the same color, the same style, the same model, just driving around town like nobody’s business. Or maybe just fixed up real pretty at an antique car show. Or maybe just calmly coasting on cruise through your brain once in a while.

For old time’s sake.



Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

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#853 When your microwave pops microwave popcorn perfectly

nuke-it-upWe’ve all been there.

Staring nervously into the microglow at the fat, puffed up bag of popcorn calmly spiralling in the center of the dish like no big deal. But it is a big deal, and you know it’s a big deal, because despite the puffbag’s straightface, there’s a minute left, the bag looks full already, the pops are slowing down already, and you just don’t know when to pull the plug.

It’s tense.

Stop too soon and you’ll enjoy some well-popped corn, but be left with a few handfuls of greasy, unpopped kernals at the bottom of the bag. Your stomach will rumble and you’ll either remain hungry or pop a second bag and overeat. Not cool.

Stop too late and you’ll enjoy some well-popped corn, but many kernals will be black and burnt, the bag will be smoky, and your fire alarm could have a fit. Not cool, either.

Yes, that’s why it’s so great when your microwave pops microwave popcorn perfectly. Either you grow to trust your dependable Popcorn Button or you slowly master the perfect time yourself, after a few bad bags.

But either way — how does it feel when you pull out that perfect, steaming bag?


It's gonna blow

 Photos from: here and here

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#854 Crying

Go let it out

Pop quiz, hotshot.

A 2006 study in Scientific American Mind magazine said that on average men cry X times a month and woman cry Y times a month. Take a guess on the numbers and see how close you are (answers below).

Now, whether you’re above or below average, consider crying a little bit more. When you feel the hot, salty tears coming, don’t hold back. Let them flood your eyes and pour down your cheeks, because while our egghead pals over at Wikipedia insist there are no conclusive studies showing why people cry, there really are a lot of reasons why crying is great. Hear me out:

Share the tears. Crying brings us closer together. In these anonymous days of gated communities, big-box stores, and rampant Interneting, sometimes people just need the attention and care of a friend. I mean, when you see your pal crying, what happens? Maybe your eyes well up and you throw them a hug. And maybe that’s exactly what they need and why the tears poured out in the first place.

Let it go

 • Body buzz. Studies show that emotional crying (versus dry-eyes crying, onion crying, or eyelash-in-your-eye crying) actually releases a bunch of wacky hormones that relieve tension by balancing your body’s stress levels. If you’ve ever heard people say ‘I’m okay, I had a good cry,’ then it could be because crying helps straighten out your chemically crooked self right when you need it most. And let’s face it — that’s a lot better than holding it all in and shorting out all your inner circuitry. Listen to the baby

• Hey, I just crapped my diaper. Babies cry before they talk, to let us all know when they’re tired, frustrated, scared, in pain, or when they really, really, really want their video back on. The point is that crying is a primal, universal way to communicate and sure does tell us when something’s up. Way to program that into us, God and/or evolution.

Yes, even though men only cry once a month on average and women let them pour five times or more, there’s room for tears plus, people. So don’t hold back because you think it’s embarassing or a sign of weakness, no. When memories of lost loved ones flood back or painful experiences hit you hard, I say just let those big, wet tears rain down without any guilt or shame.

Because we all need to let go sometimes.


Blame it on the rain

Photos from: here, here, here, and here

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#855 When you cut off your disgusting big toenail

Feels good, don't it?

Big toes are tough.

Chances are good that Big Digit is holding onto the largest nail you’ve got. And yeah, chopping it off can be a tough job, but then again — if you didn’t do it once in a while you’d pop holes in your socks and end up with scraggly Hobbit Feet all the time, complete with dirty, jagged Forest Toenails.

That’s why it’s so satisfying to saw that big toenail right off.

Now, there are a few different ways to get the job done:

trim-those-hedges• The Big Clip. My brother-in-law Dee used to pull out this fancy salon kit he had which contained a Jumbo Nail Clipper. Have you seen once of these things? They’re enormous and well-suited to the job of Big Toenail Cutter Offer. Clip, clip, you’re done. And you can use it to trim the hedges afterwards.
• Temporary Fang Nail. This is where you clip both the left and right sides of the nail first, and then end up with a temporary sharp and jagged fang nail just sticking up like a dagger. It’s pretty funny, but not safe around children or small animals. Let’s be smart and chop safe out there, folks.
What it looks like in Switzerland

• The Slow And Steady. This is the classic. Time to pull out that old, rusty nail clipper somebody bought from the dollar store fifteen years ago and set your foot on the bathroom counter, a sunny patch of grass outside, or on yesterday’s newspaper. You have to scrunch your eyebrows, and then slowly inch your way across the nail, bit by bit by bit by bit, almost peeling it off. Optional here is using a nail file to scrape out the Residual Toe Cheese.

