Things You Never Knew Existed
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Friday, October 28, 2016
Native American Indians knew that the marijuana plant was powerful medicine. They used it for sacred rituals and they also used it for healing. According to the history of cannabis, both written and passed down through generations, American Indian tribes used the plant for everything from diarrhea to sleep to pain relief.

Now 25 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Next month, nine more states will ask voters to approve legalization of the plant for either medical or recreational use.

As election day nears, a "new customer base" for the medicinal qualities of pot was revealed in the New York Times: your pets. According to the report, dogs and cats suffer from many of the same afflictions as their human counterparts, many of which are cured or relieved with cannabis. It's been shown effective in both humans and pets for seizures, anxiety, arthritis and inflammatory states such as arthritis.

WARNING: That doesn't mean you should 'smoke up' your dog. In fact, the psychoactive THC in marijuana is toxic to dogs. However, the non-psychoactive chemical CBD, which has been shown to prevent seizures in young children, is perfectly safe. In fact, it seems to work just as well in pets as it does in people.

I don't know what to think of all of this, but like most pet owners, I would do anyThing for my dog Bosco. So if it works, I'm for it. But I'm glad Bosco is a robust, healthy beast. He only visits the vet for his routine checkups or - most frequently -  when he's eaten someThing he wasn't supposed to. By all accounts, medical marijuana wouldn't cure that.

See you next week,
Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 21, 2016
Since Comic-Con back in July, people have been speculating about the new Star Trek television series planned for 2017. Much of the talk swirling around the convention was based on rumor. As it turns out, some of those rumors were more accurate than others. But Trekkies were delighted for any morsel of information they could get about the new cast, new crew, and, gasp! new ship, whether it was true or not.

Now we're able to piece together a better picture of the new series. Though CBS will not confirm a Thing, preferring, I think, to preserve the mystery, they have released two teaser trailers. However, others involved with the show have revealed some pretty juicy tidbits for us to piece together, including the tweet from producer Bryan Fuller at left.

Besides that somewhat cryptic tweet, here are 7 other Things we've heard (from reasonably reliable sources) so far:
  • Star Trek: Discovery will premiere on CBS in May, 2017 and be released to their streaming service All Access soon after.
  • The main character won't be the captain. Instead, the protagonist, Number One, is a female Lieutenant Commander. (We don't know her on- or off-screen name yet.)
  • The series takes place ten years before Kirk & Spock and will "bridge the gap" between Star Trek: Enterprise and The Original Series (around the year 2255).
  • The Enterprise is in service at the same time as the Discovery, most likely under the command of Captain Christopher Pike with Mr. Spock as Second Officer.
  • There will be a comic book and a book released in conjunction with the series.
  • The show will feature a gay regular character, robots (not androids), and a LOT more aliens than previous series.
  • The first season will run for 13 episodes and tell a complete story, much like chapters of a novel, but each episode will also stand alone.
Now here's the interesting Thing: the Romulan war ended (roughly) 95 years before Discovery launches, so now everyone is wondering: where will this story arc go? I surely don't know. On that topic, no one is talking. But I'm betting it will be where none has gone before.

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 14, 2016
Instead of going to a Halloween party this year, I'm hosting a Macabre Marathon at my Haunted House. I've got all the decorations up, the props positioned for maximum scare value and my creepy costume at the ready. Now, to pick the fiendish films...

Creature Features are some of the scariest movies in horror and this 50-DVD set has some of the best. Blood Tide stars James Earl Jones who must save village virgins from the "evil under the sea". Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorites and features a very young Jack Nicolson. I've also picked a few classics starring the icons of horror, Boris Karloff and Lon Cheney.

Not to be outdone by killer creatures, Mad Scientists create horror in their laboratories. From inventions of evil to reanimated monsters run amok, it's hard to pick just a few from this set of movies. But the short list includes The Atomic Brain, House of the Living Dead, Horror Express starring Christopher Lee, Telly Savalas and Peter Cushing and...just for fun...the silent classic Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

Next up: a Dark Shadows  binge-watch. The serial was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid and Halloween just wouldn't be the same without mysterious vampire Barnabus Collins. Nine fan favorite episodes were chosen for this set, which will take just about as long as your average horror flick and will close out the night with a retro goth bang.

My biggest challenge now is waiting until Halloween to watch it all. Now that I've picked them, I can't wait to see them!

