December 20, 2007

Strange But True

Radiant Rodents

We've seen all sorts of glow-in-the-dark stuff through the years—key chains, golf balls, jewelry, and even phosphorescent Frisbees.

But now we've seen it all:
Glow-in-the-dark mice!

Scientists in Japan developed the mini-mutants recently, injecting DNA from a species of jellyfish that glows underwater. The result: some really radiant rodents! They glow bright green under ultraviolet lights.

Whoa, that's cool! you say.
But WHY??

For research, of course. Scientists can use the technique in a number of ways, including watching the movements of stuff inside the mini-mammals. For instance, for cancer research, they can watch white blood cells moving around without having to cut the critters open.

That's what I call a bright idea!

Scientists say they can use the technique on other lab animals too—like rats, monkeys and rabbits.

But I'm thinkin', Why stop there? Just imagine the possibilities. You could open an entire zoo with all kinds of luminescent life. Beaming buffaloes!
Florescent flounders!
Shining sheep!
Iridescent iguanas!
Radiant rhinos!

I could go on, of course,
but you get the point.
You've, uh, seen the light.

Mixed Messages

Check out these signs found in Great Britain:

  • In a safari park: "Elephants Please Stay in Your Car."
  • On a pamphlet: "If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons."
  • At a repair shop: "We can repair anything. (Please knock hard on the door—the bell doesn't work.)"
  • In a health food store window: "Closed due to illness."
  • At a dry cleaner's: "Anyone leaving their garments here for more than 30 days will be disposed of."
  • In a department store: "Bargain Basement Upstairs"

Postcards from Beyond the Edge

OK, OK, so peanuts are No. 1 in Georgia. But a 20-footer? The folks of Turner County, home of this mega-nut, say it's "a daily reminder where our roots come from." Can you dig it?

The Chicken That Wouldn't Shut Up!

Kay Martin was talking to a friend at home one day when they suddenly heard a chicken squawking. They went outside to find the boisterous bird, but couldn't find anything. When they returned to the house, they realized the squawking was coming from Kay's kitchen—from her oven!

A half hour earlier, Kay had put a chicken—a dead one, that is!— into the oven to roast. Steam built up inside and came up the neck and through the vocal cords, raising a ruckus!

"It was as if it was shrieking at me from its grave," says Kay. "It was so bizarre I just froze."

But not for long. She opened the oven and removed the bird, which was still squawking loudly. As it cooled, the squawking died away.

Kay threw the bird away, and hasn't cooked chicken since then.

Good thing she wasn't cooking beef, eh? That would've been a moo-ving experience!

Drug Dealers Vs. Geeks

Drug Dealers Software Developers
Refer to their clients as "users" Refer to their clients as "users"
"The first one's free!" "Download a free trial version..."
Have important Asian connections. Have important Asian connections.
Strange jargon:
"Hit (LSD)"
"The Pigs"
Strange jargon:
"Hit (WWW)"
Realize that there's tons of cash
in the 14- to 25-year-old market
Realize that there's tons of cash
in the 14- to 25-year-old market
Clients really like your stuff when it works.
When it doesn't work they want to kill you.
Clients really like your stuff when it works.
When it doesn't work they want to kill you.
Job is assisted by the industry's
producing newer, more potent product.
Job is assisted by the industry's
producing newer, more potent products.
Often seen in the company of pimps,
hustlers and low-lifes.
Often seen in the company of marketing
people, venture capitalists and fund managers.
When things go wrong, a "fix" is just
a phone call away, but may be expensive.
When things go wrong, a "fix" is just
a phone call away, but may be expensive.
A lot of people are getting rich
while still teenagers.
A lot of people are getting rich
while still teenagers.
Product causes unhealthy addictions DOOM, Quake, SimCity, Duke Nukem 3D...
Do your job well and you can sleep with
sexy movie stars who depend on you.
Damn! DAMN!!!

21 Ways to Have Fun … Absolutely FREE!

  1. Always wanted to visit Israel? Have a passion for Paris? Go to the local library and plan a dream vacation using the maps, cultural books, and travel planners to investigate your destination.

  2. Write notecards thanking your neighbors for being "neighborly." Stick them in their doors, ring the doorbells, and watch their responses of surprise from behind a bush.

  3. If you have snow in your part of the country, make sure you take advantage of the mud it makes when it melts. If you don't have snow, make some mud. In either case, get on some grubby clothes, grab some buds, and have a messy game of full-contact Ultimate Frisbee!

  4. Take your family to watch Little League baseball at the park. Ask your parents if they have sports stories from when they were kids. You may be surprised!

