Things You Never Knew Existed
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Friday, September 22, 2017
I'm a monster without my morning coffee. I'm not talking a cranky and tired human creature, but a bona-fide, big-screen-worthy, growling BEAST that strikes fear into the hearts of all who encounter my awfulness. Mothers drag their children in off of the streets! Total strangers cut and run the other way! Those who can't run freeze in terror!

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. A little. Maybe I just feel that monstrous. I admit: it's mostly just wishful thinking I could terrify the masses into to getting the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks out of my way until I've had my morning cup.

Wild embellishments aside, it's not just me, you know. If you're not a caff-addict yourself, I bet you know one. Or two. Or seven.

Coffee is the most popular drink in the world. (I bet you thought it was beer, right? Me, TOO! Great minds and all that...)

You and I weren't far off. Beer was the king of the breakfast drink (yes, breakfast!) until around 1668 when it was replaced by coffee. And then there was that big Tea Party up in Boston which basically started a revolution. You remember...that's when America decided to tell Old King What's-His-Face to "sod off". After that, drinking coffee wasn't just delicious, it was downright patriotic.

Now we celebrate the beany brew every year on September 29th. My favorite way to celebrate? Getting myself a cuppa joe from the thousands of coffee shops who'll be celebrating with us by giving away freebies. So get ready for next week coffee hounds. There's only one Thing that beats a cup of coffee - and that's a free cup of coffee.

Stay caffeinated my friends. I'll see you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 15, 2017
Once upon a time Liam Smyth of Bristol University met a nice girl on Tinder. They went out for dinner. They laughed. They talked. Things were going so well that Liam invited his new friend back to his place to watch a documentary about Scientology.

So on they go to Liam's place where the worst Thing happened: the girl had to poop. On a date. A first date. Nature being what it is, she didn't have much choice in the off to Liam's bathroom she goes where she...uh...goes. But after dropping her turd in the toilet, the Thing won't flush!

She must have liked Liam a lot because she did someThing no woman I know would ever do: she fished her poo out of the toilet and threw it out the window. Problem solved, right? Errr...nope! See Liam has a weird set up where the bathroom window opens into an outer window that doesn't open. So instead of flinging the unflushable Thing outside, she flung it into the space between the windows.

Realizing that that her errant turd never made it to the Great Outdoors, all she could do was 'fess up and try to get it back before it...ewwww!...started to smell. Liam got a hammer to smash the interior window but his date (a gymnast) was convinced she could wriggle between the two panes, retrieve the poo, and save Liam's window. She squeezed between the windows easily. She retrieved the turd. But then she got stuck. Upside down.

Liam tried to free her but she was "well and truly stuck" so he called in the fire department. Firefighters didn't have to break the glass, but they had to remove the interior pane, which costs about $400 to repair. Being a struggling college student, $400 is pretty much Liam's entire monthly budget.

That's where GoFundMe comes in. Liam started a campaign to raise money for the window. He told the entire story complete with pictures (but not the girl's name). At last glance, he'd raised more than $3,500. You might think a starving student would keep the excess, right? Not Liam. He's donating half to a charity that provides and maintains flushing toilets to the developing world (very poetic) and the rest to the Firefighter's Charity.

You might also think it's the end of the whole Thing, right? Not for Liam. He's up for a second date. "She’s a lovely girl," he says. "I’m not sure what’s going to happen...but I’d certainly be open to seeing her again.” But maybe he should keep just a little extra from the GoFundMe funds - to get his toilet fixed before date number two.

See you next week,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 8, 2017
No, Irma is not my pesky ex. Irma is a storm. A BIG storm. Like, a really, really BIG storm. And it's taking aim at me! Well, not me personally, but at Florida, which is where I happen to live. Where I'd like to continue living thank-you-very-much.

I've already written about the Things you need for everyday emergencies, but a storm like Irma is no everyday Thing. (At least there's that, right?) You'll need all those emergency supplies, plus a few other Things if you find yourself in the path of this (or any other) Monster Storm.

There are two rules for saving your *ss in a massive hurricane:
          1. Run from the water.
          2. Hide from the wind.
Remember those two Things. Chant them like a mantra if you have to. This is probably the only time when I fully endorse rule following. So remember them. Follow them. Okay? Oh-KAY. 'Nuff said.

