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Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Ode To The Reg

Not that I’m getting maudlin or anything but I felt like I wanted to say a few words about Reggie aka “The Reg”, faithful Corgi canine companion of my good friend Bob. Reg passed away yesterday after struggling with some health challenges over the course of the past year. I didn’t know Reg for that long but he was a real character, low-slung and feisty. He would have made a great character actor. Reg and my dog Sarge got along OK despite the size disparity. If he had enough, Reg would grumble a bit. Not a growl. Just low-pitched muttering in the back of his throat.

Bob got Reg when he was a year old pup. Reg had to literally hit the ground running because he was joining a pack that already consisted of two Golden Retrievers. He learned to swim and fetch in short order and when he looked at himself in the mirror, Bob was pretty sure Reg saw a Retriever looking back at him. A small one, but one with a heart as big and as faithful as those of his larger adoptive brothers.

According to Bob, The Reg was, “As fast as a rabbit. Loved to chase birds and squirrels. Stood guard day and night. Loved to play the ‘out and in’ game in which he would charge you in the nards until you let him out, then wanted back in two seconds later. Friendly to all but took no crap from other dogs no matter their size. Always wanted to be with us even if it meant just waiting in the car. Always called shotgun.”

I know Reg accompanied Bob on many rambles through the bush and many long car trips. He was much loved and will be sorely missed. Hopefully he’s now happily reunited with the two other members of “Gold Squadron” who went before him.

Bob with the Gold Squadron
Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Arboreal Canine Alert!

Here in The Department of Being Somewhat Fixated On Dogs, our team of researchers consisting of me, my friend Bob (not his real name) and Sarge (my dog) somehow ran across a post which talked about dogs who climb trees. We’ll get to these dogs in due course but first I need to deal with some unfinished business regarding the last post about Garden Hermits.

Alert readers know that I never explained exactly what the contraptions in the Featured Image were. Instead, I said this: “I know that you’re wondering about the devices depicted in the Feature Image, so I’ll tell you what they AREN’T. They’re NOT fraternal twin companion robots. They’re also NOT the components of some kind of futuristic, regenerative, zero-emission composting toilet.”

Here is the mystery duo:

Once again, your mind might literally be brimming with speculation and puzzlement so I’ll come clean(!). first noting that I also should’ve pointed out that the mystery duo are NOT the components of some kind of futuristic bidet.

Speaking of the future, admittedly, the quasi-barrel chair on the left looks like something from the bridge of the USS Enterprise: something that steely-eyed starship commander James T. Kirk would have sat on. Especially if Captain Kirk had issues with his prostate. (More on that in a minute.)

William Shatner, aka Jim Kirk, flanked by his cheery life coach/urologist, Louise, who is comfortably ensconced in her diagnosis pod and holding a tiny Captain Kirk action figure. Or maybe it’s Karl Rove. I dunno.

Turns out that the chair is an FDA- and Health Canada- cleared therapeutic device called the Emsella, used to treat issues arising in the pelvic floor, in both females and males. The pelvic floor is usually located one floor below the lowest underground parking level: at least in downtown Calgary.

Seriously, the pelvic floor is basically a sling composed of four muscles. No one except urologists and Latin teachers can pronounce the names of the muscles. According to the Cleveland Clinic (Motto: We try to just get to the point and not talk over your head): “Your pelvic floor muscles help stabilize your core while assisting with essential bodily functions, like pooping, peeing and having sex.”

Thank you for just getting to the point and not talking over our heads, Cleveland Clinic!

Pelvic floor problems include urinary and fecal incontinence as well as impairment of sexual function. These problems arise for diverse reasons, including but not limited to childbirth, surgery, neurologic diseases, bad decision-making, prostate enlargement, being audited by the IRS and/or CRA and, of course, trauma arising from activities such as pole vaulting, beekeeping, multilevel marketing, mountain biking, counted cross stitch and run-on sentences. (Run-on or no, that’s a pretty diverse list of causes if I say so myself.)