When you’re done, you end up with a magnificently disgusting Giant Dirty Shard of Big Toenail. And yeah, I know it’s gross, and I know you’ll toss it in the garbage soon, but you can’t tell me that for one beautiful moment you just look at it and think


the-magic-wandPhotos from: here, here, here, and here

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#856 The Perfect Chicken Wing Partner


There are two kinds of chicken wings.

First up, there’s the Baby Drumstick. You know the one. It’s a cute, little baby drumstick dripping in wing sauce. It’s the JPEG attachment you’d expect to see on a “We had a baby!” email sent to you from a couple buckets of KFC. It’s so cute and drippy, too — and look, it has its mom’s stick, its father’s drum.

Then there are the Flat Pats. Think of it this way: if Baby Drumsticks are the thick, meaty bicep wings, then Flat Pats are the forearms. And, like a forearm, they’ve got two bones, which means you have to tear them apart to get at the tasty meat inside. Don’t dismiss Flat Pats, though. Even though they may not have the Baby Drumstick’s sex appeal, they come through in the clutch.

You're salivating, admit it

Now, some people prefer Baby Drumsticks. Others go for the Flat Pats. Just like some people like their wing sauce mild, some like medium, and some say “Go suicide or go home.”

But people, that’s where The Perfect Wing Partner comes in. He or she is that special someone who likes the exact same sauce as you but the exact opposite wing type. You like medium? Perfect, so does she. What, you’re a Baby Drumstick kind of guy? Great, she’s into Flat Pats all the way.

Face it: While you two are chowing down and enjoying your sticky, late night bar food together, there’s a good chance you’ll both glance up at the same time, your sauce-soaked chins glimmering under the neon Coors Light sign, and know, right then, right there, that you’ve just met your Perfect Chicken Wing Partner for life.

And when that day comes, my friend, it will so surely be


Let the magic happen

Photos from: here, here, and here

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#858 The other side of the pillow

when-you-cant-get-to-sleepHave you ever found yourself laying in bed wide awake in the middle of the night?

You know how it is: the clock’s clicking past 1:30 AM and you lay there wide awake, eyes bugged open, chewing your upper lip, tapping the sheets with your fingers, completely frustrated. Your pupils have long adjusted to the dark, so your eyes are darting around the room over and over, trying to identify dark shapes or watching the moonlight shadowdance around the walls. Maybe your thoughts won’t settle down, or you just can’t get comfortable, or you ate spicy food before bed, or you have a presentation the next morning, or maybe it’s just the frustration itself keeping you in a terrible, neverending cycle of sleeplessness.

Take two and call me at 4am

So you play dead and try to remain motionless as long as possible. You change positions back and forth, side to side, left to right. You get up and go to the bathroom or start reading a book. Maybe you try and remake the bed, since by now you’ve probably managed to twist your sheets and blankets into a completely unusable, tightly wound pile barely covering your legs.

On nights like this, where you just can’t sleep, one of the greatest things invented is simply Turning Over The Pillow. Yes, flipping over your pillow and checking out the other side takes Bed Comfort up a few notches and is a simple and easy way to help you relax and get more comfortable.

The other side of the pillow, folks. Because it’s flat when you’re sagging, fresh when you’re stale, and cold when you’re hot, baby.


Looks good, don't it?

Photos from: here , here and here

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#859 Playing with a baby and not having to change its diaper

Great fun until diaper changing time

Save your money.

Babies aren’t interested in your board games, video games, or iPhone Applications. They just want to play Peekaboo, Patty Cake, Ripping up Wrapping Paper, Breaking Your Glasses, or Sticking Their Hands In Stuff. And playing with babies is great fun. You don’t need to look for batteries, find a set of dice, or put your shoes on. You just make faces, do baby-talk voices, and fly your hand around like an airplane. They laugh and giggle and you’re suddenly a world class entertainer.

It’s great.

Until of course, it’s that time of the afternoon. You know what I’m talking about. Mommy or Daddy pops in, picks up the baby, does the classic Reverse Angle Diaper Peek move, and finds a little chocolate factory working overtime back there.

When they say “Looks like somebody needs a changing!,” that’s your cue to slink off silently to the kitchen or bathroom. The party’s on pause during your daring Dirty Diaper Dash but it’s back on ten minutes later when you casually show up and ask “Hey, can I play with the baby again?”


Run if the factory's running

Photos from: here and here

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