If rule one applies, you'll be busy running. If rule two applies, you'll probably be stuck inside. For a time. You're all stocked up on provisions and vittles and emergency Things, but what to do during the long days you'll be hunkered down? (The Newsies say "shelter in place". Around here we say "hunker down". It's a Florida Thang.)

My house is the Hunker Bunker for my friends and family so I know a bit about this. I'll let you in on a little secret about hunkering down: it's B.O.R.I.N.G. Even people you love - heart and soul to the end of the earth - can (and will) get on your very last nerve. That's why games and toys are an essential part of my Hunker Bunker must-haves. A few of my faves:

If you lose power, a battery operated DVD player with TV and radio will keep you up-to-date on the storm. When you get tired of watching the Red Blob of Doom slowly coming your way, you can watch someThing else on TV. Or you can listen to music. Or pop in a DVD to relieve the tooth-shattering boredom. Every little Thing helps.

All silliness aside, we here at Things give a heartfelt SHOUT-OUT to our friends up in Houston. While we wait for Irma, we haven't forgotten that they're still recovering from Harvey. And we won't forget the lessons they taught us - about everyThing from being prepared to being a good neighbor.

Stay safe. I'll be back next week,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 1, 2017
Labor Day weekend is considered the unofficial end of summer, but for kids it's O.V.E.R. on the first day of school. I sympathize. Deeply. Especially since I'll suffer with them. the summer my sister sends her kids off to hang out with their Uncle Bobby (me!) a lot. While she does the (no doubt) mind-numbingly boring Things she "needs" to do, we go off and do someThing fun. Like going to a baseball game, eating nothing but junk food, and/or blowing Things up in my backyard.

The end of summer means that my nieces, nephews, and their Poor Old Uncle will be forced to spend way too much time with adults for the next few months. I mean Real Adults - not people like me who were forced into this sorry state by the inexorable, unforgiving Hands of Time. These adults actually volunteer to grow up. (Yeah...I don't get it either...)

I don't know if you've noticed, but most Real Adults are zero fun to hang out with. No...I take that back. Real Adults are less than zero fun. They're like negative 100% fun or someThing like that. (Don't ask me to do the math - BORRRRRing. Besides, I don't have to take a test.)

Suffice it to say that the negative fun factor is why I insist on being in charge of the family's last summer party - for the kids. (Okay, maybe a little bit for me, too.) You just can't trust a Real Adult like my sister with such a weighty responsibility. Believe you me, I went to enough of her "yawn on the lawn" Labor Day soirées to know.

At my end-of-summer parties there are zero dorky games, zero nutritional foods, and zero yawns. Just positive 100% fun. The kids deserve it on their first holiday weekend. They have a long, long school year ahead.

We all do.

See you next week,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, August 25, 2017
Back in the day - and I do mean back in the day - back when...
       …people still sent cash in the mail
       ...we had lots of Things that cost a dime
       ...I was at the perfect height to suffer the full wind of adult farts right in my face
waaaaaaaay back then, I started working here.

My official job was peeling dimes off of the order forms and tossing them into a cash box. My unofficial job was (is) to catch my coworkers off guard (newbies beware!) with pranks and practical jokes. My favorite? A strategically concealed Whoopee Cushion. It’s still one of my best go-to moves. Thing is, my beloved Whoopee almost didn’t make it to market.

The story goes like this: some folks at the Jem Rubber Company were experimenting with scraps when they discovered that putting two sheets of rubber together with air between them would make realistic farting sounds. The crew thought their discovery was hilarious and they wanted to share it with the world. (Obviously, they were My Kind of People.)

Anyway, back then the S.S. Adams company was a Big Dog in the novelty business. Jem took the invention to the owner Samuel Adams (not to be confused with the beer guy - this Sam was a practical joke inventor). Adams turned up his nose at the Whoopee. He said it was “too vulgar” and would never sell.

But Jem didn't give up on their farting find. When they finally got the Whoopee out to the people, it was so popular they couldn't keep the Things on the shelves. A year after rejecting Jem’s ‘vulgar’ invention, S.S. Adams released their own version, the Razzberry Cushion, which no one remembers now. (A lesson for all of us: never underestimate the power of the fart!)

