Things You Never Knew Existed
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Friday, February 24, 2017
My birthday’s coming up, and, to be perfectly honest, it makes me feel kinda old. In the grand scheme of Things, I’m more Spring Chicken than Dinosaur, but I don’t get carded as often as I used to, and my joints sound like a bowl of cereal when I’m stumbling up the steps after a long evening of Not Getting Carded.

Luckily for me, though, dinosaurs don’t (didn’t?) exactly suck. Sure, there are only a handful of these ancient critters left if you count alligators, giant tortoises, and the “seasoned gent” who lives next door to my uncle (I’m pretty sure his Social Security number is 27), but there’s much to be said for once dominating a planet and remaining relevant millions of years after you and your velociraptor cousins decided to check out that insane meteor shower. Personally, I count myself lucky that my mailman finally stopped calling me “Steve” last week, so I’m pretty sure nobody’s gonna remember me in a few thousand centuries.

One could only wonder, though, had the Tyrannosaurus Rex flexed its miniature cerebrum more often, if he and his buddies would still be around. Then again, were that the case, they’d be our overlords now, and we wouldn’t have tasty Things like chicken.  Or this sweet T. Rex lamp!
Tyrannosaurus Rex Lamp
If Ben Franklin only knew how we
used the results of his kite experiment...

T-Rex Dinosaur Shaker Set
I SAID PASS THE SALT, PLEASE!
Could you imagine ole Rex with his little arms trying to replace the bulb?

…or season his Triceratops steak?

(I can, and it’s a Thing of beauty.)








Finally! A delicious excuse
for owning only one pot!
If you’re simply grateful to be on top of the food chain, taking advantage of our evolutionary blessings—like the mightily delicious chicken—maybe a few new recipes are more up your alley.

Mmmm… chicken pot pie. Might have to make one for my birthday in honor of being one step closer to Dinosaur Status.

Until next week,


Bobby (not Steve)
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 17, 2017
It’s almost Presidents’ Day—you know what that means? Mattress sales! No battling school buses on your morning commute (school-bus battles are brutal—those kids got serious game)! Three-day weekend!

In all seriousness, Presidents’ Day was originally established to recognize and honor the birth of George Washington. While our first President’s birthday actually falls on February 22nd (on the Gregorian calendar, for you history purists), we celebrate it on the third Monday of February. Why? So the day can be observed to honor all U.S. presidents? While many Americans do observe Presidents’ Day in this manner,  the date was actually adjusted to give those who work for our government more three-day weekends. No joke. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1971 for the purpose of changing the dates of certain federal holidays so that they fall on a Monday, thus giving government employees more Mondays off.

Lucky saps.

We tried something similar here at Things, but despite our best efforts, International Goof Off Day has failed to be recognized on our company-wide holiday calendar two years in a row. We’re hoping 2017 will prove third time’s a charm…

So, what are some Things YOU can do to celebrate ol’ George’s birthday? Well, I have a few suggestions:
  •  Binge-watch Presidential documentaries on the History channel
  • Wear a powdered wig while you’re out buying that sweet new mattress
  • Take a hatchet to a cherry tree*
  • Snag some amazing collectible currency featuring Mr. Washington’s handsome mug that you can later pass on to a youngster—history FTW!
*If you choose this option, make sure it’s your own cherry tree. My neighbor got a little angry over last year’s Presidents’ Day celebration, even though he got a cherry pie out of the deal. You just can’t please everyone…


See you next week,
Bobby
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 10, 2017
Magic has been around for about 5,000 years or so. The Westcar Papyrus, tells five tales of illusionists performing in the Pharaohs' courts. As one messy story goes, a magician named Dedi beheaded and then restored several animals for Egyptian king, Cheops.

Street magic seems new, but it's not. Ancient Greek tales describe street magicians performing variations of the "cups and balls" trick (using rocks instead of balls).   Magicians didn't have anywhere but the street to perform and they didn't carry their own props; they had to use Things they could find or get from their audience to perform slight-of-hand illusions.

The Indian Rope Trick was described over 600 years ago, but it's impossible to recreate as told. The full trick goes like this: a magician suspends a rope in the air while a boy climbs up it hurling insults at the audience. The magician follows, disappears out of sight and body parts rain down on the ground. The magician descends the rope, picks up the parts, puts them in a basket and shakes it. The boy then emerges from the basket unharmed. Only parts of this famous trick can be recreated as told.

And then there was Black Herman - a magician who won fame and fortune for being buried alive and then coming back to life - even after his death. One night he collapsed onstage and really died. After which his faithful fans gathered outside the funeral home, waiting to see the rest of the "trick." Herman's assistant, who knew his boss better than anyone, suggested to the funeral home that the magician would have charged admission. So they did.