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, October 7, 2016
The idiom "necessity is the mother of invention" explains why we end up with some great gadgets here at Things. What it doesn't explain is how inventors come up with the devices that solve common problems — and why the solution seems so obvious to me only after someone else has invented it!

That's how it was when I discovered this little gadget. I can't stand cold coffee so I've tried ever insulated travel mug on the market. Some of them work quite well. Others...not so much. And then there's trying to remember to bring it inside and wash it every day. Well, no more. This little Thing can keep any cup hot, whether it's plastic, foam, or paper. And it fits any cup holder. I sure wish I'd thought of that!

I can't stand a warm drink, either. Whether it's an adult beverage or a soft drink, if it's supposed to be cold, that's how I want it. And I don't like Things all watered down with ice, either. Drink Rocks to the rescue! These little Things keep your drink cold without melting. They're made of soapstone for extended cooling and they won't scratch up your nice glassware.

Whether it's a Thing to make drinks more drinkable, a Thing to help you find your lost keys, or a Thing to help you stay safe, our buyers are always on the lookout for all the Things you never knew you needed but couldn't possibly live without.

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 30, 2016
According to, "The Lorax might have spoken for the trees, but it turns out that trees can speak for themselves. At least to other trees, that is."

Sounds far-fetched, right? Very Dr. Suess-esque. But, according to Suzanne Simard, an Australian ecology expert, trees not only talk to each other, they recognize their offspring.

Wait, what?

Trees recognize their kids?

It's true. In a TED talk, Simard explains how she used isotope tracing to monitor forest behavior. What she discovered was nothing short of mind-boggling:
  • Trees do not stand alone. They belong to arboreal "families" and can be identified by other family members who share common characteristics.
  • Mother trees that would usually expand their roots in every direction, will pull back to make room for their "kinfolk" to grow.
  • Adult trees pass carbon to family seedlings via a vast underground web of fungi, which makes the seedlings healthier and more resistant to stress.
Simard has been studying Canadian forests for three decades, "A forest is much more than what you see," she says.

It makes me wonder, if a tree speaks, does it also listen? And does that mean when we think we're alone in the forest, we're surrounded by thousands of lifeforms that might actually be talking about us?

SomeThing to think about on your next hike.

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 23, 2016
September 25 is National Comic Book Day.  Not to be confused with National FREE Comic Book Day, which takes place on the first Saturday in May, this is a day for readers, collectors, and fans to celebrate all Things about comic books.

In honor of this auspicious occasion, I thought I'd provide you with a few facts you can use to astound your friends (or just show off).
  • The first known American comic book was a hardcover called "The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck". It was printed in 1842. 
  • Newspaper comic strips established many of the story telling techniques used in the early comic books, which evolved into the comics we know today when publishers started reprinting them in book form.
  • "Famous Funnies", which appeared in the US in 1933, is believed to be the first reprinting of newspaper comic strips as a book.
  • Comic books are not always 'comic'. In fact, they span all genres from horror to sci-fi to humor to drama.
  •  People who collect comic books are known as pannapictagraphists.
So how do you celebrate national comic book day? Buy a new comic book. Or two or three. Try drawing a comic of your own. Use the hashtag #NationalComicBookDay to get your friends involved on social media. Then again, you could just read a comic book or two. Or five or ten.

Happy Comic Book Day! See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink
Friday, September 16, 2016
Human skulls have been part of culture since the beginning of recorded history. Their significance and evolution through different societies might diverge, but one Thing has never changed: humans use skulls in ceremonies, as personal adornments and as home decorations just as they have for centuries.

From its early beginnings, skull imagery represented death and mortality. Many cultures still regard the skull as a symbol of evil as well. But many ancient societies regarded skulls such as the famous crystal skull as a representation of life and consciousness.

In modern times, the skull has taken its place somewhere between death and life in most societies. Some people collect them as a reminder of their mortality, that some day everyone must dance with Death. Others collect them as a fierce sign of fearlessness, power, strength, and immortality — overcoming Death. Still others see them as a symbol of wisdom and guidance from the world beyond.

I have lots of skull-related Things, but until I started writing today's blog, I never thought about what they mean. Or why I collect them. I'm still not sure. Maybe they stand for someThing and maybe they don't. Or maybe I just think they're cool.

See you next week,

Posted by: Bobby | 8:00 AM | permalink

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