Anyway, where was I? Yes! The Emsella. You’re probably wondering how it works. The chair houses an MRI-grade magnet that emits trains of electromagnetic energy pulses which stimulate the muscles in the pelvic floor repeatedly during a treatment session:12,000 pulses (give or take) per session. The thing beside the chair is the combination power supply/pulse generator/beverage dispenser. There might be a urologist in there too. I don’t know. Ask William Shatner.

If you know what Kegel exercises are, I can tell you that the pulses emitted in an Emsella session result in about 12,000 Kegel exercise contractions (give or take). Even if you don’t know what Kegel exercises are, I can still tell you that each session consists of about 12,000 Kegel exercise contractions (give or take). These contractions retrain and strengthen the four unpronounceable pelvic floor muscles but also retrain/re-engage the associated nerves as well.

Here are unretouched images of an unstimulated, relaxed, loosened and mixing bowl-shaped pelvic floor (left) and the same pelvic floor having its doorbell rung by an electromagnetic Emsella pulse. Note how the floor has risen up to the dotted line and looks more like a saucepan (right). If I was a judge in the Olympic Pelvic Floor Reverse Pullup and Cooking Ware event I would for sure give the Emsella a 9.5 and maybe even a 10. I also think Julia Child would agree with me, for what it’s worth.

Several important points here:

  1. The treatments may improve sexual function and orgasm.
  2. 12,000 pelvic floor contractions is a lot of contractions.  You could never do that many Kegels on your own even if you were born on the planet Krypton aka the home planet of Superman, his urologist and all of his Superpets.
  3. Despite that the Emsella-generated contractions are also more sustained and intense than homemade contractions, they’re not painful. You have full control over the intensity of the effect.
  4. Did I mention that the treatments can help sexual function and orgasm?

A course of Emsella therapy typically consists of six 28-minute sessions spread over three weeks. You just walk in and plop down on the chair although I recommend getting an appointment first. You don’t have to undress although I guess you could sit there in the nude if you really wanted to. Many people bring a book. My suggestions include the Kama Sutra, The Power of Positional Thinking, and Good Vibrations, authored by…wait for it…Mike Love.

So. Here we are. As threatened, I will now hold forth about dogs that can climb trees. I just got a little sidetracked. Here’s the Cole’s Notes version, distilled from a blog post called The Daily Wag. It was an OK post except one of the somewhat circumlocutionary sections was entitled “Signs a Dog Can Climb a Tree.” Never mind rambling on about breed history, temperament, phase of the moon, favorite snack, etc. I think that the best sign would be if your dog just bombed up to a tree and next thing you knew, it was peering down at you with a satisfied look on its face. That would pretty much settle the question of whether it can climb trees. Just saying.

The following dogs are renowned for their tree-climbing tendencies:

  1. Catahoula Leopard Dog
  2. Jack Russell Terrier
  3. Treeing Walker Coonhound
  4. New Guinea Singing Dog
  5. Racoon Dog

Assorted Border Collies, Dobermans and Golden Doodles are also reputed to scoot up trees when the mood takes them. Apparently this has been documented by video footage.

I wrote about a Catahoula named Stella who learned to communicate her inner thoughts to a speech therapist by using programmable talking push buttons. As far as I know, Stella didn’t say anything about trees. My buddy Travis had various Jack Russells but I never saw any of them climb anything except your leg. Treeing Walker Coonhounds are prone to something called “hound-dog funk.” Don’t ask.

I had never heard of the New Guinea Singing Dog or the Raccoon Dog but come to find out they are quite photogenic:

New Guinea Singing Dog in the midst of a stirring rendition of Freddy Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Racoon, possibly declaring as a Racoon Dog but either way, fresh from a trip to the groomers for its monthly Bath ‘n’ Tidy

Whew! It took me a while but at least now you’re up to speed on the Emsella AND tree-climbing mutts. Sorry it took me so long; I just don’t like to leave things hanging.

Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Fall Cleanup

It’s Fall here in the home town of The Department of Misinformation, Disinformation and Possibly, Sock Puppetry. Time to cut the lawn one more time, drain the swamp, clean out the garden and flower beds, replace the cadmium rods in the reactor, rake the leaves, reorganize the storage shed, my sock drawer and the garage, put away the outdoor furniture and do twenty other things I’ve probably forgotten.

Before I get started though, I know that you’re wondering about the devices depicted in the Feature Image, so I’ll tell you what they AREN’T. They’re not a pair of fraternal twin companion robots. They’re also NOT the components of some kind of futuristic, regenerative, zero-emission composting toilet. Come to think of it, that would be a pretty fair dinkum guess though.

To find out what an actual composting toilet looks like, keep reading
Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Law and Quantum Mechanics

Today is a banner day here in the Department of Making Fun of Lawyers. For the first time ever, this blog features the work of a guest author who, for some obscure reason, prefers to be known simply as “Captain Tie-Dye”. I met him last week while I was wandering around in the mountains of Colorado and he seemed like a decent chap. We somehow got to talking about many things including but not limited to Quantum Physics and Lawyers. He revealed to me that he had, in fact, written a piece to amuse some lawyers he knew. He showed it to me and I liked it.

“Bonus Round”, I said.

“I’m overdue to put up another post. You can be my guest author.”

KEep reading to find out whether i’m kidding
Posted in zany, offbeat humor

Dog Days

A couple of weeks ago, one hot afternoon in the dog days of summer, I was walking my dog Sarge. We were about 1/2 or 3/4 of the way home. I dunno. Maybe it was 7/8ths of the way. Or 15/16th. Anyway, in the interest of not splitting hairs, suffice it to say we were close to home and Sarge still hadn’t pooped. The immortal words of Dave Barry spring to mind here: “The objective is not so much to walk your dog, as it is to empty him.” Despite that we were walking along a stretch where he (Sarge) doesn’t usually poop, I said, “Sarge. Poo-poo dog.” I swear I’m not making that up. That’s what I said to him. It drives my wife nuts because Sarge is NOT a cute little puppy. He’s a115-pound, 15 month-old galoot of a Bernese Mountain Dog. She doesn’t think I should talk baby talk to him. She’s probably right.

to find out whether sarge pooped, keep reading
Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

What Liane Moriarty Never Wrote About (Yet)

I just finished Liane Moriarty’s latest bestselling novel: Newton Was Wrong: Apples Defy Gravity. She has been punching bestsellers out like clockwork every couple of years in case you didn’t know. This has put me right back where I was in October 2020 when I wrote a post about Blakiston’s Fish Owls. In that post I commented:

I learned about these owls from a book given to me by my son, Drew: Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save The World’s Largest Owl. I have to confess that I needed a good rebound book after finishing reading pretty much every word that Australian author Liane Moriarty has written. Owls of the Eastern Ice filled the beak as it were. Plus there were no owls in any of Ms. Moriarty’s books. Not even one. Not that I was counting.

You know what I’m talking about. You get into a certain author or a good trilogy or-God forbid-Stephen King’s nine-book Gunslinger epic series.. When you emerge out the other end you feel kind of lost, like a fish owl who has lost its mate. You just want a new, cozy literary friend to roost with.”

So. I’m on the rebound again but pleased to report that Ms. Moriarty’s not-mentioning-owls-in-any-of-her-books streak is still intact! Also intact is her uncannily impish ability to conjure up plot twists that you NEVER see coming. I mean, you know something is up, but it NEVER turns out to be what you think it will be. Dammit.

Just look at her. If that isn’t an uncannily impish expression, I don’t know what is. Full disclosure: I lied about the title of her book.

Seriously, Moriarty might be impish but she is a very honest writer whose characters think the same thoughts that all of us think but never talk about with anyone except our shrinks. Her books also center around gritty topics, including tennis, with just the right dose of compassion, incisiveness and humor. She has a wonderful knack for putting a great spin on things(!).

