Thursday, May 31, 2012

Yet another "psychic" animal joins the predictors. Who next?

This is getting ridiculous. Yet another alleged psychic beast has joined the ever increasing number of non-human seers who will predict the winners in Euro 2012. The word "alleged" is used since it's difficult to test the animals psychic powers at best. They could be merely hungry but I digress.

So anyway, the latest star attraction is one Fred the Ferret who hails from the Ukraine. Other non human soothsayers include the late and first soothsayer, Paul the Octopus, followed by Khryak the hog of Kiev (like the sound of that) and Citta the elephant of Krakow, Poland. Visually, Fred is very cute and is reputed to be very friendly. Hopefully, the friendship will continue if and when his predictions may not come to pass but I digress. Again.

The way it works is that Fred will be introduced to two plates of food with the flags of the competing teams and the selected food bowl will be declared as the favorite. This leads one - me - to wonder if perhaps - pure speculation here - Fred may just take to one food type more than another. I mean, it could be!

All of this sudden psychic prediculation using non humans seems to be on the increase. Who knows where it could lead. Perhaps down the line somebody will introduce Charlie the cockroach whose rotten food choices will determine team winners, or Syd the spider whose selections would depend on web interpretation. I mean, the mid boggles - at least mine does. As a change of pace and taking it to the extreme, maybe somebody will come up with watching pickles age in jars with match results dependent on which pickles age the fastest. When it's all said and done, animals or pickles, the results are equally dependable.

Meanwhile, here is a photo of Fred.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Two flies per toilet - do the flies know?

Okay. It's Saturday and this story caught my attention so of course I felt other people might find it interesting.

Far be it for me to criticize anyone or country for aiming to be clean when it comes to toilet hygeine. When using a public wash room, cleanliness is the by-word in as far as I'm concerned.

In an effort towards cleaner bathrooms in Beijing, China, everything is taken into consideration, even the flies. The insect - not the zipper... Officials there have stipulated that public toilets may have no more than two flies buzzing around. Not one. Not three but two flies. The new rules also set standards for odors.

This got me thinking as to how to notify flies and other flying insects that there is a limit on how many of them can hang/fly around the toilets. Also, how or who is going to verify and count them? What happens to the excess flies? There are also rules published by the commission of city administration covering cleaning and training for attendants so one (me) presumes that said attendants will oversee that there will be only two flies per toilet.

An unnamed official from the commission told local media that the guidelines on flies were meant for easy monitoring. Presumably, excess flies will be reprimanded or something. They could get one of those electronic insect zappers, which would simplify the task.

There is no information as to whether failing washrooms will be punished and if so, how. Hopefully, flies can count.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to stop snoring - some interesting advice

As I've frequently shared, no (finger and keyboard) expense is spared in seeking out interesting and quizzical pieces, which are shared here. Came accross some informative advice via Yahoo, which always has some interesting articles, while reading about snoring prevention. It's my opinion that my husband does the big snoring but when confronted, he claims that I snore louder. We must make some duet. In any case, here is our first piece of advice:

"Sing! Researchers at the University of Exeter in England found that people snored significantly less once they had started singing for 20 minutes a day for three months. Singing may help by firming up flabby muscles in the upper airways."

This got me thinking. Given my ability to sing on key and perhaps the same issue with people reading this, I'm not sure if this is a practical exercise, at least for me. Furthermore, when is the best time to sing? Before bed? While in bed? I mean, twenty minutes of my singing repertoire, much of which the lyrics are missing, before going to sleep might not be such a good idea. How about in the shower away from anyone within hearing range? You get what I'm saying? It's finding the right time to be able to warble for 20 minutes. Would ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the afternoon, suffice, or does it have to be continuous? Also, notice the word "may" help by firming up flabby muscles, as in not a certainty. Still, it's an interesting alternative, as is the next piece of advice.
"A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device uses air pressure to keep the throat open and help reduce snoring. A sleep disorder specialist can determine if a CPAP can help you."
Having never heard of a CPAP, went to check out what this device looked like. Far be it to "poo-poo" snoring aids but wearing something that looks like an oxygen mask while sleeping doesn't do it for me. I mean, can you imagine a romantic rendez-vous after which one of the participants suddenly puts on this mask? You can see what we're talking about here:  Don't get me wrong - I'm not in any way discounting the workability of this device. Just thinking it wouldn't work for me. How about others reading this?
Finally, there's advice that falls into the-good-idea-but-not- for-me column.
"If you snore mostly when on your back, sew a tennis ball on the mid-back of a tight pajama top (put it in an old shirt pocket and sew it on). The discomfort forces you to roll over and sleep on your side--without waking you up, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD."
I've often heard this from people when discussing the snoring issue and after being up half the night. Somehow, having a tennis ball jammed between the skin and pajama top somehow does not invite a peaceful night's sleep. A tennis ball is for planning tennis.
Some other advice found on other anti-snoring sites suggest your good old ear plugs, or "a white-noise machine can make nights with a snorer more bearable. These electronic devices produce a consistent sound that muffles other noises." Having never heard of these devices, one (me) wonders if the white-noise machine would keep a person awake.
The advice offered is definitely interesting and probably works but for some of us, a good elbow nudge works wonders. Right?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bra cup doubling as gas mask, a missing cat and Debretts rules of etiquette rate high in blog pieces

A few years ago I shared a blog piece focusing on a unique invention (to say the least) created by one Dr. Elena Bodner, who took home the Ig Nobel Prize for 2009. For the uninitiated and unknowing the Ig Nobel Prize(s) are intended to "celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology." One would have to agree that Ms Bodnar's invention, which won thepublic health prize for creating a dual bra that could be converted (if necessary obviously) into two gas masks falls into the unique category.