Sadly for his fans, Black Herman didn't come back from his last trick. And there were no refunds offered.

See you next week,
Bobby

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, February 3, 2017
It's an unfortunate fact of life that we have to be concerned with safety in today's world. A quick glance at the evening news demonstrates how important it is to secure yourself, your home, and your office. The best way to do that is being prepared before someThing happens. Here are a few security tips to get you started:

Cameras - real or fake. Burglars don't like to bother with businesses and homes that are under surveillance. Even a dummy camera can sometimes deter a criminal. But if you want to see what goes on while you're away or to monitor what's happening outside while you're inside, a wireless camera is just the Thing.


Early warning systems. Dogs can be a deterrent, but if you can’t get a big, scary watchdog, an electronic dog can “see" through doors and walls. The Thing will start “barking” when someone comes within fifteen feet, warning you before the bad guy gets inside. (Plus, an electronic dog won’t sell you out for a cheeseburger like my real dog Bosco would.) And so you can see what’s going on, a digital peephole lets you see what’s happening outside without putting yourself at risk.

Light it up. Criminals prefer an easy target, so outdoor lighting is one of the Things most of them will try to avoid. And you don’t even have to run up your energy bill. A motion activated light lets you know when someone is creeping around outside and chases away would-be burglars.

Defend yourself. If you find yourself in a confrontation with a criminal, it's good to have some self defense training to back you up. Krav Maga is easy to learn and works for anyone - no matter your size or strength.

I know this topic isn't as much fun as some of the others I've blogged, but sometimes even I have to be serious. Not too often, but sometimes...


Stay safe,
Bobby
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 27, 2017
Egyptian Gods Anubis and Horus were two of Egypt's most revered figures. Anubis is the God of dead, embalming, funerals, and mourning ceremonies. He's a Jackal-headed god who's the son of Osiris (god of the underworld and afterlife) and Nephthys, the funerary goddess. Ancient Egyptian embalmers would often wear Anubis masks to represent the guardian and protector of the dead.

His half brother, Horus is the god of war, the sky, and falcons. He's the son of Osiris and Isis, the goddess of magic, marriage, healing, and protection. Interestingly, Isis is also Osiris' sister, so is Anubis Horus' half-brother and half-cousin, and Osiris' son and nephew? I think so. These family tree Things confuse me even when people aren't marrying their close relations!

Despite their lineage, which is taboo by modern human standards, these two gods presided over Egypt's underworld and venerated dead for generations. And they're still two of Egypt's - and the world's - most popular figures.

See you next week,
Bobby
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 20, 2017
Ice fishing sounds, well, pretty awful. Lonely. Cold. And potentially dangerous if you happen to misjudge your spot and fall into the frigid waters beneath the ice. Most ice fishers would tell you that sort of Thing doesn't happen. I'm here to tell you it would probably definitely happen to me.

For the last few years, these icy anglers have been trying to get the Olympic committee to recognize their sport. They've even asked the World Anti-Doping Agency to start random testing their athletes for "performance enhancing drugs".

Ice fishers joke that the agency should test for the "steroids" of the sport: beer and beef jerky. But the US Freshwater Fishing Association says they don't test for beer because, "everyone would fail".

So it seems unlikely that we'll see ice fishing in the next Olympic games. Especially if the competitors have to give up their suds. Because fishing without beer? On the ice or off, that's just unnatural!

See you next week,
Bobby
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, January 13, 2017
When it comes to breaking world records, we tend to think of Things like eating the most hot dogs or holding the longest kiss or being the tallest, shortest, or oldest person on the planet. But a team of chemists in Manchester, UK had their sights set on someThing seemingly inconsequential: the tightest knot ever made.

You can't moor a boat, tie up your shoe, or even keep a fish on the line with this particular knot - it's too small. Microscopic, in fact. The world's newest knot is made of a strand of 192 atoms. It's about 200,000 times thinner than a human hair at two millionths of a millimeter wide.

The tightness of a knot is judged by the distance between its crossing points, where the ropes - or in this case, the atoms- cross. In this teeny knot, that distance is only 24 atoms. Check out this video, which shows how the atomic knot makes a triple loop and crosses itself eight times.

David Leigh, professor of chemistry at the University of Manchester is partly responsible for the new record. “We know how revolutionary knotting and weaving were for people in the stone age. It had an impact on clothing, tools, fishing nets, and so on. Maybe we’ll see just as great advantages from being able to do this with molecular strand," he says.

What does that mean, exactly? It's fancy way of saying that a knotted string of atoms "could make a whole new world" of Things possible. Big and small.

See you next week,
Bobby

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
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