There are a lot of gritty topics out there, such as pandemics, the favorite sexual positions of the Vikings and whether hot water freezes faster than cold water. Seriously, when I was in high school in the mid-70’s, my father and I somehow got into a heated argument at the dinner table one night about why hockey rinks are sometimes flooded with hot water. Dad maintained that hot water freezes faster than cold water. I was dubious.

For context, my Dad knew his way around hockey rinks. He was a goalie and played on an Allan Cup-winning semi-pro Senior A hockey team (the Owen Sound Mercurys) back in the early 1950’s. The Mercs won the Cup in 1951 and were in the running in 1953 but the weird thing is that my Dad wound up facing the Kitchener Flying Dutchmen 21 games in a row in that Allan Cup battle. Here’s how it happened:

The Kitchener Flying Dutchmen beat Owen Sound in the quarter-finals, going seven games and proceeding on to meet the Sudbury Wolves in the semifinals. There was this weird rule back then that in the playoffs, a defeated team’s goalie could be called up by the next opponent of the winning team, in case of injury, spite, bribery or whatever. Sudbury therefore called up my Dad who wound up facing Kitchener again. Kitchener defeated Sudbury in seven games and went on to face Penticton for the Allan Cup. Penticton called up (guess who?) my Dad, who faced Kitchener for another seven games. The Dutchmen won. You know how the saying goes: “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.”

By that time, Kitchener was so sick of my old man that even though they had won the Cup, they still complained to the powers that be and got the call-up rule stricken from the books. Or maybe it was Penticton that complained. Or Sudbury. I dunno. Somebody complained.

Fast-forwarding to rejoin that dinner table debate in the mid-70’s, I snorted into my soup or whatever at one point and started spouting off about thermodynamics, entropy, etc and how it made zero sense that hot water would freeze faster than cold water. My Dad chewed my backside pretty hard and told me to zip it because I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was.

Turns out he was right.

Maybe.

Consider this landing page for a recent Quantamagazine article penned by a fellow named Adam Mann:

One frame of a video in which ice crystals creep down over top unidentified white blobs. Pretty cool (!)

Back in 1963, Erasto Mpemba was a young Tanzanian fellow who was making a lot of ice cream in high school against heavy competition. All the boys would boil milk, mix it with sugar, let it cool and race to get it into the refrigerator freezer compartment. (Space was limited.) One day, a kid didn’t bother to boil his batch so he stuck it in the freezer at room temp. Erasto saw this and fearing there would be no more space left in the freezer, stuck his batch in without waiting for it to cool. Lo and behold, his hot batch froze faster than his rival’s cooler batch.

These and other anecdotes from older, more experienced ice cream-making acquaintances led Erasto on a voyage of discovery/experimentation which culminated in 1969 with him publishing a paper in collaboration with Donald Osborne a physicist at University College in Dar es Salaam. Here is the citation: Cool. E B Mpemba and D G Osborne 1969 Phys. Educ. 4 172. If you want to read it yourself, here’s a link to the paper: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0031-9120/4/3/312.

And here’s a graph from that paper, if you don’t believe me.

They liked tall, thin graphs back in the 1960’s for some reason. But then again, people also liked Twiggy, the iconic, skinny supermodel.

Mpemba went on to pursue a career in Wildlife Management and later published a paper about how to weigh 25,000 penguins using aerial photography. Actually, I’m lying about that. He didn’t study penguins as far as I know, because although Namibia has them, Tanzania is devoid of penguins and probably Fish Owls, now that you mention it.

Other researchers located in Antarctica did, in fact, weigh a waddle of penguins via aerial photography. If you, too, want to learn about penguin waddle-weighing, you can read about it here: https://lateralthinkingdepartment.com/2020/08/22/how-to-weigh-25000-penguins-simultaneously-with-apologies-to-dr-seuss/

In any case, the curiousity of Erasto Mpemba impelled other physicists to continue delving into the “hot water freezes faster than cool water” controversy. Sixty years later, the physicists are still arguing. Physicists like to argue.