The reason for sharing this information is that there appears to be a renewed interest in this story judging by my stats. Not that I'm complaining or anything but it makes me shake my head in wonderment which pieces suddenly emerge at the top of the heap. In case you didn't catch the story, here are the coordinates and if you feel like commenting, even better.

N.B. Just a note that this story is still drawing readers as of Fri. May 25. You people never cease to amaze!

Another piece that seems to be of interest to people is how to conduct oneself in public in case one is in the company of royalty. This was a follow up to another piece where I pondered as to why I never got my invitation to the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This got me thinking about if I had received an invitation, what are the rules and regulations where royalty is concerned. I mean, how does one act and what type of conversation is acceptable? When it comes to the "how-to's" of manners and etiquette, Debrett's is the source to consult. The topic of anything pertaining to royalty is definitely of interest to people and always good to share, as is consulting Debretts. Will make a point of seeking both out..

Obviously, they were popular pieces with blog readers, too, so in case you ever get invited to a royal...anything, read this:

Although interest is definitely waning, Wookie the missing cat story focusing on a cat that went missing in December 2010, and its owner, who was threatened with a fine for putting up posters in his neighborhood is still of interest to a few people. This piece has staying power and is still being read by bloggers. By the way if you live in the vicinity of Bedford, England, keep an eye out for Wookie. Owner Mike Harding would want to know.

Although I've written many pieces focusing on a plethora of subjects, interesting how some have more staying power than others. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Psychic pig claims to see the future

Look into my crystal ball...I see money...lots of money for my handlers...

First we had Paul the Octopus who predicted the winners of World Cup games and now we have - wait for it - a psychic pig. Tried to dig out the name of the porker prognosticator but seems that he's merely known as "a pig," no name given.

"PP" - for psychic pig - as he shall be known for writing purposes, has been accorded the honor of predicting the results of the matches at the European Championships to be held in the Ukraine and Poland. Just thinking...I wonder how his (or her) psychic powers were tested. But I digress.

The Kiev city government plans to wheel out "PP" in the hope that he/she will give daily psychic predictions when the tournament kicks off next month.

In a press statement, the porker was described as "a unique oracle hog, a real Ukranian pig and a psychic which knows the mysteries of football."

So this got me thinking again, how do they know that he's a football prognosticator? I mean, what has the pig done or said or grunted that led people to believe that he's even a football fan and a psychic?

The report went on, "every day at 16:00, 'it' (sex of pig not described) will predict the result of the upcoming match.

Thinking further (too much time on my hands), how will he/she give out the predictions and is there anybody on planet Earth who can understand swine-ish? Grunts are grunts are grunts. Are there different tone qualities to grunts?

Before Paul the Octopus, there were also other prognosticators including a rare two-headed tortoise called Magdalena, and a cross-eyed opposum who went by the name of Heidi, who was reputed to have picked Oscar winners.

Wonder if the pig will use tarot cards or perhaps they''ll count oinks - go know!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Hands up who thinks the world is coming to an end - hands up those who don't

One thing for sure, it's definitely easier to believe that the world will not come to an end. I'm in that category although not all the time depdending on the latest world events. The controversy surrounding the Mayan calendar and its sudden and abrupt end leads some believers to assume the end of the world is nigh. So it's not surprising that another new poll reveals that 15% of people worldwide believe the world will end in their lifetime. Another 10% are convinced that the Mayan calendar indicates it could occur in 2012.

The beliefs are varied depending on the geographical location. The Ipsos Global Public Affairs conducted the poll for Reuters and asked 16,262 people in 20 countries their opinion on their beliefs. Only 6% of French residents believe that their time on planet earth is nigh (love that word "nigh" - so Shakespeare) compared to 22% of in Turkey. This leads one - me - to believe that the French being who they are, refuse to entertain such an idea. Maybe it's the amount of delicious and inexpensive wine they drink or perhaps they're too busy involved in creating those scrumptious patisseries, or turning out those gorgeous fashions. ("What does that have to do with anything, Eleanor?" Nothing really but I was just thinking...) But I digress.

Meanwhile, getting back to the statistics, 22% of Turks are believers as are U.S. residents, with slightly fewer in South Africa and Argentina. A mere 7% of Belgium residents are world-end-believers and 8% of Brits. Thinking further, perhaps it's due to the Brits staunch character makeup and personna that would lead them to question the concept and dismiss it as heresay. But I digress.

So where were we...furthermore, approximately one in ten people around the world answered that they were apprehensive regarding the concept of planet earth's demise in 2012. The largest numbers are in Russia and Poland.

The Ipsos poll questioned people in China, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, the United States, Argentina, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Italy, South Africa, Great Britain, Indonesia, Germany.

So what does this all mean in the big picture, you might be asking yourselves. Is the Mayan calendar right? Go know! I'm of the belief that polls take the pulse of people at a particular time. Their answers depend on their state of mind at that moment.  If and when the world does come to an end, whenever, there's nothing much we average humans can do about it. When it's all said and written, perhaps we should live each day as if it was our last and take in everything our world has to offer.

"The mountains, rivers, earth, grasses trees and forests, are always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all people the unsurpassed, ultimate truth." (author unknown)