  5. Most libraries have movies you can check out for free. Try some of the old black-and-white ones with Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart or Ingrid Bergman.

  6. Explore the outdoors at a different time than you normally would. Take a walk through downtown when all the shops are just opening. Check into a professionally-led night hike, the kind where you use flashlights. It's amazing how different your perspective can be!

  7. Browse a used bookstore and reminisce about your favorite children's books. Maybe the store even has a read-aloud-to-kids time you could attend!

  8. Organize an all-day (or night!) tournament of board games at your church. Invite people of all ages to join in on Scrabble, Sequence, Monopoly, Clue!, Risk, Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, or other favorites. You'll be amazed at how games can start conversations between different age groups!

  9. Gather all the unmatched socks in your house and make puppets! See how many of your friends you can turn into a sock character.

  10. Ask your parents if you and a few friends can have free reign in the kitchen for an evening. Create your own gourmet coffee/tea/hot chocolate drinks by experimenting with various spices, syrups, juices, powders, etc. Make a menu of the best concoctions (and a fun list of your worst!) and treat your parents (by cleaning up the kitchen, too).

  11. Throw together some creative costumes on a holiday off of school (like President's Day) and go "canning." Go door-to-door in your neighborhood, just like at Halloween, but instead of asking for candy, ask for canned goods to be donated to a local food bank. No one will expect it, but everyone will love it.

  12. Have a group of friends write "What If?" or "Would You Rather?" questions on slips of paper and put them in a bowl (for example, "What if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life?" "Would you rather not use soap or not use a hairbrush for the next 10 years?") Take turns pulling them out and answering them. You'll find out more about each other, and it's guaranteed to make you laugh.

  13. Try to make a house of cards.

  14. Check out a book on paper airplanes, grab some paper, and challenge your friends to some contests: coolest plane, longest-flying, even biggest dud!

  15. Gather the family for an evening of reminiscing. Pop some popcorn, pull out the old photo albums, and laugh at pictures from your younger years.

  16. How well do you know your hometown? Divide your friends into two groups, each group making a list of little-known sites to capture on video (the view from the tallest building) or items to bring back in person (a napkin from a local diner). Exchange lists, borrow a video camera for each group (make sure to ask parents!), and have a fun night rediscovering your town.

  17. Learn more about your parents' hobbies. Does your mom sew? Ask her to help you make a pillowcase. Does your dad garden? Help him plant the spring seeds and chat about what it takes for them to grow well.

  18. Attend a speech or independent movie showing at a local community college or university on a topic you're interested in. Yes, learning can be fun!

  19. Make a mural for your wall/door/notebook/locker out of empty cereal boxes, magazine clippings, favorite quotes and Bible verses.

  20. Try reading the Sunday comics backward—starting from the last frame and working to the first—to your family and see if they can guess the characters speaking.

  21. Make up a list of creative things you can do for absolutely free!

Saddam's Extreme Makeover

Practical Jokes

Don and the Mysterious Locked Suitcase

One time at church camp I had a roommate named Don who was very private and security-conscious. He always locked his suitcase and kept the key on a chain around his neck. Of course, this caused my fellow roommates and I to be even more determined to get in his suitcase.

Late one afternoon before dinner, he went to take a shower. We tried jimmying the lock to no avail. We eventually came up with the idea of taking the key chain from the hook in the little drying-off area outside the individual showers.

We raced back to the room with the key and unlocked the suitcase. We didn’t mess up anything or take anything, except to take out his camera. Stripped down to our underwear, we took pictures of each other with his camera, put the camera back in the suitcase, locked it up, the returned the key chain back to the hook. In Don’s thinking, nothing ever happened.

That fall we had a reunion, and Don thanked us for the extra pictures.

Punk-Rocker Surprise

My brother Dan went to the University of Michigan, just about an hour from my parent’s home. I was five hours away at Miami University in Ohio. I arranged to pick up Dan and surprise our parents. I also brought along some props to make it an even bigger surprise.

We got home and came into the house. I put on a multicolored punk-rock wig and some gold wraparound glasses. We came into the house, and Dan called out, “Hi, Mom, I’m home.”

My mom called out that she was back in her bedroom. Dan went back there, and I was a bit behind in the hallway. Dan said, “Hi, Mom, I just wanted to surprise you for the weekend.”

My mom said, “Oh, Dan, it’s so great to see you.”

“I brought a friend with me from my fraternity,” he said as I came in the room. “Mom, this is John.”

“Hi, John, it’s nice to meet you.”

It was then that I pulled off the sunglasses and wig to her total surprise. We all got a good laugh.