Turns out that sticking a container of hot liquid into a freezer is a highly unstable, nonequilibrium situation. This means that all the standard equations that physicists know and love don’t apply because the temperature is not the same throughout the whole system and is changing constantly but not smoothly. This is neatly summarized by Mann: “If nothing else, the theoretical and experimental work on the Mpemba effect has started giving physicists a handhold into nonequilibrium systems such as arguments with their fathers, that they otherwise lack.“

Sadly, my Dad passed in 2016 but he would have loved to talk about this whole business. He had a phenomenal memory and probably remembered the conversation as vividly as I do.

In closing, and since the average Australian know very little about hockey in general and ice in particular, I hereby challenge Liane Moriarty to write a hockey-based bestseller with a plot that eventually takes an extremely clever twist somehow based on the Mpemba effect and also deals with the gritty, ages-old saga of a young man striving to find his independence by rebelling against his father. Talk about an unstable, nonequilibrium situation!

That should keep her busy for at least a couple of years.

Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Wishful Thinking

Somehow two months has elapsed since the last post. I wish I knew how that happened. Actually, there are a lot of things I’ve been wishing for lately and I feel like I should share them. This is actually a great tactic when you have a bunch of random things that have cropped up and you happen to be writing a post but don’t have an overarching theme to write about. I feel like overarching themes are also overrated anyway. So let’s get started.

One of the things I wish I’d known sooner is when to use “a while” and when to use “awhile”.

if you don’t want To find out when to use “a while’ and when to use ”awhile’, stop reading now
Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Brains Are Overrated

Judge: Dr. Gillson, please explain to the Court why your last post appeared over a month ago. How do you expect to keep your following in the face of such an erratic schedule?

Me: I apologize Your Honor. There are just too many things going on these days. I can’t seem to focus.

Judge: Please clarify. You can’t seem to focus or you actually can’t focus?

Me: I actually can’t focus. What is Twitter going to look like with Musk at the helm? What will happen in the Ukraine? What about current and impending shortages in just about everything including common sense? And why won’t my dog, Sarge, make friends with his talk-buttons? Not only that, he recently nibbled the white tuft (aka “flag”) on his tail down to its nub for the second time. Anyway, I’m swamped.

Judge: Whatever. All that aside, I find you guilty of lacking clarity of speech and I hereby sentence you to get on with this post. And I’m sorry to hear about Sarge’s tuft. Why don’t you try some more niacinamide?

TO find out what this post seems to be about, keep reading
Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Hair Of The Dog…

I was sitting here trying to think of something to write about this month when I suddenly started puzzling over the structures of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (aka NAD) and nicotinamide riboside (aka NR), a couple of molecules people routinely ingest for purposes including but not limited to hair regrowth and anti-aging. I swear on Vidal Sassoon’s hair clippers that I am not making this up.

I don’t know why NAD and NR popped into my head. But I thought ‘maybe I can work this into a column’. After that I thought, ‘well first of all, almost nobody knows what a “column” is any more because columns are what people write in newspapers and secondly almost nobody knows what a newspaper is any more.’ Finally I thought, ‘What the heck? This is a totally stupid, boring idea.’ In fact, it was so boring that I fell asleep at the keyboard. But while I was sleeping I had this dream…

to find out what my dream was about, keep reading
Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Ode To Ogden Nash

My last post ended with an open question: Who is Ogden Nash? His name came up in one of the lines in the poem that was featured in that post : “…Rugged individualists trying to mimic Ogden Nash, the only difference being: he traded words for cash…”.

The Department of Rugged Individualists, consisting primarily of me and Spencer (a stuffed plush seal) hates leaving alert readers dangling, so as threatened, I’ll give you the scoop on Ogden Nash. But first, another poem:

Spencer
If he weren’t stuffed with foam,
Spencer would be denser.

A great way to learn MORE about Ogden nash would be to keep reading