Friday, May 28, 2010

Children of the Tweet

"'O.M.G. cholesterol': Oh my God, cholesterol!" my 10-year-old daughter read off her packet of cereal yesterday morning.

SMS and Twitter have a lot to answer for.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Census (Redux)

I am never going to voluntarily fill out a census form again.

I've just found my name, address, phone number and my wife's details published online by the US government on their official census site, a site that has of course been trawled and indexed by Google and co.

What's the point of painstakingly trying to keep your personal information private on social networking sites and elsewhere on the Internet when the government publishes this and more, with no little boxes to uncheck if you object?

The aim may be for greater transparency or openness, but it really puts the row over Facebook's privacy policy into perspective.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Best Intentions

My son's friend: "I have to go now. I have a father-and-son campout."
My son (accustomed to American competitiveness): "Have fun. Hope you win!"

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


(Before you start wondering about our cannibalistic diets, I feel I should point out that we ordered two children's portions of chicken fingers)

Thursday, May 13, 2010



Nemo's grandad has a car?!

For young parents?

Cougars in area?

My favourite country

Odd Products

Easter isn't Easter without these.

Why hang a folded flag on a wall?

Yum ... ow!

Don't get caught at Easter without your foam wall cross

... or your glitter crosses

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Back in the mists of time, in a happier, simpler age, whenever you bought toothpaste, you had the choice between a handful of brands - Signal, Crest, Colgate - as well as a few speciality products for neo-Victorians (Arm & Hammer), wimps (Sensodyne) and similar deviants.

Oh, what I'd give to be back in that long-forgotten, carefree era!

Today I went out to get some toothpaste recommended by my dentist. He'd helpfully given me a small sampler tube, so I already knew I liked it. I also remembered it was Colgate toothpaste.

However, upon reaching the chemist, I was faced with a bewildering array of brands, the most wide-ranging of which was - you guessed it - Colgate. So amazed was I by the plethora of Colgate toothpaste on offer that I actually noted down the names of the ones available at this particular store.

Here, for posterity's sake, is that list:
  • Advanced Whitening
  • Advanced Clean Plus Whitening
  • Advanced Fresh Plus Whitening
  • Advanced Fresh Enamel Strength
  • Clean Mint
  • Max Bright
  • Max White With Breath Strips
  • Oxygen Bubbles
  • Mouthwash Beads
  • Enamel Protect
  • Sensitive Whitening
  • Mint Strip
  • Whitening Paste
  • Icy Blast Whitening
  • Whitening With Stain Lifters

Apparently my local CVS pharmacy is short-changing its customers because the American Colgate site also mentions Total, Total Whitening, ProClinical, Max Fresh, Luminous, 2in1, Sparkling White, Tartar Control, Cavity Protection and Ultrabrite.

I'm sure they all do the same job. They all taste minty, freshen your mouth and clean/whiten/brighten your dentition. So apart from confusing consumers, what is the point of having twenty or more names - nay, synonyms - for what is essentially one and the same thing?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's the Law!

Believe it or not, some 50 million Americans live in communities in which clotheslines are banned. And in at least one state - South Carolina - any terrorist organisation seeking to overthrow the government must register its activities.

America is by no means the only country to have crazy laws, but it certainly has its fair share. Although there are even nuttier district and municipal regulations, here is a selection of some of the state-level gems I have found*:
  • Alabama: It is illegal to sell peanuts after sundown on Wednesday. You may not carry ice cream cones in your back pocket at any time.
  • Alaska: Moose may not be viewed from an airplane.
  • Arizona: Camel-hunting is prohibited. Donkeys may not sleep in bathtubs.
  • Arkansas: Men may beat their wives, but only once a month.
  • California: Women may not drive in a housecoat.
  • Connecticut: Pickles must bounce to be defined thus.
  • Florida: Women who fall asleep under hairdryers will be fined. It is illegal to sing in public in a swimsuit. Farting in public is prohibited after 6pm. Sleeping naked is an offence.
  • Hawaii: You may not put coins in your ears.
  • Idaho: Fishing while riding a camel is prohibited.
  • Illinois: English is not to be spoken.
  • Indiana: The mathematical symbol Pi = 3.
  • Iowa: Kisses may not last more than five minutes.
  • Kansas: Rabbits may not be shot from motorboats.
  • Kentucky: You may not dye ducklings blue and sell them unless you sell more than six.
  • Louisiana: It is illegal to gargle in public.
  • Massachusetts: Mourners may not eat more than three sandwiches at a wake. It is illegal to go to bed without having a full bath. Clam chowder may not contain tomatoes.
  • Michigan: Women may not cut their own hair without their husband's permission.
  • Minnesota: It is illegal to cross state lines with a duck on your head. It is also illegal to sleep naked.
  • Mississippi: It is illegal to teach the meaning of polygamy.
  • Missouri: Speeding is not illegal.
  • Montana: Sheep may not be transported in the cab of a truck without a chaperone. Wives may not open their husband's mail.
  • New Hampshire: It is illegal to nod, tap feet or otherwise mark time with music in a restaurant or bar. On Sundays you may not pee while looking up.
  • New Jersey: Soup slurping is prohibited. Men may not knit during the fishing season.
  • New York: Women may go topless in public unless for business purposes. However, public wearing of body-hugging clothing by women is forbidden. Slippers may not be worn after 10pm.
  • N. Carolina: It is illegal to sing off key. Elephants may not be used to plough fields.
  • N. Dakota: It is illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on. Bars/restaurants may not serve beer and pretzels together.
  • Ohio: It is illegal to get fish drunk. Police may not arrest people on Sundays or 4th of July.
  • Oklahoma: It is illegal to pretend to have sex with a buffalo in a bar. Women need a state licence to do their own hair. It is illegal to make faces at dogs.
  • Oregon: Dishes must drip-dry. No ice-cream eating on Sundays. Canned corn may not be used as fishing bait. Cars must be camouflaged to avoid startling passing horses. Fish may not be caught by any part of the body except the mouth.
  • Rhode Island: It is illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley.
  • S. Carolina: Inadvertently killing someone while attempting to commit suicide is punishable by death.
  • S. Dakota: It is illegal to fall asleep in a cheese factory.
  • Tennessee: It is illegal to sell hollow logs.
  • Texas: You may not sell your own eye. It is illegal to have more than three sips of beer while standing up.
  • Utah: It is illegal not to drink milk. Persistently stepping on the cracks in state highway pavements is prohibited.
  • Vermont: Women must have their husband's consent to wear false teeth.
  • Virginia: It is illegal to tickle women. Bribery is illegal - except by candidates.
  • Washington: X-rays may not be used to fit shoes. Lollipops are banned.
  • W. Virginia: It is illegal for men to have sex with animals weighing more than 40lb. It is also illegal to snooze on a train or whistle underwater.
  • Wisconsin: It is illegal to sell apple pie without cheese.
  • Wyoming: Rabbits may not be photographed between January and April without a permit.

I rest my case, M'lud.


* Much of these come from the wonderful site