People don't send cash in the mail anymore (smart!), Things cost a little more than a dime, and these days I'm tall enough to be the one blowing wind instead of inhaling it, but Things that fart, sound like farts, and smell like farts are still some of our bestsellers. And now there's more to offer than the humble Whoopee - we have electronic fart machines (technology improves our lives in so many ways, don't you think?), farting stuffed toys, fart extinguishers, you name it. But even with all those Things at my fingertips, my first love will always be the one I almost never met: the Whoopee.

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, August 18, 2017
What if Bigfoot is real? What if UFOs are visiting planet earth? What if they're working with the world's governments on some alien agenda?  What if politicians and governments are really no more than puppets for secret societies like the Illuminati? What if we're all living in a fake reality designed by a group of elites who manipulate everything we see, say, feel, do, and think?

Great mysteries like these make life such an interesting Thing. That's why I devote (probably a little too much) time to the odd, the extreme, and the outlandish. In short, the freaky and unanswered "What If?" questions of our time. Like...

What if it's true that dozens of NASA astronauts have seen and reported UFOs? What if the space agency really has a written protocol for the sightings? Like shutting down live feeds from the International Space Station when someThing unidentified flies by? What if there's a secret space program that includes bases on the moon and Mars, orbital weapons platforms, and even "non-terrestrial officers" trained to fight alien races - in space?

What if secret societies like the Illuminati, the Freemasons, and Skull & Bones really want to take over the world? What's with the silly hats and the secret handshakes? What does it have to do with their true purpose? What are they up to behind those tightly locked doors? And what if they don't want to create and run a secret global government? What if that's just what they want us to think they want?

Which brings us to one of my favorites: what if none of this is real? What if we're in someThing like The Matrix only without the awesome special effects and the part about getting to hang out with Morpheus? What if we're all being manipulated by some giant, unseen and all-seeing super conspiracy to take over the world? Or the galaxy? Or the universe? If so, is it a human conspiracy or an alien agenda?

By now you might be thinking I need professional help. Can't say I blame you. But before you call out the guys in white coats, let me say one Thing: It's not that I believe  this stuff is true (at least not 100%). I just think it's best to keep an open mind know...what if

See you next week,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, August 11, 2017
I spend a lot of time in my car in the summer. I love a good weekend road trip. Once a year I take my nephews on an adventure with me. Last month I took them up north to escape the balmy Florida heat. We headed up the highway to do some sightseeing and some camping.

When you're young, car trips are boring. Even more so for today's kids. I get it. Remembering last year - the more bored they get the more irritable I get - I decided to do a little pre-emptive shopping this year. I picked up some Things that (I hoped) would distract them so I could drive without hearing that age-old lament, "Are we there yet?"

Boom boxes might seem a bit Old School for the millennial generation, but with a built in television and Bluetooth connectivity this one is Da Bomb. It handled every kind of media they could throw at it - from MP3s to DVDs to SD cards packed with movies. It was their favorite of all the Things I picked up for them, including the mini arcade games, the ever-poopular fart machine, and the book of Spock's Logic Puzzles (okay, maybe that last Thing was for me).

The open road isn't all fun and games and our summer trips are the perfect way to teach my nephews about road safety. Before we leave, we go through a checklist to make sure we have all the Things we need if our trip north suddenly goes south. Besides an all-purpose emergency tool, jumper cables, and emergency batteries, you need more than one good flashlight. This year I added the Tac Light to my emergency kit. With about 40 times the brightness of a regular flashlight, this Thing can turn night into day. Thankfully, I haven't had to use it for an emergency, but I did hang it from a branch at our campsite so I could see what I was cooking.

With safety taken care of, there's no reason Uncle Bobby can't have some fun in the car, too. And what's more fun than a Duck Butt sticking out the back window? It attaches with suction cups, so you can easily detach it as the situation demands. For example, when you're at the campsite and your car is surrounded by live ducks who look at you sort of sideways and your nephews worry that maybe the real ducks don't find your little joke all that funny. Maybe that's a good time to stow the butt. Especially if you don't want to wake up to a truck covered in bird guano...

See you on the open road,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink

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